St. Louis on the Air


If you're looking for context behind the news of today, check out our project St. Louis History in Black & White, a compilation of interviews about civil rights and race relations in St. Louis. 

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On television, Missouri’s two major candidates for governor — Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens — pretend their rival doesn’t exist.

Both men are running pleasant biographical ads that highlight the best of their respective personal and professional backgrounds.

Koster, currently the Missouri attorney general, emphasizes his experience as a prosecutor, and his commitment to fiscal discipline. Greitens, who is making his first bid for public office, recounts his past as a Navy SEAL, and the success of a nonprofit he helped establish, called The Mission Continues, to help returning veterans.

A dinner party with Isaac (Jonathan C. Kaplan), Jory (Rachel Christopher), Emily (Leigh Williams) and Amir (John Pasha) in The Rep's "Disgraced" starts off on a friendly note but soon takes a different turn.
Peter Wochniak /

This year’s most widely produced play in the country is on stage right now at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. 

“Disgraced” centers on an ambitious New York attorney grappling with his Islamic roots in a post-9/11 world. But the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is really about everyone’s American experience, people of all faiths or no faith, according to playwright Ayad Akhtar.

Wikimedia Commons

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death raises many issues. Among them are the possibility of 4-4 decisions until the vacancy is filled and the likelihood of President Obama’s appointment of a successor to get Senate confirmation.

On Monday’s monthly Legal Roundtable a panel of legal experts joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss this and other issues.

The guests were:

Tavis Smiley 2014

This segment will be rebroadcast on Monday, January 18, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was originally aired on February 5, 2015. You can also listen live.

There’s a disconnect between Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations today, and attitudes toward the man before he was killed in 1968, author Tavis Smiley says.

(courtesy of Uber)

The longstanding fight for entrance into the St. Louis market by the app-based ride-share service Uber and its supporters came to a head this week with the company’s offer to provide St. Louisans with free rides for the Fourth of July weekend.

Old Courthouse downtown st. louis
Rachel Heidenry | 2008

As the U.S. Supreme Court approaches the end of its summer term, some long-awaited cases remain undecided: most notable are those on the future of the Affordable Care Act and the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

Mary Jo Gorman, lead managing partner of Prosper Capital (left) and Cindy Teasdale McGowan (right), founder of Makaboo Personalized Gifts and a lead mentor with Prosper.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has hosted a healthy, burgeoning startup community for some years and the strong showing of small tech businesses has drawn particular attention, leading some to call St. Louis the “next Silicon Valley.” With a healthy network in place to support new companies, community leaders and entrepreneurs are now working to increase diversity within St. Louis’ startup culture.

Áine O'Connor

Following a conversation of the Saint Louis Zoo’s new polar bear exhibit with its curator of mammals, Steve Bircher, St. Louis Public Radio science reporter Véronique LaCapra and “St. Louis on the Air” producer Alex Heuer took a field trip to the nearby Penguin and Puffin Coast.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been to the zoo, and this opened up in March,” Véronique said. “But I have not yet had a chance to see it, so we’re going to take a sneak peek inside.”

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the most recent legislative session on Sunday after a budget battle pitting Republican Governor Bruce Rauner against a House and Senate both controlled by Democrats. After failing to reach an agreement with Rauner, however, lawmakers are set to return to Springfield this Thursday, June 4.

Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio statehouse bureau chief, joined “St. Louis on the Air” to help sort out the prickly politics surrounding budget negotiations between Gov. Rauner and the legislature.

Federal judge says grand juror argument against secrecy belongs in state court

May 29, 2015
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated 4:30 p.m. May 29 with suit filed in state court - A grand juror who served in the Darren Wilson case is taking a lawsuit against St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to state court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says its client hopes to challenge secrecy requirements that prevent talking freely about the grand jury investigation and what evidence was presented. In a release, the ACLU says the grand juror wants to contribute to public discussions on race relations.

Author, historian and public speaker Lou Baczewski
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Lou Baczewski, historian and author, joined “St. Louis on the Air” to talk about his efforts to document and honor his grandfather's World War II service to benefit three veterans organizations. Baczewski is the author of "Louch: A Simple Man's True Story of War, Survival, Life and Legacy.” The book chronicles his grandfather’s time growing up impoverished in rural Illinois, fighting several major battles in World War II and then returning to civilian life.

Alex Heuer

Representative John Shimkus, a Republican who represents Illinois' 15th Congressional District, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss some of the issues he’s dealing with as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and other matters in Washington. Shimkus represents a large portion of the Metro East as well as parts of eastern and southeastern Illinois.

St. Louis Public Radio's Washington, D.C. reporter Jim Howard joined host Don Marsh to discuss what has and has not been accomplished during the congressional session thus far. Currently, Congress is in recess.

Issues Howard discussed include:

Alex Heuer

At one point, Shawntelle Fisher, founder of Soulfisher Ministries, did not know if she would ever make it to become a productive citizen. However, after a life of crime that led to seven trips to prison and even a near-death experience, Fisher mustered the courage to change her life. She is now a University of Missouri-St. Louis honors graduate that works to help other ex-offenders once they return to society.

Gitana Productions

As soon as Cecilia Nadal of Gitana Productions heard about the killing of Michael Brown, she went straight to Ferguson and participated in the protests in an effort to understand what had happened. In the process, she discovered many stories that she wanted to tell so she enlisted the help of playwright Lee Patton Chiles. The result is the play “Black and Blue” which examines the complex relationship between police and African-American communities.

