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Nation in brief: Edwards proposes action on hunger

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, in his fight against domestic hunger, called on Congress Wednesday to take immediate action to fund programs that provide food services for millions.

“This is an issue that we can actually do something about,” Edwards said, calling on Americans to do their part at an individual level.

Edwards’ proposal urges Congress to pass a farm bill that would provide food stamps and support food banks. It asks lawmakers to reform the food stamps program to help more families get more assistance. The plan also urges Congress to quickly provide $5.1 billion to help low income families pay their winter heating bills to free up extra money for food.


Hunter’s rifles buy turkeys for needy

A man in failing health has sold his hunting rifles to buy 100 turkeys for needy families this Thanksgiving.

Pat Callahan said he can no longer hunt deer because his kidneys are failing, so he decided to sell his guns to help others.

“It will help at least 1,000 people to have a better Thanksgiving and a good Christmas,” said Callahan, who’s in his mid-50s.

The owners of two local groceries said they have given out almost 75 turkeys so far.


Tasered driver video on Web

Authorities are speeding up their investigation of a state trooper who zapped a motorist with a Taser now that video of the traffic stop has been posted on YouTube, the Utah Highway Patrol said Wednesday.

The video, taken from Trooper John Gardner’s patrol car, shows him drawing his Taser after Jared Massey refused to sign a speeding ticket Sept. 14 and walked away from the officer on U.S. 40 in eastern Utah.

A surprised Massey asks, “What the heck is wrong with you?”

Gardner fires, and Massey shrieks and falls.

The 10-minute video landed on YouTube after it was released to Massey under a public records request.


FEMA backtracks, will pay aquarium

Reversing a decision that some found bureaucratically absurd, the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted $99,766 Wednesday to an aquarium that saved taxpayers a bundle by catching replacements for the fish it lost to Hurricane Katrina.

FEMA had said that the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas needed to buy the fish from commercial vendors, a method the agency said would cost $616,849 but would comply with disaster aid laws.

When aquarium staff went out and caught them for $99,766, FEMA denied their petition for reimbursement, though the move had saved half a million dollars.

The aquarium appealed, and the dispute dragged on for 17 months until Carlos Castillo, FEMA’s assistant director of disaster assistance, notified the aquarium in a letter Wednesday that the federal agency would pick up the tab after all for the aquarium’s catch of 1,681 fish.


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