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.
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.
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.
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.