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  Ameren Corp. is promoting Warner Baxter to president of the St. Louis-based utility, effective immediately, and he'll become CEO this spring.

Baxter is a longtime executive at Ameren. He succeeds Thomas Voss, who will retire on July 1.

Ameren said Tuesday that Baxter also has been elected to the board of directors. He will become chief executive on April 24 — the day Voss will become Ameren's executive chairman.

Ameren Missouri

Two separate complaints were filed by Noranda Aluminum against Ameren Missouri after data showed Ameren earned more than what the state allows.

Columbia reports low unemployment rate

Feb 13, 2014
downtown columbia
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

The city of Columbia reported a significant decrease in its residents’ unemployment rate in December 2013.

Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

    

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter.

But it's not just homes that lack adequate access to heating energy. Harvest Public Media's Peter Gray reports on the recent fuel shortage, and how it's hitting farms that put bacon and eggs on your plate in the morning.

If you are a fan of wine, particularly European wines, from France, Italy or Germany, you can be proud of the role Missouri plays in creating that wine.

propane tank
ryochiji / Flickr

Missouri residents and farmers who buy propane using the market price have suffered as prices have increased to unusually high levels in recent weeks across the Midwest. 

Two bills that would each try to end the so-called "border war" among business interests in the Kansas City area were heard Wednesday by two Missouri legislative committees.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Monday’s Morning Edition on NPR featured a story about a Columbia biotech startup. We thought we’d give it an encore run on KBIA in case you missed it. After hearing Shihab’s unique story, I called Laurel Smith-Doer, who’s a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She’s studied immigrant and women entrepreneurs in biotech in the New England area. I asked her what she’s found in her research.

propane tank
ryochiji / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon is making $15 million available to help Missourians cope with rising propane prices.

Nixon says the money would allow low-income people to continue heating their homes even though gas prices have increased to more than $4 per gallon.

The funds would come from the federal government's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Nixon is also doubling the amount each household can receive for propane assistance.

The Missouri Propane Gas Association says the high costs are due to increased exports, colder weather and higher-than-expected crop yields.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

This week, NPR is airing a piece about Jordanian businesswoman Penelope Shihab who has launched a startup company in Columbia.  She is already the CEO of the biotech company MONOJO in Jordan where her company produces a skin care line using antibodies found in camel milk.

FHKE via Flickr

Kansas City business leaders told an advisory group that Kansas City International Airport has become outdated and gives visitors a mediocre first impression.

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce president Jim Heeter told the KCI Terminal Advisory Group on Tuesday that many chamber members want a more modern airport that will appeal to businesses.

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri employers could save $186 million in federal taxes after a revised projection indicates money borrowed to pay jobless benefits will be repaid early.

Trains
The Wingy / Flickr

Missouri transportation officials are taking a closer look at how freight can be moved more efficiently across the state by trucks, barges, planes and trains.

Authorities say a twin-engine prop plane has made an emergency landing in a field in central Missouri.

Southern Boone County Fire Protection District Lieutenant Corey Sapp says no one was injured when the plane landed in a soybean field near Ashland on Thursday afternoon.

The Columbia Tribune reports that Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane is registered to Alelco Incorporated of New Bloomfield. The company's website says it designs, installs and maintains "Electrical, Cathodic Protection and Instrumentation systems" for the water tank industry.

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

A trip to Columbia paid off handsomely for an east-central Missouri man.

 

Bryan Boudria, of Sullivan, won a $2 million "Mega Monopoly" scratchers prize earlier this month. He bought the ticket at Mosers convenience store, while on down time from a program he was attending at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia.

Missouri Lottery officials announced in a news release that Boudria received a ceremonial check Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Jefferson City.

Boudria opted to take a $1.3 million lump sum before taxes.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing an additional $4.5 million for a program that offers customized worker training for companies that create or retain jobs in Missouri.

The governor said Thursday the funding boost would go to Missouri Works Training. Nixon will release his budget recommendations next week for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Nixon's office says Missouri Works Training last year helped train more than 35,000 workers at 339 companies statewide.

Andrew Magill / Flickr

Supporters and critics of Missouri tax cut plans both are pointing to the results of recent tax cuts in Kansas.

Several business groups testified during a Senate committee hearing Thursday that Missouri must cut taxes to discourage employers in the Kansas City area from moving across the state line.

But opponents said Kansas revenues and education funding have suffered as a result of its tax cuts.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A new natural and specialty grocery store opened its doors in downtown Columbia this week.

