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I have always admired songwriters because they seem to have a unique way of conveying complicated feelings in short, simple phrases.

editor's pick
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At the Planet office, we had a saying when someone left: Just wait, they’ll be back.

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Let’s squarely face an ugly possibility: President Trump could get elected a second time without winning the popular vote. Indeed, according to most experts, that’s the only way he could be reelected.

editor's pick
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What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.

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Want to do something for your community that won’t take such effort and won’t cost much?

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I was talking with people today about what is going on with this COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone has an opinion. I couldn’t tell you if their opinions are right or wrong.

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The pandemic still threatens. Many face economic ruin. Racial tensions have exploded into violence. Anarchy and discord threaten national survival. Seldom have so many serious crisis come to the fore at the same time, as in these distressing days.

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The coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world, is or soon will be the biggest problem that many people have ever had to deal with. Area residents have had to overcome job losses, being separated from friends and neighbors, and schools and churches being closed.

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Remember when it was socially acceptable to shake hands with others? I am looking forward to that day again. There is so much revealed in that brief physical encounter. Traditionally it has been one of the first impressions that we make on others and they on us. Texture, strength, confidence…

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As I walked a country road near my rural town this past week, a local slowed his pickup alongside me. “We’re moving to Florida, Jim.” He paused, then: “Illinois is not well managed, you know.” Three weeks ago, a hugely successful commodities trader friend, who lives in splendor on a big swat…

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I can’t recall the last time I wrote or received a handwritten letter — but it’s time to send such letters again.

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“The only constant in life is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And those words are so true, especially in the 21st century, and most notably in the year 2020.

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I’m getting a whole-house attic fan installed this week — just like the one my father had installed in my childhood home — and I cannot wait to cool my house using his old-time methods.

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Over the last few years we have heard many people talking about what needs to be done with statues that may give glory to the Confederacy. In the last few weeks the issue has become a hotbed of argument, with no real decisions on how the statues and monuments should be handled.

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Living in a rural central Illinois town (Toulon, pop. 1,400), I am alert to any forces that might spur relocation to hinterland communities, which are often struggling to maintain population and vitality. Are the pandemic and recent urban, sometimes violent protests such prompts? I conclude …

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As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a recent column, I averred that the George Floyd death and protests-in-reaction represented a classic case of the powerful “us versus them” syndrome that is baked into the human brain.

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On Facebook someone recently stated that Metropolis needs to be known for something other than Superman. Maybe it is time to breakout Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. Well, not really. Here is a column I wrote about the Birdman when a new book was released.

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This essay is not about who should be elected president in November, but about something arguably as important: How to avoid a sloppy election count, which could throw the nation into chaos.

  • Updated
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Last month, the General Assembly returned to session for the first time since early March for an abbreviated special session designed to take up a few items related to the budget and the state government’s response to COVID-19. While the end of May is typically a busy time for the legislatur…

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During the first 65 years of my life, skunks never gave me much trouble. It seems like I have smelled a million of them from where they got squashed on the road, but a horrible smell usually only lasted a short time, and was then forgotten.

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Since I live in a small out-of-the way county that has had one reported case of COVID-19, a second recently rumored, I have been hesitant to write about the big disruption in our lives. I am obviously not sharing the valiant struggles of nurses and their associates, at the side of infected p…

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The only major, contested issue on the ballot this fall in our Blue State will be whether to enact Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed constitutional amendment to allow graduated income tax rates. I think the Pritzker approach — not the concept — is wrong-headed. I try to explain here.

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

  • 0

Let’s squarely face an ugly possibility: President Trump could get elected a second time without winning the popular vote. Indeed, according to most experts, that’s the only way he could be reelected.

editor's pick
  • 0

What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.

  • Updated
  • 0

Want to do something for your community that won’t take such effort and won’t cost much?

  • 0

I was talking with people today about what is going on with this COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone has an opinion. I couldn’t tell you if their opinions are right or wrong.

