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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(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.

(via 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.

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