Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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

Jessica Mefford-Miller has taken the lead on Metro Transit’s draft plan outlining a new approach to public mobility in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite increased use of public transportation among young adults, overall ridership numbers in the St. Louis region have been on the decline the past four years. And that trend is part of the motivation behind Metro Transit’s newly unveiled hopes for its MetroBus service.

“That’s one of the reasons we need to take a fresh look at our system and make some changes to ensure that we’re providing service that meets the needs of our customers and provides a quality, fast ride,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, assistant executive director for transit planning and system development.

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The owners of a Metro East medical marijuana dispensary are trying to ease concerns in the banking industry. HCI Alternatives won't be able to make any deposits at the end of next month if it doesn't find a new financial partner. The company's current bank is severing ties with the industry.

Jessica Mefford-Miller of Metro Transit (right) hands a rider a pamphlet on Metro's suggested service plans at an informational meetin. April 3, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit plans to offer more frequent bus service, altered bus routes, text and email notification services and small vehicles along lesser-used routes in the St. Louis region.

Metro officials will revise the plan’s current draft in May, after seeking public comments throughout this month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2011 - Kitty Landholt's life is kind of on pause.

In May 2010, the St. Louis native graduated from Rice University with a professional degree in architecture. She got her bachelor's in the field in 2007. She moved home, began looking for a job, and that's where the pause began.

Big cities in the Midwest are gaining ground on the rural communities that, for many decades, have thrived on the edges of urban development.

NGA West Executive and Deputy Associate Director Brett Markham spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Wayne Pratt.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a new executive for its NGA West headquarters in St. Louis.

Brett Markham was recently named deputy associate director and west executive. He has been with the agency since 2012 and now oversees the current NGA West headquarters in Soulard, an operation in Arnold, as well as some employees at Scott Air Force Base. The total workforce in all three locations is about 3,600.

St. Louis CPA Lance Weiss joined Don Marsh on Tuesday.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what you need to know in advance of filing state and federal tax returns that must be postmarked by April 17.

Lance Weiss, a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners LLC in St. Louis, joined the program to answer listener questions about taxes – and provide an update on changes for the 2018 tax year after recently approved tax law changes.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A critical part of Bayer's multi-billion dollar buyout of Creve Coeur-based Monsanto has been approved. The European Union has signed off on the deal, but with conditions. 

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Two bills aim to expand high-speed broadband in rural parts of Missouri through contracts with electric cooperatives.

“The intent of the bills is to codify for the first time that it is public policy of the state of Missouri to provide access to high speed, reliable broadband,” said Senate bill sponsor Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, in opening statements to a Senate committee last week.

Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecstatic – that’s the word that Dan Simmons used to describe the mood in Granite City, Illinois, this week.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the United Steelworkers Local 1899 president joined host Don Marsh to discuss the news that up to 500 workers will return to work at the steel mill around which the town was built.

Express Scripts headquarters
Express Scripts

Original story from 03/08/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 03/09/18.

Updated at 5 p.m., with comments from an industry analyst — Health insurance giant Cigna has agreed to purchase the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

The deal, which has already been approved by the boards of both companies, is worth about $67 billion, according to press releases.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information — The St. Louis Zoo Association is buying a 425-acre complex in north St. Louis County to breed endangered and at-risk animals, officials announced today.

The zoo is obtaining the land from the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million. The purchase is funded through donations from two undisclosed philanthropists.

David Miller is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the organizing force behind CONNECT, an alliance of Pittsburgh and 40 surrounding municipalities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The fact that the St. Louis region encompasses nearly 90 municipalities comes up frequently in discussions about how the metropolitan area can move forward – and is sometimes cited as an explanation for regional challenges.

But David Miller doesn’t blink at that statistic.

Miller’s home city, Pittsburgh, and its surrounding Allegheny County have St. Louis beat when it comes to lots of local governments, with a total of 130 municipalities within their Western Pennsylvania bounds.

People wait to enter the Check Your Blind Spot mobile museum outside the Express Scripts headquarters in St. Louis County on Monday, March 5, 2017.
Express Scripts

Dozens of people visited a mobile museum dedicated to educating the public about unconscious bias at the Express Scripts headquarters in north St. Louis County on Monday.

More than 350 corporate executives and university presidents signed a pledge to address unconscious bias in the workplace. Local leaders at Edward Jones, Reinsurance Group of America, Inc. and St. Louis-based manufacturing company Emerson are among companies who also signed the pledge.

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it’s the driest part of the state this year.

“We really haven’t really had any measurable rain since the middle of October,” says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville, north of St. Louis. “I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust.”

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition critical of the tax relief St. Louis awards developers wants lawmakers to make processes to grant tax incentives more transparent and more equitable.

When it started in 2016, Team TIF focused on education. But now that the public is more aware of how the city grants developers incentives, the coalition is pushing for policy changes, volunteer Molly Metzger said.

“The problems that we see in St. Louis and other cities — of racial segregation, of stark inequality — these are not created by markets alone. They are created by markets that were structured by governments,” said Metzger, a professor who studies housing policy at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announces St. Louis County has earned Certified Work Ready Community status at a press conference on Feb. 21, 2018.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County has joined 50 other Missouri counties in receiving Certified Work Ready Community status. County officials announced the designation Wednesday, saying it highlights the county’s competitive workforce.

“A skilled workforce is the heart of a strong economy,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “As a CWRC, St. Louis County is sending a signal to the world that our workforce is highly skilled and businesses can expect to grow and thrive here.”

 

Culinary professionals Alex Feick (at left) and Josh Charles (center) joined Sauce Magazine editor Catherine Klene to talk about how they manage demanding careers alongside parenthood and other aspects of their lives.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many new parents, Josh Charles sensed that a major switch had been flipped the moment his baby was born 11 months ago. He knew right away that the days ahead would look different for him, professionally speaking, than the previous decade he’d spent cooking in fine-dining kitchens.

“The typical restaurant hours were just something that I could not do anymore,” the chef said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “I had been used to working Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at minimum, and I just knew that being locked into that restaurant wasn’t going to be cohesive for the hours that I needed to be there for my family.”

Saint Louis University's School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business after a $15 million donation from Richard A. Chaifetz and his wife Jill Chaifetz.
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University’s School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. The university announced Tuesday that Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, the founder, chairman and CEO at ComPsych Corporation and his wife, Jill Chaifetz, have contributed $15 million to the school. The change is effective immediately.

Richard Chaifetz, a SLU alumnus and trustee, said while his gift contribution does not have set requirements, he hopes it will boost the reputation of the business school that is ranked ninth nationally in undergraduate entrepreneurship.

The head of the St. Louis Regional Chamber is resigning, effective at the end of the month. Joe Reagan has been president and CEO of the organization since 2012. The chamber's board already has a replacement lined up — at least on a temporary basis.

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