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Visit Tassel Ridge Winery ®

and Vineyards


the Grapemobile through the vineyards and learn about grape growing.


the Winery and learn about wine making from crush through fermentation to bottling.

Taste award-winning wines ranging from dry to sweet

including fizzy, fruit, dessert, and iced wines.


on the terrace or spacious lawn and enjoy the views of the vineyards and picturesque farmland.

Shop for wine-related items and accessories,

local cheese, chocolate, dipping oils, and more….

Visit to see a schedule of special wine and food pairing events and a list of our Iowa retailers.

1681 220th St., Leighton, IA 50143 Between Pella and Oskaloosa on Hwy. 163 641.672.WINE (9463) Winery Tours and Tasting: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday, Noon–6 p.m.

Tassel Ridge Winery… Simply Extraordinary®

Iowan Visit Winery 04-13.indd 1

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features 26 Forces of Nature

Meet three advocates for protecting Iowa’s outdoor spaces.

34 Mighty Tasty

Along the Mighty Mississippi, discover two mouthwatering attractions — one rough and rustic, the other shiny and new.

40 Pyramid Schemes

Waterskiing shows — yes, in Iowa! — rival the best of them.

departments 4

from the publisher





At The Iowan magazine, change is afoot! A look at the people who created this issue’s feature stories. Our readers weigh in.

10 potluck

The season’s best news, events, people, and ideas for Iowans.

16 dimensions

TEDxDesMoines delivers ideas worth spreading.

18 at work

The environment at Denison’s bluespace creative, inc., makes the company a factory for out-of-the-box thinking.

20 stewards

Klondike Dam in Lyon County became rubble during the floods of 2008. Look at it now.

22 morsels

Cass County Memorial Hospital’s cafeteria is a popular dining destination for residents, and for good reason.

46 portfolio

Each year, the Iowa State Fair campground turns into a virtual city with a culture all its own.

62 in focus

Photographer John Fort captures a colorful array of graffiti beneath a highway overpass.

64 landmark

John’s Grocery has been making memories in Iowa City since 1948.

contents JULY / AUGUST 2013

volume 61 | number 6

THIS PAGE: For generations, the Mississippi River has been an economic engine for Iowa’s tourism, agriculture, and industry. In this issue, The Iowan visits two riverside enterprises — one old and one new — to sample the rich flavors that draw people far and wide to the community of Le Claire. ON THE COVER: On the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, Dan Fullmer has a decades-old reputation for net-fishing, preparing, smoking, and selling a variety of fish from his shack in Le Claire.

from the publisher

The Iowan — Uniquely on the Move The Iowan was first published in the 1950s, and not unlike Iowa itself, the magazine and its staff have continually changed, grown, and evolved. For the past six and a half years, editor Beth Wilson has been the visionary behind the magazine’s rich storytelling, innovative content, and beautiful

Proudly published and printed in Iowa

Publisher Polly Clark Interim Editor BJ Towe Creative Director Ann Donohoe

Image/Photo Specialist Jason Fort Editorial Associate Nate Brown

photography. Beth and I are both proud of the exploration of Iowa that she

has led and also proud of the promise we see as we venture forward. As

Advertising Account Executives Meghan Keller

Beth pursues the next step in her career at Drake University, we extend a

big “thank you” for her unwavering commitment to The Iowan and to you, our loyal readers.

Copy Editor Gretchen Kauffman

Tom Smull Becca Wodrich

Subscription Services Katrina Brocka

Soon we will introduce you to the new editor of The Iowan. That person will help to shepherd The Iowan forward in exciting and expansive ways. Until then BJ Towe, an experienced writer and editor who owns Words That Work, Inc., in Urbandale, has taken on that role for an interim term. We appreciate her graciously sharing her expertise and hope you enjoy the unique touches she brings to this issue. As we move forward, we pledge to continue The Iowan’s long-standing tradition of critical and thought-provoking writing, exciting visuals, and, always most important, love of this great state. This issue features two palate pleasers along the Mississippi River, where old and rustic meets shiny and new in our cover story, “Mighty Tasty,” on page 34. You’ll meet Dan Fullmer, who nets, prepares, and smokes fish so yummy that, for a moment, you might think you’re sitting in a smoke shack along New England’s coastline. Writer Jim Duncan also takes you inside Le Claire’s Mississippi River Distilling Company to see why this craft distillery is quickly earning a reputation for premium flavors. This issue unearths other unusual finds: zip lines, performance waterskiing teams, a hospital cafeteria that rivals fine restaurants, among others. We also introduce you to three environmentalists who work to protect Iowa’s natural spaces to benefit each of us. Find a comfy chair and grab a cold drink. Enjoy a lazy afternoon outside with The Iowan in hand, leisurely leafing through its pages as you explore the state we all treasure. Here’s to discovering more of, and in, Iowa this summer.

