Every day from now until the end of the year Missouri Business Alert will be looking back at the top five stories that shaped particular industries or regions in the state. Keep checking back to find out what 2012’s biggest news-making events were where you live and where you work.
Isle of Capri Opens Cape Girardeau Casino
Isle of Capri opened a $135 million casino in Cape Girardeau in October after the Missouri Gaming Commission awarded the gambling hall the state’s 13th, and final, gaming license. The company said its new casino drew more than 3,600 customers in its first six hours of operation and expects to attract 1 million people to the area each year.
Isle got more than 9,000 job applications and hired about 725 people to operate the casino and its five restaurants. Isle Casino Cape Girardeau is next to the Mississippi River a few blocks north of the downtown area.
A state study estimated the casino will have annual gaming revenue of nearly $81 million and employ more than 500 people. Those visitors, workers and dollars will flow to southeastern Missouri because state gaming officials determined the St. Louis and Kansas City markets were already saturated with casinos.
Five casinos are located in the Kansas City area. St. Louis has six casinos, including two in Illinois, and boasts a billion-dollar gaming market that is the nation’s sixth largest.
Congresswoman Leaving Office Early
Missouri U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced in that she plans to resign Feb. 8 to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Emerson, a Republican from Cape Girardeau, suggested later, on Dec. 14, that she may resign sooner than originally planned to provide enough time for Gov. Jay Nixon to schedule a special election for April 2.
Political committees in the 8th District will choose candidates to run in the special election. Numerous Republicans and a few Democrats have expressed interest in being nominated by their parties’ committees.
Read more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Southeast Missourian
USDA Closes Boothill Office
Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a program to cut hundreds of USDA offices across the country, including in the Bootheel of Missouri, so the Department of Agriculture can meet the needs of a 21st century agricultural economy.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service Office in Dexter is one of ten Missouri offices being closed, saving nearly $150 million annually. It proposed closing 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs.
Read more in
Students at Southeast Missouri State University are spending more than $63.6 million annually at local businesses, according to a new study released by the university in October. Adding the money spent by family members when they visit Cape Girardeau brings the total to almost $64.7 million being pumped into Cape Girardeau’s economy. Researchers, including professors and students at Southeast, looked at spending in 48 categories from rent to tattoos during the fall of 2011.
Read more in the Southeast Missourian
Bootheel Town Gets Aid For Wastewater Treatment
The Southeast Missouri town of Cardwell is getting government aid to improve its nearly 40-year-old wastewater system. The community has been having problems with is sewer system for years.
The state Department of Economic Development says it has approved $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the town. That will be combined with money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a new wastewater treatment facility. The block grant program provides funds to cities with fewer than 50,000 people. Cardwell is well under that threshold. The Dunklin County town has a population of slightly more than 700.