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Q: Is Ron Gaines, city administrator of Cedar Falls, in favor of getting rid of the mayor in Cedar Falls?

A: Gaines said he does not support getting rid of the mayor’s post. That matter is a policy question up to the mayor and members of City Council, not the city administrator. Getting rid of the mayor’s post altogether would require a referendum for a change in form of government

Q: Are pin oak trees sensitive to trimming, such as if I trim a branch back 5 or 6 feet will that kill the branch within a few years?

A: According to ISU Extension, it’s a common mistake to prune a branch back part way or even a few feet, which leaves an open wound on that branch. Continually doing this will cause greater harm to the tree. It is best to trim oak branches back to the trunk where there are tree tissues that can heal the wound better and grow over it to close it. Oak trees should be pruned late fall and winter only due to oak wilt.

Q: Does Irish Fest have a lost and found? We’re looking for a baby blanket.

A: Festival director Chad Shipman checked and said no one turned in a baby blanket.

Q: In the word find puzzle in the TV guide Friday it says meemaw. What is that?

A: It’s a nickname for a grandmother; it seems to be more common in the South.

Q: If I have questions about Social Security is there a local number to call or a person to talk to?

A: The number given for the local office is (888) 456-9554, which seems to get you to the national call center. But you also could go to the Waterloo office — it’s at 3121 Greyhound Drive. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

Q: What year did River Phoenix die of an overdose and how old was he?

A: He died in 1993 at age 23.

Q: What is difference between dusk and sunset?

A: In common usage, we think there’s not much difference. Technically, “sunset” refers to the instant when the trailing edge of the sun stops being visible and disappears below the horizon in the evening. “Dusk” is the period when day is turning into night; some definitions call it the later part of twilight.

Q: Were there ever any leads on locating Johnny Gosch? Is it true his mother actually saw him?

A: The police followed any number of possible leads, but according to a recent Des Moines Register report, his “fate remains unknown by law enforcement.” Noreen Gosch has said her son visited her briefly in 1997 but fears for his life and lives under an assumed identity. Her ex-husband has said he is not sure such a visit really happened.

Q: On the TV show “Judge Mathis” is the judge a real judge or a paid actor?

A: Judge Greg Mathis was really a district court judge in Michigan.

Q: How was French chosen as the language for the Lou Henry kindergarten dual language immersion program?

A: It was chosen because the school had enough native French speakers starting kindergarten this fall to create a dual language immersion class.

Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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