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The Corner of Green & Main — A Des Moines Visionary Builds a Model for Preservation, Conservation, and Choice. Story by Linda Mason Hunter, images provided by Indigo Dawn/Silent Rivers Design+Build. Chaden Halfhill stood on a shady Des Moines residential street in 2005, looking across at a lone, boarded-up, decrepit commercial building.

Power Players — Jefferson Fuels Its Own Future. By Jennifer Blair Tuite, photography by Shuva Rahim. “I guess I’ve just always loved the wind.” Tom Wind (yes, that’s his real name) makes this simple declaration as the turbine above him marks time with outstretched arms. “It’s like an old friend here.”

  Angel Aircraft Corporation Is on a Mission Story and photos by Mike Whye From his seat several hundred feet in the air, Carl Mortenson scanned the terrain below. Landing strips chopped out of dense jungle in this southern Peru region were up to 200 miles apart, and Mortenson couldn’t...

Lorena Lopez and La Prensa Deliver the News to An Increasingly Diverse Iowa. Story by Mary Gottschalk, photography by David Peterson. Lorena Lopez sets down a tape recorder and opens a small spiral notebook.“There’s no such thing as a typical day at La Prensa,” says Lopez, editor of the free Spanish-language newspaper (in English, The Press) that’s been serving north central Iowa for six years. Her title belies her multifaceted role in bringing news to the Latino communities of Carroll, Denison, Storm Lake, Spencer, Humboldt, Fort Dodge, and Perry. She’s reporter, investigator, photographer, and advertising salesperson. As she loads tied bundles of the biweekly into the trunk of her Ford Taurus, it’s apparent that she’s also the distribution system.

Tradition Yields a Fresh Vision for a Committed Group of Iowa Farmers. Story by Joshua Dole┼żal, photography by Mark Tade. It’s an August dog day at Grinnell Heritage Farm, sun at its zenith, heat shimmering over the fields. Just stepping out of the shade seems exhausting, which is why a clutch of farmers has gathered in a circle on the cement loading dock where the roof of the packing shed casts a long shadow. The group is cleaning hardneck garlic for market, shucking dirt from each head, then trimming the roots and the stalks.

Madai Taylor’s Journey. Story by Jim Duncan, photography by Paul Gates. Addressing his congregation in Fort Dodge’s Agape Church Kingdom Dominion Ministries, Madai Taylor stands upright, quoting literally from Holy Scripture. When he creates art, however, he works at ground level, first excavating his media from the earth, then scratching out abstractions on his garage floor. Taylor knows these contradictory postures can be misinterpreted as a conflict between the sacred and profane. “I do wonder how people embrace the duality of my being a non-subjective artist and a preacher. I even question it myself sometimes,” he says. “Do the two things complement or combat each other? Outsiders can be confused by the abstract works, and religious people sometimes are unable to embrace abstraction at all.”

Iowa Visionaries Talk about Place. Story by Suzanne Kelsey, photography by Mark Tade and Mike Whye. Three Iowa scholars would like all Iowans to fall in love — with the spaces that shape and define their lives. Thomas Dean says, “No matter how short or long of a time we may live here, we need to be as deeply placed as we can be.”

Tricks of the Trade: Iowa sisters combine skill and spectacle on the rodeo circuit. Story by Deborah Jansen, photography by David Peterson. “Put your hands together,” shouts an announcer, and the Wild Riders burst into the arena, their horses rearing and pawing the air, the performers clapping their hands overhead and throwing kisses to the crowd.

Andrew Peters: A Home-Grown, Home-Again Artist. Story by Mike Whye. The bare branch of a tree in early spring grows longer each time Andrew Peters draws an oil paint-tipped brush across the canvas. Between strokes in his home studio north of Council Bluffs, he returns his brush to a second easel to which is clamped a white dry-erase board laden with spatters, streaks, and globs of oil paints.

The plan was simple: Get away from the flat, vast grid of crops that currently defines my day-to-day landscape and ride into the woods to explore some mountain bike trails in Iowa. The details were sketchy: Not being a cyclist and having no reason to believe I could still even ride a bike, I sought no counsel, packed some sandwiches, and set an eastward tack. I was in search of those nooks and crannies that are uncharacteristic of Iowa -- those with steep, forested hills, dense foliage, and dirt trails.

A list and map of KCBS sanctioned BBQ events in Iowa for 2012

Feats of Smoke: Pit Performance Heats up Championship Barbeque. Story byJoe VanDerZanden, photography by David Peterson. Barbeque is a loadedword. Its mention to some induces an immediate Pavlovian salivaryresponse triggered by pleasant memories of a gooey pulled pork sandwicheaten over a paper plate while standing in line to look at the ButterCow. Meat cooked with smoke and fire carries so much cultural andpsychological baggage that it is difficult to discern exactly whatconstitutes great barbeque. Enter the Certified Barbeque Judges —trained by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and known inpitmaster parlance as CBJs — who bring knowledge, skill, and stamina toeach competition, cutting through the smoke and sauce in order to setthe record straight.

