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.

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

The underground pop-up restaurant scene is growing across the nation, and St. Louis is no exception. They’re a way for amateur chefs to experiment with selling their cuisine without the commitment of daily catering and operating from a brick-and-mortar shop.

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine will explore how and why people start their own pop-ups, and how patrons can find out about them. Joining Tuesday’s program will be Sauce managing editor Heather Hughes – and pop-up owners Chelsie Hellige of Spirit House and Steven Pursley of Ramen x Rui

(Aug. 14, 2019) Veronica Johnson (at left) and Maalik Shakoor joined Wednesday's talk show to discuss St. Louis' school desegregation and busing program. Hope Rias joined the conversation by phone.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris clashed in the Democratic presidential debates over the issue of busing, viewers may have thought of these programs as being in the past. That’s not the case in St. Louis — the city has the longest-running and largest desegregation program in the nation. 

Now in its 38th year, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation has bused more than 70,000 inner-city black students to predominantly white schools in the suburbs – and has also allowed white students living in the county to attend magnet schools in the city. It entails long bus rides as well as necessary but not always comfortable adjustment to new social circles.

Local music artist Tonina Saputo joined St. Louis on the Air to talk about her musical journey locally and beyond.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Tonina Saputo is among the rising names in the local music scene, but her reach is far and wide. The St. Louis-raised musician has made the world her stage, performing throughout Europe and singing in both English and Spanish. Former President Barack Obama is a fan himself and placed her song “Historia De un Amor” on his best-of-the-year roundup. 

But for Saputo, it's her album that dropped in May that feels like the truest expression of herself as a musician. “St. Lost” was inspired by her time away from the Gateway City and represents a split from the producer-manager who gave her a big break.

(L-R) Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, Valeria Rodriguez and Lindsay Newton joined Wednesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has the smallest Latino community of the nation's 25 largest metro areas — the only one that's less than 5% Latino. So how do local Latinos deal with being not just a minority, but one that’s dwarfed in size by other communities? And how do they straddle the Spanish-speaking worlds of their parents and grandparents in addition to life in the Midwest? 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into ways that St. Louis’ Latino community continues to grow and influence the city – artistically and otherwise.

Joining the program were Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, business counselor at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in St. Louis and co-host of the bilingual Auténtico Podcast, and Valeria Rodriguez, a Dominican-American multidisciplinary artist and member of the Latinx Arts Network – a collective of local artists. 

Nick Bognar from iNDO, located in St. Louis' Botanical Heights neighborhood.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with our partners from Sauce Magazine about the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. 

Joining her for the discussion were Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell, managing editor and staff writer, respectively.

Longtime Quincy Senior High School music director Kathi Dooley talked about her experience on Netflix's "Queer Eye" show on "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Kathi Dooley was set in her ways when it came to her looks and career; she knew what she loved and stuck with it. The longtime music director at Quincy Senior High School has a passion for helping students expand their artistic horizons, all while rocking the same hairstyle for more than 40 years. 

But all that changed last October when a former student of Dooley’s made a return to Quincy, Illinois, to switch up her routine. Jonathan Van Ness is a 2004 graduate of Quincy Senior High School, and he pitched for his beloved teacher, and her late 1970s mullet, to be featured on the hit Netflix series “Queer Eye.”

Protester Edward Crawford throws a tear gas cannister in Ferguson in August 2014. This photo is part of the "In Focus: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photographs" exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.
Robert Cohen | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

This Saturday, the Missouri History Museum opens two new exhibits: “Pulitzer Prize Photographs” and “In Focus: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photographs.” The first is a traveling exhibit from the Newseum in Washington, displaying the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer-winning photos ever assembled. The second provides a companion exhibit that shows off the work of local photojournalists.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Jody Sowell, director of exhibitions and research for the Missouri Historical Society, and Robert Cohen, a staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about what the new shows entail. 

(July 29, 2019) Sarah Fenske talked about her new role as the host of "St. Louis on the Air" on Monday's program.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Sarah Fenske is among the notable media leaders of St. Louis. She’s served as the editor in chief of the Riverfront Times for the past four years, reporting on various topics such as breaking news, business, arts and culture. Starting Tuesday, she’ll be heard on the airwaves as the new official host of St. Louis on the Air

Having passionately worked in newspapers most of her career, she didn’t expect to shift gears and media platforms so swiftly and quickly. 

