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Friday, Dec. 26, 2014
From the Midway: The day I spent with Peter Noone (09/09/13)
The Clay County Fair has just started and I got quite excited when I found out that Peter Noone will be performing at this year's fair. In fact, he'll be playing this Tuesday with David Cassidy and Micky Dolenz. As many of you may know, I like to write about my days working at Arnold's Park Amusement Park. During my time there we put on a lot of concerts. Some good, some bad, but one stands above all for me...
From the Midway: Farewell to you, Ron (08/22/12)
By now many of you have heard the news that our longtime correspondent Ron Flewelling passed away last Thursday. It has always been a policy of mine not to write tributes about members of our community who have died due to the fact that I don't want to rate someone's life on who is important enough to write about and who is not. They are all important and I just leave it at that. However, in the case of our dear Ron, I'm breaking my rule...
From the Midway: RAGBRAI left me kind of flat (07/30/12)
Now that the big old bike ride event has finally come and gone, I'd like to express how the whole experience and me for some reason just didn't jell. I never really experienced RAGBRAI before. My past encounters with this extremely popular event have consisted of sitting in traffic on some intersection in the middle of nowhere trying to wait to cross the road, or planning my travels to not intersect with the swarm of bikers that is RAGBRAI...
From the Midway : Meeting some history (06/06/11)
Over the past three years, I have spent a lot of time in the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors room. During that time, I have spent several hours staring at the walls of that room. On those walls, there is a very large topographical photo of Cherokee County; a photo of Cherokee City Hall (which I recently found out was taken by Richard Boothby); several county maps; plaques; a coat-rack; and three paintings...
From the Midway: Why I call Calumet home (05/02/11)
To me John Mellencamp said it best in one of his songs, "I can breathe in a small town." That is how I feel about Calumet. I've lived here going on 13 years. That's the most time I've ever lived in one spot. Growing up, I lived in several places. It seemed that my family moved every year. It wasn't until I was in high school that I lived in the same house for more than three years. Most of my early childhood we lived in Cherokee, but around the age of 11 we moved to Minneapolis, Minn...
From the Midway: It's the most wonderful time of the year (12/09/10)
The thing I like most about the Christmas Season is all the Christmas Music. For the past week I've been humming and whistling some of my all time favorite songs, much to the joy of people in my surrounding area, I suspect. Most of the year you hear the same old thing playing on the radio and much of today's modern music just doesn't appeal to me. ...
From the Midway: Beholding the arts (11/17/10)
Last month, the Cherokee Arts Council, along with the Cherokee Sanford Museum, began a unique fundraiser to benefit the Cherokee Arts Council. Several volunteers and local artisans, myself included, painted several Barn Quilt Blocks that have been on exhibit in the Museum's West Gallery. What makes this exhibit unique is that the public can bid on these Barn Quilt Blocks and the proceeds for this silent auction will go toward future Art Council projects...
From the Midway: Culver reaches out ... to me (09/15/10)
In my last 'Midway ' column, I wrote about how Lt. Governor Patty Judge had the audacity to stand me up recently. Well, as it turns out, the Monday after that column ran I received a call from Governor Chet Culver's staff. The call wasn't exactly about my column, but to tell me that the Governor would be in Cherokee that afternoon. Some of you may recall his visit here to Cherokee to unveil the new 'Iowa Helping Iowans' Program...
From the Midway: It's Just Kind of Sad (08/20/10)
A couple of weeks ago I received a call here at the office Chronicle Times from a young lady from the Culver/Judge campaign. She informed me that Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge was going to be attending a campaign event here in Cherokee. This is not an unusual occurrence around here as many politicians hit Cherokee while on the campaign trail. What was unusual is what the lady told me next. She told me that this event that Judge was to appear at was closed to the media...
From the Midway: What are the odds? (07/19/10)
Over the past several months I've been working with a group of old friends to hold a reunion of former Arnolds Park employees. I'm happy to announce that we will be holding our little reunion at the end of the month. As many of you readers know, I like to recount some of my adventures working at the storied amusement park. With this reunion fast approaching, some of those old adventures have be floating to the surface of my old dusty memory...
