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New nurse Becky Boesch looks through files as part of her job as a nurse in the cardiac step-down unit at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Makes Way For More Nursing Students To Ease Statewide Shortage

The Missouri State Board of Nursing has approved expanding five of the state’s nursing programs, adding 250 slots for future students. State officials say the move aims to help reduce nursing vacancies. The profession has one of the highest vacancy rates in the health sector, with 13 percent of positions unfilled in Missouri, according to the Missouri Hospital Association.

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East St. Louis, IL – East St. Louis Police Chief Delbert Marion says he opposes a cost-cutting plan to combine his department with several nearby squads.

East St. Louis City Councilman Charles Powell suggested the move in an effort to trim more than one million dollars from the city's budget.

Powell also suggested the city turn over its emergency dispatch services to Saint Clair County.

Fulton, MO – Westminster College in Fulton will lower tuition next fall.

New students will pay $12,300 dollars for the academic year that starts next fall. That figure is down from this year's $15,360.

The liberal arts college started this academic year with a record enrollment of 751. The school's president says the tuition discount is an effort to get that number up to 900 by 2006.

St. Louis, MO – The former prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in St. Louis Wednesday for several speaking events.

Netanyahu told a small audience of students and faculty at Maryville University that the U.S. should not hesitate to launch a military attack on Iraq. He says Saddam Hussein needs to be stopped from amassing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons immediately.

Topeka, KS – A reversal and apology to her Show-Me State
neighbors Thursday from Kansas gubernatorial hopeful Kathleen Sebelius. The Democratic candidate issued verbal and written statements saying she was insensitive Wednesday in suggesting that driving on Missouri roads was more terrifying than the 9-11 attacks.

Springfield, IL & Jefferson City, MO – Missouri collected 2.7% less tax money this July, August, and September than it did during those three months last year.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering says state revenue was $76 million short of what lawmakers budgeted for the first three months of the fiscal year. But Luebbering says she wants to study the outlook more before recommending any more budget cuts to Governor Holden.

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that while state law mandates that absentee balloting for next month's election was to begin more than a week ago, the city's absentee ballots still were not ready.
At a press conference Wednesday Sheila Greenbaum with the City Board of Election Commissioners attempted to clear up confusion.

Jefferson City, MO – Tobacco companies are joining forces to try to defeat a tobacco tax increase on the November ballot in Missouri.

They have formed a group called Missourians Against Unfair Taxes, whose members include R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, Lorillard, and Brown and Williamson.

The referendum will ask whether voters want to raise the cigarette tax from $0.17 to $0.72 cents a pack. The new money would go to health care treatment and anti-smoking efforts.

Collinsville, IL – There will be school in Collinsville today, even though teachers there have authorized a strike.

The teachers' union voted yesterday to give at least five days' notice before walking out, with negotiations continuing until then.

At issue is a salary increase. Teachers want a 5% raise the first year, followed by increases of 6% and 7% the next two years. The district has offered a 4% raise in each of the three years.

Jefferson City, MO – State auditor Claire McCaskill says some drunk drivers with multiple offenses are not being forced into the level of substance abuse treatment they need. An audit of the Missouri Department of Mental Health found that five percent of drivers with at least two DWI offenses were still being assigned to entry-level treatment programs. McCaskill says the study also found that offenders living at least 30 miles from advanced treatment providers were not required to attend those programs.

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St. Louis on the Air

Thursday: A Look At What St. Louis Has Contributed To The World Of Music

Host Don Marsh will talk with the authors of "St. Louis Sound," a new book that documents the history of music in St. Louis.

Curious Louis Answers Your Questions About The St. Louis City-County Merger Plan

Readers have submitted dozens of questions about Better Together's proposal to unify St. Louis and St. Louis County. We'll answer as many as we can in the weeks and months ahead.

St. Louis Public Radio Investigates

Taken: How Police Profit from Seized Property

A data-driven investigation of civil asset forfeiture by St. Louis Public Radio, supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.