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Former president stops by St. Louis, sources say, to address business group

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 20, 2012 - Former President George W. Bush was in town Thursday night, sources tell the Beacon, to address members of the local chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, a national group of up-and-coming young business executives. 

The apparent visit by Bush was not public. The location of the closed-door event was also not disclosed, along with the specifics of the former president's talk.

The local YPO often has prominent speakers at least once a year, and usually keeps the event under wraps.  Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, was the group's featured speaker here in 2010. 

Previously headliners for the local Young Presidents Organization chapter have included businessman/financier T. Boone Pickens and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.