Maria Altman

Reporter/Newscaster

Altman came to St. Louis Public Radio from Dallas where she hosted All Things Considered and reported north Texas news at KERA. Altman also spent several years in Illinois: first in Chicago where she interned at WBEZ; then as the Morning Edition host at WSIU in Carbondale; and finally in Springfield, where she earned her graduate degree and covered the legislature for Illinois Public Radio.

A native Iowan, Altman earned her bachelors degree in journalism at the University of Iowa. She remains a devoted Hawkeye. In her free time, Altman likes hiking, swing dancing, and searching for the perfect diner.

Ways to Connect

The two-story brick home at 3735 California Street got a second chance.

The property, owned by the city of St. Louis' Land Reutilization Authority, was slated for demolition. Then Alderwoman Cara Spencer (20th Ward) had an idea. Take money for demolition and put it toward stabilizing the building in the heart of the Gravois Park neighborhood.

The city’s Building Commissioner, Frank Oswald, agreed. Rather than spending $10,000 to tear it down, the division spent $14,000 for roof work and tuck-pointing.

St. Louis voters will decide next month whether to increase their property taxes by a penny in order to help stabilize vacant buildings owned by the city.

Proposition NS is on the April 4 ballot. If passed, it would allow St. Louis to sell up to $40 million in bonds, or about $6 million each year for about 6½ years. That amounts to a one-cent property tax increase per $100 of valuation on a property.

The business organizations that took St. Louis' law to raise the minimum wage to the Missouri Supreme Court filed a motion Wednesday for it to be reheard.

It was the last day they could challenge last month's ruling that upheld the city's law.

Microsoft is coming to the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End.

The Washington state-based company will open its regional headquarters and a Microsoft Technology Center to serve as an anchor for a new tech building at 4220 Duncan Ave.

The BIRD Foundation has fostered partnerships between Israeli technology startups and companies and U.S. corporations since it was founded in 1977.

Now the group has brought its first delegation to St. Louis.

Twelve Israeli ag tech companies are in town for a two-day visit to make pitches to investors and meet individually with Monsanto, KWS and others.

Limor Nakar-Vincent, the BIRD Foundation’s deputy executive director for business development, said there’s an emphasis on collaboration in St. Louis’ bio-science and ag ecosystem.

The National Urban League Conference will be in St. Louis this summer.

The event will be held July 26-29 at the America’s Center.  

President and CEO Marc Morial said on Friday that St. Louis proved itself back in 2007 when it first hosted the national conference. But he said this year’s conference, with the theme “Save Our Cities,” is coming back in part because of the challenges African-Americans face in St. Louis.

While St. Louis voters decide among mayoral and aldermanic candidates in the city’s primary election next Tuesday, they’ll also answer a question about short-term lenders.

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Charlesetta Taylor was a 10-year-old when she and her family moved into the home at 2530 North Market St.

That was back in 1945.

But now, it's her house that's moved, not the octogenarian. 

"It's crazy to see any house move," Taylor said Sunday as she stood outside watching her three-story brick home roll up Jefferson Avenue to its final destination at 2200 St. Louis Ave. 

St. Louis’ Land Reutilization Authority has nearly 12,000 parcels of vacant land and buildings and just eight and half employees.

That’s far below the ratio of employees to property in other cities, according to a year-long assessment of the LRA released on Thursday. Urban planning firm Asakura Robinson, which conducted the yearlong study, recommends the agency hire four more employees in the next one to three years.

The International Institute of St. Louis is highlighting a new report that delves into the numbers behind immigrants in the United States.

The national organization New American Economy released the report “Map the Impact” on Tuesday. The report breaks down not just the number of immigrants in each congressional district, metropolitan area and state, but also looks at what they provide in taxes, spending power, education and entrepreneurship.

Mexico purchased $2.56 billion in Missouri goods in 2016.

That’s second only to Canada, Missouri’s top export partner, which spent $5.2 billion last year.

“Exports are important for a variety of reasons, and in terms of our manufacturers it’s critical,” said Ann Pardalos, the head of the state's International Trade and Investment Office.

A part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Pardalos’ agency works to help small manufacturers and service providers look at global markets. One way they connect businesses to international markets is through trade fairs, including the Expo Manufactura held in Monterrey, Mexico, last week.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District could spend up to $13.5 million demolishing abandoned buildings in the city.

