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Content from St. Louis on the Air and Cityscape.

Cenya Davis puffs on her inhaler earlier this month. The 8-year-old student at Gateway Elementary School in St. Louis has been to the hospital three times for breathing trouble starting in December. She now regularly uses the inhaler.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/14/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

A school nurse told St. Louis health officials in February about students under the nurse’s care hospitalized by asthma attacks and teachers forced to stay home with respiratory illnesses, but neither the school district nor the health department warned those afflicted about a possible connection in their ailments.

It was not until a St. Louis Public Radio investigation published last month that some parents and staff of the Gateway school complex said they first learned the respiratory illnesses may have been caused by dirt and dust kicked up by nearby demolition work funded and overseen by the city.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/13/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 13 with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — The state of Missouri has sued developer Paul McKee, accusing him of misusing tax credits for his 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

From left, Bob Baker, John Larson and Ken Haller joined host Don Marsh on Thursday's episode about improvisation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air

Improvisation is a skill often associated with jazz music or comedy. But on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with three individuals who use it in their daily lives.

Bob Baker, John Larson and Ken Haller joined Marsh to discuss the quirky talent.

While some may have the notion that improv artists just “wing it,” Baker, founder and director of the Improv Comedy Cabaret, said there is actually a framework that exists when improvising.

Local historian NiNi Harris is the author of 14 volumes focused on the Gateway City’s history and architecture. She joined Thursday’s talk show to share highlights from her latest published work, “This Used to Be St. Louis.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When NiNi Harris isn’t busy writing, she’s most likely reading – old documents such as city directories, that is.

“It sounds like I have a pretty boring life, doesn’t it?” the local historian said with a laugh on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I read old census records.”

But it’s that very attention to such records that has led Harris to some of the most fascinating stories she tells in her books – 14 of which she’s published thus far.

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” international journalist and St. Louis native Daniel Estrin (at left) talked with host Don Marsh in front of a live audience at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Like other journalists based in Jerusalem and the region surrounding the ancient city, Daniel Estrin is often associated with one overarching, ongoing news headline: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s covered many of the latest developments within that continuing story during his time reporting in the Middle East. But there have been many other stories for him to tell over the course of that decade, too.

“Every day surprises me there,” the NPR correspondent and St. Louis native said Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. “You meet so many different voices and so many different perspectives … and oftentimes you’ll hear, ‘The Israelis think this, the Palestinians think that.’ But actually there are so many different perspectives among Palestinians. There are so many different perspectives among Israelis. And that’s the kind of texture that I like to bring out in my reporting.”

Rev. F. Willis Johnson on "St. Louis on the Air"
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

After serving his community in Ferguson for more than seven years and emerging as a leader following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, Rev. F. Willis Johnson is being transplanted to Columbus, Ohio, where he will grow a new church.

Johnson was the pastor of Wellspring Church in downtown Ferguson until it recently closed. He is also the co-founder/director of the Center for Social Empowerment and author of “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community.” On Tuesday, Johnson joined host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air to discuss his time in St. Louis.

Gov. Mike Parson flanked by House Speaker Todd Richardson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard after his first address to the General Assembly.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

New Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called for “debating with respect’’ as he pledged Monday to set a new tone in the state Capitol while staying true to the Republican Party’s conservative policies.

To illustrate his point, Parson met privately with Republicans and Democrats – including most of the state’s members of Congress – before addressing the General Assembly to formally mark his takeover of state government.

Parson’s 15-minute speech was conciliatory in its message, even as it was filled with veiled criticisms of his predecessor, fellow Republican Eric Greitens. The former governor resigned less than two weeks ago amid scandal and controversy over his personal and political behavior.

Benjamin Ola Akande talked about his new task to bring Washington University's various research and projects in Africa under one umbrella.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In April, Washington University appointed Nigerian-born Benjamin Ola Akande as senior adviser to the chancellor and director of the Africa initiative. He has been tasked with bringing the university’s various research and projects in Africa under one umbrella.

Ngone Seck hugs a friend after receiving her diploma at Riverview Gardens High School's graduation ceremony. May 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Just a few years ago, Ngone Seck arrived in Florissant from Italy and began the seventh grade.

From the start, she was behind her peers. She struggled to adapt to her new country, had trouble learning English, and, at first, did poorly in school.

Today, the Italian immigrant of West African heritage began her first day of college, on a full scholarship. Her journey is paved with the sacrifices of her working-class family, the comfort of her music and the support of good teachers.

