Economy & Innovation

US Fidelis
11:54 am
Tue September 25, 2012

US Fidelis Co-Founder Gets Eight Years In Prison

Former U.S. Fidelis owner Darain Atkinson has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison on fraud charges.
(St. Charles County Dept. of Corrections)

The St. Charles County man who once helped run the largest seller of extended auto warranty contracts will spend eight years in federal prison for bilking customers out of millions of dollars.

Darain Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax charges in April. He was sentenced to the maximum of eight years today, and must also pay $4 million in restitution.

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St. Louis on the Air
5:22 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Poverty and Homelessness in St. Louis

Credit (via Flickr/Jim Belford)

There is good and bad news when it comes to the latest government figures on poverty in America.  The good news is that the poverty rate has more or less stabilized for the first time in three years, while the bad news is that the number of people living in poverty in the St. Louis area is well above the national average.  Join host Don Marsh for a discussion about poverty and its ripple effects in the region. 

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Barge Shipping
2:00 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Emergency repair at Lock 27 has barge traffic at a standstill

Stikywikit Flickr

Updated 1:45 p.m. Lock 27 reopened this morning at 3:30 a.m. after being closed for 5 days. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, it may take up to 72 hours to push through the  63 vessels and 455 barges, some from as far as New Orleans, that backed up during the closure. The Corps estimated that the closure cost nearly $3 million per day . Lock 27 underwent major rehab in the past few years and was damaged due to low water levels.

Our original story:

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Business
6:30 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Market for Asian carp maturing in Illinois

Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson (left) and Lu Xu Wu (Chinese investor in American Heartland Fish) speaking through an interpreter.
Adam Allington St. Louis Public Radio

When the French explorer Père Marquette traveled down the Illinois River in 1673, his journal tells of encounters with “monstrous fish” so large they nearly overturned his canoe.  

In all likelihood the fish Marquette was talking about were channel catfish, but nearly 340 years later fisherman Josh Havens says it’s bighead carp... and silver carp which now harass boaters on the Illinois (silver carp are the jumpers).

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Business
6:30 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Asian carp solution will have downstream impact

A tugboat pushes a barge under the Eads Bridge in St. Louis
Kelly Martin Via Wikimedia Commons

The issue of keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has implications for a variety of industries.  Midwest officials are weighing a range of options, including severing the connection between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins.  This last option comes with a list of potential economic implications for the shipping and manufacturing industry.

For instance, the 70-mile stretch of Mississippi River at St. Louis is one of the busiest inland ports in America—a place where grain, aggregate and steel are loaded and shipped up and down the river.

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Economy
4:52 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Illinois and Missouri agree on Poplar Street Bridge upgrades

Lane and ramp upgrade designs for Poplar Street Bridge vincinity
HDR Engineering

Illinois and Missouri officials appear to agree on a series of phased upgrades to the Poplar Street Bridge.

The plan would add a third eastbound I-64 lane over the bridge, as well as provide a two-lane onramp from northbound I-55.

MoDOT District Engineer Ed Hassinger says the $80 million in upgrades will go a long way toward smoothing the flow of traffic over the Mississippi.   

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Economy
9:57 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Discouraged in hunt for a job, many stop looking

A job fair was held at the The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., last month. The U.S. unemployment rate declined in August in part because the number of "discouraged workers" climbed.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 10:43 am

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Federal Reserve Announces New Round Of Economic Stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives for a dinner at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on Thursday.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 12:22 pm

Update at 12:31 p.m. ET. Federal Reserve Announces QE3:

The Federal Reserve announced it would spend $40 billion a month on bond purchases in an effort to stimulate the economy and drive the the unemployment rate down.

The Wall Street Journal says that unlike the first two rounds of Quantitative Easing, this time the Fed will focus solely on buying mortgage-backed securities.

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Economy
11:40 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Asian Carp May Finally Sever Ties Of Mississippi With Great Lakes

Proposed Asian Carp barrier sites
Credit Great Lakes Commission

Earlier this spring the Obama administration ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to speed up a five-year study of options to block invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Many biologists say the best solution would be complete separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watershed.

But basin separation comes with its own multi-billion dollar price tag, and would require re-plumbing the entire City of Chicago.

By most accounts, this story began in 1900, the year the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal was complete. 

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3:27 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Where the bailouts stand, in 1 graphic

Lead in text: 
Planet Money breaks down the "how much they got" and "how much they've paid back" of the bailouts of the financial system and auto industry. Check it out via the link.
  • Source: Npr
  • | Via: Planet Money
It's been four years since the U.S. launched a massive bailout of the financial system and the auto industry. While much of the bailout money has been paid back, the government still owns large shares in companies such as AIG and GM, and has yet to recoup some $200 billion in bailouts.

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