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Top Stories

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

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in her Washington office.
Provided

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday that she will vote “no’’ on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

McCaskill’s decision is not unexpected. She has signaled for weeks that she had concerns about the judge’s decisions on various issues.

McCaskill joins most other Senate Democrats who already have announced their opposition to his confirmation. Progressive groups have been pressuring her for weeks to follow suit.

Microsoft Technology Center opens in Cortex Innovation Community
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

There have been many ribbon cuttings in the Cortex district this year. The debut of a new MetroLink station, a new building called Innovation Hall and the Aloft Hotel groundbreaking were big events, to name a few. But Wednesday's ribbon cutting at the Microsoft Technology Center had politicians, entrepreneurs and techies buzzing more than usual.

The $50 million, 30,000-square-foot center occupies the entire fifth floor of the new Innovation Hall on Duncan Avenue.  The software giant chose St. Louis to join an elite group of 50 cities around the world to lay claim to one of its tech centers. There are only 15 located in the U.S.

Jonah Goldberg
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Conservative writer Jonah Goldberg is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. He joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about his book Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy.

Goldberg is a syndicated columnist and a senior editor for National Review. He was intimately involved in the start of National Review Online, one of the most enduring political sites devoted to conservative politics.

Students take an algebra quiz TuesStudents take an algebra quiz Tuesday at Lutheran HIgh  School North in north St. Louis day at Luthern Middle School North in north St. Louis County. The parochial school is planning to add middle school grades next fall.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Lutheran High School North will add middle grades onto its campus in north St. Louis County next year, even as nearby Lutheran elementary schools struggle to attract enough students to stay open.

There are families looking for a more structured, Christian-based environment for middle school levels, school leaders said.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-South St. Louis County, speaks to reporters on Sept. 18, 2018.  A judge ruled that Trakas did not violate a charter provision against governmental employment when he did legal work for school districts.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Charles County judge ruled that a St. Louis County councilman did not violate a prohibition against working for a government agency.

The decision means that Councilman Ernie Trakas can remain on the St. Louis County Council — an outcome the south St. Louis County Republican said he expected.

Activists rally outside a McDonald's in St. John. Sept. 18, 2018.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Over 50 McDonald’s workers and advocates rallied outside of the McDonald’s at St. Charles Rock Road and Brown Road in St. John on Tuesday as a part of a one-day national strike to protest on-the-job sexual harassment at the restaurant chain.

The national strike was first proposed by women’s groups within Fight for $15, a workers’ rights advocacy organization. It was later approved after a nationwide vote by Fight for $15 members Sept. 11.

The study examined over 580,000 patient records collected over a 20-year period and found women were more likely to survive a heart attack when treated by a female doctor than a male doctor.
Maria Fabrizio | NPR

A new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau found the Missouri uninsured rate remained steady at 9.1 percent in 2017 despite several Congressional attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the individual mandate, the requirement that all Americans have insurance.

Missouri’s percentage of uninsured people is in line with the national rate of 9 percent. The number of uninsured people nationwide has been falling since 2013, when it was 13.4 percent.

Cast a Line | Flickr

Funding for running school buses in Missouri could return to state funding goals within five years if the state education department’s request to the legislature is fulfilled.

Missouri education officials outlined a $6.3 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year to the state Board of Education Tuesday, which asks state lawmakers for more transportation aid and per-student funding as part of a $140 million increase in its budget.

Logan Chrislaw heards cattle on Monday, September 3, 2018 at his farm in Howard County, Mo. Chrislaw began farming with his father about eight years ago.
Jennifer Mosbrucker | special to St. Louis Public Radio

Despite recent rainfall, more than half of Missouri is still in a drought, hitting hard at one of the state’s key economic engines: agriculture.

Missouri hay — the primary feed for livestock — has hit its lowest production levels in 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ideally, each acre of pasture produces two tons of hay a year, which would be two of those large circular rolls often seen in farm fields. In 1988, the average acre in Missouri only yielded 1.2 tons, and this year it’s been 1.5 tons.

Shop 'n Save stores sold to Schnucks in St. Louis region
photo credit|Paul Sableman, Flickr, Creative Commons

Shop ‘n Save is checking out of the grocery-store business in the St. Louis region.

