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Top Stories

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

File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s mission accomplished for Gov. Mike Parson, as the Missouri Legislature’s special session is all but over.

The Senate Friday debated and passed both revised bills the governor wanted – legislation to allow expansion of treatment courts in Missouri, and to create an online science, technology, engineering and math curriculum for middle-school and high-school students.

St. Louis County Health Director Faisal Khan, left, and County Executive Steve Stenger declare a public health emergency due to the opioid crisis at a press conference Thursday in Berkley.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Department of Public Health Director Faisal Khan is leaving his post for a job in Kansas City.

Khan, who reports to County Executive Steve Stenger, said Friday that political tensions between the County Council and Stenger’s office have made it difficult to do his job.

“The gulf of trust that seems to have opened up between the two is the result of both sides being unwilling to come to the table and come to an agreement and understanding about the vital services provided in St. Louis County,” Khan said. “The apportionment of blame is equally to share.”

Green Party candidate Jo Crain, Republican candidate Attorney General Josh Hawley, independent candidate Craig O'Dear and Sen. Claire McCaskill participate in a candidate forum in Maryland Heights on Sept. 14, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen Claire McCaskill and state Attorney General Josh Hawley went toe-to-toe on health care, the Supreme Court, immigration and tariffs in their first forum of the campaign Friday.

Hawley, a Republican, said the public will choose between a “heartland way of life’’ and a “radical left-wing agenda.”

McCaskill, a Democrat, said the public should focus on “the ones who actually have a track record of working in a bipartisan way and actually getting things done.”

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, left, and her Republican challenger Saundra McDowell participated in a debate Friday.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s state auditor candidates tangled Friday over the role of the job in their first — and possibly only — joint appearance.

They also differed over the fate of a disputed ballot measure called Clean Missouri.

 

House Republicans talk during the last day of the legislative session. May 17, 2017
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Cole County judge ruled Friday that a bid to overhaul the state’s ethics and state legislative redistricting laws contained too many subjects — and therefore can’t appear on the November ballot.

Proponents of the Clean Missouri initiative are appealing the ruling. But the clock is ticking for judges to make a final decision.

Amanda Moller prepares her formula in her home in University City. The formula is vital to treat a rare condition, but her insurer doesn't cover it.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Every day, Amanda Moller scoops powdered formula out of a can and shakes it up with water from her kitchen sink. It's like mixing a cocktail, she said, "but not that much fun."

The formula doesn’t taste great – like watery pudding with a biting, cheesy aftertaste. But it’s something Amanda needs to treat a rare metabolic condition she’s had since she was born. After 30 years, she’s gotten used to it.

Amanda’s employer-based insurance plan (through her husband’s employer) doesn’t cover it. Like many treatments for rare diseases, the lack of well-funded research and the tendency of insurers to focus on the bottom line mean sometimes patients can’t afford necessary medical supplies. Many of the 16,000 people in the United States who need the formula spend close to $1,000 a month to buy it.

STL Not for Sale, grassroots group hold press conference at City Hall Sept. 13, 2018
photo credit | Melody Walker

A grassroots group called STL Not For Sale is criticizing an outreach campaign conducted by a team exploring privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The group held a press conference Thursday on the steps of City Hall to protest what it says is a push for privatization. Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward, said she learned about the door-to-door effort from her constituents.

The Boys & Girls Club of St. Louis broke ground on the Teen Center of Excellence on September 13, 2018.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 13 at 3:50 p.m., to include information from Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Four years after protests rocked Ferguson, a nonprofit is expanding youth services in the area.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis broke ground on a teen center in Ferguson, Thursday morning. The $12.4-million facility will be located on West Florissant Avenue, less than half a mile from the spot where Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in August 2014.

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

Updated Sept. 13, 2018 - Since we originally published this story, the mother-daughter duo of Carmen and Isabel Garcia have continued performing in musical theater separately and together.

In June they played a grandmother and granddaughter in Mustard Seed Theater’s “Luchadora”, a drama about Mexican wrestling.

Cami Thomas, producer of the Smoke Screen documentary series with fellow filmmaker Calvin Tigre.
Cami Thomas

St. Louis activist and filmmaker Cami Thomas moved back to St. Louis from college a year after Michael Brown’s death. While news of the 2014 shooting and the protests that followed grabbed national attention, she was miles away at school — grappling with the developments and fallout.

