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   With their first Central Division title since 2009, and the best record in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have home field advantage when the National League Division Series starts Thursday.  The Cardinals will take on familiar rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.  

   Fans are expected to flock to downtown St. Louis for a pregame pep rally on the Ballpark Village parking lot.  That gets underway at 1:00 p.m.  The rally will feature appearances by former Cardinal pitcher Andy Benes, Fredbird, the Budweiser Clydesdales and the 2011 World Series Trophy.  

   The Busch Stadium gates open at 2:00 p.m. And the game gets underway about 4:00. 

   This is the team's tenth appearance in the postseason since 2000.

 
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   If it smells like someone's cooking up something good, they just might be.  Chefs all over the metro area are getting ready for this weekend's Taste of St. Louis.  

   This year's event will feature 46 restaurants, bakeries and caterers offering dishes for $2 to $7 each.  

   Besides edible offerings, the event features a Culinary show, musical performances and a hot sauce showcase.  More than 400-thousand people turned out for last year's Taste.  

   This year's event kicks off at Soldier's Memorial in downtown St. Louis Friday at 4:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday.  

   Information about festival hours, parking, featured restaurants and special presentations can be found on the TasteSTL website.

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   A boutique hotel, a research center, and maybe even an indoor rainforest are among the additions envisioned when the St. Louis Zoo expands south of I-64/US-40.  

   Zoo officials will present a plan for the southern campus today.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the plan is considered a guiding "framework" for the 14 acre site of the shuttered Forest Park Hospital, and for the zoo's future.

   The expansion would also allow the zoo to expand animal exhibits on its current grounds. That could included a bigger children's zoo area and added features like a subarctic habitat. A gondola high over the interstate could link the two campuses.

   The paper reports that design and construction would be broken into multiple stages, stretching over the next 20 to 30 years.  

   The plan is to break the expansion into several specific projects, with money-raising campaigns for each.

 

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   They're charming, and rough on feet and car suspensions.  But thanks to block grants and federal stimulus dollars, the cobbled streets of Laclede's Landing are getting a facelift.  

   John Clark, president of the Laclede Landing Community Improvement District spoke with Fox 2 News about the project that he says is long overdue.  "Everybody that's ever been down here knows it's a mess," Clark said.  He called the uneven pavers "a tripping hazard and hard on the shocks on your car."

   The cobblestones aren't going away.  They'll be dug up and relayed on top of a new base, making for a smoother road, with better drainage.  Clark says that new base will be a big improvement over what engineers say is currently under the streets.  "They found everything from railroad ties, to broken bottles, to cinders, to coal, and so, with that, that's the reason the cobblestones have become so uneven," he said.

   Additional sidewalk and curb improvements will bring the Landing into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

   "It's going to be a straight shot from doorstep on one side of the street to doorstep on the other side of the street."  Clark said, "It will have much more the feel of a promenade, than a street and sidewalk."

   The Landing District will pay 20 percent of the project's $1.4 million cost. Clark calls that an investment in the Landing's future.

 

 

 

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   Conservation experts aren't sure why, but it seems the yellow jacket population is bigger than usual in the St. Louis area this year.  

   Mike Arduser of the Missouri Department of Conservation told Fox 2 News that the number of calls they've gotten regarding yellow jackets has doubled since last year.  "Yellow jackets are always present and always abundant this time of year, because their colony cycle peaks right about now," he says.

   And that can be a problem when the flying, stinging insects nest too close to humans.  Consumers can buy products to kill the pests themselves, but for large nests, it may be best to call in a professional.  

   Dr. Anthony Scalzo with the Missouri Poison Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center told Fox 2 that too many wasp stings can be dangerous.   Dr. Scalzo says even people who are not allergic can die from too many  stings. "In a toddler, maybe greater than five stings per couple of pounds of body weight" can be fatal, he says.  "In an adult it could be, technically, as few as 30-50 stings from a wasp."

   That's one reason Arduser says wasp and yellow jacket nests should be left alone if the insects aren't bothering anyone. "They're part of the landscape now," he says.  "You just have to sort of learn to live with them like mosquitoes or horseflies or something else.  They'll be gone soon, as soon as it gets cold. 

 

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   Ballpark Village may still be under construction, but officials say they're already hiring.  

   Ballpark Village Chief Operating Officer Jim Watry told Fox 2 News that more than 1,000 positions will have to be filled before the entertainment venue opens next spring.  

   Watry says he's already looking for candidates to fill director positions. "Sales, marketing, director of operations, we have a facilities director, people who run the overall district," he said.  "And then by the first of the year, the tenants will be hiring all their people, the front line people, facilities people."

   Watry says anyone interested in the current openings can send a message through the Ballpark Village Facebook page or by emailing him directly at Jim@stlballparkvillage.com.  

 

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   Monday is the first morning commute since Illinois transportation crews closed a key stretch of Interstate 64.  

   All lanes of eastbound I-64 are closed between the I-55/70 split and 25th Street.  And it's scheduled to remain closed until next Monday morning (Sept. 23).  

   The closure will allow crews to build connections to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.  IDOT reports that the new bridge across the Mississippi River is on track to open early next year (2014).

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   Police in the City of St. Louis say a busy stretch of Washington Avenue will be closed Friday night in an effort to fight crime.  

   Washington Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic from Tucker to 14th Street starting at 10 p.m.  It should reopen around 3 a.m. Saturday.  

   The closure is part of the Washington Avenue safety initiative. 

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   St. Louis Cardinals postseason tickets go on sale this Thursday.

   Wild Card Game and Division Series tickets go on sale at 10 AM. Tickets for the Wild Card game and Division Series will be available at on the St. Louis Cardinals' website, by phone at 314-345-9000 or at the Busch Stadium ticket windows.

   There will be ticket limits for the NLCS and World Series. Online registration begins this Friday, September 13. Complete details and rules for the random drawing and purchases are available on the Cardinals' website.

 

 
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   Regional planners are looking for a more efficient way to get riders to work and back.  

   The St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study is an examination of bus-based rapid transit services in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. The project will analyze four possible corridors and pick the two most likely to meet the study's goals, then advance for federal funding.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Metro Transit, the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council and the Missouri Department of Transportation are behind the push.  

   Public meetings will be held in September 2013 to gather public input on two final, recommended projects to be advanced into competition for Federal funding.  The same meeting will be repeated at three locations along the proposed routes.

 

September 10, 2013

11a-1pm, open house with presentation at noon

City of St. Louis City Hall, 2nd floor

1200 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103

 

September 11, 2013

5:30-7:30 p.m., open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m.

The Heights (City of Richmond Heights Community Center) 

8001 Dale Avenue, Richmond Heights, MO 63117

 

September 12, 2013

5:30-7:30 p.m., open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m.

St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley Campus, Student Services Center, Multipurpose Room 

3400 Pershall Road, Ferguson, MO 63135

 

   They're also soliciting comments online.  

   Kansas City and other U.S. cities have launched successful bus rapid transit lines that provide more regular point-to-point service at a fraction of the cost of light-rail or commuter trains.

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