[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Fair ~ 59°F  
High: 83°F ~ Low: 59°F
Thursday, May 26, 2016
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.
Never forget (05/25/16)
Most of us are aware that President Obama will be visiting Hiroshima, Japan, tomorrow. I think it's kind of a big deal. He's the first U.S. president to visit the city while still in office. Last April, John Kerry also visited the city, making him the first U.S. secretary of state to do so...
Order In My Court (05/25/16)
Texting shorthand and autocorrect has ruined our lives. Being a part of a generation that is constantly on their phones, computers, tablets and more, I have seen how the more we interact with technology like this, the more it ruins our spelling and grammar skills that are important to have in school, the work place and everyday life...
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. ...
Ask a Trooper (05/23/16)
Animal carcasses on the road
Clover Corner (05/23/16)
Many high school seniors are ending a chapter of their life by graduating high school. From all of us at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office in Clay County we would like to congratulate all of the seniors for their wonderful accomplishments. Especially the nine youth who dedicated many years to Clay County 4-H. Below includes the **Abby Galm4-H graduating seniors of 2016...
Patchwork Quilt (05/23/16)
The concern about aging loved ones living alone at home is about to reach an all-time high and while the state of assisted living facilities continues to improve, many seniors prefer to keep their independence as long as possible. Here is a list of seven apps and gadgets from LifeHealthPro.com that help families, patients, and health care givers keep our seniors safe at home...
A note to our graduates (05/20/16)
Since I will probably never be asked to speak at a graduation I'm forced to use my limited space here in the Daily Reporter this week to address the Class of 2016 as they prepare to walk across the stage, receive their well-deserved diplomas, have their tassel's moved and get chapped palms from all the congratulatory handshakes...
Guest Commentary (05/20/16)
From the Iowa Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies For many, buckling up in a vehicle is second nature. However, in 2014, 9,385 people nationwide lost their lives as a result of not buckling their seat belt; and in Iowa in 2014, 118 of the 322 crash fatalities were not buckled up. In our rural state, it is important to note that nationally 61 percent of pickup truck fatalities were not buckled...
Let's Talk About It (05/20/16)
In last week's Let's Talk About It, I attempted to describe what good mental health looks like. In brief, I talked about a person's ability to demonstrate clear thinking, healthy choices, emotional stability and goal directed behavior. With your permission, I'd like to describe the two major types of mental health problems we see in the world today. ...
Pastor's Column (05/19/16)
(Note: I had the privilege of giving the baccalaureate message this week for the Clay Central-Everly School District. Some of us like to hear this kind of hopeful message but don't go to a baccalaureate service, so I thought I'd share a condensed version in my column this time.)...
CommStock Report (05/19/16)
Back in the Middle Ages when Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley first proposed legislating a ban on packer ownership of livestock, I was all for it. The state of Iowa had such a ban and the only way that it was going to be effective is if the ban were implemented federally through all states. Iowa eventually relented on its ban on packer ownership of livestock which had been circumvented, rather than isolate itself from the industry. The ill effects of integration on price discovery are obvious...
The truth of the matter (05/18/16)
It's seems to be happening more and more. People are getting into hot water for public statements that offend large entities and, thank our lucky stars, we finally have an instance of our own right here in Iowa. As you might've expected, it's about farming. A cartoonist named Rick Friday was fired from Farm News magazine for what he said in his one-panel, three-sentence cartoon titled, "Profit."...
Traffic troubles (05/18/16)
When driving a long commute to work every day, people might think that small towns in the Spencer area have nothing interesting to see but nothing could be further from the truth. There are a few distinctive things I have noticed on my daily commute...
Thanks, Kate (05/16/16)
A while back I tried thinking of an email signature -- an established way to end my emails or other correspondence. Some people have really cool signatures, and I wanted one too. But I noticed, in that time, that I was ending my emails with "Thanks, Kate" or "Thank you so much, Kate." And it seemed to work; I kept it...
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. ...
