We are told that life as we know it has been forever changed by the computer. The most complicated equations are solved. We started at a desk, then moved to a mobile laptop. A few years later our phones became computers and now it can be as small as a watch on your wrist. (Calling Dick Trace…

I have always looked at the thought of a “bucket list” in a negative light. The idea that I’d want to begin compiling a list of things I wanted to do before I die just seemed ... well ... negative.

The little brown sign on Highway 34 is easy to miss, just like the significance of two little sisters in Danville, Iowa, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, who were pen-pals with Anne Frank and her sister, Margot.

Last week I mentioned that I love online cooking tutorials. There are so many great opportunities to learn, but my favorite is a little less refined than most. Barbecue Pit Boys or www.bbqpitboys.com are a cross between ZZ Top and the Grateful Dead. These “good ol’ boys” live for their grill…

It is with great pleasure I announce a book signing and “Meet the Author” for L. Kephart-Nash, better known as Linda Nash, of Ft. Madison. This gala affair will take place on Saturday, April 24th, at 1 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Ft. Madison, 608 10th St. Masks and social distancin…

Property taxpayers in Iowa are frustrated. Taxpayers often blame assessors for high property tax bills, but it is government spending that results in high property taxes. Property taxes are also a form of wealth tax. For example, if the value of a home increased by 10%, it does not mean the property owner has a 10% increase in savings to cover their property tax.

I'm in a mad dash across Kansas on I-70. My brother in Canon City, Colorado, who is 14 years older than me, has terminal cancer. Hospice has been called in. I must see him before he dies. To do what? To pay respects? To tell him I love him? To try and make up for the years separating us, the…

Many years ago, during a conversation with an old lawyer, he made a comment I still remember: “You can sue the bishop of Boston for bastardy, but that doesn’t mean you are going to collect.”

My parents were both small town kids. My mom from Sand Springs, Oklahoma and dad from Sesser, Illinois. Their move to the far south suburbs of Chicago in 1953 to find work must have been a culture shock of great magnitude.

Writing is a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes I hit send and the email reflects that the goal of my column was reached. At those moments, I’ll admit, I feel a sense of satisfaction.

One of my first business lessons came after explaining my sales plan to my father. He asked for the details and at the end I said, “I hope it all works.” Dad smiled and said, “that’s fine, but hope isn’t a plan.”

Randy Stewart and his son, Austin, had a brainstorm one day. They are patriotic people and, wishing they had a flag pole for an American flag (the Fourth of July was coming up), they did the next-best thing. They painted the American flag on their barn roof. Yep. They didn't realize how much…

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.

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