St. Louis Public Radio

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Updated 12:34 p.m. with link to full report and information about 2010 data.

Black motorists are stopped by Missouri law officers at an increasingly disproportionate rate.

An annual report released Friday by the attorney general found black drivers were 72 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2011. Black drivers were stopped 2.5 times more often than Hispanic drivers.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 4:04 p.m. with Diehl's comments.

The Missouri Supreme Court has released its judgment on a challenge to the recent redistricting of the state's new Congressional districts. 

The Court has upheld the new districts, finally providing certainty for candidates in the August primary elections.

(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says he will not run for elective office. That comes after the highly respected federal prosecutor announced yesterday that he'll step down at the end of June.

In a 35-minute press conference today the media-averse Fitzgerald talked to reporters about why he's stepping down.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment dropped during April in 11 of the state's 12 metro areas.

The department said Thursday the biggest decrease was in the Rockford area where unemployment decreased from 12.1 percent in April 2011 to 10.7 percent. The Kankakee-Bradley area wasn't far behind. The jobless rate there fell from 11.8 percent to 10.5 percent. Only the Metro East had an increase - a small jump from 8.3 to 8.4 percent.

Unemployment in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area decreased from 9.5 percent to 9 percent.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Updated at 5:50 a.m. Friday with additional reporting. Reporting from KRCU's Jacob McCleland was used in this story.

The anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug for executions in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is switching from its longstanding three-drug method to a single drug, propofol, which has never been used in an execution in the U.S. That's causing a stir among critics lijke Death Penalty Information Center director Richard Dieter.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Unemployment figures are out for the "Show-Me" state for April.

Missouri added about 6,000 jobs in April as its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down slightly.

Figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Economic Development also show that:

(Madison County Government website)

A longtime circuit clerk in southwestern Illinois has died.

Madison County officials say Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci was 69 when he died Thursday night of cancer at his Collinsville home.

Melucci served in the post for nearly 20 years and was planning to retire in November, having announced last September that he would not seek re-election this year.

Democratic Madison County Clerk Mark Von Nida faces Republican John Barberis Jr. in the November election for circuit clerk's position.

(via YouTube/SenatorKirk)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has issued his first public remarks since suffering a stroke.

In a video released Tuesday, Kirk says he can't wait to get back to work and is walking again. The 52-year-old senator suffered a major stroke in January and underwent emergency surgery. He entered a rehabilitation center in February and was discharged last week.

Here's that video statement:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Per Clay spokesman Steven Engelhardt, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is endorsing Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-St. Louis) in the 1st District congressional primary in St. Louis.

Clay faces Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis).

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Will be updated.

Updated 2:07 p.m. with more information on downstate schools, cause of pension problem.

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the retirement age for Illinois public employees and require them to contribute more money to their retirement funds.

Those are the key parts of what Quinn calls a "bold plan" to shore up state pension systems. They're now about $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is enlisting East St. Louis church leaders in his fight to rein in the city’s late-night entertainment industry.

The Democrat met with more than fifty members of the New Salem Baptist District Association Wednesday. He urged ministers to pressure Mayor Alvin Parks to close the city's nightclubs and liquor stores at 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends. 

(via Flickr/Vox Efx)

St. Charles County Republicans get a do-over for a botched presidential caucus with a gathering Tuesday night.

The March 17 caucus in St. Peters descended into chaos amid rules disputes and claims of favoritism, and adjourned with police arresting two people. No delegates were selected.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 1:56 p.m. with correction from The Associated Press on Medicaid percentage. 

Virtually all parts of state government would be forced to cut spending under a budget outline approved by the Illinois House.

The measure requires cutting Medicaid by $2.7 billion, or about 14 percent (percentage earlier read 25 percent, has been corrected). Spending on services from schools to prisons would fall by about $900 million.

The House approved it 91-16 on Thursday. Now it goes to the state Senate.

(St. Louis County Police)

Updated 2:02 p.m. March 23:

Christopher Gales and Montez Thomas, both 18, have been charged in relation to the case, according to a release from the St. Louis County Police. Their photos are above.

Both men have been charged with the following:

  • 1 count of Assault in the First Degree,
  • 1 count of Robbery in the First Degree,
  • 1 count of Burglary in the First Degree and
  • 3 counts of Armed Criminal Action.

Gales and Thomas are being held on $500,000 cash-only bonds.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The answer to the question we know you were all asking is here.

So, what will become of Rod Blagojevich's hair in prison?

Blagojevich's barber says the former Illinois governor's famously thick, dark hair is dyed and will turn gray within the first months of his prison term.

(David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

Nearly half of the trees on the grounds of the Gateway Arch will be removed and replaced with a different species.

The National Park Service said Thursday that more than 900 Rosehill ash trees will be taken out over concerns about the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in 15 states. Officials at the Arch say the ash trees on the grounds are also showing signs of decline from urban factors like air pollution and less than ideal soil.

Election 2012 News From NPR

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

A U.S. senator is stepping up his efforts to limit nightclub hours in East St. Louis.

Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday that earlier closing times for nightclubs and liquor stores would improve safety for city residents. The Illinois Democrat specifically challenged Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. to do his part in reducing crime rates. (Read the full letter from Durbin to Parks).

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

A St. Louis County judge begins hearing arguments in a case that has the potential to allow thousands of Kansas City and St. Louis students to leave their unaccredited school systems.

(See our own Maria Altman's feature on the issue here).

The hearing, which began Monday, involves a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation for students within their boundaries to attend accredited schools.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Updated 1:28 p.m. to reflect that eleven states have already been granted waivers.

The Missouri Board of Education has approved the state's request for a waiver from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Members voted Tuesday to support the waiver's submission to the U.S. Department of Education with minor edits. Last fall, President Barack Obama said states will be allowed to seek a waiver from the law, which requires all students to show proficiency in math and reading by 2014.

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