Business

Business
7:59 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Mamtek leftovers go on sale at Moberly auction

File Photo Flickr

The northern Missouri artificial sweetener plant project that turned sour when its financing collapsed last year is holding an out-of-business sale.

Mamtek U.S. received $39 million of industrial development bonds from the city of Moberly and could have earned up to $17 million of state tax incentives to build the factory. Construction ceased on the partially complete factory after Mamtek missed a bond payment in August 2011. Former CEO Bruce Cole faces fraud and stealing charges and remains in the Randolph County Jail awaiting trial.

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Business
8:46 am
Tue October 23, 2012

TransCanada restarts Keystone pipeline

L.C.Nøttaasen FLICKR

TransCanada has restarted the Keystone oil pipeline that carries about 590,000 barrels of crude oil each day from Canada to facilities in the Midwest.

Oil began flowing again Monday afternoon. Company spokesman Shawn Howard says the system will be operated at a slightly reduced pressure for about 24 hours. Contractual delivery levels will resume in November.

TransCanada had shut down the pipeline Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues.

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Business
5:09 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Columbia Regional Airport passenger traffic, 2000-2012 [infographic]

Simon_sees Flickr

Since 2000, airlines have come and gone at Columbia Regional Airport (COU), changing in the number of passengers passing through the airport. This graph shows the total number of passengers who arrived or departed on commercial aircraft at COU since 2000.

Click on a letter to see which airlines came or went at that particular time.  All numbers and events took place during the month listed, although the graph will denote that time as the first of the month.  Use the scrollbar at the bottom to change the view of the graph.

Business
4:53 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

New air travel options take off in Columbia

File Photo KBIA

The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan with American Airlines for new routes to Dallas and Chicago from Columbia Regional Airport.

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Business
5:44 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Delta Airlines threatens to leave Columbia air service market [infographic]

Delta cuts flights to Columbia's regional airport
thisisbossi Flickr

A representative from Delta Airlines said that if the Columbia City Council approves an airline expansion agreement with American Airlines, Delta will seek to exit the Columbia air service market.

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Business
5:40 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Jane Lago selected as University of Missouri Press consulting director

Jane Lago has been selected as  the new consulting director for the University of Missouri Press.

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Business
2:52 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Department of Housing and Urban Development cuts funding for Columbia

KBIA file photo

For the past two years, housing rehabilitation projects in Columbia have been decreasing.

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Business
11:38 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Heart of Missouri United way targets the causes of poverty

Heart of Missouri United Way announced its new funding recipients Wednesday as part of its Community Impact model, which will shift focus from assisting those living in poverty to targeting causes of poverty.

Eight new agencies will receive funding next year, and some agencies will lose funding as Heart of Missouri United Way seeks to reduce need in poor communities, not just fill it.

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Business
8:18 am
Thu October 18, 2012

43 new jobs coming to Holts Summit within the next few years

Bigstock image

Pro Food Systems Inc. is planning to add 43 jobs within the next five years at its operation in Holts Summit.  The new headquarters will have three components: a breading and blending facility, a logistics service center and print companies.  The company said it will invest $6 million dollars into the new headquarters.

Missouri Department of Economic Development Spokesperson John Fougere said the Department used tax credits and other incentives to encourage Pro Food Systems into expansion.

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Business
8:02 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Mo. insurance department fields 26K complaints

_J_D_R_ Flickr

Missouri's Insurance Department says it has recovered $7.7 million so far this year for consumers. The money comes from customers with complaints about their insurance companies or coverage.

The department said through September of this year, it has fielded more than 10,000 written inquiries and complaints – and more than 16,000 phone calls from customers.

Often complaints have to do with denial of claims and processing delays. Most of the problems reported have to do with health insurance, followed by auto and homeowner coverage.

Business
5:52 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

City officials looking for neighborhoods to test roll carts

Columbia is setting up the neighborhoods that will test the roll cart program in early 2013.
File Photo KBIA

Columbia’s pending move to a roll-cart, trash-collection program is moving forward with a few changes to the original plan.  Currently the city is identifying ideal neighborhoods in which to test the roll cart program.  Public Works’ Solid Waste Utility Manager Richard Wieman says the new system will be cheaper and pick up more trash on a daily basis.

