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October 20, 2014
  • Every school year I get to know my students by allowing them to ask me questions after I’ve had my chance to learn about their lives.  

    Success in the classroom starts with a solid foundation of trust in a relationship, so I am very open with my bunch of seventh graders. An astute young man asked me this year what my worst fear was. Reflecting quickly, I pondered my ailing and aging grandfathers George and Josh, 90 and 96, respectively. Responding to the inquiry, I asked if any of the students in the class could tell me the name of their grandfather. Great grandfather? Great-great grandfather?  

     
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  • The Northeast corner of Iowa is blessed with a unique geological terrain that also extends into Southwest Wisconsin and Southeast Minnesota.  
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  • From Canada to China with (linseed) love?
    Let’s talk about linseed. An article on Ag Web notes that China may become the leading importer of linseed and linseed oil in 2014-15. Canada, one of the world’s major suppliers of linseed, plans to seek markets for “huge export supplies of the oilseed,” wrote Oil World last week. 
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  •    The origins of this Memorial Day can be traced back to the Civil War. One hundred fifty three years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. 

    The spirit of this day has not changed -- it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy. I am not here today to recite patriotic verses, to tell you things you already know, to give some rah rah and send you home thinking, “Well, what was the point?” While those types of speeches are important, and certainly have a place, I think we could all use a little break from the “politician speech.”

     
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  • Time to appreciate all moms on their special day
       American poet and author Maya Angelou once quoted her mother as saying one “must always be intolerant of ignorance, but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”  
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  • EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was first published in the Des Moines Register and is reprinted here at th

    e request of Decorah Newspapers.


    U.S. veterans since 1954, when America took over the war in Vietnam after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, may be tragic figures but we are not heroes needing tax breaks. 
     
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  • Moooooving forward: Not your grandpa's dairy barn

    It was 1970 when Futurist Alvin Toffler coined the term “future shock.” 

    In essence, the term referred to the idea that certain individuals (or even whole societies) can suffer from virtual paralysis when faced with so many changes in science or technology in such a short time. 

     
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  • College choirs from northern states love to include San Antonio, Texas, in their annual tour during the winter season. 

    They anticipate warm, sunny hours spent on the River Walk, at the Alamo and other historic sites about which they’ve studied in history classes. In addition, balmy Gulf of Mexico breezes, accompanied by bright sunshine, often lure them to spend several hours in the surf at Mustang Island. Oblivious to the intense power of the Texas sun, fire-red sunburn is common. Looking like boiled lobsters, they have something to brag about when they return back north to Decorah, Iowa, home-base for Luther College’s Nordic Choir.

     
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  • If there's a rock n' roll heaven, you know they've got one hell of a band."

    The older I get, the more often I find that old Climax/Righteous Brothers song creeping into my consciousness, whenever I hear of the loss of one of the world's great entertainers. 
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  • This has been an up and down winter in the Midwest, with sub-zero temps followed by high 50s, then back into the deep freeze. But, there have been enough of the deep freeze days to cause a propane shortage, followed by sky-rocketing propane prices, tough to take if you're a farmer dependent for heat on the little blue flame. 
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  • The tug of war between producers who support and plant genetically modified crops and those consumers who resist eating food containing them continues. Two news items the past week illustrate. 
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  • Drought, severe weather and craziness in Washington have all been cited recently as providing woes for agriculture, but little has been said about another natural disaster for some farmers, Goss' wilt in their corn. The disease is showing up to accompany the drought. 
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  • Innovation is alive and well down on the farm, as producers work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve farm, ranch and rural business energy efficiency and generation. 
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  • Battle lines are being drawn - the war for retention of the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is getting under way. An early salvo was lobbed in June by Fuels America, a coalition of organizations committed to protection of the Renewable Fuel Standard even as Big Oil plans ways to attack it. 
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  • When you order that barbecue sandwich at the drive thru, or sit back from that roast beef dinner Sunday evening, how much of it remains in your wrapper or on the plate?

     
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