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Two events last week suggested the conflicting currents in Iran. The country marked the anniversary of its revolution last Wednesday with the usual slogan, "Death to America." The following day, Iran opened an international tourism exhibition with a different slogan: "You are invited."

Iran wants to welcome more international tourists, including Americans. But that's a challenge for a country that's wary of outsiders, and closely monitors its own people.

Listen up, cub reporters. Lesson 1: Never miss an opportunity to catch a good story. I was doing important hop research at my local craft beer emporium, aka my bar.

"This red IPA is great. What is this again?" I asked the bartender.

"That's Line 51. From Oakland. The owner, P.T., does it part time. He has a day job." What's he do? I asked. "He's a schoolteacher."

Bingo! Secret teachers, you can't hide from this NPR Ed sleuth, no sir.

columbia city hall
File Photo / KBIA

  The Columbia City Council has approved new regulations for ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft.

An Uber representative says the new rules show the city does not welcome the services, despite support from residents.

The regulations approved Monday require ride-booking services to get business licenses and license their drivers as chauffeurs. The drivers must pass background checks and their vehicles will undergo condition checks conducted by the city.

Columbia REDI

The new year has seen some change in the Columbia business community. Now that we’re more than a month into 2015, Columbia Regional Economic Development Incorporated is a month into the term of its new president, Stacey Button. After former president Mike Brooks left in late 2014, Button started in the position on January 5. KBIA's Kara Tabor speaks with her about the first month and her plans for further supporting the local business community.

Ranchers rebel over beef checkoff

Feb 11, 2015
Jill Toyoshiba / The Kansas City Star

From their small farms set in the rolling hills of northeast Kansas, two ranchers are raising a few cattle, and a lot of Cain.

David Pfrang and Jim Dobbins turned themselves into activists, launched a shadow corporation, got hauled into federal court and had to hire a lawyer.

All over $1.

That buck, though, divides the beef industry. And may influence what you decide to have for dinner.


More than 600,000 homes in the U.S. have solar panels today — up dramatically from just a few years ago, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Leasing programs that require little or no money up-front have played a key role in that growth.

But here's a question for homeowners: Is it better to lease or buy?

A huge trove of leaked documents is shedding new light on the secretive Swiss banking industry.

The documents were downloaded by a former computer security expert at the giant bank HSBC, and they were released over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Caleb Rowden
File Photo / KBIA

A Missouri Republican wants to ban local laws that raise the minimum wage, require employers to offer paid sick leave or other benefits or prohibit employers from asking about criminal convictions early in the job application process.

Rep. Caleb Rowden, of Columbia, introduced a bill Thursday that he said will ensure businesses don't have to deal with confusing and complex regulations that vary across the state.

Continued job growth has boosted prospects for the U.S. economy, but it continues to face some tricky crosswinds. The big drop in oil prices and a stronger dollar both help the economy and hurt it. Add to that the recent slowdown in global growth.

Lots of economists have suggested the big drop in oil prices is a gift to consumers that will propel the economy. David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors is one of them. He argues that cheaper oil will ultimately be a positive.

William Browder's new book, Red Notice, is named for the type of warrant the Russian government has sought from Interpol in hopes of capturing him.

The hedge fund manager made huge profits with Hermitage Capital Management, a company he started in Russia in 1996. That, he says, drew the attention and machinations of a corrupt group of Russian officials.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Officials say Ford Motor Co. will create an additional 900 jobs in Missouri to build the next-generation F-150 pickup.

Gov. Jay Nixon says Ford's decision to add jobs at the Kansas City Assembly Plant shows the growth of the state's automotive manufacturing industry.

Dipankan001/Wikimedia Commons

 Mold--it's an unsightly, unpleasant and often harmful nuisance that you probably don't want in your home. But for some Missouri renters with this unwelcome houseguest, they've found themselves having issues getting help from their landlords. Missouri Business Alert's Heidi Li reports on how the lack of standard mold regulations is affecting tenants. 

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

  Missouri's revenues are up nearly 5 percent so far this year over last year's collections, and the state's budget chief says that's on pace with Gov. Jay Nixon's spending freezes.

