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Missouri News

Bill Shapiro, a Kansas City tax attorney by day who spent more than four decades hosting a Saturday-night radio program devoted to rock-and-roll, died on Tuesday. He was 82.

"The name of the program is Cyprus Avenue, and I’m Bill Shapiro," he said each week in a deep, gravelly voice over the show's opening music, which was not Van Morrison's "Cyprus Avenue" but rather Matthew Fisher's "Interlude."

This interview will be live on “St. Louis on the Air” over the 11 a.m. hour Friday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

The streets of downtown St. Louis are looking brighter — and more energy efficient — thanks to technology developed by Hazelwood-based Labyrinth Technology. 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. 

The initiative includes the installation of more than 2,300 curved, colorful light strips with "smart technology.” The system of different sensors that collect data are referred to as the Internet of Things. 

Segment 1: Research shows white-sounding names curry favor in academic settings.

Xian Zhao's name means something to him. It means something to his parents. That's why he won't adopt what he calls an "anglo name." But his own research suggests he might be missing opportunities because of that.

  • Xian Zhao, researcher, University of Toronto

Segment 2, beginning at 14:47: A recent Calvin Arsenia album is a milestone in his professional and personal growth.

The St. Louis Blues will play host to the National Hockey League’s All-Star festivities this weekend for only the third time in the team’s history. 

And this year’s celebration of all things hockey comes with the Blues sitting at the top of the mountain as Stanley Cup champions and this season's Western Conference points leader.

In August 2018, the Quincy Mall was in crisis. A few years earlier, JCPenney, one of the mall’s three large department store anchors, had closed. That month, the two remaining stores, Sears and Bergner’s, closed within weeks of each other.

“It left us with just this huge big-box vacancy,” said Mike Jenkins, the property manager at the 500,000-square-foot mall in Quincy, Illinois. 

The loss of such major tenants has been a death sentence for many malls. But the shopping center had a stroke of luck. The same time the department stores closed, one of the small city’s two large medical providers was looking for a space to house a planned outpatient surgery clinic.

Staff attorneys have told the St. Louis County Council that vagrancy and panhandling ordinances need to be updated, because the ones currently on the books might be unconstitutional. 

But the council hasn’t agreed on how to proceed.

The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court says the state needs to properly fund its public defender system to continue the criminal justice reforms it has passed in the past several years.

Speaking to a joint session of the state Legislature on Wednesday for his first State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice George Draper applauded the General Assembly for boosting access to treatment courts and allowing more individuals to enter diversion programs. However, he cautioned those reforms can only go so far.

Public health officials in St. Louis are expanding their efforts to reduce opioid addiction statewide.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health unveiled new online resources Wednesday designed to connect doctors with information on opioids, pain management and substance abuse. The toolkit is the latest addition to the county’s prescription drug monitoring program, which was established in the absence of a statewide program. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” during the 11am hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. Here are several ways to listen live.

There are roughly 2.8 million people living in Greater St. Louis, many of whom would be surprised to know that they share the space with a good variety of wildlife.

The St. Louis Wildlife Project now has four seasons of data that they hope will give insight into how wildlife occupy and utilize the region’s urban spaces. For the past year, they’ve collected images from 34 motion-activated cameras planted in parks and green spaces across St. Louis. They’ve spotted foxes, turkeys, river otters, and even a couple bobcats. 

TOPEKA, Kansas ⁠— Lawmakers are fast-tracking a push to amend the state constitution and undo a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that said women have the right to abortion.

The goal, with voters’ approval in August, is to add a line to the state bill of rights saying abortion isn’t constitutionally protected ⁠— and that legislators can regulate abortions, including when a pregnancy results from rape or incest or threatens a woman’s life.

The proposal already is awaiting floor votes in both chambers, just over a week after the 2020 session began. 

Segment 1: A Kansas native moderated the last Democratic debate in Iowa.

Brianne Pfannenstiel grew up in Lawrence and got her first job in journalism at the Kansas City Star. Now that she's in a state with a huge voice in this year's election, we wanted to know: How does she feel the Midwest is represented in national discourse today? What does she think of Iowa's role specifically? And, what is it like to moderate a national debate?

This interview will be live on “St. Louis on the Air” over the 11 a.m. hour Friday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

In an age of crumbling infrastructure across the U.S., sidewalks have been no exception to the pattern of decay. The city of St. Louis alone is home to roughly 2,000 miles worth of sidewalks, and both the physical condition and suitability of those streetside pathways vary widely.

David Newburger, St. Louis’ commissioner on the disabled, thinks about sidewalks quite a bit. He notes that he’s old enough to remember when curb cuts — sloped curb faces that are particularly critical for someone using a wheelchair — were few and far between. These days, Newburger says, a lot of effort goes into the design of new sidewalks to ensure that they are safe and passable for everyone, including pedestrians with disabilities.

As he and colleagues work to update sidewalks and maintain ADA compliance, they’re also thinking about sidewalks within the context of streets as a whole, and organizations including Trailnet continue to push for long-term policy fixes aimed at keeping people safer. 

Meanwhile, local municipalities including both St. Louis and Kirkwood are participating in the National Complete Streets Coalition, which is focused on making roads better for all types of users rather than prioritizing drivers.

Well — yes! — the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl for the first time in half a century. But why does that matter? Commentator Victor Wishna offers just one reason, in this long-in-coming edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

I want to tell you a story. There are thousands like it. On Sunday, inside Arrowhead Stadium, there were about 74,000 stories. But this is mine.

Segment 1: Kansas City's journey toward greater inclusivity takes one step forward, two steps back.

