A few random thoughts

Now it’s up to you. On Tuesday, voters will cast their ballots for those they hope will help to lead our children toward a more prosperous future.

School board elections across the state will be held, including Marshalltown where eight candidates are vying for four seats.

I have to say, having listened to the candidates at two forums, and reading their responses to the different questions that have been asked of each one, Marshalltown is fortunate that we have a strong slate of men and women willing to lead our local board.

And that’s important because this is a critical time in education in the state of Iowa. This school board and most every school board in state are facing difficult decisions.

Budgetary concerns will always be at the forefront and trying to find a balance between delivering the best possible education to our students without significantly impacting taxpayers has been and will always be a challenge.

And being supportive of our educators and providing them the tools they need to deliver a quality education to a diverse and ever-changing student body is also an issue these board members must address.

School board incumbents and those challengers seeking a spot on the board understand that there’s a lot of hard work ahead and positive change can happen if we work together seeking solutions and new ideas in moving the aspirations of our young people forward.

But it starts Tuesday by going to to the polls. Pick the candidates who you believe will help to create an environment where parents are engaged, teachers can do their jobs effectively and students will excel.

Educating our students is the responsibility of everyone and it starts Tuesday at the polls. Vote!

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Last October, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Times-Republican asked you to share your cancer stories.

And you did. Stories of triumph and determination, hard-fought battles, heartache and the reality of what cancer is and how it impacts lives were well documented.

Whether you’ve been impacted by cancer, directly and/or indirectly, we want to share your cancer story this year as well.

If you’re a survivor, someone who is currently battling the disease, a family member or friend of a loved one who has fought cancer, we want to hear from you.

Be it breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, etc., it does not matter, because they have all impacted the lives of so many here in Marshalltown, Marshall County and Central Iowa.

The stories again will be featured throughout October. You will easily find them in the paper – just look for the cancer awareness ribbon.

Think about sending us your story. It need not be lengthy – in fact, 300 words or less will be fine.

Nearly 40 years ago, I remember seeing my paternal grandfather draw his last breath in an Iowa City hospital … he had been there for a number of weeks and cancer had taken its toll. It was two days before Christmas and the entire family had all made it to the hospital that day, all of us crowded into that room. At that point, he must have known that now was the time and he let go, very quiet, with a soft, yet deep breath.

That is my cancer memory … and I hope it’s my last. This dreaded disease has claimed too many lives and caused so much pain for those left behind.

Cancer may be scary, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.

Thanks to the research and medical advances over the past 40 years, it’s clear that cancer does not always win – the human spirit is way too strong. And we know that the human spirit is very strong here in Central Iowa.

Send your stories to the “Cancer Stories,” c/o Marshalltown Times-Republican, 135 W. Main St., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158. You also may send them via email to jhutton@timesrepublican.com or via fax to 641-753-7221. Deadline is Sept. 30. If you have any questions, contact me at 641-753-6611, ext. 255.

Together, we will continue to fight cancer one story at a time.

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Finally, here’s an important upcoming event that we cannot ignore.

The annual “Battle of the Badges” blood drive is set for 12-5 p.m. this Thursday at Dejardin Hall at Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown.

This effort does double duty in that it helps replenish critical blood supplies and at the same time, supports the efforts of the men and women with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Marshalltown Police Department and the Marshalltown Fire Department.

Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Hoffman has been instrumental in this effort over the years, along with other volunteers who know how critical blood donations can be, especially in times of crisis.

Every pint of blood can save up to three lives. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. More than 41,000 donations are needed every day.

For an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org

Let’s support our local heroes by doing something heroic. Donate blood on Thursday!

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com