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Top Stories

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

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.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson briefs reporters on his department's plans for the 2015 Major League Baseball playoffs on October 8, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police will have extra personnel in downtown this weekend as the St. Louis Cardinals begin postseason play — a little earlier than usual.

Bill Kreeb, president and CEO of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, and Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator at the East Side Health District.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

It has officially been 100 days without a budget in Illinois, said Amanda Vinicky, statehouse bureau chief at Illinois Public Radio. But the impasse between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature predates that.

Rauner is the first Republican in the governor’s mansion in over a decade. He won election with a business-friendly, budget-balancing agenda and the quest to right the Illinois government’s past wrongs.

Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis
Jim Howard / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is not alone in confronting an increase in violent crime, but what little comfort that may provide city officials is tempered by the fact that there are relatively few resources readily available to help cities across the U.S. confront their own rise in gun and drug related violence.

Mayors from 20 cities along with chiefs of police, an array of federal law enforcement officials, and academics met in Washington on Wednesday for a Department of Justice sponsored summit on violent crime.  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Samuel Dotson, both attended the day-long session to share ideas, concerns and to make appeals to federal officials for assistance.

File Photo | St. Louis Cardinals

Every year for the past five, Cardinals fans have headed into October knowing all is right in the world: Post-season play is about to commence.

And yet each year, there seems to be a little more pushback against the Cardinals. As Will Leitch noted in 2013, “Over the last eight years, the Cardinals have ended the postseason dreams of the Mets, Tigers, Phillies, Brewers, Rangers, Nationals and Pirates. That's a lot of fan bases spitting in your general direction.”

Last year, we added the Dodgers.

Saturday evening at a Schnucks in Des Peres.
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

The retail grocery industry in the St. Louis region and throughout the country is more competitive than ever.

Local chains that have been around for decades are adapting to customer expectations as they face increasing pressure from big-name national stores and even discount outlets.

Ameren Missouri

Missouri's Department of Economic Development has unveiled 17 recommendations for how Missouri should use and conserve energy.

The recommendations are the end result of an executive order Gov. Jay Nixon issued last year that was intended to "chart a road map toward a more prosperous, secure and sustainable energy future."

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

Dave Peacock concedes that he undersold a bit to Enterprise Holdings when he talked with some of their top brass about sponsoring a roughly $1 billion stadium.

The co-chairman of a task force angling to keep professional football in St. Louis said on Wednesday he went in with a “lower sponsorship level” to Enterprise, a St. Louis-based corporation that owns a number of car rental companies. What Peacock got in return was a 20-year, $158 million offer to name the stadium “National Car Rental Field.”

(courtesy of Uber)

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has asked a St. Louis County judge to force Uber to stop operating in St. Louis.

The regulatory body on Monday filed suit against the company, 19 alleged UberX drivers, and anyone else who may have driven a vehicle for UberX, saying the parties are operating in direct violation of the Commission's vehicle-for-hire code. 

Monsanto announced Wednesday it would shed 2,600 employees in the next 18 to 24 months as the company deals with declining seed sales.

The seed giant reported a $495 million loss, or about $1.06 per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter.

It’s not clear how many jobs will be affected at its Creve Coeur-based headquarters. The cuts represent about 12 percent of Monsanto’s workforce, and spokeswoman Sara Miller said they will take place globally across all functions.

The St. Louis County Council rejected legislation aimed at regulating rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council delivered a major blow to a bid to tighten regulations over rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County.

St. Louis Public Radio

The coal industry has hit hard times.

This summer several coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, is not immune. The coal giant’s share price has fallen nearly 97 percent in the last five years. The company recently did a reverse stock split, bundling 15 shares into one in order to avoid share prices going below $1.

Peabody Energy spokesman Vic Svec said as a commodity business, they’re used to the volatility.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

The House Republican Conference is scheduled to select its candidate for speaker Thursday to replace John Boehner, who’s leaving Congress at the end of the month. The rifts in the Republican Party that led to Boehner's departure are reflected in the thinking of House Republicans from Missouri and Illinois.

Mayor Francis Slay, left, and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson unveil the new Real Time Crime Center at police headquarters.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Francis Slay will join his counterparts from dozens of American cities in Washington, D.C. this week for the attorney general's summit on violent crime.

His trip comes as the city continues to battle an increase in crime. The latest numbers show crime is 10 percent higher in 2015 compared to the same time last year, though the increase has slowed down each month this year. St. Louis is on pace for about 200 homicides, a barrier it hasn't broken in nearly 20 years.

