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St. Louis

Richard Gaines, center, of the Special Administrative Board, speaks during  a joint meeting with the St. Louis Elected School Board Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
File | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

St. Louis Public Schools’ budgeting process is too insular for parents and teachers to understand and contribute to, a group of north St. Louis residents claim.

That group, under the banner Better Budgets, Better Schools, will launch a letter writing and advocacy campaign this weekend to call for more transparency in how SLPS spends its money.

Preclarus Mastery Academy, which was housed inside Third Baptist Church, has 200 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year.
Provided | Preclarus Mastery Academy

St. Louis parents will have one less charter school to choose from in the coming school  year. Preclarus Mastery Academy officially closed its doors June 30. That’s seven years after the charter school opened in the Grand Center Arts District at 620 N. Grand Blvd.

The school’s sponsor, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said continued poor academic performance and several shake ups in leadership led to the closing. Bill Mendelsohn, the executive director of UMSL’s Charter School Office, said Preclarus had been on the path to closure for some time.

Junior poolplayers from the United and Canada will descend on St. Louis this week for the annual junior poolplayer championships.  2018
Provided | The American Poolplayers Association

The newest generation of poolplayers will make their way to St. Louis this week for the fifth annual Junior Poolplayer Championships. The competition, which is hosted by the American Poolplayers Association, is a multi-day tournament of competitors between age 7- and 18-years-old from all over the United States and Canada.

Nearly 400 youth are set to compete in this year’s tournament, which will take place at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel from Thursday through Sunday. 

A faded and tattered U.S. flag catches the breeze in the yard of a vacant property in the Gravois Park neighborhood on June 30, 2018.
Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

Gravois Park has an unlikely advocate for inclusive development in a 12-year-old girl who wants to see the vacant buildings and lots on her block be transformed into safe, liveable places.

Deyon Ryan’s passion for the issue is partly influenced by her father, DeAndre Brown, who has been vocal on the issue. Deyon wrote about the vacancy problem in school and it caught the attention of local groups.

Suk (right) and Chandra Sapkota prepare gardens beds for planting at Global Farms' south St. Louis location on a Saturday in May 11, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The first time Jean de Dieu Sebunyenzi saw American food, he didn’t want to eat it. It was airplane food — hardly America’s finest culinary introduction.

Sebunyenzi had never been on a flight before, much less a 20-plus-hour travel marathon from Rwanda to Amsterdam to New York to his new home in St. Louis. The whole time, he ate nothing. It all looked so foreign to him.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Lazare House, a permanent housing program in St. Louis, aims at giving older, homeless young adults with mental health needs a chance at stability.

The 15-unit apartment building in south St. Louis is operated through Depaul USA, and provides housing for young adult ages 18 to 24.

Suzanne Kenyon, the director of Depaul USA in St. Louis, said although there are permanent housing resources in the city for adults and temporary housing resources for young people, the need for permanent supportive housing for young people is widely unmet.

One of the topics of the 2018 Fair Housing Conference was on finding was to reduce the number of evictions in St. Louis.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

At the 2018 Fair Housing conference in St. Louis, panelists on Wednesday discussed ways to reduce the number of evictions in St. Louis, using community-centered initiatives.

The issue is examined in the report, "Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide," completed by For the Sake of All and the Equal Housing and Opportunity Council. The report focuses on ways to eliminate housing discrimination with St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The conference at UMSL commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A non-profit civil rights law firm wants to help people help themselves when they’re in legal trouble.

ArchCity Defenders created the guide known as Pro Se STL. The guide’s namesake, pro se, comes from the Latin term that means “for oneself.” It's aimed at helping people advocate and protect themselves when they have interactions with law enforcement, go to jail or in the courtroom.

Executive director Blake Strode said the guide is particularly helpful for those who don’t have representation, because they can’t afford the standard legal fees.

BluePrint4SummerSTL

A St. Louis-based mobile app and website aims to help parents find summer activities for their kids, all in one place.

Blueprint4SummerSTL aggregates a list of wide-ranging activities for parents to choose from based on a child’s specific needs, including the cost, distance, interests, age, before and after care, as well as scholarship availability.

Pastor Gwenndolyn Lee of Spirit of Love Church wants to change the negative stigma surrounding HIV in the black community. Her younger brother died from AIDS nearly 14 years ago.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 50 percent of HIV cases in the St. Louis region are in the African-American community. That’s according to a 2016 report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. But the stigma surrounding the virus in the black community makes it a challenge to address.

