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Top Stories

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

State Rep. Shane Roden, R-Cedar Hill
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri state Rep. Shane Roden to the program for the first time.

The Cedar Hill Republican represents portions of northwest Jefferson County in the Missouri House. He was first elected in 2014, a year when the GOP took control of most of that county’s legislative offices.

World Wide Technology officials held a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday for the 208,000-square-foot building at Westport Plaza. Nov. 7m 2017
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

World Wide Technology, a privately-held company, has opened its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

And the seven-story building is filled with cutting-edge technology.

CEO Jim Kavanaugh points to a six-foot iPhone that sits in one of the briefing rooms.

“That’s actually a working iPhone,” he said. “So when we do application development work, we may build it and show it on that iPhone that’s literally the size of a person.”

Ameren, energy production
Daniel X. O'Neill | Flickr

A conversation has been sparked in Missouri about how electricity will be generated, stored and consumed in the future.

The Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s investor-owned utilities, is looking for input on what are known as “distributed energy resources” and will hold a workshop later this month in Jefferson City. The Commission’s Staff Director Natelle Dietrich admits the term is a bit of a catch-all.

charter schools tha racially diverse in recent years.
Camille Phillips I St. Louis Public Radio

If you walk into most public schools in the city of St. Louis, you’d never know that five black parents won a federal desegregation lawsuit in 1975, or that years of appeals resulted in the creation of a much lauded voluntary intra-district transfer program in 1983.

According to a St. Louis Public Radio analysis of state data, the percentage of racially segregated public schools in the city of St. Louis rose over the past 26 years, from 54 percent to 78 percent. Today, most of the students in the St. Louis public school district attend schools where all, or nearly all, of their classmates are African-American.

Charter schools used to be even more segregated than the district. But, in recent years, a handful have succeeded in attracting both white and black families. The choices of past and current parents at City Garden Montessori, in the Botanical Heights neighborhood, illustrate how one charter school achieved integration, and the barriers to replicating that model.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in the St. Louis region will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide on some key financial issues.

Most of the attention will be on St. Louis, where residents are being asked to raise the sales tax by a half-percent in order to pay police and firefighters more. Voters in St. Louis and St. Charles counties will decide an array of tax-related issues.

Protesters chant outside Busch Stadium during a Cardinals game on Sept. 29.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Sept. 15, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson ruled that former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.

Students at Adams Elementary in St. Louis Sept 2016
File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Schools’ elected board of education has continued to hold elections and conduct meetings, even though it’s had no authority over the district for a decade.

The task belongs to a Special Administrative Board, or SAB, which is appointed. As the district moves back to improved academic performance, the three-person SAB has said its time of rule is nearing an end. The governor of Missouri, the mayor of St. Louis and the president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen each get to select one of the board members. 

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks Saturday at the Truman Dinner in St. Louis. The Minnesota senator was the keynote speaker for the Missouri Democratic Party event.
Courtesy of the Missouri Democratic Party

With jokes and jabs, some of Missouri’s top Democrats are seeking to rally supporters dreaming of a better political future in 2018  — especially compared to the nightmare defeats the party suffered almost a year ago.

At Saturday night’s Truman Dinner, the state party’s biggest event of the year, most of the best jokes came from Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Saturday Night Live alum who’s now a national Democratic figure.

Trailnet claims a 12-mile walking and biking trail network could boost property values and business districts, while making the city more attractive to younger generations.
Trailnet

Trailnet wants to build a network of bicycle and walking trails that would connect St. Louis' north side and south side neighborhoods to an east-west trail that stretches from downtown to Washington University.

The nonprofit, which has been working for several years to develop a network of protected trails on existing city streets, has released a map that shows the general location of the proposed paths. They reach north to Fairground Park and Old North and south to Lafayette Square, Tower Grove and Cherokee Street.

An artist's rendition of what a solar roadway could look like.
Solar Roadways | http://bit.ly/29OOZKM

Updated Nov. 5, 2017 with a statement from Solar Roadways - The Idaho vendor that planned to work with the Missouri Department of Transportation on a solar road initiative is disappointed the pilot project did not work out. In an email, Scott Brusaw with Solar Roadways said it was a complicated contract.

The Rev. Dinah Tatman and faith leaders speak in support of the economic boycott on Nov. 2, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

As protests over the Jason Stockley verdict continue in St. Louis, the persistent chant of “no justice, no profits ” can be heard. Now, that credo is being put into action.

Community activists are using the upcoming holiday season as an opportunity to launch an economic boycott campaign from “any entities that do not respect us or our purchasing power” said the Rev. Dinah Tatman, CEO and founder of Greater New Vision Ministries Inc. in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is expected to open in 2019.
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

Work will begin later this month on a new aquarium at Union Station in downtown St. Louis.

Officials gathered Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the two-story, 120,000-square-foot aquarium that will house aquatic life that can be found in the ocean and the nearby Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to news reporters following the end of the legislative session in Jefferson City.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has sent a scathing letter to the state’s two U.S. senators – including fellow Republican Roy Blunt – that accuses them of ignoring problems at the state-run St. Louis Veterans Home and trying to shift the responsibility to him.

In the letter, sent Thursday, Greitens appeared to take offense at an earlier letter that Blunt and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill had jointly sent to him this week asking for an investigation into accusations of patient mistreatment.

For the first time in 18 years, St. Louis’ 2nd Ward is getting a new alderman.

The seat opened up in August when Dionne Flowers resigned to become the register, the city’s top record-keeper. The ward encompasses six north St. Louis neighborhoods, stretching from north of downtown to the border with St. Louis County. Three candidates are running to take her spot.

