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Guest Commentary: Take stock of mental health

Q: What are your most recent efforts in Congress to strengthen access to mental health care?

A: American society continues making strides to reduce the stigma long associated with mental illness. We have more work to do to raise awareness and expand access to behavioral health care services so people with mental health conditions can get treatment and get on the road to recovery.

Guest Commentary: Our debt crisis threatens our economic security

Our nation is more than $31.4 trillion in debt. It is a figure so daunting that it seems almost insurmountable to resolve. To put this number into perspective, every American taxpayer — already facing record-high inflation, skyrocketing interest rates and economic instability — is on the hook for nearly $95,000 in federal debt. Our current fiscal trajectory is unsustainable and financially irresponsible.

Guest Commentary: Honor the patriots

Throughout the weekend, all across our state, Iowans came together to place small American flags in the grass along memorial sites and roadways to honor our fallen military heroes — patriots. 

It’s slow work — a minor sacrifice of time and comfort in recognition of the massive sacrifices we can never repay.

Pastor's Column: Grateful to be a mom

My son just graduated from high school. He’s such a great kid! I am by no means a perfect parent, that's for sure. I have not done everything right yet there are a few basic life things we somehow instilled within our two kids and have just showed them how to do by doing it ourselves that have served them so well:


1. Be on time for church, your job, school, etc.

2. Be dependable.

3. Honor those in authority (parents, teachers, bosses).

The CommStock Report: No sign the damage to hog market is done being done yet

The hog market is a disaster and losses may persist before it gets better. There have been strong signs of underlying demand weakness for pork that has appeared to defy an explanation. The Supreme Court ruling to allow California's Prop 12 ban on pork sales from hog operations that do not comply with California production standards for sow herd treatment adds another ton of bricks to weigh on the market. California represents 15% of U.S. pork consumption so has an oversized impact on U.S.

Home Country

Steve looked out from the turret of his cabin and watched the sun set behind the mountain. Branding is over for the spring, and he was able to get away from the ranch for a few days, so here he was, in his private castle, sipping private coffee, looking down at his private horse eating hay in his private corral.

For a man who has spent most of his life in someone else’s bunkhouse, a suite at the Ritz couldn’t be more wonderful than this little hole-up spot in the mountains.

Ready Seth Go: The job did get done, Paul

I couldn't help but think a little bit about former Dickinson County Supervisor Paul Johnson last week while touring the new Career Academy on the Spirit Lake campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.

It Takes a Village to: Promote reading

May is considered National Arthritis Awareness Month, Better Sleep Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Walking Month, Women’s Health Care Month and — my favorite — National Get Caught Reading Month. As a lifelong avid reader, I wish the whole year were National Get Caught Reading Year.

The CommStock Report: Changing the world for the better

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyyy has had an extremely productive past several days. After a sweeping tour of Europe picking up billions in new aid, embracing European heads of state and traveling in donated aircraft, he detoured to the Middle East to scold Arab nations for their support of Russia. Those Arab leaders can see the solidarity of the European coalition of support for Ukraine and economic banishment of Russia from the world community.

Lawn & Garden: Preserve the beauty, fragrance and flavor of your garden

Enjoy your garden throughout the growing season and beyond. Preserve its beauty, fragrance and flavor in artwork, crafts and food.

Cellphones with cameras make it easy to capture the seasonal changes in our gardens and environment. Use a favorite photo as the wallpaper on your computer or phone. Turn them into greeting cards to send or pictures to hang on walls, lifting your spirits on gray winter or rainy days.

Extension Outreach: Opportunities in June and July

I’ve been writing this year about new experiences and setting new goals. This month I have been learning the importance of eating protein, fruits and veggies, exercise, and how to keep your brain engaged with our series Stay Independent: A Healthy Aging Program. It’s been a great month! Here are a few new opportunities coming up in June and July:

One Man’s Perspective: What now? We’ve got all summer to figure it out

My wife and I have worn several titles over the years. Wife. Husband. Mom and dad. Grandparents. Business owners. Christians. Employees and this fall we’ll add … empty nesters.

Letter to the Editor: New trees in West View Memorial Park

We'd like to thank the Parks Department and volunteers for new trees in West View Memorial Park. They were planted last week. The Parks Department was assisted by a very energetic team of fifth grade softball girls. It was fun to see their enthusiasm, especially when they completed their task, held handed and danced around the newly planted trees singing, "Kumbaya" … and God smiled.

Guest Commentary: Honoring those we lost on Memorial Day

Substance use and mental health disorders, and suicide ideation are significant problems among the veteran population. This Memorial Day, millions of American families will take time to honor the men and women who lost their lives in service of their country.

Guest Commentary: Recognizing May as National Foster Care Month

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan first recognized May as National Foster Care Month.

Every year since, the month of May has been recognized as a time to bring awareness to the needs of America’s youth who are placed in foster care.

It’s also important to recognize organizations in Iowa and around the country tirelessly serving kids and families in our foster care system.

Randy’s Review: ‘Fast X’

After sitting through “Fast X,” I’m puzzled on how to best review it.

On one hand, fans of the popular 10-part series will most likely love the film which hits all the marks — a series of one liners and ridiculous amounts of nonsensical action which should have killed most — if not all — involved.

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