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Q: What are they doing at Broadway and the U.S. Highway 218 exit ramp?

A: BMC Aggregates is removing vegetation and overburden in that area to expand the Brinker Lake mining operation to the northwest.

Q: What is The Courier’s position on the government’s shutdown? And why is it any different if federal employees get laid off when their pay and benefits are as good or better than the private sector? Do they worry when John Deere people get laid off and can’t make their mortgage payments?

A: We assume the government has important functions to fulfill, like securing airports and processing tax returns, and should perform them. When Deere and Co. lays off workers it is for business reasons — the company has built more tractors than it can sell and needs to control inventory, for example. The federal shutdown is not a layoff; it is closing the store when plenty of people are clamoring for its services.

Q: Did President Trump originally want $25 billion for the border wall? If so, why does he only want $5 billion now? Wasn’t several hundred miles of a wall built a number of years ago along the Arizona and California borders? If so, how was that funded?

A: President Trump has asked for $25 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and in December four Republican senators introduced dead-on-arrival legislation to fully fund that request. The $5 billion Trump seeks now would be tangible evidence the president is working to accomplish his promise to build a wall. Democrats have proposed $1.3 billion for border security, not a physical wall. Currently about 600 miles of fencing has been built along the 2,000-mile border since 1994, mostly paid for with congressional appropriations.

Q: Can you print information about the career and personal life of classic film actress Lizabeth Scott?

A: A Pennsylvania native, she started her career in theater, later moved to Hollywood and was in a rush of 21 films between 1945 and 1957. She later became involved in real estate. It’s not clear if she ever married. Scott died in 2015, age 92.

Q: Where can we send a contribution to the Salvation Army?

A: You can send it to the local Salvation Army at 89 Franklin St., Waterloo 50703.

Q: How do you go about getting tested to find out if you’re compatible to donate a kidney to Andy Devine?

A: You should check with the the National Kidney Foundation at (800) 622-9010 or go to

Q: What is an address to write to Lin-Manuel Miranda?

A: Try sending mail to him at 4768 Broadway, Unit 743, New York, NY 10034.

Q: What is the cost of cannabis oil? Does insurance help pay for it?

A: Most insurance will not pay for cannabis products due to the continued prohibition at the federal level, and the cost varies depending on the product. Check with Aaron Boshart or his employees at Iowa Cannabis Co., 1955 La Porte Road, Waterloo, for more specific information.

Calls 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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