[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Fair ~ 56°F  
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Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016
Getting specific about 'the media' (09/26/16)
A dear friend in the news business shared a great piece of editorial page writing last week. It encapsulated the feelings I've had for so long about the perception of the public and some in the political arena about our business. You've heard it. Someone railing about "the media," as if they were discussing a singular enterprise. ...
No easing in to after-fair world (09/19/16)
The Clay County Fair shut its doors Sunday evening after a very successful nine-day run. For all of us who grew up with the fair we know that re-entry to normal life is tough. We're tired. We are behind in our work. We have piles of dirty laundry at home. We are just so not ready to dive back into the workaday grind...
New year, new memories to make (09/12/16)
Like nearly everyone else around, (With a two-day gate admission of almost 120,000, everyone must have been there!) I enjoyed the opening weekend of the Clay County Fair. Even the weather did its part to ensure visitors had a great time. I'm always amazed at how the fair seems to be the dividing line between summer and fall in our little corner of the world...
Fair rolls on without its biggest fan (09/05/16)
I spent Labor Day weekend the same way I've spent it the past 15 years or so -- setting up the photography display in the 4-H exhibit building on the Clay County Fairgrounds. While the sound of hammers and the backup "beep-beep" of trucks unloading their goods outside is my background music, inside the building it's just me and a couple hundred photographs...
Everyday hero starts over again (08/29/16)
In his novel, "The Last Tycoon," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "There are no second acts in American lives." I would beg to disagree. I see inspiring second, and third, and fourth acts all the time. I see people who have rolled with the heavy punches life throws their way. I see curtain calls worthy of standing ovations...
Looking for stories of everyday heroes (08/22/16)
In the news business, we are often called upon to write stories that cover tragic events, or pen news items about folks on the wrong side of the law. We get called out from our homes, cameras in hand, to take photos of a fire, or to report on an accident...
Try a little kindness (08/15/16)
Youngsters are enjoying the last bittersweet days of summer, and evenings are growing cooler. The sunsets seem almost golden, hearkening to the harvest season just around the corner. So many of my friends on Facebook are describing the process of helping children move back to college or buy school supplies. Past that stage of life now, I've been thankful for the distraction of the Olympics this year to occupy my mind...
Olympics a respite from the real world (08/08/16)
It's been the summer of our discontent for the nation. The political heatwave, pumped up with a side order of racial tension and general late summer malaise has put many of us in a funk. It's pretty easy to imagine moving to a remote island, with a few good books and no other people. The very word "politics" causes my temples to throb...
Taking a break from the world (08/01/16)
Just got back from a working vacation away, for the most part, from the television, computer and social media. For someone as plugged in to the news as I, withdrawal from these lifelines can be a bit of a shock, and result in some painful symptoms. I crave the news like I crave oxygen. I want to be on top of what is happening in the world. I get antsy, out of sorts and anxious when I don't know what's going on...
Harvesting memories and fruit (07/25/16)
You reap what you sow. I thought about that admonition Sunday as I was out in the garden, so lovingly sown by my husband. He's the sower in our family, and the tender of the crops. He hands off much of the reaping and dealing with the fruits of his labor to me. Our tag-team garden method has worked well for a long time...
Bullies have graduated from the schoolyard to the national stage (07/18/16)
Reading a Facebook post from a high school classmate prior to our reunion last weekend I was saddened to hear about her experience with bullying in high school. The post garnered a great deal of attention from classmates who shared their own feelings of being bullied or left out. Others chimed in with support and encouragement, discussing the long-term toll such early experiences have on our lives...
Age is just a (pretty high) number (07/11/16)
Usually, I can delude myself with affirmations that "you are only as young as you feel," or "age is just a number." However, there are times when I feel the passing of the years very acutely, and am reminded that, while I feel 35, I'm really not -- at all...
Mental health care must be state priority (07/04/16)
Lurid headlines grab our attention: "Texas mother murders her two daughters before being shot by police." "Woman brutally kills four babies with butcher knife." Two instances in this weeks' headlines which underline the devastation of mental illness in our society. ...
Gold medal winner in Olympic viewing (06/27/16)
I'm not sure about you folks, but for me, there's nothing more exciting than men's platform diving. Unless it's the women's 100-meter individual medley. Oh, but then there are those gymnasts doing all those gymnast things on all those odd apparatus...
