Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cellulosic Ethanol Alters the Landscape

Here wait several hundred large square bales of cornstalks in a field north of Ware. The Poet ethanol plant in Emmetsburg now buys such bales for its experimental process of making ethanol from cellulose rather than from grain. This is the first year of the experiment which is funded in part by the Iowa Power Fund. Newly elected Republicans have been skeptical of the fund which was created by the defeated Governor Culver.

Meanwhile Iowa State's Bruce Babcock says the ethanol blender's credit should not be renewed next month. It does little to boost ethanol production, he says, and points to the way it subsidizes exported ethanol. At present the oil companies benefit from the subsidy as much as farmers do, according to Babcock.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Music Man Plays Laurens

With a cast of forty-six singing students, the L-M High School performed a musical before an audience of hundreds Friday night. It is the tale of Professor Harold Hill, a traveling salesman of musical instruments. He arrives in River City and tells the people they need him to form a band. Otherwise the town kids will get in trouble at the local pool hall: "Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool."

When the local school board asks for Hill's credentials he turns them into a musical group, too. Pictured are Trent Kischer, Will Cleveland, Jacob Rosendahl, and Colin Lind. Later he romances Marion the librarian. John Stumpf and Kelsey Slattery played the lead roles.

The musical is remembered for several songs including "Til There Was You" and the signature tune of "Seventy-Six Trombones." Hill may have been a peddler and a swindler, but he can surely sing. He's not alone in that regard.

The production was directed by music teacher Joan Enockson with piano accompanist Connie Dallenbach. There is an encore performance Saturday night at 7 p.m. for only seven dollars. Prof. Hill won't be back in these parts any time soon, so don't miss it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tom Shaw is State Representative

Laurens police chief Tom Shaw has been elected to the Iowa House of Representatives. Shaw rode to victory as part of a Republican sweep of Iowa election returns, spending more than $100,000 mostly on television attack ads against his school teacher opponent, Susan Bangert of Algona.

After midnight with one precinct still to report, the result was Shaw 66%, Bangert 34%.