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The opioid prescribing rate in Missouri went up close to 10 percent between 2017 and 2018 within counties participating in the state's drug monitoring program
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Opioid Deaths Hit Peak In St. Louis, With Other Drugs Gaining Ground

Nearly three people a day died from opioid overdoses in St. Louis last year, according to data released by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. There were 1,080 people who died from opioids in St. Louis and eight surrounding counties, up 30% from the year before. The 2018 count, released this week, marks the 12th consecutive year of rising drug-related fatalities in the region.

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From left, James Croft and Martin Casas joined Thursday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As another "Star Wars" movie speeds toward the galaxy this month, fans are eagerly anticipating its arrival — while non-fans may be yawning over the premiere of yet one more big-budget action flick. But regardless of one’s feelings about "Star Wars," Marvel or other modern myths that dominate pop culture, self-described “superfan but also a critical fan” James Croft argues that these persistent hero narratives overlap with the real world in powerful ways.

“We can learn so much about ourselves and about our culture,” Croft has said, “by exploring how heroism is portrayed in movies like ‘Star Wars’ – including how notions of what heroism is, and who can be considered a hero, have developed over time.”

As the outreach director for the Ethical Society of St. Louis, Croft plans to dig into this topic at a free event Thursday evening at the society. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, he joined Sarah Fenske in studio alongside Martin Casas, owner of Apotheosis Comics & Lounge, which is sponsoring the hero-focused event.

McCluer North student Mya Davis describes her photo at St. Louis Public Radio's Photojournalism Prize awards ceremony.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Public Radio digital team crafted its first Photojournalism Prize photography contest last month. The competition provided professional publicity, encouragement and training to St. Louis-area high school students interested in journalistic photography.

This year’s theme was “Window to my World,” and participants were required to tell a story with a caption, image and personal reflection. The six prize categories were: Best Portrait, Best Landscape, Best Still Life, Best Action Shot, Best Caption and Best in Show. All winners received a master class with station photojournalists and publication on stlpublicradio.org.

On Chess: Magnus Carlsen Dominates In India, Grand Chess Tour Finals Begin In London

11 hours ago
The closing ceremony for the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, Tata Steel Rapid & Blitz tournament in Kolkata, India.
Lennart Ootes | Grand Chess Tour

The Grand Chess Tour wrapped up the final leg of its 2019 regular season with the Tata Steel Chess Rapid & Blitz held Nov. 22-26 in Kolkata, India. This was the strongest tournament of its kind to be held on Indian soil.

Protesters hold LGBTQ pride flags at a Rainbow Workers' Alliance rally.
Andrea Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Nationally, the number of reported hate crimes remained fairly stagnant in 2018 compared to the year before, but Missouri saw a 39% reduction. 

According to the FBI, there were more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program in 2018, but only about 12% reported incidents. The other 87% reported that no hate crimes occurred in their jurisdictions. Agencies participate on a voluntary basis and provide one to 12 months of data. 

Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP, joined the show to talk about his support of airport privatization. | 12/4/19
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis is considering leasing St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a private company. Such a deal could bring a cash windfall to the city.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP’s St. Louis chapter. Despite skepticism and opposition from others, Pruitt is a vocal supporter of the idea of an airport lease. He said a large cash influx is needed to address the city’s problems.

Courtesy of the High Low

A newly renovated building is now open in Grand Center. It’s called the High Low. And like many other buildings in Grand Center, it’s focused on the arts.

But unlike many of the others, it’s not a theater or a performance space. Instead, it calls itself a “venue for freedom of expression through spoken and written word.” In other words, it aims to be a literary hub for a city that’s long had an outsized impact on the world of letters.

Like many newer developments in Grand Center, the High Low is a project of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, foundation executive director Chris Hansen explained the impetus for what he describes as a “labor of love.”  

Mare Nectaris is a small lunar sea located on the near side of the moon.
Paul Stewart | Flickr

The Earth’s moon contains ice, but scientists don’t know much about where the water came from. As the moon formed, water could have come from Earth’s volcanoes in the form of gas. It could have been brought there by comets and meteorites. Or, it may have traveled to the lunar surface via solar wind that interacted with minerals on the moon to create water. 

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are teaming up to find some answers. The team has been chosen as one of NASA’s eight new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institutes. They are part of a five-year cooperative agreement valued at more than $7 million.

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, spoke out against an abortion ban that ended up passing out of the Senate on Thursday morning.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Jill Schupp made her rumored 2nd Congressional District bid official on Tuesday, saying she has the track record and campaign acumen to bring the historically Republican district into the Democratic column.

Schupp’s decision sets up a potential matchup with Congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Ballwin Republican who has represented the district since 2013. It’s a showdown that could be the most competitive race for a Missouri congressional seat in the past decade.

The proposed stadium would seat up to 22,500 for soccer. It could also be a site for concerts and other events.
HOK

St. Louis asked the state Tuesday for $15 million in tax credits to prepare the site of a $461 million soccer stadium complex northwest of Union Station. 

At a meeting in Jefferson City, the Missouri Development Finance Board got a closer look at plans for the entire area, which will include a public plaza, bike paths, restaurants and commercial space with the intention of year-round use, not just when games are being played. 

Beginning of the Ominmax screen removal.
St. Louis Science Center

The Omnimax Theater at the St. Louis Science Center reopened last week after a $3.5 million renovation.

Chief among the changes is a switch from film to digital projection. While most theaters have made that transition, the complexities of the Imax format on a domed screen presented challenges.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Jackie Mollet, managing director of visitor services at the St. Louis Science Center. She oversees the operations of the Omnimax Theater.

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St. Louis on the Air

Friday: How The Mississippi River Shaped St. Louis

Host Sarah Fenske will talk with Andrew Wanko, public historian for the Missouri Historical Society and author of the new book, “Great River City: How the Mississippi Shaped St. Louis.”

St. Louis Public Radio Investigates

5 US Cities Have 3 Stadiums Within About A Mile — St. Louis Will Soon Join Them

When St. Louis' MLS stadium is complete in 2022, the city will have three stadiums within about a mile of each other. So we wondered, 'How common is that?' Here's what we found.

Living #Ferguson: 5 Years After The Killing Of Michael Brown Jr.

What has changed?

Listen to the voices of people who experienced #Ferguson and who are directly touched by the issues Michael Brown’s death laid bare.

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Sharing America: Profiles

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