Top Stories | St. Louis Public Radio

Top Stories

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

Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

For the record, St. Louis is home to 20,187 vacant properties. More than half are vacant lots, totaling 1,565 acres. Over the past five years, it has cost the city more than $17 million to maintain the vacant property with services like mowing, removing dumped waste, and boarding up abandoned structures.

The total assessed value of all that property? $79,813,010.

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny speaks after being introduced as the team's 49th manager on November 14, 2011. The Cardinals fired Matheny on July 14, 2018 after six and a half seasons.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Mike Matheny, a former Gold Glove catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who would go on to become the team’s manager in 2011, was fired Saturday night after a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

“These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter the second half of the season,” the team’s president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, said in a statement released late Saturday night. “I would like to thank Mike for his exceptional commitment and devotion to the Cardinals organization, including many fond memories of our years working together.”

Andrew D. Martin will serve as the 15th chancellor of Washington University. His tenure as chancellor will begin June 1, 2019.
James Byard | Washington University

Washington University announced on Saturday that Andrew D. Martin will be the university's 15th chancellor.

Martin comes to Wash U from the University of Michigan, where he serves as dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He will replace Wash U’s current chancellor Mark Wrighton effective June 1, 2019. Wrighton has served as chancellor for 22 years. He announced his plans for retirement last fall.

All states experienced an increase in the percentage of interracial and interethnic married-couple households from 2000 to 2012-2016.
U.S. Census Bureau

The rate of interracial marriages in Missouri is increasing at a rate slower than other states, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

Results from the American Community Survey show the percentage of interracial married-couple households increased from 7.4 to 10.2 percent between 2000 and 2012-2016 nationwide.

SIU President Randy Dunn Will Step Down

Jul 13, 2018

SIU Trustees will meet in special session Monday to vote on a separation agreement for System President Randy Dunn.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a measure that would reverse a planned reduction in the number of aldermanic wards in St. Louis will use the Board of Aldermen’s summer break to get more support lined up for their bill.

Aldermen adjourned Friday until Sept. 7 without giving final approval to two charter changes. One would eliminate the residency requirement for most city employees — the other would put the 2012 ward reduction back in front of voters.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s election edition of Politically Speaking looks into the referendum over Missouri’s right-to-work law — and the GOP primary for state auditor.

Besides the U.S. Senate contest, the right-t- work fight and GOP auditor race will be on every Missouri primary ballot on Aug. 7. And both matters could have long-term ramifications for the state’s politics.

Attorney Al Watkins speaks with reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A key figure in the legal saga of former Gov. Eric Greitens wants a different judge to decide whether he ran afoul of a gag order.

Al Watkins represented the ex-husband of the woman with whom Greitens had an affair. During Greitens’ invasion-of-privacy trial, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison restricted attorneys of possible witnesses from talking with the media.

Johnson & Johnson hit with $4.69 billion loss in baby powder-ovarian cancer case

Jul 13, 2018
Quentin Lueninghoener | Fairwarning

The legal assault on Johnson & Johnson and its signature baby powder reached new heights today, when a state court jury in Missouri found the company responsible for the ovarian cancers of 22 women, and ordered the drug and consumer products giant to pay $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to the cancer victims or their survivors.

The verdict by the jury of six men and six women in St. Louis Circuit Court was by far the largest yet in the mushrooming baby powder litigation.

The 128-year-old Merchants Bridge is receiving a $172-million renovation. July 11, 2018.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Private railroad companies will rebuild a 128-year-old railroad bridge that spans the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis despite failing to secure federal funding that would help pay for the project.

Nan Palmero | Flickr Creative Commons

On July 14, 2008, Anheuser-Busch accepted a $52 billion takeover offer from InBev, a beer conglomerate based in Belgium. The deal marked the end of an era for the iconic American brewery established in 1852, and its hometown of St. Louis.

