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Top Stories

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

Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Young women and mothers at the St. Louis Women’s March for Truth want people to know they plan on leading the world into a more equal society.

Maplewood teen Anabel Parveno held a sign with words from Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech: “A new day is on the horizon.”

“It’s time for a change, you know,” Parveno said. “And if women keep coming out like this to this march and we keep speaking up against all these injustices, a new dawn is going to come and we’re gonna rule.”

Parveno, 16, said those injustices for her include the wage gap and sexual harassment.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

The federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown, and it appears it will be that way for some time.

President Trump and members of Congress publicly say they want to reopen the federal government, but, in the first day of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue showed no signs of ending their stalemate.

File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

One busy week leads to another as Missouri lawmakers wrestle with tax credits, a major ethics bill, and next year’s state budget.

The House this week sent a proposed lobbyist gift ban to the Senate, which is conducting a public hearing on it next week. The bill has died two years in a row over concerns that accepting a piece of gum or a slice of pizza could become illegal. But Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said he’s committed to crafting a gift ban that the full Senate can support.

Students at Adams Elementary in St. Louis Sept 2016
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State authority of the St. Louis Public School district has accomplished its job and it’s time for a return to local control, according to the district’s appointed board. But it’s not clear when that could happen.

In a unanimous vote Thursday evening, the three-person Special Administrative Board approved a motion to return authority of the district to the St. Louis Board of Education, which is elected but powerless, after a decade of state control.

A crowd likely numbering in the thousands filled Luther Ely Smith Square during the rally after the St. Louis Women's March January 21, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The first National Women’s March was held in Washington, D.C., one year ago. That's when thousands of pink pussyhat-clad people filled streets in the nation’s capital and cities across the country to rally for the rights of women.

KRISSY LANE | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has released portions of his plan to cut taxes in Missouri.

Greitens said in a written statement Thursday afternoon that most of the details of his proposal will be laid out “in the coming weeks.” But the Republican governor has listed several goals, or “principles,” that make up the plan.

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards speaks at a Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards made remarks about crime in St. Louis that prompted a sharp response from civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders.

Edwards told a crowd at a Martin Luther King Day event that black-on-black crime was a problem African-American residents need to tackle.

A perplexus chess set and board created by Victor Vaserly, edition 210/1500, collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield
Michael DeFilippo

When Victor Vasarely, the father of op art, first began to experiment with optical illusions, he needed a canvas on which to put down his thoughts. That canvas had to be square. His two other choices were round, which was totally impractical, or rectangular, which would beg the question: Which way to hang the finished work? So he chose the shape of a chessboard, the square.

This image is a still shot from home movies of a gay pool party in 1945 that St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story bought in an estate sale.
Geoff Story

Dozens of gay men gather for a pool party in a secluded spot in Hillsboro, Missouri. Home movies capture their easy affection and carefree dancing. 

But they’re not recent videos. The movies were taken in 1945.

St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story has begun weaving the films into a documentary, “Gay Home Movie.” It offers a rare glimpse into a largely invisible world, a time when same-sex relationships were not only looked at as immoral — they were illegal.

Addie Bond, a St. Louis parent, Special Administrative Board member Richard Gaines and legal counsel Jonathan Dalton listen to a presentation during a governance task force meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A task force on the future governance of St. Louis’ public schools says control of the district should eventually return to local, democratic oversight, but members struggled to agree on much else.

In a meeting that began at noon and lasted well into Wednesday evening, a committee assigned with determining St. Louis Public Schools’ future recommended the restoration of an elected school board, but with the caveat that in seven years voters would get to choose whether to keep that elected board.

John Hayden was picked on Dec. 28, 2017, to be St. Louis' next police chief. Hayden is a 30-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

A plan by the top two public safety officials in St. Louis to battle crime by directing more resources to higher-crime areas has the backing of aldermen on the public safety committee.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden and public safety director Jimmie Edwards spent more than two hours addressing questions from committee members on Wednesday. Both pledged to come before the committee as often as needed to update its members on the progress of the plans, but asked for help from the lawmakers as well to meet their goals.

