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.

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from the McCloskeys’ attorney

Hundreds of protesters marching Sunday evening through St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood were greeted by a pair of personal injury attorneys, who stood outside their home brandishing guns. 

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who live in a million-dollar home on the private street Portland Place, came out to their front porch and lawn and shouted at protesters to go away.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has announced a plan to distribute $64 million in federal aid intended to bolster the city’s response to the coronavirus. The plan, which Krewson said she’ll submit to the Board of Aldermen for revisions and approval, includes $2.5 million for contact tracing: to hire 25 people and invest in technology.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, who chairs the city’s Health and Human Services Committee. Spencer believes 25 people are not nearly enough, pointing to guidance from the National Association of County and City Health Officials that recommends as many as 150 people working in such a capacity for a city of St. Louis' size and demographics.

Students from regional universities are suing to recoup tuition and fees after in-person classes and on-campus living were cut short by the coronavirus. St.

Musician Pokey LaFarge was set to perform two shows this weekend at Off Broadway. But the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to concerts, plays and sporting events.

“I’m making the best of it,” LaFarge said on St. Louis on the Air. “You wish you could do more. You wish you could help people. I wish people weren’t suffering.”

LaFarge, whose real name is Andrew Heissler, grew up in central Illinois and made St. Louis his home in 2008. It was in the Gateway City that he first teamed up with musicians Ryan Koenig, Joey Glynn and Adam Hoskins — forming Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three.

Even as most of the St. Louis area remains closed for business due to the coronavirus pandemic, St. Charles County — Missouri’s third-most populous county — followed Gov. Mike Parson’s lead and reopened its economy Monday.

“I drove around yesterday afternoon, and I only found five or six, maybe seven restaurants that were open. It was a little bit harder to tell with businesses, generally,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann on St. Louis on the Air.

Have you had problems sleeping during the coronavirus pandemic? If so, you’re not alone.

Loss of routines and social isolation during the pandemic are just a couple factors causing people to get less-than-ideal sleep. And, while it’s not uncommon for people to experience acute or short-term insomnia, serious physical and mental problems can arise from a lack of sleep.

American Sign Language interpreters have become a ubiquitous presence at public health briefings. Usually standing a few steps in front or behind and at least six feet to the side of elected officials and health professionals, interpreters continue to provide an essential service to deaf and hard of hearing people.

What’s it like to interpret during a pandemic? Aside from signing the letters, how does ASL evolve to include signs for “coronavirus” and “COVID-19”?

Dr. Alex Garza is leading a collaboration of the St. Louis region’s four major health systems: SSM Health, Mercy, BJC HealthCare and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The region is beginning to “bend the curve” thanks to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, Garza said earlier this week. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Garza talked to host Sarah Fenske and discussed how the current restrictions in place are helping to lessen the strain on St. Louis’ health care system and reduce the number of hospitalizations in the area.

Michelle P. King says the American workplace was designed for men. And, in many respects, it remains the model for corporations throughout the world. 

King is the director of inclusion at Netflix and the author of “The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work,” which explores how gender equality plays out at work.

St. Louis-based writer Sarah Kendzior garnered national attention for her reporting and commentary during events in Ferguson in 2014.

Kendzior’s earlier book, “The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from a Forgotten America,” explored labor issues, racism, gentrification, media bias and other subjects connected to the election of President Donald Trump.

Her new book is “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America.” It debuts tomorrow and expands upon Trump’s rise to power since the 1980s.

How has the coronavirus upended the legal profession? What happens when your right to a speedy trial clashes with the government’s cancellation of jury trials? Can an employer require workers deemed non-essential to show up, or face termination?

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with a panel of legal experts about a variety of issues, including those triggered by the new coronavirus.

As the number of COVID-19 cases climbs in the U.S., scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine are working on a vaccine to prevent the disease. 

Researchers are using a virus that’s harmless to humans and replacing a protein on its surface with one from the coronavirus that spreads the COVID-19 disease. That strategy could generate antibodies in the immune system that would attack the virus, said Sean Whelan, head of Wash U’s Department of Molecular Microbiology.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske convened this month’s Legal Roundtable panelists to take a closer look at local and regional issues pertaining to the law.

