Today's Opinions

  • Impeachment is turning into a tool of impatient

    Bare with me as I tell a story from my past.
    While living in a community of about 400 in the early 2000s, I was asked by a group of citizens to run for the town’s board of alderman.
    They hadn’t had a contested election in years, and wanted to see some new ideas and a different perspective brought to the City.
    I consented, and knocked on a few doors to introduce myself to the few people who didn’t already know me and share a few ideas I had. In a town of 400, my campaigning lasted about three hours.

  • Are you making any resolutions for 2011?

    Before us is 2011, a clean slate, a fresh start. What an opportunity to do better, to make some course corrections, to leave behind what's not worth carrying into a new year.
    If I were to make a resolution, it ought to be to do better at keeping resolutions. I've apparently kind of outgrown resolution making. It's not resolutions aren't a good idea; it's just that I'm not great at even remembering them a few weeks later.
    Resolutions are, by their nature, usually hard to keep.

  • Searching for an Iowan’s history at a Texas brothel

    I recently stopped at a small town looking into a house of ill-repute.  This was done at the request of an old friend.  
    Chery knows I spend some time in Texas, research odd things, and prefer a library or museum to a golf course. With that in mind she revealed a bit of her family folklore, then asked a favor.  
    Chery’s great-grandmother, the former Minnie Belle Anonymous, was said to have worked in a bordello in La Gange, Texas, in the early 1900s.  

  • All I want for Christmas is a dispatch center

    It seems more than a little appropriate that after the news “leaked” just before Thanks-giving that DirecTV would be relocating a call center to Red Oak, those reports were officially confirmed just before Christmas.
    While I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a Christmas miracle, 150 new jobs sure does make for one heck of a present.
    Some may be surprised by this community’s good fortune to be adding jobs when so many others are losing them, but anyone who lives here isn’t the least bit shocked.

  • Variations on ‘The Night Before Christmas’

    “Twas the night before Christmas” has a familiar sound to it, for those of us with, well, a variety of Christmas Eves.
    No two Christmas Eves are the same, and yours this year may be different than you want it to be.
    Have you made time yet to quietly permit memories to begin poking up from their cozy corners? Maybe some memories, or the way this Christmas Eve is shaping up, make you uncomfortable.
    Few Christmas Eves go exactly according to our human plans.

  • Loss of Packard House a shame

    In a county that treasures history and historic preservation it’s hard to believe that Jason Packard’s 8-sided house was allowed to crumble away.  
    It didn’t rot—he made it of stone—it just fell apart following decades of neglect.  
    A shame, in part because of the contrast between the mansions built by East Hill capitalists and the simple, efficient, and durable structure put together by a man most people thought eccentric.  
    The house Packard built represented a way of life he believed in.

  • Council takes the lazy way out on trash decision

    Anyone who reads this column with any regularity knows I fully supported the City Council’s efforts to mandate garbage pickup for Red Oak residents.
    So needless to say, I’m more than a little disappointed in the Council’s decision to seemingly abandon that proposal at its meeting last week.
    Waffling to public opinion, the Council decided what was a great idea several months ago was now a toxic one, with all but Ivan Craig voting to discontinue pursuit of any proposals.

  • Duty interrupted our Christmas togetherness

    Do you enjoy Christmas music? Though I prefer sacred selections, Christmas’ most popular secular song, “White Christmas” carries memories for me, too.
    That lump-in-the-throat time was the first Christmas after my oldest brother had joined the army.
    Jim, whose Martin-Marietta job might have given him a deferment, was a private stationed in Hawaii, likely headed for Laos or Thailand.