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Top Stories

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

Kali takes a swim at the Saint Louis Zoo.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is close to placing a sales tax hike on the November ballot to pay for improvements for the St. Louis Zoo.

While council members appear to want to let the voters decide, the one-eighth of one cent sales tax could face sharp questions later this year — especially since only St. Louis and St. Louis County directly pay for the attraction.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis has more than 25,000 vacant and abandoned properties, attracting crime and arson, lowering property values and reducing tax revenue for the city.

On Tuesday a coalition of neighborhood, city, and non-profit agencies announced the “Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative" at a press conference at Saint Louis University's School of Law.

Artwork by David Kovaluk
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that he had found evidence Gov. Eric Greitens broke the law when he used a donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues, to raise money for his campaign.

Have questions about the Greitens case? Ask them here and we'll answer them on the Politically Speaking podcast.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis protests outside Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of additional restrictions on protesters outside of St. Louis’ Planned Parenthood’s facility in the Central West End will have to try again next session.

The measure got nine of the 15 needed votes Monday, the final day of the 2017-2018 session of the Board of Aldermen. That means backers of the restrictions will have to start the process over.

Theresia Metz will replace interim administrator Stan Smith. Smith was appointed in December by the Missouri Veterans Commission.
Missouri Veterans Commission

The St. Louis Veterans Home has a new administrator.

Theresia Metz will replace Stan Smith, who became interim director in January.

The Missouri Veterans Commission announced Metz’s appointment today, months after residents and their family members accused veterans home officials and staff of mismanagement and neglect. An independent investigation called by Gov. Eric Greitens confirmed those complaints.  

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens helped engineer a freeze on low-income housing tax credits. And that decision is likely to stand unless the legislature makes substantial changes to the program.
File photo I Carolina Hidaglo | St. Louis Public Radio

The judge in charge of Gov. Eric Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy trial said he will rule on Thursday whether to dismiss the case.

The governor’s defense team is asking for the dismissal, claiming misconduct by the prosecution team.

Supporters greet Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 16 with timeline on ruling  St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison says he'll rule in open court on Thursday about the defense motion to dismiss the felony invasion of privacy trial against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Original story from April 12:

Eric Vickers headshot
St. Louis American

Eric Vickers, the provocative, complex and controversial attorney and civil rights activist who defended causes and clients on both sides of the Mississippi, has died. He was 65.

His mantra was "litigating, agitating and negotiating."

In 1999, Vickers orchestrated an event that required plenty of agitating and negotiating.

He helped shutdown Interstate 70 to protest the dearth of African-Americans hired to work on highway projects.

The Minner Arena fan cave is in the basement of O'Fallon photographer Dennis Minner.
Dennis Minner

An O’Fallon, Missouri, resident might have the coolest basement around — especially if you are a hockey fan. Dennis Minner has converted the space into a mini-Scottrade Center, with much of it devoted to his love of the St. Louis Blues hockey team.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen heads back to City Hall Monday for the final day of the current session with several pieces of legislation hanging in the balance.

A protest buffer zone around medical facilities such as Planned Parenthood in the Central West End is the highest-profile measure still awaiting action. Supporters say buffer zone is needed to keep clinic patients and staff safe. Opponents call it a violation of the First Amendment.

Ashe-Hudlin Park is located next to the former home of Richard Hudlin where Arthur Ashe also lived and practiced.
The City of Richmond Heights

International tennis player Arthur Ashe and his coach Richard Hudlin, who both broke racial barriers in the sport, are getting their own park right next to the place that started it all.

The city of Richmond Heights and the Richmond Heights Historical Society dedicated the Ashe-Hudlin Park on Sunday. The small park is located at the intersection of Bennett Avenue and Laclede Station Road, next to Hudlin’s former home at 1221 Laclede Station Road where Ashe also lived and practiced.

Missouri Statehouse
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House and Senate members were able to get some work done this week, despite the time and attention paid to the report that came out Wednesday on Gov. Eric Greitens.

Among the measures passed by the Missouri Senate is a proposed constitutional amendment to change term limits for members of the legislature, allowing them to serve up to 16 years in any one chamber or to divide that time between the House and Senate. Currently they can only serve up to eight years in each chamber.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday blasted a Missouri House committee report, even before it was released, calling it "filled with lies" and part of a "political witch hunt." April 4, 2018.
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Marshall Griffin examine all of the developments in Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This week’s episode focuses on a House committee report that’s prompting bipartisan calls for Greitens to step down.

Attorney Al Watkins speaks with reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers want to know who helped pay legal expenses for a man intricately involved in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

It comes as a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers also want to know who is paying the governor’s legal bills.

Allan Doctor, professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, is part of a research team working to develop an artificial blood substitute.
E. Holland Durando | Washington University

Thousands of people in the United States die each year due to severe blood loss, often before they reach an emergency room.

To help reduce the number of trauma deaths, a Washington University research team is working to develop an artificial blood substitute. The freeze-dried red powder, which can be reconstituted with sterile water, is intended to keep patients alive until they’re able to reach a hospital.

Sterling Moody re-arranges shelves at Neighbors' Market, his new East St. Louis grocery store. April 6, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Neighbors’ Market, which promises to focus on healthy food options, is expected to open its doors in East St. Louis this month.

The market will be a full-service grocery store with a dairy and frozen food section, a robust produce aisle, and a butcher’s area for cutting fresh meats daily. The store has already employed its own chef, who will prepare soups, salads and sandwiches. 

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh speaks to reporters on April 12, 2018. Walsh doesn't want any bills sent to Gov. Eric Greitens until the impeachment process starts soon.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Some Senate Democrats don’t want to send any more bills to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk unless House members begin the impeachment process immediately — as opposed to a special session after May 18.

It’s a sentiment that capped off an emotional day in the Missouri Senate, where lawmakers from both parties lamented on a startling House report on the governor’s conduct.

Scores of reporters look on as House Speaker Todd Richardson addresses the media on April 11, 2018. The release of House report on Gov. Eric Greitens' conduct is opening the door to impeachment proceedings.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Kathie Conway was one of the first Republican lawmakers to suggest that Gov. Eric Greitens resign.

It was a move that set her apart from most of her Republican and Democratic colleagues, many of whom wanted to wait for more information to come out about a 2015 extramarital affair.

Now, high-ranking members of both parties have joined Conway in calling for Greitens to leave after a startling House committee report. But Conway isn’t saying ‘I told you so.’ Instead, she’s lamenting how his refusal to step down may affect the business of state government.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

LGBTQ youth, particularly in the Midwest, suffer higher rates of bullying than their straight peers, which researchers say can have long-term negative effects on their academics.

Because bullying can lower self-esteem and discourage students from coming to school or engaging with peers, learning suffers. This is magnified for LGBTQ youth, according to Dana Peterson, a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York at Albany.

Shakespeare Festival presented "Winter's Tale" as its 2017 mainstage production in Forest Park.
Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has named Tom Ridgely of New York to fill the post of  executive producer, which includes both artistic and leadership roles.

Ridgley comes to St. Louis from New York City’s Waterwell theater company, which he founded in 2002. He replaces Rick Dildine, who headed Shakespeare Festival St. Louis for eight years.

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