The Associated Press

USDA

A southern Illinois farmer and rancher says his 300 acres of corn are a bust and he's eager to hear the governor's plan for dealing with drought.

Gov. Pat Quinn is set to visit 71-year-old James Laird's farm near Waltonville today. It's about 80 miles east of St. Louis. Quinn isn't releasing his plans ahead of the scheduled visit.

Laird says he'll likely mow down all his corn, chop it up and feed it to his cattle. Almost a third of the nation's corn crop has been damaged by heat and drought.

Laird hopes his 300 acres of soybeans pull through.

Democratic leaders in southern Illinois have chosen Belleville attorney Bill Enyart as the party's next nominee in the race for the 12 District Congressional seat.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that Enyart was the unanimous choice of the 14-member panel, which interviewed seven candidates on Saturday.

Low-income seniors and disabled Illinoisans have one week to apply for property tax help through the state's Circuit Breaker program.

The Legislature didn't approve funds for Circuit Breaker property tax grants for fiscal year 2013. That means they'll no longer be available after June 30th.

Seniors and the disabled can apply online at the Illinois Department on Aging's website. Mailed applications must be postmarked by June 30th.

Illinois will hire a state actuary to report on pension systems.

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation today (Mon) requiring an actuary who will monitor the state's five pension systems. It's effective immediately.

The actuary will report to the auditor general.

State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie says it's like having a second set of eyes to look over figures already provided by the systems.

Lawmakers failed to pass bigger reforms that address closing an $83 billion funding gap. But top leaders are trying to work out a compromise.

Retired state and public university employees will have to kick in for their health insurance under a measure approved by an Illinois House committee. 

Illinois officials will suspend road construction - where possible - to ease traffic flow for the Easter holiday weekend.

Gun rights advocates score a victory when the Illinois Supreme Court allows a challenge to a Cook County assault weapons ban to proceed.

The state's Firearm Owners Identification program has a heap of problems, according to an audit released Thursday.

Ameren

 

Recovery efforts are continuing in southern Illinois as Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are due to assess damage from last week's deadly storms.

General Motors will suspend production of its Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks amid disappointing sales.

A GM spokesman said Friday that the company will shut down production of the Volt from March 19 until April 23, idling 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

"We're taking a temporary shutdown," said GM spokesman Chris Lee. "We're doing it to maintain our proper inventory levels as we align production with demand."

One of three officials accused of mismanaging the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del., and of retaliating against three whistle-blowers, has resigned.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, said Friday that Quinton Keel had resigned and that it is in touch with Air Force officials about their final decisions on disciplinary action against the two other accused officials.

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