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We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian's Love Centers a City

The folks of Fairmont City, Illinois didn’t realize how much they needed a library until they’d gotten one. It took some convincing. In the early 2000’s there was no library in Fairmont City. When there was a proposal to open one, it was met with resistance and concern from the community. After all, libraries are funded by local people through local taxes, nonprofit and for-profit grants and individual donations.

Thank goodness for Katie Heaton! She knew a good librarian puts their ear down, listens and really pays attention to the needs of their patrons. “You can hear the heartbeat of the community and when you hear that heartbeat, you can figure out what the needs are”, Katie says. Her goal was always to meet the needs of the people she served, whatever that need may be, from literacy to resources to broader partnerships and community services.

Katie Heaton started her career in library science in 1997 and is now the Assistant Director of the Mississippi Valley Library District, which includes the Collinsville and Fairmont City Library Centers. She’s been building community and using her gifts to help the rising Hispanic and Spanish speaking population in Fairmont City, Illinois. Fairmont City is 80% Hispanic and the Fairmont City Library Center is committed. They hire from the community. They speak and provide services in the language of the community.

Only 10 miles from St. Louis, Fairmont City is home for a small population of 2,381 with an average annual household income of around $50k according to 2020 census data. Why would this small migrant town, with a poverty rate of 26.98% want to pay for something they’ve never had nor anticipated they’d really need? After all, when it came down to things of priority for this community, especially during the pandemic, a library did not top their list. Service providers and aid organizations reported food as first, then utility, rent, funeral assistance and mortgage assistance in that order. One bill that families consistently paid for, sometimes before they’d buy food was the phone bill. During COVID their smart-phones, tablets, computers, smart-TVs and streaming services were their connection to their jobs, teachers and medical providers.

Throughout the pandemic, when everything was heavily reliant on Internet and Wi-Fi, Fairmont City residents struggled to connect. In order to attend classes, attend meetings, access healthcare or telehealth, to work or even to catch the latest Netflix season of their favorite shows; they needed reliable and affordable internet that wasn’t available. Many families only had a handheld device, usually a telephone, and would need to take it with them to work. If the device stayed at home and there were several children, how would they share that single device? The library learned that students didn’t have computers at home. They weren’t attending their online classes. Katie began what took an advocacy and 8-year pursuit to obtain affordable and reliable internet. Eventually, they got it! And when they had to be closed and all they could offer the community was free Wi-Fi service outside of the building, they kept offering services.

Some Fairmont City families had challenges with credit scores, filing taxes and social security. Many were not using banking systems. People were losing percentages of their paychecks to predatory lenders and check cashing services. The library listened and responded with financial literacy through a partnership with a bank. Katie has secured partnerships with other organizations and the community in Fairmont City is advancing and meeting goals.

Fairmont City probably couldn’t imagine life without their library now and Katie is still excited to rise to the challenge every day. Libraries are gateways to knowledge and culture. They play a fundamental role in society. They are a place for personal growth and reinvention as well as a place for help to navigate this world in the information age. Libraries are a gathering place for civic and cultural engagement and a trusted place for preserving culture. For Katie Heaton and her Fairmont City library patrons, it is so much more.

Need a boost to your ideas around positive community change and personal impact? This episode with Katie Heaton is a great place to start.

In this episode

We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian’s Love Centers a City

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/podcast/we-live-here/2022-07-09/we-live-here-autentico-how-can-i-help-you-literacy-service-and-a-librarians-love-centers-a-city
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We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian's Love Centers a City

The folks of Fairmont City, Illinois didn’t realize how much they needed a library until they’d gotten one. It took some convincing. In the early 2000’s there was no library in Fairmont City. When there was a proposal to open one, it was met with resistance and concern from the community. After all, libraries are funded by local people through local taxes, nonprofit and for-profit grants and individual donations.

