St. Louis on the Air

Eleven members of the Vatterott family participated in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 2015, the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a civil rights march that ended when protesters were beaten by police.
Courtesy of Greg Holden

Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a civil rights march in Selma, Ala., that ended when hundreds of demonstrators were attacked and beaten by police.

Two days after Bloody Sunday, Charles F. Vatterott Jr. funded, coordinated and participated in a St. Louis delegation of religious leaders and laypeople who traveled to Selma for a one-day peaceful protest.

The St. Louis Stamping Co. sits in the shadow of the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis. The six-building complex, at Cass Avenue and First Street, Florida and Collins streets, was built in 1871 and 1913.
Google Streetview

Much has been made of what St. Louis could gain with a new NFL stadium, but what about the things it could lose?

The proposed plans for the stadium include demolishing two dozen buildings, including the St. Louis Stamping Co. buildings and the Cotton Belt Freight Depot. Both are part of the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn’t provide protection — it denotes the building has historic significance.

Dr. Duru Sakhrani, left, and Valerie Carter-Thomas talk to "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh on March 11, 2015 at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Violence affects all of us. But for children, violence can be particularly difficult to cope with and understand.

Compounding the issue, there’s not a specific type or source of violence to address.

“It’s violence in the home; violence in the streets. It’s exposure to violence, the length of exposure, the amount of exposure, the pervasiveness of exposure,” Dr. Duru Sakhrani, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday.

What makes a hero? Author Jennifer Holland has tracked down the stories of 37 animals “doing something special that’s helping someone or another animal” for her book “Unlikely Heroes.”

In the book, Holland, a contributing writer for National Geographic, shares true stories of animals that saved lives, from dogs to dolphins to llamas. Some of those lives are humans. Some are the animal’s young. Some are of an entirely different species.

Pasta contemplates a question from 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Sometimes what you really need is a furry friend.

That’s where Furry Friends Recovery can help. The St. Louis nonprofit connects therapy pet teams with mental health facilities, support groups and individuals who need help. While there are many therapy animals, Furry Friends co-founders Marion Endress and Tricia Hogan both have dogs. Dogs are sensitive to moods and emotions, Hogan said.

Maggie Duckworth
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Maggie Duckworth is an electrical engineer and costume designer. She’s also the only St. Louis-area resident who’s still in the running for a one-way ticket to Mars.

Duckworth is a finalist for the Mars One mission to build a human colony on the Red Planet. Mars One is a Dutch nonprofit organization that plans to send humans to Mars by 2024. It will award 24 one-way tickets and Duckworth has made it through three rounds of cuts.

'Radiolab' hosts Robert Krulwich, left, and Jad Abumrad talk about how they build their show on Feb. 26, 2015, at Washington University in St. Louis.
Katie Cook / St. Louis Public Radio

Even off the air, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, well-known as the hosts of “Radiolab,” have a chemistry that just works. They giggle and bicker. They finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. They start stories and get lost in tangents. They’re an old married couple, without being old or married.

They started as something of an echo, to hear Krulwich tell it. With a 25-year gap, Krulwich and Abumrad attended the same college, accepted their first jobs at the same radio station, then moved on to NPR and New York.

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.

“Biology shows us there are no real races in the world,” Washington University physical anthropology professor Robert Wald Sussman told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. “Humans are just humans, basically.”

Sussman explores how religion, pseudo-science and prejudice have been used since the Spanish Inquisition to promote racism, eugenics and anti-immigration policies in his book “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea.”

We live here.

Those are the words that we found ourselves saying in the months after Michael Brown was fatally shot last August by then-police officer Darren Wilson.

Those are also the words we've chosen as the name for an effort we're beginning today. It’s a multi-faceted, multi-media project that we hope will shed some light on the very tangible racial issues that seemed to be at the heart of the unrest and protests that swept our region — and eventually the rest of the country — during the last few months of 2014.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich appears on St. Louis Public Radio's 'Politically Speaking' podcast in 2013.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Beacon

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich died Thursday; he was 54.

In June 2003, Schweich was a guest on “St. Louis on the Air,” hosted by Mike Sampson. At the time, Schweich was partner at Bryan Cave, Missouri’s oldest law firm, where he helped manage internal audits and investigations for large companies. Schweich also had published a book, “Staying Power: 30 Secrets Invincible Executives Use for Getting to the Top — and Staying There.”

Austin Machine employees in O'Fallon, Mo., participate in the ice bucket challenge.
Courtesty of ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter

Six months ago, the ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge became a viral sensation, raising tens of millions of dollars for the organization.

Larry Morris, left, and Art Silverblatt talk to ‘St. Louis on the Air’ host Don Marsh about media literacy and critical thinking on Feb. 26, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

You’ve likely seen Facebook or Twitter posts from friends or family members that link to information that seems almost but not quite plausible. Those stories often are about politicians; recently several surfaced that purported to be about Michael Brown. How can you figure out if the video or story is real or not? It comes down to critical thinking and media literacy.

A photo from Vincent Cianni's "Gays in the Military" exhibit.
Vincent Cianni

Documentary photographer Vincent Cianni was working in his studio in November 2009 when he heard an interview with the mother of a young soldier who was being discharged from the military because he was gay.

Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of elementary and secondary education, visits with students in Warren County.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Margie Vandeven has been Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education for less than two months, but she’s hardly a newcomer to the state’s schools.

Jennifer Senior is the author of 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.'
Laura Rose / Harper Collins

Since the 1950s, social scientists have been asking who’s happier: parents or nonparents. In the U.S., the nonparents seem to win.

“To me, it’s just kind of baffling and inadequate,” author Jennifer Senior told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “It’s demoralizing. It’s insufficient. It doesn’t tell you very much. But it was that body of literature that got me interested in the question generally: How do kids affect their moms and dads?”

Courtesy of the St. Louis Science Center

We've seen the St. Louis Science Center's planetarium decorated in various ways and in many lights. The building even dresses up with a red bow for the holidays and for its 50th anniversary it donned a gold one. But on Monday night it was lit blue and green for a different reason.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw
Courtesy of Wes Crenshaw

Sex. That little three-letter word strikes fear in many parents’ hearts.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday that the biggest mistake parents make when trying to talk to their kids about sex is “freaking out.”

“Parents just cannot afford to think their kids are the least bit naïve. Kids are tied into the internet and to each other. They know way too much nowadays to take simple answers,” Crenshaw said. Rather than a one-time conversation, talking about sex and sex education is an almost endless conversation, he said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois' 12th congressional district talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 19, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Six weeks in office, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., said he’s getting his bearings in Washington, D.C., but he’s still happy for a trip home to southern Illinois.

“We did everything, from visit our community colleges and tech schools that were there, and some businesses and mayors, so we’re busy,” he told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh of his first Congressional break.

Judy Clifford, far left, Nancy Albus, Laura Huff and David Bachman talk to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh about eating disorders on Feb. 19, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Several sterotypes are associated with eating disorders. Among them, that the disease only affects teenage women.

Nancy Albus, CEO of Castlewood Treatment Center, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday that her facility is seeing more and more men. Because only about one in 10 people affected by an eating disorder seek treatment, there are probably a lot more men (and women) who need treatment, she said.

And it’s not just teens: Eating disorders can manifest at any age, said Laura Huff, director of the St. Louis Behavioral Health Medicine Institute.

The Supreme Court of Missouri
via Flickr | david_shane

Questions over subpoenas are making headlines for a variety of reasons in St. Louis.

In January, St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce subpoenaed St. Louis Public Radio and other local news outlets for media related to a raucous St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee meeting.

Michael Velardo | Flickr

St. Louis has a heroin problem. New attention was brought to that problem during the Super Bowl, when the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse–St. Louis bought local airtime for a one-minute ad.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Is the St. Louis region more efficient and effective with municipalities, or as a unified entity? 

Better Together was created in 2013 to explore whether St. Louis County and city should consider merging services. After the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Better Together has focused on merging services between municipalities. The group has recently sponsored four town hall meetings to discuss how to improve relations between communities and police; it will release a report on its findings in April. The group already has released a study on St. Louis' municipal court system.

Ed Martin talks about his work as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and his new job as president of the Eagle Forum with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh  on Feb. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Ed Martin wants to make it clear that he does not support same-sex marriage, and neither does the Eagle Forum.

Martin has taken over as president of the Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group created in the 1970s by Phyllis Schlafly. That organization describes itself as pro-family and has traditionally been anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage.

In the summer of 1953, Harry and Bess Truman threw 11 suitcases in their new Chrysler New Yorker and headed east. They planned to drive from their home in Independence to Washington, D.C., and back.

President Harry Truman had been out of office for only a few months. The trip had a June 26 deadline: Truman had to be in Philadelphia for a speaking engagement. So with Harry behind the wheel and Bess monitoring his speed, the Trumans stopped in diners, hotels and gas stations in a road trip that would be unimaginable today.

Ulysses S. Grant
(via Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Library of Congress)

Four presidents have ties to the St. Louis area, and each has left his mark on it.

Ulysses S. Grant came to St. Louis in 1843 after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and farmed in the St. Louis area for six years. He met his future wife here; Julia Dent was the sister of one of Grant’s classmates at West Point. The two were married in St. Louis in 1848. Grant led the Union armies to victory in the Civil War, and was elected the 18th president of the United States, taking office in 1869.

Six months after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, “St. Louis on the Air” talked about how the region has changed. We also asked listeners what changes they hope will be made in the next year. Here are some of those responses, edited for length and clarity.

Ed Martin talks about his work as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and his new job as president of the Eagle Forum with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh  on Feb. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Ed Martin may be leaving his position as Missouri Republican Party chairman, but he’s still toeing the party line. Martin is now the president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group.

Police supporters Cindy and Jeff Robinson listen as a group of Ferguson protesters talk about what it's like to be black in America. Cindy Robinson said they wanted to talk because everyone was yelling and communication has to start somewhere.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

Conversations about race shouldn’t be uncomfortable. It should be like falling in love, said Amy Hunter, director of racial justice at the YWCA of Metro St. Louis.

teacher with two young children
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we learned about a St. Louis Science Center program that helps teens learn science, technology, engineering and math skills. Ahead of that segment, we asked listeners about memorable STEM experiments, classes and learning moments. Here’s what they told us. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Dr. Ken Haller talks about vaccination safety with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Rumors of a link between autism and the measles vaccine persist, although the original paper that claimed the link, as well as its author, have been discredited.

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