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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Six more weeks of winter. But if it stays as mild as it has been in some parts of the country, the groundhog is off the hook. Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair to “see” his shadow this morning, in the process predicting six more weeks of winter. Of course it’s all scripted. Phil’s prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group who dons top hats and tuxedos to host the event.

Smith County Eligible for Emergency Disaster Loans

TYLER TX. - Smith County has received notice from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management that residents are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency disaster loans due to drought and related disasters including high winds, high temperatures and wildfires since January 1, 2011. The Administrator of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will immediately make emergency loans available to eligible applicants in Smith County. To receive details on terms and eligibility for these loans please contact the nearest FSA office. . Disaster loan information and applications forms are also available from the SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling the SBA toll-free at 800-659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800-877-8339. The deadline to apply for these loans is September 4, 2012.

From Smith County

30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.87 pct.

WASHINGTON — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell this week to a record low, the ninth time that has happened in the last year. Even with the cheapest rates in history, the housing market remains depressed. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.87 percent this week. That below the previous record of 3.88 hit two weeks ago. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.14 percent, also a record low. Records for mortgage rates date back to the 1950s.

Trump now set to endorse Romney, not Gingrich

LAS VEGAS — Mitt Romney appears to be getting the endorsement of Donald Trump. It’s an endorsement Newt Gingrich sought when he met with Trump in New York in December — and Gingrich had told advisers last night that he expected to get it. Sources say the real estate mogul and reality show star will instead endorse Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

 

TEXARKANA, Texas — A 17-year-old girl has been charged as an adult with three capital murder counts in the deaths of a Texarkana mother and her two children. Bond has been set at $3 million for Rachel Pittman. She’s accused of killing Amanda Doss, 11-year-old Guinevere Doss and eight-year-old Texas Johnson last May.

 

Meteor
by nasa,getty images

OKLAHOMA CITY —There were Bright Lights in the skies last night but, The FAA says a bright, streaking light seen over parts of Oklahoma and Texas was likely a meteor. The object was spotted around 8 p.m. as far north as Oklahoma City and as far south as Houston.

 

AUSTIN, Texas — Farmers Insurance will raise homeowner premiums by nearly ten percent. The Dallas Morning News reports the rate hike will apply to about half of Farmers Insurance policyholders across Texas. The increase is set to take effect next month.

 

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s still too early for Facebook to reveal how much it intends to ask for its shares in its effort to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering of stock. The company generates about $4.39 in revenue per user. Tim Loughran, a finance professor at the University of Notre Dame, says “Facebook needs to find more ways to get revenue from their users.” Google’s annual revenue works out to more than $30 per user

 

DENVER — Colorado is taking aim at junk food in school cafeterias as it considers the nation’s toughest school trans-fat ban. A Colorado House committee is expected to hear a bill today to forbid any trans-fat in school food — not just the food served through regular cafeteria lunches. That would mean vending machines, after-school bake sales and popular “a la carte” items on lunch lines such as ice creams or pizza would have to be produced without artery-clogging trans fats. Colorado has the nation’s lowest obesity rate, but young people are becoming fatter along with their counterparts in other states.

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s no-fly list has more than doubled in the past year. The Associated Press has learned that the no-fly list of known or suspected terrorists has jumped from about 10,000 to 21,000, with about 500 Americans on it. The government figures provided to The AP show that most names were added after the failed Christmas 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner.

 

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