Thank goodness for Katie Heaton! She knew a good librarian puts their ear down, listens and really pays attention to the needs of their patrons. “You can hear the heartbeat of the community and when you hear that heartbeat, you can figure out what the needs are”, Katie says. Her goal was always to meet the needs of the people she served, whatever that need may be, from literacy to resources to broader partnerships and community services.

Katie Heaton started her career in library science in 1997 and is now the Assistant Director of the Mississippi Valley Library District, which includes the Collinsville and Fairmont City Library Centers. She’s been building community and using her gifts to help the rising Hispanic and Spanish speaking population in Fairmont City, Illinois. Fairmont City is 80% Hispanic and the Fairmont City Library Center is committed. They hire from the community. They speak and provide services in the language of the community.

Only 10 miles from St. Louis, Fairmont City is home for a small population of 2,381 with an average annual household income of around $50k according to 2020 census data. Why would this small migrant town, with a poverty rate of 26.98% want to pay for something they’ve never had nor anticipated they’d really need? After all, when it came down to things of priority for this community, especially during the pandemic, a library did not top their list. Service providers and aid organizations reported food as first, then utility, rent, funeral assistance and mortgage assistance in that order. One bill that families consistently paid for, sometimes before they’d buy food was the phone bill. During COVID their smart-phones, tablets, computers, smart-TVs and streaming services were their connection to their jobs, teachers and medical providers.

Throughout the pandemic, when everything was heavily reliant on Internet and Wi-Fi, Fairmont City residents struggled to connect. In order to attend classes, attend meetings, access healthcare or telehealth, to work or even to catch the latest Netflix season of their favorite shows; they needed reliable and affordable internet that wasn’t available. Many families only had a handheld device, usually a telephone, and would need to take it with them to work. If the device stayed at home and there were several children, how would they share that single device? The library learned that students didn’t have computers at home. They weren’t attending their online classes. Katie began what took an advocacy and 8-year pursuit to obtain affordable and reliable internet. Eventually, they got it! And when they had to be closed and all they could offer the community was free Wi-Fi service outside of the building, they kept offering services.

Some Fairmont City families had challenges with credit scores, filing taxes and social security. Many were not using banking systems. People were losing percentages of their paychecks to predatory lenders and check cashing services. The library listened and responded with financial literacy through a partnership with a bank. Katie has secured partnerships with other organizations and the community in Fairmont City is advancing and meeting goals.

Fairmont City probably couldn’t imagine life without their library now and Katie is still excited to rise to the challenge every day. Libraries are gateways to knowledge and culture. They play a fundamental role in society. They are a place for personal growth and reinvention as well as a place for help to navigate this world in the information age. Libraries are a gathering place for civic and cultural engagement and a trusted place for preserving culture. For Katie Heaton and her Fairmont City library patrons, it is so much more.

Need a boost to your ideas around positive community change and personal impact? This episode with Katie Heaton is a great place to start.

In this episode

We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian’s Love Centers a City

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/podcast/we-live-here/2022-07-09/we-live-here-autentico-how-can-i-help-you-literacy-service-and-a-librarians-love-centers-a-city
https://news.stlpublicradio.org/page-not-found.rss
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Voting statistics:
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60%0
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10%0
0

We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian's Love Centers a City

The folks of Fairmont City, Illinois didn’t realize how much they needed a library until they’d gotten one. It took some convincing. In the early 2000’s there was no library in Fairmont City. When there was a proposal to open one, it was met with resistance and concern from the community. After all, libraries are funded by local people through local taxes, nonprofit and for-profit grants and individual donations.

Thank goodness for Katie Heaton! She knew a good librarian puts their ear down, listens and really pays attention to the needs of their patrons. “You can hear the heartbeat of the community and when you hear that heartbeat, you can figure out what the needs are”, Katie says. Her goal was always to meet the needs of the people she served, whatever that need may be, from literacy to resources to broader partnerships and community services.

