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A group known as Better Together is proposing a plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County. They're planning to get the measure on the 2020 ballot.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Curious Louis Answers 4 More Questions About Proposed City-County Merger

The group Better Together submitted its proposal for a merger of St. Louis and St. Louis County in January. The plan calls for a statewide vote in 2020, when Missouri residents would decide on the future of the city and county. The plan would consolidate several municipal functions including police departments, a prosecutor and an assessor. Residents of the city and country continue to have question regarding the merger, which would consolidate several key functions of the St. Louis and St. Louis County region.

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Jefferson City, MO – Supporters of a proposed tobacco tax increase in Missouri have more than $2 million on hand for the final weeks before Election Day.

Citizens for a Healthy Missouri says it needs the money to counter an expected multi-million-dollar campaign from tobacco companies against the $0.55-a-pack cigarette tax hike.

But the latest spending reports show that two opposing groups have a combined total of less than $50,000 in the bank.

Jefferson City, MO – The law was revised last year. It allows retired workers to stay on part-time for up to one-thousand hours a year. Those who exceed
the limit could have their retirement benefits suspended. The goal is to open senior-level jobs to younger workers, while
using the experience of retirees. The Commission on Total Compensation said today it wants to
better define the law. Some members see a need to look at potential problems within the retirement system.

Clayton, MO – Hailing a cab at Lambert Airport may soon cost you a minimum of ten dollars. A St. Louis County Council committee is recommending setting the flat rate for all rides up to four miles, no matter how long or short the trip.

The fare after that distance would stay the same: $0.20 for each one-tenth of a mile. If the full County Council approves the change next week, the new fare would take effect next month. Drivers have complained short trips provide insufficient income.

St. Louis, MO – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources confirms that the Doe Run Company's lead smelter in Herculaneum did achieve the national air quality standard during the third quarter of 2002.

DNR has been monitoring the air in Herculaneum since the early 1980s, but environmental engineer John Rustige says this is only the second time Doe Run has achieved attainment levels for a full three-month period.

San Francisco, CA – The Cardinals season ended last night when the Giants' leadoff hitter Kenny Lofton hit a pennant-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Giants a 2-1 victory over St. Louis.

The Giants are heading to the World Series for the first time in 13 years. They collected just four hits and were one out away from extra innings until David Bell and Shawon Dunston singled off Cardinals starter Matt Morris. Cards manager Tony La Russa replaced Morris with Steve Kline, who gave up Lofton's single.

St. Louis, MO – O'Neill says in spite of recent cases of corporate corruption, a series of dot-com failures and the September 11 attacks, there's a lot of good news in the economy. He predicts the nation's economic growth rate will continue to improve. Despite O'Neill's assessment of the economy, House Minority leader Richard Gephardt of St. Louis is blasting the Bush Administration's handling of the economy, citing 1.6 million jobs lost in the last two years. (Bill Raack, KWMU)

Springfield, IL – The Illinois Prisoner Review Board starts a nine-day review of more than 140 Death Row cases today. The Board will suggest whether inmates' sentences should be switched to life in prison.

Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine says most of the cases under review should not be overturned and that to do so would insult the families of the victims. He cited the case of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, whose interigation was not videotaped, meaning he would have been taken off death row if he was still alive.

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site www.stltoday.com says that when police arrived, they found three family members unconscious and the woman semiconscious.

Killed were 42-year-old Hari Kushwah and his 16-year-old daughter, Aakriti. The mother and son were hospitalized. Officials with Laclede Gas blamed an internal problem with the home's heater.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea and tingling fingers or toes.

Richwoods, MO – Law enforcement officials in Richwoods have called off their search for 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck. But family and friends say they'll continue to look, and are seeking volunteers for their own search.

Hornbeck was last seen riding a bike to his friend house nine days ago. The reward for information leading to his return is now $20,000 dollars.

Chicago, IL – Family members of victims and inmates have crowded the hearing room in Chicago. Many clutch photographs of their deceased loved
ones. Several have made tear-choked appeals to the board members, asking them to uphold the death sentences imposed by juries. Attorneys for the inmates have attacked the cases against the clients on a number of fronts, saying their clients were victims of racial discrimination or police torture. Prosecutors have disputed the claims, saying the prisoners were treated fairly.

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St. Louis on the Air

Tuesday: 'Facing Segregation' Co-Authors, EHOC Share Evidence-Based Solutions

Washington University's Molly Metzger and Hank Webber will join the program, as will Will Jordan with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.

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.