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SPRINGFIELD, IL

Mother Nature plagues Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair was plagued by a combination of thunderstorms, flash flooding, triple-digit heat indexes and power outages throughout its 11-day run in August. Rebecca Clark, fair spokeswoman, said official attendance figures would not be available until after the Du Quoin State Fair, which begins Aug. 19.

Outside of some bad luck with weather and power outages and cancelled grandstand shows, Clark said, overall, it was a good fair, noting successes with the Sale of Champions, youth agriculture events and cooperation and quick response displayed during the flooding.

Vendors say the weather wasn't the whole story, either. Bad weather in previous years didn't stop them from turning a profit.

Jim Rewerts, owner of Cajun's Unlimited said his sales were down 70 percent and that he wouldn't be returning next year. Vendor Jack Sturgeon said his profits were down by half.

In recent years, Sturgeon said, sales have slipped due to the economy, but the problem was exacerbated this year when the admission went up from $7 to $10.

Clark said state fair organizers are aware of vendors’ concerns and don’t take them lightly.

ESCANABA, MI

Hogs at fair rounded up after vandal strikes

Nearly 20 hogs that were destined for slaughter had a few hours of freedom at the Upper Peninsula State Fair.

The Daily Press in Escanaba says someone released the hogs from their pens Saturday night or early Sunday. Some had minor injuries.

Escanaba police are investigating. Swine superintendent Stephanie Bruno says the vandal "had no business messing around with hogs." She says all were transported to a slaughterhouse Sunday as planned.

WINTERSET, IA

Carcasses, neglected cattle found in Madison County

Authorities have seized 36 head of neglected cattle from a farm near Winterset in Madison County.

The cattle were seized Sunday night and taken away for food, water and medical care. Authorities also found cattle carcasses on the property.

No arrests have been reported. The Sheriff's Office says charges are pending.

COLUMBUS, OH

USDA action on SNAP program criticized

Ohio's Republican and Democratic senators teamed up with half their colleagues to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change course on changes that could force many small food stores out of the SNAP program. That's the old "food stamps."

The changes, they said, could put at risk 45 million families, seniors and children who count on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to avoid hunger.

While the USDA had good intentions to provide the poor with greater access to healthier foods by requiring participating stores to routinely stock a larger and greater variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, bread, cereal, meat, fish or poultry...retailers would have to have a deeper stock of staple items, displaying 168 different items to qualify for the program.

Critics say the USDA had enormously underestimated ... the cost of the healthier-food proposals to a single store.

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