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Wednesday, 27 November 2013 06:12

St. Louis Automotive Icon, Lou Fusz, Sr. dies

   The founder of one of the largest automotive networks in the United States, Lou Fusz Senior, has died. Fusz suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 in Palm Beach, Florida.  He was 94.  

   Fusz was family patriarch and chairman of the board of the Lou Fusz Automotive Network.

   Funeral services will be in St. Louis.  Visitation will be from 3 until 7 p.m. Friday at Kriegshauser Mortuary West Chapel in Olivette.  A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of The Pillar Catholic Church on South Lindbergh Boulevard.

Published in Local News

   KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton, a champion of the military who served 17 terms in the U.S. House before losing a re-election bid in 2010, has died. He was 81.

   Skelton died Monday at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., surrounded by family and friends, including longtime colleague Russell Orban.

   The cause was not immediately released, but Orban says Skelton entered the hospital a week earlier with a cough. Oban confirmed Skelton's death to The Associated Press.

   The Lexington, Mo., native was a Democrat and former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

   Skelton lost to Republican Vicky Hartzler in 2010 in western Missouri's 4th Congressional District. He then joined the law firm of Kansas City-based Husch Blackwell, working in its offices in Kansas City and Washington.

 
Published in Local News

   WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Eastern Europe's first democratic prime minister after communism, key adviser to Poland's Solidarity freedom movement and U.N. human rights envoy to Bosnia in the 1990s, has died. He was 86.

   Mazowiecki's personal secretary, Michal Prochwicz, told The Associated Press that the former prime minister died early Monday in hospital.

   Prochwicz said Mazowiecki was taken to hospital on Wednesday, with high fever.

Published in National News

   DENVER (AP) — Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, was guided by two instincts: overcoming fear and quenching his insatiable curiosity. He pioneered his way into the heights of space and the depths of the ocean floor.

   "Conquering of fear is one of life's greatest pleasures and it can be done a lot of different places," he said.

   His wife, Patty Barrett, said Carpenter died Thursday in a Denver hospice of complications from a September stroke. Carpenter, who lived in Vail, was 88.

   Carpenter followed John Glenn into orbit, and it was Carpenter who gave him the historic sendoff: "Godspeed John Glenn." The two were the last survivors of the famed original Mercury 7 astronauts from the "Right Stuff" days of the early 1960s. Glenn is the only one left alive.

   In his one flight, Carpenter missed his landing by 288 miles, leaving a nation on edge for an hour as it watched live and putting Carpenter on the outs with his NASA bosses. So Carpenter found a new place to explore: the ocean floor.

   He was the only person who was both an astronaut and an aquanaut, exploring the old ocean and what President John F. Kennedy called "the new ocean" — space.

   NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Thursday that Carpenter "was in the vanguard of our space program — the pioneers who set the tone for our nation's pioneering efforts beyond Earth and accomplished so much for our nation. ... We will miss his passion, his talent and his lifelong commitment to exploration."

   Life was an adventure for Carpenter and he said it should be for others: "Every child has got to seek his own destiny. All I can say is that I have had a great time seeking my own."

   The launch into space was nerve-racking for the Navy pilot on the morning of May 24, 1962.

   "You're looking out at a totally black sky, seeing an altimeter reading of 90,000 feet and realize you are going straight up. And the thought crossed my mind: What am I doing?" Carpenter said 49 years later in a joint lecture with Glenn at the Smithsonian Institution.

   For Carpenter, the momentary fear was worth it, he said in 2011: "The view of Mother Earth and the weightlessness is an addictive combination of senses."

   For the veteran Navy officer, flying in space or diving to the ocean floor was more than a calling. In 1959, soon after being chosen one of NASA's pioneering seven astronauts, Carpenter wrote about his hopes, concluding: "This is something I would willingly give my life for."

   "Curiosity is a thread that goes through all of my activity," he told a NASA historian in 1999. "Satisfying curiosity ranks No. 2 in my book behind conquering a fear."

   Even before Carpenter ventured into space, he made history on Feb. 20, 1962, when he gave his Glenn sendoff. It was a spur of the moment phrase, Carpenter later said.

   "In those days, speed was magic because that's all that was required ... and nobody had gone that fast," Carpenter explained. "If you can get that speed, you're home-free, and it just occurred to me at the time that I hope you get your speed. Because once that happens, the flight's a success."

   Three months later, Carpenter was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and completed three orbits around Earth in his space capsule, the Aurora 7, which he named after the celestial event. It was just a coincidence, Carpenter said, that he grew up in Boulder, Colo., on the corner of Aurora Avenue and Seventh Street.

   His four hours, 39 minutes and 32 seconds of weightlessness were "the nicest thing that ever happened to me," Carpenter told a NASA historian. "The zero-g sensation and the visual sensation of spaceflight are transcending experiences and I wish everybody could have them."

   His trip led to many discoveries about spacecraft navigation and space itself, such as that space offers almost no resistance, which he found out by trailing a balloon. Carpenter said astronauts in the Mercury program found most of their motivation from the space race with the Russians. When he completed his orbit of the Earth, he said he thought: "Hooray, we're tied with the Soviets," who had completed two manned orbits at that time.

