St. Louis Public Radio News
9:43 am
Fri April 9, 2004

Population Surges in Counties, Falls in St. Louis City

(KWMU file photo)

St. Louis, MO – New census data show Lincoln County, Mo. is now the fastest growing county in Missouri and the 70th fastest growing in the country. Lincoln's head count jumped 13.5% since April 2000.

But the actual population is still far below St. Louis City, and St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis Counties.

St. Charles saw about a 10% increase. That works out to almost 28,000 more people in the past four years, which is the 70th biggest numerical increase in the country.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:02 am
Fri April 9, 2004

Highway Patrol Reports Staff Shortage

St. Louis – The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it's difficult to retain staff because other police departments are offering more competitive pay and benefits.

The Patrol announced this week it has 88 positions open around the state. That includes 17 in the St. Louis district.

Captain Chris Ricks says Missouri's budget troubles are exacerbating the shortage.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
4:11 pm
Thu April 8, 2004

Illinois Gives OK to Reopen Hartford Refinery

Springfield, Ill – The state of Illinois has given ConocoPhillips the go-ahead to reopen a refinery in the small town of Hartford, near St. Louis.

The approval from Governor Rod Blagojevich means the company can restart a closed crude oil refining unit even though it hasn't received a permanent permit from the state.

ConocoPhillips purchased the plant last year from Premcor, which closed the refinery in 2002.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
3:51 pm
Thu April 8, 2004

McCaskill Says Child Abuse Hotline Not Fixed

Missouri Auditor Claire McCaskill (file photo)

St. Louis – Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill says those running the state's child abuse hotline are not responding adequately to calls.

McCaskill released a follow-up report Thursday on the Department of Social Services.

McCaskill says DSS has improved in several areas after a 2000 audit. But she says the hotline remains the agency's biggest failure.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:39 pm
Thu April 8, 2004

Mishap Closes Part of Busy Eager Road in County

Richmond Heights, MO – A busy road in Richmond Heights is closed indefinitely.

A worker helping build the Metrolink extension damaged a bridge that carries Eager Road over the light rail tracks Wednesday.

Eager connects Hanley Road with Interstate 170 and Brentwood Road. The closed portion is between the new Best Buy and the Dierberg's on Eager.

Officials say the stretch could be closed for two days, two weeks, or possibly longer.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:39 am
Thu April 8, 2004

MO House Initially Passes Child Abuse Reform

(KWMU file photo)

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House Wednesday night gave first-round approval to an overhaul of the way the state responds to child abuse and neglect.


It's the latest response to the abuse death of a foster child two years ago in Springfield, Mo.


Governor Holden vetoed last year's reform legislation, saying some changes would cause more harm than good. This year's bill revises some of provisions cited in Holden's veto.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:18 am
Thu April 8, 2004

Batelle to Retire as County Police Chief

Outgoing Police Chief Ron Batelle (KWMU file photo)

St. Louis, MO – After 40 years with the St. Louis County Police, Ron Batelle says his proudest moment was getting promoted to Chief.

Batelle has announced he's retiring from the post June first.

He says crime has dropped recently because of effective community policing, but adds small police departments in the county need to be more professional.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:20 am
Thu April 8, 2004

Boeing Machinists to take Strike Authorization Vote

St. Louis – Boeing and leaders of its three thousand-member union at the Integrated Defense Systems division in St. Louis have begun negotiating a new contract.

As part of that process, members of the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers will take a strike authorization vote Saturday.

District 37 president Rick Smith says the vote is just a procedural move. He says contract negotiations will likely focus on job security, retiree benefits and health care costs.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
3:18 pm
Wed April 7, 2004

Missouri Senate Committee Rejects Medicaid Cuts

Jefferson City, Mo. – A Missouri Senate committee today rejected most of a House plan that would have saved millions of dollars by dropping thousands of people from the Medicaid program.

The Senate panel's version has just a few cuts. They go after waste and fraud in Medicaid, which chairman John Cauthorn of
Mexico says is important.

When the House passed the bill last month, supporters said they want to slow the growth of Medicaid, while making sure basic services are available for those who really need it.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:37 pm
Wed April 7, 2004

St. Louis Teachers' Union to Protest at City Hall

Mayor Francis Slay (UPI file photo)

St. Louis, MO – The union representing St. Louis teachers will rally outside City Hall today (Wednesday) to try to persuade Mayor Francis Slay to take a more active role in helping the embattled school district.

School officials last month offered four options for filling an expected $23 million budget gap next fiscal year.

The St. Louis teachers union opposes each of those options, which include staff attrition and layoffs.

President Mary Armstrong says her union is calling on Mayor Francis Slay for help.

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