CEO Jim Slife

Production Manager Twilla Glessner Accounting Manager Allison Volker

The Iowan, ISSN (0021-0772), is published bi-monthly by Pioneer Communications, Inc., 300 Walnut Street, Suite 6, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. This issue is dated July 1, 2013, Volume 61, No. 6. All content ©  2013 The Iowan/Pioneer Communications, Inc., and may not be used, reproduced, or altered in any way without prior written permission. Periodicals Postage Paid in Des Moines, Iowa, and at additional mailing offices. We cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of unsolicited material. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: The Iowan, 300 Walnut St., STE 6, Des Moines, IA 50309. Prices: Subscriptions — Special rate when ordered direct or by mail: six issues per year for $24. International orders require additional postage. Please call for rates. Single copies — on newsstands: $4.95; current issue by mail: $4.95 plus $3.50 S+H. Please call for quantity discount pricing. Single past issues 2005 to present: $5.95 plus S+H, two for $9.95 plus S+H; prior to 2005: $14.95 plus S+H. New Subscriptions, Renewals, Gifts: > SUBSCRIBE 877-899-9977 x211 Change of Address:> CONTACT > Address Change 877-899-9977 x211 Past Issues: 877-899-9977 x211 Mail Orders: The Iowan Subscription Services P.O. Box 2516, Waterloo, IA 50704 Advertising Information: 515-246-0402 x202 or 877-899-9977 x202 2012_IRMA_member_emblem.jpg (JPEG Image, 1500 × 1466 pixels) - S...

Polly Clark, Publisher



10% PCW Paper Made in the USA

contributors After a decade living in Ireland, in

As a visual storyteller, David

2009 Jennifer Blair returned to

Peterson says he is always a

Iowa and reacquainted herself with

bit amazed by what he finds in

its landscape, people, and stories

Iowa. In Hopkinton to photograph

during a monthlong walk across the

conservationist Matt O’Connor for

state. She’s passionate about Iowa’s

“Forces of Nature,” page 26, David

future. “Forces of Nature,” page 26,

was led to a field full of golden

introduces Iowans who arrived at environmentalism through

prairie grass. David says, “This must be what Iowa prairies

diverse paths but who are now collectively advocating for

looked like 200 years ago, before plows dug into the rich soil.

funding the state’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation

Listening to the wind whistle through chest-high grasses was

Trust Fund. Jennifer lives in Iowa City.

pure heaven — and it made a great backdrop for Matt and his hunting dog Guinness.” David is a two-time Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist who enjoys his life and freelance

Born in the year of the dog, writer

work in Iowa.

Jim Duncan has always relied upon his nose for sniffing out the special flavors of travels. In “Mighty Tasty,”

Mark Tade’s wife, artist Nancy

page 34, he provides an intimate

Purington (,

look at two unique ones on the

grew up just five miles north of Le

Upper Mississippi — one reminiscent

Claire. “Back in the 1950s, she went

of an old-world fish market and the other offering more

with her father to pick up smoked

contemporary tastes and techniques.

sturgeon from a fishing shack in Le Claire, probably from Dan Fullmer’s granddad ‘Jigs’ McCauley,” Mark says. He, on the other

Waukee native Jon Lemons spent

hand, is a fan of local artisanal spirits. So when in Le Claire

many hours meeting, talking with,

photographing Fullmer’s Fish Market and Mississippi River

and photographing fairgoers who —

Distilling Company (MRDC) for “Mighty Tasty,” page 34, he

for 11 days — call the Iowa State Fair

ventured down a few doors to pick up a bottle of MRDC’s Cody

campgrounds their home. He shares

Road Rye Whiskey at The Crane & The Pelican.

this unique culture in “Campground City, U.S.A.,” page 46. Jon is an ISU graduate with experience shooting for The Omaha World-Herald

When freelance writer and

and later KCCI News Channel 8. Today he shoots for Des Moines

photographer Mike Whye spotted

Public Schools as well as freelance assignments.

a small sign on an ice cream stand’s bulletin board announcing an upcoming waterskiing show, he mused, “A water team in Iowa?” That question led to his discovering

Featured on the label of MRDC’s River Pilot Vodka is Phillip Suiter, one of the original river pilots along Le Claire’s stretch of the Mississippi River. Suiter was the great-great-grandfather of Nancy Purington, who is married to photographer Make Tade.

four eastern Iowa performance teams, featured beginning on page 40. Mike, who recently received an honorable mention in the Mark Twain Travel Writers competition, also teaches journalism and photography at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


letters Reiki Rocks We received many letters from

Good Energy

readers commenting on “Cat Care”

Energy work is a tremendously

(May/June 2013, page 15), which

powerful force that allows animals

featured Joanna Johnson’s use of

to receive both health benefits and

Reiki and healing touch to calm a

spiritual peacefulness, and animals

lioness at the Blank Park Zoo in Des

who are healthy and happy can help

Moines. Here are excerpts from a

bring peace to the humans who come

few of them.

