Category: Staff Soapbox

It would be nice to bring back civility

When one of our long-time commissioners told a fellow commissioner during a public session to “shut up,” it was not only unacceptable, but it left me wondering what has happened to us. In fairness, it’s not just a Marion County problem, but rather it’s a problem throughout the country. Yet this type of bitterness, mean-spirit and lack of respect for […]

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County employees can’t have it both ways

The Marion County Commission is looking at a pay plan for employees, but before making any decisions, it would be in the best interest of the taxpayer to study this compensation package closely. And, as taxpayers, it would be in everyone’s best interest to ask questions. In my opinion, there are some very nice people who are county employees, some […]

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Creating bonds and losing touch apart of life

Whenever I hear an old song, or see somebody who looks similar to a friend I once knew, I begin reminiscing about other people who I’ve lost touch with, and who meant so much to me at different stages of my life. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t stay in one place too long. Born in Atchison, we […]

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Change is just a part of the journey

The quote: “Change is the only constant in life,” came from a man named Heraclitus, who was a pre-Socractic Greek philosopher. And, no truer words have been written or spoken about change. Some recent changes prompted sad feelings, and in this case it was my friend and neighbor. Other changes might cause someone to feel mad, glad or scared. Years […]

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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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