Holly Edgell | KBIA

Holly Edgell

Holly Edgell is the Editor of a four-station collaborative coverage initiative on race, identity and culture. Based at St. Louis Public Radio, she leads a team of four reporters in St. Louis, Hartford, Kansas City and Portland, Ore.

MORE: The Identity Blog

Holly comes to St. Louis Public Radio as a journalist with more than 20 years of experience. In addition to working as a television news producer in several cities, in 2010 she launched 12 St. Louis-area websites for Patch.com, the hyperlocal news initiative introduced by AOL.

Also in St. Louis, she took on a wide range freelance reporting assignments for news organizations such as The National Catholic Reporter and the New York Daily News.

In 2012, she was part of the leadership team that launched WCPO Insider (WCPO.com), the first local television news initiative to introduce an a la carte subscription model for exclusive, in-depth content that audiences could not find elsewhere.

She later served as Director of Digital media for KSHB-TV in Kansas City and WEWS-TV in Cleveland.

In addition to newsroom experience, Holly taught journalism at the University of Missouri and Florida A&M University. She was also a member of the first cohort of Google News Lab trainers. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. Holly holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in media management from Kent State University. Born in Belize, Holly loves travel, true crime and history podcasts and crossword puzzles.

Before Judy Gladney was among the first black students to integrate University City High School, she and her family were the first black people to move into a gated community in the city called University Hills.

For Gladney, 67, being among the first was almost a family tradition. 

“We were a family of firsts," Gladney said. “My father was a physician. He broke down many barriers. He was the first (black) head of a department of medicine at St. Louis U. We were one of the first black families at Pilgrim Congregational Church. So it was a lifestyle for us to constantly be in diverse environments.”

Without support from diners, no restaurant can survive. Frank Williamson, organizer of St. Louis Black Restaurant Week, says attracting customers can be especially challenging for African American eateries.

Highlighting local black restaurants to help them attract customers is the driving force behind the week.

Diners can visit eight restaurants between Sept. 3-8 and enjoy a variety of specials. Williamson wants this week to be a relationship-building experience among restaurateurs, chefs and patrons.

There are 7,000 vacant buildings and more than 10,000 vacant lots in St. Louis. Many of the structures are beyond repair, so the demolition of 30 vacant structures will only put a small dent in the blight problem.

The St. Louis Blight Authority is the organization behind a project to clear a four-block area in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood. The organizers believe the initiative could be just the beginning of a more far-reaching program.

The Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League is comprised of teams from around the world who compete online at chess.com. This year’s finals took place May 4-5 at the Folsom Street Foundry in San Francisco.

The regular season has four divisions, with the winner of each qualifying for the finals. Each team is comprised of four players in an all-play-all format. With 16 total points available, the first team to accumulate 8.5 points wins the match.

The partial government shutdown blocked the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony from the Old Courthouse in St. Louis. Nevertheless, about 50 people joined civic leaders and elected officials on and around the steps for short speeches and prayers.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed were among those who attended the improvised festivities in 15-degree temperatures before moving off to Leonard Missionary Baptist Church on North Compton for an interfaith service. Organizers remarked that driving to the church would not be frowned upon considering the weather, although it appeared most people opted to walk.

In January 2018, concerns over whether city resources are equally distributed among the entire population prompted an effort to measure equity between black and white St. Louisans. The results are in after a year of the Equity Indicators project: St. Louis scored a 46 out of 100.

The Equity Indicators tool measures racial equity across 72 indicators, focusing on priority areas selected by the Ferguson Commission: youth at the center, opportunity to thrive, and justice for all.

A new report focusing on the racial dimensions of inequality in America connects the richest 10 percent of households getting richer and the wealth of the median, or typical, American family declining.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) report also cites low levels of black and Latino wealth, combined with their growing proportion of the population, as key factors in the overall decline in median household wealth from about $84,000 in 1983 to $82,000 in 2016. Together, blacks and Latinos make up about 30 percent of the U.S. population.

Call it the circle of life for business. Some enterprises will thrive and survive for years, while others fall victim to changing business models, unaffordable overhead costs, changing tastes and other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

We decided to round up a number of metro St. Louis closings, some more publicized than others, that happened in 2018.

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.

Big box stores and online retailers have their place in holiday shopping routines. But, if you’re seeking some out-of-the-box gift ideas, here are a few shopping events where you can find them.

Plus, spending some of your holiday dollars at a local event means money in the pocket of local artisans, creators and small business owners.

The U.S. Census Bureau officially announced its recruiting drive for the 2020 census on Monday. The bureau may face challenges finding enough qualified candidates to fill thousands of openings, including positions in Missouri and Illinois.

There is concern that there won’t be enough people looking to work on the census. In July, the U.S. Census Bureau published a blog post that sounded the alarm about the pool of candidates for 2020 jobs. Officials worry that the current low unemployment rate, around 4 percent, means the bureau won’t get the millions of applications it needs to fill the temporary positions.

LouFest isn’t happening. This is a huge blow to the thousands of fans who look forward to the music festival in Forest Park every year.

With the cancellation coming just a few days before the event, fans now have a gaping hole in their weekend plans. Here, in no particular order, are some other arts and entertainment doings that may help ease the pain of a lost LouFest.

Update: We're updating this list with new shows as we're scheduled. Check back for the latest bookings. 

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney once said a “white noose” encircled American cities, effectively trapping black families in neglected neighborhoods, while white families moved to thriving suburbs.

The phrase may be 50 years old, but it still fits. Housing discrimination and segregation persist in the metro St. Louis area, long after the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which signed into law a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King. 

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

Maplewood’s thriving business district and respected schools are attractive to potential residents. But, aspiring residents must first apply and be approved for an occupancy permit. Even after such a permit is granted, the city’s public nuisance ordinance allows it to be revoked under certain conditions.

The ACLU of Missouri and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council on Wednesday are co-hosting what they bill as a “community discussion” about Maplewood's public nuisance ordinance. The event is intended to help residents understand the ordinance and their rights when it comes to enforcement.

Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on Tuesday afternoon. The company announced it would use the half day to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

Starbucks announced the move in April after video of police arresting two black men at a Philadelphia location went viral. An employee had called police because the men, who were waiting for someone, had not ordered anything and were refusing to leave. One of the pair had asked to the use the restroom.

Advocates concerned about persistent housing segregation in the region might question why promotional materials for the 2018 Fair Housing Conference use the word "celebrate" in reference to the Fair Housing Act.

"The reality is the racial segregation that we see everywhere in this country is the product of very explicit design by the federal state and local governments, intended to segregate the nation by race," said Richard Rothstein, ahead of Wednesday's meeting.

Rothstein, the keynote speaker, is the author of "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America."

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the St. Louis metropolitan area continues to lose ground compared to other cities.

Data released Thursday show the area, which includes St. Louis City and 14 neighboring Missouri and Illinois counties, dropped to the 21st most populous metropolitan area in 2017. Baltimore replaced St. Louis in the 20th position.

St. Louis Public Radio is taking the lead in a new public radio initiative called Sharing America.

Funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Sharing America includes reporters at public radio stations in four cities and an editor based in St. Louis.

The collaboration covers the intersection of race, identity and culture. Holly Edgell, the editor of Sharing America, along with reporter Ashley Lisenby were guests Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air.

It's a startling number to consider, especially on International Women's Day, March 8.

According to the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Reportgender parity is over 200 years away. The report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress toward gender parity through four themes, including economic participation and opportunity.