Julie Bierach

Reporter/ Newscaster

Julie Bierach is the morning newscaster/news producer at St. Louis Public Radio. She was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University. She started her career in Cape Girardeau, Mo. as a student announcer.

Bierach returned to St. Louis Public Radio in November 2010 after working in public relations at the Missouri Botanical Garden. She was previously the station’s science and technology reporter.

Bierach worked in Tucson, Arizona at Arizona Public Media where she was the host of the station’s weekly news magazine, Arizona Spotlight. While in Tucson, she reported on a variety of topics facing the desert southwest, including illegal immigration. Her reports have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Day to Day.

Ways to Connect

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Isaac dumps rain, but Mo. drought persists

The National Weather Service says large parts of rural Missouri and Illinois had between three-to-five inches of rainfall this weekend.

In St. Louis, Oakville received three and a half inches of rain, the most in the metropolitan area.  But National Weather Service Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said it will take much more rain to snap this summer's historic drought.

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Isaac heads to St. Louis

Drought-stricken Missouri is preparing for what has been an unusual occurrence this summer - a couple of rainy days. Forecasters expect remnants of tropical storm Isaac to reach Missouri on Friday, with rain spreading over southern, central and eastern portions.

The National Weather Service says the St. Louis region could get 3 to 5 inches. Soaking rains are expected to help alleviate Missouri's drought but not break it. More than 97 percent of the state is now listed in the two most severe categories of drought.

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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.

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Isaac could bring rain to Missouri

As people on the gulf seek shelter from Hurricane Isaac, weather officials say the storm could bring some welcome relief to drought-stricken Missouri farmers.

The National Weather Service is calling for 2 to 6 inches of rain to fall the Mississippi River Valley, including Arkansas, Missouri and southern Illinois.

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Ill. Gov to take action on gambling bill today

UPDATE: As of 9:25 a.m., Quinn has vetoed this bill.
Gov. Pat Quinn isn't giving any hints about what he'll do with a gambling bill that Illinois lawmakers sent to his desk. Today is the deadline for Quinn to take action on legislation that would establish five new casinos in the state. It would also allow slot machines at horse racing tracks.

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Romney accuses Democrats of using Akin to attack Republican Party

In the run up to his party's nomination for president this week, Republican Mitt Romney is again distancing himself from embattled Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin.

The presumptive Republican Presidential nominee told Fox News on Sunday morning that Democrats are using the uproar over Akin's comments on rape and abortion to attack the rest of the Republican Party.

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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.

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Akin highlights faith in push to revive campaign

Republican Congressman Todd Akin is highlighting his Christian faith while asking for help in reviving his Senate campaign. A fundraising appeal sent Wednesday by Akin notes he has asked both God and voters for forgiveness for comments that women's bodies have a way of avoiding pregnancy in cases of rape.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Former Republican Missouri Senator Kit Bond will lead a delegation of St. Louis-area business leaders to China later this year.

Bond's consulting firm that works on international trade will accompany regional and statewide businesses and academic institutions to China in December.

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Akin continues to dismiss Republican pleas to withdraw from Senate race

In an interview on NBC’s Today show, embattled Representative Todd Akin confirmed that Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan called him to personally plea that he step aside in the wake of the searing controversy surrounding his comments about abortion. Akin says he told Ryan that he was thinking things over and wants to “do the right thing.”

Saying that the positions he and others have taken against abortion will "strengthen our country and it's going to strengthen the Republican Party," Missouri Rep. Todd Akin said just before 1:30 p.m. ET that he will not withdraw from his state's Senate race by a 6 p.m. ET deadline this evening.

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Akin launches ad asking for forgiveness

U.S. Representative Todd Akin launched an ad this morning apologizing for his statement that "legitimate rape" does not cause pregnancy.

The Republican made those statements in a television interview on Sunday. They ignited a firestorm of criticism from both sides of the aisle, and calls from his own party to drop out.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Will be updated.

Updated 2:46 p.m.

Todd Akin may be losing a chunk of funding, to the tune of $5 million.

A National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee official tells The Associated Press that the group's head, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, called Rep. Todd Akin on Monday. The official says that Cornyn told Akin that $5 million in advertising the committee had set aside for the Missouri race would be spent elsewhere.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the conversation was private.

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Romney distancing himself from Akin

Republican presidential Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Congressman Todd Akin after comments Akin made during an interview with a St. Louis television station.

During the interview on Fox 2's Jaco Report, Akin was asked if he would support abortion in cases when a woman was raped.

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Illinois Gov. optimistic special session will be fruitful

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called lawmakers back to Springfield, Ill. for the one-day session today to vote on changes to the state's retirement system, which is at least $83 billion in debt.

