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Keeping the shutdown in perspective

In official Washington and the nation’s political media world, the partial shutdown of the federal government is a crisis dominating the arrival of a new Congress this week. That perception is certainly understandable when you consider what a company town Washington, D.C., has become. Just ...

Not responding to texts right away

Dear Annie: Recently, a friend confronted me about something that I didn’t think was a big deal: Sometimes I forget to respond to texts for a while, and then I reply and say that I just saw the message. Technically, most of the time, it’s a lie; I did see the message, and I just got ...

Words of wisdom

His grandfather was a stalwart of the Iowa Senate, representing northwest Iowa for 34 years. His father was a successful trial attorney in Fort Dodge for 35 years. And now, Charles Joseph Coleman III is forging his own life’s path, one far different from that of the late Iowa Sen. C. ...

The triumph of Tyler Trent

The Indianapolis Star (and many other national publications) ran a touching obituary for Tyler Trent, a 20-year-old Purdue University student and devoted Boilermaker football fan who lost his battle with bone cancer on Tuesday. Tyler grew up in Carmel, Indiana, and had dreams of attending ...

The cure for writer’s block

Dear Annie: I used to write every day — mostly poems but also essays. I really want to get back into it, but my motivation has waned. When I used to write every day, I was deeply depressed, and writing was an outlet, a stress reliever. I still want to write, but I never seem able to get ...

Sister, teacher

Last month, I drove an hour east of Cleveland to Ashtabula, Ohio, where I grew up and where my youngest sister, Toni, is a high school English teacher. Once a week, she also teaches a “career enrichment” class for eighth-graders, which is why I was there. Our old high school is long gone, ...

Friction with brother-in-law

Dear Annie: My twin sister and brother-in-law visited me for the recent holiday. I love my sister, and we have always gotten along well. As is stereotypical with twins, we grew up inseparable and have remained emotionally close, even as the physical distance between us widens. We now only see ...

Dogs have their day in our politicized society

I wanted to write this column about dogs. If you follow me on Twitter or have read my work elsewhere, you probably know that about me: I like my dogs. Though truth be told, I probably like your dogs, too. Because I just like dogs. It’s a common sentiment. Dog ownership has been going up ...

Politics at the dinner table

Dear Annie: Politics took over as the main topic at our holiday dinner. I don’t mind open debate among parties with differing views, as long as those debating have logical and fact-supported positions. Our dinner usually goes smoothly, as everyone gets along and, despite differing opinions, ...

Dogs Everywhere

Dear Annie: I love most dogs and have had pets all my life, but there are times and places in which pets should not accompany their owners. Of course, trained service dogs are the exception. I am seeing so many dogs being exposed to crowded stores and outdoor festivals and sales. They are ...

The trade war and US farmers

Not long ago, agriculture was a crown jewel of America’s export economy. Then President Trump happened. He launched his “easy-to-win” trade wars, and our trading partners hit back right where the farm belt hurts. Soybeans have been our biggest farm export and China their biggest ...

And peace online

My New Year’s resolution: Make a careful distinction between speech and violence. America’s First Amendment says “yes” to most speech, including speech that criticizes, insults — even speech that promotes hate. But the law applies only to government. Private organizations can ...

Loved one in abusive relationship

Dear Annie: I have a good friend who has been like a kid brother to me. He has always been a very thoughtful, caring, respectful man whom I’ve gotten along great with. This man has autism and borderline intellectual functioning, so I have always explained things so that he can better ...

NORMA LUNDGREN

Norma Lundgren, 89, of Urbandale, formerly of Fort Dodge, passed away Monday, December 31, 2018, at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale. Arrangements have been entrusted to Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services.

Neighbors’ loud intimacy

Dear Annie: The couple who live in the apartment next to mine are, well, noisy. Today I could hear them being intimate several times — loudly. I’ve heard other people in the building giggling about it, too. I don’t want to get management involved if I don’t have to, but this is a little ...

Worker gets ahead of herself

Dear Annie: I work as an editor at a publishing company. It has been difficult to find capable proofreaders. I’ve had one working with me for the past few years who proved herself to be capable. She showed great attention to detail and would make occasional suggestions to books that added ...

The generosity of Americans

Nine days ago (at this writing), Iraq War veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage launched a GoFundMe page to help build the wall on the United States southern border with Mexico. In a week and a half, Kolfage has raised over $17 million (toward his stated goal of $1 billion) with gifts from ...

Private school doesn’t fulfill all needs

Dear Annie: I am the mother of three boys. Two of my boys are enrolled at the local public school and are quite happy. They are thriving academically and socially. Their class sizes are big, but the school is not overcrowded, and they receive plenty of attention from their teachers. They are ...

Trump’s character will be his downfall

For a very long time now, I have been predicting that the Trump presidency will end poorly because character is destiny. I’ve said it so often, I occasionally need to be reminded that I didn’t coin the phrase. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus did when he observed “ethos anthropoi ...