Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Evie Hemphill

“St. Louis on the Air” Producer

Evie Hemphill joined the St. Louis on the Air team in February 2018. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2005, she started her career as a reporter for the Westminster Window in Colorado. Several years later she went on to pursue graduate work in creative writing at the University of Wyoming and moved to St. Louis upon earning an MFA in the spring of 2010. She worked as writer and editor for Washington University Libraries until 2014 and then spent several more years in public relations for the University of Missouri–St. Louis before making the shift to St. Louis Public Radio.

When she’s not helping to produce the talk show, Evie can typically be found navigating the city sans car, volunteering for St. Louis BWorks or trying to get the majority of the dance steps correct as a member of the Thunder & Lightning Cloggers of Southern Illinois. She’s married to Joe, cat-mom to Dash and rather obsessive about doubt, certitude and the places where refuge and risk intersect.

The first-ever Sans Bar STL event drew a large crowd to the Third Degree Art Factory, despite a conscientious lack of booze.
Meredith Marquardt

From its early Lemp Brewery days to the Schlafly era and beyond, St. Louis has earned its reputation as a drinking town. But lately the city is also seeing a nightlife trend that doesn’t involve alcohol at all.

Among other beverage and restaurant industry professionals, the people behind WellBeing Brewing, a locally based company that exclusively makes non-alcoholic craft beer, have helped to catalyze the movement. So has the Wellness Council of St. Louis, which is affiliated with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and oversees Sans Bar STL.

The inaugural Sans Bar STL event early this year drew about 300 people to Third Degree Glass Factory for a night of music, glassblowing, tarot card readings and handcrafted alcohol-free drinks.

Journalists Trevor Aaronson (at left) and Danny Wicentowski both joined Wednesday's talk show.
Trevor Aaronson & St. Louis Public Radio

"How has the death of Michael Brown Jr. impacted your life?" That's among the questions that the St. Louis Public Radio community and people throughout the region have been pondering in recent days in light of the five-year anniversary of the Ferguson protests. The answers are myriad, but Olajuwon Davis’ certainly stands out in the crowd: He’s spent most of his life since that time in prison.

How and why Davis’ life changed so drastically in the wake of Brown’s death is the focus of a newly published report by the Riverfront Times’ Danny Wicentowski. In it, Wicentowski details everything from the moment Davis, then a member of the New Black Panther Party, first became active in Ferguson to his arrest and conviction in an FBI sting for “planning and conspiring to ignite explosive devices” among other charges. Prosecutors would allege he and his alleged co-conspirator Brandon Baldwin sought to blow up the Gateway Arch.

David Patterson Silver Wolf (at left) and Rachel Winograd joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some positive statistics related to the ongoing opioid crisis. While drug overdose deaths in the U.S. had reached record levels in 2017, the nation saw an overall 4.2% decline in 2018.

In Missouri, though, the 2018 outcomes were far less hopeful – despite an influx of $65 million in federal funds aimed at addressing the crisis over the past few years. Provisional data for the state indicates a 16% increase in drug overdose deaths over the course of last year.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two local experts about where Missouri should go from here in light of the discouraging statistics.

Playwright Shannon Geier (at left) is headlining the 2019 St. Lou Fringe Festival with her play "Check In." Matthew Kerns is the executive director of the festival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

To describe the St. Lou Fringe Festival as a theater event is something of a misnomer. There are plenty of actors, playwrights and other theater professsionals involved in the annual six-day-long extravaganza that gets underway this Tuesday. But there are also poets, dancers, performance artists, sculptors, burlesque performers and improv acts.

This year’s offerings also run the gamut with pieces by established and experienced playwrights as well as emerging artists and previously untested work. That’s by design, according to organizer Matthew Kerns.

“The idea of a fringe festival is that it is uncensored and unjuried,” the executive director of the festival told St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s show. “We offer opportunity where opportunity is not given anywhere else in this region. So if you have a piece of work that you are passionate about that is very experimental, we are the place for that to be done.”

Twenty-one-year-old filmmaker and Webster University student Tanner Craft (at right), who was diagnosed with autism as a young child, joined Wednesday's talk show alongside his mother, Tanya Craft.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The first few minutes of Tanner Craft’s new film pair a seemingly everyday scene – a mother and her young son at a doctor’s office – with an unsettling soundtrack. There’s a looming, ongoing hum audible beneath the dialogue as the physician tells the mother that her son has autism spectrum disorder.

“It’s a developmental disorder,” the doctor says, the mother appearing overwhelmed. “It impairs his ability to communicate and interact with others.”

But “Diagnosis,” which Craft wrote, directed and produced, doesn’t stop there. The short film goes on to highlight a mother-son journey from early diagnosis, to learning more about autism and existing resources, to finding new ways to connect with one another and thrive.

