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Flags mark veterans graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on a past Memorial Day.

Last Honor: St. Louis Call Center Schedules Veterans' Burials For All National Cemeteries

About 30 times a day, Drayton Denson answers the phone at a call center in south St. Louis County that helps U.S. military veterans secure a grateful nation’s perpetual thank you: free burial, with honors, in a national cemetery. Denson is one of about 80 Veterans Administration employees who work at the National Cemetery Scheduling Office on Lemay Ferry Road. They schedule burial times for the VA’s 136 national cemeteries that are located in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

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Sharing America

Sharing America: Profiles

A series about women of color doing local work that highlights an issue of national importance.

Descendants of the Shelley family attended Friday's ceremony, including Melody Davis, center, and Melinda Jones, right.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Melinda Jones stands next to her great-grandparents’ former house and shields her eyes against the already-hot morning sun.

The modest two-story brick house in the Greater Ville neighborhood was the backdrop for one of the most important court cases of the civil rights movement, which virtually abolished racially restrictive covenants used to prevent people of color from living in white communities.

The “Shelley House” was added to the African American Civil Rights Network Friday, making it the first property in Missouri to join the register.

(May 24, 2019) St. Louis African Arts Festival organizers Gerald Brooks (at right) and Jason McNairy talked about what patrons can expect at this year's event in Forest Park.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The 28th annual St. Louis African Arts Festival will return to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park this weekend. Running Saturday through Monday, the festival aims to educate people in St. Louis about the wide ranges of cultures among African nations and the African diaspora.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Sharon Stevens talked with a couple of the festival’s organizers to explore what patrons can expect at the event, such as an African marketplace, movies, food, various cultural demonstrations, kids’ activities and more. 

(May 24, 2019) 2019 University of Missouri-St. Louis graduate Harold Crawford talked about overcoming his life's adversities and how he plans to use his social work degree to address community violence trauma on Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis resident Harold Crawford is among many local college graduates who are celebrating major academic milestones this spring. The path he traveled to get to his University of Missouri-St. Louis degree was an unusual one – and far from easy. Crawford lived through tough times to make ends meet and left a life of crime and gang involvement about a decade ago.

Crawford recalled a saying that one of his teachers would reference from time to time, explaining that getting through college to get back on track was “medicine that you don’t want to take, but you need to take it.” The 37-year-old went on to complete his undergraduate degree in social work.

Riverview Gardens High School Marching Band saxophone members play sweet tunes during the 109th Annie Malone May Day parade.  May 20, 2019
Andrea Henderson | St. Louis Public Radio

For over a century, the Annie Malone Children and Family Services agency has brought thousands of community members together in the country’s second-largest African American parade: the Annie Malone May Day Parade.

Last Sunday’s procession marked its 109th celebration in downtown St. Louis. Parade viewers saw marching bands, local business owners on floats and peppy cheerleaders throughout Market Street near Union Station.

For the agency, the bash is a yearly celebration to let the public know they are still in the city and willing to serve the needs of a growing community. In recent years, the nonprofit has experienced a drastic change in the type of care families in the area need, said Patricia Washington, the agency’s vice president of development and external affairs.

Taken at T-Rex on May 23, 2019.
Corinne Ruff| St. Louis Public Radio

The growth of the geospatial industry in St. Louis is catching national attention. The city has been selected to host the GEOINT Symposium in 2023 and 2025.

The event, held annually by the United States Geospatial-Intelligence Foundation, is the largest gathering of geospatial-intelligence stakeholders. It brings in roughly 4,000 attendees each year.

St. Louis currently has more than 10,500 jobs in the geospatial sector, according to figures calculated by the St. Louis Development Corporation. The agency says the total economic impact is $4.9 billion.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson gives her State of the City address to the Board of Aldermen on May 23, 2019.
Corrine Ruff I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson used the first State of the City address in recent memory to continue her advocacy for a city-county merger.

But with the demise of the statewide Better Together plan, Krewson isn’t rushing to start a process that could place a merger proposal before city and county voters.

Counties across Missouri hoped this was the year that the Department of Corrections would make headway on the $20-$30 million they’re owed for housing inmates who eventually go to state prisons.

But legislators allocated only $1.75 million more to address the backlog. Missouri's practice of reimbursing counties in this way is unique in the United States, and local sheriffs and county leaders say it’s time for a better solution.

Children play in a fountain in front of the Gateway Arch's new visitor center Tuesday, July 3, 2018, before a ceremony to re-open the park grounds after a multi-year renovation project.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Back to school will be a little later in Missouri next year if lawmakers get their way.

The Missouri General Assembly passed a law pushing school start dates back about a week over the opposition of school administrators. It’s part of an effort to encourage families to fit one more weekend of trips to amusement parks and lakeside cabins around the state.

LouFest fans didn't get the chance to convene for the 2018 event, when it was cancelled days before it was set to begin. [5/23/19]
File photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Listen Live Entertainment, the producer of the LouFest music festival, has withdrawn a lawsuit charging that vendor Logic Systems, Inc. deliberately sabotaged the 2018 event.

Listen Live canceled the August festival only days before it was set to begin, after major technical vendors — including sound-and-light specialist Logic Systems — pulled out, citing missing or chronically late payments.

The concert promoter had alleged that Logic Systems’ president, Chip Self, exaggerated the festival’s financial troubles in comments to the media, including St. Louis Public Radio, to sabotage the event and launch his own competing festival. Self denies the accusations.

Author Jason Reynolds was in conversation with former 'We Live Here' podcast co-host Kameel Stanley on April 26 at University City High School. | Heidi Drexler
Heidi Drexler

Jason Reynolds is a prominent poet and author of middle-grade and young adult novels. He’s a National Book Award finalist and the author of such books including “Ghost,” “Long Way Down,” and “When I Was The Greatest.”

Reynolds recently sat down for an onstage conversation with Kameel Stanley, the former co-host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” podcast.


St. Louis on the Air

Tuesday: 'Historic Missouri Roadsides' Offers Best Routes For Exploring Missouri

St. Louis Public Radio editor Holly Edgell will talk with author Bill Hart about the wide-ranging possibilities for touring the state.

St. Louis Public Radio Investigates: East St. Louis' Murder Rate

Unraveling East St. Louis' Murder Rate And The Legacy Of Unsolved Homicides

In this series, investigative reporters Beth Hundsdorfer and George Pawlaczyk used public records to compile a database of all 453 homicides that occurred between 2000-2008 in East St. Louis.