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Top Stories

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

Hamiet Blueiett was known as one of the greatest ever to play baritone saxophone. 10/5/18
Courtesy of Dennis C. Owsley

The jazz world has lost a giant. World Saxophone Quartet founder Hamiet Bluiett died Thursday. He was 78.

A native of Brooklyn (Lovejoy), Illinois, Bluiett was an internationally admired innovator who frequently returned to the St. Louis region as a performer and educator. He was known as a master of the baritone saxophone.

His sound on the horn was unmistakable, said trumpeter George Sams, a friend for more than 50 years.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander greets supporters as they welcome him to the stage at The Pageant on Oct. 28, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies look at three things playing a big role in Missouri’s 2018 election cycle.

The first is debate over pre-existing conditions between U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her GOP opponent Josh Hawley. It stems from Hawley’s decision to be a part of a lawsuit seeking to upend the Affordable Care Act.

Harley Race poses for a portrait after responding to letters at his Harley Race Wrestling Academy office in Troy.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Harley Race, the pro-wrestler from Missouri once considered among the toughest in the world, has come full circle.

Or as they might say in the pro wrestling biz, full squared circle.

'Handsome Harley,’ as he’s known, has spent the past few years back in his home state guiding the next generation of pro wrestlers. He’s shifted from world champion grappler to wizened coach by running a training academy about an hour west of St. Louis in Troy.

 A photo of Oregon Avenue in Gravois Park neighborhood. The Regional Health Commission has identified the south St. Louis neighborhood as having a significant need for low-cost primary care.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Low-cost health care centers are lacking in parts of the St. Louis region with the greatest medical need, according to a report from the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

The growing need reflects the changing demographics of the region, Robert Fruend, the commission’s CEO said. North St. Louis was long considered the neediest part of the city. As a result, majority of the region’s low-cost health clinics are there. But “over time, over the last 20 to 30 years, that node of this concentrated circle of poverty and need that we had in our region has migrated outwards,” Fruend said.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Friday with a response from the attorney general’s office – A non-profit group set up to promote the agenda of then-Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Cole County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks records of its activities.

St. Louis-based attorney Elad Gross filed suit in June against A New Missouri. He said he took action after the Missouri House committee that had been investigating the former governor halted its probe after Greitens’ resignation from office. The committee was also seeking records from A New Missouri, including its financing.

RhonniRose Mantilla, wearing a red dress, rehearses Thursday night for an upcoming community production of West Side Story in July.
Monica Mileur | COCA

Famed Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim dismissed complaints that white actors should not be cast to portray people of color.

He made his remarks as a guest on Thursday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air.

The issue is freshly in the news with the cancellation last month of a student production of the 1957 musical “West Side Story” after Latino cast members complained that the director cast white actors to portray key Puerto Rican characters.

Illinois 12th District Green Party candidate Randy Auxier Oct. 4, 2018
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Randy Auxier, the Green Party nominee in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Auxier is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bost and Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly. Both Kelly and Bost recorded episodes of Politically Speaking previously.

Gemma New was the first woman and the first resident conductor to lead St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's opening night concert. 10/11/18
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Opening night at the symphony has a special buzz and a once-a-year chance for the orchestra's artistic leader to welcome back the musicians and the audience. If an orchestra happens to be between leaders, the occasion also offers a plum spot on the calendar to invite a guest-star conductor with a pedigree.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra took a different route this year. With the seat of music director technically unfilled — French conductor Stéphane Denève takes over that job next season — the orchestra’s leadership turned to the rising star in its ranks.

Gemma New, 31, led the orchestra’s annual kickoff concert in Forest Park and then held onto the baton for opening night at Powell Hall. She made history on two fronts: as the first woman to lead SLSO’s opening night concert, and as the first resident conductor to do so.

One of Harry Benson's iconic photographs of Bobby Fisher in Buenos Aires, 1971. From the collection of Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.
Harry Benson

Harry Benson, world-renowned photographer and International Photography Hall of Fame inductee,was the only person to have private access to Bobby Fischer during the 1972 World Chess Championship match in Reykjavík, Iceland. Benson captured intimate images of this time with Fischer and was the first person to deliver the news to Fischer that he had won the match.