Missouri Dept. of Agriculture

Chris Chinn’s first year on the job has not been boring.

Her tenure as director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture began with flooding in the spring that’s now causing delays in crop harvests. Along the way, Chinn’s office had to deal with contamination in southeastern Missouri that triggered a temporary ban of the herbicide Dicamba. It's an issue that caught the attention of the Missouri General Assembly and farmers across the state.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin caught up with Chinn to talk about those challenges and her department’s major priorities.

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

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling for a fourth investigation in less than six months of the St. Louis Veterans Home in north St. Louis County, following a public meeting Monday where relatives and staff accused the facility of neglecting patients.

“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Greitens, a Republican, wrote in a statement. “We will continue to demand the best for our veterans, and we will hold accountable those responsible for their care.”

Former President Bill Clinton exercises with fourth grader Jasmine Balven during a visit to Gateway Elementary School in St. Louis Nov. 1, 2017. Clinton visited the school to witness healthy food and exercise initiatives.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Former President Bill Clinton briefly exercised with elementary school students and kicked the tires of a retrofitted bus that delivers fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods during a Wednesday visit to St. Louis.

St. Louis is the third and final leg on a national tour of initiatives the 71-year-old’s foundation is supporting.

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner is dismissing any talk about fellow Republicans firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller, who has charged three former campaign aides to President Donald Trump.

“We’re going to let special prosecutor Mueller and the Justice Department do their work,” said Wagner, R-Ballwin, in an interview. “I’ve got work to do here in the 2nd district and in Congress. Everybody should do their job.”

Provided by Cinema St. Louis

St. Louis International Film Festival artistic director Chris Clark’s office walls in Grand Center are crowded with film posters. Marketing materials are stacked neatly on the front of his desk. In the final push before the festival’s opening night, Clark is confident that the entries this year deliver on its very clear mission.

“What we look for is the best, newest, freshest stories told from unique perspectives,” he said. 

Open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance starts Wednesday and ends Dec. 15. That means there are only 45 days to shop for coverage. The shorter enrollment period this year is just one of the changes to the process for buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Here are five important factors to keep in mind if you plan to sign up for ACA coverage for 2018.

1. The health law has not been repealed.

Despite the efforts of President Trump and the Republican-led Congress, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.

Missour Attorney General Josh Hawley announces he's issuing subpoenas against three opioid distributors.
Provided |Office of attorney general

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has issued subpoenas to three companies that distribute opioids throughout the United States.

The subpoenas were issued to AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corporation. As opioid overdoses rise across the country, Hawley is accusing those companies of putting profits ahead of patient health.

File photo. Cathy Serino, a transgender veteran, served 12 years in the United States National Guard. She now lives in Columbia, Missouri.
Brit Hanson | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis transgender community and others are cheering a ruling that blocks President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban trans people from serving in the military.

Monday’s decision by a federal court judge in Washington, D.C. will allow transgender people to continue serving for the foreseeable future.

St. Louis voters will decide next Tuesday whether to boost the sales tax a half cent to fund raises for police and firefighters.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis will go to the polls next week to decide whether to give the city’s police officers and firefighters a raise by boosting the city’s sales tax by a half-cent.

Proposition P is the second sales tax on the ballot in six months. Approval would push the rate to nearly 12 percent in some parts of the city. And the current climate around policing in St. Louis is making the measure a tough sell.

Protesters walk down Olive Street in downtown St. Louis after the People's Town Hall event. Sept. 28, 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mary Ann Tisdale’s 20s lined up with the peak of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the struggle for black empowerment.

Tisdale didn’t participate. She said she was scared of getting hurt, but she followed the movement closely — reading “everything there was to read.”

“You could say physically, I’m a coward, but I know what’s going on,” she said.

Veterans Home resident Curtis Washington, who served during the Korean War, shares his concerns. His wife Sandra holds the microphone.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

This story has been updated.

Missed medications. Falsified records. A veteran with dementia placed in a scalding hot shower, unable to move.

One by one, concerned family members and employees of the St. Louis Veteran’s Home — some angry, others in tears — took to a microphone at North Kirkwood Middle School late Monday. They alleged that the 300-bed facility in north St. Louis County is so mismanaged that its care of aging residents amounts to neglect. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are particularly vulnerable, they said.  

Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Clem Smith to the program.

The Velda Village Hills Democrat has represented a slew of central and north St. Louis County municipalities since 2011. He will leave the House after the 2018 session due to term limits.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of the St. Louis County Council has filed suit to determine if it has any power to hire employees over the objections of County Executive Steve Stenger.

The suit was filed Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court. It contends Stenger overstepped his bounds by refusing to hire more staff for county Auditor Mark Tucker.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Apparent Russian agents began reaching out to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday, with appeals for partnership and offers of help including "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That case is made in charging documents in the case of then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

A drone flies near a bridge
Sodapix | Thinkstock

Missouri could soon send flying drones to the state's bridges, using them to doing difficult and dangerous work long done by workers.

About 56,000 bridges in the United States require major repairs, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Missouri ranks No. 4 in the country for its number of structurally deficient bridges. 

AA Roads

While one legislative task force is touring the state to hear ideas about upgrading Missouri’s roads and bridges, another group of lawmakers is using an online survey to determine the best way to pay for it all.

Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic, chairs the House Policy Development Caucus, which he said was formed to study “hard and difficult situations” in Missouri — including paying for transportation improvements.

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