Local Columns

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. ...

Traveling to see Iowa’s history

When I was in sixth grade, we took a class on Iowa history. I don’t remember how often we had the class, but I do remember that at least once a week my whole class trooped down to the lunchroom in the lower level of the old Stanhope school building to watch a program on public television ...

Good Samaritans all around us

The last two weeks have been harsh — weather-wise, that is. Mother Nature gave Hamilton County and Iowa in general much more than our share of snow and cold. It’s often during these difficult times that we realize the goodness and generosity of people in our community. You know, people ...

The changing world of fishing

On a recent or past episode of Fishing the Midwest television depending on where you live, we talked about some of the changes that have taken place in the world of fishing. I’ve been fishing for a little more than 5 decades and have seen many changes. Most of those changes have been for ...

Gone fishing

There are lots of fishing seasons and ways to go fishing. In some parts of the world right now it’s ice-fishing season, but in others it’s open water season. In some places it crappie season, in others it’s perch season. In some places we go spinnerbaiting for bass or jigging for ...

A simple act of kindness

So there I was, standing in a short line at a busy convenience store waiting to pay for the cup of coffee I was holding. The customer in front of me was purchasing an energy drink and a tin of chewing tobacco, so you know he is decades younger than me. For some reason, his was a lengthy ...

Outgrowing your dream

At a monthly luncheon with a group of other aging baby boomers, a conversation with a few old friends turned to the matter of unachieved goals. Now in retirement, what life goals did we not achieve during our younger years? I quickly identified my unachieved goal: learning to fly. As a ...

Must have tools for fishing

Some fishing friends and I got into a conversation recently, and as usual, the talk turned to fishing. We talked about ice-fishing and we talked about open water fishing. We talked about techniques for fishing and we talked about favorite places to go fishing. After exhausting all those ...

Jumpstart spring indoors

Spring. Are you counting down the days? Why not bring a breath of spring indoors by forcing flowering branches. The term "forcing" in horticulture terms is a method to speed up plant growth by artificially controlling heat and light to encourage early flowering. With branches from ...

Just how cold was it?

The recent cold snap generated a lot of “I remember when it was so cold…” comments. Most of us who have been around Iowa for a while can remember periods of sub-zero temperatures and how we coped with them. My first few years were spent in Kossuth and Winnebago counties up on the ...

Warm sweaters and cuddly cats

Having a cat in your lap is something like putting on a sweater to chase away the chills of a frigid January like what we’re suffering through. The same could be said for a cool fall day, too. This is the time of year when my cat Maxine and her habit of quietly leaping onto my lap is ...