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Autoworker Chris Paplanus says umpiring helped him stay afloat after he was laid off from Chrysler during the recession. (April 11, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Great Recession wrought life-altering changes for St. Louis area autoworkers

On a breezy spring evening, Chris Paplanus donned his umpire gear to work the plate at a girls softball game at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. It was a long first inning, with the 14-year-old pitchers on both teams struggling mightily. Each time Paplanus called a strike — Hup! — the sidelines erupted in supportive cheers.

By day, Paplanus, 60, is an autoworker at the General Motors Assembly plant in Wentzville, where he began working after a life-changing layoff a decade ago.

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Sedailia, MO – Eight years after impeachment ousted her from office, Democrat Judi Moriarty-Ebers is making a political comeback bid, trying to win a seat in the Missouri House.

Moriarty-Ebers was the state's first female secretary of state, and the only statewide official ever to be ousted after impeachment.

She's running against Republican incumbent Todd Smith, who voted to impeach her. Smith says he has no plans to bring up the past.

Creve Coeur, MO – Washington University researchers are using an area of St. Louis County as the site for a study on what elderly people need to live independently.
The area near the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur has a large percentage of elderly people and has been named one of nation's first Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or NORC's.
John Morris with Washington University's Center for Aging says no one has studied such communities to see what elderly people need to continue to live independently.

Springfield, IL – Lee Daniels says he believes House Republicans will choose a new leader who will unite the party in the face of a looming budget crisis.

He says he made the decision not to seek another term as leader of the Republican caucus in the Illinois House with a heavy heart.

But he says he's proud of the legislative accomplishments he and his colleagues have made.

St. Louis – Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie was in St. Louis yesterday to talk about his writing and his views on religious violence.

Rushdie went into hiding after the Iranian government put a price on his head following the publication of his 1989 novel, The Satanic Verses.

St. Louis, MO – They may be waiting a long time. Half a dozen St. Louis-area citizens are staking out the offices of House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in hopes he will change
his stance on war with Iraq.

Anti-war advocates showed up at Gephardt's St. Louis office at 9 a.m. They say they will wait until he announces publicly that he is withdrawing endorsement of a war resolution authorizing use of force on Iraq.

St. Louis, MO – Two undercover police officers were injured last night after a speeding car they were not pursuing collided with their car.

Uniformed St. Louis police officers were chasing a Firebird that made a U-turn and hit a car driven by undercover drug officers. One officer is in critical condition with broken ribs and bones; the other is in fair condition. The conditions are not thought to be life threatening.

Police arrested three men after the incident.

Jefferson City, MO – Laclede Gas customers can expect slightly higher bills soon. Thursday, Missouri's Public Service Commission approved a rate increase for the company.

That means within the next month, the typical natural gas customer will start paying about $1.80 more per month. Laclede originally sought an increase of almost $4.50 a month. As part of the plan, the company also agrees to freeze rates until March of 2004.

Laclede serves more than 600,000 customers in and around St. Louis.

St. Louis, MO – They may be waiting a long time. Half a dozen St. Louis-area citizens are staking out the offices of House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in hopes he will change
his stance on war with Iraq.

Anti-war advocates showed up at Gephardt's St. Louis office at 9 a.m. They say they will wait until he announces publicly that he is withdrawing endorsement of a war resolution authorizing use of force on Iraq.

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.

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St. Louis on the Air

Understanding Ramadan with 3 members of the local Muslim community

Host Don Marsh discussed how St. Louisans are observing the holy month, which involves fasting, intense prayer and more.

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