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Sherman A1

Sherman A1's Journal
Sherman A1's Journal
May 31, 2013

Settlement raises questions about coal ash in Missouri

The owner of a Jefferson County business reached a settlement with regulators requiring the repair of environmental damage at a site where 140,000 tons of Ameren Missouri coal ash was dumped.

The Environmental Protection Agency claims unauthorized disposal of ash, which contains harmful metal like arsenic, chromium and selenium, fouled wetlands, a tributary to Plattin Creek and part of Willers Lake in Jefferson County. All of the ash came from Ameren's Rush Island plant just a couple of miles away.

The settlement announced Thursday requires the owner of the site, Rotary Drilling Supply Inc., to place a protective cap over still-existing ash piles to prevent runoff and take other short- and long-term measures to prevent further migration of pollutants and restore impacted wetlands. The company must submit plans within a month of the settlement being finalized.

Environmental advocates believe the site in Jefferson County is just one of many spots across Missouri where the placement of coal ash, the waste produced when coal is burned to produce electricity, has fouled ground and surface waters.


May 31, 2013

St. Louis Fed: Average household far from regaining pre-recession wealth

ST. LOUIS • The average U.S. household has a long way to go to recover the wealth it lost to the recession, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis concluded Thursday.

The typical household has regained less than half its wealth, the analysis says. A separate Federal Reserve report in March calculated that Americans as a whole had regained 91 percent of their losses.

Household wealth plunged $16 trillion from the third quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2009. By the final three months of 2012, American households as a group had regained $14.7 trillion.

Yet once those figures are adjusted for inflation and population growth, the average household has recovered only 45 percent of its wealth, the St. Louis Fed concluded.


May 31, 2013

Express Scripts to hire 100 more in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. • St. Louis-based Express Scripts is planning to hire up to 100 people in Joplin for customer service jobs.

The Joplin Globe reports the pharmacy benefits management company and Joplin officials announced the plan Thursday.

Express Scripts manages more than a billion prescriptions each year for millions of patients in the U.S.

The company said the customer service representatives will work from their homes after training at the Joseph Newman Business and Technology Innovation Center in downtown Joplin. They will be given all the necessary equipment to work at home as customer service representatives.


May 30, 2013

Woman upset TV from Walmart wouldn't work

MARIN CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Imagine you bought an expensive big screen TV and it simply didn't work. That's what happened to a Marin County woman who says her TV came from the store already broken.

Flat screen TVs give you great pictures but the slightest crack can disable the entire set and most warranties won't cover cracked screens. This woman says her brand new TV cracked coming out of the box, but the warranty didn't cover a repair and she couldn't return it to the store.


She contacted 7 On Your Side and we contacted Walmart and two weeks later, the retailer gave her a call. "They said, 'So what's going on with your TV?'" said Barnes.

Walmart agreed to take back the TV and provide a full refund. A Walmart spokesperson said it was not clear what caused the cracks, but: "This is not the experience we want our customers to have. Ultimately we did the right thing by taking care of Ms. Barnes and resolved the issue with her."


Really love the "Ultimately we did the right thing" comment, like they couldn't have done this from the start?

May 30, 2013

New $229 iPod Touch loses rear camera, color options

Apple has quietly begun selling a new version of the iPod Touch today.

The classic 32GB iPod Touch costs $299 and the 64GB version is $399 -- making the new 16GB iPod Touch the cheapest version currently available, with a price tag of $229.

Meanwhile, Apple dropped the 16GB 3.5-inch Touch that it had been selling for $199.

Although the latest iPod Touch offers only half the storage, it features a 4-inch Retina display and is powered by a dual-core A5 processor.


May 30, 2013

Probe of well-connected truck stop chain may widen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The federal investigation into the truck stop chain owned by the family of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam led to its first convictions this week and threatens to widen against employees at Pilot Flying J.

Court documents allege that sales teams were being trained on how to scam the company's customers out of rebates and get away with it.

Pilot's regional sales director and regional accounts representative both pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The pleas were entered in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Prosecutors have offered to recommend a much lighter sentence for both employees provided they cooperate with federal investigators and reveal the extent of how many people in the company knew about the fraud.

The Knoxville-based chain is run by CEO Jimmy Haslam, the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Pilot Flying J, the country's largest diesel retailer with annual revenues of $31 billion, was founded by their father.


May 30, 2013

Lopsided Funding In Nearing 8th District Special Election

The race to replace Missouri Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson’s district has been relatively low-key.

The district is seen as reliably conservative. With just eight days left before the 8th Congressional District’s special election in southeast Missouri, the fundraising battle is heavily lopsided in favor of Republican candidate Jason Smith. Smith has raised twice as much as his Democratic opponent, and his Communications Director, Justin Gibbs, says that’s for a reason.

“People want this district to be a check on the Obama administration," Gibbs said. "People are giving to Jason’s campaign because they know he’s not going to be afraid to stand up to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”

The Democratic candidate, Steve Hodges, on the other hand, says the race is about protecting Social Security and Medicare, since the 8th has a high proportion of elderly voters.


May 30, 2013

Patriot Coal Wins Leave to Cut Retiree Pensions, Benefits

Patriot Coal Corp. (PCXCQ), the bankrupt mining company, won court approval of a proposal to reduce pensions and benefits to 13,000 unionized workers and retirees.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States in St. Louis today approved the company’s request after a week-long hearing earlier this month in which protesters gathered outside the courthouse. The union said in a statement after her ruling that it intends to appeal in a federal court. Patriot said it won’t impose the cuts without first trying to negotiate a resolution.

Patriot has already been through 12 rounds of negotiations with the United Mine Workers of America, disputing the outlook for coal prices, the fairness of its proposal to retired miners and the possibility of recoveries from a potential lawsuit over Peabody Energy Corp (BTU)’s 2007 spinoff of Patriot.

“As it happens so much in life, a mutually satisfactory resolution was out of reach,” Surratt-States said in the ruling. She overruled objections from the unions and said that without relief from its retiree costs, the company would be forced to liquidate.


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