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Teacher names son after student killed in tornado
Written by KRISTI EATON, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:17

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The school's wall collapsed onto Jennifer Doan Rogers as she desperately tried to protect her third-grade students as a tornado ripped through their Oklahoma community. The young teacher had laid one of her hands on Nicolas McCabe, a 9-year-old with an infectious grin.

But it wasn't enough to protect him.

The monstrous tornado leveled part of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, killing six of her students — including Nicolas — last spring. Rogers, who was eight weeks pregnant at the time, lay buried under the rubble with a broken back.

"He was actually the closest one to me, that I had my hand on, that didn't make it," she said.

Seven months later, Rogers gave birth to a boy. She named him after Nicolas.

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Southern-style snowstorm: Gridlock, kind neighbors
Written by RAY HENRY, Associated Press RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:12

ATLANTA (AP) — Students camped out with teachers in school gyms and commuters abandoned cars along the highway to seek shelter in churches, fire stations — even grocery stores — after a rare snowstorm left thousands of unaccustomed Southerners frozen in their tracks.

Tuesday's storm deposited mere inches of snow, barely enough to qualify as a storm up North. And yet it was more than enough to paralyze Deep South cities such as Atlanta and Birmingham, and strand thousands of workers who tried to rush home early only to never make it home at all.

There were hundreds of fender-benders, and some fatal crashes too. Jackknifed 18-wheelers littered Interstate 65 in central Alabama. Ice shut down bridges on Florida's panhandle and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, one of the world's longest spans, in Louisiana.

Some stranded commuters pleaded for help via cellphones while still holed up in their cars, while others trudged miles home, abandoning their vehicles outright.

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Obama vows to flex presidential powers in speech
Written by JULIE PACE, AP White House Correspondent   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 05:39

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to energize his sluggish second term, President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday night in his State of the Union address to sidestep Congress "whenever and wherever" necessary to narrow economic disparities between America's rich and poor.

He unveiled an array of modest executive actions to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers and make it easier for millions of low-income people to save for retirement.

"America does not stand still and neither do I," Obama declared in his prime-time address before a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television.

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National Guard aims to reach stranded school buses
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:11

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal says the National Guard is sending military Humvees onto Atlanta's winter weather-snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to students on them.

Deal says the Georgia State Patrol is also sending troopers to schools where children remain stranded after spending the night there after snow began falling Tuesday afternoon. He said in a statement early Wednesday morning that state transportation crews are continuing to treat roads and bring gas to stranded motorists.

Deal plans a briefing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Capitol to discuss the state's "ongoing disaster response."

A sea of red brake lights remained at a standstill along a dozen lanes of the Downtown Connector shortly before dawn Wednesday.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Q&A: What's in the trillion-dollar farm bill?
Written by MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 18:58

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nearly 1,000-page compromise farm bill is designed to have something for everyone. There's more money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest, higher peanut and rice subsidies for Southern farmers and the renewal of federal land payments for Western states.

The bill also sets policy for the almost $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, which has doubled in cost in the last five years. Conservatives wanted to cut the program by as much as 5 percent, but the bill would only trim the program by $800 million a year, or 1 percent.

Some questions and answers about the farm bill and its politics:

Q: What is the farm bill?

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