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A question for the Class of 2016: Then what?

By Dean Close · 2:00pm May 23rd, 2016
Every year, high school and college graduates gather in a big stuffy room, wearing silly-looking outfits, hear the same once-inspiring, but now worn-out songs, and listen to a somewhat notable person try to offer encouraging – and hopefully, original – words about the future. Every year, we writers and columnists share similar advice.

I'm sure he's a 'fungi' and all, but he has no 'morels'

By Valerie Close · 9:37am May 6th, 2016
It's mushroom season. I'm not a hunter, but I know how to cook them and enjoy them. Yesterday, my hubby brought in a haul. I knew there was no way that I could eat them all, and the gal that introduced me to them had an accident so she isn't able to tramp through the woods this year to find them for herself.

A precious 4-word promise...

By Dean Close · 5:36am April 27th, 2016
“Out of the mouths of babes.” “And a little child shall lead them.” It amazes and inspires us, when in the toughest of times, some of the best ideas for handling these painful days come from children. The death this month of 11-year-old J.R. Clapp of rural Vinton is another one of those tough times that have come way too often to this area in the past couple of years.

Thank You and Kudos

By Frank Van Steenhuyse · 3:18pm April 23rd, 2016
THANK YOU to the Vinton police department and the Vinton firemen who helped block intersections and get us down the highway, through town and over the river bridge Friday. You made the funeral procession for J R Clapp safer by your assistance. Kudos to the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts and their leaders who provided such a meaningful and memorable tribute to J R and his family at the cemetery.

'New York Values:' An Iowan's view of Big Apple demographics

By Dean Close · 9:28am April 19th, 2016
Imagine how crazy and crowded Benton County would be if every person in Iowa moved here. Now add every person in Nebraska. And North Dakota. And South Dakota. And most of Alaska. Pretty scary, right? Now, imagine that Benton County were actually made up of two islands, a peninsula and the tiny corner of an island, and that all of that land is actually less than half the size of our present county map.

If Smokey the Bear had elves, they'd camp in our backyard

By Valerie Close · 11:09pm March 29th, 2016
Dear Smokey the Bear, I raised them right. I told them NOT to play with matches. We explained clearly WHY the metal hanger should NOT go in the microwave. We taught them never and I mean NEVER to mix gasoline with a spark. “So WHY are the fire departments from two neighboring departments at my house?” “AGAIN?” “For the second time?” you ask.

To the Editor: Another view on 'Mo money'

By John Stiegelmeyer · 12:44pm February 23rd, 2016
To the Editor: Here is another view to Kurt Karr’s opinion: Bill Keller asserts: "they (our government) create nothing . . . they sell nothing . . . they simply take what they want.” I happen to agree with this assertion. I takes people who are wealth creators, wage earners, pensioners, business owners, others to pay for government excesses.

Was Grassley's meeting about 'Mo money' or things more substantial?

By Kurt Karr · 9:36pm February 19th, 2016
I would have been amused by Bill Keller's outlook, expressed in his recent letter to the editor, if it weren't for the many millions who are under the sway of similar thinking. Let's see if we can do a little work balancing the scales. First let me say something about discourse. My friend Nathan and I attended the same meeting with Senator Grassley that Bill did.

To the Editor: 'We want mo' money!' -- thoughts on a town hall discussion

By Bill Keller · 10:32am February 18th, 2016
Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa has a personal policy of visiting all 99 counties within the state at least once a year. Last night – February 16, 2016 – was our turn for the year. I found the evening disheartening. The Town Hall’s meeting room was packed with standing room only.

It's Valentine's Day, let's go away, he says...

By Valerie Close · 10:48pm February 16th, 2016
It all starts with a dream. “Let's go away on a trip! What could possibly go wrong?” he says. “Just everything!” she says. “You need to relax and just enjoy life!” he says. “I can do that when I'm dead.” she says. For the last almost 5 years, we have taken I think it's less than a week off from “working.

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