The zoo had 3.5 million visitors, which is half-a-million more than 2011 and 400,000 more than the previous record, which was set in 2009. Officials also announced the guest satisfaction rating was 9.4 out of 10--the best the zoo has ever scored.
There is talk that an American could be next in line for the papal office now that Pope Benedict the sixteenth is stepping down from his office at the end of the month. He is the first Pope to resign in 600 years.
Monday morning, Ballwin, Missouri native and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan reflected on the possibility that he could be moving to Rome sometime soon. Dolan says, "Well it's awesome, you're right. I really .. I mean theoretically I've known that since I was made a cardinal last year that that would be one of the awesome responsibilities, but it's not something you think about. I don't have any insider information, but I would presume that his esteem for the office as the successor of Saint Peter and the chief pastor of the church universal ... that esteem is so high that in all humility he simply said, I can't do it anymore."
Cardinal Dolan. along with Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese are two of seven Americans in the College of Cardinals who can vote for the next pope . Dolan says he believes 85-year-old Pope Benedic's health is not the best, "He knows he's getting a little wobbly. When he was elected as successor of St. Peter in 2005, he shrugged and said to his fellow cardinals, boy, I sure don't have the strength and the durability that blessed John Paul the Second had. So he's been well aware of his frailty."
Church insiders say Italian cardinals are more likely to succeed. The pope's resignation sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.
Missouri now lets voters cast absentee ballots only if they swear they cannot go to the polls on Election Day or meet other, limited criteria. But the state has no general provision for early voting, which Kander says could help ease long lines at the polls.
Kander's appointed commission will meet throughout February to study the merits of early voting and evaluate what he says would be the efficient, fair and secure way to allow the practice.
Besides county clerks, the panel also includes former state lawmakers, the mayor of Joplin, a county elections director and private citizens.
The hospital is Missouri's only maximum and intermediate security psychiatric hospital and is the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River.
The Department of Mental Health is proposing a new 300 bed, high-security facility that would cost about $211 million.
Officials say current facilities are antiquated and a new building would save utility cots and make for a safer facility.
Fulton State Hospital is in Fulton, Missouri, about 100 miles west of St. Louis.
The Convention and Visitors Commission has until mid-April to respond to the ruling. The Rams could then begin negotiating for new stadiums and new cities. But officials say that doesn't mean they'll leave St. Louis.
This isn't the first time the Rams and the CVC have dealt with the "first-tier" issue. The lease actually required that the dome be one of the top eight NFL facilities in 2005. After four-years of negotiating, the Rams eventually waived the first-tier requirement in exchange for $30-million in improvements that included new turf and scoreboards.
CVC officials have said they don't plan to ask taxpayers for the $700 million renovation the Rams proposed, so building a new stadium will likely be the new focus.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that possible sites for a new football stadium include the shuttered Chrysler plant in Fenton, farmland in Maryland Heights, or the mostly-vacant Bottle District north of downtown.
Rams officials aren't commenting.
Supporters of the plan say online registration would make the process simpler and attract younger voters.
Republicans say they don't oppose the idea, but think the state should first focus on fixing its worst-in-the-nation pension crisis.
More than a dozen states, including Colorado, Nevada and Indiana, already offer online voter registration.
Fifty-five year old Debbie Keeny told police that she'd stepped outside for a smoke and when she turned to go back inside, a man forced his way into her apartment. She says he pushed her to the floor and then attacked her sister, 47 year old Donna Carlyle. The man reportedly choked Carlyle and demanded money.
Keeny says she grabbed her derringer pistol and warned the man that she'd shoot if he didn't let go of her sister. The man didn't stop, so she fired a warning shot. When he still didn't let go, she shot him in the back.
Police say the 33 year old suspect, a man from Troy, Illinois, is in critical condition with two gunshot wounds.
Police believe robbery was the motive, since several of the sister's neighbors at the Senior Plaza Apartments report hearing someone jiggle their doorknobs shortly before the attack.
Republican Councilman Joe Brazil isn't disputing the ticket he received in St. Peters, but he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it's overkill for a city to use police time on arrests for offenses that don't add penalty points to a driver's license under Missouri law. Red-light camera violations fall into that category.
"I think it's a complete waste of police resources," Brazil said. "They're overdoing it."
Brazil said he mailed in the fine before his arrest, but St. Peters spokeswoman Lisa Bedian said the city has no record of receiving Brazil's check. Bedian said the city issues arrest warrants whenever someone doesn't show up for a court date on any charge, including red-light violations.
Other cities in the St. Louis region take different approaches, and many don't issue arrest warrants for red-light violations. The cameras have spurred debate since they have been increasingly used in the St. Louis area over the past few years. Companies install the equipment in exchange for a portion of the fines. Opponents see it as an unfair money-grab, while proponents argue that the cameras help save lives by discouraging drivers from skirting through red lights.
