ST. LOUIS (AP) — A star sea lion at the St. Louis Zoo has died.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Bennie the sea lion died Friday. He was 11.
Zoo spokeswoman Susan Gallagher says tests will be done to determine the cause of death. She says the sea lion had been lethargic and eating poorly for several days.
Bennie was born at the zoo's Sea Lion Basin in 2002 and had been part of the Sea Lion Show for seven years. He was known for kissing onlookers, from average visitors to movie stars and Cardinals ballplayers.
Bennie was also in a 2012 television commercial announcing the opening of the zoo's then-new Sea Lion Sound. The ad won a Brass Ring Award in Marketing Excellence.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A smartphone app-based ride-sharing service has started service in St. Louis, ignoring a cease and desist order from the city's taxi commission.
Lyft lets users look for members who offer rides. Lyft drivers, who outfit the front grilles of their cars with large pink mustaches, are separate from for-hire taxi services. There's no set payment on Lyft rides, but passengers are encouraged to make a donation.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the program began Friday in St. Louis, with the San Francisco-based company throwing a launch party. Lyft ignored a cease and desist order from the city's taxi commission when the app went live in St. Louis.
Ron Klein, the commissi
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republicans have outlined a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing gun control laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights.
Under the bill endorsed by a Senate committee, federal agents who enforce those laws would be banned from future service in any state or local law enforcement agency.
The change comes as House and Senate backers try to reach a compromise on the legislation that has been passed separately by each chamber. The current version is pending in the Senate.
Supporters say the measure would make federal agents think twice before enforcing a gun control law. But the new approach is unlikely to sway opponents of the measure, who still say it is unconstitutional because states cannot nullify federal laws.
MEYER, Ill. (AP) — A farm cooperative has shut down a ferry service that shuttled agricultural products and other goods across the Mississippi River between western Illinois and eastern Missouri.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reported Friday that the Ursa Farmers Cooperative made the decision, citing a too costly $618,000 in needed repairs. The ferry connected the cities of Canton in Missouri and Meyer in Illinois. The cooperative operated the ferry for the last two decades and shut it down about a month ago.
Roger Hugenberg is the cooperative's assistant general manager. He called stopping the ferry service a "tough decision" but says that the repair costs couldn't be justified.
Hugenberg says it's possible the ferry could return but it would require new partnerships to share costs.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A Pepsi franchise is planning to build a new customer service center in Cape Girardeau (juh-RAHR'-doh) that could create 74 jobs.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development said Friday that Pepsi MidAmerica would complete the $3.1 million project. The state is offering incentives of up to $1.3 million through community development block grants and the enhanced enterprise zone program.
Pepsi MidAmerica was founded in Marion, Illinois in 1935, and is the country's largest privately held Pepsi franchise. The company serves southern Illinois, southern Missouri, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and a small portion of northeastern Arkansas. It currently has customer service centers in other southern Missouri cities but not Cape Girardeau.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City-area man has been charged with 18 felony counts in connection with about a dozen recent random highway shootings that have wounded three people.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a news conference Friday that 27-year-old Mohammed Whitaker of Grandview was charged with two counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person, seven counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and nine counts of armed criminal action.
At least six of the shootings occurred near Grandview. The Kansas City suburb is home to an area known as the Grandview Triangle, where three interstates and U.S. 50 intersect.
The last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported April 6th.
None of victims' wounds was considered life-threatenin
St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - A St. Louis priest is accused of having sex with a minor at the Cathedral Basilica, where he served.
Reverend Joseph Jiang was arrested on Thursday evening. Prosecutors say he had sex with a male victim, who was under 14 years old. The alleged incidents took place between July 2011 and August 2012. The 30-year-old priest from China was assigned to the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, where he lived with and was mentored by Archbishop Robert Carlson.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis says it has revoked the priest's canonical privileges. Church officials encourage any reports of misconduct involving minors be reported to the Director of Child and Youth Protection at 314-792-7704 or law enforcement officials.
St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Hazelwood residents could soon have the chance to vote on a proposed utility tax.
Currently, Hazelwood is the only St. Louis County municipality that does not impose a residential utility tax. The proposal would increase bills for natural gas, electric, water, and telephone service by a total of around $10 a month.
The city council could decide at a May 7 meeting if they will send the measure to voters.