Bill Raack


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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(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.

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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.

(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.

Archbishop Robert Carlson
Bill Raack | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Updated 5:10 p.m.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis and Catholic Charities of St. Louis are among dozens of Roman Catholic institutions suing the Obama administration over a mandate that most employers provide birth control coverage.

The archdiocese and Catholic Charities filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. The other suits from around the country were also filed Monday.

(Courtesy WQUB)

We have some news of our own to share with you today.

St. Louis Public Radio announced today that it is in the process of buying the public radio station in Quincy, Ill.

WQUB 90.3 FM is currently owned by Quincy University, but St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby says the school indicated last year that it could no longer handle the operations of the station, and wanted to focus, instead, on educational priorities.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The new Fortune 500 list has been released. Fortune Magazine has released its annual ranking of the top U.S. companies by revenue Monday.

Last year, St. Louis had ten companies on the list. It’s down to nine this year, as Smurfit Stone Container dropped off because it was purchased by Rock-Tenn in 2011. The companies are:

St. Louis man charged in shooting deaths, arson

St. Louis police say a man upset with his ex-girlfriend shot her and her mother to death then set a fire before leaving two young children locked in an apartment. The suspect's 10-month-old son died of smoke inhalation and a 3-year-old girl was critically injured. Prosecutors charged 23-year-old Eric Lawson on Sunday with three counts of first-degree murder and nine other charges, including arson. Police say 22-year-old Breiana Ray and her mother, 50-year-old Gwendolyn Ray, died Saturday of gunshot wounds to the head. Aiden Lawson died of smoke inhalation. The 3-year-old girl was taken to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. Her name was not released. 

(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Friday called on St. Louis County and individual municipalities to enact anti-discrimination laws.

Five area cities, including the city of St. Louis, have updated their discrimination ordinances to include protections for the LGBT community. Andrew Shaughnessy, with the LGBT advocacy group PROMO, says there are several others considering doing the same thing.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan have some differences of opinion when it comes to the potential political impact of their Democratic primary battle. 

Both are running for the Democratic nomination in the 1st congressional district, which Clay has represented since 2001. Carnahan decided to challenge Clay after Carnahan’s south St. Louis city and county district was split up following the 2010 census. Clay calls the situation “unfortunate".

(via SIUE)

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has named a new chancellor. She is Julie Furst-Bowe, currently an administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Furst-Bowe was introduced to the campus today after a four-month search. She replaces Dr. Vaughn Vandegrift, who led SIUE for eight years. Furst-Bowe says she was sold on the school after a visit to campus this year.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

Residents can weigh in starting today on proposed fare increases for mass transit in St. Louis. The Metro transit agency is considering three options for raising fares this year – one would increase only the costs of weekly, monthly and university semester passes; the second would raise the cost of all passes except day passes; and the third would spread the increase to all fares, including buses and Metrolink. 

(via Flickr/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Army Corps. seeks dismissal of lawsuit filed on behalf of southeast Mo. farmers

More than 140 southeast Missouri farmers are seeking damage caused by last year's intentional breach of the Birds Point levee at the height of spring flooding.

The Southeast Missourian reports that government attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Oral arguments in the suit are scheduled to begin April 10 in Washington.

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Reporting from WBEZ's Alex Keefe used in this report.

Governor Pat Quinn is defending his plan to close a super-maximum security prison in southern Illinois.

The governor's office says closing Tamms prison would save the state nearly $22 million next year. Quinn says it costs more than 64,000 per year to lock up a prisoner there - about three times the statewide average.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A report by the Missouri auditor finds that a state-created insurance company has built a competitive advantage by claiming to be a public corporation but operating as a private entity.

State Auditor Tom Schweich says Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co.’s federal tax-exempt status has saved it about $50 million since it was created in 1993. At the same time, it pays large amounts of money for salaries and executive perks. Schweich says lawmakers need to clarify if it's appropriate for the company to continue as a public corporation.

(Courtesy of Mardi Gras, Inc.)

One of the area’s biggest public parties of the year takes place in the Soulard neighborhood this weekend. 

Organizers of the Mardi Gras celebration are expecting more than 100 units and 2000 people in the River City Grand Parade Saturday. It’s the 33rd year for the event, which has grown to become one of the largest Mardi Gras parties in the country. Spokesman Mack Bradley says they’ve worked hard to make sure the event is fun – and safe – for everyone.

Anheuser-Busch announced Monday that it plans to increase production at its Metal Container Corporation in Arnold, resulting in at least 20 new jobs there.

Metal Container Corporation supplies more than 45 percent of the beer brewer's beer cans and 55 percent of its lids in the United States. It also produces cans and lids for soft drink companies, including PepsiCo and Monster Beverage Corporation.

The expansion announced Monday will add about 100,000 square feet to the Arnold facility. It's expected to be complete in 2013.