Katie Heaton started her career in library science in 1997 and is now the Assistant Director of the Mississippi Valley Library District, which includes the Collinsville and Fairmont City Library Centers. She’s been building community and using her gifts to help the rising Hispanic and Spanish speaking population in Fairmont City, Illinois. Fairmont City is 80% Hispanic and the Fairmont City Library Center is committed. They hire from the community. They speak and provide services in the language of the community.

Only 10 miles from St. Louis, Fairmont City is home for a small population of 2,381 with an average annual household income of around $50k according to 2020 census data. Why would this small migrant town, with a poverty rate of 26.98% want to pay for something they’ve never had nor anticipated they’d really need? After all, when it came down to things of priority for this community, especially during the pandemic, a library did not top their list. Service providers and aid organizations reported food as first, then utility, rent, funeral assistance and mortgage assistance in that order. One bill that families consistently paid for, sometimes before they’d buy food was the phone bill. During COVID their smart-phones, tablets, computers, smart-TVs and streaming services were their connection to their jobs, teachers and medical providers.

Throughout the pandemic, when everything was heavily reliant on Internet and Wi-Fi, Fairmont City residents struggled to connect. In order to attend classes, attend meetings, access healthcare or telehealth, to work or even to catch the latest Netflix season of their favorite shows; they needed reliable and affordable internet that wasn’t available. Many families only had a handheld device, usually a telephone, and would need to take it with them to work. If the device stayed at home and there were several children, how would they share that single device? The library learned that students didn’t have computers at home. They weren’t attending their online classes. Katie began what took an advocacy and 8-year pursuit to obtain affordable and reliable internet. Eventually, they got it! And when they had to be closed and all they could offer the community was free Wi-Fi service outside of the building, they kept offering services.

Some Fairmont City families had challenges with credit scores, filing taxes and social security. Many were not using banking systems. People were losing percentages of their paychecks to predatory lenders and check cashing services. The library listened and responded with financial literacy through a partnership with a bank. Katie has secured partnerships with other organizations and the community in Fairmont City is advancing and meeting goals.

Fairmont City probably couldn’t imagine life without their library now and Katie is still excited to rise to the challenge every day. Libraries are gateways to knowledge and culture. They play a fundamental role in society. They are a place for personal growth and reinvention as well as a place for help to navigate this world in the information age. Libraries are a gathering place for civic and cultural engagement and a trusted place for preserving culture. For Katie Heaton and her Fairmont City library patrons, it is so much more.

Need a boost to your ideas around positive community change and personal impact? This episode with Katie Heaton is a great place to start.

In this episode

We Live Here Auténtico! | How Can I Help You? | Literacy, Service and a Librarian’s Love Centers a City

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/podcast/we-live-here/2022-07-09/we-live-here-autentico-how-can-i-help-you-literacy-service-and-a-librarians-love-centers-a-city
https://news.stlpublicradio.org/page-not-found.rss
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Voting statistics:
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Democrat Lucas Kunce on why he'll fight for abortion rights and stronger action on guns

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Lucas Kunce has a relatively straightforward contention on why he’d be the best candidate in November: The Jefferson City native wants someone who’s experienced economic hardship to provide a voice to Missouri.

“Most Missourians grow up paycheck to paycheck or one disaster from bankruptcy,” Kunce said during an episode of the Politically Speaking podcast. “I remember being at the grocery store with my mom and watching her write a check and just begging the cashier not to cash it till the end of the month so that we could make it.”

Since entering the Senate contest in 2021, Kunce has stressed his humble origins. He’s also showcased his military service as a Marine and an economic message that can be described as populist.

Even though the state has taken a decidedly Republican turn over the past few election cycles, Kunce has often outraised GOP contenders for the Senate during some fundraising quarters. In addition to a slew of lightly funded candidates, Kunce is squaring off against two major competitors on Aug. 2 — Trudy Busch Valentine and Spencer Toder.

Kunce, who has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, said he brings a different perspective to the table than the other Democratic contenders.

