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Top Stories

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

BJC Healthcare is completing two new medical towers.
Huy Mach | Washington University School of Medicine

Doctors at Washington University will soon be able to provide better treatment to infants in critical care and their mothers.

The Barnes-Jewish Parkview Tower will house patients from the Siteman Cancer Center and the Women and Infants Center. It will be connected by skywalk to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Tower.

That connection will allow doctors to transfer infants in critical condition to the neonatal intensive care unit in the event of an emergency. It will also allow doctors to more quickly unite mothers with their newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The St. Louis Symphony performs at Powell Hall in a 2016 concert.
File | St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has announced its 2018-2019 schedule, which includes a mixture of classics and new works.

The method of selecting the lineup was also new. For its 139th season, the orchestra asked its musicians to weigh in.

It just made sense to include them, according to Marie-Hélène Bernard, symphony president and CEO .

Charles Robinson, right, a deputy juvenile officer in the St. Louis Family Court's truancy unit, leaves Roosevelt  High School with a student in his caseload who got into a fight and was suspended.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Charles Robinson’s morning is already upended.

With a rap on the wooden door of his small office, he learns the mother of a child in his caseload overdosed on drugs the night before.

He had planned to do home visits with a middle school social worker. With a few deep breaths, Robinson collects himself. Then moments later, a phone call interrupts again.

Every day is an exercise in tight decisions for Corey Robinson. “If you only make $8.50, you gotta use your money wisely,” he said. “Do you feel like eating today, or do you feel like getting on the bus?”
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On his first job out of college as a corrections officer for St. Louis County in 1984, Perez Maxwell noticed that no black men had social work roles. When he sought a promotion to social worker two years later — a position he said he had the education and training to win — he hit a wall.

That was just the first of several jobs where Maxwell observed that he and his black colleagues lost out on leadership roles that went to white counterparts with similar education.  

He can’t help but think that helps explain why many black people in St. Louis continue to be paid much less than white people. Black households made 49 percent of what white households made in St. Louis, based on median incomes in the most recently available census data, which detailed how the nation changed in 2016.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

In his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump is expected to take a bipartisan tone. He is expected to focus on jobs and the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade and national security. NPR journalists specializing in these areas and more will be adding context and analysis to his remarks in real time. 

Editor's note: The transcript will be updated throughout the speech. While we are working to correct errors, it may contain discrepancies and typographical errors.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said it's not a sure thing that Gov. Eric Greitens' nominees to the Board of Education will get a committee hearing.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Republican lawmakers are angling for tax cuts during this year’s legislative session. It’s a policy push that the GOP officials believe will make the state more attractive to businesses and potential residents.

But with the state facing yet another tough budgetary year, members of both parties worry that cutting taxes will deprive Missouri of revenue needed to fund basic state services. Some fear that Missouri is marching in the same direction as Kansas, where tax cuts have been criticized for hurting the state.

Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, resigned his seat in the Missouri Senate in January to fill a vacancy on the Public Service Commission.
Courtesy of Silvey's Facebook page

Ryan Silvey began 2018 as the state senator for most of Clay County in the Kansas City metro area. On the second day of this year’s legislative session he resigned his seat in the Senate in order to accept an appointment to the Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.

And his new job comes courtesy of someone he’s often criticized, fellow Republican and governor, Eric Greitens.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin talked with Silvey about why he made the switch and how his new job is going:

Flares at the Bridgeton Landfill are used to burn off smelly underground gases.
File Photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to soon announce its plans to clean up the waste in West Lake Landfill. For people who live near the landfill in north St. Louis County, the decision couldn’t come soon enough, as the waste sits approximately 600 feet from an underground smoldering fire.

The landfill has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List since 1990. Eighteen years later, the EPA under the administration of President George W. Bush recommended capping the landfill. The waste has sat at the site since its former owner, Cotter Corporation, dumped it there in 1973.

EPA officials may decide to remove the waste entirely, remove it in part, or cap the site.

Gov. Eric Greitens sits down for an interview with St. Louis Public Radio in downtown St. Louis on July 17, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is unveiling more details of his tax overhaul, which seeks to pair income and business tax cuts with paring down some popular tax breaks.

