Shahla Farzan

Shahla Farzan is a general assignment reporter and weekend newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio. She comes most recently from KBBI Public Radio in Homer, Alaska, where she covered issues ranging from permafrost thaw to disputes over prayer in public meetings. A science nerd to the core, Shahla spent six years studying native bees, eventually earning her PhD in ecology from the University of California-Davis. She has also worked as an intern at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento and a podcaster for BirdNote. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, combing flea markets for tchotchkes, and curling up with a good book. 

James Dahm has worked at the City Justice Center in St. Louis for nearly a decade, but he hasn’t forgotten how hard it was to learn the ropes as a rookie jail officer.

Not long after he started, he ran into his lieutenant in the breakroom, who tried to offer some encouragement.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, it gets better,’” Dahm remembered. “I asked him, ‘Does it get better, or do you just get used to it?’ and he said, ‘A little of both.’”

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has identified a new batch of lakes and streams that do not meet water quality standards.

The state agency added 60 water bodies to this year’s draft list of impaired waters, including several in the greater St. Louis region. Many of the listed water bodies had high concentrations of bacteria or algae, often linked to runoff from cities, towns and farms.

Inmates at a Missouri prison will be able to prepare for the workforce prior to their release, thanks to an in-house training program. 

The Re-Entry Center at Tipton Correctional Center, the first of its kind in Missouri, opened Wednesday. The center will connect inmates with potential employers and provide a variety of educational resources. The Missouri Department of Corrections plans to open three additional re-entry centers in other prisons across the state next year, as part of an effort to break the cycle of reincarceration.

People treated for drug-resistant MRSA often develop infections again and again — even multiple times in a single year.

Part of the problem is the hardiness of the bacteria responsible, which can live on household surfaces for months.

Washington University researchers report family members who share specific items, including towels and bedsheets, are more likely to pass the bacteria to each other. The team, which spent a year collecting bacteria samples from St. Louis families, also found that children who attend day care were often the ones who brought MRSA bacteria home. 

Floodwaters carved a path of devastation through the Midwest this year — and carried hundreds of storage tanks downstream to Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is collecting these orphaned containers, which range in size from small buckets to 500,000-gallon tanks. Many contain hazardous materials, including diesel fuel, pesticides and ammonia gas.

Most of the containers have washed up along the banks of the Missouri River in the northwest corner of the state, said DNR environmental scientist Stephen McLane.

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