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.
Bars in St. Louis that are thinking about applying for an exemption to the city's smoking ban will have to count any tents they use to expand seating areas toward the square footage total that allows them to get that exemption.
The city's ban includes language that lets bars smaller than 2,000 square feet and where "the serving of food is only incidental to the consumption" of alcoholic beverages to allow their patrons to smoke until January 1, 2016.