The Colorado-based Lucky’s Market kicked off its launch Wednesday with a bacon cutting ceremony and a $10,000 donation to the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture. Lucky’s Market is expected to create about 100 jobs with its new shop in the old Osco Drug building. The location also resides on the edge of a "food desert" according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

mamtek
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A bankruptcy trustee has filed lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages against former officials with Mamtek, the company behind a failed plan to build a sweetener facility in Moberly.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Trustee Bruce Strauss filed lawsuits last week seeking repayment of $7 million that former officers and agents of Mamtek received. The lawsuits also seek actual damages of $72 million and punitive damages.

Newly released documents show Missouri was in the running for a new Boeing assembly plant right up until the company decided to stay in Washington state.

Documents provided to The Associated Press on Monday under a Sunshine Law request show Boeing officials visited St. Louis on Dec. 28 to check out Missouri's proposal.

A follow-up visit was scheduled for Jan. 4. But that was cancelled after union members in Washington voted Jan. 3 to accept Boeing's contract proposal. The company then said it would build the 777X airplane there.

www.timwjones.com

The first bill being considered by a Missouri House committee this year would prohibit the payment of union fees from being a condition of employment.

The legislation, known as "right to work," is scheduled for a Monday hearing in the House Workplace Development and Workplace Safety Committee.

It is a top priority for Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka. He led a rally of about 100 activists in support of the bill before the legislative session opened last week.

JoePolman / Flickr

Missouri's population continues to grow at a slower rate than the national average.

New estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Missouri's population of 6 million grew by fewer than 20,000 people from 2012 to 2013. That's a growth rate of about one-third of a percent.

Nationally, the population is estimated to have risen by 0.7 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Missouri's growth of 0.3 percent was typical for the Midwest. It was better than Illinois, about the same as Arkansas, Kansas and Kentucky, but lagged behind the rest of its neighboring states.

money
File Photo / Flickr

Wages will rise for Missouri's low-income workers and taxes will fall for some corporations when the new year arrives.

Missouri's minimum wage will increase for about 100,000 workers from $7.35 an hour to $7.50. The increase is a result of an annual inflationary adjustment included in a law passed by voters in 2006.

The state's corporate franchise tax rate also will ratchet down in 2014. That's the result of a 2011 law passed by legislators that gradually phases out the franchise tax by 2016.

FKHE / Flickr

A group has delivered more signatures on a petition aimed at forcing a public vote on a proposal to rebuild Kansas City International Airport.

Citizens for Responsible Government/Friends of KCI delivered nearly 1,600 more petition signatures to City Hall on Monday.

The Kansas City Star reports the signatures delivered Monday now have to be checked by the election board.

St. Louis city and county lost population in the 2010 census which created big concerns about the region’s future.

In reaction, the area's civic leaders quickly turned their attention to immigrants.

Foreign born residents make up less than 5 percent of the metropolitan area, far below most other major U.S. cities.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project came together this last year to address the issue.

Michael R. Allen / flickr

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is preparing for a surge in visitors as the busy travel period surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day begins Friday.

Public Relations Manager Jeff Lea says the airport is expecting a 15 to 20 percent increase from normal passenger traffic at peak travel times over the next two weeks.

“The biggest travel day prior to Christmas for air travel is going to be Friday,” he said.

In addition, he adds that holiday travelers can expect to be flying with a significant number of men and women in uniform as well.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

There will be no farm bill until Congress returns in the New Year. But it turns out, dairy prices won’t surge on January 1st as some farm bill supporters have suggested. Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to China this week. It’s a trade visit that happens every year, but this time there is added interest for American farmers. China has rejected 5 loads of corn from the U.S. in recent weeks. The corn contained an insect-resistant trait from the seed company, Syngenta, that’s approved in the U.S. but not China.

forwardstl / flickr

Missouri's unemployment rate declined in November while payrolls expanded by 15,000 jobs.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday the jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent in November from 6.5 percent in October.

The leading gainer was educational and health services, which added 5,200 jobs last month. The construction sector grew by 2,300 and professional and business services increased by 2,000 jobs. The information, leisure and hospitality sectors each declined by 200 jobs.

horse
gnuru / Flickr

After months of legal wrangling and false starts in a battle to resume domestic horse slaughter, plants in Missouri and New Mexico are working to begin processing equine for human consumption.

Missouri will receive more than $100,000 from its participation in two multistate settlements with insurance companies.

horse
gnuru / Flickr

A federal appeals court has cleared the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to resume domestic horse slaughter.

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