Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Lara Hamdan

St. Louis on the Air Producer

Lara Hamdan joined St. Louis Public Radio as the news intern in 2017. A year later, she became a producer for “St. Louis on the Air.” A St. Louis native, Lara graduated with a degree in journalism from Webster University. She is a cat-mom to Sali and Sami, a lover of traveling, fluent in English and Arabic – and in eating falafel sandwiches and veggie burgers. She enjoys discovering new people and gems in the city throughout her work at St. Louis Public Radio.

Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Obsessed with the legacy of musician Louis Armstrong and care to learn more about him? Tonight, the curator of the Louis Armstrong House in Queens, New York, Ricky Riccardi, will be in town for an event at Jazz St. Louis to delve into two of Armstrong’s best-known ensembles: the Hot Five and Hot Seven.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Riccardi – who is also the author of “What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years” – sat down with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin to discuss the importance and impact of Armstrong’s early career.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” at noon Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Millennials, who are set to outnumber baby boomers sometime this year, are members of a generation often dubbed as lazy, oversensitive and entitled. But are they really? Or are they just misunderstood and maligned?

Collectively more diverse and better educated than previous generations, millennials are also facing some tough challenges, particularly with regard to the economy, housing and workforce evolution.

Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air will include an in-depth discussion about the millennial generation, their experiences, misconceptions about them and more.

Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, talked about an unveiling of the panel, "America's Long Road to Freedom: Missouri's Civil War," at Harris-Stowe State University. Joining the conversation by phone was Grego
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This Thursday, Harris-Stowe State University and the Missouri Humanities Council are commemorating some of the city’s past residents in a new Civil War panel titled “Long Roads to Freedom.” It will be unveiled on the grounds of the university near the former site of John B. Henderson’s home, the Missouri senator who co-authored the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.

The panel also honors others who advanced the cause of equal rights, such as Henderson’s wife Mary Henderson – who was very involved in the cause of women’s suffrage and women’s rights – and Hiram Reed, the first slave freed on the authority of the American military during the
Civil War.

Joining Monday’s St. Louis on the Air discussion with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin to delve into the topic’s history were Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, and Gregory Carr, an instructor in speech and theater at Harris-Stowe State University.

(April 10, 2019) David Berczeck (at left) and Ken Olliff discussed the future of the geospatial ecosystem in the St. Louis region on Wednesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has plans to break ground on a $1.75 billion complex in north St. Louis this year. But this growing industry has implications for realms outside of national security, too – from satellites and GPS to food and water security.

David Berczek, chief of the NGA Office of Corporate Communications West, and Ken Olliff, vice president for research at Saint Louis University, joined Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss the future of the geospatial ecosystem in our region.

They started off the conversation by defining what they mean by the term "geospatial."

(April 04, 2019) Acclaimed scholar, critic and essayist Gerald Early discussed a variety of topics on Thursday's "St. Louis on the Air," including baseball, his latest book, "The Cambridge Champion of Boxing," and the value of literary works.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Gerald Early is an acclaimed scholar, critic and essayist. He is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in the African and African American Studies Department at Washington University, and among his many interests is the wide world of sports – especially baseball.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, he grew up a Phillies fan. With that in mind during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann asked Early whether his loyalties have shifted at all while living in St. Louis.

Dr. Rupa Patel (left) and Dr. Anne Glowinski (right) are spearheading efforts to help Rohingya refugees living in camps located in Bangladesh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air centered on local efforts to help Rohingya refugees living in camps located in Bangladesh.

Joining the program were two Washington University School of Medicine professionals who are spearheading the efforts: Dr. Anne Glowinski, professor of psychiatry, and Dr. Rupa Patel, assistant professor of medicine.

The dining room at the Midwestern.
Adam Rothbarth | Sauce Magazine

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sauce Magazine managing editors Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes talked up some of the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community.

In addition to highlighting the top food spots to visit, Klene and Hughes mentioned Vicia chef and co-owner Michael Gallina, who is one of the James Beard Foundation finalists for the Best Chef: Midwest award.

