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The CommStock Report: Got ultra-filtered milk?

I have been an avid milk drinker since being a kid, drinking the pasteurized milk from our own cows when growing up. Our cows went when I graduated from high school. I still buy milk sometimes at a convenience store instead of soda. I do not know the timeline of the transition that took place but I do not like whole milk today. I can handle 2% but prefer fat-free.

Guest Commentary: Supporting our police officers and their K9 partners

Our police and law enforcement officers make incredible sacrifices to protect our families and communities and undertake many responsibilities outside of the public eye. That includes caring for police K9s — which assist officers in seizing drugs, tracking missing people, and detaining criminals — during their service and after their retirement. These police K9s are vital partners in ensuring public safety and spearheading the fight against crime and the fentanyl epidemic.

Guest Commentary: Making an impact in 2023

2023 marked 100 years since the Iowa Legislature created the position of Iowa secretary of agriculture. In that time, 15 different Iowans have had the opportunity to lead the talented team at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Though much has changed since 1923, one thing has remained consistent: a commitment to serving Iowans and promoting our state's thriving agriculture.

On the Side:​​​​​​​ Charting inflation

In hopes of making you feel better after blowing your family budget in the past month in order to put a smile on exotic-vacationing Jeff Bezos’s face, members of the federal bureaucracy, channeling their best Ross Perot, rolled out a series of charts to the press to show that 2023 was a tremendous economic year and that inflation is coming under control since the rate of increase is running at 2% on average over the past six months.


Or not.

One Man’s Perspective:​​​​​​​ Heaven gains a new angel this Christmas

EDITOR'S NOTE: Former Spencer Community School District instructor, high school principal and member of the main office administration, Elli Wiemers passed away at age 55, Friday, at Spencer Hospital following a long battle with cancer. Services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Revs. Kevin Richter and Tim Hogan will officiate the service. Visitation will take place from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday at the church.

Writers and Writing: 'Love’s Guest' offers inspiration and reflection

Every once in a while, a little book comes along that punches far above its weight, that offers more than initially meets the eye.

That’s the case of “Love’s Guest,” a slim, inspirational volume by Marc Aronoff of Lenox, Massachusetts. The book is a collection of annotated selections from “The Spiritual Dialogues” by Saint Catherine of Genoa, born as Caterina Fieschi Adorno in Genoa, Italy, in 1447.

Lawn & Garden: Include gardening in your New Year’s resolution

The new year is filled with resolutions that usually involve dieting and exercise. Gardening is a great way to help accomplish those two resolutions, while also improving your mood, reducing blood pressure, managing anger, maintaining flexibility and more.

Extension Outreach: Looking toward the new year

With the holidays almost behind us and looking toward the new year, it comes with a reflection on the year behind us and a certain expectation of the new year. Last year I challenged myself and others to learn something new, do something different. I hope that as you reflect on the past year, you find comfort and joy.

One Man’s Perspective: Christmas gifts? Where do I start?

This year is an especially blessed Christmas for me from my family.

In the past few weeks leading up to this annual holiday column, I’ve been thinking of the special words to honor the special gift I’m being given by my family.

I guess those special words are … thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And I fear those simple expressions of appreciation don’t do it justice.

Guest Commentary: Christmas mercies and miracles

Every December Christians joyfully share the miraculous story of the virgin birth — the singular most foundational tenant of our faith. The Christ child entered the world as a humble baby and brought with him the miracles of hope and grace.

When asked if we believe in miracles, the resounding answer for Christians is undeniably yes. When we embrace the miracle of the virgin birth performed by our Lord and Savior, why doubt His ability to perform miracles on earth today?

Pastor's Column: Broken homes

Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for many families. I am someone who can understand. My wife and I come from broken homes. We both have estranged relatives that live far away. The relatives that aren’t estranged live even further away. The season of giving often stirs nostalgia of our bittersweet childhood pasts. We try to filter out the bad and cherish the good. We focus on raising our three children in a healthy, Christ-centered and stable Iowa home.

The CommStock Report: My last mentor passed away

I have been fortunate to have had several people who I considered to be mentors in my life that I was grateful to have had them share their wisdom. As they were pretty much all from the generation that preceded mine, they are all gone now. While I never met Charlie Munger face to face up close, I saw him live at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting two years ago.

On the Side: You just never know...

Dear Readers: The following is column written by a fellow named Bob Thompson, who was a teacher and coach in my hometown. It is reprinted with permission.


Here's the story about a young man who was engaged to be married. He was in love and his life was infected with that special pride and that vibrant joy that is peculiar to lovers.

Letters to the Editor: Mental health professionals ready and willing to help

Some naysayers complain we have never in our history been more divided as a country. Why, a large percentage of the population prefers red licorice over black. An equally large group disdains licorice. Then there’s the Grinch who appears every year at this time. Did he/will he steal Christmas? Some agree, while many don’t. Count me among the latter.

Guest Commentary: Delivering a historic pay raise for our troops

When I was elected to serve the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That oath includes my unwavering commitment to our men and women in uniform who are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect our families and defend our freedoms. On this promise, I will never falter.

Lawn & Garden: Caring for plants overwintering indoors

Gardeners are notorious for pushing the limits of their growing zones. Tropical plants, succulents and other plants that are not hardy to the winter climate often end up indoors for the winter. It usually starts with one or two plants that you just can’t part with or are concerned you won’t be able to purchase next year. Since you are taking a couple of plants in for the winter, why not add a few more?

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