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Top Stories

Editor's picks for the top news stories of the day.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke's gambit to move to Los Angeles will reach a critical point this week. Owners could vote on his relocation proposal in Houston.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2012

After more than a year of twists, turns, deal-making and uninspiring play on the football field, NFL owners will take a vote determining the future of professional football in St. Louis.

The leaders of the league’s 32 teams are scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston. They’re slated to take up proposals from the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders to move to the Los Angeles area.

The Fenton Water Treatment Plant was knocked offline due to historic flooding.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Warnings to avoid contact with flood water. An executive order temporarily waiving Missouri Department of Natural Resources regulations. Periodic updates on the millions of gallons of raw sewage flowing into the Meramec River due to shuttered wastewater treatment plants.

St. Louis Public Radio referenced these announcements as they happened in the course of reporting on the human and economic toll wrought by the record-high waters. But what impact, if any, do those warnings and waivers have on the environment?

file photo | Jess Jaing |St. Louis Public Radio

When people overdose on heroin or prescription painkillers, their heart beat slows and they stop breathing. That means snapping them out of the overdose quickly with a drug that blocks the opiate receptors in the brain can mean the difference between life and death.

Right now most Missourians have to wait for first responders to arrive with the antidote, known as Narcan or naloxone. Under state law the public doesn't have direct access to the drug. But there’s an exception to the rule for veterans:  a prescription from the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

The USGS will collect data on mineral deposits in the St. Francois Mountains using a Piper Navajo airplane with auxiliary wingtip pods and tail stinger magnetometers.
Terraquest Ltd.

The U.S. Geological Survey is searching for commercially important minerals in southeastern Missouri. But the researchers won't be using any shovels or pick-axes: All the data will be collected from a small, low-flying plane.

The aerial survey is part of an on-going project to study the geology of the St. Francois Mountains.

(Photo: St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis NFL Stadium Task Force is firing back. In its response to the Rams’ application to move to Los Angeles, it bemoans the way owner Stan Kroenke besmirched the city’s reputation.

The task force noted that many details of the Rams' proposal were not available to it or to the public. But it did counter several points the team made.

Stan Kroenke at a 2012 press conference at the Rams practice facility in Earth City.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As many of you are probably well aware, Stan Kroenke wants to move the Rams from St. Louis.

In a blistering letter, he cited almost every flaw he could think of with the city. The mayor of St. Louis fired back, noting "multiple inaccuracies and misrepresentations of St. Louis and our community's relationship with the Rams."

Mike Mozart | Flickr

Save-A-Lot, the discount grocery chain headquartered in Earth City, could soon be publicly traded as a stand-alone company.

Minneapolis-based SuperValu filed paperwork this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its subsidiary.

Its shareholders will own about 80.1 percent of Save-A-Lot, which will be publicly traded. SuperValu will retain 19.9 percent ownership. 

Joseph Davis Ferguson-Florissant superintendent  1.29.15
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated at 9:12 a.m. Jan. 8 with comment from school board: A report by the state auditor in North Carolina says that Joseph Davis, who now is superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, misspent money when he was in charge of the Washington County schools in that state.

Max Wehlte / Wikipedia | goo.gl/qoytTF

Scammers have been targeting artists, and it’s not a pretty picture, says the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

The scam is a twist on the “fake check” or “overpayment” schemes that have been around for years.

12.12 Law enforcement officers were present outside the Thomas F. Eagleton US Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:28 p.m. Jan. 8 with announcement from Homeland Security- The regulatory clock is now ticking loudly for state lawmakers in Jefferson City, Mo., and Springfield, Ill., to ensure that residents of both states can use their state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards as proper forms of identification to board commercial airliners.

presidential candidates 2016
Wikipedia

Ever hear of Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente?  How about Willie Wilson?

Both are Democrats running for president. And they’ll be on the March 15 presidential primary ballots in Missouri and Illinois.

Wednesday was the last day of the frenetic 72-hour period when presidential candidates could file in Illinois. Missouri’s 29-day window closed about two weeks ago.

Participants enjoy being part of the 2015 "Act Your Pants Off' St. Lou Fringe event.
Allan Crain

Five-year-olds are known for their openness to new experiences and their steady growth. In its fifth year, the St. Lou Fringe festival is no different.

As the Fringe gears up for 2016, it’s adding new events and positioning itself as a five-month-long series rather than a nine-day festival.

Printmaker Tate Foley welcomes visitors to his home studio during the October 2015 Studio Tours held by the Contemporary Art Museum.
Jarred Geistreich

Making art involves creativity, of course. But for many artists, including St. Louis’ Tate Foley, exactitude is every bit as important.

Printmaker Foley is meticulous about following the necessary steps, in strict order. One of his first steps sometimes involves ordering from eBay, since Foley’s work explores consumerism using things like gum wrappers and trading cards.

Veselin Topalov plays in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Once again, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis held the strongest tournament of the year, but this time there was a little extra! The Sinquefield Cup, which began at the end of August and ended a few days into September, was not only a great tournament but one of the events in the newly created Grand Chess Tour.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

It appears that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to ethics changes.

During his opening speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said he'll refer all ethics bills to committee on Thursday, a move that often takes place days, weeks, and sometimes months after the start of a legislative session.

