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.

Trey Porter joined Tuesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of St. Louis Public Schools’ termination last month of Trey Porter, Roosevelt High School’s football coach and athletic director, there were more questions than answers. There was also hope — on the part of Porter’s students, parents and others — that Porter might be reinstated, especially after an Oct. 21 student-led walkout in support of him.

But at the latest meeting of the school board, Porter was notified that the board is standing by the district’s decision.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Porter joined host Sarah Fenske to share his perspective on the events of recent days. Porter has said all along that the firing had to do with violating the district’s social media policies, and that his communication with players happened in the context of a strikingly violent summer for many youth in the city.

From left, Lynn Novick, Salih Israil and Paul Lynch joined Friday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker Lynn Novick’s new documentary “College Behind Bars,” set to air on PBS later this month, follows the journeys of men and women pursuing academic degrees while in prison. In doing so, it illustrates the life-changing nature of educational opportunity while also putting a human face on mass incarceration and, as the film’s website puts it, “our failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the over two million Americans living behind bars.”

Prison education programs, including the one featured in Novick’s film, the Bard Prison Initiative, are among efforts to address that failure across the nation. Locally, both St. Louis University and Washington University run programs that bring faculty members to several of the region’s correctional institutions to lead college-level classes. And like other such programs, they boast extremely low recidivism rates for participants who have since been released from prison.

John Wolbers' adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life" for Metro Theater Company is set at a fictional 1949 St. Louis radio station.
Jennifer Lin

Metro Theater Company’s Julia Flood was looking for a classic holiday show this fall — one that would also speak to Metro’s mission as a theater company inspired by the intelligence and emotional wisdom of young people. Her colleague John Wolbers’ fresh take on the story of George Bailey and the town of Bedford Falls aspires to fit the bill.

Set at a fictional St. Louis radio station 70 years ago and framed as a radio play within a play, the local playwright’s retelling of “It’s a Wonderful Life” aims to build a generational bridge. The 50-minute production opens this Sunday at the Grandel, with the cast introducing younger theatergoers — and audiences of all ages — to the golden age of radio as well as a long-beloved tale.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Wolbers joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about his adaptation ahead of its opening matinee (performances run Nov. 17 through Dec. 15). Also joining the broadcast were cast members Alicia Revé Like, Abraham Shaw and Chris E. Ware. The trio presented a scene from the play during the talk show, complete with Foley sound artistry.

Patrick Horine joined Wednesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The weather outside may be frightful, but Patrick Horine, co-founder of the popular Tower Grove Farmers' Market, isn’t exactly closing up shop for the colder months these days. As he looks toward the final market of the season this weekend in the south St. Louis park, he’s also gearing up for its wintry equivalent — which is growing.

Initially launched in 2007 as a monthly affair, the Winter Market this year will take place weekly beginning Dec. 7. And it’s moving to the spacious Koken Art Factory in St. Louis’ Fox Park neighborhood to accommodate dozens of local vendors.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Horine joined host Sarah Fenske for a sneak peek at the wintry offerings, which also will feature a holiday theme the first three Saturdays of the season. He also discussed farmers market trends in the region as a whole.

Rita Csapo-Sweet joined Wednesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2012, Rita Csapo-Sweet and her husband, the late Frederick Sweet, jointly published a paper on the ghastly but little-known legacy of Carl Clauberg, a German physician who conducted mass sterilization experiments at Auschwitz during World War II. Clauberg would use his work in the concentration camp to develop a pioneering fertility test. 

“Clauberg’s name needs to be placed next to [Josef] Mengele’s in its rightful place in infamy,” the two scholars concluded, emphasizing that Clauberg’s medical crimes against humanity “must be disclosed whenever the test bearing his name appears” in modern biomedical texts.

As Csapo-Sweet and Sweet dug into their research, filmmakers Sylvia Nagel and Sonya Winterberg also began a documentary about Clauberg — and the St. Louis-based couple’s academic article filled in key gaps in the filmmakers’ story. Nagel and Winterberg reached out to Csapo-Sweet in 2015, and she joined the documentary as its American producer.

The fossa is one of the mammals that scientists are studying in Madagascar.
Fidisoa Rasambainarivo

For nearly three decades, the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has bestowed its World Ecology Award on prominent biodiversity-minded individuals ranging from John Denver to E.O. Wilson. But this year the center is instead honoring a pair of world-class local institutions — the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Zoo — for their critical research and conservation work in Madagascar.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with the center’s interim director, Patty Parker, and with a Malagasy scientist, Fidisoa Rasambainarivo, who is in St. Louis to speak at an upcoming gala where the zoo and garden are being honored.

