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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 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.
Here's to a safe spring planting season (04/21/14)
Spring is here, and in Iowa, like much of the Midwest, that means farmers are getting in the field, preparing for spring planting. Every year, it seems we hear about auto-farm equipment accidents on our area roadways. It's important for both the car and implement operators to take special precautions on the road...
Clover Corner (04/21/14)
This weekend I read an article about what every high school graduate needs to know. They called them "Life Skills" or the basic everyday skills one needs to know to get through life. As I was reading the article, I started to think about the 4-Hers I know who will be graduating in a few weeks. Do they have the basic skills that this article identified to make their everyday life successful?...
Snack attack (04/18/14)
So the NCAA made one of what is sure to be a wave of rule changes involving player benefits this week in the form of banishing the munchies. After UCONN point guard and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier complained about going hungry, the upstanding collegiate association and its president Mark Emmert have eliminated all previous restrictions on food for athletes. ...
Seasonal message on the big screen (04/18/14)
Celebrating Holy Week, and as we enter Easter Weekend, those of us who proudly profess our Christian beliefs celebrate what on the surface is one of the most horrific endings to human life recorded on paper. It also happens to be the beginning of rebirth in its purest fashion, and therein lies the reason for the celebration...
Happy Easter. Thank you, Jesus. Let's eat. (04/18/14)
Yesterday morning I sat down with a woman in an interview, and in the exchange of pleasantries she noted she was going to go to the grocery store early today in order to beat the rush at 5 p.m. My first thought was, "Yeah, that's a really good idea," but then it was replaced with, "Is Easter one of those food holidays too?"...
The CommStock Report (04/17/14)
I asked a prospective new employee as part of the interview process what they saw as the greatest threat to agriculture today. I thought that I would try my own exercise. The greatest threat to agriculture today is "ignorance." The non-farm public left the farm a couple generations ago and with their leaving the connection to the farm was broken. Better yet their memory of agriculture was fixed in time to what they remembered it to be when grandpa farmed...
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a ... Flying Spaghetti Monster? (04/16/14)
Over the weekend, I heard on the radio that Poland now recognizes a new religion called "Pastafarianism." It is better known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. At first, I thought, "This has to be a joke, right?" It's a news segment on this radio show where all the stories are fake. But it's not...
Thanks are due (04/14/14)
I want to add my voice to the chorus of "thank you's" going out to Ed Krebs. If you want a definition of dedication to a community, you need only to look at Ed. Through nearly 40 years, he's given up Monday nights, twice a month, for meetings. He's taken thousands of phone calls from constituents, he's read reams of paper on exciting topics like wastewater treatment, planning and zoning regulations, and tax increment financing...
Clover Corner (04/14/14)
One of the things I love about my job is I never know what to expect from one day to another, and this past weekend was no exception. Our entire office was overrun by bunnies! The Clay County 4-H Rabbit Committee held the Bunny Bonanza, sharing information about the 4-H Rabbit Project Area. ...
The sweet stroke (04/11/14)
There are plenty of storylines for this year's Masters. I covered Tiger's absence in this space last week. (I know, I know, back-to-back columns about golf, same tournament no less. I apologize, but it's worth it. Trust me.) Now, after the first two rounds, we have even more goodies. ...
And the car smelled purple as it drove by (04/11/14)
Yesterday as I was driving up Grand I saw to my left a teal and white classic car. It was a beautiful day, a great day to take out such a vehicle, and seeing it out and around in the sun made me happy. But seeing that car also took me back about three and a half years...
Support for the Heucks (04/11/14)
Last week I was able to share the story of the Heuck family from Everly. Just a quick recap for those who didn't get a chance to read the front page piece in last Saturday's Daily Reporter: Tammy and Mike Heuck are working tirelessly to gain access to a cannabis oil known as Charlotte's Web to help their 12-year-old daughter Shelby, who suffers from seizures on a daily basis, sometimes numbering as high as 20 in a day. ...
Sounding the School Bell (04/11/14)
To develop and maintain a safe and positive environment that promotes a sense of self-worth, responsibility, high expectations, and life-long learning within our ever-changing society. Students at Clay Central-Everly enjoy many opportunities to expand and enrich their skills in a supportive environment. ...
The CommStock Report (04/10/14)
My experience of knowing something was not right from watching market quotes was probably not that dissimilar from how Brad Katsuyama explained things in the new book, "Flash Boys" by Michel Lewis and featured on CBS "60 Minutes." Katsuyama, who worked for the Royal Canadian Bank, could not figure out how his orders to accept offers for stock posted on quotes systems always seemed to chase the posted prices away, resulting in higher prices for his fills. ...
