June 25, 2022

COLUMN: 20 years later

Twenty years ago this month I was in the same position, same office and did the same job.

Kevin in the pressroom, Craig, Amber and Larry are all still here, too. (Larry retired a year ago but still helps us out). I left in fall 2005 for Kansas only to eventually return to Iowa, and back to Creston, a year ago.

I had wondered from time to time about Creston after I left. A bizarre coincidence is when the tornado hit Creston in 2012, I had covered a mock disaster training event, like a tornado, in the town I was working that same day. That evening, Creston’s tornado made national TV news.

Other links to Creston popped up every so often.

Our story about M&M Motors’ Jack Davis selling the dealership to Stalkers reminded me of the two cars I purchased from Jack. The first was a minivan after the arrival of our second child. The second car was a manual transmission, commuter car. Jack was in business longer than those cars lasted with my name on them.

I wish I would have been able to keep the commuter but damage from an accident was too great. My kids need to learn how to drive a manual. I also liked its 6-disc player stereo. Son Grant found a manual transmission car last fall from an acquaintance. Some assistance from Southwestern’s auto programs, where he attends, has helped him get the car in some running condition.

I took the Creston job the first time to provide for my second child, who I moved out of her dorm at Midland in Fremont, Nebraska, last weekend as her freshman year ended. Seeing her luggage of clothes sent me back in time.

During the warmer months of the year, wife Jennifer would visit Creston some Friday afternoons. I’d leave the office and we’d go to yard sales across town - after Friday’s paper was done so we’d have the addresses. I don’t know if yard sales have the same pull they do today. There are still yard sales but social media sites have turned into daily yard sales. No need to walk through someone’s garage and see what’s on church tables. Just scroll through town, or the area, on your phone.

Every so often, we’d go to a used, children’s clothing store just down the street from the office. It’s not there anymore.

Virtually every one of those Fridays ended up at Taco John’s. Jennifer prefers Mexican food, doesn’t matter if it’s fast food or a sit-down place. I remember when Creston had a Long John Silver’s. Some of the older people in the area have told me they miss the Windrow as it was a comfortable, casual place to go. If you wanted a little more excitement, you could eat, or drink, in the back with the games the television. Almost done with its first year, Willy’s is making its place among people who go out to dine.

Last week, I also heard some rumblings from people standing in line at a Casey’s that they miss the one that was south of the tracks on Elm Street in Uptown Creston, another thing that was here 20 year ago. A little, extra effort is needed to go farther in town to meet some of those afternoon cravings if you work in Uptown.

I’m sure there will be even more differences in Creston 20 years from now, but what should be a constant is our strive to keep this town a viable, appealing place to work and or live.


This week we started a new reporter, Cheyenne Roche. You probably have seen her before if you are a Starbucks fan in Hy-Vee, as that was her previous job, and before that she was at U.S. Cellular.

Cheyenne has experience as a reporter, which quickly put her at the top of the list of good applicants. She wrote in Wisconsin while taking college classes at the same time. We are grateful she is willing to try and report again.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.