Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is unveiling today what he calls a "Yellow Light on Green Jobs" report that "highlights areas where environmental and labor advocates admit green jobs mean massive taxpayer subsidies, lower wages and killing existing jobs..."

Bond says the report is in reaction to President Barack Obama's "Earth Day economic promises and a slew of congressional hearings held by Democrats on the potential of new green jobs."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 24, 2009 - Last summer, the Mississippi River flooded, overwhelming earthen levees along its banks. Spring showers and the anticipated revision of a federally drawn flood map refocus attention on the health of the protective structures that safeguard area homes and businesses within the river's reach.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 24, 2009 - The Missouri House recently took an ambitious step toward improving the state's economic competitiveness. House Joint Resolution 36 calls for a popular vote in 2010 to repeal the state's income, corporate and estate taxes. This amendment of the state constitution would, as a number of studies show, improve Missourians' economic well being.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - Stymied by a lack of movement on legislation it pushed in Jefferson City, AmerenUE today said it is abandoning its plans to build a second nuclear power plant in mid-Missouri.

President and CEO Thomas R. Voss told a news conference at AmerenUE headquarters that the company is asking legislative sponsors to withdraw bills that would have allowed customers to be charged for finance costs for the $6 billion plant.

Decline in national youth volunteer rate

Apr 23, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - In the same week that President Barack Obama signed into law a substantial increase in national service opportunities, there’s fresh evidence that volunteer rates have decreased nationally among high school-aged students. Just not in Missouri. However, according to the study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, far fewer of the state's college-aged students are giving their time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - WASHINGTON - The defense budget hasn't even been released yet -- that's scheduled for mid-May -- but already the administration's intentions are drawing close scrutiny, most vocally from members of the St. Louis-area congressional delegation worried about local jobs and national security.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 22, 2009 - The Shakespeare Festival has announced internal restructuring that includes the resignation of artistic director Dawn McAndrews and a nationwide search to fill a newly created executive director position. The Festival will not seek a replacement artistic director.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2009 - If the words efficiency, economy, sustainability and diversity could produce electricity, the discussion at Monday's Regional Energy Summit at Southwestern Illinois College could have powered the whole region.

The audience heard from local executives in industries ranging from coal to corn, oil to electricity, along with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and -- on video, because he had to join President Barack Obama's first full cabinet meeting -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 17, 2009 - Despite added stresses to its resources brought on by the recession, Wall Street's ailing financial institutions and recent service cuts, the Metro Board of Commissioners today passed a balanced operating budget for fiscal 2010. The $201.97 million budget is for the agency's fiscal year beginning July 1.

The board also passed a $470.99 million capital budget.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2009 - Property owners in St. Louis County are about to test the theory of gravity and find out whether what goes up will really come down.

Next month, owners of the 365,000 residential properties in the county will receive their preliminary property tax notices. During the last reassessment, in 2007, many bills rose sharply because of rising property values. With today's news filled with the woes of the real-estate market, homeowners could be forgiven for assuming that as dramatically as their bills shot up last time, the bottom line number should drop just as much this time.

Don't bank on local banks to lead economic recovery

Apr 16, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2009 - There's a chicken-and-egg quality to forecasting the health of St. Louis area banks.

What comes first? Do the banks help the local economy out of the morass of recession? Or do the banks need signs of an improving economy, housing market and employment so they will provide a financial jolt to sustain a recovery?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 15, 2009 - At the urging of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, leaders of the Republican-led Legislature indicated Wednesday that they are willing to give $20 million in federal stimulus money to Metro.

Metro Chief Executive Bob Baer said in a conference call with those officials that such a sum would allow the public transportation agency to restore a "very significant" chunk of the cuts in bus, light rail and Call-A-Ride service that went into effect two weeks ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2009 - An enormous balancing act is rapidly unfolding in our nation, with the very real possibility of bankrupting us all. We need an immediate and active debate about proposals to tax carbon, recognizing the costs involved and recent findings that significant reductions in carbon emissions will not dramatically impact global temperatures. Indeed, there are renewed concerns that the science of global warming has yet to be settled.

