• It shouldn’t be lost on us that while an estimated 1,000 or more people turned out to support law enforcement here last Tuesday, just a few days later and one state to the south a rookie patrol officer was gunned down while making a vehicle stop.

    For all of the people who say they are backing the blue, there are a few kooks. And while the kooks are greatly outnumbered, it only takes one to change everyone’s perspective on what it means to serve.

  • A couple of decades ago, a younger version of Gov. Terry Branstad joined forces with the Iowa Newspaper Association to create something called “The Iowa Futures Project.” 

    Iowa was floundering in the wake of the 1980s Farm Crisis. Some banks had closed. There were thousands of farms lost to foreclosure. The federal government’s agricultural price support system was inadequate to deal with the problem. And state government didn’t have the resources to even begin to address the things that were happening in Iowa. 

  • Hoosiers claim the tenderloin sandwich was created in 1904 by a restaurant owner in Huntington, Ind. Some from our state say the time frame is about right, but the first was served at an ethnic establishment near Cedar Rapids.


    Labor Day presents the last official swings at summer. Boating, fishing, golfing, swimming, gardening – it’s the weekend after which many put away the warm-weather fun and start thinking about that list of fall chores.

    Heaven knows, I’ve had them. 


    J. Wilson started his 40 days of Lenten beer fasting with meditation, prayer, and a physical checkup. Wife and I started our 40 days of sweet corn with high-fives and a pot of boiling water. 


    If it’s diversity you crave, then skip all of that political crap. Go looking for chili recipes. And do it soon, because the newspaper needs you. Well, really, I need you.


    This editorial was written by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, of Red Oak, and published as a blog by The Hill.


    How many people today keep a diary or daily journal? Very few, I suspect, and that’s too bad. 


    Over-reaction generally reveals the absence of a rational thought, or minimally, a disingenuous one. 


    When you move to a new community, there are a few things with which you have to become acquainted almost immediately, such as City Hall location, to ensure running water; a medical center, in case of a kitchen accident; and where to get the best sweet corn.

    In our household, it may not be in that order.

  • It’s late afternoon on Christmas Eve as I write this. I have a few presents to wrap, stockings to fill and cooking to do. And politics is the last thing I want to think about.
    Yet yesterday in Red Oak, I experienced a moment of political hope.
    That’s the morning Senator Bernie Sanders came to Red Oak, and I was heartened to see more than 250 people pack into the Red Coach Inn to hear him speak. Finally, some political action!

  • Dear Editor:
    “Eight people were killed and at least 45 people were wounded in shootings” was the headline Sept. 21, 2015, yet the President didn’t rush to his bully pulpit to decry, “we need more gun laws” on that day. Why I wonder? Could it be it happened in another country? No, it happened in the United States.

  • Veterans Day is tomorrow. I’ll spend part of it at a program in a school gymnasium, thinking of other veterans, other times and sacrifices unknown or long forgotten.
    I expect few people know the story of four boys—Oscar, Eric, Paul and Evald—who grew up on the same Montgomery County farm and attended school in a building not far from where tomorrow’s program takes place.       
    All four enlisted during wartime.  
    All four were killed in action.   

  • Did they shrink like the Grinch’s?
    I was wondering this last Wednesday morning as I pondered the prospect of another Republican debate, this one covering the economy. I’d endured the first two Republican debates stoically. But I have a soft spot for economic issues, particularly because I’ve watched working America take hit after hit from Republican policies the last 40 years.
    Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking about this.
    When I turned to news of a budget deal to avoid a

  • There was a time when politicians spent their own money to buy votes; now they’re using yours.
    I’ve recently received a series of e-mails saying I’m entitled to a free cell phone and a generous monthly plan. One that arrived a couple days ago included, in capital letters, the line, “THERE’S NOTHING SADDER THAN A WASTED FREEBIE.” Actually, I’m no more “entitled” to a free cell phone than anyone else—and it’s certainly not free—but millions of them are paid for with tax dollars.    

  • Flushed from a recently combined field, the pheasant flew in a wide arc. The hunter lifted his shotgun, drew a bead and fired, sending the bird into an unnatural tailspin, headfirst into the remaining corn stubble.
    It was opening weekend for pheasant season and the video clip seemed appropriate for a story about it.

  • Call me a jaded cynic if you will, but when I first read about Speaker of the House John Boehner announcing he would be resigning from Congress at the end of this month, I was skeptical.
    Very skeptical.
    Was this grandstanding by a political animal I assume spends more time in a tanning booth than only Donald Trump?
    An epiphany brought on by the Pope-affect (Boehner, a Catholic, had met the Pontiff the day before)?

  • My wife watched the CNN debates wondering if there was a difference between the Socialist and the Progressives.  I pretty much knew the answer, and  went to the garage to work on my deer blind.  She’s a beauty; a piece of art.  With a little cardboard, burlap, a few corn stalks, cedar branches, some duct tape and twine I enclosed and camouflaged an old golf cart.  I knew it was good when my wife asked how much “that stupid looking thing” cost and went back to the house.      

  • For the last few weeks, I had been seriously considering taking an extended leave of absence from writing this column.
    I have plenty of good reasons. I haven’t had a sports writer for two months and my news reporter’s last day was Friday, leaving me with an abundance of writing assignments I normally don’t have.
    But the best reason of all to take a break from writing this column was a much more serious one: My wife has cancer.

  • Werner (pronounced “Verner”) Althoffer makes award-winning sausage, and has been doing so for a long time.  He’s a professional who learned his trade in Germany 70 years ago.