Benson began photographing Fischer when on assignment for LIFE magazine in 1971. He was sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to cover the 1971 Candidates Match, and began to cultivate a relationship with Fischer, who was known for being notoriously camera-averse, guarded and socially awkward. Fischer defeated Tigran Petrosian at the Candidates Match, qualifying him for the World Chess Championship match.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

A few dozen residents gathered in a hearing room at City Hall Wednesday for an unusual nighttime hearing on a proposed bill that would require a city-wide public vote on any deals to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

It was the first of three hearings held by the Board of Aldermen’s Transportation and Commerce Committee.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announces a plan to overhaul the America's Center Convention Complex on Oct. 3, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County are backing a plan that would steer millions of dollars to spruce up the America’s Center Convention Complex in downtown St. Louis.

It’s a bid that will be a sign of whether the region’s legislators want to invest more money to attract lucrative conventions and also a test of the political muscle of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

George Smith, a retired biology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Missouri-Columbia

When retired biologist George Smith picked up the phone at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, he wasn’t expecting it to be the Swedish Academy.

“It’s kind of a common prank for your friends to put on a fake Swedish accent and tell you that you won,” Smith said. “I thought maybe it was a joke but the line was so scratchy and there was so much interference, I thought nah, it wasn’t one of my friends. They wouldn’t have such a bad connection.”

Through the phone call, Smith, a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia, learned that he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a method called phage display in the 1980s. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Smith used them to create a tool that would help identify antibodies, molecules in the body that identify invading pathogens, that would be the most useful for binding to molecules that are associated with certain diseases.

This story was updated at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 to add the comments of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. 

A federal judge has declined – at least for now — to block a Missouri abortion law, leaving the state with just one abortion provider.

The law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital or else face criminal prosecution. 

The University of Missouri has its first ever Nobel Prize.

Professor Emeritus George Smith shares the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two other researchers, one from Caltech in Pasadena, and the other from the MRC Laboratory in Cambridge. Smith was a professor at MU for 40 years. He won the Nobel for his development of a method called phage display, in which a virus that infects bacteria can be used to evolve new proteins.

Josh Davis tends to his American mulefoot hogs on his farm in Pocahontas, Illinois on September 15, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Josh Davis likes to name his pigs after flowers: Petunia, Iris, Violet and Daisy.

That’s not the only thing that sets him apart as a hog farmer.

For the past three years, Davis and his wife, Alicia, have been raising one of the rarest pig breeds in the world on their farm in Pocahontas, Illinois. The American mulefoot hog was a popular breed in the Midwest in the early 1900s, but now, there are only a few hundred left. The Davises are among a small group of farmers hoping to revive the breed by putting it back on the menu.

A Level I Trauma Center at St. Louis University Hospital.
Provided by Saint Louis University Hospital

A St. Louis-based project that uses former drug users to convince overdose victims in emergency rooms to seek treatment will soon focus on patients who refuse emergency transport.

For two years, the Engaging Patients in Care Coordination project has enlisted peer-recovery coaches from participating treatment centers to area ERs to meet with people who have overdosed on opioids.

Starting this month, the project will send the coaches — themselves in recovery — to meet with overdose victims who refused to go to the ER.

Betty Sharp, right, works with Sara Charles, left, on one of many art projects at Living Arts Studio.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The Living Arts Studio in Maplewood has become the default location for many budding artists in the St. Louis area. Artists often meet at the studio to work on projects that will be sold and displayed at galleries around the area, including at the St. Louis Art Museum and the University of Missouri — St. Louis.

The studio focuses on inclusion, specifically for creative people with disabilities. It is part of VSA Missouri, the state organization that promotes inclusion in the arts. It is also an affiliate of the national John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

St. Louis County Council members meet on Oct. 2, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County may no longer require contractors bidding for work to have apprenticeship programs — a longstanding priority for labor unions.

The County Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night for Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger’s legislation that makes a host of changes to the county’s procurement regulations. One of the big changes is that it no longer would require bidders for certain contracts to either participate or maintain apprenticeship programs.

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander dropped out of the Kansas City, Missouri, mayoral race on Tuesday, saying in a post on his campaign website that he needs to focus on his mental health due to PTSD.

Robert Butler, candidate for 22nd District Senate seat Oct. 2018
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Democrat Robert Butler is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. He joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Abigail Censky to talk about his bid for the 22nd District Senate seat.

Butler is running against incumbent Sen. Paul Wieland, an Imperial Republican who first captured the Jefferson County-based district in 2014. Wieland’s episode of Politically Speaking was posted on Monday.

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