As environmentalists and those who want to protect the planet celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day today, organizers of this past weekend's festivities in Forest Park urge everyone to go-green as much as possible. Cassandra Haije, the Executive Director of St. Louis Earth Day, says protecting the planet is a daily responsibility.
"You know while the Earth Day event is one day," Haije said. "Our organization is actually a year round organization now. And that's the message we're trying to get across is that it's not just Earth Day, it's really everyday."
She says the message seems to have a big audience. Haije says the popularity of the event is evident in the size of the crowd and the number of vendors.
"We had 250 booths year and we actually sold out so we're going to have to go back to the drawing board for next year," said Haije.
Haije estimates a record crowd over 35,000 attended the Earth Day celebration this year.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Officials say a helicopter owned by an Afghan company has made an emergency landing in a Taliban-controlled area of eastern Afghanistan, and the insurgents took all nine people who were aboard hostage.
A district administrator in the area says the helicopter landed on Sunday afternoon in strong winds and rain in a village of Logar province, southeast of Kabul and about 30 kilometers (or 20 miles) from the Pakistan border.
Hamidullah Hamid said on Monday that the Taliban captured all nine aboard the aircraft and took them from the area. He says the crew and passengers are all civilian.
Logar deputy police chief, Rais Khan Abdul Rahimzai, says the helicopter is owned by the Khaorasan company. He didn't know what cargo it was carrying or where it was heading.
Should local communities have the power to ban indoor smoking in public places?
A group of St. Charles County lawmakers apparently don't think so. Republican State Representative Kathie Conway has introduced a bill that would levy fines against cities and counties with local smoking bans. Seven other lawmakers from St. Charles County have signed on as co-sponsors.
The measure would force the communities to give up any property or sales tax revenues from businesses affected by the ban. The money would go to local school districts instead. Conway told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to narrow that to include only bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, casinos and other entertainment-related businesses, because they're the ones who lose money because of smoking bans.
The bills opponents call it an attempt to intimidate local governments.
Only two communities in St. Charles County have smoking bans in place: O'Fallon and Lake St. Louis. St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis also have smoking bans in place. They would be subject to the fines too, since it's a state-wide measure.