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St. Louis on the Air

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.

Item displayed at “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation” at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center
Julia Bishop-Cross / via Flickr

Two St. Louis exhibits closely examine the powerful role of propaganda during the rise of Nazi Germany.

The first is “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation,” and is at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The other, at the Missouri History Museum, is a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum called, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” 

Dr. William Chapman, surgical director of Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to remember the importance of organ and tissue donation, as more than 123,000 people are currently awaiting organ transplants in the United States.

(Map by Eric Fischer. Data from Census 2010. Base map © OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA)

Like St. Louis, Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the United States.

Jennifer Morales is the author of a new book of that explores relationships between diverse groups.

“I tried to work in a wide range of interactions across group lines, whether that was age, gender or race,” Morales told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. The book is a collection of nine fictional short stories

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Even before events in Ferguson unfolded last August, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) was planning to hold a session about race relations in St. Louis.

The shooting death of Michael Brown and the ensuing community reaction brought on new meaning for the OAH, as the group convenes its 108th annual meeting April 16-19 in downtown St. Louis.

Author Benjamin Percy
Jennifer Percy

A flu epidemic and nuclear war have wiped out most of America and only a small number of humans survive in an outpost known as the Sanctuary, formerly the city of St. Louis.

This is the premise of Benjamin Percy’s new novel, “The Dead Lands,” which takes place in St. Louis and mirrors the Corps of Discovery in 1804. In the novel, two characters named Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark lead a small group west to face the dangers of mutant creatures and a brutal army in hopes of discovering a land where civilization thrives.

Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Michael Halsband / (Provided by the St. Louis County Library)

Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) served in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 30 years. In 2011, Frank announced he would not seek re-election in 2012.

“I was born with the ability to make people laugh and to enjoy humor. It has served me by keeping me sane,” Frank told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh during an interview recorded last Friday at the St. Louis County Library.

Barney Frank is the author of a new book, “Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage.”

Children from a St. Louis classroom who participate in the Ready Readers program.
Courtesy of Ready Readers

In celebration of D.E.A.R., “Drop Everything And Read,” day on April 12, we are taking a closer look at the importance of reading and getting books into the hands of children.  

Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool age children from low-income communities to love books and develop literacy skills necessary to become readers when they enter kindergarten.

On Thursday, "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh talked to Lisa Greening and Julia Auch of Ready Readers.

 

Phil Donato is the "Trivia Guy."
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Trivia nights are part of the culture of St. Louis. On weekends it’s not uncommon to find several of the events, which are most often fundraisers for nonprofit organizations.

Phil Donato is St. Louis’ “Trivia Guy.” He’s is also the marketing, events and outreach manager at St. Louis Public Radio.

“It just brings a lot of people together … friends, families and co-workers to unwind. It’s a blue-collar, informal thing,” Donato told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday.

Missouri Gov. Alexander McNair's residence was at the northwest corner of Main and Spruce Streets. Daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly, 1850.
Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

Many of St. Louis’ buildings have been lost to time, disaster, or destruction. It may seem like an inevitable byproduct of progress, but what do we lose when we lose a historic building? 

“Sometimes what we lose is so much more than the physical structure, it’s our collective, shared memory,” said Andrew Wanko, public historian at the Missouri History Museum, in a conversation with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

"Lost Buildings of St. Louis" is a new exhibit at the museum that shares the stories behind many of St. Louis’ lost buildings.   

Ophira Eisenberg, host of NPR's "Ask Me Another"
Dan Dion/NPR

Comedian and author Ophira Eisenberg will be in St. Louis April 16, but it won’t be her first time here, she told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday.

“I’ve done a loop around The Loop, I’ve gone to see the largest replica of the moon on a roof-deck bar,” Eisenberg joked, referring to the giant moon at the Moonrise Hotel.

Eisenberg said she expects to have an “extra good time” because this will be her first appearance in St. Louis with the popular public radio program she hosts, “Ask Me Another.”

Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, has a large bulge at its equator.
NASA

Something strange has happened on Ganymede, this solar system’s largest moon. Orbiting Jupiter, planetary experts discovered it has a large icy bulge.

“We were basically very surprised,” said William McKinnon, a professor in Washington University's Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. “It’s like looking at old art or an old sculpture. We looked at old images of Ganymede taken by the Voyager spacecraft in the 1970s that had been completely overlooked, an enormous ice plateau, hundreds of miles across and a couple miles high.”

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After three decades, Jill McGuire of St. Louis’ Regional Arts Commission will leave her post as executive director on Friday, April 10.

McGuire co-founded RAC in 1985 to help fund and support the arts in St. Louis. Since then, the nonprofit has awarded $90 million to artists and institutions, according to McGuire.

Marathon runner Rae Mohnrmann and Go! St. Louis founder Nancy Lieberman talk about the upcoming Go! marathon with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on April 2, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

At next weekend’s Go! marathon, Rae Mohrmann will run in her 100th marathon.