The foundation will announce the chef and restaurant award winners at a gala in Chicago on May 6.

Bottles of homebrews at an STL Hops meeting.
Adam Rothbarth | Sauce Magazine

It’s no secret that St. Louisans love their beer, so much so that some take the matter into their own hands with no intention of ever going pro. Homebrewing is the subject of this month’s Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine. The publication’s new Guide to Beer features several local homebrew clubs that meet monthly to swap brews, recipes and critique each other’s creations. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Lara Hamdan talked with local homebrewers Suzie Emiliozzi, president of The OG: Women’s Craft Beer Collective, and Troy Meier, president of the STL Hops Homebrew Club. Sauce managing editor Catherine Klene also participated in the discussion. 

(March 29, 2019) Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano discussed how American security policy has developed since 9/11 on Friday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The events of September 11, 2001, changed how many Americans thought of security – and which security concerns they worried about. But in the nearly 20 years since the attacks, threats to American security have continued to evolve, and the United States has not always kept up.

That’s what former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano argues in her new book “How Safe Are We?” She joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss how American security policy has developed since 9/11.

(March 26, 2019)  Longtime television personality Karen Foss talked about her role in news coverage and her take on the industry today on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
File photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For 27 years, Karen Foss was a familiar face for many people in the St. Louis region. She worked as a TV anchorwoman for KSDK (Channel 5) from 1979 until her retirement in 2006.

Foss has since moved away from the city where she played such a significant role in news coverage. But she returned to town this week and joined Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air for a conversation with host Don Marsh.

(March 25, 2019) (L-R) Catina O'Leary, Dave Costenaro and Alexander Mueller discussed the nuances of artificial intelligence on Monday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Artificial intelligence is among the most transformative technologies humans possess today. But there are many concerns that while artificial intelligence is great in many respects, it's also costing consumers their privacy.

A common scenario that worries individuals is when ads coming across social media feeds feel a little too specific, leading some to believe that devices are “spying” on consumers without their consent.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about artificial intelligence and big data tracking in light of growing privacy concerns, as well as the role of AI in the health-care industry. Joining him for the discussion were Dave Costenaro, executive director of Prepare.ai; Catina O'Leary, president and CEO of Health Literacy Media; and Alexander Mueller, founder and CEO of Capnion. 

Dima Shabaneh (left) and Faizan Syed (right) recapped local events that have taken place in commemoration of the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand,
Lara Hamdan and Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Although Christchurch, New Zealand is approximately 8,000 miles away from St. Louis, the terrorist attack on two mosques left many locals in total sense of disbelief, heartbreak and sadness.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with local members of the Muslim community about the aftermath of the tragedy. Joining the discussion were Dima Shabaneh, an intake referral counselor at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, and Faizan Syed, executive director of Missouri’s Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Amanda Doyle (left) and Steve Pick (right) wrote "St. Louis Sound: An Illustrated Timeline," which tells the rich history of music out of St. Louis.
Tom Lampe

Alongside contributions to the world such as beer and baseball, St. Louis also has a rich history of generating great music. The region is not only home to bands of various genres such as jazz, rock, Americana and hip-hop — but also to world-class institutions such as the St. Louis Symphony and the Fox Theatre.

Many well-known — and not-so-known — performers are included in a brand-new pictorial history of St. Louis and its music titled “St. Louis Sound: An Illustrated Timeline.”

Salad with local wild greens, wild pickled mushrooms, huckleberry powder coated goat cheese and elk tenderloin.
Courtesy of Rob Connoley

Including Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Ozarks is a geographic region known for its mountainous topography, forests and tourism. The region also has a unique culinary history.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis native and chef Rob Connoley. The James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest is planning to open Bulrush, a restaurant rooted in Ozark cuisine, this April in Grand Center.

College Bound's Debbie Greenberg (at left) and UMSL's Alan Byrd joined Monday's talk show for a closer look at what's happening in the world of college admissions.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis-area teens with whom Debbie Greenberg interacts at College Bound are doing everything they’re supposed to do as they prepare to further their education – seeking out mentors, studying for college-entrance exams, gaining financial literacy and more.

