Chad Davis | KBIA

Chad Davis

Chad Davis is a 2016 graduate of Truman State University where he studied Public Communication and English. At Truman State, Chad served as the executive producer of the on-campus news station, TMN Television.  In 2017, Chad joined the St. Louis Public Radio team as the fourth Race and Culture Diversity Fellow.  Chad is a native of St. Louis and is a huge hip- hop, r&b, and pop music fan.  He also enjoys graphic design, pop culture, film, and comedy.  

Better Together’s proposal to create a unified St. Louis and St. Louis County is expected to be on the November 2020 ballot.

Under the proposal, residents would elect one mayor, one prosecutor, one assessor and a 33-member council to represent the region.

St. Louis Public Radio answered 11 of the biggest questions about Better Together's proposal on Monday, but many questions remain.

Readers and listeners submitted dozens of questions about the proposal to our Curious Louis project. We'll continue to answer more in the weeks and months ahead.

Updated at 7 a.m. on Feb. 11 with answers to 11 more questions about the proposed metro government structure — Better Together has released its report recommending a St. Louis-St. Louis County merger. The proposal would create St. Louis Metro — a unified government that would merge city and county offices — and restrict the taxing authority of St. Louis County municipalities.

The proposal would also combine municipal courts and police departments.

Donna Rogers hasn’t received a paycheck in weeks. An Army veteran who works at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) office in St. Louis, she’s among the 800,000 federal employees around the nation working without pay or on furlough.

The lack of a paycheck is weighing on her. The partial government shutdown is now the longest running in U.S. history, with no end in sight.

“Being a single mom, bills are still due, period,” Rogers said. “So whether you have kids or no kids, you have teenagers, grown folks, whatever; I mean, bills are still coming through.”

Military veterans who work for the federal government are among the federal employees facing the loss of their first January paychecks due to the partial government shutdown which started Dec. 21.

A report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management estimates that about one-third of federal employees are veterans. Although the exact number of local veterans who are government workers is unclear, a number of St. Louis-area veterans work for agencies like the National Park Service and the Transportation Security Administration.

New St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch wants to reinstate nearly $5 million in funding for the police department to hire more officers.

The proposal comes a month after the county council voted to cut $35 million from the 2019 budget, including the money for the new officers.

Federal employees throughout metro St. Louis are feeling the brunt of the partial government shutdown two weeks in, as agencies and departments have placed workers on furlough or have required them to work without pay.

In metro St. Louis, the shutdown includes the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the National Park Service (NPS).

A new St. Louis University course is aiming to give law students hands-on experience with immigration law.

The course, Removal Defense Project: Sheltering Vulnerable Immigrant Families and Children, will begin spring semester 2019. It centers on providing aspiring attorneys with the skills necessary to defend those in jeopardy of facing removal proceedings.

A St. Louis non-profit is creating opportunities aimed at reducing homelessness in the city.

Project Outreach St. Louis launched in early December with a goal to cut homeless rates among youth aging out of foster care, veterans and previously incarcerated people in the St. Louis area.

But the goal of Project Outreach St. Louis isn’t just to provide housing to these groups; it’s to give the individuals the resources and skills to retain and invest in their own housing.

Carlos Restrepo estimates he’s about one year away from achieving a dream: having his father permanently in the U.S. after 13 years of living apart.

“It would be awesome if by next Christmas he was here,” Restrepo said.

Determined to make it happen, Restrepo is aiming to raise $10,000 to cover the many costs associated with his father’s green card application and travel from Medellin, Colombia to the United States.

When the Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education weighed a plan to redraw boundaries and consolidate the district’s footprint this fall, residents in Berkeley heard a familiar threat in the undertow: a further washing away of their community identity and erosion of the city’s population.

Ferguson-Florissant School District plans to close two elementary schools — one of which is in Berkeley — and transform the high school Berkeley teenagers attend into a selective magnet school.

