Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | KBIA

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson joined the KRCU team in November 2015 as a feature reporter. She was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri where she grew up watching a lot documentaries on PBS, which inspired her to tell stories. In May 2015, she graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Convergence Journalism. Marissanne comes to KRCU from KBIA, where she worked as a reporter, producer and supervising editor while covering stories on arts and culture, education and diversity. 

Missouri is joining 20 other states in a nationwide initiative to attract students who’ve put a hold on their college education back in the classroom.

Degrees When Due, a program of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, offers colleges and universities tools to work with students who hit pause on their higher education. 

In Missouri, more than 75,000 people have two years' worth of college credits under their belts but don’t have a degree. Officials with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development hope the initiative will change that.

Congregation Temple Israel is hosting its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday. For more than three decades, the synagogue has served Thanksgiving dinner to those in need.

The tradition stems from an act of kindness. Ernest Wolf, a non-Jewish German national, was a student at Washington University in 1935 when he received a letter from the German military to report for duty. Wolf didn’t want to return to Germany, because the Nazi Party was rising to promenience.

Wolf planned to seek asylum in Mexico, but he didn’t have the money to get there. 

Richmond Heights officials and residents will come together on Sunday to dedicate a plaque to a historic black neighborhood in the city, which has nearly disappeared.

At one time, the Hadley Township neighborhood was among just a few places African Americans could live within St. Louis County. It was founded in the early 1900s by the Evens and Howard Fire Brick Company as a way to attract and keep employees. 

Segregation in the city and county limited where African Americans could live. The lack of public transportation made it even harder to fill the positions. In an effort to solve the problem, Evens and Howard met with county officials to build homes for black families in Brentwood and Richmond Heights.

A group of Florissant veterans will honor the service of the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces on Veterans Day.

Ten members from the American Legion Florissant Valley Memorial Post 444 will perform military honors at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The tight-knit group is known as the honor guard. 

Christ Church Cathedral has been around longer than Missouri has been a state. 

The church celebrated its 200th anniversary on Friday and is known as the first Episcopal church west of the Mississippi.

Christ Church Cathedral was founded Nov. 1, 1819, by several people including explorer William Clark; the state’s first governor, Alexander McNair; U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton; and St. Louis’ first mayor, William Carr Lane.

Save A Lot, the discount grocery retailer based in St. Ann, has opened a new store on the corner of Union and Page boulevards. 

Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard, who represents the city’s 26th Ward, said the store will address the food desert in the city’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood.

“There wasn’t in this direct vicinity anywhere where we could buy fresh, healthy, good groceries at good prices,” Hubbard said at a grand opening for the store Thursday. 

Justine Petersen, a leading microlender in the region, hopes a $200,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase will help minority-owned small businesses north of Delmar.

The investment will continue to assist the local nonprofit in its efforts to help those small business owners with credit-building resources, as well as provide access to safe and affordable loans.

Arriel Biggs always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. But the journey to becoming the founder of Young Biz Kidz, an organization that teaches kids to manage money and run their own business, was not an easy.

In 2010, Biggs and her husband found themselves living paycheck to paycheck even though they were both working full-time jobs. Eventually, they sat down and looked over their finances and found that they were not living in a financially responsible way. In order to get back on track, they decided to move their entire family back in with her parents for 18 months.

The Christopher Columbus statue, which has generated controversy because of the explorer’s treatment of Native Americans, will not be removed from Tower Grove Park. 

The St. Louis park instead will add signs and markers near the statue explaining the historical context of Columbus, colonization, as well as the history of the park, according to a Facebook post Wednesday

General Motors and the United Automobile Workers remain at the bargaining table as 49,000 union members strike nationwide.

About 4,500 workers are represented by UAW Local 2250 at the Wentzville assembly plant, where they produce Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks and Chevy Express and GMC Savana work vans. 

When 12-year-old Tamia Coleman-Hawkins is not in school or participating in extracurriculars, she’s baking batches of sweet treats for her customers.

Tamia is the founder and CEO of Mia’s Treats Delight. The Florissant native bakes brownies and cupcakes. However, her customer-requested cookies were a “game-changer” for her business. So far, Tamia’s customers have ordered 10 unique flavors, and she’s open to customizing more orders. 

“That's where my chocolate chip pecan and cranberry cookie came from,” Tamia said. “Me and mom were like, 'Chocolate chip pecan cranberry — uh, OK. A little weird, but OK.'”

Missouri clergy members say they are “cautiously optimistic” after meeting with Gov. Mike Parson in St. Louis to find ways to address gun violence in the state.

Parson would not back down on rejecting calls for a special session on gun violence. He said the main way to address it is by working at the federal, state and local levels.

A new building at St. Louis Community College will help the region address a shortage of nurses and other health care professionals. 

The college officially opened its new Center for Nursing and Health Sciences on Friday. The $39 million facility is the first new building on the Forest Park campus in 20 years. 

The four-level, 96,000-square-foot building includes simulation labs, classrooms, a teaching area, a dental clinic and a functioning operating room.

Among St. Louis' thousands of vacant lots, three on the city's north side are having a positive impact. The three community gardens along Enright Avenue in the Vandeventer neighborhood are a part of LOVEtheLOU's vision of creating a stronger community.

ArchCity Defenders, the nonprofit civil rights law firm, has teamed up with the St. Louis County Library and the Mound City Bar Association to launch revised versions of its local “know your rights” guides.

