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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:22 am
Fri February 28, 2003

Blagojevich Halts Corrections Chief Nomination

Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich
(file photo)

Springfield, Ill. – The confirmation of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's prisons chief is in jeopardy, following a Chicago Tribune report about abuses at Cook County's jail.

Blagojevich yesterday asked the state Senate to halt his nomination of Ernesto Velasco; the governor says he's alarmed by a report that guards at Cook County Jail beat and terrorized inmates four years ago.

Velasco was director of the jail at the time of the alleged beatings.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:12 am
Fri February 28, 2003

Report Calls St. Louis Election Board is Incompetent

St. Louis, Mo. – A new report calls the St. Louis election board incompetent and mismanaged.

It says the office has no accountability, noting employees take vacation time just before elections, when they're most needed.

The study suggests reducing the number of voting precincts to cut the number of judges and specialists, who are regularly in short supply.

The report comes from attorney Shonagh Clements, a political ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Governor Holden, and
from Slay assistant Robbyn Wahby.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:39 am
Fri February 28, 2003

St. Louis's Taxicabs: Part Two

KWMU Staff Photo

St. Louis, MO. –

St. Louis city and county are each preparing to give up a little power.

Come June, each government's say over taxicabs in the area will become that of a new Regional Taxicab Commission.

The commission was created with the hopes that one governing body would mean less red tape for the industry. But not everyone is looking forward to the new commission.

KWMU's Tom Weber prepared this second of two reports on St. Louis's taxis.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:02 am
Fri February 28, 2003

Peace Protest Planned for Saturday

St. Louis, MO – A coalition of African-American leaders in St. Louis is denouncing President Bush's overtures towards a war with Iraq, and calling on the administration to reinvest in needy African-American communities.

The Universal African Peoples Organization will hold a peace march and rally Saturday in St. Louis to protest a possible US-led attack on Iraq. President Zaki Baruti says war would be economically devastating to already deprived communities in the United States.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
4:50 pm
Thu February 27, 2003

Malpractice Bill Passes in Mo.; Doctors Rally in Ill.

Jefferson City, Mo & Springfield, Ill. – The Missouri House Wednesday gave first-round passage to new limits on personal injury lawsuits.

The measure lowers the amount of financial damages people could win for the pain, suffering and emotional distress caused by their injuries.

Republicans say the plan will help stem the rising costs of malpractice insurance.
But critics say lawsuits aren't the problem; insurance company polices and a lack of competition are.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
4:23 pm
Thu February 27, 2003

Illinois Death Row: Population One

(Reuters file photo)

Charleston, Ill. – Illinois' death row now has a population of one. A jury in east-central Illinois Wednesday evening sentenced a man to death for killing a college student nearly two years ago.

Anthony Mertz is the first person to get the death sentence since former Governor George Ryan cleared death row last month.

But a spokesman for Governor Rod Blagojevich says no one will be executed until lawmakers pass reforms to the capital punishment system.

The Crime

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St. Louis Public Radio News
1:11 pm
Thu February 27, 2003

Amtrak Says Passenger Service Won't Be Cut

Jefferson City, MO – Amtrak trains will continue to operate between St. Louis and Kansas City for the time being.

The rail carrier had threatened to reduce its twice-a-day service beginning Saturday, due to a lack of state funding. While the legislature has not approved additional money, Amtrak spokeswoman Kathleen Cantillon says the company is optimistic.

Amtrak says it will cost an additional $1.2 million to operate both trains from March through June, so it is considering several cost-cutting measures.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:50 pm
Thu February 27, 2003

Mo. Congressmen Vote for Lewis & Clark Nickel

Washington, DC – All of Missouri's nine Congressmen voted Wednesday for a new nickel design.

The change will take the picture of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, off the back for four years and replace it with a Lewis and Clark design to mark the Bicentennial of the expedition through the Louisiana Purchase that started in St. Louis.

The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:40 am
Thu February 27, 2003

Former Pakistani Leader Urges Support for Afghanistan

St. Louis, MO – The former Prime Minister of Pakistan says democracy must return to that country in order to head off terrorism.

Benazir Bhutto spoke with reporters Thursday at Maryville University in St. Louis.

She says the world's Muslims view the alliance between President Bush and the Pakistani government as inconsistent with the administration's democratic goals.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:49 am
Thu February 27, 2003

St. Louis Taxicabs: Part One

Taxicab drivers usually spend hours waiting just south of Lambert Airport for a fare.

St. Louis, Mo. –

When travelers fly to St. Louis, their trip rarely ends at the airport. Taxis get many people to their destination.

Currently 12 cab companies do business at the airport, but the drivers there have encountered a bit of a crisis in the past few years and are fighting for their livelihood.

In the first of a two-part series on St. Louis's taxicabs, KWMU's Tom Weber looks at why people want to change the cab system at Lambert Airport.

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