From the Midway: The legacy of 'Gork 29' (06/21/10)
In the past month of so, it seems Cherokee County has been under a small crime wave. Break-ins, vandalism, and hog thefts have all made the headlines lately. Some folks chalk up these recent actions of boys just being boys. But that excuse for their actions never sits well with me. It's just too simple...
From the Midway:Let's try thinking outside the box (06/09/10)
Sometimes I get so flustered watching our politicians. If you vote for someone you think will do a decent job, they seem like they let you down soon after. There's no one particular politician that I'm referring to but the whole lot in general. Take President Obama. He recently came out supporting off shore drilling. Yes this gets a little confusing...
From the Midway: Amy, Terry and me (02/22/10)
Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has recently thrown his hat back into the Iowa political ring. At this point you may be expecting a fairly, perhaps witty, critique of the Governor's political motivations or his record as Governor of the great state of Iowa...
From the Midway: I love to beat a dead horse (02/15/10)
I have a confession to make to my regular readers. In December, I got my television back. I haven't had a chance to write about this and with this much time passing I started to feel a little guilty for you readers. As the faithful know, the government took away all my TV channels one year ago. At that point, I went cold turkey without the network channels for the first time in my life. For 10 months, I left behind something that's been a part of my life since I can remember...
From the Midway:Thanks for the memories (02/01/10)
It seems forever since I had a chance to sit down and pound out a Midway column. For the past couple of months things have been busy here at the paper and I've haven't found the time to write one. I must have started about four or five different Midways, but always get interrupted and forced to move on to more pressing matters. By the time I get back to writing them the subject just seems to have run its course. I would have loved to give you my take on the recent late-night wars...
From the Midway: Just part of a gamer's life (11/30/09)
It's been said that Generation X is a generation that bridges the old and the young. As part of that 'why bother generation,' I feel like we have missed out on all the fun that our parents and older siblings experienced with history as well as the experiences of the newer generation, who are comfortable with new technology. We got our feet in both worlds...
From the Midway: Still doing OK without TV (11/11/09)
It's been over nine months now since the government took away my television. Back in February I wrote a column about how I'd be OK and I would get by. Since that time many in the community have asked me how I've been handling life without televison. Well, it's been great. I really haven't missed it all that much...
From The Midway: I want our scarecrow back (10/12/09)
"This is why we can never have nice things" was the first words that echoed in my head when I saw that the Chronicle Times Scarecrow was gone. These familiar words are of course from my mother who like most mothers out there have uttered from time to time when their children break or damage something important to them...
From the Midway: All kinds of trouble (09/25/09)
Last weekend two men in their mid 30s were camping out at Horseshoe Bend along the banks of the Little Sioux River near Milford. These two men have been friends for many, many years and have camped together hundreds of times. Everything on their camping trip was going along peacefully when about 5 a.m. one of the guys hears his car start up. His car was parked just in front of his tent so the noise was quite loud...
From the Midway: A promise in a bottle (08/10/09)
Well today is Aug. 10. There is nothing too special about that date. Man did not land on the moon or sign a grand peace treaty on this date. It is, however, my birthday. I'm 37 years old today, and like most birthdays I try to take stock of my life. I also take a look at life's big questions. Why I'm still single, should I get back into shape, am I getting too old to start having children, did I put out the garbage? You know - life's big questions...
From the Midway : Who said you can't home again? (07/06/09)
The other week I had some time off. I spent my vacation puttering around the home, camping out with some friends, and of course, spending one day with my mother. The other major thing I did was something I've been putting off for far to long. For you regular readers of this column you may know that I once worked at Arnolds Park Amusement Park for several years when I was younger...
From the Midway: Where do they find the time? (06/22/09)
In recent global events, the Iranian Presidential election was held last week. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, the current president won the election with an overwhelming majority of the vote. The problem is, all polls prior to the election showed the races quite close, and not in the president's favor. The discrepancy showed over 2/3 of the vote going to winner, when at best it should have been 50/50...
From the Midway: Do you think you could tell? (06/08/09)
There have always been many unwritten codes of being a man that most guys would never talk about. For example, we've always been taught that a real man figures things out, you don't ask for directions or let alone you never actually read any directions...