A sporting day of redemption (06/20/16)
I thought about redemption on Sunday night, after a day and evening spent watching two iconic sporting events - the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and the NBA Finals. I know, it's odd that in my house with two males, it's the female who has the passion for most sports, but it's our dynamic and it's worked for three decades. So it was that on Father's Day, it was mother who was on the couch, glued to the sports action on the tube...
Love is love is love ... (06/13/16)
Terror came to the "Happiest Place on Earth," Orlando, Florida, in the early morning hours on Sunday. A lone gunman, armed with a heart filled with hate, and an AK-15 with extra clips of ammo, sprayed the dance floor of Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, with bullets. When he was done, 49 people were dead...
Spencer's great community get-together (06/06/16)
Pack your sunscreen and plenty of water -- it's looking to be a hot Flagfest weekend in Spencer! While the mercury is aiming for the 90-degree mark, it's also the wide array of events which will heat up our community this weekend. For over three decades, Flagfest has been a time to gather together, relax, enjoy fellowship with our neighbors and friends, and celebrate the flag. ...
Celebrating a very special centennial year (05/30/16)
We watch the rape of gorgeous landscapes, unique and precious, in the name of "progress." Beaches we frolicked on as children are now front lawns of million dollar mega-mansions, open only to the "genetically blessed" as Warren Buffet once put it. We've noted with dismay as oak savannas where we once gathered acorns like human squirrels on golden October days make way for office parks...
Flights of spring fancy (05/23/16)
With Memorial Day looming, and the summer vacation season nearly here, my daydreams involve hitting the road and exploring. I admit that, in my mind, I travel to multiple foreign countries several times a day. Like many, I have a bit of wanderlust, which, in these busy days, is a poor, abused portion of my being -- rarely given a chance to roam. ...
They said it better than I could (05/16/16)
Class of 2016: You did it! You will be walking the stage in a few days to pick up that hard-earned high school diploma. While it seems like it took forever to reach this point in your life, to your parents and grandparents, it happened in the wink of an eye. ...
Song says what a mother sometimes can't (05/09/16)
"I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, And each road leads you where you wanna go, And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you ..." If you want to see a hard-boiled newspaper publisher cry, simply play the Rascal Flatts 2006 tune, "My Wish." The first lines begin, and like Pavlov's dog, my eyes begin to well up with tears. I'm a mom, and the sentiment of the tune hits me hard -- every time...
May brings sunshine, Mother's Day and field work (05/02/16)
May Day came and went on Sunday. The April showers were gone, at least for the day, and my mind went back decades to the childhood pleasure of giving and receiving May baskets. They were generally simple things -- a paper cup with a pipe cleaner handle -- filled with popcorn and candies. Sometimes a piece of colored construction paper was rolled into a horn and filled...
Clearing up endorsement policy (04/25/16)
Democracy is an amazing thing. Our founding fathers decided, so many years ago, that the people were capable of deciding who should lead them. Without coups or bloodshed, on a regular basis willing citizens would put their names forward to be considered for posts governing the land...
Spring signs abound in NW Iowa (04/18/16)
After a winter that seemed much too long and much too cold, spring has finally come to Northwest Iowa. I noticed a guaranteed sign of the season on Friday -- a planter out in the field, sowing this year's corn crop. After months of snow and wind, the sight of that spring scene brought warmth to my heart. ...
Honoring Spencer treasures (04/11/16)
We said goodbye to a couple of Spencer institutions this past week. They aren't gone for good, just moving on to another stage in life. Bob Rose retired after 24 years with the Spencer Mainstreet Program, a run which saw the local program earn many state awards, and continue as a leader in downtown vitality...
Time to recognize the work, not the sex of the worker (04/04/16)
Two employees do the same job, have the same experience and the same duties. One employee is very successful. Exceeds expectations, wins performance-based competitions, and makes money for the company. The other employee isn't as successful. In fact, that employee actually cost the company money last year...
Terrorists won't shrink my world (03/28/16)
Ter·ror·ism, noun, the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal. . Violent extremists have struck again -- Islamic State group suicide bombers hit the airport and a train station in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, killing 35 and wounding over 300, a suicide bomber at a soccer match in Baghdad on Friday killed at least 26, and the Taliban claimed responsibility for a bombing targeting Christians in a park on Easter in Lahore...
