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The Rundown: Poetry, Butterflies And Hard Realities

Missouri House Chamber
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI
The chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.

We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories.

Coming down to the wire

The Missouri legislature has just about a month to go before it adjourns. The next four weeks should speed by as the legislature takes up some of the most contentious issues.

Medicaid Expansion Stalled — But Not Dead — In Missouri Legislature

Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Missouri continue to work on swaying opponents in the General Assembly over to their side. While it appears they have a long way to go, and the clock is ticking on the legislative session, some key advocates say they may be close to turning the tide, at least when it comes to a scaled-back expansion that would be paired with reforms.

Five Questions To Ask In Legislative Session's Waning Weeks

With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved. That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes – or dies -- in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, the verdict is still out on some major  bills.

East West divide

Chesterfield, one of our region's largest, most prosperous and dynamic municipalities, is booming. St. Louis, the heart of our region, is trying to stem population decline and attract new residents and businesses. A healthy metro area needs both to thrive.

This Is Chesterfield: 'Bedroom' Community Experiences Business Boom

Chesterfield received plenty of attention recently when it snagged two high-profile festivals away from the city of St. Louis. But the hubbub over the Taste of St. Louis and Bluesweek’s exodus may be part of a larger story. Since its relatively recent incorporation in 1988, Chesterfield has boomed in population and established itself as a major commercial center. No longer a remote and largely rural community, Chesterfield has lured big corporations to set up shop and has established sizable retail developments.

What Would St. Louis Look Like With A Population Of 500,000?

St Louis on the Air talks with local architect Dan Jay, who  is conducting a thought experiment: What would the city look like if it regained a population of 500,000? (That would mean an increase of 185,000 residents). It's an idea that has caught the attention of Mayor Francis Slay.

Power of one

These stories are a testimonial to individual vision. There's Aaron Williams who is using his eccentric passion -- croquet -- to help instill the wonder of poetry in young students, like eighth-grader Kalise Harris, who in turn is turning difficult experiences into art.

Poetic Warriors: STL Seventh Graders Changing The World With Words

On Wednesday, 83 seventh-graders will perform an exercise in courage: reading their original poems at the Missouri History Museum in front of an audience. It’s the final event of the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation, called “Poetry on Their Own Terms.”

Credit Aaron Williams
A piece of croquet memorabilia.

STL Croquet Art May Be A Gateway For Seventh-Grade Poets Nationwide

When St. Louis attorney recruiter Aaron Williams became interested in croquet 30 years ago, it was about partying, not poetry. Getting some friends together to play croquet in Forest Park was just “something to do.”  But soon, croquet became a passion that grew to include collecting croquet-themed items. Now Williams hopes his assortment of 1,200 objects, including 275 framed pieces of art, can encourage middle-schoolers to put their feelings on paper. Williams is selling the collection to expand his 7th Grade Poetry Foundation.

Hate crimes

The suspected killer in the shootings in Overland Park, Kan., had a long and well-known history of anti-Semitic writings and statements.

KC Shooting Suspect No Stranger To Jewish Agencies Here

When Ellen Futterman heard the name of the man suspected of shooting three people to death at two Jewish agencies in suburban Kansas City, she thought back to a telephone interview she did in 2010. As part of her work on a series of stories about hate crimes published in the St. Louis Jewish Light and the St. Louis Beacon, Futterman, the Light's editor, spoke by phone to Frazier Glenn Cross, better known as F. Glenn Miller, an avowed anti-Semite, now charged in three hate-related murders in the Kansas City area.

A better way

Here's a brilliant idea -- treating the cause, not just the symptom.

New Take On Emergency Care: Christian Hospital Using Paramedics To Reduce 911 Calls

Christian Hospital is revamping the way it handles 911 calls. Besides dispatching an ambulance to the site of a perceived emergency, the system requires that a specially trained EMS worker also go to the scene to learn more about the 911 call. These workers decide whether 911 callers need emergency room care, or if they can get by with less intensive care for non-emergency problems.

Failing schools

Normandy Faces Big Deficits — If It Survives

Depending on how tuition calculations for transfer students are figured for the coming school year, the Normandy School District — if it still exists — could end the next school year with a deficit of as much as $11.7 million, district officials said Tuesday. Addressing the latest meeting of a task force formed to determine options for Normandy’s future, Mick Willis, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, presented four scenarios for the 2014-15 school year.

Butterfly blues

Credit Lincoln Brower

I'll never forget visiting Pismo Beach in California at the tail end of the Monarch's annual visit there. Thousands of butterflies were clustered in the trees -- and even back then park rangers were warning of the grand migration's possible end.

Saving The Monarch's Migration: A Conversation With Ecologist Lincoln Brower

Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey. By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico. Ecologist Lincoln Brower, who has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years, talked about the monarch's remarkable migration and the threats that may cause it to disappear.

Susan Hegger comes to St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon as the politics and issues editor, a position she has held at the Beacon since it started in 2008.