Sahara Sista SOLS (at left) served as one of the coaches of St. Louis' team, which includes recent high school graduates Zack Lesmeister (center) and Keana Fox as well as four other teens.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of local teens made St. Louis proud earlier this month when they earned first place at the 2019 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Las Vegas.

Selected through a months-long process under the umbrella of local nonprofit organization UrbArts, the six budding poets won the competition July 20. The festival draws about 500 young poets, their mentors, and leading artists and cultural workers each year for arts education, artistic expression and civic engagement.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two members of the award-winning team: Zack Lesmeister, who is a graduate of Marquette High School, a freshman at Emerson College and a former St. Louis youth poet laureate, and Keana Fox, a graduate of Collinsville High School who is headed to Indiana University in Indianapolis this fall. Also participating in the discussion was one of the team’s coaches, Sahara Sista SOLS.

Beth Huebner is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County has significantly reduced its jail population over the past year, as Missouri Lawyers Weekly reported last month. Officials say the drop from an over-capacity total of 1,242 inmates in July 2018 down to 965 as of May 2019 has a lot to do with justice reform efforts that began in the wake of Ferguson protests.

University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Beth Huebner has led research in collaboration with the county, its circuit court and service providers – an effort fueled by $4.5 million in grant funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Huebner joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss the progress she’s observed in the county system as well as aspects of it still in need of change.

Mike Faulk is now a freelance journalist based in Washington state.
Mike Faulk

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled on the City of St. Louis’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter. The decision went mostly in the reporter’s favor and allows the lawsuit to proceed.

Now based in Washington state, journalist Mike Faulk filed the suit following a September 2017 protest related to the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley. Faulk was reporting on the protest when he alleges police officers unlawfully assaulted and arrested him.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin went behind the headlines to talk with Faulk about where things stand.

The 70 Grand bus stops near St. Louis University in December 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:30 a.m., July 26 with details about route changes — 

From the announcement of MetroBus service shifts coming this fall, to record-setting MetroLink ridership the day of the St. Louis Blues parade last month, to security challenges, the past year and a half has proved to be a pivotal time for Metro Transit

On Thursday, Metro Transit announced its final plans to overhaul its Missouri-side bus services in the St. Louis region. The plan, based on rider feedback and several years of studies, underwent multiple revisions in 2018. The changes will begin taking effect Sept. 30.

The developments have daily implications for area residents who depend on public transportation.

Seventeen people lost their lives in last summer's duck boat tragedy on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of a tragic accident that killed 17 people near Branson, Missouri, one of the state’s biggest family-vacation destinations. The drownings occurred when a Ride the Ducks boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake in neighboring Stone County.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Branson Mayor Edd Akers and Fire Chief Ted Martin talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin. They looked back on the day of the tragedy and also discussed efforts to support victims and their families and bring healing to the Branson community.

St. Louis-based conductor and composer Darwin Aquino joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Darwin Aquino was a young boy growing up in the Dominican Republic, his father directed him to choose one instrument to learn to play. Aquino opted for the violin and, with that early decision, took his first steps along a musical journey that would eventually lead him to St. Louis.

Along the way, his musical accomplishments have expanded beyond his skills as a violinist. Aquino is now a conductor and a composer, with his current roles including positions at both Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was recently named the musical director of Gateway Festival Orchestra, which is partway through its 2019 season.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Aquino talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin about his local musical endeavors and compositions.

From left, Amber Hinsley, Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad and Tyler Kelley joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Emoji have come a long way in recent years, with smiling faces and simple thumbs up now vastly outnumbered by a wide range of visual expressions available for digital use. As this visual language infuses contemporary forms of communication more and more, emoji present both opportunities and challenges in humans’ abilities to understand each other.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin talked with three St. Louisans whose areas of expertise have them thinking a lot about how to use emoji and related digital tools well.

Joining the discussion were rhetorician Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad, a PhD student and graduate instructor at St. Louis University; Amber Hinsley, an associate professor in SLU’s Department of Communication; and Tyler Kelley, co-founder and chief strategist at the St. Louis-based digital storytelling firm SLAM!

Tatyana Telnikova is the owner of HandleBar in the Grove neighborhood and an organizer of St. Louis' World Naked Bike Ride.
Tatyana Telnikova

Nearly a decade ago, HandleBar owner Tatyana Telnikova began heading up the after-party for St. Louis’ World Naked Bike Ride.

She’s now even more deeply involved as an organizer of the annual event, which gets going at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Grove neighborhood.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Telnikova talked with guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network about this growing St. Louis tradition. Twelve years running, the ride aims to raise awareness about oil dependency, body positivity and cyclist vulnerability.