Sheila McGlown has become an advocate for inclusion of women of color in clinical trials.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2009, when Sheila McGlown began battling metastatic breast cancer at the age of 43, she was already a skilled fighter. She’d spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, a background she says gave her strength as well as a sense of defiance that would serve her well amid new challenges.

Ten years later, McGlown is still undergoing cancer treatment — and still focused on the service to others that she cherished during her military career. The Swansea, Illinois, resident has found a new passion for advocacy around the inclusion of women of color in clinical trials. Meanwhile, she’s also 16 months into a clinical trial participation herself.

On Monday, in light of Veterans Day, McGlown joined St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske to discuss her journey.

Glenn Burleigh joined Friday's show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ relatively low cost of living is an oft-touted point of pride for the region. But a newly released report by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council suggests that life in the Gateway City isn’t so affordable for everyone — especially when it comes to paying rent.

Compiled by the organization’s community engagement specialist, the report aims to fill an information gap when it comes to understanding local rent costs. And one of the key takeaways from Glenn Burleigh’s ZIP-code-level analysis is that perceptions of gentrification are rooted in reality: Across the city of St. Louis, rents are rising faster than in the metropolitan region as a whole, and twice as fast in the central corridor and south St. Louis.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Burleigh joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss the implications of EHOC’s recent findings as well as related topics.

The groundbreaking on a new NGA site in north St. Louis is set for Nov. 26.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

In three weeks, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will formally break ground on Next NGA West, its long-anticipated headquarters that will be located in north St. Louis. The $1.7 billion construction project is expected to last several years, with a goal of completing much of the campus in 2023.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Next NGA West Program Director Sue Pollmann joined host Sarah Fenske to give an update on the project and to discuss the spy agency’s hopes for the St. Louis region as a geospatial industry hub.

The Halloween golf cart parade last Friday evening in Soulard drew dozens of vehicles, all decked out in their holiday finest.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Golf carts aren’t just for fairways. They’ve long been popular in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood, where many residents use them to tool around the narrow streets and run quick errands. But in recent years, they’re growing in popularity in other areas as well.

“I’ve definitely noticed over the last 10 years the golf cart movement spreading out into other parts of the city,” St. Louis Alderman Dan Guenther, D-9th Ward, said last Friday evening while attending the neighborhood’s Halloween golf cart parade.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske took a closer look at golf cart trends in the region and heard from local golf cart owners as well as people with questions about the carts. Joining the conversation in studio were St. Louis transportation planner Scott Ogilvie and Midwest Golf Car manager and mechanic Kurt Hagen.

From left, Maria Yaksic and Elisa Bender joined Monday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up in Mexico, Lizett Mata spent a lot of time in early November each year at her father’s grave. He died when she was just 7 years old, and Mata and her family would annually bring some of his favorite things to the cemetery to celebrate his and other departed loved ones’ lives. They’d spend the whole day there.

It was a solemn time. Even so, Mata associates those early Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, traditions with life, love and celebration — not with death.

“It’s a way that we can really celebrate the memory of others and that we can really truly keep them in our hearts and in our minds,” Mata told St. Louis on the Air as she looked toward this year’s celebration in St. Louis, where she’s lived for more than a decade.

It was a standing-room-only affair on one of the trolleys last weekend.
File photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Only 11 months into its operating life, the Loop Trolley may not be long for this world. The Loop Trolley Company announced Oct. 12 that it needs an influx of $200,000 to continue running the trolley cars through the end of 2019 — and another $500,000 for next year.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin went behind the headlines with STLPR political correspondent Jason Rosenbaum for analysis of the latest developments surrounding the trolley.

Years in the making, the Loop Trolley took $51 million to build, with the majority of the funding coming from a Federal Transit Administration grant.

Edna Dieterle (at left) and John Avery will be on hand at the Campbell House Museum for its annual Twilight Tours This Friday.
Mourning Society of St. Louis

Halloween-related celebrations are legion in St. Louis, with wide-ranging revelry options available each year for enthusiasts of every sort. At the Campbell House Museum — located downtown and at the less ghoulish end of the Halloween spectrum — the holiday observance typically involves a lot of history as well as a coffin, leeches and more.

This month marks 140 years since the death of the fur trader Robert Campbell, one of early St. Louis’ most prominent citizens and the museum property’s former owner, and on Friday evening, members of the Mourning Society of St. Louis will be on hand to oversee this year’s iteration of the Twilight Tours.

Three members of the small but active society joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air for a preview of the nearly sold-out event — and they talked about their historical reenactment work more broadly as well.

