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   There's a brand new baby in town and she needs a name!  The St. Louis Zoo welcomed the bouncing 251 pound female elephant Friday night.  

   42 year-old Ellie, an Asian elephant, gave birth to a baby girl around 11 p.m.  Raja, who fathered the calf, was the first elephant ever born at the St. Louis Zoo 20 years ago. 

    Starting today, you can cast your vote in the Saint Louis Zoo’s Name the Baby poll. The Zoo’s elephant care team was asked to select a few potential female names for the elephant. From now through midnight, Sunday, May 5, 2013, you can vote for your favorite name online.

      The Zoo’s elephant care team was asked to select a few potential female names for the elephant. From now through midnight, Sunday, May 5, 2013, you can vote for your favorite name:

Cai (Pronounced “Ki”, rhymes with “Hi”) – means feminine

Violet

Willow

Harper

Priya (Pronounced “Pree-yah”) – means dear, beloved

     Visit www.stlzoo.org, www.facebook.com/stlzoo, www.twitter.com/stlzoo and www.pinterest.com/stlzoo. You may also vote in person at both Zoo Welcome Desks or by mailing a “Vote for the Baby Elephant Name” postcard with your name, address and your desired elephant name to Name the Baby Elephant, Saint Louis Zoo, #1 Government Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63110. 

     The winning name will be announced on Monday, May 6, 2013.

    The zoo's curator of mammals says both Ellie and baby are doing fine.  

 

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Grab your friends and family for lunch, dinner or happy hour and help raise money and awareness in the first "Dine for Relief" in support of the fight against Scleroderma.  

Scleroderma comes from two Greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin.  Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder which means the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system.  Scleroderma is an overproduction of collagen that can result in thickening or tightening of skin and scarring of internal organs. 

Participating restaurants will donate a percentage of the check to The Relief Foundation started by St. Louis Scleroderma patient, Kelly Ellison.

In order for The Relief Foundation to benefit, you must take a restaurant-specific flyer with you when you dine. Go to www.relief-foundation.org

Participating restaurants are:

Monday, April 29 

California Pizza Kitchen

Cicero's

TGIF's

 

 Tuesday, April 30

Black Finn

 

Thursday, May 2

54th Street Grill

 

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There is a new member of the Saint Louis Zoo!

42-year-old Ellie the Elephant gave birth to a baby girl around 11:00 PM Friday. Zoo officials say both mom and baby are doing well.

This is Ellie's third daughter and the fourth for Raja, the calf's father. Raja was the first elephant born at the zoo.

Zoo officials are expected to release more information about the new addition sometime Saturday.

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All of the street, bridge and interstate improvements planned for downtown St. Louis are on track to be finished on time.  That was the message from Missouri and Illinois transportation engineers when they briefed the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Wednesday.  

   High water on the Mississippi River has caused some delays for crews building the new River Bridge, but project officials say the work continues and they still expect to finish by early next year.  

   Some of the other projects planned for downtown St. Louis over the next two years include the park that will cap the I-70 depressed lanes, new ramps connecting I-70 and I-55 to the Poplar Street Bridge and a year-long resurfacing project on the MLK bridge.

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   COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - USA Swimming will choose between Omaha, Neb., San Antonio and St. Louis as the site for the 2016 Olympic swimming trials.

   The national governing body says it will announce the host city on Saturday.

   Omaha has hosted the last two trials, in 2012 and 2008. Last year's eight-day event was attended by more than 164,000 fans and the meet was broadcast live in prime time on network television. Two temporary pools were built inside the CenturyLink Center for the event.

   In 2004, the trials were held in Long Beach, Calif., the first time they were held outdoors in temporary pools.

   In January, USA Swimming said six cities were bidding to host the trials. Former host Indianapolis, along with Greensboro, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., were eliminated after an evaluation team from USA Swimming, along with an outside member of the group's board, visited each location.

 

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Long lines are being reported at Lambert Airport this morning due to sequestration.

What happens in the air today is being closely watched. Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country yesterday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts.

Today is a heavier air traffic day and is seen as the first big test with the furloughs in place.

Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport met with long delays and flight cancellations yesterday - as furloughs for air traffic controllers kicked in under the federal budget "sequester." 

Here is what a Southwest Airlines ticket agent telling frustrated passengers a flight to Las Vegas was canceled."Get angry. Get irritated. It's not gonna make it good. We don't want you to be here. We didn't know this was gonna happen, trust me."

Passengers are urged to check on the status of their flight before heading to Lambert Airport on Monday.

