Maria Altman

Reporter

Maria is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, specializing in business and economic issues. Previously, she was a newscaster during All Things Considered and has been with the station since 2004. Maria's stories have been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Marketplace.

Maria has won numerous awards, including from the Illinois Associated Press, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the Missouri State Teachers Association.

She came to St. Louis from Dallas, where she worked at KERA. Maria has also worked at WUIS in Springfield, and WSIU in Carbondale, Ill. She received her M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.

In her spare time she serves as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Maria lives in St. Louis with her husband and two kids.

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Economy & Innovation
1:00 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Arch Grant Finalists Announced

Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Arch Grants named the 46 finalists Friday who will compete for the 2014 round of grants.

Twenty companies will receive $50,000 grants each in exchange for moving to St. Louis.

The finalists have businesses proposals that range from education and consumer products to biomedical devices and technology. They represent four countries, including Canada, Colombia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., as well as 11 states.

Arch Grants Board President Jerry Schlichter said the competition is raising St. Louis' profile as a destination for entrepreneurs.

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Precision Farming
5:23 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Monsanto, DuPont Meet With Farm Bureau About Big Data

Credit (Flickr)

The American Farm Bureau Federation met Thursday with Monsanto and several other agribusiness companies, such as DuPont and John Deere, to talk about the use of big data in agriculture.

The meeting comes as farmers grapple with whether to share information with major agricultural businesses.

The Farm Bureau had been warning farmers to be cautious as Monsanto and DuPont rolled out new data services. Those services use farmers’ information, including crop yields, to determine the best seeds to use and how much to plant.

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Laclede Gas
4:29 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Laclede Expands Into Alabama

Credit (Filckr/Timothy Vollmer)

Laclede Group has acquired another natural gas utility, this one outside Missouri.

The company announced Monday it will buy the Alabama Gas Corporation, known as Alagasco, from Energen Corp. for $1.6 billion.

Energen had been seeking a buyer since early this year.

Laclede Group President and CEO Suzanne Sitherwood said the effective cost would drop to $1.34 billion after taking tax benefits of about $260 million dollars into account. The acquisition is also expected to generate net revenues in the first year.

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Economy & Innovation
4:51 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Laclede Extends “Cold Weather Rule”

Credit (Flickr, Tim)

Laclede Gas announced Wednesday that it will honor Missouri’s Cold Weather Rule for an extra month.

State law prohibits utility companies from turning off customer’s service if the temperature dips below 32 degrees within a 24-hour period.

Ordinarily, the rule is in effect from Nov. 1 through March 31.

This winter has been so cold, however, that Laclede decided to extend the rule through April.

"We know our customers have been struggling this winter because it’s been so bitterly cold," spokeswoman Jenny Gobble said.

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Economy & Innovation
1:44 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Missouri Businesses Push For Medicaid Expansion

Missouri businesses are pushing for expanding Medicaid to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Credit (Flick/Mark Coggins)

Missouri’s business community is getting more vocal in pushing the state’s legislators to expand Medicaid.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber held a panel Friday with business leaders who expressed frustration that the state is not capturing federal dollars to provide Medicaid coverage to more low-income residents.

This year, the state will pass up $2 billion dollars in federal funds.

After the panel discussion, St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan said that Jefferson City needs to get the message.

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Bioscience
3:16 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Bioscience Boost: BioSTL Gets $2.5 Million Grant

Credit (Credit: Flickr/Sean McMenemy)

Monsanto is giving a $2.5 million grant to BioSTL, the non-profit organization that advocates for bioscience in St. Louis.

The announcement came Thursday during InvestMidwest, the venture capital conference that’s showcasing more than 40 innovative companies.

BioSTL’s mission includes growing the St. Louis area's economy through the bioscience industry.

President and CEO Donn Rubin said the grant will help the non-profit continue its work.

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Population census
1:31 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Census Update: Population Shifts In St. Louis Continue Same Path

Credit (Credit: Sxc.hu Haap Media Ltd)

The population trends in the St. Louis metropolitan area continued in 2013, according to numbers released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The census estimates the city of St. Louis had 696 fewer people in July of 2013 than at the same time the previous year, 0.22 percent drop. At the same time surrounding counties in Missouri added population.

Saint Louis University sociology professor Onésimo Sandoval studies demography and said the numbers didn't surprise him. The structure of cities across the U.S. is changing, Sandoval said.

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Fostering Entrepreneurship
1:04 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

New Opportunities: Apprentice Program Enstitute Looks To St. Louis

Coming soon to St. Louis: Enstitute provides a chance for young people to apprentice in start-up companies.
Credit (Credit: Flickr/Sean MacEntee)

A New York-based apprentice program aimed at giving young adults experience within innovative companies is expanding to St. Louis.

Enstitute was founded in New York City by Kane Sarhan and Shaila Ittycheria in 2012. The goal was to help connect students who weren’t ready or interested in a traditional path to college get on-the-job experience with start-up companies and entrepreneurs. A second location was opened in Washington, D.C., in January.

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Economy & Innovation
4:33 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

2013 A Banner Year For STL Startups

(via Flickr/digitizedchaos)

St. Louis’ startup scene gained big momentum last year.

A new report by the St. Louis Regional Chamber finds area startups raised more than $380 million in equity investments. That was more than six times the amount raised in 2012.

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Renewable energy
9:46 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Loss Of Rebate Clouds Missouri's Solar Industry

Microgrid Solar installer prepare to put panels on an O'Fallon, Missouri home.
Stephanie Zimmerman, St. Louis Public Radio

Those in Missouri’s solar industry are losing their sunny outlook.

A combination of lower solar equipment costs, a federal tax incentive, and an attractive state-mandated rebate pushed sales through the roof in 2013. The solar industry reported an additional 1,700 jobs in the state.

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