Put in my place by the past

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Tramping through an archeological dig has so far been the biggest treat of being a guest in Italy.

The Etruscan town of Vulci (vull-chee), about 45 minutes from where I’m staying, was founded in the 9th century before Christ. By the 4th to 6th centuries BC, it was a major trading port in what is now southwest Tuscany. Vulcians traded their sophisticated sculptures, their bronze statues, their fine ceramics around the Mediterranean. The city is now a major dig, thought by some to reveal the most advanced antiquities and the most important evidence of the ancient world we know today. Continue reading Put in my place by the past

The Behn Report

Jerry Behn (R), Boone

~by State Senator Jerry Behn

Jan. 16, 2020

This was the first week of the 2020 legislative session. It is exciting to be back at the Capitol, and we are ready to get started on many of the issues we have heard about over the past several months.

Each year we listen to speeches from the Majority Leader, the Senate President and the Minority Leader on the first day. Then throughout the week we hear the Governor’s Condition of the State address, the Condition of the Judiciary, and the Condition of the Iowa National Guard. Continue reading The Behn Report

Dining in Italy…

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

We drive half an hour of so to a town called Castiglione, on the Thyrrenean Sea, to eat out. The area is like Sarasota in Florida, San Diego Harbor in California, probably like bays and beaches in South Africa, the Cote d’Azur, Vladivostock in Russia? Fancy restaurants and chi chi clothing shops stand next to T-shirt shops and souvenir stores, pizzerias and ice cream parlors. Continue reading Dining in Italy…

Living in the Italian countryside

Editor’s note – When O’Brien started writing columns for GreeneCountyNewsOnline when in launched in 2013, she declined to offer a photo to use at the top of her columns. She has finally sent along a photo of herself in Italy, where she is enjoying a few weeks of respite from issues that worry conscientious liberals.

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I have named it The Great Rocky Road. It is the means by which we get to the casita on the hill overlooking the meadow where my hosts live. Calling the pathway a “road” is hyperbole; it is a trail about 10 feet wide the length of about five or six blocks of winding, twisting inclines, declines, up-and-down little hills covered with pebbles, rocks and small boulders. The ruts from running water are like ravines looking to swallow small cars. Continue reading Living in the Italian countryside

It’s a small world

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I’ve been in Italy seven days and can get neither my phone nor my computer to work, so I am writing – hand-writing – this column.

It has been 39 years since I hand-wrote a column. It is almost as if I don’t know how to think, the process of hand-writing is so foreign to me now after all these years.

My hostess is happy for me that I can get no news via my phone or my computer; she believes that my nearly non-stop following of the political news the past three years in the States has ruined my sense of humor and my perspective on life. She thinks I’m gloomy. Continue reading It’s a small world

Naïveté in another age

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I was a true believer into the middle of my grade school years—fourth grade—when it came to me that Christmas and Santa Clause were part of an extended play put on by my parents. I was 9 or so when I saw the presents hidden in the basement, and suddenly I put it together that those sleigh bells ringing each Christmas morning to wake me up were not Santa’s. It altered my perspective of myself. Continue reading Naïveté in another age

Letter to the editor – In support of Sean Sebourn for Jeff council

Dear editor,

We congratulate the swearing in of our new mayor, Matt Gordon, and the re-election of councilmen Matt Wetrich and Dave Sloan. Now that our mayor’s council seat is open, the next person who will fill this vacancy will serve for the remainder of his two-year term. It is in the opinion of those signed below that the council will make a wise choice and appoint Sean Sebourn to fill this vacancy. Continue reading Letter to the editor – In support of Sean Sebourn for Jeff council

Sharpened pencils

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

As I sat at my friend’s dining room table waiting for her to get ready to go out, in front of me was a pilsner glass of pens and pencils. After staring them down for a while, I chose the one very sharp pencil with a big eraser. Continue reading Sharpened pencils

Letter to the editor – Residents support Sebourn for council

To the editor:

With the election of a new mayor, there will be an empty seat on the council. It seems logical to have the new mayor appoint someone rather than spend money on a special election. We all support the appointment of Sean Seabourn to that vacancy. It just makes good common sense and fiscal sense. He obtained the third most votes in the election (the other two are now serving on the council). Continue reading Letter to the editor – Residents support Sebourn for council

Letter to the editor – Phyllis Crowder re: Jeff council appointment

To the editor,

As we all know, Matt Gordon will soon assume his duties as our new mayor leaving his council seat to be filled. May I suggest Sean Sebourn to be appointed to this vacancy.

In Sean’s first bid for public office this past general election he made a respectable showing while sharing the ballot with two well known incumbents. Continue reading Letter to the editor – Phyllis Crowder re: Jeff council appointment

A sure cure

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I have a friend who, in a great depression, could not get off the couch. She could not read, take a shower, eat, even watch TV.

And then the cleaning lady poured out the potpourri that had been stewing lightly in a crock pot for a week. Two problems: 1) one of the ingredients in the potpourri was a small orange, called a “clementine”; and 2) she poured the little orange into the toilet with the potpourri – and flushed. Continue reading A sure cure