in contact with them. Kimberly Busbee, Clive

Kudos from the Zoo I have witnessed firsthand the

Making the World Better

Tribal Victory

incredibly positive effects that Reiki

Reiki is a useful and wonderful healing

I would like to commend Jim Duncan

has had on many of our animals here

technique for both humans and

on his excellent story about the

at Blank Park Zoo and appreciate

animals; the more people learn about

Meskwaki tribe in the May/June issue

your effort to increase awareness of

it, the better the world will be for all

(page 43). He accomplished the rare

this practice.

of us. If the animals could write, they

feat of incorporating a number of

would be thanking you, too!

unique and important points about

Kathy McKee, Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines

Rebecca Purnell, Des Moines

the tribe and their history that other writers often miss, and then framed

Life Enrichment

Encore, Encore!

those nicely within a well-honed,

New ways to provide treatment to

I appreciated such an informed and

representative, and interesting article.

animals as well as people are always

passionate coverage of the subject. I

of interest. If they help and improve

would like to see follow-up articles.

the life of living things, it’s certainly

Mary McBee, Tama

Samuel Koltinsky, Naples, FL

worthwhile. Stephen Christie, Dallas, TX

Write to Us! The Iowan


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Des Moines IA 50309 Cedar Falls Waterloo Denison Honey Creek

Coon Rapids Waukee

Des Moines

Atlantic > Contact

Cedar Rapids

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Council Bluffs

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West Branch > The Iowan Magazine

Le Claire


Test Drive Visit and read a digital edition of the magazine on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Points of Interest in This Issue



Let us know how she rides

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July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Hours of Operation Apr 1 - Sep 30 Mon - Sat: 9am - 10pm Sun: Noon - 10pm Oct 1 - Mar 31 Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm Sun: Noon - 9pm

115 Central Ave. NW, Downtown Le Mars, Iowa • 712.546.4522 •

©2012 Wells Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.



Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Greater Des Moines

Botanical Garden

Prairie Point BookstoreTheaterClassrooms Exhibit AreaTeacher WorkshopsWildlife BirdingBikingHikingHuntingMushrooming

Exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants

Open Daily 9am–5pm Free for members and children under 3 909 Robert D. Ray Drive Des Moines, Iowa 50316 515.323.6290

The Prairie Learning Center facilities include a visitor center with bookstore, theater, classrooms and exhibit area. Miles of trails radiate from the Center. In addition, the public is welcome to drive through an approximately 700 acre enclosure in hopes of seeing bison or elk. The Prairie Point Bookstore is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge Prairie Learning Center 9981 Pacific Street | Prairie City, Iowa 50228-0399 (515) 994-3400 |

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


courtesy Steve Erickson, the University of Iowa Museum of Art


Lessons on Wheels At first glance, the two-wheelers in the Native Kids Ride Bikes exhibition (through July 28) at the University of Iowa look like fancy lowrider versions of everyday bicycles. But the seven bikes carry deeper meanings and messages. Constructed during a yearlong collaboration of indigenous youth in middle and high schools, non-Native university students, and Native artists, the bikes incorporate

“Not all the symbols have an obvious meaning,” says

symbols of the sacred Anishinaabe (indigenous cultures

Catherine Hale, curator of the university’s Museum of Art.

of North America) teachings, the relationship between

“We want people to consider what the symbols represent and

indigenous and non-Native cultures, and the role of

how they are interrelated.” — M.G.

sustainable transportation in protecting our environment.

For information, see

Celebrate Healthful Eating With statewide initiatives such as Fit for Life and Healthy Iowa, and dozens if not hundreds of corporate-led health initiatives, more Iowans are actively seeking advice about how to get and stay healthy. Raw Food Week, August 19–25, courtesy Doug Smith Photography

provides a wide range of palate-pleasing opportunities along with education about the benefits of adding more natural and raw foods to one’s diet. Sponsored by members of RawFoodDSM, the event includes venues around metro Des Moines providing opportunities to sample raw food delicacies prepared by local chefs, order raw food dishes for sampling at home, view a film on the politics of raw food, and attend lectures by nationally known experts on raw food. One speaker is Jennifer Cornbleet, author of popular raw food cookbooks such as Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People, who will discuss the health benefits of raw food and lead a class on raw food preparation. “Her recipes are

very helpful for the novice,” says raw food aficionado Lori

simple to make with readily available ingredients and are

Adrianse of Des Moines. Sheree Clark, owner of Fork in the Road, a health

What Is Raw Food? A raw food diet typically includes vegan fare — fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. But raw food is defined as any food that is unprocessed and has not been heated above 105°F, which can include raw meat, fresh uncooked fish, and unpasteurized milk. “If it comes in a bottle, a can, or a package,” says Sheree Clark, founder of Fork in the Road, “it’s probably not raw food.”



counseling practice, and the driving force behind Raw Food Week, says, “Raw foods have a much higher water and fiber content than processed foods, making them easier to digest and thus a powerful source of energy.” She notes that food processing, including microwaving, destroys much of the enzymes in and nutritional value of the things we eat. — M.G.