Iowa: The hotbed of cool (03/21/16)
Looking back through a haze of too much snack mix, far too much time in the Lazy Boy and way, way, way too much college basketball over the weekend, one surprising takeaway came to my attention amid all the coverage. Iowa has gotten cool. We've always known it. ...
Celebrating transparency and mourning loss of civility (03/14/16)
It's been 50 years since Congress adopted the Freedom of Information Act, which provided access to documents held by federal agencies. Other laws have been passed since that time, clarifying and expanding on the basic tenants of a free and open government. This week, March 13-19, we celebrate Sunshine Week, which recognizes the importance of transparency and access in a free and democratic society...
It's the most wonderful time of the year (03/07/16)
Why, hello there March! Boy, am I glad to see you! After the winter of my discontent -- with low temperatures, a low bar set for presidential campaign decorum, and low stock prices -- March has arrived, filled with promise. The weather forecast for this week makes my old, cold heart warm (as well as my old, cold toes). ...
Time to recognize our special Citizens (02/29/16)
Time to recognize our special Citizens Every year, as spring nears, we at the Daily Reporter ask you, the residents of our community, to recognize those who go above and beyond to help others in our community. A week or so ago, we put out a call for nominations for the Daily Reporter's annual Citizen of the Year. I'm waiting for those nominations to roll in. And, I'm waiting. .....
Taking on another culinary challenge (02/22/16)
Aside from my work, those who know me well understand I have some strong passions which fill the rest of my time. My family, NCAA basketball, reading, photography and baking top the list. In fact, as I write this, a tray of chocolate macarons are cooling on a rack beside me, my latest attempt at mastering the French classic...
I've got the February blues (02/16/16)
You'll have to excuse me if I seem to be staring into space a lot lately, a dreamy half-smile on my face. No doubt I'm in the midst of another February daydream. You know the one. You're walking along the ocean, sand between your toes and an umbrella drink in your hand. The temperature is a balmy 81 degrees, and there's not a cloud in the sky...
Focusing on the field (02/08/16)
Like a lot of you, I've been enjoying a great deal of great sports action on television the past couple of weeks. NCAA basketball conference action is heating up, the Super Bowl broadcast (all 27 hours of it) was Sunday, and we're anxiously anticipating March Madness...
A life filled with grace (02/01/16)
"The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances." -- Aristotle I've been thinking a lot about grace these past few days. Grace, in the secular sense, defined in part as " kind, polite and fair" and "a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency." As a Christian, I think of grace as God's unmerited favor toward man. His love and mercy which comes, not because we've done anything special, but given freely...
How far is too far in presidential politics? (01/25/16)
I don't generally write about politics in my column. We at the Daily Reporter don't endorse candidates, we aren't affiliated with any single candidate. Aside from telling folks if they don't participate they don't have a right to complain, I back away from public political pronouncements...
Pitfalls of Pinterest (01/18/16)
When the weather is cold, as it was this past weekend, and I'm in between college basketball games, I've begun feeding a dangerous addiction. I browse the wide open spaces of Pinterest. Pinterest, an online "catalog of ideas," feeds my imagination. On the photo and idea sharing website one can find ideas for home decorating, for crafts, for the next great vacation and how to pack for said vacation. ...
Buying a ticket to dream (01/11/16)
The excitement reached a fever pitch across the United States on Sunday after another Powerball drawing yielded no winners, and Wednesday's jackpot is estimated to top $1.4 billion for Wednesday's drawing. That's billion, with a "B" (my pinky is placed at the side of my mouth as I type this, ala Dr. Evil from the "Austin Powers" movies)...
Being present for 2016 (01/04/16)
Fresh year. Fresh start. As I look at my newly-minted 2016 desktop planner, I see box after box of unmarked time. Only a couple of appointments have been jotted down, marring the symmetry of 365 (actually 366, since 2016 is a leap year) days of possibilities...
Resolving not to make resolutions (12/28/15)
As we prepare to turn our calendar from 2015 to 2016, my thoughts turn to a quick review of the year just past and dreams for the year to come. I'm not a big New Year's resolution gal -- pronouncements made simply because "it's what you do" have far less chance to actually happen than goals set in response to a movement in your mindset or life circumstance...
A different kind of Christmas (12/21/15)
I was ready to write my traditional Christmas column this week, a riff on the "Yes, Virgina" letter to the editor. It speaks to the spirit of the holiday, beyond the packages and gifts. And it's an important reminder to us to keep our childlike joy and wonder. It's an appropriate message this time of the year...