But with a high-profile college-admissions scandal making headlines at the same time that institutions around the country are releasing decision letters to potential students, some of those local teens are also feeling “a sense of outrage,” Greenberg said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

“There are still barriers, there are still roadblocks” for these high school students, she added, noting that the recent revelations about powerful parents using illegal means to get their children into elite schools are indicative of a much broader problem.

(March 18, 2019) Award-winning composer/trumpeter Terence Blanchard talked about his unlikely venture into jazz opera and his work on various Spike Lee films, including "BlacKkKlansman."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The name Terence Blanchard is well known in the worlds of jazz and opera. The Academy Award nominee and Grammy Award-winning composer/trumpeter scored a big hit a few years ago with “Champion”, a joint co-commission by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) and Jazz St. Louis about boxer Emile Griffith.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Blanchard about his latest OSTL commissioned production, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” as well as his work on the recent Spike Lee film, "BlacKkKlansman."

(March 11, 2019) David Kimball, professor and Graduate Director of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, discussed alternative methods of voting including: ranked choice, proportional and cumulative.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The recent primary election for president of the Board of Aldermen resulted in a narrow win for incumbent Lewis Reed. He won his fourth term with less than 40 percent of the vote. His two opponents, State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed and Alderwoman Megan Green, split more than 60 percent of the votes.

With more people voting against Reed than for him, some have questioned if there are other voting methods that would reflect a more accurate majority-vote win.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored alternative forms of voting with David Kimball, professor and Graduate Director of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Some methods include ranked -choice, proportional and cumulative voting.  

Radio One St. Louis invited St. Louisans to gather at Art Hill for a self-portrait of St. Louis March 14, known as 314 Day, in 2014.
Lawrence Bryant

March 14 is celebrated nationally as Pi Day in honor of the mathematical constant π. But in St. Louis, the local community acknowledges another aspect of the 314 numerical value – the city itself.

For years, locals – especially in the black community – have embraced showing pride for St. Louis through informal gatherings or St. Louis-themed parties in clubs and venues such as 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center.

(March 11,2019) (L-R) LaShana Lewis, Susan Gobbo and Katie Carpenter discussed local efforts underway to attract and retain newcomers to the region.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Moving to a new city can sometimes be daunting, whether it’s a move for work, family or school. But it doesn’t always have to be – and in St. Louis, there are resources that transplants can take advantage of if they know where to look.

A variety of local efforts are underway to attract and retain newcomers to the region, and on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about where those activities are at – and what new St. Louisans can do to make their transition to the area more seamless.

University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education's James Shuls (at left), SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams (at center) and Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen discussed challenges surrounding teacher compensation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this week, the local union representing educators who serve in St. Louis Public Schools began arbitration relating to its claims about pay discrepancy within the district.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 claims many of its members are being paid less than colleagues with the same credentials and are seeking $10 million worth of salary increases and back pay for nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a conversation in light of that news, touching on challenges surrounding teacher compensation as well as other matters. Joining the discussion were SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen and the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education’s James Shuls

(March 07, 2019)  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger answered questions on the state of the county and recent news concerning the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

The conversation touched on the state of the county and recent news concerning the region, including the St. Louis County Council’s attempt to remove him from office, the potential city-county merger and the possible privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

(March 05, 2019) Moacyr Marchini (at left) and Mack Bradley compared Mardi Gras festivities here in St. Louis and Brazil, where the holiday is referred to as Carnival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Saturday before Fat Tuesday – or Mardi Gras – thousands fill the streets of St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood to celebrate with music, colorful beads and booze. The holiday is one of St. Louis’ biggest events, but it’s even bigger in cities across the country and world.

The holiday dates back to the middle ages and has evolved over time. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored Mardi Gras festivities here in St. Louis and Brazil, where the holiday is referred to as Carnival.

Lance Weiss is a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners, LLC in St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Many average Americans aren’t seeing the kinds of refunds they expected in the wake of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – instead, it’s wealthier people that are tending to see larger refunds. That’s according to Lance Weiss, a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners, LLC in St. Louis.

