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Extension Outreach: Celebrate 4-H with us

In addition to cooler temps and the bustle of harvest, the start of October ushers in National 4-H Week as well. With nearly 6 million participants, 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the nation. These programs place a high priority on the establishment of Youth Adult Partnerships and Positive Youth Development. Data shows again and again that positive and sustained relationships with caring adults creates learning opportunities that youth may not otherwise receive.

Ready Seth Go: AI offers cautionary tales and encouraging thoughts

I've watched as many cautionary tales about artificial intelligence as the next guy, but I have to say I was very intrigued by DALL-E — an art-generating system which development company OpenAI made available to the general public last week.

Guest Commentary: Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. All consumers and businesses should practice cybersecurity to protect their computer systems and networks from scammers and hackers. The FBI documented a record $7 billion lost to cybercrime in 2021. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency suggests four behaviors we can all implement to protect ourselves online.

Randy’s Review: ‘Smile’

After witnessing the overdose death of her mother as a young child, Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) grows up to become a mental health doctor in a large hospital’s emergency psychiatric floor. Dedicated to serving those detached from society, and working crazy hours and in an exhaustive state, Cotter remains on duty to assist with a terrorized patient, brought in struggling, strapped to a stretcher. The young lady, a Ph.D.

Book Review: Erdrich novel a spellbinding ghost story

Who doesn’t like a good ghost story.

Louise Erdrich takes a ghostly tale into the realm of humor with her latest enchanting novel, The Sentence, the story of a woman named Tookie who is haunted by the spirit of an annoying former customer of the bookstore where she works.

Pastor's Column: Use your time wisely


I’ve always found statistical studies to be interesting, but recently I stumbled across a statistic I found awfully difficult to believe. It said that those of us living today have more free time than any generation before ours. I thought it must be a mistake, so I began researching. Each study I looked into confirmed the statistic, despite it being the opposite of what most of us feel these days — that we never have enough time, and things are getting busier.

The CommStock Report: It's not 1980

How bad will it get? It was my 70th birthday recently and this is really only the second major Federal Reserve Bank tightening that I have experienced in my life, the first being the early 1980s. Both were intended to kill inflation. In the 1980s few had a clue that the Fed tightening would mean an agriculture sector depression.

Home Country

It was like buzzards circling a body.

The Jones kid, Randy, was out in the Mule Barn parking lot with the hood up on his car. He was staring down into it the way a first-time parachutist would look out the airplane door. You never quite knew for sure what lay ahead.

“Looks like Randy’s got problems,” Steve said.

“Let’s have a look,” Dud said.

Outdoors: Go big for big bass

Autumn has arrived in the Midwest. In a couple of weeks in some places, right now in other places, the lake shores and roadsides will be alive with color. Lots of outdoor enthusiasts will have departed the lakes for tree stands in search of deer or fields looking for pheasants, ducks or geese.

Extension Outreach: My first fair

My first fair is officially in the rearview mirror! I survived! I have a notebook full of things I am responsible for that I can do better next year. I also know I missed making notes about a few things. Even with the rookie mistakes I made this year the committees and rest of extension staff pulled off a great fair.

Guest Commentary: “Rainbow” fentanyl targets kids

Q: What do parents need to know about “rainbow” fentanyl?

Guest Commentary: Democrats’ misplaced priorities are creating problems for the rest of America

In almost every single county I visit on my 99 County Tour, I see help wanted signs. From public schools to the National Guard, Iowa is facing a shortage of nearly every essential worker our economy depends on.

Ready Seth Go: The beauty of when plans fall apart

Some travel plans fell through for my family this weekend, but something beautiful came out of it anyway.

Rather than driving to the complete opposite side of the state Friday night, we only went about half-way there — opting to spend the weekend in my hometown. Initially, that was a bit of a disappointment to my children, but they didn't need too much convincing to get them excited for our new plan.

Randy’s Review: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

I should have learned my lesson. Get psyched up for an intriguing trailer only to find myself let down by the actual product. I thought I was going to prove the trend wrong with “Don’t Worry Darling,” … but then the final five minutes happened. Up until then, it really lived up to its billing as a psychological thriller, but it felt as though it suddenly wrapped out of budget and needed to wrap up.

Pastor's Column: See me

"I just want to die!" I couldn't believe my ears. My hero, my pal, my dad uttered those words as he sat confined in a wheelchair in a nursing care center. The last time I saw my dad alive was when I left his room — he was sleeping, head hung down, alone, in his wheelchair. Folks, this is not going to be your typical pastor's column message. My wife is in a nursing care center.

Letter to the Editor: Mental illness

Did you know that 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness annually? One in 25 U.S. adults experiences serious or persistent mental illness each year. One in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder and suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.

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