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Top Stories

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

Workers set up for the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country in June.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country is the center of the golf world this week with the 100th PGA Championship set to begin Thursday. Organizers are expecting 80,000 people to come in for the event.

They will get to see a championship course in all its glory. Precisely mowed greens, protected by deep sandy bunkers and fairways stretching for hundreds of yards lined by trees reaching for the sky.

The person tasked with getting everything ready — and making it all look good — is Carlos Arraya.

LA Johnson | NPR

Washington University will host a free public symposium on gun violence prevention this week.

The second annual Larry Lewis Health Policy Symposium will bring together experts specializing in gun violence research from a public health and policy perspective. Organizers say the goal is to reduce gun violence in St. Louis, a city with one of the highest rates of gun-related deaths in the country.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden speaks to residents at Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Complex on Friday, Aug. 3.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Bobbi Len Taylor Mitchell-Bey's children were killed at the Clinton-Peabody housing complex in south St. Louis more than a year ago.

On Friday, she asked federal and local law enforcement officials to find out who killed them, and others.

“I’m trying to ask about all the unsolved murders out here,” she said, during a meeting at Peabody Elementary School. “‘Cuz I done lost two children down here. Not saying they was the best of kids, but they weren’t bad, so what y’all doing about that?”

Mitchell-Bey was among a couple of dozen residents of Clinton-Peabody who attended the meeting to demand better policing and better access to city services and resources.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Three Republicans are trying to take back Missouri’s 97th House District after Democrat Mike Revis flipped it in a February special election.

The district, which straddles St. Louis and Jefferson counties, has voted consistently Republican for state representative for the past 20 years. When Revis won by just over 100 votes, the upset garnered national attention, spurring talk about the possibility of a blue wave in the coming midterms.

Community activists, including State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., are asking Gov. Mike Parson to pardon or commute the sentence of Joshua Williams.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis activists and community leaders have called on Gov. Mike Parson to pardon protester Joshua Williams for an event that occurred in 2014.

State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., held a press conference Friday at the St. Louis County Justice Center objecting to the eight-year sentence Williams is serving.

Williams was a part of a protest in December 2014 following the police-involved shooting of Antonio Martin. While looting was taking place at a QuikTrip in Berkeley, Williams set fire to a trash can outside.

David Steelman
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

David Steelman joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the health of the University of Missouri System, as well as the demise of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Steelman is a veteran Republican public official who served as a state lawmaker in the 1980s. He’s currently the chairman of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, which oversees campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City.

Stephanie Regagnon, far right, poses for a photo in 2014 with some of the Ava's Grace scholarship recipients.
Stephanie Regagnon

When Stephanie Regagnon of Kirkwood was in her 20s, a jury found her mother guilty of a federal crime and sent her to prison for four years. The family maintains that she is innocent.

The first time Regagnon visited her mom, she noticed small children stocking up on vending-machine snacks for their parents to enjoy when they came out to see them.

“It seemed like they were trying so hard to create a nice environment,” Regagnon said. “It was pretty soul crushing.”

Regagnon imagined the children waiting to see their parents would likely have a hard time getting to college. In 2010, she started a scholarship fund called Ava’s Grace to help young people whose fate brushed so closely against her own.

Julia Berndt kneels on the forest floor and picks up a crushed eggshell from an experimental bird nest.

The Webster Groves High School senior has spent nearly three months working at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center near Eureka. The summer program pairs St. Louis-area students with scientists who help them design their own independent-research projects.

Berndt is studying how controlled fires — also known as prescribed burns — affect the predators that eat bird eggs.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger faces challenger Mark Mantovani in the August 2018 Democratic primary
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters are just days away from effectively deciding whether County Executive Steve Stenger stays in office or is replaced by businessman Mark Mantovani.

And with election day looming, both men are continuing their record-setting spending spree, with most of it going to TV ads.

Their last pre-election campaign-finance reports, filed Monday, show the two have spent almost $1 million on TV ads just since July 1.

Rhiyana Jackson and Chingy pose for a selfie at St. Louis County Library on Natural Bridge Road. Rhiyana's rap about violence, education and housing was one of a few verses selected to be in a Hip-Hop Architecture Camp music video.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Natural Bridge location of the St. Louis County Library is a little less quiet than usual. Instead of the occasional rustling of paging through books or the light tapping of computer keyboards, one meeting room at the library is electrified with children’s exclamations of elation. A celebrity is in their midsts.

