Lara Hamdan | KBIA

Lara Hamdan

News intern

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

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. 

And so for his 50th birthday last year, Murphy decided to make his goal “epic.” Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” he wanted to go on a quest, one that turns a seemingly doable thing (say, going to Mass) into something grand — like visiting every active Catholic church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. 

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.” 

What started out as a viral video exposing the poor conditions detainees were facing inside St. Louis’ Medium Security Institution — also known as the Workhouse — has turned into a three-year-long effort to shut it down. In 2017, activists and civil rights organizations Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders and Bail Project St. Louis began pursuing calls to action to close it. 

The facility largely houses people who have not been convicted of a crime and cannot afford bail. Conditions inside have reportedly included black mold, dangerously high and low temperatures, moldy food and “rats as big as cats.” 

The city has since invested in renovating the facility, but this week, the Close the Workhouse campaign announced its relaunch with a newly updated report. And now, it has a new ally.

Every Saturday, a cohort of physicians carves time out of busy schedules in an effort to fill a gap for health care for people in the St. Louis region. 

Started by members of the Muslim Community Services of St. Louis in 2008, the Salam Clinic is a model of interfaith charity. The initiative was simple: provide free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured. Doctors of various religious backgrounds gladly signed on, including the Deaconess Nurse Ministry.

The first clinic opened in north St. Louis at Lane Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The second opened its doors in 2013 in Ferguson at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. Last November, Salam opened its third location at Epiphany United Church of Christ in St. Louis’ Benton Park neighborhood. And this Sunday, the nonprofit’s first Salam Psychiatry Clinic will open at its Ferguson location. 

Bad living conditions are stressful enough. But what about landlords that are neglecting their properties and abusing the rights of the tenants? 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Kalila Jackson joined us to discuss how tenants can exercise their rights without escalating the situation. She’s a staff attorney at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, better known as EHOC. Also joining the conversation was Sunni Hutton, a volunteer grassroots organizer with Homes for All St. Louis.

For those interested in learning more about East St. Louis’ rich cultural legacy, a new “music and history walk” is one route to consider. Treasure Shields Redmond, daughter of East St. Louis Poet Laureate Eugene Redmond, is organizing opportunities for hipsters, jazz nerds and genuinely curious minds alike. 

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske discussed with Shields Redmond how opportunities like the Historic Jazz & Poetry Excursion is showing the world a different East St. Louis than what you might see on the evening news.

There are approximately 500,000 adults in Missouri without a high school diploma. In 2017, to help mitigate that setback, then-Gov. Eric Greitens signed a measure that called for the opening of alternative high schools for adults, and Goodwill won the contract. 

The Metropolitan Employment Rehabilitation Services Goodwill established four Excel Centers across the state, in Springfield, Popular Bluff, St. Louis and Columbia, in 2018. The program is an alternative tuition-free high school that helps adults over the age of 21 earn their high school diplomas. The four centers have roughly 900 students combined. 

In St. Louis, the center on Locust Street recently had 47 students complete the program and cross the stage; the first commencement included six students. 

On Monday’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 Little Fox on Shenandoah Avenue and High Low on Washington Avenue. Joining the program to discuss the full list were Heather Hughes and Meera Nagarajan, Sauce’s managing editor and art director, respectively. 

Last month, news emerged about a potential holdup in plans for construction of a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis. 

St. Louis city, the St. Louis Development Corporation and the MLS ownership group applied for a combined total of $30 million in state tax credits over 2019 and 2020. Missouri’s Department of Economic Development didn’t approve the request — the current cap on what it awards is $10 million. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, the St. Louis Business Journal’s economic development editor, Jacob Kirn, joined host Sarah Fenske with the latest and discussed the $461 million project's future. 

Sewing may be considered a dying art, but it’s very much alive in St. Louis — and not just the typical hand stitch. In 2017, Dr. Christine Millar and Sara Hasz helped create the St. Louis Georgian Sewing Society. The collective meets frequently to craft clothing based on Georgian attire that hit its peak of popularity from 1715 to 1830. 

They craft intricate dresses, court suits and even baby clothes that try to historically mimic 18th-century fashion — items that Marie Antoinette or Madame de Pompadour would wear. Members help each other source the fabric, and learn the technique and designs based on real patterns people once donned centuries ago. 

