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Monday, Apr. 27, 2015
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.
Enjoy the ad-Ventura (04/24/15)
Remember last week when I said MLB needs a pitch clock to juice up the action and get some younger fans interested? Well, they, uh, didn't listen to me at all, but that didn't stop the league from finding ways to pique the casual fan's interest. I'm not sure saying the "league" in that last sentence is really fair. It's basically the Kansas City Royals. These guys have so many years of little brother syndrome built up that they're flat out swinging this season, occasionally with their bats...
Let's Talk About It (04/24/15)
Mary Schomaker If you have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or another serious health issue; there's a good chance you have been advised to change your eating habits. Americans invest thousands of dollars annually in the biggest business in America, the diet industry. ...
Making a difference (04/24/15)
The loss of a child is a tragedy. If anything were ever going to test my deep faith and conviction, that would be the thing. I can't imagine the grief and I can't even begin to comprehend how someone could move beyond that pain. Maybe, in reality, you can't. Maybe you never get past it. But sometimes, despite the pain and lingering reminders, it's possible to channel those emotions and harness it into something positive...
Pastor's Column (04/23/15)
Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." I have often said the Lord is a travel agent for those who will acknowledge Him in all their ways. We all need His direction...
CommStock Report (04/23/15)
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has got a very big job ahead of him that was made all the tougher by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) lawsuit filed against drainage districts in Northern Iowa for non-point source nutrient runoff. He has been exceedingly sensitive to conservation concerns and has been diligently trying to bridge the gap in understanding between rural and urban populations in the discord over conservation approach. ...
Backward (04/22/15)
A girl faced suspension for hitting a boy after he snapped her bra in class so hard it came undone. Another girl was forced to wear her coat during her high school prom because her dress, with 2-inch-wide straps, leaves part of her shoulders bare. A female co-ed was drugged and sexually assaulted on a beach while a crowd stood by and watched during spring break...
Ask a Trooper (04/22/15)
Q: If you are driving down the interstate and an ambulance comes up behind you with his lights and sirens on are you required to pull over and stop like you would on a two-lane road? I ask because I never see anyone pull over to a complete stop on the interstate. Thanks for educating me!...
Week filled with special events (04/20/15)
Spring has sprung, and the calendar has certainly heated up! I love weeks like this -- with a schedule jam-packed with great events. For those who complain there's "nothing to do," this week should convince you otherwise. On Wednesday you can have a great evening, while contributing to a great cause. ...
Clover Corner (04/20/15)
What is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach? Well before I go into depth with what ISU Extension and Outreach is all about, first I want to ask you a few trivia questions. 1) True or false -- ISU Extension and Outreach is a resource for only ISU employees...
Legislative Update (04/20/15)
Vital certificates may not be the top of the radar for this legislative session: this is just yet one more area with an unnecessary bureaucratic hoop in which Iowans have to jump. I am working on HF 369, regarding vital certificates to address two issues: an improper fee and a useless disclaimer...
Patchwork Quilt (04/20/15)
Safety is important for as all, but especially for older Americans. It is important for them to maintain general safety measures both at home and away from home. Falls and injury, confusion, and future health problems are just some of the causes of an unsafe environment...
A Senior Moment (04/20/15)
When was the last time you walked into the bathroom and forgot what you were there for? When was the last time you went to the store with a list of what to buy and forgot the list? These, and many other "senior moments," frustrate us to no end. It did not used to be this way. So, why now?...
Timing the timeless (04/17/15)
As football and basketball gain popularity and people's attention spans get trimmed down to 140 characters, it grows increasingly difficult to classify baseball as America's pastime. For some folks, myself included, it will always hold that title, but there's no denying the cultural impact of the NFL, NBA or even NCAA football and basketball (toss NASCAR in there too) in comparison to MLB...
'Let's Talk About It ...' (04/17/15)
I'm excited to announce the first "Let's Talk About It ..." piece will appear in next Saturday's Daily Reporter. For a few weeks I was asking, within this space, for any interested members of the public who would like to be part of a community advisory writing group. This group will pick an issue -- local, state or federal in nature -- then a pair of writers, supported by others with like minds, will put pen to paper creating support for their "side" of the issue...
