News | St. Louis Public Radio


Leinier Domínguez plays at the 2018 Champions Showdown at the St. Louis Chess Club.
Lennart Ootes | St. Louis Chess Club

The chess season has officially kicked off at the St. Louis Chess Club with the ongoing Cairns Cup, featuring some of the top female players in the world, and will continue on with another staple on the calendar, the Champions Showdown.

As a standalone event, the Showdown has historically been more experimental and geared toward the fans, having featured chess variants such as Fischer Random and Basque chess in previous editions.

(Feb. 13, 2019) Parents as Teacher CEO Constance Gully shared her experience with the organization and it's efforts to promote optimal early development in children by educating and engaging parents and guardians.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Constance Gully’s first encounter with the home-visiting Parents as Teachers (PaT) program was 24 years ago, when she became pregnant and experienced complications and preterm labor.

Quincy Troupe joined host Don Marsh to talk about his friendship with and the work of jazz musician Miles Davis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh remembered the late jazz great Miles Davis in a conversation with author and poet Quincy Troupe. Troupe is appearing this evening at St. Louis County Library Headquarters.

Troupe, who was born and raised in St. Louis, is the author of many books – including “Miles: The Biography” and “Miles and Me,” a memoir about Troupe and Davis’ friendship.

The segment included selections from Davis’ musical repertoire.

Missouri Supreme Court building
David Shane | Flickr

Updated Feb. 13, 2019 with Supreme Court ruling — The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a woman from southwest Missouri does not have the right to sue over the state's laws governing abortion.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, the seven judges agreed that the woman, identified in court documents as Mary Doe, had failed to show that the state's informed consent law and 72-hour waiting period violated her beliefs as a member of the Satanic Temple.

State Representative Raychel Proudie
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Raychel Proudie is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where she talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about her first year in the Missouri House.

Proudie represents the 73rd district, which takes in St. Louis County municipalities like Ferguson, Berkeley, Kinloch, St. Ann and Hazelwood.

College and graduation illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-area organizations are working to remove some of the barriers that prevent LGBTQ students from applying to and staying in college.

LGBTQ high schoolers face stigma and discrimination that put them at higher risk than heterosexual students for mental-health problems and poor academic performance, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study says those disadvantages can lead to “negative health and life outcomes.”

(Feb. 12, 2019) Stephen Zwolak (left) and Joshua Carlson (right) discuss how early childhood adversities can have a lasting impact on one’s life.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

If a child faces abuse, neglect and/or household dysfunction early on life, those experiences can later affect how they form relationships with others. Some may resort to treating others in harsh ways, reflecting what they perceive as something that “resembles love,” Stephen Zwolak said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Zwolak, founder and CEO of LUME Institute and executive director of University City Children’s Center, joined host Don Marsh to discuss how early childhood adversities can have a lasting impact on one’s life.

Also participating in the conversation about helping children facing these adversities take care of their mental health was also Joshua Carlson, a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois and associate director of The Knowledge Center at Chaddock.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned a St. Louis area company to stop marketing supplements such as omega-3 capsules as potential cures for diseases. It says doing so violates federal law, because supplements aren't FDA-approved drugs.
rawdonfox | Flickr

The federal Food and Drug Administration has ordered a St. Louis-area natural-remedy retailer to stop making medical claims on its website.

Chesterfield-based Earth Turns, L.L.C. claimed on its website that certain products could cure or prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes, wrote the FDA in a letter to the company. Retailers are only allowed to make such claims about government-approved drugs, the letter said, and such claims could put patients at risk.

The West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, seen from St. Charles Rock Road.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bridgeton Landfill LLC and other companies responsible for cleaning up the West Lake Landfill are developing a plan to study radioactive contamination in groundwater at the site.

Federal officials and community members became concerned about groundwater contamination especially after the U.S. Geological Survey released a report in 2014 that found high levels of radium in samples taken from wells at the landfill. But at the time, scientists could not conclude that it was caused by the radioactive waste at the site.

Republic Services subsidiaries Bridgeton Landfill and Rock Road Industries, the Cotter Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy have until June 6 to submit a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for how they will study the groundwater.

Erika Klotz is co-owner of the newly launched Selfie Room in downtown St. Louis.
The Selfie Room

The Selfie Room just made its debut in downtown St. Louis, offering the latest evidence of a seemingly ever-present selfie phenomenon. The museum’s mission is to “bring people together by taking photos with fun, whimsical backdrops” that comprise its interactive art exhibits.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Selfie Room co-owner Erica Klotz about what visitors can expect at the new entertainment destination – and also discussed the broader cultural landscape that surrounds it.

Amber Hinsley, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at St. Louis University, and Jennifer Siciliani, a University of Missouri-St. Louis psychology professor in the area of behavioral neuroscience, also participated in the conversation.