Missouri Christmas tree buyers may find fewer trees to choose from this year, and it largely depends on whether your tree is grown in the state or elsewhere.

Tree farmers in some states are blaming the Great Recession of 2008 for a shortage. At that time, financial woes prompted farmers to scale back planting and even put some farms out of business. Weather and growing conditions around the country have also had an impact.

It can take about eight years for a tree to reach the typical Christmas tree height of 6 to 8 feet, according to Teresa Meier, a spokesperson for the Missouri Christmas Tree Association.

A St. Louis woman saw a need: Black business owners struggling to connect with potential customers. So, she decided to do something about it. Jas Thomas and her organization, Girls With Goals, established the Black Business Expo, which is being held Saturday at Legacy Cafe in St. Louis.

Thomas says the goal of the event is to promote local black-owned businesses among consumers who might not be aware of them.

When Evita Caldwell arrived at St. Louis University as a freshman, she quickly understood a couple of things: First, that she lacked the professional mentors and personal networks that play a major role in upward mobility. Second, that her choice of high school may not have been the right one.

Caldwell, 29, grew up in north St. Louis and attended Vashon High School, in the St. Louis Public Schools system and her father’s alma mater. According to the story "Finding Our Way," James Caldwell had insisted that Evita forego an opportunity to participate in the areawide desegregation program that would have landed her in a higher performing school in the region. Instead, she attended Vashon, a city high school with a poor academic track record and few extracurricular opportunities.

If you’re looking for Mvstermind, you can probably find him in his studio in north St. Louis County. It’s where he hunkers down with different sounds and beats as he works to refine his brand of hip-hop.

The studio, in his parents’ basement, is where he works on all his projects, including “Mali Moolah,” the track that drew national attention in 2016. The newest is an in-progress EP, set drop in early 2019.

This Columbus Day, the fate of a monument to the explorer in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park remains unclear.

A protest is planned at the base of the statue on Monday at noon. It comes as the park is looking into whether to remove the monument to Christopher Columbus, whose legacy has become increasingly controversial in recent years.

The Living Arts Studio in Maplewood has become the default location for many budding artists in the St. Louis area. Artists often meet at the studio to work on projects that will be sold and displayed at galleries around the area, including at the St. Louis Art Museum and the University of Missouri — St. Louis.

The studio focuses on inclusion, specifically for creative people with disabilities. It is part of VSA Missouri, the state organization that promotes inclusion in the arts. It is also an affiliate of the national John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

St. Charles business owners will now have to abide by new liquor laws.

The St. Charles City Council voted Tuesday night on a liquor ordinance for the city after months of debate and controversy. The law will establish several standards :

A new report points to ways in which racial equity and common interests can move the St. Louis region forward. The report was highlighted at an event held Thursday morning by the Deaconess Foundation.

“Changing States-Building Power on the Frontlines: Missouri,” from the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, examines how Missouri can improve racial equity in the electoral, judicial and corporate arenas.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. to reflect response from the Missouri Attorney General's Office to questions about notario fraud. — Angie Gomez has seen and heard plenty of stories about how hard it is for unauthorized immigrants and migrant farmworkers to find lawyers to help them apply for, or change their legal status.

Gomez, family services coordinator for Su Casa Head Start in Cobden, Illinois, immigrated from Mexico in the 1960s and became a naturalized citizen. She says she sees more challenges facing migrant farmworkers and unauthorized immigrants seeking legal representation than ever before.

Discussions about removing the Christopher Columbus statue in Tower Grove Park have re-emerged.

Activists have banded together to plan an event, Plotting in the Park for Columbus removal. The event, posted on Facebook, takes place on Sept. 1. The brainchild of Chris Singer, the gathering aims at reaching out to community members to discuss what actions can be taken to remove the statue. Singer said Columbus’ controversial conduct with indigenous peoples should not be celebrated.

