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Book Review: Novel seamlessly weaves past and present

Every once in a great while, a novel comes along that hits you where it really counts — straight in the heart.

That’s the case with “Beneath the Polish Moon” by Guttenberg, Iowa, author Jake Kaminski. Kaminski brilliantly blends the quaint Milwaukee childhood memories of Luke Karpinski with his ascent as a courageous Miami narcotics cop.

Pastor's Column: The life of the mayfly

If you have been camping recently, you may have noticed the swarms of mayflies surrounding your site. Don’t worry, they will be gone very soon! An adult mayfly only has a lifespan of two days. They spend a year in the nymph stage until they sprout wings and fly into adulthood for their short-lived purpose. For about 24-48 hours, their time as adults is focused on reproducing. Some female mayflies only live for five minutes after their purpose is fulfilled.

On the Side: It's more than a banner to us

My intent was to write this column weeks ago, shortly after the Hall family purchased the Spencer Daily Reporter, Dickinson County News and Northwest Iowa Shopper. But along the way there were many projects that needed to be accomplished to train and set up the staff for success under a new organization, and somewhere in that pile of to-dos were buried things we wanted to get done sooner rather than later.

One of those things was putting a new face on the Spencer Reporter.

Letter to the Editor: It takes a village to raise a senior — Part 2

I understand Spencer’s Area Activity came close to closing. I will admit I have not read every article or listened to different perspectives concerning the topic. But, think about it, when have I stopped writing about something I don’t know about. And I firmly believe Clay County should have one of the most vibrant senior centers in Iowa.

One Man’s Perspective: Honoring those who gave

While the weather wasn’t terribly conducive to the traditional Memorial Day services we typically enjoy at Riverside Cemetery, but credit the American Legion, VFW and Avenue of Flags organizers with the pivot, working with the gracious folks at Spencer High School who opened the auditorium for the annual ceremony. The setting provided a comfortable, and more importantly, dry environment where everyone could come together and honor those who served and have left us.

Letter to the Editor: Preventing a tragedy

By the time this is printed, many will have weighed in on how to prevent the tragedy of the shooting rampage in Uvalde, Texas. Calls for stricter gun control policies, "red flag" laws, more in school police, better door locks, etc. There could even be some consensus among legislators that something could be done, including goals, time lines and accountability.

Guest Commentary: Closing out the legislative session

In the early morning of May 25, we concluded the 2022 legislative session. This session will be notable for many reasons — both good and not so good. But one of the good highlights of this legislative session was tax reform.

Guest Commentary: Title IX — Iowa women playing hard ball

As the country nears the 50th Anniversary of Title Nine this June, it becomes a good time to reflect on the progress of women’s involvement in sports. Girls were not invited to play sports in the mid-to-late ‘50s and ‘60s in much of Iowa, especially for those living in large towns. So the only ‘ball’ little girls played in my elementary school was tetherball or four square on the playground. Boys enjoyed playing football, basketball and baseball during recess.

Home Country

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.

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