St. Charles | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles

A peace march in Kirkwood June 6, 2020
File photo | David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:30 p.m. with a march in St. Charles.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Kirkwood on Saturday morning to protest police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others killed by law enforcement.

The protest was among several in the St. Louis region Saturday, including demonstrations in St. Charles, University City, Clayton, Freeburg and O'Fallon, Illinois.

Protesters marched down Main Street in St. Charles Wednesday to condemn the recent killing of an unarmed black man at the hands of Minneapolis police.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of protesters marched in St. Charles on Wednesday, blocking traffic on Route 94 and later filling Main Street with a crowd that stretched more than three blocks long. 

The demonstrations were among several held in the St. Louis region to condemn police brutality toward African Americans following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Others on Wednesday included a candlelight vigil in midtown St. Louis and a march in Ballwin. 

Vikki Siddell (bottom right corner) on St. Charles performed in from of the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" cast for the live singing contest: "Kimmy vs. the Music: A Live Singing Contest That's Live."
Netflix

These days, Zoom calls are more likely to inspire grousing than gratitude. Who wants to make uncomfortable eye contact with their boss or professor — and themselves? But Vikki Siddell of St. Charles recently joined a very different Zoom call, one where she got to talk — and perform — in front of celebrities including Daniel Radcliffe, Tina Fey and St. Louis’ own Ellie Kemper. 

The occasion was a live singing contest: “Kimmy vs. the Music: A Live Singing Contest That's Live.” It celebrated the launch of the new interactive Netflix special "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend.” During the YouTube stream, the cast and creators raised awareness and funds for Crisis Text Line, which provides 24/7 mental health support to people in crisis.

An illustration of flooded homes.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles officials plan to substantially raise two levees to reduce flood-related costs for residents and property owners. 

City engineers aim to augment the Frenchtown and Elm Point levees to fend off floods that have a 1-in-500 shot of happening in any given year. The Frenchtown and Elm Point levees can fight floods that have a 4% and 5% chance of occurring in a year. 

Area environmentalists have long opposed raising levees, which can constrict rivers and exacerbate flooding. But elevating the levees is necessary to protect property and reduce flood insurance costs, said Brad Temme, the city’s director of engineering.

Visitors to North Main Street in St. Charles start to head home after bars close on a Friday night in early August. The street has seen smaller crowds on weekends recently, and bar owners say a new liquor ordinance isn't helping. (Aug. 2 2019)
File Photo | Nicolas Telep | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council passed a law Tuesday night that creates a Liquor License Appeals Board and modifies the punitive point system for bars and restaurants. 

Before, penalized owners would appeal to the same commission that issued them the points. Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said that was unfair.

Now, both the commission and the board will each have five members, including restaurant and business owners from North Main Street. 

After 25 years in operation, Trailhead Brewing is selling its facility and operations to Schlafly.
Trailhead Brewing

Fran Caradonna wasn’t looking to open another Schlafly brewpub. But after a call from Trailhead Brewing owner Bob Kirkwood late last year, the CEO changed her mind.

After 25 years of operations, the St. Charles-based brewery will soon change hands.

Late next month or in early March, Trailhead Brewing will reopen as Schlafly Bankside.

Steve Ehlmann

The exploration of the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport continues — request for qualifications submissions from interested companies were due today. 

The city of St. Louis will now begin screening potential bidders to gauge whether they can financially and operationally move forward in the process. But now both St. Charles County and St. Louis County have entered the debate on airport privatization. They want the Port Authority to study regional control of the airport and whether privatization is a good idea. 

Bars and restaurants on North Main Street in St. Charles are operating under new rules after the city passed a new liquor ordinance last year. Bar owners say it is unfair for the city to target businesses in the small area. January 25, 2019
Nicolas Telep | St. Louis Public Radio

Just months after a new liquor law put into place stricter rules for bars and restaurants on North Main Street in St. Charles, some owners want the law changed or repealed.

The city council passed the new liquor law in September 2018, and the rules went into effect Jan. 1. Part of the law only affects establishments on the three blocks of North Main Street between Clark and Jefferson streets.

The 2017 Pride St. Charles Festival took place for the first time in the city's Frontier Park, drawing 12,000 people.
Provided | Sandy Sharp

The St. Charles Pride Festival has become so popular that five years after its launch, the organization behind it is adding a parade down historic Main Street.

When Pride St. Charles announced its first festival, the group expected pushback in the largely conservative area. Jason Dunn, a vice president, said the community instead welcomed the idea.

“When we started, we were honestly a little concerned,” Dunn said. “But the first question we got was, ‘What time is the parade?’”