On the evening of July 4 of this year, the Energy Express Travel Center on North Broadway Street looked like the scene of a neighborhood party. Video footage from that night released by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows dozens of cars converging on the gas station lot. Soon, individuals carrying firearms and wearing ballistic vests appear. 

Video footage from that same location on July 29 shows a similar gathering, but this time people begin firing their weapons into the air before returning to their cars and racing off into the night.

College basketball coaches from across Missouri are coming together to discuss the importance of leadership and how they recruit incoming student athletes, just in time for the new school year.

These issues are among several topics that will be discussed at the first annual Coaches Luncheon on Aug. 27, where regional NCAA Division I basketball coaches will  discuss the issues and strengths they see in both students and coaches.

St. Charles city officials have changed the controversial proposed liquor ordinance, causing contentious debate at the Tuesday night City Council meeting.

Council members presented the revisions publicly, which included an update to the city’s 1975 liquor ordinance. That ordinance has required bars to earn either at least 50 percent or $200,000 per year from food sales for decades. The new proposal would mandate any establishment with a liquor license on Main Street, to earn no more than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales and would remove the $200,000 option.

Two seminal hip-hop albums are now 30 years old.

"It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" by Public Enemy and "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. ushered in a new direction for the genre with lyrics that exposed conditions in black communities to white audiences.

The St. Louis region has a long history with hip-hop. An East St. Louis radio station was one of the first to broadcast the first mainstream hip-hop song, “Rapper’s Delight.” And of course, the city has its own stars, Nelly and Chingy. But the death of Michael Brown, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and incidents of police misconduct have brought the lyrics and themes of the two albums back to the forefront.

Forward Through Ferguson has called for improvement in several areas to establish greater racial equity within St. Louis.

The non-profit released its first The State of the Report scoring where the region is on the 47 signature calls to action first identified by the Ferguson Commission in 2015. The latest report found that all 47 priorities have experienced some level of implementation, but only five of those had been achieved.

St. Louis activists and community leaders have called on Gov. Mike Parson to pardon protester Joshua Williams for an event that occurred in 2014.

State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., held a press conference Friday at the St. Louis County Justice Center objecting to the eight-year sentence Williams is serving.

Williams was a part of a protest in December 2014 following the police-involved shooting of Antonio Martin. While looting was taking place at a QuikTrip in Berkeley, Williams set fire to a trash can outside.

Robert G. Lowery Sr., the former police chief and mayor of Florissant, died Monday night at the age of 79.

He started his policing career at the age of 16 as a call-box operator for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He began his work in Florissant in 1961, when he served as a patrolman for the city’s police department. He eventually became a detective and was instrumental in forming the city’s first detective bureau in 1963.

When Washington University student Teddy Washington and nine other black incoming freshmen were stopped by Clayton police officers in early July, the group followed the officers’ orders to prove they were not the perpetrators of a recent “dine and dash” at the nearby IHOP.

Several of the students presented their receipts to the officers before they walked back to the restaurant around midnight on July 7, with police vehicles alongside them. The manager of the IHOP confirmed to the officers they were not the suspects and the students were free to leave.

Updated July 20 at 4:15 p.m. - STLPR journalists Holly Edgell and Chad Davis joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to provide context and analysis about this story.

Original story from 7/19:

Clayton City Manager Craig Owens, Clayton Police Chief Kevin R. Murphy, and other officials met with several black students who were falsely accused of “dining and dashing” at an IHOP in Clayton.

Owens said the meeting was “emotionally powerful.”

“In hindsight, it is clear to us that we mishandled the interaction with these 10 Washington University students and lacked sensitivity about their everyday reality,” he said in a statement.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. on July 17 with information on the city's apology. Updated on July 16 at 4:15 p.m. with comment from Clayton Police Chief  – Washington University asked the city of Clayton to apologize to 10 black incoming freshmen for an incident on July 7, and the city has complied.

The city posted a statement including the apology on its website.

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