(Photo provided by Becky Blades/Used with permission)

Becky Blades, author, civic leader, arts advocate and chairwoman of the Regional Arts Council of Greater Kansas City, has personal life lessons she wants to teach young women who are going off to college.

Former East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks, Jr. joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Alvin Parks, Jr. joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his two terms as mayor of East St. Louis and his plans for the future.

Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks unseated Parks in the April 7 election. After a court order removed his name from the ballot, Parks was forced to wage a write-in campaign. Jackson-Hicks is the daughter of Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson. She was sworn into office on Monday.


"Get to Know M.E."

In March 2015, 23 businesses and organizations collaborated to create the “Get to Know M.E.” campaign (M.E. standing for “Metro East”) to counter the negative images some people may have about the Metro East.

Founded by Carol Bartle, the campaign’s goal is to help everyone in the Metro East get to know their communities better and to embrace each other as neighbors, all while working to improve the overall image outsiders may have about the region.

Terrell Carter is pastor of the mostly-white Webster Groves Baptist Church
Terrell Carter / Courtesy Photo

Since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the subsequent community unrest, dialogue about racial division in the St. Louis area became a frequent topic. Additionally, many people vowed to come together and address the apparent ‘invisible line’ separating black and white residents in the region.

Joining host Don Marsh were (from L to R) Vanessa Cooksey, Jason Purnell and Yemi Akande-Bartsch
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

For the Sake of All” is an interdisciplinary project addressing the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis and St. Louis County that began in 2013. A collaboration of Washington University and Saint Louis University, the project issued five policy briefs illuminating major areas of concern. The first phase culminated in May 2014 with a final report outlining six recommendations.

ontbonne University professor Jack Luzkow joined host Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Jack Luzkow, professor of history at Fontbonne University, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to share details about his book “The Great Forgetting: The Past, Present and Future of Social Democracy and the Welfare State.”

In the book, Luzkow mentioned an array of social issues including the distribution of wealth, taxing the ‘1 percent’, health care, and more.

Benjamin Akande
Webster University

Last week, the Nigerian military rescued hundreds of kidnapped women and children from extremist group Boko Haram. Some of the rescued girls are from the same group kidnapped from a Nigerian school last year. More than 1,000 more remain missing.

Benjamin Ola Akande, Nigerian-born dean of Webster University’s School of Business and Technology, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday the rescue was a result of “intensive military work and intelligence” on behalf of the Nigerian military.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Legislative session will end in two weeks and many issues remain unsolved. “St. Louis Public Radio” statehouse reporter Marshall Griffin is following the progress. He joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh Tuesday with updates.

Much of the session revolved around improving community policing.

Here is a list of legislative topics discussed during the interview:

Courtesy of PBS

Four St. Louis girls were selected to star in an episode of the PBS show SciGirls, which challenges middle school girls and their professional mentors to become citizen scientists by using skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

In the episode titled “Frog Whisperers,” the girls volunteer for FrogWatch USA, a citizen science project that encourages nature enthusiasts to report frog and toad calls in a given area.

Host Don Marsh was joined by (from L to R) Erica Barnell, Cliff Holekamp and Ian Schillebeeckx.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Founded in 2013, IDEA Labs is a bioengineering design and entrepreneurship incubator at Washington University in which engineering and medical students work on unmet needs in healthcare to present entrepreneurial solutions.

Some of their primary objectives are to develop a culture of innovation at Washington University School of Medicine, and to teach engineering and medical students the skills and processes needed to invent and implement new biomedical technologies.

Host Don Marsh talked to (from L to R) Kris Kleindienst, Emily Hall and Holland Saltsman.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Mark your calendars, bookworms, because Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, May 2 and various independently owned bookstores in the St. Louis area will host a day of fun, crafts, and yes—books!

Independent Bookstore Day was founded in 2014 in California and is modeled after the music world’s “Record Store Day.” Some of the participating bookstores in the St. Louis area are Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Main Street Books in St. Charles, and The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves.

Sen. McCaskill's Flickr Page

Clearer skies might hang on the political horizon with the swearing in of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but matters are not all clear just yet between Republicans and Democrats.

On Monday, Mo. Senator Claire McCaskill told St. Louis on the Air host, Don Marsh, that in order to achieve more heights, both parties must be willing to compromise. With a number of politicians from the Republican Party running for president, McCaskill says that matters of the here-and-now may become distracted. Those matters include a highway bill and the debt ceiling, among others.

The Whiffenpoofs of Yale
The Whiffenpoofs

Founded in 1909, the Whiffenpoofs of Yale University are the world’s oldest and best known collegiate a cappella ensemble.

They’ve performed at Carnegie Hall, at the White House, and on Saturday Night Live, and they’re performing in St. Louis this week.

Fourteen senior Yale men are selected each year to sing in the Whiffenpoofs. It’s highly competitive, not only for the prestige and tradition of the ensemble, but the travel opportunities.

(via Flickr/mike matney)

The city of St. Louis will soon have a civilian oversight board. And, new police cameras in the city aim to reduce crime, but do they infringe on privacy?

Those were just two of the topics before our legal roundtable guests, our monthly show that takes a look at relevant issues pertaining to the law.