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Thursday, July 24, 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 seeking a number of bloggers who would be interested in sharing their insight or offering their opinions on any number of areas - from business to education to government to music - The Daily Reporter wants to hear from you. If there is a particular area where you have some particular knowledge, and have always wanted a way to share that information and dialogue with others, consider being a blogger. If interested, contact Managing Editor Randy Cauthron at news@spencerdailyreporter.com. Have photos or video of a special activity, event or situation? Send them to The Daily Reporter and we'll post them on the Web for all of our readers to enjoy. Depending on the event or activity, some might make it in the paper. It's just one more way for our readers to interact with others in the community.
Rocking out at Rocket Suzie (07/23/14)
I wasn't here for the first Rocket Suzie Music Festival, but from the stories I've heard, it wasn't well attended due to inclement weather. Knowing that, I would have to say Rocket Suzie's second year was a rousing success. Both days of the two-day festival had a similar trend. Sparse crowds enjoyed the early performances, while many people waited until the last few sets to make an appearance. But, it doesn't matter...
Repurposing bug hasn't caught me (07/21/14)
Shabby chic came into vogue in the decorating world a decade or so ago. Poufy couches covered in vintage linens, and romantic muted tones were the hallmarks of that decor. Tuscan, modern and now industrial chic are all styles which have made their way into homes. ...
Clover Corner (07/21/14)
Jordan Hansen is currently serving on the Iowa State 4-H Youth Council. Jordan will be a senior at Spencer High School and is in her eighth year in 4-H. Jordan has been involved in many different project areas throughout her 4-H experience which include personal development, creative arts, family and consumer science, ag and natural resources and rabbits. ...
Second time's a charm (07/18/14)
While the forecast suggests a warm up for next week beginning Sunday, things actually started to heat up Friday evening and continued into Saturday with the Rocket Suzie Music Festival, sitting on the banks of the Little Sioux River near the Grand Avenue Bridge...
Happy Trails (07/18/14)
Last weekend we wrapped up our summer of travel with a quick (seriously, like 30 hours) trip to San Francisco for Nic's cousin's wedding. It was our fourth trip of the summer, and we came within 130 miles of seeing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. ...
No Love for Wiggins (07/18/14)
OK. I know what you're thinking. Another column about the NBA? The Cleveland Cavaliers can't possibly deserve this much discussion. Listen. I get it. It's a bit much, but hear me out here. I talked about the All-Star Break too, and that's really all that went on in baseball this week. (Plus, you can't force me to talk about the Red Sox. I won't do it....OK you totally could, but I don't want to!)...
The CommStock Report (07/17/14)
Through $7 bushel corn prices, millions of acres added to production in the U.S. and globally and finally, some crop friendly summer weather, farmers will have succeeded in turning tight corn stocks into burdensome stocks by fall. They will have likely also succeeded in reducing corn prices by half or more. This will complete the circle of life for the corn market...
Hidden treasure (07/16/14)
Monday evening, I began a refinishing project much sooner than anticipated. Quite by accident actually. When I moved into my new apartment, my kitchen was a little smaller than the one in my previous apartment and could not accommodate the large table and chairs my parents had given to me when I first moved to Spencer. I needed something less bulky...
Clover Corner (07/14/14)
In the next two Clover Corners, I will be spotlighting 4-Hers who have been selected to the Iowa 4-H Youth Council. The Iowa 4-H Youth Council is comprised of approximately 40 4-Hers from around the state of Iowa. Members are selected based on an application and interview process...
Telling stories (07/14/14)
I can't start my column without taking a moment for a big "CONGRATULATIONS" to the cast and crew of the Spencer Community Theatre's children's theatre teen production of "Into the Woods." I attended opening night and there were no signs of opening night jitters. The cast handled the sometimes-tricky Sondheim musical with grace and pizazz. I would stand that show up to adult productions any day of the week...
All-Star buzz (07/11/14)
I had figured out what I was going to write this week's column about at the start of the week, which I felt was a pretty monumental accomplishment. There's only a couple times when that happens. It literally takes something as big as the Super Bowl for me to have a column idea in the can for a whole week...
Talented teens, tough production (07/11/14)
I've had a chance to see the SCT teen summer production of "Into the Woods" three times - twice on rehearsal nights and once Thursday evening - and I've got to tell you, I'm impressed. I shouldn't be surprised. Many of the young performers had integral parts in Spencer High School's amazing "Beauty and the Beast" fall musical, and the addition of some other gifted performers from around the area has only added to the talent pool...