Paddling the Cedar: 25 Years of Canoes & Camaraderie. Story and photography by Tim Ackarman. A massive ’79 Jamboree Rallye motor home rumbles in towing an equally massive canoe trailer. The mighty ensemble creeps down the service road through Halvorson Park, a narrow ribbon of trees and grass along the Cedar River just south of St. Ansgar. The sound of tires crunching gravel is periodically lost among shouts of welcome from enthusiastic campers. Waving, the driver answers the salutations with marginally melodious notes from a resonant brass bulb horn. Jim and Laura Hughes of Colwell have arrived.

Sure Bet: Thoroughbred Owner Maggi Moss Beats the Odds.Story by Jim Duncan, photography by David Peterson. On a hot Augustevening at her home track, Maggi Moss is hardly incognito. Strangers andfriends alike at Altoona’s Prairie Meadows greet her by first name. Shegraciously responds to everyone as she makes her way to the paddock.She has two horses running tonight, and tout sheets specifically referto Moss when giving both horses good shots at winning. Serious playersare quite hip to that key connection. Most of Moss’ horse racingaccomplishments are well-known, but her most amazing one is closelyguarded by insiders and handicappers.

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center began as a bold dream nine years ago. Today this working laboratory on Kirkwood Community College’s main campus in Cedar Rapids is the reality-based training grounds for the next generation of hospitality arts professionals.  The Hotel recently earned the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) prestigious Four Diamond Award for lodging.

The Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, is once again home to Christian Petersen’s statue The Gentle Doctor. The new complex accommodates the latest advances in radiology and tomography, as well as physical therapy and surgery. The college’s research services have attracted one of the largest concentrations of animal health institutions in the country.  Many vet schools focus on a single area of expertise. Iowa animal populations, and their health issues, are more diverse. Beef cattle, dairy cows, hogs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and horses are all essential parts of the state’s economy.

Pioneering the Purple A new niche crop is changing the agricultural landscape in Iowa Story by Mike Brownlee, photography by John Holtorf A pair of rocking chairs on the farm lodge’s front porch provides a vantage point from which the beauty of the Loess Hills unfolds. Untouched woodlands frame 149...

By Deb Wiley. Gardeners, start your trowels! Iowa gardeners dig new plants. They enjoy the chance to buy the latest trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, or vegetables — but prefer selections that have been carefully vetted by garden center professionals. Spring is on the horizon, and Iowa gardeners will soon find an array of new — or fairly new — plants on the benches of the state’s top independent garden centers. Ready, set, dig!

    Environmental Stewardship Takes Root in Your Own Backyard Story and photography by Kelly D. Norris Gardening in Iowa isn’t for the faint of heart, something I’ve learned with erring trowel since I started poking around in the dirt with my grandma as a little kid. Ravaged by ice...

Story by Ann Hutchins. Best Veggie Bets for the Iowa Garden. It is time to plan and soon to plant this year’s vegetable garden. Make the most of the growing season with these four enjoyable, productive, and valuable choices for the Iowa backyard. How to grow asparagus, tomatoes, beets, and peppers in your Iowa garden. Recipes to use those fresh flavors. Iowa Gardening in zones 4 and 5.

By Veronica Lorson Fowler. What’s not to love about hydrangeas? They are low-maintenance shrubs that each summer showcase huge clouds of tiny flowers in white or pink, sometimes purple or pale green, or — in the right conditions — a coveted sky blue. Several types of hydrangeas perform beautifully in Iowa because they bloom on current season’s growth. Iowa Gardening in zones 4 and 5.

From the top-tier seats of the Wells Fargo Arena, it looks like an eight-ring circus. The action in each circle spirals kinetically to its own clock as hundreds of pairs of young men in brightly colored singlets grapple with one another. Winners rejoice, losers retire from their mats in rage or despondence, and cheer squads and coaches scurry to whichever ring will star their next wrestler, assigned on a “first mat available” basis.

Iowa Taps the Craft Beer Renaissance. Small breweries are making a comeback across the nation. Iowa is currently home to 27, with more in the planning stages. Craft breweries in Iowa are exploring the complexities that can be achieved with just four ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Brewers are an innovative bunch, so beer styles keep evolving — from ales and lagers to wood-aged and hybrid beer and beyond.

Simon Estes is acknowledged as one of the premier bass-baritones in the world. As part of a three-year tour — dubbed Roots & Wings — he'll perform in all of Iowa's 99 counties. Half of his performance fees are donated to a scholarship fund — the Simon Estes Iowa Educational Foundation, Inc. — supporting young Iowans’ artistic and educational endeavors. To date, 53 Iowa students are attending the college of their choice with the help of one of the Foundation’s scholarships.

Urban Development Strategies Are Preserving Iowa’s Great Lakes For Tomorrow And Beyond. It’s an all too familiar sight in Iowa — torrents of rainwater that close streets, inundate baseball fields, and flood basements before reaching the storm sewers. For decades residents of Dickinson County saw the cloudy runoff streaking Iowa’s Great Lakes every time it rained. With every rainfall, acres of motor oil, lawn chemicals, and pet waste washed off the surfaces of towns and cities and into the natural glacial lakes, fouling the water, endangering fish and aquatic plant life with higher temperatures, spoiling the view with oily brown plumes, and threatening the area’s livelihood. This feature ran in the July/August 2011 issue of The Iowan. Story by Mary Gottschalk, photography by David Thoreson.

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