Local Columns

Legislators should maintain local control of county budgets

Legislation currently being considered by the Iowa Legislature would hinder the ability of local elected officials to make budget decisions to fund the programs and services their constituents depend on and desire. House File 773 would place an arbitrary 2 percent annual growth limitation on ...

Under His Wings I am Safely Abiding

The first funeral I can remember was for a 3-year-old cousin who drowned in his family’s farm stock tank. I was 6-years-old. The service was at Ramsey Reformed Church north of Titonka in Iowa’s far northern Kossuth County. This is my extended family’s church; my parents worshiped ...

Kindness all around us

So there I was last week, paused at the end of the row where my seat was at the Civic Center in Des Moines. It was about three minutes before curtain, and all the seats were occupied between me and my seat. Although there was plenty of room for me to slide in front of those already seated, ...

Open water fishing plans

Open water fishing has started in many areas of the Midwest, and where it hasn’t started yet, it will soon. I have a few plans for the upcoming open water season that I hope to start putting into action soon. Following are some of those plans. I plan and hope to go fishing more this ...

Celebrating National Pet Day

I am writing this on National Pet Day, So perhaps it is fitting that my cat Maxine is sitting on my lap, one of her favorite spots any time and almost any place I'm sitting. Sometimes she leaps up as soon as I pull out my chair before I can even sit down myself. She never even meows for ...

Eb Griper’s problems with robo calls

The prevailing image of Ebeneezer Griper in my mind is a grumpy old man frowning as he reads his daily newspaper. The other day I ran into him frowning at his cell phone. It was at Eb’s favorite coffee shop. I had stopped in for a cup o’ joe and saw him sitting in his favorite booth at ...

Early open water panfish

Many of the places where we go fishing across the Midwest are free of ice, or, with some warmer temperatures, wind, rain, or thunder, they will soon be ice-free. For those of us that are looking forward to getting back to open-water fishing, that means it’s time to get the panfish gear ...

Catching walleyes on jigs

Many walleye anglers consider early spring to be their favorite time of year to chase their favorite fish. Rivers across walleye country, and many lakes and reservoirs in the same region, are seeing lots of anglers after walleyes. There are some states or areas where walleye season is ...

White coat anxiety and a man who suffers from it

When I was a kid ̶ like 5 or 6 years old ̶ I was afraid of physicians and the things they did to little boys like me. When getting my pre-school vaccinations I jerked away so badly the needle of the hypodermic syringe bent. As the doctor very carefully withdrew the bent needle from my ...

Sitting at the piano with Grandma

If you’re like me, little did you know that this Friday is World Piano Day. It’s a day all about the history and love of the piano. What I read is that the focus is on classical music that’s played on a piano on this special day. So that’s one way to celebrate, but I think about ...

Hamilton “The Community”

“Territory folks should stick together, territory folks should all be pals.” So goes a line from Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Oklahoma. Those born after 1985 may need to Google that. This is a phrase you will here from me over and over from this day forward. It is a fact ...

Get ready for open water

The winter of 2019 appears to be winding down, at least a little bit. I’m guessing that I’ve got a couple more ice-fishing trips in me, but I can’t get out now, so I’m getting ready for open water. Here’s what I’m doing. I almost always start in my jig boxes. I’ve got ...

Support is strong for music in schools

In case you didn't know, March is National Music in Our Schools Month. It started as just one day in 1973 March 1973 in one state (New York), and now it is recognized all over our country with special concerts and programs. In some places, those concerts are held outside of schools in ...

Dad was right … at least on Sunday

Sixty years ago the nicest thing you could do for me on a Sunday morning was tell me I didn’t have to go to church. I wasn’t an atheist or anything; I just didn’t like to go to church. A year earlier my parents had changed churches and I was having difficulty adjusting to the new ...

Changing Iowa’s judicial selection process is bad for business

I have seen dozens of opinion letters in publications across the state about the proposed legislative changes related to the selection of judges in Iowa. But there is one perspective I have not seen expressed, so I want to share it with your readers. I spent my professional career at AEGON ...

An informative library website

Do you know all that Kendall Young Library’s website has to offer? We have many tools, policies, databases, and information to make your lives easier, The website provides general information and links to further information such as hours, address, phone number, current event information, ...

Saying good-bye to Mom’s house

It’s final. As the executor for my mother’s estate I signed the papers earlier this month handing over my mother’s house to a new owner. Mom died at age 91 in late November leaving behind six children, six in-laws and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are all slowly ...

Iowa has many unique attractions

It turns out that there are plenty of unique attractions in Iowa, according to the book “Oddball Iowa, A Guide to Some Really Strange Places.” For about ten years I got to do some traveling around our state when I wrote features for an Iowa magazine. It was fun, and that's when I ...

Ice fishing memories

Boy oh boy what a change: When the new year started a couple of months ago we were looking at a very mild winter. The ice wasn’t as thick as it usually is at that time of year, and there wasn’t much snow around either. Flash forward to early March and there’s plenty of ice and too ...

God be with you: A better way to say goodbye

The English-speaking world’s most common expression of farewell, “goodbye,” originated in the 16th century as “God be with you.” Through a series of metamorphoses over the next two centuries it became the contraction we use today. Its history notwithstanding, I dislike the term. ...