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A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church on March 10, 2020.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Expanding Medicaid In Missouri To Go On August Ballot

Updated at 9 p.m. with lawsuit filed against the initiative Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that the question of whether to expand Medicaid will be placed on the August primary ballot, a move he said is more about “policy” than politics. Parson said expanding Medicaid to insure more low-income people will be a “massive spending initiative” and the state needs to know where it stands financially.

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CareSTL Health's COVID-19 testing site in north St. Louis will reopen on April 27.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

Live Updates: Coronavirus In The St. Louis Region

8:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 St. Louis County may soon make it easier for restaurants to have outdoor seating. The St. Louis County Council initially approved legislation Tuesday night that allows restaurants to reallocate indoor seating to an outdoor area, including onto designated parking spaces. It also gives businesses leeway to use signs to show the public that their establishment has reopened.

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Struggling with stress, isolation and economic upheaval
Kristen Uroda for NPR

The current era of social isolation and job loss is challenging for most everyone. But for people with a substance use disorder or who are in recovery, the COVID-19 crisis can present even more difficulties.

Daily life in the age of coronavirus is riddled with stressors, and stress can lead to an increase in substance use — as well as the possibility of relapse for those working to stay sober. And while virtual versions of critical support systems are still possible in many cases, face-to-face accountability and social opportunities are indeed diminished.

But along with those concerns, there’s also reason for hope. Jenny Armbruster of the St. Louis-based organization NCADA sees what she’s described as some “unintended positive side effects” of all of this, too.

Mike Ward is superintendent of the Gateway Arch National Park, but has been involved with the National Park Service since 1983.
File Photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When the Gateway Arch began undergoing renovation back in July 2015, Mike Ward moved back to St. Louis to become its superintendent — a role he’s held ever since. But his time with the National Park Service goes way back to 1983. 

A lot of his work at sites near and far over the years has had to do with the physical aspect of the NPS entities: repairing them, creating new spaces. But Ward loves historical digging and exploring the human interest stories to be found within the sites under his care just as much. 

A Surge In Online Chess Fans Leads To A Game-Changing Tournament

6 hours ago
Clutch Chess Tournament Participants, GM Leinier Dominguez playing GM Fabiano Caruana in 2019 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz
Crystal Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

With the world of online chess suddenly experiencing a boom in viewership during the coronavirus lockdown, organizers from the St. Louis Chess Club are rushing to grab a piece of the increased audience with a brand-new tournament format that may upend the staid tradition for which the game is known. The idea, called Clutch Chess, promises to attract new fans who would normally be watching baseball or basketball, but instead are now gravitating to online chess tournaments in record numbers.

Greg Shank, 20, Harry Shank, 94 and Gary Shank, 65, pose for a photo at their home in St. Louis County on May 22, 2020.
Greg Shank

A few weeks ago, St. Louis County resident Gary Shank decided to move his 94-year-old father out of Delmar Gardens nursing home in Chesterfield. 

Delmar Gardens notified Shank, who lives near Chesterfield, that three residents there had tested positive. Shank didn’t want his father to become infected, so he brought him home on May 6.

More than a third of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the St. Louis County have reported to state health officials that multiple residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. Like others who have moved loved ones from nursing homes, Shank wanted to distance his father from the risk.

The coronavirus pandemic meant fewer cars on the road in downtown St. Louis. That enabled crews to pave streets that had been torn up by utility work, like a section of Washington Avenue pictured here on May 21.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a big drop in traffic on St. Louis-area roads, and that’s been helpful for the region’s street and transportation departments.

“It makes it much easier for them to get equipment and materials to and from the job site, as well as it makes the job sites much safer for everyone to work in, which increases productivity,” said Joel Cumby, the construction engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 8, which includes the Metro East.

Red Cross workers tend to St. Louis pandemic victims in 1918. (Added May 21, 2020)
Missouri Historical Society Collections

As health experts and elected officials plan to further reopen the region’s economy, there is concern over a possible second wave of the coronavirus later this year.

The additional waves of the influenza pandemic more than 100 years ago proved to be more deadly than the first round of the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were three waves of the 1918 pandemic, with the second phase being responsible for most of the 675,000 outbreak deaths in the U.S.

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

Memorial Day this year will be a time of recognizing all who are serving or have served on the front lines, even if observing the day will take place at a distance.

Scott Air Force Base will honor health care workers with a flyover on Monday. 

The 932nd Airlift Wing will fly over six hospitals in the region, including Belleville Memorial Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Memorial East Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks.

An employee at the Wapelhorst Aquatic Center in St. Charles sanitizes waterslide inner tubes between uses on Saturday. 05/23/20
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Instead of diving headlong into the summer pool season, several swimming facilities in the St. Louis area are merely dipping a toe and opening with extra restrictions because of the pandemic. 

More still are sitting out entirely for Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the opening of swimming pools in the region. And some pools could remain empty for the rest of the summer. 

A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on March 10, 2020.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters will get a chance to expand Medicaid.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced Friday that he approved the petition to put Medicaid expansion on the November ballot.

Backers submitted more than 340,000 petition signatures, well over the number needed to qualify for a proposed constitutional amendment.

The amendment would expand Medicaid to people making 138% of the federal poverty level, which is a little less than $18,000 a year.


St. Louis on the Air

Wednesday: Tattooed Egyptian Mummies Offer Lessons About Body Art Then And Now

Host Sarah Fenske will explore how discoveries at the Egyptian archaeological site Deir el-Medina are providing new insights and challenging some long-held misconceptions.

Coronavirus In St. Louis: You Ask, We Answer

St. Louis Public Radio is answering your questions about the stay-at-home orders put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Coronavirus in St. Louis: Answering Your Questions About Stay-At-Home Orders

Updated May 3 We’re answering your questions about the coronavirus in the St. Louis region. This Q&A is dedicated to questions about restrictions on “non-essential” activities in Missouri and Illinois.

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