Hello goodbye in 2010: A look at the year's biggest business news

Monday, December 20, 2010
People float along the lazy river on inner tubes Saturday, May 29, 2010 during the opening day of Cape Splash Family Auquatic Center. (Laura Simon)

HELLO

Cape Splash

Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center opened Memorial Day weekend on North Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. The park has a lazy river, four water slides, a splash play area, lap pool and concession stand. Attendance topped 1,000 visitors per day throughout the summer, said Amy Roth, recreation supervisor for Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation. By the time the park closed in early September, over 106,000 guests had visited the park. And while city officials expected Cape Splash to about break even in its first year, it generated more than $200,000 for fiscal 2009-2010, the Southeast Missourian reported in October. For its full year of operation, which spans two fiscal years, Cape Splash saw a profit of $322,000, which is the total after direct expenses were deducted.

Cape West Crossings

Cape West Crossings is a new 11.74-acre development on South Mount Auburn Road, near the Highway 74 and Interstate 55 interchange in Cape Girardeau. Cape West Centre, a 7,200-square-foot building with six storefronts, was completed in the summer and sits next to the brand-new Candlewood Suites hotel. The middle one-third of Cape West Centre is occupied by Doctors Express, an urgent medical care clinic that opened in July. Other spaces are available for lease. Jeff Maurer of Mayson Investments Inc. is working with potential occupants and would like to see restaurants, retail stores or offices locate there.

Medical developments

Both Cape Girardeau hospitals are in the midst of major development projects. Southeast Hospital is building a Regional Cancer Center on South Mount Auburn Road, with completion expected in early 2011. Meanwhile, Saint Francis Medical Center's Heart Hospital and Cancer Institute is scheduled for a summer 2011 opening. The hospital also expanded its Gene E. Huckstep Emergency Center and Level III Trauma Center, built a hybrid surgical suite for endovascular neurosurgery, completed a hospitality area for families of patients in the intensive and coronary care units, and began expanding its Womancare facility. Saint Francis also acquired Immediate Convenient Care in January.

Perry County Memorial Hospital is replacing its surgical unit and patient care wing and renovating the community waiting room. Other areas being replaced are the hospital lobby, power plant, gift shop, materials management department, chapel, inpatient pharmacy and nursing administration department. Future plans include emergency room renovation, additional parking and improvements on the building's exterior.

Cardiovascular Consultants of Cape Girardeau built a new facility at Bloomfield Road and Broadview Street and began seeing patients there on June 7.

Cape Girardeau Partnership for Higher Education

Southeast Missouri added a new college option with the Cape Girardeau Partnership for Higher Education this fall. Classes began Aug. 23 for 165 students enrolled at the new center, but enrollment had risen to 189 students by Aug. 30. The center, which consists of four classrooms at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center, is a joint effort by Southeast Missouri State University of Cape Girardeau, Mineral Area College of Park Hills, Mo., and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo. The center offers 29 general education courses.

New faces in city leadership

Kathy Swan

Former retail manager Harry Rediger was sworn in as mayor of Cape Girardeau on April 9, replacing Jay Knudtson, who reached his eight-year term limit. Other new faces to city government are councilwomen Meg Davis-Proffer and Kathy Swan.

T.J. Maxx

TJ Maxx women's merchandise coordinator Kendra Jordan works on recovery Thursday, November 4, 2010 in Cape Girardeau (Laura Simon)

T.J. Maxx, a well-known retail chain selling name-brand clothing, accessories and home decor at discount prices, opened Oct. 24 at the former Goody's location on Siemers Drive in Cape Girardeau. John Mehner, CEO of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, expected the new store, along with the busy holiday shopping season, to give the city a boost in sales tax collections.

GOODBYE

General Sign

General Sign Co. closed June 18 after 70 years in business, leaving 31 people out of work. Company spokesman Clay Otto told the Southeast Missourian that the decision to close was made by the company's 94-year-old owner, who lives out of state. General Sign, which opened in Cape Girardeau in 1939, manufactured custom outdoor illuminated signs. The company also had a sales office in St. Louis. In October, Sikeston, Mo.-based Canedy Sign purchased the Nash Road property and opened a Cape Girardeau branch, hiring four former General Sign employees.

Wally Lage

Wally Lage

Wally Lage, vice president and chief operating officer for Rust Communications, died Aug. 19 in Maine, after slipping off a wharf. He was 66. Widely known in the newspaper industry, Lage was also active in the community as a longtime member of the Lions Club and Saint Francis Medical Center board of directors. He served on numerous newspaper organizations and was a member of the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame. Lage served in the Army in the late 1960s, earned a master's degree from the University of Missouri and began his newspaper career in 1969, joining Rust Communications in 1993. At Rust, he oversaw the acquisition of about 50 newspaper titles in eight states, including 13 daily newspapers.

J.T. Seesing

J.T. Seesing

J.T. Seesing, a key figure in Cape Girardeau aviation history, died Oct. 28 at The Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau. He was 90. First introduced to aviation as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Seesing became a fixture at the city's airport for more than 50 years, leading the transition from military airfield to civilian airport after World War II. In June 1960, he organized the first Aviation Day in Cape Girardeau, the predecessor to the Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival. Seesing sold then-Cape Central Airways in 1976 and shifted his focus to the aviation insurance business, retiring in 2002. He was a charter member of the Missouri Pilots Association and Cape Girardeau Pilots and Owners Association. Five of his six children learned to fly, and three are still active pilots. His son Mark was the city's first full-time airport manager.

Jobs at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

On April 8, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri notified 125 workers that their jobs were being eliminated from its Cape Girardeau operations center. This amounted to nearly 40 percent of its 316-person workforce on Siemers Drive, reported the Southeast Missourian. The location opened in 1996. Positions eliminated were 92 jobs handling calls from doctors and other health care providers, and 33 jobs processing medical claims. Deborah Wiethop, public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri, said the company's nationwide membership dropped about 3.9 percent in the past year.

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