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Columns

  • The time capsule: Who could forget Lynn King, season of '36?

    Not long before Jim Zabel passed away, I asked if he remembered Lynn King of Villisca. The long-time sportscaster, on the phone from his Arizona home, didn’t hesitate. “Oh, man!” he said. “Who could forget him?” Zabel knew King as a middle-aged bowler, but was well aware of what he had been.

  • On the side: What? Us? Lazy?

    Chris Kolmar,
    Marketing Director
    Zippia
    28 2nd St., #300
    San Francisco, CA 94105

    Dear Chris:
    Earlier this month, you and-or your company issued some sort of “analysis” that ranked my community, Red Oak, as the laziest in Iowa.
    I wanted to share a few things with you about your diligent “work” to inform the world, and in the process, drum up free marketing for your business. Yes, we’re smart enough out here in the sticks to know your agenda.
    First, you offended a bunch of good people.
    Second, it’s very Iowan to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you cast aspersions.

  • The Time Capsule: Demetria Stephens, Turkey Red, and the Miller boy

    Demetria Stephens is an interesting young lady. Given a little rain, the wheat she grows is high as her chin, and we met because five or six years ago I planted too much sweet corn.  

  • Miner Queries: Did you vote for obstruction?

    Don’t you love our Iowa delegation in Congress? They get Iowa lots of press. Steve King gives us a reputation for racism. Senator Ernst promotes a caricature image of a pig castrating, bread-bag-wearing Iowan and now Senator Grassley leads the legion of obstructionists. 

  • The Time Capsule: George Hallock vs. The Crooked Creek Gang

    Although the Crooked Creek gang terrorized Southwest Iowa, they didn’t do well when it came to shootouts.      

    The story of these post-Civil War outlaws was first told to me by J. Frank Berry, a local historian who wrote extensively about them. The basic facts of his account came from newspapers and county histories and have since been more or less verified — or at least reprinted.  

  • On the side: The one thing to claim as your own

     Back in the day there was a woman who handled circulation matters at a newspaper where I worked. Let’s call her Helen, to protect the guilty.

  • Capitol Solutions: Watch out! The grandparent scam could cost you

    Mary woke up before dawn to the sounds of a ringing phone. She put on her glasses and fear filled her mind, as she knew no good news could come from the dialing end of such an early morning call.

    “Grandma it’s me - do you know who this is?” the caller hurriedly said. 

    Mary thought the caller kind of sounded like her grandson Billy - but she wasn’t sure. She responded, “Billy? Is this you?”

  • The Time Capsule: I would rather be in bed with you than on guard duty

    Several readers have said they enjoyed the excerpts from George Madden’s diary and were disappointed to see them end. Also regrettable is the fact his depiction of daily life in southwest Iowa in the 1850s did not extend into the Civil War. It seems likely he kept a journal during the few months he served, but those pages apparently did not survive.  

  • On the side: Who is this guy and where will he live?

    Let me state the obvious.

    Relocating stinks.

    My wife is back in Texas. I’m looking for a rental that will accept our small dog. I’m trying to sell a house and looking for one here. And, oh yeah, I’ve got a new job and am trying to learn an entire new community.

    By the way, my name is Brad. I’m the new publisher and editor here at The Express. 

  • The Time Capsule: The ball-player and the goat milking

     From a recent news article, I learned that Dolph Pulliam, who had a relationship with Drake University that spanned forty years, has retired. I expect few people today recognize the name, but there was a breathtaking moment when he hit the shot that put Drake on the verge of the most incredible upset in NCAA basketball tournament history.