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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
Letters Welcome
The Daily Reporter invites readers to submit "Letters to the Editor" with comments, criticisms, praise and/or questions about local and world issues of public interest. The editor reserves the right to edit or condense all letters. All letters are to be signed. Unsigned letters will not be considered for publication. Readers should also include their address and telephone number to verify the identity of the writer. Addresses and phone numbers are not printed.
Bloggers Wanted
The Daily Reporter is looking for bloggers who wish to share regularly on their particular interests. If you have a unique area of interest or particular topic you would like to weigh in on weekly, email us at news@spencerdailyreporter.com.
Voters don't need newspaper's push (10/24/14)
Well, the table is set. The decision is now in the hands of the people. Point of fact -- it always has been. With polls open for early voting, the big day is less than two weeks away -- a day that could shift the landscape of the political leanings on both a state and national level. Ultimately it will be left to those who are governed, we the people, as it should be. So make sure when given the opportunity you have your say...
Let's make it 7 (10/24/14)
It's a shame how it almost gets lost in the shuffle these days, but in case you forgot, the World Series is currently happening. A pair of small-market teams with a lack of nation-wide fans will do that to you. (Pour one out for the small-market Tampa Bay Rays, and their impending lack of relevance. ...
CommStock Report (10/23/14)
The U.S. is supposed to be the leader in global innovation. That is why the FBI says that there is an onslaught of Chinese hackers probing servers of U.S. companies every day to search for intellectual property that they can steal. FBI Director James Comey say that there are U.S. ...
Invisible bike helmet (10/22/14)
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term invisible bike helmet? You probably thought of a helmet made of a see-through material or maybe a helmet that utilizes Marvel's amazing stealth technology. When I first saw the story, I thought so too, but it's not even close. Two women in Sweden created the invisible bike helmet, and the best part is you don't even wear it on your head!...
Ask a Trooper (10/22/14)
Q: Is it illegal to pass someone at an intersection? What about tractors and combines? Does the law allow for passing these vehicles because they are moving so much slower? A: This is an excellent line of questions for the harvest season that is well underway. Crashes at intersections are generally on the serious side, especially where stopped traffic is interacting with vehicles traveling in excess of 55 mph. Add in the challenges of larger and slower implements and the results can be fatal...
Volunteers provide thrills, stress relief (10/22/14)
Did you know that as a volunteer you are a provider of stress relief, which in turn gives those of us that lead organizations a big thrill? As the leader of ATLAS of Spencer, I am often presented with requests that seem a little intimidating and even impossible to accomplish at times. ...
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...
Harvin on the move (10/17/14)
News broke Friday afternoon of one of those NFL trades that simply makes you say, "Woah." Seattle shipped Percy Harvin and his contract, bad hips, migraine medication and all, to the Jets for a conditional draft pick. Midseason trades are fairly rare in the league, so shock was a completely reasonable emotion to feel. ...
High 5 Program (10/17/14)
In March of 2014, I signed into an agreement with the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau after a meeting was held in Emmetsburg. This meeting detailed a newly developed initiative called the High 5 Program. This program was developed after statistical data was analyzed and identified five Iowa counties that had high accident rates, high injury rates and high fatality rates. These five counties also had low seat belt and child restraint usage. Guess what? Palo Alto County was one of the five...
Commit to service, do your duty (10/17/14)
Couple of issues on my heart this week. The first being volunteer service. On Thursday, the Spencer Chamber of Commerce added Alison Simpson to the distinguished list of Jack Wedel Award recipients. Rarely is there an award more deserved. She and I have served on a number of committees together and worked side-by-side on multiple projects and her desire to help make Spencer a better place is as deeply-rooted as it is sincere...
CommStock Report (10/16/14)
I have a much different perspective of the economic recovery from the Great Recession than most others. You always hear the recovery described in guarded comments with no one wanting to sound too optimistic or speak of it in any glowing terms. My question would be, what would Herbert Hoover think of this economic recovery? I would surmise that he would have thought of it as pretty darn good, something that he would have traded for in a minute...
Wingless (10/15/14)
The lawsuit was officially settled, but the ridiculousness of it all has not. "It gives you wings," is the popular slogan of the energy drink Red Bull, but one customer was disappointed when the product did not deliver such results. This customer ended up filing a class-action lawsuit against the company for false advertising after using the product for several years and not sprouting wings. Are you serious?...
Ask A Trooper (10/15/14)
A. Requires large corporations to host parties for employees on a semi-annual basis. B. Requires party hosts to be cordial to all guests, even party crashers. C. Penalizes adults for knowingly providing alcohol and/or a place to consume alcohol to underage drinkers...
