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.

Mary Engelbreit is speaking at BookFest this Saturday.
Mary Engelbreit

Before she became a household name for her internationally acclaimed illustration work, Mary Engelbreit was a typical young adult finding a way to make a living in St. Louis. In her late teens and early 20s, she worked at a local art store and an ad agency — and then landed a job as an editorial artist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She was let go during her probation period, she told listeners during an interview with St. Louis on the Air Wednesday. The newspaper’s unceremonious goodbye came after she challenged the fact that men were paid much more than women. 

James Brandon is the author of "Ziggy, Stardust & Me."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Soul Train” was on TV. Groovy teachers were teaching “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” to the high school English classes. David Bowie stopped by Kiel Auditorium to promote a little album called “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” Was there a more idyllic time to be a teenager than Creve Coeur in the early 1970s? 

For Jonathan, the protagonist of James Brandon’s new young adult novel “Ziggy, Stardust and Me,” it isn’t quite that simple. Sure, the music is incredible. But Jonathan is gay. And in St. Louis in 1973, that means intense and even painful therapy.

Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air included a conversation about the novel, which has its hometown launch party Wednesday evening. Brandon, a St. Louis native who makes his fiction debut with “Ziggy, Stardust and Me,” discussed his book as well as his personal journey on the show.

Jessica Ciccone, at left, and Samantha Rudolph joined Monday's program.
St. Louis Public Radio & Babyation

Since Jessica Ciccone moved back to her hometown of St. Louis in 2012 after years living in Boston, she’s found a niche connecting local professionals with business resources and service activities — and with each other.

Those passions all come together in the nonprofit she helped to form a couple of years ago, St. Louis Startup Ambassadors, for which she now serves as board vice president. The organization helps transplants find their way in what can be an insular town — although St. Louis natives and “boomerangs” like herself, who’ve moved back after years away, are also welcome.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Ciccone and with Samantha Rudolph, the founder of Babyation, a company Rudolph describes as “unapologetically for moms."

Comedian Rhea Butcher will perform at the Ready Room this Sunday evening.
Rhea Butcher

L.A.-based comedian and podcaster Rhea Butcher is well aware that there are some bad things going on in today’s world. But the focus of Butcher’s current “Good Things Comedy Tour” lies elsewhere: with the good stuff.

“To only look at the bad would be to give in to the bad, I feel like, in these times,” the Midwest native told St. Louis Public Radio’s Kae Petrin in a conversation that aired during Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And so to have a good time, or to spend time in goodness and having fun and being kind and being joyous and happy, is not to ignore the bad things. It’s actually a form of self-care and growth and invigoration to take care of each other, I’ve found.”

That’s the kind of vibe that eventgoers of all ages can expect at the Ready Room this Sunday. Butcher will perform at the venue in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood at 8 p.m. that evening.

Danny Wicentowski is a staff writer at the Riverfront Times.
Alexis Moore | St. Louis Public Radio

Danny Wicentowski conducted lots of different interviews for his latest Riverfront Times cover story digging into the status of a proposed $190 million Novus redevelopment near Interstate 170 and Olive Boulevard. The same word — limbo — kept popping up in his conversations with various sources, as he mentions in his piece.

The proposed development was publicly unveiled more than a year ago. Yet residents and business owners in the path of the Costco-focused "University Place" are still waiting to find out whether it's definitely moving forward. That's left their future in the neighborhood uncertain.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Wicentowski about his reporting on the saga. The conversation also included comments from longtime U City homeowner Letha Baptiste, who has thus far declined to accept Novus’ offer of an option contract on her house.

Tarek Husseini is one of three young bakers competing in Food Network's "Kids Baking Championship" final that premieres on Monday, Sept. 16.
Courtesy of Food Network

Thirteen-year-old St. Louisan Tarek Husseini spent four weeks in Los Angeles this past summer competing for a $25,000 prize. Now, for the last six weeks, viewers of the Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship” have watched Husseini and other up-and-coming bakers impress the judges with one kitchen creation after another.

The Ladue resident made it through the semifinal episode that premiered on Monday.

Then, on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, he talked with host Sarah Fenske ahead of next week's final episode.

This daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly shows the last of one of the final big mounds in St. Louis as it was being destroyed in 1869.
Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis

A multitude of truncated earthworks — more commonly known as mounds — once dotted the St. Louis landscape. For the ancient Mississippian people who constructed them many centuries ago, these structures were full of meaning and purpose.

The mounds also drew the interest of European newcomers to the region long after the mounds were built. But by the late 19th century, most of these sacred Native American places had been destroyed — the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois, being a significant exception. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Patricia Cleary, a St. Louis native who is currently working on a book about the mounds that she plans to publish leading up to Missouri’s bicentennial celebration of statehood in 2021. Cleary’s visit came in advance of her James Neal Primm Lecture at the Missouri History Museum, set for Monday evening.

Jane Elliott, at left, and Rachelle Smith joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In April 1968, Jane Elliott was a third grade teacher in the small town of Riceville, Iowa. On the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, she felt compelled to shift her lesson plans. She decided to teach her young white students about discrimination by telling the children that brown-eyed people were superior to their blue-eyed peers. She watched as the students turned on each other. Then, the next day, she reversed the script.

The exercise highlighted the arbitrary and irrational basis of prejudice, an issue that Americans continue to grapple with more than five decades later.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske explored that topic and others with Elliott ahead of the internationally known lecturer’s address at the Washington University Medical Campus on Monday evening. Joining the conversation was Rachelle D. Smith, a diversity, equity and inclusion leader for the School of Medicine.