MSD’s board approved an agreement on Thursday with the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. The move was long in the making. MSD has already demolished about 220 vacant building through a pilot program started back in 2010, and in 2015 the district announced it would do more.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Tuesday that her office will audit two Community Improvement Districts in the St. Louis region.

Those include the BaratHaven Community Improvement District in St. Charles County and the North Oaks Plaza Shopping Center in north St. Louis County.

Northside Regeneration’s plans for the old Pruitt-Igoe site became public this week, including a $72 million complex of medical buildings, commercial and office space and two hotels.

Developer Paul McKee’s company bought the 34-acre site from the city for $1 million last summer. Northside Regeneration had held the option for several years, and McKee previously received state approval to build a three-bed urgent care facility within the former federal housing site.

Atomation is a startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, but the company will soon have an office in St. Louis.

The two-year-old tech startup has developed an IoT (internet of things) platform that connects physical objects to the internet. CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman said the company is already working with four customers in the St. Louis region, including Ameren.

Erica Holliam used to love shopping at the St. Louis Outlet Mall, or what used to be called the Mills Mall.

That was before all of her favorite stores closed.

“This was my row,” she said pointing to a line of empty stores, tastefully hidden behind colorful curtains. “I used to shop at the Banana Republic and then on the other side there was another store. But obviously I can’t do that anymore.”

A federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis denied a motion Thursday to give shareholders in Peabody Energy an equity committee that would represent their interests during the coal giant’s bankruptcy.

Judge Barry Schermer delivered his ruling after the hearing, and said the cost of creating an equity committee was not justified if there was no equity to offer shareholders.

Peabody’s reorganization plan, released in December, calls for zeroing out shareholders’ equity.

Sen. Claire McCaskill is embarking this week on an agricultural tour of the state.

Missouri’s minimum wage will go up 15 cents as of New Year’s Day.

The increase from the current $7.50 to $7.65 is the result of a 2006 ballot referendum tying the state’s minimum wage to the Midwest Consumer Price Index. It’s the second 15 cent increase in as many years.

Missouri’s Secretary of State has begun a new initiative to help businesses in the Ferguson area get back on their feet.

With items on the menu like the Storm Trooper Dog, the Al Hra-BRAT-ski and the Crazy Cajun Creole dog, it's clear that Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill considers its fare more than hot dogs.

"I could eat the entire menu," regular Don Schroeder laughed.

He hesitated before ordering but finally chose the Bacon, Bacon Jamaican, a smoked hot dog covered with cheese, peppers and sweet chipotle sauce. 

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and several solar panel companies have filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Public Service Commission in an effort to keep the state’s solar rebate program alive.

St. Louis city and county lost population in the 2010 census which created big concerns about the region’s future.

In reaction, the area's civic leaders quickly turned their attention to immigrants.

Foreign born residents make up less than 5 percent of the metropolitan area, far below most other major U.S. cities.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project came together this last year to address the issue.

The first thing you need to know about a meat shoot is that they don’t shoot animals.

“That’s not a crazy question, you know, we get that a lot,” said DeeDee Lakas, laughing a bit. “Do you shoot the meat? No, you shoot the target.”

While the holidays mean an abundance of food for many of us, a rising percentage of Missourians worry about whether they’ll have enough food.

Based on 2010 data, 837,056 Missourians are not sure whether they will have sufficient food for the month.

Of those residents, 343,253 will likely skip meals or serve smaller portions to stretch food.

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have cut Missouri’s income tax rates for the first time in 90 years.

The Republican-led General Assembly passed the bill in large part pointing to neighboring Kansas which already has slashed its personal and corporate income taxes.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports, the Democratic governor says the cuts would hurt Missouri education and other state services.

Copyright 2014 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Missouri state auditor released a report Wednesday on the state’s Public Defender system.

Among the findings: public defenders need to better track the hours they spend on each case and update the standards they use to determine what’s the appropriate caseload.

Auditor Tom Schweich says Public Defenders have relied on national standards that are out-of-date.

Tim Bommel / Mo. House Communications office

Judge William Ray Price, Jr. served on the Missouri Supreme Court for 20 years including two terms as chief justice.

Price left the high court earlier this month to return to private practice.

Eleven states have been issued waivers from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but Missouri was not one of them.  But as Maria Altman reports, the State Board of Education is trying to change that.

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