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The Democratic presidential campaign in Iowa kicked into high gear over the weekend as six candidates jockeyed for position in the state's leadoff caucuses on Jan. 3. They hustled to make appearances at numerous rallies, forums, and receptions before attending the Iowa Democratic Party's annual fundraising dinner before 9,000 boisterous activists.

A report released Monday by a leading adoption organization advocates letting persons who were adopted access birth records, as adults, that allow them to identify their birth parents. Providing this information, says the not-for-profit Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, is "overwhelmingly positive for adult persons and birth parents alike." Eight states allow access to such information to all adults who were adopted.

The number of curbside recycling programs has grown from about 1,000 to more than 10,000 during the past 20 years, the National Recycling Coalition announced Monday in anticipation of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.

An Oregon circuit court ruled late last week that high school English teacher Shirley Katz, who has a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun, can't take it to school despite her claims of needing it to protect her from her ex-husband.

Norman Mailer, the pugnacious, street-wise author who died Saturday in New York, won two Pulitzer Prizes during a career that took off with his first book, "The Naked and the Dead," published in 1948.

The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges unveiled a new Web-based tool Sunday to help prospective college students better select schools using transparent and comparable information. Some 70 public colleges and universities contributed to the development of the College Portrait data-reporting template.

Wayne State University in Detroit has spent more than $1 billion in the past decade for on- and off-campus housing and building projects, the Associated Press said in a report on college efforts around the country to transform depressed urban neighborhoods. "We have become part of the growing rhythm" of Detroit's Midtown area," Wayne State president Irvin Reid said.

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