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Don Robinson State Park Opens to Public
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, June 4, 2017 - Visitors and residents can enjoy exploring the newly dedicated Don Robinson State Park.

The new state park, dedicated on Friday, June 2, is the result of the generosity of Don Robinson, who spent his lifetime acquiring the rugged and wooded countryside in Jefferson County. It was his wish that after his death, his personal sanctuary would become part of the Missouri state park system.

Missouri State Parks is celebrating 100 years in 2017. The Don Robinson State Park is considered among Missouri's best places to conserve native wildlife and habitat. The land is in the upper watershed of the LaBarque Creek, a high quality stream that supports 42 species of fish. The park includes a network of sandstone cliffs and box canyons, outcrops, shelter caves, glades and forests as well as many animals, songbirds and approximately 650 species of plants.

In addition to the trails, the park features a peaceful day-use area with individual picnic tables and a picnic shelter. The park also includes the home where Robinson lived and welcomed frequent visitors to his wooded retreat.

To reach the park from Interstate 44 in Eureka, visitors should head south on Highway 109, turn right on Highway F, left on Highway FF (it becomes Lynch Road once it reaches Jefferson County), right on Byrnesville Road and then right into the park. For more information about the event, call 636-257-3788. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

$30 Million in Grants To Improve Rail Safety in Missouri
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, May 28, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Transportation will award Missouri $30 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) grants to improve rail safety and efficiency. Kansas City and St. Louis will receive $12,024,877 and $18,869,888, respectively.

In a release, Senator Roy Blunt said, "Missouri is a national transportation hub, and improving the safety and reliability of our rail networks is key to supporting jobs, fueling economic growth, and most importantly keeping people safe. This grant provides much-needed resources that will allow our state's transportation planners to make the improvements necessary to strengthen the safety of our rail networks. I'll continue advocating for critical investments in our nation's infrastructure, which will help ensure that our farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses remain competitive in a global economy."

Blunt secured funding for PTC in the FY2017 omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law earlier this month. The program was authorized under the FAST Act, which Blunt supported and was signed into law in 2015.

Missouri has more than 4,700 miles of rail track that are operated by 18 different railway companies. PTC is a technology designed to automatically stop or slow a train before certain collisions. PTC is mandated on tracks that carry passenger rail and certain hazardous materials, and will cover around 60,000 tracks in total nationwide.

Kiener Plaza Reopens
On Saturday, May 20, 2017, families and friends enjoyed a variety of activities during the Opening Celebration event at the newly renovated Kiener Plaza, including live music and food trucks.

Kiener Plaza Reopens
Families enjoyed exploring the new playground at Kiener Plaza.
Newly Renovated Kiener Plaza Is a Winner for St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, May 21, 2017 - On Saturday, May 20, from 11am to 6pm, families and friends enjoyed an opportunity to explore the new Kiener Plaza as part of an Opening Celebration event featuring food trucks, kids activities, face painting and live music from Acoustik Element, Boderline, Phiand Javier Mendoza presents Hobo Cane.

The new Kiener Plaza features the Courthouse Lawn (which can hold more than 2,000 people for concerts and events). More than 140 new trees and a shade garden provide a relaxing park setting for people to enjoy during their workday or visit. The park also includes a playground for kids of all ages and an interactive splash pad.

There are lots of seating, tables and benches for people to enjoy the fresh air, eat a meal or hold an event. Improved lighting and pedestrian connections, street parking for easy access to the park, and the return of the iconic Runner Statue with a new fountain and LED lighting make this area a winning destination.

The $23.7 million Kiener Plaza project is funded privately through the CityArchRiver Foundation and with Proposition P funding overseen by Great Rivers Greenway.

Southwest Airlines Will Begin Flights to Cancun in November
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, May 21, 2017 - Southwest Airlines has announced St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) will become its next international gateway with new service to Cancun, Mexico (CUN).

Southwest, in releasing its November through January 2018 operating schedule, set a start date for the Saturday round trip service between STL and CUN for November 11. The Airline has not released schedules beyond January 2018.

STL will be just one of 15 airports with international service on Southwest.

"There's been great growth and demand on Southwest in recent years and we're excited for this continued momentum with the addition of new international service," said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. "With the airline's great connectivity now to 44 domestic markets, we're optimistic this new flight will do well for both local and connecting travelers."

Southwest operates flights out of Terminal 2, which is also the designated location for customs and international arrivals. The Airport has been working with Southwest to renovate and re-open a 4-gate section (E34-E40) in Terminal 2, which will open in mid-June. Southwest is expected to immediately operate flights utilizing three of those new gates, adding to its other 13 gates. Southwest will operate nearly 110 daily departures from St. Louis this summer. That includes new service to Pensacola, FL (PNS) and Charleston, SC (CHS) beginning June 4.

Southwest also announced its November schedule will include an additional daily flight between St. Louis and both Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) and Milwaukee, WI (MKE), bringing frequency up to two daily flights to those cities.

Area Government Leaders Sign Plan to Improve MetroLink Security
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, May 21, 2017 - The three elected government leaders whose jurisdictions fund Bi-State Development have signed a memo of understanding (MOU) codifying and outlining in detail the plan to improve MetroLink security that they have developed in cooperation with law enforcement and Bi-State.

The MOU - signed by St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson - has now been forwarded to Bi-State Development President and CEO John Nations for his signature.

The three leaders and their top law enforcement personnel met with Nations and three members of the Bi-State Board in recent weeks to discuss the steps to be taken to improve passenger safety on MetroLink. The plan developed focuses on a unified law enforcement command with greater officer presence and controlled access for the system. The MOU spells out the details of the plan and outlines the intentions and expectations, including specific responsibilities of each of the parties.

The plan creates a joint law enforcement task force with members from all three law enforcement agencies. The MOU spells out that specific staffing goals will be established by St. Clair County, St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis that will include an evaluation of roles, delineation of authority and establishment of oversight and accountability structures.

The MOU specifies that Bi-State will not decrease its level of publicly funded security services, rail-related safety personnel or contract safety personnel without the urging of the task force. It also specifies that Bi-State will not directly employ law enforcement officers and will only employ security officers.

The MOU states that the task force will be headquartered at a dedicated facility at 5977 Delmar Boulevard near the Delmar Loop MetroLink stop at Washington University. It also specifies that there will be improvement to citizen reporting capabilities and police radio communications. All MetroLink law enforcement personnel will be part of a unified police radio communication system that can receive 911 calls which will be used to dispatch law enforcement personnel. The MOU endorses 911 texting and working to bring the necessary technology to the MetroLink system.

The MOU also calls for the creation of a Transit Advisory Working Group consisting of prosecutors from St. Louis County, St. Louis and St. Clair County, law enforcement leaders from those three jurisdictions, representatives of Amalgamated Transit Union Local Number 788 and of Citizens for Modern Transit.

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