Lara Hamdan | KBIA

Lara Hamdan

News intern

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

In 2015, a cohort of lawyers sued the city of Ferguson to stop municipal court abuses widely publicized after the killing of Michael Brown the previous August.

ArchCity Defenders, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics, and the Campbell Law Firm filed on behalf of Roelif Carter, a Ferguson resident charged with court fees that the suit argued were illegal. In the class-action lawsuit, Carter stood in for nearly 10,000 people harmed by the city’s revenue generating practices. 

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

In 2015, a cohort of lawyers sued the city of Ferguson to stop municipal court abuses widely publicized after the killing of Michael Brown the previous August.

ArchCity Defenders, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics, and the Campbell Law Firm filed on behalf of Roelif Carter, a Ferguson resident charged with court fees that the suit argued were illegal. In the class-action lawsuit, Carter stood in for nearly 10,000 people harmed by the city’s revenue generating practices. 

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

Things have been pretty quiet lately at one of the region’s most visited attractions — the St. Louis Zoo. On March 17, it closed its doors to the public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

While the organization is operating under unusual circumstances and with limited staff, zoo fun continues on its social media feeds. Their #BringTheStlZooToYou initiative involves photos and videos of the zoo’s residents from its animal care teams. 

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

The current coronavirus pandemic has left many homebound — mostly around family, addicting snacks and pets. What’s a true virtual work meeting if a pet doesn’t end up making an appearance?

For those without pets, this might be the ideal time to add an extra addition to the household. They provide something for a family or an individual to care for and can be a source of fun and pleasurable activity. During frightening times, they create a sense of constancy and comfort. 

The Humane Society of Missouri has adjusted its efforts to connect people with furry companions. While its shelter doors are closed to comply with the region’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, they implemented a curbside pick up model

Over the past few weeks, local sites of worship have had to recalibrate how they serve their congregations during a time when coming together can do more harm than good.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a 30-day stay-at-home order last weekend. The restrictions require people to remain in their homes whenever possible as part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. There are a number of exceptions to the stay-at-home order, city and county officials said, but religious centers aren’t one of them.

A homework assignment turned into cash and national recognition for some area high schoolers. Clayton High senior Lila Taylor and Kirkwood High junior Zach Baynham were both among the top winners in C-SPAN’s 2020 StudentCam competition.

Since 2006, C-SPAN has invited middle and high school students across the U.S. to produce short documentaries on subjects of national importance. This year, students addressed the theme "What's Your Vision in 2020?” In their submissions, they explored issues they’d want presidential candidates to address during their campaigns.

St. Louis has an abundance of unique culinary creations that locals don’t care to convince outsiders to embrace: If newbies don’t like this stuff, it just means more for the rest of us. We’ll happily keep our fried ravioli, Provel cheese to ourselves, along with gooey butter cake’s havoc on the arteries. 

But one creation that really perplexes the masses is the St. Paul sandwich: It’s an egg patty topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles, and held together by white bread smothered in mayo. Regional eaters can now find variations of the sandwich that include pork belly, ham or shrimp. 

Paige Alyssa Hegwood is back — in St. Louis and in music. After spending approximately two years in Los Angeles and doing some soul searching, the singer-songwriter, who goes by Paige Alyssa, is expressing that growth both musically and individually. 

Through up-tempo pop and vibrant vocals, Alyssa is releasing music on their own terms. Their just-released single, “What’s the Move,” features mixing and mastering by Shock City’s Sam Maul. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Alyssa joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about their time in Los Angeles, how they overcame artistic struggles and the new music they have in store. 

When a plague swept 14th-century Florence, killing more than half the city’s population, wealthy Italians turned to social distancing. One small group’s retreat from a stricken city to a deserted villa became the backdrop for the classic novel “The Decameron.”

That novel is just one of the texts Rebecca Messbarger teaches in her Disease, Madness and Death Italian Style course at Washington University. But it has sudden resonance, she says — and relevance she never anticipated when she began teaching it a year ago.

March 14 marked the one-year anniversary of a grassroots effort that set out to highlight the stories of the people and businesses that make up the St. Louis region. Over the past 12 months, STLMade has featured regional staples ranging from Skate King to the Wildey Theatre, profiling those who boost the local economy, including Tony’s Family Farms and Vega Transport, along the way. 

The multi-year initiative was started by civic, business and university leaders across the region, including St. Charles and Belleville.  

Updated March 13 with revised event details

In light of the recent developments concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Contemporary Art Museum has postponed public programs and events through April 5 until further notice, including "STL Exchange." Visit for updates.

Original story from March 12:

314 Day is this Saturday, and that means St. Louisans near and far are gearing up to show up and out for their city. The local holiday began as an informal celebration by residents — particularly in the black community. Within that community, people often gather for block parties, neighborhood barbecues and club events when the last numbers of their ZIP code or street number correspond with a date on the calendar. A day named for St. Louis’ main area code was a natural way to take the party city-wide.

