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. 

B’nai Sholom temple has stood on a quiet, tree-lined street in Quincy, Illinois, for almost 150 years.

But the historic Jewish synagogue — one of the oldest in the state — could soon be reduced to rubble.

The temple has sat empty since May, after its dwindling congregation was forced to confront a difficult reality: The members had to sell the building because they could no longer afford to maintain it. While they’re holding out hope that another religious organization will purchase the temple and preserve it, they’re preparing for the worst. 

Winter is still months away, but Missouri road crews are already stockpiling salt — millions of pounds of it. 

Though it’s a cheap and effective de-icing method, road salt washes into nearby streams and can contaminate drinking water. New research from St. Louis University finds applying saltwater to roads, known as brining, can reduce the amount of salt that ends up in streams.

A new attraction in downtown St. Louis will open to the public in less than a week — the St. Louis Wheel.

The 200-foot-tall observation wheel at Union Station is part of a multimillion-dollar entertainment complex, which will include an aquarium, mini golf course and soda fountain. 

Frogs and toads need water to breed — and this year, they had a lot of it. 

Months of springtime flooding created near-perfect breeding conditions along the Missouri River, causing a surge in frog and toad populations. For biologists, the population boom has been a rare opportunity to collect information on these animals.

Only a few of the more than 40 snake species in Missouri are venomous, including the one Ben Jellen is looking for: the copperhead.

Copperheads have extraordinarily well-camouflaged bodies, which blend in with fallen leaves and branches. Although it’s the most common venomous snake species in Missouri, scientists know surprisingly little about its basic biology. Jellen, an associate professor of biology at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, is leading a small group of researchers who hope to learn more about this elusive snake.

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