Audio Features | St. Louis Public Radio

Audio Features

Feature-length audio news reports from St. Louis Public Radio reporters.

Taken at SEIU Local 1 union on 06/25
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Keyahnna Jackson has a lot of questions about the potential lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a private company.

“Will I still have a job? Are they bringing new people in? Would our rate of pay change? What’s going to be the difference?” she asked. 

The City Foundry STL redevelopment will include a dining hall, grocery store and movie theatre in its $220 million first phase.
Lawrence Group

A massive redevelopment project at a high-profile site in St. Louis’ Midtown area is on track to open next year. The first phase of  City Foundry STL will include a large dining hall featuring local eateries. Plans also call for a grocery store, movie theater and office space.

Teddy Washington, 18, was one of 10 African American Washington University students  involved in the July 7, 2018 incident. Washington poses for a portrait on June 27, 2019
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

On July 7, 2018, when Teddy Washington was walking with nine other black incoming Washington University students from the IHOP in Clayton back to campus, the last thing he expected was for the night to end in a confrontation with police officers.

“The emotions I think was mostly shock, but it’s that initial adrenaline rush that you just kind of freeze,” Washington, now 18, said. 

The series is produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center. 

Nora Pryor, 15, checks her fitness tracker during several laps of Boulevard park in Lake St. Louis June 26, 2019. She must complete seven hours of physical activity per week as part of her online physical education course.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Nora Pryor imagines squeaking sneakers on hardwood floors when she thinks of gym class. But her physical education is currently punctuated by chirping cardinals.

Nora, 15, laps Boulevard Park in Lake St. Louis several times a week, mixing speed walking and jogging on a hot summer morning to get her heart rate up, and occasionally glancing down at her Garmin fitness tracker.

Harris-Stowe biology professor Sandra Leal demonstrates how to make fruit fly food infused with CBD oil on June 25, 2019.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Anaejal Davies reaches into a jar of wriggling fruit fly larvae and grasps one with a pair of tweezers.

“You have to be really delicate,” said Davies, positioning the larva under a microscope. “Even the slightest pinch, you could puncture them and they can die.”

The Harris-Stowe State University sophomore is one of a handful of biology students studying how CBD, a compound derived from cannabis plants, affects fruit flies. Most of the students had never worked in a research lab before taking the class and are learning the process from the ground up — while investigating cutting-edge scientific questions.

Demonstrators marched north along Grand Avenue in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood on June 2, 2018 to call more attention to issues of gun violence.
File photo | Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

It was the end of 2017, and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden was looking at some troubling numbers.

Violent crime in the city had jumped more than 7% from 2016. Homicides had hit a 20-year high — 205. There were more than 2,600 shootings, and nearly 2,000 robberies. 

A KMOV Channel 4 reporter records a news story from the 1984 Pride parade, where marchers carried pink balloons. It wasn't until the 1990s that the rainbow flag became a common symbol in St. Louis and nationwide.
Provided | Scott Lokitz

When Scott Lokitz was a gay teenager, his mother and grandmother took him to march with dozens of other gay and lesbian St. Louisans down Lindell Boulevard in the city’s first Pride parade.

Marching in a Pride parade was a bold move in 1980, a time when state and national laws forbade consensual same-sex relationships. But Lokitz felt right at home at St. Louis’ first Pride celebration, four decades ago. His mother had come out as lesbian and his grandmother was a member of PFLAG, an organization for those with a gay or lesbian family member.

Salvador Mondragon, left, with a large alligator gar caught near the Mississippi River.
Salvador Mondragon

On a hot morning in Cape Girardeau, two men pulled up nets from a lake in hopes of catching alligator gar, one of the largest and most feared fish species in North America.

They’re scientists with the Missouri Department of Conservation, which has spent 12 years trying to restore the alligator gar’s dwindling population in the state. Its numbers in Missouri have fallen partly because the state doesn’t have strong regulations to prevent overfishing of the species.

