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Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana with a vengeance. Wind gusts swelled to more than 150 miles an hour, knocking out power to more than one million homes with torrential rains causing widespread flooding. Ida wasn’t just raining cats and dogs. Apparently, it was even raining cows.

The other morning on our dog walk, the Wapsi Waste truck was out doing its Wednesday rounds in our neighborhood. We were coming home as they were picking up our recycling. We waited until they had pulled away and crossed the street, moving on to the next house.

I know that AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is a wonderful organization. They fight for the rights of the elderly, they offer affordable insurance, they have discounts on cool stuff like Metamucil. And, of course, there’s the free tote bag. I just wish they’d stop stalking me.

Aug. 10, 2020. That date will forever be seared in our collective memory. In some ways, it will be this area’s Dec. 7, 1941. Of course, we were spared the loss of life and we certainly weren’t attacked by a foreign enemy. But the brutal strike of nature and the scarred landscape left in its …

Pica: A psychological disorder compelling an individual to ingest items that are essentially inedible. This condition may strike without warning, but is known to affect Iowans between Aug. 12-22 (dates of the All-Iowa Fair).

Oh, I remember, I remember the town where I was born.

Sometimes it’s hard to find a reason to feel good about yourself. You look in the mirror and think, “My nose is too big. I can’t dance. And every time I laugh, I snort like a pig.” But unlike a lot of glamorous celebrities, at least you take a shower every day.

With his recent announcement that Mayor Hampton will not seek reelection, I would like to announce that I am running for mayor of Mount Vernon. My interest in running for mayor is predicated on my desire to be of service to this community.

I think we can all agree that spitting isn’t nice. Learning not to spit was one of the first lessons in etiquette my parents taught us — along with not biting. (My 3-year-old brother could bite like a snapping turtle!)

We recently celebrated a wonderful Heritage Days in Mount Vernon. It was especially poignant after a year and a half of cancelled celebrations, festivals, and milestones. Even the cooler weather and rain didn’t stop people from turning out to celebrate the marvelous community that we call home.

Considering all the cool things humans have created together, we probably imagine we invented cooperation — and occasionally un-invented it. But there are many remarkable examples of cooperation in the natural world --ants, bees, schools of fish, locusts, lemmings. It seems to me that humans…

Our first month out of session has come to an end. Here are a few highlights of what I have been up to:

I would be willing to bet that everyone you know has a hidden talent. I know somebody who can eat at a restaurant and then go home and duplicate the meal exactly — I mean exactly. I know somebody who can listen to a joke while simultaneously telling his own joke and still know when to laugh …

Your trash says a lot about you. And, until recently, it could continue to reveal your innermost secrets even while sitting on the curb, waiting for the garbage truck. This month, in a 4-3 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that police can no longer rummage through your garbage for incri…

In his column “Living in Iowa” printed June 24, Dan Brawner asked “Does anybody really need bear spray?”

With summer activities in full swing, you probably haven’t given much thought to back-to-school shopping. But for some families, the financial stress of preparing for a new year puts a strain on summer fun.

Picking cherries is dangerous. Step ladders are too short to reach the top of the tree. Extension ladders are too unstable to rest reliably on the bendy upper branches where the ripest cherries grow. One is tempted to climb to get them, suspending fear of heights, defying the law of gravity …