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Columns

  • What's Going On: One (or maybe two) more reasons to be thankful this year

     There are lots of reasons why having a family has made Thanksgiving all the more meaningful to me.

    There are the obvious ones of being grateful for a loving wife and having children with whom I can share life’s experiences.

    And as poetic and Hallmark-ish as that may sound, there are so many other things I’m grateful for now than when I lived the life of a single man.

  • Miner Queries: Who’s manufacturing your news?

     After weeks of battling media misinformation about the Affordable Care Act, I was hungry to write about something different this week.  And thankfully, a different item popped up as my deadline loomed.

  • The Time Capsule: Of lutefisk, vikings and Methodists

     There is irrefutable evidence Vikings visited North America long before Columbus. This raises a question: why did their exploration of the new world so abruptly end? Why, after seeing the fruited plains, beautiful sea coasts, abundance of fur-bearing wildlife, did they suspend their voyages?  

  • What's Going On: The hypocrisy of acceptable use of the n-word

     Riley Cooper said the word and was branded a racist.

    Richie Incognito used the word and was branded a racist bully.

    Matt Barnes used the word and was branded an emotional hothead. But not a racist.

    Same word, different reaction. Why? Because Matt Barnes is recognized as being partially black.

  • Ernst: Veterans Day, an important holiday about service

     As a current Lt. Colonel in the Iowa National Guard and wife of a 28 year retired Army Ranger, I have been humbled to know and serve with so many of our finest men and women who have worn this nation’s uniform to defend our shared freedoms and protect our way of life. These brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coastguardsmen and their families, have served as worldwide defenders of freedom, humanitarian heroes, and when required, warriors in defense of America and her citizens. 

  • The Time Capsule: A gambling governor and a bronze pig

    I expect Gov. Branstad will remember 2013 as a year sped by.  His heavy-footed drivers, twice caught over the limit, led to negative press in Iowa and beyond.    

    Other governors have been treated more kindly by the media. Clyde Herring is a good example.    

  • What's Going On: Seeking justice in our courts isn’t as easy as it may seem

    Anthony Utterback was found not guilty on murder charges last week, despite the fact he undisputedly killed his wife’s lover on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. 

    Utterback went to Ryan O’Donnell’s home in an attempt to get his wife, Ashley, to come home. Why? I don’t know as she reportedly spent at least a couple nights a week there. 

  • Miner Queries: Are media and pols just rooting for failure?

     I know a lot of people waiting for help with health care.  I have a son who is only insured because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) lets us keep him on our family policy to age 26.  I have a brother-in-law, friends and acquaintances with individual policies who want cheaper, more comprehensive coverage. I have many friends with pre-existing conditions who will now be able to get insurance.  

  • The Time Capsule: Poetry: The writings on the wall

     My taste in poetry runs to things like “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” which I once memorized and continue to irritate my wife by reciting portions of. (“There are strange things in the midnight sun/by men who toil for gold. The arctic trails have secret tales/that would make your blood run cold. The northern lights have seen queer sights/but the queerest they ever did see/was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge/when I cremated Sam McGee.”)  

  • What's Going On: How a new law can make drugs less dangerous to kids

     Two Red Oak residents were arrested last week after police seized a large amount of marijuana, cash and a weapon from their residence.

    In addition to the various drug charges, the accused are also facing an additional charge of child endangerment related to smoking marijuana in front of two children at the house during the time of the raid.