Samuel M. Kennard School was built in St. Louis' North Hampton neighborhood in 1928 and named for a former Confederate soldier and businessman. Parents of the gifted school now located in the building want the school's name changed.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A multi-year effort to shed a Confederate name from one of St. Louis’ top public elementary schools, Kennard Classical Junior Academy, is gaining momentum.

Both parents of Kennard students and alumni of St. Louis Public Schools’ gifted program are lobbying district administrators to pick a new namesake because the current one belongs to a former Confederate States Army soldier.

A life-sized exhibit of President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet discussing the Emancipation Proclamation at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

As Illinois celebrates the 210th birthday of favorite son Abraham Lincoln, officials with the Springfield presidential museum created in his honor hope to keep important artifacts from being sold to the highest bidder.

But they’re running out of time.

The relics are part of the 1,400-item Taper Collection bought by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in 2007. The private foundation, which supports the state-owned Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, took out a $23 million loan to buy the historical treasures.

The balance of the loan is due in October, and the foundation is still $9 million short.

More Than 3 Years Later, Fairview Heights Still Hasn’t Filled Its City Administrator Job

Feb 11, 2019
Fairview Heights Mayor Mark T. Kupsky
Belleville News-Democrat file photo

In October 2015, about six months after Mark Kupsky was elected Fairview Heights mayor, the city agreed to part ways with its then-city administrator, Jim Snider.

At the time, Kupsky said he looked to possibly restructure the position and search for a replacement within the next three to four weeks for a home-rule community.

However, more than three years later, there is no formal replacement for Snider, even though the city’s online city ordinances say the mayor “shall” appoint a city administrator with the consent of the council.

Rhetoricians Lauren Obermark (at left) and Paul Lynch joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

While the art of persuasion and the study of public discourse have enriched human civilization for millennia, negative connotations frequently surround contemporary notions of rhetoric. Politicians are dismissed as “all rhetoric, no action,” and talking heads on TV make everyday people sigh over “all the rhetoric” of the 24-hour news cycle.

But for those who conduct research in the academic field of rhetoric – and anyone interested in the work that words can do – the term “rhetoric” still holds great hope and possibility for society.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with two local scholars about cultural understandings of rhetoric, its positive uses and the ever-shifting ways in which humans communicate.

A group known as Better Together is proposing a plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County. They're planning to get the measure on the 2020 ballot.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A group seeking to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County sent a new version of their constitutional amendment to Missouri’s secretary of state’s office Monday that contains mostly minor changes.

Better Together described the changes to the amendment as “technical,” dealing with the handling of pensions and existing debt. It also makes some clarifications to language creating a new fire-protection district encompassing St. Louis. (Click here to read the new petition and here to read the summary of changes.)

Shrinking Medicaid Rolls In Missouri Raise Flag On Vetting Process

Feb 11, 2019
Kaiser Health News

Tangunikia Ward, a single mom of two who has been unemployed for the past couple of years, was shocked when her St. Louis family was kicked off Missouri’s Medicaid program without warning last fall.

She found out only when taking her son, Mario, 10, to a doctor to be treated for ringworm.

When Ward, 29, tried to contact the state to get reinstated, she said it took several weeks just to have her calls returned. Then she waited again for the state to mail her a long form to fill out attesting to her income and family size, showing that she was still eligible for the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.

Provided by Missouri S&T

A two-night History Channel series, “Presidents at War,” will tell the stories of eight men who served in active duty and who would later become presidents of the United States.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with military historian John McManus, a professor of history at Missouri S&T, who is featured in the show. In it, McManus specifically comments on the role of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Shelley House Rededicated By Realtors, Community Groups, Leaders

Feb 11, 2019
Eric Friedman of St. Louis REALTORS; Erich Morris, who grew up in the home; Michael Burns, president of Northside Community Housing Inc.; Alderman Sam Moore; Morris' sister Mary Easterwood; and U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay participated in the rededication.
Steven Engelhardt | St. Louis American

When Mary Easterwood’s family moved into their home at 4600 Labadie St. about 60 years ago, the neighbors had tried to explain the history behind the house.

“But they couldn’t quite get the story together,” Easterwood said. “As we got older and we started to study, then we found out about the Shelley v Kraemer case,” decided in 1948.

Easterwood’s father, Lenton Morris, had bought the home from another African-American man, J.D. Shelley. When Shelley purchased the home, the title included a racially restrictive covenant – which was an agreement that prohibited the building’s owner from selling the home to anyone other than a Caucasian.

State Senator and Board of Aldermen president candidate Jamilah Nasheed poses for a portrait on Jan. 18, 2019.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, is the newest member of the exclusive Five-Timers Club on the Politically Speaking podcast. She joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about her bid for president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Nasheed’s main competitors are incumbent Lewis Reed and Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward. (You can find Reed’s podcast here. Green has recorded an episode that will air later this month.)

A group known as Better Together is proposing a plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County. They're planning to get the measure on the 2020 ballot.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Questions about Better Together's proposal to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County continue to pour in from St. Louis Public Radio listeners and readers via our Curious Louis project.

