Ozarks Business/Economy

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Youth sports can generate memories that last a lifetime. To enhance that experience, several new baseball diamonds are under construction in southwest Missouri in what officials also hope serves as a boon to the local tourism industry. KSMU's Scott Harvey reports.

Two on. Two out. Bottom of the ninth. With the crowd standing anxiously, you dig in at home plate and wait for the pitcher to come set. The scoreboard in right center field shows a tie game. Behind it is the iconic monument symbolizing the westward expansion of the United States; the Gateway Arch.

It’s sticker shock turned upside down.

Filling up your gas tank is almost pleasant as prices at the pump continue to fall. In St. Louis on Monday, a gallon of gas averaged $2.22, but it could be found for as low as $2.07.

While the entire country is seeing lower gas prices, Missouri has averaged the lowest. The American Automobile Association listed the state’s average as $2.25 a gallon on Monday. Meanwhile the average in Illinois was $2.57; in California it was $2.87 and a whopping $2.98 in New York.

Battlefield Mall

There’s still a few weeks left in the holiday shopping season. And retailers are hoping for a rebound from a reported 11 percent decline in Black Friday sales. KSMU’s Briana Simmons spoke with some Springfield shoppers and has this report.

One Springfield citizen we spoke to called the scene at Battlefield Mall on Thanksgiving night more mellow than expected. The same was true for Dr. David Mitchell, an economist at Missouri State University.

“I was out on Black Friday and I was amazed at how few people were out at the mall,” Mitchell said.

City Utilities

Springfield citizens and businesses may soon have another renewal energy option. City Utilities on Friday held a dedication ceremony for a 40-acre solar farm northeast of Springfield that officials say can power approximately 900 homes each year. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has details.

The site, which was constructed and will be operated by North Carolina-based Strata Solar, consists of nearly 22,000 panels, making it the largest solar farm in Missouri. The project was developed by St. Louis-based Solexus Development. It is capable of producing 4.95 megawatts of energy.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Grants to Missouri State University increased nine percent in Fiscal Year 2014 compared to the previous year. The university’s Office of Research Administration announced this week that a total of 289 grants donated to faculty and staff set a new record of $22 million.

These externally funded grants are used for a broad spectrum of ventures at Missouri State, says Dr. Erin Parrish, director of Research Administration. One example, she says, is funding from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which aids teaching training.