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Top Stories

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

The backwards Maplewood installation by Brooklyn artist Janet Zweig is illuminated at night. "I fell in love with the city," Zweig said.
Cathy Carver

Rick Jackoway recently moved back to St. Louis after 26 years away. When he drove under a sign on the MetroLink overpass on Manchester Road he thought, “Well, you don’t see that every day!”

So he asked our new Curious Louis project:

Why is the word Maplewood spelled backward on the sign going over Manchester Road, just east of Laclede St. Road? Always wondered.

Model of entrance markers for Forest Park
Ben Senturia

A largely ornamental $3 million construction program announced this summer for Forest Park -- one presented as a way to provide visitors a comprehensive idea what that big, leafy, attractive expanse of woodlands, savannas, golf courses, ball fields, fish ponds and cultural institutions between Kingshighway and Skinker actually is -- made a full-scale move ahead when prototypical models of gates, or entrance markers, appeared at two places.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Updated 5 p.m., Nov. 24, with medical examiner findings -- An official autopsy report on the death of Amonderez Green, 18, in Normandy last month concludes that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Reginald Clemons may get a new trial.

In a 4-to-3 decision Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court tossed out both his conviction and death sentence in the 1991 rape and murders of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis. The sisters, who were 20 and 19, had brought a visiting cousin to the bridge to show him a poem they had written. The cousin was the only one who survived being pushed from the bridge into the Mississippi River.

Art by Susannah Lohr, Rendering Courtesy of HOK

From the moment a proposal for a riverfront stadium was unveiled nearly a year ago, the roughly $1 billion facility provoked probing questions about the future of professional football in St. Louis. Some of the queries revolved around the intangible benefits of remaining a NFL city. Others asked whether voters or legislative bodies should approve public commitments to the facility. 

As those debates continue to play out,  the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is wrestling with something more tangible: How much is it going to cost the city to build the facility and how much will a stadium bring into city coffers?

Mayor Francis Slay and attorney general Chris Koster listen to speakers at a second accountability meeting for politicians on Nov 23.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In a major policy shift, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has announced that he could support giving the new civilian oversight board subpoena power, and moving it from the umbrella of the public safety department, under certain circumstances.

The announcement came at a second "accountability meeting" arranged by a variety of activist groups as a platform for politicians to announce exactly what steps they will take to fulfill the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission. Slay was unable to make the first meeting, on Nov. 1.

Protesters outside St. Louis County headquarters on Feb. 2, 2015 call for reforms of the municipal court system.
File photo by Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

About a year ago, Missouri attorney General Chris Koster sued 13 municipalities in St. Louis County who weren’t complying with the state’s law on traffic revenue.

It was one of a series of cases at the state and local level filed against cities for the way they operate their municipal courts. And the architects of the strategy say it's working.

Grant's Farm - horses
Robert Duffy | St. Louis Public Radio

Plans for the St. Louis Zoo to buy Grant’s Farm are in legal limbo. Six heirs of August Anheuser "Gussie" Busch Jr. are in litigation over whether the property should be sold to the Zoo or Billy Busch. A hearing was held today - largely on the timing of how things will proceed.

Supporters of legislation that would force a public vote on funding for the new football stadium show the results of a city-wide poll on the use of public dollars.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to force a citywide vote on public funding for a proposed new football stadium north of Laclede's Landing remain alive at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, but future forward progress will be difficult.

Members of the city's Convention and Tourism Committee heard two hours of testimony on 15th Ward Democrat Megan-Elliya Green's bill Monday without taking a vote.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

An 86-mile stretch of levees along the Mississippi River was a source of hand-wringing from Alton to Columbia, Illinois, back in 2007.

Now local officials speak with pride about the work to improve the levee system.

East St. Louis City Manager Alvin Parks leans over the city council table Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015 to speak to Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11 p.m. with the results of the East St. Louis City Council meeting- The East St. Louis City Council unanimously approved a 2016 budget Monday night with a projected deficit of nearly $6 million. Most of that deficit is carried over from prior years.

 

“We understand that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, but we wanted to make sure we pass a budget going into a new year,” said City Council President Pro Tem Robert Eastern. “We didn’t want to hold the city’s business up.”

Missouri Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield
Official photo

Missouri’s crowded GOP contest for governor has lost a participant, as state Sen. Bob Dixon is dropping out.

The departure of Dixon, R-Springfield, isn’t entirely unexpected. He was at the bottom of the pack when it came to fundraising. His last campaign finance report showed him with less than $83,000 in the bank.

Paul Curtman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome back state Rep. Paul Curtman to the program.

The Republican, from Union in Franklin County, first burst onto the scene in 2010, when he pulled off an upset against then-state Rep. Michael Frame, D-Eureka. Curtman’s victory was often spotlighted as a sign of strength for the “Tea Party” movement in Missouri, especially since the Marine Corps veteran gained notoriety in speaking out against President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

Science Center brings Mars rover back to earth in new exhibit

Nov 23, 2015
John Stegeman, 18, helped design and build a Mars rover-style robot for the Science Centerexhibit
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Curiosity rover is cruising toward a specific set of sand dunes on Mars millions of miles across the universe. The St. Louis Science Center is trying to bring that science down to Earth.

A new exhibit aims to explain both the science and the thought process behind the Curiosity Mars rover, according to Paul Freiling, director of engineering and technology education at the center. For him, the scope of Curiosity’s responsibilities illustrate how problem-solving in space is the productive of cooperative minds.

Wagner sees big changes under Speaker Paul Ryan

Nov 23, 2015
U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

It might be hard to imagine that less than a month ago, House Republicans were in turmoil; sharply divided over their future and what they were looking for in a new leader. They were so divided that there were serious questions as to whether any one person could bring all of their internal factions together.

