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Missouri News

After Ricky Kidd spent decades in prison for a 1996 double murder in Kansas City, Missouri, he says he didn't commit, a DeKalb County judge has found Kidd innocent and ordered that he be freed from prison unless prosecutors pursue a new trial within 30 days.

The ruling comes a few months after Kidd was finally granted a hearing for a civil lawsuit against the state, which claimed that Kidd's custody is illegal because his conviction was illegally obtained.

His lawyers told KCUR in May this was Kidd's last chance at freedom.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, confirmed he spoke with President Donald Trump and his acting chief of staff just before the president backed off of his consideration of commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich' prison sentence.

Trump had brought up the idea while speaking to reporters on Air Force One while returning from a trip to El Paso, Texas last week.

CNN reported, Trump decided to back off after conversations with Bost and U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria. They also spoke with Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

A federal judge is holding the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas in contempt in connection with a burgeoning scandal involving recordings of confidential conversations between criminal defendants and their attorneys at a federal detention center in Leavenworth, Kansas.


When internationally renowned sitar master Ustad Imrat Khan died in St. Louis in November 2018, he left behind musical disciples who are determined to carry on the guru’s legacy. 

Four musicians who’ve applied Khan’s teachings to different styles of music from around the world will perform in a new ensemble Saturday at First Congregational Church of Webster Groves

Bandleader Todd Mosby steers the group into an innovative blend of eastern and western musical forms — a style so unusual, he needed to invent an instrument to play it.

Updated 2:30 p.m. August 4

After several hours of public testimony and discussion lasting well past midnight on Tuesday, a Shawnee City Council committee voted to move ahead with an ordinance protecting residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. City staff will now draft an ordinance to send to the full council for consideration.

This year’s catastrophic flooding has created hard times for many people in Midwest, but it’s created a nirvana for mosquitoes.

Kansas City and the surrounding region could potentially become a hotbed for mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile virus in the coming years due to increasing temperatures and more frequent flooding, which are predicted by climate experts.

Tonina Saputo is among the rising names in the local music scene, but her reach is far and wide. The St. Louis-raised musician has made the world her stage, performing throughout Europe and singing in both English and Spanish. Former President Barack Obama is a fan himself and placed her song “Historia De un Amor” on his best-of-the-year roundup. 

But for Saputo, it's her album that dropped in May that feels like the truest expression of herself as a musician. “St. Lost” was inspired by her time away from the Gateway City and represents a split from the producer-manager who gave her a big break.

St. Louis police say they are frustrated and angry that they are getting so little help in solving the murders of children.

Xavier Usanga, 7, became the city’s seventh homicide victim under the age of 17 this year when he was shot and killed Monday while playing outside in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Two other children have been shot and killed in cases that police are investigating as “suspicious sudden deaths.”

The mostly nondescript Building 2101 at Fort Leonard Wood was the home of the Black Officers' Club before the Army was desegregated in 1948. 

The building had been slated for demolition, but a preservation effort restored it. The goal is to honor African American soldiers who served in difficult times.

TOPEKA ― Aetna remains in hot water with the state of Kansas, which recently threatened to cancel the company’s Medicaid contract.

The lines of students snaking through the hall of the Affton preschool were squiggly.

It will take some practice, just like how to use the bathroom and wash hands before returning to play time. 

Everything was new for the 200 students Tuesday morning for their first day at the Early Childhood Center in Affton. 

The chancellor is the chief academic, administrative, and budgetary officer of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Tom George has held the post for the past 16 years. He is retiring Sept. 1.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with George about what he hopes to see in the university’s future.

Segment 1: New distilleries revive the past, with a twist.

Why was 9th street, in the West Bottoms, once known as the "wettest block"? Why did a spirits industry thrive here in the 19th century and then fade even before Prohibition? And what's it like to ride the slide at the new East Bottoms facility for J. Rieger & Co.?

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum reflect on the rise and fall of former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

The Democratic official was sentenced to 46 months in prison last week for his role in a pay-to-play scheme. He’s been the subject of public scorn after a sentencing memo detailed vulgar and boorish comments about his political enemies.

As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris clashed in the Democratic presidential debates over the issue of busing, viewers may have thought of these programs as being in the past. That’s not the case in St. Louis — the city has the longest-running and largest desegregation program in the nation. 

Now in its 38th year, the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation has bused more than 70,000 inner-city black students to predominantly white schools in the suburbs – and has also allowed white students living in the county to attend magnet schools in the city. It entails long bus rides as well as necessary but not always comfortable adjustment to new social circles.

Segment 1: Could opportunity zones change the landscape of investment in Kansas City?

As part of the bipartisan 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones encouraging private investment in distressed areas have been identified in every state. We get an explainer on how it works, along with on-the-ground insights into how the five opportunity zones in Kansas City, Missouri might stand to benefit. 

Segment 1: Application numbers for growing medical marijuana in Missouri are below expectations

With only a few days left to submit the required paperwork, there are less than 100 applicants for the 60 cultivator licenses Missouri is ready to award. A panel of those involved in working to supply medical marijuana dispensaries by spring 2020 explain what goes into creating the state's regulations and what hopeful cultivators have already done to be considered.

