Economy & Innovation

Scott Air Force Base
10:12 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Furlough Notices To Arrive This Week At Scott Air Force Base

Credit (via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Thousands of civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois will soon begin receiving furlough  notices.
 
The Belleville News Democrat reports workers will be informed that they must take one day per week of unpaid vacation between next month and September because of mandatory federal budget cuts referred to as the "sequester."
 
The newspaper says the workers will receive the 30-day notices in the mail by the end of the week.
 

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St. Louis Police Headquarters
10:10 am
Wed March 20, 2013

New St. Louis Police Headquarters To Cost More Than Expected

Credit (Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The move to a new building for the St. Louis Police Department is going to be more expensive than first thought.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that bids came in more than $1.6 million over expectations. Now, the move will be delayed until early next year - nearly a year later than the original estimate.
 

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Illinois
10:05 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Members Of Illinois' Largest Public Employees Union Approve New Contract

Credit (via Flickr/jglazer75)

By a margin of 96-to-4, members of Illinois' largest public employees' union voted to ratify a new contract with the state.

AFSCME and Governor Pat Quinn's administration reached a deal in late February, but in order for it to take effect, a majority of the union's 35,000 members had to agree to it.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says the negotiations may have been the toughest the union has ever experienced.

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Business
11:14 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Twinkies Sale To Pabst Beer Owner Approved By Judge

(via Flickr/sekimura)

The process that started with strikes and Hostess bakery shutdowns (including one in St. Louis) has made another step forward.

A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Twinkies to a pair of investment firms.

Hostess Brands Inc. is selling the spongy yellow cakes, along with other snacks including Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million.

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Patriot Coal
4:59 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Union President Criticizes Bankrupt Patriot Coal For Seeking Executive Bonuses

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

On Monday, the top official with a national miners' union says bankrupt Patriot Coal's bid to cut retiree health care benefits, while seeking millions of dollars for executive bonuses, is immoral.

Patriot Coal spun off from St. Louis-based Peabody in 2007, taking with it an enormous amount of the larger company’s health care obligations. Now that Patriot has declared bankruptcy, the company is looking to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

At a press conference in St. Louis, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said Patriot was designed to fail.

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Economy
2:58 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

A 77-Hour Work Week: What It Takes To Rent A Two-Bedroom Apartment In Missouri

(via Flickr/ Charleston's TheDigitel)

Updated 4:04 p.m.

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Illinois Economy
9:45 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Ill. Ambulance And Fire Agencies See Budgets Crunched

Credit (National Institutes of Health)

Ambulance and fire agencies in Illinois have seen their budgets crunched. Some clients pay using Medicaid,  the Illinois-backed insurance for the poor. But the state is months behind on those payments.

According to Josh Ross, operations manager for America Ambulance in Springfield, Illinois is nearly six months behind. That's a total of $330,000.

"The Medicaid problem is kind of a double-edged sword," Ross said.  "On one is the fact we're not receiving the payments, but the other is the fact that the actual reimbursement is so much lower."

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Business
10:45 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Patriot Coal Sues Peabody, Asks Bankruptcy Court To Relieve Pension Obligations

Coal miners protest in front of St. Louis Federal Courthouse last January
Credit (Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

Patriot was created by St. Louis-Based Peabody Energy Corp., as a stand-alone company in 2007.  In creating Patriot, Peabody also transferred a hefty chunk of Peabody’s outstanding pension obligations onto Patriot’s books.

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Hostess
2:03 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

'Twinkie Panic' Over? New Brand Owner Says Cakes Coming Back

(via Flickr/sekimura)

Updated 2:26 p.m.

Hostess is moving ahead with plans to sell its Twinkies and other snack cakes to two investment firms after no other competitive offers were made.

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Gambling
11:55 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Revenue Down At All Six Casinos In St. Louis Region

Credit (via Wikimedia Commons/RamblingGambler)

New figures show that February was a down month for St. Louis-area casinos.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that all six casinos in the St. Louis region reported lower revenue last month compared with February 2012.
 
Figures released by regulators in Missouri and Illinois showed the number of gamblers at the area's casinos also fell.

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