St. Louis Is the Most Affordable Rental Market for New Grads

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Tim Hamilton
St. Louis is No. 1 for grads seeking affordable rent, according to a new Trulia study.

If you're a new graduate looking for a city where you can actually afford an apartment without bunking up three to a bedroom, look no further.

St. Louis is where you ought to move.

That's according to a new study from real estate site Trulia, which compared salary data for new graduates with the cost of rental housing. St. Louis' combination of relatively generous starting salaries, coupled with extremely affordable housing, earned it the study's No. 1 spot as the most affordable rental market for new grads in the U.S.

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Strange Folk Festival Founder Autumn Wiggins Battles City of O'Fallon Over Event She Created

Categories: Arts, Community

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Autumn Wiggins
Almost ten years ago, Autumn Wiggins started the Strange Folk Festival in her hometown of O'Fallon, Illinois -- and in the next decade, grew it into one of the Midwest's premiere indie arts festivals.

By this January, however, Wiggins says she felt battered by the Ferguson-related unrest that left her South Grand shop, Upcycle Exchange, with broken windows. She was also weary of how much work she was putting into the festival. She told the O'Fallon Arts Commission she wanted to pull the plug.

But to Wiggins' surprise, the city suggested that they actually owned Strange Folk -- and began making plans for the 2015 iteration without her.

That's when things got ugly. Now the city's attempt at what local crafters call a "fake folk fest" has led to dueling legal threats, cease and desist letters, and even the intervention of local police.

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Tivoli Theatre Reopens After Water Main Break (UPDATED)

Categories: Arts, Community

Thumbnail image for tivolisign.jpg
The Tivoli Theatre
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Paul Sableman
UPDATE on April 24: The Tivoli reopened after nearly a week for its 9:30 p.m. showing on Friday, April 24. See update at end of post.

Originally published on April 21. Original post follows....

A water-main break on Delmar has closed the Tivoli Theatre -- and it could be the weekend before it's reopened.

That's meant canceled programming for QFest, the gay/lesbian film festival hosted at the theater by Cinema St. Louis, which kicked off Sunday and was supposed to run through Thursday. Those films have been rescheduled for next week, says the Tivoli's Tom Anson.

The problem was a 115-year-old water line, says Joe Edwards, who owns the Tivoli building.

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Arson Guts North County Home, Claiming Life of Beloved Rescue Dog

Categories: Community, Crime

Greg Stinson and Nichole Torpea with Murphy in happier times.
Greg Stinson and his fiancee, Nichole Torpea, were both at work on Monday (he at Ralston-Purina, she at a St. Charles garden center) when they began receiving frantic messages from a neighbor they barely knew. "Your house is on fire. You need to come home now!"

They rushed back to St. John, the north St. Louis County municipality where Stinson had bought a home in 2003. But it was already too late.

"At that point, everything that had been done was done," Stinson says.

The house was a burnt shell. Virtually all of their possessions had been destroyed. And their dog, a beloved lab mix rescue named Murphy, was dead.

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St. Louis is America's Most Charitable City

Categories: Community

Towboat Garage via Flickr
St. Louisans donating supplies to tornado victims in Joplin.
St. Louis is the most giving city in America.

That feather in the Lou's cap comes per the tenth annual national study from nonprofit Charity Navigator, which analyzes the financial, accountability and transparency practices of charities in the 30 largest philanthropic marketplaces in the country.

St. Louis has consistently ranked high in studies of philanthropic cities, though that didn't stop Charity Navigator from admitting what the rest of the country must be thinking: St. Louis? Really?

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Dear St. Louis: Anonymous Notes of Encouragement and Love for 2015

Robert Rohe/courtesy Henry Goldkamp
Henry Goldcamp installing one of his typewriters and drop boxes for What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking?
A few weeks back, poet Henry Goldkamp sent Riverfront Times an SOS of sorts. The publishing deal for his crowdsourced book What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking? had fallen through. Goldkamp wanted to know, would the RFT be interested in publishing the entire collection (or parts of it) in the newspaper?

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STL 250 Birthday Cakes Voted 2014 St. Louis Person of the Year in Mayor's Poll

Categories: Community

Lindsay Toler
The Walk of Fame STL250 birthday cake in the Delmar Loop.
Love 'em or hate 'em, the STL250 birthday cakes are officially the 2014 St. Louis Person of the Year.

The cakes inherit the title from St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha, who was voted 2013's person of the year in the annual poll posted by St. Louis mayor Francis Slay.

This year, the cakes took the cake against four other finalists: Rasheen Aldridge Jr., director of Young Activist United and a Ferguson Commission member; LGBT rights activist A.J. Bockelman; the contentious recorder of deeds-elect Sharon Carpenter; and Tricia Roland-Hamilton, director of Magdalene St. Louis, a home for victims of sex trafficking and abuse.

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After Performing for Peace in Israel, Circus Harmony Brings Message of Unity to Ferguson

All photos courtesy of Circus Harmony
The cast rehearses for Circus Harmony's new show, Guibilante.
Jessica Hentoff thought she was escaping violence when she and nine children in her Circus Harmony troupe returned to St. Louis from Israel last summer during the height of a violent conflict with Gaza.

Hentoff and the child performers had been safe in northern Israel from the bloodshed down south and spent their time promoting social change and unity through a circus called "Peace Through Pyramids. But things changed twelve days after the troupe came back home, when then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown and peaceful protests devolved into arson, shootings and looting.

"Everybody's like, 'Oh, it's so dangerous in Israel,'" Hentoff tells Daily RFT. "And then we came home, and our office, my home is in Florissant. Then we were three miles from violence."

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With No Love for St. Louis, Huffington Post Names Kansas City "Coolest" City in America

Categories: Community

L Allen Brewer via Flickr
Lookin' good, Kansas City. But are you really America's "coolest" city?
Sorry, St. Louis, but you're just not as "it" or "hip" as your across-the-state counterpart, Kansas City.

That's according to a Huffington Post lifestyles blog post about the new up-and-coming cities for young people. Kansas City (the Missouri side, not the Kansas side) takes the top title.

What makes Kansas City so totally in right now? After "much map-scouring and a sprinkle of savvy" from author Carly Ledbetter, Kansas City was named No. 1 thanks to its jazz scene, BBQ and food, historical sites, affordability and "nice" residents.

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How To Buy One of St. Louis' 250th Birthday Cakes

Categories: Community

Paul Sableman on Flickr
The Citygarden-inspired birthday cake for St. Louis' 250th anniversary.
As St. Louis' 250th birthday year comes to a close, it's time to find new home for the 250 birthday cakes spread across the region. The question is: Who will take the cake?

Now Stl250, the volunteer group organizing the year-long sestercentennial celebration, is auctioning off many of the cakes painted by local artists to decorate the city.

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