Discussion topics included a federal judge’s refusal to approve a deal reducing Missouri public defender workloads, a Kansas City initiative to clear marijuana convictions more easily, and the huge verdict regarding Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup.

The lawyers also discussed a proposal to limit punitive damages in Missouri, possible changes to the criminal justice system involving juveniles, and the FCC's ruling against offensive shock jock Bob Romanik.

Eric Rudolph set and detonated a bomb in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics. But in the days after the bombing in late July, Richard Jewell, a security guard, was accused and at the center of an FBI investigation into the bombing.

Kevin Salwen is the co-author of a book about the bombing. Titled “The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle,” it was in part the inspiration for a controversial film about the bombing and the man who was falsely accused for it.

St. Louis’ Municipal Court is hosting a warrant amnesty program Feb. 24-27. It’s an opportunity for people with outstanding bench warrants — excluding DUIs, leaving the scene of an accident and prostitution — to be able to pay their original fines and costs without penalty.

There are nearly 119,000 outstanding warrants in the city of St. Louis, meaning thousands of people are at risk of going to jail.

The St. Louis Art Museum has opened an exhibition that its curators say acknowledges the contributions of a largely forgotten artist who was instrumental in the birth of modern art: 19th-century French painter Jean-François Millet.

The exhibition, “Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí,” is on display now through May 17. Millet’s work features landscapes, nudes and other work that inspired other artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the St. Louis Art Museum. He is the co-curator of the exhibition along with Maite van Dijk, senior curator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

“I was stunned. I was gobsmacked. I had never expected anything like this.”

That’s how Sarah Bryan Miller, classical music critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, recalls feeling when she heard that British composer Judith Bingham would compose a new work in her honor.

Miller’s high praise for the piece never made it to print — and it won’t. The critic attended a private performance last September. This Sunday will be the first public performance of the choral anthem. And Miller won’t be writing the review.

Stéphane Denève will lift the baton on his second full season as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 16 with a free concert in Forest Park. The 2020-21 classical season will get underway Sept. 19-20 and marks the first of many concerts throughout the season that will feature women performers, composers and conductors — or music about women.

The Sept. 19-20 concert will feature prominent violinist Hilary Hahn performing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. It also will include former SLSO composer-in-residence Joan Tower’s "Fanfare for The Uncommon Woman No. 1." The organization is billing Tower’s work as “a musical homage to a season honoring risk-taking and influential women throughout history and in today’s world.”

Since 2011, Gabe Fleisher has written a newsletter called “Wake Up To Politics.” Though newsletters are aplenty, what makes this one unique is that Fleisher — now a high school senior — started the newsletter when he was in third grade.

Fleisher first came to St. Louis Public Radio’s attention in 2013, when his newsletter had nearly 600 subscribers. Today, “Wake Up To Politics” boasts more than 48,000 subscribers. And in partnership with St. Louis Public Radio, Fleisher has now launched a political podcast of the same name. 

Native St. Louisan and actor Jon Hamm was back with a video message before the NHL All-Star Game. Charles Glenn returned to sing the national anthem. Laila Anderson, the superfan battling a rare immune disease who inspired the St. Louis Blues last season, introduced the Blues players who made the team.

Saturday night’s All-Star Game at Enterprise Center had a distinctly St. Louis feel.

Players on the defending Stanley Cup-champion St. Louis Blues were eliminated in their first game. The single-elimination tournament pitted the NHL’s four divisions against one another.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske convened this month’s Legal Roundtable panelists to take a closer look at local and regional issues pertaining to the law. 

While many St. Louis-area residents are accustomed to celebrating Christmas during winter, it’s just the opposite in Australia where it’s summer.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Philip Barnes, artistic director of the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, about the organization’s “Christmas Down Under” concert. 

Related Event

What: Christmas Down Under

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, December 22, 2019

Where: St. Louis Abbey (500 S. Mason Rd, Creve Coeur, MO 63141)

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. 

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