Schnucks Markets is purchasing 19 area Shop 'n Save groceries owned by parent company SuperValu and will rebrand them as Schnucks stores. The remaining 17 Shop 'n Save locations will close if SuperValu is unable to find a buyer by the end of the year.

The acquisition will boost the number of Schnucks grocery stores by 20 percent. Fifteen of the stores include pharmacies, which will also be purchased and run by Schnucks.

A St. Louis police officer looks out at protesters outside of police headquarters Sunday night, Sept. 17, 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a dozen people who were arrested protesting the Jason Stockley verdict filed suit Monday against the City of St. Louis saying police tactics violated their civil rights.

The nonprofit law firm ArchCity Defenders filed the 12 federal lawsuits on the anniversary of the mass arrests near Washington Avenue downtown. The individuals arrested included protesters, observers, an undercover police officer and members of the media.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Denver-based Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator is expanding its program to St. Louis to support startups doing research in food, water and energy shortages.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center will partner with the incubator, called IN2, to provide research labs and support for early stage startups.

IN2 was created in 2014 to support the development and commercialization of energy-related technology through early stage startups.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Both of Missouri’s senators want their colleagues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

It comes as Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court was expected to get a key vote later this week.

Former U.S. Sen. Tim Talent
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on the latest episode of Politically Speaking. The Republican served in various federal and state capacities for more than 20 years.

While Talent is no longer a candidate himself, he is leading the charge against a constitutional amendment known as Clean Missouri.

Peter Herschend listens to a presentation Thursday, June 14, 2018. He was appointed back to the Missouri State Board of Education this week after first serving from 1991 to 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 17 at 11:30 a.m. with comments from State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed — State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed objected to one of the governor’s four appointments to the Missouri State Board of Education, leaving Peter Herschend off the board after just three meetings.

Nasheed, D-St. Louis, held up a vote on Herschend Friday during a flurry of board appointments as part of a joint-veto and special session of the legislature. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, eventually withdrew the nomination.

Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University’s historic Vashon Community Center is getting an upgrade.

The university has received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to renovate the interior of the 1936 building, along with $1.2 million from the state of Missouri. The building has most recently been used for storage, but after the $1.7-million renovations, the former public recreation center will again be open to the public.

Lawyers for Friendship Village retirement facility say the community’s decision to turn away the couple was due to the “faith-based nature of the organization.”
Friendship Village

Lawyers for Friendship Village have asked a federal court to dismiss a same-sex couple's discrimination lawsuit against the St. Louis County retirement community.

In a response filed Friday, lawyers for Friendship Village deny the facility discriminated against Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance on the basis of sex. The lawyers argue that the retirement community denied the couple housing based on the organization's religious convictions.

In denying their housing application in July 2016, the senior living community in Sunset Hills mailed the couple a copy of its “cohabitation policy,” which defines marriage as between a man and a woman as it is “understood in the Bible.”

Felicia Shaw, new executive director of St. Louis' Regional Arts Commission, said she had a sense that this community would now "be open to change" after the events of Ferguson.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The Regional Arts Commission envisions a more ambitious agenda for the St. Louis area’s cultural community. In a plan released late last week, the grant-making organization set out a series of priorities for the immediate future of the region’s arts scene.

Among the plan’s recommendations is that arts groups work with local organizations to help solve community problems. Arts groups can play a role with efforts to build affordable housing, improve public safety and other civic initiatives, RAC executive director Felicia Shaw said.

Astronaut Bob Behnken is a Pattonville High School graduate. He has physics and mechanical engineering degreees from Washington University. He earned advanced degrees from the California Institute of Technology.
NASA Kennedy | Flickr

Bob Behnken is helping NASA usher in a new era.

The astronaut, who grew up in St. Ann, has nearly 40 hours walking in the vacuum of space. Now he is part of the crew that will conduct the first human test flights for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

The Arch lights will be turned off from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30, 2018.
Jason Lusk | Flickr

The lights illuminating the Gateway Arch will go dark for two weeks beginning Monday.

The decision is part of a biannual effort to avoid disrupting bird migrations along the Mississippi Flyway — a critical route used by more than 300 North American bird species. Light pollution from upward-facing spotlights can disorient birds that migrate at night and cause them to collide with buildings.

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