Bill Raack | St. Louis Public Radio

Bill Raack

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Raack has been in radio for over 20 years. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas in 1983, he worked at commercial radio stations in Kansas and then Illinois. He moved to public radio in 1990, joining the staff of WILL-AM/FM in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, as a host/reporter and then as news director in 1993. He returned to his hometown of St. Louis in 1995 as the local host of St. Louis Public Radio's Morning Edition program and also served as a reporter/producer until 1998, when he was named news director. Bill and his wife Kim are proud parents of two public-radio-listening children.

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The head of a developer with strong St. Louis ties is hoping his commitment to the Loop Trolley will help lift a cloud that has been hanging over the project.

ClayCo Chief Executive Officer Bob Clark says his company decided to make a $750,000 commitment after sensing the initiative was getting a "toxic" reputation.

"It's indicative of a place that is kind of stuck. All of this negativity all of a sudden becomes reality if somebody doesn't do something about it. So, I felt very strongly that it can be exciting," Clark said. "It can be a winning thing."

Amazon's shipping operation, known as a "wish fulfillment center,'' in Edwardsville.
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 1:15 p.m. with St. Louis's regional bid - St. Louis area leaders are taking a regional approach to attracting Amazon's second North American headquarters. They submitted a bid Thursday, which was the deadline set by the online retailer.  Financial details have not been released. Officials cite a non-disclosure agreement among Amazon, local governments, and states hoping to land the $5 billion investment.

Amazon shipping center in Edwardsville
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says the region is planning to make a “competitive bid” to bring Amazon’s second headquarters here.

The company said Thursday that it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees. It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be "a full equal" of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed holds up a petition at a rally at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company on Monday. Raise Up Missouri is gathering signatures to put a statewide $12 an hour initiative on the ballot. Aug. 28, 2017
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with details from rally — Several elected officials across Missouri endorsed an effort Monday to raise the state's minimum wage. Their backing came the same day that St. Louis' $10-an-hour minimum wage, in effect since May 5, dropped to $7.70 an hour due to a new state law. 

House for sale
Paul Sableman | Flickr

The St. Louis County Assessor's office has started informal conferences with property owners concerned their taxes are too high.

Assessor Jake Zimmerman says the average county property value has gone up roughly 7 percent, compared to the last review a couple of years ago. He attributes the increase, in part, to a hotter real estate market, with properties selling faster and for more money.  

Waters continue to rise around I-55 near Butler Hill on Wednesday morning. May 2017
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 4 at 7 p.m. with information about West Alton — Officials with the Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District are urging residents east of Highway 67 in West Alton who plan to evacuate, particularly those who are elderly or have a disability, to do so immediately. Those planning to ride out the flooding, officials said in a Facebook post, should secure provisions.

Pallets full of sandbags that stayed dry during the floods sit in the parking lot of City Hall in Valley Park in January 2016.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 1 with new road closure information - Rising rivers in the St. Louis area that are already threatening homes and businesses will also cause major traffic headaches for at least the rest of this week.

More than 70 roads have been closed in the area due to engorged rivers and streams. (See a complete list here.) Officials say more will be added to the list this week. That includes Interstate 44, which will close in both directions at Route 141 Monday night. Missouri Department of Transportation engineer  Tom Blair says it will mark the third spot on the interstate to close since the heavy rains hit the state this past weekend.

Ron Whelan signs the Rev. Larry Rice's petition addressed to the Governor to provide New Life with a building. 04/27/2017 in front of City Hall and Market Street
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

After a long fight with city officials over New Life Evangelistic Center’s homeless shelter, founder, the Rev. Larry Rice is bringing the matter to the state level.

In a letter addressed to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Rice asks the state to provide a building for the New Life Evangelistic Center to be used as a shelter.

Centene groundbreaking, Clayton, April 21, 2017
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Centene has taken another big step in expanding its downtown Clayton headquarters. The managed care company for Medicaid recipients held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the $770 million project.

The event featured officials from throughout the region, including new St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and Missouri Gov. Eric Grietens. While preliminary work on the project has been underway for months, Friday marked the ceremonial start of construction.