The end of Tim (05/14/16)
I apologize in advance if portions of this column seem a little disjointed or, um, ramble-y, but starting at track results and seedings for a couple hours will mess with your head. "Why wouldn't you write the column before doing all the track stuff, Nate?"...
I hate to say 'I told you so' ... but (05/14/16)
So last week, right here in "One Man's Perspective," I discussed the idea of the move to coed bathrooms as a means to help ease the anxiety being experienced by transgender persons with regards to which bathroom they have to use and which bathroom they feel like using...
Pastor's Column (05/13/16)
What do Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr., and untold Chinese church leaders have in common? Each of them had to wrestle through the ways that their faith intersected with politics. Throughout history, Christians have had to wrestle with this intersection between faith and politics. ...
The CommStock Report (05/13/16)
The Des Moines Register's front page bold headline read, "Did racism kill pork plant deal?" They were referring to the Mason City City Council voting down the Prestage hog plant that was planning on locating there after the council first voted to approve it. ...
The other half (05/11/16)
A fantastic annual event happened this last weekend that you may not have been aware of. Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. This is a real thing. Look it up. It happens every year on the first Saturday in May and it's a joyous occasion for every comic book enthusiast...
It's 'farewell,' not 'goodbye' (05/09/16)
My original idea was to write this column next week, but the more I tried to think of something to write about this week the more I realized that this one needed to be written now. I have resigned from my position as staff writer at the Spencer Daily Reporter. I wanted you to hear it from me, because I know you'll see the ad and wonder who it is (I know this because I've gotten some text messages when it's been posted in the past)...
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...
Patchwork Quilt (05/09/16)
May is National Healthy Vision Month. What better time to remind seniors that cataract surgery is one of those miracles of modern medicine that we sometimes take for granted. According to an article by Erica Manfred in Senior Planet, Manfred writes that people forget that cataracts were once the leading cause of blindness in this country. ...
Clover Corner (05/09/16)
Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by an injury or death which could have been prevented. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with a few simple safety precautions. That's why the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Clay County, local FFA chapters and Clay County Farm Bureau are dedicated to bring safety and health information to all youth. Last week over 260 fourth-grade students attended this educational program focused on safety...
No safe amount, no safe time, no safe alcohol, period (05/07/16)
Starting with Mother's Day, May 14, is National Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week. A time to remind everyone that pregnancy and alcohol/drugs are harmful to the physical health of the growing fetus. Of all the drugs, alcohol has the most lastly and detrimental effects on the development of a fetus. ...
Guest Movie Review: 'Money Monster' (05/19/16)
George Clooney plays a Jim Cramer-like television personality who's forced to grow a conscience when a disgruntled viewer holds him hostage on live TV in "Money Monster," a serviceable, if slight, real time thriller from director Jodie Foster. Clooney's character Lee Gates is one of those cable news stars who probably hasn't spoken to a non-celebrity in decades. ...
Latest Marvel tale is explosion of superhero fun (05/13/16)
If Batman and Superman's showdown a few weeks ago left a bad taste in your mouth, please allow "Captain America: Civil War" to cleanse your palette. Tackling a similar topic, the collateral damage exacted by these super-powered individuals while disposing of their equally super-powered foes, the Marvel story does a much better job of exploring the real consequences of the Captain America led Avengers' actions when they stop the theft of a chemical weapon in Lagos...
Randy's Review: 'Keanu' (05/05/16)
When a cute kitten falls into the wrong hands, all you-know-what breaks loose in "Keanu" -- a movie starring TV sketch comedy breakout stars Key and Peele. To be clear, this isn't "Lassie Come Home" or even something slightly edgier like "Dewey: The Library Cat," this is a cat with a hardcore gangster background...
Randy's Review: 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' (04/28/16)
It's interesting in a tale that's centered around Snow White's rise to power in her kingdom how she's nowhere to be found. But such is the case in "The Huntsman: Winter's War" where our only glimpse of Snow White is a crumpled figure sitting wearily in front of the enchanted mirror which is allegedly causing her dismay. Not that I'm complaining, I certainly don't mind not having Kristen Stewart playing a mopey, pale, bland character ... again...