Inequity in America (04/09/14)
Land of equality. Land of equal opportunity. Those are just a couple phrases we Americans use to describe our country. But do they hold any truth? No matter a person's race, creed, color or gender, everyone has the same rights -- freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of petition, right to bear arms, right to a trial by jury and so on and so forth...
Ask a Trooper: Speed fines (04/09/14)
Q: It's been a long time since I've been stopped and ticketed for speeding. How much is a speeding ticket these days? A: It's great to hear that it has been some time since your last speeding ticket. I hope this is due to your conscious choice to drive defensively, and setting your cruise control at or below the posted speed limit ... not just by luck...
Volunteer! It's contagious! (04/09/14)
The Volunteer Network of Clay County connects volunteers in the county with organizations in need of volunteers. The website, www.volunteerclaycounty.com is home to a list of volunteer opportunities throughout the county with partner organizations. First and foremost, I would encourage you to stop by the website. If you or your organization has volunteers or needs volunteers, consider becoming a partner...
The CommStock Report (04/07/14)
This is Norman Borlaug week, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birthday with the unveiling of a statue commissioned by the state of Iowa standing in the Capitol's statuary hall in Washington, D.C. Norman Borlaug, Martin Luther King and Elie Wiesel are the only three Americans to receive the Nobel Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. ...
Clover Corner (04/07/14)
When Extension first began, the land grant vision was of an institution that could quickly move knowledge from the laboratory to the community. The research had implications for agriculture, health and well-being, the economy, and home economics. The interesting thing was, early Extension workers found that as a general rule, it was difficult to get communities to adopt new research and new practices that came from the universities...
Temperature, and calendar, heating up (04/07/14)
It helps to have a short memory when you live in Iowa. I prefer to forget the snow we had just the other day, and focus instead on the spring-like forecast on tap for this week. March may have been a lion, but April had better be lamb-like. There are too many exciting things happening this month -- we don't need Mother Nature butting in. ...
Roaring back (04/07/14)
It took me a while to get into golf. The only person in my family I can remember golfing until my older brothers took up the sport in their high school days is my uncle, and he lives in Massachusetts. We don't see each other a whole lot. So, in my early (earlier?) days golf didn't really do much for me. It seemed like an awful lot of work to put a tiny ball in a tiny hole a few football fields away. Plus, even the pros couldn't make it look exciting. Except for one...
The Johnson Report (04/04/14)
Did you see the movie "The Taking of Pelham 123?" A desperate group of men hijacks a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage and demanding $10 million be paid within 60 minutes. That's how I would describe the scene in the Iowa Legislature this week, on two unrelated but not unconnected tracks. First, budget talks between Senate Democrats and House Republicans got sidetracked into a tunnel. Second, campaign rhetoric roared at full speed past the Senate station...
The message challenge (04/04/14)
Last week, GOP candidate for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-IA) soon-to-be-vacated seat, Sam Clovis, stopped by Coffee with the Editor to share a little about himself and his philosophy on the state-of-the-nation and his plans to fix it. Monday, Clovis' opponent in the GOP primary, Mark Jacobs, is scheduled to appear at the Spencer Rotary meeting and then meet with the Clay County Republican Committee...
Change is gonna come (04/04/14)
I've noticed several things about our community in the past few weeks. Monday night I attended the Clay County Community Foundation's grant event and saw 23 organizations around the area receive grant funding (totaling almost $100,000) for projects they're working on to better the lives of the rest of their communities. In addition, the keynote speaker commented on how Spencer and Clay County succeed and move forward because they take risks...
Sounding the School Bell (04/04/14)
I would like to take this opportunity to share some personal feelings as the school resource officer for Spencer schools for nearly 1 1/2 years. After retiring from the Spencer Police Department with nearly 30 years in law enforcement, I felt my contact with the community had come to an end. ...
Randy's Review: 'Draft Day' (04/17/14)
You always hear about the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes of the NFL draft, which has become the unofficial kickoff to the professional football season each year. Players trades, moved draft picks, dropping stock in top prospects. It's all a part of the behind-the-scenes business-side of the America's most popular sport...
Randy's Review: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' (04/10/14)
Leave to America's oldest hero to launch what is sure to be a season of blockbuster action films. And the second time around is better than the first. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" picks up two years after Captain America aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) battled alongside the rest of the self-proclaimed "Avengers" to defeat an alien invasion in the "Battle of New York." Still trying to find his place in the modern world, the age-preserved World War II hero is working through a bucket list of activities to try and catch up today's society. ...
