Sunday, March 3, 2013
There's a lot of rumor and rancor out there. Will the mandatory across-the-board cuts really affect us? Is it tough medicine we have to take? Or a fake crisis?
Well, it's happened. The deadline has come and gone for Congress and the president to agree on an alternative to mandatory across-the-board budget cuts known as "sequestration." That means possible cuts to the number of children who can attend Head Start early childhood education programs. And possible impacts on nonprofit organizations that rely on federal funding. The Social Security office in Creve Coeur, which serves a vast swath of the surrounding area, may see cuts in service as employees are furloughed. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 4,500 workers at Scott Air Force Base may see once-a-week furloughs through September. All this was supposed to be the bitter pill Congress and the president (and us) would have to swallow if …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Countless publications have pointed at legislation filed by pro-gun-ownership state Rep. Mike Leara as an example of how polarized the debate is.
Republican Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara of Sunset Hills launched a wave of blog posts and news articles this week (including an earlier article on Patch) when he introduced legislation that, if passed, would criminalize the act of introducing anti-gun legislation. That's right: Proposing a law could get a member of the General Assembly thrown in the slammer. Of course, it won't pass. Even he says so, in a statement widely repeated around the Internet in which he calls the proposed law a "statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians." His proposal would make it a class D felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, to introduce legislation that restricts gun ownership. That has made a list by Politico of …
Sunday, February 17, 2013
As of the end of January, merchants in Missouri could start charging an extra fee when you use your credit card. Has it curtailed your use of a credit card?
Missouri is one of 40 states in the nation that now allows merchants to charge an extra "checkout fee" when customers use their credit cards, according to the International Business Times. The merchants got that authority starting in the last Sunday of January after settlement in a case involving millions of merchants against Visa, MasterCard and nine major credit card issuing banks. The case involved claims of price fixing among issuers on credit card fees charged to merchants. In the settlement, credit card issuers agreed to reduce those "swipe fees" for eight months. CNN Money says the settlement also let retailers add a surcharge if a customer uses a credit card to cover the processing costs of about 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the …
Saturday, February 9, 2013
The president of the Kirkwood-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod asked for an apology from a pastor who participated in an interfaith vigil after the shootings.
A few days after the shooting in Newtown, CT, that killed 20 children and six adults, the community gathered with a variety of clergy leaders representing a number of faiths for a prayer service and vigil. That didn't sit well with the president of the conservative, Kirkwood-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. A pastor from Christ the King Lutheran Church, a Missouri Synod church in Newtown, was among those who participated. And the president of the synod, The Rev. Matthew Harrison, asked that pastor to apologize, as reported in an article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday. The Post's coverage summarizes the issue thusly: The synod forbids "worship services that blend the beliefs and practices of Lutherans with those of other …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 14,000 for the first time in five years. Is that a sign that the economy is getting better?
For the first time in five years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 14,000 on Friday afternoon. Predictably, that means different things to different people. Some observers saw it as a sign that the economy is on its way back. Others consider it a hallmark of an overheated market, and that nothing will come of it but woe. "To some, it's an important booster to hearts and minds, making investors feel optimistic and thus more willing to bet on the market," according to an Associated Press report published Friday on STLtoday.com. Also on Friday, the New York Times reported on some glimmers of hope in the job market, including this note: "On the bright side, revised government data showed that the economy added 335,000 more jobs …
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The St. Louis Rams have options in the suburbs. But they want the Edward Jones Dome to be shaped up to their liking.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been reporting extensively on the negotiations between the St. Louis Rams and city leaders over the state of the home field, the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams' lease calls for the team to play in a "top-tier" stadium. The team says the Dome is no longer in that category and has been renegotiating that lease in order to get the upgrades it says it must have to stay put. The newspaper reported that arbitration is underway over the issue, with the three arbitrators preparing to decide on a plan by the Convention and Visitors' Bureau, the Rams, or some option they come up with themselves. Meanwhile, the newspaper also reports that there are attractive locations in the St. Louis suburbs where a new, roomy home …
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Everyone's got a story about the St. Louis Cardinals' legend, right? Musial died Saturday.
Stan "The Man" Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals legend who was widely considered "the greatest Cardinal," died on Saturday. That's the news that broke on Saturday. Today, we're interested in your stories about the pitcher-cum-outfielder who played for the Redbirds from 1941 to 1963. As a relatively newcomer to St. Louis (only here 11 years!) I can't say I have a lot of memories of Musial beyond meeting countless compatriots at the Musial statue at the last two versions of Busch Stadium. How about you? What do you remember about Musial? Your parents' memories? Yours?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Take a shot at our question of the week.
Gov. Jay Nixon visited Nixa, MO, last week to sing the praises of John Thomas School of Discovery and the Nixa School District’s Early Learning Center. He noted in his visit that Missouri students should be in school longer. The state's required school year is 174 days—the fourth shortest in the country. Nixon would like to extend the school year to the national average of 180 days. And at the John Thomas school, the year is 194 days. In a news release, Nixon said students should be in school as long as "their peers in other states." "My budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include resources to support additional school days," the governor said. "Investing in our public schools is the right thing to do for our kids and our economy." …
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Are you expecting to see more or less in your paycheck this year? Do you think Congress blew it? Should there have been more spending cuts?
I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those folks worrying about the "tax increase for the rich" that was conceived in the fiscal cliff deal lawmakers finally approved on Day 2 of the new year. I'm not making $400,000 a year. Combined, my wife and I are nowhere near $450,000 a year. So, no worries. But for all the talk about "protecting the middle class," I'm apparently about to see a change in my take-home pay, thanks to the Jan. 2 deal that averted large across-the-board spending cuts and automatic reversal of some tax cuts. "Technically, income tax rates that were set to go up were actually left alone, except for individuals and couples earning more than $400,000 and $450,000 respectively," according to this Yahoo! Finance article …
Sunday, December 30, 2012
One item on your April 2013 ballot might be a plan to raise sales taxes across St. Louis to pay for improvements in area parks and at the Gateway Arch.
When the April 2013 election arrives, you might be asked to vote on a potential hike to sales taxes in the city of St. Louis and both St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Keep this in mind. The increase would be 3/16 of one cent, and would help pay for improvements in area parks and at the Gateway Arch, among other things, reports the St. Louis Beacon. In a Dec. 13 article, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the money collected from the tax increase would be split in the following ways: The Missouri General Assembly approved the tax over the summer, but it still requires regional support across St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch reported. If lawmakers in St. Louis and both counties approve the issue, then it is expected to appear before …