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When the world is hot and my skin is fried, scratching from the constant dry, let the clouds boil up, boil up high. And then shade the Earth with the darkening sky and bring the secrets and the smell of rain. The coolness and the blessed rain, again.

Outdoors: Try different colors for more fish

Fishing season is underway across the Midwest, and it’s been underway for quite a while in other parts of North America. Wherever you might go fishing, there are some differences and some similarities to the fishing in other areas. One of the similarities is the question of lure color.

Sustainable water use in your landscape

No matter where you live, the conservation and wise use of water in our gardens and landscapes is important. Sustainable water use helps grow beautiful gardens while conserving water and helping reduce water pollution and stormwater overflows.

Extension Outreach: Opportunities for youth

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach goes to the schools to bring research-based educational programming to youth in Clay County. Recently, Jenna Keene has been active in schools providing a variety of lessons. Keene just finished the Ricochet program which is a middle school leadership program that reaches approximately 400 seventh and eighth graders each year.

Pastor's Column: The whole duty of man

Several years ago Mr. Percy Ross in one of his weekly syndicated columns ran a contest "A Snowball's Chance in Hell." In it he asked for comments regarding his view that society is "going to hell in a handbasket." He offered $1,000 for each entry he would print in his column. The response was overwhelming with over 350,000 letters. Mr. Ross had only read about 10% of the mail when he found the following letter which he felt embodied the very core of what has happened to our society.

Randy’s Review: ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’

Having never watched a second of Downton Abbey, I walked into the theater afraid I was going to be lost when this second film, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” popped on the screen. I wasn’t. It didn’t take long to catch on at all.

Book Review: ‘Stone City’ a rewarding read

“Would you believe in love at first sight?”

That’s the question posed on the cover of Jeff Mitchell’s heartwarming novel, “Stone City,” set in the iconic Grant Wood hill country of eastern Iowa. Mitchell, former dean of industrial technology at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and currently an educational consultant, has always lived in the Stone City area, the subject of a Wood painting.

The CommStock Report: Rural economy strong but slipping as Fed fights inflation

I was surprised at the difference in Creighton's Rural Mainstreet Economy Indexes between Minnesota (49.4) and Missouri (91) last month. Fifty is growth so that means that the Minnesota rural economy is the first to slow to neutral while Missouri is still showing the rest of rural America how growth is done. The 10-state Heartland RMI was 57.7, down from 62 the previous month.

One Man’s Perspective: There are no words

I have a 10-year-old grandson. Today he is celebrating the beginning of summer with his classmates and friends here in Spencer. While they were sitting in the final day of class, looking forward to their “freedom” in a matter of hours, another group of his peers were cowering in their classroom while an 18-year-old man randomly and indiscriminately fired his weapon into their young, defenseless bodies.

On the Side: General's orders

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer around these parts. Kids are out of school. Trees have canopied. Mosquitos are alive. Spring's winds die. June's stormy nature erupts on waves of humidity. Boats, balls in the gaps and crooked golf shots are launched. Fish and rear ends on patio chairs are landed.

Guest Commentary: Election integrity

Every election year about this time I start getting calls about people receiving four or five ballots in the mail. I always caution people with that Iowa does not just send ballots out to individuals. With that said, I have received many phone calls and in person requests to tighten up election integrity in Iowa. I would like to let you know that Iowa’s election system is among the best in the nation, if not in the world.

Letter to the Editor: It takes a village to raise a senior

At age 66, I am helping organize a 50th high school class reunion. I have also spent a month pursuing mental wellness: May, Mental Health Awareness month.

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Letter to the Editor: ‘Mc Ma & Pa’ restaurants

When I was growing up in Cedar Falls, hamburger “joints,” such as Henry’s, or the Pink Elephant, or the root beer drive-in (Duds ‘n Suds), along with the giant tenderloin stand (Murphy’s Chuckwagon) joined Newberry’s hand dipped ice cream shop, and the Steamboat restaurant as possible places for families to eat out. None of these were chains; all were privately or “family” owned. This was before pizza came into the scene, so it was pre-Shakeys, pre-Pizza Huts, and way before Godfathers.

Letter to the Editor: Interim SAAC board

There’s been a lot in the news about the Spencer Area Activity Center and its planned closure June 30, 2022. We can thank the vision and dedication of recent Board members to allow the Save the Center Team the opportunity to reenergize the center’s mission and place in the community. The SAAC Board had worked diligently through COVID-19 and other formidable challenges to keep this public nonprofit viable in spite of dwindling attendance and struggling financial support.

Letter to the Editor: Feenstra is leading the way to solve the infant formula crisis

Across Iowa, store shelves are bare, and families are scrambling to find affordable infant formula for their children with limited luck. This is a scary situation — especially for parents — who are spread thin from the pain of inflation, grocery bills, high gas prices, and now, severe formula shortages that threaten the health and development of our children.

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