Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Beth Hundsdorfer

Beth was an investigative reporter with St. Louis Public Radio until July 2019. 

The purchase and renovations to the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media put community radio station KDHX $3 million in debt.
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m., July 9 with a comment from former KDHX employee Jennifer Dunn Stewart — 

KDHX leadership is under fire.

Within the past few weeks, an attorney delivered an anonymous letter to the community radio station's board. Days later, a second letter was delivered via email to some members of the board and others. The letters contained allegations of a hostile work environment for African Americans and financial mismanagement by the station’s leadership. 

The letters also called for the ouster of Executive Director Kelly Wells and the radio station’s board of directors. 

The Belleville Gate entrance to Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill. (via Wikimedia commons)
SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF | Wikimedia Commons

Their jobs were to protect Scott Air Force Base and those who live and work there.

But a search warrant affidavit stated that two security force members sold drugs out of a Soulard stash house and at the military base.

Senior Airman Kolby Carter now faces general courts-martial — the most serious level of court-martial — while Senior Airman Sheldon Timmermeyer faces special courts-martial.

The Mississippi River, seen in this June 7 photo, has overflowed its usual banks of East St. Louis near Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Mississippi River at its second-highest level in history, Metro East Sanitary District Executive Director Steve Adler has three worries.

The first is people. The second is more rain. The third thing is the most sinister and potentially catastrophic, he said. It’s an earthquake.

Adler tells people who live behind the levees that when the river is above 30 feet, if they feel the ground shake, leave.

“Grab the kids. Grab the dog. Get in your car and drive up to the bluffs,” Adler said.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, spoke to reporters after a court hearing on Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Lawyers for Missouri’s only abortion provider told a St. Louis Circuit Court judge on Wednesday that it has been unable to renew the clinic’s annual license because state health officials have not followed proper procedures.

Planned Parenthood has asked Judge Michael Stelzer to issue a temporary injunction barring the state Department of Health and Senior Services from delaying or denying a renewed license to Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

Jamie Boyer, an attorney for Planned Parenthood, told the judge during a hearing that the department’s efforts to interview independent physicians who work at the clinic have been an obstacle.

Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri M'Evie Mead addresses reporters outside the St. Louis Circuit courthouse on Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:30 p.m. June 4 with reaction from Planned Parenthood — A St. Louis Circuit Court judge has delayed until Wednesday a hearing that could determine whether Missouri’s sole abortion clinic remains open. Judge Michael Stelzer ruled Tuesday that current and former independent doctors at Planned Parenthood will not have to testify.

Lawyers for the state Department of Health and Senior Services had subpoenaed doctors, aiming to compel them to testify in court. That request pushed back a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction barring the state Department of Health and Senior Services from delaying or denying a renewal of the clinic’s license. The judge set that hearing for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood’s lawyers have asked Stelzer to bar the state Department of Health and Senior Services from delaying or denying a renewal of the clinic’s license.

The Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City is 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis and is one of the abortion clinics in Illinois that could see more patients if Missouri's last abortion clinic closes. June 3, 2019
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

On the same day last week a Missouri judge issued an order keeping open the state’s only abortion clinic, the Illinois Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act, guaranteeing women have the right to reproductive health, including abortion.

Tuesday, a St. Louis Circuit Court judge will hear arguments about whether the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services may continue to deny a renewed license to Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

Bill Miller, Steve Stenger's former chief of staff, walks out of federal court after pleading guilty on Friday. May 31, 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s chief of staff pleaded guilty on Friday morning to a federal corruption charge of aiding and abetting bribery.

William Miller Jr., accompanied by his attorney, Larry Hale, declined to comment after the hearing.

The evidence in the case consisted of statements from witnesses both inside and outside of county government, said federal prosecutor Hal Goldsmith. He also said there were “tens of thousands of emails and text messages” and recordings from telephone conversations and meetings.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Kim Gardner was running for St. Louis Circuit Attorney, she vowed change “by reforming a broken system.”

After the Michael Brown shooting, voters warmed to her message of rebuilding trust in the criminal justice system. She promised to reduce violent crime in the city. She also promised to increase diversity, to conduct fair and complete investigations in police shootings, reduce racial disparities and increase gun control.

Voters liked what they heard, and Gardner became the first African American woman elected to the city office.

But her nearly two-and-a-half-year tenure has been a roller coaster ride.

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and his attorney Scott Rosenblum arrive Monday afternoon at the federal courthouse in St. Louis for Stenger's arraignment on federal charges. April 29 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday with bribery, mail fraud and depriving citizens of honest services of a public official. He entered a plea of not guilty on Monday. He also resigned from office.

Sister Julia Huiskamp started an afterschool program called the Griffin Center said the availability of guns is a failing of the government.
Derik Holtmann | BND

Editor’s note: There were 341 unsolved murders in East St. Louis between 2000 and 2018. In many of these cases, police had evidence and suspects, but no charges were filed. Here is one of those cases. This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The darkened streets near St. Clair Avenue in East St. Louis were good places to hunt for women.

