Lara Hamdan | KBIA

Lara Hamdan

News intern

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Monday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Parents and educators often look for various ways to engage kids in reading. While traditional novels are seen as the “ideal,” graphic novels can be just as effective. While similar to comic books, graphic novels tend to be in a longer format and the narrative is largely self-contained. With the combination of text and pictures, graphic novels have complex plots, characters and conflicts. 

DC Comics recently introduced a line of superhero-based graphic novels aimed at middle-grade readers — kids between the ages of eight and 12.

The 28th St. Louis International Film Festival returned this week to offer local moviegoers the chance to view international films, documentaries, American indies and shorts over the course of 11 days. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Cinema St. Louis artistic director Chris Clark about some of this year’s highlights. 

Also joining the discussion were two film directors whose works take a look at issues pertaining to the region, albeit vastly different ones. 

The exploration of the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport continues — request for qualifications submissions from interested companies were due today. 

The city of St. Louis will now begin screening potential bidders to gauge whether they can financially and operationally move forward in the process. But now both St. Charles County and St. Louis County have entered the debate on airport privatization. They want the Port Authority to study regional control of the airport and whether privatization is a good idea. 

The holiday season often signals a time when people gather together and aim to impress their friends and loved ones with their cooking skills. And now, home chefs can try some recipes not found in the Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray cookbooks. 

R.J. Hartbeck and Mary von der Heydt have launched a series of short cookbooks titled “Small Circle,” each showcasing about 10 recipes from noted chefs around St. Louis. 

All month long, families have channeled their spooky senses and prepped their homes for Halloween. Decorations, costumes and candy all have to set the right vibe. But parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities have additional things to consider when preparing for the holiday, particularly for children whose disabilities aren’t visible. 

An estimated one in 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each year, so it’s likely that a child with a disability will be stopping by households that aren’t aware of their condition this Halloween. 

To help ensure a successful holiday for children with disabilities, Jeanne Marshall and Melanie Mills of Easterseals Midwest joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air with guest host Jeremy D. Goodwin. Marshall is the organization’s executive vice president of services and chief program officer. Mills is the director of autism services. 

Since 2012, Faizan Syed has been a key figure in Missouri’s Muslim community, serving as the executive director of the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. When he first started, CAIR-MO was a small organization with just one board member and a budget of a little more than $10,000. But the group has since become a leading voice in the community. 

Syed recently left the organization to become the new executive director of CAIR-Dallas-Fort Worth. Taking over as director this month is Mojda Sidiqi, who was previously CAIR-MO’s communications coordinator. There will be a farewell banquet and fundraiser for Syed at the organization’s 7th Anniversary Gala on Friday, Nov. 8. 

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, both Sidiqi and Syed joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss the organization’s past and its future. 

Three decades ago, Bicycle Works launched in St. Louis with the goal of teaching bicycle safety and maintenance to children in the area. 

Through a “learn-and-earn” method, the organization — now known as St. Louis BWorks — helps about 500 kids each year, and has expanded to include instruction in creative writing and computers as well. The organization was recently awarded a Quality of Life Award from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with St. Louis BWorks Board President Wayne Brinkman and volunteer Earn-A-Bike instructor Annie Yarbrough about the organization’s work ahead of their 30-year celebration on Saturday. 

On Nov. 2, Continuity will host a “first-of-its-kind” conference bringing filmmakers to St. Louis to meet its trainees and other people interested in media production. The local nonprofit organization trains St. Louisans of color and underrepresented communities, teaching them filmmaking skills and preparing them for jobs in media production.

Continuity’s executive director and co-founder, Dan Parris, joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about the organization’s efforts on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Also joining the conversation were Erica Renee Walker, a recent graduate of the Continuity Media Training Program, and Letisha Wexstten. Wexstten, who was born without arms, has developed a following for her YouTube channel, Tisha UnArmed. She will be featured at Continuity’s In Motion Filmmaking Conference.

Each month, staffers at Sauce Magazine join our program for a regular Sound Bites segment that showcases the area’s latest food trends and highlights local chefs, farmers, restaurateurs and more. But during Friday’s show, the topic wasn’t just the people and places covered within the magazine. It was the publication itself.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the history of Sauce, which first launched as a website in 1999. Twenty years later, Sauce Magazine is still going strong. A huge reason is publisher Allyson Mace, who remains with the publication to this day. 