Santa, by any other name (12/14/15)
In Italy, "La Befana," a kindly old witch, brings gifts and sweets to children during the Christmas season. In Finland, it's "Joulupukki," the Yule Goat, who knocks on the doors of Finnish homes and yells, "Are there any well-behaved children here?" before leaving presents...
Feeling the love (12/07/15)
Balmy temperatures greeted the throngs who headed out for Spencer's Grand Meander. Warmer than usual weather meant folks really felt like "meandering" along the city streets, rather than speed-walking from one warming station to another as is sometimes the case with Spencer's annual holiday event...
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (11/30/15)
The traditional weekend-after-Thanksgiving decking of the halls (and the counters, and the nooks and crannies) is complete. It is truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my home! There was a bit of cussing and gnashing of teeth as I attempted to put up the Christmas tree while simultaneously watching THE GAME on Friday. ...
Having an attitude of gratitude (11/23/15)
It's Thanksgiving week, and in my house, that means food, family, some football trash talk (a sister with Nebraska season tickets), more food and even more family. It also means reflecting on the things for which we are thankful. And, despite so much to fear in the world, there are still so many things to be thankful for. Big and small, counting our blessings is so much more enjoyable than worry. It's also good for you, and there's science to prove it...
Lighting up a dark world (11/16/15)
The world watched in horror on Friday as the events unfolded on our television and smartphone screens. A small group of organized terrorists once again brought their vile brand of hate into our collective consciousness. Over 130 were killed and hundreds more injured in a series of coordinated attacks...
Sacrifice made visible (11/09/15)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly. Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie...
It's beginning to look a lot like... (11/02/15)
Like Santa, I often start "making a list and checking it twice," around this time of the year. Luckily for my loved ones, I don't have a "naughty or nice" criteria to weed out the rascals before making gift purchases. It's hard to believe, particularly as the mercury hovers near 70 degrees, that soon the Christmas carols will be playing -- on the radio and in stores. ...
Local spend could be tied to TIF (10/26/15)
If you've been around city or county government for any time at all, a phrase comes up time and again -- tax increment financing, or TIF. It's a common tool for economic development that is utilized in order to promote economic development or upgrade infrastructure so development can occur...
Flying the not-so-friendly skies (10/19/15)
On Monday morning, I turned on the TV just in time to hear a news story about a Southwest Airlines flight which had to turn around and make an emergency landing in Los Angles late Sunday after a woman claimed the man in the seat behind her tried to choke her after she reclined her seat...
Fact or historical fiction? (10/13/15)
The nation observed Columbus Day on Monday, honoring the explorer who famously "sailed the ocean blue ..." in 1492. While I've never been invited to a Columbus Day party, and there are no Columbus Day cards put out by Hallmark, it's recognized as a holiday...
Recognizing 4-H Week Oct. 4-10 (10/05/15)
With farmers busy in the field, harvesting their crop, it's appropriate that this week marks National 4-H Week. From Oct. 4-10, the youth development program celebrates its long history of helping young people learn and grow. 4-H has been a part of my life for just about all of my life. My parents were 4-H members and leaders. My brothers and sisters and I were all in 4-H. My son was a 4-Her. Nearly all my nieces and nephews participated...
Giving from the garden (09/28/15)
We've had a lovely "problem" at our little 3-acre country home -- a bumper crop of raspberries. Three rows of the lovely canes have exploded with berries, in an orderly fashion, with one following another to full ripeness. The past week has seen all three rows bursting with berries...
Saying farewell to another great fair (09/21/15)
The sun rose on Monday morning way too early for a lot of locals, who would have preferred to sleep in just a bit. It was, after all, the day after the gates closed on one of the most successful runs of the Clay County Fair ever. Certainly, in terms of visitors, it pulled in the people. ...
Rest in peace, Tyler Sash. Every piece of you (09/14/15)
Losing someone too young, too soon, is a special kind of misery. A life snuffed out, midstream, with so much promise, so many adventures not taken. The loss of a young person always seems a bit like closing a book after only reading a chapter or two. The "what ifs" loom large...
Traditions make Clay County Fair special (09/07/15)
I did a little math before sitting down to write this column and realized that the 2015 edition of the Clay County Fair is the 40th anniversary of my very first visit o the fair. Its been four decades since my introduction, as a middle schooler new to northwest Iowa, to the wonders of the "Greatest County Fair."...