You get more flies with honey than with vinegar (04/21/09)
Rudeness is one of my ultimate pet-peeves. I sometime expect rudeness from teenagers or somebody in their early twenties, for the fact that they are young and still learning to be part of a polite society. But when a person of advanced years is rude it really gets my sporting blood boiling...
So you're looking for some culture? (03/30/09)
Webster's Dictionary defines culture as -- 1:cultivation; 2: refinement of intellectual and artistic taste; 3: particular form or stage of civilization. Recently I was reminded of how unique the culture in Cherokee is. While living our daily lives, stopping to think about culture is not always on the top of the list, yet it binds us together like nothing else...
From the Midway: Sometimes do judge a book by its cover (03/26/09)
Last week, the Local 179 chapter of the United Food and Commercial Works at Tyson Deli here in Cherokee, voted to accept their contract. I reported the results of that vote on page one of today's paper. Whenever the plant's contract comes up, it seems an unsure time for the community of Cherokee. Tyson is the leading employer in Cherokee County and it has been since the mid 1960's. The company was started by Wilson Foods and has changed ownership several times over the years...
From the Midway: No luck in shooting an eagle (03/20/09)
Last month I attended a program hosted by Ginger Walker of the Cherokee County Conservation Department on wildlife photography. The program featured guest speaker, Hugh Perry, a wildlife and outdoor photographer from Storm Lake and a heck of a nice guy...
From the Midway: So what if the economy is bad? (03/10/09)
For months now the U.S economy (well heck the world economy) has been in a how do you say... freefall, tailspin, bottom caved in, or whatever you want to call it. It really hasn't bothered me personally too much except for when gas prices were nearing the four-dollar mark. Sure there has been some of the little things that I've noticed and said "What the heck?"...
From the Midway: My cure for Insomnia (02/25/09)
Like a lot of people out there, I've battled with insomnia for most of my adult life. I spend many hours in bed staring at my dark ceiling. My mind gets full of little problems floating around my head. Did I pay my gas bill? What will we put on the front page tomorrow? Is my toothbrush getting too old? Did I let the dog out? These are types of dumb questions that keep me awake at night, especially because I don't have a gas bill or a dog...
From the Midway: Falling off the pedestal (02/12/09)
Have you ever noticed how we in this country love to build up a hero, be it athletes, police officers, firefighters, military veterans, actors, or what have you, just to relish in their misery when they show their humanistic flaws that we all have?...
From the Midway:Life after Television (02/09/09)
Recently I have been preparing myself for the end of television, as I know it. As many of you may know TV stations will stop broadcasting their analog signals starting on Feb. 17. This means for many of us out there who do not have cable or satellite TV that we will not be receiving those talking pictures any more...
From the Midway: You can fool some of the people some of the time (01/29/09)
I've have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Last week marked an end of an "error." That error was President George Walker Bush. I want to focus on a few items that I think represents how bad of a president he was. First on my list is the response to Hurricane Katrina. ...
From the Midway: It's not winter…it's Iowa (12/18/08)
Well for all you people out there who have been dreaming of white Christmas, you may have gotten your wish. Four inches of the white stuff fell upon us earlier this week. That's not a heck of a lot for around here, but like last year we got a nice coat of ice underneath to make this first real storm of the season a little trick for us to get around...
From the Midway:Don't forget Our Troops (12/09/08)
One of privileges that I have doing this job is overseeing the Remember Our Troops list that we regularly print. I received a letter recently from one of the mothers of a troop on our list. She said that her son is currently serving in Iraq and he has many friends and family members in the Cherokee County area as he grew up on a farm just outside of Quimby...
From the Midway:Bring on the holidays (12/03/08)
Can you feel it? There is something in the air. I'm not talking about the chill from the weather, rather the holidays are here. Like many of you out there, I too am suffering from that old turkey hang-over today. Now that Thanksgiving is done we can get down to what is really important...
From the Midway: Shooting the messenger (11/24/08)
Last week the Chronicle Times received several letters to the editor in response to an editorial that was printed on Nov. 7. The editorial was a harsh criticism of President Bush. Those who wrote in thought the tone of the editorial was mean and malicious and they responded with the same tone...
