Our mental health system still has cracks

Our mental health system still has cracks

Gazette Column
We are not beyond stigmatizing health problems My sister-in-law, Susan, one of the strongest people I’ve ever met, couldn’t fight off a blood infection. She juggled not only my brother — a lifelong minister too often focused on lofty pursuits to be bogged down in the daily chores of living — but five children as well. We buried Susan a few weekends ago and it was, as you might expect, an emotional ceremony. At the same time Susan was in the hospital, another mother decided her life was no longer worth living. Beckie, who battled mental illness, first turned a rifle on her two adult sons before contacting a relative to say goodbye. By the time law enforcement was alerted and arrived at the rural home, all three were dead. The two…
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Telemedicine case will find justice

Telemedicine case will find justice

Gazette Column
No matter our stance on controversy de jour, we can agree on the importance of an independent judiciary. No one wants to stand before a judge and wonder if his or her ruling is based on placement of a wet finger in the political winds. We understand all too well, after all, that politicians can be swayed in their mission of what’s in the best interest of society to a stance better summarized as doing right by their political party or a special interest group. The last thing we need or want is our court system to fall under political scrutiny; for each decision, verdict and sentencing to be viewed as some small battle on the path to a politically-motivated goal. This is exactly why the decision this week by…
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Point, click, preserve Iowa’s small-town history

Point, click, preserve Iowa’s small-town history

Gazette Column
Like most things that wind up being equal parts cool and addictive, Bill Whittaker says his multiyear obsession to photograph Iowa towns began as a fluke. [caption id="attachment_1843" align="alignright" width="200"] Bill Whittaker[/caption] In July 2007, he was sent to survey a spot for a new cellular tower in Colfax as part of his duties at the University of Iowa’s Office of the State Archaeologist, when a faded advertisement on the side of a brick building caught his eye. He took a handful of photos of that building and the downtown area, hoping to compare his shots with some from when the town was more prosperous. “I was puzzled that I could find no photos of downtown Colfax on file [at the State Historic Preservation Office], no newspaper clippings, no images…
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