The Northside-Southside Consulting team presented the results of its ongoing study at the first of three open houses.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Thirty percent of people in the St. Louis region who might rely on a north-south MetroLink route do not have access to a car, according to an ongoing transit study.

The Northside-Southside Consulting Team shared the results of its study and other information Tuesday during an open house at the Five Star Senior Center in the Benton Park West neighborhood of south St. Louis.

A north-south MetroLink route could help more people in St. Louis travel to jobs and spur job development, said Dan Meyers, a senior transportation planner for AECOM, a consulting firm for the rail system.

Eddie Albarran, who is studying photography, took photos of a DACA rally held outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. on Sept. 6 2017. He spoke at the rally.
Provided | Eddie Albarran

A St. Louis woman from Haiti is among immigrants who are concerned about the future of family members and others without documentation, despite the recent restoration of certain protections.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it is accepting renewal applications from young people seeking protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Obama-era program protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were under the age of 31 when the grant took effect in 2012. President Donald Trump sought to end DACA. A federal judge temporarily blocked that decision this month.

Nurse Thomas Pacatte draws blood from Gary Newcomer, a volunteer of Saint Louis University's Zika vaccine trials in 2018.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

In what looks like a typical doctor’s office, Gary Newcomer, 26, waited to have his blood drawn for the last time as a participant in a trial for a Zika virus vaccine.

Newcomer has visited Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development 16 times since November 2016. But a cut in federal funding is bringing a halt to the trial before a vaccine can be developed.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas
Alex Heuer I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies welcomes St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas on the program for the first time.

The Republican from south St. Louis County was elected to the 6th District council seat in 2016. He represents a part of largely unincorporated south St. Louis, which means that he makes many of the development and zoning decisions for the area.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is continuing his pace as one of  Missouri’s top money-raisers among the non-congressional candidates, but Democratic rival Mark Mantovani appears to be edging up fast.

Stenger’s latest campaign-finance report, filed Tuesday, shows that he raised almost $520,000 during the past three months for his re-election bid later this year.  

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, raised more money during that same period. Greitens collected close to $630,000 and reported almost $2.8 million in his state campaign committee.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner met with business owners in Edwardsville, Illinois on January 16.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged Tuesday to help small business owners by addressing “punishing” high property taxes and “too many” regulations.

Calling taxes and regulations burdens that drive small businesses to the neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana, Rauner said he wants to curtail them to bring businesses back.

“Every challenge we face in Illinois could be overcome if we have faster economic growth,” Rauner said after speaking to business owners in Edwardsville.

Veterans Home resident Curtis Washington shares his concerns as his wife, Sandra, holds a microphone at an event, October 2017.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The embattled head of the St. Louis Veterans Home could lose his job following a state investigation into conditions there.

Air National Guard, Col. Grace Link, interim executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, wants to fire Veterans Home director Rolando Carter, who has been accused of mismanagement.

Link also plans to hire 36 nursing assistants for the home, where some residents complained that they were abused and neglected.

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

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is facing fresh calls for his resignation on Tuesday, this time from Republican lawmakers that haven’t quarreled with the GOP chief executive in the past.

It’s the latest indication that Greitens is in a perilous position after admitting last week that he had an extramarital affair before becoming governor, but denying accusations he took a photo of the woman to keep the infidelity a secret.

Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr

Missouri is set to increase the amount it spends on public preschool, but education officials say even if the funds are put in the next budget, the small increase will have only a marginal impact.

By hitting a benchmark for education funding during last year’s budget process, state lawmakers set off a provision that requires more funding for pre-K in the following fiscal year.

Joshua Eckhoff, 33, of Ballwin suffered a traumatic brain injury while clearing roadside bombs in Iraq. January 2018 photo
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Joshua Eckhoff of Ballwin smiled as he described posing for pictures at his college graduation in December — and how proud his mother was. Earning that degree is the latest achievement for the Army veteran who suffered a brain injury in Iraq 10 years ago that no one thought he could survive.

