Category: Staff Soapbox

AI, bio-research: a match made in digital heaven

As some of you may know, I’m a huge sci-fi fan. Some of the things I’m going to describe may seem like science fiction, but it’s all either already real, or extrapolated based on existing science. For decades, scientists sought to understand what’s called protein folding. A tiny bit of background: nearly all life on earth has a genetic code […]

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Decker speaks to time with Free Press

After reading the Free Press editorial last week, I sat back and thought about how two local guys took a huge chance almost 20 years ago by starting a free newspaper that would go to every home in Marion County. The logistics of such an undertaking boggles my mind. It just couldn’t have been that easy. But Joel Klaassen, former […]

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Gossip can beat people down

Life is a journey with small and large potholes that can be easy or hard to navigate. But in the final analysis, and for purposes of this column, I would like to put it in terms of “gossip.” Engaging in gossip can be a good thing. In fact, researchers suggest it was the way people in groups learned to communicate […]

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Moving on in a good direction

When I was a lot younger, my friends and family would joke about the day when we would retire, but that day seemed so far away I wasn’t worried. One friend even said we should retire when we are young, and then go to work in our “golden” years. It seemed like a great idea when I was in my […]

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Humanity is small compared to cosmos

I used to spend a great deal more time outdoors—particularly when I was much younger—until I graduated community college and left my home in the country. Lately, I tend to spend far more time in front of a computer, whether it be creating art, writing or programming. However, I remember a couple of events that I suspect were once-in-a-lifetime experiences. […]

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Stranger things at county

Recent Marion Coun­ty Board of Commissioners meetings have been bitterly divisive at times, paralyzed with respect to meeting amicably on issues, and stalemated at almost every turn. Two weeks ago when Commissioner Kent Becker was absent, it seemed that Commissioner Randy Dallke set out to prove a point that he could make Chairwoman Dianne Novak ineffective by not seconding any […]

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Contempt prior to investigation

vHere’s one of my all-time favorite quotes: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” I particularly like this quote because it keeps me open-minded, honest and willing to see every person, situation and […]

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Leaders reveal surprising jobs

It’s been a lot of fun finding out about some of the people in our community, and what kind of jobs they had before settling in to a career. When it comes to unique jobs, I think the “blue hamster” that Marty Fredrickson, Marion City’s street director and building inspector, talked about rates high on the list. Fredrickson said he […]

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Local leaders recall first jobs

For those who may have missed my column last month, this article is a continuation in a two-part series on jobs—past and present. It also features some of our well-known Marion County per­sonalities. In the Dec. 6 article, Mar­ty Fred­rick­son, director of Marion City streets and also building inspector, said his boss genetically engineered a blue hamster. In this column, […]

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Curmudgeonly Christmas carol comment

The women with whom I work started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving had even arrived. While I prefer to wait until at least after the turkey has been eaten, I know them all too well to believe that this would be a winnable battle. Apparently there is a mysterious something that drives them to the early expression of holiday spirit. […]

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