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Remembering December

I remember December when I was young

And the air was cold and full of snow

In the great plains, the Midwest, 

Where old man winter is the frozen king


I remember the time of Christmas vacation

Where my memories are so very clear

We dressed for the cold outdoors

And did our frozen thing


Of course, snowball fights were common

When the snow was right

Building snowmen and forts

Was fun everyone could do


And when the river froze

Ice skating was a special kind of joy

But when the wind was blowing hard

Ice skating was too difficult for me and you


And we had three hills where 

The streets were the best for sliding

When crusted with frozen ice and snow

One was the longest slide to know


Our town was like a living Christmas Card

Downtown stores and houses everywhere

Decorated with pride and loving care,

Topped only by Santa’s visit Christmas morning, 

A long time ago. 

Dennis C. Orvis

Winter Haven, Florida

County animal ordinance

Are the Bremer County Supervisors running at large and out of control?

When I first saw the article entitled “County Adopts Animal Control Ordinance” in the Nov. 27 Bremer County Independent I thought OMG, what have they done now! My initial thoughts were that the Supervisors need to focus more on the problems created by urban sprawl than creating more laws and ordinances aimed at making it harder for farmers to make a living.

Farm cats are feral cats, living primarily on their own resources, and they help the farmer control the rodent population, but the farmer does not claim ownership of them. Farm dogs earn their keep as guard dogs primarily to warn off intruders and help the farmer in many other ways, but they can’t do their job tied up on a chain. They tend to stay near their farm homes as long as they’re fed regularly and treated well. More often than not, they bond closely with the farm family and become loving pets and don’t wander about aimlessly. Nor do they bark excessively without a good reason. Cats and dogs often end up in the country, because they’ve been abandoned there by urban people. Livestock do occasionally get out of fenced areas in spite of the farmer’s best efforts to contain them and it is far more upsetting to the farmer than the neighbors when that happens. Habitual offenders and others who mistreat livestock should be encouraged to find another way to make a living. 

Sheriff Pickett, according to the newspaper article, is responding to “dog complaints, due to a number of housing additions in the unincorporated areas of the country.” He said “that there have been situations where some dogs’ excessive barking has resulted in neighbors being unable to have their windows open during warm summer nights.” My wife and I tried country living for almost four years in northwestern Iowa and we found the summer heat and humidity so unbearable that we kept the windows closed in favor of air conditioning. When the weather was more inviting in the spring and fall, the dust and dirt from the persistent windy conditions and field work kept us from opening our windows. In addition, we had to put up with the loud mooing of cattle (which didn’t bother me) and the odor from hog confinements on neighboring farms (which bothered me a little). Finally, there was the frightening howling of coyotes, also canines (which bothered me a lot).

Nevertheless, I found something positive in the new ordinance in Section 3, where “At Large” is defined to mean “any dog or cat, or any domesticated animal or livestock found off the premises of such animal’s owner and not under the control of a competent person.” Bremer County park regulations go beyond the meaning of “not under the control of a competent person” to require that “the owner carries such animal or leads it by a leash or chain not exceeding six feet in length.” I urge the Supervisors to revise park regulations to make them consistent with their new county-wide regulations. If my dog is off-leash in a county park, yet under my control, a leash should not be necessary and can sometimes make matters worse.

I hope that the supervisors will rethink the absurdity of these new regulations and leave rural Bremer County to the farmers, so they can do their job feeding the rest of us. For those folks who otherwise choose to live in the country, my advice is accept conditions as they are and not try to make them as you would like them to be at the expense of farmers. Otherwise take ownership of your mistake and do as I did, move back to town.

Brian Harvey



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