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Lawn & Garden: Who’s dining in my garden?

You take a walk through the garden and find branches trimmed, flowers missing or bark damaged. Of course, the culprit is nowhere to be seen. You may have suspects in mind but a close look at the damage and surroundings can help you identify who is dining on your plants. Knowing this can help you reduce the risk in the future.

Randy’s Review: ‘Renfield’

A blend of comedy and exceptionally gory horror, Robert Kirkman, of “The Walking Dead” fame, tells the story of legendary vampire Dracula’s (Nicholas Cage) continued existence as told through the troubled eyes of his caretaker in “Renfield.”

Extension Outreach: ISU Extension and Outreach Week

This week is ISU Extension and Outreach Week! To honor such a prestigious week I thought I would highlight the different areas. My responsibilities lie with the 4-H portion of extension so that is generally where I keep my focus, but there really is something for everyone across the different departments.

Guest Commentary: Adoption, attorney general updates


This week the House passed House File 351 — a bill that increases Iowa’s current adoption tax credit. I had the opportunity to floor manage the bill.

Currently, the adoption tax credit equals the amount of qualified adoption expenses paid or incurred by the taxpayer in connection with the adoption of a child, not to exceed $5,000 per adoption.

Letter to the Editor: Chicago-style politics at the Iowa Capitol

Chicago-style politics are playing out in the Iowa Legislature where the CO2 pipeline mafia has blocked all legislation designed to rein in the use of eminent domain for one of the biggest land-grabs in American history. Without eminent domain, the hazardous liquid CO2 pipelines cannot gain access to thousands of acres of private land on the 1,800-mile route crisscrossing Iowa.

Continued investment in agricultural research and development supports Iowa farmers

On my Feenstra Agriculture Tour, I have met with countless farmers and producers to discuss the upcoming farm bill and commonsense policies that will protect the productivity, profitability, and international competitiveness of Iowa agriculture. From maintaining like-kind exchange and step-up in basis to defending vital crop insurance programs, our farmers rely on economic certainty and policy consistency to feed and fuel our country and the world.

Randy’s Review: ‘Air’

I know. I know. The summary behind “Air” doesn’t sound promising. A failing shoe company department pursues an athlete to endorse their product line. But when that athlete is arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time, the company is Nike and the shoe is the immensely popular Air Jordan — the story is both enjoyable and entertaining.

Book Review: Grant Wood meets German idealism

Everyone knows that between the corn stalks, feed lots and soybeans, Iowa is quirky, but few people are aware that the citizens of northwest Iowa are quirky enough to save mankind. At least according to native northwest Iowa writer, Mike Alger, who lives and works in Barcelona, they are. His first novel, “The Last Generation To Ever Get Old,” tells the story of two men, Diego Thorsten and Thad Schlichtemeier.

Pastor's Column: Judgement in the house

Judgement is not a popular term, especially within the church. This is ironic to me since it is such a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Alas, we live in the days where many scriptures are often overlooked or ignored. The word is associated with “church hurts” and hypocritical Christians. No one likes to be judged or feel judged for that matter. In a utopian world, there would be no judgement at all.

The CommStock Report: Lost and found in Bora Bora

One cannot appreciate the great expanse of the South Pacific until experiencing it. French Polynesia is only one region in the vast blue water desert of the Pacific. The reason that I call it a desert is that its islands are best described as oases. Ever since that I performed in the musical "South Pacific" when in high school I always wanted to go there. It took a while but I crossed another one off my bucket list.

Home Country

It was just one of those things. It didn’t really mean Marvin Pincus had lost his mind. Consider this yourself for a minute. Marvin had opened the mail that morning and in it was the Fenwick glass fly rod he’d ordered. Oh, it was used, of course. But there’s a feel to a Fenwick that only a man dedicated to a life of using dry flies can appreciate.

Guest Commentary: Governor’s appointment nominees

There was no debate this week as the Senate was busy working on the governor’s appointment nominees. This process is similar to that of a subcommittee with three senators assigned to each name. The next step is to contact everyone and then make the decision to recommend the candidate to the standing committee such as Judiciary or Commerce.

Guest Commentary: Property tax time

Iowa law requires that all residential property be reassessed every two years on the odd numbered year by the county assessor. That means Iowans had their homes reassessed this year.

Lawn & Garden: Design a deer-resistant garden without the fence

Deer are common visitors to landscapes even in urban and suburban areas. Fencing is the most effective way to protect your plants but is not always practical or desirable. Your community may have restrictions on fencing, your budget may not support this option or you prefer not to hide your plantings behind a fence.

Extension’s Outreach: New events in April

Happy spring! With spring comes new opportunities for growth both outside and in. We all catch the “go outside” bug, whether you are a gardener (itching to get planting) or just have been cooped up inside for too long! My challenge for you this year is to try something new! I made scones for the first time in March (pumpkin chocolate chip — yum!). Can’t wait to see what new experience April will bring?

Here are a few new opportunities for April and May:

Guest Commentary: President Biden’s bloated budget spells disaster for Main Street America

During the first two years of his administration, President Joe Biden’s reckless policies epitomized his tax-and-spend proclivities and complete disregard for fiscal responsibility. Despite repeated calls from Republicans to abandon his wasteful spending agenda, he approved roughly $6 trillion in new government spending that fueled inflation, forced the Federal Reserve to expedite its aggressive rate hikes, and accelerated the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare.

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