The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico dropped by 27 percent this year, reversing last year's recovery from historically low numbers, according to a study recently released by government and independent experts.

The number of new housing starts declined 2.6 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The drop came after a much larger gain the previous month. Single family housing starts rose 1.9 percent, while apartment building dropped 7.9 percent.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 4.15 percent from 4.17 percent last week. The benchmark rate stood at 3.65 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent through 2016, lowest in records going back to 1971.

The hundreds of people who streamed through Davenport's Sacred Heart Cathedral a week ago to offer condolences to the family of Isaac Weir Sears were visible testimony to the impact Sears had on this community.

Alma Gaul