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Morning headlines - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Study says region needs more immigrants

A new study to be released this morning says the St. Louis region needs to attract more immigrants if it wants to thrive in the current economy.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch got an advance look at the study, written by Saint Louis University professor Jack Strauss.

His research found that foreign-born residents of the metro area earn 25 percent more than their native-born counterparts, are 44 percent more likely to have a college degree, and are 60 percent more likely to start a business. Strauss also found they are often employed in growing fields like health care and technology.

But the study finds that St. Louis has one of the lowest rates of foreign-born residents in the country - 4.5 percent. Strauss says if St. Louis’s immigrant population had grown at the same rate as other cities in the last decade, total income would be 7 to 11 percent higher.

Research finds possible link between obesity, poor math skills

A University of Missouri researcher says she and colleagues in Vermont and California have found a link between childhood obesity and poor math skills.

Sara Gable, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, used data from more than 6,200 children from kindergarten through the fifth grade. She found that both boys and girls who were considered obese in kindergarten performed worse on math tests starting in first grade. The gaps weren’t as large in children who became obese later in elementary school.

Gable concluded the poor performance in math was connected in part to feelings of sadness, loneliness and other shortcomings in social skills, which could be caused by the obesity.

The study was published in the journal Child Development.

East St. Louis council members question need for super-majority on liquor sales measure

Supporters of a measure that would force bars and nightclubs in East St. Louis to close earlier are questioning Mayor Alvin Parks's determination that the bill needs four votes to pass.

The Belleville News-Democrat says legislation that would force bars, nightclubs and liquor stores to close at 2 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends got three votes at a City Council meeting last week. But Mayor Parks, an opponent of earlier closings, said he'd gotten a note from the city attorney that a super-majority was required because liquor license fees are based on closing times.

Now, the three aldermen in favor say their research shows a super-majority is only needed to make amendments to the budget and sell or transfer land - and they'll push for another vote this Thursday.

The attorney who issued the opinion to Parks did not respond to a request for comment from the News-Democrat.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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