When she returned to St. Louis, Thomas said people told her she was fortunate to move back “after the smoke cleared.” In talking with neighbors and friends, however, she wondered if locals weren’t still wrestling with age-old problems — namely segregation and discrimination.

On Chess: The Batumi Chess Olympiad

Sep 13, 2018
The 2018 U.S. Olympic team. Seated (left to right): Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So. Standing: Ray Robson, John Donaldson, Sam Shankland.
Dilip Vishwanat / World Chess Hall of Fame

The Georgian resort city of Batumi, located on the Black Sea near the Turkish border, will host the 43 Chess Olympiad. More than 1,600 players from 185 countries will compete in the bi-annual event, which is separate from the Summer and Winter Olympics.

The two-week-long tournament, running from Sept. 24 to Oct. 6, will see the United States' team attempt to defend the gold medals it won as the top finisher in 2016 in Azerbaijan, its first victory in 40 years. Perennial powerhouses Russia, China and Ukraine, along with newcomers Azerbaijan and India, are among the other top-ranked teams in an event that traces its history back to 1927.

The Avett Brothers at LouFest 2015
File photo | Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

When the organizers of LouFest canceled the event, the news came as a shock to many, though signs of the festival’s distress had been apparent. The festival’s promoter, Listen Live Entertainment, insisted that everything was fine until the moment it pulled the plug.

The announcement identified several causes including the loss of key sponsors, debt and expected rain. Organizers insisted the festival had been on target “until a bit of unfortunately timed media coverage caused many of our vendors and artists to demand up-front payment.”

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

While the special legislative session moves forward, Missouri lawmakers have wrapped up their annual veto session with no overrides.

The House did vote in favor of overriding four of Gov. Mike Parson’s line-item vetoes, which would’ve restored $785,546 to the current state budget. But the Senate needed to override them, too, and it didn’t.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke in the St. Louis area on Aug. 30, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Once again, Republicans are raising questions about U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s personal finances – or rather, those of her husband, wealthy businessman Joe Shepard.

But this time, she’s accusing her GOP critics of being hypocrites because they’re not making the same demands of President Donald Trump.

Her Republican rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, contends that McCaskill wants to hide her family’s “dark-money’’ finances.

This composite photo taken on April 10, 2018, shows the planned new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. McKee owned nearly 60 percent of the land in the 97-acre site.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

An eminent domain bill meant to secure the land needed for the headquarters of a federal spy agency cleared a committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Wednesday.

Officials say the move is necessary to protect the city against a lawsuit that seeks to take back some of the land in the 97-acre planned location of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.75 billion facility.

Missouri 2nd Congressional District Democratic candidate Cort VanOstran
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Cort VanOstran joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about his Democratic bid in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.

VanOstran is squaring off against Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Ballwin Republican who has represented the 2nd Congressional District since 2013. The district includes parts of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

DeRay Mckesson poses in the trademark blue vest that he first wore in the early days of the Ferguson protests.
Adam Mayer

An educator who quit his job to join the Ferguson protests, and then became a nationally known activist is coming back to St. Louis on Thursday.

DeRay Mckesson will appear at Union Avenue Christian Church to talk about his book, “On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.”

The Bail Project plans to bail out tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities. Since January, its St. Louis team has bailed out 756 people.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The first time Michael Milton helped buy somebody’s freedom, he didn’t expect it would be so simple.

He filed some paperwork, handed over cash and waited. Several hours later, the 19-year-old for whom Milton posted bail walked out of the St. Louis City Justice Center. The teenager had spent three months behind bars because he didn’t have $750 to make bail.

Maplewood on June 7, 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The City of Maplewood may soon overhaul a controversial public-nuisance law that has been challenged by two recent lawsuits.

Maplewood’s City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would add protections keeping victims of crimes from eviction and exclude calls to police from counting as a nuisance against residents.

An illustration of pollution, 2017
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the former site of a refrigerator-valve manufacturing facility in Washington, Missouri, to its National Priorities List.

Superfund sites that are added to the National Priorities List are eligible for federal funding for cleanup. The former site of the Sporlan Valve Plant, operational from 1939 until 1968, used industrial chemical solvents to make refrigerator parts.

Harmful contaminants such as benzene and trichloroethylene — or TCE — remained in the soil and groundwater over several decades. Exposure to such chemicals can cause cancer and damage to multiple organs.

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