Dr. Anne Cross of Washington University School of Medicine joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Years ago, when many multiple sclerosis researchers believed that a type of immune cell known as a T-cell was the cause of the disease, Dr. Anne Cross turned her focus instead to B-cells. Her findings have led to key breakthroughs in MS research – and also to receiving the John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Academy of Neurology.

Cross, who is The Manny and Rosalyn Rosenthal – Dr. John L. Trotter MS Center Chair in Neuroimmunology of Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, joined Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air for a conversation with guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network.

From left, Justice Hill, Rebecca Butler Mona and Wayne Fields joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

More than two millennia after the ancient orator Demosthenes refined his speaking style by talking with pebbles in his mouth, great speeches continue to play a significant cultural role. That enduring impact on public life – as well as the value of public-speaking skills for everyday contexts – is in the spotlight during the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.

Taking place at St. Louis University, the competition runs Thursday through Saturday, with several sizable scholarship awards awaiting the winners.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr talked with a past winner of the competition, Justice Hill, who is now a SLU student, as well as Rebecca Butler Mona, the president of Optimist International. Also joining the discussion was Wayne Fields, the Lynne Cooper Harvey Chair Emeritus in English at Washington University.

Chavisa Woods is the author of "100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism" as well as three books of fiction.
Seven Stories Press

While many writers pen memoirs because of something particularly distinctive or unusual about their lives, the reason Chavisa Woods gives for writing hers is pretty much the opposite.

“I felt that it was incumbent for me to put this on the page ... because my life is not exceptional,” Woods, the author of “100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism,” said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And I think when people hear that you’ve experienced 100 formative incidents of sexism, maybe the first reaction is, ‘Oh, I can’t believe that it influences your life so much.’ But I think when most women stop and think about discrimination, harassment, groping, sexual violence and also microagressions, you’ll see that you could easily compile [such a list]. ”

From left, Kathie Brennan and Don Massey joined Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Meandering over more than 400 miles of southeast Missouri is a network of hiking trails that’s been in existence since the 1970s: the Ozark Trail. Its history, along with its natural beauty, fill the pages of Don Massey’s photographic book titled “The Ozark Trail: Images of Missouri’s Longest Hiking Trail.”

Massey is a member of the Ozark Trail Association, and he joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air alongside the association’s president, Kathie Brennan, for a conversation with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum.

From left, Cody Stokes and Earl McWilliams Jr. joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Six of the 113 films in the spotlight during the 19th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase are feature length. Collectively, they take viewers from the women’s prison in Vandalia, Missouri, to Henry Shaw’s Museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden, to World War II and more.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl discussed two of the films in depth – “Road to the Pros” and “The Ghost Who Walks” – with directors Earl McWilliams Jr. and Cody Stokes.

A documentary short by Joshua Kelley, 14, is among those in the spotlight at this year's Filmmakers Showcase.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A total of 113 films will be in the spotlight during the 19th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, which gets underway Friday and continues through July 21. Ranging from narrative and experimental shorts to feature-length documentaries, this year’s lineup also includes a documentary short directed by 14-year-old Joshua Kelley.

Kelley, whose film “A Look Ahead: Our Energy Future in 20 Years” considers the future environmental state of St. Louis and the country as a whole, joined Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air for a conversation with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl. 

Also participating in the discussion was Chris Clark, who is the artistic director of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis. The organization presents the annual festival, which serves as the region’s primary venue for films made by local artists.

From left, Wesley Bell, Cristina Garmendia and Wally Siewert joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Better Together proposal that had sought to consolidate much of St. Louis City and County government now no longer up for consideration, what’s next for the region, especially when it comes to addressing racial equity issues?

FOCUS St. Louis is asking this question and more at a free event sponsored by the organization this Thursday evening at the Missouri History Museum. Titled Equity in City/County Reform: Political Representation and Criminal Justice, the gathering will bring together a variety of speakers from both city and county.

From left, Adam Jones and Herb Simmons joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

After a very rainy spring and early summer that have included more than 80 days of flooding along rivers in the St. Louis region, many area residents are still feeling the effects.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl talked with guests from both Illinois and Missouri about the impacts they’ve been dealing with in their respective communities.

Joining the discussion were Adam Jones, a fourth-generation farmer on about 900 acres in Missouri, and Herb Simmons, the longtime mayor of East Carondelet, Illinois.

Author Frank DiStefano joins Monday's show.
Frank DiStefano

Many Americans are worried that the nation’s political parties are crumbling, and author Frank DiStefano is convinced those worries are warranted. But he also sees what’s happening as part of a natural cycle built into the structure of the U.S. from the get-go.

