Understanding Illinois: Make No Little Plans

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

It is time to begin to turn things around in Illinois. I think some positive elements are coming into place. And I have the sketch of a plan to do so.

Plan is the operative word or, better, implementation of a plan is the operative phrase.

As I have said in this space before, Illinois doesn’t do any planning, or big picture thinking, at the state level. We haven’t done so for decades, all the while we have been slipping relative to the nation in economic terms. Read More

My Dad’s Last Words

SarahHudsonPierce, authorby Sarah Hudson Pierce

I knew so little about our daddy because he was so sick during most of my childhood up until he died at home in bed in our front room on March 19, 1958

Our dad, Roy Earnest Hudson, was born on September 23, 1895, in Bethany, Illinois. He still seems like such a mystery having died 56 years ago when I was only 10 years old

I felt rootless and drawn to delve into the old family trunk because I sensed that there was much to be learned about our genetic lineage. I was very productive after the age of 30, in 1978, while I located living long lost relatives with the aid of directory assistance and our old family trunk which was full of old family pictures, letters, and other memorabilia. Read More

A Minor Message for High School Graduates

keithJune 11, 2014

by Keith Stewart

You’ve donned an awkward gown, perhaps tossed an even more odd-shaped cap, and you’ve been given a piece of paper.

You’ve graduated high school.

And in keeping with the line of customary traditions, I bequeath upon you a bit more wisdom–that is in addition to whatever your parents, grandparents, teachers, valedictorian, salutatorian, and the rest of the world has already heaved upon you: if you must leave, do so without cursing the place in which you grew up. Read More

What’s in a Name?

Bill Bailey, WIUby William C. Bailey
School of Agriculture Western Illinois University

A recent column on quinoa prompted a reader to alert me to a similar grain, which is grown in Illinois, named amaranth. I did some research and learned a lot about amaranth, which has been in the food chain for a long time. It was important to the Aztecs and can today be purchased at our local grocery store, under the name “Bob’s Red Mill Organic Amaranth”. I also learned it is referred to, in some circles, as ‘pig weed’, since it apparently has been fed to pigs. Given the choice, I prefer the name amaranth to pig weed – it certainly seems to have considerably more commercial appeal. “Bob’s Red Mill Organic Pig Weed” doesn’t really do it for me.  Read More

Roses in Bloom, Summer Well On Its Way

KimForColumnby Kim Riedel
NP Columnist

It is summertime.

Well, not officially, but the temperatures have been nice and warm and even a little too warm; yet I am appreciating the beauty all around me. Flowers of all colors and shades are blooming, and early crops are coming in. Since all of my family (besides three of my kids) lives half the country away, I decided to share the beauty and excitement of my garden through Facebook, which I have never done before. It has turned into a fun learning experience as I have been getting comments and questions about different plants, flowers and crops that I have in my gardens. I found out that my purplish pink flowers that I have enjoyed for the last eight years are actually hardy geraniums; I had never thought of taking the time to find out what kind of a flower it was before, but now I am pleased to know that I love perennial geraniums. It has been fun seeing pictures my family has posted of their own plants in their gardens; sometimes it makes me feel that they really aren’t so far away. Read More

Letters To The Editor 6.4.14

Shepherds Hooks No More?

My Memorial day was ruined this year when I went to put flowers on my parents’ graves, as I have for the last 15 years. I decided to write this to warn other people about picking grave sites. It is not a good idea to pick them in a privately owned cemetery, such as Moultrie County Memorial Park. Since my father was buried, three people have owned this cemetery, with their own set of rules. Read More

Understanding China: Sleeping Bear Awakened

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

I’m sitting al fresco at an Indian restaurant on a trendy street near Fudan University in Shanghai, a cold draft Carlsberg in hand. As the well-dressed, handsome Shanghai residents stroll by, young parents with their one child in tow, I think to myself maybe I understand China a bit, but I don’t.

I recall that Napoleon once warned about awakening the sleeping bear that was China. The bear has been startled awake by the economic reforms of 1979. Hang on for the ride. Read More

Understanding China: Passion for Education Impressive

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

I am spending May in Shanghai as a visiting scholar at Fudan University where I am teaching a short course in American government for smart senior undergraduate students. I also lecture to graduate students on various topics in American politics. The English of my students is impressive indeed, and no translation is needed.

Because Shanghai scored highest in the world in 2012 in the math education achievement of 15 year olds, I asked my host professor if she might contact her child’s middle school to see if I could learn how the schools in Shanghai do so well. Read More

It’s Just Golden…Knock, Knock…Who’s There? Manners… Manners Who?

Golden Column Photoby John Golden
NP Columnist

What has happened to the simple act of knocking before entering through a closed door? Have the little things like respect, common courtesy, and over-all good manners abruptly disappeared from today’s lexicon? I was born in the eighties and was raised with a heavy emphasis on good manners and constant respect for everyone equally. And knocking before entering a room was common practice. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Corruption, an Enduring Habit in Illinois

NowlanBy James D. Nowlan
and J. Thomas Johnson
Outside Columnists

Since our founding as a state, corruption in Illinois has been so commonplace that it is called “The Illinois Way” of doing government business.

Our state’s reputation has been sullied and our economy harmed. It is not a matter to be passed off with a rueful chuckle.

Early Illinois governor Ninian Edwards (1826-30) decried the common practice in his time of treating citizens with whisky to win their votes. Those who do so, Edwards declared, “establish a school of vice and depravity in our country tending to contaminate not only the present but succeeding generations.” Read More