St. Louis Public Radio News
11:50 am
Thu May 6, 2004

St. Louis Zoo Picked as 11th Best for Kids

The St. Louis Zoo (KWMU file photo)

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Zoo has been ranked as the 11th most "family friendly" zoo in the nation.

Child Magazine ranked the zoos based on a survey it sent to about 150 zoos.

They answered questions based on kid-focused criteria, which includes issues like the availability of milk to diaper changing stands. Other categories include the number of exhibits, whether there's a children's zoo (St. Louis Zoo does have one), and whether the zoo offers programs for school trips and summer vacation.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:11 am
Thu May 6, 2004

Stakeholders Complete Work on Recommendations

Stakeholders officially sign off on their recommendations Wednesday (KWMU photo)

St. Louis, MO – A group called the Stakeholders Assembly finalized its recommendations yesterday for changing the way St. Louis City government works.

Stakeholders will now gather signatures to get four questions on the November ballot.

They include reducing the number of alderman from 28 to 15, but also letting alderman change the budget in ways they currently can't.

A number of offices like Treasurer and License Collector that are currently elected would become appointed.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:55 am
Thu May 6, 2004

Audit: Missouri Missed $3.5 Million in Grants

Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill.
(UPI file)

St. Louis – An audit released Thursday finds Missouri missed out on $3.5 million worth of federal grants because state agencies did not know the funding was available.

State auditor Claire McCaskill calls the situation "distressing." She says there are no systems in place to identify and prioritize potential grants.

McCaskill says Missouri also lost nearly $5 million in grants because budget cuts eliminated state matching fund programs.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:49 am
Thu May 6, 2004

Illinois Lawmakers Grill Budget Director

Springfield, Ill – Democrats and Republicans joined together in grilling the governor's budget director over Illinois government's growing debt Thursday.

They accuse Governor Rod Blagojevich of trying to solve current budget problems by borrowing money, creating more problems for the future.

Officials argue the Democratic governor's borrowing is structured so that very little has to be repaid now. Most comes due 20 and 30 years down the road.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:13 am
Thu May 6, 2004

IL Taxpayers to Foot Bill for Far-Off Estimates on Pension Plan

(KWMU file photo)

Springfield, Ill. – Governor Rod Blagojevich says Illinois taxpayers will be stuck paying billions of extra dollars for an early retirement program.

The governor also wants an investigation into why cost estimates were so far off.

State budget director John Filan says the budget includes only $70 million for the program, but he now
believes it could cost up to $380 million this year.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:37 pm
Wed May 5, 2004

Isle of Capri Drops Plans to Buy President Casino

The President Casino on the Admiral (KWMU photo)

St. Louis, MO – Isle of Capri Casinos said Tuesday it will no longer try to the President Casino in downtown St. Louis.

The company said in a statement that both the buyer and seller agreed to end the sale agreement.

Instead, Isle says it will now focus on trying to win approval from the state to build casinos in both St. Louis City and County. The company says its proposals will mean $196 million more in tax money for local governments than any other proposal on the table.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:02 pm
Wed May 5, 2004

AFL-CIO Endorses Farmer

(UPI file)

St. Louis – Democratic U-S Senate candidate Nancy Farmer has received the endorsement of the state's largest labor union, the AFL-CIO.

Farmer, the state treasurer, is opposing incumbent Republican Senator Kit Bond in the November election.

The union endorsement was announced Wednesday at a rally in downtown St. Louis.

The Missouri AFL-CIO represents more than 500,000 workers and retirees. Some 391 unions and councils are affiliated with the state federation.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
1:34 pm
Wed May 5, 2004

Washington University Prepares for Presidential Debate

(file)

St. Louis – Preparations are continuing at Washington University in St. Louis, which will host the second of three presidential debates in October. But it's still not known just how many candidates will share the stage.

The debate on October 8 will be the university's third since 1992. The Commission on Presidential Debates is preparing for an event between President George W. Bush and presumptive Democratic nominee Senator John Kerry.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:49 am
Wed May 5, 2004

Missouri Economy Strong, Officials Say

Jefferson City, Mo. – State officials say Missouri's economy is
strong and its business climate is vibrant.

But the credit for that is a little unclear.

Leaders of the departments of Economic Development and Revenue held a periodic briefing Tuesday on the state economy.

Among the things they cited were improving employment and retail sales
figures.

State Revenue Director Carol Fischer says more people are buying
things as a result of President Bush's tax cuts.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:31 am
Wed May 5, 2004

Illinois Senate Passes HIV Organ Transplant Bill

Springfield, Ill – Illinois may become the first state that
lets people with HIV donate organs to others with the virus.

The Senate voted 55-2 today to allow organ transplants
among people who have the virus that causes AIDS. The House approved the measure in March.

It now goes to Governor Rod Blagojevich.

HIV-infected organs are currently disposed of so they won't be transplanted.

Some doctors say those organs can help prolong the
lives of HIV patients, who are living longer because of medical advances.

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