Greitens’ proposal would cut Missouri's income tax to 5.3 percent. Legislation that was passed in 2014 is already gradually reducing the state income tax to 5.5 percent. The proposal would also lower the corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 4.25 percent. And it would institute an earned income tax credit for certain types of workers.

A Buddeez factory worker removes a plastic bin from the conveyor belt. Plastic bins are one of the many products Buddeez manufactures. (Jan 12 2018)
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri company is benefiting big from Walmart’s effort to boost manufacturing in the United States.

Buddeez Inc., which makes milk crates, plastic storage bins and other products for Walmart and other retailers in Union, is in the midst of an expansion. Its growth is part of Walmart’s 10-year initiative to invest $250 billion in each of the 50 states.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, center, stands with the rest of the House Democratic caucus during the first day of the 2018 legislative session.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty to the program.

The Kansas City Democrat has been the leader of Missouri House Democrats since 2017. She’s often the public face for a 46-member caucus that regularly faces an uphill battle to outflank the Republican supermajority on key issues.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After holding dozens of town halls in rural and suburban parts of the state, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s first one in St. Louis was a largely cordial affair — with the Democratic senator answering numerous questions on the recent government shutdown.

But she saved her harshest criticism for the GOP governor and legislators that control Missouri’s government.

A construction worker puts finishing touches on a French Creole cabin in the redesigned museum beneath the Gateway Arch.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Construction crews at the Gateway Arch are installing new museum exhibits in the expanded visitors center of the national monument — the final stage in a massive overhaul of the grounds that began in 2013.

“We’re in the home stretch,’’ said Ryan McClure, communications director for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, as he led reporters on a tour of the site Friday morning. “Right now, what you’re seeing is exhibits being installed, which is really the last piece that needs to happen in the building.’’

Construction will be completed in time for an opening celebration on July 3, he said. Fair St. Louis will be held on the Arch grounds, beginning on July 4.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

To some of his critics, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s strained relations with many members of the County Council is payback.

During his last years as the 6th District councilman, it wasn’t unusual for Stenger to publicly joust with then-Executive Charlie Dooley at council meetings. Stenger won their 2014 confrontation at the polls.

But now, others see a broader conflict over power and who wields it.  Stenger and the council continue to battle over a variety of issues as this year’s November elections loom. Their feud has gone on for over a year.

A police officer speaks to a woman after an October 2016, shooting.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After 205 people died from gun violence in St. Louis last year, the city's research universities and hospitals decided to take steps to reduce such deaths. Police data show there have been 10 homicides in St. Louis this year so far. 

The St. Louis Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program, to begin this summer, will employ medical treatment and therapy to reduce deaths and new injuries among gunshot, stabbing and assault victims.

Washington University, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will collaborate on the effort. The medical centers involved include, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s voter-approved contribution limits curbed the amount of money that some candidates could take from a political donor. What it didn’t do is stop a candidate from encouraging big contributors to send money to political action committees that could help their electoral pursuits.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses the media on July 14, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Concerns over whether city resources are equally distributed to people of color and poor residents has prompted a shift to assess St. Louis policies.

Mayor Lyda Krewson has hired Cristina Garmendia to manage the Equity Indicators project to develop a tool that measures equity.

“This project provides an opportunity to develop a common set of goals and measurements to guide institutional decision-making, and empower residents to hold us accountable to the priorities identified by the community in the Forward Through Ferguson report,” Garmendia said in a statement.

Microgrid installed two solar arrays at Busch Stadium.
Microgrid Energy

The 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels President Donald Trump announced this week could hurt Missouri's solar companies.

Prices of imported solar panels already are rising as companies want to buy them before the tariff takes effect, said Steve O'Rourke, vice president of business development at St. Louis-based Microgrid Energy.

The price of solar panels has been in flux since last fall, when the U.S. International Trade Commission found that imports hurt two domestic manufacturers and recommended a tariff to protect them. However, the U.S. solar industry imports 80 percent of its solar products, mainly from China.

On Chess: The potency of the present

Jan 25, 2018
Grandmaster Peter Svidler contemplates a move.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

“Playing chess is hard.” All players — from novice to grandmaster — have uttered this phrase. As competitive activities go, chess is one of the least forgiving.