 
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A national trails magazine has awarded Missouri the title of "Best Trails State" for its commitment to maintain and improve its vast system of hiking and biking paths.

The award from American Trails was announced Wednesday at a conference in Arizona. It's given every two years to states that make the most significant contributions to maintaining and promoting their trails.

Missouri's state parks system includes nearly 1,000 miles of managed trails. Many historic trails pass through the state, including the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears and the Santa Fe National Historic Trails.

Attendance in Missouri state parks increased in 2012, with more than 18 million visitors.

 

   

 

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Still working on those taxes? 

Tax filers will be able to drop off returns in the drive-thru area at the Main Post Office in Downtown St. Louis.  You have until midnight to get the forms postmarked.

Postal service officials say they will NOT have employees on the streets in front of the Post Office to collect returns as they have offered in the past.  Also, there will be no extended retail hours today (Monday).

Postal officials say if customers need postage and mailing supplies, use the Downtown location until 8 p.m. Monday.

Large collection boxes will be set up along Market Street to drop off returns before midnight.

 
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   Franklin County officials reported damage county-wide.  That includes widespread roof and tree damage.  Sullivan was one of the hardest hit areas in the county.   Several mobile homes were damaged at the Jergenson mobile home park.  At least 4 people were injured there, mainly broken bones.  Rescue crews have gone door to door, searching for additional victims.  The storm struck the 1st Baptist Church in Union during a church service.  Worshippers evacuated to a safe area of the church, which lost a large portion of it's roof, but no one was injured.

   The cleanup will be long and arduous in Hazelwood after a tornado reportedly touched down their during last night's storms.  Strike teams from St. Charles County were called in to assist local authorities about 8:30 p.m.  Fire crews from St. Charles and the City of St. Louis were also called in.  Ground zero was near Howdershell and Lynn Haven.  At least one person became trapped after a tornado tossed a large tree onto a home at Howdershell and Octavia.  Several buildings were damaged in that area and police have closed the roads leading into the neighborhood.  The good news:  There have been no reports of serious injuries in Hazelwood.

   Multiple Tornado Warnings were issued for St. Charles County. Projected paths included St. Peters, Cottleville, and St. Charles; 370 Park; and West Alton. Radar also indicated rotation between O’Fallon and Lake St. Louis, as well as in the area near Defiance.  Power outages are minimal in St. Charles County, but there are other problems, including road closures.  Highway 94 is blocked just east of Portage des Sioux because of downed power poles and wires.  A spokesperson for the county says they're not sure when that will be cleared.  Also there's water covering Hwy H at Hwy 94. Multiple utility lines down or arcing in Dardenne Prairie, St. Peters, O’Fallon, and unincorporated county. And lightning strikes were reported in Lake St. Louis, Dardenne Prairie, Cottleville, and unincorporated areas.

   Damage is also being reported in the Hill neighborhood of South St. Louis.  In the 5600 block of Columbia, two homes were heavily damaged.  The roof was ripped off one home and strewn across the block, causing additional damage to cars and other homes.

  

   

 

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   Baseball fans who plan to go downtown for today's opening day festivities may find their usual route to Busch Stadium blocked.  St. Louis Police are advising revelers to leave early because of road changes and closures due to construction of Ballpark Village.  

  • 8th Street is now a two-way street between Clark and Market with two north and southbound lanes.
  • Temporary stop signs are currently in place at the intersections of 8th Street and Clark, as well as 8th Street and Walnut.
  • Walnut is now a two-way street between 8th Street and Broadway, with one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes.
  • 7th Street is no longer in existence.
   Fans are encouraged to avoid construction delays by using MetroLink.

   Pedestrians should also note that the pedestrian bridge between the Stadium West garage and the ballpark has been removed.  

   Those choosing to drive are urged to “park smart” — park in well-lit, populated areas, concealing valuables by placing them in compartments or in the vehicle’s trunk prior to arrival. The department strongly encourages citizens to leave firearms at home. Events such as baseball games are no place for firearms, as they are not allowed inside Busch Stadium and leaving them in a vehicle creates opportunity for criminals. Don’t let your legal firearm become an illegal firearm.

   Event-goers are also advised to remain aware of their surroundings and if choosing to consume alcohol, are urged to drink responsibly. Criminals often target those who appear to be most vulnerable, including those who might be intoxicated.

   There will be a significant law enforcement presence in all areas surrounding Downtown and Busch Stadium. We strongly encourage anyone who sees criminal or suspicious activity to alert a nearby officer or dial 9-1-1.

 
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