From the Midway:Where is the spark? (11/06/08)
With Election Day just a few days away, one thing keeps coming to mind. Thank God this election is about over. It's hard to believe that this trip that began 20 months ago is almost over. Being so close to the finish line I can't help but feel that this election hasn't made me as excited as I have been for previous elections...
From the Midway: Time to 'butt' out (10/09/08)
As most of you know, Iowa passed a no smoking law that took effect on July 1. There are reports of some problems with this law coming to fruition. The first issue is that cigarette butts are littering sidewalks and streets all over the state. My thought on this, is… well, duh...
From the Midway:Hearing what your candidates have to say (09/17/08)
On Thursday evening, Sept. 11, there was an open forum held at the Cherokee Middle School for the candidates running for the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors. During the evening there were many question presented to the candidates. They all answered the questions quickly, respectfully and hopefully honestly...
From the Midway: Exploring our local treasures (09/06/08)
Well, by all indications this summer is winding down but you still have a chance to go and enjoy the next couple of weeks. One suggestion that I would encourage people to do is to go out and check out some of the Cherokee County Parks. There are 20 parks located in Cherokee County, some are just perfect for a picnics, while others can accommodate a longer stay. My personal favorite is Martin's Access. For years I have enjoyed camping there...
From the Midway:Old solders never die; they just fade away (09/02/08)
Back in 1990, my friends and I fought a great war. Not the Gulf War but one that was just as bad when it comes to terror. The war we fought was on pop culture - what we saw as the greatest threat to ever hit mankind. I am referring to the top boy-band of that time period, New Kids On The Block...
From the Midway: How to teach a telemarketer to fish (07/29/08)
A wise man once told me that if you give a man a fish, he would eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. But if you take that fish and beat him with it, he will never bother you again. I am not advocating beating up a homeless person or rolling a bum for a quick couple of bucks. I am referring to the scum of the earth, telemarketers...
From the Midway: Rob Hubler is no joke (07/24/08)
I recently received a phone call from a staff member of the Rob Hubler campaign. Hubler, a Democrat, is running for the fifth district congressional seat that is currently held by Congressman Steve King. The staff member who called me informed me that Hubler was coming to Cherokee, and asked if there was any time that he could sit down and talk with us at the paper. ...
From the Midway: Iowa's bucolic life (07/23/08)
How would I describe life in Iowa to a person who's never been here? I mean to a traveler from a distant land - an Eastern European country for example. I would begin by telling them that Iowa is a rural state. I live in a village that does not have a gas staiton or much of a night life. In fact, I can't even get a pizza delivered to my house...
From the Midway:Is America ready for a man and his husband? (07/10/08)
A long time ago, I heard the quote "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." It refers to the fact that a man and a women are made for each other and that homosexuals are indicated in this quote as not part of God's plan. A recent California court decision has recognized the civil rights of gay couples to be joined in marriage. ...
From the Midway:Death of our clown (07/01/08)
One of my favorite performers died recently. Comedian George Carlin left this earth at the age of 71 due to heart failure. I became a fan of his at a young age when one night he was on TV and my mother made me turn the channel because she thought he was just too disgusting...
From the Midway:Take my lawn mower, please (06/16/08)
June is a great time of year except for one thing, yard work. During June, it always seems that my yard grows faster than ever. It's always the same when June comes around. I have to mow in between rain showers and as soon as I'm done with my yard it's time to start mowing again. Most people like doing yard work...
From the Midway: Saving the best for home (06/09/08)
Last weekend, the Cherokee Chamber PRCA Rodeo was held at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds. The Rodeo had a lackluster start on Thursday night due to the rain that we received. There were still a few die hard Rodeo fans out to see the show. Over 500 people in attendance on Thursday, I guess that would be more than just a few...
From the Midway: All politics are local (06/03/08)
Now that were well into the merry month of May it has occurred to me how much I've missed the political phone calls that I used to get prior to the Iowa caucus. I feel like I've been used. Many candidates were courting me for my vote and now I don't get a single message saying that they miss me...
