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The start of the baseball season is just around the corner, and the Baltimore Orioles have made a policy decision for the year. The team has decided to end the practice of a member of the team smashing a pie in the face of a player who is being interviewed after the game for his game heroics…

The Iowa caucuses have come and gone, and so pass, for another four years, the throes of our state’s love-hate relationship with national politics. The fickle gaze of the national political eye turned to New Hampshire and now, to South Carolina—how mean will they get?

By my own admission, I’m not the handiest guy around the house when it comes to doing what I like to call “man things.”

I can’t tell you how good it felt to write this, any more than I can tell you how thankful and appreciative I am that I can write anything at all.

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There has been a lot of buzz lately about the true meaning of Christmas. I heard a co-worker say that Christmas means different things for different people, and that’s the way it should be.

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For those who have regularly read my columns, it will come as no surprise that I am not a supporter of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. I’ve disagreed with him on many issues in the past. His Nov. 16 order that state agencies immediately halt any work on the resettlement of Syrian refugees to I…

A humble Cascade tombstone has set people around the world to thinking about how we memorialize our loved ones.

I recently interviewed a woman who wanted to share her story of domestic abuse. It presented a number of ethical questions.

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“It must be difficult for you to interview a couple going through cancer or someone who has lost a child, opening up old wounds,” someone said to me recently. On the contrary, I request these stories. In fact, losses and cancer battles have been revealed to me during entirely unrelated inter…

Three years ago, under challenging markets and Congressional constraints, the U.S. Postal Service closed hundreds of rural post offices, such as Earlville, and threatened to close thousands more. 

When Head Start was first launched 50 years ago, the idea of providing comprehensive health, nutrition and education services to children living in poverty was a revolutionary one.

I officiate high school football. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. Every Friday night in the fall I can be found running around on a football field somewhere in Northeast Iowa. Last Friday I was in Cedar Rapids officiating the Xavier-Wahlert Catholic varsity game. At halftime, we left the fi…

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If you get in the water, you’re going to burn. We learned our lesson recently by day’s end, playing and fishing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

When a young mother of four children was looking for a way to supplement her family’s income in 1992, writing for her local Independence Bulletin-Journal newspaper seemed an ideal fit. She’d already had dozens of articles published in magazines and niche newsletters, and the evening school b…

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Two years ago I came to the Dyersville Commercial and Cascade Pioneer right after finishing my freshman year at Loras College. At the time, it was my first “real” job after only ever working at Payless Foods and Loras’s campus dining. Since getting my big break, I’ve been able to spend my pa…

When I first started in TV commercial production in the mid-80s, commercials were conservative and straightforward. Products were presented in a pristine light.

I remember the exact moment it happened, although I didn’t write down the date because I didn’t know I was having an epiphany.

Most big holidays are spent at home with family. The Fourth of July is different. Festivities beckon people to venture out and attend huge parties. Whereas most major holidays past blend together through uniformity, Fourth of Julys stand out. At least for me.

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A friend of mine sent me a text the other day. It said, “The Love Boat is on. I am one of those teachers who needs year-round school.” Later on, I received another text with a screen shot of her television showing a scene from the show with actor Ted McGinley. She included the caption “Talk …

When the Nebraska state legislature defied its governor’s veto and voted overwhelming to ban the death penalty, it made huge news mostly because Nebraska is a conservative state. This is strange to me, as the abolition of the death penalty in modern America is an issue that should easily uni…

Stop me if you’ve heard any of these supposedly inspirational messages about the aging process.

With spring in full tilt, morels sprouting under elm trees, wild berries growing on vines and watercress leaping to life in creeks, my culinary curiosity kicks into high gear. Maybe I am easily excited, but the season to forage for wild edibles has me delirious with anticipation of what I wi…

The other night, I turned on the news with Lester Holt and heard the story of the Maryland couple under investigation for allowing their two children to walk to school without them.

There is a new book out about a fairly long-standing psychological disorder for American veterans: “The Evil Hours. A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” 

In about five minutes of news consumption last week, I went from being an anti-regulatory freedom advocate to a “nanny state” public safety proponent.

In the Midwest winter, baseball often stays alive through “hot stove leagues,” where fans way back might actually sit around an actual stove, talking about their favorite teams or players and what should be done to get their team to the top in the coming season.

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Females are emotional creatures.  Males are not.  This can make cohabitation tricky business. It’s either God’s dirty little joke on mankind or a glaring blip in Darwinian theory that accounts for scores of meltdowns, breakups and divorces.

This week marks my second anniversary working for the Dyersville Commercial and the Cascade Pioneer. Getting paid to talk to people and report their stories is a dream gig for someone like me, who will usually talk to anyone at any time. Here are some of the people and stories that have left…

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Not funny ha-ha.  Funny strange. 

Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines Jan. 15, and when asked by a reporter about religious liberty and freedom of expression, the pontiff replied, “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” according to CNN.

As Martin Luther King’s birthday comes up on Jan. 19, I think back 50 years ago, when a friend and I went from Milwaukee down to Selma, Ala., in March 1965. We went to be with Dr. King and people from around the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comments on recent changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The program, the most significant leap in conservation policy in a decade, was designed to reward top-notch conservation already on the ground, as well as incentiviz…

It reared its head again in a recent Dyersville city council discussion: the fear of low-income rental property or, more specifically, the “undesirable” people who use such properties.

Virtually every year since the movie “Field of Dreams” came out, my wife Chris and I have traveled to the field, the site, of that movie. Even each summer when we traveled from Barrow, Alaska, to the “lower 48” states, we included a stop at that site, and also to visit local folks and businesses.

As a young father (so you know this took place quite awhile ago) I believed my most important duty was to teach my children life lessons that would help them cope with the big cruel world. The lessons included shoe tying, hand washing, teeth brushing, etc.

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My mother-in-law was a very frugal person.  So was her husband, Hal.  Before he died in 2005, he informed her that he had quite a bit of gold in his mouth in the form of dental work. He had read an article about morticians mining for dental gold before cremating or burying the dead. 

When I was a little girl, my family heated with a big woodstove: I remember curling up in my Papa’s velvety, orange easy chair and letting the waves of heat roll over me. 

In the Nov. 19 edition of the Dyersville Commercial, I attempted to relate the more than 100-year history of Huberty Bottling Works and its unique place in local lore.