  • 0

The pandemic still threatens. Many face economic ruin. Racial tensions have exploded into violence. Anarchy and discord threaten national survival. Seldom have so many serious crisis come to the fore at the same time, as in these distressing days.

  • 0

The coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world, is or soon will be the biggest problem that many people have ever had to deal with. Area residents have had to overcome job losses, being separated from friends and neighbors, and schools and churches being closed.

  • 0

Remember when it was socially acceptable to shake hands with others? I am looking forward to that day again. There is so much revealed in that brief physical encounter. Traditionally it has been one of the first impressions that we make on others and they on us. Texture, strength, confidence…

  • 0

As I walked a country road near my rural town this past week, a local slowed his pickup alongside me. “We’re moving to Florida, Jim.” He paused, then: “Illinois is not well managed, you know.” Three weeks ago, a hugely successful commodities trader friend, who lives in splendor on a big swat…

  • 0

I can’t recall the last time I wrote or received a handwritten letter — but it’s time to send such letters again.

  • 0

“The only constant in life is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And those words are so true, especially in the 21st century, and most notably in the year 2020.

  • 0

I’m getting a whole-house attic fan installed this week — just like the one my father had installed in my childhood home — and I cannot wait to cool my house using his old-time methods.

  • 0

Over the last few years we have heard many people talking about what needs to be done with statues that may give glory to the Confederacy. In the last few weeks the issue has become a hotbed of argument, with no real decisions on how the statues and monuments should be handled.

  • 0

Living in a rural central Illinois town (Toulon, pop. 1,400), I am alert to any forces that might spur relocation to hinterland communities, which are often struggling to maintain population and vitality. Are the pandemic and recent urban, sometimes violent protests such prompts? I conclude …

  • 0

As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 0

In a recent column, I averred that the George Floyd death and protests-in-reaction represented a classic case of the powerful “us versus them” syndrome that is baked into the human brain.

  • 0

On Facebook someone recently stated that Metropolis needs to be known for something other than Superman. Maybe it is time to breakout Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. Well, not really. Here is a column I wrote about the Birdman when a new book was released.

  • 0

This essay is not about who should be elected president in November, but about something arguably as important: How to avoid a sloppy election count, which could throw the nation into chaos.

  • Updated
  • 0

Last month, the General Assembly returned to session for the first time since early March for an abbreviated special session designed to take up a few items related to the budget and the state government’s response to COVID-19. While the end of May is typically a busy time for the legislatur…

  • 0

During the first 65 years of my life, skunks never gave me much trouble. It seems like I have smelled a million of them from where they got squashed on the road, but a horrible smell usually only lasted a short time, and was then forgotten.

  • 0

Since I live in a small out-of-the way county that has had one reported case of COVID-19, a second recently rumored, I have been hesitant to write about the big disruption in our lives. I am obviously not sharing the valiant struggles of nurses and their associates, at the side of infected p…

  • 0

The only major, contested issue on the ballot this fall in our Blue State will be whether to enact Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed constitutional amendment to allow graduated income tax rates. I think the Pritzker approach — not the concept — is wrong-headed. I try to explain here.

  • 0

Most of the rural counties in central and southern Illinois have been extremely lucky in that there have been few cases of the coronavirus. Massac County has had six reported cases, Johnson County has had seven, and Pope County has had only one. That is not to say that there have not been, n…

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In the midst of a global health crisis, the agri-food sector is pressing forward determined to do what it does best—feed the world. After all, empty grocery store shelves don’t simply restock themselves.

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Since I was a boy growing up in rural Illinois post-World War II, American agriculture has achieved momentous productivity increases, from about 45 bushels an acre of corn back then to an average of 180 today, with farmers in my area sometimes getting 300 bushels per.

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Looking at the horrible situation the United States is in today, southernmost Illinois is probably in much better shape than the rest of the country.

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After careful consideration and prayer, my wife and I decided against homeschooling our three daughters when they reached school age, mainly because we recognize our pedagogical limitations — and we value our mental health.