Randy's Review: 'Sabotage' (04/03/14)
You can hear the crowd chanting: "Ahnold, Ahnold, Ahnold." That's right the Terminator himself, America's favorite Predator fighting, Conan sword-swinging barbarian is back in action. And this time he's leading a team of hardcore undercover DEA operatives taking on the nastiest drug cartels of the world in "Sabotage."...
Randy's Review: 'Divergent' (03/27/14)
Can't we get at least one post-apocolyptic film suggesting a bright future awaits us after the war-to-end-all-wars concludes? Much like the "Hunger Games," "Divergent" -- also based on a series of novels -- paints a pretty bleak picture of the future for those "lucky" enough to survive...
Randy's Review: 'Need For Speed' (03/20/14)
The popular video game "Need For Speed" comes to big screen and brings with it the same reckless disregard for safe driving and unflinching collateral damage that its fans enjoy. Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" fame) is a legendary racer in upstate New York and an even more renowned performance car center. ...
Book Review: 'Missing You' (04/17/14)
Harlan Coben is one of the biggest thriller writers of contemporary literature, the creator of the characters Myron Bolitar and his young-adult nephew Mickey Bolitar. His latest novel, "Missing You," is a standalone read, following the down-to-earth and often no-nonsense NYPD Detective Kat Donovan...
Book Review: 'In Praise of Hatred' (04/10/14)
If you like Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner," "A Thousand Spendid Suns," or "And the Mountain's Echoed," I imagine you'll probably also like Khaled Khalifa's "In Praise of Hatred." Khalifa, a Syrian novelist, has taken a novel of a young woman living with her aunts in Syria and written it in such a way that anyone, Syrian or otherwise, can relate to her...
Book Review: 'Frog Music' (04/03/14)
Someone recommended "Room," to me several years ago, back when it still dominated every book-related conversation and top seller list. I read it in a day and loved every second of it. Since then, I've gravitated toward anything with Emma Donoghue's name on it, and "Frog Music" sounded like another blockbuster in my mind...
Book Review: 'Eat What You Kill' (03/27/14)
I haven't yet seen "The Wolf of Wall Street," but I imagine Ted Scofield's "Eat What You Kill" is a (somewhat tamer) version of the movie. Evan Stoess is a young Wall Street analyst who hits his luck right when he signs the up and coming pharmaceutical company Mediapharm and rides their success all way to the prospects of a $250,000 bonus check. ...
Book Review: 'Seducing Ingrid Bergman' (03/20/14)
If you liked Paula McLain's "The Paris Wife," Therese Anne Fowler's "Z" or Melanie Benjamin's "The Aviator's Wife," you'll love Chris Greenhalgh's "Seducing Ingrid Bergman." Greenhalgh's novel follows the short and passionate affair between legendary actress Ingrid Bergman and the war photographer Robert Capa...
Music Review: 'Rivers In the Wasteland' (04/17/14)
In my mind, Needtobreathe is the perfect combination of rock, country, and "Christian." (I put the last part in quotes because this isn't necessarily praise and worship music, but the messages in the lyrics are positive and the kind of music a Christian radio station would play)...
Music Review: 'Pure Fiction' (04/10/14)
I have yet to hear an Eric Hutchinson song that didn't make me smile and dance a little in my chair. Right from his single, "OK, It's Alright with Me," Hutchinson's style of pop is authentic and extremely likeable. "Pure Fiction," his latest album, absolutely follows in this thread. ...
Music Review: 'We Won't Be Shaken' (04/03/14)
You can definitely tell when a band has been together for a while; they feed off each other's energy in a way that creates really tight music. Even in an album, you can hear the musicality of the group and in the way they work together. Building 429 is one of these bands, and "We Won't Be Shaken" is one of these albums...
Music Review: 'III' (03/27/14)
There is so much going on in Family Force 5's "III" album. There are the tracks that definitely fall into the parameters of music that appeals to fans of Christian music radio, specifically "Not Alone" and "Superhero." And while these are both fabulous songs, I think it's some of the other tracks that define Family Force 5 as the quirky and unique musicians they are most known as...
Music Review: 'Made' (03/20/14)
In talking with Jon Steingard, the lead singer of Hawk Nelson, he mentioned "A Million Miles Away," a third single from their most recent album, "Made," that would soon join previous singles "Words" and "Faithful" on Christian radio airwaves. I definitely recognize "Words" and "Faithful," off of the album, but every single one of these songs could be singles. ...