Local organizations like Faith Communities United have been working to break the stigma down by partnering with several faith communities throughout the region, including Spirit of Love Church in St. Louis, lead by Pastor Gwenndolyn Lee. For Lee, the fear of discussing HIV in the black community, and especially in the black church, is a personal one.

A proposed hyperloop transportation system would connect Missouri’s two major metropolitan hubs.
provided | VectorSTL

A proposed hyperloop would transport people between Missouri’s two major hubs in under 30 minutes.

A feasibility study will get underway in February to look at whether it makes sense to go forward with the route. The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, comprised of public and private groups, raised the $1.5 million funding for the study and made the announcement Tuesday.

Paul's Market

It can seem daunting to find the ultimate gift that captures St. Louis’ charm and convinces your family to explore the region.

Whether you’re showing loved ones around the city or just bringing the Midwest back home, here are five ways to bring the food, pastimes and St. Louis pride to Christmas with you.

Sarah Durrett - Combat Sexual Harassment
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

When Sarah Durrett’s car broke down in 2013, she started walking and taking public transportation for daily tasks in St. Louis — and was surprised to find herself experiencing regular sexual harassment for the first time in her life.

Some men followed her home, and others whispered lewd comments. One man tried to grab her feet and kiss them. Durrett worried that even an off-kilter look could escalate to something scarier. “You don’t really know what to expect,” she said. “You just become afraid.”

So Durrett began considering ways to challenge sexual harassment in St. Louis. After living elsewhere for a few years, she moved back to St. Louis in 2017 and decided to forgo her car, only to once again experience harassment. That’s when she focused on her ideas to start Combat Sexual Harassment, a network to help women and men who have had similar experiences.

James Fisher, a professor of marketing at Saint Louis University, said economic boycotts can be effective.  Nov. 21, 2017
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

While protests continue since the Sept. 15 verdict in the Jason Stockley case, activists have also launched an economic boycott in St. Louis. They said it’s in response to the treatment of African-Americans, who they believe are disproportionately experiencing economic and social disparities.

Frankie Freeman, family, and bronze statue. November 2017.
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

More than half a century ago, civil rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At that point, she’d already opened her own private legal practice and helped end legal segregation of public housing in St. Louis.

Since that momentous day in 1964, she has continued to fight for civil and human rights. At 100, she’s still active in civic affairs.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People dedicated a bronze statue in her honor at Broadway and Chestnut Street, near the Old Courthouse.

U2 in concert
Danny North

 

The ongoing protests over a judge’s decision to find former police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith have led major entertainment venues to cancel events.

Tonight’s scheduled concert by U2 at the Dome at America’s Center has been canceled, as has Sunday’s show by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran at Scottrade Center.

 The St. Louis Symphony also has canceled its concert for tonight.

A solar energy project on the roof of Nestle Purina's builidng in downtown St. Louis.
Microgrid Energy

The city of St. Louis could soon commit to an ambitious goal to depend on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power for its electricity by 2035. 

Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed introduced a resolution Friday that would completely transition the city away from using fossil fuels. The St. Louis region currently receives less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

Tracy White sits in front of her mother's house, where she's living after serving more than 18 years in prison.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gun violence is the result of a series of choices, some of them spur-of-the-moment, others made after much consideration.

The vast majority of men and women in Missouri convicted of gun crimes eventually go free. Next comes navigating life with a felony record, which is a complicated process.

They often have to go back to the neighborhoods where they were arrested, making it hard to escape feuds that had them protectively carrying guns. And the lucrative world of drug dealing can be a temptation when it’s tough to find or keep a job.

A memorial rests for Rashad Farmer, who was shot and killed in 2015 on the 5800 block of Lotus Avenue in St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a grim trend tucked into St. Louis’ 2017 homicide statistics: More than half of the victims are black males under the age of 29 and close to half of those suspected of doing the shootings are in the same age range.

It illustrates a stark reality in the city’s crime-ridden neighborhoods. Officials with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment say employment and education are an answer to reducing the number of young people killed. But those who have made connections with the city’s youth say there’s more to be done.

Environmental Protection Agency workers met with city health officials at the Clemens House before learning they did not have authorization to test the site for asbestos.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday with comments from Mayor Lyda Krewson – The day after a recent four-alarm fire engulfed the historic Clemens House on Cass Avenue, neighbors got together with brooms and shovels to start cleaning up the debris left scattered across their yards.

“We started talking and started looking and then we decided — wait a minute, we don’t know what we’re sweeping up here,” said Larry Chapman, a retired carpenter who lives on Helen Street.

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