Missouri News | KBIA

Missouri News

Predominantly black neighborhoods in the St. Louis region where poor people live have a much higher exposure to carcinogenic air pollution than white middle-class neighborhoods, according to a study from Washington University. 

Researchers analyzed the Environmental Protection Agency’s data on risk of cancer from air pollutants, like ozone, among census tracts in the St. Louis metropolitan area. In the journal Environmental Research, scientists reported that the risk was five times higher for census tracts that had mostly black residents and high levels of poverty than for areas with white middle-class residents.

Updated Nov. 21 with information about the winner.

The winner of the $1 million Opus Prize was named Thursday evening at St. Louis University. 

The Opus Prize Foundation selected Sister Catherine Mutindi as this year’s winner for her work toward ending child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I'm so grateful. Thank you is not enough, and yet that is the only word I can use,” Mutindi said.

Moscow Ballet is a Russian ballet company that has toured the U.S. and Canada during the holiday season since 1993. This year marks the 27th annual North American tour of the ensemble’s "Great Russian Nutcracker," "Swan Lake," "Romeo and Juliet," and other classic Russian ballets. 

St. Louisans will get the chance to watch the ballet classics Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and performing alongside the Russian-trained classical dancers will be local ballet students. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will investigate whether a waste incinerator is poisoning people in Sauget.

A federal agency within the CDC is expected to announce Wednesday it will conduct a preliminary investigation into “potential health hazards” from pollution near the Veolia North America-Trade Waste Incineration facility.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry plans to determine if the Sauget incinerator is causing heavy metal poisoning.

Seven Kansas City Public School district employees falsified student attendance records for three years from 2013 to 2016, according to a summary of an external investigation made public by the district.

The issue was most prominent in the 2015-2016 school year, boosting attendance data which resulted in additional state funding.

Gov. Mike Parson says his biggest success so far as the state’s chief executive is passing legislation that expanded Missouri’s workforce development program and repaired scores of bridges. 

And after roughly a year and a half in office, he says there’s been little disappointment.

EDWARDSVILLE — Metro East cities that want to allow cannabis-related businesses are starting to decide where these establishments can set up shop in their communities.

The Edwardsville City Council made its decision Tuesday night when it voted 7-0 to establish new zoning rules and other restrictions for cannabis businesses that may come to the city. 

The Ozark region has modernized slowly over time, and that’s allowed for the preservation of its traditional culture. To help shed light on what the region has to offer, seventh-generation Ozarker Kaitlyn McConnell started the Ozarks Alive website, fueling her “night-and-weekend obsession” with learning about the places and people that make up the region she calls home. 

“It is true that most 20-somethings don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the historical significance of these hills,” she writes on her website. “Some might blame my love (or obsession, according to others) with this region on my blood. Seven generations of my ancestors have called the Ozarks home, and I’m proud of that connection.” Her posts showcase its history, its unique businesses and different profiles of people. 

After frequently being asked for suggestions of places to explore in the region, McConnell knew she had to use the wisdom she’s accumulated over the years to curate a book. She titled it “Passport to the Ozarks.” 

Updated at 1:45 p.m. Friday with additional delay

The city of St. Louis still does not have members of the Board of Freeholders.

The Intergovernmental Affairs committee failed again Friday to take any action on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nominees to the board, which could consider changing governance in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is backing legislative efforts to make carjacking a state crime, and to lift the requirement that some St. Louis police officers live in the city.

“We are offering two solutions to two problems we know exist,” Schmitt, a Republican, said Tuesday at a news conference in St. Louis. “We need tougher sentencing for carjackings. And we have a police officer shortage. So let’s open up the talent base.”

Though its Medicaid contract is still at stake, Aetna Better Health is making progress, Kansas lawmakers and state regulators said this week. 

“There has been a good response from them,” Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Lee Norman told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday.

In a move that caught police officers and supporters of the Kansas City Police Mounted Unit off guard, the department Tuesday disbanded the unit.

Chief Rick Smith told the Board of Police Commissioners that a recent consultant's report suggested the homicide unit needs eight more detectives. To get to the recommended number, KCPD is moving the mounted officers back to regular patrol, so eight investigators can eventually move to the homicide unit.

MGP Ingredients Inc., a leading producer of distilled spirits and specialty proteins and starches, has agreed to pay a fine of $1 million in connection with a toxic chemical release at its plant in Atchison, Kansas, three years ago.

St. Louis officials released a plan late Monday to generate 100% of the city’s energy from wind and solar power by 2035. 

Environmental lawyers and advocates who worked on the report recommended making buildings more energy efficient, increasing solar panel installation and purchasing wind energy. 

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, who sponsored the board’s 2017 clean energy resolution, said achieving the resolution’s goal would benefit the economy.

Community activists in St. Louis are trying to persuade black people to register to vote by reminding them of voter suppression efforts across the country.

Organizers held the first meeting for the initiative We Are The Change this week to kick off voter engagement efforts across the city and St. Louis County. 

The initiative aims to convince those who have long thought that the system does not work for them that their votes can make a difference, said Justin Idleburg, who founded We Are The Change.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced the launch of the state’s new youth vaping education campaign to bring attention to the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping products. 