From the Midway: If you can't talk to me right then I'll just leave (05/13/08)
One thing I've noticed while living in this day and age is how people act while on their cell phone. I'm not talking about the dangers of talking on your cell phone while you're driving but how rude people have become while talking on their phone Don't people know how annoying it is for other people to have to listen to a one-sided conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that concerns the people that are not part of said conversation?...
From the Midway:Is sex the answer to your problems? (04/07/08)
Last month there was a political scandal that made national news involving New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D). By now you have heard the news that Gov. Spitzer was allegedly involved with a high priced prostitute. I say allegedly because he still has not been charged with any crimes (as of yet) although his own statements have all but implied himself of being a very naughty boy...
From the Midway:Making choices (03/10/08)
This past weekend I went to a grocery store in one of our area's smaller communities to pick up some items, just to get me by until I had a chance to get back into Cherokee and hit a bigger store. While doing my shopping I saw a box a cereal that I like and picked it off the shelf. Upon further examination I notice the sticker price. $5.69 for that said box of cereal...
From the Midway: Smoking Ban a Real Bummer (03/04/08)
It is not known at this time if the Iowa Senate has passed the smoking ban for Iowa businesses, although the likely-hood of a ban looks like it's going to be law very soon. It's going to be a sad day. It's been no secret that I'm a smoker but I'll be ok. ...
From the Midway: Is it cold enough for you? (02/22/08)
As of Feb. 15, I am officially sick of winter. I was trying to make it until next month but the old man final beat me down. In year's past I have always taken pride in myself on the fact that winter doesn't get me down. Each morning, I look out my window and for the last week the snow pile in my driveway has been growing. I tried in vain to keep the driveway clean. I have shoveled the darn thing out at least seven times this winter; as of yesterday the pile has grown to reach my chin...
From the Midway:Feel good legislation (02/18/08)
A disturbing trend has been emerging in our government over the last decade or so. Laws are being made on the State and Federal level, heck even on county level, to protect us citizens against the greatest threat of all time, ourselves. I'm referring to laws that I like to call common sense law. ...
From the Midway:Middle Class (02/07/08)
This past week I have heard a lot a talk about the middle class. Apparently the middle class is struggling in today's economy and Congress and the White House are now trying to put together an "economic stimulus package" to help prevent a recession and put a little cash in our pockets...
From the Midway:Would term limits work for Congress? (01/30/08)
A few weeks ago I wrote a column about my experience at the Iowa Democratic Caucus in South O'Brien County. There was one issue that I mentioned in that column that I would like to explore a little further. The column was running quite long so I did not have a chance then to give this issue its full attention...
From the Midway:Worst stories of 2007 (12/28/07)
This time of year, most of your big TV networks start showing their year in review programs. The programs usually give a rundown of the biggest stories of 2007 or famous people who died during the year. It gives us a time to reflect and hope for a better year to come...
From the Midway: Post - Christmas thoughts (12/28/07)
Now that Christmas is over I can vent some steam that has been building all month. This is a great time of year and Christmas is my favorite holiday. But there is one aspect of Christmas that I can't take for very long and that is all the dang Christmas music. There is a reason that it is only played once a year. If you hear Christmas music every single day, you might end up on the funny farm...
From the Midway: The burning issue of smoking (12/26/07)
OK, if you're a non-smoker stop reading this column. It's for Smokers only. Go outside and wait a few minuets, then you can come back to read the rest of this paper. Smokers unite! It's time to take back the living rooms and restaurants across America. We smokers have given up too much. This year, the state of Iowa has raised the tax on smoking by $1 a pack...
From the Midway : Worst stories of 2007 (12/26/07)
This time of year, most of your big TV networks start showing their year in review programs. The programs usually give a rundown of the biggest stories of 2007 or famous people who died during the year. It gives us a time to reflect and hope for a better year to come...
From the Midway : Being a dictator isn't easy (12/10/07)
I have taken notice lately of a very-very disturbing trend - people handing over their freedom one ballot at a time. I'm not referring to us -- our freedom is protected by the US Patriot Act. I'm talking about the alarming events in Russia, Pakistan and Venezuela where attempts have been made to allow presidents to stay in power after terms are up or, in the case of Chavez in Venezuela, be declared "President for Life." That attempt failed by a narrow margin...
