Federal and Regional Leaders Urge National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to Stay in St. Louis
Rendering of the City's proposal for a $1.6 billion state-of-the-art National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facility in North St. Louis, courtesy Mayor's Office.
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 29, 2015 - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has joined St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay, County Executive Steve Stenger and other area leaders in urging the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to keep its western headquarters in St. Louis.
Working closely with local elected officials and community leaders, we have coalesced around the north St. Louis site and put together a proposal that meets all of NGA's criteria, Gov. Nixon said at a public meeting, October 29.
"Today, NGA has a unique opportunity to draw on the tremendous assets of this great city, while revitalizing a community with economic challenges. St. Louis has the land, the infrastructure, the amenities and the highly-skilled workforce NGA needs to continue carrying out its vital mission," said Gov. Nixon.
Informational boards and project staff were on hand to answer any questions. Attendees were encouraged to leave comments on paper or electronic forms, or via a court reporter.
The environmental studies, performed over the past year, are to help evaluate and disclose the impacts of constructing a new replacement campus, and the relocation of NGA operations to one of four alternate sites. The DEIS is available for public review online (http://www.nextngawest.com).
The City of St. Louis also has delivered a briefing book to the NGA, detailing the proposal, which includes the well-connected, 99-acre urban site at the intersection of N. Jefferson and Cass Avenues. Included is a letter from Mayor Francis Slay, which reads, in part: "The NGA is vital to our City's economic health, and its relocation to North St. Louis will reinvigorate a significant urban area of our community. Conversely, losing the NGA would be a devastating blow to our City's economy. The many benefits to the future of both St. Louis and NGA are immeasurable, promising and exciting."
Mayor Slay is dedicated to retaining the NGA's 3,100 well-paying jobs; creating an estimated 5,200 new construction jobs with this impressive project; and, creating a new anchor to help launch a range of development opportunities in North St. Louis, which will also better connect the area to Downtown. If the relocation is successful, it also means keeping millions of tax dollars in local and state economies.
NGA West, currently located on 2nd Street in St. Louis, is evaluating a number of potential sites for its new state-of-the-art campus. While there are a number of Missouri sites under consideration, elected officials and community leaders in both the city and county have coalesced around the North St. Louis site. A decision by federal officials on the location of the project is expected next year.
Laclede Gas Files to Reduce Rates
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 29, 2015 - Customers of Laclede Gas will benefit from lower natural gas prices this winter. Yesterday Laclede filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission to lower the Cost of Gas rate.
If approved, these rates will be the lowest in more than a decade with customers paying an average of $0.42 per therm* for the cost of gas. Compared to last winter, residential customers will save $18 per month.
"Customers choose natural gas because it is a more reliable and warmer heat compared to other energy sources. It's also the most affordable energy for heating your home and that's even more true today. This year abundant supplies and reasonable temperatures in our area are helping to keep rates even lower. If this request is approved, Laclede Gas residential customers will save more than $90 compared to last winter," said Steve Lindsey, president of Laclede Gas.
The Cost of Gas rate is often the largest part of a natural gas bill, usually around 50-60 percent of the total. There is no markup on this rate. When rates are lowered, Laclede Gas passes on those savings to customers. Each month customers pay the exact amount Laclede pays for the natural gas purchased further up the pipeline. The remaining Delivery Cost on a bill covers maintenance and infrastructure upgrades to ensure safe and reliable natural gas to homes and businesses.
Unmanned Aircraft Registration Requirement Being Developed
A task force has been formed to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 26, 2015 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta have announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The task force will be composed of 25 to 30 diverse representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders.
The group will advise the Department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS. The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators.
The task force may make additional safety recommendations as it deems appropriate. Secretary Foxx directed the group to deliver its report by Nov. 20.
"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system," Foxx said. "It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground."
Every day, the FAA receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations. Pilot sightings of UAS doubled between 2014 and 2015. The reports ranged from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations.
"These reports signal a troubling trend," Huerta said. "Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don't fly safely, they'll know there will be consequences."
While the task force does its work, the FAA will continue its aggressive education and outreach efforts, including the "Know Before You Fly" campaign and "No Drone Zone" initiatives with the nation's busiest airports. The agency also will continue to take strong enforcement action against egregious violators. At the same time, it will continue working with stakeholders to improve safety to ensure further integration and innovation in this promising segment of aviation.
SLHA, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri Providing Trees for the Future
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 25, 2015 - Over 50 new trees and shrubs have been planted on the lot at 3501 Franklin Ave in the Renaissance Place at Grand community. St. Louis Housing Authority's (SLHA) Vice President of Development, Geoffrey Lowe, announced the major tree planting initiative thanks to the generous donation of Forest ReLeaf of Missouri.
The 1 acre lot at Franklin and Theresa Avenues was once home to the Blumeyer Family high-rise apartment building. Earlier this year, following relocation of the residents to the new North Sarah Apartments and other SLHA developments, the building was demolished.
The site has been turned to green space for the Renaissance Place at Grand mixed-income multifamily community developed by McCormack Baron Salazar and managed by McCormack Baron Management. At the suggestion of residents, a portion of the greenspace has been fenced and provided with amenities for use as a Dog Park. This tree planting initiative will further enhance that green space by providing a park-like setting and a better environment now and for future generations.
"Urban trees offer shade, mitigate storm water runoff, filter harmful pollutants from the air and water, and can increase energy savings," said Lowe. "Through this tree planting initiative, we are making a significant investment in the future of the Renaissance Place community - not only for the purpose of beautification, but also for the health of the people who work and live here."
SLHA applied for the trees through Project CommuniTree, a program of Forest ReLeaf of Missouri which provides free trees for public and not-for-profit plantings. The innovative project encourages community tree plantings by giving free trees to civic organizations, schools, neighborhood associations, parks and municipalities in Missouri and surrounding communities in adjacent states.
"The trees tend to have better survival rates when there is local engagement and when individuals who have a vested interest in the project are involved," said Wendy Schlesinger, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri Development Specialist.