St. Charles County | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles County

Amazon shipping center in Edwardsville
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Retail giant Amazon will build its first Missouri distribution center in the St. Charles County town of St. Peters.

Amazon announced its plan to build the the 800,000-square-foot warehouse in a news release Wednesday. The company expects to hire about 1,500 workers.

Boxes of classroom furniture sit ready to be unpacked in the gymnasium of Stone Creek Elementary, which was finished weeks before the Wentzville school year started in August. The district wants to build two more schools to keep up with growth.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Wentzville School District just opened two new school buildings in August. But now officials are plotting out two more.

The St. Charles County school district’s board of education approved putting a bonding measure on the April 2018 ballot on Thursday. It will allow the district to borrow enough money for two more new schools and additions for four others.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers his remarks to a crowd of invited guests in St. Charles, Missouri on November 29, 2017.
Kae Petrin I St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump made grand promises Wednesday that a pending federal tax overhaul will bring jobs back to "Main Street America'' by revamping a "dysfunctional'' tax system and providing tax cuts for working families.

He told a packed audience at the St. Charles Convention Center that only Democrats like Missouri's U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill stood in the way of a more prosperous future.  The president portrayed McCaskill, a former prosecutor, as a tax-cut opponent who is "weak on crime,  weak on the border, weak on the military."

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
File photo, Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As President Donald Trump makes a pitch Wednesday for a federal tax overhaul, he plans to cast the city of St. Charles as an example of the “Main Street economy’’ he wants to help flourish across the country.

That’s the word from senior White House officials, who briefed regional reporters ahead of time on Trump’s key topics during an address Wednesday afternoon at the St. Charles Convention Center.

Donald Trump leaves the stage after a March 2016 speech at the Peabody Opera House.
File photo I Bill Greenblatt | UPI

President Donald Trump will promote federal tax cuts on Wednesday during an afternoon event at the St. Charles Convention Center.

This will be his first visit to the St. Louis area – and his second to Missouri — since taking office almost a year ago.

A view of Highway K in O'Fallon in 1970.
Jim Karll

To grasp St. Charles County’s dramatic growth, one only needs to view two photos taken 47 years apart by Jim Karll.

Both show Highway K in O’Fallon, just south of Interstate 70. The first photo, taken in 1970, shows a remote road amid farmland and woods. In the second, Highway K is packed with traffic and flanked by shopping centers and businesses.

St. Charles County’s population skyrocketed from 90,000 in 1970 to almost 400,000 today — a pace unmatched anywhere else in the state. It also has the second-largest bloc of GOP voters in the state and attracts lots of businesses. But a few things threaten its upward trajectory, namely public transportation and a lack of diversity.

St. Charles County

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann will try for a fourth term in 2018, he announced Monday.

If he wins, the Republican would become the county’s longest-serving official.

Construction workers finish up work on the new Stone Creek Elementary School in the Wentzville School District on July 25, 2017. It's one of two new schools that will open next week.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Signs along the road leading to one of the new elementary schools in the Wentzville School District advertise newly constructed homes for sale. It’s something district officials say they closely track, along with hospital birth records.

The data tells them that the district’s rapid growth — the quickest in the state, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education — won’t level off soon. To keep pace, Wentzville is opening two elementary schools this month.

Wentzville’s late to the expansion party in St. Charles County, where the population has been growing steadily for three decades.

Paul Knittel | flickr

The assessed value of residential homes in St. Louis County has shot up an average of 7 percent since 2015 — the county’s strongest showing in almost a decade. St. Louis’ numbers beat the county: a nearly 12 percent increase in the same time frame.

Experts say it’s a sign the region has recovered from the economic downturn of the late 2000s.

House for sale
Paul Sableman | Flickr

The St. Louis County Assessor's office has started informal conferences with property owners concerned their taxes are too high.

Assessor Jake Zimmerman says the average county property value has gone up roughly 7 percent, compared to the last review a couple of years ago. He attributes the increase, in part, to a hotter real estate market, with properties selling faster and for more money.  

