Morning round-up
6:40 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Morning headlines - Monday, July 2, 2012

Fireworks cancelations climb as heat lingers

The list of communities canceling their fireworks displays this year is growing longer.

St. Louis County announced today that it's postponing Tuesday's concert and fireworks at Jefferson Barracks County Park in South County because officials could not secure a permit from Lemay.

The Belleville News-Democrat says Millstadt and Lebanon, Ill. have joined Caseyville and Columbia in canceling their shows. On the Missouri side, at least 10 displays have already been canceled, including popular ones in Chesterfield and at Six Flags.

Law enforcement officials in the region say they'll be especially vigilant about illegal fireworks this year.  Fireworks are not allowed without a permit in St. Louis city and St. Louis County.

The record-setting heat has sickened 88 people in the region so far, and is suspected in the deaths of two St. Louis city residents.

Economic growth shows signs of slowing

An economic survey of nine Midwest and Plains states shows that growth in the region might be slowing.

The Mid-America Business Conditions index dropped to 57.2 in June, compared to 57.6 in May and 60 in April.

Anything above 50 percent suggests economic growth.

The index’s creator, Creighton economist Ernie Goss, says the businesses that participate in the survey are still benefiting from healthy farm income. But he says global economic problems are pushing exports into negative territory. A quarter of the managers surveyed says the biggest hurdle in the next year is implementing the federal health care overhaul.

They survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Dakotas.

Nixon to sign expansion of job training program for veterans

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will be in Kirksville this morning to sign legislation expanding a program of on-the-job training for veterans.

Companies that participate in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge that promises veterans an interview and a chance to prove they are right for the job. Companies get financial support from the state to train the veterans. The expansion allows the state to tap additional federal resources.

Nixon will sign the bill at a storage company that is partially owned by an active-duty soldier who’s currently deployed.

Judge to rule on suspension of pay raises for Ill. state employees

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

A judge in Cook County, Ill. is scheduled to rule today on whether Gov. Pay Quinn can rescind raises to 30,000 state employees.

Quinn canceled the raises a year ago, saying the state had not appropriated enough money to pay for them. But the pay bump was included in a contract with AFSCME, which filed suit. An arbitrator agreed with AFSCME's argument that the raises were in a legally binding contract and therefore should be paid no matter what. Some of the employees have since gotten the raises.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says public workers feel like they're under siege. In addition to the pay raise dispute, lawmakers are also considering major changes to state employee pensions.

"It used to be that in this country, public service used to be a higher calling," Lindall said. "It seems more often today, at least from politicians and pundits, that public servants are the whipping boy."

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