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Top Stories

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

These renderings show what it would look like in National Car Rental Field. The car rental company forged a $158 million deal to name an in-flux riverfront stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Updated 1:31 p.m. Dec. 15 - Backers of a proposed new NFL stadium for St. Louis have an extra $3 million at their disposal, thanks to the state of Missouri.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted 9-1 Tuesday to grant a line of credit to the St. Louis Convention and Sports Complex Authority.

Crime plan neighborhoods December 2015
Screen capture

Shortly before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen started to debate the city’s portion of a financial package for a new National Football League stadium, Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward and Mayor Francis Slay tweeted about a new comprehensive crime plan.

Though crime and the Rams are not logically connected, they have been linked. As St. Louis Public Radio reported last week, Alderman French voted to send the financing bill out of committee after an amendment was attached that provided a multi-faceted minority inclusion plan. And he said, "I am taking the mayor’s chief of staff at her word that we will complete our negotiations on a comprehensive [crime] plan before the final vote," French said.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Kaiya Timmermeier is standing under a big oak tree in the parking lot of Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School. She is more than a little freaked out at the moment.

“It’s so scary,” she said in shaky voice. “OK, now what?”

When Christopher Braig isn’t playing a saxophone, the computer often becomes his instrument.
Nassim Benchaabane | St. Louis Public Radio

At St. Louis Community College’s Meramec campus one Friday, Christopher Braig types chords and scales into a computer for students in his jazz improvisation class. They discuss the function of each note in the blues scale before Braig hits a key: The pitch sounds through the auditorium’s speakers and the note appears on a large projector screen at the front of the room. The group reads and hears the music in real time. Then they play. By the time class ends, the written music, a blues accompaniment track and audio examples are waiting for the students on their home computers.

Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation
Missouri Department of Transportation

Patrick McKenna is now into his second week as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He recently served as deputy director of New Hampshire's transportation department and before that worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.  McKenna sat down last week with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin and talked about some of the challenges he now faces as MoDOT director.

vigil gun violence st. john's remember reflect respond
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When he heard that his son had been shot, Rev. Ken McKoy felt the 15-minute drive to the hospital was the longest he has ever taken. His son’s life flashed before his eyes.

The drought of 2012 took its toll on agriculture across the Midwest, including this soybean field near Dayton, Indiana.
Tom Campbell | Purdue Agricultural Communications

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapped up in Paris over the weekend. While talking heads analyze the merits of the plan that came out of the meeting, farmers in the Midwest are thinking about the very real impact climate change is having on them.

Agriculture could be among the sectors hardest hit by a warming global climate, and farmers here already are having to adapt to changing weather patterns.

Bosnians gathered near the Sebilj Fountain
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty years ago the Dayton Peace Accord put an end to the extreme violence and ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian War. But many St. Louis Bosnians feel the document left the country with no road to progress.

Screenshot | ashleymadison.com

Remember Ashley Madison?

It's the website owned by a Toronto-based company that promised a discreet place for men and women to arrange affairs.

But any veneer of discretion -- and of security -- went out the window in August when a group calling itself the Impact Team released the personal information of all 37 million Ashley Madison customers. That data included the usual -- names, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers -- but also more intimate details like sexual fantasies.

The hack predictably resulted in a multitude of lawsuits against Avid Life Media, the parent company. And it'll be up to a St. Louis-based judge with the Eastern District of Missouri to sort it out - at least at first. 

Debris and felled trees were just part of the devastation around the superintendent's home. Johnson's shut ins
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

On Dec. 14, 2005, a section of dam wall along the old Taum Sauk reservoir collapsed, sending 1.3 billion gallons of water rushing down the side of Proffit Mountain in rural southeastern Missouri.

The choir of United Believers in Christ Ministries opened the first service at the church's new building on Sunday with several worship songs.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

The yellow house at 8820 North Broadway in St. Louis looks like most of the others on the block, but the worship music wafting out onto the sidewalk signals this is the new home of United Believers in Christ Ministries

The windows and the glass on the door of the Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis were shattered by a vandal on Saturday.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated at 12 p.m. on December 12, 2015, with information on the arrest:

St. Louis police arrested a 43-year-old St. Louis woman in connection with an incident of vandalism at a Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard. 

Hillary Clinton St. Louis union Dec. 11 2015
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Instead of presenting a policy address, as initially billed, Hillary Clinton delivered the political red meat Friday night that her supporters crave.

“I’m going to defend our civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, voting rights, workers rights,” the Democratic presidential hopeful declared to hundreds packing a St. Louis union hall.

The crowd’s cheers turned into a roar when Clinton added, “I will defend a woman’s right to choose! And I will defend Planned Parenthood!”

Book cover

Until now, all the rescued and restored Kraus House at 120 North Ballas Rd. in Ebsworth Park needed was a good book – a book about its place in the Frank Lloyd Wright catalog, a literary acclamation of its place in the history of American architecture, a hard-cover book with a sturdy sewn spine. Now, it has it.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A St. Louis alderman is contending that debate over a proposed riverfront stadium plan took a corrupt turn when a “loved one” was offered a political favor in exchange for her dialing down her opposition to the project.

