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Caitlin Morton used to dread Valentine's Day.

That was before she met Sudiebelle Hare, a Kansas City artist who regularly paints colorful circles on canvas at events and music festivals and, until recently, sold her artwork on First Fridays from a regular spot on the sidewalk across from Grinder’s in the Crossroads.

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. 

Segment 1: Missouri Republicans want to see a "Cleaner Missouri" version of an initiative voters passed in 2018.

Missouri Republicans argue that Amendment 1, also known as Clean Missouri, is biased when it comes to drawing legislative boundaries, and that the state's Democratic Party will get an unfair number of seats in the General Assembly. Now, a so-called "Cleaner Missouri" proposal has been introduced. Proponents say it will not only expand upon some of the original initiative's language, but it will also make redistricting more fair. 

“I was stunned. I was gobsmacked. I had never expected anything like this.”

That’s how Sarah Bryan Miller, classical music critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, recalls feeling when she heard that British composer Judith Bingham would compose a new work in her honor.

Miller’s high praise for the piece never made it to print — and it won’t. The critic attended a private performance last September. This Sunday will be the first public performance of the choral anthem. And Miller won’t be writing the review.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. Feb. 10, with details of Lt. Keith Wildhaber's $10.25 million settlement with St. Louis County

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar will retire April 30 after 34 years with the department, six as chief

“It has been an honor to work with and for the women and men of the St. Louis County Police Department,” Belmar said in a statement released Monday. “The dedication, sacrifice, and bravery of those that work for this department is unmatched. The citizens and businesses of St. Louis County deserve nothing but the best, and I firmly believe they receive that from us every day.”

He was not available for any additional comment Monday, according to the department.

It's a cold and windy January morning in Boonville, Missouri, and Thomas Talent has driven close to an hour to Pinnacle Regional Hospital for an appointment. The only problem: the hospital closed suddenly the day before.

The Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District may recommend that its institutions consider consolidating services to save money. 

ZMD leaders will launch its shared services project this year. It will include a comprehensive review of the services and utilities used by each of its subdistricts. They include the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Science Center.

“Of that almost 11,000 vendors, only 6% of the services are supplied to two or more institutions together,” said J. Patrick Dougherty, Zoo Museum District executive director. “It seems like there’s plenty of opportunity for joint services.”

COLLINSVILLE — The first month of recreational marijuana sales at Illinois Supply and Provisions brought hordes of people and their vehicles to a store that didn’t have enough parking for them. 

The dispensary reserved its 45-space parking lot for medical patients and handicapped recreational customers. A maze of metal barriers occupied the spaces directly in front of the store to contain crowds of people wanting to buy recreational cannabis. 

Running a new school is not all that different from any other startup business. There are surprises, pivots and changes.

Kairos Academies, an independent public charter school, is navigating its first year with two young, ambitious co-founders and an education philosophy unlike any other in St. Louis public school offerings.

Americans are divided on lots of issues. But a new national survey finds that people across the political spectrum agree on at least one thing: Our health care system needs fixing.

The “Hidden Common Ground” survey from Public Agenda, USA Today and Ipsos found that 92 percent of Americans say changes are needed.

ROLLA — More than $60 million in grants and low-interest loans is headed to Missouri as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to increase broadband internet access in rural areas.

Six businesses are receiving the grants to install fiber optic internet lines that will bring high-speed service to areas that have little to no access.

Gascosage Electric Cooperative is one of those businesses. It provides electricity to rural areas of Camden, Maries, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski counties in south-central Missouri. This grant is part of its entry into the internet service provider market.

It's hard to tell who has a gun at Fellowship of Wildwood church.

The men stand silently at the edge of the crowd, as worshippers shrug off their heavy winter coats and sip from paper coffee cups before the Sunday service.

Nicknamed the "sheepdog ministry," the group of about a dozen volunteers provide armed protection for congregants at the Baptist church west of St. Louis.

In its annual scorecard ranking the strength of state gun laws, the gun control advocacy group Giffords boosted ratings for a handful of states in the Midwest and West, most of which have traditionally been home to a strong gun rights culture.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released its scorecard Thursday, touting six states that received higher grades:

Kansas City hip hop artist and producer Justin "Info Gates" Gillespie, 39, died unexpectedly at the end of January. Those who loved him are reeling but not at a loss when explaining how Gillespie will live on.

"He was not shy about uplifting people in whatever way possible," says Kemet Coleman, a member of the Phantastics and a friend of Gillespie.

Listen to this episode of A People's History Of Kansas City, a new podcast from KCUR 89.3. For more stories like this one, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.

In the center of downtown Kansas City, Kansas, between the public library and government buildings just off Minnesota Avenue, sits a two-acre cemetery.

The sign reads "Huron Indian Cemetery," but it’s also known as the Wyandot National Burying Ground and has long been a sacred place for members of the Wyandot Nation.

