Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 28, 2009 - Living about an hour south of Lincoln, Neb., Lee Carr doesn't get to the Panera Bread Co. cafe there more than a couple of times a month. When he does make the trip, he's looking for a bargain: a baker's dozen worth of bagels and a couple of tubs of cream cheese to go, all for $4.50.

That's not the price listed on the company's menu board -- but that's the price Carr has been paying for the cards he bought on eBay, part of the St. Louis-based bakery's customer loyalty program, to get his bagel pack "free."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 27, 2009 - One way to pull the state's economy out of its long-term slump is to focus on a green economic recovery program. The centerpiece of such a strategy is the creation of thousands of new "green jobs," according to a report by the nonpartisan Center for American Progress. The report estimates that $1.8 billion would be Missouri's share of the national program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 26, 2009 - How do you keep engaged the estimated 23 million people under 30 who voted in last year’s presidential election? That’s been the question going back as early as primary season, when it became evident that the youth turnout would be substantial.

Several organizations that focus on young people are hoping to continue the momentum by building a coalition around the issue of jobs. Defining the problem is the easy part.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 22, 2009 - I have come to the conclusion that politicians and policy makers are channeling the lyrics to the hit by rock group Ten Years After: "I'd love to change the world." Consider the line "tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more." Hasn't that become the mantra for fiscal policy discussions in Congress and state legislatures around the country?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 21, 2009 - After developer Paul McKee presented his grand vision for regeneration of a large chunk of north St. Louis (see map at the end of this story), residents of the area and others attending a public meeting Thursday night broke up into small groups to discuss the project.

There, one man quickly focused on what may be the biggest obstacle that McKee faces: "What kind of guarantees can you give us that this isn't just a fantasy?"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 21, 2009 - By the numbers, Paul McKee's redevelopment project for north St. Louis seems staggering.

The head of McEagle Properties said the plan, which he hopes will be accomplished over 15 years, will transform about 500 acres of land to include 10,000 new homes and bring 22,000 jobs, plus the 43,000 required to build it. The price tag of $5.4 billion would include at least $1.1 billion in aid from Washington, Jefferson City and City Hall. McKee says he has already spent $46 million of his own money on the project.

Spring to Dance offers variety, economy

May 18, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 18, 2009 - You can't go more than a day without reading about another art organization cutting wages or personnel in an effort to sustain during this turbulent economic climate. Even heavily supported institutions in New York City and Chicago are cutting back to avoid layoffs. After all, there are no bailouts for the arts.  

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This Memorial Day weekend marks the second year for our Spring to Dance festival presented by Dance STL. Thirty dance companies from across the nation and St. Louis will converge on the Touhill Performing Arts Center to expose our community to all forms of dance ranging from ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 17, 2009 - When the World Agricultural Forum convenes in St. Louis today for a three-day session of experts from around the world, the words are more apt to take on the lofty tone of Davos than the overheated rhetoric of Washington.

The approach will be more in favor of corporate agriculture than the organic, sustainable methods that are catching on as a possible viable alternative to feed an estimated 10 billion people by 2050.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 15, 2009 - One building, a 1920s municipal power house, had been vacant for so long that weeds became trees growing on the roof. At another -- 101-year-old Forest Park Hall -- the roof was falling in and thieves had carted away terra cotta lion heads and a frieze from the front elevation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 15, 2009 - Some of the mystery is being lifted concerning the long-rumored redevelopment of large tracts of land in north St. Louis, but don't expect to see buildings going up any time soon.

After years of mistrust and suspicion about the so-called Blairmont project, a public meeting is scheduled for next Thursday night. That follows a presentation this past Monday that was open to a more limited audience, primarily those who live in the area that will be included.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2009 - Summer employment for many Missouri youngsters will include the usual work: mowing lawns, staffing concession and ticket stands at the Zoo and Six Flags; clerking at department and grocery stores; working in parks and recreation centers.

But 6,000 youngsters will find work in Missouri's so-called jobs of the future program. It's a measure of the economic conditions that the state was flooded with roughly 12,000 applicants for these jobs within a week after it announced the program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2009 - Michael Halbrook swore he'd never move back.

The Granite City native grew up in the same town as his parents and his wife and his wife's parents. He'd moved away for college and settled into his life in nearby Collinsville.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2009 - I took a bullet in the hand while working on a story for the Suburban Journals, but this did not stop me from falling victim to the economy and being laid-off.

I am the lone surviving victim of the Kirkwood City Council shootings on Feb. 7, 2008. I was a reporter covering what I thought was an ordinary city council meeting. That changed when Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton killed five people that night. Mayor Mike Swoboda, who was also injured, would later die.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2009 - Ford in Hazelwood and Chrysler in Fenton may be sad parts of Missouri's automotive past, but a new task force is working to figure out how to make a happier future.

Named by Gov. Jay Nixon in March as the cloud over the domestic auto industry began to darken, the Automotive Jobs Task Force is looking at ways to keep the plants that Missouri still has and to market the state to attract and develop whatever production may become available.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - In good times, Gateway Regional Medical Center is Granite City's third-largest employer, but recent layoffs in the steel industry have bumped the 950-employee facility into first place -- a distinction CEO Damon Brown noted during a recent interview.

