Ongoing Coverage:

Business

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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Business Beat
4:44 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Higher percentage: ethanol in gas, hogs sent to market

Some U.S. gas pumps feature gas with 15 percent ethanol in the gas.
File Photo KBIA

There’s a new kind of gas on the market, with more ethanol in it than the gas we usually put in our cars. That’s beneficial for corn farmers who grow the corn that ethanol is made from and want more of it in your gas. But while the ethanol industry fought for years to bring this fuel to the market, now that they’ve won… good luck finding it. Even in Corn Country, pickings are slim.

Business
8:11 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Butternut Bread plant requests pay cut from employees

stopnlook FLICKR

The Butternut Bread plant in Boonville is going bankrupt and is asking 80 employees to take an 8 percent pay cut along with reductions in company-paid pensions.

Frank Hurt, President of The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), says employees have an obvious decision to make, and they will not choose the pay cut.

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Business
5:45 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

New Downtown Incubator attracts entrepreneurs and English teachers

City Manager Mike Matthes speaks with the founders of Rockupied at the official opening of the Columbia Downtown Incubator
Scott Pham KBIA

If you’ve got a sharp eye you might have noticed a new building in downtown Columbia.  Last week the City of Columbia and local entrepreneurial group The League of Innovators officially opened the Brent and Erica Beshore Downtown Incubator. 

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