Bill Raack | St. Louis Public Radio

Bill Raack

Editor

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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File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois' new Republican governor is calling for deep spending cuts to address a state budget billions in the red without raising taxes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said during his first budget address Wednesday that Illinois has been living beyond its means.

File photo | WUIS Radio

 Gov. Bruce Rauner has laid out a first-year agenda he says will make Illinois more competitive and "empower" people and local governments.  The Winnetka Republican delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday.    He says Illinois must make changes to become more welcoming to businesses.  

"Our workers compensation, unemployment insurance and liability costs all rank among the worst in America. Those costs add up to far more than just numbers on an accountant's balance sheet," Rauner said. "They impact real people with real jobs and real families."

Michael Brown Sr., center, arrives at his son's funeral.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Michael Brown's funeral Monday combined remembrances of the young man and calls for justice.

"Michael Brown doesn't want to be remembered for a riot," the Rev. Al Sharpton said. "He wants to be remembered as the one who made America deal with how we police in the United States."

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Story hour at Kirkwood Public Library had a guest reader on Thursday. Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander stopped by as part of a tour spotlighting the early literacy initiative "Racing to Read."

Earlier this year, public libraries throughout Missouri were invited to apply for a portion of the $300,000 in federal funds set aside by the Secretary of State’s office to help children enter Kindergarten ready to learn to read.

(Courtesy of Sen. Claire McCaskill)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Tuesday chaired a hearing on Capitol Hill to discuss what she called a “crisis in consumer protection”: weight-loss diet scams.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of television’s “Dr. Oz Show”, was the hearing’s star witness. Other witnesses included Mary Koelbel Engle, associate director of the Division of Advertising Practices for the Federal Trade Commission, and Steven Mister, president and CEP of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

During the hearing McCaskill scolded Oz for claims that he’s made about weight-loss aids on his show.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

On the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision Saturday, a small group rallied in front of City Hall to call on elected officials to improve St. Louis’ schools.

The students, parents, members of Metropolitan Congregations United and representatives from the American Federation of Teachers St. Louis want schools turned into “community learning centers.” 

St. Louis Public Schools teachers’ union president Mary Armstrong says she would like these “centers” to focus more on learning and less on student testing.

St. Louis Public Radio

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced Tuesday that St. Louis Public Radio's education reporter Tim Lloyd is the winner of three regional 2014 Edward R. Murrow Awards.

The awards recognize the best electronic journalism produced by radio, television and online news organizations around the world.

(Bill Raack)

We're sad to say goodbye today to our morning newscaster, Julie Bierach.

Julie has decided to pursue a degree in nursing after a career in journalism and public relations. She delivered her last newscasts for St. Louis Public Radio this morning.

Julie has been the morning news voice on STLPR since November, 2010. Prior to that, Julie served as the station's science/technology reporter from July, 2007 until September, 2008.

provided by the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill

Members of a Senate panel Wednesday accused General Motors of trying to cover up problems with an ignition switch that is now tied to 13 deaths.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Illinois residents would continue paying a 5-percent income tax rate under the much-anticipated budget proposal Gov. Pat Quinn presented Wednesday. 

Illinois' income tax rate is supposed to expire in January, midway through the fiscal year. But Quinn says that would cause "savage cuts" to schools and other critical state services. Instead, the governor wants to make the higher income tax rate permanent.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A hike in the minimum wage, sending more children to preschool and more grants for low-income college students are all part of the agenda Governor Pat Quinn laid out Wednesday in his State of the State address.

Five years to the day after he first became governor, Pat Quinn tried to make the case that Illinois is "making a comeback." It's also the anniversary of when lawmakers removed his predecessor from office. Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now serving a federal prison sentence for corruption.

Quinn says he's helped restore integrity to state government.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

The Illinois Supreme Court is invalidating a two-year-old Illinois law charging taxes on certain Internet sales.

The justices ruled 6-1 in an opinion released Friday to invalidate the so-called "Amazon tax." The ruling determined that the law violates a pre-emptive federal decree prohibiting "discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."

david_shane | Flickr

Forest Park in St. Louis has been designated one of the Ten Great Public Spaces for 2013 by a national non-for-profit educational group.

The American Planning Association announced the list Friday - the nine other places on it are:

(Bernt Rostad)

On day two of the government shutdown, it continues to cause headaches, including for a group of Missouri and Kansas veterans that flew to Washington. 

The nonprofit Heartland Honor Flight organized the trip and the closed National World War II Memorial was the first stop Wednesday. The group was met by many Missouri and Kansas lawmakers, who helped them get inside the memorial where barriers had been set up. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Last updated 3:50 p.m.

Saint Louis University's president Father Lawrence Biondi will be stepping down Sept. 1.

The fact that Biondi was to retire was announced in May, but the date Biondi would step down was not announced at that time.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

The Cooperating School Districts of St. Louis (CSD) has placed 2,400 of the nearly 2,600 students who have applied to leave the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens School Districts.

