The Decorah Nespapers
March 22, 2017
  • We already have choice in education in Iowa
     I don’t know how many of our readers are up for the early morning news, but I’m a faithful viewer of KWWL virtually every weekday morning beginning about 5:30. It’s been interesting during this current legislative session to see the various advertisements/commercials that attempt to attract attention for one political aim or another. 
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  • Candlelight can be so peaceful
       I often write letters, pay bills, read books, hand-write articles and copy quotes by candlelight. I have four of the kind of candle holders that you can carry from room to room; one was a gift from dear, dear Esther Bronson, God rest her soul, rosemaled by her own hand; two I bought at the Fort Atkinson Rendezvous (two different years), and one at a garage sale. 
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  • Sad to see Girl Scout Camp Tahigwa shutting down

         It was a super sad day for me, when I recently learned the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) are, in no uncertain terms, selling Camp Tahigwa. 

    Granted, I’m glad the camp is being entrusted to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rather than some frac-sand mining operation. It’s also wonderful the property will, in some capacity, still be available to the public to enjoy. 

    While preserving the awesome beauty of the land is commendable, what will not be preserved, I’m afraid, is the magical essence which equals Girl Scout camping. 

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  • Primer on small towns for big-city folk ... continued

         I have ave lived in Decorah for over 20 years and I am, therefore, in a unique position: I have been here long enough to understand somewhat the ways and the lingo, but not so long as to have completely forgotten my big-city concepts and habits. 

    So here is Part II of a primer for any of you readers who have recently moved here from Chicago, or New York, or some other big city: (Part I appeared Jan. 26)

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  • A primer for new Decorah residents: Part I
    I  have lived in Decorah for over 20 years and I am, therefore, in a unique position: I have been here long enough to understand somewhat the ways and the lingo, but not so long as to have completely forgotten my big-city concepts and habits. So here is a primer for any of you readers who have recently moved here from Chicago, or New York, or some other big city:
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  • Don’t let ignorance affect proper education

       When I hear that the Republican majority in both the Iowa House and Senate have made it a priority this session do away with state funding of Planned Parenthood, it really chaps my hide. 

    Don’t get me wrong … I am neither pro-abortion nor anti-Republican. 

    But I am a proponent of education and healthy options for women, who may not be able to otherwise afford the cost of their own reproductive healthcare. 

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  • RIP, Steve ‘Hoss’ Zbornik
        I never knew Steve all that well; mostly I ran into him at the library computers. But he always, without fail, had a joke or a horrible pun for me, and he always picked ones at which I wouldn’t take offense (I think we were at opposite ends of the political spectrum), and by which I would not be scandalized. 
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  • Public schools help students fulfill their promise

       On Nov. 16-17, members of the Decorah Board of Education and I attended the annual Iowa Association of School Boards Fall Conference in Des Moines. 

    Iowa school board members and superintendents attend the convention for a variety of reasons — the networking opportunities, sessions that feature new and innovative ideas, the possibility of discovering new ways to promote public education, learning how to become a better board member and more. I’ve been attending these for 24 years now, and if this wasn’t the best IASB Conference I’ve attended, it certainly was one of the best. I’m pretty certain our board members would agree with me.

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  • A verb I have come to hate

        Note: If you are not a grammar geek, you may want to skip to the closing paragraphs (“Given the plethora…”).

    This verb is mutilated in so many ways it should be excised from the language altogether. Here are the two most common ways in which it is misused:

    “The U.S. is comprised of fifty states,” and “Fifty states comprise the U.S.” (We’ll set aside Puerto Rico for the sake of brevity here.)

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  • Bullying, harassment taken extremely seriously
        Bullying and harassment, there is hardly a week which goes by that a news report doesn’t include some type of outlandish behavior by one child, or a group of children, unleashed upon another child. Think earaches, sore throats or runny noses top the list of reasons children visit the nation’s 1,700 school-based health centers? Try depression, anxiety, and trauma. 
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  •     Yesterday morning shortly after dawn I am standing with my wife and 9-year-old daughter (in her chore boots and pajamas) watching the Upper Iowa River rise over the fences in our lower pasture. 

    The cows are a few feet away, bellowing their wide-eyed blend of curiosity and anxiety first at the river, then at us. “Daddy, will the water reach the house?” my daughter asks with similar curiosity and anxiety.

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  •     Welcome to our patrons as I endeavor to communicate on a variety of topics brought to the attention of the Board of Education and administration of the Decorah Community Schools via our District’s needs assessment conducted last fall. 

    As Rick Fromm so eloquently pointed out in his column published July 21, I hope to create a dialog regarding these pertinent subjects in a series of articles to be published in the Decorah Journal over the course of the next several months.

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  • Some things don’t change
         I heard that the great Viking long ship that has traveled all the way to the United States from Norway is getting socked with a surprise $400,000 fee, to pay for the equally unexpected U.S. Coast Guard requirement that a special “Great Lakes” pilot be hired for the occasion. 
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  • Believe it or not, I was selected ‘Little Miss Y’

       It seems like every summer, the hard-working organizers of the area county fairs and Iowa State Fair come up with something else extraordinary to grab the public’s attention. 

    Whether it be chocolate-covered bacon, a wildly popular country star or an 80s tribute band, someone -- or many someones as the case may be -- always comes up with the perfect formula to bring people back year after year. 

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  • Shopping in Decorah - Never never on a Sunday

        Lyle and Sue Luzum’s June 23 letter to the editor stated their opinion that Decorah’s downtown businesses should be open on Sundays.

    I should mention that I am not a store owner; but I don’t think that the Luzums are, either.

    When I moved here 21 years ago, I showed up on a Saturday in August, and I figured that I would get my groceries the following day. When I went down to stock my pantry, Fareway – at that time situated where the Oneota Food Co-op is now – was closed. Coming from Chicago as I did, I was stunned. A grocery store, closed? On Sunday? After I stopped double-checking the doors and thought about it a moment, I smiled. “Good for you!” I thought.

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