For the third week in a row, St. Louis area residents are cleaning up after weekend storms pounded the metro area. Storms on both Saturday and Sunday brought strong winds, lightening and heavy rain to St. Louis. Flash flooding an issue on many roads over the weekend. The metro-east was hit especially hard, with the National Weather Service reporting 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts and nearly 4-inches of rainfall in about three hours in St. Clair County yesterday. The deluge left up to a foot of standing water on some roads. St. Charles and Warren counties in Missouri were also hit hard with nearly 2-and-a-half inches of rain falling in just two hours. The rain caused a three-hour delay at Busch Stadium and prompted the Muny to cancel the last performance of "Spamalot" last night.
A $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase in Illinois isn't having the financial impact that state officials had hoped for. The year-old increase was expected to rake in $350 million in tax revenue, but instead the total is closer to $212 million. Illinois raised the cigarette tax from 98 cents to $1.98 in June of last year, hoping to bring in much-needed revenue and discourage people from smoking. Authorities say fewer people are buying cigarettes, which explains the decline in tax revenue.
St. Louis could be joining the likes of New York and Paris as the only cities in the world with an elevated greenway. The proposed project, discussed last night at a planning meeting, would be installed in north St. Louis along an abandoned elevated train rail near the McKinley Bridge to west of I-70. The old commuter train trestle was purchased by the Great Rivers Greenway District in 2004. The plan calls for gardens, bike and walking paths, a performing arts plaza, and sustainable watering systems. The tax payer-funded project is estimated to cost between $50 and $60 million dollars.