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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

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...

October 10, 2014

Iowa has some beautiful back roads and state highways. Given half a chance, I’ll take them over the four-lanes every time, even on state-spanning trips. The scenery comes right up to your car door; the roads dive and swoop delightfully, following the lay of the land; and charming towns break...

September 12, 2014

I’ve spent thousands of miles on Iowa two-lanes and main streets during this past year or so, en route to writing and photographing stories for THE IOWAN magazine. One of the delights of these trips is that I always return with more than I’ve set out to find — including...

September 5, 2014

It may be a bit early for combining corn and beans, but if you’re a gardener, you know we’re well into harvest time in Iowa. My wife Randi and I were in Corning, Iowa recently, visiting with Jaime and Amanda Sandoval, young friends of ours who we’d helped plant their...

August 29, 2014

One day last week, this little gal and her brother took a last romp in the Des Moines River where it’s no more than a creek flowing through the sandstone canyon at Ledges State Park in Madrid. When her mother said “time to get out — school starts tomorrow,” the...

August 8, 2014

My wife Randi and I gave a genial barefoot guy with a backpack and a banjo a ride home from the annual Conference and Campout at Decorah’s Seed Savers Exchange [“Heritage Farm,” March/April 2014.]   Huck Finn turned out to be more entertaining than public radio. The details are hazy,...

August 1, 2014

  While researching the story about state fair stunts in the current July/August 2014 issue [Train Wrecks and Other Genteel Amusements, page 40], I came across this 1953 photo in the Iowa State Historical Society archives of two human cannonballs.  Before OSHA and liability lawsuits put an end to it,...

July 11, 2014

The yacht club overlooks a sprawling marina with dozens of docks and hundreds of boats. Launches ferry folks out to still more power yachts and blue water sloops moored in the basin. At least one of the boats was sailed here by its local owner — all the way from...

July 3, 2014

Every July 4th, my wife Randi and I like to head someplace new. Last year, we spent the holiday weekend in Charles City [“Surf Iowa,” July/August 2014]. I was wandering around with my camera at the citywide party in the town square that Saturday night when some folks said I...

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