Strange things happen

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

A woman I know in Florida has gone through about $6,000 and six months of bewilderment, frustration and anxiety because of “guests” in a rental house she owns.

“This was the worst time in my life,” said Lucilla. She is 82 and her husband of just more than 60 years died in October. Both of these facts compounded the dastardly behavior of a couple of “friends” of her son. This is a true and scary story of the false accusation and subsequent jailing of her son, the takeover of her property, the selling of all her furniture and goods, the trashing of the interior and the yard, and the expense of a lawyer who promised a lot, knowing he could do nothing. Continue reading Strange things happen

A country at work

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

As I travel around the country visiting my kids and friends, I see construction and maintenance at every bend in the road. Within a short distance of leaving my home and the streets and businesses that I don’t have to pay any attention to, I am quickly caught in the surge of vitalness stretching out before me, stopping me dead in the road. From Florida to Maine to the Ohio to the Mississippi, I am never on an interstate not under construction. Continue reading A country at work

Consumer alert: Give, but give wisely to Hurricane Harvey victims

Attorney General offers disaster relief giving tips

DES MOINES – As Iowans answer the call to help Hurricane Harvey victims, Attorney General Tom Miller reminds Iowans to give generously, but to give wisely.
“Iowans are already stepping up to help the staggering number of people impacted by this unprecedented hurricane and flooding event,” Miller said. “I want to ensure that Iowans trying to help people who are suffering aren’t themselves victimized by scammers.”
Tips for giving wisely Continue reading Consumer alert: Give, but give wisely to Hurricane Harvey victims

Plant seduction

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

The sight of my first palm tree when I stepped off the plane in San Diego as a young Navy bride hit something so familiar in my mind that it took me by surprise: I had been romanticizing palms since my preschool encounter with the line drawings of them in Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet, a poetry book of my dad’s full of enticing art of faraway places. I nearly wore it out before I could even read. And there I’d landed, a 20-something dropped among the tropical beauties of my favorite childhood book. Continue reading Plant seduction

A form of Zen

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I’ve been stacking rocks for some time . . . since the mid-1990s when I found myself doing it without plan or thought. I was in a slough of despond after my sister-in-law Ellen died of AIDS and there I was in my front yard wandering around like a sad dog. It was a bad time for my husband’s whole family, and I’m not sure how any of them survived it – I was merely an in-law and in a mire myself. Continue reading A form of Zen


~a column by Colleen O’Brien

A note from the columnist – It’s difficult to keep up with the goings-on from on high, especially if one wants to write about it. As soon as I sent this manuscript in, it was out of date. Consider it a historical column. COB

Now that we are in the middle of making America great again, isn’t it a relief that the President knows how to talk to the boys, the Boy Scouts of America, that is: “Who the hell….” he started out, in addressing thousands of them at their annual jamboree. However much the parents and Scout leaders did not approve, the boys had to love it, the word “hell.” Continue reading Ick

Siren Song

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I have long held a romantic view of all things Espanol, perhaps from being a Spanish major long ago. It holds to this day – the people, the language, the music, the terrain of south of the border. For reasons I cannot explain, probably a mere lack of will, I have never been to Spain or South America. But I’ve been to Mexico lots. Continue reading Siren Song

To the editor – Julie Neal

To the editor,

The summer school staff at the Greene County Schools would like to thank the following businesses that donated so our summer school students could have snacks: Hy-Vee, $30 gift card;  Fareway, 200 granola bars; and ShopKo, $30 gift card.

Julie Neal, Greene County Schools reading specialist