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St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger take questions after announcing their support for a task force to examine government spending.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

New talk of city-county merger appears to energize both sides

With the Missouri General Assembly slated to convene in a few weeks, the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis is scrambling in case state lawmakers decide to intervene in the region’s long-standing debate over a possible merger of St. Louis and St. Louis County. At least 50 area municipalities are planning to ask the St. Louis County Council Tuesday to oppose any sort of statewide vote on the matter. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen could face a similar request shortly.

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St. Louis, MO – Lambert airport officials evacuated the East Terminal and D Concourse around noon Friday when a security screener noticed a suspicious item in a passenger's luggage. The item turned out to be a small knife. Security personnel were unable to stop the passenger before he left the screening area. Despite that, federal security director Bill Switzer says everything was done properly.

St. Louis, MO – The Cardinals' trip to the post-season will add millions to the local economy.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association says each home game during the current series against Arizona will bring in about $2.1 million. If the Redbirds make the full run through the World Series, the total economic impact could reach $178 million.

The Cards lead their best-of-five Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1-0. Game two is today in Arizona, starting at 3:00pm.

East St. Louis, IL – East St. Louis Police Chief Delbert Marion says he opposes a cost-cutting plan to combine his department with several nearby squads.

East St. Louis City Councilman Charles Powell suggested the move in an effort to trim more than one million dollars from the city's budget.

Powell also suggested the city turn over its emergency dispatch services to Saint Clair County.

Fulton, MO – Westminster College in Fulton will lower tuition next fall.

New students will pay $12,300 dollars for the academic year that starts next fall. That figure is down from this year's $15,360.

The liberal arts college started this academic year with a record enrollment of 751. The school's president says the tuition discount is an effort to get that number up to 900 by 2006.

St. Louis, MO – The former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in St. Louis Wednesday for several speaking events.

Netanyahu told a small audience of students and faculty at Maryville University that the U.S. should not hesitate to launch a military attack on Iraq. He says Saddam Hussein needs to be stopped from amassing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons immediately.

Topeka, KS – A reversal and apology to her Show-Me State
neighbors Thursday from Kansas gubernatorial hopeful Kathleen Sebelius. The Democratic candidate issued verbal and written statements saying she was insensitive Wednesday in suggesting that driving on Missouri roads was more terrifying than the 9-11 attacks.

Springfield, IL & Jefferson City, MO – Missouri collected 2.7% less tax money this July, August, and September than it did during those three months last year.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering says state revenue was $76 million short of what lawmakers budgeted for the first three months of the fiscal year. But Luebbering says she wants to study the outlook more before recommending any more budget cuts to Governor Holden.

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that while state law mandates that absentee balloting for next month's election was to begin more than a week ago, the city's absentee ballots still were not ready.
At a press conference Wednesday Sheila Greenbaum with the City Board of Election Commissioners attempted to clear up confusion.

Jefferson City, MO – Tobacco companies are joining forces to try to defeat a tobacco tax increase on the November ballot in Missouri.

They have formed a group called Missourians Against Unfair Taxes, whose members include R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, Lorillard, and Brown and Williamson.

The referendum will ask whether voters want to raise the cigarette tax from $0.17 to $0.72 cents a pack. The new money would go to health care treatment and anti-smoking efforts.

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St. Louis on the Air

Monday: We profiled St. Louis historic neighborhood – The Ville

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we talked about a podcast collaboration that features The Ville – a historic black neighborhood in St. Louis.

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Become part of our Public Insight Network. We use the PIN to get insight from people like you. Today's question: Where do you stand on the socio-economic ladder?