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Missouri businesses will pay higher unemployment taxes next year in order to pay down a state debt to the federal government.

Missouri began borrowing from the federal government in 2008 to pay jobless benefits after an economic downturn drained the state's unemployment benefits trust fund. That debt has remained outstanding for several years.

Businesses are paying a surcharge of $42 per employee this year to help pay down that debt. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says businesses will have to pay $63 per employee in 2014.

University of Missouri curators have approved the merger of university-owned St. Louis Public Radio with the online St. Louis Beacon newspaper.

The National Public Radio affiliate is based at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and one of three public radio stations owned by the university system. The Beacon is a nonprofit news site started in 2008 by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters and editors.

The merger will also mean more involvement by the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia with its sister St. Louis campus.

A top senator says he supports special tax incentives to entice the Boeing Co. to build a new airplane in Missouri.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said Friday that it should be "a no-brainer" for lawmakers to authorize incentives for Boeing. He says it could mean thousands of jobs and a massive boost to the economy.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday that he's working quickly and aggressively to lure Boeing. Missouri is competing with several other states to produce the Boeing 777X. Nixon says a decision could come as soon as January.

train
ianmunroe / flickr

A new railroad bridge east of Missouri's capital city is opening with hopes of clearing the final major bottleneck for train traffic between St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Meg Goddard knows how hard the transition is for international students going to college in the United States.  That’s why she and fellow Columbia College student Jovan Ilic are starting a business called “Fresh Start” to help students coming from other countries feel a little more at home right away.

Report shows declines in Mo. unemployment rate

Nov 19, 2013
Unemployment office
ForwardSTL

Newly released figures show Missouri's unemployment rate declined in September and October and now stands at 6.5 percent.

The state Department of Economic Development released employment figures Tuesday. The two months were combined in the same report because of the partial federal government shutdown in October.

Payrolls in September declined by 5,500 jobs, including a drop of 3,700 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector. Trade, transportation and utilities increased by 3,300 jobs.

Student associations push for later bar closing time

Nov 19, 2013
beer tap
bighamdesign / flickr

Columbia nightlife may be extended for an extra hour. 

Airports contribute $11 billion to Missouri's economy

Nov 18, 2013
airplane
clarkmaxwell / Flickr

The 108 airports in Missouri contributed $11 billion to Missouri’s economy, with $3.1 billion of that coming from 100,621 jobs, according to a study released by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The study looked at direct impact money, which includes the salaries of airport workers, ticket revenue and contractors hired for construction. In addition to the direct impact, there is indirect impact money that includes hotel room and rental car sales.

Jim McKelvey
Scott Pham / KBIA

It's a story you hear mostly from Silicon Valley: the "tech talent shortage." But it's a problem that affects the Midwest, too. Some are saying that the talent shortage is the single biggest obstacle holding back an emerging field of Midwestern tech companies--the very companies that could provide the jobs of the near future.

Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Just like Silicon Valley, there is a shortage of tech talent -- specifically programming talent -- right here in the Midwest. That dearth is the biggest obstacle holding back an emerging field of Midwestern tech startups. KBIA’s Scott Pham reports that one St. Louis native thinks he has an answer.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A controversial new frac sand mine expects to hear soon if its permit has been issued allowing it to set up shop in Ste. Genevieve County. The sand from these types of mines is used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Much of the Ste. Genevieve community is upset with how they say the company, Summit Proppants, essentially sneaked into their backyard.

Lance Cheung for USDA / Flickr

Missouri utility regulators have signed off on an agreement involving Ameren Missouri over solar rebates.

Ameren Missouri asked the Public Service Commission last month for permission to suspend payment of the rebates.

The agreement approved Wednesday calls for the utility to continue the rebates up to a maximum of nearly $92 million. Ameren had paid nearly $22 million from August 2012 through October of this year.

gavel
Flickr / steakpinball

A northeast Missouri community has agreed to pay $95,000 to end its involvement in a lawsuit filed by investors in a failed artificial sweetener plant.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Moberly and the Moberly Industrial Development Authority have settled a lawsuit filed by Shelter Insurance Cos. and other Mamtek investors.

The city filed notice of the deal with the Missouri Supreme Court this week and asked it to dismiss a pending case to determine whether the city could be forced to take part in the suit.

faucet
Jenn Durfey / flickr

With the approach of the winter season, managers at Columbia Water & Light are urging Columbia residents to maximize the energy efficiency of their homes.  

Money
401K / Flickr

Missouri's minimum wage will rise by 15 cents an hour in January.

New YMCA may develop in Ashland

Nov 6, 2013
kids jumping
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Ashland residents may see a new YMCA -- that's because a committee said it wants to raise $500,000 in the next 5 years to jump start a new branch of the Jefferson City Area YMCA. 

