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.

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(map courtesy of the Illinois Dept. of Transportation)

State and federal officials held a meeting in Alton Thursday on plans to upgrade train tracks between St. Louis and Chicago to allow for high-speed service.

Work is already underway to improve tracks and road crossings in Illinois to allow for higher-speed trains three times per day. But Mike Garcia with the Illinois Department of Transportation says officials want to be able offer more service through their partner, Amtrak.

(Map courtesy Competitor Group, Inc.)

More than 21,000 runners and walkers will wind their way through St. Louis city streets this Sunday as part of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and half-marathon.

The race is unique because it will feature 26 live bands and 18 local cheerleading squads performing along the course. The band Sugar Ray will headline a concert at the finish line. Margie Martin, the event’s manager, says they were surprised by how many people signed up to participate in this, the first Rock-n-Roll Marathon here. 

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Be prepared for extra security at Busch Stadium tonight

If you're going to Game One of the World Series tonight, expect it to take a little longer to get into Busch Stadium. In addition to added security due to the importance of the game, First Lady Michele Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will be in attendance.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says the department is coordinating security with the Secret Service and it will be a challenge.

(via Flickr/Zahlm)

It's going to be another tough weekend to get into and out of downtown St. Louis.

(via Flickr/ConspiracyofHappiness)

Cardinals lose Game 1 of NLCS

(Courtesy of EWB Development)

Details of a new outlet mall in the Chesterfield Valley were released today. The Spirit of St. Louis Outlets would be located on 55 acres about four miles west of Chesterfield Commons on the south side of Interstate-64 near the Spirit Airport. Officials say the $85-million, 555,000-square-foot development would create more than 2,500 jobs and generate $265 million in annual sales.

Stephen Coslik, CEO of Woodmont Outlets, says the location is perfect – it’s underserved by outlet stores and there’s access to the interstate.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Obama to visit St. Louis today

Following a speech in Dallas promoting his jobs bill, President Obama will attend two private fundraisers in St. Louis , one at a downtown hotel on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, and the other at the home of Tom Carnahan, the brother of Congressman Russ Carnahan and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Not everyone is pleased with the President's plans. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the President seems to be more focused on campaigning than on solving the nation's problem.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

A new state audit has found that the principal of a St. Louis Public School District elementary school purposely manipulated attendance figures.

The findings indicate that Patrick Henry Downtown Academy Principal Esperansa Veal ordered a staff member to falsify hundreds of attendance records, which may have helped the school meet federal “No Child Left Behind” requirements.

State Auditor Tom Schweich says the evidence his office found was overwhelming.

(Mo. Senate)

A lawsuit has been filed challenging a new Missouri law redrawing the state's congressional districts based on the 2010 census.

A half-dozen citizens are listed as plaintiffs on the lawsuit filed today in Cole County Circuit Court contending the new districts were designed to serve partisan ends rather to fairly represent Missourians.

File photo

The growing chorus of voices complaining about the fate of a half-built plant in Moberly, Missouri, is getting louder.

Today, Missouri's Attorney General chimed in, saying that his office would investigate whether the Mamtek USA project violated any state civil or criminal laws.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Two of Missouri's public universities will be partnering with a college in China to open a new university in the central part of the country.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla will work with Tianfu College in Mianyang, in Sichuan Province, to open Sichuan Missouri University.

(via Wikimedia Commons/FEMA Photo Library)

You may hear tornado sirens in St. Louis County again this week. But it won’t be because of bad weather.

The county sounded the new sirens two weeks ago, on Labor Day, and said the new omni-directional, solar-powered system worked largely as hoped. But spokesman David Wrone said they received reports that residents couldn’t hear 14 of the sirens. That doesn’t necessarily mean the sirens aren’t working.

(St. Louis Public Radio/Bill Raack)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says a new report detailing the amount of waste and fraud in the use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is "shocking."

McCaskill pushed Congress to create the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The panel says at least $31 billion – and perhaps as much as $60 billion -- has been wasted on projects run by private companies and individuals who were hired by the U.S. government. McCaskill is amazed by the number of mistakes that have been made.

Official gov't photo via Wikimedia Commons/online Congressional guide

Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan says the troubled John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis is showing signs of improvement. He points to recent studies and surveys that show the facility's patients are more satisfied with their care.

Carnahan has been critical of problems at the facility over the past year, but now says administrators are turning things around.

