Morning round-up
9:31 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Morning headlines: Monday, July 16, 2012

Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought

Gov. Pat Quinn plans  a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it.  Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.

Drought is affecting much of the Midwest, where almost a third of the nation's corn crop has been damaged by heat and drought so severe that some farmers have cut down crops midway through the growing season.

Mo. Attorney General's office reaches deal with former US Fidelis employees

The deal allows former US Fidelis employees to receive compensation for being laid off without proper warning. US Fidelis was once a leading seller of vehicle service contracts. The Wentzville, Mo.-based company collapsed in 2009 as consumer advocates and regulators accused it of lying to consumers to sell auto protection plans that had too many exceptions and limitations.

A judge in April ruled that more than 550 former workers would share in a $1.45 million settlement of a suit alleging violation of the federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the settlement allows the state to seek to block payouts for up to 20 key former employees.

Heroin overdose deaths decline in St. Louis County

Heroin overdose deaths continue to rise in many parts of the nation, but not in St. Louis County. The Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis reports that the number of heroin deaths in the county is down significantly so far this year. The county reported 25 deaths for the first six months of 2012, down from 39 during the same period in 2011.

Police are cautiously hopeful that a series of public meetings helped lower the number. They are especially encouraged by a huge drop in the 18- to-24-year-old demographic. There were 18 deaths in that age group in the first six months of last year, and just one so far in 2012.

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