“Being in newspapers for 20 years, I had seen a lot and done a lot. And I think, inside, my soul must have been ready for a change – and I didn't even realize it until I saw this particular job posting,” she told St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl on Monday’s program. 

Styling by Joy Wiedner of Sauce Magazine.
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored how salads are indeed culinary staples that can withstand the vegan trends of 2019 and beyond. 

On Friday’s program, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin talked about how the magazine compiled its list of the 12 best salads foodies should try in the St. Louis area with Sauce’s art director, Meera Nagarajan, and Kevin Willmann, chef and owner of Farmhaus Restaurant

“Research like this tends to be fun in the beginning because like, we’ve done a pizza story for example [and] you feel pretty bad after doing research for a full-on pizza story, but for the salad story you feel super healthy – like a beacon of health,” Nagarajan said. 

July 25, 2019) (L-R) Jacqueline Kutnik-Bauder, Mark Smith and William Freivogel joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the latest local and national issues pertaining to the law.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin delved into a variety of recent local and national stories pertaining to the law.

The conversation will touch on the just-ended U.S. Supreme Court term and the frequent correspondence between the White House and the Court; the cease-and-desist letters a Philadelphia bar has sent to St. Louis companies benefiting off of marketing the phrase “Play Gloria!”; and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s decision to file a motion to dismiss a murder case. Her office believes the local man at the center of it was wrongfully convicted of murder. 

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Jaclyn Driscoll joined St. Louis Public Radio’s newsroom a few weeks ago as its statehouse reporter to help cover all things Missouri politics. She previously covered Illinois’ state capital for two years while based at the public radio station in Springfield, Illinois.

Now based in Jefferson City, Driscoll talked with guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, to discuss her new role at the station. 

A chef participating in the School Nutrition Association's 73rd Annual National Conference, which focuses on innovation in foods, beverages and tools for school cafeterias.
School Nutrition Association | Flickr

This week nearly 6,000 school nutrition professionals from across the country gathered in St. Louis to participate in a three-day conference that focuses on innovation in foods, beverages and tools for school cafeterias. 

As part of the School Nutrition Association’s 73rd Annual National Conference, attendees will preview new kitchen equipment, menu planning, nutrition education resources and more to help serve creative nutritious lunch options for students, such as Korean barbecue tacos and yogurt dips. 

Long gone are the days of settling for a questionable spicy chicken sandwich paired with a carton of chocolate milk? On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network talked about the latest trends in school lunches and more with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Chad Davis. 

(JUly 16, 2019) Anita Manion (at left) and David Jackson joined Tuesday's talk show to discuss lobbying in Missouri and how it's evolved overtime.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio & David Jackson

Last November, Missouri voters approved a $5 limit on gifts to lawmakers to prevent lobbyists from spending a lot of money on politicians they’re looking to influence. A KCUR analysis of data released this month by the Missouri Ethics Commission shows there’s been a 94% decrease in spending from the 2019 to 2018 legislative session. 

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network delved into how the new legislation has affected lobbyist spending, other ways lobbyists can still influence politicians and common misconceptions people have about the practice, which does fall under the First Amendment. 

Joining the discussion were University of Missouri-St. Louis political scientist Anita Manion and David Jackson, a principal with Gamble & Schlemeier, Missouri’s largest lobbying firm.

(July 12, 2019) St. Louis-based hip-hop artist Kareem Jackson, who's stage name is Tef Poe, joined Friday's "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss his role as a U.S. cultural ambassador.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based hip-hop artist Kareem Jackson, who goes by the stage name Tef Poe, has often traveled across the world to share his musical craft and to also raise awareness about how social justice issues often intertwine across borders. 

His travels will continue next week to the Middle-Eastern country of Jordan as part of Next Level, a cultural exchange program the U.S. State Department is heading alongside the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The project seeks to use artistic collaboration and social engagement to enhance people-to-people diplomacy, especially among young audiences.

