Local Columns

Can spring ‘spring’ early?

After last weekend’s onslaught of ice, cold temperatures, and limited travel, I am counting down the days until spring. I am ready for green grass and sunny skies, even if it means melting snow and mud puddles. Did you know that spring officially begins on March 20? That means we only ...

Three reasons to attend the Festival of Chocolate

“Chocolate is medicinal.” -Michelle Pillow It was the winter of 1998, and I was a bored, cranky ten-year-old not in the mood to deal with two of my least favorite words in the English language: grocery shopping. Every two weeks my mom would snag one of my older siblings and spend ...

The greatest show on Earth

Editor’s Note: The following is a column written by a former Webster City resident, Lyle Spencer. Spencer, who now lives in Goldfield, shares his memories of the day the circus came to town. The announcement of the closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus has prompted ...

Remembering that other ice storm — 1991

I was so glad to see that we’ll be embracing a warming trend the rest of the week. Thankfully, the ice storm was not quite as devastating for Hamilton County as was predicted. Don’t get me wrong. The slick sidewalks and streets were treacherous. I’m glad area schools decided to keep ...

Creating new ice-anglers

Ice-fishing is in high gear wherever people go ice-fishing. Ice-fishing can be a wonderful social event that anglers of all skill levels and ages can take part in. I recently got to watch a dad introduce his young son to ice-fishing with outstanding results. The best time of the ice-fishing ...

Odd tales from a Kmart store

A news story earlier this month announced that the Kmart Corporation is planning to close two Iowa stores this year, one in Waterloo and another in Sioux City. One of the 20th century’s leading “dime store” retailers, S.S. Kresge, opened the first Kmart Store in 1962 in Garden City, ...

Snowy day baking traditions

On one of our bleak winter days last week when it was better to stay inside than to go out and risk a fall or a fender bender on the ice, I decided to mix up some cookies and bake them. I know I’m not the only one who has the urge to cook or bake (maybe both!) something good and hearty on ...

A whirlwind of a week

From interviews to covering accidents in the cold temperatures, I have been kept busy this week. With the icy roads and sidewalks, I’ve been attempting to walk as many places this week as possible. Aside from one minor fall on Wednesday afternoon I made it through the week upright. ...

Dancing the Midwest Shuffle

Today, I got to practice my Midwest Shuffle dance moves. What? You've never done the Midwest Shuffle, you say? I'll bet you have and don't even realize it. If you've ever skittered and slid and tried to counter-balance your gait as you slide over an icy patch on the sidewalk — then ...

Mid-winter ice-fishing

We’re entering the mid-winter ice-fishing season. Ice-fishing this time of year can be productive, but it can also be challenging. If we have answers for those challenges, we can be successful at catching fish through the ice. Following are some of the challenges and some ideas for ...

Celebrating Iowa foods

Whenever I go to the visit my family out of state, I have a standing order to bring chip dip from a specific Iowa dairy with me. They can’t buy it where they live, so it is always a treat, as long as I remember to pack it with me. I’ve heard of the same thing going on with other Iowa ...

What were you doing New Year’s Eve?

Here it is 2017 already. I hope you had a good New Year’s Eve and that your New Year is off to a great start. The New Year. It’s nothing more than a “paper entry,” as they say in business, but the beginning of a new year often brings about memorable events. My first memory of ...

A resolution for us all: be kinder to yourself this year

“I think resolutions are dumb.” The other morning my coworkers and I were in the middle of a spirited discussion about the time-honored tradition of New Year’s resolutions. It quickly became apparent that one of my coworkers was not a big fan of the custom: “Whenever I make resolutions ...

A favorite ice-fishing location

There are so many outstanding ice-fishing opportunities across the Midwest, but one location that has become a favored destination of mine and of many others is Big Stone Lake in west-central Minnesota. Actually, the east shore of the lake is in Minnesota, the west shore is in South Dakota. ...

Barns and their many uses

Listening to the scripture of the birth of Jesus during this Christmas season, I felt again what a beautiful story it is. It seems to me that if you’ve ever given birth, it is all the more awesome that baby Jesus was born in a manger. The barn on the farm where I grew up had a manger, ...

Patientia Autem Minus Sufficientem; it’s tragic

Years after I was born I discovered that I suffer from a serious disorder. I was born with a condition known by its Latin name as Patientia Autem Minus Sufficientem. Yes, sadly, I was born with insufficient patience. For years, of course, I was too young to understand Patientia Autem ...

Finicky panfish through the ice

It’s fun to catch fish through the ice, and it’s also really fun to eat some of those fish. When some anglers get a desire for a fresh fish meal in the winter months, they go after panfish. Here’s why and how. Why go after panfish when you want a fish supper? In most areas of the ...

Help from friends

The holidays can be a rather melancholy time of year for lots of folks as they remember Christmases past and those that shared them, think about the way things have changed over the years, maybe even look at where we are as a country. Me, too, but I also think about some of the writing I ...

An old guy attempts to remain upright

One of the things I detest most about winter in Iowa is the increased prospects of falling. Now, I’m not talking about falling in love or falling for a new television series. I’m talking about slipping on ice and falling on your butt. Being tall with a high center of gravity (and a ...

Commencement and Christmas

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I’ve been getting ready for Christmas and putting my nose to the grind stone at work. It’s been stressful, but well worth it. Somehow in the midst of preparing for the December festivities, my family was able to get together and celebrate my younger ...