The sport of all sports (07/11/14)
I've completely drunk the World Cup Kool-Aid. Soccer has always been a sport I've been interested in, but it's taken a higher level in my life since I've been married. I married into a soccer family, and I wholeheartedly hope to continue the tradition with my kids...
The CommStock Report (07/10/14)
I hate to tell you how long ago it has been since I dined in a school cafeteria but lunch must have been important to me as I can still remember some of the issues dating to back then in those ancient days as a student. The federal government has been assisting school lunch programs since 1946 so the program actually does significantly predate my school days in the late 1960s. The subsidies were intended to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's school children...
There are no accidents (07/09/14)
I believe everything happens for a reason, good or bad. Maybe you find a dollar on the ground or you are running late to work: There is a reason behind that. This weekend really reaffirmed my belief, because until Monday June 30, I hadn't planned on going home. But I am sure glad I did...
RSVP: An Invitation to Volunteer (07/09/14)
When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I am the director of the Northwest Iowa RSVP, most will then ask, "What's that?" Although it's a national program that has been in Northwest Iowa for nearly 40 years, not everyone is familiar with the program. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about RSVP...
Making a living AND a life (07/07/14)
I made a vow to myself Thursday as I prepared for the long holiday weekend. This year I would not spend the time catching up on housework. I would not scrub my kitchen floor. Or sort through my junk drawer. Or clean that spare room that has been acting as catch-all for a busy life...
Everyone loses the blame game (07/04/14)
With all of the wonderful things that come with baseball season, it's a real shame talks of stupidity, arrogance and cheating have to come along with it. Of course, these three things can pretty much be summed up in four letters and a touch of punctuation...
CommStock Report (07/04/14)
Anyone who has driven the rural highways of the Western Corn-Belt could not help but notice all of the wind turbines materializing like a growing forest of renewable energy generators in the region. They build these wind farms where the wind records dictate. There is more wind power being generated then there is local regional demand to consume all of the energy they produce...
Crying 'religious freedom' (07/04/14)
A big and relatively controversial decision was made by the Supreme Court earlier this week regarding Hobby Lobby's obligation to provide certain types of contraceptives to its female employees. According to the Affordable Care Act, there are 20 varieties of contraceptives that corporations are required to provide to their employees. Among those 20, four of them contrast with the beliefs of Hobby Lobby executives, beliefs that they note the company was founded upon...
Art is definitely subjective (07/04/14)
On Tuesday, I joined the Spencer Ambassadors in welcoming the new director at Arts on Grand, Jennifer Galm, to her new position. No stranger to the area nor to the art world, I'm confident she will do a good job in her new role and will be a strong fit for the downtown artisans hub. ...
United we stand, divided we fall (07/02/14)
This weekend we will celebrate the birth of our nation the only way we know how - with parades, barbecues and a big bang! You know what I love most about this holiday? For one day, it doesn't matter where your political views lie. Republican, Democrat, Independent, conservative or liberal, it doesn't matter. We put that aside and celebrate something we all agree on -- America, land of the free and home of the brave...
Volunteering with your kids (07/02/14)
Helping others is a great way for families to build strong morals. Engaging in volunteer opportunities within your community is one way to start this process. Spend some time discussing, as a family, how you might want to work together to make a difference in your community...
All-American pursuits (06/30/14)
Where has our summer gone? Friday is, impossibly, the Fourth of July. Somehow I got too busy with this and that and a bit more of this, and failed to notice that summer had eased right in and is zooming right by. I intend to rectify that this weekend. I want a good, old-fashioned Iowa Lakes Corridor July Fourth...
Clover Corner (06/30/14)
I have always loved the "idea" of gardening. I enjoy walking through flower gardens, beautifully landscaped backyards and definitely enjoy the fresh produce that is picked from bountiful vegetable gardens. I plant a few tomato plants each year and this year even expanded to one sad little pepper plant...
Randy's Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' (07/17/14)
Set 10 years after, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," the second film exploring the rise to power of the apes population and the fall of mankind finds us in dark times ... literally. A group of rag tag survivors, lead by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and Malcom (Jason Clarke), are attempting to keep a small population of humans alive in the ruins of what was previously downtown San Francisco. ...
Randy's Review: 'Earth to Echo' (07/10/14)
Taking a page from Steven Spielberg's classic "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "Earth to Echo" brings a technology slant to the stranded alien on earth concept. This friendly, lost alien doesn't have a long neck, puppy dog eyes or a glowing finger; but is more in the line with the idea of Transformers. Echo is a small, owl-like robot with -- much like E.T. -- some very unique powers that seem to show up at the most opportune times...
