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Top Stories

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

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

A federal report shows no off-site human health risk from radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, reviewed existing data on groundwater, air, and soil contamination at and around the landfill in Bridgeton.

Overall, the assessment found no radiation risk to surrounding communities, but did caution that workers at the landfill need to be protected from inhaling radioactive dust and radon gas.

This photo taken in February 2015 of the Bridgeton Landfill's south quarry shows the plastic cap and several gas extraction wells.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Bridgeton and West Lake Landfill owner Republic Services is calling into question the validity of one of the reports released last month by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

A deposition given this Wednesday and Thursday by the report's lead author seems to raise doubts about whether or not the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is really moving toward nearby radioactive waste.

Pulitzer Arts Foundation combines African art and an algorithm

Oct 16, 2015
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation’s first exhibit of exclusively African art asks the question, “how can technology help curate a show?” For curator Kristina Van Dyke, this question may predict the future of curating.

“I think this is a really important show for the field because it introduces a methodology that I believe will be increasingly important,” said Van Dyke, the Pulitzer's former director, as “Kota: Digital Excavations in African Art” was opening.

(Flickr/Laurence Livermore)

BioSTL has grabbed a $500,000 grant from the Small Business Administration.

It was one of just three Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative grants the SBA is giving out nationally and is meant to spur small business growth.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has called Amendment 5 "a disaster." She's been heaping criticism on the "gun rights" measure for months.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

For the second time this year, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office has subpoenaed St. Louis Public Radio and “requested” that we keep silent about it. For the second time, we’re speaking out because the public — you — has much at stake when a prosecutor goes on a fishing expedition in a news organization's files.

In "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart, right, portrays a senator who tries to use the filibuster for good. Now the threat of a filibuster is enough to stop votes.
Columbia Pictures | Wikipedia

In January, Republicans celebrated taking control of both gavels on Capitol Hill and promised to advance legislation important to their conservative base. After months of thwarted efforts and leadership compromises with Democrats to fund the government, the House majority is in disarray and Senate Republicans are considering a change in a longstanding rule that empowers the minority — a key function of the Senate as envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

UMSL unveils planetarium with Sunday open house

Oct 15, 2015
UMSL planetarium in action
Timothy Wombles

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is opening a newly renovated planetarium for students and the public. Astronomy professor Erika Gibb says the renovated facility is even a little more cutting edge than the Saint Louis Science Center’s planetarium, at least for now.

Bayer says glyphosate is a key tool for farmers as they try to control weeds and produce enough corn and other crops to help feed the world.
File Photo | Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

Drought conditions across portions of Missouri are having both a positive and negative effect on crops grown in the Show-Me State.

The lack of rain over much of Missouri has not harmed the state's corn crop and is enabling farmers to get heavy equipment into the fields for harvest.

Former St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Bob Gibson
Aine O'Connor

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson is one of the best to have ever played the game.

Gibson, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, played 17 seasons for the Cardinals from 1959-1975. The list of superlatives and awards that define his career is lengthy though his new book, “Pitch by Pitch: My View of One Unforgettable Game,” is a snapshot―an account of the first game of the 1968 World Series.

Community activist Dawn Chapman speaks to an overflow crowd at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church about problems at the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills.
File Photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1:00 a.m. after the landfill meeting - Hundreds of area residents jammed into the John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton Thursday night for a meeting about two St. Louis County landfills.

Many people at the meeting had never heard of the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills until last week, when St. Louis County made public an emergency response plan describing how it would respond if an underground fire at Bridgeton reaches radioactive waste at West Lake.

dleafy | sxc.hu

(Updated 12:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16,  with additional candidate filings)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster continues to hold a huge financial edge over all of his Republican rivals for governor next year.

Koster, a Democrat with no major opposition from his own party, has banked more than $5 million, according to his latest campaign-finance report filed Thursday.

His bank account is more than twice as fat as that of the top-raising Republican seeking the job, former Navy Seal Eric Greitens., who reported $2.3 million.

Talks fail to lead to agreement in East St. Louis teachers strike

Oct 15, 2015
A crowd of teachers and supporters picket outside East St. Louis School District 189's administrative offices Thurs. Oct. 1, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 15, 3:04 p.m. -- Another negotiating session that lasted just one hour Thursday failed to reach an agreement to end the teachers strike in East St. Louis. 

The teachers union and the district have met several times with a federal mediator to try to end the walkout that has canceled classes since Oct. 1 for more than 6,000 students.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee is putting together recommendations that could place further restrictions on abortion providers, namely Planned Parenthood.

Several Republican lawmakers began brainstorming various proposals toward the end of a public hearing Wednesday at the State Capitol.

They included random inspections of any facility that performs abortions, including hospitals.

File | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not just a change of names and grades that has made the Normandy 7th and 8th grade center a calmer place this year.

What used to be Normandy Middle School now has just two grades, with sixth graders returning to the district’s elementary schools. At a community forum held at the school Wednesday night, the consensus was that a school that had been in the news last year for a host of disciplinary problems has calmed down a lot.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

The latest campaign-finance reports show that U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has almost three times as much money in the bank as his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, as the two prepare to face off next year.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-wage workers in St. Louis will not be getting the raise they expected on Thursday.

