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Columns

  • The Time Capsule: Quiz answers and a movie that flopped

    Bob Hope called it the best one-liner he heard at a USO show, and it came from an unnamed GI at a Christmas far away. First, though, a word about a more recent holiday.  
    Relatives arriving from a distance hurried into our home with an immediate and pressing need. Finding the bathroom could wait, unpacking done later. For some the priority was to know the wi-fi password.  

  • What's Going On: Red Oak loses another icon

    I was saddened to hear the news last week that Helen Murphy had died.
    I can remember the first time I met Helen as she came into my office looking for
    publicity for the annual
    hospital ball she started well before I was even born.
    Helen was not pleased with how the newspaper had publicized the previous years’ event, although she certainly wouldn’t have told me that. I had to hear from others how deeply disappointed and
    personally offended she was at the lack of interest shown in the event and cause she cared so much about.

  • Miner Queries: Gun control: What’s it going to take?

    I woke last Thursday
    morning to find this Facebook meme posted on my brother’s page: “Remember when government ‘took away our cars’ by requiring licensing and
    registration?”
    That same morning I also found in my inbox a forwarded e-mail from a reader – this one from a gun rights organization raising money after President Obama announced executive actions to curb gun violence.
    Why is every effort to regulate guns immediately declared a step toward revoking the second amendment and confiscating guns?

  • The Time Capsule: The Montgomery County citizenship quiz

    Those making application for U.S. citizenship are required to pass a quiz that indicates they have some basic knowledge as to where they are. Einer Almgood thinks all voters should have to do likewise. This is an absurd notion, of course, but with a quiz on his mind, Einer mentioned that I haven’t done one in the column for a couple of years. There are readers who find them fun, so here’s another. While a couple tough questions are included, long-time residents of this area should easily get most of these:       

  • What's Going on: Branstad shows how important education is

    At the most recent Red Oak school board meeting, two of our local legislators, Representative David Sieck and Sen. Mark Costello
    attended, answering questions and providing a “preview” of the upcoming legislative session in Des Moines.
    During the meeting, Red Oak superintendent Tom Messinger asked Costello specifically about the possibility of the legislature addressing the penny sales tax going to schools that is set to expire in 2029.

  • The Time Capsule: The Boy Captain and his pheasants

    On an evening in late November, two ladies attended a social event at which I was helping with the admission table. They were enjoying a night out, telling me their husbands were at the Pheasants Forever banquet. We commented on the sacrifice—their spouses were working to advance a cause they believed in, even though doing so meant paying a premium for an unexciting social hour with coarse, story-telling men, and then suffering through an ordinary prime rib dinner, all the while knowing their wives were living high with boiled lutefisk and brown beans.  

  • Guest Editorial: Disrespect is the new normal

    A friend of mine, who I can say with 99-percent certainty has never voted for Barack Obama, posed a surprising question a couple weeks ago.
    He asked, “Have you ever seen a president treated with more disrespect than Obama?”
    No, I can’t say I have, and I also can’t say I’m surprised. We now live in a culture where rudeness, intolerance and disrespect have become acceptable behavior in the political arena.

  • The Time Capsule: The Boy Captain and his pheasants

    On an evening in late November, two ladies attended a social event at which I was helping with the admission table. They were enjoying a night out, telling me their husbands were at the Pheasants Forever banquet. We commented on the sacrifice—their spouses were working to advance a cause they believed in, even though doing so meant paying a premium for an unexciting social hour with coarse, story-telling men, and then suffering through an ordinary prime rib dinner, all the while knowing their wives were living high with boiled lutefisk and brown beans.  

  • The Time Capsule: Diamonds and stones: local book reviews

    Some days are diamonds, John Denver explained, and some days are stones. The same can be said of books.  

  • What's Going On: Saying hello to a new adventure

    Ernie Harwell provided baseball play-by-play for 55 years, including 38 with the Detroit Tigers.
    In his final broadcast, he told listeners “it’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”
    My family and I will be saying “hello” to a new adventure starting in February 2016, as we will be moving to New Ulm, Minn.
    I have accepted the publisher’s job at the New Ulm Journal, a seven-day-a-week newspaper located about 90 miles southwest of Minneapolis.