   Things started to go wrong on re-entry. He was low on fuel and a key instrument that tells the pilot which way the capsule is pointing malfunctioned, forcing Carpenter to manually take over control of the landing.

   NASA's Mission Control then announced that he would overshoot his landing zone by more than 200 miles and, worse, they had lost contact with him.

   Talking to a suddenly solemn nation, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite said, "We may have ... lost an astronaut."

   Carpenter survived the landing that day.

   Always cool under pressure — his heart rate never went above 105 during the flight — he oriented himself by simply peering out the space capsule's window. The Navy found him in the Caribbean, floating in his life raft with his feet propped up. He offered up some of his space rations.

   Carpenter's perceived nonchalance didn't sit well some with NASA officials, particularly flight director Chris Kraft. The two feuded about it from then on.

   Kraft accused Carpenter of being distracted and behind schedule, as well as making poor decisions. He blamed Carpenter for the low fuel.

   On his website, Carpenter acknowledged that he didn't shut off a switch at the right time, doubling fuel loss. Still, Carpenter in his 2003 memoir said, "I think the data shows that the machine failed."

   In the 1962 book "We Seven," written by the first seven astronauts, Carpenter wrote about his thoughts while waiting to be picked up after splashing down.

   "I sat for a long time just thinking about what I'd been through. I couldn't believe it had all happened. It had been a tremendous experience, and though I could not ever really share it with anyone, I looked forward to telling others as much about it as I could. I had made mistakes and some things had gone wrong. But I hoped that other men could learn from my experiences. I felt that the flight was a success, and I was proud of that."

   One of 110 candidates to be the nation's first astronauts, Carpenter became an instant celebrity in 1959 when he was chosen as a Mercury astronaut. The Mercury 7 were Carpenter, Glenn, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Walter M. Schirra Jr., Alan B. Shepard Jr., and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton.

   Like his colleagues, Carpenter basked in lavish attention and public rewards, but it wasn't exactly easy. The astronauts were subjected to grueling medical tests — keeping their feet in cold water, rapid spinning and tumbling and open-ended psychological quizzes. He had to endure forces 16 times gravity in his tests, far more than in space, something he said he managed with "great difficulty."

   "It was the most exciting period of my life," he said.

   Carpenter never did go back in space, but his explorations continued. In 1965, he spent 30 days under the ocean off the coast of California as part of the Navy's SeaLab II program.

   "I wanted, No. 1, to learn about it (the ocean), but No. 2, I wanted to get rid of what was an unreasoned fear of the deep water," Carpenter told the NASA historian.

   Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, Carpenter worked with the Navy to bring some of NASA's training and technology to the sea floor. A broken arm kept him out of the first SeaLab, but he made the second in 1965. The 57-by-12-foot habitat was lowered to a depth of 205 feet off San Diego. A bottlenose dolphin named Tuffy ferried supplies from the surface to the aquanauts below.

   "SeaLab was an apartment but it was very crowded. Ten men lived inside. We worked very hard. We slept very little," Carpenter recalled in a 1969 interview. Years later, he said he actually preferred his experience on the ocean floor to his time in space.

   "In the overall scheme of things, it's the underdog in terms of funding and public interest," he said. "They're both very important explorations. One is much more glorious than the other. Both have tremendous potential."

   After another stint at NASA in the mid-1960s, helping develop the Apollo lunar lander, Carpenter returned to the SeaLab program as director of aquanaut operations for SeaLab III.

   He retired from the Navy in 1969, founded his company Sea Sciences Inc., worked closely with Cousteau and dove in most of the world's oceans, including under the ice in the Arctic.

   When the 77-year-old Glenn returned to orbit in 1998 aboard space shuttle Discovery, Carpenter radioed: "Good luck, have a safe flight and ... once again, Godspeed, John Glenn."

   Malcolm Scott Carpenter was born May 1, 1925, in Boulder, Colo. (He hated his first name and didn't use it). He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother became ill with tuberculosis.

   He attended the University of Colorado for one semester, joined the Navy during World War II, and returned to school but didn't graduate because he flunked out of a class on heat transfer his senior year. The school eventually awarded him a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1962 after he orbited the Earth.

   He rejoined the Navy in 1949 and was a fighter and test pilot in the Pacific and served as intelligence officer.

   He married four times and had eight children, including two that have died. A daughter helped him write his memoir, "For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut." He also wrote two novels: "The Steel Albatross" and "Deep Flight." In addition to his children, he is survived by his wife, Patty Barrett.

   A public funeral and memorial are planned for later this month in Boulder, Barrett said. She didn't have further details.

   Carpenter earned numerous awards and honorary degrees. Carpenter said that he joined the Mercury program for many reasons: "One of them, quite frankly, is that it is a chance for immortality. Most men never have a chance for immortality."

   ___

   Borenstein reported from Washington.