From the Midway : When it's time to say good-bye (11/12/07)
This past weekend I went back in time. Well sort of. There was a lot of good T.V. on Sunday night like the Simpson's Tree house of Horrors, Family Guy's 100 episodes and the Patriots/Colt's game. But I had to work for a few hours that night and couldn't watch these shows...
From the Midway: Halloween history (11/05/07)
So did everyone have a safe and fun Halloween? Good, now that Halloween is over, it's time to kick off the real holiday season. True Halloween is a fun time but it's just a warm up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Halloween is not a real holiday (note: I say that statement after Halloween is over, I did not want to spoil it for you). You don't get a paid day off and the mail is delivered. So why is Halloween celebrated?...
From the Midway: How to make a case for war (11/01/07)
So I guess last week we started a new war campaign. The major media claims that the White House is "beating the drums of war." It's apparent that the war in Iraq went so well that we should expand it. Good job, everybody. So what should we do to help out our country with this new war or to start a war at home? First, we need to find a country that has different ideology than we have. ...
From the Midway: Drawn together (10/23/07)
Yesterday, while driving to work, I was listening to the ‘Morning Edition’ on NPR. On the program was David Michaelis, author of a new biography of legendary cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. The book is titled ‘Schulz and Peanuts’ and in his book Michaelis claims that Schulz used his comic strip to reveal secrets of his private life...
From the Midway: Welcome back OJ, we've missed you (09/27/07)
Boy, it seems like only yesterday since the media circus bombarded all of us with the twenty-four hour news coverage of the OJ Simpson murder trail. Do you remember the water cooler conversations that enticed the whole country during the early 90's?...
From the Midway: Have a safe trip - and watch out for deer! (08/30/07)
Like many who work in Cherokee, I have a daily commute. It's about thirteen miles, not too bad. I can make it into town in about 20 minutes. I live north of Cherokee and I travel on Hwy. 59. Most days my drive is pleasant - birds chirping, horses galloping, cows grazing and the morning dew glinting along the way. Yes the trip can be the picture of Americana, most days...
From the Midway: Politics -- That's entertainment! (08/23/07)
There has been one subject I have been avoiding and that elephant in the room is politics. Yes, I know that's a dirty word but it's a subject that is always entertaining. In this divided country of red and blue states I guess that I fall some where in that middle gray area. I'm not red or blue but a nice shade of violet perhaps...
From the Midway: Casino for Cherokee - wanna bet? (08/16/07)
Does Cherokee really need a casino? Interesting question - my gag reflex tells me no. My common sense tells me no. I wonder- do people really understand what comes with this issue? This is a strong choice for the community to make, and should be well thought out. There are many hidden risks to having a casino in town...
From the Midway: Dead is dead in my book (07/18/07)
There is an old saying, you can judge a society by the way they treat their prisoners. South Dakota had its first execution in 60 years last week. Elijah Page was put to death by lethal injection for his role in the 2000 torture and killing of a 19-year-old man named Chaster Allan Poage...
From the Midway: Freedom of Speech - the good, the bad and Ann Coulter (07/05/07)
In this great country that we live in, there are rights that we should hold dear to us. First and foremost, in my book, is the freedom of speech. I'm a firm believer in freedom of speech, can't really be in the newspaper business if you're not. It's my belief that our founding fathers put that amendment first in the bill of rights for a reason, to have a voice for the people that is uncorrupted by one's standing in life...
From the Midway: Did I infect you too? Sorry (06/14/07)
A couple of weeks ago, the biggest news story that was reported by the mainstream media was about Andrew Speaker. He was the man who has an infectious strain of tuberculosis and traveled abroad for his wedding and honeymoon. In the course of his trip he may have infected other travelerx with tuberculosis. ...
From the Midway: Gas prices getting you down? (06/07/07)
Uh… $3.50 that was the cost of a gallon gas as of Wednesday, right here in Cherokee. So are the good old days gone? You know when you could fill up for less than Andrew Jackson? Yep. But rest assured the oil companies are doing fine. Just recently they announced record profits. They are doing their best to produce what they can with all the excuses that any major company has to work with...
Mike Leckband
From the Midway