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Sherman A1

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Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Journal Archives

Consumer advocates blast electric utility surcharge bill

Consumer groups wasted no time criticizing legislation filed Thursday that would allow Ameren Missouri and other electric utilities to get paid more quickly for a range of infrastructure projects, from work on power plants to transmission facilities to so-called “smart grid” investments.

Senate Bill 207 filed by Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, would “remove unnecessary regulatory barriers” that discourage utilities from making needed infrastructure upgrades, he said in a statement.

But consumer groups immediately called the bill anti-consumer and part of a continued assault by investor-owned electric utilities to undo a decades-old rate-making process that’s served the state well and helped maintain reasonable rates in Missouri.

“The last thing Missourians need is for the legislature to allow another surcharge to be added to their electric bill,” Chris Roepe of the Fair Electricity Rate Action Fund said in a statement.


W.U. grad talks about getting doctors to listen

Dr. Leana Wen graduated from Washington University's medical school in 2007. Soon after, she was picked to travel to Africa and write a blog with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof.

She became a Rhodes scholar and now she's a Harvard fellow and senior emergency resident at Brigham & Women's and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Apparently Wen never sleeps because she's also co-author of a new book, "When Doctors Don't Listen."

This morning Wen will be a guest on the Diane Rehm show on NPR (10 a.m. at 90.7 FM).


Concerns Raised Over Mo. Highway Patrol Purchase Of New $5.6M Plane

Some Republicans in the State Senate are expressing outrage that the Missouri State Highway Patrol spent $5.6 million on a new airplane that could be used by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and other elected state officials. Freshman Senator Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) says he and a few other senators paid a visit today to Jefferson City Memorial Airport to examine the King Air 250. He says lawmakers should have had input into the purchase.

“It was circumventing the legislature to purchase a new plane for the governor to fly around the state to have these press conferences," Silvey said. "It’s very troubling, especially at this time…this is the Governor that recommended cutting $100 million out of Higher Education last year.”

Silvey says he was told by the Highway Patrol that the plane’s first flight was today, and that it would be used to take Governor Nixon to St. Louis. He also says he took pictures of the plane and posted them to his Twitter account. The governor’s office referred all calls to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which has not responded to our requests for a comment.


'Arch tax' faces smooth sailing, rough waters in various jurisdiction

t's fair to say that legislative bodies in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County have had decidedly different reactions to the proposal for a local sales tax for the Gateway Arch.

The initiative for the 3/16th of one-cent sales tax faced the least amount of resistance in St. Louis County – the jurisdiction that will provide the most revenue from the tax increase. It was voted unanimously out of the county council on Tuesday and has received kind words from St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Tom Irwin, the head of Civic Progress, an organization of leading businesses, noted that funding for local parks could be a major incentive for St. Louis County voters to approve the proposal.

“They would get substantially more money both for county parks and municipal parks,” Irwin said. “Clearly, that is an attractive aspect to people. People like open space. They like preserved space. They like to recreate outdoors. So I think that the more you can provide people, the better off we are as a community. But clearly, St. Louis County would get a substantial infusion for parks – as would the municipalities.


Nixon sets June 4 to fill vacant 8th District seat, much later than Republicans wanted

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that he is setting a special election for June 4 for voters in the state’s 8th congressional district to choose a replacement U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau.

That’s two months later than Emerson had hoped. She had decided to step down as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, a move up from her initial retirement date, to give Nixon the legal 10 weeks to call the special election for April 2.

Still, a spokesman for Emerson said today that she recognized that it was up to the governor to set the date.

Nixon’s staff says the hangup is compliance with federal and state laws set up to enable members of the military stationed overseas to vote.


Customer Frugality Shows in Latest Study

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shoppers are clinging to frugal shopping habits, according to a new study from AMG Strategic Advisors here.

Among the findings from AMG’s new trade promotion study, “A Shift in the Lift: A Study of Key Factors Influencing Trade Promotion,” found that 67% of shoppers said they are “buying less and sticking to a budget.”

