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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwestern Illinois county that has grappled with heroin deaths is trying a new approach after there were three deadly suspected overdoses in a five-hour span last week.
 
Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz says he'll be joining the county's top prosecutor, Tom Gibbons, to convene a panel to talk out possible answers to the problem. It could be as early as next week. Hertz says that group may include substance-abuse treatment providers, educators and perhaps addicts.
 
The county's coroner, Steve Nonn, says his office already has handled six suspected heroin deaths this year. Last year, there were 23 in the county, more than three times the number in 2009.
 
Nonn calls heroin providers "dealers in death."

Republicans plan to stick together to pass a tax cut

Thursday, 20 February 2014 15:31 Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Republicans are sticking together this year in their quest to enact an income tax cut.
 
The House passed a pair of tax cut plans Thursday on party-line votes, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.
 
That's a stark contrast from last September, when 15 House Republicans splintered from the majority to prevent an override of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut.
 
House Speaker Tim Jones says Thursday's solid Republican vote should be a signal for Nixon to work with lawmakers on tax cuts.
 
Nixon denounced the bills as "fiscally irresponsible experiments" that would funnel money away from schools.
 
Nixon has said he will sign an income tax cut only if it protects school funding and also reins in state tax credits.
 

Illinois agriculture census shows loss of farms

Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:57 Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A new federal report shows Illinois has lost nearly 1,800 farms, though an increase in the state's agricultural acreage perhaps reflects consolidation.
 
   The findings come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's farming census conducted every five years. The latest figures are as of 2012.
 
   The report shows the number of farms statewide fell by 1,773 to 75,087 between 2007 and 2012. But the farm acreage rose to 26.94 million, up more than 162,000 acres.
 
   The census also showed that the average size of an Illinois farm climbed by 11 acres, to 359.
 
   Nationwide, the report says the number of farms slip 4.3 percent to 2.1 million, with the total amount of agricultural land relatively flat at 922 acres.
 
   The report is used in evaluating and implementing agriculture policies and programs.
 

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