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Online Reviews Can Make or Break Today’s Authors By Nick Bergus Being a writer has never been hard. The only requirements are occasionally jotting down some words and talking about yourself at parties. Being a good writer, however, has always been tough, demanding open-a-vein-and-bleed dedication. Being recognized as a good...

Stewards: Avian Advocates — A Rehabilitation Facility in Dedham Helps Iowa’s Raptors Soar. By Tim Ackarman. Things were not looking good for Moonface last January. Lost, alone, injured, and starving, he had a slim chance for survival.

  Raising a Glass to Iowa’s Coolest Wine Story by Jim Duncan Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-style-parent:""; line-height:115%; font-size:11.0pt;"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-bidi-"Times New Roman";} Nearly every gardener and farmer in Iowa agreed that the long, hot summer of 2012 was horrible...

  Artist Gary Kelley Digs Around the Edges By Beth Wilson A fine art collection of pastel, monotype, and oil on canvas presents Iowa history as a provocative paraphrase. “I’ve never done anything about Iowa on this scale,” says artist Gary Kelley from his studio in Cedar Falls. “There are...

A Snowflake of Amazing Proportions. By Tim Ackarman. An eye for art, a head for math, and a heart for a speed-juggling husband might propel a Kanawha woman to a Guinness World Record.

May the Sales Be with You. By Nick Bergus. There was a time, not so long ago, when the literati viewed chain bookstores as the evil empire. Stocked with mainstream best sellers and books meant to be judged by their covers and sold by underpaid workaday staff, Borders and Waldenbooks competed with indie shops manned by book lovers and furnished with interesting reads. Now, as the big bookstore chains have blinked out of existence, the spite is directed at the new threat. True believers, it seems, dare not speak its name. In a recent conversation, author Larry Baker (The Flamingo Rising) simply referred to the new retailing threat as “the Death Star,” the moon-size, world-destroying weapon of Star Wars. We all knew he was talking about the moon-size, industry-transforming retailer Amazon. While independents played on a somewhat level playing field with the brick-and-mortar chain stores, Amazon (and now, to a much lesser degree, Apple and Google) is playing a different game.

Cedar Falls’ Ice House Museum Shares the History of Iowa’s Coolest Crop. Story by Mary Gottschalk. The next time you casually plop an ice cube into your beverage glass, consider the generations of Iowa farmers who undertook the grueling and often dangerous work of harvesting ice in the worst of the winter cold.

The Wallace Dialogue Dinners Serve Up Fresh Foods and Shared Ideas. Story by Terri Queck-Matzie. Good food. Good company. Good conversation. Many a cure for the problems of an ailing world has been discovered in such a setting. The Wallace Centers of Iowa (WCI) is taking the concept to a new level with a series of Dialogue Dinners and Civility Luncheons that utilize farm-fresh food and facilitated conversation to bring people from all walks of life together to tackle issues of the day. “It’s really about listening,” says Diane Weiland, CEO and program developer of WCI. “Every conversation can plant a seed.”

Rural Iowa’s Roots Run Deeper. By Doug Clough. Beyond my backyard sits a soybean field, terraces stretching upward and more beans to the west. Next year it will be a cornfield, gaining my approval to a greater extent. I am a child of former Governor Robert Ray’s “A Place to Grow,” and my feelings for our Tall Corn State have rotated with the crops. I grew up in our capital city, which may as well have been The Big Apple when it comes to understanding agriculture. An English education graduate of the University of Iowa, I landed in Ida Grove almost a quarter century ago. I taught high school students to write with purpose for nearly 10 years and then was drawn to a marine industry management position. For the past two years I’ve also written feature articles for an agricultural weekly, although marrying a farmer’s daughter is as close as I’ve come to working the land.

To Summer. By Jim Duncan. Summer influences our diets more than other seasons do. In the warm months we move our fires outdoors, just as our ancestors did. Because of something old and something new, Iowa is blessed ground for the divine summer duality of sausage and beer.

What Goes Around. Story by Mary Gottschalk National Carousel Day (aka National Merry-Go-Round Day) on July 25 should really be an Iowa holiday. Iowans were responsible for three of the major advances in carousel technology.

By Terri Queck-Matzie. One by one the belongings are carted off to new homes. Antiques and collectibles. Useful household items. Reminders of special memories. Buyers are here for reasons as varied as the merchandise. Some are family. Some are collectors. Some are dealers. Winning bidders will leave with new property, but everyone in attendance today gets an afternoon of free entertainment courtesy of Tim Baier, Auctioneer.

Mile Marker: Shooting for Gold —Iowans take aim at Olympic history. Story by Mary Gottschalk. Paul Wilber took up field archery to improve his bow hunting skills. His wife, Doreen Wilber, had no interest in hunting, but archery was a pleasant activity the Jefferson couple could share.

