Alex Heuer | KBIA

Alex Heuer

Alex Heuer joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2012 and is a producer of St. Louis on the Air. Alex grew up in the St. Louis area. He began his public radio career as a student reporter at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Ill. and worked for a time at Iowa Public Radio.

Alex graduated summa cum laude from Western Illinois University with a degree in history and earned a teaching certificate in social studies. In 2016, he earned a Master of Public Policy Administration with a focus in nonprofit organization management and leadership from University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has won local and national awards for reporting and producing and his stories have been featured nationally on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

The Mississippi River has been integral to life in the St. Louis region for hundreds of years — from Native Americans who occupied areas in and around Cahokia Mounds to the later arrival of Europeans.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Andrew Wanko, public historian for the Missouri Historical Society and author of the new book, “Great River City: How the Mississippi Shaped St. Louis.” 

The city of St. Louis is considering leasing St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a private company. Such a deal could bring a cash windfall to the city.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP’s St. Louis chapter. Despite skepticism and opposition from others, Pruitt is a vocal supporter of the idea of an airport lease. He said a large cash influx is needed to address the city’s problems.

The Omnimax Theater at the St. Louis Science Center reopened last week after a $3.5 million renovation.

Chief among the changes is a switch from film to digital projection. While most theaters have made that transition, the complexities of the Imax format on a domed screen presented challenges.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Jackie Mollet, managing director of visitor services at the St. Louis Science Center. She oversees the operations of the Omnimax Theater.

Plenty of local and regional legal issues are in the news. Attorneys for St. Louis County are again arguing a judge should rule against a gay police sergeant in a discrimination lawsuit because Missouri law doesn’t include sexual orientation as a protected class.

The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to reflect and share the things for which we are grateful.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Jill Stratton of Washington University in St. Louis. Stratton is known as the university’s “Dean of Joy,” though her official title is associate dean for undergraduate residential learning and special assistant to the provost.

The Muny’s 102nd season gets underway in June 2020, and it features musicals representing six decades of musical theater.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Mike Isaacson, artistic director and executive producer of the Muny.

In addition to discussing the 2020 season, they discussed the Muny’s $100 million capital campaign and recent renovations, as well as local and national musical theater trends.

Peter Robinson had just turned 30 years old when, as Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter in 1987, he was tasked with crafting what would become one of the world’s most famous presidential speeches.

“I spent six years in the Reagan White House and I wrote tens of thousands of words, and nobody remembers anything except six of them — and one of them is ‘mister,’” said Robinson, referring to the memorable “tear down this wall” line that Reagan directed at Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev before a crowd of thousands at the Berlin Wall.

Updated at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 with comment from Hazel Erby, county director of diversity, equity and inclusion — 

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page on Tuesday promised changes to police department leadership after a sergeant won a nearly $20 million discrimination suit by arguing that he was passed over for promotions because he is gay. 

But a lawyer for the county last week argued that the judge should rule against Sgt. Keith Wildhaber because Missouri’s nondiscrimination act doesn’t include sexual orientation as a protected class. 

Public speakers at a St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday questioned the department’s commitment to reform and the sincerity of the county’s response. 

Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat is the recipient of the 2019 St. Louis Literary Award. It’s given by the St. Louis University Library Associates. 

Danticat has won numerous awards for her writing. She’s been a finalist in both fiction and nonfiction for the National Book Award and has won a National Book Critics Circle Award and a MacArthur “genius" grant.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Danticat.

Drives around the St. Louis area have so far been a little less colorful this fall. That’s mainly due to unusual daytime and nighttime temperatures that are preventing chlorophyll from breaking down. The breakdown in chlorophyll causes leaves to lose their green color.

This weekend’s concerts at Powell Hall are a homecoming for Leonard Slatkin in more ways than one.

In addition to returning last year to live in the St. Louis area, the conductor laureate of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is taking the podium, in part, to revisit his SLSO sendoff in 1996.

Slatkin will be conducting the world premiere of variations on a theme of Paganini composed for his recent 75th birthday. The compositions update five original themes inspired by the Italian-born composer that were first performed when Slatkin’s 17-year tenure with the SLSO was ending.

The rafters at Enterprise Center have gained what St. Louis hockey fans have long sought — a Stanley Cup championship banner.

In a ceremony prior to Wednesday night’s season opener, St. Louis Blues fans roared as the team raised the banner before a capacity crowd.

A federal lawsuit is seeking class action status in connection with the so-called “kettle” arrests in 2017. One of the attorneys, Javad Khazaeli, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that more than 340 officers are named in the lawsuit as a “best estimation” and that St. Louis officials won’t provide an accurate list.

As the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra opens its 140th season this Saturday, its new music director, Stéphane Denève, is calling the season a gift to St. Louis.

“We will try to build an arch of the Franco-American friendship,” said Denève, a native of France. Selections from French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are featured as part of the first concert, as is George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske convened the show's monthly Legal Roundtable.

Topics discussed include the sentence of former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, a licensing dispute concerning a restaurant on The Hill, and the case of a man wearing body armor and carrying a rifle who caused panic at a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri.

Panelists also talked about the recent release of a Kansas City man who spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and an appellate court’s ruling that the Fox Theatre must provide captions to persons with hearing impairments.

