Missouri Minute: Spire gets temporary pipeline approval; omicron variant detected in St. Louis

Hello, MBA readers,

Federal regulators will allow the 65-mile Spire STL Pipeline to continue running until a long-term decision is made on its future. The St. Louis-based utility says its business is crucial for supplying natural gas, but the company has been accused of fearmongering in recent weeks as it claimed shutting down the pipeline ahead of the cold winter months could mean people would be left without heat. Also in St. Louis, Missouri’s first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected Friday. Officials are calling on people to remain calm and vigilant as research on the variant continues. And, despite a court ruling this summer requiring Missouri to expand Medicaid in accordance with a 2020 ballot measure approved by voters, expansion numbers remain low. Just more than 7% of the estimated 275,000 Missourians who are newly eligible for the health care program have enrolled in coverage, lagging far behind rates in other states where expansion was also recently approved but lawmakers have more eagerly embraced the program.


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Omicron variant detected in St. LouisThe case reported Friday was the first instance of the new coronavirus variant detected in the state. Health officials called for vaccinations and other protective measures. (St. Louis Post-DispatchSpire gets approval to run pipeline run through winterThe allowance is temporary while federal regulators decide the long-term fate of the St. Louis-based utility’s controversial gas line. (Missouri Independent)KC school staffing vacancies impact disabled studentsWith COVID-19 exacerbating existing teacher shortages, one area hurting most is special education. (Kansas City Star)Rob Magee, owner of Q39 barbecue restaurants, diesThe Kansas City barbecue chef, who spent 15 years developing recipes in barbecue competitions before opening his first restaurant in 2014, had lived with colon cancer for more than five years. (Kansas City StarMissy Kelley departs Greater St. Louis Inc.A senior vice president for the economic development agency, Kelley is headed to Shapiro Metals as an account director. (St. Louis Business Journal)Officials consider year-round uses for Steinberg Skating RinkThe Forest Park facility is looking into a liquor license for a beer garden, and has also turned to the public for suggestions on other year-round ideas. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“No doubt the pandemic was extremely hard on a lot of nonprofits. Staff burnout was high, morale was low — everybody had to give more time with less resources.”

That’s Colin Bennett, marketing manager for Nonprofit Connect, an organization that provides resources to Kansas City nonprofits. Nonprofit groups had to think on their feet as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person programs, straining finances and volunteers. But with government support and quick adaptations, many have been able to pull through despite the challenges, The Kansas City Beacon reports.


Go figure

20,364

That’s how many newly eligible people Missouri has enrolled in Medicaid as of Friday, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services. That’s 7.4% of the estimated 275,000 adults who became eligible for Medicaid when Missouri expanded access to the health care program. By comparison, Oklahoma has enrolled more than 210,000 of an estimated 215,000 newly eligible residents — nearly 98% — since expanding its Medicaid program. Voters in both states approved expansion measures in 2020, but officials in Oklahoma were quick to embrace expansion while Missouri lawmakers dragged their feet, Kaiser Health News reports.


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Kansas City-area rock band Frogpond is one of many musical acts that has had to wait months to get its vinyl records. Supply chain issues, compounded by increased demand and slow production, have delayed the process of delivering records, KCUR reports. Without vinyls in hand, bands are missing out on the extra revenue they bring.


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