Judge Steven Ohmer ruled Wednesday afternoon that a law boosting the city's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018 violated Missouri's Constitution because it conflicted directly with state law. The first increase, to $8.25 an hour, was to take effect at midnight Wednesday.

Ferguson Farmers Market

The oldest, still-operating farmers market in St. Louis, Soulard Farmers Market, has a history that stretches back over 200 years. But it is only in the past 15 that the local food scene has exploded across other municipalities in the region, bringing with it smaller markets and more opportunities for local growers to sell their produce and products.

Rep. Eric Burlison
Scott Harvey I KSMU

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Eric Burlison to the show (with some generous assistance from our friends at KSMU).

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Mississippi River basin got its first-ever report card from the America’s Watershed Initiative ... and it was nothing to write home about.

The overall grade is D+.

Flickr | david_shane

A new commission set up by the Missouri Supreme Court will examine ways to ensure that minorities receive fair and just treatment from the state's court systems and legal profession.

Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge announced the formation of the commission at a recent Missouri Bar meeting in St. Louis. She cited findings in two Department of Justice reports, one on Ferguson and the other on St. Louis County's juvenile division, as reasons for forming the commission.

Detail of 'If a World is a Fair Place Then...' artwork Raqs Media Collective
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

As Laumeier Sculpture Park opens its Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center to the public, exhibited works will be designed to bridge international and local communities. Among those whose work is featured in the first show, which opens Friday, is Raqs Media Collective.

The St. Louis County Council approved a new version of legislation requiring owners of rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council revived stalled legislation requiring owners of rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses.

Yet even though the legislation went through more alterations, the bill’s critics contended they didn’t get enough time to review the changes before they were adopted.

e-MagineArt.com | Flickr

Missouri hospitals have seen a drastic increase in prescription painkiller abuse over the past decade. According to a study from the Missouri Hospital Association, the rate of hospitalization due to the abuse of prescription opioids has increased by 137 percent since 2005.

The numbers localize a problem usually shown through national statistics. For instance, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 people die every day in the United States from prescription painkiller overdoses.

Fashions R Boutique owner Juanita Morris sets out merchandise in her new Florissant location, after her original store burned in the riots following the Darren Wilson grand jury decision in November 2014.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

When riots broke out in Ferguson and Dellwood last year following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown-Darren Wilson case, Juanita Morris' business of 28 years burned to the ground.

In one night, Morris lost the building that housed Fashions R Boutique and almost all of her inventory. But she vowed to rebuild, even in the face of what she called “some dark days.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steven Conway, D-8th Ward, expects a number of hearings on a stadium funding bill. Conway is a CPA and plans to analyze the financial costs of the legislation.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s fair to say last week produced plenty of copy about St. Louis’ proposed riverfront football stadium.

Traffic changes aim to make streets safer for exercise

Oct 11, 2015
Davion Thompson, 14, clocks the speed of cars passing the intersection of Gasconade Street and Compton Avenue Saturday, Oct 10, 2015 during Trailnet's traffic calming demo.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Brightly-colored tires simulating flower beds popped-up along a two-block stretch of Gasconade Street Saturday in the Dutchtown neighborhood of south St. Louis.

Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Trailnet set the tires up to block the corners of intersections leading up to Marquette Park, shortening the distance people crossing the road were exposed to traffic. Other tires formed a zig-zag route for drivers to navigate.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis would be the first stop on a proposed national trail to mark historic sites in the struggle for African American civil rights, if Congressman Lacy Clay, D-University City, is successful in his efforts to preserve “precious historic waypoints along the routes of that largely untold story.”  

flickr | southtyrolean

With ISIL breathing down our necks, and with political shenanigans raining down upon us from ideological thunderheads; with racism and its various crippling spawn bedeviling us;  with apparently intractable financial, educational, residential and vocational inequities confronting us; with guns, guns, guns everywhere; with the reality of catastrophic climate metamorphoses; with the rendings of the fabrics of families; with contempt for knowledge: In the face of all of this, how is it that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra would have the cheek to present to its audiences Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9  in D Minor, the Choral Symphony with its “Ode to Joy?”

Bike cops use art to raise awareness of gun violence

Oct 8, 2015
One set of drawings up for sale at 10th Street Gallery
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Downtown Police Bike Unit is hoping to serve the community creatively while addressing gun violence. To this end, officers organized a show of artwork they produced. Funds raised from the sale of this work will be donated to Jamyla Bolden’s fourth-grade class in the Riverview Gardens School District.

Officer Solomon Thurman, III, serves in the bike unit and his parents run the gallery. He hopes the show lets the class know one thing.

“They’re not alone and she’s looking over them and her spirit inspired us as far as to help them,” Thurman said.

Jameela Tidwell (left) and Molicia Hammond dissect a from Tues. Oct. 6, 2015 in the Upward Bound program at SIUE's East St. Louis Center. Both are sophomores at East St. Louis Senior High.
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville | provided

Thursday marked the sixth school day with no class for the more than 6,000 students in East St. Louis School District 189 as teachers continue to strike. Contract negotiations between the district and the teachers' union appear to have hit a stand-still.

Since the strike began, six community centers with after-school programming have extended their hours and opened their enrollment to all students in the district.

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