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“Cops nab pair, mum on probe.” “Bush taps crony for State.” Believe it or not, copy editors — the people who are considered the best at using the English language — are the ones who create phrases like these. Headlines. In case you did not understand the first headline above, it means that police officers arrested two people, and are not commenting on the investigation.

To The Editor: Why Vinton needs a Social Host ordinance

By Peter Shaw · 10:28am March 25th, 2014
Here are two things you might not know about me. When I was young we lived next to a busy highway in Springville Iowa and I was a huge professional wrestling fan. When I was a teenager, professional wrestling was still called WWF. Most weekends my brother, our friends, and I watched WWF and cheered for our favorite wrestlers.

A significant, sad media anniversary

By Dean Close · 11:41am March 21st, 2014
The most important story in the news today – which will totally unreported – is that today is the anniversary of one of the major tragic milestones of modern journalism. On this date, March 21, in 1997, one of the best journalists in U.S. history wrote his last column. Mike Royko won just about every journalism award possible as he covered Chicago and the rest of the country from the 1960s until his death 17 Aprils ago.

How baseball could cure Crimean Spring Fever

By Dean Close · 11:58am March 20th, 2014
Get out a map of Iowa. See Vinton? Draw a line that runs straight south, from Minnesota to Missouri through Vinton. Look at everything to the right. That’s about 10,000 square miles; about 1/5 of the total size of Iowa. That is roughly the size of a peninsula that up to a few weeks ago, only Jeopardy contestants might know: Crimea.

The 3 Seasons of country living - Beauty, Snow and Mud

By Valerie Close · 12:29pm March 14th, 2014
The most fascinating thing about living in the country, at least to me, is the way you are so closely linked to the seasons. In fall, as you drive through the country, if you are fortunate like we are, you are surrounded by trees and the leaves changing. You can see the fields bursting at the seams with their crops and you often see a farmer on his tractor hauling his bounty.

Winter was getting the best of me. I had plunged into despair, watching Olympic ice dancing, writing grumpy columns about the unchanging climate and paying way too much attention to celebrity stalkers. In a moment of desperate boredom, I forgot how much I hated and how little I knew about painting and decided the only way to survive until baseball season without becoming a psychopathic snowball- and shovel-tossing maniac was to finally cover the walls that had been white since we moved in a decade ago.

4 more years (and beyond)...

By Dean Close · 11:36am March 11th, 2014
For 18 years, from March of 1992 until March of 2010, I worked for newspapers. You probably remember newspapers: Those collections of pages of news, ads and pictures folded together and delivered to your door (or sitting on the shelf at the grocery store). I worked at the offices of six different newspapers in four different communities.

She'll be comin' around the mountain...

By Valerie Close · 12:30pm March 10th, 2014
This last week we lost my very first music teacher, Mrs. Wright. The name on her obituary didn’t stir any memory until I heard my husband ask me if I knew “Mrs. Wright.” The light came on instantly. Mrs. Wright was the first piano player that captured my attention. I remember how she would have us all come into the Music room, and we’d gather around the piano and sing.

Finally, a friend (or three), for a global warming Neanderthal

By Dean Close · 11:19am March 6th, 2014
For years now – 22 of them to be exact – my liberal friends have been reading my columns mocking global warming and repeatedly reminding me of just how much of a mouth-breathing, knuckle dragging Neanderthal nut job I am, although they don’t usually say it that kindly. With the great lakes nearly completely frozen -- at near-record levels, and with March coming in not like a lion or lamb, but rather as a woolly mammoth that made it dangerously cold to shovel the latest layer of snow off the thick layer of ice I call my dri...

To the Editor: Licensing of midwives would offer many benefits to women

By Bethany Gates · 11:44am February 17th, 2014
I am writing to inform citizens on the state of midwifery in Iowa. At present, Certified Professional Midwives, midwives who attend the majority of out-of-hospital births, are not licensed in Iowa. 28 states in the U.S. offer a license to CPM’s; 3 of those 28 states border Iowa and the other 3 states which border Iowa have introduced legislation that would offer a license for CPM’s.

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