Randy's Review: 'The Jungle Book' (04/21/16)
The story is so engaging, you sometimes forget you're watching talking animals -- a credit to both the story telling, the voice work and the visual effects department that help bring Rudyard Kipling's classic children's tale "The Jungle Book" to life on the big screen for a live action adventure that will win the hearts of adults and children alike...
(A few of) my favorite books (05/19/16)
A little secret: I had a book read for review this week. But I thought it would be more appropriate to cover some of my favorite books that I've read and reviewed over the last four and a half years. I'm going with five, in part because that's all of the space I anticipate I'll have. I imagine I've reviewed almost 200 books for the Daily Reporter, however, so my full list is likely a lot longer...
Book Review: 'Nowhere Girl' (05/13/16)
In a vein similar to "The Lovely Bones," Susan Strecker's latest novel examines the relationship between twins, when one twin was murdered 16 years ago and the other one is trying to find out who murdered her. Cady Bernard is visited by her sister, Savannah, in her dreams at night. ...
Book Review: 'Gone Again' (05/05/16)
Jack Swyteck is back at it, and it's life or death. A man named Dylan Reeves is on death row for raping and murdering a young girl named Sashi seven years earlier. So it's a little surprising when Sashi's mother, Debra, approaches Jack and asks him to help exonerate Dylan of Sashi's murder. According to Debra, Sashi is still alive...
Book Review: 'Rogue Mission: A Jordan Sandor Thriller' (04/28/16)
Having never read any of Jeffrey Stephens' Jordan Sandor tales before, I really had no idea what I was in for when I picked up "Rouge Mission," the newest installment in the series, but after having put it down, I can clearly say I'm a Sandor fan and look forward to picking up the next book in the series should Stephens choose to continue with the character -- and I can really see no reason why he wouldn't...
Book Review: 'Carry Me' (04/21/16)
Peter Behrens' latest, "Carry Me," is much bigger of a book than I can describe. I'm still trying to wrap my own head around it, so please bear with me. It's a love story. Billy has been in love with Karin for a long time. In a sense, they grew up together, as friends and also as lovers. ...
(A few of) my favorite albums (05/19/16)
One thing I've really appreciated about this part of my job is the ability to find music I might not have otherwise listened to. Some weeks it's hard to find a new album from a band I recognize, so I have to branch out a little. Here are some of my favorite albums from the last four years, both from bands I've known for a while and bands I've discovered along the way...
Music Review: 'At Night, Alone' (05/13/16)
To be completely honest, I didn't entirely expect what "At Night, Alone" was. Mike Posner, based on my knowledge of his music from Top 40 radio, was a producer with an electronic-dance style of music. He had a pretty popular song a few years ago called "Cooler Than Me," that reminded me of the classic "You're So Vain." Other than that, I really didn't know much...
Music Review: 'Cleopatra' (05/05/16)
I've listened to this album several times over the last few weeks, but I'm listening to it again while writing this column. And, going into this listen and this column, I was completely prepared to wax on about "Ophelia," one of the tracks off this album, and how that song was the flagship of the entire deal for me...
A tribute to music royalty: Prince (04/21/16)
It would hardly be a music column if I didn't recognize one of the great creative icons that passed away yesterday: Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as "Prince." So, in honor of the legend, here are a handful of his memorable lyrics: "'Cause they say two thousand zero zero party over / Oops, out of time / So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999." -- from "1999"...
Music Review: 'Lukas Graham' (04/14/16)
For some reason, the first time I heard "7 Years," the first song off Lukas Graham's most recent album, I got much more of an "island vibe" than I believe was intended. This song's been all over the radio lately, it's borderline overwhelming. Later, after learning this band is from Denmark, I realized my mistake. Maybe it was the beat...