“(The) industry is just moving away from manual collection, due to one, the safety issues I mentioned, the cost issue, and we’re just kind of going, taking a look at that program and see if it will fit for Columbia,” he says.

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Business
5:49 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Food distribution company expands operations in Holts Summit

Pro Food Systems Inc. is planning to add 43 jobs within the next five years at its operation in Holts Summit.

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Business Beat
5:22 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

From field to fork to refuse

Did you wash that melon first?
Amber Luckey Flickr

Flip on the TV, boot up the computer or switch on the radio and you’re destined to hear about a recall of tainted food – often due to E. coli or salmonella.

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Business
12:41 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Micro-businesses showcased at Columbia fair

"A Tastefully Simple representative stands in front of a booth at the Micro-business Fair and Reception on Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012."
Ryan Shiner KBIA

Small businesses don’t always get to showcase their work, but in Columbia, they had the ability to network with other businesses at the Microbusiness Fair and Reception Tuesday.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce put on the fair at the Stoney Creek Inn. Chamber President Don Laird said this gives businesses an opportunity to network. 

“The main thing that we had hoped was for those who were participating, to gain access to some new knowledge, some new products," Laird said. "Anything someone else is doing to give them a chance to be able to see what else is out there.”

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Business
7:23 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Mo. unemployment rate reaches lowest point in nearly 4 years [INFOGRAPHIC]

File Photo KBIA

According to the latest jobs report from the state [pdf], the number of jobs created in Missouri is going up, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in nearly four years. Some of the greatest growth was in the construction industry.

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Business
2:50 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Missouri adds 2,500 jobs in September

File Photo KBIA

Missouri payrolls increased by 2,500 in September as the state's unemployment rate declined to 6.9 percent, the lowest mark since late 2008.

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Business
6:11 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

"Tentative agreement" for flights to Dallas, Chicago from Columbia Regional Airport

clarkmaxwell Flickr

Columbia Regional Airport has a tentative agreement with American Airlines to offer two daily flights to Dallas, and one flight a day to Chicago, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid announced Thursday.

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Business Beat
5:18 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Growing biomass for biofuel, money for retirement

Big blue stem is one type of native grass farmers are growing on marginal land in the central U.S. for biofuel.
Kristofor Husted KBIA

Remember in the film Night of the Living Dead when the protagonist, Barbra, is running through the grassy hills to the forlorn farmhouse to escape her lumbering zombie of a brother?

Well, while recently reporting for Harvest Public Media, I spent time on farmland that looked eerily similar to the backdrop of George Romero's black and white magnum opus.

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Business
8:25 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Osage Sierra Club takes action against Aspen Heights

File Photo KBIA

Once again, controversy surrounds the development of Aspen Heights. The student living complex is being built at the location of the old Regency Mobile Home Park.

Aspen Heights broke ground earlier this year. But, Osage Group Sierra Club Conservation Chair Ken Midkiff says the company violated a city ordinance. He says after a recent visit to the site, he believes the Aspen Heights developer, Crockett Development, did not preserve 25 percent of native trees.

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Business
5:52 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Sweetener company CEO headed back to Missouri

Last month, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole was arrested in California
Kristofor Husted KBIA

Missouri officials say the former head of an artificial sweetener company has agreed to return from California to face charges of theft and securities fraud stemming from a failed factory project.

Bruce Cole was chairman and CEO of Mamtek U.S. Inc., which received $39 million of industrial development bonds from the city of Moberly to build a sweetener plant.

Cole is charged in Missouri with using bond revenues to avoid foreclosure on his Beverley Hills home and misleading investors about his company's financial health.

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Business Beat
5:32 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Water blues and prison maintenance blues

The administration building is one of the oldest on the prison site. Its decaying façade sits opposite a recently-opened federal courthouse across the street.
Samantha Sunne KBIA

Water use has become a hot issue among Midwest farmers after this summer's drought. Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state in the nation. Kansas is also near the top. And that Irrigation infrastructure helped some farmers keep the drought at bay this year. Their fields stayed green long after others withered away. But as Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, using so much water now may force some farmers to use less water in the future.

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Business
5:08 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Mo. state prison's maintenance blues

Kary Scott shares a dance with his service dog, Cisco, at the "Inside the Walls" festival promoting the Missouri State Penitentiary as a tourist destination.
Lukas Udstuen KBIA

As a 5-piece band wound its way through an acoustic set of music, guests slowly shuffled into the “Inside the Walls” festival at the Missouri State Penitentiary. To the southwest, the main entrance to the prison towered over the festival.

