Region briefs 11/01/02

Friday, November 1, 2002

Bowles will be guest speaker at First Friday

School superintendent Mark Bowles will be the guest speaker at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee. The event will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Show Me Center.

Chamber president and CEO John Mehner said that Bowles will be discussing issues pertaining to the Cape Girardeau school district.

Lawsuit alleges religious discrimination

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Poplar Bluff woman has filed suit in federal court against her former employer under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging religious discrimination.

Yvonne Hubrins filed suit in March against Wappapello Foods, Inc., doing business as Save-A-Lot, claiming unfair working conditions because she is not a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses and was denied fair treatment because of it.

Hubrins is of the Baptist faith.

Hubrins alleges that three weeks into her six weeks of scheduled maternity leave, she was told her position could not be held open.

She alleges that when the rest of the staff, mostly Jehovah's Witnesses, went "in the field" for two weeks at a time, their jobs remained open until they returned. Six of the 10 employees at the store are Jehovah's Witnesses.

The trial is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Cape Girardeau's federal court.

Regulators approve gas rate changes

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- State utility regulators on Thursday approved a series of rate changes for more than 200,000 natural gas consumers across Missouri.

The changes reflect winter rates sought by utilities that were approved by the Public Service Commission.

All rate changes take effect Friday.

As much as 70 percent of a customer's natural gas bill reflects the cost of natural gas from wholesale suppliers. The PSC approves retail natural gas rates but has no authority over the wholesale costs.

In Cape Girardeau, Stoddard and Scott counties, the utility's customers will see an increase of $11 during the winter rate period from November through March.

The 2,000 AmerenUE customers in Butler, Bolinger and Stoddard counties will see their heating bill decrease by an average of $44 during the winter rate period.

-- From wire reports

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