For 10 years, an organization based in Maplewood has helped refugees attain the skills they need to earn an income, often without leaving their homes. It all began when Jennifer Owens and her family hosted some refugees from Nepal for Thanksgiving dinner. Her church had sought American families willing to connect with newcomers for the holiday. Owens was happy to help.

Inspired by her conversation with the single mother at her dinner table, Owens started an effort that would eventually become the nonprofit organization Forai, an acronym for Friends Of Refugees And Immigrants. From humble beginnings, it’s helped dozens of refugee women in St. Louis make friends — and money — through sewing and making jewelry. 

Being born intersex isn’t limited to ambiguous genitalia. There’s a plethora of intersex conditions, about 150. Some of them require surgical intervention, some don’t. And while the condition is common, there are still a lot of misconceptions about it. Ignorance can lead parents to allow surgical interventions that strip away the autonomy of individuals and expose them to irreversible physical damage. 

Thousands of miles across the Atlantic — 7,505 miles, to be exact — is a city St. Louisans can feel a connection with. In the West African country of Senegal, there is a bustling coastal arts city named Saint-Louis. Known to locals as Ndar, it’s the oldest colonial city on Africa’s western coast. 

A new contemporary art exhibition opening this week at Barrett Barrera Projects in the Central West End surveys the art scene in Senegal’s Saint-Louis — and notes the parallels between the two cities named for St. Louis the King. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Friday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

An open bar at an affordable price in a hip area offering quality drinks and an accommodating atmosphere might seem like too much to ask for. But a St. Louis city official says he’s offering just that. 

The city’s recorder of deeds, Michael Butler, says he noticed that segregation in the St. Louis goes beyond housing and school districts. Even bars are divided in terms of race and class. 

An open bar at an affordable price in a hip area offering quality drinks and an accommodating atmosphere might seem like too much to ask for. But a St. Louis official says he’s offering just that. 

Butler has drawn upon his party organizing skills from his college days to found Open Concept — a Cherokee Street bar where patrons pay $10 an hour for access to batched cocktails, draft beer and wine. The St. Louis recorder of deeds promises there’s no catch — no skimping on alcohol or cups filled to the rim with ice.

For 17 months, St. Louis has been weighing the idea of leasing its airport to a for-profit entity. As a member of the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment, Mayor Lyda Krewson is among the three city officials who have the ultimate say in whether any deal goes through — the others being Comptroller Darlene Green and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

Do a quick Google Image search of “emotional support animals,” and you’ll see various photos of animals on planes or in airports dressed in vests denoting their purpose. Under the Air Carrier Access Act, passengers needing to travel with an emotional support animal can do so with some basic documentation. 

There are limitations. 

While the sun’s rays were at full effect this August, the Missouri Botanical Garden launched its Grow Solar St. Louis program for St. Louis-area home and business owners. In partnership with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and Washington University, property owners throughout the city and county can participate in this pilot program to pool their buying power for discounts on solar panels.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske was joined by Glenda Abney, director of the Garden’s EarthWays Center, to delve into why the initiative was started and how interested St. Louisans can use green energy to power their homes. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with guests from Sauce Magazine about the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food and beverage community. 

Among the establishments that made it on this month’s Hit List are Taco Circus on the Hill and Bluewood Brewing on Cherokee Street. Joining Fenske to discuss the full list were Catherine Klene and Meera Nagarajan, Sauce’s managing editor and art director, respectively.

Among the local politicians with huge sway over the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport is St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. He’s one of three members on the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which signs off on all city contracts. He also holds one of four votes on the St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske sat down with Reed, who could ultimately prove the swing vote that determines whether an airport lease is approved, to get his thoughts on the city’s exploration of a controversial experiment in privatization.

With the United Nations and New York City hosting Climate Week 2019 this week, climate change has been on the minds of many. But what does climate change mean here in the Midwest? The Missouri Botanical Garden isn’t just asking that question. Its scientists are also developing answers by closely surveying Midwestern plant life.

Joining host Sarah Fenske on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to explain climate change’s effects on the region were Missouri Botanical Garden's assistant scientist, Adam Smith, and Daria McKevley, a supervisor of home gardening information and outreach at the center. 

For many, restaurant work is a temporary gig to make money in college or pick up shifts as a bartender between periods of more permanent employment. But among restaurant veterans, service industry jobs are a profession. And they often bring all the opportunities for accomplishment — and financial benefits — of jobs thought of as more prestigious. 