Man-made structures like levees and dams have also separated the Mississippi River from the floodplain. They block the alligator gar from reaching critical habitat, said Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

Camp facilitator Phil Robie demonstrates some design details [6/21/19]
Kara Hayes Smith

On a recent Thursday morning, 27 kids, mostly teenagers, sat at tables and used their imaginations to sketch out ideas for new buildings that would do some good in their communities. Models they’d made from household items and craft supplies, all painted gold, sat on the tables. Some of the kids made small versions of the buildings they’d envisioned. Others crafted abstract sculptural pieces.

A looped beat played in the background, fueling their inspiration both for this project and for the day’s big event, coming later: a rap battle.

This gathering at the Natural Bridge branch of St. Louis County Library in Normandy was one of 11 week-long events run around the country this summer by Hip Hop Architecture Camp, an organization based in Madison, Wisconsin.

The goal is to foster the creative spark that lies at the heart of both hip-hop and architecture, and explore ways that one discipline can influence the other.

Gena Stringer labors in the hospital with doula Benetta Ward as Brittany Ferrell captures the moment for her film project.
Provided | Brittany Ferrell

When a Ferguson police officer killed Michael Brown in 2014, St. Louisan Brittany Ferrell left nursing school to join the protests. Five years later, she’s pouring her activism into another outlet: a film project.

“You Lucky You Got a Mama” focuses on how African Americans are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and childbirth as white women.

Ferrell wants to show people that the higher risk to African Americans is a complicated situation with a simple cause.

“Let’s name it for what it is, and it’s racism,” Ferrell said. “It’s racial bias.”

About 80 percent of the buyouts in Missouri took place after the Great Flood of 1993, when the Mississippi and Missouri rivers overflowed their banks, killing 50 and causing $15 billion in damages.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When Amy Papian bought her three-bedroom house in University City 31 years ago, she thought she’d never leave.

Her bedroom had a large window that overlooked the backyard — and in the summertime, the sweet smell of honeysuckle drifted inside the house. 

But then four floods invaded her home over 15 years, and she decided she’d had enough. After the last flood in 2008, a neighbor’s body washed up in her backyard. Papian and her daughters moved out, and the city purchased their home through a voluntary buyout program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dwaun Warmack is installed as president of Harris-Stowe State University in April 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

When Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack graduated from high school, he had a 1.7 grade-point average and did not think he was college material. Today, Warmack, 42, is one of the youngest presidents of a four-year college in the country.

His journey with Harris-Stowe began in 2014, but come July 31, he will leave the historically black university for Claflin University in South Carolina.

Taken on 06-10-19 at The Magic House on Delmar
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Through the doors of the Magic House at MADE, kids are testing rocket launchers, designing video game characters and learning how to use 3D printers.

This new satellite location on Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis is a recent expansion from the children’s museum’s flagship in Kirkwood. What’s different is the focus on entrepreneurship.

“MADE stands for makers, artists, designers and entrepreneurs, so we’ve divided our space into those four areas,” says Beth Fitzgerald, president of The Magic House.

Julia Bullock and Davóne Tines in "Fire Shut Up in My Bones." [6/14/19]
Eric Woolsey

Terence Blanchard knows from experience that an opera that sounds and looks different from the classic repertory can bring new audiences to an old art form.

“An elderly African American man came up to me” after a performance of Blanchard’s jazz-infused opera "Champion" in 2013, the trumpeter/bandleader recalled, “and he said: Man, if this is opera, I will come.”

With his latest magnum opus, Blanchard wants to continue changing popular perceptions about opera — particularly, what stories it can tell, and who does the telling.

“Fire Shut Up In My Bones,” based on the memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, makes its world premiere Saturday at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

St. Louis Blues fans embrace after a long-awaited first Stanley Cup win for the franchise. They joined thousands who watched the historic win on the video board at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. June 12, 2019
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has the Blues, and fans can't get enough of them.

In its 52nd season in the National Hockey League, the hockey team — the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues — hoisted the prized trophy for the first time after defeating the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, 4-1, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston.

It was history. The kind of put-down-your-phone-and-yell history that fans — old and new — will remember for the rest of their lives.

Where were you when the Blues won the Stanley Cup?