Pinwheels for child abuse victims in St. Charles County. April 18, 2017.
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

In St. Charles County, 181 children in were abused and neglected last year. Those were the reported cases. At least one study has found that one in four children suffer some form of abuse or neglect in their lifetimes.

new stadium, St. Louis Rams
Courtesy HOK | 360 Architecture

The saga of the Rams' decision to leave St. Louis is not over. The city, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are suing the National Football League and all of its member teams over the Rams' move to Los Angeles.

The suit was filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court. It accuses the NFL and Rams' officials of violating the league's relocation guidelines. The relocation guidelines, according to the lawsuit, "bind the NFL, NFL team owners, and NFL teams to follow certain procedures before allowing them to relocate."

St. Louis Public Library
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A so-called "ransomware attack" is causing problems at all St. Louis Public Library branches.

Library system spokeswoman Jen Hatton says one of the system's servers is being blocked by an outsider who is asking for money in exchange for returning control of the server back to the library. The amount of the ransom being demanded is not being released.  

Hatton says the FBI has been contacted and is investigating the attack. The library's own technology employees are also working on repairing the server.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 17 with comments from Bayer, Monsanto and Trump administration - More details are emerging about Bayer's possible acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto. The companies and the incoming Trump administration on Tuesday provided some specifics about job numbers and investment levels.

In a joint statement, Bayer and Monsanto said there are plans to invest $16 billion in agricultural research and development over six years, with at least $8 billion of that in the United States.

U.S. Steel in Granite City
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Updated  at 3 p.m. Dec. 19  with news of the bill signing — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for 2,000 laid-off Granite City steelworkers.

The legislature this month approved the proposal that will provide 52 weeks of benefits, instead of the current 26 for eligible workers.

“This legislation will help the hard working families of the Metro East who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Rauner said, in a statement. 

Abby Cohen is a co-founder of Sparo Labs. She will be on the trip to Boston with other St. Louis startup leaders.
(Photo courtesy of Sparo Labs)

Members of the startup community in St. Louis are trying to strengthen links to Boston. A group of about 20 startup leaders will leave Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Tuesday evening for two days of meetings in Massachusetts.

The Cliff Cave branch of the St. Louis County Library system reopened on Sept. 21, 2016, after renovation work. That included the children's area, pictured here.
(Photo courtesy of St. Louis County Library)

Phase two of a project to replace or renovate 19 of the 20 St. Louis County Library brancheis set to get underway this month.

The first phase of what’s called the “Your Library Renewed” campaign included 11 projects throughout the county. Kristen Sorth, library system director, says that work cost about $58 million, which came from a 2012 property tax increase. Phase two will cost about $79 million.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County elections officials say they are ready for Tuesday’s primary.

During the April municipal elections, many voters were faced with long lines when several county polling places ran out of paper ballots. County Democratic Election Director Eric Fey says that won’t happen this time.

(Tim Lloyd)

Busch Stadium will again play host to an international soccer match this summer.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday that Liverpool F.C., from England, will take on the Italian Club A.S. Roma on Monday, August 1, at 7:30 p.m.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Next winter will serve as a curtain call for the head coach of the St. Louis Blues.

Ken Hitchcock has agreed to another one-year contract with the National Hockey League team and he says it will be his final year as a coach.

“I want one-year deals because it allows me to do the things I need to do,” Hitchcock told reporters gathered Tuesday at Scottrade Center for the Blues' end-of-season news conference.

“But I'm telling you right now, this is my last one-year deal. I'm not coaching after this year. This is it.”

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Tuesday, May 24, 3 p.m., to include Monsanto's rejection of Bayer offer - St. Louis-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto has rejected a $62 billion offer from German drugs and chemicals company Bayer AG.

In a statement Tuesday, Monsanto called the takeover bid "incomplete and financially inadequate." However, the seed company is suggesting that a higher bid might be accepted, saying that it remains open to talks.

Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant also said that the initial offer failed to address potential financing and regulatory risks. Bayer made an all-cash bid that valued Monsanto's stock at $122 each.

Our original story:

Bayer is making its case for buying St. Louis-based Monsanto. The German company is offering to acquire the seeds and agricultural chemical business for $62 billion. The deal could create the world’s leading company for crop protection and seeds and traits.

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