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Local Columns

The capitol roundup

Greetings friends! Now that the second funnel week is over, we voted on many more bills than we normally do to send to the governor’s desk or to the House. This week we passed out of the Senate the Life Amendment. The section reads, “To defend the dignity of all human life, and to protect ...

Church duds have changed

The other day I was thinking about what people wear to church nowadays. After a year of online church services, some folks are probably accustomed to worshipping in pajamas… or worse! I was raised in conservative circles and in later years have been shocked a time or two at the types of ...

Need help getting food?

In the months since COVID struck, we have encountered many challenges. Iowans lost precious work hours or their job altogether. Kids were home with school closures and senior citizens became even more shut in. As the state started its economic recovery, a historic storm ripped across ...

Country Roads: The job of eradicating disease

My second COVID-19 vaccination was administered on a recent Sunday afternoon. Other than some fatigue, I experienced no unpleasant side effects from the shot or from the first one for that matter. My wife has had her first vaccination and has an appointment for the second. One of these days ...

Iowa Senate addresses child care, property taxes

Last week was the 12th week of the legislative session. It included the next important legislative deadline of the year. In order to be considered for the rest of the year, policy bills needed to be out of their original chamber and through committee in the second chamber. In other words, we ...

Catch more fish this year

Fishing success means different things to different people. To some anglers, success is catching a bunch of fish. They’re not concerned about size, they just want to feel something pulling back on their rod. Other anglers measure their success by the size of the fish ...

Early season walleyes like jigs

The recent warm weather has anglers excited, and some of the most excited anglers are those who like to chase and catch walleyes. All across Walleye Country, anglers who enjoy catching walleyes are getting ready to get in or on the water. In rivers that are home to walleyes, anglers are ...

Opinions worth signing

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Dumb and Dumber.” Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, it’s sophomoric. Yes, I should have better tastes. Dating back to the early 1990s, “Dumb and Dumber” is a comedy about a couple of well-intentioned but incredibly stupid young fellows who travel from ...

Late ice panfish

There is still plenty of ice on most of the lakes and ponds where many of us go ice fishing, but if the current weather holds, that ice could be leaving us before long. I hope to get on the ice a time or two more in the next couple of weeks, and if I do, I will be after panfish. Walleyes ...

The Capitol Roundup

The seventh week of session was busier as many bills moved out of committee. Next week is the first funnel week of this legislative session, meaning all Senate policy bills need to be out of Senate committees in order to be considered for the rest of the year. This deadline ensures we are ...

Memories of a one-of-a-kind gentleman

After breathing earth’s air for more than seven decades, I have some vivid memories of people who made life difficult. I try to have a forgiving spirit but forgetting some of those experiences can be difficult. When memories of jerks pop up, I try to focus on the kind and decent people ...

Lure color counts

As the ice fishing season starts to wind down and the open water fishing season gets closer, it’s good to think about some of the things that can affect our fishing success. There are a good number of those things. We think about where we’re going fishing, when we’re going fishing, or who ...

It took a village of good uncles

One of the sadder realities of growing older is the loss of so many people who played an important role in your life. When I was a kid I had 16 uncles. Today, I’m down to just one. Uncle Ron, my father’s youngest brother, is only 11 years older than I am. He’s a fascinating guy ...

Memorable bites

For one reason or another, I’ve been unable to get on the ice for a couple of weeks. I’m guessing that warmer weather will provide the opportunity and encouragement to go ice fishing a few more times, but for now I’m doing a lot of remembering. Mostly I’m remembering past fishing ...

You cannot do an act of kindness too soon

In case you haven’t noticed, the annual National Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming up soon. The week of February 14 is National Random Acts of Kindness Week and Wednesday, February 17, is the official day. The “kindness movement” began in the mid-1990s with the release of a ...

Catch ‘em when others can’t

When you’re ice-fishing, just like when you’re open water fishing, there are days when the fish get finicky. They might be finicky due to weather conditions, or it could be fishing pressure that has them closed-mouthed. Whatever the reason, just like in open water, there are some things ...

Good character still counts

A conversation with a political candidate of my acquaintance nearly 25 years ago has rolled through my mind frequently in recent months. The candidate told me about a discussion he had with a student when speaking to a high school class a few days earlier. He said he and the class were ...

Birthdays just aren’t exciting anymore

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark anyway. It was the night I was born many, MANY years ago. This is the week my personal calendar flips to new year. By the end of January I will be one year closer to my 100th birthday. I’m not planning a big celebration but I am ...

An unforgettable friend

While I think of him often, at this time of year I think even more frequently of a friend, now deceased, who is unforgettable. Duane Gibson was the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Des Moines. During the 1990s I read about him in Des Moines Register stories about the ...

Halfway through the ice-fishing season

Although it seems like it just started, in many areas across the ice-fishing belt, the ice fishing season is already at the midway point. In many places it’s been much warmer than usual, so travel on the ice has been limited. Despite that, there are lots of anglers on the ice, and numerous ...