To Cuba or not?

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I’ve been dreaming for three months about my trip to Havana in September. Now I am thinking it was a good idea I’m going to miss out on it through no fault of my own. It seems I may not get there because of a new decision from the current administration. Continue reading To Cuba or not?

Cultural dexterity, a simple solution

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

The word “dexterous” if applied to you would be a compliment, no matter what the reference – sports, writing, driving, climbing trees, organizing children: “She is dexterous with the tennis racket…the pen… the preschoolers….” Dexterous means that you are adroit, skillful, clever, artful, deft, that you have mental skill and quickness, that you work with grace and ease. Continue reading Cultural dexterity, a simple solution

Familiar places

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Cemeteries in the U.S. have a familiar look to them – grassy gravel roads winding casually or plotted in neat grids, rows of rectangular gravestones with the occasional marble angel and limestone tree with a squirrel in it. There are usually two or three house-like mausoleums for the wealthy of old. The lovely fir trees, oaks and the scraggly cedars. Continue reading Familiar places

Reynolds to lead historic all-Iowa agricultural trade mission

Trip marks the first time all of Iowa’s farm groups have come together for a trade mission

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 30 announced that she will lead an all Iowa agriculture trade mission to China July 19-28. Traveling with her will be representatives from commodity groups and the Farm Bureau, emphasizing Iowa’s corn, pork, soy, beef, egg, poultry, dairy and turkey industries. Continue reading Reynolds to lead historic all-Iowa agricultural trade mission

The Fellowship and the Mosque

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I had lunch last week with about 30 women – half of them were Muslims from a nearby mosque and half were members of a nearby Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The Unitarians were serving the food – chili and stew, green salad and pasta salad, brownies and velvet cake—in the dining room of their fellowship hall. The week before, the Muslims were serving the food – stuffed grape leaves, curried couscous, hummus, and baklava – in the dining room of their mosque. Continue reading The Fellowship and the Mosque

Letter to the editor – Roxanne Hanney

About Robert’s tale of the Edmund Fitzgerald as told by Colleen O’Brien

Just read this, and was swept up not just by the story itself, but by Colleen’s play-by-play description of Robert’s telling of it.

Her short sentences were full of impact; the emotion felt by Robert and conveyed to the listeners at the party carried through to the readers of Colleen’s article. Continue reading Letter to the editor – Roxanne Hanney


~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Do you name things in your lives? I mean, besides your children and pets? Things like cars and houses, rocks and birds, flowers and so forth?

I started doing this when I moved half a continent away from everyone and all that I knew except the man I married, so I figured it had something to do with homesickness or loneliness, the longing of it all. Continue reading Naming

Reason, anyone?

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

This Thursday, Governor Branstad will proclaim as Iowa Day of Reason, to coincide with National Day of Reason.

This is a laudatory action, and all Constitutionalists and separation-of-church-and-state folks no doubt can applaud. Continue reading Reason, anyone?

Letter the editor – Brian Phillips

Challenges and Successes

The challenges that any young person faces today are far different than ever before.  There are many variables:  desensitization to overwhelming violence, acceptance of profanity as the norm, exposure to crippling family dysfunctions, vulnerability to unsettling TV programs, subjection to questionable music lyrics, and the list goes on and on.  These are not isolated to Greene County, nor any other part of Iowa or the United States.  This is the new regular.  This is our current state of affairs in our country and many parts of the world to boot.   Continue reading Letter the editor – Brian Phillips