David Kvidahl joined Thursday's show to discuss the latest developments at Cardinal Ritter and Roosevelt high schools.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Last week was a busy one for David Kvidahl, who covers high school sports for STLhighschoolsports.com and STLtoday.com.

On Tuesday, he was calling Cardinal Ritter College Prep to let school officials know he planned to publish a story about a football player at the Catholic school taking the field while ineligible. The next day, he was reporting that St. Louis Public Schools had terminated Roosevelt High School athletic director and head football coach Trey Porter. Then, on Friday, Cardinal Ritter announced that its entire football staff had been “permanently released” by the school.

Kvidahl joined host Sarah Fenske on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to go behind the headlines on the latest developments in both the Roosevelt and Cardinal Ritter stories.

From left, UMSL's Priscilla Dowden-White and Andrew Kersten joined Monday's program. The show also included the perspectives of several UMSL students.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after Andrew Kersten joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis last year as its dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he and a group of colleagues put out a campus survey listing about 20 different books. “Which book should we choose for the UMSL Common Read?” they wanted to know.

Before long, as Kersten remembers it, one particular novel quickly rose to the top among the 300 responses to the survey: James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And from there, what he and others thought would amount to a public lecture and a few classes “took off like wildfire.” More than 50 faculty members opted to incorporate the book into their courses this fall.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Kersten and Priscilla Dowden-White,  associate professor of history, about how Baldwin’s 1974 novel about Tish and Fonny is resonating across campus and the broader St. Louis community, decades after it was written. The conversation also included the perspectives of several UMSL students and faculty members.

Luka Cai is a co-founder of the newly launched SQSH project.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up in Singapore, Washington University undergraduate Luka Cai was closeted, finding little support there for members of the LGBTQ community. But even in their new home of St. Louis, where Cai openly identifies as a pansexual transmasculine queer person, they’ve observed a need for more peer-to-peer support.

“When I came to St. Louis, I felt very much more affirmed and accepted by the St. Louis queer community, and I saw the same needs around me,” Cai said, “of people feeling isolated, rejected, discriminated against — and that comes out in terms of housing insecurity and employment security as well.”

This led Cai to the idea for SQSH, the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline that they and a co-founder launched earlier this month. The all-volunteer effort aims to be “for the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community, by the community,” inviting calls to 314-380-7774, with highly trained volunteers ready to provide support.

From left, Michelle Yepez, Paula Witkowski and Sarah Bartley joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people around the world have dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects how one’s brain processes information about sounds and words. In the St. Louis region, some parents are pushing for more school resources and attention to dyslexia, and a Webster University seminar on the subject last week drew a sold-out crowd.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Webster’s Paula Witkowski, an associate professor of literacy and speech-language pathologist in the School of Education, as well as local parents Sarah Bartley and Michelle Yepez, who each have a child with dyslexia. They discussed the importance of early intervention and how people with dyslexia can thrive. The conversation also included contributions from listeners who called in to the show to share their experiences.

From left, Lauren Vanlandingham and Aurrice Duke-Rollings
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri & St. Louis Public Radio

Longtime Girl Scout and St. Louis-area resident Lauren Vanlandingham has earned quite a few badges and other accolades over the years. But the latest honor, announced last week by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, definitely stands out: She’s been named a 2019 National Gold Award Girl Scout.

Considered to be the organization’s highest honor, it’s a designation reserved for just 10 Girl Scouts each year — young women who have taken action to address the world’s most pressing issues.

From left, D'Andre Braddix, Jessica Mefford-Miller and Mitch Eagles joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Those who staff and depend on the St. Louis region’s public transit system have seen significant changes in recent days, particularly with the implementation of Metro Reimagined, Metro Transit’s overhaul of its Missouri-side bus lines.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with transit riders and other stakeholders about the current state and future of public transit in the region.

Joining the conversation were Metro Transit Executive Director Jessica Mefford-Miller, Citizens for Modern Transit board member D'Andre Braddix and St. Louis resident and frequent transit rider Mitch Eagles. The discussion also included pre-recorded comments and live calls from commuters.

From left, Lisa Weingarth, Stacie Zellin and Kendra Holmes joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Women comprise nearly half of the United States’ civilian labor force, according to the Department of Labor’s latest statistics. Their annual median earnings — about $42,000 — fall about $10,000 short of the median paycheck men see each year. And along with the compensation gap, other workforce gender-equity disparities remain common for many industries and employers.

The Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis aims to measure progress on that front with its Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard. The voluntary rating system, which is now underway for this year, includes a voluntary employer survey exploring policies, practices and work culture.