Halloween not just for kids anymore (10/13/14)
October has always seemed like a month jam-packed with events and activities. As a child it was a favorite month because it held not just Halloween, but also my birthday. The month's been even more special for the past 26 years, as it also marks my husband and I's wedding anniversary...
What's in a name? (10/10/14)
The importance of a name is pretty evident, right? It identifies who we are. It allows us to maintain our own individual identity. It's something we can be proud of, and I should know. I put my name on everything I do. I like my name, and you should like yours too. It is who you are...
Rebuilt by ATLAS (10/10/14)
I remember as a child, being able to purchase my favorite comic books, whether it be "Batman," "Captain America," "Spider-Man" or whichever cover caught my eye. And inevitably, each week, there would be a cartoon ad about some poor 98-pound weakling getting sand kicked in his face at the beach by the resident bully as his horrified girl friend looked on. ...
The CommStock Report (10/09/14)
Corn and soybean prices have fallen below the cost of production. How long will corn and soybean prices stay there? ... the answer is, as long as it takes until producers and end-users respond to the market signals of low prices. They say that the cure for low prices is low prices but below the cost of production corn/soybean prices were sustained for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s...
Strangers among us (10/08/14)
People are not what they seem. That has never been truer than in the case of "7th Heaven" star Stephen Collins. We know him as the wholesome father figure Rev. Eric Camden. We watched as he guided his TV family through good times and bad. His character always knew the right things to say to help his kids find the high ground and moral road...
Clover Corner (10/06/14)
This week's Clover Corner will spotlight, Gabriella Carpenter. Gabbi is a seventh-grader at Spencer Middle School. Her parents are Mel and Rick Brichta and Scott and Ali Carpenter. She has a step-brother, Isaac and step-sister, Jordan. Gabbi is a member of the Meadow Busy Bees 4-H Club and a youth representative on the Clay County 4-H Rabbit Committee. ...
Getting past the election clutter (10/06/14)
We're in the final stretch of the 2014 election cycle, and voter fatigue has set in, at least for this voter. The spin doctors and reputation scrubbers are hard at work on both sides of the aisle, painting the opponents as Satan in a business suit, and their clients as purer than the driven snow...
America's Past-Bedtime (10/03/14)
With the way society works these day, trapping people on their cellphones, keeping them locked in with 140-character tweets that amply entertain 10-second attention spans, baseball and it's commitment to a slow build of dramatics has gotten pushed to the side in favor things like the NFL Red Zone Channel and NBA's League Pass which lets you watch four games at once...
Vote of the living dead (10/03/14)
As the Iowa State Fair wrapped up this summer, I received a news release indicating the results of a poll conducted at the Iowa secretary of state's booth. Deemed "unscientific" -- my favorite kind -- fairgoers were asked their opinion on whether they "think Iowa voters should show a photo ID to vote?" In addition, they were asked about demonstrating proof of their county of residence...
The waiting game (10/03/14)
Life these days is a bit up in the air. I'm sure most parents can remember the feeling, but I have to admit it's a little weird to think about a 6- to 8-pound creature, who isn't even here yet, stopping time this completely. We spend a lot of our time waiting for things, but I don't know that anything quite compares to "medical" waiting. Whether it's waiting for a baby to arrive, or waiting for a diagnosis to come through, it's a different species all together...
CommStock Report (10/02/14)
My Ethanol Plan E Challenge has generated interest. I challenged "everyone" to tank up at a blender pump, take a video of themselves filling their vehicle with E-15, E-30, E-85 and send it to five others challenging them to do the same -- and then send the video to Jessica@commstock.com for posting. ...
More bad luck equals a new truck (10/01/14)
I think I should refrain from driving on Saturdays. I got into my car accident the second Saturday of the fair. Last Saturday, the water pump quit working, and the head gasket busted in the truck my parents had loaned me while I searched for a new vehicle. (This actually wasn't too much of a surprise to anyone since the truck was 18 years old and a Chevy. We like Ford at my house.)...
Randy's Review: 'Fury' (10/23/14)
As a member of a tank crew in World War II Germany, your life expectancy wasn't the greatest. Apparently the German's had superior tanks in battle as well as anti-tank weaponry. The tank team of "Fury" defied the odds. Set during the final days of the battle in the European Theater, April 1945, the crew lead by Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) are legendary in terms of their ability to make a stand and remain alive. ...
