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Top Stories

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

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday evening on a charge of felony invasion of privacy. But what does that mean, and how will it affect Missouri politics?

What is an indictment?

An indictment is a legal process where a grand jury decides that the attorney prosecuting a case has enough evidence to begin basic criminal proceedings.

Gov. Greitens' booking photo from Feb. 22, 2018
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

This article was updated at 7 p.m. with the governor's statement.

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond. 

One of his attorneys, Edward Dowd, said in a statement that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent,” he said.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers and agricultural groups have joined with Americans for Farmers & Families to urge President Donald Trump and Congress to not withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has criticized NAFTA as not being in the best interest of the U.S.

McCleur High School theater students rehearse “Man of La Mancha” at the Florissant Civic Center. Feb. 21, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis schoolchildren in well-funded school districts often enjoy newer amenities like updated textbooks and newer technology. They may also have an advantage when it comes to the arts.

The disparity of resources is illustrated by theater departments at two local high schools. Clayton High School, whose students are mostly white, gets more help from the district and the community. In Florissant, predominantly African-American McCluer High School largely relies on the theater director, Doug Erwin, for funding.

The Hamilton-Russell Cup is on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The American team gained possession of the trophy when it won the 2016 Chess Olympiad – for the first time in 40 years.
Austin Fuller | World Chess hall of Fame

In 2016, Americans made history by earning team gold in the Chess Olympiad, a biennial tournament in which teams of chess players represent their countries. The remarkable 2016 team included grandmasters Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Sam Shankland and Ray Robson, with international master John Donaldson as team captain and Aleksandr Lenderman as team coach.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city’s residency requirement.

A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard’s bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Kristen Goodman performs her original song 'I’m Ready' for the NPR Tiny Desk Concert in January 2017.
Kristen Goodman via YouTube

Updated Feb. 21 with St. Louis on the Air conversation about contest starting  Tiny Desk Contest is now live! Use this entry form to enter, and tag your entry with #TinyDeskSTL so we can share it here in the St. Louis area. Good luck, Tiny Desk musicians.

Calling all St. Louis musicians: The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest from NPR Music officially begins Feb. 20.

You may submit a video of you or your band playing an original song behind a desk — any desk — and you could win a chance to play your own Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., before embarking on a nationwide tour. The winner will also appear at a taping of NPR’s "Ask Me Another." Submissions are due March 25.

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 21 with St. Louis on the Air conversation with reporter Chris McDaniel

Original story from Feb. 20 — A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that a St. Louis-area compounding pharmacy with a troubled safety history has provided execution drugs to the state of Missouri for the last four years.

Sources told BuzzFeed News reporter Chris McDaniel that Foundation Care, based in Earth City, supplied the drugs for 17 executions since February 2014. Foundation Care denied its participation in executions to McDaniel, and did not respond to requests for comment from St. Louis Public Radio.

The Movement for Black Lives hopes to increase voter turnout among African-Americans across the country by texting "WAKANDA" to 91990.
The Movement for Black Lives

Civil rights activists are tapping into the success of the "Black Panther" film to encourage blacks and other minorities to register to vote before the 2018 midterm elections.

#Wakandathevote is a national campaign created by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations around the country dedicated to social activism. The campaign was organized by Rukia Lumumba, Jessica Byrd and St. Louis activist Kayla Reed.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, greets teens at the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment in downtown St. Louis on Feb. 9, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Democrats, success or failure this fall will likely hinge on whether they can persuade about 300,000 area voters to drop their habit of skipping mid-term elections.

Most of those infrequent voters are believed to be  urban and suburban Democrats. And their absence at the polls in 2010 and 2014 are among the reasons why the state’s Democrats have found themselves seriously outnumbered in the Missouri Capitol.

Which helps explain why the state party set up an unusual schedule for Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who’s vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, when he flew into St. Louis earlier this month.

Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

About 300 people poured into the hallways of the Missouri Capitol Tuesday, calling for lawmakers to avoid creating new laws that would loosen existing gun regulations.

