Just last month, President Biden raised eyebrows when he took executive action to begin transitioning federal government vehicles to electric vehicles. It followed a similar move spearheaded by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who last September, fully embraced the Green New Deal and implem…

A few weeks ago, we spoke of the power of influence and that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time around. People often brush aside the idea that they are influenced by others. To do so is foolish. We are all influenced, and we all influence others.

Our dear friends, Rob and Tracey Shirk from Waterloo, Iowa were passing through our area on Thursday and came to visit. The following day at breakfast, Rob walked in carrying what appeared to be a big magazine. As he sat at the table, I realized it was a road atlas of the USA ... something I…

I’ve spent my week reading and pondering the guiding and power of influence. The influence others have on us as well as the influence we have on others. Influence is power and it is a double-edged sword. There’s of course positive as well as negative influences and we must choose who we asso…

I used to go on long runs on Sunday mornings. This was when we lived in Windsor, Colorado. I'd start off from our front porch and run east and north on the highways to Severance, population 325 and home of Bruce's Bar (another story), then back west and south for home, jiggity jog. It was th…

Standing where his predecessor decried what he subsequently delivered — "American carnage" — Joe Biden on Wednesday promised a recuperative presidency. His call for Americans to heed the better angels of their nature — "each of us has a duty and responsibility" — recalled an admonition 160 y…

As Iowa turned the page on a year brimming with hardship, from a deadly pandemic and economic fallout, to civic unrest, a derecho and divisive presidential election, the New Year got off on the wrong foot.

“The sky is falling! The end is near!” In a variety of words, we are hearing these dire warnings issued by the talking heads on television and on talk radio, daily. The fear then permeates into the minds and hearts of listeners who then spread to their friends, family, and coworkers. Yes, fe…

Thursday, December 31, New Year's Eve Day: The Vintage Raven in Mt. Pleasant posted on its Facebook page a video of a three legged cat, Doodle Bug, that was up for adoption. Doodle Bug looked a lot like our long lost Barney: gray tiger with white chest and paws. I looked up a couple of pictu…

I don’t think I’ll find many that will disagree that our nation is in turmoil. From an election that a large minority of our friends and neighbors feel was stolen, to an assault on our nation’s Capital, the concern about what will come next is eerie.

Last week we spoke of the choice to make 2021 a better year and not remain stuck in our past. To act as if you have no power to change the course of your life only becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we want 2021 to be a better year, we must do something to make it so.

During a blizzard in the late 70's a city worker in Mt. Pleasant was driving a snowplow. It was after dark and he could hardly see beyond the truck's snow blade. At a stoplight, he heard a pounding on the side of his truck. He turned and saw the face of Mt. Pleasant's mayor, Edd King, presse…

“Away, in a manger,” the traditional hymn begins. A baby was born to change the world and has. Whether you know the story of the birth of Jesus or not, His influence and teachings have impacted human existence in ways that would otherwise be unimaginable. I realize that not all my readers ar…

Every once-in-a-while a writer comes along who stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is maybe one out of 10,000 writers or wannabe writers.

Lori and Roger Griswold were hiking along. They saw a man coming toward them over the hill. He was completely naked and carrying his clothes. When the man got close to them, he covered his private parts with his clothes and kept walking. Roger said, “I always wondered if anyone did that.” Th…

I’m not a very athletic guy. I’ve mentioned this before, but we used to be a skiing family. We’d head north to the slopes several times a year and occasionally out west to the Rockies. I never really enjoyed skiing, but Arlene and the kids did, so off we’d go.

On a summer afternoon you might see a 49-year-old man running through the streets and alleys of Mt. Pleasant, leading a pack of teenage boys. The man seems comfortable at his pace; the boys, for the most part, are huffing and puffing. The man is Lyle Murray. He and Mitch Anderson co-coach th…

Remember back in the spring when we heralded our health care workers who so bravely faced this new enemy known as COVID-19?

“I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I'm supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I'm praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer ch…

My mother taught me many things. She gave me the gift of curiosity. She questioned everything and encouraged her children to do the same. She spent her early teen years as a short order cook and waitress. With her experience she taught me to cook and enjoy the creativity of the process.

Last year, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, I joined a congressional delegation trip to visit U.S. troops, including Iowans, deployed in the Middle East. As a former company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, I understand the significance of our elected leaders being on-the-ground in warzones a…

I was welding away on the last sculpture for my art show in Fort Madison. In fact, I had just completed the last weld when my MIG wire welder started smoking and flames shot out of the front. I stopped welding and fortunately the flames and smoke subsided. What in tarnation?!

Soft music plays constantly in Rich and Pat Pendroy's home in Monroe, and in his man cave, which is in the rear of their garage that they converted to a workshop. Rich doesn't say it, but the soft music helps calm his nerves that are frazzled from the explosions and gunfire he went through i…

I always find it fascinating what triggers us. As an author and a columnist, I’ve learned to thicken my skin and brace myself for criticism. Anytime any of us put ourselves out there, whether we run for office, create something, or perform publicly, you must expect and accept criticism. It’s…

When the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public records law 50 years ago, lawmakers wanted to guarantee that anyone could obtain copies of state and local government records that are not designated by statute to be kept confidential.

I had the shingles 10 years ago, plus the shingles vaccination. I should be good to go, right? Evidently not.

I think we’ve heard enough about politics for a lifetime. I know I have, so I think it’s important to talk about something totally different but almost as important ...

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