Mohrmann, of Ferguson, started running competitively when she was a 30-year-old mother. “I needed another goal,” she told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. But Mohrmann didn’t run in a marathon until she was 49. She’s now a 67-year-old grandmother, and has run marathons in all 50 states.

James Shuls, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, talk about summer learning opporunities for students with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on April 2, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

What are kids doing when school’s out for the summer? A new app will make finding summer camps, classes and activities easier for parents.

'Painting for Peace in Ferguson' author Carol Swartout Klein talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on April 1, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

How do you talk to young children about Ferguson and what happened?

“Painting for Peace in Ferguson” tries to explain it through the story of artists and residents who created paintings on the boarded-up doors and windows of local businesses. Many businesses in Ferguson and on South Grand in St. Louis were boarded up in response to and to prevent thefts, vandalism and fires after a grand jury’s declined to indict former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Actor LeVar Burton is bringing Reading Rainbow back for the digital age thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.
readingrainbow.com

To say actor LeVar Burton likes libraries would be an understatement. And it’s not just because he was the host of “Reading Rainbow” for 26 years.

“I love libraries. I think libraries are really underutilized national resources,” Burton told “St. Louis on the Air” producer Katie Cook on Tuesday. “Libraries ensure that all citizens in this country have access to the knowledge, the information. Libraries are sanctuaries. They’re like churches for me.”

St. Louis certified public accountant Lance Weiss talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Tuesday at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

State and federal income taxes are due April 15, making this the time to be asking those pressing tax questions.

Ed Spevak / Saint Louis Zoo

Is it too early to plant carrots? What about tomatoes? And is there any use for those spiky sweetgum tree seeds?

Missouri Botanical Garden horticulturists June Hutson and Dana Rizzo were on-hand Monday to answer questions about spring gardening.

If you’re just getting started gardening, turn to the computer, Hutson said.

Albert Zink, director of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 26, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Otzi was walking in the Alps, near where he lived, when he was shot and killed. The 5-foot-3-inch man had brown hair and brown eyes. He had several tattoos. He walked a lot in the mountains. But Otzi isn’t his real name — it’s a nickname. He’s also about 5,300 years old.

Commonly known as “the iceman,” Otzi is a “natural mummy.”

Michel Martin led a two-hour discussion March 23, 2015, about changes in the St. Louis region seven months after Michael Brown's death. This was the second Ferguson and Beyond forum that Martin has moderated, both at Wellspring Church in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Since Michael Brown was shot and killed last year, people within the St. Louis region have been immersed in social and public policy introspection.

Since Missouri's state lawmakers are on spring break this week, "St. Louis on the Air" is checking in to see what they've accomplished so far, and what remains on the to-do list.

Four bills have been passed by both chambers and sent to the governor:

James Cridland via Flickr

In the age of social media and shiny new technology, there often are questions about privacy.

“Nobody wants absolute privacy — that would require us to live like hermits and not see anybody,” Washington University law professor Neil Richards told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “At the same time, we want to connect with people, but we also want to be able to do so on our own terms.”

James Regier, Community Mediation Services of St. Louis' mediation coordinator, and John Doggette, the organization's executive director, talk to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh about mediation on March 18, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Sometimes you need a person in the middle — an impartial mediator.

Community Mediation Services of St. Louis helps people talk about and resolve their differences.

Brittany Packnett, Teach for America–St. Louis' executive director, talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 18, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Teachers are typically well informed. They know how and where to track down data, they brainstorm ideas and they work with people.

So when Brittany Packnett, Teach for America–St. Louis’ executive director, was named to the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, she was in for a few surprises.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 17, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French was one of the most visible people in Ferguson, the city and related social media, last summer and fall after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Since then, French has shifted his attention back to the 21st Ward and North Campus, an education-based community program that helps parents and students. But he’s also still active in Ferguson efforts.

Michel Martin
Doby Photography / NPR

The last time NPR’s Michel Martin was in St. Louis, tensions were high and wounds were fresh. Martin hosted a heated St. Louis Public Radio community forum in August.

Martin is returning to St. Louis and Ferguson on Monday, when she will again moderate a community forum.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

While he said he hasn’t committed to running for governor in Missouri, St. Louisan Eric Greitens certainly sounds like a politician.

“I’m actively considering looking at running for governor in 2016,” he told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Greitens is a former Navy SEAL and combat veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, a boxing champion, a humanitarian leader and founded The Mission Continues, which helps veterans adjust to life at home.

Cornell University political science professor and author Suzanne Mettler talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Millions of students are enrolled in college, but graduation rates are uneven. Why? Author Suzanne Mettler says political squabbling is to blame.

Mettler, a political science professor at Cornell University, has written a book that lays out the problem and its solution: “Degrees of Inequality: The Demise of Opportunity in Higher Education and How to Restore the American Dream.”

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