St. Louis Public Radio News
11:28 am
Mon June 30, 2003

PrideFest Draws Thousands at Tower Grove Park

St. Louis, MO – Thousands of people gathered in Tower Grove Park Sunday for St. Louis's gay pride celebration; it was the 24th annual PrideFest. Organizers say their predictions put as many as 50,000 people there.

The day also featured a parade; it came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that ban gay sex.

Gay pride events nationally marked the anniversary of gays fighting back against a police raid on a gay bar in June 1969 in New York.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:36 am
Mon June 30, 2003

Ryan's Top Aide Gets 6 1/2-year Racketeering Sentence

Chicago, IL – Former Governor George Ryan's long-time top aide Scott Fawell was sentenced today to six-and-a-half years in prison for a racketeering scheme in which state employees and taxpayer dollars were used to fuel campaigns.

The 46-year-old Fawell's voice broke with emotion as he apologized to his politically prominent family before U-S District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer imposed the sentence.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:33 am
Mon June 30, 2003

Hammonds Last Day as Superintendent Today

Retiring Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds (St. Louis Public Schools picture)

St. Louis, MO – Today is Cleveland Hammonds' last day St. Louis schools superintendent. He's retiring and says he's proud of his tenure.

During his time, Hammonds oversaw the nation's largest school desegregation plan and the dropout rate fell by 13%.

The district's big budget deficit and attempt to gain accreditation from the state are now for interim superintendent William Roberti to address. Roberti heads a so-called turnaround firm that's usually hired to improve ailing businesses.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:44 pm
Fri June 27, 2003

Summer Hard for Illinois Students in Free Lunch Program

Chicago – A study by the Illinois Hunger Coalition shows about 80 percent of students in the National School Lunch Program lose access to free breakfasts and lunches over the summer.

About 1,100 sites around the state provide summer meals, but that's down about 30 percent from the year 2000.

Sister Connie Probst of the Illinois Hunger Coalition says that forces low-income families to search for new programs.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:28 pm
Fri June 27, 2003

Where Flood Waters Once Raged, Development Booms

Development hasn't finished in the valley. Still to come: more stores, a 14-screen movie theatre, and many more restaurants.
(photo: Hillary Wicai)

St. Louis –

Some of the most indelible images of the 1993 flood occurred as the Missouri River overflowed into the Chesterfield Valley.

This area, which was under at least 10 feet of water, has since become the site of what will be one of the largest strip malls in the nation. Not only has the valley recovered from the flood, it's become one of the region's most dynamic centers of new economic growth.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
1:11 pm
Fri June 27, 2003

School Board Member Wants Ethics Investivation

St. Louis, Mo. – St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas wants the Missouri Ethics Commission to investigate four of his fellow board members who ran as a slate and were elected in April.

Haas alleges the St. Louis Education Coalition-a political action committee-violated campaign finance rules by coordinating spending between the candidates.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
11:20 am
Fri June 27, 2003

First Home Rule Meeting This Weekend

St. Louis, Mo. – A St. Louis citizens group hopes a public meeting Saturday will spark a change in the structure of city government.

The discussion is expected to focus in part on a handful of city offices that perform county functions. A change to the city charter could alter the operation of those offices.

Bert Walker with Citizens for Home Rule says meeting organizers will recruit a diverse group of city residents to decide on potential changes.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:02 am
Fri June 27, 2003

Auditor: Missouri Missing Sales Tax Revenue

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri has about 115 ways to avoid paying sales tax. For almost all of them, the state doesn't know how much tax revenue it's missing.

The statements are in an audit released Thursday by State Auditor Claire McCaskill.

A wide array of purchases are exempt from some taxes, ranging from food and insulin to animals used for breeding or feeding purposes.

The state collected $2.8 billion in sales taxes last year, and about $110 billion worth of exempt items were sold in the same period.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:43 am
Fri June 27, 2003

Holden Says He Will Sign Education Bills

Lake Ozark, Mo. – Governor Holden says it's not the bill he
likes, not the budget he wants. But he is biting the bullet today and agreeing to sign two education spending bills.

That ends the budget stalemate between the Democratic chief executive and the Republican-led Missouri Legislature, which is meeting in special session.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
4:58 pm
Thu June 26, 2003

Managing the River a Decade Later

This railroad bridge at Glasgow, Mo. near Columbia washed out in 1993.
(Courtesy of Army Corps of Engineers)

St. Louis –

The 1993 flood was both a disaster and a school lesson from which experts learned how to better manage floods.

Officials with the Corps of Engineers say they're better prepared, so the next flood will cause as little damage as possible. But not everyone is convinced that the experts really know what they're doing.

KWMU's Tom Weber reports.

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