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Columns

  • The Time Capsule: Like it or not, corn beats cherry trees

     Back in the 1970s, a Montgomery County farm couple picked a pleasant slope near their home, dug half a dozen holes in selected locations and planted four apple and two cherry trees. Throughout the next few decades, the little orchard had thoughtful and generous caretakers.  

  • What's Going On: From joy to fear, expected to the unexpected

     “I need you here now.”

    It’s amazing how the exact same five words, spoken about 24 hours apart, can invoke exact opposite reactions. 

    I was attending a Rotary Club meeting Tuesday afternoon when I first heard my wife speak those words to me over the phone. With a Saturday due date for our third child, I had been anxiously anticipating this call. 

  • The Time Capsule: A vision of a simpler Mother’s Day

     She didn’t like the first 99, and wouldn’t have cared much for the 100th, either.  The woman credited with making Mother’s Day a national holiday (which happened just a century ago) died alone in an institution, her health ruined and her sizeable fortune gone, all in a failed effort to kill the monster she’d created.  

    Blessedly, Anna Jarvis passed on without ever knowing about Sharri’s Berries and ProFlowers.com.    

  • What's Going On: Winning an election without the most votes

     There’s a few, let’s call them bizarre abnormalities, occurring here in Southwest Iowa with our current democratic form of government. 

    Democracy has a few basic tenants we believe universally apply: for example, whichever candidate gets the most votes, wins. Also, the majority rules when it comes to setting policy.

    Except for when it doesn’t. 

  • Miner Queries: Why bother caring about net neutrality?

     Last week, when I was slogging through the daily tsunami of crazy – from dishonest political ads to hate-filled invective from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and wealthy LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, I came across an item that illustrated one answer to the question above.

  • The Time Capsule: Tracking the Zephyr memories of 1934

     The event took place in this county at about noon May 26, 1934; just 80 years ago this month. There should be a few people who remember, and I’d like to compile their memories in a scrapbook for our history center.

    One person who was there is Bessie Livingstone, 87, who lives in Tampa, Fla.  

  • What's Going On: Mother’s Day: An underrated holiday

     Sunday may very well be the most important secular holiday of the year. 

    Some may lobby for Independence Day, when America became the land of the free, others could advocate for Veterans Day, when we take time to honor those gave their lives to preserve and protect that freedom. 

    But while not detracting from the greatness of those events and sacrifices, I would argue none of them would be possible without mothers. 

  • The Time Capsule: The pork cuttin’ candidate vs. the elitists

     There is no woman scorned like a Conservative woman. We could give examples galore, from Christine (“the witch”) O’Donnell to Sarah Palin slurs to the shunning of Margaret Thatcher, but let’s stay with Joni Ernst. She’s been hammered on this page, and I think it time to say something for the other side.   

  • What's Going On: Poverty in America: Why we are to blame

     I grew up in poverty.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but at some point in my adulthood, I realized as a young child, my family definitely fit the government’s definition of poor, financially speaking.

    We weren’t destitute by any means. But my parents made decisions, primarily, to have multiple children (three in fact) and to have my mother stay at home and raise those children that financially impacted our lifestyle.

  • Miner Queries: Can we get a candidate smarter than a 5th grader?

     We’re nowhere near Election Day 2014, and I’m already sick of campaign ads.

    Here in Iowa, the race for retiring Senator Tom Harkin’s seat gets uglier by the day. First, our local state senator gave Iowans a black eye with her ad about castrating hogs.