• Remembering Clifford Burnham

    A funeral I’d like to have seen took place 79 years ago next month.  While the aerial display at the cemetery was much different than the barnstorming show that ended a young man’s life, it must have been quite an exhibition.    

  • Political parties: Who needs them?

    As we quickly approach the final few months before another general election, I want to suggest an idea that might blow your mind: an election without political parties.

    Imagine the chaos if there was no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat.
    Straight ticket voters would be so confused, they might end up eating their ballots.

  • Grassley Commentary | Sen. Chuck Grassley

    Q:   Why not raise taxes on the high income to pay down the deficit and debt?

  • An additional note on Holdren

    Our editor’s recent column on actors who once lived in this county caused me to revisit Judd Holdren.  A few years ago I ran down tapes of many of his movies (a purchase my wife still grouses about) and did a number of interviews.  One of those I talked with was Holdren’s brother, then a Chula Vista, Calif. resident, now deceased.  

    I gained perspectives on the man that haven’t, as far as I know, been written.

    My intent was to save them for 2015 and the 100th anniversary of Holdren’s birth.  

  • Too much hype about chicken sandwiches


    That one-word-one-fake-word-one letter phrase has a whole new connotation today than it did, two weeks ago.

    Then it was just that fun little fast food restaurant with the clever commercials that had parachuting cows.

    Now, it’s a lightning rod for controversy surrounding the ongoing gay marriage debate.

    The restaurant chain’s owner, Dan Cathy, during an interview with the Baptist Press stated he only supports marriage between a man and a woman.

  • Personal liberties and public good: Where’s the balance?

    Last weekend’s horrific massacre in Aurora, Colo. has reopened questions about gun control in America.  With 12 people dead and 58 injured after a gunman fired assault weapons inside a movie theater, media are asking what legislation, if any, has been passed to protect the public.

    The gun control debate has been around for years.  In fact, 30-plus years ago, I wrote a research paper on it for my government class.

  • Working with some tomatoes

    Definitions of “heirloom tomatoes” vary, but generally they’re plants that have reproduced true to form for at least 40 years.

    If I could have only one item in the garden that’s what I’d pick—the hard part would be deciding which variety.  The Brandywine is hard to beat for BLTs.  

    My choice is Rutgers for juice, Roma for sauce and the beefsteak is great for “Holy cow, is that a tomato or a beach ball?”  

  • Setting down permanent roots in Red Oak

    When my wife and I first moved to Red Oak, we intended on staying four to five years before moving on to a bigger newspaper, timing the move with my son starting school.

    While we intended to stay four to five years, opportunities have been presented and our plans have changed.

    Now, we are staying in Red Oak for much longer.

    There are several reasons for our change of heart.     

    We have confirmed one thing we suspected from the start: Red Oak is a great place to live and raise a family.

  • Guest Editorial | Sheldon Richman

    The shooting in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater has incited the usual debate over guns. One side says tighter gun restrictions could have prevented the horrible incident that night. The other responds that more guns in the hands of law-abiding people might have prevented it.

  • The best judging gig around

    Surprising things happen, one of which was being asked to judge a mid-summer barbecue contest. The experience was not what I’d expected, nor was an encounter with the food police that took place a few days later.  

    Passing judgment seemed easy. I have, after all, owned dozens of smokers, slow-smoked everything from bacon to mackerel. We’ve smoked pork shoulders with corn cobs and salmon with peach pits. I felt qualified and the job sounded fun. As the day approached, however, doubts set in.