The next wave of home buyers is forming

Apr 13, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2009 - The economic outlook has been bleak for long enough now that it’s easy to ignore reports with optimistic conclusions. But here’s one showing that people in their 20s and early 30s are enthusiastic about the housing market and the prospect of home ownership.

While current homeowners have seen their property values take a nose dive, the upshot could be that more young people will have a chance to buy houses that just last year seemed out of their price range.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2009 - Holly Edwards has her summer plans set: When she's not taking classes at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, she'll be working at the student fitness center.

But some of her friends haven't been as fortunate in seeking summer employment. "I've heard they haven't had much luck," said Edwards, a 19-year-old freshman from Bethalto, Ill. "They're kind of worried."

An early early decision

Apr 8, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2009 - Like clockwork, articles will roll in this spring about how the economy is affecting college enrollment decisions. Expect plenty of interviews with admissions officers and financial aid directors plus maybe a few quotes from students talking about how they decided to pass on the pricey college and head to State School U.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 8, 2009 - Former St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George says it's a coincidence that he sued Mayor Francis Slay on the day that Slay was elected to a third term in office.

The suit filed Tuesday in St. Louis Circuit Court argues that race was the reason George was demoted in 2007. The suit seeks George's reinstatement as chief, unspecified monetary damages and an improvement in the racial environment at the Fire Department.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2009 - Our Metro public transit system is out of money and cutting service, now people can’t get to their jobs and so will have to quit. Simultaneously, we have unemployed people who own cars who might be willing to drive people to work for a small fee. Do you see the solution?

Let’s deregulate the taxi business and let anybody drive anybody anywhere for whatever price the parties can agree on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 2, 2009 - If Missouri does not take full advantage of stimulus money available from Washington, thousands of Missourians will be hurt directly and many more will suffer indirect harm as well, budget analysts said Thursday.

Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project, said that because a budget bill passed by the Missouri House fails to take full advantage of money available for Medicaid, more people will be hurt than just those who need the help with health insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 1, 2009 - How can legislation working its way through Washington that would vastly expand national service potentially benefit job hunters in St. Louis? Here's a hint: helping hands that know their way around a computer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 31, 2009 - Notwithstanding stiff GOP opposition in Jefferson City, Gov. Jay Nixon continues to pursue his campaign promise to expand health coverage for Missouri's uninsured.

On Tuesday, his proposal picked up support from one of the state's most influential business groups, Associated Industries of Missouri. It endorsed the plan at a press conference with Nixon at Boeing Co., in north St. Louis County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 31, 2009 - As Metro's cuts go into effect, lawmakers in the Missouri General Assembly are weighing starkly different responses.

State Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis, argues the state needs to take immediate action; she proposes an emergency spending bill to ease a nearly $45 million deficit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 30, 2009 - The largest service change in Metro's history brought missed connections and long waits for buses this morning. Considering the depth of the changes, though, the transition to a system 44 percent smaller went fairly well, a Metro spokeswoman said.

The problems riders faced today came because the same number of people are riding fewer buses, said Dianne Williams, Metro spokesperson.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - Got gold?

A herringbone chain that hasn't draped anyone's neck since 1989, perhaps. Or the wedding ring that belonged to your ex. Maybe a watch that no longer works, but you've held onto because it's 12K gold, for gosh sakes.

At Amy Blickensderfer's house in Chesterfield on a recent Sunday afternoon, guests could buy new fashion jewelry -- and sell their old treasures to a gold buyer who paid cash on the spot.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - The current debate over a possible second nuclear power plant for Missouri involves issues ranging from safety to energy conservation to environmental quality.

But for many consumers, the most pressing question will be the bottom line on their monthly electric bill.

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