Chamber among first to get the news
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce members were among the first to get the news.
At Thursday's monthly luncheon Noranda's Steve McPheeters announced the governor had signed the bill allowing the area aluminum reduction company to purchase power outside the state's Public Service Commission's regulatory control. McPheeters, who was one of two speakers for the meeting, explained just an hour before the meeting began he received a call from the governor announcing the signing.
McPheeters explained the bill gives the company new options in the purchase of power, which is one of the rising costs the company must deal with. He noted that beginning June 1 electricity costs will rise 28 percent annually.
The bill will provide the company flexibility in the purchase of power. Also any excess power purchased by the company can be sold back to the provider.
"This is not a save-all but it sure helps us go forward," said McPheeters about the bill. He added that while aluminum prices are flat and power costs are rising, Noranda has good markets and good employees and "we are going to weather the storm."
Also he praised to the support the company received from state senators and representatives from throughout the Bootheel, where many of the company's 1,100 employees live.
Prior to McPheeters' announcement, Steve Sitton, project director and training coordinator for Workforce Development of Southeast Missouri State University, spoke about grant money available to local industries to fund training.
Those interested in training can submit a proposal to the School of Polytechnic Studies Technology Resource Center at Southeast Missouri State University for advanced and customized training for workers in manufacturing and agriculture. Sitton explained he then works with the employer to develop a budget and set up the training, which can be provided through the university, the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center or even a private vendor. The cost of the training is shared on a 50/50 basis.
"The biggest need is right down here in the Bootheel," said Sitton about training.
McPheeters, who is involved in the Bootheel Regional Training Group, which has provided training for employees from a group of Southeast Missouri industries, spoke of the success of their program. He noted by working as a group they have not had any one company required to fill up a class, the employees from the various industries can share their experiences and it is available at minimal cost.
Upcoming Chamber events, announced by Chamber Executive Director Missy Marshall, include:
* The community's Memorial Day service is set for 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Veterans Park.
* Springfest, a major fund-raiser for the Chamber, will be May 27-31 on the grounds behind the Chamber office, 1 Industrial Drive. Armband night will be Tuesday and Thursday with the armbands available for purchase at the Chamber office.
* The Sikeston Bootheel Humane Society fund-raiser, "The Doggy Ball," is scheduled for June 7.
* The next meeting of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce will be the noon luncheon June 26 at the Clinton Building in the Sikeston Recreational Complex. Officials from Scott and New Madrid counties will be the guest speakers.