When the St. Louis Blues take home ice Monday night against the Boston Bruins for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, fans will be singing, as they have since the franchise was established in 1967.

With all respect to “Gloria,” this season’s victory anthem, the St. Louis Blues have always embraced music.

The team, after all, was named for the classic melody “The St. Louis Blues,” written by W.C. Handy in 1914. And that winged Blue Note logo — arguably, one of the best logos in all of hockey — symbolizes the city, as well as the team.

Jason Reynolds is a prominent poet and author of middle-grade and young adult novels. He’s a National Book Award finalist and the author of such books including “Ghost,” “Long Way Down,” and “When I Was The Greatest.”

Reynolds recently sat down for an onstage conversation with Kameel Stanley, the former co-host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” podcast.

Including Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Ozarks is a geographic region known for its mountainous topography, forests and tourism. The region also has a unique culinary history.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis native and chef Rob Connoley. The James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest is planning to open Bulrush, a restaurant rooted in Ozark cuisine, this April in Grand Center.

Country music superstar Garth Brooks said he was terrified to take the stage Saturday night at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.

He acknowledged that feeling of performance anxiety to a sold-out audience of some 75,000 fans – a record for the venue – and at a press conference the day before the concert.

“[I’m] scared to death to go into stadiums and arenas,” Brooks said. “I came [to St. Louis] because I’ve been here. It’s going to be like eating ice cream with two spoons.”

A 2018 study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a St. Louisan who earns minimum wage would have to work 81 hours per week in order to afford a modest apartment. That reality is part of what Esther Shin describes as a “national affordable-housing challenge” stretching from San Francisco to New York City.

Shin is president of Urban Strategies, Inc., a national nonprofit based in St. Louis that is among several organizations working to address the crisis.

Arianna Dougan, an 11 year old who captured the attention of thousands, loved to dance.

“By the time she was two, she was begging for dance lessons,” Dougan’s mother, Lori Zucker, told host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air Thursday. “I wanted her to wait until she was old enough to appreciate them, so I told her she would have to be three to start lessons. I didn't know the lessons would have to start in the hospital.”

For more than 30 years, Steven Woolf has been at the heart of the Repertory Theater of St. Louis. Since taking the helm as artistic director in 1986, Woolf oversaw three decades of productions and directed 47 shows.

That 47th show, however, will be his last as artistic director. Woolf is to retire at the end of The Rep’s 2018-2019 season, after directing the theater’s production of “Oslo” – which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2017.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Woolf joined host Don Marsh to reflect on his career, and to discuss the now-running production of “Oslo.”

A two-night History Channel series, “Presidents at War,” will tell the stories of eight men who served in active duty and who would later become presidents of the United States.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with military historian John McManus, a professor of history at Missouri S&T, who is featured in the show. In it, McManus specifically comments on the role of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. with Bell's appearance at the County Council meeting Tuesday night.

St. Louis County’s newly inaugurated prosecuting attorney, Wesley Bell, has hit the ground running since his Jan. 1 inauguration. The first African-American to hold the post, Bell said his work so far has involved a lot of listening.

“There’s a lot of great people in [the county prosecutor’s office], and we want to make sure we take advantage of the institutional knowledge in that office,” he said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And so I’ve been very deliberate about meeting with every single person in that office.”

When host Don Marsh followed up by asking about Bell’s dismissal of an assistant prosecutor responsible for presenting evidence to a grand jury in the wake of the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014, Bell said he didn’t think it appropriate to comment on the employee matter at this time. When pressed about any connections between the dismissal and the 2014 case, he added that “there’s no connection.”

After a four-decade career, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies is retiring, although she will work part time for the radio station beginning in March.

Mannies began her journalism career with a brief stint as a newspaper reporter in Indiana. She arrived at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1976, and although she covered sports for a brief time, she gravitated toward political coverage.

“[Sports reporting] is not my first love. It’s always been politics, ever since I was a little kid,” Mannies told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.

Belleville native Jeff Tweedy doesn’t wax nostalgic when it comes to reflecting on his hometown. The Wilco frontman and Uncle Tupelo co-founder wrote a memoir, “Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back),” that details his childhood, musical influences and the stories behind forming the alt-country Uncle Tupelo and Wilco.

Rossino’s and Café Balaban are two restaurants many St. Louisans remember fondly. They're among the more than 40 restaurants highlighted in Ann Lemons Pollack’s new book “Lost Restaurants of St. Louis.”

Pollack recalls bygone eateries that loom large in memories. She also profiles three iconic restaurants that still exist and even traces the food history of the 1904 World’s Fair.

On Friday, she joined host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air to talk about the book, which also includes some recipes from area restaurants that are no more.

Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones, retires Dec. 31, after spending his entire 40-plus year career with the financial services company. Edward Jones is one of the St. Louis area’s largest employers.

Weddle, who has led the company for about 13 years, said now is the right time to step aside, even as the company’s succession planning requires that partners retire by the end of the year they turn 65. He is 65.

There are several well-known holiday light displays in the St. Louis area.

The Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park and many of the houses on Candy Cane Lane in south St. Louis come to mind.

A recent situation involving a first-grade student in the University City School District prompted teachers and administrators to consider an unconventional approach.

Rather than immediately focus on any instruction or behavior in the classroom, the district sought to provide the student and his family with basic needs – a trip to the doctor, food and toiletry items.

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