Morning round-up
7:14 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Morning headlines - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Record attendance for St. Louis Zoo

The first four and a half months of the year have been a record one for the St. Louis Zoo, no doubt helped by an unseasonably warm winter and spring.

Officials said Monday that more than one million people had entered the Zoo’s gates in through May 13. The Zoo expects those numbers to go higher once Sea Lion Sound opens on June 30.

A year after record floods, drought conditions in southeast Missouri

What a difference a year makes in southeastern Missouri.

Two-tenths of an inch of rain fell in May – putting the region about nine to ten inches behind the average for this point in the year. Just last year, the US Army Corps of Engineers was blowing open the Birds Point levee to relieve extreme flooding along the Mississippi River.

The US Drought Monitor says New Madrid, Mississippi, and parts of Scott, Stoddard and Pemiscot counties are in moderate drought. The rest of Scott and Stoddard counties are considered "abnormally dry."

Twelve injured in school bus accident

Twelve people were injured, including two seriously yesterday, when a bus carrying sixth graders from Highland, Ill. collided with a tractor trailer along Interstate 55 in a construction zone.

The 33 students and eight chaperones from Grantfork Upper Elementary were on their way back from a field trip to  Springfield when the accident occurred near Litchfield. One student was hurt seriously enough to be airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, but none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

The driver of the bus, 66-year-old Henry E. Jaeger of Highland, has been charged with failing to reduce speed.

Quinn will push for marriage equality in Ill.

Gov. Pat Quinn is repeating his pledge to work with Illinois' General Assembly to allow gay marriage in the state.

Quinn helped get civil unions approved last year, but has long been vague on gay marriage. He first voiced his support for legislation in February.

Quinn told reporters on Monday that he didn't want to wait for the courts to act first.

"I think in Illinois we are able to show the nation that we are a state that believes in respecting everyone," he said. "Everyone has dignity and rights. I think it's important that we show all the people of America what the Land of Lincoln is all about."

Quinn says part of his evolution on the issue comes from how well civil unions are working.