Tom Stockman, a self-described movie geek, joined Friday’s show for a look back at the heyday of St. Louis’ drive-in movie theaters, two of which still exist within an hour’s drive of the city.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Tom Stockman estimates that back in 1961 – the year he was born – about 4,100 drive-in movie theaters dotted the U.S. landscape. Now their ranks have dwindled to a total of roughly 350.

66 Park-in, The Airway Twin, Holiday – these and most other St. Louis-area outdoor theaters that were all the rage in the Gateway City several decades ago have disappeared. Much of the industry’s demise locally had to do with real estate, Stockman said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Anne Geraghty-Rathert talked about the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.

For Friday’s Behind the Headlines, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh talked to Webster University legal studies professor Anne Geraghty-Rathert about the implications of that decision and what it may or may not mean for the rights of same-sex couples.

Switch’s “The Gateway Green – A Hole-in-One for STL” installation at the Sheldon Art Galleries.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

There are many art galleries and exhibits in St. Louis, but none combine the classic game of mini-golf with art like the Sheldon Art Galleries’ current exhibition, "Golf the Galleries: Artist-Designed Mini Golf."

“[Golf the Galleries] brings together design aspects and play – so art and fun,” Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, director of the Sheldon Art Galleries, told St. Louis on the Air producer Alex Heuer as they putted their way through the gallery on Friday’s program.

Curator Sharon Smith notes that roughly 55 million people have attended shows at the Muny in Forest Park over the course of the outdoor theater’s 99 seasons thus far.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As the Muny marks its centennial season of outdoor musical theater, another Forest Park mainstay is also celebrating the milestone – with “Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage.” That show opens Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh offered listeners a sneak peek at the new exhibit, which explores the Muny from many different perspectives. Joining him for the discussion was curator Sharon Smith.

The latest "We Live Here" episode features an interview with the author of “Color of Law,” Richard Rothstein.
Stefan Steinbauer | Unsplash

Segregation in housing is a reality in metro areas all over the country, and St. Louis is far from an exception.

On Thursday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with We Live Here co-host/producer Kameel Stanley about the podcast’s latest episode “The Segregation Myth-buster.” The episode features an interview with the author of “Color of Law,” Richard Rothstein, who breaks down the fact that segregation is not some sort of anomaly, but rather it is imposed very purposefully through means of government institutions and policies.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/04/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/06/18.

Monsanto will be under new ownership by the end of the week and have a new name likely by the end of the summer. Bayer plans to finalize its roughly $63-billion acquisition of the St. Louis agricultural seeds and chemical company on Thursday. 

Bourbon, Missouri, native Taylor Louderman stars in the Broadway musical "Mean Girls." Louderman is nominated for a Tony Award.
Joan Marcus

The recollection of near-daily, hour-long van rides from Bourbon, Missouri, to St. Louis and back is etched in Taylor Louderman’s memory. Also present is the memory of her younger twin sisters screaming in the back of the Toyota Sienna because the sun was in their eyes.

“My family and I, my family mostly, had to make a lot of sacrifices for my career, and I felt like we were all able to celebrate together,” Louderman said just prior to a recent rehearsal for this year’s Tony Awards that are Sunday night.

The Boathouse in Forest Park is one new restaurant featured on this month's Hit List.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, two staff members from Sauce Magazine joined host Don Marsh to talk about new restaurants in and around Forest Park, as well as their favorite patios.

Ryan Dowis (at left) and Melanie Scheetz joined Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss current challenges facing the region’s most vulnerable youth and those who care for them.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in two decades, a growing number of children in St. Louis and Missouri are in foster care, and the opioid epidemic is a driving factor.

“[The number of children in foster care] had really been declining for many years, and especially in the St. Louis region but all across Missouri we saw fewer and fewer children in the system,” Melanie Scheetz, executive director of the St. Louis-based Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, said Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air. “Obviously that’s our goal – not to have children in the foster-care system. But unfortunately, when we have parents with substance-abuse issues, especially opioids, we see more kids coming into care.”

Host Don Marsh (left) and author Jon Meacham talked about Meacham's latest book, "Soul of America" at the St. Louis Public Library on May 25.
Kara Smith/St. Louis County Library

“American history is defined by the phrase ‘and yet …,’” author and historian Jon Meacham told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh May 25, before an audience of 900 people at the St. Louis County Library.

“We promised equality to all, and yet, we didn’t extend it to all,” Meacham said, citing other examples of former presidential actions that they later contradicted. His latest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” compares and contrasts today’s political climate to historical events.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs paperwork after taking his oath of office. June 1, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson set forth on a new chapter in Missouri political history by becoming the state’s 57th governor — promising to stabilize a state government rocked by departing-Gov. Eric Greitens’ scandals.

Parson, 62, took the oath of office shortly after 5:30 p.m., Friday.

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