Top Stories | St. Louis Public Radio

Top Stories

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

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell, left, is challenging seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, right, in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor.
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch won a seventh term as St. Louis County prosecutor on Aug. 5, 2014. Four days later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson.

Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer brought the racial disparities in the region’s criminal-justice system to the forefront and made national figures of both McCulloch and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Wesley Bell.

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

Term-limited out of her Senate seat, Maria Chappelle-Nadal is facing three newcomers as she tries to move to the House for one final term.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary in House District 86 won’t face any opposition in November. The district includes University City, Wellston, Vinita Park, Pagedale and Hanley Hills.

Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen on the Streets, Traffic and Refuse Committee held a hearing Tuesday to discuss the ongoing issues surrounding uncollected residential trash in the city.

For weeks, residents have voiced their frustrations on social media and to their aldermen that the trash in their dumpsters has gone uncollected for weeks at a time.

Jamie Wilson, the director of the city’s Department of Streets, said he’s well aware of the issue. He pointed to a combination of an aging fleet of trucks — not enough which are operable to meet demand — and an overworked staff.

Police arrested two employees of the convenience store on the corner of Goodfellow and Delmar on July 24, 2018.
St. Louis American

Yellow police caution tape barred people from entering the Gas Mart at the corner of Delmar and Goodfellow boulevards on Tuesday. No one could buy gas. No one could shop at the store.

The temporary closure came after a woman was kicked by two store employees outside the business on July 24. The woman has been identified as Kelli Adams. Protests ensued a few hours after a video of the incident went viral on social media.

A train of spectators broke a ribbon at Cortex MetroLink Station on Tuesday morning. July 31, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A new MetroLink stop opened on Tuesday in St. Louis’ Cortex tech district.

The Cortex MetroLink Station is the first new station built in more than 10 years. It’s also the first Metro Transit construction project built with both private and public funding.

Robert G. Lowery served as both the police chief and the mayor of Florissant.
City of Florissant

Robert G. Lowery Sr., the former police chief and mayor of Florissant, died Monday night at the age of 79.

He started his policing career at the age of 16 as a call-box operator for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He began his work in Florissant in 1961, when he served as a patrolman for the city’s police department. He eventually became a detective and was instrumental in forming the city’s first detective bureau in 1963.

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. to include information that the Missouri attorney general's office has begun a criminal investigation into the accident.

Two separate civil lawsuits have been filed over the duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri, that led to deaths of 17 people on July 19.

Washington University biologists holding a glass jar containing bacteria that have been engineered to use nitrogen from the atmosphere to help it grow.
Joe Angeles | Washington University

Someday, farmers may no longer need to use fertilizer for their crops. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have recently made a crucial step toward engineering plants to fertilize themselves.

Plants need nitrogen to grow, and, in nature, they absorb the nutrient from dead plants. In agriculture, farmers apply fertilizer, as crops alone cannot convert nitrogen from the air into ammonia. Because fertilizer pollutes the environment and is costly for farmers in developing countries, scientists have long researched ways to engineer plants to convert nitrogen by themselves.

In the journal mBio, Wash U researchers reported that they’ve genetically engineered a species of bacteria to use nitrogen from the air to grow.

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

Taxes on income, fuel and property are driving the Republican contest for the Missouri House seat that covers portions of St. Louis and Franklin counties.

Dottie Bailey and Matt Doell, both of Eureka, are hoping to succeed Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, who chose not to run for re-election in District 110.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Two Democrats running for the south St. Louis House seat being vacated by Fred Wessels say the most important issues to address are improving public safety and educational opportunities.

Steve Butz and Travis Estes have similar platforms in the Aug. 7 race for the 81st District, which includes the Holly Hills, Mount Pleasant, Marine Villa, Dutchtown and Carondelet neighborhoods.

An illustration of a group of four people sitting around a table.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The messages about the need for diversity in our neighborhoods, region and workplaces keep coming, and they are important.

So I was glad to hear them last week during a day-long seminar on diversity and inclusion sponsored by Ameren at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

I had hoped that the program would include deep conversations that challenged me to question assumptions. I wanted a reminder that my position in the world as a white woman from an upper-middle class family means that I am inherently blind to the experiences and realities of people who aren’t like me.

