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St. Louis County

A white cross for every homicide in St. Louis and St. Louis County this year line the lawn of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church Dec. 6, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

If you drive down Page Avenue between now and the end of the year, you’ll see row upon row of small white crosses lined up in front of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church.

All told, the Hanley Hills church lawn has at least 220 crosses — one for each known homicide this year in St. Louis or St. Louis County. Crosses will be added as needed throughout December.

Drawing of child and scales of justice
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

This July 31, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of a 20-month investigation into the St. Louis County Family Court that sent a jolt through the system.

"The investigation found that the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and that the court’s administration of juvenile justice discriminates against black children, all in violation of the 14th Amendment," assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a conference call.

Nate Birt | Provided

St. Louis County officials will soon decide whether to turn medical services at two county jails over to a private contractor. The decision is pending even as members of the medical community — including current justice center employees — have raised concerns over the dangers of privatizing healthcare in jail.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro readies himself to announce $26 million in federal funds to St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide more than $26 million to St. Louis County for residential and commercial development.

It’s the second time in recent months HUD made a high-profile resources-related announcement in the St. Louis area.

Ferguson October protesters
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and other legal groups are blasting a decision by the attorney for St. Louis County to charge Ferguson protesters, many almost a year after they were arrested.

But St. Louis County's counselor is defending the process for charging dozens of people — including a couple of  journalists.

The St. Louis County Building Commission members (Jeff Aboussie, Barry Glantz and John Finder, right) listen to Sierra Club supporters on August 2015. The model house is covered with the names of 529 area residents who want stricter energy efficiency stan
Veronique LaCapra

The Missouri Sierra Club is raising the alarm that new residential building codes under review by St. Louis County would reduce home energy efficiency below existing standards.

But the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri (HBA) believes the changes are needed.

Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
YouTube | Fair Housing conference

Updated 4:30 p.m. with comments from Civil Rights Division and react - A 20-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has found the St. Louis County Family Court violates the constitutional rights of children in its custody.

Michael Velardo | Flickr

In St. Louis County, 36 people have died from a heroin overdose this year. Although the number is a 23 percent decrease from the 47 fatalities reported last June, there is still much to overcome.

Casey Lambert, a detective with the St. Louis County Police Department Bureau of Drug Enforcement, explained that raising awareness and reaching the right crowd is difficult. Many of the citizens who succumb to heroin addiction are often teens and young adults.

William Woods, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis office of the FBI, announces the Mission SAVE task force with chief Sam Dotson (L) and Mayor Francis Slay (R) Flanked by St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson.
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

One hundred five people have been killed in St. Louis so far this year, putting the city on pace for nearly 200 homicides in 2015. Many more than that have been shot or put in danger of being shot.

Now, city officials are looking to a new local-federal task force to slow the pace of violence in the city.

Steve Stenger
File photo by Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County government now has an Office of Strategy and Innovation. The office was pulled out of the Department of Planning to put a vision for the county into motion.

County Executive Steve Stenger has been touting the need for a comprehensive strategy in St. Louis County since his campaign. Now six months into his administration, the county council has officially approved the creation of an office tasked with that plan.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A new bridge over the Missouri River is opening Monday morning, underscoring how much St. Louis and St. Charles Counties have grown together over the past three decades.

State and local officials gathered Thursday to cut a ceremonial ribbon on the new eastbound span of the I-64 Daniel Boone Bridge.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann told an audience of about 50 people that the bridge is the 7th river crossing built between the two counties in the last 37 years.

A group of activists say Andre Cole didn't receive a fair trial nor a proper defense. They're asking Gov. Nixon to halt Cole's execution Tuesday.
Courtesy of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

A group of activists is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to put a hold on Tuesday's execution of a black man they say was unfairly convicted by an all-white jury.

In addition, a letter they sent to Nixon asks him to establish a special board of inquiry to "investigate whether the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office has intentionally and systematically excluded African Americans from jury service in capital cases." 

Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

During his first 100 days in office, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger  has attracted more attention for what he won’t do.

  • He won’t advocate for some sort of reunification of the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County.
  • The county won’t help bankroll some of the costs of a proposed new stadium.

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows the St. Louis region has grown little in population since 2010, but also has remained fairly stable.

State Rep. Bob Burns' legislation would make it easier to hold disincorporation elections in St. Louis County.
Tim Bommel, House Communications

Legislation is advancing through the Missouri General Assembly to make it easier to dissolve St. Louis County’s municipalities.

via Flickr | Alex Ford

A new report is criticizing many local governments in the St. Louis area for a lack of transparency.

As documented in the nonprofit organization Better Together's "Transparency Report," the group attempted to obtain basic financial and operational information from dozens of area municipalities that should be publicly accessible under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Clockwise from top left, Sister Rose Ann Ficker, Marie Kelly, Chris Kehr and Benjamin T. Allen Sr.
St. Louis Public Radio staff

St. Louis County has 90 municipalities.