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

Groups that have been meeting for the past year to come up with new standards for Missouri schools have turned their homework in to state education officials.

Where those standards go from here is the next big test.

Kelly Lee and her mother Barbara Hill examine a sculpture inspired by the artist's homeless sister inside the garage studio of JE Baker
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

Barbara Hill of Fenton will do almost anything to support her four daughters. A decade ago while visiting one daughter in the African Republic of Mali, Hill shut her eyes as her car's driver backed down a narrow mountain road to let another vehicle pass.

So simply riding a forward-moving bus to four St. Louis artists’ studios this past Sunday was a breeze. And an eye-opener, as it turned out.

The city's Civil Courts Building, where a challenge of St. Louis' minimum wage law was heard.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The fate of St. Louis’ minimum wage law is in the hands of a judge.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer heard arguments on Tuesday over a law raising the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. A coalition of businesses and business groups are challenging the measure in court.

After roughly two hours of arguments, Ohmer promised to deliver a quick ruling on the lawsuit. He had previously promised to decide on the validity of the law by October 15, the day that the city’s minimum wage is expected to rise from $7.65 to $8.25 an hour. 

Organizer Leon Braxton at the site of the Transgender Memorial Park.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A sliver of land in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood is getting a makeover to become what may the country’s first Transgender Memorial Park.

It’s a cooperative effort between the city and community members. Leon Braxton got the idea when he heard about the city’s “Plant4Peace” project, a program that gives out free trees for local gathering spaces.

“I thought about this would be a great opportunity for something in the LGBT community,” Braxton said.

Drawing of child and scales of justice
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

This July 31, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of a 20-month investigation into the St. Louis County Family Court that sent a jolt through the system.

"The investigation found that the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and that the court’s administration of juvenile justice discriminates against black children, all in violation of the 14th Amendment," assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a conference call.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert chats with St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nick Pistor before a judge ruled against a temporary restraining order for the city's minimum wage law.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When attorneys resume a legal fight this week over St. Louis’ minimum wage law, the atmosphere will be very different from when they first clashed in the courtroom.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert and omnipresent litigator Jane Dueker are set to resume a high-stakes legal battle on Tuesday morning. Dueker is representing businesses and business groups seeking to dismantle St. Louis’ law raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Calvert (along with private attorneys from Dowd Bennett) is defending the statute.

UCityNeeds.me director Chris Paavola, (left), speaks with a resident during a results party Saturday at the Heman Park Community Center. Paavola and other University Center organizers launched a campaign to link residents with causes they care about.
Kameel Stanley | St. Louis Public Radio

Organizers of UCityNeeds.me had a simple goal in mind when they launched their interactive social campaign this summer:

Find out what residents in University City want and need from their community. It didn’t take long to get the answer.

Over a 30 day period, residents submitted more than 2,000 responses to this prompt: “My #HopeForUCity is…”

The exterior of the new Lewis & Clark branch of the St. Louis County Library.
St. Louis County Library

In 2014, historic preservationists and community members called for the preservation of St. Louis County Library’s Lewis & Clark branch, designed by noted architect Frederick Dunn. Activists said that branch was the most architecturally significant in the county library’s system. Also at stake were stained glass windows, created by artist Robert Harmon with Emil Frei Studios, depicting Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacajawea on their famed Westward expedition.

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican field for Missouri governor has grown larger. St. Louis businessman John Brunner announced his candidacy this morning in a pre-recorded YouTube video.

Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

The arcane world of school finance in Missouri can be harder to understand than the most obscure poem or the most difficult calculus problem. But clear away all of the acronyms and calculations and modifications, and it comes down to two simple questions:

Should the quality of children’s education depend on where they live? And how important is money to education anyway?

New genetic test can detect almost any human virus

Oct 5, 2015
This colorized scanning electron micrograph image shows filamentous Ebola virus particles (shown in blue) infecting a cell (shown in yellow-green).
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Scientists at Washington University have developed a genetic test that can be used to detect practically any virus known to infect humans.

It could be especially useful for quickly identifying the cause of deadly disease outbreaks or helping a patient whose disease has eluded diagnosis.

A year without Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill

Oct 5, 2015
Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

This month marks one year since Chuck Berry wrapped up his iconic run at Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop. The musician’s performing status is up in the air, according to Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards.

“The fact he’s almost 89 years old, who knows? He has the interest in doing it but he’s also working on some songs,” said Edwards. 

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