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Freedom's twilight

Futurists and science fiction writers have long predicted societal and technological changes. An episode of “Star Trek the Next Generation” came to mind this week. Called “The Game,” it aired in 1991 and it features the crew members becoming addicted to a headset-based video game that, when a goal is achieved, fires a psychotropic positive response in their brains.

Our Kossuth County: Chamber's Frostbite Olympics are still on

Happy New Year! As we turn the calendar to 2021, I am sure that all of us are hopeful for a return to a more normal year. 

Steele memoir touches all hearts

Betty: A Memoir by Spencer, Iowa, author Mary McSwain Steele, is a daughter’s homage to a mother who raised three children in a backdrop of adversity and poverty.
Steele, former staff writer for the Spencer Daily Reporter, goes beyond personal memoir. With a novelist’s eye for detail, she evokes the sense of place of southwestern Wisconsin as few writers ever have, her description rivaling David Rhodes’ bestselling novel, Driftless.

History and health in the making

Change is coming, and I am ready for it. This week public health staff began distributing COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers and emergency medical personnel. This is an important date in our present life, but I believe it will also be a memorable date for the ages, as our current reality someday becomes history. What will we remember about this year, when we reflect upon it, decades from now?

Thanks, Editor

In a small town, stories about people are what matter, so the editor has to have a way of putting people at ease so they share them. He has to be able to accept it when, after seeing someone had posted to Facebook a complete description of something interesting, that the person doesn’t want it in the paper because he or she wants to keep it quiet.
The editor must be able to deal with irrationality – frequently.

Refreshing open air bath in Norway’s mountains

We saw some houses, old and new but more noticeable was the number of mailboxes all in rows beside roads leading back into the mountains. It was mid-July and camping season. We saw many travel trailers and tents, some in campgrounds and others parked off the road the way like we often do. Then there were the homemade ROM signs with a picture of a bed. We had joined the throng.
Get all of this week's travelogue entry in the Dec. 31 Kossuth County Advance. 

Christmas not about giving?

Christmas is not about giving – it’s about getting. I know that sounds weird, but the same thing occurs when you go on a mission trip. Let me explain. 

Kon Tiki and Ra, they were following the sun

Leaving the Norsk Folkemuseum, we changed parking lots and ate before touring the Kon-Tiki and Ra museum which houses the raft of balsa wood and the boat of reeds that Thor Hyerdahl used in his three expeditions to prove his theory that people from South America and Africa could have migrated across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. 
Read all of the entry from Jim Sloter and his travelogue in the Dec. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

Inkspots: Of past Christmas eves remembered with fondness

In this pandemic year, filled with sadness and fear and prayers for it all to end, I find I can smile remembering past good times. To that end, I’m re-running an Inkspots column I wrote years ago, in hopes that it will spark similar happy memories for all of you.
December 24, 1992
When my sister and I grew too old for Santa Claus, we didn’t.
Grow too old, that is.
Read all of Molly MacDonald's column in the Dec. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

Legislature must act to feed Iowa's hungry

This year in communities all over Iowa, the holiday season kicked off with long lines of idling cars. Our neighbors were not waiting to see displays of Christmas lights. They were not lining up to be first for the best shopping deals. They were not stuck in bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic.
All over our state, Iowans could be seen lining up at food pantries and other distribution sites for a Thanksgiving meal. Our neighbors were waiting hours for food.

Our Kossuth County: A season of hope and joy

... Looking back at the 1918-19 pandemic of the Spanish flu caused by the H1N1 virus, makes one ponder. There was no technology for health officials to communicate to the public the severity and widespreadity of the outbreak. ...
Read all of Jan's column in this week's Our Kossuth County in the Dec. 17 Advance.

Loyal son

... On the particular day of my commitment to a lifetime of how-could-that-have-happened and tell-me-that-didn’t-happen turns of events, a reliable ISU kicker yanked the 20-yard extra point to the left, snatching a kiss-your-sister tie from the jaws of victory: Iowa State 23, Nebraska 23. ...
Brad Hicks shares his personal thoughts about being blown around by a Cyclone in his Dec. 17 Advance column, On the Side.

Coffee so strong you could stand a spoon in it

...Indescribable in their realism and variety are its 212 granite and bronze animal and nude human sculptures depicting various activities and situations by Gustav Vigeland completed between 1924 and 1943. Dominating the scene and its focal point is the elevated 46-foot-tall monolith containing 121 entangled human figures. ...
Find out where Jim and Marsha Sloter are in this week's Travelogue in the Dec. 17 Kossuth County Advance.

Letters on elections

Two letters in this week's Kossuth County Advance center on the recently completed election, and they are quite different. Here's a sample of each:
To continue these unsubstantiated and unproven allegations is an insult to the effort of those thousands of local election officials across this country. You asked election officials to do their jobs: they did. And under some of the most difficult circumstances, they did their jobs well. 

Kossuth community foundation encourages generous year-end giving to local groups

With the holidays and year end upon us, many are thinking of how they can help others or support causes they care about. Now is a great time to consider a gift to a fund of the Kossuth County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. Giving a gift through the Foundation is an easy way to impact Kossuth County communities and the nonprofits serving the people who live there while also providing unique tax-benefits to the donor.

The Mass of Christ

Ever wonder how the season of Christmas was begun? So, have I. I’ve done some research on this day of gift giving and celebrating the best gift ever, the birth of Jesus. 
The word ‘Christmas’ is derived from the Mass of Christ first recorded on December 25th in the year 336, when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, reigned. He was the first leader of the Roman world to be a Christian. Why the 25th? 

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