About two dozen children, ages 11-14, met St. Louis rapper Chingy on Thursday. The hip-hop recording artist helped kids at Hip-Hop Architecture Camp — a week-long program that combines music and urban planning. The project focused on imagining a new North Hanley Transit Center.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The three Democrats running to replace Rep. Michael Butler all agree crime is the top issue for the north St. Louis district but differ on how to make it safer.

LaKeySha Bosley, part of the Bosley family political dynasty, said she plans to increase funding for local educational opportunities and reduce the number of vacant properties in the district — which includes Midtown, JeffVanderLou and Compton Heights — to reduce crime.

Missourians buying health insurance on the federal exchange likely won't see the sky-high rate increases that have becoming common in recent years in 2019. But experts say the marketplace's woes are far from over.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When Missourians go to healthcare.gov to buy health insurance, they likely won't be shocked by double-digit increases this year, according to data filed Wednesday with the state’s insurance department.

Three existing carriers — and one new entry into the market — will offer plans with smaller increases than previous years. Two insurers offering healthcare.gov plans are asking for modest rate increases.

Healthy Alliance Life Insurance plans an average increase of about 4 percent, and Cigna’s plans will increase about 7 percent. Centene's Celtic Insurance plans an average decrease of 9 percent.

The rate filings will not be finalized until late fall.

Floyd Blackwell, Lee Smith and Raychel Proudie face each other in an Aug. 7 Democratic primary for Missouri House District 73.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Right to work is dividing the three Republicans hoping to succeed District 110 Rep. Paul Curtman, who’s running for state auditor.

An analysis of states that decriminalized marijuana reported a steep drop in the number of related arrests and no increase in adolescent use.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians will get three different chances this fall to legalize medical marijuana — as well as potentially raise Missouri’s minimum wage and alter the process for state legislative redistricting.

Area mailboxes are packed with Proposition A fliers, pro and con
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The vote Tuesday to determine whether Missouri becomes the 28th right-to-work state will reverberate nationally and could have a huge effect on state lawmakers next year.

“We got to beat ‘em bad,” Greater St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said as their campaign to defeat Proposition A heads into the home stretch. “We got to beat ‘em bad enough, so that next year we can go to these Republicans — and it ain’t all Republicans — and we can say, ‘This is how many people voted against this in your district.’”

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A total of 18 Republicans and Democrats are running for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.

But most of the attention is on two contenders: incumbent Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Those two candidates and their allies have been sparring for months, providing a prelude to what could be one of the most expensive and contentious national elections of the 2018 election cycle.

On Chess: St. Louis showcases chess in Africa

Aug 2, 2018
Grandmaster Bassem Amin of Egypt won the Cote d'Ivoire Rapid and Blitz Invitation in July, 2018.
Graham Jurgensen

Inspired by the Grand Chess Tour, the FIDEC (Ivory Coast Chess Federation) teamed up with the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) to bring out the best of African chess. These efforts culminated in the Cote d'Ivoire Rapid (25+10d) & Blitz (5+3d) Invitational that took place July 25–29. The field included 10 players from 10 different African nations, each of them being the top-rated player from their respective countries. The field was as follows:

Floyd Blackwell, Lee Smith and Raychel Proudie face each other in an Aug. 7 Democratic primary for Missouri House District 73.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Three Democrats in north St. Louis County are seeking to take embattled state representative Courtney Curtis’ seat in Missouri’s 73rd district.

Curtis has served in the Missouri House since 2012 and was eligible to run for a final term. However, he chose not to file for the state representative race because he intended to run for state Senate.

Those plans changed when Curtis was fined $114,000 for violating state-campaign finance laws. The Missouri Democratic Party blocked his attempt to file because he hadn’t paid the fines.

Queen D. Fowler
Fowler family

Queen Dunlop Fowler, a renowned educator who became the first black woman to serve as a superintendent of schools in Missouri, died on Friday, July 20 of Alzheimer’s disease at her home in University City. She was 84.

Services will be Friday, Aug. 3 at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Liguori Church.

Producers of "Forget Me Not" are hoping to inspire audience members to  connect with local health professionals and learn more about Alzheimer's. 8/1/18
African-Americans Against Alzheimer's

When actors in the play "Forget Me Not" take the stage tonight at the Grandel Theatre in St. Louis, they’ll have an important mission. They aim to raise awareness that African-Americans have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease than whites, and to provide tips about how to recognize the symptoms of the brain disease.

Playwright Garrett Davis, who heads the North Carolina-based theater troupe Gdavis Productions, wrote the play — produced by African-Americans Against Alzheimer’s — as an educational aid. The group is part of the national advocacy organization Us Against Alzheimer’s.

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