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Discovering Fundays and futbol

Aug 4, 2019

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 24, 2012 - The very worst thing I can say about the Sundays I spent watching La Liga Latino Americana de Futbol, was that I ate my steak tacos way too fast. They were so warm and delicious that I stubbornly ignored the slow burn creeping up my esophagus and into my nostrils until it was imperative that I find a cold drink and a tissue. I did this two weeks in a row; which says little for me and a lot for Rico’s Tacos.

What began as the tragic death of a young football player at Garden City Community College in western Kansas is now a matter for the United States Congress.

The bill filed Friday in the U.S. House would create a commission to prevent "exertional heatstroke deaths among high school and collegiate athletes"— the cause of death for 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth.

LaShanda Temple remembers how quiet the street was that night. It was about 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning this June, and she was leaving a gathering of friends near 31st Street and Benton Boulevard in Kansas City. 

"It was real mellow, you know. Not a lot going on. Not a lot of traffic," she says. 

LaShanda, 36, was about to get into the driver's side of a friend's car to go home when suddenly she heard the squeal of tires and saw headlights coming straight at her.

Some members of the St. Louis County Council want a 1,000-foot buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and schools, churches and day care centers.

A constitutional amendment that voters approved last year spells out parameters for facilities that grow, manufacture, test and sell medical marijuana. Included is language that allows local governments to place a 1,000-foot buffer zone between those places. But the planning commission is recommending a 500-foot buffer in unincorporated areas of the county.

Eric Meusch, who farms 240 acres just outside Rolla, didn’t have health insurance for seven years until he recently got another job.

“We signed up for a plan under the Affordable Care Act right when it was passed. But two years later, we couldn’t afford the premiums,” Meusch said, speaking to U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, on the porch of his home last week.

Updated 7:45 a.m. Aug. 4: When he was campaigning, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas often spoke of the need to fix the city's persistent problem with violent crime. Now, in the first days of his administration, he's facing the same stark reality that frustrated his predecessor, Sly James. 

"We've got a problem in Kansas City. I've been mayor for two full days, and we've got two homicides," Lucas said Saturday at a hastily called press conference that included Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

A new study says that fatal shooting cases are getting measurably more attention from police than non-fatal shootings. But one expert thinks giving fatal shootings more attention might not be the most efficient way to combat gun violence.

Fatal and non-fatal shooting cases often start the same way: A gun is fired; someone is hit.

But if someone is killed by those shots, the case gets handed off to the police department’s homicide unit.

Astry Sosa has a good job at Prier Products, a manufacturer of plumbing products, but she’s the first to admit that she’s never been able to save money.

“I could just never seem to make it stay in a single place, you know?” she says with a laugh. “I’d always talk myself into ‘Oh well, what’s $20 on something?’’”

So when the 25-year-old Sosa took over payments on a pickup truck her parents owned, it was tough.

Bayer has already started relocating some of the 500 workers it has committed to moving to the St. Louis area. The agricultural megabusiness expects to move the bulk of those positions over the next two years, said Liam Condon, president of the company’s crop science division.

“People are literally, physically moving now — this summer,” Condon said during a visit to the company’s agronomy center in Jerseyville, Illinois.

Kathi Dooley was set in her ways when it came to her looks and career; she knew what she loved and stuck with it. The longtime music director at Quincy Senior High School has a passion for helping students expand their artistic horizons, all while rocking the same hairstyle for more than 40 years. 

But all that changed last October when a former student of Dooley’s made a return to Quincy, Illinois, to switch up her routine. Jonathan Van Ness is a 2004 graduate of Quincy Senior High School, and he pitched for his beloved teacher, and her late 1970s mullet, to be featured on the hit Netflix series “Queer Eye.”

Updated at 5 p.m., Aug. 4 with response from Stenger's attorney —

Federal prosecutors say former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger should get the maximum prison term allowed — nearly four years — for a pay-to-play scheme that began even before he took office in 2015.

In a pre-sentencing memo filed Friday, prosecutors said Stenger, through his extensive criminal conduct, abused voters' "trust in a substantial and harmful way. He placed his own personal interests and political ambitions above all else, and engaged in a classic illegal pay-to-play scheme in order to fill his own political coffers to fuel his political campaigns.”

Last Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s office dropped a bombshell: a sentencing memo that offered an extraordinary glimpse of an unfiltered Steve Stenger. Captured on federal surveillance, the then-St. Louis County executive revealed himself as profane, vindictive and utterly mercenary.

But for Dr. Sam Page, who replaced Stenger as county executive on the very day that his criminal indictment became public in April, the sentencing memo’s look at the real Steve Stenger was nothing new. Once a Stenger ally, Page soured on his fellow Democrat years before his downfall — and said he wasn’t surprised by the details revealed in the memo.

Segment 1: A new program allows employees to get help with money through employers.

A new program available to Kansas City companies allows employees to use a benefits system that helps them save money, get access to low-interest loans and establish credit. It's offered in lieu of taking out payday loans, which can have high interest rates. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with our partners from Sauce Magazine about the latest additions to the St. Louis region’s food-and-beverage community. 

