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Afternoon Newscast for December 8, 2020

Dec 8, 2020

Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

St. Louis County Police Chief Urged to Address Racism

Dec 8, 2020

O'Fallon, Mo. (AP) — A police association comprised largely of Black officers is urging St. Louis County’s police chief to address long-standing racial concerns within the department. The Ethical Society of Police, which was founded in 1972 to address racial bias, represents about 300 officers in the county and city of St. Louis. In a Monday letter to St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton, the society says it has waited since Barton became chief in April for evidence that she would take action.

KC Sees Record Virus Deaths; St. Louis Hospitals Filling

Oct 27, 2020

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis hospitals are filling up with coronavirus patients at an alarming rate, and experts say many of those patients are coming in from other areas of the state. Meanwhile, the Kansas City area over the past week recorded its highest number of deaths over a one-week period, with more than 80 people dying from COVID-19. Missouri is among several states across the U.S. seeing a spike in confirmed cases and hospitalizations related to the coronavirus. The state health department on Tuesday announced 1,695 additional confirmed cases and 28 more deaths.

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP)- A leading coronavirus expert in St. Louis is warning that hospital workers are "over-worked and demoralized" after months of battling the coronavirus, and the worst may be yet to come. Dr. Alex Garza of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says hospitalizations are getting higher and intensive care unit beds are filling up at a time when the flu season is about to create even more strain on the health care system. The St. Louis region is actually in better shape than the rest of the state.

Remains of Soldier Killed in Korean War to be Buried

Sep 14, 2020

The remains of a Missouri soldier who died nearly 70 years ago in the Korean War will be buried Thursday at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis County.

The burial plan for Jerome V. Hummel of St. Louis was announced by the Army on Monday. Hummel was a corporal who was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, after his unit was attacked by enemy forces. He was 23.

Remains turned over by North Korea in July 2018 were tested, including DNA analysis, and proved to be those of Hummel.

St. Louis and St. Louis County will ease stay-at-home orders later this month, but officials caution that the process will be slow for the area of Missouri most ravaged by the coronavirus.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced late Tuesday that public health restrictions would be reduced starting May 18. Page said Wednesday that the reopening process will be driven by metrics such as hospitalizations, ventilator usage and rises or falls in confirmed cases.

The Old Courthouse in St. Louis.
Tuce / Unsplash

A self-described advocate for police accountability is suing St. Louis for the release of police stop records that he believes could prove certain officers target black motorists but that he says the police department has refused to supply.

Black drivers in Missouri are 91% more likely than white motorists to be pulled over by police, according to a report released by Missouri’s attorney general this year. But the annual vehicle stops report does not include data on specific officers.

A top St. Louis law enforcement official has sparked outrage by remarking that not all of the area children who have been killed by guns this year were innocent victims.

While the children who were under 10 years old were innocent victims, some of the older slain children had been linked to illegal activity, St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said Thursday at an aldermanic committee meeting, expounding on what he said during an Oct. 3 interview on St. Louis Public Radio station KWMU's "St. Louis on the Air," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The St. Louis prosecutor's office has seen more than 100% turnover in the past 2 ½ years following a change in leadership.

Since Kimberly Gardner became circuit attorney, after campaigning to be a reformer, more than 65 prosecutors have quit or been fired, causing the office to lose a combined 470 years of experience prosecuting crimes in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

TUCE / Unsplash


A St. Louis police officer is accused of misconduct by the department's internal affairs division after he wrote a social media post about a particularly violent shift and allowed the local newspaper to publish part of it.

Emotions Run High at St. Louis Town Hall on Gun Violence

Aug 29, 2019

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several hundred people turned out for a town hall meeting to address rampant gun violence in St. Louis, and emotions boiled over.

Democratic U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay and the St. Louis Aldermanic Black Caucus hosted the event Wednesday at Harris-Stowe State University amid an upsurge in homicides in St. Louis. The city has already seen 134 killings this year, compared to 119 at the same time in 2018.

St. Louis Old Courthouse
Tuce / Unsplash

New census data shows that while Missouri's population rose slightly last year compared to 2017, more than 50 counties lost population.

Data released Thursday shows estimated county populations as of July 1, 2018, compared to the previous year. Missouri overall saw its population rise 0.3% to an estimated 6,126,452.

But the Census Bureau data shows that 52 of Missouri's 114 counties and the city of St. Louis lost population. Southeast Missouri in particular saw significant declines.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Join Anti-crime Effort

Apr 11, 2019

Five attorneys from the Missouri Attorney General's office are now turning their attention to violent crime in St. Louis, and a few more will soon take on similar tasks in Missouri's two other largest cities.

A swearing-in ceremony was Thursday for assistant attorneys general who will work as special assistant U.S. attorneys in St. Louis. It is part of the "Safer Streets Initiative," launched by Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen in January.

A Christopher Columbus statue in a St. Louis park is being called into question about a year after a Confederate monument was removed from another park in the city.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a commission will review whether the 130-year-old statue belongs in Tower Grove Park.

David Lauber is the park's director of development. He says the panel will include historians, art experts, and representatives of Italian-Americans and Native Americans in St. Louis.