In his latest book, “The Next Realignment: Why America’s Parties Are Crumbling and What Happens Next,” DiStefano explores a variety of factors contributing to the country’s current political environment as well as potential paths forward.

DiStefano joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl for an in-depth conversation on Monday's St. Louis on the Air. 

From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Later this week several longstanding St. Louis traditions get underway, including Fair St. Louis and the VP Parade. Both events have connections to the Veiled Prophet Organization, which was founded in 1878 by white elites.

The organization and its regular celebrations are associated with civic pride and philanthropy – and with controversy, secretive rituals and protest.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Shula Neuman looked back on Veiled Prophet history and consider the organization’s evolution and ongoing influence. Joining her to talk about it were two guests with particular interests in the topic.

Percy Green is a prominent civil rights activist perhaps best known for scaling the Gateway Arch 55 years ago. Devin Thomas O’Shea is a Chicago-based freelance writer who recently finished an as-yet-unpublished novel inspired by the city’s Veiled Prophet traditions.

Eric Schmid is St. Louis Public Radio's Metro East reporter.
St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Schmid joined St. Louis Public Radio’s newsroom a few weeks ago as its Metro East reporter – a new role made possible through the Report for America initiative, which aims to fill important gaps in local journalism.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Schmid discussed what this means for the station’s news coverage and how he hopes to help boost people’s understanding and knowledge of communities just across the river from St. Louis.

He talked with STLPR editor Maria Altman, who was guest hosting. St. Louis Public Radio executive editor Shula Neuman also joined the conversation.

Amanda Vinicky is a correspondent for WTTW in Chicago.
Matthew Penning

Earlier this week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that will soon make recreational marijuana legal in the state. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, and makes Illinois the 11th state to allow recreational use.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann went behind the headlines on the news with Amanda Vinicky of Chicago public media outlet WTTW.

They discussed the leadup to the legislation, what makes Illinois’ route to legalization distinctive and what it all means for citizens.

St. Louis Public Library is looking for all sorts of Blues-related materials.
St. Louis Public Library

Two and a half weeks ago, the St. Louis Blues made history with their first Stanley Cup, and the memories are still fresh for lifelong and recent fans alike. To help keep those memories alive for many years to come, St. Louis Public Library is encouraging people around the region to contribute Blues-related artifacts to the team’s official archive.

The growing collection is housed at Central Library, the library system's downtown branch. Available for public viewing by appointment, the archive got its start in 2016, when the library partnered with the Blues on an exhibit looking back on the team’s first five decades.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann talked about the archive and what sorts of materials the library is seeking to add to it with Amanda Bahr-Evola, manager of special collections and digital archives.

Dr. Ken Haller joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Dr. Ken Haller regularly finds himself assuring parents that childhood vaccines are safe. He tries to do so with empathy, because along with having confidence in vaccinations, he also believes parents genuinely want what’s best for their kids.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the Saint Louis University associate professor of pediatrics joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann for a discussion about how he navigates vaccine worries.

In addition to talking with families, Haller makes a point of participating in vaccine trials to help advance research at SLU’s Vaccine Center, which is currently enrolling children and teens in a flu study.

ArchCity Defenders' Michael-John Voss (at left) and Wash U's Peter Joy joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer in January announced coming changes to the state’s pretrial rules, which govern bail, detention and other practices directly impacting citizens accused of a crime.

The new rules, described by Fischer as “common-sense modifications” within a system that too often treats defendants according to their pocketbooks instead of the law, go into effect July 1.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann discussed the implications with a local law professor and a representative from ArchCity Defenders.

Kris Kleindienst is co-owner of Left Bank Books.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Left Bank Books is turning 50 this year, and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, co-owner Kris Kleindienst talked about the shop’s storied history with St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann.

Located in St. Louis’ bustling Central West End neighborhood, the independent bookseller got its start in 1969 when a group of Washington University graduate students set out to create a place where one could find all kinds of literature.

Left Bank will formally celebrate its 50-year milestone in October.

From left, Erica Jones, Dr. Brad Warner and Dr. Nicole Wilson joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this month, four St. Louis-area children died as a result of guns over the course of just five days.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann discussed the ongoing violence and related trauma that many children in the region face – as well as resources and ideas for a way forward.

Joining the discussion were three guests: Erica Jones, who has lost both a 7-year-old godson and an adult daughter to guns in recent years; Dr. Brad W. Warner, the Jessie L. Ternberg MD PhD Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at St. Louis Children's Hospital; and Dr. Nicole Wilson, pediatric surgery fellow at St. Louis Children's Hospital.