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    To state the obvious – agriculture is critical to our rural economy. This has been true for more than two centuries and will likely be true for centuries to come.
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Winter storm slams Southwest

A large storm already blamed for at least eight deaths in the West slogged through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest on Sunday, leading to hundreds of flight cancellations as it slowly churned east ahead of Thanksgiving.

After the storm plows through the Southwest, meteorologists expect the Arctic mass to head south and east, threatening plans for Tuesday and Wednesday as people hit the roads and airports for some of the busiest travel days of the year.

A mix of rain and sleet began falling north of Dallas on Interstate 35 by midday Sunday, and areas of southwestern Oklahoma woke up to several inches of snow. Flagstaff, Ariz., had 11 inches of snow by early Sunday.

Shooting leaves 4 dead in Oklahoma

Four people were killed and a fifth person was hospitalized after being shot in a Tulsa, Okla., home, police said Sunday.

The victims were shot by a lone gunman at close range Saturday night, police said. The Tulsa World reported that officers are looking for a suspect.

Investigators said the home had been the scene of several drug arrests. More people were in another part of the house at the time of the shooting, they said.

Postal worker shot dead near DC

Police said a postal worker was shot to death while delivering mail about 10 miles from the nation’s capital.

Police said they were called to a street Saturday evening in Landover, Md., and found Tyson Jerome Barnette, 26, dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

Police are trying to identify suspects and a motive.

Man slays singer, claims self-defense

A downtown bar owner in told Nashville, Tenn., police he fatally shot a country music singer in self-defense after the two got into an argument over the musician smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area, authorities said.

Pit and Barrel owner Chris Ferrell shot Wayne Mills, 44, about 5 a.m. Saturday, after the bar had closed, the Tennessean reported.

Mills died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Police spokeswoman Kris Mumford said investigators are looking into Ferrell’s claim of self-defense.

Ferrell, who had a valid handgun permit, has not been arrested, police said.

Chairman of Progressive dies

Progressive Corp. Chairman Peter Lewis, the billionaire who turned a company founded by his father into one of the largest U.S. auto insurers and later pushed to legalize marijuana, has died.

Lewis, who was 80, died Saturday at his home in Coconut Grove, Fla., after suffering a heart attack, said an adviser, Jennifer Frutchy.