Alexis Winston was found shot to death in her apartment in the John Robinson Homes in East St. Louis.
Florince Harlan

Editor’s note: There were 341 unsolved murders in East St. Louis between 2000 and 2018. In many of these cases, police had evidence and suspects, but no charges were filed. Here is one of those cases. This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

An early morning phone call with a frantic woman’s voice is countered by the dispatcher’s measured, calm tone.

“He’s breaking in my house now. Please hurry! Please hurry! Hello?” the woman cries.

Catholic Diocese of Belleville Deacon Coordinator Robert Lanter was arraigned on a sex charge on Friday. April 26, 2019
St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office

The Deacon Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Belleville was arraigned Friday on criminal sexual assault charges.

A grand jury indicted Robert Lanter, of Swansea, on April 12. Lanter entered a plea of not guilty Friday.

The charges state the victim was a 29-year-old woman who could not give consent.

East St. Louis Public Housing Residents Are Terrified They’ll Be Murder Victims Next

Apr 25, 2019
A body is removed from the John DeShields Housing Project after a murder there.
Derik Holtmann | BND

This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The courtyard at the Roosevelt Homes public housing complex on North 44th Street is filled with the sounds of children playing, the thump of a basketball on the court, neighbors laughing and talking.

Sometimes those everyday sounds are overtaken by the sounds that come at night: a pounding at the door. Gunshots. Screams. A child’s whispered prayer asking for it all to stop.

“I would ask for God to stop the shooting,” one little girl wrote in a children’s newsletter for an after-school program in the city.

This is part of living in the most dangerous areas of East St. Louis, which statistically has the highest murder rate in the country.

A child attends a rally in East St. Louis, a city that averages 24 murders a year, nearly five times the national average.
Zia Nizami | BND

This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The boy was inches from his mother when she took her final breaths.

The man who shot her ran away, leaving the 3-year-old strapped in a car seat, a vulnerable witness to a horror that still haunts him.

Three years later, the boy’s father was shot to death during a neighborhood barbecue. The boy heard gunshots and saw his dying father lying in the grass, unable to move.

This child was barely old enough to attend school when he saw his father killed.

After the president of Lindenwood University's Belleville campus was dismissed, several Belleville officials started worrying that the campus was in trouble.
File photo | Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

After Lindenwood University unexpectedly dismissed the leaders of its two campuses, several people — especially at the Belleville location — have been left to wonder what the departures mean.

The city of Belleville made a $3 million taxpayer commitment to Lindenwood University’s Belleville campus. So it’s understandable that Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert was concerned about the future of the campus when Lindenwood Belleville President Brett Barger was placed on administrative leave Nov. 1 without explanation.

The community’s concern was evident in several emails obtained by St. Louis Public Radio under an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request.

Three veterans filed suit in Illinois' Third Judicial Circuit against Purdue Pharma and more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, alleging they marketed dangerous painkilling drugs to vets.
David Kovaluk, Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

For years after he got out of the Navy, Joel Bishop took morphine twice a day.

He used four or five Percocet in between those doses.

“I lived around that pill bottle. It’s the only reason I had a watch,” Bishop said. “I couldn’t wait until it was time to open that bottle.”

On Friday, Bishop and two other veterans filed suit in Illinois’ Third Judicial Circuit, which includes Madison and Bond counties, against Purdue Pharma and more than a dozen other pharmaceutical companies, alleging they marketed dangerous painkilling drugs to vets.

A flotilla of brightly colored umbrellas hang suspended outside of the LouFest Store were used as a common meeting place throughout the weekend.
File Photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Organizers of the LouFest music festival have filed suit against one of its contractors, alleging that the owner of sound-and-lighting vendor Logic Systems sabotaged the 2018 festival and planned to take the event over from its management.

Listen Live Entertainment filed suit on Friday in the St. Louis Circuit Court against Logic Systems and its president Chip Self. The suit alleges that Self made “negative, misleading comments,” exaggerated statements regarding funding issues and suggested LouFest would be cancelled.

Lindenwood University

Arthur Johnson was appointed interim president of Lindenwood University earlier this week, where 10,000 students attend classes.

In an interview with student newspaper, Lindenlink, Johnson said that he decided to forgo his college education, choosing instead to work at his father’s advertising agency.

Karen Lee died in an Oct. 29 fire at former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton's home, pictured here.
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Her lungs were filled with carbon monoxide and her body covered with burns when firefighters pulled Karen Lee’s body from former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton’s burning home.

The deadly fire is just the latest problem for Hamilton.

From 2012 to July 2016, Hamilton spent more than $280,000 using a taxpayer supported credit card issued to the township. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence in federal prison for wire fraud. Federal prosecutors recently seized Hamilton’s retirement to pay $40,000 in restitution.