[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Fair ~ 43°F  
High: 66°F ~ Low: 39°F
Monday, Oct. 20, 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.
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.)...
Clover Corner (09/29/14)
In the next few Clover Corner's I will be spotlighting Clay County 4-H members. This week it is Haley Schwenneker. Haley is an eighth-grader at Spencer Middle School. Her parents are Tim and Kristen and she has a sister, Madison. Haley is an active member of the Meadow Busy Bees 4-H club and many school activities. ...
Rest up, October calendar is filling up (09/29/14)
Who says there's nothing to do in northwest Iowa? The next couple of weeks have plenty of fun activities to ensure everyone has an excuse to get out of that recliner and take in the excitement. The Artisans Road Trip will be taking to the highways and byways of our region on Oct. ...
Patchwork Quilt (09/29/14)
Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. Certain cells in your heart make electric signals that cause the heart to contract and pump blood. These electrical signals show up on an electrocardiogram (EKG) recording. Your doctor can read this EKG to see if these signals are normal...
Too much RE2PECT (09/26/14)
For starters, I feel like it's my duty to remind you all that I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan. Those of you who attend local sporting events have likely seen me donning a hat with the classic "B" on the front. (To those of you who don't, go support the kids would ya?)...
Slight of hand (09/26/14)
Many are screaming from the rooftops. Others are saying it's overblown. What am I talking about? Why the "latte salute" of course. If you haven't seen video or at least a photo of this incident on broadcast television, in a newspaper or through social media, apparently you've been living in hiding for the past several days. But in case you have, and this is the first paper you're looking at since emerging -- allow me to thank you for your readership -- please be patient while I recap...
Fictional reality (09/26/14)
I was scrolling through my news feed a few minutes ago and I came across a follow-up to one of the stories surrounding the Slender Man meme. Back in May, two 12-year-old girls stabbed their also 12-year-old friend 19 times, intending to murder her. Due to a passing cyclist, the girl was saved, but the attackers claimed that committing a murder was the first step in becoming a proxy of the Slender Man, whose fan fiction they had been reading online...
Attend the Iowa Fraud Fighters Forum in Spencer (09/26/14)
Every day, someone in America is a victim of fraud. Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes. In fact, older Americans lose nearly $3 billion a year just from investment fraud schemes, according to a recent Met Life study. The Iowa Insurance Division, in conjunction with our other state agency partners, is working to educate Iowans on investment and insurance fraud and empower Iowans so that our family members, friends and neighbors are not victims...
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. ...
Randy's Review: 'This Is Where I Leave You' (09/25/14)
What happens when a father passes and his final wish involves bringing all of his dysfunctional children back home for seven days together -- sitting in the Jewish tradition of Shiva to mourn his passing? That's the premise behind "This Is Where I Leave You," a blend of comedy and drama starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and a great cast of characters reluctantly brought together in their childhood home to reconnect...
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...
Book Review: 'Island of a Thousand Mirrors' (09/04/14)
It's interesting to watch the news and hear of the devastation affecting war-torn countries in other parts of the world, and then to open a book like "Island of a Thousand Mirrors" and see the same devastation as told through a different, fictional yet more personal, perspective...
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.)...