Randy's Review: 'The Judge' (10/16/14)
Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, two of the greatest actors of their respective generations, pair in this tale of an estranged father and son -- with ties to the law -- brought back together by a death in the family and forced to confront issues that have left them hating one another...
Randy's Review: 'Gone Girl' (10/09/14)
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are fantastic for two hours and 28 minutes in the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel "Gone Girl." Unfortunately, the movie, for which Flynn also wrote the screenplay is two hours and 29 minutes long. This who-dunnit, he-said, she-said mystery thriller will keep you guessing until the final 60 seconds or so -- then it will leave you puzzled. This is it? Really?...
Randy's Review: 'The Equalizer' (10/02/14)
Denzel Washington is back in butt-kicking mode and this time he's taking on the Russian mafia on the streets of Boston in "The Equalizer." Based on a TV show I used to watch in my 20s, Washington plays a former black ops soldier who faked his own death and disappeared. ...
Randy's Review: 'The Maze Runner' (10/02/14)
The latest in teen science fiction novels turned movie, "The Maze Runner" keeps you wondering until the very end as to exactly who is behind -- and more importantly why? -- The maze. Set in the future, the movie opens with a young man terrified as he finds himself ascending quickly in a cage. ...
Book Review: 'Gretel and the Dark' (10/23/14)
Lately, fairy tales have begun to fascinate me in the way they hadn't previously. Maybe it's all of the "Once Upon a Time" I've been watching recently, but I'm finding something magical in these tales (and I mean this with absolutely no pun intended)...
Book Review: 'The Human Body' (10/02/14)
What is perhaps the most interesting element of war is its complexity -- its effects on the body, on the mind and on the soul that differ from individual to individual. In contemporary literature the battleground is gaining popularity. Perhaps this is because war, battle and the military are so prevalent in contemporary culture, but I believe our fascination with war goes much farther than our need to understand our place on the historical timeline...
Book Review: 'Bones Never Lie' (09/25/14)
In the imagination of Kathy Reichs, Dr. Temperance Brennan consists in three different timelines. There's the Dr. Brennan portrayed on the FOX television show, "Bones," there's a teenage-version -- through Tempe's supposed niece, Tory Brennan -- in Reich's young adult series, "Virals," and the original Temperance Brennan developed through Reich's adult thriller series...
Book Review: 'Edge of Eternity' (09/18/14)
Even though he began his career writing thrillers, Ken Follett has become, in recent years, a powerhouse in historical fiction. And his latest, the conclusion to "The Century Trilogy" titled "Edge of Eternity," is just one more example of why he's so successful...
Book Review: "The Chaos of Stars" (09/11/14)
It's not hard to find a romance novel in the teen section of a bookstore or library. Turn a page in pretty much any book and you've got a girl gazing star-struck into some boy-wonder's eyes, or vice versa. And, to an extent, the same can be found in Kiersten White's latest novel, "The Chaos of Stars." But what I really appreciated about this book was that the romance wasn't the dominant plot of the story...
Music Review: 'No Sound Without Silence' (10/02/14)
What I can say about The Script's fourth studio album, "No Sound Without Silence," is this: If you like The Script, you'll like the album. If you're not really a fan, you won't find something in this record that you wouldn't find in their three previous releases...
Music Review: 'PTX Vol. III' (09/25/14)
One of the perks of this job is the chance to talk about musicians and artists I enjoy listening to, and sharing my thoughts and tastes with a larger audience. This is the situation at hand this week. I've enjoyed following Pentatonix since their competition on the third season of the NBC singing competition, "The Sing-Off." The five members of this group established themselves as an a cappella powerhouse with unique and often unbelievable covers of popular dance and other Top 40 songs...
Music Review: 'Bulletproof Picasso' (09/18/14)
I'm sure it's no coincidence that Train's seventh studio album, full of what could easily be considered their best work, is titled in a way to symbolize the resilience of artists. In typical Train sound, "Bulletproof Picasso" has several relatively high-energy pop tracks scattered here and there. ...
Music Review: 'Where It's At' (09/11/14)
To be completely honest, I had never heard of Dustin Lynch before this week. He's released two albums and four singles since 2012, but I don't know that he caught the spotlight that other country music artists have. But with that in mind, his sophomore album, "Where It's At" is really good. It's got a little bit of everything, from ballads to high-energy tracks...
Music Review: 'V' (09/04/14)
Note: "V" contains some explicit language and thematic content With the release of their fifth studio album, "V" (pronounced "five"), the guys of mega-popular band Maroon 5 manage to yet again showcase why they've become so successful and why they're not just a pretty face (specifically when it comes to frontman Adam Levine.)...