Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

From left, Clint Dougherty and SJ Morrison discussed the services of Madison County Transit and RideFinders Thursday with host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For many morning commuters, the Martin Luther King Bridge served as their connection to St. Louis from the metro-east; however, as of Aug. 27, the bridge is closed for 12 months.

“There are about 13,000 commuters who use the MLK Bridge to get to downtown St. Louis every day to work,” SJ Morrison said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

This composite photo taken on April 10, 2018, shows the planned new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. McKee owned nearly 60 percent of the land in the 97-acre site.
File Photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Otis Williams.

The city of St. Louis is working to show it controls the 97 acres slated for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new headquarters — a $1.75 billion development project.

Alderman Brandon Bosley is sponsoring a bill that would allow the city to use eminent domain on land it already owns. Bosley’s 3rd ward comprises just under half of the NGA project footprint, as well as some of its surrounding neighborhoods in north St. Louis.

The tanker drone is also known as the MQ-25 Stingray.
Boeing

Boeing has won a bid to produce test drones for the U.S. Navy. The $805-million deal involves four unmanned aircraft and could balloon into a $13-billion program. The Navy says most of the design and production work in the test phase will take place at Boeing’s operation in St. Louis.

SLCD proposes SUD for NGA.
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

Residents gathered Wednesday night at Vashon High School to hear about a proposal for a Special Use District surrounding the future site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in north St. Louis.

It was the second of two public meetings organized this month by the St. Louis Development Corporation’s Project Connect to discuss the proposal.

Granite City steel plant on July 20, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Steel is facing a labor issue in Granite City just months after restarting production at the Metro East plant. The company’s current national contract with the United Steelworkers is set to expire Saturday, and workers are holding a rally Thursday to draw attention to the negotiations.

SLU students conduct archeological dig on campus before new center for science and engineering is built.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

In a race against the bulldozers and cranes, a Saint Louis University history professor and a handful of students are conducting an archeological dig in the middle of campus.

It’s unlikely they will be able to excavate deep or wide enough to find evidence of an early Civil War encampment that once occupied the site, but Tom Finan, assistant professor of history and archeologist, doesn’t like to give up hope.  

“I can’t help but think with 800 men living here for a month and using the Mill Creek that ran through here, that something wouldn’t be left behind,” he said.

From Left, Alyce Herndon and Reona Wise are affiliated with Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, which has a new location at 6722 Page Ave.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The road for small business owners is often a challenging one, especially when there is limited access to information or resources. However, one local organization has a mission to empower women with knowledge to help them succeed.

“Often you have women business owners that endeavor to start a business, [but] they actually do things a little bit out of order,” Alyce Herndon explained on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “What I mean by that is they may have a website or an EIN number, but they fail to register their name.”

Talks with Canada are underway following a trade deal announcment between the U.S. and Mexico.
Bigstock Images

Trade experts are poring through documents related to this week's agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, but a professor at Washington University in St. Louis cautions more information is needed before a full assessment can be made. Even so, he said there are some positive signs emerging from the deal.

Left, Calvin Lai and David Karandish joined host Don Marsh on Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss bias in artificial intelligence.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

From Siri and Alexa to algorithms on Facebook and beyond, artificial intelligence is becoming more commonplace in our daily routines than ever before. However, a general understanding of its implications is not as widespread.

“Artificial intelligence, you can think of it as software that continues to learn without being explicitly programmed,” David Karandish said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “With AI you have algorithms that are designed to learn and continue to take on new data in order to make better decisions over time.”

Express Scripts headquarters
Express Scripts

The merger between Express Scripts and Cigna won approval from shareholders of both companies on Friday.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of combining Express Scripts, the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit management company, and the Connecticut-based health service corporation.

Cigna made its $67 billion cash and stock offer in March. Following shareholder approval, the merger agreement will be reviewed by the Department of Justice, and barring any anti-trust complications, could be approved by the end of this year.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway releases audit of state's 400 Community Improvement Districts CIDs
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway was in St. Louis Thursday to present her report on more than 400 Community Improvement Districts around the state.

The first-ever audit of the special tax districts, better known as CIDs, found a general lack of accountability and failure to comply with state laws regarding budget preparation, annual financial and performance reporting, annual meetings and the Sunshine Law.

