• The Time Capsule: The mystery of Red Oak girls basketball

    Sometimes a little mystery is as intriguing as a big one, and such might be said of the case of the demise of basketball for girls at Red Oak High School. 

  • What's Going On: What good is a voice if you can’t use it

    Red Oak has a problem.

    In our ever evolving/changing culture, moral relativism is becoming more and more vogue.

    Either consciously or subconsciously, we are being trained to think it’s not right to judge the actions of others. For right or wrong, we are being conditioned to be accepting and tolerant of other’s behaviors to a level that would be incomprehensible 50 years ago.

    Maybe that’s society evolving or devolving depending on your personal perspective. 

  • Miner Queries: What do we owe each other?

    This question was penned recently by a high school student in Austin, Texas and shared by a friend on Facebook. 

    Deb’s students come from varied ethnic and economic backgrounds, many with numerous challenges to overcome, and she works diligently with love to give them a safe place to learn, grow and become themselves. She often posts about her classroom encounters.

    But this question really stopped me. It echoed a question that popped out of my husband’s mouth during a discussion one evening:  “Are we all in this alone?”

  • The Time Capsule: Modified crops: Which side is right?

    While buying garden seeds this spring I was reminded of what may be a growing and insidious global problem. On the other hand, it may be nothing at all. Experts on each side of the issue are so far apart there seems to be no middle ground.

  • What's Going On: Why owning a home is more myth than reality

    It had been more than 50 years since she had been inside the house.

    She grew up there, living in the two-story home for about a dozen years, until her parents moved out in 1959.

    Half-a-century later though, she wanted to relive some of those memories, prompting her to call my wife and ask if she could walk through our house.

    Much kinder than her prickly-husband, my wife not only accommodated the request but was eagerly looking forward to talking to the woman who knows so much more about our home’s history.

  • Notes From the Capitol: Medicaid, education dominate Des Moines

    This week’s floor action included two significant bills: Medicaid Expansion and Education Reform.

     In the Iowa Senate, Democrats passed a bill expanding the Medicaid program.  The passage of SF 296 does little to address patients’ well-being or the long-term implications. 

    Chronic disease and obesity are growing problems, and not enabling recipients to take ownership of their health care coverage does them a disservice and only makes the problem worse.

  • The Time Capsule: Madden’s journey comes to an end

    This week our journey through George Madden’s diary comes to an end. He’s enlisted, takes his wife to live with his parents and marches off to meet his fate. 

    Sunday, Sept. 7, 1862.  Alfred is going into our company and will go into camp on Monday.  Henry Ray, Jas. Ray and Jefferson Ray are going with us to the war. Iowa is turning out volunteers by the thousands. May God help us, but his will be done. Yesterday, nine years ago to the day, we left old Indiana for the west—Iowa.   

  • What's Going On: Why Monday was the best day of the year

    Monday may very well have been my favorite day of the year.

    Of course, Monday was no ordinary Monday. It was an extraordinary day that happens only once a year: baseball’s opening day for the upcoming season.

    There was a time not too long ago (i.e. when I was single and childless) I would take this day off work while claiming it should be a national holiday.

    I would spend the entire day on the couch watching 12 hours of continuous baseball, stopping only to cook some hot dogs on a grill and grab a coke from the fridge.

  • Miner Queries: If you mandate it, why not fund it?

    As I was doing my morning reading last week, I did a quick check of my Facebook page to discover a post by a friend and member of a local school board.  It linked to a KMA story about the Iowa Senate passing a school radon bill. My friend’s comment noted without the funding, the bill wasn’t much help to schools.

    In other words, it’s just another “unfunded mandate.”

  • The Time Capsule: The search for a winning column

    Heartiest congratulations to our general manager, who recently received a Master Columnist award.  Recognition of this nature is not easily achieved. I say that with some perspective—doing these things for 10 years without an honorable mention.   

    While my congratulations are sincere, I’m envious. My grandpa used to say even a visually impaired hog finds an acorn now and then. Out of 600 columns it seems there must be one winner, so I went through my memory file trying to find it.