St. Louis Public Radio News
11:03 am
Thu March 18, 2004

Rep's Aunt Gets Illinois State Job

Collinsville, Ill – The aunt of a state representative who is a
close ally of Governor Rod Blagojevich has been tapped for a $60,000 per-year state job.

Mary Koch is Representative Jay Hoffman's aunt. She has been named director of the newly formed "Opportunity Returns" office in Collinsville, east of St. Louis.

The office helps local businesses with employee training, market
expansion and other problems.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:08 am
Thu March 18, 2004

Senior RX Upgrade Wins MO House Initial Approval

(KWMU file photo)

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri House lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would make the state fill a gap in federal prescription drug coverage.

The bill would convert the Senior-RX program when Medicare starts covering prescription drug costs in 2006.

Medicare will not cover drug costs above $2,250 and below $5,000.
So the plan in Jefferson City would have the state pick up part of the costs in that range.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
4:05 pm
Wed March 17, 2004

'The Community' Sues to Remove School Board Members

The suit aims to remove the four who were elected together last year.

St. Louis – Four members of the St. Louis School Board are being sued by residents who want the officials removed from office.

A group calling itself "The Community" has filed a petition in St. Louis Circuit Court seeking the ouster of board president Darnetta Clinkscale, and board members Vince Shoemel, Bob Archibald and Ron Jackson.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
3:57 pm
Wed March 17, 2004

Kids Count Report Shows Funding Gap in Illinois Schools

Springfield, Ill – Child advocates say inadequate school
funding and a lack of family support are causing some Illinois students to perform poorly in school.

The 2004 Illinois Kids Count report says that 40 percent of
Illinois' public schools did not meet state learning standards last year.

The poor performance can be attributed to major spending gaps among school districts, according to Frank Kopecky,
a board member for Voices for Illinois Children, which put out the report.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:02 pm
Wed March 17, 2004

Obama Tours Illinois After Primary Victory

Dem. Barack Obama talks to reporters Tuesday night, after winning the Illinois primary for U.S. Senate. (photo from David Katz, Obama campaign)

Springfield, Ill – Democratic U-S Senate candidate Barack Obama is now focusing his attention on the Republican Party.

At a series of stops across the state one day after his primary election win, Obama criticized the GOP leadership for not paying enough attention to the concerns of Illinoisans.

He says character becomes an issue when it is reflected in a politician's policies.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
1:19 pm
Wed March 17, 2004

Schools, City Investigate Possible Food Poisoning

Interim Superintendent Bill Roberti talks to reporters about food safety concerns.
(KWMU staff)

St. Louis – St. Louis Public schools officials and the city health department are still trying to figure out what caused several dozen Lafayette elementary school students to get sick Tuesday after lunch.

The officials met Wednesday with executives of Aramark, the food service company the school system hired last month.

Interim superintendent Bill Roberti says whatever the cause, the problem is not acceptable.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:44 pm
Wed March 17, 2004

Barack Obama, Jack Ryan Roll to Easy Wins in IL Primary

Barack Obama (left) and Jack Ryan (right) (photos from each candidate's campaign)

Chicago, ILl. –

Republican Jack Ryan will face Democrat Barack Obama in this fall's race for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat.

Current Senator Peter Fitzgerald is stepping down.

Both men easily won their parties' nomination yesterday amidst a field of 15 total candidates.

Obama, in fact, had more votes than the six other Democrats in the race combined.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:43 am
Wed March 17, 2004

Schnuck's, Dierberg's Recall Salmon

St. Louis – A Florida company is recalling packages of smoked salmon sold at St. Louis area Schnuck's and Dierberg's stores.

Some of them may be contaminated with Listeria, a bacterium that can cause serious illness.

The stores say some packages of Sea Specialties smoked salmon with sell-by dates of August 30th are part of the recall.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:42 am
Wed March 17, 2004

Local Illinois Election Results

The Venice School will stay open, thanks to Tuesday's vote. (KWMU file photo)

St. Louis, MO – Voters in the Metro-East didn't just pick nominees for President and U.S. Senate.

A number of local issues were also on the ballot.

Voters in Venice, Ill. approved two questions that will keep the school district there open.

District officials will now be able to borrow $500,000 to pay off debt. They'll also be able to shut down the high school and send those 58 high schoolers to other nearby schools.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:42 am
Wed March 17, 2004

Herculaneum Residents Encouraged to Move Out

St. Louis, MO – State and federal officials are warning Herculaneum residents to move away from the nation's largest lead smelter.

They say lead is slowly re-contaminating the soil and air in the Jefferson County town.

But some longtime residents say they can't afford equivalent housing elsewhere.

The Doe Run Company is offering a buyout to residents who live within a certain radius of the smelter.

Officials say people should take advantage of the offer.

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