Kim Westerman, who lives in St. Louis and volunteers with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said they’re concerned that pro-gun lawmakers in Missouri remain unmoved by the recent mass shooting at a high school in Florida that claimed 17 lives.

The head of the St. Louis Regional Chamber is resigning, effective at the end of the month. Joe Reagan has been president and CEO of the organization since 2012. The chamber's board already has a replacement lined up — at least on a temporary basis.

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke talks about the evolution of the movement that aims to help sexual harassment survivors.  She spoke at Webster University on Feb. 19. 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

The #MeToo movement isn’t about what you think it’s about, founder Tarana Burke told an audience at Webster University’s Loretto-Hilton Center on Monday.

Burke dispelled three common misconceptions she believes have overshadowed the message of #MeToo, including who the movement is for and what it’s supposed to accomplish.

“This is not about taking down powerful men,” Burke said. “That was a corporate response. The women who stood up have just wanted to be heard and believed.”

Clayton resident Stacey Smith and her Olympic ice dance partner John Summers. The two finished ninth at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith is an Olympian.

The former figure skater competed for the U.S. at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. 

As the ice dance competition wraps up at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Clayton resident is watching with a mix of pride, patriotism and accomplishment.

Smith recently spoke with St. Louis Public Radio about how she started in the sport, her memories of Lake Placid and the importance of embracing St. Louis' Olympic legacy.

The St. Louis Veterans Home on Lewis and Clark Boulevard in St. Louis County.
Missouri Veteran's Commission

Veterans who live at the St. Louis Veterans Home say they are receiving much better care following a state investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect at the facility.

Last fall, residents and their relatives complained of mistreatment, including how a veteran with dementia was placed in a scalding hot shower. They said the home was so mismanaged that its poor care amounted to neglect.

Since then, a new administrator has arrived. The home has hired 26 nursing assistants and plans to hire 30 more in coming months.

A Malawian nurse collects a blood sample from a child at Kamuzu Medical Center in Llongwe, Malawi, in 2015, to test for malaria infection.
Indi Trehan

 

When a doctor suspects a patient has malaria, the next step is usually a blood test. Most commonly, a technician smears a drop of blood on a slide and examines it under a microscope for tell-tale signs of the parasite.

But preliminary research from Washington University suggests future malaria testing could be as simple as collecting a breath sample.

The study, published in the February issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, reports malaria-infected children in Malawi show a distinct shift in the compounds in their breath compared to healthy children. Based on the abundance of six compounds, the researchers were able to diagnose malaria infection with 83 percent accuracy.

RISE Community Development's Stephen Acree stands in one of his organization's apartments in Forest Park Southeast. His group used low-income housing and historic tax credits to redevelop a slew of buildings in the central corridor neighborhood.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A question and answer panel with four Republican statewide officials was meant to showcase the party’s unprecedented consolidation of power within Missouri’s government. Instead, the Lincoln Days event pointed to a major policy division among the GOP.

That’s because Gov. Eric Greitens touted how he engineered a halt to state low-income housing tax credits in late December. He called the incentive a “scam” that had been “ripping off” Missourians for years, and received a round of applause from the audience when mentioning how he “zeroed out” the program.

Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby
Erin Achenbach I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Sen. Dan Hegeman to the program for the first time.

The Cosby Republican represents most of northwest Missouri in the Missouri Senate. The 12th Senatorial District has the largest geographic area of any House or Senate seat.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1rzN9Hd

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 could bring big infrastructure changes to Missouri, but local engineering and commerce experts say it could be hard for the state to compete for federal dollars.

The budget promises to “generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment” by dedicating $200 billion over 10 years to projects like improving roads, expanding internet access in rural areas, and developing creative approaches to transit, energy, water and building. Of that, $100 billion would be awarded as competitive grants to states and local governments who pursue projects “demonstrating innovative approaches” to infrastructure.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters in his office at the state Capitol in Jefferson City on January 22, 2018.
FIle photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has hired a new lawyer – former St. Louis Judge Jack Garvey – to represent him in the investigation underway by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

Gardner is looking into whether Greitens broke any laws during his admitted extramarital affair, which took place in 2015, more than a year before the governor was elected.