Grounds of Gateway Arch Get a New Name

Feb 26, 2018

The grounds of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis will now be officially known as The Gateway Arch National Park.

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a bill that renamed the former Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Ameren Plans $11 Million Program to Add Charging Stations

Feb 22, 2018

 The St. Louis-based utility company Ameren plans an $11 million program aimed at creating about 1,200 charging station plugs for electric vehicles.

Ameren's "Charge Ahead" plan, detailed Thursday in a Missouri Public Service Commission filing, also calls for adding electrified vehicles, including forklifts, in commercial settings.

Some school districts in the St. Louis area are asking the community to help pay off student meal debt for families who can't afford daily lunches for their children.

More than 2,100 students in the Francis Howell School District collectively owe nearly $19,000 in their school lunch accounts. The district has asked community members to pitch in to a dedicated lunch debt fund, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

A black firefighters organization has settled its 2015 lawsuit against the city of St. Louis over disputed promotion examinations.

Disaster specialists are assessing flood and storm damage across Missouri in the wake of storms and severe flooding.

Gov. Eric Greitens said Wednesday that local, state and federal disaster specialists are working to determine the size and scope of the damage as part of the state's application seeking a federal disaster declaration.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Residents are being asked to evacuate a small Missouri town because the rain-swollen Missouri River is threatening to topple a nearby levee.

City officials are urging West Alton's roughly 500 residents to leave as heavy rain continues to hit the area about 20 miles north of St. Louis.

Another levee breached earlier Wednesday in Franklin County, southwest of the city, though the flooding affected mostly farmland.

St. Louis Arch
paparutzi / Flickr

St. Louis' city minimum wage could rise to $10 an hour starting next week now that the state's highest court won't reconsider its ruling upholding it.

The Missouri Supreme Court in February rejected claims by business groups that setting a wage higher than the state's $7.65 one would spawn regulatory confusion. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to revisit that, ending the issue.

The ordinance sets a $10-an-hour minimum wage in the city this year, climbing to $11 in 2018.

AP Photo

The shooting death of Michael Brown and the ensuing riots in Ferguson, Mo. altered the course of Tony Messenger's career. 

Along with colleague Kevin Horrigan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial writer was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015.  He's since become a metro columnist for the newspaper and continued to paint an unflinching portrait of race relations in St. Louis.  On this special edition of Global Journalist, Messenger speaks with guest host Joshua Kranzberg about his career and his award-winning coverage of St. Louis's racial divisions.

Torie Ross / KBIA

A state audit finds that a now-defunct suburban St. Louis municipal court illegally charged fees on dismissed cases and that police were collecting unlawful booking fees at the jail.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released findings Monday of the audit requested by Northwoods residents. That city has dissolved its municipal court and transferred cases to St. Ann under a courts consolidation push in St. Louis County.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

  Missouri Supreme Court judges are weighing arguments over the constitutionality of a law passed in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson that would cap the amount of revenue cities can keep from traffic fines and court fees.

A lawyer for several St. Louis suburbs told judges in the capital courthouse Wednesday that the law unfairly targets those cities.

The law limits most cities to 20 percent of their budgets. St. Louis County municipalities face a 12.5 percent cap.

Nathaniel Paluga / Wikimedia Commons

The chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is stepping down amid tensions from an exhibition that was criticized as racially insensitive.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jeffrey Uslip, who came to St. Louis in 2014, is leaving for another institution. Museum spokesman Eddie Silva declined to say where Uslip is going because that museum wants to announce the news itself.

The exhibit in question featured the work of artist Kelley Walker. Black artists criticized the choice and treatment of imagery showing 1960s black civil rights protesters and black women on magazines smeared in toothpaste and chocolate.

Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis / Wikipedia

 Journalists are expected to arrive at Washington University in St. Louis as early as Wednesday to cover the presidential debate.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that by the time Sunday's debate commences, as many as 2,000 news professionals will be in place.

Leaders from the Commission on Presidential Debates call this media turnout "unprecedented" compared to past election years. Debate officials say the boom of online-only news outlets has played a role in the high number of journalists covering the event.

Coldwater Creek in Hazelwood area turns milky white

Oct 3, 2016
uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is investigating after a suburban St. Louis creek that has already been the source of health concerns turned milky white.

KMOV-TV reports that Coldwater Creek in the Hazelwood area of St. Louis County was white Sunday morning, raising renewed concern from residents. The DNR says crews were sent to collect samples of the water.


  Videos obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provide new insight into a fatal 2011 police shooting that led to first-degree murder charges this year against a white officer, who was carrying a personal assault rifle.

Jason Stockley, who is white, was charged in May in the Dec. 20, 2011, death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man who was shot and killed after a chase.

A federal judge has prohibited the release of videos and police reports by lawyers who obtained it as part of a civil case.


  Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is sending findings from an investigation of a state House race to state and federal prosecutors to determine if charges are warranted.

A report from Kander's office Wednesday also said it "strongly encourages" the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office to review every absentee ballot cast in a contested Democratic primary for a St. Louis-area House seat.

At issue is incumbent Rep. Penny Hubbard's 90-vote win over political newcomer Bruce Franks.