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As my 10th year of teaching comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the notorious purple pen. But to be fair, I can‛t exactly take ownership of this purple pen...

We have a great little treasure in Jones County that I believe many have yet to take the opportunity to enjoy. I am talking about Starlighters II Theatre.

Across the country, millions of college students are about to enter the final days of their fall term. With it comes the excitement of a much-needed break, but not before the dreaded finals week. Finals represent a time of unique stress, in which everything that was learned will be tested, a…

Nikki Rushford, director of the Wyoming Public Library, has seen the impact of the Jones County Community Foundation’s (JCCF) grant-making program firsthand. Grants in the past have supported building improvements and an online checkout system for patrons. Since 2012, more than $549,000 have…

    I just finished reading “The Making of Donald Trump.” I’m going to share one story about Trump and illegal immigrants. In the 1980s, Trump constructed his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue – but before he could to that he had to knock down the Bonwit Teller department store.

  In January, President Obama declared that despite Congressional logjams, “America does not stand still – and neither will I. So, wherever and whenever, I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

On a walk at dusk, along the banks of the Mississippi River, my husband and I were reminded of the amazing abilities of Iowa’s bats. Zipping with ease back and forth around trees, us and other obstacles, these little flying mammals captured and devoured their supper.

   Spend your late summer and early fall exploring the nature of Iowa. The U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council public service campaign, Discover the Forest, aims to inspire 8- to 12-year-olds and their parents to reconnect with nature.

      If your oldest child is about to go to college you might be feeling sad that it’s the first time your family won’t all be under the same roof at night, or you might be wondering if you really taught your child everything they need to know to live on their own.“There isn't a child who h…

      This fall state Sen. Tod Bowman of Maquoketa will co-chair a legislative review of state funding for Iowa’s local schools.  The “School Finance Formula Review Committee” will review the Iowa school finance formula and make suggestions for improvement.

It’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m in the office here at the Journal-Eureka. . . . The Anamosa softball team’s impressive tournament championship at their own Raider Invitational Saturday, June 14, allowed me the opportunity to go do some digging into the archives to find out when…

      Dr. Martin Calkins’ severely functional, flat-roof medical clinic was handy for his patients and handy for him. The doctor’s location was central to the community, pretty much the way Dr. Calkins’ life was to the people he came to live among.

      This time of year brings occasional stormy weather. Be prepared if your power goes off to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

Farmers, ranchers and foresters have long understood the need to care for our land and water – not only because preserving those resources for our children and their children is the right thing to do, but because they know that our farms and forests are more productive and efficient when the…

      I find ticks everywhere right now, including the emergency department. Often patients come to Jones Regional Medical Center due to concern about a tick bite. 

Public opinion is changing on the medicinal benefits of marijuana across our country. The problem is the public has been fed factoids through a smokescreen produced by special interest groups, including big tobacco. They have intentionally blurred the language between the crude herbal mariju…

Iowa legislators adjourned the 2014 session after reaching bipartisan agreements that will have big benefits for our state. Republicans and Democrats worked together to expand opportunities for all Iowans while strengthening economic security for working families.

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At 5:55 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, the Iowa House adjourned the 85th General Assembly. I spent just short of 24 hours at the Capital on the last day. We passed six of the 11 appropriation bills on the last day, remaining steadfast to our budgeting principals of spending less than we take in.

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This week marked the official end to the session. One hundred days have passed since we started back in January. At this point, we say goodbye to the backbone of the legislature, our clerks. They work behind the scenes, helping answer emails, sending newsletters, writing committee reports an…

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It was fitting that the Legislature approved and the governor signed into law a "social host" bill during Alcohol Awareness Month. Senate File 2310 sends a message that it is not OK for adults to host underage drinking parties.

      After a long winter, the first fresh vegetables of spring taste wonderful, whether from your garden, a farmer’s market, food co-op or local grocery store. Lettuce is plentiful, being a fairly easy vegetable to grow, but many kinds of leafy greens are available.

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As the only active teacher in the Iowa Senate, I believe my firsthand experience in the classroom is important in making policy and funding decisions about Iowa schools. Since I work with high school seniors, I know how difficult it is for middle-class families to afford college for their children.

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The protection for volunteers on state lands legislation, which I requested on behalf of the “Friends of the Caves” volunteers in Maquoketa, passed the Senate and was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad recently.

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      Education is a hot topic and has been for many years. We constantly hear about new programs and funding that are intended to improve education in our country and state.

      The governor signed into law House File 2397, providing volunteers for state parks the same protections as provided in Section 669.24. Friends of Maquoketa Caves was instrumental in bringing this issue forward. This bill received unanimous support.

      Who creates positive change in Jones County? We all play a role in keeping the community a safe and healthy place to live and work. A lot of action has been taken to reduce underage drinking rates across the county.  In the past 10 years, Jones County has seen a 30-percentage point dec…

      Thousands of Iowans are needlessly suffering because Iowa laws keep them from using medicine available in many other states I’ve met many of them. They are all ages, from all walks of life, and have all sorts of political and religious beliefs. They—or their children—suffer daily from …

       Interest in home food preservation has increased due to the popularity of local foods and gardening. With more people preserving food, there is concern about whether the resulting food products are safe to eat.

      On Wednesday I announced my plans to seek re-election to the Iowa House. After talking it over with my family and with my daughter’s medical condition continuing to improve, we felt it would be OK to run for another term.

      It is a top priority of mine as a legislator to keep Iowa children safe. That is why Sen. Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington and I sponsored Senate File 2310. This bill sends a message that it is not OK for adults to host underage drinking parties. Those who do will pay a $200 penalty for t…

    The House and Senate leadership released their budget targets last week. House Republicans and Senate Democrats agreed to the targets after looking through and analyzing Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal.

Last week the House passed HF2253 which toughens penalties for those convicted of crimes against children, specifically kidnapping. This bill was generated after a last summer’s kidnapping of Kathlynn Shepard and Desi Hughes which resulted in the murder of Shepard, who was 15.

      Last week, I filed my petition papers with the Secretary of State, placing my name on the ballot for the June 3 primary. It is my intent to serve House District 96 again if it is the wish of the voters in Delaware and Jones counties.

      This week, USDA released preliminary data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture that provides a snapshot of a rural America that remains stable in the face of difficult economic times. While the data do not paint a perfect picture, they do tell a story of the unlimited potential and grow…

      Last week was the first funnel week of session. All bills had until Friday to pass out of committee. If a bill doesn’t make it out of committee, it’s no longer eligible for passage this session.

      Marijuana use is one of the stand-out hot topics in our country and our communities. Recently, two states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and 10 other states have issues on the ballot box this year concerning marijuana consumption.