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Morning headlines: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Ill. law takes effect November 15, 2011 allowing more adoptees to get copies of their original birth certificates.
Flickr/Mat Culpepper
An Ill. law takes effect November 15, 2011 allowing more adoptees to get copies of their original birth certificates.

Ill. law regarding original birth certificates takes effect today

An Illinois law taking effect today will allow more adoptees to get copies of their original birth certificates and possibly learn the names of their biological parents.

Generally, original birth certificates are sealed and new ones are issued when adoptions are final. But starting today, adults who were born on or after Jan. 1,1946, and were surrendered or adopted will be able to request non-certified copies of their original Illinois birth certificates. The change comes under the amended 2010 Illinois Adoption Act. Other parts of the law have already taken effect.

Original birth certificates typically include birth parents' names and places of birth. The Illinois Department of Public Health says birth parents who want their information kept confidential can fill out a form.

Army Corps working to repair levee

The Army Corps of Engineers is working around the clock to repair three spots in the Birds Point levee where it used explosives in May. The Southeast Missourian reportsthat Corps officials are racing to get the work done before the arrival of cold weather.

In May, the Corps used dynamite to blow three holes in the levee to relieve pressure at the height of the Mississippi River flooding that was threatening nearby Cairo, Ill. About 130,000 acres of farmland were damaged, along with dozens of homes.

Rain is in the forecast for several upcoming days, hampering the restoration effort. Corps officials say they want to get to 55 feet before the spring's rainy season. But if weather cooperates, they could get to that level by mid-December.

Ill. spent over $1 million on Coleman trial

Taxpayers in cash-strapped Illinois spent more than $1.1 million for the defense and prosecution of a southwestern Illinois man ultimately convicted of strangling his wife and their two young sons.  

The St. Louis Post-Dispatchreports that the taxpayer tab in the Monroe County case of Christopher Coleman will be one of the last covered by the state's Capital Litigation Fund. That fund was intended to help pay expenses in cases involving the death penalty. But it'll be phased out at the end of the year because the state has banned capital punishment.

Coleman was convicted in May and is serving a life sentence in the 2009 killings of Sheri Coleman and their 9- and 11-year old sons. The murders happened at the family's home in Columbia.