St. Louis natives Ryan Escobar and Tenelle Winmore set out to formalize the celebration they grew up loving. The two make up the hip-hop duo Souls of Liberty, and last year, they teamed up with event coordinator Sierra Brown to throw a 314 Day party that takes things to the next level. To them, 314 Day is not only about celebrating St. Louis, but also the artists, musicians, businesses and products with roots in the city. 

Eddie Cox has always been fascinated by words, whether he’s stringing together freestyle raps with his friends or fine-tuning coherent arguments on debate teams. 

That interest has translated well to his star turn as hip-hop artist Sir Eddie C. The Belleville native is making waves in the St. Louis music scene and recently notched his first performances in New Orleans and Chicago.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Cox joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about his musical craft and inspirations. He began by describing how his hometown carries a rich history of creatives but lacks the outlets to catapult the talent out. That’s where debate came in handy for Cox. 

It’s a question savvy diners confront with regularity: What new place should I try this month? Once again, our friends from Sauce Magazine visited St. Louis on the Air to help us answer the question. And while some months offer an embarrassment of riches, so many options that it’s hard to know what to do, this month promises an entirely manageable list: one restaurant, one bar and one coffee shop. 

On Wednesday’s show, Sauce managing editor Heather Hughes Huff and art director Meera Nagarajan delved into each spot’s charm. 

March 3 is the United Nations’ annual commemoration of World Wildlife Day, a time to highlight the importance of Earth’s natural resources and call for action to protect them. 

This year’s theme is “Sustaining all life on Earth,” as 2020 is noted to be “a biodiversity super year.” The international body aims to raise awareness about the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, plus the interlinkages between the various components of biodiversity and the threats they are facing. 

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske discussed the impact of biodiversity loss on Missouri's lesser-known native plants and insects. Joining the conversation were experts from the Missouri Botanical Garden: Quinn Long, director of the Shaw Nature Reserve, and Aaron Lynn-Vogel, horticulturist at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening.

In 2000, the circuit court in St. Louis entered a contract with Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, a private company based in St. Charles that tracks and monitors people awaiting trial in the region.

At first, the company was required to provide periodic reports of all cases under its supervision. That changed in 2012 when it signed a new contract with the city court, leading to no routine collection for up-to-date data. In recent years, there have been higher rates of judges ordering defendants into the monitoring program, according to St. Louis chief public defender Mary Fox

In 2013, Cyndi Williams found herself a sudden widow at only 38 years old. While she was out of town, her husband, Joe, passed away due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Friends, co-workers and family gathered to accommodate and help Williams during her grieving period. But while she found support among her loved ones, she never quite found understanding. 

She tried to attend support groups for widowed women, but quickly realized that she was in a different place than others, facing different challenges. Most of the women were over 60 years old, retired, had older children and had already worked out their grief — leaving Williams still misunderstood.

It wasn’t until she met another young widow that Williams said she felt like she found a soulmate. She realized those were the women she could relate most to. 

Last week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that 12 sites in the state were added to the National Register of Historic Places during 2019. That’s the official federal list of properties that merit special attention and preservation. Every Illinois county has at least one property or historic district listed in the National Register.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Emily Woodbury learned more about the sites in Illinois that made it to the 2019 National Register of Historic Places, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa replica that was completed in the 1930s in Cook County; the Alton Gas and Electric Powerhouse in Madison County, constructed in 1913; and the Hunziker Winery Site in Warsaw, a little over 30 miles north of Quincy — it dates back to the mid-1800s. 

When you’re out on the town, it can be fun to try a couple of different spots. What isn’t fun, though, is driving from one spot to another, or having to seek out parking in one packed neighborhood after another. 

Fortunately, our friends at Sauce Magazine have addressed this problem in their most recent issue. They’ve outlined a three-stop nightlife tour in eight St. Louis-area neighborhoods in their “Night Moves” feature. 

Meera Nagarajan, art director of Sauce, and Heather Hughes Huff, Sauce’s managing editor, joined host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air to explore the highlights the region has to offer for date nights. 

David Murphy prides himself on being a “goal-setting” type of guy. Every year, he sets out different goals for himself — whether they’re physical, spiritual or work-related. And hitting those targets isn’t necessarily the intention. For Murphy, it’s more about the journey. 

So for his 50th birthday last year, Murphy decided to make his goal “epic.” He wanted to go on a quest: one that turns a seemingly doable thing (say, going to Mass) into something grand — like attending Mass at every active Catholic church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. 

Inspired by his love for his Catholic faith and its deep history in the region, Murphy set out to visit each of the 190 active churches in the archdiocese, which covers 10 counties and the city of St. Louis. His quest earned coverage in the local St. Louis Review. And on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Murphy joined host Sarah Fenske to share what he learned — and which local churches made his “epic list.”

St. Louis’ most notable feature — the Gateway Arch — hasn’t seen as many fresh faces lately. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the Arch grounds aren’t getting the kinds of visitor numbers projected before the $380 million redevelopment project, CityArchRiver, that wrapped up in 2018. 

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the reasons for that and what new programs are in store to help bring those numbers up. Joining the discussion were Jacob Kirn, St. Louis Business Journal economic development editor, and Mike Ward, superintendent of the Gateway Arch National Park. 

