American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honors Central Library
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 21, 2014 - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced that Central Library is one of eleven winners of the 2014 Institute Honor Award for Architecture. This is the second AIA award of national significance that Central and Cannon Design have won in the last 12 months; the first being the AIA/ALA Library Building Award in May 2013.
The AIA Institute Honor Award is one of the most prestigious architecture awards in the world. It is sought after by architects throughout the United States, recognizing buildings built around the globe.
The Central Library project offered many unique challenges to the design team, particularly the delicate task of integrating old and new in a landmark building. The AIA jury was impressed, noting that "The transformation of the interior stacks is fantastic; it provided the opportunity for a progressive intervention that is still sensitive to the host building. The canopy on the exterior, too, is modern yet sympathetic to the historic building. The original faŤade is very modest, and the renovation did not upstage that."
Other jury remarks included that "The restored building is lovely, bright, and it maintains the Cass Gilbert glory. It is well detailed, restrained, and bold all at once."
In a release, Waller McGuire, Executive Director of the St. Louis Public Library, praised Cannon Design principal George Nikolajevich and his team.
"The AIA Institute Honor Award is a crowning achievement for an architect, and an acknowledgement of a rare combination of professionalism, skill, and pure artistry," said McGuire. "Working with Cannon Design throughout this great undertaking was not only a wonderful professional experience, but simply a joy. From the very beginning through the long, infinitely detailed construction process; from George himself to the most junior member of his team: Cannon worked as though they were personally responsible for the success of the vital mission of Central Library as well as the judgment of history in reinventing a masterpiece."
McGuire noted that the people of St. Louis have shown their appreciation by visiting Central Library in record numbers. In the year since it reopened to the public, Central has averaged nearly 40,000 visitors per month. People from all walks of life have come to do research, use public access computers, take training classes, enjoy concerts, lectures, and live theater; download books, magazines, movies, music, and more; or just find a quiet corner to curl up in and read. For more information, call 314-539-0300 or for a tour, visit: http://www.slpl.org/slpl/library/central_tour.asp
Republic Services to do Carbon Monoxide Testing at Bridgeton North Quarry
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 19, 2014 - Attorney General Chris Koster said that St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Michael Jamison has accepted an agreement between the Attorney General's Office and Republic Services requiring Republic to provide comprehensive carbon monoxide data for all active gas extraction wells located in the north quarry, including the "neck" area of the Bridgeton Landfill. Analysts can use the carbon-monoxide data to better understand the location and movement of the smoldering event at the site.
Under the Stipulation and Order entered January 17, 2014, Republic will provide the first submission of data on or before February 20, 2014, and again in sixty day intervals until June 20.
Judge Jamison additionally set June 19 and 20, 2014, for a full hearing on continued regular carbon monoxide testing, as well as any other issues related to the state's ongoing lawsuit against the company.
"Today's order means that the public and local first responders will have CO data for the entire landfill within 35 days," said Koster. "Access to this data is critical to get the most accurate picture of the underground fire."
However, Koster stressed that this is an interim agreement and that submission of CO data beyond June 20, 2014 will be determined by the June hearing and on-going negotiations with Republic.
Missouri Groups Push Support for Lifeline Wireless Program
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 19, 2014 - Nearly a dozen Missouri groups representing seniors and low-income state residents have sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in support of the federal wireless Lifeline program providing cell phone service to more than 34,000 of Missouri's low-income residents.
Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.
The joint letter is signed by the following eleven groups: Access II Independent Living Center; ADAPT of Missouri; Citizen Education Fund; Consumer Council of Missouri; Grass Roots Organizing (GRO); Gray Panthers of Kansas and Western Missouri; Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans; Missouri Association for Community Action, INC (MACA); Missouri Association for Social Welfare; Missouri ProVote; Ready, Aim, Advocate Committee of St. Louis, MO (RAR).
The letter states: "We ... are very concerned about calls for ending the Universal Service Fund (USF) Wireless Lifeline Program, which is very needed for at-risk individuals and communities. We share your desire to make sure that this program is as efficient as possible and that all avenues for fraud are eliminated. The loss of this program would have a devastating impact on the lives of eligible Missouri residents, including minorities, seniors, veterans, single parents, and low-income families."
In 2012, one Lifeline service provider reported having more than 34,000 Missouri participants enrolled in its program. Recent surveys of wireless Lifeline customers show:
The FCC's significant Lifeline overhaul has generated significant savings for the USF and should be permitted to proceed. At the same time, more can be done to ensure the integrity of the program. McCaskill's voice is critically needed on this issue.
- Roughly half are over 45 to 50 years of age, with a substantial percent over 60.
- More than 10 percent of program participants are Veterans.
- Americans with disabilities participate.
- A large percentage are unemployed or underemployed and use their Lifeline service to help find work.
- Lifeline service provides access to healthcare. One provider found 54 percent of participants indicated that they used the service to stay in touch with doctors and for other health care-related purposes.
Missouri Medicaid Fraud Unit recovered $47 million in 2013
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 19, 2014 - More than $47 million in 2013 for Missouri's Medicaid Program as the result of action taken against 48 Medicaid providers.
This brings the total to more than $271 million in Medicaid judgments and recoveries by the Attorney General's Office since 2009. Last year, the Missouri Medicaid Fraud Control Unit collected more than $23 for every dollar spent to run the Unit.
According to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in 2013 his office:
Resolved criminal matters regarding 21 medical and home health care providers. Six were given prison sentences; 12 received probation, and three entered into deferred prosecution agreements.
Resolved civil cases against 27 medical, pharmaceutical, and home health care providers.
The State and the federal government share in the costs of funding the Medicaid program, and also share in Medicaid recoveries based on their proportion of payments. Missouri most recently has contributed about $36 for every $100 paid in Medicaid benefits to Missouri citizens, so, Missouri's share of last year's $47 million in recoveries would conform roughly to that percentage.
"My office is committed to aggressively pursuing medical and home health care providers who are stealing from the taxpayers of Missouri by committing Medicaid fraud," Koster said. "Our criminal prosecutions and our recoveries of large sums of money serve as a warning to providers who would consider submitting false claims to Medicaid: we are watching, and you will not get away with it."
Koster said he encourages individuals to report suspected Medicaid fraud to his office. State law provides that a whistleblower may be entitled to 10 percent of any Medicaid fraud money recovered as a result of their tip. One Missourian received more than $8,000 last January in a case involving several dental clinics in Southern Missouri. Missourians can report suspected Medicaid provider fraud and abuse online or through the Medicaid Fraud Hotline at 800-286-3932.