An ISU Library special collection reminds us: We are what we eat By Nick Bergus At the peak of summer, swaths of Iowa culture are displayed and judged in hot barns and buildings practically in the dead center of the state. Vying for the State Fair’s ribbons are bulls, crafts,...

Iowans: Beautiful Prospectors. By Jim Duncan. Visionaries in 21st-century Iowa are reconnecting Iowans with the beautiful land, mining new ways to understand and value what one early settler called a “soul-kindling country.” The state lost two such beautiful prospectors in the last year. Remembering Margaret West and Bobby Braverman.

River Relationships: Recreation and Reverence Expand Through Iowa Water Trails. By Carol Bodensteiner
Gerry Rowland never paid much attention to the Des Moines River until the 1993 flood. When the crisis and the waters finally receded, he began to explore by car, following the Dragoon Trail markers and discovering a lush greenbelt stretching northwest through three counties. Intrigued, Rowland wanted to look deeper. In 1996 he put a kayak in the river for the very first time. He kept going back. On weekend trips, 20 to 30 miles at a time, summer and winter, over two years, he paddled the entire length of the Des Moines River from Estherville to Keokuk. “It became an obsession to paddle every mile.”

Ah-OOO-gah! On the road with Iowa’s Model A Fords. By Mary Gottschalk. The Indianapolis 500 Speedway is not an obvious destination for an 80-year-old Model A Ford’s afternoon drive. But that’s where Ankeny resident Joe Lamb found himself one sunny afternoon. You need a dependable car to make the 800-mile round-trip Indianapolis drive — and certainly to motor through the state of Iowa for three days in the Great Annual Model A Ride Around Iowa (GAMARAI). Iowa hosts regular confabs for roadworthy Model As, with three major events this summer. Altoona is the site for A’dventure Iowa, the fourth annual Amana Colonies Model A Day. And Model A owners plan to visit southwest Iowa towns — Greenfield, Villisca, Shenandoah, Griswold, Atlantic, Walnut, Elk Horn, and Lewis — during the 17th annual GAMARAI.

Story and photography by Tim Ackarman. The Top of Iowa Welcome Center and Rest Area near Northwood is not the spartan roadside pit stop of generations past. The second floor of the two-story, 80- by 40-foot red barn sets this rest stop apart.

By Terri Queck-Matzie, photos courtesy of the Iowa DNR. To the naked eye, the flood-ravaged Missouri River basin is a barren wasteland. The absence of color is omnipresent. Silt paints an overwhelming hue of pale gray across the landscape while sand blows with the wind, filling every crevice and drifting into dunes. The ground sifts through your fingertips, lifeless. Dead tree limbs dot the once-fertile fields. There is not an animal to be seen.

Story by Carol Bodensteiner, photo courtesy Scott Olson/Lee Valley, Inc. As spring approaches this year, Walter Utman is warily watching the Missouri River. And the levees. Snowmelt and spring rains predictably cause the river to rise by March, but it’s the unexpected that Utman is contemplating as he plans his planting. Utman farms 900 acres four miles west of Harrison County’s Modale, right up against the Missouri River.

By Nick Bergus. Rachel Corbett chanced across a photograph, and it haunted her. Taken by her mother on a disposable camera in 1992, the photo captures her 8-year-old self in the grass of her Iowa yard with a man her mother had been dating for a few years. The very next year the man, Scott Johnson, would murder another girlfriend, then kill himself in his Vinton home.

The 50/50 in 2020 campaign — its mantra: One century is long enough to wait for equality — is recruiting, training, and mentoring women whose election can fulfill the goals of 50 women in the Iowa House of Representatives, 25 women in the Iowa Senate, one woman in the U.S. Senate, two women in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a woman in the Governor's Mansion by 2020 — the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

Nick Bergus has a new obsession: Small Demons. "I love the bits and pieces of Iowa City and its characters and environs that show up in books from alums of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, be it a particular house I’ve walked by for years or a slightly veiled reference to a local who left the author for another locally known woman. Those details connect our nonfictional world to those worlds of fiction we dive into. My own minor obsession is why I’m so intrigued by Small Demons."

William “Bill” Wagner could not bear to lose even a simple building. “If it’s good architecture, if it’s pleasing, it should not be destroyed,” insisted Wagner, an architect who dedicated his life and career to historic preservation. Saving old buildings was a novel idea in the 1950s, but preservation of Iowa’s historic architecture has caught on. The soul of Iowa architecture lives on.

The energy of two inquisitive minds fuels on-air conversations in Iowa, about Iowa. Story by Donna Schill, Photos Courtesy KRUU. Three years ago station manager James Moore turned on the microphones in the bunkerlike recording studio at the back of 100.1 KRUU-FM, where he spent most of his...

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