Missouri Minute: Powell nominated for second Fed term; regulators order Spire to address customers again

Hello, MBA readers,

All fully vaccinated adults in Missouri are now eligible for their COVID-19 booster shot, the state health department announced Friday, within hours of federal health officials updating their guidance. The boosters are meant to be administered two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months after the last dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. In other news from Washington, Federal Reserve Bank Chair Jerome Powell will be nominated for a second term despite some calls for a shake-up at the central bank. President Joe Biden announced the nomination Monday, also saying he will nominate Lael Brainard, a Fed governor popular among progressives, as vice chair. And, in the ongoing fight over the Spire STL Pipeline, state energy regulators have raised concern about Spire’s tactics. The Missouri Public Service Commission ordered the St. Louis-based gas utility to send a new letter to customers describing its winter outlook “as accurately as possible” after concerns previous correspondence about the pipeline’s imminent closure were stoking fear.

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Build Back Better bill passes in House, heads to SenateThe $1.85 trillion legislation includes funding for universal pre-kindergarten, paid parental leave and climate initiatives, and it would institute price controls on prescription drugs like insulin. (Missouri Independent) Biden to keep Powell as fed chair The president said he will nominate Jerome Powell to a second four-year term as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank, resisting some calls for change. He will nominate Lael Brainard, who many progressives had suggested should replace Powell, as vice chair. (Associated Press) Regulators order Spire to write follow-up letter to customersThe Missouri Public Service Commission expressed concern over the gas utility’s previous correspondence warning customers of potential winter service disruptions if its Spire STL Pipeline is shut down. The PSC asked that Spire write another letter, this time describing the situation “as accurately as possible.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)CoxHealth CEO announces retirementSteve Edwards was a vocal champion of COVID-19 vaccination and other protective measures in southwest Missouri, especially amid the delta variant’s surge in the region. (Springfield Business Journal)Bi-State works toward $52 million for MetroLink turnstiles, securityThe plan, which is largely in response to public concerns of safety across St. Louis’ Metro Transit system, could take over two years to implement. Bidding has not yet begun. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“History can be ugly, and we’ve got to look at the ugliness. We can’t just say, ‘Oh that’s horrible.’ I feel like it should be in a museum, maybe, or in school books, but not still a legal thing attached to this land.”

That is St. Louis Hills resident Clara Ritcher talking about racial covenants, antiquated and racist provisions that still exist in 30,000 St. Louis property deeds. These covenants prevented property from being sold to members of racial, ethnic and religious minority groups, often targeting Black homebuyers. The result: a segregated St. Louis, the impact of which is still very much visible today, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

Go figure

1 in 4

That’s how many Black residents across the U.S. experienced food insecurity in 2020, more than three times the rate for white households. A growing number of food pantries and community gardens in the St. Louis region are attempting to fend off food insecurity problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their efforts are not permanent fixes to the underlying systemic issues, the St. Louis American reports.

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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced Friday that all fully vaccinated adults in the state are eligible for booster shots against COVID-19. The news came hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of widespread boosters, the Associated Press reports. “With the upcoming holidays, where you will come in contact with your loved ones, getting vaccinated is the way to prevent getting sick and unknowingly exposing others,” Department of Health and Senior Services Director Donald Kauerauf said in a statement.

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This St. Louis startup is attempting to increase efficiency in hauling freight by creating autonomous rail cars. The individual cars would use cameras and sensors to make short-haul, time-sensitive trips without needing to be hooked to a train, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The company hopes to have a working prototype by spring.

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