If I hit a double fault while playing tennis, something I’m quite familiar with doing, it’s not the greatest feeling; however, in the end, it only costs one point. I go up to the line to serve again as if nothing has happened. You get to start fresh. Granted, some points have far greater importance than others, but ultimately you always get to start anew.

Chess does not work this way. 

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

When Jazzmine Nolan was 12, her father was murdered by one of his friends. His death left her devastated and empty inside.

“I was so angry that I didn’t know what I was feeling,” she said.

Nolan became unsure of whom to trust. Her cries for help and understanding often fell on deaf ears of the people around her. But instead of going down the path of self-destruction, she turned to the dance form "step" as a way to cope.

Carmen and Isabel Garcia with a Clydesdale, on location in September 2017 at Grant's Farm for a promotional St. Louis Blues video.
Carmen Garcia

For years, teenager Isabel Garcia performed in school plays as her mother, Carmen, beamed from the audience.

Isabel knew her mom once loved to perform, too, and had the playbills to prove it. But she’d never seen her mother on stage.

Dr. Bernard C. Randolph Sr.
Randolph family photo

Dr. Bernard C. Randolph Sr., a civil rights leader and a member of a small, tight-knit cadre of African-American doctors in St. Louis who began their practices during segregation, died this week.

Randolph, who sought and found myriad ways to blend medicine and activism, died of pneumonia on Saturday at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. He was 95.

St. Louis city students ride a Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, VICC, school bus on May 11, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Jeanie Ames is running for the Parkway school board on a manifesto of good taxpayer stewardship and continued academic excellence where “all learners ... feel safe, appreciated, and challenged.”

But several parents say Ames’ social media postings portray someone with racist viewpoints.

She is among five candidates who filed last week to run for the Parkway Board of Education. Kevin Seltzer, Jonathan Taylor, Matthew Schindler and Amy Bonnett are also running. Ames' candidacy is igniting an unusually high level of interest for a school board race still months away.

This is a recent photo of the building that once housed Club Imperial.
Robert Vroman

Updated Jan. 23 — A building that was the site of an historic St. Louis music venue will remain standing, at least for the time being.

The St. Louis Preservation Board Monday night unanimously backed a decision to deny a demolition permit for the former Club Imperial.

Building owner Robert Vroman, who bought the building last August in an auction, said he hopes public attention will entice a new buyer with plans to restore the space. The deadline for paying additional taxes is summer 2019, Vroman said. He said that if no one steps forward with a renovation offer by then, he’ll let the property return to the city for another tax auction.

Alex Garcia poses for a portrait at Christ Church United Church of Christ, where he’s taking sanctuary.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When the letter from immigration officials came in the mail in September, Carly Garcia knew her life was about to change.

Panicked, she opened the envelope then called her husband, Alex, and told him to rush home.

In the past, immigration agents had given Alex Garcia temporary permission to live in the United States with Carly and their five children. But now, the letter said, he had two weeks to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for deportation.

Jean Maneke, counsel to the Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Monday discuss changes to the Sunshine Law. 1/22/18
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley wants the state legislature to adopt a few changes he’s proposing this year to Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

First, he wants to set up a transparency division within his office that would have the authority to enforce the Sunshine Law against state agencies.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided NAFTA-related estimates for all states. It has concluded that doing away with the agreement would have a significant impact on Missouri's economy.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The fate of tens of thousands of Missouri jobs could hinge on trade talks set to resume this week in Montreal. Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico will gather for another round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The U.S. wants to rework the deal, or possibly withdraw altogether.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says roughly 250,000 jobs in Missouri could be affected if the Trump administration decides to leave NAFTA.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 22 — Federal employees will return to work Tuesday, after hundreds of thousands of federal workers were not on the job because of a government shutdown.

Congress on Monday passed a stopgap spending bill and sent it to President Donald Trump.

The shutdown occurred after Republican lawmakers in Washington failed to pass a short-term spending Friday and continued to disagree over the weekend on funding for immigration proposals, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, natural disasters and other priorities.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a stopgap spending bill passed by Congress on Monday, ending the partial shutdown of the federal government after three days.

The White House has said normal government operations will resume by Tuesday morning.

provided | Better Business Bureau

Consumers in the St. Louis region reported losses of nearly $200,000 to the Better Business Bureau last year due to scams.

The non-profit said its online Scam Tracker recorded 953 scams throughout the area in 2017.

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