Many people honor the sacrifices and achievements of combat veterans. But the horrors they experience can get overlooked, especially as many former service members don’t talk about their experiences

But as more veterans of World War II reach the end of their lives, many people are trying to preserve their stories and experiences. One of them is Louis Baczewski. In June 2015, Baczewski bicycled more than 700 kilometers, following the path of his grandfather’s armored division, which doggedly fought its way through Europe during the war. 

Hip-hop artist Smino took the stage Sunday night for his fourth annual Kribmas benefit concert in true St. Louis fashion — wearing a Cardinals baseball varsity jacket and jumping out of a sleigh shaped like a Nike Air Force 1 and painted by local artist Brock Seals

As the end of the year approaches, our partners at Sauce Magazine joined St. Louis on the Air to reflect on the best new local restaurants serving up deliciousness in 2019.

On Monday’s program, host Sarah Fenske talked with the magazine’s managing editors, Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes, and art director Meera Nagarajan about their selections —  including fine dining, featuring various eclectic offerings, as well as classic diners. 

The St. Louis Public Radio digital team crafted its first Photojournalism Prize photography contest last month. The competition provided professional publicity, encouragement and training to St. Louis-area high school students interested in journalistic photography.

This year’s theme was “Window to my World,” and participants were required to tell a story with a caption, image and personal reflection. The six prize categories were: Best Portrait, Best Landscape, Best Still Life, Best Action Shot, Best Caption and Best in Show. All winners received a master class with station photojournalists and publication on

Michael Turley wasn’t always a farmer. In fact, before he started managing the 120 Holstein cows on his family’s dairy farm in Greenville, Illinois, he was managing workers at the St. Louis communications and marketing firm Osborn Barr as its CEO.

Turley joined Tuesday’s  St. Louis on the Air, along with Sauce managing editor Catherine Klene, to talk about his journey for this month’s Sound Bites segment. They also discussed innovation in the farming industry and how farms are adapting their business plans to stay relevant to consumers. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what about the ear? What defines what’s musically beautiful? The Chamber Project St. Louis is exploring the concept by digging beneath the surface and asking questions about what should be considered beautiful, who gets to decide and why it matters.

From afar, cricket might look like a slightly tweaked version of baseball. After all, there are hardballs, bats and bases involved. But the intricacies of the game distinguish the sport from America’s pastime. 

Invented in England, the sport later spread throughout the world due to the British Empire’s cultural influence on its former colonies in places like Pakistan, Australia and India. And, thanks to the American Cricket Academy and Club, it’s absolutely thriving in the St. Louis region. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked to the academy’s founder and president, Ajay Jhamb, about what the sport is all about and how local kids can get involved. Joining the discussion were cricket players Taine Dry, 15, and Pooja Ganesh, 11. 

Moscow Ballet is a Russian ballet company that has toured the U.S. and Canada during the holiday season since 1993. This year marks the 27th annual North American tour of the ensemble’s "Great Russian Nutcracker," "Swan Lake," "Romeo and Juliet," and other classic Russian ballets. 

St. Louisans will get the chance to watch the ballet classics Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and performing alongside the Russian-trained classical dancers will be local ballet students. 

The Ozark region has modernized slowly over time, and that’s allowed for the preservation of its traditional culture. To help shed light on what the region has to offer, seventh-generation Ozarker Kaitlyn McConnell started the Ozarks Alive website, fueling her “night-and-weekend obsession” with learning about the places and people that make up the region she calls home. 

“It is true that most 20-somethings don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the historical significance of these hills,” she writes on her website. “Some might blame my love (or obsession, according to others) with this region on my blood. Seven generations of my ancestors have called the Ozarks home, and I’m proud of that connection.” Her posts showcase its history, its unique businesses and different profiles of people. 

After frequently being asked for suggestions of places to explore in the region, McConnell knew she had to use the wisdom she’s accumulated over the years to curate a book. She titled it “Passport to the Ozarks.” 

Each month, our partners at Sauce Magazine join us to hash out some of the top food and drink additions to the region. But 2019 has said its fair share of goodbyes to notable establishments in the St. Louis, from the tragic fire that shut down Goody Goody Diner to the closing of Piccione Pastry on the Delmar Loop after a seven-year run.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sauce’s managing editor Catherine Klene and artistic director Meera Nagarajan joined the program to talk through some of the closings patrons miss most.