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Local Columns

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

One in 25 people in the U.S. will develop colon or rectal cancer at some point during their lifetime. Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Fortunately, colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers due to increased awareness, prevention, and ...

Goodbye, Fort Dodge! It’s been quite a journey

“Watch your step in Fort Dodge,” a Fort Dodge native said to me in Storm Lake as I prepared to leave the Pilot-Tribune for my new job at The Messenger in July 2019. It was one of several similar comments I received, alluding to the town’s infamous nickname around the state. And I’m ...

“Feeling Lucky?”

This St. Patrick’s Day certainly feels better than last year’s. Celebrating the “luck of the Irish” was the furthest thing from my mind in 2020. In fact, for those in the field of aging services, “luck” took on an entirely different meaning. Our guidance (or our curse) was, ...

Iowa facing maternal health crisis

Like the rest of the United States, Iowa is facing a maternal health crisis. The maternal mortality rate in Iowa has almost doubled in recent years and significant racial disparities exist. Black mothers in Iowa have a pregnancy-related maternal mortality over six times higher than their white ...

Double Up Food Bucks fights food insecurity, stimulates the economy

Access to nutritious food is necessary for Iowans to be happy, healthy and productive. Yet due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, hundreds of thousands of Iowans do not know where they will get their next meal. Across the nation, millions of Americans are newly facing food insecurity ...

Iowa Central manages federal COVID relief funding

Iowa Central received a total of $3,204,692 in total federal first round of CARES Act (COVID) relief funding in the spring of 2020, of which $1,526,599 was used for institutional costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the CARES Act. (COVID) The ...

Funnel week ends, vaccination effort continues

Thursday was the last day of funnel week. If a bill does not make it through committee by the end of this week, it is not eligible for consideration on the House floor. It was a busy week of subcommittee and committee work. Last week, the Iowa House passed a COVID-19 relief package for Iowa ...

‘Photo Fred’ Larson is back – lifting spirits, telling his jokes

The coronavirus pandemic could hold him down for just so long. “Photo Fred” is back! Fred Larson, who has been photographing the people and places of Fort Dodge since he bought his first camera at 9 years old (”for 10 cents and three box tops”), has resumed self-appointed duties as ...

UnityPoint, Blank Children’s Hospital begin partnership

I am extremely excited to share UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge has formed a strong partnership with Blank Children’s Hospital to enhance pediatric care in our community. We have officially welcomed six full-time pediatric-trained nurse practitioners to our Fort Dodge team, who are dedicated ...

Grateful for Lifeworks

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It is a good time to consider disability, how it impacts individuals and families, and learn more. The sister of a person currently served by LifeWorks, who wished to remain anonymous, shares her family’s story here. The LifeWorks ...

With the right mix of policies, we can address the child care crisis

Just recently, I was catching up with a friend from Montgomery County who confessed she had been having a difficult time balancing both her job as an essential worker and her responsibilities as a mother of three. When COVID-19 hit last spring, and schools transitioned to virtual learning, her ...

Delivering relief for victims of natural disasters

On Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, a massive storm system with high winds and isolated tornadoes tore through the Midwest, leaving a 700 mile path of destruction in its wake – from Nebraska all the way to Indiana. In Iowa, early estimates indicated that 43 percent of cropland was impacted across the ...

Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack

As more and more individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there is hope for returning to some old routines yet this year. In the meantime, we encourage everyone, including those who have received the vaccine, to wear a face covering, social distance and wash your hands frequently to help stop ...

Let’s do better than normal

We’ve all said it. “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.” I think there are times during the last few weeks I’ve either said it or thought it many times during the day. During the pandemic there are levels of “normalcy” that come and go. Sometimes they last more than a ...

Deficit reduction and control is paramount

The state of Iowa is one of the best financially managed states in the nation. In the Iowa Legislature, we maintained a balanced budget because we abided by a simple budgeting principle — one that businesses and families across the state live by every day: don’t spend more money than you ...

The journey, not the destination

In December of 2019, I made the decision to sign back up for taekwondo classes at Faiferlick Martial Arts after about an 18-year hiatus from the sport. When I was a child, going to taekwondo was a family affair for my dad, two older brothers and myself. I was about 5 years old when I first ...

Lessons learned in Fort Dodge forged Boake Sells’ business career

It was a seminal moment in Boake Sells’ life as he and his wife Marian loaded up their belongings in a U-Haul to move with their two young children from Fort Dodge for a new job in Milwaukee. He was 29 and in his first job out of college. He worked for a phone company, but lost the job for ...

Minute With Mike: Ag, education measures keep lawmakers busy

Before I start Minute with Mike for the week, I usually go back and read what I have written for the same legislative week from the previous two years. Last year at this time, I wrote about the upcoming county caucus. It seems like such a long time ago when the presidential campaign ...

Area Clergy To Be Honored

In observance of Clergy Appreciation Month, the local Fort Dodge Civitan Club is asking the citizens of the city to say thank you to their ministers for their service and dedication they do. The idea for Clergy Week is to help promote world brotherhood and religious understanding among all ...