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    I hate to have the Christmas season end. The lull is unbearable, and this zero weather makes life even more drudged. The Christmas cards are lonely in their basket. The Christmas tree tries to look fresh and cheery. There is no nutmeg left for the eggnog. The excitement is over. Everyone is …

       River Drive is smiling again. The rows of candy cane stripes are back on the pillars of the big house. The stripes have become a holiday beacon at 534 River Drive, Bettendorf, for at least 60 years, a bond and a promise with whoever owns the place.

        They were concerned at the St. Louis preemie hospital unit that Nick might not make it for a year. He was so tiny at birth that he would fit in a man’s hand. Premature babies are precious little gifts of God. They are to be handled delicately.

          During an idling evening, Tom Otting was wondering how life existed for kids without electronic games and smartphones and tweets. “What did we do with ourselves?” he thought. Tom, an 81-year-old retired Davenport bank executive and civic do-gooder, pulled out a 12-inch legal pad and scribble…

          Ron DeSantis has made a four-stop blitz through Iowa during his first full day of presidential campaigning. He's aiming for a personal connection with voters even as he intensifies his criticism of former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor’s first appearance was the floor of Port Neal Welding in Salix, a rural town near Sioux City. DeSantis made subsequent Wednesday events in Council Bluffs, Pella and Cedar Rapids. He's packing in early stops in the state where caucuses kick off the Republican presidential primary voting. From there, he will head later in the week to New Hampshire and then South Carolina.

          Police say a child has died after accidentally being shot by another child in a suburban Chicago household. River Grove police said they were called to the home around 10 a.m. Wednesday and found a child severely injured after being accidentally being shot by another child in the home. WLS-TV reports the father of the child who was shot told police he was outside at the time of the shooting. He immediately called 911. The child died at a hospital. The father told police he owned the gun and said it was stored on a high shelf in a closet.

          Residents of a partially collapsed six-story building in Davenport are trying Wednesday to move on with their lives after being forced out of their apartments. Two of the building’s residents are missing and believed to be in the rubble. An additional three people also remain unaccounted for, but authorities have said they do not believe they were home when the building collapsed. One resident who was rescued had to have a leg amputated to free her from debris. Her wife says it's like a miracle that she's alive.

          The governors of Virginia, West Virginia and South Carolina are joining the growing list of Republican-led states sending soldiers or other state law enforcement officers to the U.S. border with Mexico. Virginia's Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday he's deploying 100 Virginia National Guard soldiers and 21 support personnel at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. South Carolina's Henry McMaster and West Virginia's Jim Justice made similar announcement Wednesday. At least eight Republican-led states have made similar deployments in the weeks since Abbott appealed for helpassistance, which was issued in mid-May. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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