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Morning headlines: Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Missouri River at Jefferson City, Mo.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
The Missouri River at Jefferson City, Mo.

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Heat wave decreases flood threat on Missouri River

The heat wave that's plagued Missouri for most of July has had a positive side effect:  it's lessened the flood threat along the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Mark Fuchs is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis.  Fuchs said the extreme high temperatures have dried up the soil along the Missouri River's tributaries.

"So that when we get a heavy rain event, that first inch, inch-and-a-half does not produce that much runoff anymore," Fuchs said. "It's going to take 3 and 4 inches to produce significant runoff into those tributaries."

Missouri is not out of the woods yet.  Fuchs says the Missouri River basin is expected to get above-average rainfall between August and October.  Most of that is expected to be above the Gavin's Point Dam in South Dakota, But Fuchs adds that heavy rains could also fall on Missouri and raise the flood threat again.

Hybrid automaker to bring new plant, almost 600 jobs to Hazelwood

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, a British company, Emerald Automotive, will build hybrid electric vans at a new plant in Hazelwood, Mo. The company still needs to raise the necessary funds for the plant but it says close to 600 jobs could be available by 2014.

Hazelwood's city council  voted last night to approve a $3 million loan for the plant. The Missouri Technology Corp. also plans to provide a $2 million loan for the factory.

Sharon Heaton, Emerald's general counsel, told the Business Journal that, at first, the company plans to export to Europe, where fuel prices are $10 per gallon, but sees the U.S. as its largest potential market. Emerald is looking to be up and running in Hazelwood by 2014.

City of St. Louis ends fiscal year with surplus

The 2011 fiscal year is over in St. Louis, and the city has a surplus. City officials announced Wednesday that the fiscal year ended with a surplus of $2.4 million. Mayor Francis Slay says the city made tough decisions to live within its means. But Slay warns times could get tougher.

Slay said rising employee pension costs and looming federal budget cuts will create additional financial challenges. Budget director Paul Payne says he expects the city's pension cost to increase by more than $10 million in fiscal year 2012.

Rams announce training camp schedule

The St. Louis Rams have announced a training camp schedule that includes 19 open practices and a scrimmage at Lindenwood University in nearby St. Charles. Players report to camp tomorrow, and the first practice will be Saturday afternoon. The scrimmage is set for August 7.


Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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