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Top Stories

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

File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

No fraternization, investigations conducted by "outside counsel," and sexual harassment training every year: These are just a few of the recommendations being made to improve the culture and work environment of the Missouri Capitol. 

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced the proposed changes Friday in a lengthy press release, but also spoke to St. Louis Public Radio by phone.

Mayor Francis Slay, at podium, introduces his nominees for the cvilian oversight board. They are, from left, DeBorah Ahmed, Ciera Simril, Heather Highland, Jane Abbott-Morris, Bradley Arteaga, Steve Rovak and Lawrence Johnson.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with confirmation - Six of the nominees to the Civilian Oversight Board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, sailed through Board of Aldermen confirmation Friday. The seventh, DeBorah Ahmed, withdrew her name from consideration.

Ahmed is an executive director at Better Family Life, which has received thousands in city money over the last decade. Her nomination had been criticized for possible conflicts of interest. This means that the mayor will have to find a new nominee for the third district, in north-central and northwest St. Louis.

Audio Agitation: The Long Refrain

Oct 23, 2015

Spurred by Hylidae’s recent appearance on Cityscape, we decided to trace that line between ambient drone and melodic pop music. Here, we're presenting six tracks from STL artists who draw that line with different tools and tones.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis can start the legal process to move residents from a north side area that would instead become home to a federal spy agency.

The city's Board of Aldermen passed a resolution Friday allowing the use of eminent domain against 19 property owners. They live within a 100-acre acre that is the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The vote was 19- 5 with one abstention.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with response from Municipal League - The umbrella organization for the cities, towns and villages in St. Louis County are turning thumbs down on a proposal by the county executive that could lead to loss of control over their police departments. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger wants municipal police departments to hit certain training, hiring and operational benchmarks. And if they don’t meet them, his administration could effectively force cities to contract with other agencies.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon said he is optimistic the district will return to provisional accreditation, following a recommendation from the state department of elementary and secondary education board on Nov. 23, 2016.
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

For three of the St. Louis area's low-performing school districts, this year's Annual Performance Review showed marked improvement. But the success has not been even across the board.

While St. Louis Public Schools' score takes it out of the provisionally accredited zone and Riverview Gardens' improvements could be the first step toward regaining its accredited status, Normandy School District is still below the margin. The key to these districts' successes isn't universal.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

Struggling school districts in the St. Louis area got some welcome good news with this year’s annual report card from the state.

Riverview Gardens, Jennings and St. Louis Public Schools all posted scores that would put them into the fully accredited range, with more than 70 percent of the 140 points possible on the Annual Performance Report (APR).

The Baby Arch project

It’s headed for St. Louis, an arch to the sky;

A Gateway to the West, 630 feet high.

A hundred generations will see what you’ve made

Risin’ on the Mississippi with glory and grace.

— “An American Dream” by Ike Erdman and David Bush

Retired welder Ike Erdmann is proud of the work that he and nearly 300 Pennsylvania boilermakers did on the Gateway Arch 50 years ago, so he wrote and recorded a song about them.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis police confirmed the city's 160th homicide earlier this week, a number that surpasses last year's murder total. 

Medical professionals raise hands during a room-wide survey of whether they have provided care to someone they knew or believed was a victim of human trafficking.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A young woman comes into an emergency room, trailed by a much older boyfriend who answers questions for her. A man with a broken ankle and no identification asks a doctor to promise the hospital will not tell his employer that he sought medical care.  

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 cell line. The cells in the background are mouse fibroblast cells. Only the colony in the center are human embryonic stem cells.
Ryddragyn | English Wikipedia -

Nine years after Missouri voters approved protections for embryonic stem cell research, the issue has re-emerged as a hot topic in Jefferson City and among next year’s candidates.

A key factor: Missouri Right to Life – a longstanding opponent of embryonic stem-cell research – is linking the issue to its opposition to Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinics.

An exhibition at the Griot Museum of Black History shows a mutiny on the deck of a slave ship.
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

A new $5 million donation will help the Missouri History Museum collect and exhibit St. Louis’ African-American history. But not everyone trusts a large, mainstream institution to tell these stories.

While the History Museum thrives through such contributions and with Zoo-Museum District funding, the Griot Museum of Black History struggles to even pay its utility bills. In the weeks ahead, we’ll have a detailed report of this languishing establishment.

Originally published in St. Louis Globe-Democrat / Courtesy St. Louis Mercantile Library

For 50 years, the Gateway Arch has drawn visitors from around the world to downtown St. Louis. From presidents and pop stars, to school kids and church groups, millions of people each year have come to marvel at the monument.  But exactly how many people have visited in five decades? That depends on how they’re counted.

Charles McClelland, Houston police chief, at the podium
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

The push for criminal justice reform did not start with the shooting death of Michael Brown, but the events in Ferguson and elsewhere appear to have created momentum for change. More than 100 police chiefs from across the U.S. are in Washington, D.C., this week to push Congress and the White House to make “common sense” changes in criminal laws and sentencing options for nonviolent drug offenders.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

The University of Missouri’s nursing school in Columbia has signed agreements with two Planned Parenthood clinics to allow nursing students to obtain some of their training in women’s health services.

A university spokesman said the agreements are not contracts, but will enable three students who requested it to perform their clinical training at Planned Parenthood.

Provided by Chappelle-Nadal's office

Updated 10 p.m., Oct. 21 - Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is following up on her criticisms of U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay by taking the first step to challenge him next year.

Chappelle-Nadal recently filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to set up her congressional campaign committee. But candidate-filing in Missouri won’t begin until late February.

Updated 9 a.m., Oct. 22 -  Overnight, officials confirmed a seventh church fire at the rectory for the Shrine of St. Joseph in the Columbus Square neighborhood, just west of downtown. The St. Louis Fire Department was able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The double wooden doors to the rectory suffered some damage. No one was injured.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis soon could begin using the eminent domain process against land owners within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on the city's north side.

Members of the aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee voted 8-1 on Wednesday for a resolution that listed 37 property owners who could be forced to sell their land to the city. The resolution is  expected to go before the full board on Friday.

derekGavey | Flickr

While technology has changed, at least one thing has remained constant: Scammers are always looking for new ways to exploit those who are easily victimized.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging says, tech-support scams are “confidence scams, pure and simple.” In comments prepared for today’s hearing, McCaskill says “if there’s one thing many seniors are not confident about, it’s technology. So it makes perfect sense that these fraudsters would cling to a senior’s insecurity about technology to swoop in under the guise of assistance.”

Several design elements from the original Arch grounds are being incorporated in interesting ways in the renovation plans.
Courtesy CityArchRiver Foundation

When the Arch grounds renovations are complete in spring 2017, the site will boast a new museum, new walking paths and new access points from downtown.

It will also include several fascinating design elements from the Arch's past that visitors might walk by without noticing - or not be able to see in the first place.

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