DON'T USE AS FILE PHOTO St. Louis Blues' Alex Pietrangelo carries the Stanley Cup after the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Boston
AP | Charles Krupa

Updated at 11 a.m., June 13 with details about the championship parade — For the first time in their 52-year history, the St. Louis Blues have hoisted the Stanley Cup.

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 Wednesday night to secure their first-ever National Hockey League championship. When the final buzzer sounded, fans in St. Louis and elsewhere erupted in a long-awaited celebration, as the Blues mobbed their goaltender on the ice in Boston.

The city of St. Louis will honor the team with a parade and rally downtown along Market Street at noon on Saturday. The route starts at 18th Street and ends at Broadway. A rally will be held afterwards at the Gateway Arch. 

Members of the St. Louis County Democratic Central Committee met on June 8, 2019, in Bridgeton to choose the party's 2nd District nominee.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

There typically aren’t many high-profile or high-stakes elections for St. Louis County government in odd-number years.

But with two resignations for the St. Louis County Council, 2019 is proving to be an exception.

Voters will have a chance on Aug. 6 to shape the legislative body that’s proven vital for a county executive’s success. It will also be an opportunity for Democrats to retake control of the council in a county that’s become less favorable to Republican candidates in recent years.

Trees along Leonor K Sullivan Boulevard are seen surrounded by rising water on Tuesday as the Mississippi River reaches a near-record height.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Andrea Mcmanus and her three children had lived in their apartment in Grafton for less than six months before they evacuated to escape the rising Mississippi River floodwaters.

They left on March 22, as the flood overtook Grafton and began rising downstream in St. Louis. The Mississippi has been above flood stage at St. Louis for more than 80 days and last weekend surpassed the 1973 level, the second highest on record.

Many residents, government officials and scientists compare it to the Great Flood of 1993, when the river crested at 49.6 feet, the highest flood on record for the St. Louis region. Some residents worry that it could surpass that height.

James Bragado tests out a mobile sound monument that was designed to elevate the types of music heard in predominantely Latino neighborhoods. [6/6/19]
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

On a steamy recent afternoon on Cherokee Street, Chicago-based artist Josh Rios showed off his latest piece — a bicycle and attached wagon, both decorated with colored tape and fringe to vaguely resemble a large pinata.

A set of speakers, amplifiers, an MP3 player and two portable batteries were stowed on the wagon, allowing the bike to become a moving monument, complete with its own soundtrack.

Though Rios, Matt Joynt and Anthony Romero created the piece as part of the Luminary’s public-art show “Counterpublic,” it harmonized with a conversation going on at Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based studio that aims to shake up traditional assumptions about city monuments, is in residence there this summer.

James Hillis uses geospatial technology to figure out where his company should plot more urban gardens to reduce food insecurity in north St. Louis. May 29, 2019
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside Good Life Growing’s newest urban garden, co-founder James Hillis is using an iPad to pull up maps of the city. The urban agriculture organization is trying to reduce food insecurity in north St. Louis, and mapping tools help him figure out where to plot new grow spaces.

Hillis’ maps look fairly simple, but they’re powered by Geographic Information Systems data that pulls in all kinds of factors about the local community.

Longtime national anthem singer Charles Glenn, 64, has announced plans to retire at the end of the St. Louis Blues' 2019 season.
St. Louis Blues

When the St. Louis Blues take home ice Monday night against the Boston Bruins for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, fans will be singing, as they have since the franchise was established in 1967.

With all respect to “Gloria,” this season’s victory anthem, the St. Louis Blues have always embraced music.

The team, after all, was named for the classic melody “The St. Louis Blues,” written by W.C. Handy in 1914. And that winged Blue Note logo — arguably, one of the best logos in all of hockey — symbolizes the city, as well as the team.

Abortion rights activists on Thursday gathered near the Gateway Arch to protest the potential closure of Missouri's only abortion provider. They marched to the Wainwright State Office Building, where some activists went inside. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The battle over abortion rights in Missouri spilled from the courtroom into city streets on Thursday as hundreds of people gathered near the St. Louis Arch to demand state officials stop trying to limit access to abortion.