“When we went bankrupt, we didn’t make it because the institutions were there for us,” Kunce said. “We didn’t make it because the rich folks on the other side of town were there for us. We made it because the people in that neighborhood without any more money than we had passed the plate down at church. They brought more tuna casserole and lasagna by the house than we could ever, ever eat. And those are the people that have power in this country — people who know how to take care of each other instead of folks who are in power and use that power for their funders to strip communities like the one I grew up in for parts.”


Punishing Congress members for stock trading

One of the proposals Kunce is pushing is sending members of Congress and their immediate family members to prison if they’re found to have made stock trades.

That’s part of a policy push among Republicans and Democrats who’ve expressed outrage over high-profile instances of members of Congress trading stocks, raising insider trading suspicions in some cases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re going to be a member of Congress, there should be some amount of sacrifice there,” Kunce said. “If you can’t get by on the salary, then that’s too bad.”


Scrapping filibuster to protect abortion rights

Like other Democratic Senate hopefuls, Kunce is supportive of getting rid of the filibuster in order to pass federal legislation making abortion legal in every state.

“I have seen what it’s like to live in a Big Brother government,” Kunce said. “I went to Iraq, I went to Afghanistan. Women had no rights there. And it’s an absolute tragedy. You know, they told us that we were fighting for freedom overseas when they deployed us. And then I come home, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, the fight for freedom is right here.’”

When he unsuccessfully ran for a Jefferson City-based state House seat in 2006, Kunce was against abortion rights. He said his time overseas helped change his view on the issue.

“And you know, as I got older, I saw people go through very, very difficult pregnancies that they should never have to go through again,” Kunce said. “And, and for me, this has just become one of those fundamental rights that every person should have access to.”

Some opponents of abolishing the Senate filibuster to expand abortion rights, such as Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, have contended that the move will empower Republicans to pass a nationwide abortion ban if they ever capture the majority. Kunce doesn’t find that argument compelling.

“If anybody’s worried about what Mitch McConnell would do, that guy’s got to be laughing every single day that we don’t get rid of the filibuster because he would do the exact same thing,” Kunce said.


Wants stronger action on guns

While he said he would have voted for a legislative package that increased funding for red flag laws and mental health programs, Kunce said Congress needs to go further when it comes to restricting firearms.

He doesn’t buy the argument that gun control is unpopular in outstate Missouri, which has typically voted for candidates who oppose curbs on firearms.

“When I go around Missouri, gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, Democrats, independents, they all want the same thing and that’s to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals, teenagers and terrorists,” Kunce said. “And, you know, real expanded background checks, which this doesn’t have, and real red flag protections, which this doesn’t have.”

Pointing to his experience in the military, Kunce said he supports raising the age limit to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

“There is a world in which if you got the right amount of training and the right amount of observation, then I could go lower with that,” Kunce said. “It’s not like I’m not gonna be draconian about this. But we need things that keep the weapons out of people who are going to be unsafe.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkelogg 

Follow Lucas Kunce on Twitter: @LucasKunceMO

Democrat Lucas Kunce on why he’ll fight for abortion rights and stronger action on guns

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/podcast/politically-speaking/2022-07-07/democrat-lucas-kunce-on-why-hell-fight-for-abortion-rights-and-stronger-action-on-guns
https://news.stlpublicradio.org/page-not-found.rss
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0.0/60votes
Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
60%0
50%0
40%0
30%0
20%0
10%0
0

Democrat Lucas Kunce on why he'll fight for abortion rights and stronger action on guns

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Lucas Kunce has a relatively straightforward contention on why he’d be the best candidate in November: The Jefferson City native wants someone who’s experienced economic hardship to provide a voice to Missouri.

“Most Missourians grow up paycheck to paycheck or one disaster from bankruptcy,” Kunce said during an episode of the Politically Speaking podcast. “I remember being at the grocery store with my mom and watching her write a check and just begging the cashier not to cash it till the end of the month so that we could make it.”

