Portal:Missouri

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Missouri (Listeni/mˈzʊəri/ or /mˈzʊərə/) is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2009 estimated population of 5,987,580, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri's capital is Jefferson City. The four largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Missouri was originally acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became defined as the Missouri Territory. Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

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Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of 1956 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election since 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a transition between the Eastern and Western United States, as St. Louis is often called the "western-most Eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most Western city." Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains while the southern part lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers is located near St. Louis.

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Citygarden is an urban park and sculpture garden in St. Louis, Missouri owned by the City of St. Louis but maintained by the Gateway Foundation. It is located between Eighth, Tenth, Market, and Chestnut streets, in the city's "Gateway Mall" area. Before being converted to a garden and park, the site comprised two empty blocks of grass. Citygarden was dedicated on June 30, 2009, and opened one day later, on July 1, 2009.

Citygarden is 2.9 acres (1.2 ha) in size—occupying two square city blocks—and cost US$30 million to develop. St. Louis' Gateway Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supporting public art, funded the design and construction of the garden. While the city owns the land on which Citygarden was developed, the foundation owns the statues and covers all park maintenance costs except water and electricity. The Gateway Foundation is also in charge of providing additional security for the garden.

There is no admission fee for visitors of Citygarden, which is located close to St. Louis' Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium. The park is open year-round and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

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Shandi Ren Finnessey (born June 9, 1978; Florissant, Missouri, U.S.) is an American beauty queen, model, television hostess, and actress. She is best known for winning the Miss USA title,[1] as Miss Missouri USA. She previously held the title of Miss Missouri 2002 and competed in Miss America where she won a preliminary award. She placed as first runner-up at the Miss Universe 2004 competition. She is one of three women to have been both Miss Missouri USA and Miss Missouri and the only Missourian to have been Miss USA. Her first runner-up finish at Miss Universe was the best placement in the 2000s and continues to be the best United States placement since Brook Mahealani Lee won the Miss Universe 1997 competition.

She evolved from being a misfit youth who was subjected to verbal bullying to becoming a world-class beauty queen. In 2002, Finnessey authored an award-winning children’s book, The Furrtails, on individuality and disabilities. In the mid-2000s, she was Chuck Woolery's co-host for the game show Lingo on the Game Show Network. Finessey has also hosted PlayMania as well as quiznation and has served as a sideline reporter for the CBS tournament blackjack series Ultimate Blackjack Tour.

Finnessey graduated from Incarnate Word Academy in 1996 and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Lindenwood University in 1999. She has credits toward a masters degree in counseling from the same university.

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  1. ^ "Photo of Shandi Finnessey as Miss USA". Spiegel. Retrieved 2007-09-12.