All that animosity and anger seems to be a distant memory, at least from the outside looking in, and based on conversations with several House Republicans.

On Oct. 10, students blocked a car carrying former University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe during Mizzou's homecoming parade
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s show started with a simple question we could not get out of our heads as we followed the recent shakeups at Mizzou.

Don Wolff
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Don Wolff, a noted defense attorney and long-time jazz enthusiast died Friday, Nov. 20, of leukemia at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  On Oct. 2, 2012, Terry Perkins wrote a profile of Mr. Wolff for the St. Louis Beacon, talking to him about his signature phrase: “I’m Don Wolff … and I love jazz” and where it came from. Wolff talks about jazz, when he was awarded the Jazz Hero Award in April 2015.

The teen area of the newly renovated Indian Trails library branch, which is reopening on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015.
Provided | St. Louis County Library

Some St. Louis County library patrons may soon have to temporarily switch branches. The library system is in the process of opening or re-opening six locations while closing another five for renovations.

East St. Louis officials gather for a press conference in the mayor's office Nov. 20, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

East St. Louis officials are looking to the state and the banks to avoid having to ask city employees to work without pay in January.

At a news conference convened by the mayor Friday evening, City Manager Alvin Parks said “there is a distinct possibility” of payless paydays after Dec. 30.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Applicants should have their resumes in to be considered to head the newly formed Civilian Oversight Board.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed legislation creating the board back in May. Its seven civilian members will oversee the internal affairs investigations of complaints made about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and can in certain circumstances launch its own investigation.

Audio Agitation: Dark Pop for the (possible) first snowfall

Nov 20, 2015

St. Louis-based Foxing released its album "Dealer" a couple weeks ago to solid critical reception. The band’s music is filled with swells and melody. The lyrics focus on expansive topics like war and death filtered through a highly personal lens. With it getting dark earlier and the first snowfall imminent, this seems like a time to explore the slightly morbid sensibility that underpins the sweeps and builds of music from similar St. Louis "indie rock" bands.

Richardson enters the House Lounge for an end-of-session press conference on Friday.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Although a special session is highly unlikely, Missouri lawmakers will meet at least once to discuss the possibility of Syrian refugees entering the Show-Me State and may try to look for ways to block that from happening.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, have scheduled a joint hearing of the House and Senate committees that oversee the annual state budget for Nov. 30, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

roast turkey
M.Rehemtulla | Flickr

The average Thanksgiving Day meal in Missouri will cost $51.92 this year, or $5.19 a person, which is $1.40 more than last year's estimated price tag of $50.52.

Those figures come from the Missouri Farm Bureau, which had volunteers shop for ingredients at grocery stores across the state.

Andre Anderson, the new interim chief of the Ferguson police department, listens as Mayor James Knowles announces his appointment to the job on July 22. City manager Ed Beasley is to Anderson's left.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Ferguson’s interim police chief is resigning after a little more than four months on the job.

Andre Anderson, a commander with the Glendale, Ariz., police department, was appointed to the department’s top post in July for a six-month contract. He became the first black police chief in the history of the city, which is two-thirds African American.

StoryCorps: Listen to your elders this Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2015
StoryCorps

StoryCorps, the oral history project program that makes you laugh or cry every Friday during Morning Edition, has an assignment for you this Thanksgiving.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is your chance to record stories from your grandparents, great aunts and uncles, or any important elder in your life. 

Using an online survey, the Coldwater Creek Facebook group has been collecting information on illnesses in the communities around the creek. Close to 2,000 cases of cancer have been reported.
Coldwater Creek - Just the Facts Please Facebook group

St. Louis County is teaming up with federal scientists to assess health risks from radioactive contamination in and around Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County.

According to county public health department director Faisal Khan, the collaboration with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will give a big boost to local efforts to study those risks, both in terms of financial resources and technical expertise.

Volunteers led by the St. Patrick Center look for homeless people during the Point In Time Count in the city of St. Louis in January 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

New homeless numbers are out and they paint an improving picture for the state of Missouri. 

According to the annual homelessness report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness dropped by 11 percent in Missouri this year, but it has not yet returned to pre-recession numbers. Meanwhile, homelessness in the United States dropped by 2 percent this year, continuing a slow but steady decline stretching back to 2007.

Attorney David Pittinsky stands with mayors of numerous St. Louis County cities on Thursday. Pittinsky is leading a lawsuit against a state municipal overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A dozen St. Louis County cities are challenging a far-reaching municipal overhaul, which was arguably the most significant state action taken in response to the unrest in Ferguson.

The lawsuit, filed in Cole County Court where the state offices are located, takes aim at a new law, still referred to as Senate Bill 5, that lowers the percentage of traffic-fine revenue cities can keep. It also sets standards for St. Louis County cities and provides new guidelines for how municipal courts should operate.

(Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio)

When the Starbucks in Ferguson opens in the spring, it will be more than a new coffee place.

Getting a Starbucks is a big deal for the small city that saw several businesses go up in flames in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in 2014.

"There’s probably that belief in some people’s minds that people would be hesitant to make an investment along West Florissant or an investment in north county," said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. "The fact that Starbucks has stepped up to do that, we’re very excited and very appreciative."

Map of the West Lake Landfill
Provided by the EPA

A rare bipartisan coalition of the region’s two members of the U.S. House and both of Missouri’s U.S. senators has filed legislation to transfer authority for the West Lake landfill from the Environmental Protection Action to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, and Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, have filed a bill in the House. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have filed a companion measure in the Senate.

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