JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A national trails magazine has awarded Missouri the title of "Best Trails State" for its commitment to maintain and improve its vast system of hiking and biking paths.
The award from American Trails was announced Wednesday at a conference in Arizona. It's given every two years to states that make the most significant contributions to maintaining and promoting their trails.
Missouri's state parks system includes nearly 1,000 miles of managed trails. Many historic trails pass through the state, including the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears and the Santa Fe National Historic Trails.
Attendance in Missouri state parks increased in 2012, with more than 18 million visitors.
The National Weather Service has lifted a tornado watch for St. Charles County, St. Louis County and St. Louis City.
Variable clouds and becoming windy with rain and a few thunderstorms - possibly severe this afternoon. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. High 67F. SSW winds at 5 to 10 mph, increasing to 20 to 30 mph. Additional rainfall may reach one inch.
Cloudy early with some clearing expected late. Low 36F. Winds W at 15 to 25 mph
With another line of potentially severe weather expected to push through the metro-area Thursday, Ameren has place crews on both sides of the river on stand-by. Ameren officials say they've mobilized personnel and equipment to facilitate their response to any storm-related power outages.
But Ameren officials say there are some things customers who lose power during the storms need to do. First, officials say, report the outage. Don't assume the power company knows your lights are out.
Second, they remind customers to stay away from downed power lines and always assume that any lines that have fallen are still live wires. Report the downed lines immediately.
They say to stay out of the way of power company crews who are working to repair lines and restore power.
And finally, they ask customers to be patient. Crews will get repairs made as quickly as they can do so safely.
More tips can be found at Ameren's online Outage Center.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal firearms official says the agency never sought or received a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agency was not involved in an effort by the Social Security Administration to obtain the information.
Missouri senators have publicized an email from a state crime analyst indicating that the Social Security Administration wanted a "comprehensive list" of concealed gun permit holders as part of a "joint venture" with the ATF.
But ATF spokesman Mike Campbell says there was no joint venture and his agency never asked for or received the Missouri information.
A Social Security official confirmed Wednesday that the agency had no plans to involve the ATF in its investigation.