Nancy Miller (at left) and Vivian Eveloff discuss women's suffrage on  Thursday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

July marks 100 years since former Missouri Governor Frederick Gardner signed a resolution ratifying the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The action in the summer of 1919 made Missouri the 11th state to formally support women's suffrage – and white women across the nation gained the right to vote a year later. 

To honor the centennial, Gov. Mike Parson recently signed a proclamation recognizing the pivotal moment in suffrage history, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft presented the proclamation to members of the League of Women Voters of Missouri and others earlier this week. 

Drs. Eric Leuthardt (at left) and Albert Kim discussed how they take information about the brain and present it in a live-theater production format on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

When Washington University neurosurgeons Albert Kim and Eric Leuthardt aren’t teaching, researching or performing surgery, they often think of creative ways to get information about the brain and its complexities to the masses, such as co-hosting their “Brain Coffee” podcast.

Another one of their endeavors is putting together a live theater experience showcasing the wonders of the brain. “BrainWorks” dramatizes real-life neurological cases to help explain the science behind brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, brain tumors and strokes. 

The production is a collaboration between the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Nine Network of Public Media. This year’s performances will be July 19, 20 and 21 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts on Webster University’s campus. 

Rob Rains at Busch Stadium.
Rob Rains

The St. Louis Cardinals are now halfway through their season. So far, they’ve left speculators less than impressed – but they still have the chance to improve. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s executive editor Shula Neuman talked about the ongoing season and what’s ahead for the team as they go on break for the All-Star game. Joining the discussion was longtime sportswriter Rob Rains of STLSportsPage.com.

(L-R) Evelyn Rice-Peebles, Erika Sandiford and Faizan Syed joined Tuesday's talk show to discuss various ways parents navigate having difficult conversations with their children.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Historical Society is hosting a panel discussion next week on “the talk” – that difficult conversation parents have with their children. But what the talk is varies widely across race, gender and cultural lines. 

It goes beyond just talking to them about adolescent changes: Many black parents talk to their kids about how to navigate a racist society, daughters are often advised on what to wear, places to avoid while alone and more. 

A spread of dishes at Akar, located in Clayton, Missouri.
Michelle Volansky

On Monday’s St. Louis on the AirSauce Magazine art director Meera Nagarajan and staff writer Matt Sorrell talked up some of the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. 

(June 26, 2019) Soccer coaches Olivia Silverman (at left) and Lori Chalupny-Lawson joined Wednesday's talk show to talk about the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and the state of local women's soccer.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The United States will advance to the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup after a 2-1 victory Monday against Spain. Now they’re set to play the host nation of France this Friday, during a game anticipated to be the most-expensive-to-attend Women’s World Cup game ever.

In anticipation of the game, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann delved into the Women’s World Cup and the state of women’s soccer in St. Louis on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air

(June 24, 20190 Melissa Vatterott (at left) and Rae Miller of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment joined Monday's talk show to discuss the organization's new Known and Grown campaign that helps showcase local farmers.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this month, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment launched a campaign aimed at getting the word out about farmers who are engaging in responsible agriculture practices by ethically raising animals and growing their food.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann will delve into what the new Known & Grown project entails, as well as its broader implications for growers and consumers, with the MCE’s food and farm director Melissa Vatterott and local food coordinator Rae Miller.

Nicki Morgan, a co-founder of Hart|Beet Farms, also joined the conversation by phone while at the farm in Lincoln County Missouri. The farm joined Known and Grown in 2018.

(June 24, 2019) David Meyer, senior lecturer in management in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, joined Monday's talk show to discuss trade and tariffs as they pertain to Missouri.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Trade is no doubt an integral part of many industries and Missouri is no exception. International trade and investment support hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state. To help foster even more of that, Missouri Governor Mike Parson recently embarked on his first trade trip to Europe – with stops in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Further east of Europe, China is also a major player when it comes to foreign investment in Missouri. But the recent national trade war with China has negatively affected trade and hits regional farmers the hardest.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann discussed trade and tariffs as they pertain to Missouri and the country with David Meyer, senior lecturer in management in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

KCUR's Brian Ellison (left) and St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann joined Friday's talk show to talk about multiple top news stories of the week.
Brian Ellison & St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network went behind the headlines to discuss multiple top news stories of the week.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann first joined the program to touch on the future of Missouri’s only abortion clinic. Missouri’s health department has denied a license renewal for the clinic. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis will still be able to continue performing the procedure for now, according to a court order.