Lindenwood University Fires President

Feb 10, 2019
The Lindenwood University board of trustees voted Friday to fire university system president Michael Shonrock (left).In this 2015 photo, Shonrock is shaking hands with Brett Barger, who was the president of Lindenwood University-Belleville until Jan. 22.
File photo | Belleville News-Democrat

Less than a month after the president of Lindenwood University-Belleville left the college after being placed on administrative leave, the university’s board of trustees on Friday voted to fire the president of the university based in St. Charles, Mo.

Michael Shonrock, who had been president of the Lindenwood University System since 2015, was fired by the board but had not yet been given a reason for the termination, according to his attorney, Jerry Dobson.

Office of The Mayor

The St. Louis Department of Health's new director plans to make addressing the city's high rate of sexually transmitted diseases a top priority.

Fredrick Echols will become the city’s new health director Feb. 19, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Thursday. Echols is currently director of communicable diseases for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

Echols said he’ll bring his experience controlling infections to St. Louis, which for years has been among the U.S. cities with the highest rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia.

According to the CDC, 1,307 Missourians died from gunshot wounds in 2017.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has one of the highest rates of gun-related deaths in the nation.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rank Missouri sixth in U.S. for gun death rate, including intentional and accidental shootings. The CDC reports 1,307 Missourians died from gunshot wounds in 2017, an increase over the previous year.

An electric car being charged at a station in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Visitor7 | Wikimedia Commons

After a failed attempt and months of delays, Ameren Missouri has received approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission to install electric-vehicle charging stations along highways in Missouri.

The utility’s $4.4 million pilot program, which will run for five years, aims to install fast-charging stations at rest stops and businesses near highway entrances. The company also will offer financial incentives to businesses that want to help install charging stations.

The effort could ease the “range anxiety” that motorists feel when they’re worried that their electric vehicle will run out of power before they reach a charging station.

Beth Hundsdorfer, St. Louis Public Radio's new investigative reporter, joined Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to discuss what critics have called a “broadside attack” on Missouri Sunshine Law by state legislators.

Joining the discussion was St. Louis Public Radio’s new investigative reporter, Beth Hundsdorfer, who offered her insights into some of the processes and challenges involved in accessing public records in the bi-state region. Longtime political reporter Jo Mannies also participated in the conversation. Both women have made many records requests during their years in journalism, and Hundsdorfer noted that sometimes gaining access to those records requires a lot of time or resources.

“I have one [request] in Illinois that’s been pending for eight years,” she said, referring to a request she made to a community college while reporting for the Belleville News-Democrat.

Elmwood opened up February in Maplewood. (provided by Sauce Magazine)
Meera Nagarajan

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked up some of the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. Joining Marsh for the Hit List segment were Sauce Magazine managing editor Heather Hughes and staff writer Adam Rothbarth.

Former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan
Missouri Secretary of State

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh delved into a local parallel to the current controversy involving Virginia’s top leaders – Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring – who recently admitted to appearing in blackface decades ago.

Joining him for the conversation was longtime political reporter Jo Mannies, who discussed her coverage of a similar case in Missouri in 1999, when a photo of then-Gov. Mel Carnahan in blackface – taken in 1960 – surfaced during Carnahan’s campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Following an extensive renovation, Jazz St. Louis's Ferring Jazz Bistro attracts international artists and offers local musicians a prestigious performing space. 2/8/19
Jazz St. Louis

A $350,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will help Jazz St. Louis spread the word about concerts at Ferring Jazz Bistro, its signature performance space in Grand Center.

Known for its good acoustics and sightlines following a renovation that began in 2014, the 250-seat venue attracts international artists and offers local musicians a prestigious performing space.

But it doesn’t yet have the international profile it deserves, said Gene Dobbs Bradford, president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis. Aiming to remedy that, the organization will use some of the grant money to purchase new equipment that will allow the club to stream concerts online.

Under Better Together's proposal, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (right) would serve as the transitional mayor of a united St. Louis metro government until 2025, assuming he stays in office through January 2021.
File photo I Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis County’s municipalities are trying to jumpstart a process, known as the Board of Freeholders, to get a St. Louis-St. Louis County merger plan to only city and county voters — an alternative to a proposal from a group known as Better Together that would take that issue statewide.

There’s one problem with that approach: St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson are responsible for appointing most of that board and both are solidly behind the Better Together plan. That gives them little incentive to endorse a process that could produce a competing proposal.

Kayia Baker leads a piano class for beginners at Pianos for People on Cherokee Street.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s music in the air at Al Chappelle Community Center.

The St. Louis Housing Authority facility, which serves residents of the adjacent Clinton-Peabody housing complex, recently received a heavy delivery: a Kawai upright piano. The instrument is only about 13 years old and in excellent condition.

It was a donation, courtesy of Pianos For People.

The St. Louis-based nonprofit has distributed more than 250 pianos to private homes and public spaces since it began taking piano donations in December 2012.