Scott Leahy speaks in favor of the Best Choice sex ed curriculum during a meeting of the St. Charles Board of Education on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles Board of Education voted Monday night to keep a sex education curriculum tied to an anti-abortion group, breaking with recent decisions by a few other St. Louis-area public school districts. 

St. Charles County focuses on reducing child abuse, neglect

Apr 18, 2017
Pinwheels for child abuse victims in St. Charles County. April 18, 2017.
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

In St. Charles County, 181 children in were abused and neglected last year. Those were the reported cases. At least one study has found that one in four children suffer some form of abuse or neglect in their lifetimes.

Red and blue, circular logo of the American Cricket Academy & Club.
American Cricket Academy & Club

A cricket field opening Saturday in St. Charles County signals how much the sport is growing in the region.

The venue at BaratHaven Park in Dardenne Prairie will, for the first time, give the American Cricket Academy and Club of St. Louis a dedicated home to practice and play.

Local enthusiasm for the sport has been largely driven by Indian and other immigrant communities, said ACAC founder and executive director Ajay Jhamb.

St. Charles County approves regional prescription drug database

Sep 27, 2016
A capsule of pills.
FDA | file photo

Updated Sept. 27, 1 p.m. to include county council approval - St. Charles County Council is the most recent local government to move forward with a prescription drug database.

Members Monday night unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance to establish the program, which would share information with similar initiatives in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis.

Officials hope the program will be operational by Jan. 1.

Richard Orr
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Democrat Richard Orr to the program.

Orr is the Democratic nominee for the 23rd state Senatorial District, which takes in a portion of St. Charles County. He’s a buyer and instructor for a kayaking company. Orr is squaring off against Republican Bill Eigel, a businessman who won a highly competitive GOP primary earlier this month. (Eigel appeared on Politically Speaking earlier this week.)

Mike Carter, Anne Zerr and Bill Eigel are running for the St. Charles County-based 23rd District Senate seat.
Courtesy of Carter and Eigel's campaigns and House Communications

There are probably few legislative races in Missouri with stakes as high as the GOP primary for the 23rd Senatorial District.

The St. Charles County-based district has been vacant since former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey resigned nearly a year ago. And the race to replace him features three candidates with vastly different philosophies and political experience. It’s one of several competitive state Senate primaries in the St. Louis area, and perhaps the one where the end result could matter quite a bit.

Jacob Norlund / Flickr

The following questions recently came into Curious Louis from someone who wanted to be anonymous: Why do we (St. Louis residents) pay our personal and real estate taxes directly to Gregory F.X. Daly and not a department? How does that compare to other cities?

Daly, the collector of revenue for St. Louis, receives the questions so frequently that his office has set up a webpage to explain.

Second Boone Bridge demolition rescheduled for Monday

Mar 2, 2016
Missouri Department of Transportation St. Charles County camera

Updated March 2 with rescheduled demolition — The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to close the section of Interstate 64 leading up to and crossing the Missouri River between St. Charles and St. Louis counties for at least an hour on Monday, March 7. 

Weather permitting, the department will finish demolishing the 1930's era Boone Bridge. The bridge is no longer needed now that traffic has been moved to the adjacent 1980's era bridge and the new Boone Bridge. 

Ameren's power plant in Labadie is the largest in the state.
Art Chimes

Updated 5:00 p.m., Sept. 24 with vote result - The Missouri Air Conservation Commission has voted to designate parts of Franklin and St. Charles counties as "unclassifiable" for sulfur dioxide pollution.

Thursday's vote follows a recommendation by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources earlier this week.

Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The first I-70 interchange west of the Missouri River is getting an $18 million update. Construction starts next spring to replace Fifth Street’s partial cloverleaf interchange with a diverging diamond.

It’s the latest project in a decade-long plan to improve the main corridor through the St. Louis region’s fastest growing county.

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