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   Lawmakers in one West County community are against a merging of the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County.

   The Ballwin Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 Monday night to draft a resolution opposing a city-county merger.

   Alderman Frank Fleming was the lone no-vote.  Fleming says he couldn't approve the proposal because it wasn't on the agenda for Monday and had been introduced as an emergency measure. Fleming saysd he's in favor the resolution otherwise.

   The resolution will be on the agenda of the March 24 board meeting.

Published in Local News

A series of meeting start tomorrow. The purpose? To allow the public to discuss the feasibility of a city-county merger.

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 PM at the Cheshire Inn and will feature Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley. The group hosting the mmetings is Better Together. They describe themselves as a non-partisan effort to collect information on a possible merger.

St. Louis City and County have had separate governments since 1876, that is when the city broke away from the county. Better Together's sponsored meetings will run for the next 16 months.

Published in Local News

   CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A legislative panel studying a possible merger of St. Louis city and county governments is meeting in Clayton to hear public testimony on the idea.

   The Joint Interim Committee on St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area Governance and Taxation has a more straightforward mandate than its wordy name: help Missouri lawmakers determine whether combining the two governments into one makes fiscal and political sense.

   The city of St. Louis acts as its own county. Merger proponents say a union could save taxpayers money and reduce government duplication.

   Wednesday's hearing at the St. Louis County Council chambers in Clayton was scheduled to last more than five hours and consist entirely of public testimony.

 
Published in Local News

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is expected to announce their Bomb and Arson Unit will merge with St. Louis County's Bomb and Arson Squad .

The proposed merger is just the latest in a series of moves that the region’s two largest departments have made in the name of saving money on equipment and personnel costs.

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners is expected to approve an agreement Wednesday morning at their meeting. 
 
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports the proposal calls for the county’s four Bomb and Arson detectives and one sergeant to move to the city’s downtown headquarters to work with the city’s four detectives and one sergeant.  The entire unit is to report to a city police captain and split their shifts between days and evenings. 
 
 
Published in Local News

   Two St. Louis television stations are about to get a little cozier, as their parent companies become one.  Virginia-based Gannett Company, which owns KSDK (Channel 5) is buying Dallas-based Belo Corporation, which owns KMOV (Channel 4).  

   If Belo shareholders and the Federal Communications Commission sign off on the $1.5 billion deal, Gannett will grow from 23 stations nationwide, to 43.  

   Because of the FCC's media ownership limits, KMOV and four other Belo Stations will operate under the independent ownership of Jack Sanders.  The Phoenix man is a former Belo executive.  

   Gannet officials say the news and sales operations at KMOV will stay independent from those at KSDK.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - SSM Health Care, one of the largest Catholic health care providers in the U.S., plans to purchase the Dean Health Systems group in Wisconsin.

The merger announced Tuesday is pending approval of Dean physician shareholders and regulators. SSM says the transaction could be complete by this summer. Terms were not disclosed.

St. Louis-based SSM is a non-profit organization with 18 hospitals and other health care operations in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Dean Health Systems is a Madison, Wis.-based physician-owned organization with more than 60 clinics, plus eye care and pharmacy operations. It already partners with SSM for the Dean Health Plan insurance provider in Wisconsin.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 07:09

Office Depot, OfficeMax agree to merge

NEW YORK (AP) - Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax have agreed to merge in an all-stock deal that would transform the $21.2 billion office supply retail sector.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot Inc. and Naperville, Ill.-based OfficeMax say holders of OfficeMax shares will receive 2.69 shares of Office Depot for every OfficeMax share they own.

That's equal to about $13.50 per share, giving the deal a total value of about $1.2 billion.

Analyst say if the deal closes it would likely benefit the largest office supply player Staples Inc. because the combined entity will likely close stores.

   

 

Published in National News
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 02:28

WSJ: OfficeMax, Office Depot in merger talks

NEW YORK (AP) - The Wall Street Journal is reporting that OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot Inc. are talking about combining their companies.

The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, said yesterday that talks are at an advanced stage, and an announcement could come as early as this week.

Representatives of both companies declined to comment.

The office supply business is very competitive. Staples is a big player, along with Amazon and big discount stores such as Costco and Wal-Mart.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot has about 1,675 stores worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and Canada. OfficeMax, based in Naperville, Ill., has about 900 stores in the U.S. and Mexico. If the two companies merged, they could close stores that compete against each other, as well as reduce costs.
Published in National News

(ABC NEWS) American Airlines and US Airways announced Thursday they will merge their operations and become one airline, called American Airlines. Together, they are the world's largest airlines by passenger traffic.