Revenue figures reported Tuesday show net general revenues for January are up 4.1 percent compared with the previous year.

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

  Two north St. Louis County communities damaged in the aftermath of the Michael Brown grand jury announcement will receive $500,000 to help clean up and repair burned-out businesses.

KSDK-TV reports that Dellwood and Ferguson will receive the money from St. Louis County and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

County Executive Steve Stenger says the county will work with businesses owners to determine if structures need to be demolished.

Simon Cunningham/Flickr

There's a problem few are talking about when it comes to student debt. While the topic of undergrads taking out steep loans to pay for tuition costs often grabs the most attention, grad students face interest rates that are more than one third higher. But a group of students at the University of Missouri is trying to change that. Missouri Business Alert's Tatiana Darie spoke with the students of Grads Have Debt 2 about their efforts to achieve reform. 

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

pills
acephotos1 / dreamstime

 State officials say Missouri's Medicaid program will save an estimated $4.2 million in fiscal year 2016 by using a newer, cheaper drug to treat hepatitis C.

Tesla being unloaded from a trailer
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is suing the state revenue department for allowing an electric car maker to sell directly to customers.

The car dealers filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court claiming Missouri violated state law by licensing California-based Tesla Motors as a franchise.

Jacob Steimer/Missouri Business Alert

At the end of 2014, many Missouri United Way chapters came up short on their fundraising goals. Local charities felt the effects of low fundraising and different funding initiatives at the Heart of Missouri United Way in Columbia. Missouri Business Alert's Jacob Steimer reports on the impact that funding and program changes have had on mid-Missouri charities.

Chris Koster / Missouri Attorney General's Office

Tyson Foods Inc. will pay $539,000 for a chemical spill that killed more than 100,000 fish and caused a southwest Missouri town's wastewater treatment system to fail.

The settlement was announced Tuesday by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who sued the company last June.

Koster says that last May, Tyson discharged wastewater that contained an acidic animal feed supplement from its Aurora facility, eventually causing Monett's wastewater treatment system to fail and contaminating Clear Creek in Barry County.

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday began accepting tax returns electronically, and paper returns will begin to be processed at the same time. In a statement, the IRS reminded taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

In 1973, Burton Malkiel published a very readable guide to investing called A Random Walk Down Wall Street. He didn't rest with the first edition, though. Over the past 42 years — as we've lived through bubbles and crashes, scandals and fads — Malkiel has returned more than a few times to his seminal Walk.

In fact, this year he plans to release the book's 11th edition.

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

mamtek
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Attorneys say an investment firm has settled a federal lawsuit accusing it of bilking investors out of $39 million in a failed effort to build an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly. 

Haiti's magnitude 7.0 earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, left 220,000 people dead, 300,000 injured and rubble nearly everywhere.

The catastrophe also unleashed an unprecedented flood of humanitarian aid — $13.5 billion in donations and pledges, about three-quarters from donor nations and a quarter from private charity.

But today Haiti is a long, long way from realizing the bullish goal of "building back better."

In a move to cement their party's fiscal ideology, Republicans used the first vote of the new Congress to change the rules for estimating the economic consequences of major legislation.

jcarlosn / Flickr

  AAA says Missourians on average are paying the least for gas in the country and prices in Kansas are the third lowest in the U-S. 

jcarlosn / Flickr

Missouri is the first state in more than five years to have a statewide average gas price of below $2 a gallon, and Oklahoma is expected to get there by the weekend.

Ameren Missouri

FULTON, Mo. (AP) — Federal officials are delaying a decision on issuing a 20-year extension for the Callaway County nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the decision is on hold pending an administrative hearing on an environmental group's legal challenge regarding spent fuel rod storage.

Veterans United makes substantial donation

Dec 12, 2014
Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United Home Loans announced Thursday a $1 million dollar donation to the organization Welcome Home for the housing of Columbia's homeless veterans. The donation was made by the corporation on behalf of the employees. The former Deluxe Inn on Business Loop 70 East will be renovated into a campus with 25 on-site apartments known as Patriot Place.

Veterans United President of Strategic Operations Greg Steinhoff presented the check and says the donation is huge for supporting veterans.

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