And, earlier this week, a former FBI agent who was hired to help with the investigation into former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was himself charged. Investigator William Tisaby was indicted on seven felony counts that included multiple perjury charges.

Sugarfire Smoke House is the 2019 readers' choice winner of best restaurant and best barbecue.
Jonathan Gayman | Sauce Magazine

Every year, Sauce Magazine puts its critiques of local bars and eateries to the side and lets readers decide which restaurants and chefs deserve the spotlight.

This year, Sugarfire Smoke House won three Readers’ Choice awards: Favorite Restaurant, Favorite Barbecue and Chef of the Year – which went to Matt Glickert, catering and events chef for Sugarfire 44 in Valley Park, Missouri.

St. Louisan Chris Bolyard of Bolyard's Meat and Provisions in Maplewood joined Wednesday's talk show to talk about his appearance on the new History Channel television series called "The Butcher."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Many years ago, St. Louisan Chris Bolyard made the decision to switch careers and go from working in restaurants to providing them with an alternative to big-box grocery store meat. He went on to become head butcher and owner of Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions located in Maplewood.

Now the local face will soon be familiar to many across the nation after his appearance on a new History Channel television series called “The Butcher,” which airs 9 p.m. tonight. The goal of the show is to help educate the public on the skills that it takes to butcher whole animals.

(L-R) Peggy Holly, Christopher Limber and Mark Abels talked about the 2019 Grand Center Theatre Crawl on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Next weekend, a two-day pop-up theater experience will take place in and around Grand Center. Participants in the 2019 Grand Center Theatre Crawl will be able to explore new venues while enjoying short performances by over 20 local theater companies.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Holly Edgell discussed what all the event will entail with Mark Abels, treasurer of West End Players Guild; Christopher Limber, artistic director of Prison Performing Arts; and Peggy Holly, event founder and lead volunteer organizer.

(June 17, 2019) Author Marie-Christine Williams (at left) and Ron Klutho talked about an upcoming program at the Missouri History Museum to commemorate UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Monday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

From April to July 1994, nearly a million people lost their lives as members of the ethnic Hutu majority slaughtered them during the Rwandan Civil War.

The United Nations solemnizes the tragedy among others by marking June 26 as the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Locally, the Missouri Historical Society has partnered with Bilingual International Assistant Services and the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center to create a program next week titled  Triumph Over Darkness.

Dabke is a native Levantine folk dance performed in a line dance.
Courtesy of Rawan Abusaid

A showcase of Palestinian culture gets underway at noon this Sunday at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Palestinians are often portrayed in the media only when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, but not much is discussed about the nuances of their culture, from the food they eat to the different identities that make up the culture. 

 

(L-R) St. Louis Public Radio's Jonathan Ahl talked with politic editor Fred Ehrlich and reporters Chad Davis and Jason Rosenbaum about changes in the St. Louis County Council County on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been two months since Sam Page was sworn in as the new county executive replacing Steve Stenger in St. Louis County. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl will delve into changes that Page, the former St. Louis County Council chairman, has made, such as seeking to close a pay gap within county government between men and women and advocating for funding towards police body cameras and in-car cameras.

Joining the discussion were STLPR reporters Chad Davis and Jason Rosenbaum and politics editor Fred Ehrlich.

Dr. Mimi Vo (at left) and Rolla City Councilman Daniel Jones talked about the benefits of medical marijuana and what the application process like  for medical marijuana ID cards on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio | Courtesy of Daniel Jones

June 4 marked the first day Missouri posted application forms for patients who want medical marijuana ID cards, which is unprecedented in the state’s history. The application forms are also for would-be marijuana businesses — dispensaries, growers and others. Patients may file the applications beginning July 4, and businesses Aug. 3.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl discussed what the legalization of medical marijuana means for Missouri and the process of how physicians prescribe it as dispensaries start opening up.

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