The main levee in Winfield failed May 4, 2019, near the Pillsbury grain elevator on Pillsbury Road.
File Photo | Winfield Foley Fire Protection District

Updated: 8:50 p.m. May 5 — with information about flood damage to an Illinois American Water plant.

Floodwaters have continued to rise over the weekend in areas along the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers.

In St. Louis, the Mississippi River had reached nearly 41 feet by 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning — more than 10 feet above flood stage. The National Weather Service predicts the river will crest at 41.6 feet Monday morning.

The St. Charles Veterans Tribute Park will have a playground, trail system, fishing ponds, picnic spots and a dog park.
Mary Enger

St. Charles County is opening a new park Saturday. The Veterans Tribute Park will have a playground, trail system, fishing ponds, picnic spots and a dog park.

“Unlike a lot of other parks, this park is going to be very accessible,” St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said. “To go to one of our other parks, it’s something you have to plan. This is the kind of park that people in the area can walk to or get in your car and drive five or ten minutes to get there.”

Curtis Wilcoxen, a manager for Lloyd and Harry's Bar and Grill speaks to city council members about his oposition to the bill.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles business owners will now have to abide by new liquor laws.

The St. Charles City Council voted Tuesday night on a liquor ordinance for the city after months of debate and controversy. The law will establish several standards :

The St. Charles City Council meets to present the latest revisions to the proposed liquor ordinance to the public. Aug. 21, 2018
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles city officials have changed the controversial proposed liquor ordinance, causing contentious debate at the Tuesday night City Council meeting.

Council members presented the revisions publicly, which included an update to the city’s 1975 liquor ordinance. That ordinance has required bars to earn either at least 50 percent or $200,000 per year from food sales for decades. The new proposal would mandate any establishment with a liquor license on Main Street, to earn no more than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales and would remove the $200,000 option.

Tory Knight takes inventory at The Lost Whiskey in June. Part of the new proposal includes raising the amount of an establishment's revenue that must come from food sales to 60 percent.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council plans to introduce an ordinance next week aimed at taming North Main Street’s late night revelers. The new plan comes after an initial proposal of an early ‘last call’ ignited an uproar from area bar owners and failed to advance.

Dave Beckering, a council member and backer of both proposed ordinances, said disturbances from people exiting bars and nightclubs on North Main Street have spun out of control in the last two years, creating late-night traffic that police can’t handle.

Susan Berthold bought Remington's on North Main Street in St. Charles in 1995.
Carolina Hidalgo

The memories of the 1993 flood are still vivid for St. Charles business owner Susan Berthold. Even though most businesses in the city’s historic downtown were spared from the worst of it, low-lying areas like Boschertown Road were hit hard.

Berthold managed a go-kart track in that area, which took on roughly 13 feet of water.

“It was a monumental project to get cleaned up because of all the acreage required for the track,” Berthold said.

The Legacy magazine began publication last fall. The magazine has won numerous awards including 16 awards from the Missouri College Media Association Conference.
Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

Students, administrators and journalism organizations are reacting to Lindenwood University’s decision to cease the physical publication of the student-run magazine, The Legacy.

Student-staff was notified by the university that printing of The Legacy would shut down on Friday, sparking accusations of censorship from student-media staff. Lindenwood University alumni have voiced their concerns over the announcement, said The Legacy News Editor, Madeline Raineri. She said students and alumni are considering what to do next.

Clientele of The Lost Whiskey swarm the dance floor and the bar during last call. The bar/restaurant opened its doors in late April and is one of the bars that could be affected by the proposed ordinance
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles’ historic district has two distinct identities.

During the day, people come to the three-block stretch of Main Street to browse in small shops and eat at locally owned restaurants. At night, 18 bars along the same street attract students from Lindenwood University and those looking for a good time.

But in recent years, that transformation after sunset has caused tension in both the historic district and the city.

St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith and St. Charles Police Chief Randy McKinley listen to bar manager Curtis Wilcoxen propose alternative solutions to an ordinance that would require many Main Street St. Charles bars to stop selling alcohol by 11 p.m. 6/26/18
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Owners from Main Street St. Charles restaurants and bars met with city officials Tuesday to propose alternatives to a bill that would ban the sale of alcohol at most bars after 11 p.m.

The proposals included a possible new tax on liquor sales, new parking fees after 9 p.m. and more parking security to reduce crimes on Main Street. Others suggested that bars on Main Street should have to earn at least 60 percent of its revenue from food sales and no more than 40 percent of its revenue from alcohol.

Supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump clashed for several hours outside of the St. Charles Convention Center where he spoke Wednesday afternoon. Police intervened several times.  11/29/17
Brit Hanson | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Hours before President Donald Trump was expected to call for changes to the federal tax code that he claims will boost the nation’s economy, protesters gathered outside of the St. Charles Convention Center.

