Happy New Year's Eve! We hope you have a great end of 2010 and beginning of 2011! Here are a few news stories buzzing around the St. Louis Area today.
Anheuser-Busch will renew its sponsorship with Major League Baseball. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the St. Louis-based brewer and MLB came to an agreement on Thursday to also drop the litigation stemming from the contract dispute. Anheuser-Busch sued the league last month for allegedly breaching a sponsorship contract after MLB reportedly wanted more money and said the deal was non-binding and it could use other beer sponsors. The deal designates Budweiser as official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and is worth an estimated $10 million.
Smoking bans go into effect Sunday in both St. Louis city and St. Louis County. County residents voted last year to approve the ban. The City's Board of Aldermen passed a ban that was contingent on the county's vote. Both health departments will be in charge of enforcement. The county is not expecting enforcement to be a problem. In the county individuals who don't abide by the ban can be fined $50 while business owners could be fined $100 for the first offense and more for subsequent offenses.
The newly approved city budget in East St. Louis calls for laying off 34 municipal employees, including 16 police officers. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the East St. Louis City Council unanimously voted Thursday to accept the nearly $62 million budget. Besides laying off the 16 police officers, the new budget also calls for a delay in calling some firefighters back to work, plus laying off four public works employees, one jailer and one full- and one part-time telecommunicator.
Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:
According to the St. Louis Post- Dispatch, incoming Missouri speaker of the House Steve Tilley says he may refuse to seat a new representative from Kansas City because of allegations of voter fraud in the Democratic primary. Such a move is allowed under Missouri law, but is rare. The Post-Dispatch reports that Tilley was presented this month with a nearly 100 page document alleging widespread voter fraud from failed Democrat candidate Will Royster, who lost he primary in the 40th legislative district to John J. Rizzo by a single vote. Rizzo went on to win the general election against a Libertarian candidate. Tilley's move would cast a light on a a topic Republicans in Missouri have been pushing unsuccessfully for several years; the concept of requiring every voter to present a photo ID when voting. Rizzo called Royster's complaints "sour grapes."
Missouri lawmakers are again seeking ideas from the public for restructuring state government to cut costs. Las year, the Senate took a rare break from formal floor debates to consider ideas for restructuring stat government that were submitted by Missourians. Republican Senate leader Rob Mayer says he plans to do it again in the first weeks of the annual legislative session that starts next month. Mayer, of Dexter, says lawmakers need to consider any idea about how to cut spending. Ideas can be submitted anonymously online at a Senate Web page on rebooting state government.
2011 will see some major work on the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River. Metro, which owns the bridge, says time and weather have deteriorated the 136-year-old structure. Metro President John Nations says the agency will use $24.5 million in federal stimulus funds to replace and repair structural elements on the bridge, as well as apply a protective coating on the steel.
"We'll also be doing some improvements to our tracks in that area to also enhance our system. So it's going to be a big project and the region, I know, is interested in it. I actually get asked about it a lot simply because the Eads Bridge is such a big symbol for this region and for the Midwest. " - Nations
Nations says the road on the top deck of the Eads will have to be closed for two to three months while the work on the bridge takes place.