Carrying signs that read “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” and “Protect Safe, Legal Abortion,” they were there to protest the state’s efforts to limit access to abortion and the potential closing of the state’s only abortion provider.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Planned Parenthood have been in a standoff over the clinic’s license, and today its future is in the hands of St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer.

Missouri S&T engineering researchers inspect a damaged apartment building in Jefferson City in May 2019.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Among the volunteers and workers moving furniture, broken lumber and fallen trees at Hawthorne Park apartments in Jefferson City last weekend, three engineers with a large remote control watched a drone fly over a building that was missing a chunk of its roof.

A team of engineering professors and students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology began inspecting damages after a violent tornado struck parts of the state capital last Wednesday. For several years, some have been studying ways to design houses in Tornado Alley states like Missouri to withstand extreme weather events.

Use Of Controversial Weed Killer Glyphosate Skyrockets On Midwest Fields

May 28, 2019

Farmers have been using the weed killer glyphosate – a key ingredient of the product Roundup – at soaring levels even as glyphosate has become increasingly less effective and as health concerns and lawsuits mount.

Nationwide, the use of glyphosate on crops increased from 13.9 million pounds in 1992 to 287 million pounds in 2016, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The image of Bobby Orr flying through the air after scoring the winning goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final was on a wall of The Geyer Inn a few years ago. O'Neil said it's a "great photo" that "kind of captures the frustration" for the Blues.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A nearly five-decade wait for hockey fans throughout the St. Louis region ends Monday. The Blues will return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

They will be in Boston to take on the Bruins, the same team that knocked out the Blues the last time they made it this far.

Author Dan O’Neill’s connection to the National Hockey League team goes way back. He was working as a busboy in the old arena club during that 1970 final and was in the building earlier this month when the Blues clinched a spot in this year’s final playoff round.

Flags mark veterans graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on a past Memorial Day.
Flickr

About 30 times a day, Drayton Denson answers the phone at a call center in south St. Louis County that helps U.S. military veterans secure a grateful nation’s perpetual thank you: free burial, with honors, in a national cemetery.

Denson is one of about 80 Veterans Administration employees who work at the National Cemetery Scheduling Office on Lemay Ferry Road. They schedule burial times for the VA’s 136 national cemeteries that are located in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

Riverview Gardens High School Marching Band saxophone members play sweet tunes during the 109th Annie Malone May Day parade.  May 20, 2019
Andrea Henderson | St. Louis Public Radio

For over a century, the Annie Malone Children and Family Services agency has brought thousands of community members together in the country’s second-largest African American parade: the Annie Malone May Day Parade.

Last Sunday’s procession marked its 109th celebration in downtown St. Louis. Parade viewers saw marching bands, local business owners on floats and peppy cheerleaders throughout Market Street near Union Station.

For the agency, the bash is a yearly celebration to let the public know they are still in the city and willing to serve the needs of a growing community. In recent years, the nonprofit has experienced a drastic change in the type of care families in the area need, said Patricia Washington, the agency’s vice president of development and external affairs.

Summer festivals are ubiquitous (especially across the Midwest), and often highlight the local food specialty, be it corn, apples or beef. But when the food has a less-than-glamorous reputation, a town has a decision to make.

Second-graders at Bryan Hill Elementary School react to having their class announced over the intercom for having perfect attendance. The north St. Louis school has the second-best attendance in the district.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The cheers at the end of the day could be heard down the hall and around the corner, all the way in the office where Sarah Briscoe was making daily announcements.

The hollering was coming from a second-grade classroom where every student showed up for the school day. The daily ritual of announcing perfect-attendance classrooms is part of the school’s all-out focus on getting its students into desks every day.

Bryan Hill Elementary School in the far-north side College Hill neighborhood can boast an attendance rate 97.9%, a figure bested only by one of St. Louis Public Schools’ gifted-program magnet schools.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks to news reporters on the last day of the legislative session in Jefferson City on Friday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Mike Parson just finished up his first legislative session as governor. And by any objective measure, it was a good one for the GOP chief executive.

He wanted the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve his ideas around workforce development and transportation spending, and those lawmakers followed through. He was also able to deal with warring factions within his party, most notably six conservative senators that at times held up his priorities.

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