The Johnson Report (04/17/15)
At the Iowa Capitol, 150 lawmakers have been looking to end the deadlock over public school funding. And we are still looking. To be sure, school funding did not get settled in our divided state government within 30 days of the governor's budget release, as required by state law; nor by April 15, the deadline mandated for school districts to set their budgets. OK, call us lawbreakers. We've been in this squeeze before...
CommStock Report (04/16/15)
The organic food industry has had such success selling consumers a bill of goods that they have had difficulty sourcing enough organic farm products. It is a niche market available to consumers wealthy enough to access it but represents a very small slice of food production overall. ...
Pastor's Column (04/16/15)
God made each one of us with certain talents and gifts. Sometimes, we try to push our way into jobs that we are not equipped to do. Here's one humbling example ... Many (many) years ago, I worked as an office manager. If ever there was a misfit of a job for me, that was it. ...
Starting again (04/15/15)
Here it is mid-April and I have to ask how many people are keeping up with their New Year's resolutions. I have to admit I have slipped a bit. I got a good start on four chapters of my book, but have done little work since the beginning of February. Couple new paragraphs written out here, a page or two edited and typed up there. My biggest problem is never having a writing medium handy when I have the story running through and turning in my head...
Volunteer Network of Clay County (04/15/15)
Clay County is fortunate to have over 140 dedicated volunteers serving in many capacities of county government. Clay County relies on volunteers giving their time, energy, and talents to maintain our local quality of life. The diversity of the following volunteer opportunities may be just what you are looking for...
Life on the gravel road (04/13/15)
As a young girl, I dreamed of living in a big city, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people living their lives cheek to jowl with one another. I wanted the excitement, the variety of entertainment options, the low, rumbling heartbeat of the city playing background music to my life...
Legislative Update (04/13/15)
When the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on March 19, the committee lowered the revenue estimate for the next budget year. The REC projected that the state's General Fund will take in $6.7674 billion through June 30. This was lower than their December 2014 estimate of $6.8571 billion, due to changes made this session in a bill aimed at matching Iowa's tax with the Federal tax code...
'Heir' Jordan (04/11/15)
This week certainly hasn't left me with a shortage of writing material in the world of sports. NCAA refs can't see, baseball finally started playing games that matter (we'll probably get to those new timing rule changes next week) and a jury went straight up 30 for 30 on the Boston Marathon bomber...
Simplify. Simplify. (04/10/15)
Recently I've stumbled across the concept of a capsule wardrobe. A trend in fashion and style is seeming to take the stance of "quality over quantity" and the capsule wardrobe fits right into that. In this idea, credited to the blogger Caroline in her blog, "Un-Fancy," a person takes his or her (let's be honest, her) closet and pares it down to the absolute basics. ...
An end to bullying (04/10/15)
The other evening I was home, a rare event indeed, and I was perusing the channels when I stumbled across IPTV World. Don't ask me how I wound up there -- it was strictly an accident -- but while channel surfing of which I'm a master, ask anyone in my family, I stumbled across the documentary "Bully."...
Pastor's Column (04/09/15)
Death is ugly. The pain we experience, when a loved one dies, is almost unbearable. The adjustments we have to make in the aftermath of death challenges everyone who is forced to deal with this reality. And, that is why we spend our days thinking very little about death. ...
Randy's Review: 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2' (04/23/15)
Paul Blart made a name for himself by helping shut down a bunch of criminals trying to take down a mall in his first movie. In "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," America's favorite protector of the food court takes things to the next level, finding himself leading a team of fellow "peace officers" against a high roller looking to steal precious art work from Wynn Hotel in Sin City...
Randy's Review: 'The Longest Ride' (04/16/15)
A former PBR champion bull rider seeking a return to the top of the ranks after a potential career ending injury finds himself wowed by a beautiful college senior pursuing her art degree in "The Longest Ride," the newest book-turned-film-project by Nicholas Sparks...
Randy's Review: 'Furious 7' (04/09/15)
Apparently the filmmakers and ensemble cast associated with the seventh installment of the "Fast and Furious" franchise wanted to serve Paul Walker's memory in style. "Furious 7," the feature Walker was making when he passed as the result of a non-film related car accident, is a fitting tribute to the popular actor who -- along with his good friend Vin Diesel -- helped make the series a huge hit with fans and financially...
