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Back in Belgium

After a fun day and a half in Marengo visiting with our friends and looking over that area, we loaded into our friends’ car, and we headed out on the four-hour drive to Chicago O’hare International Airport.
We unloaded our luggage in the pouring rain and bid our goodbyes. Inside, as we stood in line to check our luggage and get boarding passes, a lady behind us with one piece said, “It looks like you are moving to Europe.” Yes, we had a lot of luggage.

What to do when you find nature's babies

I love babies. Ducklings, goslings, bunnies and fawns are all cute as can be. But working at a nature center during nesting season can sometimes be hard. We get so many calls about folks finding baby animals “abandoned” by their mothers. While on occasion a mother may die, it’s much more likely she is out feeding or sleeping nearby and has hidden her babies as to not draw attention to them. Inevitably, a person will happen across them in this very circumstance.

The costs

The coming weeks, months and years will reveal the realities of the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on people’s health and wealth.
Decisions by our leaders to shut down all but the basics of our commercial enterprises has led to unthinkable unemployment and immeasurable dependence upon government assistance.

Bail out the Postal Service before cruise lines

It's quiz time.
What arm of the federal government has the most contact with ordinary Americans, people like you and me?
Is it the Internal Revenue Service? Social Security Administration? The Food and Drug Administration? Or the Department of Agriculture?
Nope. Not that one. Not that one either. None of those.
Read the complete column in the May 7 Kossuth County Advance.

Of homeschooling nightmares and such

I have nightmares of having to home-school our five children during this pandemic. In those dreams, they are, of course, considerably younger than they are now. And considerably wilder. And I am considerably crazier.
Of our five offspring, daughter number four, Amy, is the only one with little ones needing to be homeschooled while she and her husband, Dave, work at their full-time jobs from home.
Read Molly's Ink Spots in the May 7 Kossuth County Advance.

‘The Night Watchman’ moving and inspiring

Louise Erdrich’s “The Night Watchman” is a captivating novel based on her grandfather Patrick Gourneau’s successful fight to ward off efforts to “emancipate” the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa of North Dakota.
At the heart of the story is Thomas Wazhashk, humble night watchman in a jewel-bearing plant. Thomas unearths the real intent of federal legislation that would disenfranchise the Turtle Mountain Chippewa from their land and way of life.

COVID reactions

Over the past six weeks, I have written several columns about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the response by our national and state leaders. You haven’t seen them.
No matter what I pounded into the keyboard, the result failed to be compassionate enough for those afflicted, angry enough for those stomped upon, and understanding enough for those making the decisions. But, we are way past time for an airing of what needs to be said.

The gift of family

Right now, so many people are under great financial stress due to the current crisis we are going through. But, if people are healthy and can keep their families together, they should get on their knees and give thanks to God for how lucky they truly are.
Only a few generations ago, when financial times were bad, we did not have the social welfare programs we have now. People were often forced to make a very difficult choice.
Colleen Bilyeu, Algona

Easter and the virus

I was watching a program on CBS HDTV this morning, and I got a mental message from Jesus. The show was on the virus that has the world in its grip. There was a high-ranking Army officer on and a priest. The priest said something about fear that made sense to me. He mentioned fear, and you know, first we have to overcome our fear of something in order to work in its presence to conquer it. That made sense to me.

Dispatchers unsung heroes

Most of us have made “that” call. Something dreadful happens, and you run to the nearest phone to dial 911. Within seconds, you hear a calm, reassuring voice saying, “Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office. How can I help you?” Without hesitation, a dispatcher listens to the caller and determines the proper course of action, dispatching necessary emergency personnel to the scene or rendering life-saving assistance to someone in need.

About the county's raise

It is so heartening to see that even during a global pandemic when thousands and thousands of Iowans are losing their jobs, their livelihoods and their fortunes, our courageous county supervisors can still vote themselves a big, fat raise.
Terry Ziesman, Algona
Read more letters to the editor in the April 23 Kossuth County Advance.

Of things done and not done whilst sheltering in

Made a big batch of hot fudge sauce. Poured it over frozen yogurt. Yogurt is good for you, therefore it’s a healthful snack. Also, chocolate is good for the soul, so it’s a spiritually uplifting snack.

COVID-19 and collective grief

Are we all getting tired of hearing about COVID-19? Maybe. This pandemic has certainly brought waves of change in a relatively short period of time. We are all feeling those effects, trying to keep up with each new wave and bit of information that comes our way, and the behavior changes they require. And we are all dealing with grief and loss as a result. 

Chamber promotes local during pandemic

Happy spring! 
Normally, a column at this time of the year would include information on all of our upcoming summer activities. As everyone is aware, we don’t have a normal right now. And, with so many unknowns, we don’t know when we will. Things will look a lot different moving forward. We are carefully discussing and planning so that we are prepared for our events depending on the situation. Most important is the health and safety of all involved. 

A cemetery walk to remember

I’ve written before about how much I loved to walk to, and through, Riverview Cemetery from our house. Those walks ended abruptly when a patch of ice rudely sneaked under my foot, causing me to land in a snow drift, staring at the sky. I adjourned to St. Cecelia Church then for my walks. It is lovely there, quiet, peaceful and, best of all, no ice. Or wind. Or rain. However, the church now is closed and locked, as are so many places during this pandemic.

German POWs in Algona? Are you kidding?

The volunteer hosts at the Camp Algona Prisoner of War museum sometimes get that response. Why would the U.S. government spend $1.3 million to build a prison camp for 10,000 German prisoners in Algona? Even for those who don’t know our history, that’s a legitimate question. Why would the government do that?

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