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Arian Schuessler / Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen 

Emily Harold, a West Branch senior and owner of Natural Oak Pork, feeds pigs acorns on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, at their farm in West Branch, Iowa. Harold started her business in 2016.  


Drew McHolm and his wife Jesse Boatright sit inside the Little Brown Church in Nashua on Nov. 20.

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Little Brown Church in Nashua honors Scottish holiday

WATERLOO — It will be a tale of two birthdays at the Little Brown Church’s Sunday services this week. The Rev. Drew McHolm and his wife, Jesse Boatright, are shaking things up with a Scottish celebration.

Today marks McHolm’s birthday, as well as the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who was born in 1759.

“It’s going to be a service the LBC has never seen the likes of,” said McHolm’s wife, Cedar Falls native Jesse Boatright. “It will be an educational experience for all.”

McHolm, who is leading the congregation while the church’s full-time pastor is on sabbatical, will preach in full Scottish attire. He will wear the traditional Scottish kilt, which originated from Gaelic men and boys in the Scottish Highlands.

McHolm and Boatright will sing the original version of the traditional Scottish song, “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Burns in the native language.


Drew McHolm and his wife Jesse Boatright stand outside the Little Brown Church in Nashua on Nov. 20.

Burns, known as a pioneer of the Romantic Movement and the national poet of Scotland, was a highly regarded poet and lyrist. His birthday is celebrated worldwide on or around Jan. 25, typically with a “Burns Supper,” an active celebration with songs, anecdotes and literary fun.

“This is a big deal for Scots and usually in communities of Scotsmen, they celebrate it like we would a close family member,” Boatright said.

McHolm, the Scottish-born minister, has honored Burns’ birthday celebrations for many years by speaking to audiences and delivering the “Toast to the Lassie’s.”

Boatright also has a few surprises up her sleeve for the special services. A special guest will appear at the services with a birthday gift everyone will be sure to enjoy.

The event begins at 10:15 a.m. with the weekly sing-along followed by the service. A celebratory dinner will follow services with Texas brisket and “all the fixin’s.”

Little Brown Church revival underway with new pastor

WATERLOO -- If walls could talk, the Little Brown Church in the Vale would belt out in song. Songs from more than a century ago are the foundation of the church that was built more than a century ago, and a pair of singers have arrived to continue its tradition.

Little Brown Church in the Vale is at 2730 Cheyenne Ave., just outside of Nashua. The rural church features a 50-person congregation along with organ music and old hymns of the faith. Built in 1864, the church was made famous by the poem, “Church in the Wildwood,” which was written about the Nashua site before the church was even built. The poem was turned into a song and has been sung by well-known artists including Andy Griffith, Dolly Parton and the Statler Brothers.


The Little Brown Church in Nashua on Tuesday afternoon.


The Little Brown Church in Nashua on Tuesday afternoon.

Sen. Ernst says she was raped in college by boyfriend at Iowa State

DES MOINES (AP) — Sen. Joni Ernst says in an interview that she was raped by a boyfriend while she was a student at Iowa State University but didn't report the assault.

In an interview with Bloomberg posted online Wednesday night, Ernst disclosed the attack. She also clarified her discussions with President Donald Trump about becoming his running mate.

Ernst, a first-term Republican from Iowa, this week has spoken about her troubled marriage and other aspects of her life after media disclosures based on court documents from her recently settled divorce from Gail Ernst, 65. They were married 26 years and have one adult daughter.

Ernst, 48, told Bloomberg she decided to disclose the rape after the court filings were publicized, including her allegations that her husband assaulted her.

Ernst said she was in a relationship with a man who was "physically and sexually abusive." She said he raped her at his home and threatened to kill himself if she ended the relationship. She called a campus sexual assault counseling center hotline and ended the relationship but didn't report the attack to police.

During her 2014 Senate campaign, Ernst noted she volunteered at the counseling center but didn't acknowledge the assault.

"I was embarrassed," she said. "I didn't know how to explain it. I was so humiliated. And I'm a private person, when it comes to those things."

Ernst declined to name the man who attacked her, noting she'd described the assault to her former husband but not divulged the man's identity.

In court affidavits filed during the divorce hearings , Ernst stated that Trump interviewed her in 2016 to be his vice president. Ernst wrote, "I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn't the right thing for me or my family."

In the Bloomberg interview, Ernst clarified that Trump didn't offer her the job and that after thinking about it, she phoned then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to withdraw from consideration.

Trump eventually chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is now vice president.

‘Good shot’ at legalized sports betting in Iowa this year, key lawmaker says

JOHNSTON | Sports betting has “a very good shot” of being legalized in Iowa this year, a key state lawmaker says.

An unsuccessful attempt last year to pass legislation that would legalize sports betting in Iowa has created a strong foundation and momentum for this year’s effort, said Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton who chairs the committee through which any proposal will pass.

Kaufmann said he expects to schedule the first hearing on sports betting legislation this year for the first week in February, just in time for Super Bowl week.

A May 2018 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize betting on sporting events. Previously, sports betting was legal only in Nevada, with a few rare exceptions.

Some states have already legalized sports betting, and others — including Iowa — are considering it.

Legislation worked through the Iowa Capitol last year, but the Supreme Court had not yet ruled.

Though gambling expansion often takes multiple years to generate enough support to pass the Iowa Legislature, Kaufmann said with support building over time, last year’s Supreme Court ruling and the groundwork laid last legislative session, sports betting could become legal in Iowa this year.

“I think the consensus has been building for years,” Kaufmann said Thursday during taping for this weekend’s episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television. “I think one of the things that was preventing a bill from becoming law in years past was the fact that we knew that the Supreme Court ruling might come down and we didn't want to preempt them and do something that would then be nullified by a potential ruling. ...

“The groundwork that was laid these last several years I think gives us a very good shot of getting this done this session.”

Kaufmann said he will hold multiple subcommittee and committee hearings on the legislation in order to give it a full airing before the public and all stakeholders.

There will be disagreements among those stakeholders that must be taken into consideration as the legislation is drafted.

The professional sports leagues, for example, want a percentage of revenues as a so-called integrity fee to insure themselves from any harmful effects of gambling on their games.

Casinos want to house sports betting in their facilities and online through mobile applications. But in some states, the lottery system has wanted to offer sports betting at places where lottery games are sold.

And legislators will have to decide at what rate to tax the sports betting revenue, and into which state pot that new money should go.

Solving those legislative riddles will be crucial to the bill’s success, a state gambling law expert said.

“When the legislation is put together for sports betting, it does need to be comprehensive,” said Keith Miller, a Drake University Law School professor and expert on sports gambling. “It can’t be patchwork. Those agreements, those compromises have to be made at the beginning rather than trying to make them later.”