May Department Stores of St. Louis is scaling back. May has announced it will close 34 stores, mainly Lord and Taylor stores in the south. The move will cost 3,700 workers their jobs. Executives with the department store chain, which includes Famous-Barr, Filene’s and Hecht’s, says the move will save the company $50-Million a year. The company says it wants to focus on Lord and Taylor’s core markets in the Northeast and Midwest. Stores in the St. Louis Galleria and West County Center in Des Peres will remain open.
Archives for July 2003
Civil rights activist and Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton of New York is coming to St. Louis to join in a protest designed to disrupte the 10th anniversary celebration of MetroLink. The president of MoKan, the Minority Contractors Association, says black St. Louis residents are upset with the level of minority participation in the building of light-rail. President Eddie Hasan claims minority firms have been awarded only five percent of the work. He would like to see that at 25 percent. About the protest, Hasan proclaims, “We’re crashing the party”.
The man who has been serving as Acting Director at the State Department of Agriculture can drop “acting” from his title. Peter Hofherr has been chosen by Governor Bob Holden to replace Lowell Mohler who is leaving the Department to serve on the Conservation Commission. He doesn’t plan any drastic changes. Hofherr says he wants to concentrate on three things: to take advantage of value-added agriculture, to tell the story of agriculture to a society that has fewer ties to the farm, and to create a flexible regulatory environment. Hofherr also expresses great concern for the state budget, saying that shrinking state revenues aren’t adequate to keep up with unfunded federal mandates. Hofherr was the State Agriculture Department’s Deputy Director before becoming Acting Director. He also handled special projects such as representing Governor Holden in discussions between the Midwestern Governor’s Association and the European Union on bio-technology
The bad economy might actually be good news for the health care jobs in the state. A new report by a hospital lobbying group says aging baby boomers and fewer health care professionals could spell trouble for the industry in the state. Mary Becker with the Missouri Hospital Association says the state is facing a shrinking workforce as more of the population ages and needs extended health care. And, Becker says if the trend continues more providers might have to cut services simply because there are not enough workers. But, she says the recent downturn in the economy might actually end up helping the shortage situation because more people will turn to the health care industry looking for a stable place to work. Becker says the Association helps hospitals and health care providers recruit more workers by letting students in middle and high schools know which courses they’ll need to focus on to qualify for a job later on.
Kansas City officials are keeping up the push to convince American Airlines to keep open its overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport and they’re asking for help from Governor Bob Holden. Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes has traveled to Jefferson City to discuss the issue with the Governor. Kansas City has already offered to put a $200-Million bond package on the table for American Airlines. As for whether that’s good enough to influence American’s decision, Mayor Kay Barnes won’t speculate. The state is kicking in about $600,000 of that total and is being asked for more. Governor Holden says the state wants to do its part to help sweeten he pot. American has indicated it will make a decision this Fall on the carrier’s KCI maintenance base and the 2,300 jobs at that facility. KCI is in competition with American facilities in Texas and Oklahoma.
The Royals are quickly losing their division lead. The White Sox set season-highs on Wednesday with 15 runs, 19 hits and six home runs in a 15-4 rout of Kansas City. Jose Valentin went deep three times for the White Sox, driving in five runs in the process. Paul Konerko hit a grand slam and had six RBI. The White Sox are now an AL-best 11-2 since the All-Star Game. The Royals began the second half with a seven-game lead over Chicago. That lead has now been trimmed to just two games.
The Cardinals buried the Expos with a quick start on Wednesday. The Redbirds put a seven-spot on the board in the first inning, en route to an 11-1 win over Montreal. Mike Matheny and Edgar Renteria each drove in three runs for St. Louis, which knocked Montreal starter Claudio Vargas out of the game after he gave up seven runs while recording just one out. Renteria also hit his 11th home run of the season. Rookie Dan Haren improved his record to 2-2. He threw four-hit, shutout baseball over seven innings.
Unemployment jumped in Missouri in June, up nearly a full percentage point from May’s figures. The state pegs the June unemployment rate at 5.8 percent, up from the May rate of 4.9 percent. Missouri remains under the national unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. The state blames the jump on normal seasonal factors that make the unemployment rate jump up each summer.
If you see flags at half-staff at state buildings, it’s becuase Governor Bob Holden has ordered them lowered in honor of Bob Hope. They’ll fly at full staff again tomorrow. Hope was not a Missourian, but entertained in several places here in his long career. One of his daughters went to college in St. Louis.
The State Supreme Court says caskets come under the state sales tax. But the Court says the burial vaults they are placed in are not. The Court says caskets are personal property, thus subject to the tax. But vaults are not tangible personal property, and are therefore tax exempt. A St. Louis funeral home had argued that it should not have to charge sales taxes because the customer does not own the casket until it is placed in the ground.