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   An important healthcare safety net in St. Louis is laying off more than half its staff.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis ConnectCare has issued 60 day layoff notices to 88 employees, including nurses and other medical personnel.  The non-profit organization runs an outpatient clinic at the former St. Louis Regional Medical Center and provides outpatient specialty medical services for the poor.  

   ConnectCare CEO Melody Eskridge told the Post that about 60 percent of the patients they serve are uninsured and about 23 percent receive Medicaid.  She says ConnectCare must reorganized because for financial reasons.

   Both Eskridge and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay say the Missouri Legislatures failure to expand Medicaid is at least partly to blame for ConnectCare's bleak financial outlook.   

Published in Local News

   A triple shooting just blocks away from a neighborhood crime summit Monday night is reinforcing the message that residents and police have to work together to combat violence in the City of St. Louis.  

   Police Chief Sam Dotson was on his way to the summit hosted by Better Family Life when he was called to the 4500 block of Evans where two men and a woman were shot.  

   Chief Dotson says there were several people outside in the area when a lone gunman approached the porch of a home and opened fire, but some of the witnesses aren't cooperating.  "So it makes it very hard when we come to a scene, when we have information that we're looking for, and even family members aren't cooperating," Dotson said.

   Cooperation was the message at the crime summit attended by the Chief, Mayor Francis Slay and about 200 residents.  Better Family Life founder Malik Ahmed was cheered when he told the crowd that regular citizens need to get involved in order to bring peace to the streets.  "Our community cannot afford to have a negative relationship with the police," Ahmed said.

  All three of the shooting victims are in critical condition.  
   
   Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 866-371-TIPS. 

 

Published in Local News

   Recent efforts to curb crime are working.  That's according to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson when he spoke with hundreds of people who gathered at the Demetrious Johnson Center for a town hall meeting Thursday night.  

   Mayor Francis Slay was also there along with several parents of murdered children.  All seemed to agree that keeping the dialog going was critical to fighting violent crime in the city.  

   Chief Dotson says a total of 56 people have been murdered in St. Louis in 2013, 10 fewer than by this time last year. He credits a recent surge of ATF agents in the city with taking more than 200 criminals of the streets.

Published in Local News

   Local leaders have put out the call to those in need and to those who can help. Cool Down St. Louis and Ameren kicked off their annual summer program to keep elderly and disabled St. Louisans safe from the deadly heat.

   Ameren donated the first 240 air conditioners with the hope that more units will be donated and more money raised to assist the most vulnerable members of the community.

   St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says donations are critical to this program's success.  "It is important to note that eventually, all the funds will be exhausted this year," Slay said.  "And remind you that 100 percent of proceeds, 100 percent of private donations go directly to helping someone in need. There are no administrative costs that come out of our donations."  

   For more information about donating an air conditioning unit or giving a monetary donation, log on to  CoolDownStLouis.org.

 
Published in Local News

During his reelection campaign, Mayor Slay unveiled the first Sustainability Plan for St. Louis. The Mayor also presented a 29-point agenda to implement the plan.

Many questions remain: What is sustainability? How can the city become more sustainable? How can the public help?

KTRS' Colin Jeffery spoke to city officials about those concerns and will present their answers during a week-long series.

"Ultimately, it's making St. Louis cleaner, healthier, more vibrant, more fun and safer." That is how Mayor Francis Slay defines sustainability.

The Mayor is taking the lead on the effort, but creating a sustainable city requires a team effort. He brought in Catherine Werner to captain the effort. She serves as the city's first ever Sustainability Director. She tells me sustainability goes beyond just thinking 'green'. "We're were talking about not just the environmental aspects but also from the social and economic realms", says Werner. 

The next step in promoting the plan was to take on strategic partners in the private sector. That is when the city turned to Washington University and their sustainability director Phil Valko, "We are working to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability to future generations to meet their needs at the same quality of life or better"

So what is sustainability? It's a multifaceted approach to make the city of St Louis and the region at large a better place to live now and down the road.

On Wednesday we will look at how teams are coming together to solve the problem in any urban area--what to do with vacant lots.

 

 

Published in Local News

An abandoned factory in the city's near north side will house veterans and ex-offenders who are clients of St. Patrick's Center which helps the homeless.

 A grand opening and tours of the new low-income housing called St. Louis Stamping Lofts will be this afternoon.  The 56 lofts are located at Cass Ave.  and Collins  which is the four-story St. Louis Stamping Company building, built in 1870 and listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay will join partners North River Development, Pinnacle Entertainment and the St. Louis Equity Fund.  The housing was funded by a nearly ten-million dollar project financed by tax credits.

The residential facility also offers St. Patrick Center supportive services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, including veterans and ex-offenders and veterans.

 St. Louis Stamping Lofts is part of a larger planned development called FarmWorks. When completed, FarmWorks will include a green business incubator and urban farm. 

The incubator will focus on distribution and processing of locally grown foods. The indoor/outdoor farm will feature aquaponics, hydroponics, vermiculture and vertical growing systems. 

St. Patrick Center and Gateway Greening will partner on an innovative training and job placement program to help residents grow and market food. 

Published in Local News

   Authorities are taking extra security precautions around St. Louis in light of the Boston bombings.  

   St. Louis Police and Metro Transit authorities say they'd added security measures downtown Tuesday during both the Mayor's inauguration and the Blues game.  But they say there have been no specific threats made.  The extra measures are precautionary.

   There was a stepped up police and security presence both inside and outside Scottrade Center Tuesday night.  Hockey fans endured long lines to get inside, passing through extra screenings that included metal detectors and bag searches.  

   Just before the Blues game against the Vancouver Canucks, the team paid tribute to the Boston victims with a moment of silence.

Published in Local News
Hearings are set for this week in the St. Louis firefighters' pension reform battle.

Early last year, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had proposed replacing the current Firemen's Retirement System with a less-expensive pension system. The Board of Aldermen passed the plan, but the board that oversees the pension system sued to stop the city from implementing it.

The new system would cut costs by trimming disability payments and making pension administrators civil servants, among other things. City officials say that's necessary because the pay and benefits that the four-person administrative staff receives right now are far more than those of other city pension administrators.

The F-R-S needed a 20-million dollar infusion from the city coffers last year in order to cover expenses. Slay says the city can't keep that up for long.
Published in Local News
It looks like St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is heading for an historic fourth term. With all 222 precincts reporting, Slay had won 54-percent of the vote to Aldermanic President Lewis Reed's 44 percent. After the election board informed the candidates, Reed called Slay to concede. Then Mayor Slay took the stage at his watch party at the Dubliner Pub on Washington Avenue to share the news with his supporters.

Slay will face Green Party candidate James McNeeley in the general election April 2nd. But the primary win is a defacto re-election for the mayor, since St. Louis voters haven't elected a non-Democrat since 1945. Fewer than 50-thousand people cast ballots in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Published in Around Town
It looks like St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is heading for an historic fourth term. With all 222 precincts reporting, Slay had won 54-percent of the vote to Aldermanic President Lewis Reed's 44 percent. After the election board informed the candidates, Reed called Slay to concede. Then Mayor Slay took the stage at his watch party at the Dubliner Pub on Washington Avenue to share the news with his supporters.

Slay will face Green Party candidate James McNeeley in the general election April 2nd. But the primary win is a defacto re-election for the mayor, since St. Louis voters haven't elected a non-Democrat since 1945. Fewer than 50-thousand people cast ballots in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Published in Local News
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