“You can’t argue with the math,” Weiss said during Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “The [new] tax code was really designed to give bigger refunds to higher-income taxpayers, and that’s exactly what it’s doing.”

He added that most people probably did see “their total tax liability” drop, however.

Dishes from Balkan Treat Box, located on 8103 Big Bend Blvd, Webster Groves, MO 63119.
Meera Nagarajan | Sauce Magazine

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about some of the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. Joining Marsh for the Hit List segment were Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene and staff writer Matt Sorrell.

In addition to highlighting the top food spots to visit, Klene and Sorrell discussed the local chefs honored by the James Beard Foundation. The organization awards chefs and industry professionals for excellence in the culinary industry. This year, six St. Louis-area chefs and one bar received semifinalists nominations.

Greg Rannells

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored how local chocolatiers create confections ranging from truffles and sauces to classic chocolate bars – and what makes them different from mass-produced chocolates from companies such as Mars and Hershey’s.

On Thursday’s program, host Don Marsh talked with Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene and Brian Pelletier, chief chocolatier and owner of Kakao Chocolate.

It’s one thing to make chocolate, but another to whip it up as a delicacy.

(Feb. 26, 2019) (L-R) Tyrone McCain, Jacinta Branch-Griffin and Tommie Johnson discuss the formation of their band Ms Hy-C & Fresh Start on "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Locally based musicians Ms Hy-C and the Fresh Start band caught international attention when they won first place in the 2019 International Blues Challenge held in Memphis last month.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with several of the band members: lead singer Jacinta Branch-Griffin – also known as Ms Hy-C – as well as guitar player Thomas “Tommie” Johnson and drummer Tyrone McCain.

Attorney and professional fighter Derik Scott competed in Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's NBC show "Titan Games."
Provided by Derik Scott/NBC

Last month, NBC premiered Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s show “Titan Games,” a reality television program where men and women compete in emotional and daunting physical challenges. Tonight, the semi-finalists compete and inch one step closer to the final prize –among them is native St. Louisan Derik Scott.

The 30-year-old attorney joined host Don Marsh on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to talk about his participation in the athletic competition. Scott is a trained Mixed Martial Arts fighter who’s also set Guinness World Records alongside his brothers, such as setting a record for the most backflips on a Swiss ball between two people in one minute.

That kind of record caught the attention of the “Titan Games” producers, who reached out to Scott and asked him to be on the show. 

The triangular patterns visible in Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther suit reflect what costume designer Ruth Carter calls "the sacred geometry of Africa."
Matt Kennedy | Marvel Studios

The Marvel hit “Black Panther” was undoubtedly one of the biggest films of 2018. It brought the fictional country of Wakanda to the big screen and showcased exuberant sub-Saharan African culture – and St. Louis native Kevin Mayes was a part of that process.

Mayes is a clothing designer who served as the head tailor for the film’s costumes, helping bring the visions of designer Ruth E. Carter to life. “Black Panther” has been nominated for seven Oscars – including best costume design.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Mayes, who attended Normandy High School, ahead of the 91st Academy Awards set to take place Sunday.

(Feb. 19, 2019) St. Louis Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson (left) and Capt. Garon Mosby (right) touched on the department's various initiatives as well as challenges ahead.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the current state of the St. Louis Fire Department, touching on various recent initiatives as well as challenges ahead. Joining him for the conversation were Chief Dennis Jenkerson and Capt. Garon Mosby.

Caitlyn Collins, author of "Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving," discussed the role of public policies in improving the the balance needed to accommodate the two roles of motherhood and career.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Issues on the forefront for women in the workplace include wage equity and advancement opportunities. More conversations are now encompassing the balance needed to accommodate the two roles of motherhood and career.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Caitlyn Collins, author of "Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving." The newly released book looks at working mothers' daily lives and the revolution in public policy and culture needed to improve them.

Collins, an assistant professor of sociology at Washington University, compared policies in the United States with other well-developed countries such as Sweden, Italy and Germany – and found staggering differences in cultural attitudes towards child care.

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