Activist who helped stop Meramec River dam project dies

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ST. LOUIS – An activist who helped stop the building of a dam across the Meramec River has died after a bicycle accident.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jerry Sugerman, of St. Louis, crashed into a bus Friday. His wife, wife Darlene Davies-Sugerman, says medics put him in an ambulance, but he suffered a heart attack. He was 78.

Former state Sen. Wayne Goode says Sugerman worked with other activists to talk with lawmakers, convincing U.S. senators John Danforth, Tom Eagleton and Kit Bond to take a float trip down the Meramec. Damming the river would have flooded the popular Onondaga Cave and several others.

Eventually, Sugerman and others got state legislators to hold a nonbinding referendum in 1978. A majority favored leaving the Meramec as it was, and the project fizzled.

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