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Iowa Discoveries

I run into some pretty interesting things while putting together The Iowan that don’t make it into print. I thought I’d share some of them with you here each Friday morning.
 
If you don’t mind, I’ll also ask your opinions, advice, and suggestions from time to time about subjects and story ideas we’re considering. I’d love to get your feedback — leave a comment below, or email me at editor@iowan.com. Either way, I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Happy Friday!
 
Dan Weeks
Editor

April 24, 2015

This time of year, everybody and their dog starts to think about camping. But where can you find a gorgeous lakeside site like this one? That’s a hard choice — in Iowa, there are more than 450 campgrounds to choose from — some of which have hundreds of individual campsites. ...

April 17, 2015

 What does a bloodthirsty South American fish have to do with Iowa? The Sullivan Brothers Veteran’s Museum in Waterloo’s Grout Museum District is an excellent place to find out. It’s one of Iowa’s foremost museums of military history. There you can walk right in to a recreated World War Two...

April 10, 2015

I’ve lived here going on four decades. That’s not forever, but it’s not like I got here yesterday, either. But there was a lot I didn’t know about the state until I became editor of The Iowan a couple years ago. Here are a few that come to mind: Iowa...

April 3, 2015

I’ve always wondered what was behind — or more properly, beneath — the Doctor Seuss-like stack of ever-smaller grain carts, pictured, that’s visible from I-80 near Williamsburg. This past Wednesday, I found out. It’s the Kinze factory that makes the things. Eleven semitrucks per day of castings and raw steel...

March 27, 2015

 In last week’s blog we offered the first person could most accurately guess what the graphic pictured represented a free Iowan T-shirt. Everyone saw the general outline of Iowa, but there were dozens of guesses as to what the lines represented. They included: stage coach, railroad, or RAGBRAI routes; scenic...

March 20, 2015

The first person to provide the most accurate guess (details count!) about what this abstraction represents by Thursday, March 26 gets a free Iowan T-shirt! Write your guess as a comment below! We’ll publish your guesses, announce the winner, and explain the image in next Friday’s blog post. Good luck!

March 13, 2015

1. That 5 Things Ex-Iowans Miss Most About Iowa would go viral. You’ve given it a 23,500% greater readership (and counting!) than either of THE IOWAN’s next two most-popular blog posts, Hey Buddy, Do You Speak Iowish? and Old-World Iowa. (And those two were pretty darn popular!) 2. That your...

March 6, 2015

A bunch of anonymous Iowans who now live elsewhere got to talking about Iowa here. Their conversation went on for pages, but these are five things they missed most about their home state. They’re in no particular order, but they all kind of go together, don’t you think? What are...

February 27, 2015

0 0 2015-02-19T18:08:00Z 1 260 1487 Pioneer Communications 12 3 1744 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-style-parent:""; font-size:12.0pt;} There have been three information revolutions, counting Guttenberg and his printing press. You’re looking at the second. It’s a 100 year...

February 20, 2015

You hear it all the time: It’s the people that make Iowa what it is. And that's true. But on April 28, 1925, it seems like the student body of what was then Iowa State College in Ames took the assertion literally. They arranged themselves in the shape of our...

February 13, 2015

10. Every snowbank is a bike rack. (See picture.) 9. It doesn’t matter if your spandex doesn’t fit. (You’re wearing 5 layers anyway.) 8. If you fall off, you’ll just bounce (see above).   7. Your water bottle stays cold. Sometimes too cold.   6. Handlebar Mittens!   5. You...

February 6, 2015

February is seed catalog month. What are your favorite Iowa seed sources? Which varieties are you planning to order this year? Be aware, however  as much as I like beets, heirloom tomatoes are the gateway drug to a gardening addiction! My wife, Randi, and I are now up to a...

January 30, 2015

Hikers ignore signs to turn back; find prehistoric space ships Last fall, my wife, Randi, and I were hiking in the woods somewhere in Iowa when we stumbled across a large, rectangular piece of metal with a faded message written on it. We could just barely make out the words:...

January 23, 2015

 Ah, Iowa. You just never know what you’re going to get. I have taken children trick-or-treating in two inches of October snow. I have raked leaves off of green grass in my shirtsleeves on the day after Christmas. I have braced for forecasted blizzards that arrived as sunshine. I have...

January 16, 2015

Last Friday’s post, “Hey Buddy—Do You Speak Iowish?” sure stirred up a lot of questions and Iowish phrases. Thanks for your many additions and comments! Here’s what I’ve been able to find out about some of the additional Iowisms you mentioned:    “Pop” Language used to refer to soft drinks...

January 9, 2015

They say that Iowans now speak the most unaccented English of all 50 states. It’s a clever trick we have that allows us to fit in just about anywhere.  But apparently there is still one way to identify us: by how we refer to our BFFs.  According to a recent...

December 19, 2014

I ran into Hilde DeBruyne again couple weeks ago at a conference of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives in West Des Moines. Earlier, we profiled the Cumming sculptor and her work in the September/October issue of THE IOWAN magazine, where we called her “the best Iowa artist you’ve never...

December 12, 2014

Apparently, Iowa is one of the top 20 “most humble” states in the country. That's according to what I’m sure is a highly scientific — but nonetheless questionable — study that claims to measure self-promotionalism on social media. The good people at haylets.com, a social media app, came out with...

December 5, 2014

The iconic Iowa schoolhouse is a one-room frame structure, perhaps with a vestibule in front and a two-holer out back. But not all frontier-era schoolhouses fit the mold. The two-story Clayton Independent School, pictured, was built in 1860, the same year Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Constructed of native limestone...

November 26, 2014

Every Thanksgiving, I’m reminded how glad I am to live and work in Iowa. People here are almost always warm, polite, considerate, genuinely interested in others, and a delight to do business with. That becomes especially apparent if you’ve ever worked with New Yorkers. Now, I’ve met lots of people...

November 21, 2014

This week, a couple of inches of snow fell in Des Moines — and 7 feet of the stuff buried Buffalo, N.Y. I was jealous. I am an office anomaly. A holiday party pariah. The more it snows, the better I like it, and it really ticks people off to...

November 7, 2014

Find out the intensely personal motivation behind Iowan wrestling and coaching icon Dan Gable’s lifetime of achievement in the current November/December 2014 issue of The Iowan magazine, on newsstands now.  The issue has only been out for about a week, but the poignant and insightful story by Iowa’s favorite sportswriter...

October 31, 2014

Do traffic cameras tick you off?  In the August/September, 1955 issue, The Iowan did a story on radar speed control. The practice had begun in 1952 in the state, and by 1955 had spread to 7 cities. As might be expected, the motoring population was outraged, even though police forces did everything...

October 24, 2014

So I’m sitting the cab of a tractor, seemingly two stories above Earl’s barnyard in Grimes, Iowa. I’m surrounded by a bewildering array of controls. Each is labeled with a cryptic icon. I get that the thing that looks like a steering wheel is probably a steering wheel, and that...

October 17, 2014

It is amazing how old-world Iowa can look from the Great River Road. My wife Randi and I just returned from a 1200-mile trip down that spectacular route for a major travel story for the Sept/Oct 2015 issue of THE IOWAN.     Eastern Iowa looked familiar to immigrants in...

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