Local author Amanda Doyle (right) signs a copy of one of her books for Charlie Wunderlich, age 8, at the Missouri Athletic Club after the STL Storytelling Live event Aug. 29.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The legacy of George B. Vashon. The history of the St. Louis Browns. The special moments that took place at the Top of the Tower. A handful of local authors and historians revisited all of this and more during last week’s STL Storytelling Live event at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air featured highlights from the evening, with stories running the gamut from the humorous, to the surprising, to the hopeful. The storytellers included Bill Clevlen, Carol Shepley, Amanda Doyle, Ed Wheatley, Calvin Riley and Cameron Collins.

The event was sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio, Reedy Press and the Missouri Athletic Club.

The new "We Live Here" team includes (from left) Jia Lian Yang, Lauren Brown and Ashley Winters.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

We Live Here, the podcast that St. Louis Public Radio launched in the wake of the Ferguson uprising, is entering its fifth season this fall – with new voices at its helm. Co-hosts Ashley Winters and Jia Lian Yang, as well as associate producer Lauren Brown, are preparing to release a series of new episodes in the coming weeks.

On Friday, they joined host Sarah Fenske on St. Louis on the Air to discuss where We Live Here is headed and how they’re hoping to engage with listeners near and far.

Maxi Glamour, pictured in a November 2018 photo by St. Louis Public Radio's Carolina Hidalgo at left, and, at right, during a visit this week to the STLPR studio, is one of St. Louis' most prominent drag queens.
St. Louis Public Radio

As a St. Louis-based designer, burlesque performer, artist and more, Maxi Glamour’s personal and professional brand is a multifaceted one. But one particular title does stand out, and that’s Glamour’s drag performer identity as the “Demon Queen of Polka and Baklava.”

That persona comes to life in a new way in the new season of the “Boulet Brothers’ Dragula” reality TV series, which features Glamour. The first episode premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Tuesday, and on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Glamour about their experience on “Dragula” as well as other topics.

Glamour, who identifies as queer and nonbinary, is believed to be the first drag performer from St. Louis to appear on a major televised drag competition. They became a fan of the show long before being cast in it.

Mike "Muddy Mike" Clark, standing in the stern, guides adventuregoers underneath the Eads Bridge near downtown St. Louis on a recent afternoon.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite its ever-present vastness along the Missouri-Illinois border, the Mississippi River is easy for locals to take for granted. And all too often, residents completely avoid the river.

It’s one thing to drive above it on a highway or eat a meal at a restaurant overlooking the water; relatively few actually travel its meandering length. But the people behind Big Muddy Adventures are aiming to change that, one canoe trip at a time.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with the company’s founder and lead guide, Mike Clark, who is better known as “Muddy Mike.” Also participating in the discussion was Roo Yawitz, general manager of Big Muddy Adventures.

From left, Kea Wilson and Scott Ogilvie joined Tuesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Every city has its nightmare intersections, and many residents could likely cite a personal nemesis or two. In the St. Louis area, the crossroads of North Grand Boulevard and Interstate 64 in Grand Center, and Eager and Hanley in Brentwood, may well come to mind among other notoriously tricky traffic spots.

Frequently stressful for drivers and non-drivers alike, these sections of public infrastructure can seem like a permanent fixture of civic life, along with the honking, confusion and rage they trigger. But change can sometimes happen.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske took a closer look at some of the region’s worst intersections – and discussed how planners work to address trouble spots in an age of crumbling infrastructure across the U.S. The conversation also touched on what residents can do to address problematic roads and contribute to smoother, safer streets for all.

From left, Catina Wilson and Kae Petrin joined Thursday's segment on transit-related challenges in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of people in the St. Louis region depend on Metro Transit’s 83 total MetroBus routes and 46 miles of MetroLink tracks to get where they need to go every day. But on Monday, many of those transit users were left waiting at their usual stops for many minutes, some even for hours, as expected public transportation vehicles did not arrive.

The transit agency cited a driver shortage early Monday as the cause of the delays, putting out a statement that read, in part, “Due to an unusually high number of MetroBus operators already calling off work and declining to work extra assignments, we anticipate that we will not be in position to deliver the normally high quality service the region has come to expect every day.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske heard from riders who ran into snags on Monday – and also talked with Catina Wilson, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788, and St. Louis Public Radio digital reporter Kae Petrin.

From left, Bill McDermott, Christine Ingrassia and Stu Hultgren joined Wednesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the latest news surrounding plans for a Major League Soccer team in St. Louis.

Joining the discussion were Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, whose 6th Ward encompasses the Downtown West area where the stadium would sit; “St. Louligan” Stu Hultgren, a south St. Louis resident and avid local soccer fan; and “Mr. Soccer” Bill McDermott, St. Louis University’s longtime men’s soccer game announcer.

The conversation also included questions from listeners and their wide-ranging opinions on what the new team ought to be named.

Lorin Cuoco passed away Aug. 8 at the age of 64.
John Fowler

St. Louis’ literary community lost one of its most influential members, Lorin Cuoco, 64, earlier this month. The longtime editor and poet passed away at her University City home Aug. 8 after a long illness, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cuoco is perhaps best known for her work alongside the late novelist William Gass, a dear friend and collaborator. Together they founded and oversaw Washington University’s International Writers Center (now the Center for the Humanities), and she edited multiple books with Gass.

She was also a force for the St. Louis Poetry Center, the River Styx literary organization and other local efforts to raise the profile of St. Louis’ literary scene. On top of all that, she was an accomplished radio professional.

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

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.

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.

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