I need that reminder, as a resident of long-segregated and unequal St. Louis, and as the executive editor at St. Louis Public Radio, an imperfect institution that is trying to include more voices on its staff and in its work (an effort equally important to NPR).

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, right, laughs along with U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, in orange, during a Republican rally on Saturday, July 28, 2018,  in south St. Louis County.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Sporting a Cardinals T-shirt, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson stood in the parking lot of a strip mall Saturday in south St. Louis County to make his pitch to a crowd of local Republicans.

His message? That President Donald Trump is relying on Missouri voters to replace U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill with a Republican.

“The turning point of our country, the United States of America, could very well depend on the Senate outcome in the state of Missouri,” Parson said. “All eyes will be upon us.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers a question from Missouri state Rep. Michael Butler. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she wants the federal government to do more to discourage the type of Russian hacking that was directed at her office computers.

The Democrat told reporters Friday in St. Louis that military-intelligence officials said months ago that they have the tools to block Russian hacking but are waiting for an order from the White House.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Two St. Louis County attorneys hoping to succeed Democrat Stacey Newman in the Missouri House want to improve K-12 education and curb gun violence.

Ian Mackey and Sam Gladney are seeking the Democratic nomination for the district that includes Clayton and parts of Brentwood, Ladue, Richmond Heights and University City.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking takes a look at three competitive elections in St. Louis County. It comes as relations between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council have deteriorated.

Stenger is facing an expensive bid for re-election against businessman Mark Mantovani. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is engaged in an increasingly high-profile race against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell. And two Democrats are challenging Councilman Pat Dolan’s bid for re-election.

Police arrested two employees of the convenience store on the corner of Goodfellow and Delmar on July 24, 2018.
St. Louis American

On Tuesday, July 24, two St. Louis convenience store employees, later identified as Jehad Motan and Ahmed Qandeel, were seen on video kicking a black woman, Kelli Adams, who some describe as homeless, in front of the Gas Mart at Goodfellow and Delmar.

“This is a cornerstone to the neighborhood,” said Wiley Price IV, a community activist who is running for state representative in the district. “Everybody from near and far comes to this gas station, especially since they shut down the gas station on Delmar and Skinker.”

Russian hackers trying to influence the 2018 elections made an unsuccessful attempt to breach the computer system of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of this fall's most vulnerable Democrats.

The Daily Beast reported that McCaskill is the first known target of the Kremlin's plot to interfere in this fall's midterm elections after targeting the U.S. in the 2016 presidential election.

A field of rye
Stephen Ausmus | U.S. Department of Agriculture

Farmers and ranchers in Missouri could help cut the state’s contribution to climate change by using practices that store carbon from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a climate science report released this month.

In Missouri, many farmers use no-till or reduced-till practices, which means not using mechanical equipment to overturn the soil. They do this to improve soil health and prevent erosion, but research also shows that no-till farming can store carbon in the soil. Missouri could cut carbon dioxide emissions further if farmers adopted more practices that not only enhances soil quality, but also promotes carbon sequestration, concludes the report from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate science group.

Psychologists say racial profiling can cause physical and mental health issues including anxiety attacks, insomnia and nightmares.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When Washington University student Teddy Washington and nine other black incoming freshmen were stopped by Clayton police officers in early July, the group followed the officers’ orders to prove they were not the perpetrators of a recent “dine and dash” at the nearby IHOP.

Several of the students presented their receipts to the officers before they walked back to the restaurant around midnight on July 7, with police vehicles alongside them. The manager of the IHOP confirmed to the officers they were not the suspects and the students were free to leave.

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

A few weeks ago, St. Louis provided a flashpoint in a national conversation about theater casting and cultural heritage.

A group of visiting theater artists booed a Muny performance with a white actor playing an Asian role, before walking out. They also objected to Caucasian actors playing Puerto Ricans in a segment from “West Side Story.”

This weekend, COCA is performing “West Side Story” at the Edison Theatre at Washington University. Half the characters in the story are Puerto Rican. But with a few exceptions, they’ve historically been played on stage and in film by white actors.  That bothers some of the young people in the COCA production.

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