One local industry that had flourished for decades in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch was advertising. Think Jon Hamm in Mad Men. AB was the glamour account that everyone wanted a piece of and there was plenty of work to keep a small army of creative people very busy.

Carly and Alex Garcia meet with U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay at Christ Church in Maplewood on May 25, 2018. Alex Garcia has been living in sanctuary at the church since September.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay is calling on federal immigration officials to approve a stay of removal for Alex Garcia, who took sanctuary in a Maplewood church nearly 10 months ago.

Garcia, 37, moved into the church in September after immigration officials ordered him to report for deportation. A stay of removal would give Garcia temporary permission to remain in the United States and allow him to move back to his home in Poplar Bluff.

St. Louis County's first chief diversity officer is Jack L. Thomas Jr.
St. Louis County

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four months before the November election, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is deploying her massive fundraising edge over GOP rival Josh Hawley to dramatically outspend him.

Since April 1, McCaskill has spent close to $3.6 million in her Democratic bid for a third term. That’s almost four times state Attorney General Hawley’s spending, which was just under $1 million.

Awonder Liang and Akshita Gorti, with our executive director Tony Rich and founder Rex Sinquefield.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

The U.S. Junior Championship is an invitational tournament featuring the highest ranked juniors in the country. It has always been an iconic component of American chess. Winning the championship has served as a stepping stone for many great players over the years, including Bobby Fischer, Yasser Seirawan and Hikaru Nakamura.

Showcasing the increasing strength of America’s juniors, the championship grows stronger every year. In just three years, the tournament has gone from having no grandmasters to featuring five (half the field)!

Lawyers Kalilah Jackson and Sandra Park led a discussion in Maplewood informing residents of the city's nuisance ordinance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood residents, equal-housing advocates and lawyers participated in a community discussion Wednesday about Maplewood’s controversial public-nuisance ordinance.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) and the ACLU of Missouri to inform Maplewood residents of their legal rights and encourage residents to urge state and local lawmakers to change nuisance laws. 

Jack Krewson hugs Gavin Schiffres after the two won sponsorship to open a charter school in St. Louis' Dutchtown neighborhood Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Two former Teach For America corps members will have a chance to bring a different model of public education to a part of south St. Louis they say is underserved.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission agreed Wednesday evening to sponsor Kairos Academies’ application for a five-year charter to run a school in the Dutchtown neighborhood. It still needs the state school board to sign off, but earning a sponsor is a major piece in opening a charter school.

Felicia Shaw, new executive director of St. Louis' Regional Arts Commission, said she had a sense that this community would now "be open to change" after the events of Ferguson.
Nancy Fowler

The Regional Arts Commission will award $3.8 million in grants to 125 arts organizations in St. Louis, the organization announced Wednesday.

But a shift in the commission’s priorities means many established groups are now shut out. The commission, which receives a portion of the city’s occupancy tax on visitors to hotels and motels, will not fund 40 arts organizations that received RAC grants in 2017.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce on Monday administered the oath of office to Mike Kehoe inside the governor's office in Jefferson City
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea Photography

Updated July 12 with brief response from plaintiffs' attorney - A Cole County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Mike Kehoe as Missouri’s lieutenant governor.

In a ruling issued late Wednesday, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem said that Gov. Mike Parson had the authority to appoint fellow Republican Kehoe to the state’s No. 2 office, under the Missouri Constitution.

Insurance premiums for plans on healthcare.gov have become more expensive, but most people who buy exchange plans on healthcare.gov receive tax credits to help them offset costs. Those who don’t receive those credits bear the brunt of those higher prices.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The rising costs of insurance plans available through the federal healthcare.gov website may make them unaffordable for some people in Missouri and Illinois.

Premiums for exchange plans on healthcare.gov have become more expensive, but most people who buy exchange plans on healthcare.gov receive tax credits to help them offset the cost and are insulated from rising costs. But those who don’t receive those credits bear the brunt of those increased prices.

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