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Columns

  • Will we make an informed choice?

    Ok, I admit it.  I’m ticked off about the debate.  Why?

    Not because media pundits, who live for a good figurative shoving match, gave Round 1 to Romney.  I’m angry because I see an unengaged citizenry refusing to acknowledge this stuff matters.

    What set me off?  Facebook.

  • Madden prepares to join Nodaway Rangers

    We haven’t looked at George Madden’s diary for a while and, with Veteran’s Day coming up, this is a good time to do so.  When we left off his wife, Lizzie, had recently celebrated her 22nd birthday and George was preparing to join a militia unit called the Nodaway Rangers.  We rejoin them in late June, 1861.  

    Tuesday, June 25, 1861.  Went to town today to get my uniform clothes cut out.

  • Can we teach our children to be critical, not cruel?

    A week ago, Jennifer Livingston was just actor Ron Livingston’s sister. 


    Today, she may be more famous than the star of Office Space. 


  • School lunches change with the times

    A major concern with the recent Chicago teacher’s strike was that thousands of children would not get their usual breakfast and lunch at school.  Oh, my — what was a mother to do?

  • We hate government regulations, except when we want them

    For the second time in as many years, a farmer in Mills County has his neighbors angry.

    He went before a zoning board last week seeking permission to pursue an opportunity that will allow him to use his land to make money.

    But his neighbors are opposing the idea. It will cause pollution. It will be dirty. It will decrease the value of their property.

    Since I don’t live near the property where the farmer wants to pursue this opportunity, I can sit back at a distance and smile at two aspects of this controversy.

  • Are the Hunger Games in our future?

    This has been the year of the Hunger Games at my house.  First, my 11-year-old daughter read the book, discovering it’s the start of a trilogy.  So she read the second and third books and began watching movie trailers online.  Then she reread the entire trilogy.  

    Next, we ordered tickets for the first night of the movie – for her, a friend and me.  Finally, she added the movie to our Netflix queue.  She waited patiently through our summer of itinerary until we were home.

  • Shooting vultures leads to good story

    One of my favorite hot & dry weather stories has to do with an acquaintance in Texas who ate a buzzard.  I’ll call him Jack because revealing his actual name could cause legal problems.    

    As I understand the statute, eating a vulture may not be a crime.  Preparing one for the table, though, normally involves ending the critter’s life.  Doing this is an offense and, even though mitigating circumstances weigh in his favor, I expect Jack broke the law.      

  • Tobacco-free proposal should go up in smoke

    In July 2008, an Iowa law banned smoking in nearly all public places, including restaurants and bars.

    Despite the fact I was living in Missouri, I was paying close attention to the campaign in Iowa. With the absence of a statewide initiative, many towns in Missouri, including the one I was living, was passing their own smoking ordinances, similar to the one enacted in Iowa.

    I thought it was a good idea.

  • USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says bill is needed as soon as possible to ensure farmers’ certainty, further USDA research

    After spending much of August out of Washington, Congress is back – and rural America is watching closely, hoping for passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.

    With farmers facing the worst drought in decades this summer and the current Farm Bill set to expire Sept. 30 of this year, time is running out for Congress to act.

    You and I both know the stakes couldn’t be higher.

  • Amelia Earhart evidence still puzzles

    Amelia Earhart has been much in the news of late, as a team of searchers uncover evidence that her plane may have gone down just off Nikumaroro, an island in the South Pacific.  Whether this proves to be the site of her final unscheduled landing remains to be seen.  We do know, though, that she once made an unplanned visit to a farm field in southwest Iowa.  And her plane must have been quite a sight.