But Alderman Megan Green’s charges are getting pushback – especially from her colleagues on the Board of Aldermen.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of what he called a “perfect storm,” interim President Mike Middleton said Friday that the four-campus University of Missouri system should seize the opportunity to show its leadership on issues that prompted the resignations of two top officials.

Middleton took over as head of the system last month after Tim Wolfe resigned following lengthy student protests over racial incidents and other issues. The same day, the chancellor of the university’s Columbia campus, R. Bowen Loftin, also announced he would step down into a lesser role at Mizzou.

Steve Tilley and Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to host a special edition* of the show with former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

(*From a technical standpoint, all Politically Speaking podcasts are recorded live and then disseminated throughout the Internet. But this week's show was recorded in front of an audience in St. Louis Public Radio's community room at Grand Center.)

In the early 1970s, Washington University had more African American students enrolled than ever before. They created a guide to help future black students navigate the university and St. Louis.
Courtesy Washington University Library

When Ralph Hargrow arrived at Washington University from his home in the East Coast in 1969, he was part of a growing group of black students on a campus going through the same kind of drastic change that was hitting the nation as a whole.

The previous December, a group of black students had confronted Chancellor Thomas Eliot in his office in stately Brookings Hall and presented demands that later came to be known as a “Black Manifesto.”

A white cross for every homicide in St. Louis and St. Louis County this year line the lawn of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church Dec. 6, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Valerie Dent remembers the exact time her sons 31-year-old James and 24-year-old Steven were shot and killed Sept. 5, 2014.  It was 7:45 a.m. when James, a father of two, and his brother had just stepped of the bus they rode home from work on a day that saw six gun homicides within 18 hours.

Editor's Weekly parting thoughts Part 2: The flame is in good hands

Dec 10, 2015

Most of the editors I've admired left their newsrooms because they were pushed out or carried out. Fortunately, neither is the case for me. I’m happily looking forward to retirement at the end of this month and to finding out what happens when you stop juggling work and life and just let life take over.

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
File photo | Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering those responsible for the West Lake landfill to clear brush and provide fire-proof cover for areas contaminated by radioactive waste.

The order comes after an October brush fire at the entrance to the north St. Louis County landfill raised concerns about the consequences of a surface fire reaching radioactive waste at West Lake.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, left, talks with Aldermen Sam Moore, center, and Antonio French about a stadium funding deal. All three voted in favor of the proposal aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:15 Friday -- Plans for a $1 billion riverfront stadium cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a financing proposal passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. And the measure passed with a big assist from one of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s biggest detractors. The full board will consider this bill next week.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Flickr | McCaskill | April 2015

Drawing on her own unsettling experience as a college intern in the Missouri Capitol, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she has donated $10,000 to help set up a special hotline for interns confronted by lawmakers’ sexual advances or other unwanted behavior.

McCaskill told reporters Thursday that she gave the money to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She emphasized that it’s her own personal money, and not from taxpayers or campaign donors.

Millennium Student Center at UMSL
File: Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Taking into account low inflation, state law and a request from Gov. Jay Nixon, the University of Missouri is proposing no tuition increase for resident undergraduate students at its four campuses in the next school year.

The proposal was introduced at the Board of Curators meeting held Thursday on the university’s St. Louis campus. Curators will take a final vote in the spring on tuition for the 2016-17 school year.

A member of the St. Louis stadium task force places signage in the room before the announcement that National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million over 20 years for naming rights for the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis on October 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | October 2015

Updated with committee vote - The aldermanic Ways and Means Committee has sent the NFL stadium plan to the full board for consideration. The 7-2 approval means the aldermen could take an initial vote on the measure tomorrow.

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation prepares to give the blessing at a Hanukkah party at the White House Dec. 9.
Screen capture | White House video

A St. Louis rabbi has used an appearance at the White House to highlight efforts to reduce violence and deal with radioactive contamination.

Jamie Stevens (center) unloads a mirror at the donation center with Ferid Keranovic (top).
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis police chaplain Dzemal Bijedic met a Syrian refugee family struggling to keep basic necessities in their home, he took to Facebook.

Soulstruck by Lyndon Barrois Jr. He said the gender-exploring figure is a compilation of his wife, their nephew and himself.
Lyndon Barrois Jr.

For multimedia artist Lyndon Barrois Jr., the different genres came together like a stack of building blocks.

As a child, he liked to draw, but he didn’t paint until his third year of college. Then in grad school, he began to embrace sculpture and other creative means. Soon he was making art with the idea that every work should take whatever form suits it best.

Curious Louis Holiday Movies illustration
Susannah Lohr

For Amber Hinsley of St. Charles, nothing says “Christmas” like huddling in the dark with dozens of strangers. In a movie theater, of course.

David Noah Bell, the new nominee for the civilian oversight board's 3rd District, chats with mayoral staffer Patrick Brown after Bell's confirmation hearing on Dec. 9
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The new civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is a step closer to full membership.

The city's public safety committee on Wednesday gave unqualified approval to David Noah Bell, a registered nurse and resident of the 26th Ward. 

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