Local Columns

Bon appetit, foodies

I feel a little chuckle coming on every time I hear about the trend toward real food, knowing where our food comes from, what’s in our food, where it’s made, etc. Terms like “clean food” and “whole food” are tossed about these days. Because it’s really not something new ...

Sticks and stones can break my bones

Back in our younger years we liked to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that were true? In reality, words can hurt deeply. There are some playground taunts that remain in my memory. Most of us have had those experiences. ...

The Hamilton County Fair is not just for kids

As we continue to get ready for the Hamilton County Fair at our house, it's easy to get caught up in the spirit of things. My son is putting the finishing touches on several projects, making sure the work is neat and well labeled. He's set aside a spa day this weekend for Barney the Dog who ...

Have fun with flowers

Enjoy the look of garden flowers growing in your landscape? Why not try your hand at creating a flower arrangement to bring the beauty of flowers indoors. No flowers? No problem, as leaves and branches from the garden may be used to create an all green flower design. Hosta, sedum, ...

Middle-of-summer fishing tips

Fishing can be like the weather in mid-summer: Both can be very hot. To take part in this potentially fast action, you’ll need to do things a little differently than you would at other times of the year. Following are some of those things. Generally, in the summer when the fish want to ...

Rediscovering the strength of the pioneers

It seems like just about everywhere I turn there’s another list entitled “Great Summer Reads” or “Best Books for the Beach” or even something like “Summer Titles You Can’t Miss.” Of course, I don’t always remember or write down the titles of those books so I can be a trendy ...

Thoughts of a lifelong smart aleck

I have often been called a smart aleck. Actually, I have been referred to in much stronger terms but this is a family newspaper. The severity of the title is irrelevant; the truth is I am one. It’s a genetic condition. After nearly 70 years I am comfortable with this inheritance. I was ...

Fair time is almost here

I can always tell when county fair time is getting close. There are 4-H projects and forms neatly stacked in piles on my coffee table. Barney the dog has been taking longer naps as he works extra hard at his obedience training exercises. In short, we're jumping into high gear as we get ...

Celebrating a delicious treat

In case you don’t already know it, I’m happy to report that I just discovered that this is National Ice Cream Month. For some folks, every month is ice cream month, but in this case it’s the International Dairy Foods Association behind it, declaring that July is when we honor “this ...

Japanese beetles invade area gardens

Japanese beetles have long been known to be present in eastern and southern Iowa gardens, causing damage to plants for several decades. Several years ago, these beetles first began appearing in Webster County. Japanese beetles have now also been found in Hamilton and Humboldt County ...

Troll faster in the summer

Fish are cold-blooded creatures. Water temperatures have an effect on their way of doing things. When the water is cold, the fish prefer a slow moving bait. Their metabolism is slower in cold water, so they don’t move as fast. When water temperatures warm up, like they do in the ...

Summer vacations are memory makers

It’s summer vacation time! Each day Facebook postings include photographs of friends at points of interest around the country from Disney World to Disneyland. On the highway I see cars and minivans bearing all the signs of a family vacation. When I see those photos or the vacation-bound ...

New experiences

During my time in Webster City, I have spent a lot of time with local law enforcement agencies and the fire department. Not only have I been on scene to cover the accidents where they are present to take care of business, I’ve also had the opportunity to see another side of them during ...

Battling the busyness of summer

I recently had a very unsettling dream. In my dream I showed up to work at my normal time, and as I greeted my coworkers, discovered that I’d somehow missed three weeks of summer, and that it was already the end of July. Needless to say, waking up to find myself back in the present with ...

Fish for the biters

When anglers go fishing, they want to catch some fish. In fact, they want to catch lots of fish. While you’re probably not going to always catch lots of fish, there are some things that anglers can do to increase their odds of getting bit. Finding the biters is a big part of catching ...

Food 101

My name is Shana Hilgerson, and I am serving Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster, and Wright counties as a Rising Star intern with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The program focuses on local foods and the importance they serve in our community. You may have seen me at a farmer’s ...

Celebrate responsibly

Did you get to see the beautiful fireworks display at the high school Saturday night? It was quite impressive and what fun to have Jive for Five, a brass ensemble, performing patriotic tunes before the fireworks. Thanks to the Van Diest family and Van Diest Supply Company for sponsoring ...

Slugs suspect for holes in leaves

Remember summer vacation road trips, and the game of slug-a-bug, when noticing a Volkswagen Beetle, you could legally punch your sibling in the arm without receiving parent disapproval? However, when noticing slugs on hostas, rather than calling out “SLUG BUG,” a different kind of punch ...

An enduring friendship

When the Fourth of July rolls around, I often recall the story I did almost thirty years ago with a pair of old friends who had been celebrating the Fourth of July together for seventy years. When I visited with them, they were 86 and 87 years old, both widowed, living in their own ...

When will the microwave oven become obsolete?

For many years I thought I was the only male child who helped his mother with the family laundry, including ironing. In a conversation about our childhoods last week I discovered that my neighbor used to help his mother with the family ironing, too. My neighbor is just a few years older ...