Riverboat brings back historic means of travel

Monday, September 27, 2010

American Cruise Lines is constructing a riverboat that will run Mississippi River routes previously traveled by the Delta Queen, including stops in Cape Girardeau.

The new paddle-wheeler, called the Mississippi Sternwheeler, is said to re-create the grandeur of past historic riverboats while using the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies.

It will make four stops in Cape Girardeau next year, including one in August, one in September, one in October and one in November.

The ship will offer seven-night cruises for up to 140 passengers traveling as far north as St. Paul, Minn.

It is under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md.

* Future of Blockbuster after bankruptcy: Since the video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, many are wondering about the future of Cape Girardeau's Blockbuster store.

"Currently, all 3,000 of the company's stores in the U.S. will remain open," said a Blockbuster spokeswoman. "Decisions will be made on a store-by-store basis over the next several months." Blockbuster's 25,500 employees nationwide, including 7,500 full-time workers, are no doubt fearing layoffs.

An employee at the Cape Girardeau Blockbuster declined to comment.

Blockbuster was among the first chain video rental stores, but these days people are now more likely to get their DVDs out of their mailbox or a vending machine at the supermarket, something that's clearly cut the company's market share.

n Jackson business receives state chamber award: Signature Packaging & Paper LLC of Jackson will receive the Missouri Chamber of Commerce Fast Track Award during the state chamber's annual meeting Nov. 18.

The Fast Track Awards recognize companies that have experienced the greatest rate of growth throughout the past four years.

Signature Packaging & Paper, 1302 Lenco Ave., was opened in 2007 by owner Dennis Vinson. The company produces corrugated boxes for Procter & Gamble among other clients. It has about 30 employees.

Fast Track Awards are given seven revenue categories ranging from businesses with $1 million in annual revenue to businesses with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

The award winners are selected from nominations received from Missouri Chamber members and local chambers of commerce.

* New location for career center: The Cape Girardeau Career Center, located in the Marquette Towers building at 216 N. Fountain St., will soon be moving to 1737 N. Kingshighway. The Career Center will close Friday and reopen at its new location Oct. 4. At the Career Center, operated by the Southeast Missouri Workforce Investment Board and Missouri Division of Workforce Development, the unemployed can receive free skills assessments, career certificates and personal guidance from career counselors. For more information, call 290-5766 or visit www.job4you.org.

n VanMatre Buick earns award: VanMatre Buick GMC Cadillac in Cape Girardeau recently received the Mark of Excellence 2009 Dealer Recognition Award. The award is presented based on exceptional sales performance and customer satisfaction to only a select few Buick GMC dealerships. VanMatre will receive a trophy and plaque. VanMatre has been a Buick dealer since 1980 and a GMC dealer since 2007.

* Hospital ranks in top 100 best places to work: Saint Francis Medical Center has been named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the top 100 "Best Places to Work in Healthcare" for the third consecutive year. The program, sponsored by the Modern Healthcare magazine, is open to companies from across the health care industry, including hospitals, service companies, suppliers and others with at least 25 employees. More than 320 health care companies participated in this year's third annual survey.

Modern Healthcare's "Best Places to Work in Healthcare" designation recognizes health care workplaces that engage and inspire employees. Saint Francis' policies, practices, benefits and demographics were thoroughly reviewed before receiving this designation. In addition, a randomly selected group of 350 employees were asked in-depth questions about eight areas: leadership and planning, culture and communications, role satisfaction, working environment, relationship with supervisor, training and development, pay and benefits, and overall satisfaction.

"Saint Francis' inclusion on the list for the third consecutive year is truly an honor, as well as a testament to our commitment to living out our philosophy and values every day," said Steven C. Bjelich, president and CEO of Saint Francis.

Southeast Missourian business reporter Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmillersemissourian.com.

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