QUESTION: What has caused the national coin shortage? I’m seeing these notices in a lot of the store windows.

ANSWER: Like so many other things that have gone wrong in the world right now, blame COVID-19.

I found this explanation from the Federal Reserve:

“Business and bank closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins. While there is an adequate overall amount of coins in the economy, the slowed pace of circulation has reduced available inventories in some areas of the country,” the Fed’s website says. “The Federal Reserve is working with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry on solutions. As a first step, a temporary cap was imposed on the orders depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the current supply is fairly distributed. In addition, a U.S. Coin Task Force was formed to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation.”

The U.S. Mint has been “has been operating at full production capacity, minting almost 1.6 billion coins in June and is on track to mint 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year,” the website says.

The Fed expects coin circulation to improve as the economy recovers.

Q: What happened to radio station KOOI that was operated by Kilgore College?

A: I’ll admit to being a little confused, because KOOI has never been operated by Kilgore College. I wonder if you’re talking about KTPB?

That was the classical music station that Kilgore College previously operated. Manny Almanza is Kilgore College’s marketing director, and he was operations director of KTPB from June 1995 until it closed in about 2006. He reminded me that at that point, Kilgore College sold the station. The station went to the Education Media Foundation, more widely known as K-Love. K-Love broadcasts on KPTB’s former radio location at FM 88.7, under the call sign KZLO.

Q: We did not receive the first stimulus payment; who should we contact?

A: I checked with the IRS and found that the agency is still sending payments.

I suggested you use the Get My Payment tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment to first check the status of your payment.

You can try calling the IRS at 1 (800) 919-9835. Last time I checked, calling that number involves the use of a great deal of patience. Make sure you’re stocked up.

Q: I was wondering if you had any updates on the trial for Kimberly Bruton.

As of December 2019, the judge found her incompetent to stand trial for the fire she allegedly started resulting in the death of two people. Your articles haven’t been updated since.

A: Bruton, 34, previously was arrested in May 2018 on a charge of arson causing bodily injury/death in the March 9, 2018, deaths of Randall Russell, 74, and his daughter, Lisa Tesmer, 52. They died in a fire in the duplex they shared with Bruton on Cherie Lane in Longview

We reported in July that Judge Alfonso Charles, who presides over the 124th District Court, previously determined Bruton was incompetent to stand trial. He filed an order July 9 committing her to North Texas State Hospital.

She could face trial if at some point she’s determined to be competent.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.