   ___

   Online:  www.scottcarpenter.com

Published in National News
Thursday, 05 September 2013 03:07

Arnold City Councilman Randy Crisler dies

   Arnold city hall is draped with black bunting and flags are flying at half staff in memory of Councilman Randy Crisler, who died Wednesday after a month-long battle with an infection.  He was just 38-year-old.  

   Crisler leaves behind a wife and three children.  

   A fundraiser to benefit Crisler's family will be held September 22nd at Dylan`s Sports Bar and Grill, where the councilman worked as a bartender.  

   Funeral arrangements are pending.  

 

Published in Local News
Monday, 26 August 2013 00:59

STL restaurateur Jim Mattingly has died

   St. Louis restaurateur Jim Mattingly is being remembered fondly by friends, family and customers after dying suddenly Sunday morning of an apparent heart attack.  Mattingly was 64 years old.

   The north county native founded the popular Mattingly's Restaurant in Florissant with his mother in 1971.  A second location was later opened in St. Charles. 

   The public visitation will be held at Hutchens Mortyary on Graham road Wednesday from 1:00-9:00 p.m.  A funeral service at North County Community Church Thursday at 10:00 am.

   The family is asking that instead of flowers, donations be made in Mattingly's memory to the Greater St. Louis Area Major Case Squad, 700 North 5th Street, Belleville, IL 62220.

 
Published in Local News
Friday, 09 August 2013 13:04

Wentzville City Administrator dies

The Wentzville City Administrator died this morning.

T. Michael McDowell was 60 years old. McDowell served in the role since March 4. He previously worked as the city manager of Olivette and city administrator in Creve Coeur. The Wentzville Board of Aldermen plans to meet this afternoon to appoint and interim city administrator. 

Published in Local News
Monday, 05 August 2013 03:37

Hall of Fame DT Art Donovan dead at 89

   BALTIMORE (AP) - Art Donovan, the Hall of Fame defensive lineman who spent much of his 12-year career with the Baltimore Colts, has died. He was 89.

   Donovan died Sunday at Stella Maris Hospice in Baltimore, according to Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of the Baltimore Ravens.

   Back in the day when NFL players made little money, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Donovan played for the love of the game and the thrill of winning. He helped the Colts win championships in 1958 and 1959.

   Donovan broke into professional football in 1950 with the Colts, who folded after his rookie season. He played with the New York Yanks in 1951 and the Dallas Texans in 1952 before the Dallas franchise moved to Baltimore and became the second version of the Colts. He spent the remainder of his career with Baltimore before retiring after the 1961 season.

 
Published in Sports

   CHICAGO (AP) -- Bernard "Bernie" Sahlins, who co-founded Chicago's Second City theater and who nurtured the early careers of many of the earliest stars of "Saturday Night Live," died Sunday. He was 90.

   Andrew Alexander, one of Second City's current owners and its CEO, told The Associated Press that Sahlins died peacefully at his Chicago home with his family nearby. He is survived by his wife, Jane Nicholl Sahlins.

   Sahlins and business partners Howard Alk and Paul Sills opened The Second City in December 1959, and it quickly gained national attention and helped establish Chicago as a vibrant comedy town, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

   The Second City wasn't Sahlins' first attempt at running a theater. He was a producer-investor in a theater troupe in the early 1950s that was comprised of many fellow University of Chicago graduates, and he and several business partners produced plays at the Studebaker Theater from October 1956 until the following year, when it had to close due to a lack of funding.

   In his 2002 memoir, "Days and Nights at the Second City," Sahlins wrote that he, Alk and Sills hadn't set out to build another theater.

   "We had been burned enough times doing that. This was still the Beat generation, and we started out to found a coffee house where we idlers, including the actors whom we had with for years, could loll around and put the world in its proper place."

   But The Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues, and it became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy.

   Sahlins had an eye for talent, and he hired and nurtured the early careers of such future stars as John and Jim Belushi, Joan Rivers, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis, among others.

   Shortly after "Saturday Night Live" began airing in the fall of 1975, Second City became a breeding ground for the show. According to Second City producer emeritus Joyce Sloane, who died in 2011, Sahlins once half-jokingly commanded her to lock "SNL" creator and producer Lorne Michaels out of the building, the Sun-Times reported.

   Alexander, who along with business partner Len Stuart bought The Second City from Sahlins in 1985, according to the theater's website, told the AP that Sahlins will be remembered for always urging performers to work at the top of their intellect, and that this is still preached at the theater today.

   "You think about that theater, and think of all the stars that came out of it ... from Belushi to Aykroyd to Allan Arkin. It's extraordinary, the amount of talented people that came out of it," Alexander said.

Published in National News

   LOS ANGELES (AP) - Joyce Brothers, who put the "pop" into psychology, has died in New York. She was 85.

   The cause of death was respiratory failure.

   During a long and prolific career, Brothers pioneered the TV advice show in the 1950s and also worked as a syndicated columnist, author, and even actress.

   Her celebrity took off after she entered a television quiz show called "The $64,000 Question." She became the only woman to ever win the show's top prize.

 
Published in National News
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