In addition, 54% said they are buying fewer items on impulse, 59% said more than half of their grocery purchases are bought “on deal,” and 65% said they expect certain items to be on sale and will wait for a sale to purchase them.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/marketing/customer-frugality-shows-latest-amg-study#ixzz2It31Nl4Q

Sprouts to Enter Houston Market

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Sprouts Farmers Market here said it will open the first of five planned Houston-area stores in late March.

The 25,000-square-foot store — the chain's 24th in Texas — will be located in the Houston suburb of Katy.

As part of its community involvement, Sprouts said it will donate unsold, edible but not marketable groceries to local hunger relief agencies; help non-profit organizations raise money by offering gift cards at a 5% discount, which they can resell at full price; make regular in-kind donations to local causes that address healthy living and eating; raise money for autism research; and promote an annual holiday food drive to help feed the hungry.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/retail-amp-financial/sprouts-enter-houston-market#ixzz2It2cg9n4

With $69 a month lease, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV becomes America’s cheapest electric car

The market for electric vehicles has grown past the early adopter stage into a typical pull of supply, demand and price — and with automakers building more plug-in cars than customers have demanded so far, price has only one direction to go. The clearest example to date of pure economics in action comes from an Illinois dealer who's offering a two-year lease of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric sedan for $69 a month before taxes.

The i-MiEV won't win either the talent or beauty portions of any pageant. While it's efficiency rating of 112 mpg-e ranks among the best for any EV car, it's only capable of 62 miles of range on a full charge. Consumer Reports called it "a glorified golf cart of limited use," and with a sticker of $32,000, the mystery of Mitsubishi selling 588 i-MiEVs last year isn't why that's so low, but who bought them.

O'Brien Mitsubishi, a dealership in Mitsubishi's U.S. base of Normal, Ill., appears all out to change that. As caught by Autoblog Green, O'Brien has advertised a $69 a month, two-year lease of an i-MiEV before about $2,100 in fees, or a $169-a-month deal with the fees rolled in. As with all electric car leases, the dealership keeps the $7,500 federal tax credit that goes to the vehicle's buyer.

While the i-MiEV's deal applies at just one dealership, price breaks and discounts have come to other EVs as well. Nissan announced earlier this month it was lowering the sticker price on the base-level 2013 Nissan Leaf EV by $6,000, making the out-the-door price $21,300 including the federal incentive -- a discount of 18 percent from last year's model. Given that automakers have to sell more EVs in the coming years to meet state pollution regulations, expect better deals to get plugged in.


An Obama Doctrine on New Rules of War

The Obama administration has an opportunity — perhaps an obligation — to outline a doctrine that lays out criteria by which the United States will develop, deploy and use tactics such as drones and cyber attacks. Peter W. Singer and Thomas Wright wrote this memorandum to President Obama as part of Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book.

What are the key strategic goals and ethics that should drive development of drones and cyber systems?

When is authorization required for the operational deployment of such technologies versus notification?

How does the United States ensure that technologies that limit physical risk to the operator do not numb us to the political consequences of their use?


Had the good fortune to listen to Dr. Singer the other evening and this was one of the many topics he covered. One that we most certainly need to address as technologies evolve & the world moves forward. It is a long piece, but I believe worth the read.

Fresh & Easy Fined over $800K for overcharging customers

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego Superior Court has imposed a fine of $833,136 on Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market for overcharging on meat and seafood items.

Prosecutors alleged that Fresh & Easy had charged customers more at checkout for certain products than the prices listed on shelves and had marked meat and seafood packages at a higher price per pound than indicated on the shelves.

Weights and measures officials in 12 California counties recorded instances of price fraud during 124 inspections at 82 Fresh & Easy stores. The case was filed by the San Diego District Attorney’s, San Diego
City Attorney’s, and Riverside District Attorney’s Consumer & Environmental Protection Units

The judge also ordered Fresh & Easy to implement a “Get It Free” program for the next three years. If the retailer overcharges for an item at the register, the customer will be entitled to $3 off the lowest advertised price, or to get the item free if it is priced at less than $3.

Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/meat/fresh-easy-fined-800000-overcharging-meat-seafood#ixzz2IswCMIID
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