St. Louis, MO – O'Neill says in spite of recent cases of corporate corruption, a series of dot-com failures and the September 11 attacks, there's a lot of good news in the economy. He predicts the nation's economic growth rate will continue to improve. Despite O'Neill's assessment of the economy, House Minority leader Richard Gephardt of St. Louis is blasting the Bush Administration's handling of the economy, citing 1.6 million jobs lost in the last two years. (Bill Raack, KWMU)
Springfield, IL – The Illinois Prisoner Review Board starts a nine-day review of more than 140 Death Row cases today. The Board will suggest whether inmates' sentences should be switched to life in prison.
Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine says most of the cases under review should not be overturned and that to do so would insult the families of the victims. He cited the case of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, whose interigation was not videotaped, meaning he would have been taken off death row if he was still alive.
Richwoods, MO – Law enforcement officials in Richwoods have called off their search for 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck. But family and friends say they'll continue to look, and are seeking volunteers for their own search.
Hornbeck was last seen riding a bike to his friend house nine days ago. The reward for information leading to his return is now $20,000 dollars.
Chicago, IL – Family members of victims and inmates have crowded the hearing room in Chicago. Many clutch photographs of their deceased loved ones. Several have made tear-choked appeals to the board members, asking them to uphold the death sentences imposed by juries. Attorneys for the inmates have attacked the cases against the clients on a number of fronts, saying their clients were victims of racial discrimination or police torture. Prosecutors have disputed the claims, saying the prisoners were treated fairly.
St. Louis, MO – More than 1,100 St. Louis police officers must start wearing bulletproof vests by the end of this month.
Chief Joe Mokwa made the requirement yesterday, hours after an officer was shot. Using the protection had been voluntary. It's at least the sixth time in less than three months that St. Louis police have been shot at or drawn into gun battles.
Urbana, IL – In separate debates in Chicago and Urbana yesterday, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin criticized Republican State Representative Jim Durkin for following his party's line on many issues, including a military strike against Iraq.
But Durkin says his opponent's priorities are wrong.
St. Louis, MO – Missouri has a new way of linking up hospitals, emergency services providers and public health agencies in case of a disaster. State officials today announced a computer-based system that allows health officials to know which hospitals are able to take trauma patients and which hospitals are full or experiencing problems.
St. Louis, MO – Astronauts on NASA's current mission to the International Space Station will perform their final spacewalk today.
Belleville, Illinois, native Sandra Magnus is one of three astronauts on her first trip to space. She'll be running a robotic arm during today's spacewalk, which will be used to carry cargo or astronauts around during the mission.
Grafton, IL – Searchers have found no trace of a 15-year old St. Louis area boy lost Saturday in a Mississippi River collision.
The U.S. Coast Guard says it likely will suspend the effort after two days of looking. The teenager was on a cabin cruiser that collided with a tug boat on the Mississippi River.
The pleasure boat is registered to an owner-operator from Syracuse, New York. It had mechanical problems and collided with the tug near Grafton, Illinois. The tug was pushing 16 empty barges at the time.