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.

Ways to Connect

(via Flickr/USDAgov)

Mayors from more than a dozen cities and towns along the Mississippi River rallied Thursday in the nation’s capital for more federal attention for the waterway.

The mayors, members of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, will work with the newly-formed Mississippi River Caucus. That's a bi-partisan group of members of Congress. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is co-chair of the initiative.

(Missouri Department of Transportation photo)

You’ve seen them popping up all over the roads in the area. Now, the Missouri Department of Transportation wants you to let them know where they are.

MoDOT’s enhanced pothole repair initiative started Monday. The agency’s goal is to temporarily patch as many potholes as possible as quickly as possible. District engineer Ed Hassinger says that means they want the public to let them know where the worst potholes are. They’ll try to have them filled as quickly as possible, perhaps even within 24 hours.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will take a cut in pay as a show of solidarity with those federal workers who face furloughs due to the sequester.

McCaskill and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida have proposed a bill that would reduce congressional salaries once the furloughs begin. McCaskill says she wants to hold lawmakers accountable for not coming up with an alternative to the sequester as a means of cutting federal spending.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the near-historic Mississippi River flood of 2011 caused $2.8 billion in damage and tested the system of levees, reservoirs and floodways like no other flood before it.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Last updated at 11:57 a.m. 2/22. Will be updated as more information becomes available.

Quick links: 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

 

Updated at 5:45 a.m. to include feature story on the Governor's State of the State Address by Marshall Griffin.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) pitched a $25.7 billion budget to the state of Missouri during Monday’s State of the State Address.  It includes spending increases for K-12 schools, Higher Education, and the proposed Medicaid expansion he’s been calling for since late November.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at the Governor’s speech and his proposed spending plan for next year:

(Released by Mo. Atty. Gen. Chris Koster)

A panel of arbitrators in St. Louis is now weighing the future of the St. Louis Rams and the Edward Jones Dome.

The team and the owners of the dome, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, agreed to arbitration over plans to renovate the dome. The lease agreement requires the dome to be among the top quarter of all NFL stadiums by 2015 or the Rams can break the lease, raising concern they could leave St. Louis.

The arbitrators are two retired judges, one from Iowa and one from Colorado, and a labor attorney from Chicago. A ruling isn't expected for several weeks.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Corey Allen, the assistant police chief in the small Metro East community of Centreville, has been indicted by a grand jury for making false statements to federal agents.

U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton says a federal grand jury found that Allen, 31, lied when he told investigators that he had not sold a gun to a convicted felon. The indictment alleges that Allen sold the felon, who has not been named, the gun in May, 2012.

A collaboration between St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Corporation to develop small modular nuclear reactors was passed over Tuesday for initial

funding by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE will, instead, fund a similar project by Babcock & Wilcox and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Ameren/Westinghouse partnership was seeking $452 million in funding to build the SMR's alongside the utility's Callaway county reactor.

McCaskill Re-Elected, Beats Akin In Senate Race

Nov 7, 2012
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill defeated GOP challenger Todd Akin Tuesday to hold on to a Missouri Senate seat that Republicans once considered vulnerable.

McCaskill won with about 54-percent of the vote in the election. She told supporters in St. Louis' Central West End Tuesday night that the victory means more to her because many pundits had predicted she would lose her seat.

"They all said 'it's over, it's done, it's too red, it's just too red, there is no way that Claire McCaskill can survive.' Well, you know what happened? You proved 'em wrong," McCaskill said.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

St. Charles city officials are hoping the year-long Blanchette Bridge roadwork that starts this weekend won’t have too much of a negative impact on its stores, casino and restaurants . 

(National Weather Service)

Updated at 7:50 am Sunday with information about Red Cross volunteers.

Ameren says it is sending more than 100 employees Saturday to New England to help with any problems caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy is expected to be a monstrous storm that poses a serious threat for the entire Eastern Seaboard. Forecasters say Sandy is a massive cyclone, with hurricane-force winds recorded as far as 100 miles away from the eye of the storm.

Illinois Department of Transportation

A new section of Illinois Route 255 near Godfrey is now open to motorists.

The freeway has been extended from Seminary Road to Humbert Road. Work on that section of Route 255 had been delayed because of problems with an embankment that caused the pavement to crack.

The last part of Route 255, from Humbert to Illinois Route 111, is expected to be completed in November. When it’s finished, Route 255 will run from I-270 at Edwardsville to U-S Route 67 in Godfrey.

(Equis Hospitality Management)

The former Daniele Hotel in Clayton will reopen soon as a Hampton Inn and Suites.

The Daniele has been shuttered since 2007. But Equis Hospitality Management in St. Louis says it will spend about $16 million to renovate the hotel on North Meramec Ave. The new hotel will have 106 rooms, including 25 suites, and underground parking.

Equis co-owner Greg Mullenix says they will add a fifth floor to the hotel and they’ll feature a restaurant and bar at street level.

(Photo by Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

Congressman Lacy Clay of St. Louis says the federal government may soon be able to help local police as they try to combat crime in some parts of the city.

The St. Louis Police Department has recently reassigned some officers to so-called “hot spots” where violent crime continues to be a problem. Clay says there should be announcements in the next few months about combined federal-and-local crime-fighting efforts.

(Creative Commons photo)

People trying to get into downtown St. Louis this weekend will again have some traffic issues to deal with. 

For the second straight week, the Missouri Department of Transportation will shut down all westbound lanes of Interstate 64 from the Poplar Street Bridge to 21stStreet. In addition, the Broadway, 10thStreet and 14thStreet entrance ramps will also be shut down. MoDOT crews are still replacing the driving surface on the double-deck, elevated highway.


