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Randy's Review: ‘Napoleon’

He’s played music legend Johnny Cash. He’s played iconic Batman villain the Joker. Both brilliant performances that earned Joaquin Phoenix high praise. Now he’s taken on the role of historical French conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte in the aptly titled, “Napoleon.” Minus the accent.

Book Review: 'The Family Chou' a riot of characters

Sometimes a book not only suggests, but requires, a second reading.

That is most certainly the case with “The Family Chou” by Iowa Writers’ Workshop director Lan Samantha Chang, a native of Appleton, Wisconsin. The book received the 2023 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

Pastor’s Column

Revelation 19:5-7: From the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.

Home Country

The secret to training any animal is simply timing, says the former cowboy who was unable to teach his horse to jump a two-by-four. But that was long ago, of course, and today, the wisdom age gives us makes these training secrets available to those who will accept them.

One Man’s Perspective: Do Iowans swear because they’re happy, or are they happy because they swear?

I received a pair of statistical reports through my work email recently which beg the question, “Do Iowans swear because they’re happy, or are they happy because they swear?”

To quote a 1980s Adam Ant song, “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” I was in high school then to help with the math a bit, I was in high school then.

Lawn & Garden: Outdoor winter container gardens

Add a bit of greenery to your front steps, window box or patio with a winter container garden. You’ll find all the ingredients you need at your local garden center, craft store and maybe even a few in your backyard.

Extension Outreach: Temperament of children during the holiday season

The holiday season is quickly approaching us, and I don’t know about you, but I get stressed out. Whether it is hosting, shopping for groceries or gifts or handling others’ emotions. It can be a lot and especially our children can sense our emotions. This week I am featuring a small part of Human Sciences Specialist Mackenzie DeJong’s latest press release that describes children’s temperament during the upcoming holiday season.


On the Side: Clay County — You are amazing!

In just 2 1/2 weeks, all 60 of the families listed in the Spencer Reporter for the Holiday Family Adoption program have been adopted. The Reporter annually joins the effort led by Upper Des Moines Opportunity to ensure local families have gifts or needs met for Christmas. Last year, with a week to go, there were still more than 10% of the families awaiting adoption. This year, a full 2 1/2 weeks prior to the start of the gift drop-off, all of the families are booked.

Ready Seth Go: Through the lens of the sunscreen song

We just called it the sunscreen song, and we thought it was hilarious.

This was back in the days of Y2K, when young people like my friends and I kept a blank cassette tape handy in case we wanted to copy a favorite tune when it came on the radio or in case a new chart topper was worth capturing.

Such was the sunscreen song.

Letter to the Editor: All I want for Christmas

It is apparent from the downtown decorations and the non-stop carols on FM radio that the Christmas season is officially here. “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!” Nope, we’re way past that one. What I need is more complicated and multifaceted: an end to hostilities, war and the divisiveness over who is right or wrong in political discourse. These may take more than one Christmas to make it to reality.

Guest Commentary: Casino gambling down, sports betting up in October

Revenue to the state of Iowa from legalized gambling are taking divergent paths in the new fiscal year. While casino gaming receipts are falling, sports wagering continues to grow.

Guest Commentary: Expanding behavioral health services for our farmers and rural communities

Agriculture is the economic engine of Iowa, the livelihood of farmers and their families, and the lifeblood of our rural communities across the 4th Congressional District. Our producers work long hours in all types of weather conditions to grow the food and produce the fuel that our country and the world depend on. Their hard work is the reason that Iowa remains the breadbasket to the world and that our district in particular leads the nation in corn, pork, egg and biofuel production.

Pastor’s Column: Christmas season is nearly here

Whether the beginning of Christmas comes commercially (Black Friday), traditionally (no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving), or religiously (with the beginning of Advent), Christmas is upon us.

One Man’s Perspective: Remember what you have to be truly thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers.

What exactly does that mean?

It is my wish that you give thanks this week — and every week — with a joyful heart. And there’s so much to give thanks for.

We live in the greatest country on this planet, although some would try to convince you otherwise.

We live in a country where people volunteer to stand in harms way as police, firefighters, emergency responders and members of our armed forces.

Home Country

Alphonse Wilson here, you know … yore pal Windy? And I’m here to set the record straight, once and forever more, on turkeys.

Guest Commentary: Season of Thanksgiving

Q: What's your message for Iowans this Thanksgiving Day?

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