Spokesperson, George Hartsfield, of the Jefferson City Area YMCA, is overseeing the committee’s proposal. He said he wants the public to know the $500,000 isn’t necessarily going to build a new gym just yet.

airplane
clarkmaxwell / Flickr

The Columbia Regional Airport is adding a second daily flight to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Coming up we’ll check in with some farm families about their surprising amount corn crop this year.

Monsanto breaking ground on Chesterfield project

Oct 22, 2013
monsanto
stevecadman / Flickr

A $400 million expansion announced by Monsanto in April is starting in earnest with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Chesterfield research center site.

The agricultural products company says it expects to bring 675 new jobs to the region over the next three years.

Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to join Monsanto officials at the ceremony Tuesday, just as he did when the company first unveiled the project at an international biotechnology conference in Chicago.

www.gocolumbiamo.com

New York development firm Park 7 Group is considering a 24-story, luxury housing complex in downtown Columbia. The building – which would surpass the city’s next tallest by nine stories – would include several hundred units targeted toward students and young professionals.

The property’s location at the corner of Elm and 6th streets is classified as C-2 zoning. Bengal’s Bar & Grill operates there right now.

Belgian firm buying Missouri's Boulevard Brewing

Oct 18, 2013
Boulevard Brewing Company
KellyK / flickr

One of America's largest craft beer makers, Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing, is being sold to Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat.

Heather Adams / KBIA

Wild dogs, coyotes, and bobcats are just some of the predators that have always been a threat to ranchers who raise sheep or goats. Traditionally, people think of getting dogs to help protect their flocks and herds. But there is another option and it’s becoming more popular among ranchers. Guard donkeys. KBIA’s Heather Adams has more.

Lance Cheung for USDA / Flickr

Missouri's largest utility, Ameren Missouri, is seeking an early halt to a solar rebate program that rewards consumers for using alternative energy sources.

Kansas City Power & Light made a similar request in July.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Ameren Missouri is asking the Missouri Public Service Commission for permission to curtail payment of millions of dollars in solar rebates before the year's end.

The company says it has received more than $35 million in solar rebate requests, creating a financial strain.

Fast food
GrantGerlock

New research from UC Berkeley shows that American taxpayers pay nearly $7 billion a year to fund government assistance programs for fast-food workers. In Missouri, it costs $146 million a year.

DirecTV, Networks of Mid-Missouri in a dispute

Oct 15, 2013
television set
videocrab / flickr

A local TV company’s contract negotiations are making some headlines in mid-Missouri.

Because of a dispute in contractual agreements, ABC affiliate KMIZ, Fox affiliate KQFX and MyZouTV will not be shown on DirecTV until a resolution is made. The three channels operate under the umbrella of The Networks of Mid-Missouri.

According to its website, the two main issues with The Networks of Mid-Missouri are:

“(1) the price DIRECTV is willing to pay the station for the right to resell the station’s signal

SSM Health Care confirms nearly 600 layoffs

Oct 15, 2013
hospital room
Fotos GOVBA / flicker

The parent company of St. Mary’s Health Center, SSM Health Care, has announced the details of a reorganization resulting in the elimination of 586 positions across its network of hospitals and clinics. Last week, SSM officials said the company could not confirm or deny reports of coming layoffs.

SSM cut 206 jobs in St. Louis and 10 jobs at St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City. The company owns and operates 18 hospitals in Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Missouri. Prior to the layoffs, SSM employed roughly 30,000 people – about 1,600 of which worked at St. Mary’s.

Why are there so many billboards in Missouri?

Oct 11, 2013
plainsart / Flickr

This week CoMo Explained tries to answer that question all your out-of-state friends keep asking you: "What's with all the billboards around here?"

Ryan Famuliner knows the experience well: a friend drives into town to hang out for the weekend and the first thing he says is "hey, what's with the billboards advertising sex shops and strip clubs?"

Jefferson City residents using Allied Waste services will see an increase in their monthly bill. City officials met with Allied Waste Management on Monday, October 7 and approved a 3% increase to the city’s residential service costs.

The new agreement will affect all residents using Allied Waste services.  Costs will vary depending on what container the residents use. For example, people with a 64-gallon waste container will see a projected cost increase of $6.23 per year.

Moberly City Council chooses contractor for demolition projects

Oct 10, 2013

The Moberly community has slated seven condemned properties for demolition. City Council members last night voted to contract with Phil Wilson LLC for the demolition work because it had the lowest estimated cost for the work.

Mayor John Kimmons says the properties are slated for demolition to open up the properties for future development and to maintain the neighborhoods as best as possible.

"We identify residences that have been condemned or not kept up and so what we try and do is budget to take those down and improve the area and the neighborhood," Kimmons said.

This week, we’ll take a look into one state some students at giving food stamps to the unemployed.

An outbreak of salmonella linked to raw chicken is spreading across the country. As Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports, the partial government shutdown could make it tougher to track.

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