St. Louis County

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city and St. Louis County officials say they've gotten federal approval that will help local companies compete in the global market. The area's Foreign Trade Zone has expanded to include all of St. Louis County and City.

The expanded zone will allow more local manufacturing and distribution companies to import goods duty-free and avoid other customs fees.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the expansion at Sunset Transportation in south St. Louis. Slay says the approval from the US Department of Commerce also streamlines the time it takes for businesses to qualify.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is defending his decision to explore the possibility of the state jointly running several county parks in St. Louis County that are being targeted for closure.

The parks in question include Lone Elk Park in West County, home to wild elk, turkey, deer and buffalo.  State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) is questioning whether the governor has the authority to enter into such an agreement.

(St. Louis County website)

Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration has begun discussions with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley in hopes of helping to keep open some county parks slated for closure.

(via St. Louis County website)

St. Louis County Council members gather tonight at 6:00 p.m. to discuss County Executive Charlie Dooley’s proposed budget for 2012.  Facing flat revenues and a budget shortfall, Dooley has proposed $10 million in spending cuts that would close 23 county parks and eliminate up to 133 Parks & Recreation Department employees.

The budget has been under fire from council members, citizens, and environmental groups, many of whom are calling for more equitable cuts across county departments.

Former County Park Ranger Marty Koch joined Dooley’s Senior Policy Advisor Mike Jones today on St. Louis on the Air.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

As the six-month anniversary of the presidential disaster declaration for Missouri approaches, federal disaster grants and loans have reached over $3.5 million in St. Louis County.

Grants and loans have been distributed by FEMA’s Individuals and Household Programs, their Public Assistance Program and the Small Business Administration disaster loan program.

The money has been providing for those affected by disasters in St. Louis County.

(St. Louis County website)

St. Louis County Executive is defending his proposed budget that includes layoffs and closing some 20 parks and other facilities. In a letter to the county council dated Tuesday, Dooley laid out the options for dealing with declining property tax revenues and rising costs. Dooley says it’s time for the county to live within its means.

(Via Wikimedia Commons/Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU)

Updated October 28, 1:50 p.m. to update information related to St. Louis City. Updated October 28, 12:30 p.m. to add information about the U.S. CDC team.

An E. coli outbreak has sickened at least 21 people in the St. Louis area.

Confirmed cases include 16 in St. Louis County, two in St. Charles County, two in Jefferson County, and one in St. Clair County in Illinois. The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services is investigating three suspected cases in St. Louis City. At least nine people in St. Louis County have been hospitalized.

The director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health, Dr. Delores Gunn, confirms that the toxic strain of E. coli is being spread through contaminated food, but says her department is still investigating its origin.

(via Wikimedia Commons/FEMA Photo Library)

You may hear tornado sirens in St. Louis County again this week. But it won’t be because of bad weather.

The county sounded the new sirens two weeks ago, on Labor Day, and said the new omni-directional, solar-powered system worked largely as hoped. But spokesman David Wrone said they received reports that residents couldn’t hear 14 of the sirens. That doesn’t necessarily mean the sirens aren’t working.

(via Wikimedia Commons/RamblingGambler)

Will be updated

The region's newest casino is barely 18 months old, but plans are already under way for its expansion.

Pinnacle Entertainment announced today that it plans to add a 200-room hotel and 10,000-square foot event center at the River City Casino in south St. Louis County. The $82 million project also  includes a parking garage with 1,700 spaces.

(via Flickr/wild_turkey5300)

Despite cooler weather over the past several days, it's still mosquito season, and that means there's the potential for West Nile Virus cases.

The St. Louis County Department of Health has reported its first suspected human case. A 12-year-old boy from Wellston was briefly hospitalized with West Nile symptoms, though the department says he has returned to normal activities.

The county says there was one human case last year.

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