Uneasy times as a librarian shuts out other ideas

BY: - November 14, 2023

The word for today is optics — but not the kind where your eye doctor is an expert. Instead of eyeglasses, I am thinking about the kind of optics that result when the perception of some person’s or some institution’s values are contradicted by the reality of the actions they take. Here’s an example. This […]

How Okoboji became a resort mecca

BY: - November 13, 2023

The last of the grand excursion boats on Iowa’s largest natural lake will be refurbished and updated this winter, thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor. The boat, the Queen II, now nearing its 40th year of service on West Okoboji Lake, is one of the last physical reminders at Okoboji of how […]

Saying goodbye to a school in Davenport: ‘It’s like an old friend.’

BY: - November 12, 2023

Over eight decades, thousands of kids from Davenport’s west side got their first taste of schooling at Monroe Elementary. Opened in 1940, the school was one of six elementaries constructed as part of an ambitious building program in response to a belief that the old elementaries had outlived their usefulness and were no longer strategically […]

Elections without candidates, ballots without voters

BY: - November 11, 2023

CLUTIER — Many city and school elections in Iowa go uncontested, with only one name on the ballot. The difficult part comes when there aren’t any names at all. In Clutier, population 213, no one filed to run for mayor or any of the five seats on the city council. It’s not the only community […]

‘Taps’ carries on high the simple yet profound character of the soldier

BY: - November 10, 2023

Promptly at 5 p.m., every day, rain or shine, blizzard or heat, a volunteer bugler wearing a period World War I U.S. Army uniform stands at attention near the flagpole at the National World War One Memorial not far from the White House in Washington D.C. On a brilliant autumn day, I watched as a […]

Waterloo Vietnam MIA’s daughter keeps memory alive

BY: - November 10, 2023

WATERLOO — When Richard Ayers went off to war, he told his 13-year-old daughter, Lynn, “You take care of your mom and your sister until I get back.” That was in 1969. She obeyed her dad. But she’s also been looking out for him, and his legacy, ever since. Because he never came back. Col. […]

Data show which Iowa counties have (or don’t have) representative juries

BY: - November 8, 2023

Five of the eight Iowa counties with the largest Black populations “had trial juries that were fully representative of their jury-eligible Black population” during 2022 and the first half of 2023, according to data analyzed by the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP. However, trial juries in Polk County and Scott County failed to hit that benchmark, and Dubuque […]

Combat pilot, 42, entering GOP presidential race, promises American ‘turnaround’

BY: - November 7, 2023

David Stuckenberg has flown more than a 150 combat missions. In just days, the 42-year-old Air Force Reserve major  is entering the Republican presidential nominating contest. He brings a blend of old-school conservatism and what he says will be a nimble, youthful approach to government — which he says needs a “turnaround.” He flew planes […]

Endorsing DeSantis is a risky move for Reynolds

BY: - November 6, 2023

I said on national television back in August that I would be very surprised if Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed a presidential candidate ahead of the 2024 caucuses. Color me surprised. Reynolds is reportedly set to endorse Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a campaign event Monday evening in Des Moines and then take the show […]

Iowans should vote in school board elections, but for the right reasons

BY: - November 3, 2023

Next week, Iowans will go to the polls to choose members of their local school boards. In truth, hardly any Iowans will do this. And not just because they’ve already voted by absentee ballot. If history holds, only a fraction of eligible voters will vote in the city and school elections. In Scott County, less […]

At a time of massive state budget surplus, it’s a moral imperative to adequately fund public schools

BY: - November 2, 2023

A recent item on my Pella Community Schools board agenda read, “Board acts on termination notices.” It was a jarring potential conclusion to a proposed million-dollar budget reduction in my school district. Though budget reductions are not new in my many years as a school board member, I can see and feel the pain of […]

Helping families decorate veterans’ graves was too inconvenient for the U.S. government

BY: - November 1, 2023

Veterans Day is around the corner. For John Kelly and Bob Holliday, the day will be for remembering the men and women who serve in the United States military — and for two service members, in particular. For Kelly, it will be his son, Robert, a Marine lieutenant who will forever be 29 years old. […]