• 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.

  • The Time Capsule: Quiz time: theatres and basketball

     We haven’t had a quiz for a couple of years. Einer Almgood didn’t like the last one, saying it contained questions about events so obscure even those who lived through them didn’t notice. Besides, Einer complains I make things up.  All right.  We’ll start off with a straight and easy question.  

  • What's Going On: The never-ending pursuit of becoming an official “reader”

     I like to read, but I’m not a “reader.”

    There is a difference, in fact, a big one.

    A “reader” is someone with filled bookshelves and they like to read books that actually make them smarter. “Readers” visit libraries in towns they are vacationing and have read the classics multiple times because they wanted to, not once because a high school or college literature teacher made them.

  • Miner Queries: Sen. Grassley’s no vote: Who drank the tea?

     So I wondered when I awoke Thursday morning to news Congress had narrowly avoided crashing the economy by passing a temporary measure to fund our government and raise the debt ceiling.  With this news, local TV stations were reporting Sen. Charles Grassley had voted against the measure.  (Steve King, unsurprisingly, did too.)

    What’s up with that, Sen.Grassley?  

  • The Time Capsule: A statue for a beloved community horse

    “Villisca,” the lady said, “put up a statue for a pig. This town should at least do as much for Alix.”  

    I agreed.  We should just do it.