The hope is that the move-up in the rankings will be short-lived.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - AmerenUE says it is keeping its application to build a nuclear power plant alive while it considers all of its options, but it is keeping a tight lid on what those options are.

Last month, when it became clear that its effort to have ratepayers pay for financing the multibillion-dollar facility would not succeed in the Missouri Legislature, AmerenUE CEO Thomas R. Voss said the utility "is suspending its efforts to build a nuclear power plant in Missouri."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - Finance professors often tell students that stock markets are efficient. That is, stock prices reflect all available information, dutifully parsed by millions of investors until they collectively arrive at some price for some company’s stock. If all news is expected, stock prices do not react too much. If the news is unexpected, prices swing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2009 - After going through a legislative labyrinth, the Missouri Legislature acted late Thursday to approve a federal stimulus bill that includes $12 million in one-time aid for the St. Louis area's financially troubled Metro transit system.

The bill, HB22, now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, where a spokesman said earlier Thursday that the governor remained concerned about the bill's $381 million price tag and "will review it very closely."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2009 - What a prize they would be today, that bat and baseball autographed by the St. Louis Cardinals and presented to Ed Hagnauer, now the mayor of Granite City, and his brother during an outing to Busch Stadium in 1964.

The big names were all there: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon ... the entire team that would go on to win the World Series that season. Yes, that ball and bat were special mementos, courtesy of then-Cardinals infielder Dal Maxvill, who grew up in Granite City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 4, 2009 - So much has been said and written about managing young people in the workplace that it's hard for a speaker to address the subject without sounding clichéd or spreading stereotypes. Benjamin Akande, dean of Webster University’s School of Business and Technology, manages to pull it off, thanks to his reliance on original research and a heavy dose of humor.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 1, 2009 - One line in the stack of documents filed by Chrysler Corp. in its bankruptcy case caused a lot of anguish and confusion in Fenton on Friday.

There, on page 45 of Exhibit 52 , item 12, came the news that snuck up on the autoworkers union, Mayor Dennis Hancock and others who have suffered with the ups and downs of the Chrysler assembly plants in recent years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 1, 2009 - Last hired in, first to be laid off.

That was the reality for a group of laid-off United Steelworkers who were furloughed during the first wave of steel industry cuts in Granite City last November. Their job now is to guide 2,000 of their colleagues to agencies and programs that can help them write resumes, sign up for training programs or find emergency financial help with their utility bills or groceries at local pantries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - On April 16, the Missouri House of Representatives passed HJR 36 . Dubbed the "Fair Taxation" bill by its sponsors, the legislation as it now stands is anything but fair to Missouri's taxpayers, particularly those in the middle-class and those less well off. HJR 36, if passed by the Senate, provides for a constitutional amendment that would replace the state corporate and individual income taxes with a vastly expanded sales tax.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - The day after U.S. Steel announced worse-than-expected first-quarter losses, Russ Saltsgaver, 51, was in a third-floor office at the Tri-Cities Labor Temple in Granite City, giving one of his last media interviews as president of United Steelworkers Local 1899.

Union members last week elected a new leader; Dan Simmons takes office in May.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - Mary Klein of Manchester and Jane Suozzi of Ballwin are just the kind of riders Robert Baer, president and CEO of Metro, fears the agency will lose because of its recent service cuts.

As Metro was slashing 44 percent of its bus and train service last month, Baer warned that the cuts, necessitated by a $70 million budget shortfall, could have far-reaching effects on ridership. Even if a new funding source were found, Metro might fail to draw back some of its former customers, especially commuters forced to find other travel options, he said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - How are things in Granite City?

It's a question that Mayor Ed Hagnauer gets asked frequently these days -- largely because of the 2,000 steelworkers laid off in recent months from U.S. Steel's Granite City works. Their plant may be idle, but not so the members of the local United Steelworkers union who have captured national attention with "Put America Back to Work" rallies in support of President Barack Obama's stimulus package and fair trade.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2009 - For many MetroLink riders at the Clayton station on a recent morning, the cuts Metro made a month ago are little more than a slight inconvenience as they waited a few extra minutes for their train.

Commentary: How much reform can Springfield take?

Apr 29, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 26, 2009 - Federal Judge James Zagel denied our impeached governor a shot at reality television in Costa Rica, but those who booted him will have the opportunity to test their own survival instincts in Springfield.

Can lawmakers satisfy the thirst of a reinvigorated anti-corruption movement without diluting the nectar of their incumbency? The answer may determine how much of their reform rhetoric is real and how much is, well, show business.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 28, 2009 - Though U.S. Steel's first-quarter losses are far worse than analysts had predicted, a local union official Tuesday encouraged 2,000 laid-off steelworkers from the Granite City plant not to panic.

Russ Saltsgaver, president of United Steelworkers Local 1899, said that U.S. Steel should be able to weather the economic storm because it is the first time the corporation has lost money in the last five years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 28, 2009 - When you think of places known for their information technology workforce, Silicon Valley and Seattle come to mind. Clustering prominent software and social media companies is a major draw for innovative start-ups and high tech workers.

What about St. Louis?

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