Ethics in an age of instant information (09/01/15)
A few events conspired recently to make me think about journalistic ethics in an age of instant communication, citizen "journalists" and social media. The first was a Facebook dialogue at one of my papers. A poster was furious that we had uploaded photos and information on an accident a couple of hours after the event...
Honorees an inspiration to all (08/25/15)
This past Saturday I was honored to be a guest at the 2015 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame ceremony, held at the State of Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines. The awards were established in 1975 by the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women. Since that time, the list of honorees is a veritable "who's who" of the state's leaders...
One last first day of school photo (08/17/15)
For 16 years, I've made my son hike out to the apple tree, planted when he was a toddler, admonished him to give me a smile, and taken the traditional "first day of school" photo. The photographic evidence of his growth, from a bright-eyed kindergartener, to a sulky middle schooler, anxious to get it over with, to an independent young man, has been a memento of a period of our life which is nearing an end...
Making the most of summer's last weeks (08/03/15)
"The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color."...
Dealing with Mother Nature's bounty (07/27/15)
Is it just me, or did my garden ripen much earlier this year? I don't recall stressing about the abundance of tomatoes, and bushels of green beans in mid-July before. The onions are big, and round, and begging to be dealt with. And carrots? Well, Bugs Bunny can come hopping right over to my house and take care of some of the abundance...
Capturing vacations in our soul, not with a lens (07/20/15)
It's the height of summer vacation season. Folks are packing up the family truckster, or collecting their boarding passes, and taking off for parts unknown. From cities to wilderness areas; domestic or foreign travel, one thing just about everyone takes with them these days is a camera -- incorporated into those ubiquitous smartphones...
In it for the long haul (07/13/15)
In the photo, they look like babies, surely far too young to marry. He's a dapper young man with hair slicked back perfectly, and a skinny pink tie. A daring sartorial touch for his wedding? Perhaps now, but right in keeping with the 1955 doo-wop spirit...
Making baseball dreams come true (07/06/15)
"Well, you know I ... I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't. ...
Your vacation is calling (06/29/15)
I was working my way through one of those high-end travel magazines this past weekend. I subscribe to a few of what I call "aspirational" editions. From travel to homes, to food and wine, I am now fully equipped to know a great trip, meal, or designer chair when I see it. I don't, however, often see those things in person...
Even Apple bows down to will of Taylor Swift (06/22/15)
I don't remember the last cd I bought; perhaps it was "Long Road Out of Eden" by the Eagles, or John Mayer's "Continuum." In any case, I don't know where the discs are now -- probably in a box in the basement, awaiting the next purge of the storage room...
Honesty and our personal narrative (06/16/15)
What determines the narrative of our lives? Is it genetic? Cultural? Biological? Our own will? Just how radically can we alter our life's path? A pair of high-profile cases over the past few weeks bring that question into sharp focus. First, we had the transformation of former Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner. ...
Enjoying Spencer's quality of life (06/08/15)
It had been a long week, filled with stresses and tension and worry -- at work, at home, with ones I care about. The knot between my shoulder blades was taunt and reminding me that I was no longer young. The psychic load was pulling my spirit down. After surviving the week, by Sunday I felt restless and ready to blow. It was time to run away from home...
Love lost (06/01/15)
Remember those crazy, wild days of your youth? When anything was possible, and puppy love would last forever? When you thought it would be a great idea to immortalize your love with a grand, symbolic gesture? No? Me either, but thousands and thousands of people from around the world have been pledging undying love by writing their names on locks, and hooking them up to the railings on the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris. ...
Get in the game (05/25/15)
For a woman who played right field (traditionally the place for the least-talented fielder) and had a hitting percentage near zero in her two years of youth softball, I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about, and preparing for, a celebration of America's game -- baseball...
Ready, set, summer (05/18/15)
While Mother Nature apparently misread "May" for "March" and is giving us cool, rainy days, Memorial Day -- the gateway to summer -- is nearly here. This time of year is, to me, all about anticipation. We can't wait for school to be out. We await anxiously the first dip in the lake, or ride in the boat. We dream about summer vacations and nights out under the stars...
Congratulations, graduates! (05/11/15)
Mark Twain was a man who knew a little bit about taking risks. He left his sleepy little hometown as a young man -- about the age of you graduates, and took to the river that flowed beside Hannibal, Missouri. He became a master riverboat pilot. Then he headed West, failing in his quest to earn riches mining for gold...
