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Any of you who read these words know in what high regard I hold your individual rights. The freedoms our framers sought to protect – religion, speech, petition, arms, property and due process to name just a few – are incredibly important in a republic that turns over leadership as often as ours.

Farewell, Ivy Scartlett, may you go with God

When I returned to writing an Inkspots column five years ago after quite a long hiatus, it was for two reasons: 1.) I felt if I could make a few people smile, or even chuckle, that would help justify my taking up space on this planet; 2.) Bing had just died, and I needed to fill my time.

Placing faith

Putting faith in people is a dangerous proposition, so it’s best to put that in someone else. But we have to live with one another, so there are times you hope and pray that sensible people will prevail. Such is the case when it comes to the concept of defunding police departments in cities with drug dealing, gun running, domestic violence, gang activity and daily-to-weekly murders. Are we not going to prosecute at least the obviously guilty offenders? Should we do reform? Sure. But, defund?

Chamber adjusts, works with partners

It’s hard to believe we are past the middle of June already. Most of us are keeping busy trying to figure out the ways to try to get our lives back into some sort of normal routine. We are all in this together but at different levels, so I will just use this opportunity to update you on what is happening at the Algona Chamber office.

He tunneled out - county needs a new jail

150 Years AgoNew Harness Shop. F. W. Hawes has just opened a new Harness Shop on State Street, opposite the Bank, where a full stock of Double and Single Harness, Bridles, Halters, Whips, Enameled Cloth, Brushes and Combs, can be had on short notice. Repairing done to order, and warranted to give satisfaction.Get more from Out of the Past in the June 18 Kossuth County Advance.

Gassman shares his highlights of legislative 2020 session

The Iowa General Assembly adjourned the 2020 legislative session on Sunday, June 14, after spending 75 days in session in Des Moines.


The death of George Floyd, a black man, should not have happened. The white officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes is rightfully charged with murder and will have his day in court. The other three officers who failed to respond to Floyd’s calls for help will have to live with those consequences as well.

Local newspapers are as important as ever

“You can pay me now,” said the man on the 1970 television commercial for Fram oil filters, “or you can pay him later,” pointing to the mechanic rebuilding an engine.”
That TV ad first aired 50 years ago; the message is a part of our consciousness today. That pay-now-or-pay-later line applies to what I believe is one of the two most under-reported stories of our time: The business of local journalism is endangered, and it matters.

Letters to editor

Women have a ways to go for equal pay
The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, but despite this federal law, the gender pay gap still exists over 50 years later. Tuesday, March 31, the American Association of University Women (AAUW)-Algona branch planned to mark the day that the average woman finally, in 15 months, makes the same amount as her male counterpart does in 12 months. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to do our usual Equal Pay Day activities.

Coronavirus secrecy erodes the public’s confidence

The relationship between government and the governed is a delicate arrangement, even in the best of times.
Government wants us to pay our taxes. It wants us to obey its laws and directives. Citizens, in turn, expect certain things from government, things like good schools, parks, law enforcement and protection of the public health and safety.
Trust and accountability are key elements in this arrangement between government and the governed.


Just when I couldn’t be surprised more by society’s level of ignorance with regard to citizens’ relationship with their governments, I once again get knocked off my chair.

Documenting the present, for the future

Documenting the Present, the second part of the Kossuth County Historical Society’s motto, is taken very seriously. It is one of the goals of the society to make the present be preserved for generations to come.
A way to do that is by encouraging people to consider donating items to the society before tossing them out. Although limited to items that are 50 years old with a connection to Kossuth County, there are probably a lot of meaningful, historic items that are being trashed.

You can’t bring your dog on the train

125 Years Ago –
Over at Denison a man named Gregory sued the Northwestern for $1,900 damages for putting him off the train. He brought a dog with him and the conductor put both off. The court now holds that he had no right to bring the dog, and that the company is not liable.
Read more items from Out of the Past in the June 4 edition of the Kossuth County Advance.

More on Flextape, introducting pinky promises

Remember two weeks ago I wrote about my disastrous attempt to patch my leaky birdbath? I was conquered by an evil entity called Flextape, which also conquered three pairs of my good scissors.

Live free...

That our nation will lose more than 100,000 to COVID-19 is a human disaster. It already has killed more people in a few months than die annually from the flu. The problem with COVID-19 is it is so contagious. Though Kossuth County, as of Tuesday, had just seven confirmed cases, we would be foolish to think there are not more – many more.

Here’s What I learned...

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified many problems in our country. One of the most glaring is the disappearance of local journalism. While people are increasingly turning to local journalists for information on how the pandemic is impacting their communities, advertisers are cutting their budgets to account for an economy in rapid decline. This means newspapers that were struggling to get by now face the prospect of being shuttered entirely.

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