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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

GM unveils new pickup to be built in Wentzville

Monday, 13 January 2014 03:25 Published in Local News
   A second new mid-size pickup truck will begin rolling off the assembly line at General Motors' Wentzville plant later this year.  In November, GM had announced plans to build the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck at its Wentzville plant.  Sunday, GM unveiled the 2015 GMC Canyon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  It too will built in Wentzville.
   Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione says the city is already seeing some benefits from the new truck lines. "They started hiring some people and they brought back some people who were laid off or moved out of the state," he said.  
   Guccione says all the 1,400 to 1,800 new jobs at the GM plant is good for the entire community because those employees patronize other local businesses.  "They go out to eat in our local restaurants. They buy homes in here," he said. "They go to the local vendors to buy products and services. So it's helped us tremendously."
   Guccione says the city's tax incentives and it's educated workforce were key factors in GM investing in its Wentzville plant.  
   The current product, full-size vans, and the new mid-size trucks will be built concurrently on the same assembly line.
 

STL Co. offering free flu shots

Friday, 10 January 2014 04:49 Published in Health & Fitness
Flu season is upon us, and health officials say St. Louis County is being hit hard.  More than 800 flu cases have already been reported in the county and almost half the victims are 15-49 years old.
 
Doctors believe as schools and universities get back in session and people congregate the number of flu cases will only increase.  That's why St. Louis County will be offering free flu shots at three locations next week.  Residents six months and older are eligible.
 
The shots will be offered at the following locations:
 
North Central Community Health Center
4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn (63121)
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.
 
John C. Murphy Health Center
6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.
 
South County Health Center
4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills (63127)
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.
 
 

W.Va. National Guard set to help distribute water

Friday, 10 January 2014 04:33 Published in National News
   CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Restaurants closed their doors, groceries stores sold out of bottled water and thousands of children got an extra day off from school as residents were told to not bathe, brush their teeth, or wash their clothes following a chemical spill that may have contaminated tap water in nine West Virginia counties.
   Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday after a spill from Freedom Industries inundated the river and a nearby water treatment plant.
   Customers of West Virginia American Water in the affected areas got the order from Tomblin on Thursday night: Do not drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes with tap water.
   The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries, overran a containment area and went into the river earlier Thursday.
   Officials say the orders — which the water company also delivered to residents via automated telephone messages — were issued as a precaution, as they are still not sure exactly what hazard the spill posed to residents. It also was not immediately clear how much of the chemical spilled into the river and at what concentration.
   "I don't know if the water is not safe," said water company president Jeff McIntyre. "Until we get out and flush the actual system and do more testing, we can't say how long this (advisory) will last at this time."
   McIntyre said the chemical isn't lethal in its strongest form. Kanawha County emergency officials said the chemical is called 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. Freedom Industries officials were unavailable for comment.
   According to a fact sheet from Fisher Scientific, the chemical is harmful if swallowed and causes eye and skin irritation and could be harmful if inhaled.
   The emergency declaration involves customers in all or parts of the counties of Kanawha, Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane. In the capital city of Charleston, a smell similar to licorice or cough syrup was evident in the air both outdoors and in areas where it had already reached the water supply.
   The smell was especially strong at the Charleston Marriott hotel a few blocks from the Elk River, which flows into the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston. The Marriott shut off all water to rooms, and then turned it back on so guests could flush toilets. Each guest was given two 16.9-ounce bottles of spring water upon returning to the hotel.
   The West Virginia National Guard planned to mobilize at an air base at Charleston's Yeager Airport on Friday to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency services agencies in the nine counties, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina told The Associated Press.
   "They're committing all necessary resources to help with this," Messina said Thursday night.
   Messina said the drinking water will come from several different suppliers. After distribution, the various county agencies "will use their own game plans to distribute it, with hospitals and nursing homes getting priority," Messina said.
   Most people weren't waiting for outside help.
   Once word got out about the governor's declaration Thursday, customers stripped store shelves in many areas of items such as bottled water, paper cups and bowls. As many as 50 customers had lined up to buy water at a convenience store near the state Capitol in Charleston.
   "It was chaos, that's what it was," cashier Danny Cardwell said.
   Tomblin said the advisory also extends to restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and other establishments that use tap water.
   At the Little India restaurant in Charleston, about 12 customers were asked to leave when bar manager Bill LaCourse learned about the shutdown notice.
   West Virginia lawmakers who just started their session this week won't conduct business on Friday because of the problem and State Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said schools in at least five of the counties will be closed.
   Karlee Bolen, 16, of Charleston, said her family, including her parents, two sisters and brother, were considering the possibility of heading to her grandmother's home in Braxton County, where tap water was unaffected, an hour to the northeast.
   "I kind of want to shower and brush my teeth," she said.

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