St. Louis, MO – After six years at the helm of Missouri's largest school district, Dr. Cleveland Hammonds is calling it quits. Hammonds announced Wednesday he'll retire as superintendent at the end of the school year. His term saw some improvements in student test scores, the end of a long-standing desegregation case against the district and an ambitious building program. Hammonds says one of his toughest issues was finding the resources to pay teachers what they're worth.
Jefferson City, Mo. & Springfield, Ill. – State lawmakers in both Illinois and Missouri were sworn in today for a new legislative session.
Yesterday, Missouri's budget director set the stage for possible a tax increase. Linda Luebbering says the worst budget crunch in state history could mean releasing prisoners, laying off more than five thousand state workers, and dismissing thousands of public school teachers.
Springfield, IL – With just a week left in office, Illinois Governor George Ryan is making more appointments to state jobs.
Yesterday he appointed a Chicago area State Senator and a senior aide in his office to the state's Pollution Control Board. The jobs went to Republican Senator Doris Karpiel of Carol Stream and senior environmental adviser Lynne Padovan. He also gave a job to State Senator William Shaw, a Democrat who lost in November.
The three will earn $99,000 a year if the State Senate confirms their appointments.
Jefferson City, MO – Missourians can now access information on the state's nursing homes via the Internet.
Information about long-term facilities, including nursing homes, can be found at the site. It includes information about latest inspection, including whether the home had any violations and whether the violations were corrected.
Last fall, Governor Bob Holden ordered the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to place the information on the agency's Internet site.
St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is hopeful financing for a new stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals could be in place within three months or so.
Slay says efforts are on track to raise the private money needed to help build the stadium. But St. Louis County still needs to approve its portion of the project - $ 45 million. That request has yet to go before the county council.
St. Louis, MO – About 50 Missouri public health workers took part in a day-long training session Tuesday to learn how to administer the smallpox vaccine. The training comes in response to the Bush administration's recommendation to immunize thousands of health care professionals across the country.
Some medical officials have questioned the safety of treating patients who have weakened immune systems. But Dr. Robert Hamm with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says current data suggests it is safe.
Jefferson City, MO – Civic and business leaders are appealing to Missouri highway planners not to reduce the St. Louis region's transportation funding. State transportation officials say they want to devise a more objective way of distributing transportation dollars.
But local officials say MODOT's proposal would cut the region's allocation by $45 million each year starting in 2007. St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association president Dick Fleming says MODOT's proposal is ill-conceived.