Charles Vaughan used to live in a house across the street. He remembers the 1954 riots, which were the worst in the history of the penitentiary. Vaughan remembers his dad and brother were on top of a nearby building with guns.

“There was a big fire going on," he said. "My mom was keeping me in the house which upset me because I wanted to get on the roof and my mom was piling furniture right in front of the front door.”

But now the penitentiary looks much lonelier. Its paint peels. Some of its buildings have been torn down. In fact — of those that remain, some parts are even off limits to tours – this is due to a process Steve Picker calls “demolition by neglect.” He’s the former executive director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

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Business
1:41 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Energy assistance program secures funding through December

Low-income residents could turn to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for help.
McBeth Flickr

A program that provides heating and energy assistance for low-income Missourians reports that it should have enough funding to meet its winter demand through December.

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Business
6:12 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

State fines Aetna over autism, abortion coverage violations

Aetna violated a 2001 state law when it provided coverage for contraceptives without allowing employers to opt out.
brains the head Flickr

The Missouri Department of Insurance has issued its largest penalty to date, to health insurance company, Aetna. 

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Business Beat
2:07 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Should dairy farmers cut cow tails?

This cow is getting a hair cut on her tail so her milker won't get whacked in the face with manure.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

To dock or not to dock? That is the question.

Well, that’s the question some Midwest dairy farmers are debating now that the National Milk Producers Federation has taken a stand against the widespread practice of cutting off cow tails -- or tail docking. It started decades ago as a method to stop the spread of disease because the tails often becomes slimed with manure. Recent studies suggest the practice isn't necessarily effective, but many dairy farmers still employ the technique to avoid a face full of slimy cow tail.

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Business
1:13 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Mizzou apparel, Mizzou office supplies... Mizzou chocolate bar?

A farmer holds dried cocoa beans in his hand.
Nestlé FLICKR

A new chocolate bar developed with the help of MU Students goes on sale this week.

Students in MU’s Food sciences department have teamed up with an independent Columbia Company to create the new chocolate bar. “Mizzou Crunch” was part of an extra-curricular project headed by MU Food Science professor Azlin Mustapha working with Patric Chocolates. She says the project that allowed students to experience not only the development of the chocolate bar, but also everything it takes to get it to the shelves.

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Business
12:58 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

State Auditor: Mo. DED didn't follow proper procedures leading to Mamtek failure

Governor Jay Nixon announcing the Mamtek plans in 2012
Rebecca Wolfson KBIA

A state audit released Tuesday says that the Missouri Department of Economic Development could have done a better job of screening applicants for tax credits for the failed Mamtek project in Moberly.

Two years ago the small northeast Missouri town issued $39 million in bonds to get the company to build an artificial sweetener plant.  Mamtek later missed a bond payment and construction halted, and Moberly’s bond rating was downgraded as a result.  State Auditor Tom Schweich says the due diligence procedures used by the DED were woefully inadequate

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Business
9:47 am
Mon September 24, 2012

"Old Town" Jefferson City begins to look new

Missouri Department of Tourism Missouri Department of Tourism

An effort to revitalize Jefferson City’s historic “Old Town” district is showing progress. The Old Town Revitalization Company in Jefferson City has announced that it has received its first property donation.

The non-profit organization allows Jefferson City property owners to donate property to Old Town for a tax deduction. The Old Town Revitalization Company then partners with nearby home builders to rehabilitate the property.

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Business
2:43 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Report shows increase in Jefferson City manufacturing jobs

Missouri Department of Tourism Missouri Department of Tourism

A new report from the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce showed the share of manufacturing jobs in the city has increased almost 23 percent. The chamber recently partnered with a Jefferson City-based economic research company, The Growth Service Group, to put together the report.

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Global Journalist
5:35 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Chinese media expand into Africa

Pedestrians walk past a billboard that promotes an upcoming China-Africa summit in Beijing.
Greg Baker AP Photo

Kenyans that want to hear the latest international news can listen to the BBC, the Voice of America, or Al-Jazeera. Africans can also tune in China Radio International, which is gaining ground in the crowded market.

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