The power of words (05/04/15)
I'm among those Americans who watched in horror as another city in America erupted in violence after another black man died in police custody. Half a dozen police officers have been arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, after Freddie Gray died from injuries that appear to have occurred in a police van...
South Dakota -- It's better than Mars (04/27/15)
I always say that I try to under-promise and over-deliver. We all know the frustration that comes when someone promises a job done in an unbelievably short timeline -- only to have half-finished work on that date. Or the anguish of ordering a product with two-day "guaranteed" delivery that arrives the day AFTER the birthday for which it was supposed to be a gift...
Week filled with special events (04/20/15)
Spring has sprung, and the calendar has certainly heated up! I love weeks like this -- with a schedule jam-packed with great events. For those who complain there's "nothing to do," this week should convince you otherwise. On Wednesday you can have a great evening, while contributing to a great cause. ...
Life on the gravel road (04/13/15)
As a young girl, I dreamed of living in a big city, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people living their lives cheek to jowl with one another. I wanted the excitement, the variety of entertainment options, the low, rumbling heartbeat of the city playing background music to my life...
Less stuff, more experiences (04/06/15)
Four months ago, my husband and I wished our son well, reminded him of our love, and, with big hugs and only a few tears, sent him off for a semester's adventure in London. Well, I've spent the past couple of weeks checking in on him and visiting a few places on my personal "bucket list."...
Let the light shine in (03/23/15)
We just wrapped up a week which is pretty darn important to those of us in the news media, and should also be vitally important to every citizen. National Sunshine Week, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, seeks to highlight the importance of transparency and open government. From local boards to federal officials, all benefit from light shed on the mechanisms that power the machine of government...
Back to the game board (03/16/15)
In this age of gaming systems, smartphones loaded with personal games and computer gaming groups with memberships in the hundreds of thousands, you would think old-fashioned board games are a relic of the past. You would be wrong. The world is in a board game renaissance. ...
50 years on (03/09/15)
Fifty years. It's been 50 years since the March on Selma. "Bloody Sunday," it came to be called. That day a group of civil rights activists in a planned march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, were set upon by police. The 600 peaceful activists were clubbed, bloodied and battered as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the outskirts of town, at the beginning of their planned journey...
Events to make the pre-spring days fly by (03/02/15)
It's been a long, cold winter, but spring is in sight. As the calendar turns to March, and daylight saving time approaches this coming Sunday, you can almost feel the winds shifting. From icy and desolate, to breezes carrying a hint of warmth. At least that's what I've been telling myself...
Motion pictures in our minds (02/24/15)
I sat down on Sunday evening for a night of Oscar-watching. It's a tradition at my house, the same in a lot of other homes I imagine. I do love to see the silly sketches, over-caffeinated winners and those dresses. But, as I prepared to settle in for a night of pageantry and self-congratulations, I had a bit of a revelation...
Ready. Set. Presidential race. (02/16/15)
They're baaaa-ccccckkk. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, the presidential wannabes are booking flights to Des Moines and testing out the chilly waters of the Iowa political landscape. While it seems like they just left, in truth we're less than a year away from that Midwestern sieve that separates the "possibles" from the "pigs will fly first" brand of candidates...
Do we have a 'Right to be Forgotten?' (02/10/15)
Thanks to the Internet, our sins -- from fashion crimes to very real legal issues -- lurk in the background, just one search engine result away from exposing our past. I thank goodness the Internet was decades from wide use when I wore a patchwork suede mini-dress, with ultra-large eyeglasses for my elementary school picture. My mother has a copy of that shot -- no one else needs one...
Parents just don't understand (text messaging) (02/02/15)
With my son studying abroad this semester, the thread that holds him to his parents has been stretched pretty thin. For him, it's a chance to learn about a new country and a new culture, thousands of miles away from his parents. For us, it's an opportunity to see our future relationship with him, with limited contact and more independence...
Saying goodbye to SkyMall (01/26/15)
My earliest memory of air travel was seeing my father off (at the gate!) on a business flight. He was dressed in a suit and tie, carried a briefcase, and was certain to be offered an in-flight meal, with a smile, from a stewardess wearing a snazzy uniform...