Randy's Review: 'Get Hard' (04/02/15)
Apparently the idea of "Get Hard" is to just take the filter and toss it down the drain. A barage of sex jokes, mixed when an onslaught of racial stereotype humor complimented with an immeasurable amount of F-bombs supply the formula in this highly anticipated first pairing of popular funny men Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart...
Randy's Review: 'Insurgent' (03/26/15)
The second piece in the "Divergent" trilogy, "Insurgent," picks up where its predecessor left off -- with our two main characters, Dauntless faction members Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) on the run after helping stop a hostile takeover by the ruling Erudite faction and its leader, Jeanine (Kate Winslet). During the battle, Tris' Divergent status is discovered by Jeanine and her forces. Joining Tris and Four are obnoxious Peter and Tris' brother Caleb...
Book Review: 'The Silver Witch' (04/23/15)
This book definitely falls into the category of "Women's Fiction." New York Times-bestselling author Paula Brackston blends Celtic mythology with a modern-day story of two women and the magic that connects them despite their 1,000-year separation. Seren is a shaman in the Celtic era. She's in love with the prince -- a married man that she can't be seen in public with -- though she has a recurring dream that threatens the future of him and his family...
Book Review: 'Blood on Snow' (04/16/15)
Earlier this year I read ― and quickly became obsessed with ― the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. I've noticed over the last few years that thriller and crime novels are significantly better from European authors. Jo Nesbo is an author who has gained more popularity in the United States since Larsson's books were published in the United States. And, after reading "Blood on Snow," it's not hard to see why...
Book Review: 'The Royal We' (04/09/15)
If you liked either "The Princess Diaries" or "The Prince and I," then you will love Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan's debut novel, "The Royal We." The book opens on Rebecca "Bex" Porter's wedding day to Prince Nicholas of Wales, who she's always known as "Nick." But, on what is supposed to be the happiest day of her life -- and the fantasy of every girl who's ever seen a princess movie -- she's haunted by a secret that could ruin everything...
Book Review: 'Pretty Ugly' (04/02/15)
It probably goes without saying that a satirical novel about the child pageants written by one of the writers of "Family Guy," "The Cleveland Show" and "Galavant" would be pretty funny. And Kirker Butler's debut novel, "Pretty Ugly," definitely delivers...
Book Review: 'The Stranger' (03/26/15)
I read Harlan Coben's "Missing You" last year, and I really enjoyed it. Coben is a good writer, and I liked the development of the characters and storyline in that novel. When I saw "The Stranger" was coming, I thought I'd give it a shot as well. On the plus side, Coben is a very reader-friendly writer. ...
Music Review: 'Whispers II' (04/23/15)
I've been listening to this record seemingly on repeat since I noticed it on Tuesday. I'm already a fan of Passenger -- "Let Her Go" was one of my favorite songs when it was first on the radio a few years ago. What I love about his music is that I can put it on and immediately relax. ...
Music Review: 'Love Somebody' (04/16/15)
There are very few women who have reached the level of success in country music -- or music, overall -- like Reba McEntire. Her latest, "Love Somebody," is her 27th studio album since 1977. Her music is comfortable. I don't know if there's a better word to describe it. She knows her niche, and she settles right into the pocket for this entire album...
Music Review: 'After It All' (04/09/15)
I'm having a difficult time coming up with the words to express just how much I love this album. The sophomore album of country-rock sextet Delta Rae has just about everything going for it. Nothing about this album is understated or subtle. The lyrics are solid, the harmonies are full and the voices are crisp. ...
Music Review: 'Carrie & Lowell' (04/02/15)
Sufjan Stevens is one of those artists I heard a lot about when I was in high school, but I didn't listen to much of his music until relatively recently. When I was listening to his latest album, Carrie & Lowell, I looked up a little about him, and I started to realize why he was so popular in my high school. He was born in Detroit but attended Hope College (the school in my hometown)...
Music Review: 'To Pimp a Butterfly' (03/19/15)
In an effort to expand my tastes musically, I decided to venture into rap today. It's not that I don't ever listen to the genre, but most of my rap experience comes from Top 40, and I'm not sure that counts, at least to someone who actually listens to rap...