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Missouri News

Editor's weekly: Newtown raises tough questions for news organizations

42 minutes ago

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2012 - Dear Beaconites - News coverage of the horrific Newtown shooting has come in for scathing criticism -- and for good reason.

In the initial hours, reporters got key facts wrong -- the shooter's name, for example, and whether his mother was a teacher at Sandy Hook school. Another furor erupted over the ethics of interviewing children. Meanwhile, the speed and reach of social media magnified the misinformation and controversy.

Missouri waters are polluted with microplastics, small pieces of plastic smaller than a pencil eraser. 

Microplastics can come from large pieces of plastic that degrade into smaller pieces and consumer products, like toothpaste and cosmetics that contain microbeads. While research has shown that plastic pollution can threaten aquatic life, scientists are still trying to understand how microplastics could affect human health. 

Understanding the impact of microplastics starts by knowing how much is in local waters, said Rachel Bartels, co-founder of the nonprofit Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has signed executive orders aimed at beefing up ethics regulations. 

It’s part of Page’s continued response to his predecessor Steve Stenger’s resignation and impending incarceration on corruption charges.

Taxes were due roughly five months ago, but thousands of Missourians are still waiting to get their state refunds. 

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, 9,671 tax returns have been processed and are pending. That amounts to $20 million that the department has yet to pay out. There are an additional 12,791 tax returns in manual review and just over 7,000 that may be “intercepted by another state agency” for debt payments or other reasons. 

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

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske will talk with Comptroller Darlene Green about her outspoken views on airport privatization and a number of other city matters. As the city’s chief fiscal officer, she’s responsible for getting the bills paid – and ensuring the city’s long-term financial health.

The Kansas Board of Regents voted Wednesday to change the benchmarks for in-state students to attend the state’s six public universities, and class-rank requirements are out.

The move is meant to increase the number of Kansas high schoolers who are eligible to attend Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas. 

He brings us local news highlights with his primetime public affairs TV program each weekand his journalistic experience spans from the BBC to Kansas Public Radio. Nick Haines is rarely the one answering the questions, but today he shares an exclusive look at what makes KCPT's Kansas City Week in Review happen every Friday.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel “The Scarlet Letter,” Hester Prynne is publicly punished and branded with a red “A” for adulteress after having a child out of wedlock.

“It’s an old phenomenon, but it’s still happening today,” attorney E.E. Keenan told a Jackson County jury Wednesday morning.

Keenan made the statement in closing arguments following a three-week long trial pitting a longtime teacher at a Kansas City Catholic school against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph.

A crime commission is being formed in St. Louis County after a violent summer.

Reports say that County Executive Sam Page made the announcement Tuesday. The nine-member crime commission will coordinate the county's police, courts and jails in an effort to reduce crime. 

Page says he walked around the scene where a 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself Friday with an unattended firearm and asked himself, "Why is this happening?" Nearly two dozen children have been killed in shootings in the St. Louis metropolitan area so far this year.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has released the names of a 4-year-old boy and a 37-year-old man whose bodies were found this week in rural eastern Missouri.

The patrol said Wednesday that the child was Bentlee J. Turner and the adult was Monty Jason Barton. Both lived in the small town of Belle, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis.

Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday to determine the cause of death. The patrol says the investigation continues.

Americans spend an average of 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime. So what we do at work isn't separate from life. It is life. At a recent event hosted by Central Standard, people gathered to tell true stories from life on the job. We're sharing a few of those stories with you here.

The future of a proposed downtown office tower is now in the hands of a new city council torn between fulfilling a 15-year-old contract and protecting taxpayer money. 

The 25-story tower would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991. It would be built on a speculative basis — meaning it has no tenants lined up — on the southwest corner of 13th and Main, above current retailers like Yard House. 

On Wednesday, 1st District councilwoman Heather Hall summed up what several councilmembers were feeling. 

Like the rest of the country, Illinois residents will need to get REAL IDs if they want to continue to use their licenses or other state identification cards to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings starting late next year.

In March, the state started issuing REAL IDs in compliance with the security standards set by the 2005 REAL ID act. Compliant licenses are marked by a gold star in the top right corner of the card. 

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

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske will sit down to discuss a fast-food favorite of many Missourians: Lion’s Choice. 

The locally based chain was recently named the state’s best fast food by Food and Wine Magazine’s David Landsel, who cited its classic roast beef and fifty-cent cones. 

This story was updated at 2:03 p.m. with a comment from the school district.

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District alleging racial discrimination during the hiring of spokeswoman last year.

