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Top Stories

Editor's picks for the top news stories of the day.

Unauthorized immigrants in rural areas who seek legal representation can often face roadblocks when trying to find credible lawyers.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Immigrants contribute more than a billion dollars to state and federal taxes and account for billions more in spending power, according to Betsy Heller Cohen of the St. Louis Mosaic Project.

On Wednesday, Cohen moderated a panel on the economic impact of “foreign-born Missourians” at the International Institute of St. Louis.

A week after voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it will stop processing some marijuana possession cases.

Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4 percent sales tax for veterans programs and job training, passed with 66 percent approval from Missouri voters and even more support from those in Jackson County. Two other medical marijuana proposals were on the state ballot but failed.

Long before Eric Kirkwood of Kansas City, Kansas, had his first sickle cell crisis at age 17, he knew about the pain caused by the disease. His uncle and sister had the genetic disorder, which causes blood cells to clump together and cut off circulation, leaving many patients with pain they describe like being squeezed in a vise.

“I’ve been in so much pain that I’m like ‘Why am I not dying?’” Kirkwood said. “It’s really like torture.”

Cattle farmers across Missouri are facing conditions that could allow for heightened fescue foot in cow herds.

Fescue foot is a condition caused by ingesting Kentucky 31 fescue grass that has been poisoned during growth after a drought. Fescue foot can immobilize cows and cause hoof loss.

“We expect it to be worse than in previous years,” MU Extension specialist Craig Roberts said.

When a herd faces fescue foot, it affects more than just a few cows.

This video still is from Yvonne Osei’s 2018 "She Wears Me As Her Armor. Watch Me Watch You. See Through Me." She is obscuring a painting called "Nymph at the Fountain" as an extension of her "Africa Clothe Me Bare" series.
Yvonne Osei

When performance and video artist Yvonne Osei arrived in St. Louis from Ghana in 2009, she noticed that everyone seemed concerned with physical appearance.

What seemed to matter was a person’s size, race and clothing, she observed, a focus unlike anything she’d experienced growing up in the Ashanti tribe. Osei, who was born in Germany, began thinking about how to use clothing to explore such issues in her work. Recently, an organization called Critical Mass for the Visual Arts gave her a Creative Stimulus award, and the Visionary Awards named her as its 2018 Emerging Artist.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is suspending construction of the eastbound bridge on Interstate 44 at Shrewsbury on Nov. 13, 2018. Inspectors found cracks in westbound bridge, which was finished a year ago.
The Missouri Department of Transportation

Residents in the Shrewsbury area will have to wait a bit longer for their ramp on Interstate 44 to reopen.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has suspended construction on the eastbound bridge of I-44 over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad by Shrewsbury.

The halt comes after inspectors found a "greater-than-normal" amount of cracking on the westbound bridge on I-44 that just wrapped up construction last year.

 Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of St. Louis area hospitals received a high rating for patient safety in a report from the medical watchdog nonprofit, the Leapfrog Group.

Most of the 27 acute-care hospitals in the  region had documented problems with hospital-acquired infections, physician and nurse training and surgical complications, according to the group, which ranks 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice a year.

The St. Louis-area hospitals that received “A” ratings include Mercy hospitals in Festus and St. Louis, St. Anthony’s in Alton, St. Joseph’s in Breese and St. Elizabeth’s in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Students cross Grand Boulevard on St. Louis University's campus Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with additional details and comments — St. Louis University is implementing more cost-cutting measures as fiscal problems persist, even after trimming its workforce last year.

The private, Catholic university is facing a double blow of fewer students and less revenue from its doctors, resulting in a projected $30 million deficit by 2023.

University President Fred Pestello outlined the monetary challenge in an email to faculty and staff Monday afternoon, and additional details were shared with employees during a Faculty Senate meeting today.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 13 at 4:15 p.m. with comment from St. Louis Lambert International Airport — St. Louis City NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt said Tuesday the decision to add St. Louis Lambert International Airport to an NAACP warning list came after the group received documents about race-based complaints going back at least several years.

“Our intent (of the advisory) is to let folk know that those folks working at Lambert Field that their civil rights are in jeopardy, and maybe in some cases null and void, unless the city takes some proactive means of addressing it,” Pruitt said.

Gov. Mike Parson appointed state Treasurer Eric Schmitt as Missouri’s next attorney general Tuesday morning, filling the office that will be vacated by Josh Hawley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week.

A microscopic view of oral cancer.
Wikimedia Commons

Studies show cancer survivors are twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population. But some cancer survivors are at a greater risk than others, according to research from a St. Louis University doctor.