Since entering the Senate contest in 2021, Kunce has stressed his humble origins. He’s also showcased his military service as a Marine and an economic message that can be described as populist.

Even though the state has taken a decidedly Republican turn over the past few election cycles, Kunce has often outraised GOP contenders for the Senate during some fundraising quarters. In addition to a slew of lightly funded candidates, Kunce is squaring off against two major competitors on Aug. 2 — Trudy Busch Valentine and Spencer Toder.

Kunce, who has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, said he brings a different perspective to the table than the other Democratic contenders.

“When we went bankrupt, we didn’t make it because the institutions were there for us,” Kunce said. “We didn’t make it because the rich folks on the other side of town were there for us. We made it because the people in that neighborhood without any more money than we had passed the plate down at church. They brought more tuna casserole and lasagna by the house than we could ever, ever eat. And those are the people that have power in this country — people who know how to take care of each other instead of folks who are in power and use that power for their funders to strip communities like the one I grew up in for parts.”


Punishing Congress members for stock trading

One of the proposals Kunce is pushing is sending members of Congress and their immediate family members to prison if they’re found to have made stock trades.

That’s part of a policy push among Republicans and Democrats who’ve expressed outrage over high-profile instances of members of Congress trading stocks, raising insider trading suspicions in some cases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re going to be a member of Congress, there should be some amount of sacrifice there,” Kunce said. “If you can’t get by on the salary, then that’s too bad.”


Scrapping filibuster to protect abortion rights

Like other Democratic Senate hopefuls, Kunce is supportive of getting rid of the filibuster in order to pass federal legislation making abortion legal in every state.

“I have seen what it’s like to live in a Big Brother government,” Kunce said. “I went to Iraq, I went to Afghanistan. Women had no rights there. And it’s an absolute tragedy. You know, they told us that we were fighting for freedom overseas when they deployed us. And then I come home, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, the fight for freedom is right here.’”

When he unsuccessfully ran for a Jefferson City-based state House seat in 2006, Kunce was against abortion rights. He said his time overseas helped change his view on the issue.

“And you know, as I got older, I saw people go through very, very difficult pregnancies that they should never have to go through again,” Kunce said. “And, and for me, this has just become one of those fundamental rights that every person should have access to.”

Some opponents of abolishing the Senate filibuster to expand abortion rights, such as Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, have contended that the move will empower Republicans to pass a nationwide abortion ban if they ever capture the majority. Kunce doesn’t find that argument compelling.

“If anybody’s worried about what Mitch McConnell would do, that guy’s got to be laughing every single day that we don’t get rid of the filibuster because he would do the exact same thing,” Kunce said.


Wants stronger action on guns

While he said he would have voted for a legislative package that increased funding for red flag laws and mental health programs, Kunce said Congress needs to go further when it comes to restricting firearms.

He doesn’t buy the argument that gun control is unpopular in outstate Missouri, which has typically voted for candidates who oppose curbs on firearms.

“When I go around Missouri, gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, Democrats, independents, they all want the same thing and that’s to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals, teenagers and terrorists,” Kunce said. “And, you know, real expanded background checks, which this doesn’t have, and real red flag protections, which this doesn’t have.”

Pointing to his experience in the military, Kunce said he supports raising the age limit to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

“There is a world in which if you got the right amount of training and the right amount of observation, then I could go lower with that,” Kunce said. “It’s not like I’m not gonna be draconian about this. But we need things that keep the weapons out of people who are going to be unsafe.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkelogg 

Follow Lucas Kunce on Twitter: @LucasKunceMO

Democrat Lucas Kunce on why he’ll fight for abortion rights and stronger action on guns

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/podcast/politically-speaking/2022-07-07/democrat-lucas-kunce-on-why-hell-fight-for-abortion-rights-and-stronger-action-on-guns
https://news.stlpublicradio.org/page-not-found.rss
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Voting statistics:
RatePercentageVotes
60%0
50%0
40%0
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10%0
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