• What's Going On: Trying hard to be thankful in a time of grief

    I’m ready for 2015 to end.
    This has been a … well … crappy year, especially the last six months.
    My sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer, several key employees have left the newspaper, and as if to prove life can always get worse, my wife was diagnosed with
    cancer about six weeks ago.
    What a pile of … well … crap. Actually, I’d rather use a different word, but if I did, my mother would not approve, nor would the person who signs my check.

  • The Time Capsule: A cat in the night and other wildlife tales

    A “Far Side” cartoon from a few years ago has a pack of coyotes lounging on a hillside. Two are off to themselves. One says to the other, “Ten to one if I howl, they’ll all howl.”  

  • What's Going On: Next week’s election will show how much Red Oak really cares

    Red Oak, prepare to be tested.
    Tuesday, Sept. 8, voters will decide not only who is going to serve the next three years on the  Red Oak school board, but will also demonstrate whether or not this community truly cares about, well, anything.
    This election will be one of the most important in Red Oak school history, and I don’t think I’m overstating that.

  • The Time Capsule: The Strange Case of Dr. Curran and the Wooly Worm

    Dr. H.C. Curran, Curator of Entomology, Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, was not the type who shocked the unsuspecting with a handshake buzzer or a whoopee pad. His sense of humor was more refined, carried out on a higher level, and because of it his legacy remains with us still.  

  • What's Going On: When the cheaters get cheated

    It may go down as the most ironic computer crime … ever.
    The cheaters got cheated last week when a group of online activists published names, email addresses, credit card information and home addresses of Ashley Madison.com users.
    The website with two first names has been offering services where married men and women can meet online in order to arrange a secret
    rendezvous where they can commit adultery and cheat on their spouses.

  • The Time Capsule: Comments from our “regular” readers

    Our subscribers are interesting people. A few days ago my wife and I had dinner with a group that included a lady from Griswold. She reads this column for a reason I wouldn’t have expected.  She finds it to be of about the right length for bathroom purposes; generally stimulating enough to be helpful yet not so absorbing as to distract from the primary purpose.  
    Although I was curious and she probably would have told, I did not ask what she does the rest of the week.    

  • Miner Queries: Does what you don’t know hurt you?

    I was watching TV last week when a CIGNA ad caught my eye. The ad highlighted CIGNA’s preventive health insurance coverage, which provides for one well-check each year at no cost to patients.
    Except that’s not unique to CIGNA. It’s the law.
    Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, annual physicals must be provided to all insured people at no cost. Unfortunately, too many Americans still don’t know that. I wonder how many have paid co-payments when they didn’t need to?

  • What's Going On: Donald Trump: so wrong he might actually be right

    Be nice.
    Like many of my college courses, I don’t remember a lot about my speech class taught by tenured professor Chandler Monroe.
    Mr. Monroe fit the stereotype of both a person named Chandler and someone who has taught at a university since the 19th century. Dressed in a 3-piece suit with a matching hat, Mr. Monroe sported a well-groomed full, grey beard, and absolutely looked the part of the stately academic.
    As old-fashioned as he was, Mr. Monroe was equally demanding.

  • The Time Capsule: Red Oak man foils holiday crime spree

    There are a lot of Petersons in our phone book, and I suspect some of them are related to Vernon. I wonder if they know he once teamed with Miss Gladys Oman to thwart a crime wave — or at least to send it elsewhere.  

  • The Time Capsule: Jesse James slept here (maybe)

    Florence Martin wrote from her home in St. Joseph, Mo. She wanted me to know that in the 1870s her grandfather, who farmed near Villisca, was visited by the Jesse James gang.  There were four of them, she said, traveling light and riding hard. They wanted food and water and offered to pay.  
    There are other similar accounts. I was once told that Jesse and cohorts put up for the night in my great-grandfather’s barn near Elliott. Chances are, if you had ancestors in the area during Jesse’s robbing years a