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Columnists

How polite of Melania Trump

I don’t care about Melania Trump’s past life as a model. She has a right to do as she wants with her own body. Any attempt by liberals to shame her for that is an act of hypocrisy. I don’t care what she wears or how she looks. She is glamorous and beautiful, which has nothing to do with ...

Property taxes going up

The Marshall County property tax statements payable in September 2020 and March 2021 have been printed and are on their way to your mailbox if they have not already arrived. When you look at your tax statement you will see a detailed tax distribution breakdown of where your tax dollars go; to ...

Two visions of America

Both during their conventions and outside of them, the Democratic and Republican Parties have shown the American public two visions of our country. And the contrast could not be starker. In order to analyze it, it’s essential to separate facts from spin — particularly media spin, which has ...

Fortunate to be in community of believers, planners, doers

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.” - Wilferd ...

Young speakers inspire us with their courage

I’m sure we all have been inspired at one time or another by a gifted speaker. Maybe it was a pastor or teacher. Maybe it was a leader who is a skilled orator. Or it might have been someone else who connected with us and delivered a memorable message. In the past few weeks, a couple of ...

Dems push charges of racism for purposes of convenience

In June 2019, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., tore into former Vice President Joe Biden in a Democratic primary debate. She openly suggested that he was a racist whose past political activity would have kept a “little girl” like her from attending integrated public school. About a year later, ...

Trump’s postmaster general should be returned to sender

President Trump’s postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, recently testified before Congress about major slowdowns in mail delivery under his watch. As a 20-year postal veteran, I had only one reaction: DeJoy needs to be Returned to Sender. DeJoy, a Trump fundraiser who owns millions worth of ...

A most consequential presidency

As Donald Trump has been nominated for a second term, how his presidency has already altered the orientation of his party is on display. Under Trump, the GOP ceased to be a party of small government whose yardstick of success was how close it came to a balanced budget. Trump signed on this ...

Families can support kids’ mental health – here’s how

The choice between in-person learning, where available, and remote learning is a fraught one for parents. Children experience joy and connection when they learn alongside other kids, but they risk being exposed to the coronavirus. Remote learning at home can protect kids from COVID-19, but does ...

Do not forget the important amidst the urgency

The last few months I have been thinking a great deal about the balance between the urgent and the important. Initially the thoughts were centered around the impact COVID-19 has on the ability to focus on what is important when we are consumed by what is urgent. The battle between urgent and ...

How many people would choose whiteness over democracy?

“If people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?” Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the Civil Rights Movement, drops that question like a bomb on Page 352 of “Caste,” the new book by Isabel Wilkerson, herself also ...

Dan Holt: Trail Run for Fun!

“It doesn’t need to be your personal best. It doesn’t need to look pretty. It doesn’t need to improve from the last run. It just needs to happen.” Sign beside trail, author unknown. Dan Holt and Penne on a Sunday morning trail run. From Mt. Pleasant, this is 52-year old Holt’s ...

Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever because of COVID-19

With the coronavirus still spreading widely, it’s time to start thinking seriously about influenza, which typically spreads in fall and winter. A major flu outbreak would not only overwhelm hospitals this fall and winter, but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at ...

Many struggling to find food, shelter

Our area has been affected especially hard by the storm that went through our state last week. Thousands of people, including myself, have gone without power and suffered major damage on their property. Many Iowans are struggling to find food and shelter as we continue to deal with effects of ...

Life changes

Life is full of changes. With change comes growth and independence. This past weekend we moved our daughter into her first college apartment. My son had a full week of high school cross country practice as a freshman. Extended family also welcomed a new bundle of joy, sweetly name Evelyn. I was ...

Pence claimed ‘promises kept.’ Iowa’s ethanol industry says ‘false.’

Vice President Mike Pence claimed in Iowa last week that President Trump had fulfilled his promises to Iowa farmers and ethanol producers. It’s not true and he knew that, because Iowa farmers told him so. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) put out a fact check Friday on the claims ...

Finding hope in her ambition

In 2016, I wanted Hillary Clinton to be our next president, and I was sure that she would be. I was devastated. In 2019 and early 2020, I wanted a woman to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Instead, one qualified woman after another failed to get enough votes, and now ...

3 ways to get kids to tune in and pay attention when schools go virtual

When nearly all U.S. brick-and-mortar schools suddenly closed in March 2020 and went online, large numbers of students simply didn’t log into class. Even if they did show up, many more weren’t paying much attention or doing their schoolwork. As a new school year gets underway, is there ...

A little-known law gave birth to Google — and countless other inventions

When Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin spoke to my colleagues at Stanford’s technology licensing office in the late 1990s, other search engines already existed. But Page and Brin, who were graduate students at the time, believed the page-rank algorithm they had developed at ...