Nearly 100 people who oppose the president and his policies held signs that read “LIAR” and chanted slogans like “Save America, Impeach Trump.” There were clashes between people who came to support the president and those who oppose him.

But the dominant message on St. Charles streets was that Trump’s presidency has been bad for the nation, particularly members of minority groups.

Two men confront a crowd of demonstrators during a protest Friday night in St. Charles. It was the eighth day of protests following the not-guilty verdict of white ex-St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on first-degree murder charges.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

One week after a judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith, protesters continued their push for change, taking their message Friday to the mostly white city of St. Charles.

Pedestrian, biking bridges to be built in St. Charles

Feb 13, 2017
Future plans for highway crossing over 364 and 94 in St. Charles. Plans to be finished in spring 2018.
provided / Great Rivers Greenway

Pedestrians and bikers will eventually be able to cross over two busy highways in St. Charles. A project is planned to construct two new pedestrian bridges over highways 364 and 94. 

This November 2016 photos shows the front of Zack and Brie Smithey's shipping-container home in St. Charles.
Zack Smithey

As Zack Smithey began building his shipping-container home in St. Charles last May, the controversy around it grew along with the house.

Compliments came, but also complaints: Even after Smithey painted the red metal gray, it just didn’t look like other homes in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to categorize such dwellings as “conditional use” buildings. That means anyone who wants to build one will have to seek city approval to do so. The council also decided that container homes must include a pitched roof, and be fully sided — using vinyl siding, brick, wood or some other material.

This fall 2016 photo shows the the back of the Smithey's container home with new sod and patio.
Provided | Zack Smithey

A proposed amendment to St. Charles' building codes would make shipping-container homes blend in with more typical houses in the city.

A new home on Elm Street sparked the debate that led to the regulations, introduced at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. The amendment would require shipping-container homes to be fully sided and have a pitched roof.

Zack and Brie Smithey's railroad-shipping container home on Elm Street in St. Charles will be painted taupe and include glass windows across the front.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council defeated a proposal Tuesday night that would have banned residents from building shipping-container houses in areas with only brick and siding homes.

But that's not the end of the controversy.

At the center of the flap is a home under construction on Elm Street. St. Charles residents Zack and Brie Smithey are building their 3,000-square-foot house out of eight railroad shipping containers.

Zack and Brie Smithey in front of their shipping-container home under construction in July 2016
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with St. Charles City Council vote July 6, 2016, 12:51pm - An unusual house made of railroad-shipping containers is going up on Elm Street in St. Charles. But if city officials have their way, the nearly-finished place could be the last of its kind in the city’s traditional neighborhoods.

St. Charles residents Zack and Brie Smithey began working on their two-story home in May. Their house is being made from eight red containers, doubled stacked and four across. It sits on a sloping lot between a split-level and a ranch.

Flickr | DIGITIZEDCHAOS

St. Charles County remains the fastest growing county in the St. Louis region, according to U.S. census data released Thursday.

New numbers from the 2014 American Community Survey show that the population of St. Charles County has grown by about 5 percent since 2010, from an estimated 361,602 to an estimated 379,493.

Demographics analyst and Saint Louis University professor Ness Sandoval points to the county’s relatively low cost of living as the cause of the growth.

Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The first I-70 interchange west of the Missouri River is getting an $18 million update. Construction starts next spring to replace Fifth Street’s partial cloverleaf interchange with a diverging diamond.

It’s the latest project in a decade-long plan to improve the main corridor through the St. Louis region’s fastest growing county.

The Festival of the Little Hills is taking place in St. Charles this weekend. For our family, that was the serendipitous festival.

Somehow, the day we would decide to go to St. Charles and check out Main Street would coincide with Little Hills. We never planned it. But here’s the alert so you can.

Members of the St. Louis Regional Heroin Initiative flank posters listing those arrested for heroin-related charges Wednesday, June 10, 2015 in the St. Charles City Police Department.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 50 heroin traffickers have been arrested for crimes committed in St. Charles County. Most were arrested in a 30-hour period, bringing a swift conclusion to a ten-month collaborative investigation.

Since last fall state, local and federal authorities have been working together to bring about the arrests, representing what the head of the St. Louis region’s Drug Enforcement Agency described as a more proactive partnership than past collaborations.

Courtesy Missouri State Parks

When Missouri became a state 193 years ago Sunday, the plan was to put the state capitol in a central location. But there was just one problem.

“There was no Jefferson City at the time,” said Sue Love, with the Missouri Parks Department. "They built it specifically to be our capitol. So while they were building Jefferson City, they had to have some place to meet, plan and prepare because they had already started the process of becoming a state.”

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