The Kansas House of Representatives has stopped — at least temporarily — an all-out push by anti-abortion groups for a constitutional amendment that they say is needed to maintain the state’s ability to regulate the procedure.

Supporters fell four votes short Friday of putting an amendment on the August primary ballot to overturn a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision that declared abortion a "fundamental" right under the state's Bill of Rights.

Internal affairs investigators concluded that St. Louis County jail staff repeatedly didn’t listen to inmates who said they were sick and could have done more to treat the men before they died while in custody last year.

The investigators criticized the jail staff’s actions in the days and hours before the inmates died, according to reports that were released by the county this week. 

The internal affairs investigators wrote that the jail’s nurses and correctional officers responded to one inmate’s health crisis “without a sense of urgency” and violated another inmate’s “right to health care” by not responding to his medical needs.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas House narrowly rejected a constitutional amendment Friday that would have said there’s no right to abortion in the state constitution.

After the defeat, Republican leaders promised this “was just the beginning.”

“Don’t be surprised when it comes up again because it will come up again this session,” House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins said after the vote.

The final count was 80-43, just short of the 84 votes needed to put the issue on a statewide ballot vote where Kansans could reject it or add it to the state constitution.

Updated, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11: Hickman Mills Superintendent Yolanda Cargile is leaving her post to take the top job in the neighboring Center School District. 

Cargile announced her resignation in a letter sent to Hickman Mills parents last week.

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum take stock of the events that made headlines this week.

At the top of the list is the release of state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit of Josh Hawley’s tenure as attorney general — which had made waves in Jefferson City several weeks before it was publicly released.

School districts and churches in Kansas City, Missouri, will no longer have increased power to keep liquor stores and bars out of neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council unanimously passed an ordinance saying that churches and school districts have the same level of input as homeowners and other property owners when it comes to approvals for new bars and restaurants.

Previously, bars and restaurants selling liquor could not open within 300 feet of a school or church without the consent of those schools or churches.

Medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, but some of the region’s largest hospital systems aren’t allowing their physicians to certify patients to use it. 

SSM Health will allow certifications for some patients. Mercy hospitals have announced a blanket ban on medical marijuana certification. BJC Healthcare, which includes Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, is still formulating its policy. 

“A lot of hospitals have decided, 'We’re not going to certify, because then nobody can tell us we’re doing anything wrong,'” Missouri Hospital Association General Counsel Jane Drummond said.

Tim Bono knows what will make you happier. And it may not be what you think. “[T]he common denominator of happiness has a lot to do with the denominator itself,” writes the Washington University lecturer in psychological and brain sciences. “The happiest young adults craft lives that ensure that what they want doesn’t get larger than what they have.”

But as Bono explains in his book, “Happiness 101,” it’s not about keeping expectations low. It is about keeping them realistic — and remembering what you have by practicing gratitude.

It's February, the month that we shine a light and salute our African American friends in their history and contributions to society, and boy does St. Louis have a lot of people to salute in the arts.

Segment 1: Why the Shawnee Mission School Board authorized controversial teacher contract.

Failed contract negotiations between teachers and administrators in the Shawnee Mission School District resulted in the district's Board of Education unilaterally approving a three-year contract. Members of the school board explained some of the complexities of the situation and discussed what options remain for teachers.

City support for the Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis took a small step forward Friday, with the introduction of bills outlining the financing and development plans.

“Major League Soccer could be huge for the city of St. Louis,” said Lewis Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the lead sponsor of the two bills. “We know just by the initial matches at Busch Stadium that there’s a huge appetite for Major League Soccer.”

Segment 1: A key player in Kansas City's hip hop community died unexpectedly.

In addition to being a producer for Ces Cru, Justin "Info Gates" Gillespie started the Beat Academy of Kansas City at the Plaza Academy, touching a lot of teens. Now the hip hop community is banding together to carry on his legacy and make sure those teens will continue to be supported.

Increasingly more companies, organizations and governmental entities are establishing formal units focused on diversity and inclusion — the St. Louis County Police Department is one recent example in the bi-state region. But even as awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion grows, it can sometimes seem like something that all too often gets stuck at the level of lip service rather than leading to real change.

Webster University is aiming to move the needle “From Conversation to Action” over the course of its four-day Diversity & Inclusion Conference set for Feb. 24-27. All of the sessions are free and open to the public, with journalist and former NPR host Michele Norris, founder of The Race Card Project, giving the keynote address.

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.

Missouri agriculture officials are struggling to address a backlog of complaints from farmers who allege that dicamba-based herbicide drift from another farm has damaged their crops. 

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has about 600 pending pesticide investigations. Some of them date back to 2016, the year that Bayer-owned Monsanto began selling its dicamba-tolerant soybeans. 

State legislators are considering a budget request the state agriculture agency made last week to hire more staff to help address complaints.

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