A recent editorial in a column that appears on this page takes a stand in opposition to “right-to-work” statutes—those that permit workers to decide whether or not to join the union. The stated premise for a position everyone must join is union contracts benefit all.  


    A mischievous student wanted some time off school, so he/she launched a devious plan. 

  • Do you still support tax incentives for ethanol?

  • Stunned, shocked and amazed.
    I don’t know what other words I can use to describe my reaction when I saw the election results rolling in Tuesday night.
    If I had been in Chicago, I would have thought my dog had voted. And I don’t even have a dog.
    But I’m not in Chicago, I’m in Montgomery County, where according to the State of Iowa, one in 10 residents don’t have a job. But according to this election, only 2 in 10 oppose raising their taxes, for a new jail.

  • President Obama’s leadership is not popular. He’ll try to raise the approval ratings before November, but discern what’s said and done.
    Who says his leadership isn’t in step with Americans?
    For starters, a Rasmussen poll shows voters really want change in Washington. Not Obama’s campaign rhetoric.  
    In its most recent poll, Rasmussen found 66 percent said the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.
    Whom are they polling?

  • Not long ago I congratulated myself on having done a weekly column for ten years.  “Oh, please,” mother said.  “Wait till you grow up to talk about longevity.”  She went on to say her favorite columnist, Evelyn Birkby, has been cranking out one a week for over sixty years.  

  • When I closed out last week's column, I said children need the support of their parents, but not a crutch.
    I was thinking about that this week, especially as I watched the football camps I attended, and I have come to the conclusion not only have many parents become a crutch for their children, but they have also taught their children there is no accountability for incorrect actions.

  • I was reading a story the other day about a recent study indicating the number of children who have a peanut allergy has increased to more than three times what it was 10 years ago.
    They said the cause of this dramatic increase is most likely the lack of contact with bacteria and the over usage of medicine when children are sick with minor colds and flu symptoms.
    With all of the anti-bacterial cleaning agents and soaps, combined with antibiotics, children’s immune system have become so hyperactive it attacks the proteins in nuts, causing an allergic reaction.

  • “The essential ingredient of politics, is timing.”
    — Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
    If there ever was a Republican stronghold, it’s right here in Montgomery County.
    Has been forever … probably will be forever.
    And if there ever was a place you could sell a conservative, biblically-based standard of morality, it would be right here.
    Anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, anti-Obama-rhetoric should be gobbled up faster than 25-cent popcorn at a three-hour movie.

  • I have not discussed the name change coming through the national YMCA. Nationally the organization has decided to change its name from YMCA to the “Y”. Supposedly, “Y” will be easier to market and will cause more volunteers to assist in their programs.
    Will changing the name alter the direction set forth by its history?

  • As we saw in our last visit with George Madden, the winter of 1856-57 was harsh and spring agonizingly slow to arrive.  
    He made several trips traveling bad roads to St. Joseph for supplies—most recently to acquire provisions for the newly widowed Mrs. Dodson and her children.  
    We rejoin George and his diary in mid-April of 1856.
    Sunday, April 19.  Cloudy and cool this morning.  Went to Clarinda, county seat of Page county.  It is 8 or 9 miles from here.  It contains some 30 or 40 houses.  The snow is about gone.

  • In the last two weeks, I have heard about the memories and values left behind by two people, each with an amazing legacy.  
    The first, a 17-year-old girl, Tara Maher of Essex, who was taken too soon, and the second, an 80-year old woman, my grandma, who continues to fight for her life after a massive stroke.
    In my 10 hours of driving to and from Kansas City this weekend, I had ample time to think about the legacy each of us will leave someday.

  • The last month or so has not been kind to Red Oak in terms of celebrations, especially those with an agriculture aspect.
    First Junior Lantz was killed when a tractor in town for Junction Days struck the motorcycle he was driving.
    Then last week, a steer kicked a teenager and escaped, leading to a chase that lasted more than two hours in the streets of Red Oak.

  • Anticipation. Anxiety. Wishing days would last longer. Wishing days would go by more quickly. Wondering what life will be like during the next 12 months, both at home and over there.
    Surely, these are feelings experienced by many of at least 2,800 Iowa National Guard to be deployed to Afghanistan within days.
    Months ago, when August seemed a long ways off, we learned hundreds of Iowa’s National Guard would be deployed to fight in a war far from our shores. Whether we personally know someone going or not, we can express our gratitude.  

  • This week our Time Capsule takes us back to when the metropolis of Grant hosted a flower show that attracted attendees from as far away as North Carolina, Indiana, and Minnesota.  
    They made the trip to watch the intense competition as more than 300 people vied for prestigious awards.  From our newspaper of July 15, 1959, comes this story:

  • Today is a new day.
    This season is a new season.
    What happened yesterday happened, but it doesn't really matter anymore.
    When I was getting ready for college, my dad gave me some advice that I have never given him thanks for, but it helped a lot.
    “Do not wear your letter jacket to college,” he told me.  “Nobody really cares what you did in high school.”


  • Have you heard the story of Alvin Greene?

  • Because Mom passed away a week ago last Sunday, Paul and I have spent time with close and extended family members. Their encouragement and support has been invaluable as we discovered the benefits of dividing burdens and multiplying joys. 

  • A few days ago I had a delightful conversation with Jim Zabel. The subject was a coveted recipe for chili that Zabel, a self-proclaimed gourmet, calls the greatest ever. Zabel uses the word “greatest” more than he should, but I have to agree with him on the chili. He also had a Red Oak story that’s worth retelling.