The state of diversity and inclusion in Kansas City is shaping up to be one of this year's most tenuous storylines. We previewed both positive and negative issues facing marginalized communities in the metro, including diversity training for law enforcement and seemingly discriminatory legislative efforts.

Missouri lawmakers are at odds on how to solve the spike in gun violence and gun deaths in urban areas across the state, discussing it this week in the wake of one of Kansas City’s worst shootings in recent memory. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” during Thursday’s show, which is likely to air at 11 a.m. This story will be updated after the show. NOTE: St. Louis Public Radio is committed to airing coverage of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. “St. Louis on the Air” broadcast times will vary, but will always be available via streaming at noon and 7 p.m. Stay tuned to our website, Twitter and Facebook page for the latest. And, our episodes will always be available wherever you get your podcasts.

In 1990, Fran Caradonna and her then-husband upended St. Louis’ beer scene by starting a distributorship. They wanted to give local drinkers a choice beyond Anheuser-Busch — and, when Schlafly Beer was founded a year later, the Caradonnas’ company naturally became its distributor. 

TOPEKA, Kansas — Medicaid expansion is a done deal, right?

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Jim Denning, the second most powerful Republican in the Kansas Senate, have compromised on a plan. Together, they bring a majority of lawmakers with them. So, game over.

Sure, the deal still needs to clear the Legislature and get the blessing of federal regulators. But the hard part — breaking an almost decade-long stalemate on the issue — looks done.

Not since Len Dawson guided the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl IV title has the team had such an elite quarterback at the centerpiece of the offense and the team. 

But even Patrick Mahomes, who’s been the starting QB since 2018, knows he’s not the sum of all the parts on offense and defense. Here are five guys not named Mahomes who also bring something special to the Chiefs:

Before being released from prison, Melvin Hill Jr. was doing everything in his power to secure a sustainable job that would allow him to fulfill his lifelong goals. 

Then a friend told him about the local nonprofit Concordance Academy of Leadership. Hill applied while he was still incarcerated. Last May, he was accepted into the program that supports reentry into society after prison.

Recently, the academy received $1 million to advance its mission of reducing recidivism in Missouri and Illinois with a holistic approach to reentry into society.

If you have a little bit of money and can answer a 10-question online survey, you can get an official-looking certificate stating that you need an emotional support animal. 

You don’t have to talk to anyone or go through an assessment.

Because it’s so easy to obtain the documentation and the laws on accommodations for emotional support animals are murky, some people are using the certification to get out of paying pet deposits and monthly fees to keep an animal in an apartment.

The head of the agency that runs the region’s transit network characterized the Loop Trolley as a “troubled project” Tuesday but still said his organization should attempt to turn it around.

Missouri lawmakers are still at odds on how to solve the spike in gun violence and gun deaths in St. Louis and other urban areas. 

On Tuesday, House Democrats held a press conference highlighting gun control legislation they believe will address the violence. 

“Perpetrators of gun violence deserve harsh punishment, but what Missouri needs most are policies that help prevent shootings from ever taking place,” said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield.

Mark Twain, the author born Samuel Clemens in 1835 Missouri, was ahead of his time in many important ways. That’s one reason his brilliant novels endure, and why they’re just as funny as they were when they were published more than 140 years ago.

Starting Feb. 1, Illinois’ major, 10-month rehabilitation project on “one of Illinois’ worst roads” begins with a five-month closure of a portion of Interstate 255.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced the first phase of repairs to a crumbling section of I-255, one of many projects under the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, will begin by closing down all lanes between I-55/70 and I-64 for five months.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” at the top of Thursday's show. This story will be updated after the show. NOTE: St. Louis Public Radio is committed to airing coverage of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. “St. Louis on the Air” will continue during this time, and will always be available via streaming at noon and 7 p.m., but initial broadcast times may vary. Stay tuned to our websiteTwitter and Facebook page for the latest. And, our episodes will always be available wherever you get your podcasts.

When news breaks about a dangerous situation, it’s natural to wonder what one might have done in a similar scenario: Tried to help? Been courageous? Perhaps made things worse?

Running into burning buildings and shielding others from active shooters may be the sort of dramatic situations that come to mind. But far subtler opportunities to intervene on behalf of fellow humans come up more regularly than one may recognize — right in the grocery checkout aisle, for example, when witnessing a tense parent-child interaction.

That’s the sort of scene Nancy Weaver and her colleagues at St. Louis University’s College of Public Health and Social Justice have been helping others around the region visualize and then learn to respond to in positive, practical ways.

Segment 1: Where do efforts towards improving pre-K access and quality in Kansas City stand?

In early 2019, a big controversy was Mayor Sly James' push for universal pre-K through a sales tax. Kansas City voters didn't go for the plan on the ballot, but a year later, many people still want something to fill in the gap.

In some ways, the concept behind St. Louis Public Library’s Creative Experience makerspace, located at its downtown branch, sounds pretty simple: It’s a space dedicated to creating things. But as makers of all sorts of stuff know, it can be difficult to bring even the best ideas to fruition without the right tools.

That’s where Creative Experience comes in — providing studio-quality software and equipment to help bring many different kinds of projects to life.

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.

Sen. Dan Hegeman returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about Missouri’s finances and his proposal to change state legislative redistricting.

The Cosby Republican represents Missouri’s 12th Senate District, which takes in a huge swath of northwest Missouri. It's the largest Senate district in the state.

Winning the 2017 U.S. Women's Chess Championship has been the highlight of my chess career so far.

It was a wonderful moment that I was blessed to be able to share with my fiancé and — from afar — with my family, but it also was the saddest moment of my life, having just lost my mother a little over two months before the start of the event.

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