Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 24, 2009 - With gold prices surpassing $900 an ounce in recent months, the local airwaves have been saturated with ads for buying and selling the precious metal.

There are mail-in-your-gold-for-cash commercials, spots for local jewelers and coin dealers, as well as national gold buying teams who set up shop in local hotels.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2009 - For some foreclosed homes, rebirth can begin in a glitzy hotel ballroom where they're SOLD! to the highest bidder during a high-energy auction that speed-sells mansion-wannabes in one breath and modest two-bedroom frame houses in the next.

Commentary: Do away with CWIP restrictions

Mar 22, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 22, 2009 - AmerenUE hopes to persuade legislators to rescind the 1976 law that prevents utilities from funding expansions by charging current customers to pay for the financing and interest charges for projects that are still under construction. The law was passed by voters in a referendum as part of an attempt by anti-nuclear power activists to stop the construction of the first Callaway Nuclear Generating Station.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2009 - The St. Louis economy continued to weaken across the board in January and February -- and a majority of retailers and car dealers have a "pessimistic" outlook for the near future, according to a report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Retail and car sales were down. So was overall activity in manufacturing, real estate and construction, according to the March edition of the "Burgundy Book," the Fed's quarterly summary of economic data for the St. Louis region, which covers 71 counties in eastern Missouri and 45 counties in Southern Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2009 - Even as the nation fixates on the employee bonuses handed out by taxpayer-bailed-out insurance giant AIG, the key to fixing the nation's economy still hinges on getting the banking system functioning again, says Alice Rivlin, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and budget director for President Bill Clinton.

Local inventor is key in printed books' future

Mar 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 10, 2009 - Jeff Marsh, the St. Louis inventor of the first machine that's said to print and bind a book without human intervention, credits his creativity to his grandfather. Marsh has fond memories of the rambling Victorian house where he grew up in a Detroit suburb. Within that house, he said, “I’d walk past the ceramics lab, the electronics lab, the geology lab. We made all our own bullets for our private shooting range. Growing up in that house gave me the feeling that I could do anything.”

More cost cutting coming at A-B InBev

Mar 5, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 5, 2009 - Anheuser-Busch InBev says it expects to save more money by cost-cutting that it had originally expected, adding that the expense reductions won't result in more layoffs.

Top executives on Thursday commented on early results of the Nov. 18 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, saying that U.S. operations performed well -- gaining market share and raising revenue -- during a tough October-December quarter.

Head to head: New beer giants plan for sharp competition

Mar 3, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - Two new companies are continuing a decades-old battle for dominance in the U.S. beer market.

There's the "new" Anheuser-Busch InBev, created by the November takeover. And there's the new corporate structure for the Miller and Coors brands, created in mid-2008 through a U.S.-operations joint venture by Molson Coors and SABMiller.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - Last month, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law a historic economic stimulus package that will spend $787 billion in the hopes of pulling the U.S. out of the recession.

The package has several parts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - The federal government’s new attack on the nation’s frozen credit markets has a difficult-to-understand name with an easy-to-understand price tag: $200 billion.

The program, dubbed the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF, for short), is a combined effort of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve that will provide $200 billion to investors to encourage lending to consumers and small businesses. And they’re moving quickly.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 2, 2009 - Are you concerned that Social Security will go broke before you reach retirement age?

Michael Astrue, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration, certainly isn't.

Not only that, but Astrue -- who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush -- believes the issue of insolvency will be addressed before the end of President Barack Obama's first term in office.

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