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Columns

  • On the Side| Brad Hicks

     Elections almost always lead to circumstances that people don’t understand.

    For instance, some of the state’s 150,000 or so public workers have expressed opinions over the past two weeks regarding the Republican-controlled Iowa government changing the collective bargaining law. GOP officials said they are “giving Iowans a place at the bargaining table,” claiming the law had swung too far in favor of public employees. 

  • The Time Capsule | Roy Marshall

    This year, the month of February has 28 days. According to “Holiday Insights,” an organization that keeps current on these things, 67 of them are holidays. We might enjoy more events if we knew they existed. 

    “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day,” for example, fell on Feb. 4 and we missed it. The fourth is also “Create a Vacuum Day,” but I’m at a loss as to how this should be celebrated. Candlemas, the last day of Christmas season, is on the second, as is Groundhog Day.

  • On the Side| Brad Hicks

     I make it a practice to remain a safe distance from wallet-emptying shopping centers such as Valley West Mall and Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines, but for practical purposes of an ongoing argument, I’m going to use them as an example.

  • The Time Capsule | Roy Marshall

     An article written by Dr. Michael Farrell of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has me tapping trees and remembering Henry Huffy.

    Huffy, an old man with a white beard when I knew him, used tree sap to make syrup. I was then about 12, helped cut wood at boiling time, and for this he gave me a jar of remarkable, amber-colored syrup. Huffy didn’t have Vermont sugar maples. Instead, he relied on native Iowa walnut trees, which he believed made better syrup anyway. 

  • Miner Queries | Cherie Miner

    As “protesters” were marching around the world on Jan. 21, one of my friends who voted for President Trump asked on Facebook why they were marching. Another of my friends explained some of the many reasons people showed up to march.

    But nobody said it better than Carrie Shalters when she was interviewed in last week’s Red Oak Express about her participation: “I don’t feel as though the atmosphere was a protest, but more of a ‘See me, hear my voice and listen. These are my concerns.’”

  • On the Side| Brad Hicks

     The Iowa Legislature has not changed the state’s can and bottle redemption law since its inception in 1978, when it passed a law to clean up the environment. 

    The law requires Iowans to pay a nickel for specified beverage cans and bottles. Upon returning them, the purchaser gets his or her nickel refunded, and the organization which takes in the container then receives six cents – five to cover the refund and one to cover the costs of the operation.

  • The Time Capsule | Roy Marshall

    Last November, I thought about not voting at all. I couldn’t bring myself to make the mark for Hillary, Trump, Johnson or Stein, but there were other candidates and issues deserving of support, so I went. My intent was to leave the presidential section blank, and I filled out the ballot accordingly. Before feeding it to the machine I wrote, on an impulse, “Tucker” on the line below the presidential nominees. Tucker is our little Bichon. 

  • Open Government | Iowa Public Information Board

     Editor’s Note: This is a monthly column prepared by the Iowa Public Information Board to update Iowans on the IPIB’s activities and provide information on some of the issues routinely addressed by the board.

     

    What steps should a private citizen take at a meeting of a governmental body when it is suggested that the body go into closed session, possibly for reasons not legal under Chapter 21 or other sections of the Iowa Code?

  • On the Side| Brad Hicks

    Next Tuesday, we folks in the Red Oak Community School District get the chance to cast a ballot on whether to renew the existing Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, commonly called the PPEL.

  • The Time Capsule | Roy Marshall

    “Without doubt the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English sparrow.”  – W.L. Dawson, “The Birds of Ohio,” 1903.