Sauce Magazine’s latest issue features local career servers at some of St. Louis’ oldest establishments, like Tony’s and Sidney Street Cafe. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two of themabout why they love what they do, how they’ve made a living in a job so dependent on gratuity and why the job is something for others to consider. 

For Missouri families needing government assistance to pay for food, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a necessity. But it’s not always enough.

Empower Missouri's #MOSNAPChallenge campaign invites state and federal legislators to shop for a three-day supply of food for a family of four using only the average amount of money available to families enrolled in the program. That’s just $1.33 per person per meal for a family of four, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services.

On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the nonprofit organization’s campaign and discussed various legislative efforts aimed at increasing SNAP benefits, such as the Closing the Meal Gap Act of 2019

As the city’s chief fiscal officer, Comptroller Darlene Green is responsible for getting the bills paid — and ensuring the city’s long-term financial health. She's also taken a bold stance on a number of key city issues that include signing on to the campaign to close the city's workhouse and criticizing Mayor Lyda Krewson on public safety issues.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Green joined host Sarah Fenske to explain her outspoken views on airport privatization and a number of other city matters. 

John Joern, the co-owner of the Whiskey Ring, has watched Western Wear Night quickly grow into quite the bonanza at his Cherokee Street establishment. It all started less than a year ago with what he describes as “band practice” — local musician Ryan Koenig regularly bringing collaborators to the Whiskey Ring for live entertainment.

“He’d just kind of play for a couple hours while everybody meandered in and out,” Joern recalled during a St. Louis on the Air segment, “and [Lucas Hanner] and a few other folks, some friends of his, decided to take it upon themselves to start dressing the part, to sort of celebrate the evening, and it caught on like wildfire.”

With more and more St. Louisans joining in on the shenanigans, Western Wear Night has become a regular third-Tuesday-of-the-month festivity, despite the gathering’s decidedly Midwest, not-in-the-West, location.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske checked in with the team at Sauce Magazine to discuss the latest restaurant additions  as well as upcoming concepts and some closings  within the St. Louis region’s food and beverage community. 

Joining her for the discussion were Catherine Klene and Meera Nagarajan, managing editor and art director, respectively.

The magazine's two picks for new restaurants to try this month are Turmeric (6679 Delmar Blvd., University City, MO, 63130) and Utah Station (1956 Utah St., St. Louis, MO, 63118).

The Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis is using art to engage with history and contextualize the present. Chief curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi joined St. Louis on the Air with artists Stephanie Syjuco and Bethany Collins to discuss CAM’s fall exhibitions. 

Paige Walden-Johnson originally founded the CommUNITY Arts Festival out of the need to support her friend Rain Stippec, a dancer who was shot eight times in the back while in a parked car in the south city Soulard neighborhood. Stippec survived, but it severely affected her mobility. 

In the first 48 hours after being shot, Stippec was given a 5% chance of survival by doctors. But now, with support from the community and physical therapy, Stippec will perform for the first time in the two years since the shooting. 

Earlier this month, millions of Muslims made their way to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the Islamic pilgrimage known as hajj. It’s one of the largest annual gatherings, and there, Muslims who represent hundreds of ethnicities and languages give up their normal lives and dedicate the week to devout worship. 

The journey is made over five days during the last month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the trip to Saudi Arabia are required to do so at least once in their lifetime. 

The hajj is seen as one of the five pillars of Islam, and its end is marked with one of the two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Adha. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske explored the religious obligation and what it entails. 

Local chef Gerard Craft is among the most notable restaurateurs in the region. He’s won the coveted James Beard award for "Best Chef: Midwest" for his restaurant Niche; he operated a successful restaurant group; and his eateries included Pastaria, Taste Bar and Brasserie — all of them both popular with diners and restaurant critics. 

But he’s also secretly dealt with intense anxiety. In a new essay published Monday on the website Plate, he wrote that he decided to close Niche in part because he was worried it could only fall in the rankings. 

Video artist Nanette Boileau grew up in Rock Hill, Missouri, entertained by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's leading mixed martial arts organization. That fascination led her to incorporate the UFC in her Ph.D. and inspired her to take a contemporary look at St. Louis athletes pursuing their dreams as fighters. 

Her ongoing exhibit “American Dreamers: Unalienable Rights” brings together three people dreaming of sports glory: a professional wrestler, a female boxer and a mixed martial arts fighter. In a series of intense videos, the gallery – held at the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center in Belleville, Illinois – allows the viewer to feel like they’re stepping into the ring with these athletes. 

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