Springfield, ILL – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed most of the state budget into law on Thursday. He used his veto powers to cut $222 million dollars from the spending plan, which he says hopes erase a $5 billion dollar deficit.
The new cuts eliminate all captains in the state's Corrections Department; take $48 million dollars away from the Secretary of State's office; and erase cost-of-living raises for lawmakers, judges and other officials. They will stand unless lawmakers override those cuts.
Jefferson City, MO – Witnesses to Tuesday night's shooting at a Jefferson City factory say Jonathon Russell calmly smoked a cigarette and drank a soda before walking to his workstation and firing at co-workers.
Three workers died; Johnson then later killed himself. Jefferson city Police Capt. Jim Johnsen suggested a possible motive Wednesday: "I understand they work on some merit or demerit system and he may have been approaching the point where demerits would require his being laid off."
St. Louis – The National Right-to-Life Committee is bringing a patriotic tone to their 31st annual convention, which started Thursday in St. Louis.
"The theme this year is 'I am an American,'" said Wanda Franz, NRLC president. "It refers to the fact that the rights and privileges that we as Americans have should be extended to every class of American including our unborn children."
National Right-to-Life has long sought a reversal of Roe Versus Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Legislation currently on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's desk would open land owned by the state to some All Terrain Vehicle, or ATV, use.
Supporters say it would be good for the economy in rural parts of the state. Opponents say it would hurt natural areas and shatter the peace and quiet. Illinois Public Radio's Maria Hickey prepared this report.
Bonita Springs, Fl. – An explosion in Florida that killed four and injured two people Wednesday involved fireworks from a Jefferson County, Mo. company.
The explosion happened while workers were unloading a tractor-trailer full of fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration on Florida's Gulf coast. The cargo was from Sunset Fireworks of Dittmer, Mo. That's about 40 miles southwest of St. Louis, along Route 30.
Mascoutah, ILL. – MidAmerica Airport in St. Clair County has joined the growing list of facilities vying to be the home of Boeing's new 7E7 Dreamliner. The production line for the new passenger jet is expected to create between 800 and 1,200 jobs.
St. Clair County Director of Economic Development Terry Beach says at least three other Illinois communities have submitted competing bids. Outside of Illinois, about two dozen states are submitting proposals to the Chicago-based aerospace company.