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Top Stories

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

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Missouri legislature has retaliated against the state health department by including what some called drastic cuts to the agency in next year’s budget.

Lawmakers approved the cuts, totaling in eight eliminated positions, after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services refused to reveal the number of people in Missouri who had tested positive for antibodies for a mysterious virus. The virus reportedly killed a Meramec State Park worker in 2017.

Advocates for reproductive rights visit the Missouri Capitol on Thursday dressed as characters from Hulu series "The Handmaid's Tale." May 10, 2018
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

The halls of the Missouri Capitol looked a bit like a scene from the hit Hulu series "The Handmaid’s Tale" on Thursday morning, as more than a dozen women dressed in red robes and white bonnets visited the offices of lawmakers.

The group, organized by Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, was protesting two House budget bills that would restrict care at Planned Parenthood health centers. The bills would prevent patients insured through MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood or other health facilities that provide abortion services. 

Michelle Nasser and Scott Rosenblum, members of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' defense team, arrive at the St. Louis Civil Courts building Thursday morning for the first day of jury selection in Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial. 051018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8:00 p.m. May 10 with more information from the first day — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was in a St. Louis courtroom Thursday watching jury selection for his upcoming invasion of privacy trial slowly unfold.

Wearing a business suit and a purple tie, Greitens spent most of the day quietly conferring with his attorneys. He’s accused of taking a photograph of a woman with whom he had an affair without her consent — and placing it in a position to be accessed by a computer.

Students of Hawthorn Leadership School work with tutors from YourWordsSTL to express themselves through writing.
YourWordsSTL

Shortly after Anna Guzon of St. Louis graduated from medical school, she realized she wanted to practice a different kind of medicine: helping young people heal by writing about their lives.

That’s the aim of YourWords STL, the organization she cofounded to help marginalized youth.

Arthur Ross is a freshman at Innovative Concept Academy and one of the finalists of the Mentors in Motion songwriting competition. Here he records the hook to a new song.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Music comes naturally for Arthur Ross. He’s been immersed in hip-hop since he was a child. Now he’s hoping one of his songs might help with his college goals.

“I hope this rapping takes me to the BET stage. If it doesn’t take me that far, I hope it can give my family a better life,” Ross said.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the prosecution ran Tuesday, and a profile of the defense attorneys ran Wednesday.

Nearly 200 St. Louis residents will walk into the Civil Courts building in downtown St. Louis Thursday morning in response to a jury summons for the felony invasion of privacy trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

They'll eventually file into a seventh floor courtroom, where Circuit Judge Rex Burlison will preside, to learn if they will help determine the governor’s guilt.

On Chess: Chess in St. Louis – A never-ending story

May 10, 2018
Var Akobian, one of the highest-rated players competing in the Summer Chess Classic Group A.
Saint Louis Chess Club

It is no longer news that St. Louis is the capital of chess in the United States, yet it continues its reputation for bringing the finest chess players to compete in elite events throughout the year. 2018 marks the Saint Louis Chess Club’s 10th anniversary and 10th straight year hosting the U.S. Championships in St. Louis. After an exciting U.S. Championship cycle, where the top twelve male and top twelve female chess players competed for the crown of national champion, the staff of the Chess Club is continuing their inspiring journey, bringing another exciting event to St. Louis.

Left to right: Missouri state representatives Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, and Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, along with  House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, during Wednesday's final budget debates.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Despite distractions and conflict over Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens legal troubles, Missouri lawmakers were able to send him next year’s state budget two days before the mandatory 6 p.m. Friday deadline.

The spending plan for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, increases K-12 education funding by more than $98 million. The increase means public schools will be fully funded under the scaled-back definition that became law two years ago.

Civil Courts building, St. Louis
File photo | Rachel Heidenry

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has rejected a media request to record audio during the felony trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Burlison ruled Wednesday that still photography would be allowed for the first 10 minutes of the first day of trial, which is scheduled for Monday. He had previously rejected video recording of the trial, although it will be broadcast into an overflow courtroom for media and the public.

Exterior of Nebula Coworking.
Nebula

Updated May 9 at 11 p.m. with comment from Sen. Claire McCaskill  — Last year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality, a set of regulations intended to protect internet users. Now, leaders of eight St. Louis co-working spaces are calling on Missouri congressional lawmakers to join national efforts that could reverse the commission’s decision.

Their call came Wednesday as U.S. Sen. Ed. Markey, D-Mass., filed a petition that would force the U.S. Senate to vote on the future of net neutrality. The 2015 regulations bar internet providers from controlling internet speeds, among other things. The Senate must vote by June 12 on whether to allow or block the FCC’s repeal.

Political consultant and lobbyist Mike Hafner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Within days after Mike Hafner began work in January 2015 as a full-time campaign staffer for Republican Eric Greitens, Hafner says he was presented with a copy of the donor list for The Mission Continues, the charity that Greitens helped found.

“We had set a meeting to discuss the donor list, so I could get notes from Eric and build a fundraising plan for his potential candidacy,” Hafner said in an interview Wednesday.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the prosecution ran Tuesday. A profile of the judge will run Thursday.

The felony trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, which starts Thursday with jury selection, has the makings of an epic courtroom skirmish.

As one attorney put it, the case is an All-Star Game for the legal community, and a sizable amount of talent is batting for the governor.

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

St. Louis County voters will be asked in August whether to expand the County Council’s powers and impose campaign donation limits on candidates running for county offices.

The council gave final approval Tuesday to the proposed charter change, which embraces a number of issues.

Flickr | Paul Sableman

In a Brookings Institution study of 70 older industrial cities, St. Louis ranks among the ones with stronger economies that are making progress on the road toward renewal and reinvention.

“It’s been one of the stronger economies in terms of job creation, in terms of good job creation,” explained Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and co-author of the study. 

Courtesy, Missouri Senate

Activists known as the Medicaid 23 returned to the Missouri Senate Tuesday, four years and two days after staging a demonstration in the Senate gallery after lawmakers’ refusal to expand Medicaid.

Instead of singing hymns and praying like they did in 2014, the group was quiet as Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Kansas City, read a tribute in their honor. 

Fireworks, fourth of july, reflected, horizontal, arch
File Photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Fourth of July concerts and fireworks will return to the Gateway Arch for the first time in four years.

Fair St. Louis announced Tuesday that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, pop artist Jason Derulo and country singer-songwriter Martina McBride will headline the three-day event. The artists will play on a main stage under the legs of the Arch.

A student walks through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' campus Friday afternoon, May 19, 2017.
File photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 8 at 8:30 a.m. with new recommendations —

Some degrees slated to be dropped at the University of Missouri-St. Louis appear to have been saved.

UMSL administrators released final recommendations Monday on a restructuring effort designed to save the public institution money. The entire University of Missouri System is going through a similar process at the direction of President Mun Choi.

High-speed internet is only available for residents living within the city limits of West Plains in south-central Missouri. September 2017
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the defense attorneys will run Wednesday and the judge on Thursday.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner made history in February when she charged Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy. It was the first time a Missouri governor had been indicted.

In the indictment made public Feb. 22, Gardner said that in 2015, Greitens took a photo of the woman with whom he was having an affair, while she was semi-nude, and then transmitted it so that it could be viewed on a computer.

St. Louis Public Schools

One of the bigger obstacles to passing this year’s state budget has been resolved.

Missouri’s public school system is set to get a $98 million boost in next year’s state budget, which was what House leaders wanted, under an agreement reached Monday.

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