Joining her for the discussion were Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell, managing editor and staff writer, respectively.

A major Rails-To-Trails cycling project in eastern Jackson County, Missouri, that’s been years in the making is suddenly in limbo following a decision this week by the federal government.

On Wednesday, Jackson County stopped construction of the Rock Island bike trail after the federal Surface Transportation Board revoked the county’s authority to operate the one-time railroad corridor.

Young adults throughout the St. Louis area make up the St. Louis Story Stitchers artists collective. They aim to showcase the region’s culture through performance art, and they work to curb gun violence, which many members have grown up with.

Elyshya Miller’s son was 13 when she gave him the talk: racial profiling and what to do if the police approach him. 

It was a common occurrence, Miller said, because for about 15 years, her family was the only black family in her Blue Springs subdivision. 

Students in St. Louis are heading back to school in August, and for many, that could mean free school supplies.

The Monsanto Family YMCA at 5555 Page Blvd. will co-host the fifth annual Back-to-School Jam from 10 a.m.-2 p.m Saturday. The event, sponsored by several organizations, will give students books, backpacks and other school essentials.

“We want to make sure that every child in our community has the opportunity of success and making sure that they’re off to a good start when they come back to school,” said Marcus Wilson, executive director of the Monsanto Family YMCA.

In the neonatal intensive care unit, keeping fragile infants alive is the number one priority.

But new research from Washington University suggests doctors and parents should also consider the amount of background noise premature babies are hearing.

Special elections Tuesday in two St. Louis County Council districts will be critical in steering key legislative priorities through the 2020 election cycle.

While former state Sen. Rita Days is widely expected to capture the 1st District seat, neither party is taking any chances in the race for the 2nd District. Democrat Kelli Dunaway and Republican Amy Poelker are making a hard push for the north St. Louis County district that will determine which party controls the council. Republicans now hold a 3-2 advantage.

Though Langston Hughes began his writing career nearly a century ago, Anthony Bolden says Hughes continues to speak to the current social and political climate — better than most contemporary writers do.

"In many ways, the current group of writers, that is to say creative writers and scholars, have yet to offer meaningful critiques or explanations for why we’re experiencing some of the things that are happening, or to demonstrate a clear understanding of the critical problems that we face," Bolden says.

Jack Sock is back on his singles game, looking to rekindle a career that peaked in 2017 with a No. 8 world ranking, then sliding to 9-22 in 2018. 

An exhibition entitled "Pop America-1965-1975” at the Nasher Museum of Art on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina opened my eyes to the global impact pop art made on the art world.

A new online data and mapping tool went live today, and its creators hope municipalities in flood-prone areas will use it to plan for and respond to natural disasters.

The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior created an electronic portal in response to this year’s near-record flooding. The MRCTI Imagery and Information Viewer aggregates maps, weather forecasts and up-to-date data on floods and droughts — all information necessary for cities to better plan for natural disasters.

The St. Louis prosecutor is defending her authority to ask for a new trial for a man she says was wrongfully convicted of murder and armed criminal action 24 years ago.

Kim Gardner last month filed a motion for a new trial in the case of Lamar Johnson. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1995 for shooting and killing Marcus Boyd — a conviction that Gardner’s office argued was tainted by police and prosecutorial misconduct.

Segment 1: Former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, can be remembered for more than brick-and-mortar accomplishments

With his successor officially sworn in as mayor, Sly James has ended his eight years  at City Hall. His legacy goes beyond a convention hotel, a single-terminal airport and the streetcar. A panel of non-profit representatives spotlighted James' fights for a higher minimum wage, women's equality and literacy in young children. 

Working To Recover In Linwood, Kansas

Aug 1, 2019

'You could hear it coming. It sounded like a thunder that never stopped.'

The small town of Linwood, Kansas, was struck by an EF-4 tornado on May 28, 2019. In a live broadcast from the Community Library, local officials and residents recalled the moment the storm struck and what they did in the immediate aftermath.  They also addressed ongoing efforts to recover.

State Rep. David Wood is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Versailles Republican spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jaclyn Driscoll and Jason Rosenbaum about controversy in the state’s Medicaid program and other issues.

Wood was elected to Missouri’s 58th House District in 2012. He’s currently serving his final term in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, where he’s chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee for health, mental health and social services.

A new era of Kansas City, Missouri, government has officially begun.

Mayor Quinton Lucas and new city council members were sworn in on the 26th floor of City Hall on a gray, rainy Thursday morning. 

"For some people, clear blue skies are this beacon of good fortune, but for me rain is the thing I look for all the time," Lucas said, citing the downpour on the night he was elected in June.

One year ago a 19-year-old football player from New Jersey arrived in western Kansas to start his dream of playing in the pros. But after just one practice Braeden Bradforth was dead of exertional heatstroke, leaving his family devastated and Garden City Community College (GCCC) to explain how it happened.

“It's like nobody wasn't looking out for him,” said Joanne Atkins-Ingram, Bradforth's mother.

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