News

St. Louis, MO – Organizers of St. Louis 2004 have announced a year-long party commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1904 World's Fair. The celebration will kick off on New Year's Eve 2003 at Forest Park. Former Missouri Senator Jack Danforth says it will be the biggest event in the city's park since the World's Fair and will including live performances, light shows and the unveiling of what will become a 2004 landmark - a 10-story tall ferris wheel.

Rockford, IL – Illinois' gubernatorial candidates traded jabs over their parties' chairmen in their first public debate last night in Rockford.

Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan said Democratic U.S. Representative Rod Blagojevich was "quiet as a churchmouse" over allegations that Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan may have used state employees for political work.

Former Republican Party Chairman Lee Daniels stepped down over similar allegations.

Chicago, IL – The Illinois state quarter will show a young Abraham Lincoln, a farm setting and the Chicago skyline over an outline of the state and 21 stars.

Governor George Ryan unveiled the design today in Chicago.

The coin will be the first to be released in 2003 and will be the 21st state quarter to be minted. The 50 state quarters are being minted in the order that states ratified the Constitution. The program will continue through 2008.

St. Louis, MO – Almost 3,000 union janitors in St. Louis have ratified a new contract, ending a seven-week strike.

The local Service Employees Union and the Contract Cleaners Association came to the four-year agreement last week. The average janitor will see an average 28% pay raise. Employers will also double their pension contributions.

St. Louis, MO – Religious leaders in the St. Louis area are condemning remarks made the Reverend Jerry Fallwell on national television Sunday.

Members of the Interfaith Partnership said Tuesday they're outraged that Fallwell called the founder of Islam a terrorist. Imam Muhammad Nur Abdullah, with the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, says the comments show ignorance and insensitivity.

Washington, DC – Most Missourians in Congress say President Bush has made a convincing case for immediate action against Iraq.

Republican Senator Kit Bond says Bush was reiterating arguments that have won broad support on Capitol Hill. Democrat Jean Carnahan says she also plans to support the resolution on giving the President war-making powers, saying she believes Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat.

St. Louis, MO – Members of the judiciary and other public officials gathered at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica yesterday to participate in an observance that recognizes the legal profession.

St. Louis' annual Red Mass is a Roman Catholic tradition that seeks to confer guidance on judges and lawyers at the start of the judicial term. Archbishop Justin Rigali gave the mass and delivered words of encouragement: "May all of you who serve justice find inspiration for your work in the spirit of truth."

Truesdale, MO – A car that was fleeing police struck and killed an officer in Warren County yesterday afternoon.

Investigators say Truesdale police officer Vernon Seals died at a St. Louis area hospital after the crash on I-70. Police say they briefly stopped a car after a home invasion in Fulton, but the suspects fled. Their car then swerved out of control and hit Seals as he stood in a ditch.

The driver of the suspects' car was also killed, and a passenger is hospitalized. He faces possible charges.

Jefferson City, MO – After three years of legal challenges by abortion opponents, Planned Parenthood has been awarded about 600-thousand dollars in state contracts for family planning services.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services contracts awarded late last month include $352,000 to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and more than $243,000 to Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

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.

St. Louis, MO – The Cardinals' trip to the post-season will add millions to the local economy.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association says each home game during the current series against Arizona will bring in about $2.1 million. If the Redbirds make the full run through the World Series, the total economic impact could reach $178 million.

The Cards lead their best-of-five Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1-0. Game two is today in Arizona, starting at 3:00pm.

East St. Louis, IL – East St. Louis Police Chief Delbert Marion says he opposes a cost-cutting plan to combine his department with several nearby squads.

East St. Louis City Councilman Charles Powell suggested the move in an effort to trim more than one million dollars from the city's budget.

Powell also suggested the city turn over its emergency dispatch services to Saint Clair County.

Fulton, MO – Westminster College in Fulton will lower tuition next fall.

New students will pay $12,300 dollars for the academic year that starts next fall. That figure is down from this year's $15,360.

The liberal arts college started this academic year with a record enrollment of 751. The school's president says the tuition discount is an effort to get that number up to 900 by 2006.

St. Louis, MO – The former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in St. Louis Wednesday for several speaking events.

Netanyahu told a small audience of students and faculty at Maryville University that the U.S. should not hesitate to launch a military attack on Iraq. He says Saddam Hussein needs to be stopped from amassing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons immediately.

Topeka, KS – A reversal and apology to her Show-Me State
neighbors Thursday from Kansas gubernatorial hopeful Kathleen Sebelius. The Democratic candidate issued verbal and written statements saying she was insensitive Wednesday in suggesting that driving on Missouri roads was more terrifying than the 9-11 attacks.

Springfield, IL & Jefferson City, MO – Missouri collected 2.7% less tax money this July, August, and September than it did during those three months last year.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering says state revenue was $76 million short of what lawmakers budgeted for the first three months of the fiscal year. But Luebbering says she wants to study the outlook more before recommending any more budget cuts to Governor Holden.

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that while state law mandates that absentee balloting for next month's election was to begin more than a week ago, the city's absentee ballots still were not ready.
At a press conference Wednesday Sheila Greenbaum with the City Board of Election Commissioners attempted to clear up confusion.

Jefferson City, MO – Tobacco companies are joining forces to try to defeat a tobacco tax increase on the November ballot in Missouri.

They have formed a group called Missourians Against Unfair Taxes, whose members include R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, Lorillard, and Brown and Williamson.

The referendum will ask whether voters want to raise the cigarette tax from $0.17 to $0.72 cents a pack. The new money would go to health care treatment and anti-smoking efforts.

Collinsville, IL – There will be school in Collinsville today, even though teachers there have authorized a strike.

The teachers' union voted yesterday to give at least five days' notice before walking out, with negotiations continuing until then.

At issue is a salary increase. Teachers want a 5% raise the first year, followed by increases of 6% and 7% the next two years. The district has offered a 4% raise in each of the three years.

Jefferson City, MO – State auditor Claire McCaskill says some drunk drivers with multiple offenses are not being forced into the level of substance abuse treatment they need. An audit of the Missouri Department of Mental Health found that five percent of drivers with at least two DWI offenses were still being assigned to entry-level treatment programs. McCaskill says the study also found that offenders living at least 30 miles from advanced treatment providers were not required to attend those programs.

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