Susan Walker is a great-niece of the late Mary Ranken Jordan.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up in Great Britain, Susan Walker heard bits and pieces about her great-aunt Mary Ranken Jordan, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Northern Ireland in the late 19th century. But several years ago she became determined to learn more about this distinguished yet mysterious relative.

She knew of her lasting impact in St. Louis, and now Walker’s research into Jordan’s life and legacy has her traveling overseas herself to the Gateway City. 

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Walker about the children’s hospital Jordan founded in 1941, what she’s learning through her research — and what she’s still hoping to discover about her great-aunt from others.

St. Louis police cadets Cearra Flowers (center left) and Mary Mazzola (center right)
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Darla Gray remembers being the last person to enter the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's cadet program before it was dissolved in 1981. Now Gray is helping to lead its return. The program started back up in 2018 and now boasts 64 aspiring officers.

"I was actually looking at retirement, and they told me they were starting the program back up and asked if I would like to help develop it," Gray said. "And I postponed my retirement to do it, because I believe in this program that much."

On Thursday's St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two of the young people currently participating in the cadet program as well as with Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.

Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University joins Wednesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Much of the conversation about contemporary American health care revolves around money more than actual medicine. But given the crushing costs associated with seemingly every aspect of the industry, that focus isn’t so surprising.

As Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University notes in his newly published book, “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Healthcare — And How To Fix It,” one in five Americans currently has medical debt in collections.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Makary joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about his research into why costs are skyrocketing — and what can be done to redesign the broken U.S. health care system.

Singer-songwriter Brian Owens joined Friday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The artistic path of Brian Owens has long charted both tribute territory and totally new ground, and Owens is known to navigate both well. The local singer-songwriter’s 2017 album “Soul of Cash” premiered via Rolling Stone, and that same year Owens released the song “For You,” showcasing the vocals of five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald alongside his own.

McDonald and Owens share a hometown — Ferguson, Missouri — and are collaborating musically again this Sunday during a benefit concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center celebrating McDonald’s legacy.

Owens joined St. Louis on the Air’s Sarah Fenske on Friday to discuss the event, which is billed as “A Night for Life” and also features “The Voice” contestant Kennedy Holmes. Owens also discussed his journey as a musician and community activist.

Michael Kupstas is president and CEO of regional fast-food chain Lion's Choice, which has been around for more than five decades.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Several years ago, restaurant industry veteran Michael “Kup” Kupstas was happily enjoying retirement when the appeal of Lion’s Choice prompted a change of plans. He wound up reentering the workforce in 2017 as the regional fast-food chain’s president and CEO.

“It was really the similarity of an experience I had early on [in a previous role] with Panera, to be honest,” Kupstas said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, explaining what impressed him about Lion’s Choice. “I think what makes certain brands stand out is that they are able to differentiate dramatically in a really crowded field.”

Kupstas told host Sarah Fenske that he was also drawn to the “loyal, fanatic fans” and the employees of Lion’s Choice, which Food & Wine magazine recently deemed Missouri’s best fast food.

The inaugural Laugh Tracks event took place Sept. 13. The next is set for Oct. 11.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The Loop Trolley platform just outside the Pageant in the Delmar Loop was packed last Friday evening with people waiting to board. That hasn’t been a common sight in recent months following the launch of the controversial trolley, but on this particular night, something was different.

Local comedian Yale Hollander was rolling out the first iteration of Laugh Tracks, a unique comedic combination in which attendees need only pay the $2 trolley fare for about 45 minutes of family-friendly standup while riding the nostalgic vehicle.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” Washington University graduate student Zack Goldman said while in line for the event. “I’ve never even heard of comedians on a trolley before. I’ve also never been on the trolley ... so I’m open to new possibilities.”

Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods performed Tuesday at the latest Western Wear Night at the Whiskey Ring on Cherokee Street.
Emily Woodbury | St. Louis Public Radio

John Joern, the co-owner of the Whiskey Ring, has watched Western Wear Night quickly grow into quite the bonanza at his Cherokee Street establishment. It all started less than a year ago with what he describes as “band practice” — local musician Ryan Koenig regularly bringing collaborators to the Whiskey Ring for live entertainment.

“He’d just kind of play for a couple hours while everybody meandered in and out,” Joern recalled during a St. Louis on the Air segment, “and [Lucas Hanner] and a few other folks, some friends of his, decided to take it upon themselves to start dressing the part, to sort of celebrate the evening, and it caught on like wildfire.”

With more and more St. Louisans joining in on the shenanigans, Western Wear Night has become a regular third-Tuesday-of-the-month festivity, despite the gathering’s decidedly Midwest, not-in-the-West, location.

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 Wednesday during an interview with St. Louis on the Air. The 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."

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