National Guard members stand at a news conference to discuss "Operation Recovery" at the Jefferson Barracks Division in St. Louis.
Caleb Codding for St. Louis Public Radio

Floodwaters in the St. Louis region have receded, leaving behind an estimated 500,000 tons of debris. Now what?

At a news conference Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlined “Operation Recovery," a cleanup effort that will be coordinated by the National Guard, with Lt. Col. Grace Link, a civil engineer, in charge. Contracted trucks will help clear debris in flood-damaged areas throughout the St. Louis region, Nixon said.

Cara Spencer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On another edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderman Cara Spencer to the program for the first time.

Spencer represents the city’s 20th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. The ward includes several south St. Louis neighborhoods, including Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Dutchtown. And it takes in part of Cherokee Street, one of St. Louis’ most eclectic business districts.

Kelvin Adams 2012
courtesy St. Louis Public Schools

Kelvin Adams, who has been superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools since 2008, has surfaced as a candidate for the top school job in Los Angeles.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday that a five-hour meeting to choose a new superintendent Tuesday ended with no consensus. But, it added, “sources have said that the shortlist has included LA Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King and St. Louis Superintendent Kelvin Adams.”

The St. Louis County Jail is located in the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton.
Nate Birt

St. Louis County hopes its efforts to reduce its jail population and reform the municipal court system will get a boost from the MacArthur Foundation.

Applications for the second round of funding from the foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge were due Wednesday. St. Louis County was one of 20 jurisdictions that received $150,000 to study its jail population and develop policies to reduce it. A second round of funding will help those jurisdictions fund the interventions.

Tax credits | Flickr

Although Missouri’s state revenue collections dropped slightly in December, the state’s budget chief says plans are still on track for Gov. Jay Nixon to base his budget proposal on a hoped-for 4.1 percent income hike during the coming fiscal year.

Missouri Budget Director Dan Haug says Nixon and the General Assembly’s budget chairmen have tentatively agreed on that income growth estimate to use in crafting budgets. Based on the 4.1 percent hike,  $360 million in additional revenue should be available for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Facing increasing pressure from declining seed sales, St. Louis-based Monsanto has announced plans to cut more jobs from its global work force.

Under what the company describes as a Revised Restructuring Plan, it will eliminate 3,600 positions through the end of fiscal year 2018. Monsanto's original initiative, announced last October, called for 2,600 job cuts.

The Edward Jones Dome has been home to the St. Louis Rams since 1995.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with reaction from officials. When it became public knowledge that the St. Louis Rams had applied for relocation to the Los Angeles area, the team provided a brief statement that didn’t reveal much about their rationale for leaving.

Well, the Rams elaborated on their reasons for relocating on Tuesday night. And the team’s decision not to pull punches about why they want to leave St. Louis may have massive consequences — even if their bid to move is rejected.

St. Louis Public Radio file art

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

At a glance: Missouri and Illinois gun laws

Jan 5, 2016
A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr

President Barack Obama detailed Tuesday his efforts to reduce gun violence nationwide, including requiring background checks, creating stricter licensing for firearms sellers, and increasing access to mental health care.

In his speech, Obama referred to Missouri, which has made headlines for its increasing homicide rate and its loosening of gun control laws. He said:

St. Louis County Library

Uh-oh. You just found a long-overdue library copy of “Hop on Pop” wedged deep under your child’s bed, and you don’t relish the thought of paying as much in fines as it would have cost to buy the book in the first place.

If the book was checked out from the St. Louis County Library, you can relax. As of New Year’s Day, the library has decided that children’s books, CDs and DVDs are exempt from overdue fines.

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:30 a.m., Jan. 5 with details of new agreement - A health fund for retired miners will stay solvent for at least 10 more months.

Peabody Energy and the United Mine Workers of America have reached an agreement. The company will pay $75 million into the health fund this year, but will not have to pay $70 million next year.

Richardson hugs his father, Mark Richardson, right after he was elected as speaker of the  Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

House Speaker Todd Richardson’s legislative career is full of defied expectations.

Before he was elected to House leadership, Richardson helped bring substantial changes to Missouri’s embattled Second Injury Fund – an issue that bedeviled lawmakers for years. And after the misdeeds of his predecessor, the Poplar Bluff Republican rose to the speakership much earlier than anybody expected.

Sen. Joe Keaveny
Caleb Codding I St. Louis Public Radio

This week on the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Joe Keaveny to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat serves as the leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, a group that has consistently shrunk in numbers over the past few election cycles. But even though there's only eight members of his caucus in the 34-member Senate chamber, Keaveny and other Senate Democrats still have the power to block legislation as they see fit.

Photo by Nassim Benchaabane for St. Louis Public Radio

The VA St. Louis Health Care System has cut the waiting time for appointments in recent months, but the improvement is “fragile,” says Patricia Ten Haaf, who is leaving the agency after serving as its acting director since May. 

Edith Moore, interim city manager for East St. Louis signs an ordinance under the direction of City Clerk Dorene Hoosman on Mon. Jan. 4, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

East St. Louis started 2016 under new management. Longtime city employee Edith Moore became the Metro East city’s fourth city manager in six months on the Monday after Christmas.

While the position is temporary, Moore wasted no time taking action. She notified seven city employees last week that they were being laid off.

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