Looking for those community superstars (01/19/15)
Every year, as the calendar pages turn from one year to the next, we at the Daily Reporter ask you, the residents of our community, to recognize those who go above and beyond to help others in our community. Last week we put out a call for nominations for the Daily Reporter's annual Citizen of the Year. ...
Are we all Charlie? (01/12/15)
The world watched in horror last week as terrorists, armed with high powered weapons and blind, rabid faith, savagely gunned down a dozen people in a Paris magazine office. The horror continued as another member of the terror cell killed a police officer, then held hostages in a kosher grocery store, murdering four more innocents. Latest reports say the shooting of a random jogger in Paris may well be linked to the criminals...
January's coming in like a lion (01/05/15)
Mother Nature is giving 2015 the cold shoulder. Frigid temperatures, piles of snow, and gusty winds remind us all why we dream of beaches and sunshine in January in Iowa. The week's forecast offers little in terms of good news or a break from the ice box in which we live...
Ready for a great 2015 (12/29/14)
A new year is upon us and, while every year is a blessing, 2014 came with its challenges for my family and I. Serious illness and accidents; heartaches and headaches; and the inevitable rolling on of the years made it a year to remember -- and not always in the best ways...
The true gifts of Christmas aren't gift wrapped (12/22/14)
When I was a child, about 100 years ago, I remember watching the grown ups at Christmas time, and feeling sorry for them because they didn't get all the cool toys we kids got. How could they seem so happy and cheerful, without the toys? Why were they laughing and smiling all the time without the latest must-have item wrapped up for them?...
Holiday tradition makes spirits bright (12/15/14)
If you listened closely Sunday afternoon, you could have sworn you heard sleigh bells, as Santa arrived early for 80 area families. The Holiday Family Adoption program wrapped up its work for 2014 with the delivery of gifts to those in need of a helping hand this holiday season...
After hours? Offline (12/08/14)
Been in a public place -- waiting for a concert to begin or taking a break from shopping -- and notice all the people with their heads down? Most likely, those folks are reading texts or checking their email on their smartphones. I'm guilty of it. In the doctor's office waiting room, before I work out, while waiting for a grande mocha latte, I'm checking my phone...
The myth of the perfect tree (12/01/14)
The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally "deck the halls" time at the Buenger household. I have, I admit, a problem with Christmas decorations and, by "problem," I mean I have waaaayyyy too many of them. I imagine the decorating will be a lovely afternoon of setting up the tree, carefully unwrapping crystal ornaments and silver baubles from their protective cases, all with dulcet holiday melodies wafting through the air. ...
Travel safe this Thanksgiving (11/24/14)
Packing up the car and heading over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving? If so, you'll be in good company. The AAA auto club estimates 46.3 million of us will travel at east 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving weekend. That's a 4.2 percent increase over last year and the highest traffic volume since 2007...
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (11/17/14)
Wasn't it just the Fourth of July? I turn around, it seems, and the summer holiday has morphed into Thanksgiving and thoughts of Christmas. The blanket of snow we received on Saturday helped to push visions of sugarplums to the top of my mind, and so did the afternoon I spent decorating a room of the 1916 Parker House in holiday finery, in preparation for the Spencer Hospital Foundation's Festival of Trees Tour of Homes this weekend...
Toes may be cold, but hearts are warm (11/10/14)
Ready or not, winter's on its way to northwest Iowa. The forecast calls for cold, colder, and even colder than that. Highs in the 20s -- in November -- are forecast over the next 10 days. Lows? Well, you don't want to know. Misery will have to love company, as much of the United States will be shivering together this week, as an Arctic weather system that ripped through Alaska, is barreling south, bringing a chill to most of the nation...
Playing like a (super) girl (11/03/14)
I love sports. And while as an athlete I was the one who "threw like a girl," I'm now the one in my house that is glued to the television on Saturday watching college football. I live for March Madness. And the Olympic Games are an excuse for three solid weeks of couch surfing...
Bradlee a towering figure in journalism (10/27/14)
People have asked me, over the years, how I got involved in the newspaper business. My answer was always the same, "It started with Watergate." I age myself with that answer, but it's the truth. And journalists print the facts. I remember the headlines from the Des Moines Register and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. ...
Slowing down isn't that hard after all (10/20/14)
Sometimes you need to slow down a bit to appreciate how great life can be. I've just completed a hectic and crazy summer and early fall. It seems I barely had a chance to catch my breath from one big project before the next came rolling up behind me...
By Paula Buenger
Publisher