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

Shula Neuman is the executive editor for St. Louis Public Radio. Dec. 2017
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A few weeks ago, our political reporters caught wind of rumors about Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and an extramarital affair. We pursued the issue, but, without reliable sources to verify the rumors, we felt we couldn’t run the story.

Eric and Sheena Greitens prepare to vote in the Central West End on Nov. 8, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ admission late Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair before he was governor bumped his second State of the State address out of the headlines. 

Just after the speech Wednesday evening, Greitens and his wife, Sheena Greitens, issued a statement saying “there was a time when he was unfaithful” in their marriage. The admission came as KMOV-TV prepared to air a report about the affair, featuring the man who said he was the ex-husband of the woman in question. 

This photograph by Kat Reynolds is part of the Mane 'n Tail exhibition. Other artists include LaKela Brown, Pamela Council, Baseerah Khan, Abigail Lucien, Narcissister, Yvonne Osei, Shenequa, Diamond Stingily and Rachel Youn.
Provided | Kat Reynolds

Kat Reynolds stops by the beauty products store about as often as some people shop for groceries — about three times a month.

For many women, shampoos, conditioners, extensions and weaves seem to hold the key not only to an improved appearance but also a kind of self-satisfaction, according to Reynolds. With that in mind, the photographer is curating an art exhibition, “Mane ‘n Tail,” named for a popular line of beauty products.

Reynolds said the show, which opens Jan. 19, focuses on female attractiveness and African-American culture, including money and self-determination.

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

Updated January 11 at 4:20 p.m. with Gardner investigation —  Missouri House and Senate Republican leaders issued almost identical statements of concern Thursday as they otherwise declined comment on the sex scandal swirling around Gov. Eric Greitens.

Using the bad weather as an excuse, most lawmakers fled the state Capitol, and both chambers adjourned swiftly until next Tuesday.

However, a bipartisan group of senators – all frequent critics of the governor – announced they were sending a letter asking state Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the matter.

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the 2018 State of the State address in Jefferson City.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens used his State of the State address Wednesday to announce a proposal to cut state taxes this year, even as the state budget is still adjusting to earlier state and federal tax cuts that are just now going into effect.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Goodwill, the nonprofit organization best known for its thrift stores, will operate a network of adult high schools across Missouri, with its first scheduled to open in St. Louis in October.

MERS Goodwill, the Missouri and southern Illinois branch of the job training agency, announced Tuesday it won a contract with Missouri education officials to open four schools.

St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum interviewed state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens at KBIA studios in Columbia, Missouri.
Ryan Famuliner I KBIA

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is pleased to welcome state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens to the program.

Rosenbaum recorded the show with the Columbia Democrats at KBIA’s studios on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Both lawmakers represent fairly Democratic-leaning districts that take in portions of the city of Columbia.

Betty Arrington plays afternoon bingo at the Mary Ryder Home. (Jan. 4, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A residence in the Central West End has had the reputation of catering to poor and low-income women for years. But now, the organization's work to house middle-aged and elderly women with mental illnesses and, in some cases formerly homeless women, is vital in a city seeking to address its issues around homelessness.

The Mary Ryder Home, 4361 Olive St., isn’t a nursing home or an independent senior living facility. It gives women over age 55 who can no longer afford to live on their own — either because of mental health issues or financial problems — a place to stay. Permanently.

A rare plant called Dracaena umbraculifera lives in northeastern Madagascar.
Missouri Botanical Garden

DNA technology has helped scientists discover a species of plant in Madagascar that’s long been classified as extinct.

The Missouri Botanical Garden reported Monday in the journal Oryx that researchers found a few populations of the Dracaena umbraculifera. It’s classified as extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, but there are specimens living in botanical gardens around the world. Identifying the plant, however, can be tricky because it can only be truly identified by its flowers. It has not flowered in any botanical garden.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway and Gov. Eric Greitens listen during a ceremony revealing Gov. Jay Nixon's gubernatorial portriat on Jan. 4, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A state audit contends that a cash shortfall is primarily to blame for Missouri residents receiving their state income tax refunds late this past year.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The search has begun for Missouri’s next education commissioner, even though there currently aren’t enough board members to vote on hiring Margie Vandeven’s successor.