Wentzville, like St. Peters, issues warrants for nonpayment of red-light violations. Police spokesman Paul West said the decision may depend on the type of photo taken by the camera system. Wentzville and St. Peters both use cameras that capture the face of the driver, rather than simply a photo of the vehicle license plate.
"If I can't say who is driving, how am I going to know who to arrest?" West said. Brazil was pulled over for a traffic stop last month. The officer told him there was a warrant for his arrest, frisked him, put him in the back of the police vehicle and drove him to police headquarters, where he spent about an hour in a holdover cell. Brazil said he'd mailed a cashier's check to pay his $110 fine before his arrest.
Those caught on red-light cameras are first sent a summons giving them the option of paying the $110 fine or going to court, Bedian said. If they do neither, they get a letter with a second court date and a warning that an arrest warrant will be issued if they don't respond.
Witnesses told police that Roberson had been brawling with another man and then pulled a gun, firing at least one shot into the air.
St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole says two St. Louis police officers had been patroling nearby when they heard the shot. When arrived, the officers ordered Roberson to drop his gun, but instead he turned and pointed the weapon at police. O'Toole says both officers fired several shots, striking Roberson. The North County man later died at the hospital.
Mardi Gras Inc. spokesman Mack Bradley praised the officers for acting appropriately. Both officers had been working for Mardi Gras Inc. under a secondary employment agreement allowing police to work extra jobs during their off hours. Both are veterans with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, one with 22 years on duty and the other with 33 years on the force. Both have been placed on routine administrative leave.
This is the first fatal shooting in the Soulard festival's 34 year history.
St. Louis police reported that 80 people were arrested during the Mardi Gras celebrations in Soulard Saturday. Seventy-six of them were juveniles arrested for consumption of alcohol by a minor.
State Rep. Jason Smith prevailed after six rounds of voting by an 84-person committee of local Republican leaders and immediately became the favorite in a June 4 special election in the GOP-leaning 8th District.
"We're going to win this seat," Smith declared to the applause of fellow Republicans after accepting the nomination. "The fiscal responsibility in Washington, D.C., is what's destroying our country, and we've got to take control of it and get it back," he added.
At age 32, Smith would be one of the younger members of Congress, but he already has plenty of experience as a lawmaker. Smith won a special election to the Missouri House of Representatives in November 2005 and, because of term limits, is now one of the most senior members of the chamber. After serving as majority party whip, his colleagues elected him in January as House speaker pro tem - the No. 2 ranking position.
On Saturday, he defeated nine other GOP candidates, including Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former state Sen. Jason Crowell and former state party Chairman Lloyd Smith, who had been Emerson's chief of staff.
Missouri's 8th Congressional District is one of three vacant seats in the nation, but it's the only one where party leaders - not voters - are choosing the candidates. Democrats are to select their nominee next weekend.
Emerson, 62, resigned Jan. 22 to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, ending a 32-year run of family representation in Congress. Her late husband, Republican Rep. Bill Emerson, first won the seat in 1980 and served until he died of lung cancer in June 1996. Jo Ann Emerson then won an election to succeed her husband and rarely faced a formidable challenge thereafter.
Missouri's sprawling 8th District stretches south from the outer suburbs of St. Louis to the agricultural-base of the Missouri Bootheel and westward to the rolling Ozark hills. The district's residents are the poorest and least educated in Missouri, with a median household income of less than $36,000 and more than 85 percent lacking college bachelor's degrees.
A resident of rural Salem, Smith touted the fact that he drove 10,000 miles to all 30 counties in the district and visited with each committee member over the past two months. Smith is a man of many trades. He owns a fourth-generation family farm with about 30 cattle, is an attorney and also a partner in a real estate business.
During a speech Saturday before committee members began voting, Smith pledged to "bring a fresh approach" to conservative policies without trying to "speak and yell the loudest." He lead after each round of voting, gradually pick up more support as other candidates were dropped from the ballot.
Smith described himself as more conservative than U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and said his goal is "to cooperate but not compromise on your core values." He asserted that President Barack Obama and "Washington, D.C., liberals" are twisting the words of the Declaration of Independence by trying to "guarantee happiness" instead of simply assuring people have the right to pursue happiness.
Federal spending, Obama's health care law and policies that "tax the rich to give to the poor" all are making the country "less American," Smith said. "It makes us less independent, less prosperous and less free." Because there was no traditional primary, there was no mass media advertising and little need for candidates to fund raise. Consequently, the campaign was intensely personal. Many candidates met face-to-face with committee members in their homes, coffee shops or at public forums. On the eve of Saturday's meeting, for example, the eventual finalists all dined at the same restaurant in Van Buren - each seated at separate tables conversing with committee members. Their handshake campaigning continued up to the last minute before the meeting was gaveled into session Saturday.
Smith portrayed a less confrontational style than some of the other finalists.
Kinder, for example, had pledged to be Boehner's "worst headache" if he didn't get spending under control. Crowell had emphasized his record of shutting down debate in the state Senate to block spending with which he disagreed. Lloyd Smith had declared federal debt to be the "new red menace" that is destroying the nation's future.