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Have a question about legal marijuana in Illinois or medical marijuana in Missouri? Ask here, and we'll update this guide with answers as we report them out.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Awards 192 Dispensary Licenses For Medical Marijuana Program

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services began awarding the 192 state medical marijuana dispensary licenses on Thursday. According to the constitutional amendment that voters approved in 2018, the department was required to license at least 192 dispensaries, 24 in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. This means DHSS could have awarded more licenses, but officials want to see if the minimum number can meet demand.

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Barr branch library
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In some ways, the concept behind St. Louis Public Library’s Creative Experience makerspace, located at its downtown branch, sounds pretty simple: It’s a space dedicated to creating things. But as makers of all sorts of stuff know, it can be difficult to bring even the best ideas to fruition without the right tools.

That’s where Creative Experience comes in — providing studio-quality software and equipment to help bring many different kinds of projects to life.

(L-R) Nyara Williams, Collin Elliott and Tef Poe joined Wednesday's talk show to discuss Harvard University's first #IntheCity Visual Arts Fellowship.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This spring, a cohort of six talented St. Louis-based visual artists will head to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of a new initiative founded by local changemaker Kareem "Tef Poe" Jackson and Harvard professor (and Missouri native) Walter Johnson.

The Commonwealth Project at Harvard University aims to model a new way for universities to engage with social problems through service and collaboration, with a special focus on St. Louis. The half-dozen local artists were selected for its new #IntheCity Visual Arts Fellowship last November.

The goal of the program is to provide exposure and resources for up-and-coming artists in the region. And it looks to attract artists who use art in a manner beyond just creating for art's sake.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden testifies in committee hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 14 about residency requirement.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Jan. 22 with House committee action

Legislation that would remove residency requirements for St. Louis police officers passed out of Missouri House committee Tuesday evening.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has a similar measure that was heard in a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Here is the original story:

After years of city officials trying to end the residency requirement for police officers in St. Louis, lawmakers in Jefferson City are expecting to get it done. 

Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie, is sponsoring legislation that will lift the requirement, and he said he has the support needed to make it law. 

“Right now, we have a clean bill,” Hicks said in a committee hearing on the proposal on Tuesday. “We have a good path through the House; we have a good path through the Senate right to the governor’s desk. He himself told me he’ll sign the bill if we can get it there the way it is written.” 

Concordance Academy of Leadership provides programming to previously incarcerated and incarcerated individuals that will assist with re-entering into society.
Concordance Academy of Leadership

Before being released from prison, Melvin Hill Jr. was doing everything in his power to secure a sustainable job that would allow him to fulfill his lifelong goals. 

Then a friend told him about the local nonprofit Concordance Academy of Leadership. Hill applied while he was still incarcerated. Last May, he was accepted into the program that supports reentry into society after prison.

Recently, the academy received $1 million to advance its mission of reducing recidivism in Missouri and Illinois with a holistic approach to reentry into society.

Katie Bartels and her emotional support cat Hank, who was certified as an ESA by a therapist, not an online service. 01-20-20
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

If you have a little bit of money and can answer a 10-question online survey, you can get an official-looking certificate stating that you need an emotional support animal. 

You don’t have to talk to anyone or go through an assessment.

Because it’s so easy to obtain the documentation and the laws on accommodations for emotional support animals are murky, some people are using the certification to get out of paying pet deposits and monthly fees to keep an animal in an apartment.

Loop Trolley
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the agency that runs the region’s transit network characterized the Loop Trolley as a “troubled project” Tuesday but still said his organization should attempt to turn it around.

State Sen Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, presents his legislation to lengthen sentences for armed criminal action to the Senate Judiciary committee on Jan. 21, 2020.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers are still at odds on how to solve the spike in gun violence and gun deaths in St. Louis and other urban areas. 

On Tuesday, House Democrats held a press conference highlighting gun control legislation they believe will address the violence. 

“Perpetrators of gun violence deserve harsh punishment, but what Missouri needs most are policies that help prevent shootings from ever taking place,” said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield.

Alejandra Fallows (at left) and Bailey Schuchmann are among Sauce Magazine's picks for "Ones to Watch" in 2020.
Greg Rannells | Sauce Magazine

On this month’s Sound Bites segment, produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, managing editor Heather Hughes Huff gave an overview of the six up-and-comers the publication chose for its annual "Ones to Watch" feature that highlights local culinary talent.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Hughes Huff as well as featured restaurateurs Alejandra Fallows and Bailey Schuchmann

Fallows is the bar manager at Chandler Hill Vineyards. She recently achieved the top score on her certified sommelier exam. Schuchmann is the beverage director at the acclaimed restaurant Farmhaus. She’s also a certified sommelier. Sauce’s profile describes her as a “wine/cocktail/service triple threat.” 

I-255 Closures Begin Next Week: IDOT Warns To Find Alternate Routes, Plan For Extra Time

Jan 21, 2020
Starting Feb. 1, Illinois' major, 10-month rehabilitation project to "one of Illinois' worst roads" begins with a five-month closure of a portion of Interstate 255.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Starting Feb. 1, Illinois’ major, 10-month rehabilitation project on “one of Illinois’ worst roads” begins with a five-month closure of a portion of Interstate 255.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced the first phase of repairs to a crumbling section of I-255, one of many projects under the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, will begin by closing down all lanes between I-55/70 and I-64 for five months.

Volunteers with the Salam Clinic hold proclamation that declares Jan. 19, 2020 as Salam Clinic Day in St. Louis County by County Executive Dr. Sam Page.
Fatima Ahmad

Every Saturday, a cohort of physicians carves time out of busy schedules in an effort to fill a gap for health care for people in the St. Louis region. 

Started by members of the Muslim Community Services of St. Louis in 2008, the Salam Clinic is a model of interfaith charity. The initiative was simple: provide free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured. Doctors of various religious backgrounds gladly signed on, including the Deaconess Nurse Ministry.

The first clinic opened in north St. Louis at Lane Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The second opened its doors in 2013 in Ferguson at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. Last November, Salam opened its third location at Epiphany United Church of Christ in St. Louis’ Benton Park neighborhood. And this Sunday, the nonprofit’s first Salam Psychiatry Clinic will open at its Ferguson location. 

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St. Louis on the Air

Friday: Downtown St. Louis Is Brighter And Smarter — Here’s Why

Host Sarah Fenske will learn more about Downtown St. Louis’ process of upgrading the street lights throughout 360 square blocks.

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Best of 2019

St. Louis Public Radio's Best of 2019

Our St. Louis Public Radio journalists look back at the most memorable stories from 2019.

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.