Bayer says glyphosate is a key tool for farmers as they try to control weeds and produce enough corn and other crops to help feed the world.
File Photo | Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

Bayer is gearing up for legal battles surrounding a Monsanto-developed weed killer. The German conglomerate has outlined plans to defend a key ingredient in Roundup, only days after starting to integrate the operations of the two companies.

Sign at the main entrance to the old Monsanto headquarters reads Bayer Crop Sciences as of August 21, 2018
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The sign at Monsanto’s former headquarters now says Bayer.

This week, Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto officially got underway. While the $66-billion deal was completed in June, the companies had to clear some antitrust hurdles before they could integrate and get down to business.

The North American Crop Science Division of Bayer is now headquartered in St. Louis.

“I’ll be the first to tell you, there will be changes,” said Brett Begemann, a 35-year Monsanto veteran and newly named chief operating officer of the Crop Science Division of Bayer.

The St. Charles City Council meets to present the latest revisions to the proposed liquor ordinance to the public. Aug. 21, 2018
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Charles city officials have changed the controversial proposed liquor ordinance, causing contentious debate at the Tuesday night City Council meeting.

Council members presented the revisions publicly, which included an update to the city’s 1975 liquor ordinance. That ordinance has required bars to earn either at least 50 percent or $200,000 per year from food sales for decades. The new proposal would mandate any establishment with a liquor license on Main Street, to earn no more than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales and would remove the $200,000 option.

The Delmar Loop in 2017
Flickr/TedEngler

Rachelle L’Ecuyer grew up right near the Delmar Loop, so becoming its first-ever executive director earlier this month felt a lot like coming home. Still, she’s been looking at the area with fresh eyes.

“I was walking down Delmar yesterday, and I was taking a picture of the Tivoli sign, and two young men walked up to me and I said, ‘I love it!’” she said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And they looked at me and I said [again], ‘I love it.’ And I pointed from bottom to top, and they said, ‘Oh, I love it: The Tivoli spelled backwards is ‘I love it.’ And we ended up having a pretty long conversation about the Loop.”

Kirkwood plans  to suspend curbside recycling and plans to retrofit the Francis Scheidegger Recycling Depository on South Taylor Avenue to accept separated recyclables.  Aug. 21, 2018
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Changes in the recycling industry are prompting advocates throughout the region to examine options for continuing curbside collection in many area communities. The effort follows a decision by a main processor to stop accepting mixed residential recyclables on Nov. 1.

The announcement by Resource Management comes as the industry adjusts to China’s move to implement higher standards for imported fiber and solid waste, like paper and plastic. U.S. companies have been shipping recovered items to the Asian country for years to be recycled.

Construction continues on the 802,000-square-foot replacement hospital and outpatient care center for SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. Aug 16, 2018
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

The construction industry is booming. Nationally, employment in the sector increased by 303,000 over the past year, reaching a 10-year high, according to an analysis of the latest government data by the Associated General Contractors of America Association.

In the St. Louis region, contractors and unions report they are near full-employment, but a shortage of next generation tradesmen and women is making recruitment a top priority for many local construction companies.

SLDC launches town hall meetings on August 14, 2018
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Development Corporation has kicked off a campaign of town hall meetings aimed at improving its public image.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams on Tuesday told an audience at the LaunchCode headquarters on Delmar Boulevard, in the Fountain Park neighborhood, “We want to become more transparent.”

Missouri rice farmers to export rice to Egypt
Southeast Missouri State University

It takes a lot of water to grow rice.

Farmers in Missouri’s bootheel have plenty from underground aquifers, replenished by the Mississippi River. But in Egypt, the government has slashed rice planting in half to conserve water.

A new dam near the Nile River’s source in Ethiopia is threatening to stem the flow to Egypt’s rice paddies.

Provided | VICE on HBO

A documentary from the HBO series "Vice" features two Missouri plants that have been affected by President Donald Trump’s trade policies and tariffs.

For one plant, the tariffs have been a lifeline; for the other, it’s driving a nail into the business. “Trump’s Trade War” explores the reality in both those plants and others across the U.S.

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