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Biggest News from St. Charles County in 2012: Caucus Chaos, New County Police Department

Patch counts down the top news stories from the past year in St. Charles County.

St. Charles County gained several new major employers in 2012, voters decided to create a new St. Charles County police department and several politicians swung through the area to campaign. Check out our round up of the biggest news stories for 2012 in St. Charles County. 

  • Presidential Candidates Visit St. Charles County: Republican candidate Rick Santorum came to St. Charles County twice before the Feb. 7 Missouri Republican primary and gave his victory speech from St. Charles Convention Center. Ron Paul came to Lindenwood on March 10 and spoke at Lindenwood University.  
  • Caucus Chaos: St. Charles made national news after the March 10 caucus ended with two people being arrested and no delegates chosen. The Republican Party held a second caucus on April 10 and Ron Paul won a majority of delegates. 
  • Smoking Bans: St. Charles County voters almost had the opportunity to vote on two different smoking ban proposals, but neither proposal ended up going before voters. One ban proposed by the St. Charles County Council was taken off the ballot by County Elections Director Rich Chrismer, who said the ban didn't have consistent wording. Carl Bearden failed to get enough signatures for a petition to put a different ban with more exemptions on the ballot. In April, O'Fallon passed new regulations for the sale of tobacco paraphernalia. 
  • St. Charles County Police Department: St. Charles County voters in November narrowly passed a charter amendment that created a St. Charles County Police Department.
  • Crime in Downtown St. Charles: A taskforce in St. Charles looked for solutions to crime on Main Street after a report showed more than 1,200 incidents in the first six months of the year. The group recommended
  • Westboro Baptist Church Protests at Fort Zumwalt East: In April, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested outside of the St. Peters school and a crowd of counter-protestors gathered to drown out their message. 
  • St. Peters Alderman Resigns Amidst Investigation: Gus Elliot resigned as alderman after St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano ordered a special prosecutor to investigate a harassment claim against Elliot. 
  • St. Peters Approves Tax Hike for Parks, Storm Water Projects: Voters approved a 4/10 of a cent sales tax to pay for parks and storm water funding.
  • GM Plant Adds Jobs: Wentzville's GM Plant added a third shift and 400 new jobs to the plant. Previously laid off workers will be given a chance to apply.
  • Wentzville's Sam's Club Opens: The Wentzville Sam's Club opened Oct. 30 and added 140 new jobs to the area. 
  • Ranken Technical College Opened Campus in Wentzville:  the bill for three years.
  • Menards Pulls Out of O'Fallon: A home-improvement chain withdrew plans to build a new store in the area, blaming President Obama's reelection. Menards is building a new store on Spencer Road in St. Peters. 
  • O'Fallon in Top 100 Best Places to Live: O'Fallon was named one of the country’s “Best Places to Live,” according to Money magazine’s list of America’s 100 best cities. O’Fallon ranked 39th on the 2012 list of cities with a population of 50,000-300,000. 
  • Fort Zumwalt Changes 5th Grade Camp: The Fort Zumwalt School District has made some policy changes to the Fifth Grade Outdoor Education Program after a Fort Zumwalt West Middle School teacher was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography in August, then also found to have allegedly taped students undressing while away at camp last school year.

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