In the lawsuit, Danielle Nixon alleges she did not get the job because of her race. According to court documents, former Superintendent Dennis Carpenter “told the selection committee that he would never hire an African American female for that key role.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Begun in 1968 as a week-long recognition of the contributions of people with roots in Spanish-speaking countries, it was expanded to a month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.

The starting date recognizes five Latin American countries that declared their independence on Sept. 15 and 16, 1821: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Over the last three years, millions of dollars generated by COMBAT, the anti-drug and anti-violence sales tax in Jackson County, has been spent with little or no oversight, according to a new audit.

The COMBAT sales tax was approved by voters in 1989, and it has recently generated more than $20 million a year. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker commissioned the audit after she took over the agency in 2018.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2013 - On Tuesday, Vernon Hugh Bowman will be a long way from the small Indiana farm where he was born 75 years ago and still farms 300 acres. He will be in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the reach of Monsanto Co.'s patent to protect its Roundup Ready seeds.

Kansas City poet Jen Harris has 2,200 followers on Facebook, and she's open with them about her sexuality and her relationships. So they didn't hesitate to let her know when they saw her fiancée with someone else.

"People were messaging me on Facebook saying, 'Do you know your partner is at this bar with this person? Look.' It was pretty brutal," Harris says.

Ben DeClue wants to be invited to a very exclusive club.

The Benton Park resident joined more than 100 people who live in St. Louis in trying to join what’s known as the Board of Freeholders. If he makes the cut, DeClue will be part of a 19-person body that could present voters with a plan to end the so-called “Great Divorce” between St. Louis and St. Louis County — or offer nothing at all.

A St. Louis police officer has sued the city over the way he was treated while he was undercover during protests against police brutality.

Luther Hall was beaten by fellow police officers during a mass arrest of protesters in September 2017. He suffered serious injuries and has not returned to work. 

Here’s How Much St. Clair County Plans To Tax For Recreational Cannabis Sales

Sep 17, 2019

With recreational cannabis sales set to become legal in Illinois in 2020, St. Clair County officials are setting tax rates and eyeing where the new revenue might go.

The board voted to set tax rates on recreational sales at a special meeting of the county board Monday night with all attending board members voting in favor of the ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, sales can be taxed up to 3.75% in 0.25% increments for sales in unincorporated areas of St. Clair County and up to 3% in 0.25% increments in county municipalities.

Norman Seay, a civil rights warrior who joined the fight as a teenager and became both infantryman and general in two of the most significant civil rights battles in St. Louis history, has died. He was 87.

Seay was an idealistic high school student in the 1940s in St. Louis, one of the nation’s most relentlessly segregated cities, when he joined a discussion group for young people sponsored by the National Council of Christians and Jews. He was part of the group when it formed what evolved into the St. Louis arm of the Congress of Racial Equality — or CORE — to combat racism through nonviolent, direct action.

State Sen. John Rizzo is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.  The Democrat from Independence talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll.

A Johnson County, Kansas, resident has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the country’s leading electronic cigarette maker, Juul Labs, fraudulently concealed the addictive nature of its vaping products and misrepresented their safety.

Isaac Gant says he began vaping as a senior in high school four years ago and now is addicted to nicotine, suffers from respiratory problems, bouts of anxiety, coughing fits and the need to take frequent breaks at work to satisfy his nicotine cravings.

The president of the NAACP in the city of St. Louis says former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger may have violated federal law relating to minority contracting.

Adolphus Pruitt made the allegations at a news conference on Tuesday. He says he started looking into whether the county was following the rules after reading a letter the St. Louis County Council submitted to federal prosecutors as part of Stenger’s sentencing.

Segment 1: A Missouri man is free after spending 23 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.

With his newfound freedom, Ricky Kidd said he's excited to be a "responsible citizen and embrace the freedom that should have never been taken away from me in the first place." The Midwest Innocence Project attributes part of the failed system to an overworked public defenders office, and it's costing people like Kidd their lives.

Ever since the teams’ first meeting in Oakland, nearly 60 years ago, the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders has been considered one of the bitterest in the NFL. After this past Sunday it will never be quite the same. Commentator Victor Wishna explains why, in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

On Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs made what is most likely their final trip to Oakland for one last dance in the dirt.

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.


Segment 1: A new documentary explores the life of abstract expressionist painter Albert Bloch.

Albert Bloch lived the final decades of his life in Lawrence, Kansas. But at the height of his career, he was a member of a band of artists that helped create modernism in Europe.