It’s a fact we’ve heard casually thrown into news stories over the past few months, with little explanation as to how St. Louis County came to be a hodge-podge of towns. In this episode of We Live Here, we talk to Esley Hamilton, a preservationist for St. Louis County Parks, who explains why there are so many municipalities in the region.

Within this system of municipalities, people are largely divided — white, black, rich and poor. They rarely live next to each other.

Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer, left, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy pose for a photo after talking about municipality government with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 5, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

If coalitions can get into schoolyard fights, then they did Thursday afternoon.

For nearly a year, the Better Together coalition has explored whether St. Louis and St. Louis County should consider merging services. Within St. Louis County, some believe there also is a need for consolidation: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, has introduced a bill that would eliminate some of St. Louis County's smaller municipalities.

Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer, left, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy pose for a photo after talking about municipality government with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 5, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis and its municipalities have come under fire after the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. While some are calling for consolidation, local leaders say there’s a reason the municipalities exist.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 1, 2015. Stenger is coming into office with an ambitious agenda to change St. Louis County government -- and the legislative alliances to help him out.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger won’t have a direct role in picking the replacement for St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Denny Coleman. 

But with an eye toward a more aggressive economic development strategy, Stenger says he wants Coleman’s successor to be assertive in seeking out new opportunities.

Greendale Mayor Monica Huddleston, center, and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy, right, converse during last Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. Murphy and Huddleston have pushed back against the movement to disincorporate St. Louis County towns --
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Minutes before he took the oath of office, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger waded into the thorny thicket that is municipal consolidation. 

Steve Stenger holds his baby girl Madeline Jane as wife Allison looks on while taking the oath as the new St. Louis County Executive in Clayton, Missouri. Federal Judge Ronnie White administered the oath to Stenger.
Bill Greenblatt, UPI

With his county still coming to grips with the tumultuous aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, Steve Stenger was officially sworn in Thursday as St. Louis County executive.

Flanked by his wife Allison and holding his daughter Madeline, the Affton Democrat became the eighth county executive in St. Louis County’s history. He said during his two-page inaugural address that business as usual in the county was over.

Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Sue Allen to the show for the first time. (The show’s pre-eminent host, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, is taking it easy after battling an illness.)  

Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger speaks with a member of the St. Louis County Police Department on Tuesday. The council approved transferring money from the county emergency fund to pay for police overtime accrued during the Ferguson unrest.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council approved a measure on Wednesday transferring several million dollars to the county police department for its work during nearly four months of protests over Michael Brown’s shooting death. 

The total transferred from the county’s emergency fund came to approximately $3.4 million. More than $2.5 million of that would pay for overtime officers accrued during the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death. The rest of the money would go toward supplies, food and clothing. 

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

It's home to just 822 residents living on 69 acres, but the city of Flordell Hills is getting its own police department. 

The St. Louis County suburb's contract with its slightly larger neighbor, Country Club Hills, expires at midnight Tuesday. Some of Flordell Hills' six officers had already been patrolling the streets of the town, which sits between Jennings Station and West Florissant roads.

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Rick Stream says he’s aiming his first and only TV ad for St. Louis County executive at fellow Republicans, not his rivals, in an effort to discourage GOP voters from participating next Tuesday in the Democratic primary.

“We wanted Republicans to get the idea that we have a solid, viable candidate,’’ said Stream about his ad, which began airing Tuesday.

(Campaign Photos)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his chief Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger, agree on two things: Each says his attack ads are accurate and the other guy’s are not.

The two defended their accusations during separate, back-to-back appearances today with host Don Marsh on St. Louis Public Radio’s "St. Louis On the Air."  The sparring over ads reflected another common consensus: Their Aug. 5 primary contest will get even nastier.

The two ads in question attempt to link Stenger to sex trafficking and Dooley to FBI investigations.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It's being billed as another way to spur economic development in the region.

St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District announced Wednesday a new agreement to share software that will track and manage construction permits.

Officials from the two entities said having one system for permitting will be more cost-effective for both governmental agencies. It will also speed up the process for those seeking permits.

Speed is important when businesses are choosing between cities, said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated on Wednesday at 4 p.m.)

The mayor of Chesterfield is sticking by his threat for his city to secede from St. Louis County, contending that his city is fed up with a lack of progress on changing the county’s sales tax distribution system. 

But St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has dismissed the threat, calling Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation’s comments “over the top.”

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett has died at the age of 68. 

Burkett, D-Overland, was diagnosed with cancer last year while serving as chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council. She continued to serve as a councilwoman while undergoing chemotherapy, but she had been absent from meetings the past few weeks.

In a statement Sunday, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley praised Burkett as someone who “took care of her constituents like they were her own family.”

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