Local Columns

Quiet heroes and their stories

The evidence is incontrovertible: I am slowly, with each passing year, becoming my parents. I realized just this past year that I now have many of my mom’s weird health food habits. Her awful cereal I swore I’d never even try? Now I actually prefer it. When I was a kid, my dad used to ask ...

Catch ‘em right now

Early summer can provide some of the best fishing action of the year for many species of fish found in the Midwest. In fact, many very successful anglers consider June to be the best time of the year to go fishing. Walleyes and bass are particularly susceptible to an angler’s presentation ...

Maple leaf bladder galls

Have you noticed bumps appearing on your maple tree leaves and wondered what caused them? This spring several inquiries from homeowners wondering as to whether this may affect the health of their tree. First appearing in the spring, these bumps are the result of tiny mites that are ...

The bathroom scale will tell you why

One of the tasks of moving to a new community is selecting and becoming acquainted with a new grocery store. Grocery shopping is so much easier in a familiar store where I know where to find the cream of celery soup. So what prompts an old retired guy to write about grocery shopping? Well, ...

Do you have enough?

Quite some time ago during the children’s sermon one Sunday the pastor was talking with the children about the toys and bicycles and video games and books that they all had at home. These were all things these kids liked, of course, items they took for granted as a given in their lives. ...

Looking towards the future

It seems graduation is once again upon us. This Saturday 138 Webster City High School seniors will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. There will be an abundance of speeches by faculty and students ready to encourage individuals for their next phase in life. There will be ...

Black knot caused by fungus

Recent client inquiries included several questions on cherry trees that were exhibiting hard, dark swollen areas appearing on the twigs and limbs. This is a disease called black knot, which is caused by a fungus called Apiosporina morbosa and typically affects both wild and cultivated cherry, ...

A hundred years and then some

This year is kind of a special in Webster City. Five businesses are celebrating a century of continuous operation in Hamilton County. One-hundred years. The Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, Murray McMurray Hatchery, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Hamilton ...

Fishing for early season bass

Largemouth bass can be found in lots of lakes, rivers, and ponds across the country. In southern areas bass catching has been in full swing for weeks, but in the Midwest the bass action is just starting. In fact, in some states that have an open and closed season for bass fishing, the legal ...

‘Bon anniversaire’ to a new nonagenarian

My mother is a nonagenarian. It’s okay though; if you’re fortunate you may be a nonagenarian someday, too. For those unfamiliar with the term, a nonagenarian is someone who is between 90 and 99 years of age. My mother turned 90 on May 8. Her six children and their spouses, most of ...

Congratulations Class of 2017

This is for the class of 2017. We’re all living in uncertain times, with distrust and unrest among our national leaders and violence in our cities even here in Iowa that breeds uneasiness among many of us, one could say that it is an unsure time to be graduating from high school. ...

On the hunt

Last weekend I began my summer-long adventure to discover the best of Webster City’s used and rejected treasures. In other words, I shopped my neighborhood’s garage sales. What I’m currently hunting for: old art prints for a teen art program at the library this summer. Why is this hunt ...

A few of the reasons why I am thankful for my mom

Mother’s Day is once again upon us this weekend. For many moms, this means getting special breakfasts in bed, carefully colored cards and other hand made gifts. My sisters and I attempted breakfast in bed for my mom maybe once or twice. I give my mom a lot of credit for attempting to eat ...

Battling crabgrass

Crabgrass is a common lawn weed that can be prevented by using a properly timed pre-emergence herbicide application. Pre-emergence applications need to be made before crabgrass starts to grow, as these products work by containing a chemical that prevents weed seeds from germinating. Thus, ...

Going fishing

It’s a new open water fishing season across the Midwest. Most of the states that have a closed season for some species of fish have opened, and in places where the season never closes, anglers have been fishing and catching for several weeks. It used to be that anglers planned their ...

A shout out to all the teachers

Tomorrow is National Teacher Day, a perfect time to honor and thank those special educators who have taught and molded us and our children through the years. If you’re like me, a few of your teachers come to mind immediately as you consider this. Elementary teachers are in the lives of ...

Here’s an ice breaker for your next party

You’re at a party and the conversation is dragging. If you really want to kick start a good discussion, simply toss out this guaranteed ice-breaker: “Who had a better childhood ̶ the oldest child in your family or the youngest?” This great debate has gone on for years. In fact the ...

One less distraction is good

When July 1 arrives, Iowa drivers will have to put the cellphones down or risk being pulled over by law enforcement. The new law means that drivers can be pulled over as a primary offense if law enforcement suspects the motorist of texting, browsing the internet or snapping photos. That law ...

Fish sideways

A new fishing season is underway. Some anglers commit themselves to trying new baits and techniques every new season. They feel that trying new things makes them a more complete, versatile angler, and they’re right. If you’re one of those curious people who wants to catch more fish, and ...

May Day traditions remembered

It’s May Day. Of course it is, because it’s the very first day of this month. Have you ever wondered why we don’t notice February Day or maybe August Day? Or even October Day? My theory is because the two words rhyme. September Day, for instance, just doesn’t have the same ring ...