Called Pro Se STL, the Latin translation of “for oneself,” the two pocket-sized guides focus on dealing with police and jail, as well as representing yourself in St. Louis Municipal Courts.

ArchCity Defenders Executive Director Blake Strode said the goal is to equip people with the necessary tools to help themselves when access to legal resources is unavailable.

The St. Louis County Board of Elections is upgrading its voting equipment for the upcoming 2020 elections. The county has roughly 1,800 touch voting machines and 500 optical scan paper ballot tabulators that have had their fair share of wear and tear, and the software is now out of date.

Eric Fey, the Democratic director of elections for the St. Louis County Board, said the last time county voters had new voting equipment was in 2005.

Missouri ranks just behind Mississippi for the lowest-paid correctional officers in the country.

The average annual pay for a correctional officer in Missouri was $30,870 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below the national average of $47,600. Even with a recent pay bump of $1,050 a year, the department is struggling to retain and attract correctional officers for the state’s 21 prisons.

Babies born at Mercy Hospital St. Louis won’t have to wait long to get their first library cards. The St. Louis County Library is expanding its Born to Read program to the hospital this year.

The program aims to promote early childhood literacy by partnering with several hospitals in the county. New parents receive a Born to Read bag, which includes their baby’s first library card as well as a board book, a St. Louis Cardinals beanie, a toothbrush and infant development information.

The Neighbors' Market grocery store opened its doors in October, filling an unmet need in East St. Louis.

The full-service grocery store has fresh produce, healthy food options and ready-to-go, prepared meals like sandwiches, soups and salads. The market has even partnered with local businesses to sell their products.

James Clark, vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, has received national recognition for his efforts in reducing violent crime. Clark was one of 16 people to receive a Project Safe Neighborhood award this month from acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The award was for outstanding community involvement, for the organization’s gun violence de-escalation program.

For her fans in St. Louis, it was a tragedy that Kennedy Holmes did not win "The Voice" last week. But for the 14-year-old singer, she said she feels like she still won big.

After all, Holmes got to learn from the best, including Mariah Carey, Kelly Rowland, Blake Shelton and Jennifer Hudson, who was her coach for the nationally televised singing competition.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill gave an emotional farewell speech Thursday, thanking her family, staff and supporters, but also criticizing the Senate, saying the legislative body has become dysfunctional.

“We have too many embarrassing uncles in the United States Senate,” she said from the institution’s floor. “Lots of embarrassing stuff. The United States Senate is no longer the world’s greatest deliberative body. And everybody needs to quit saying it until we recover from this period of polarization and the fear of political consequences of tough votes.”

Save-A-Lot’s corporate headquarters is the latest tenant at The Crossings at Northwest.

The grocery retailer made the decision to move its headquarters from Earth City to St. Ann in April. Kevin Proctor, the chief investment officer at Save-A-Lot, said the purpose was to create space that better fit the company’s needs.

“We had outgrown the existing office,” Proctor said, “but we also lack in the existing offices a lot of the facilities that we have here in the new office, which we need as a business going forward.”

Deer hunters are helping out Missouri families again this year.

Since 1992, the Share the Harvest Program has collected more than 3.5 million pounds of venison from deer hunters across the state.

The program aims to lessen the burden of food insecurity for people by distributing deer meat to hundreds of food banks throughout the St. Louis region and statewide. It’s a collaborative effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, meat processors, hunters and local organizations.

Immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees had the opportunity to experience their first Thanksgiving in St. Louis on Tuesday, a few days early.

The annual event held by the International Institute of St. Louis included games, raffle tickets and a group rendition of the classic folk song, “This Land is Your Land.”

Roadways and airports are expected to be busier than usual this Thanksgiving holiday.

The AAA Club of Missouri anticipate more than 1.1 million residents to travel over a 10-day period covering Thanksgiving. That’s an increase of roughly 5 percent from last year.

Residents in the Shrewsbury area will have to wait a bit longer for their ramp on Interstate 44 to reopen.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has suspended construction on the eastbound bridge of I-44 over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad by Shrewsbury.

The halt comes after inspectors found a "greater-than-normal" amount of cracking on the westbound bridge on I-44 that just wrapped up construction last year.

On the surface, Mikaylah Norfolk is like most kids her age. She likes to play with her three-story Barbie Dreamhouse, dress up her dolls, hang out with her friends and do arts and crafts.

But the 9-year-old Florissant resident is also the founder of an anti-bullying organization.

We Rise Up 4 Kids aims to help kids deal with the trauma of bullying, while also providing mental health resources.

An organization that aims to help youth deal with the trauma of bullying will host its kickoff event on Saturday.

Mikaylah Norfolk of Florissant founded We Rise Up 4 Kids in June after experiencing intense verbal and physical bullying by a classmate at age 8. Mikaylah says she decided to turn her own trauma into a way to help other kids.

St. Louis County voters will soon be able to review election results to determine how different areas voted on select candidates and issues.

Starting with the Nov. 6 general election, voters will be able to use an election-results mapping tool to examine regional preferences. Those results likely will be available two weeks after the election. County officials aim to help people interested in regional politics.

A pilot of the interactive tool on the St. Louis County Board of Elections website uses results from the August 2018 primary election to show voter preferences in select races — including county executive and prosecutor, and on ballot issues.

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