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Iepers is full of surprises

Ieper is walled-in with a moat surrounding much of that community of about 18,000 residents. Entering through the west gate, we found city streets meandering in every direction, some of them cobblestone. Our first thought was, “What a nice looking old community.” And it is, but that is only part of the story. The wide-open Grand Market in the city center is indeed grand, surrounded in every direction by beautiful old architecture.

West Bend-Mallard school year off to great start

The school year is off to a great start at West Bend-Mallard! We have had to make many adjustments due to COVID-19, but overall, we are adjusting well. The staff is working diligently to assess where students are at in the beginning of the year and teaching them from there. We are working with parents and students to make sure everyone is healthy when coming to school and while they are at school. We have also been able to celebrate normal events throughout our time here at school. 

Farmers Market arrives at season's end

As far as the farmer’s market season goes, however, the 2020 year was a memorable one. At the beginning of May I wasn’t even sure if we would be allowed to have a farmers market. Then, I worried that nobody would come to it if we did. But, as you know, it happened. The market not only occurred, we welcomed more new vendors than we have in years. 
Read Joanne Roepke-Bode's last Farmers Market column of the season in the Oct. 1 Kossuth County Advance.

Helping others is the way to love others

...On Wednesday evening, people converged outside our house and finished the railing for us. My family felt exceedingly loved and cared for by this relatively simple act of care and service. Now I’m on my deck with the little two running around happy and safe.
This is what we are supposed to be about as a church....
What is the Rev. Brock Youngren writing about in the Families of Faith column? See it in the Sept. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

Do your job

...It’s President Trump’s job, if he elects to do so, to appoint a nominee to the high court. President Obama did his job – he nominated Garland. It’s the Senate’s job to act on that. It was the Republicans in the Senate that held it up for political reasons. That was wrong, as it is now wrong for Democrats to request the same...
What is Brad Hicks writing about this week? Check out his On the Side in the Sept. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

UP writer presents enthralling mystery

The true test of great plot development is the mystery. Karen Dionne does a masterful job of creating a mystery with plenty of twists and turns in “The Wicked Sister” recently released by Putnam. 
Read Michael Tideman's book review in the Sept. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

Algona petty officer survives kamikaze attack

A first-class petty officer in aviation ordnance in the navy for three years Richard spent two years aboard the aircraft Saratoga in the southwest Pacific.  Last February the Saratoga was attacked by a kamikaze pilot, who dropped a bomb which dropped through three decks and landed in a compartment just ahead of where Richard stood.  
Who was this officer and what happened? See Gene Miller's Out of the Past column in the Sept. 24 Kossuth County Advance.

Live beach, and the blood worms

Those pensioners had a good time kidding me about getting a shovel and digging worms that I could sell for 10 pence each to help pay for our holiday. Asking a few more questions, we learned that a live beach contains a variety of creatures, such as isopods, beetles, beach hoppers, sand crabs as well as the blood worms (red worms) all of which survive by scavenging in the sand for food which includes smaller creatures in that environment. 

Chamber makes changes during a COVID year

We are headed in to my favorite time of year. It’s different this year because just like everyone else, we are wondering what the last few months of 2020 will bring.


When I began wearing a mask into local stores last April, I saw the stares. I was definitely in the minority, and though unsaid, I knew some were thinking I was one of those freaked out by the pandemic or perhaps even some sort of liberal looney. Last spring, when I opted to severely restrict access to our office and subsequently required a mask to enter it, there were those who assumed we were trying to make some sort of political statement because, well, we’re in the media business. 

Out of the Past...

Check out this week's "Out of the Past" entry from Gene Miller, which includes the conclusion of the following report, and more from 150, 125, 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago:
125 Years Ago

Enriching the future ongoing step forward

The third leg of the Kossuth County Historical Society motto, ​Enriching the Future​, is an ongoing step forward. There are different areas of reference.

Salisbury Cathedral, Oxford, Stonehenge

...About 10 miles south we arrived at the renowned Salisbury Cathedral, parked and took a walk all around that beautiful structure before entering. The wide open 80-acre grounds surrounding the cathedral is the largest in Britain. The gorgeous interior with its artwork and sculptures compelled us to take our time walking all around and absorb its beauty. ...
Read the next installment in Jim Sloter's weekly Travelogue in the Sept. 10 Kossuth County Advance.

Love defined, but are you defined by love?

...Our idea of love was not the same as we now know love to be. Love isn’t something you “fall” into, and the Bible makes it clear that love isn’t something you “fall” out of. Love was easy as we were dating, because there were no complications in life – like finances, job changes, children and other stressors. I realized that my wife had grown in her understanding of love one day a couple of years ago. I was going through a difficult time. She drove out of her way to come and see me.

Cullen's editorial an example of bias in the press

Check out Randy Roeber's letter to the editor in the Sept. 3 Kossuth County Advance. Here's an excerpt: "Of course, a liberal would make any excuse to criticize President Trump. It seems that no credit is ever given for his accomplishments. How about these Trump and company accomplishments for starters: The recent quick recovery of Wall Street – it took Obama eight years to manage less change than the Trump administration policies have accomplished in five months.

Are you looking for blessings God has given you?

Who had Iowa Hurricane on their bingo card for August? I saw this on Facebook the other day, and it accurately summed up the feelings of this year. 
2020 has been a challenging year. It seems like each new month brings a new tragedy and many worry about what can possibly come next. 
Some have even suggested that 2020 be a four-letter word.

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