On Feb. 6, 2008, as Eckhoff led a convoy searching for roadside bombs, an improvised explosive device pierced the armored vehicle he was riding in and smashed into the right side of his head. His injury was so severe that the Army notified his mother that he had died in combat.

“I call that my ‘alive day,’ ’’ said Eckhoff, 33. “The anniversary of my injury every year, we celebrate it like a birthday.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson introduces Greitens before he makes his State of the State address. (Jan 10, 2018)
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Amid a sex scandal that threatens his political future, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has canceled plans to hold an event Tuesday in St. Peters to promote his tax-cut proposal.

 

Greitens was scheduled to appear at Arrowhead Building Supply, which provides building materials to contractors.

Jabari Blakemore and Anna Murrary Robinson, of the Carnahan High School drum line lead a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from Wellston to Pine Lawn. Jan. 15, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Almost 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the key focus of area civil rights leaders is to keep the national leader’s legacy — and message — alive for a new generation.

Which helps explain why state Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, sought to rev up Monday’s annual event at the Old Courthouse to mark King’s birthday. Amid all the songs and speeches, Franks focused on the importance of action.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials navigate the Illinois River where there are jumping silver carp, a type of Asian carp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State and federal wildlife officials plan to pull out all the stops this month to eliminate Asian carp from Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County. 

The invasive species are relentless bottom feeders that have damaged water quality, disrupted the food chain and driven down native fish populations in many Midwestern waterways. 

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. answers questions at a press conference before his speech at St. Louis University in 1964.
Saint Louis University

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited St. Louis for a speech in early 1957, did he imagine Americans would still be grappling with the legacies of segregation and economic disparity more than 60 years later?

As Americans prepare to commemorate King's birthday on Jan. 15, it is worth noting that the civil rights leader made St. Louis a regular stop for at least a decade.

Frankie Muse Freeman at a gathering of local civil rights activists in 2014
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 17, 2018 with funeral information

Frankie Freeman’s career as a criminal defense lawyer didn’t last long.

Freeman, who died Friday at age 101, was best known for her work on civil rights, housing and education. But starting out, she took any kind of case she could get.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters after the 2017 adjourned. Greitens didn't have the smoothest relationship with legislators — including Republicans that control both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens used his personal backstory and resume, not alliances with elected officials, to carry him to the Missouri governorship. The Republican made castigating “career politicians” a standard part of his rhetorical pitch — even after the 2016 election season ended.

But as details emerge from a sex scandal that tarnished his image and put his political career in jeopardy, the elected officials Greitens derided aren’t coming to his rescue. Some are twisting the knife.

An illustration of pills.
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

White residents in Missouri are dying at a higher rate than they did nearly two decades ago, according to a report from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The increased death rate largely is occurring in the state's rural counties, especially in the Ozarks and the Bootheel region and substance abuse appears to be a major factor. For example, deaths by drug overdose have increased by nearly 600 percent in many rural counties. Poor mental health also plays a significant role, as suicides among young and middle-aged adults have increased by 30 percent since 1995. 

Sign at a homeless tent encampment on sidewalk in downtown St. Louis on Oct. 26, 2017.
File photo | Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of St. Louis’ Department of Human Services has acknowledged the city is not doing enough to help people who need a temporary place to stay during prolonged cold weather.

“There certainly can be improvements that are made,” Irene Agustin, the Human Services director, told a Board of Aldermen committee on Thursday. “I think that’s important to really figure out how do we best respond more quickly.”

27% of individual Missouri tax refunds were late in 2016
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of Missourians could receive their income tax refunds late in 2018, if past years are any indication. Based on the Department of Revenue’s current interpretation of state law, taxpayers will receive little if any interest on the delayed payments.

And Missourians have been waiting longer for their refunds each year, according to report by state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

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