Updated Wednesday at 10:20 a.m. —

A man was killed by Kansas City, Kansas, police after a shootout near the Legends shopping center Tuesday morning. 

Feral hogs are causing major damage to the Mark Twain National Forest.

The animals dig up grasslands and crops, they eat eggs and baby wildlife, and scratching an itch on their backs can literally strip the bark off a tree.

Hunters want a chance to help out with this menace that can weigh over 200 pounds and produce 40 to 50 offspring a year. But the National Forest Service is considering outlawing feral hog hunts on public land in the Mark Twain.

Nearly 30 Irish businesses have a presence in Missouri, but local government and business leaders in the state want to see more.

The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Missouri Partnership on Monday released a handbook on investing in Missouri. They want to provide Irish businesses with resources and mentors so more will consider expansion in the region.

St. Louis Public Radio presents its inaugural Photojournalism Prize, a photography contest open to area high schoolers and culminating in a juried, public exhibition opening on Friday, November 8.

Segment 1: While the rest of the nation has seen a decrease in the number of drug overdose deaths, Missouri and Kansas have seen a rise.

In 2018 death by drug overdose declined 4.2% in the United States, but Missouri saw an increase of 17% while Kansas saw a 5.6% rise. Public health officials from each side of the state line offer their thoughts on what was behind the respective upswings.

To describe the St. Lou Fringe Festival as a theater event is something of a misnomer. There are plenty of actors, playwrights and other theater professsionals involved in the annual six-day-long extravaganza that gets underway this Tuesday. But there are also poets, dancers, performance artists, sculptors, burlesque performers and improv acts.

This year’s offerings also run the gamut with pieces by established and experienced playwrights as well as emerging artists and previously untested work. That’s by design, according to organizer Matthew Kerns.

“The idea of a fringe festival is that it is uncensored and unjuried,” the executive director of the festival told St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s show. “We offer opportunity where opportunity is not given anywhere else in this region. So if you have a piece of work that you are passionate about that is very experimental, we are the place for that to be done.”

"How has the death of Michael Brown Jr. impacted your life?" That's among the questions that the St. Louis Public Radio community and people throughout the region have been pondering in recent days in light of the five-year anniversary of the Ferguson protests. The answers are myriad, but Olajuwon Davis’ certainly stands out in the crowd: He’s spent most of his life since that time in prison.

How and why Davis’ life changed so drastically in the wake of Brown’s death is the focus of a newly published report by the Riverfront Times’ Danny Wicentowski. In it, Wicentowski details everything from the moment Davis, then a member of the New Black Panther Party, first became active in Ferguson to his arrest and conviction in an FBI sting for “planning and conspiring to ignite explosive devices” among other charges. Prosecutors would allege he and his alleged co-conspirator Brandon Baldwin sought to blow up the Gateway Arch.

In a single phone call on an afternoon in June, Superintendent Kent Sherrow learned that his Iron County C-4 School District would lose nearly a quarter of its budget. Doe Run Mining Company had contested its property tax assessment, lopping off more than $1 million from the Ozark school district’s revenue.

“It’s not the same district it was a year ago,” Sherrow said. “Right now, our whole district is in a situation where we’ve got to catch our breath and get our feet back under us.”

Last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch unveiled a new online comment system. Declaring its old Facebook-based model broken, the daily newspaper explained that community moderation and a scoring system for commenters would give greater prominence to readers who “consistently drive positive conversation.”

On Tuesday, Post-Dispatch reader engagement editor Beth O’Malley joined us in studio on St. Louis on the Air to discuss how the new system is working and the difficulties of keeping online conversation civil in an angry age. Lindsay Toler, the digital engagement producer for St. Louis Public Radio, also joined the show. 

Since 2016, Missouri has received more than $65 million in federal grants to provide treatment and recovery services to people addicted to opioids.

The money has provided thousands of people with addiction medication, counseling and residential services. But the latest grant cycle expires in September 2020, and addiction treatment providers are uncertain if Congress will approve funding after that. With Missouri’s opioid-related death toll rising each year, advocates say funding for medical treatment is more important than ever.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway officially launched her 2020 gubernatorial bid on Monday morning, emphasizing her record as Missouri’s lone Democratic statewide official and criticizing how a GOP-controlled government has operated.

While Galloway will likely have little competition capturing the Democratic nomination for governor, in the general election, she will be dealing with an electorate that leans toward the GOP and the incumbent's financial advantage.

More than 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will gather in downtown St. Louis next weekend as part of a convention at The Dome at America’s Center.

The three-day event called Love Never Fails begins on Friday.

Destini Hutson spent much of her childhood picturing what life would be like when her dad came home.

Over time, her plans turned to the practical: teach him how to use an iPhone, help him find a job, go to Chick-fil-A together.

“‘It’s a lot that you’re going to have to learn,’” Hutson told her dad, Donald, who went to prison in 1997 when she was still a baby.

Those plans came to a halt last September, when Donald Hutson died of a drug overdose at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific. He’s one of more than 430 inmates who have overdosed in state prisons since May 2017, according to internal data from the Missouri Department of Corrections. While there are many ways drugs are smuggled into prisons, DOC employees say internal corruption is a key part of the problem.

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