Every year, the St. Louis Theater Circle honors the best of local professional theater, voted on by local critics. The St. Louis Theater Circle released its 2020 award nominees on Friday's St. Louis on the Air for locally produced professional theater in 2019. 

Calvin Wilson, theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Tina Farmer, theater reviewer for KDHX, joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss the highlights and the upcoming awards ceremony.

St. Louis Theater Circle asserts that this year's nominations represent the most competitive field in the eight years of the awards.

Artists are no strangers to political activism. Through captivating installations, they’re able to visualize complex themes that resonate with movements and social causes. 

This weekend, a new exhibit at the Luminary Center for the Arts, “America’s Mythic Time,” will take it to the next level with an unusual partner — ArchCity Defenders. But the collaboration isn’t really that far out. 

The two organizations have worked together closely for years, co-sharing spaces and political expertise, such as when the Cherokee Street-based gallery hosted ArchCity’s Pro Se STL event. Their pro se guides are used to help people learn how to interact with police to represent themselves in court. 

Last week, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis announced the latest multidisciplinary artist patrons can expect to see at the space during its First Fridays and other CAM events. James Biko is an East St. Louis-born and St. Louis-based artist prominent in the local hip-hop and soul scene. 

He’s been on the radar of music aficionados in the city and is a 10-time Riverfront Times Music Award winner. He also co-hosts the Rawthentic radio program, with Cleo Jones on KDHX, which plays hip-hop, R&B and soul on Thursday evenings. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with our partners from Sauce Magazine about the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage scene. 

Joining this month’s Hit List segment discussion were Heather Hughes Huff and Meera Nagarajan, managing editor and art director, respectively.

In the first half of the 20th century, armed conflicts claimed the lives of an unfathomable number of civilians. Stunned by the horrors of war in Europe, President Dwight Eisenhower sought out a different way to prevent future cycles of war. He proposed a program that connects citizens of nations abroad with U.S. cities: Sister Cities International

The program began in 1956, and the people-to-people, citizen diplomacy initiative took off across the country. A few years later, in 1960, St. Louis’ first partnership abroad flourished in Stuttgart, Germany, through the World Trade Center St. Louis' international mission. Now St. Louis has 16 sisters abroad, from Argentina and Senegal to Indonesia. 

This year is full of political commemorations: the presidential election, the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year also marks the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote after the Civil War.

Every year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History selects a theme for Black History Month. Because of those political milestones, this year’s theme is “African Americans and the Vote” — nationwide and here in St. Louis. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into a variety of Missouri Historical Society programming planned throughout the month at the Missouri History Museum and Soldiers Memorial.

This week marked the next phase of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Eventually, the senators will have to vote whether or not to remove the president from office. Senators are in the midst of a question-and-answer period before potentially calling on witnesses to testify. 

The lawmakers sit through hours and hours of information overload during these hearings, which began Jan. 16, and are only granted a brief 15-minute recess every two hours — with a 45-minute recess for dinner at 6 p.m. The break time is decided on by the majority leader, with approval from the minority leader. 

That can take a mental and physical toll — as noted by reporters covering the hearings and illustrated by senators taking cat naps or walking out during presentations. One senator is even providing fidget spinners to colleagues. 

The streets of downtown St. Louis are looking brighter — and more energy efficient — thanks to technology developed by Hazelwood-based Labyrinth Technologies. The local company developed a custom lighting solution as part of a $4 million Downtown STL Inc. project to brand downtown and improve public safety. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske learned more about Downtown STL’s process of upgrading the streetlights throughout 360 square blocks. Once completed, the project will have made St. Louis one of the largest smart cities in the U.S., second only to San Diego, according to Downtown STL.

Joining the discussion were Downtown STL CEO Missy Kelley and the father-and-son team that helped develop the smart technology: Ted Stegeman, CEO of Labyrinth Technologies, and his 23-year-old son, John, the company’s chief technology officer. 

This spring, a cohort of six talented St. Louis-based visual artists will head to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of a new initiative founded by local changemaker Kareem "Tef Poe" Jackson and Harvard professor (and Missouri native) Walter Johnson.

The Commonwealth Project at Harvard University aims to model a new way for universities to engage with social problems through service and collaboration, with a special focus on St. Louis. The half-dozen local artists were selected for its new #IntheCity Visual Arts Fellowship last November.

The goal of the program is to provide exposure and resources for up-and-coming artists in the region. And it looks to attract artists who use art in a manner beyond just creating for art's sake.

On this month’s Sound Bites segment, produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, managing editor Heather Hughes Huff gave an overview of the six up-and-comers the publication chose for its annual "Ones to Watch" feature that highlights local culinary talent.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Hughes Huff as well as featured restaurateurs Alejandra Fallows and Bailey Schuchmann

Fallows is the bar manager at Chandler Hill Vineyards. She recently achieved the top score on her certified sommelier exam. Schuchmann is the beverage director at the acclaimed restaurant Farmhaus. She’s also a certified sommelier. Sauce’s profile describes her as a “wine/cocktail/service triple threat.”