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Guest Commentary: Merging and making it better

Over the last year, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Human Services have evaluated the areas of overlap and duplication between the two state agencies. Following this evaluation, the departments announced that the plan is to remove silos between agencies by moving toward a one-agency structure.

Lawn & Garden: New winning flower and vegetable varieties

It’s never too early to start planning new additions to this year’s gardens and containers. Start compiling your list now so you are ready to place your seed order or buy plants early when the selection is the greatest.

Extension Outreach: Clay County 4-H events

In my last article I told you of the goals of the committees I had met with up to that point. I have met with more since then, but still have a couple to go so I will wait until my next article to finish updating you on our goals for the livestock committees for 2023. Instead I will ramble through some things that have gone on and a few things that are upcoming.

Randy’s Review: ‘The Offer’

The story behind the creation, development, production and ultimate opening of one of the most revered films of all-time, “The Godfather,” may be every bit as dramatic and dangerous as the film itself.

Pastor's Column: A resolution worth making

We have come to the end of an old year and entered into a new one. With the change of years, many have resolved to make changes in their lives with hopes of making this and future years better than those of the past. The Bible is also viewed in terms of change — change in people, nations, circumstances, and covenants.

The CommStock Report: Crude Oil/Ethanol Outlook

There was a headline recently that said that Russia announced that it would cut its crude oil production by 7%. That makes it sound like it was voluntary, something to boost the market. You know that was propaganda, don’t you? Russian oil production will continue to fall because they cannot stop it. Russia's oil production it trending lower and will fall another 7% for starters but it was not due to any decision made by the Kremlin.

Letter to the Editor: New Year's resolution

Prior to the beginning of 2023, I had given little thought to the making of New Year's resolutions. After reading an article by author-philosopher Michael Pakaluk, I'm singing a different tune.

Letter to the Editor: School vouchers

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the super majority Republican Legislature are going to take tax payer money away from public schools to give as vouchers to people of means to pay for private schooling including religious ones. That’s always the Republican plan with any government funded agency or program. Wreck them to justify privatizing them to make a select few very rich. It’s just happens to be schools right now.

One Man’s Perspective: ‘There are more important things’

Among the many things which carried over from 2022 to 2023 is an ongoing “crisis” at the southern border which began shortly after President Joe Biden took office in 2020 and encouraged immigrants to make their way to the United States.

Outdoors: Spirit Lake Christmas bird count results

On Saturday, Dec. 17, the Spirit Lake Christmas Bird Count was held in the Iowa Great Lakes area. Seven intrepid birders showed up at the Iowa Lakeside Lab on the west side of West Okoboji at 7:30 a.m to be assigned all or part of the four quadrants in the count circle. A couple of people tried owl calls before sun up but neither screech owls nor great horned owls responded to start the list.



Outdoors: Reflecting on some fishing observations

The 2022 fishing season is in the books. In conversations with anglers over the past few weeks, several observations have been presented more often than others. Some of these probably can’t be answered with any degree of accuracy, but to this angler, they’re interesting and worthy of some thought. Following are a couple of those observations.

Home Country

Somehow the snow is a little like Christmas. We can expect it. We can listen to the television weather and expect it. But still, when it comes it’s like a gift — a wonderful unwrapped gift — because it is the wrapping.

Doc found it when he turned on the porch light before dawn and the sheer whiteness of it came to him, and he smiled and let the cup of coffee warm his hands and the coffee itself warm his insides.

One Man’s Perspective: Bigger than the game

“Monday Night Football” took a dramatic turn from the AFC seeding showdown it was hyped as, to a horrific scenario playing out for a national television audience.

A healthy, young athlete, Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety, after making a routine tackle against Cincinnati Bengals star receiver Tee Higgins, stood up and then immediately collapsed to the ground.

Lawn & Garden: Boost the health and beauty of your houseplants

Fight the post-holiday blues with a bit of indoor gardening. Keeping your houseplants healthy and looking their best with a bit of grooming this winter is sure to lift your spirits.

Extension Outreach: Upcoming programs

Happy New Year. Many of us view the new year as a clean slate, a chance to set new goals and see new possibilities. New Year’s represents an opportunity to grow, change and mold the future. Our mission at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help Iowans live their best lives through research based education, development of new skills and serving our communities.

Randy’s Review: ‘Babylon’

What’s with filmmakers taking a concept and saying to themselves, “The only real way to do this material justice is to drag it on for three-plus hours.”

Not all three-hour films are bad or lose their audience, but when you start checking your watch to see how much longer the movie is going to go on, it’s time to throw in the towel.

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