All Normandy students who applied to go to Francis Howell were placed, and will receive transportation paid for by the unaccredited district.

But many Riverview Gardens students who applied to transfer to Kirkwood or Mehlville, the transportation options for that district, did not receive spots because the receiving districts ran out of room.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

National and state leaders broke ground Friday on the first phase of the CityArchRiver 2015 plan to revitalize the Gateway Arch grounds.

Two members of President Obama’s cabinet—Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx—were present at the ceremony. The first project is a park to be built over Interstate 70 to improve accessibility between downtown and the Arch grounds. Senator Claire McCaskill praised local officials for getting to this point.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
File photo

Defense officials say the Pentagon's inspector general will investigate allegations of waste and misuse taxpayer funds by a military-led unit that's responsible for accounting for POWs and MIAs.

The investigation comes in response to an internal Pentagon report that said the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command's search for remains on old battlefields is so inept, mismanaged and wasteful that it risks descending from dysfunction to total failure.

(From the Lt. Governor, State of Illinois, website)

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon officially announced Wednesday that she's running for Illinois comptroller, ending five months of uncertainty about which statewide office she'll seek in 2014.

The Carbondale Democrat made her announcement Wednesday morning in downtown Chicago. Simon announced in February that she wouldn't seek another term with Gov. Pat Quinn.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing forward with a reporter shield bill that includes new Justice Department guidelines for investigations that involve the media.

The guidelines announced Friday would make it harder for prosecutors to obtain journalists’ phone records without advance notice. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the new bill will make it much more difficult for political appointees to stop reporters from doing their job.

Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

The chairman of the Republican Party in Montgomery County, Illinois, has resigned after writing what's been called a racist and sexist email about U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis' primary challenger.

Illinois Republican Party chairman Jack Dorgan says he accepted Jim Allen's resignation on Thursday afternoon. Allen wrote an email Tuesday suggesting Erika Harold could fill a "minority quota" if she lost the Republican primary. The biracial Harvard law school graduate was crowned Miss America in 2003 and launched her bid to challenge Davis this month.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Updated 6:50 a.m. Friday with names of victims and suspect.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has identified the victims as:

- Khadra Muse, a 44-year old female of the 100 block of Indian Circle Dr.

- Seaeed Abdulla, a 29-year old male of the 700 block of Cole

- Bernice Solomon-Redd, a 54-year old female of the 2400 block of Ridge Ave., E. St. Louis, IL

The suspect has been positively identified as  Ahmed Dirir, a 59-year old male of the 900 block of Carr.

Updated 8:51 p.m. Thursday. 

(via Flickr/Of Small Things)

Updated at 11:50 a.m., Friday, June 7 & 3:14 p.m. 

The Illinois State Police on Friday issued a response to Gibbons' letter. The state police, along with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriff's Association, say they will continue to enforce state law which prohibits the carrying of "an immediately accessible firearm on your person or in your vehicle regardless of whether it is concealed." Violating the law can result in an arrest.

Our original story:

The National Weather Service says there were a total of nine tornadoes in the St. Louis region on Friday night.

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (http://www.bnd.com)

A St. Clair County judge whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose while the two were on a hunting trip is stepping down from the bench as he defends himself against federal heroin and gun charges.

Circuit Judge Michael Cook resigned Wednesday by letter to the chief judge, John Baricevic. Baricevic says the letter is brief and doesn't offer a reason for Cook's departure.

Cook was charged last Friday with possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances. He's pleaded not guilty. 

Andrew Wamboldt/KOMU News - via Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday for and against the constitutionality of a Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District storm water fee.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Local veterans say they're hopeful that a deal can be worked out to expand Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

The cemetery in south St. Louis County was established in 1826 and veterans groups say it could be filled by 2025. They've asked local politicians and governments to support giving nearby Sylvan Springs Park to the federal government for an expansion of Jefferson Barracks.

Mike LeBlanc is a Vietnam War veteran who helped coordinate the lobbying efforts.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Update 4:50 p.m. with comments from Mo. Nat. Guard Maj. Tammy Spicer. Updated 2:43 with Missouri disaster declaration. Updated 9:56 a.m. April 19 with Missouri, St. Louis information. Updated at 4 p.m. April 18 with Ameren substation information.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency following significant flash and river flooding in his state.

(Erin Williams/St. Louis Public Radio)

Local clergy, politicians and law enforcement joined together Friday to call for more action to curb gun violence in St. Louis. 

The Missouri Conference AME Church is spearheading the effort, which includes a call for universal background checks; a ban on what they call assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and federal investment in urban areas most affected by gun violence. Reverend Robert Shaw says it’s crucial for church leaders to take a stand on the issue.

Transportation officials met with residents and property owners in Normandy Thursday about a new project that will reduce vehicle traffic and increase pedestrian and bicycle use on Natural Bridge Road.

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