A study appearing in this month’s journal Cancer has found patients in recovery from pancreatic, head and neck cancers die by suicide at a higher rate than other common cancers. In the case of head and neck cancer, the suicide rate is 63 for every 100,000 people — close to four times that of the general population and two times that of other cancer survivors combined.

The findings emphasize a little-talked about subject: the mental health needs of patients after they finish treatment, said Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at SLU and lead author of the study.

SIU Trustees Move Forward With Leadership Searches

Nov 12, 2018

Southern Illinois University will begin its search for a permanent president soon, and at the same time leaders say they're working to find an interim chancellor for the Carbondale campus.

State Sen.-elect Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelby County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Sen.-elect Cindy O’Laughlin joins the Politically Speaking podcast for the first time to talk about her priorities for the 18th Senatorial District — and her experiences as a first-time candidate.

O’Laughlin won the election last week to represent the district, which takes in a swath of northeast Missouri including cities like Hannibal, Kirksville and Bowling Green.

Missourian John Lewis Barkley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions he took Oct. 7, 1918. This image of him is from a painting done by Howard Chandler Christy in 1930.
National World War I Museum and Memorial

It’s likely you’ve never heard of John Lewis Barkley.

The Missouri native fought in World War I, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor and later writing a book about his experience. Yet his book, “No Hard Feelings!” and his name remain in relative obscurity, even as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end.

That surprises Steven Trout, who helped get the book reprinted under the title “Scarlet Fields” in 2014.

“I’m astonished, in fact, and I don’t really know the reason,” he told St. Louis Public Radio.

Funding for the St. Louis City Senior Fund comes from a property tax approved by city voters in November 2016. So far, the fund has awarded grants to 17 local nonprofits.
Flickr

Two years ago, St. Louis voters approved a property tax that funds assistance programs for older adults.

The St. Louis City Senior Fund, which administers the tax-generated revenue, awarded $800,000 dollars this year to local nonprofits. The organizations provide a range of free services for older adults to help them continue living in their homes.

InPower Institute hosts community meeting to inform people on how to spot human trafficking and what to do about it.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

If you were a baroness trapped in the house of a jealous baron and had the opportunity to flee, would you do it if you knew your fate was death should you be caught?

That's the fictional dilemma, Lorren Buck presents attendees of a sex trafficking discussion in St. Louis on Saturday. The “drawbridge” exercise was intended to help people understand the kinds of choices and challenges a victim of sex trafficking might experience. In small groups, participants discussed who in the story could have helped the woman along the way and what her options might have been.

This is one of the solar powered homes in the study of new lead acid batteries on November 9. 2018
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri University of Science and Technology and two companies that manufacture batteries in Missouri are teaming up on a research project that could make it easier for homes to run exclusively on renewable energy.

The university and representatives from the businessesannounced the three-year project Friday on the Rolla campus.

John Gaskin III speaks at a news conference to announce he is the new president of the St. Louis County NAACP on Nov. 9. 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

John Gaskin III, the new St. Louis County NAACP president, says there are two local civil rights issues he wants to address: community policing and employment.

Gaskin, 26, announced Friday that he would be become president of the branch. He replaces longtime President Esther Haywood. The former Missouri legislator is 78.

Thomas Hoff, a museum educator with St. Louis County Parks, speaks during a wreath-laying ceremony to honor veterans at the World War I memorial in downtown Clayton on Friday. Nov. 9, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As world leaders meet Sunday in France for a grand tribute marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, a group of St. Louis area veterans will gather at a stone picnic shelter at Sylvan Springs Park in St. Louis County to solemnly call the roll of Missourians who died “over there.”

They plan to begin at 11:11 a.m. — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — the beginning of the ceasefire a century ago that, in effect, ended the war. Each name will be followed by the tolling of a bell.

Shirley Bradley LeFlore was installed as St. Louis City’s Poet Laureate in a special ceremony Friday, November 9 in the City Hall Rotunda. She will serve as Poet Laureate until April of 2019, when she is succeeded by Jane Ellen Ibur.
St. Louis American

There was more than a year of back-and-forth about who should succeed St. Louis’ inaugural Poet Laureate Michael Castro. But the moral of this story is the triumph of artist Shirley LeFlore. She was sworn in as Castro’s successor during a civic ceremony on Nov. 9 at City Hall.

“This goes down in St. Louis records – in the history books – so 200 years from now people can look back and see that you were our Poet Laureate,” her daughter Lyah Beth LeFlore told her mother. “Make sure Bella knows,” Shirley LeFlore said in response, speaking of Lyah’s 5-year-old daughter – her youngest grandchild.

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