Randy's Review: 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' (07/02/14)
It's the fourth go-around for the outer-space butt-kicking robots, but this time the're on the run from a relentless mechanized space collector working in conjunction with a black ops CIA group. Set five years after the Battle of Chicago -- the destructive finale in the third Transformers film -- the remaining Autobots have been granted asylum but their partnership with the government has been revoked by Congress. ...
Randy's Review: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' (06/26/14)
Hiccup, the misfit Viking teen; his dragon Toothless and the villagers of Berk return for a second go-round in the mythical world of dragons and vikings coexisting and partnering in peace in "How to Train Your Dragon 2." The sequel to Dreamworks very popular animated work picks up five years after the original film, with the people of Berk not only living side-by-side with the dragons, but riding using them for transportation and other purposes. ...
Randy's Review: 'Jersey Boys' (06/26/14)
We don't normally associate rough and rugged Clint Eastwood with popular music -- "Bronco Bill" not withstanding -- but the actor turned director has shown nothing is beyond his golden touch with "Jersey Boys." Eastwood directed and produced this story that details the rise of popular musical group The Four Seasons from the tough streets of Jersey in the '50s to the top of the musical charts. ...
Book Review: 'My family and other hazards' (07/17/14)
At 10 years old, June Melby's schoolteacher parents decided to purchase the Tom Thumb Miniature Golf Course in Door County, Wis. For the next 30 years they drive from their school-year home in Iowa to Wisconsin and run the golf course through the summer. Melby's memoir, "My Family and Other Hazards," begins with the phone call she receives from her mother that they have sold the golf course...
Book Review: 'Landline' (07/10/14)
Last summer I fell in head-over-heels in love with Rainbow Rowell after the release of her teen fiction books "Eleanor & Park" and "Fangirl." This summer, I was really intrigued by what I had heard about "Landline," Rowell's most recent novel that's written for an adult audience...
Book Review: 'How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky' (07/02/14)
Lydia Netzer. St. Martin's Press: 339 pp. $25.99 The premise of this book really intrigued me, even before I opened the cover. Netzer examines the idea of soulmate in her most recent novel, "How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky." George and Irene were destined to find each other as adults. Their mothers, best friends, planned their pregnancies together and raised their children so they would meet and fall in love later in life...
Book Review: 'Now I See You' (06/26/14)
I imagine it can be difficult to see a "bright side" to a personal tragedy. Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in the downward spiral a diagnosis can lead to. And for this reason, I wholeheartedly applaud Nicole C. Kear and her memoir, "Now I See You."...
Book Review: 'So much a part of you' (06/19/14)
I'll be honest, I was not expecting a collection of short stories with this book. Sometimes it's hard to go into a book without a set of preconceived notions; sometimes it's more fun to know what you're getting yourself into, and sometimes it's unavoidable. But I also like the feeling of discovery when it comes to a new book, or a new author I hadn't yet heard of. I had absolutely no idea that "So Much a Part of You" was a collection of stories...
Music Review: 'Nobody dances in this town' (07/17/14)
It's not hard to miss the musical influences of "He's My Brother, She's My Sister" in listening to their most recent album, "Nobody Dances in This Town." Even from the first track, "Tales That I Tell," the rhythms and melodies are very reminiscent of early rock 'n' roll...
Music Review: 'Dark So Gold' (07/10/14)
If there was ever an album you could get lost in, The Pines' most recent album, "Dark So Gold," would be it. I couldn't tell you exactly what about the music is so mesmerizing -- the vocals, the lyrics or the instrumentation -- but it all comes together in a magical way that is instantly relaxing...
Music Review: 'Good Man Down' (07/02/14)
David Mayfield Parade If I'm being truly honest, I liked this album a lot more the second time around. I don't think I was expecting David Mayfield's music, or his voice, when I first listened to this album. I don't know what I was expecting, but he took me by surprise...
Music Review: 'Live in Duluth' (06/26/14)
It seems like an interesting choice to review a live album, but what I loved about "Life in Duluth" is that it doesn't really feel like a live album. Sure, there are moments of conversation between the band, Duluth's Saint Anyway, and the audience, but the sound is pure enough it could have just as easily been recorded in a studio...
Music Review: 'The High Crest' (06/19/14)
One thing I like about The High Crest's first album is the distribution of lead vocals. There isn't one person that does most of the singing; the songs are fairly divided between Kat Darling and Aaron Earl Short. I know the reasoning behind this is they have decided they each sing the songs they wrote, but it also offers a unique element to the overall sound of the album. Not every song sounds the same...