The two parties have been unable to come to an agreement on a solution. Quinn is pushing a plan opposed by Republicans that would shift the cost of some benefits to local school districts.

Quinn, however, says lawmakers will do the right thing in the end.

(Jennifer Davidson/KSMU)

Interfaith and civil rights leaders gathered in Ballwin this morning to show support for the congregation of the Islamic Society of Joplin, which was destroyed by a suspicious fire earlier this month.

Although the FBI is still investigating the cause, the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person that set the fire.

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St. Charles County voters could face two anti-smoking ballot measures

St. Charles County voters could face not one but two ballot measures in November that would restrict smoking.

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MAP scores released

The St. Louis school district could be a year away from regaining partial accreditation.  Missouri's Annual Performance Reports, or MAP scores, have been released today.  They show that St. Louis city schools have met seven standards, including one academic standard. 

Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says they're looking for sustained improvement over time.

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Heading into special session, Ill. lawmakers remain divided on pensions

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has called for a special session on Friday to overhaul he state's pensions, even though Illinois lawmakers are still divided over the best way to do so.

There's an $83 billion gap in what the state has promised its employees they'll get when they retire, and what Illinois actually has in the bank.

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Recounts likely in Missouri

Five candidates who ran in this week's Missouri party primaries appear eligible for recounts. Missouri allows candidates who lose by less than 1 percent to request a recount. Two Democrats who appear to have lost races for the U.S. House and the Missouri House plan to do just that.

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McCaskill gears up for campaign against Akin

Senator Claire McCaskill stopped at a sheet metal shop in Kansas City, Mo. Wednesday morning to kick off her campaign for the general election.

The Democratic incumbent criticized her newly anointed Republican challenger Todd Akin as being out of the mainstream on Medicare, student loans, and the minimum wage.

McCaskill said she will better represent the middle class.

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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.

Updated 6:47 p.m. 

Rita Days is the St. Louis County Board of Elections' Democratic director. She says the day has gone as planned.

“I guess it’s what you’d call steady all morning and of course this afternoon has been about the same. So it has not really been a rush or lines or anything like that,” Days said.

The St. Louis Board of Elections is reporting a steady flow of activity, but it's not as heavy as anticipated.

Mary Wheeler-Jones is the Democratic Director of Elections in the city of St. Louis.

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Missouri primaries are today

Eight U.S. House members are asking voters for a chance at two more years in Washington. Thanks to new congressional district boundaries, at least one of those incumbents won't prevail. St. Louis Democrats Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay Jr. lead a three-way race for their party's nomination in Missouri's 1st District.

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Police search for missing boy

Searchers are looking for a 12-year-old St. Louis County boy last seen Sunday night after telling his family he was going to swing on a rope on the Meramec River. A missing person advisory went out early Monday morning for Christopher Marks. He was last seen at about 7:30 p.m. last night in Pacific. Police are assembling this morning at the river with plans to search the water and the heavily-wooded area near it.

Lambert Airport detours end this morning

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Sales tax holiday this weekend in Missouri - except for a few municipalities

It will be a big weekend for back-to-school shopping in Missouri as the state's annual sales tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. School supplies, clothing items under $100, and personal computers under $3,500 are among the goods that will be exempt from the state's 4.2 percent tax.

Cities and counties can choose to opt out and charge local taxes, but as Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen says many are taking part.

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St. Louis alderman killed in car crash

Members of the St. Louis Board of Alderman are mourning the loss of a colleague this morning. The Missouri Highway Patrol has confirmed that 54-year-old Gregory Carter, Alderman of the 27th ward has died in an early morning crash on eastbound 370 in St. Charles County.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 7:48 with confirmation from Missouri Highway Patrol (with later updates and more information below):

The Missouri Highway Patrol has officially identified Gregory Carter, alderman of the 27th ward,  as the victim of the early morning vehicle crash on eastbound 370 in St. Charles County.

Carter was killed after the UPS truck he was driving for work collided with a tractor trailer, which was apparently stopped to assist a previous accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carter was 54 years old.

Albrecht Dürer / Wikimedia Commons

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday they’ll be asked to decide on an amendment to the state constitution. Supporters say the Missouri Right to Pray amendment will protect residents’ right to practice their religion. Those against it say it’s not only redundant, but sneaky.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach reports.

"We need to make sure that people don't have to live in fear..."

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Good morning. Here are your headlines to start your Tuesday:

Illinois prison workers union: workers subject to coordinated shakedowns

A spokesman for the union representing Illinois prison workers now says staff at nearly all state facilities have been subject to coordinated shakedowns. A July 19 email obtained by the Associated Press seems to confirm those comments, saying a Department of Corrections administrator ordered wardens to at 10 prisons to conduct 'mass shakedowns' of staff as they left work last week. 

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