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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

September 23, 2016

0 0 1 233 1333 Pioneer Communications 11 3 1563 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;} Bob Dorr has been Iowa’s favorite bluesman for decades. He’s frontman — on vocals, percussion, and washboard tie (and if you don’t...

September 2, 2016

0 0 2016-08-23T19:15:00Z 2016-08-23T19:16:00Z 1 362 2068 Pioneer Communications 17 4 2426 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;} A state divided.   We’re not talking Hilton Magic or Hancher Auditorium here — we’re talking about former Iowa State...

August 26, 2016

Noel Smith, a THE IOWAN reader from Runnells, wrote in yesterday to tell me about her boys’ garden. “This summer, my three boys — ages 4, 7, and 9 — have been growing their own gardens. They have designed, planted, tended, and harvested, and their garden adventures have been captured...

August 12, 2016

By guest blogger Frank D. Myers Prostitutes and politicians have a good deal in common, although practitioners of the former trade at least are honest about which of their services a dollar will buy. Both, too, back in the good old days, made the occasional whistle stop — including at...

August 5, 2016

Somebody came up with 50 photographs they said summed up each state. Idaho’s shows a highway attractions sign. Except for the word “Attractions”, the sign is blank. Hawaii’s shows a melted city bus engulfed in lava.   Kentucky’s is a handpainted sign in front of a messy front yard that...

July 29, 2016

I don’t know what a Pikachu is, but I suddenly want one. I was driving home through downtown Des Moines a while ago, but almost didn’t make it past the city’s sculpture park. Traffic stopped dead, and lots of folks were looking for parking spots. Was it an art festival?...

July 22, 2016

It’s three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon, in the afternoon, and they’ve just announced that the heat index in Des Moines is 120 degrees. Coincidentally, NBC news just posted a story with the headline Baghdad, Iraq, Is Hottest City in World With Temperatures at 120 Degrees. Apparently Des Moines doesn’t...

July 1, 2016

According to the website smartasset.com (a name that should give you some clue as to the site’s credibility right there) the Iowa State Fair ranks sixth in the nation. Now, some states would be mighty proud with that ranking. Not us. SIXTH? Seriously? Everyone knows Our State Fair is the...

June 24, 2016

“A cat?” suggested reader Denise Rauterkus in response to my nearly biblical litany of possums, woodchuck, and coons — and more recently, killer squirrels — that have plagued our humble attempts to grow bit of a garden and enjoy some shade. “A beat-up kitten showed up on our deck,” she...

June 17, 2016

0 0 1 423 2417 Pioneer Communications 20 5 2835 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;} This little fellow is a Fox squirrel. Cute, isn’t he?  Cute, yet evil.  No one suspects so. I would guess there are...

June 10, 2016

0 0 1 458 2617 Pioneer Communications 21 6 3069 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;} While plowing my garden a few weekends ago, my tractor quit running. It wasn’t quite the emergency of a life-flight helicopter stalling...

June 3, 2016

0 0 1 245 1399 Pioneer Communications 11 3 1641 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;} Pretty Midwestern, it turns out. Just not as Midwestern as Illinois. I know. Calm down. Definitions of the Midwest have always been...

May 27, 2016

0 0 1 232 1323 Pioneer Communications 11 3 1552 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;} We Iowans are peaceable folk. Just don’t try to move our state lines, take our honey, or vaccinate our cows.  In the...

May 20, 2016

0 0 1 145 832 Pioneer Communications 6 1 976 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;} This sight, pictured, had me slamming on the brakes as I was driving with Megan Johansen, THE IOWAN magazine’s art director, back...

May 13, 2016

0 0 1 474 2708 Pioneer Communications 22 6 3176 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;} A fence and a cat failed to protect our garden, so my wife, Randi, and I had to try sterner measures if...

May 6, 2016

(And one more they left out.) Experts say cities flourish when they are physically diverse in four ways. Does your city have 1. Districts that serve multiple functions (such as retail and residential) so that they attract people with different purposes at different times of day and night? 2. Small...

April 22, 2016

From the Only in Iowa department: according to this article in the Hampton Chronicle, Iowa will now be the only place in the world where you can willingly sentence yourself to a jail term without having committed a crime. Yep, for a yet-undisclosed price, you will soon be able to...

April 15, 2016

Des Moines has been home to a legion of salt-of-the-earth people — and one real lu-lu. Alfred Lawson has left no trace on Des Moines. But if the ground could speak, it would tell the story of a bizarre persona who went from professional baseball player to aviation pioneer to...

April 8, 2016

Salem, Massachusetts, has nothing on Cantril, Iowa. Salem has the storied House of Seven Gables, which titled a Nathanial Hawthorne novel. Cantril has the Barn of Eight Dormers (only seven of which can be seen in the accompanying photo). But its story has yet to be told — or at...

April 1, 2016

Why did the black cat climb the bale? 1.     It’s a sentry cat. They all do that. 2.     It was chased up there by a family of marauding opossum. Now it can’t get down. 3.     It liked the view. 4.     It’s waiting for the tractor with the bale fork to...

March 25, 2016

“Iowa Nice” doesn’t go nearly far enough. We Iowans are virtual saints — and we can prove it. A group of researchers decided to map the prevalence of the seven deadly sins by state. Areas of the United States were shaded on a continuum of green (saintly) to red (devilish)....

March 15, 2016

Is it just me, or does Iowa inhabit a geographic blind spot in the American consciousness? It often seems that if you’re not from here — or at least from the Midwest — you probably don’t know where or what Iowa is. The T-shirt they used to sell in Iowa...

March 4, 2016

When she talks, Iowans and the nation listen. She’s been called “the great,” the “most respected,” and simply “the best” by pundits and media of all political persuasions. And she’s not even running for president. If she were, watch out, because she understands voters—particularly Iowa voters—like no one else. It’s...

February 26, 2016

Apparently, Iowa has one-third less history than it did when the Iowa State Historical Society building opened in 1987. That could be one conclusion after hearing the State Of Iowa’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ plan to tear down a third of the State Historical Society building just west of the...

February 19, 2016

0 0 1 416 2373 Pioneer Communications 19 5 2784 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;} The Situation is Grave. Quick —let’s head to What Cheer! Bizarre. That’s the only way to describe some Iowa place names. We’ve...

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