View Larger Map

Motorists on Interstate 70 will get a little taste - starting this weekend - of what life will be like when the westbound lanes of the busy Blanchette Bridge are closed in November.

It's back to work for some 200 ex-TWA flight attendants. American Airlines will recall the workers in November, according to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

They were laid off back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks hit the airline industry hard. American had cut 2,500 flight attendants in all during the slowdown, many of them were former TWA employees. The airline had bought out TWA earlier in 2001. 

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ameren monitoring Isaac

Officials with Ameren say they are closely monitoring Hurricane Isaac's progress now that it has made land fall. Projections from the National Weather Service indicate the remnants of the storm could pass over Missouri and Illinois this weekend.

Kevin Anders, Ameren Missouri's manager of distribution services, says that could mean a lot of rain and - potentially - some high winds or tornadoes.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis police change procedure in light of uptick in violent crime

Responding to a recent spate of violent crime in some parts of the city that have been thought of as safe, St. Louis police are changing some of their officers' procedures and duties.

Twenty-three-year-old Megan Boken was fatally shot on Saturday in the Central West End,  and several women were robbed at gunpoint near Busch Stadium this week.

Andrew Oberle before he was attacked in the summer of 2012.
(via Facebook)

A St. Louis man, who was attacked by chimpanzees at a South African refuge, is now recovering at a St. Louis hospital.

Andrew Oberle, Jr., was pulled under a fence and mauled by chimps at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Eden Sanctuary in June. He suffered serious injuries to his head, arms and legs. St. Louis University Hospital chief of plastic surgery Dr. Bruce Kraemer told reporters Thursday that Oberle has a good attitude and is healing well.

Will be updated.

Updated 10:46 p.m. Palin suggests a third party candidate

Sarah Palin, who backed Sarah Steelman during the heated GOP Senate primary, is suggesting a third party candidate to run against Akin.

Speaking to Fox News Palin said: "Bless his heart, I don't want to pile on Todd Akin." 

But, she then said that it's time for Akin to step aside.

"Missouri is a must-win state," Palin said.  "The way we do that is to have someone like Sarah Steelman be able to run, even if it's as a third-party candidate, to be able to run and take this back."

Updated 5:00 p.m. with deadline passing, Akin remaining in the race

Updated 4:36 p.m. with additional reporting. A full list of earlier updates can be found at the end of the post. Original story posted Aug. 21 12.33 p.m.

Despite tremendous pressure on him to act otherwise, Todd Akin will stay in the race against Claire McCaskill for US Senate. 

The deadline for Akin to remove himself from the race was 5 p.m. CT today. He will need a court order by Sept. 25 if he wants to drop out beyond this point.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Candidates debate in Illinois' 12 Congressional District

After nearly twenty years representing Illinois’s 12th Congressional District, Jerry Costello is retiring at the end of his term.  The three candidates looking to fill the open seat debated in Carbondale last night. 

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Clay beats Carnahan

In a battle of political dynasties, Congressman William Lacy Clay emerged victorious over fellow incumbent Russ Carnahan Tuesday.

Clay won the Democratic primary to represent the party in the new 1st Congressional District. In a campaign that was often bitter, Clay repeatedly accused Carnahan of going negative with a string of attack ads, but says the strategy didn't work.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 5:36 p.m. with additional details from press conference.

Investigators say they've determined that a suburban St. Louis woman killed her two young children and herself in the family's Glendale home.

Friday's announcement followed autopsies and several days of investigation by the St. Louis Area Major Case Squad.

Lt. Tim Fagan said at a news conference that 42-year-old Catherine Murch had a history of mental health issues.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The two Democrats battling for the U.S. House seat in the city of St. Louis say they'll put their differences behind them for the good of the party following the primary election next week.

Congressmen Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay appeared together on Newsradio 1120 KMOX on Monday for their only debate of the primary season.

The debate covered very little new ground, with Carnahan continuing his claims that Clay actively worked against him to eliminate the 3rd District, the seat Carnahan currently holds.

(via Twitter/St. Louis Board of Public Service)

Updated 1:30 p.m. (Friday) with details of Metrolink station reopening.

After being closed for more than a year, the Grand Boulevard Bridge will reopen to traffic tomorrow.

Grand is one of the city of St. Louis’ busiest north-south streets, but much-needed work on the aging viaduct required a closure of the street between Chouteau and Interstate 64/40 in March of 2011.

Tomorrow at 3 p.m., the bridge will reopen. Two lanes will flow northbound during morning rush hour and the two lanes will switch to southbound traffic for the evening rush.

Rams and CVC enter arbitration

The St. Louis Rams are heading to arbitration over what to do about the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the facility and leases it to the Rams, voted Thursday to begin the arbitration process. The two sides remain far apart on plans to upgrade the dome. The 30-year lease signed when the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles prior to the 1995 season requires the dome to be among the top quarter of NFL stadiums in 15 separate categories. If it isn't, the team can break the lease after the 2014 season. Negotiations began in February with the CVC proposing $124 million in improvements. The Rams countered with a much broader plan that city officials said could cost $700 million.

(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Highway Patrol and the Illinois State Police are urging drivers to slow down, buckle up and eliminate possible distractions in their cars as they return home from the Memorial Day weekend.

"Inattentive driving is a big problem. We see not only texting on cell phones; we also see reading books and newspapers, putting on makeup, eating full meals in cars," said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis is in Benton Harbor, Michigan, this week asking a lot of questions. 

Bellerive is the host golf course next year at this time for the Senior PGA Championship, which is now underway at the Harbor Shores golf course. Jeffery Kreafle is entering his fourth year as the GM and COO at Bellerive. It’s the first time he’s been involved with a golf course that’s slated to be the site of a major.  He’s trying to keep from being overwhelmed.

Pages