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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Farmers in the nation's breadbasket who only recently were praying for an end to a withering drought are now pining for enough sunshine and heat to dry their muddy fields in time to plant their corn and other crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says only 12 percent of the nation's cornfields have been planted. That's about a quarter of the amount farmers had planted by this point in the season over the last five years.

In Iowa, which is the nation's biggest corn producer, only 8 percent of the corn crop is in the ground. That's down from 62 percent at this point last year.

Farmer John Reifsteck says if he has to wait much longer, he may have to plant less corn on his 1,800-acre central Illinois farm.

 
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 13:52
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LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) - A former St. Louis-area teacher is facing charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old student.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Joseph Thomas Maddock of Lake St. Louis is charged with statutory sodomy.

He is jailed on $50,000 cash-only bond.

Authorities say Maddock, a former teacher at Andrews Academy, convinced the parents of the victim to allow him to home-school him.

Maddock has taught at 10 schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area since 2001. Anyone with additional information about the suspect is urged to contact Lake St. Louis police.

 

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 13:45
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A homeless camp in downtown St. Louis stayed off the radar of city officials, until a fire last weekend.

The Post-Dispatch reports that "Camp Plum", as it is known, grew to over a dozen structures until some lit one of the tents on fire Saturday night. No one was hurt in the fire, but the city is moving everyone out of the camp.

Officials say the more than 20 residents should get housing vouchers to keep them off the street. 

 

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 13:43
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CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says income tax revenue for 2013 will top forecasts by $1.3 billion. He says he'll put the money toward the billions the state owes in unpaid bills.

The governor's office said Tuesday the money was a one-time windfall resulting from businesses and individuals selling assets or taking early dividends in anticipation of higher federal tax rates.

Quinn says the money is welcome but a one-time bump in revenue will not help fix the problem in the long run.

Illinois owes billions to businesses, charities and local governments performing some of the state's most essential services. The problem adds to the state's huge financial mess, which includes a soaring public pension crisis.

Quinn said Tuesday the focus must be on "restoring Illinois to full fiscal responsibility."

 

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 13:17
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