Parson signed an executive order in October giving the departments of Health and Senior Services, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Public Safety one month to get the program running without any additional funding. 

Each month, our partners at Sauce Magazine join us to hash out some of the top food and drink additions to the region. But 2019 has said its fair share of goodbyes to notable establishments in the St. Louis, from the tragic fire that shut down Goody Goody Diner to the closing of Piccione Pastry on the Delmar Loop after a seven-year run.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sauce’s managing editor Catherine Klene and artistic director Meera Nagarajan joined the program to talk through some of the closings patrons miss most. 

Police asked hunters to be on the lookout for evidence in the case of a missing Chinese woman as deer season began in Missouri. 

The Columbia police department said in a news release that hunters should remain vigilant while out in rural areas as the search continues for Mengqi Ji Elledge. 

She’s been missing since last month, and her husband, Joseph Elledge, has been identified as a suspect. The couple has a 1-year-old daughter.

Updated at 4:27 p.m., with comments from Mont Levy, chairman of the Regional Arts Commission — Felicia Shaw, executive director of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, resigned today.

The organization announced Shaw’s departure Monday and named Celia Hosler as interim executive director. Hosler, former chief operating officer of COCA, will start immediately.

Shaw could not be reached for comment. RAC officials gave no reason for her departure.

Copyright 2019 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For two years, Jeff Jensen has been the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, serving as the St. Louis area’s top federal law enforcement officer. Jensen’s office handles everything from racketeering cases to civil forfeiture — and, under Jensen, has made violent crime in St. Louis a particular focus.

That direction has come from his bosses in the U.S. Department of Justice, Jensen explained Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. He said the prosecutors on his staff have seized the mandate. 

Still, the crime rate in St. Louis has remained high.  

Hip-hop violin duo Black Violin performed their final concert of the year last night at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Concertgoers danced and vibed to a setlist fused with what Black Violin crafts well — classical music and hip-hop.

Violinist Kevin Sylvester, also known as Kev Marcus, and violist Wilner Baptiste, also known as Wil B., make up the group. They released their new album “Take the Stairs” earlier this month. PBS described the pair as “two former high school orchestra nerds who use their love of Bach and Beethoven to reimagine classical music and connect with new audiences.”

The classically trained musicians joined Sarah Fenkse on St. Louis on the Air alongside St. Louis artist Brandon McCadney, known as Mad Keys. McCadney is classically trained in violin and plays the piano. 

Missouri officials are stepping up enforcement of laws that ban selling vaping products to minors.

The move is part of a state campaign launched Monday to deter young people from vaping. Missouri’s health department so far has reported two vaping-related deaths.

Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents are prioritizing inspections at stores that sell vaping products. The division’s state supervisor, Dottie Taylor, says about 83% of stores are currently checking identification cards and refusing sales to minors.

Holes punched in walls. Car headlights smashed. Windows broken. Weapons, threats, sexual comments. Children who can’t live with other children. Children whom foster parents won’t take in. Children who aren’t able to get the mental health care they desperately need.

Kansas foster care contractors and parents say all of these situations have become more common — and more risky — since 2017, when the state made sweeping changes to the juvenile justice system. The changes, they say, removed options for dealing with foster children who have high needs and violent behaviors.

State Rep. Becky Ruth joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum on the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

Ruth represents a portion of eastern Jefferson County, which includes the cities of Festus, Herculaneum, Pevely and Hematite. The Festus Republican is the first woman to ever lead the House Transportation Committee.

It’s been one of the wettest years on record in Kansas City. With climate change, the likelihood of heavy rainfall is expected to increase, as are flash floods. And cities are starting to realize their infrastructure is not up to snuff. 

Kansas City faced that reality about 10 years ago, when the Environmental Protection Agency mandated the city replace its 100-year-old sewer system after multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.

Segment 1: If Kansas City wants to go green, we have to drive less. Can we do it?

Transportation is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, with most of that coming from cars and trucks, but how realistic is it to expect people to break up with their cars in a city that was built for the automobile?

Segment 1: 2019 report shows black Kansas Citians are still separate and unequal.

By comparing things like poverty and homeownership rates by race, a report from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City found black people are only 73% as equal as whites in Kansas City. The report is released every few years, and is used to educate community members and elected oficials about progress in economics, education and social justice. 

Black residents of Kansas City are still "separate and unequal," according to the latest report from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.

The 2019 State of Black Kansas City, from the Urban League in collaboration with local law, policy, health and education experts, measures the racial gap in areas such as economics, criminal justice and education. Based on statistical analyses of factors such as the median net worth for black versus white households and the rate of homeownership, the report found the equality index for black Kansas Citians is only 73% of their white counterparts.

Jennings school students who are homeless and need a ride to school are arriving the way many suburban kids do: by minivan.

The small north St. Louis Country district of about 2,500 students began using minivans this fall to transport about two dozen homeless students to school. In the past, Jennings ordered up a fleet of taxi cabs. By switching to vans it owns, the district cut its transportation budget in half, improved attendance and reduced the stigma of showing up to school in a cab, administrators said.

Pages