Ten people applied for the job by Monday’s deadline. But Board of Education President Charlie Shields said they can’t even review their applications until there are at least five voting members on the State Board.

When the hospital closed in rural Ellington, Missouri, a town of about 1,000, the community lost its only emergency room, too. 

That was 2016. That same year, a local farmer had a heart attack.


A few years ago, Kansas City restaurateur Anton Kotar surveyed the local and national restaurant scenes and concluded his town’s reputation as a steakhouse paradise had slipped.

The problem, he says, is the way conventional beef is raised – bulked up with grain on feedlots, making it cheap and plentiful and changing what Americans expect to taste.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, a Republican from Town and Country
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, a Republican from Huntleigh, is giving serious thought to challenging County Executive Steve Stenger this year.

She will have to make a decision soon. Candidate filing begins Feb. 27 and lasts only a month.

Former Gov. Jay Nixon stands next to his official portrait last week in Jefferson City. (January 2018)
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When lawmakers gaveled themselves back into session on Jan. 3, most people focused on tension between Gov. Eric Greitens and the Missouri Senate — or how the GOP-controlled legislature may struggle to solve big policy problems over the next few months.

But for a brief moment on Thursday, legislators from both parties took a break from the Jefferson City rigor to shower praise on former Gov. Jay Nixon.

Normandy marching band performs during the VP Parade in Forest Park Saturday, July 4, 2015.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Last Tuesday was supposed to be a monumental day for Normandy’s public school district. It was kicking off 2018 with a distinction it had not enjoyed in almost five years: It was no longer unaccredited in the eyes of the state school board.

Instead, school was canceled because of below-zero morning temperatures. Leadership at Normandy Schools Collaborative, as the district has been known since a reconfiguration in 2014, still took a few minutes to acknowledge the milestone.

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson presides over the Missouri Senate in 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Lt. Gov. Mike Parson to the program.

Parson recorded the episode of the show from his office in Jefferson City. He won election to the statewide position in November 2016, defeating well-funded general election and Republican primary challengers.

Ivan Baxter, a researcher at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Liz Haswell, a biology professor at Washington University, started a podcast called Taproot last summer to talk about the challenges of doing research.
Provided by Ivan Baxter and Liz Haswell

Researchers Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter spend most their time trying to understand how plants function. But the two plant scientists sometimes step away from their microscopes and specimens to have honest conversations with their colleagues about the challenges of doing research. They recorded these dialogues into a podcast called Taproot, to represent how they’re digging for stories beyond what’s in a scientific publication.

For each episode in Taproot’s first season, Haswell, a biologist at Washington University, and Baxter, a researcher at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, would pick a study and have a conversation about one of its authors about the difficulties involved in doing research. The issues ranged from finding work-life balance as a scientist to embracing the fact that a researcher may never achieve total certainty in what they are studying. The content, funded by the American Society of Plant Biologists, can be a bit inside baseball for a general audience, but it’s picking up in popularity among plant researchers.

Granite City resident Jennifer Kostoff and her daughter. Kostoff was addicted to heroin when she was pregnant and was able to give birth to a healthy baby with help from the SSM Wish Center.
Chestnut Health Systems

Several St. Louis health centers will begin working next month to provide long-term residential treatment for expectant mothers in the Metro East who are addicted to opioids.

Many pregnant women who need treatment for substance abuse rely on Medicaid, a federal- and state-funded health insurance program for people who are low-income, disabled or elderly. But women in the Metro East aren't eligible to be treated at facilities in St. Louis that only accept Missouri Medicaid.

What are the latest advances in sleep research? On Thursday, "St. Louis on the Air" tackles the subject.
Jon Huss | Flickr

St. Louis researchers have found that people who suffer from a lack of sleep could increase their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Des Peres Hospital
Des Peres Hospital via Facebook

Chesterfield-based St. Luke's Hospital is buying Des Peres Hospital from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. for an undisclosed price.