Garvey, who also is a former St. Louis alderman, confirmed Sunday to St. Louis Public Radio that he now represented the governor. Garvey said he was hired “late last week.” Garvey said he was not representing any members of the governor’s staff, some of whom apparently have been subpoenaed by Gardner’s office.

A fire rages out of control in a warehouse after walls collapsed during a five-alarm fire in St. Louis last Wednesday. Nearly 200 St. Louis firefighters battled the warehouse containing numerous paper products and nearly 200,000 candles.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis voters will decide this summer whether the city should borrow about $50 million to buy new fire equipment, upgrade electrical panels at City Hall, install permanent air conditioning at the city jail known as the Workhouse, and other projects.

Aldermen sent the bond issue to Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday. Her signature will place the borrowing on the August ballot, when it will require a two-thirds majority to pass. The bond issue will not increase taxes.

Ty'Chila Thomas answers trivia questions during a L.O.V.E Project session at Lafayette High School in Wildwood. Feb. 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For three years Shante Duncan has facilitated The L.O.V.E. Project with freshman girls at Lafayette High School in Wildwood. She talks to the girls about school and anything else they want to share about their personal lives.

This month, Duncan centered the session around important African-American females, from Ida B. Wells to Henrietta Lacks, a black woman whose cervical cancer cells advanced medical research.

Injustice Bear is the title of the black-and-white piece; Justice Bear is the name of the gold and yellow work. A street artist known as finnch created the contrasting canvasses.
St.ART

An international conference in Atlanta will spotlight St. Louis artists who took part in a festival designed to highlight local racial and socioeconomic divisions.

The exhibition at the Hope Global Forums conference in March stems from the inaugural St.ART street art festival  this past October in Forest Park and Fairground Park.

An active coal ash pond at the Meramec Energy Center in St. Louis County in February 2018.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next five years, Ameren Missouri plans to close the ponds it uses to dump the byproduct of its coal-fired power plants.

The company has 15 ponds among its four power plants. Ameren closed two out of the nine ponds at the Meramec Energy Center in St. Louis County earlier this year. Coal-fired power plants have traditionally used water to handle coal ash, but recent advances in technology are allowing utilities such as Ameren to use dry systems instead.

SLPS science teachers Ninfa Matiase, LaJuana Stidmon and Jeremy Resmann practice an experiment Aug. 3, 2016 during training provided by the National Math and Science Initiative.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Within five years of being in a St. Louis Public Schools classroom, nearly half of teachers leave the district.

Now SLPS is considering adopting the St. Louis Teacher Residency Program in an effort to retain new teachers. Recruits would spend a full school year embedded in a classroom shadowing an experienced teacher while also earning their teaching certificate.

A committee of budget-controlling Missouri Senators recommends continuing to fund the arts at current levels through the ongoing use of a tax on out-of-state performers. 

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means committee advanced Senate Bill 773 by a 6 to 1 vote. This legislation extends a 2 percent tax on non-resident professional athletes and entertainers for another 10 years. 

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Families take photos next to a Black Panther banner at the St. Louis Science Center First Friday event dedicated to Black Panther on Feb. 2., 2018
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Welcome to Wakanda, the technologically advanced fictional nation that is the setting for an upcoming superhero, blockbuster film.

If you are not sure where that is, try asking the thousands of people who pre-ordered tickets to “Black Panther,” the film with the most first-day presales in history.

Alderwoman-elect Annie Rice
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderwoman-elect Annie Rice to the show.

Rice defeated 8th Ward Democratic Committeeman Paul Fehler on Tuesday to represent the ward in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The 8th Ward takes in the Shaw, Southwest Garden, Tower Grove South and Tower Grove East neighborhoods.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis protests outside Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters trying to speak to patients getting care at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in the Central West End would have to do so from farther away under a bill approved Wednesday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee.

Abortion rights advocates, including NARAL Missouri and Planned Parenthood, have been trying to pass a so-called buffer zone for nearly 14 months. The full board could take its first vote on the legislation next week.

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