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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Wal-Mart is seeking to intervene in a dispute about electric rates between Ameren Missouri and its largest electric customer.

Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation has sought about a 25 percent reduction in the rate Ameren charges at its aluminum smelter in the southeastern Missouri town of New Madrid.

Wal-Mart filed a motion Friday with the Missouri Public Service Commission asking to intervene in the case.

In its filing, Wal-Mart says a lower rate for Noranda could significantly affect its own electric bills. Wal-Mart operates 73 stores in Missouri that consume a combined 190 million kilowatts per hour in electricity.

Noranda says Ameren is overearning and that lowering its rate would only increase other customers' bills by 1.8 percent or less. Ameren disagrees and says it will fight the rate reduction.

Published in Local News
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal officials have filed a formal complaint charging that Wal-Mart violated the rights of protesting and striking workers last year.
 
The National Labor Relations Board says Wal-Mart illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 100 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions.
 
The labor board's general counsel first laid out the charges last November, but held off on filing a complaint while trying to work out a settlement with Wal-Mart. The company has insisted its actions were legal and justified.
 
The complaint will go before an administrative law judge. If Wal-Mart is found liable, it could be required to award workers back pay, reinstatement and reverse any disciplinary action.
Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) - Three people participating in a New York City protest against Walmart have been taken into police custody.

About 20 employees, former employees and supporters gathered Thursday outside a Manhattan building where a member of the company's board of directors has an office. They delivered a petition calling for improved working conditions and reinstatement of workers they say were fired for engaging in labor activities.

Police say one man and two women were charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the entrance to the building and trespassing.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is based in Bentonville, Ark. It calls the New York protest "a show" put on by union activists from other states. It says in a statement the "vast majority" of its workers don't share the opinions of the protesters.

Published in National News

   The conditional use permits issued for a proposed new Walmart in Ellisville are set to expire Thursday, and the fate of the project remains unclear.  

   Developer Sansone won a major court challenge to the $50 million project last week, but still has acquired only about eight acres of land and that doesn't include the Clarkchester Apartments.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that contracts Sansone had with some of the complex's nine owners expired in July, and at least two have declined to renew.  

   The city issued a building permit Wednesday and Public Works Director Bill Schwer told the paper Sansone could break ground Thursday on the property it does own.  

   But at Wednesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Adam Paul asked City Attorney George Restovich to find out if the city could legally terminate its agreement with Sansone which includes $10 million in tax increment financing approved last year, before half the council was replaced in the last election.  

   Also Wednesday night, the City Council voted 4-3 to have Restovich draft a resolution terminating long-time City Manager Kevin Bookout, a proponent of the project.  Bookout was also involved in the attempt to oust Mayor Paul earlier this year, but Paul says Bookout's termination isn't about revenge.

 

Published in Local News

   One more obstacle to the proposed Ellisville Walmart is out of the way.  An appeals court has sided with the developer after a resident had sued the city for issuing a conditional use permit to for construction of the 155,000 square foot retail store.  

   Thomas DeBold had sued claimed that city officials had ignored resident's concerns and that the Walmart will negatively impact traffic, overtax utilities and city services.  Circuit Court Judge David Lee Vincent had sided with the city, and the appeals court upheld Vincent's ruling.  

   But it may be too little too late, since the permit expires September 5th and the Ellisville City Council last week declined to extend it.  

Published in Local News

   The development of a new Walmart in Ellisville will move forward despite the developer's failure to win a permit extension from the city council.

   Walmart’s director of public affairs Chris Neeley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the extension was sought to give the builders breathing room, but that the company will continue to work to see the project through.  

   Sansone's current permit runs out in just over two weeks. 

   The Ellisville City Council voted 3-3 Wednesday night to deny Sansone Group's request for a 180 day extension of a conditional use permit for construction of the project. 

   The Post reports that Mayor Adam Paul, whose campaign for office was based on his opposition the tax-supported project, and Aldermen Linda Reel and Mick Cahill rejected the request.

   Aldermen Matt Pirrello, Cindy Pool and Roz Acup backed the extension.

   Alderman Gary Voss was absent.

   
Published in Local News

   Police are hoping store surveillance images can help catch a pair of thieves who targeted an elderly woman at a St. Charles Walmart.  

   Police say a woman posed as a personal shopper, telling the victim that she worked for the store.  She helped the woman with her purchases, and offered to help her load groceries into her car.  While loading groceries, the woman reportedly took the victim's wallet from her purse, then got into a car being driven by a male accomplice.  

   The victim lost several hundred dollars in cash.  

   Anyone with information is asked call St. Charles Police at (636) 949-3344.

 

Published in Local News

   Despite opposition from reinstated Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul, tax breaks for a proposed Walmart development are moving forward, albeit slowly.  The City Council voted 4-3 Wednesday night to authorize TIFs for project developer Sansone Group.  

   The vote came after Jim Sansone and Mayor Paul exchanged heated words during the packed meeting.  Sansone promised court action if the council reversed their 2012 approval of the development.  Paul acknowledged his continued opposition, but also recognized that the council majority would rule.  

   A second vote is needed to finalized the bill.  That's expected to happen at a special council meeting later this month.

Published in Local News
The Ellisville City Council won't hold an impeachment hearing for suspended Mayor Adam Paul until they night before the next city election is held. The Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to push back the hearing until April 1.

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Pirrello told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Paul's attorney had asked for the extra five days in order to prepare his defense.

The council had suspended Paul February 27 on charges that he violated the city's charter. Paul has maintained that the action stemmed from his vigorous opposition to a controversial tax increment financing for a Walmart development.

Three city council seats will be decided in the April 2nd election.

Also last night, the City Council rejected tax incentives for a second proposed development from Sansone Group. The developer had already won a TIF for a Walmart project.
Published in Local News
The same developer behind a controversial Walmart project in Ellisville may have a tougher time winning public financing for a new project. Sansone unveiled plans Monday night for a 30-million dollar, 12 acres retail and restaurant development on land adjacent to the Walmart site.

They also asked for more tax-payer financing, but the Economic Development Commission rejected the plan.

Commission chairman Tom Weis says they were hoping for something more than another shopping center. Weis said they want something "tying in with the great streets concept; trying to build these little pods people can live in, work in, they can shop in."

Tax Increment Financing has been a hot-button issue in the West County suburb, even contributing to the suspension of Mayor Adam Paul, who opposed the Walmart TIF.

Paul says he believes his election was a referendum by Ellisville residents against using tax dollars for such projects. "I believe we started TIF reform in the region," Paul said. "For the developer to come back asking for more tax increment financing and more incentives is preposterous."

Paul won a legal victory at a hearing Monday, forcing the city council to turn over documents detailing communications regarding his impeachment. Paul's attorney says he still expects the council to remove the mayor from office on March 27, saying the votes are already lined up.
Published in Local News
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