Bill Raack

News Director

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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Veterans survey
4:47 pm
Fri May 27, 2011

Veterans give Cochran VA hospital good marks

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to the media on Friday, May 27. To her left is veteran George Newell.
(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

A new survey released today finds that most area veterans are happy with the care and service they get from local VA medical facilities.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) initiated the survey following problems at the John Cochran VA center last summer. At a press conference at the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis, McCaskill said most of the 185 veterans surveyed had positive things to say about the local VA hospitals but there’s room for improvement.

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Roy Blunt/Joplin tornado
5:10 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Blunt wants federal government to pay for more of Joplin's damage

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) wants the federal government to pay 100 percent of the cleanup costs from the Joplin tornado.

The federal government typically covers 75 percent of the costs of responding to disasters, with state and local governments picking up the rest. But Blunt says he has asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to pick up more than that in Joplin’s case.

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Severe Weather in St. Louis
4:12 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

Storms cause damage, power outages in St. Louis area

Damage sustained from today's storm at an office near Maryville University in St. Louis.
(Courtesy Nick Sargent)

Updated 4:30 p.m. May 23:

Severe weather hit the St. Louis area once again this season. Severe winds, hail and large amounts of rain all contributed to today's storm.

So far, this is what we know:

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Air Quality
9:11 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

Air quality season begins in St. Louis

(Missouri Department of Natural Resources photo)

It's getting warmer in St. Louis and that means the issue of the region's air quality returns to the forefront.

Historically, the area has had pretty poor ozone levels. (Ozone is the main ingredient of urban smog that can be a significant health hazard, particularly for children with asthma.) Susannah Fuchs with the American Lung Association says the region’s air quality has gotten better but it still needs work.

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Russ Carnahan / Election 2012
4:47 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Carnahan still unsure which political office he'll pursue next

Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis speaking to reporters today at a "Made in America" forum in St. Louis. Carnahan said he's still undecided about his Election 2012 plans.
(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

U.S. Congressman Russ Carnahan says he still has not decided what political office he’ll pursue next year.

The St. Louis Democrat’s 3rd Congressional District will be eliminated based on redistricting maps approved by Missouri lawmakers. Today Carnahan was asked by reporters if 2nd District congressman Todd Akin’s announcement this week that he’ll run for the Senate makes his decision easier.

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Claire McCaskill / Oil Company Tax Breaks
3:12 pm
Tue May 10, 2011

McCaskill on bill repealing tax breaks for oil companies

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is co-sponsoring legislation that would end tax breaks for the five largest oil companies in the U.S.

The Democrat-backed measure would cut off Shell, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Philips, BP and Chevron from $2 billion per year in subsidies. McCaskill says the savings would go to pay off the country’s spiraling deficit.

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From St. Louis on the Air
6:21 pm
Mon May 2, 2011

A discussion on the ramifications of Bin Laden's death

(via White House photographer Pete Souza)

On today's St. Louis on the Air, our guests shared their unique perspectives on the death of Osama bin Laden, and what it means for the war on terror.

You can listen to the full show here, but here are a few highlights:

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Redistricting
7:54 am
Mon May 2, 2011

Gov. Nixon Hopes Lawmakers Give Maps Another Try

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon hopes state lawmakers present another map before the legislative session ends.
SLPRnews

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the new congressional districts map over the weekend, saying that it didn’t appropriately reflect the state’s various regions. The governor is hoping state lawmakers will give it another try before the legislative session ends.

Getting the map to the Governor’s desk wasn’t easy. But eventually the Republican-controlled legislature agreed on how to reduce the number of congressional districts from nine to eight. Governor Nixon said on Sunday in St. Louis that he vetoed it because it had too many problems.

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St. Louis County Assessor
5:15 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Zimmerman sworn in as St. Louis County Assessor

Jake Zimmerman was sworn into office today as St. Louis County's Assessor.
(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

For the first time in more than 50 years, St. Louis County has an elected assessor - not one appointed by the county executive.

Jake Zimmerman was sworn into office today following his election on April 5. Zimmerman says his priority is to build an accountable office that listens to the county's taxpayers.

City of St. Louis Transportation
1:57 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

St. Louis awarded $4 million in federal transit grant funding

(St. Louis Public Radio)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. announced today that St. Louis has been awarded a $4 million federal grant for public transportation upgrades.

The money will be provided jointly by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, according to a press release from McCaskill's office. 

So, how will St. Louis use the money?

The release states that the grants will be used to aid in the replacement of up to 12 buses in the Metro's current bus fleet.

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