The deal includes physician practices and other operations in St. Louis. It will strengthen the hospital's network and help patients, St. Luke's President and CEO Christine Candio said.  St. Luke's has 3,800 employees and will add 650 more with the acquisition.

"It was an opportunity for us, we felt strongly, to further grow our footprint and really expand our health ministry into communities where we do not have a strong presence," Candio said.

The interior of the Scottrade Center on Jan. 2, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green has dropped her legal challenge to a judge’s ruling that ordered her to approve financing for upgrades to the Scottrade Center.

A deal approved earlier this week clears the last remaining hurdle to the city issuing $100 million in bonds to cover the renovations, including new plumbing for the ice rink and updates to the lighting and sound systems.

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

Local community organizations are teaming up to collect and distribute donated items for homeless people who’re suffering in the dangerous cold.

A Winter Homeless Outreach event coordinated through Facebook has attracted more than 4,000 interested users. It’s a collaboration between Let’s Help The Homeless, CDDB Community Charity and Just For Kidz. Outreach services for veterans will also join the event. 

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden poses for a portrait in his office at police headquarters on Olive Street.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It did not take Col. John Hayden long to determine his top priority in his new position.

“The first thing for me to tackle is going to be violent crime,” said Hayden, a 30-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He was promoted to his position as its 36th chief last week, selected from six finalists.

Republican State Rep. Warren Love speaks with members of the audience of a House Ethics Committee hearing on Jan. 4, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A state representative from rural Missouri won’t face any punishment for a controversial Facebook post he made last summer.

The House Ethics Committee considered sanctions against Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, for a Facebook post in which he said vandals who defaced a Confederate monument should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is pleased to welcome House Speaker Todd Richardson back on the show for the fifth time.

The Poplar Bluff Republican is in his final year in the Missouri House. He has served as speaker since the middle of 2015.

Sen. Ryan Silvey, left, converses with Sen. Mike Cierpoit on the first day of the 2018 legislative session. Silvey stepped down from the Senate to join the Public Service Commission.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ryan Silvey has been confirmed as the next member of the Missouri Public Service Commission, and has resigned his seat in the State Senate.

The Republican from Kansas City was appointed by Gov. Eric Greitens, who Silvey has criticized for accepting money from politically-active non-profit groups that don’t reveal their donors. He also criticized Greitens for how he dealt with lawmakers in the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

Lonnie Powell's watercolor, Southsun is one of 200 works in the All Colors exhibition.
Portfolio Gallery

A longtime gallery owner is debuting an exhibition Jan. 13 that he hopes will draw people from all over the country to see African-American art in St. Louis.

“All Colors” features the work of 66 national and local artists. The Portfolio Gallery nonprofit will present the show at the Artists’ Guild, 2 Jackson Ave., in Clayton, the first exhibition following the sale of its Grand Center building.

Portfolio owner Robert Powell sold the gallery space in 2015 with the goal of supporting African-American artists.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could change to the Gateway Arch National Park by July 2018.
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could soon have a new name. 

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to change its name to Gateway Arch National Park, which proponents say would better reflect the Arch, its famous centerpiece.

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill sponsored the bill, which only addresses the national park’s name. U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay, Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer have sponsored similar legislation in the House.

On Chess: The Pro Chess League returns

Jan 4, 2018
the 2017 Saint Louis Arch Bishops; Starting from the left. Nicholas Rosenthal, Wesley So Yaroslav Zherebukh, Dariusz Świercz, Varuzhan Akobian, Francesco Rambaldi, Cemil Can Ali Marandi, Ben Finegold, Mike Kummer.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

The inaugural Pro Chess League season ended with a resounding victory by the Saint Louis Arch Bishops last year. The Pro Chess League, originally the U.S. Chess League, used to be an online chess tournament where American Chess Teams, from different states and cities, competed for first place. Chess.com, the founder of the Pro Chess League, decided to innovate and expand on this league by inviting players from other cities, countries and continents. The first event was a great success, as teams from all over the world joined to play.

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