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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(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.

(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.

(Martin Pion, Conservion)

A ceremony will be held on the Gateway Arch grounds tomorrow to honor a woman who was struck and killed by a charter bus while walking in downtown St. Louis nine years ago.

Susie Stephens was a strong advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety, and was attending a conference on the issue in 2002 when she lost her life near the Adam's Mark Hotel. Her mother, Nancy MacKerrow, has been planting trees around the country in Susie's honor for years, but this is the first in St. Louis.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

The use of heroin in the St. Louis area is at epidemic levels, according to law enforcement officials.

The number of heroin overdoses and deaths has doubled in the St. Louis County and city over the past four years. St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch said the drug is cheaper now and it can be snorted or smoked, instead of injected. He said it's no longer just an urban issue.

(Chiodini Associates, architects, and AxiOme, design consultant)

Want to see more images of the new building's design? Check out a full gallery on Posterous.

Groundbreaking has been set for St. Louis Public Radio and the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ new home in Grand Center.

The public radio station’s general manager, Tim Eby, confirms that work will begin on the site just east of KETC public television on Friday, April 15. The three-story, 27,000-square-foot building is expected to take one year to complete.

(via Flickr/photohome_uk)

North St. Louis County residents can weigh in this week on a project to connect the region with a new walking and biking trail.

Officials are in the process of developing the 7.5-mile-long Maline Greenway, which will run from the University of Missouri-St. Louis east to the Mississippi River. The Great Rivers Greenway's Lonnie Boring is the project manager.

comedy_nose / Flickr

The Cahokia School Board will meet tonight to decide whether to lay off up to 70 teachers because of a budget deficit.

School officials have said that lower tax revenues and delayed state payments have left Cahokia's budget about $1 million in the red. Brent Murphy, president of the Cahokia Federation of Teachers, says he hopes that reducing instructors and other staff is not the only solution.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Despite the ongoing danger of nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says plans for new facilities should continue in this country.

Workers in Japan are trying to cool overheating reactors damaged by last week's earthquake and tsunami. Blunt says earthquakes would likely not cause similar problems at any nuclear facility in the U.S., including Missouri's lone reactor in Callaway County.

(Missouri Senate Website)

Missouri lawmakers are expected to debate controversial right-to-work legislation this week.

One bill would prohibit closed-union shops, in which all employees must pay fees for union representation. The Senate sponsor is Republican Luann Ridgeway of Smithville.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is blaming the current federal budget deadlock on the last Congress.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a budget proposal approved by the Republican-controlled House, as well as an alternative favored by Democrats. Blunt, a Republican from Springfield, says the new Congress did not create this environment; the previous one, controlled by Democrats, did.