The new airline will be led by US Airways CEO Doug Parker, while AMR Corp.'s Tom Horton will serve as Chairman of the combined airline's Board of Directors through its first annual meeting of shareholders. Parker will assume the additional position of Chairman of the Board after the first annual meeting of shareholders.

The new American Airlines will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth.

What does the merger mean for travelers? In the short term, little will change on day-to-day business. Longer term will likely be a different story.

Short term changes:

In the short-term, travelers will see virtually no changes from either airline. The merger still faces regulatory obstacles and must be approved by the Department of Transportation and the Justice Department. If and when it passes that scrutiny, the process of merging the two airlines' operations will begin.

If you're holding a ticket on US Airways or American Airlines, that ticket will still be valid on the airline you planned to fly, on the day and time you planned to fly it.

When you get to the airport, you will head to the same airline check-in counter by which your ticket was issued.

 The only possible exception is if you are holding a ticket for many months out and your airline's schedule changes as a result of the merger of flight schedules. In this case, you will be contacted by the airline ahead of time, typically to the email address you provided when the ticket was purchased.

Members of either airline's frequent flier programs need not worry: Your miles are still valid on your airline and it's very unlikely you'll lose miles or elite status. American and US Air will merge frequent flier programs. The new American Airlines will be part of the oneworld Alliance. US Airways will leave the Star Alliance.

Long term changes:

Longer term, the merger could mean higher prices. The U.S., in the last decade, has gone from six legacy carriers (Delta, Northwest, United, Continental, American and US Air) to four (Delta, United, American and US Airways).

If this merger is approved, just three legacy carriers will remain.

Certainly, the higher fares can't all be attributed to consolidation in the industry (fuel costs, a reduction in available seats and the economy all factor in) but in general, less competition means higher prices.

Higher airfare tends to hit smaller cities harder than larger cities, again, because smaller cities and airports have less competition.

On the up side, the merger will also mean more destinations for the new American Airlines. US Airways passengers will benefit from American's international routes, particularly in Europe and Latin America. American will be able to access the smaller U.S. cities where US Airways has a large presence. So for example, a US Airways flier who travels abroad from time to time will now be able to earn meaningful miles on those trips.

American Airlines has hubs and or a significant presence in Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, New York, Miami and Los Angeles while US Airways has key operations in Phoenix, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. A merger may force the new airline to reduce operations at one or more of these hubs.

Published in National News

They've been dating for a year, and now it looks as though the marriage of American Airlines and USAirways will be announced tomorrow, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The source tells ABC News that details of the merger agreement have been worked out.

The two airlines' Boards of Directors have approved the deal Wednesday evening, according to a source close to the negotiations.

If the two carriers merge, they are expected to retain the American Airlines name. The new airline would become the largest in the world.

Any deal is still subject to approval of the bankruptcy judge overseeing American Airline's bankruptcy, as well as the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice. Both are expected to sign off on the agreement.

This would be the third mega airline merger in the past five years. Delta and Northwest announced a merger in 2008, followed by United and Continental in 2010. The industry consolidation would leave four major carriers operating in the U.S., American, Delta, United, and low-coast carrier Southwest.

For travelers, nothing will change immediately.

These complicated mergers can take more than a year to accomplish. Will this ultimately mean higher fares for travelers?

Some analysts believe fares won't be greatly impacted, because American and USAirways don't compete now on many of their routes.

But ABC News Travel and Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown says less competition among airlines generally means higher prices for consumers.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com agrees, telling ABC News that a merger "guarantees these two airlines will never compete in the future, and competition is the main driver of cheaper airline ticket prices."

One thing travelers won't have to worry about is their coveted frequent flyer miles. The airlines will merge their two frequent flyer programs, and the larger route system will give passengers more opportunity to earn those miles.

Airline mergers can be messy affairs.

Brown notes that when United and Continental merged there were major computer glitches that virtually shut down their systems.

The biggest problem with most mergers, though, is consolidating employees and employee contracts. In this case, deals have already been worked out with pilots, flight attendants and mechanics, which will help ensure smoother sailing when and if the airlines combine.

Published in National News

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