(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

 Opponents of Ameren Illinois’ $90 million rate increase request are gearing up for a hard fight.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the AARP held a series of press conferences today to explain why they want state regulators to reject the proposal. Ameren Illinois is asking for an exorbitant “return on equity,” which is the allowed profit rate for shareholders, according to CUB senior policy analyst Bryan McDaniel.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she was embarrassed by the actions of Congress during the recent debt ceiling debate.

McCaskill visited a number of manufacturers around the state this week to learn how to create more jobs and stop work from being shipped overseas. And she says she got an earful from constituents upset with Congress' inability to compromise on extending the debt ceiling.

Photo courtesy of MoDOT

Workers threaten to shut down construction on Mississippi River bridge

A group that's trying to get more construction jobs for minority workers says it'll shut down work on a new Mississippi River bridge near St. Louis. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization says it's meeting with the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday. The group says it'll shut down work on Monday if the meeting isn't satisfactory.

St. Louis Science Center to reduce number of VPs

(St. Louis Public Radio/UPI)

 Both of Missouri’s U.S. senators today supported the emergency bill that averts a first-ever government default. The measure, which was the source of months of contentious and partisan debate, raises the nation’s debt ceiling. Republican Senator Roy Blunt says he voted for the bill because it’s a good first step to rein in federal spending.

(Flickr/jetsandzeppelins)

Another excessive heat advisory in place

An excessive heat warning remains in effect until 7 p.m Friday.

The National Weather Service says a dangerous combination of heat and humidity will lead to afternoon and early evening heat index values between 105 and 115 degrees through Friday.

Aldermen working on St. Louis copper theft proposal this summer

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Travelers using Lambert Airport will see some new renovation disruptions beginning next week.

Airport officials say a major phase of its renovation plan will impact Concourse B and Concourse D checkpoint areas, meaning detours for arriving and departing passengers. Construction walls will be erected around the checkpoint throughout the final two weeks of July, as well as in the atrium above in the ticketing area.

You can see the latest updates to the airport's renovation plan here.

 

(photo by Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio)

The city of St. Louis says Lambert Airport and the municipal water division are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

The city's so-called greenhouse gas emissions inventory looks at 2005 data and will serve as the benchmark for improvements that are being made in the city of St. Louis. Catherine Werner, the city’s sustainability director, says this is the first time that they’ll measure the effects of their reduction efforts.

(via Flickr/Patrick H~)

A new study has found that the city of St. Louis’ various agencies and officials need to work together more closely in order to cut down on crime and make the city a safer place to live.

A team of IBM consultants spent three weeks in St. Louis this spring studying the use of data and technology in the city’s various law enforcement agencies. St. Louis was awarded a grant by IBM as part of the technology firm's "Smarter Cities" program.

(Photo courtesy Atchison County Emergency Management)

The state of Missouri is poised to help some of the towns along the Missouri River who may be running out of sand for sandbags.

Governor Jay Nixon is ordering the State Emergency Management Agency to help those fighting flooding along the Missouri River to obtain more sand.  At Nixon's direction, SEMA has identified additional suppliers that could provide sand if local supplies are exhausted or running low.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

St. Louis Cardinals fans got some bad news today. Star first baseman Albert Pujols will be out for 4-6 weeks with a fractured left forearm.

The team announced the results of an MRI and CT scan today, one day after Pujols was injured in a game against Kansas City at Busch Stadium. Pujols was hurt on a play at first base in the sixth inning. He was fielding a throw that was off-target and Kansas City's Wilson Betemit collided with his glove hand as Pujols was pulled toward home. The Cards' three-time MVP went down to the ground in pain.

(photo by Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio)

The organization that provides air conditioners to seniors and the disabled in St. Louis during summer months says it’s getting some financial help.

Cool Down St. Louis accepted $12,500 today from Hardee’s, Vatterott Educational Centers and the financial services company, Citi. Cool Down board chairwoman Melanie DiLeo says with another hot summer expected, they’ll need more help to prevent heat-related deaths in the region.

Busch Stadium
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Cardinals, Royals to team up for series to benefit Joplin recovery

The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals will be teaming up to help raise money for tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo. Missouri's two Major League Baseball teams are to meet for an interleague series June 17-19 in St. Louis.

(Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio)

Hearings will begin in about a week on a $276 million rate increase request for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. MSD says the rate hike is needed to comply with stricter regulatory requirements and to reduce wastewater overflows into area creeks and streams.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Lambert Airport officials say it could take up to a year to repair all of the damage inflicted by the Good Friday tornado. The twister blew out windows and tore part of the roof off of the C Concourse. The concourse has been closed off since the night of the tornado, with gates and waiting areas moved to the D Concourse, which had been closed previously.

(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.

(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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