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Letters to the editor

September 17, 2010
Reinbeck Courier

Dear Editor,

My wife has told me that I should consider strapping a lawn chair to my back. She informs me that then I can just sit down, place that confused look on my face and just let life pass me by. I guess my blank stares may have reaffirmed her believe in reincarnation. She seems convinced I may have been the village idiot on more than one occasion in more than one village.

Since I seem to wander through life much like the skunk we once saw crossing the road with its head stuck in a bag of potato chips, I tend to take a few things for granted. Take for instance the yearly occurrence Valentines Day. I just take for granted the fact that my wife will REMIND me that the holiday is just a few days away rather than nonchalantly let me know I missed it again. Typically I choose to celebrate the holiday myself in somewhat belated fashion with a visit to the chiropractor. That's another thing I take for granted. I guess I think I can sleep, EVEN ON THE COUCH, but my back seems to think otherwise.

Even tough I admit I do kind of stumble through life without a clue, there are a few things I don't take for granted. One of those things is a guy we have here within the G-R school system that is a major "plate stepper-upper." One of the things I do not look past is all the things Mike Bengen does year in and year out for the athletes and young kids fortunate enough to get to know this guy. I think sometimes when people VOLUNTEER their time and energy long enough, its just something we come to expect. Let me just run down a few things "Beng" has done for the athletes and athletic programs here at G-R.

First of all, I'm not sure there is a sport hasn't he coached and often without any financial compensation as well. When I was the head boys basketball coach many years ago, he was one of my first assistants. Through the years he has been at almost every open gym, run basketball camps for both boys and girls programs, supervised the weight room and been there for any coach or athlete that needs help. The money he makes at his camps seldom goes in his pocket. Just ask MANY of the people and organizations who have received contributions from the money generated by his camps.

Many years ago we began hosting the senior all star game. It is kind of a hassle to set up each year, but a great experience for the seniors. Now I pretty much just get out of the way and let Mike get the thing going. A few years ago I asked Mike if he thought we should take the money generated by the game and donate it to the Bryce Mercer scholarship fund. No sooner said than done. Someone later mentioned it would be a great idea to start a golf tournament in Bryce's name to generate money for our kids and Wartburg students. Next thing I know, Beng is calling me with the date he had reserved the course as well as sponsors for the day.

I can tell you that there are very few athletes that have gone through any athletic program here at G-R that have not in some way shape or form been affected by something Mike has done for them. The guy just works tirelessly for our kids and programs and expects nothing in return other than what he gets, the chance to be around kids and coaches and help in some special way.

I just wanted to publicly tell Mike thanks for all he does. For those of you who don't get the chance to see all he has done for G-R, now maybe you have an idea of all he has done for our kids. My guess is your kids already know that. Now if I could just get the guy to call me on Feb. 12th and remind me there is something I need to put on my TO-DO list.

Tom Boheman


The Factory Farm Industry Has Struck Again!

This time a year ago headlines were covered with the threat of swine flu. Experts from across the country linked the flu back to factory farms - explaining the rapid spread of disease between animals when so many are kept in such high concentration. None of us were surprised when we heard these reports last year, most people living in Iowa have known about the health risks of factory farms for a long time.

Now, just a year later, we are witnessing a massive recall of eggs infected with salmonella - eggs produced from factory farms right here in Iowa. Again, I am not surprised, and I won't be surprised next time either. Our lawmakers say that we can't afford to put an end to the factory farm industry here in Iowa - but I know that we as taxpayers really can't afford the health risks, the polluted air, or the polluted water. I know that we certainly can't afford to continue covering for factory farm screw ups on the tax payer dime or giving them tax breaks so that THEY can afford to ruin our quality of life.

It's time our lawmakers stop kow towing to the factory farm industry, and stand up for us - the voters - by passing strict regulatons of factory farms NOW - before we have another outbreak of disease on our hands.


Lori Nelson

Bayard, Iowa



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