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Local Columns

Little tricks for bigger ice-fishing catches

Ice has been coming and going so far this year, but it’s for sure that eventually we’re going to have safe ice available to us. When that happens, the following ideas will help you be more successful when it comes to fishing through the ice. When fishing is slow, get as many lines in the ...

A visit from the grandchildren

After family visiting my house for three days over Thanksgiving, I understand why God designed us so that only young women can bear children. But of course I was delighted to be able to spend some time at my house with my son, daughter-in-law, and my grandchildren, ages 5 and 20 months. ...

Old age and Iowa winters

At the risk of appearing to be a geezer, I confess that (having been born in January) I am currently experiencing my 73rd winter in Iowa. Well, it won’t officially be winter in Iowa until 11:19 p.m. on December 21 but when it snows and it’s cold outside it’s winter. To heck with the ...

How well do you know your customers?

Who are your customers?  Who will use your product or service? What is their age, location, and income level? Knowing your customer will help you better serve them. Today I'm sharing some ideas that Josh at 2nd Wind Music Store in Fostoria, Ohio is using in his business.  Josh was ...

There’s something special about Sundays

Ah. . . Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure there is any more delicious time of the week. Just by the nature of when it falls during our seven-day week, and the way our culture has evolved, Sunday afternoon is unique. It’s a time to do what we want, to relax, perhaps, to see our friends and ...

What’s so odd about being odd?

When I was a youngster I read everything I could… including signs. I was particularly intrigued by a sign I saw on buildings in some Iowa towns: “Odd Fellows Hall.” I had heard my parents say of someone a bit different, “He’s really odd.” In my limited understanding of the world ...

Is small scale manufacturing possible?

Is small scale manufacturing even possible in your town?  Just what is small scale manufacturing?  It's the artisan makers, the prototyping to small scale, it's the production at scale, the makerspaces and the shared commercial kitchens and workshops.  You'd be looking for craft ...

Three ways to catch fall crappies

Wherever people fish anywhere in North America, and that's almost everywhere, there's an excitement right now about fishing. Fall is a wonderful season to be on the water trying to get a fish to bite. And, if you put your bait in front a fish, chances are good that it will eat that bait. In ...

It’s going to be snowy, icy and icky

So here we are in September. The official summer season is almost over. Autumn officially begins on September 23 and then we know that winter isn’t too far away. We Iowans are subjected to the extremes of weather – from beastly hot, humid summers to bone-chilling winter cold ...

Finding your place

Recently I read an article on finding your place, which got me to thinking about the various ways we talk about our place and how that changes during the travel of life. Take the phrase “There’s no place like home.” Does that mean a real, physical place, or is it wherever the ...

The beauty of imperfection

Occasionally I read something that really speaks to me. Maybe you’ve had that experience, too, when a piece feels like it’s targeting you individually-- addressing what’s been on your mind, perhaps, or just appealing to your sense of humor or resonating with where you are at the ...

Not to me either

One of the news stories getting air time and ink in Iowa this summer was the report that Iowans are now the fourth most obese people in the United States. According to the study by ConsumerProduct.com, 36.4 percent of Iowa’s adult population struggles with obesity. The study determined that ...

Catch more fish this fall

Autumn is in the air! Birds are gathered on power lines, butterflies are getting together to prepare for their southerly journey, there have even been reports of tree leaves changing colors. Summer fishing is different than spring fishing, and fishing in the fall in several very important ...

Letters from Camp Fannin, Texas

It seemed a little creepy at first. Reading someone else’s mail just doesn’t feel right. After my mother passed away last November, one of my brothers came upon a stack of letters our father had sent to his parents during his training in the U.S. Army. I read them recently. Dad was ...

The joys of Iowa sweet corn

So there I was, sitting in my favorite camp dining hall in New Hampshire, with about 30 other central staff as we waited for our mid-summer banquet. The summer session was half over, campers and staff were gone for now, and the rest of us were just relaxing, kicking back before we were soon ...

Take every opportunity to celebrate

A few days ago I went to a small gathering to celebrate the birthday of a friend. Keep in mind that the other women there were all about my age, so it was nothing rowdy or boisterous, to say the least. We had a nice time visiting, taking some time to catch up with each other, and, of course, ...

Now get off my lawn

That sweet new baby you adore ̶ he/she is selfish, self-centered and ill-tempered. Just watch that baby when it’s time to eat or have a diaper changed. Or when big sister takes his binkie. We are all born that way but early in life, our parents work to change us. From the time we ...

How do you remember your hometown?

I grew up on a farm near a town of 141 people. We'd ride our bikes the four miles into town with our dollar bill and head to the little grocery store. My friend's Dad owned the store and he'd watch us with eagle eyes. For that one dollar we could buy a Coke and 25 pieces of candy. There was a ...

My advice: Soda pop and ice cream

How much pop did you drink when you were a kid? For many of my generation the amount consumed was low… very low. The topic came up over lunch with a cousin and her husband recently. In my parental home we never had pop. On a rare occasion when he went to Everett Thompson’s DX gas station ...

Our State Fair is a great state fair

It's the time of year that we Iowans do our annual celebrating at local community celebrations, festivals, block parties and county fairs. And we're now about in the middle of the queen of them all: the Iowa state fair. It is quite the phenomenon, this traditional celebration of our state. ...