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From the Cheap Seats


Caitlin Clark made a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend ahead of Monday’s draft. The NCAA men’s and women’s all-time points leader, two-time Naismith Award winner and back-to-back national championship finalist appeared on the Weekend Update segment alongside hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che.

Randy's Review: ‘Civil War’

Perhaps a fantastical look at America’s future amidst the country’s highest division numbers in history dating back to the original Civil War, a movie of the same title offers a cautionary look at what a modern day U.S. government versus state conflict could look like.

Letter to the Editor

Is it the world, North America, or just the U S of A? I don’t recall year to year the number of shootings, knifings, attacks on schools, out of control adults and children committing atrocities, completing suicide by cop or just ending it all themselves, but things appear to be way out of control these days.

Is the above a consequence of being the richest nation on the planet? Millions of folks are not clamoring to enter the United Kingdom, France, Argentina or Australia.

The CommStock Report: Hope for the best but plan for a trade war

"China's economy is a juggernaut that defies the laws of economics by becoming an evolutionary new species of capitalism deftly managed by Xi Jinping." The Chinese economic performance over the past few decades has caused many to accept that narrative. I believe that the more likely scenario is that China is a fraud … something more akin to being a Ponzi scheme.

Pastor’s Column: Seedtime and harvest are promised

Farmers have been in the fields, preparing the soil and some have been planting. Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. There is also a principle in the Spiritual: Galations 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

One Man’s Perspective: A variety of topics


Rachel Bare has come on board as a staff writer in an internship this summer. Her first piece, a preview of the SHS spring production of “Radium Girls.” It was very well written, convincing us she was the right hire for the job, but unfortunately she didn’t get the credit she was due as it was incorrectly attributed to myself.

I did edit it, but I did’t write it or take the photo, Rachel did.

Guess Commentary: House passes Iowa Rural Development Tax Credit Program

This week, the House released the House Health and Human Services Budget. This budget appropriates $2.217 billion of state general fund to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2025. This represents a $92.5 million increase in general fund compared to fiscal year 2024.

Guest Commentary: Support drug education for young people during 4/20 month

In Iowa, possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to six months in jail and a fine. However, 4/20 Day is widely celebrated in the state. The counterculture holiday is celebrated by marijuana users, cannabis culture influencers and retailers. In Iowa, this generally means law enforcement focuses on impaired driving prevention and keeping drug-impaired drivers off the road.

Lawn & Garden: Grow fruit in containers

Have fun and enjoy picking fresh fruit right outside your door thanks to compact varieties you can grow in containers. Just clear some space on your patio, deck, balcony or front steps that receives at least six hours of sunlight and get busy planting.

Home Country

“Well,” said Steve, the tall cowboy, “at least it’s Friday and we all have the weekend to look forward to.”

Doc glanced up from his paper at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop and world dilemma think tank.

“Fastest Friday you’ll ever experience, Steve,” Doc said.

“That’s about right,” Dud said.

Steve got that confounded look on his face. “What do you mean by that?”

“Today is Saturday.”

Just ADAptin’: Spencer ADA Disability Awareness poster contest

For over 30 years, the Spencer ADA has provided a Disability Awareness program for fourth grade students in all the Spencer elementary schools which have impacted around 200-plus students each year.

Extension Outreach: Extension Week

It is Extension Week! Something can be celebrated every month, week and day of the year. This is the week we celebrate all things Extension. The real question for this article is what part of Extension do I celebrate? I could touch on the branches, 4-H; ag and natural resources; human sciences; and community and economic development. We could talk about Iowa State and their connection to each of the county offices.

Randy's Review: ‘The First Omen’

When Catholic novitiate Margaret Daino (Nell Tiger Free) arrives in Rome to help provide care at a nun-run orphanage, in the midst of protest and uprising by disillusioned 20-somethings, she soon learns there’s more danger behind the walls of the orphanage she is than on the violent streets.

Guest Commentary: Donate life

Q: What federal law did you steer through Congress to improve the nation’s organ transplant system?

Letter to the Editor

Heads up, despite the United States producing more oil than any country in history (S&P Global Commodity Insights 12/19/23), gas prices are and will be going up, so before the finger pointing starts and you embarrass yourself, know why.

The CommStock Report: Generational economic transformation … as sure as death and taxes

Interest rates are the cost of capital. Is the cost of capital going to rise or fall? Everyone looks to the Fed for the answer to that question but the Fed essentially responds to underlying fundamentals rather than makes them up. They can temporarily directionally impact capital markets but they will eventually come back to whatever trendline that is fundamentally supported. The Fed is looking for an opportunity to reduce rates but that is against the backdrop of changing demographics.

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