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Columns

  • What's Going On: Ernst gambles on effect of castration emphasis

    The castration candidate. 

    I’ve covered a lot of political races, from local to county to state and occasionally, a federal one.

    Never before have I had a local person whom I’ve interacted with on a regular basis enter the foray of state politics, much less one at the federal level.

    That was before Iowa Senator and former Montgomery County Auditor Joni Ernst entered the U.S. Senate race for the seat soon to be vacated by Tom Harkin. 

  • Miner Queries: Do we want public schools or not?

     Watching the annual school funding battle at the statehouse makes me wonder if parents and grandparents understand the long-term local implications of this fight. The question really comes down to whether or not we want public schools.

  • The Time Capsule: Bonnie and Clyde’s trip through Villisca

     Watching the most recent re-make of “Bonnie and Clyde” brought to mind a story I was told years ago by a Villisca resident.  

  • Outside the Box: Workers deserve more than ‘minimum’

     In 1988, I got my first job.

    I was 15 years old and my startling starting pay was $3.50 per hour. Minimum wage was, at the time, $3.25 so my “startling” was brought on by the fact I was just hired for my first job and had already gotten my first raise. 

    Employee of the month, wasn’t far behind.

  • The Time Capsule: Hospital fire of 1950 sparks memory

     Tragic fires have been in the news of late, bringing to mind a class I used to do at Iowa State Fire School.  We started by giving a room full of firefighters this multiple choice question: Q. What was the worst fire in Iowa history?  (a) St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, 1950.  (b)  Kirkwood Hotel in Des Moines, 1942.  (c) The SS Sultana, a side-wheel steamship, near Dubuque in 1871.  (d) Coconut Grove nightclub, Keokuk, 1908.  

  • What's Going On: Focusing on negative causing us to lose sight of the positive

     In just a few months, I will have been here in Red Oak for five years. 

    During that time, I’ve bought a house and if all goes as planned, two of my three children will have been born at the local hospital. 

    And while I’ve had opportunities to move on, I’ve never considered them as my wife and I have to decided to plant our flag in Red Oak.

    This is now our home. 

  • Guest Editorial: Renewable Fuel Standard is a veterans issue, too

     Every day, America spends about $1 billion on foreign oil – and that doesn’t even count the human and financial cost to our military as we defend oil routes and put our troops in harms’ way around the world. 

  • Miner Queries: Our economy: Who’s left unscathed?

     I spent last Monday evening viewing part of a documentary film called, “American Winter.” This film highlights the plight of middle class families thrust into poverty through a single crisis such as the loss of a job, death of a spouse or a medical emergency. One young father noted he’d had no trouble finding work five years previously. So after losing his job, he called every business in the phone book to ask if they were hiring. He did not get a single “Yes.”

  • The Time Capsule: Six-on-six: A March favorite of the past

     Of six-on-six girls basketball, Donald Kaul once wrote this: “Many girls plunge into premature marriage to escape the boredom of basketball.  This is especially true of guards.”   

  • The Time Capsule: Discovering what’s right and wrong

     Uncle Joe’s frequently given advice was that a person should always do the right thing.  He’d finish the thought by noting that, while this seemed simple, there were times when it was difficult to know what the right thing was.  He believed there’d be a judgment day; a time when we’d stand at a threshold while our good deeds were tallied alongside bad ones. 

    Joe suspected in his case, the final score would be close. He feared the tie-breaker might be one of those decisions that could go either way.