For information on events and venues, see or

potluck One Language Unites Cultures A traditional powwow is a gathering of North American natives. But the White Eagle Multicultural Pow Wow in Waukee in late August reaches far beyond that narrow focus to include all people of color — red, white, yellow, and black — who are integral to the culture of the American Midwest. The first Pow Wow was held in 2000 to celebrate the life of Ralph Moisa’s son. Known to his family as White Eagle, 19-year-old Ralph Moisa III died while trying to rescue a red-tailed hawk caught in a power line. Although White Eagle experienced discrimination as a child, he grew up with a profound reverence for all people and creatures, a connection he shared with his ancestors. The Pow Wow’s goal, says Moisa, “is to use the universal language of music, dance, story, and food to share all COURTESY JASON MRACHINA

our heritages and bring down the walls of misunderstanding.” The festival includes traditions representing the varied cultural heritage of Midwest residents, including those of Mexican, Filipino, and Japanese descent. — M.G.

Camp at the festival site or reserve a tipi at the White Eagle Bed and Breakfast. For a schedule of events for August 23–25, accommodations, and directions, see or contact Fern Carlson at

Zip Across Eastern Iowa There’s a new option for those daring to soar through the air for a bird’s-eye view of eastern Iowa. In addition to Sky Tours at the YMCA Union Park Camp in Dubuque, the region is now host to a dual zip line at Bloomsbury Farm in Atkins, just 10 minutes west of Cedar Rapids. Designed for riders of all ages and abilities weighing between 60 and 250 pounds, Bloomsbury Farm’s zip lines run 50 feet in the air over a total of 1,200 feet across pastures and a creek. Once riders reach the other side, they take flight to return to the starting place. The dual zip line lets riders fly side by side with adventure-seeking friends or curl in a ball to gain maximum speed and race them to the other side. Cost is $20 per person. Bloomsbury Farm is open Saturdays and Sundays from courtesy BLOOMSBURY FARM

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August. Other activities include a hayrack ride, corn maze, jumping pillow, and pedal cart race track. The zip line is also open by reservation Monday through Friday. — Editor

For more information, visit: Bloomsbury Farm at and Sky Tours at YMCA Union Park Camp at

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


potluck courtesy Sandy Grace

Bio-Blitz: It All Adds Up Each year, Coon Rapids’ Bio-Blitz brings scientists and other professionals to Whiterock Conservancy, where they lead science enthusiasts through an exploration of seven square miles of prairies, timber, and river bottoms. The goal is to identify all the varieties of animal and plant life that can be found within a 24-hour period. This year’s Bio-Blitz begins at noon on July 12 and is expected to uncover several new

Topics among this year’s repeat field sessions are

categories for the Conservancy, including edible cattail roots

birds, bats, moths, and dragonflies, as well as geology and

and fresh-water mussels, during three-hour field sessions.

archeology. — M.G.

“We don’t necessarily inventory every species every year,” says Chris Troendle, Whiterock’s land manager, “but we do repeat some of the most popular ones.”

For information on the schedule of field sessions, directions, and accommodations, see

Jamboree Delivers Line up the trucks that pass through what’s considered the world’s largest truck stop in Walcott each year and they’d cross the United States nine times, just one indication of how important the trucking industry is when it comes to delivering the goods — whether those goods are groceries or gas, clothing or cars. courtesy Iowa 80 Group, Inc.

During the Truckers Jamboree, see the history of trucking and peek inside today’s big rigs, where owner-operators might have a home on wheels that includes their own fireplace and shower. Enjoy entertainment and food for the whole family that was delivered, no doubt, by a truck. — C.B.

The Truckers Jamboree will be held Thursday through Saturday, July 11–13, just off I-80 at exit 284 in Walcott. For more information, visit

Geocaching for Treasure Real-world techno treasure hunts, called geocaching, are to read the global positioning system (GPS) clues. On July 20, participants in Geocache Bash at Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek will learn to use GPS technology and can choose one of progressively more difficult routes to practice their new skills. Though the hunts are generally geared to adults, “I’ve taught kindergartners how to do it,” says Sydney Hiatt, environmental educator. “It’s a different way to get outdoors and have an adventure.” — C.B.

Reservations required by July 7 by calling 712-242-1197.



courtesy Pottawattamie County Conservation

happening all around the world. The key is in knowing how

potluck Letters from the Civil War “I will send some more scabs of my arm I was vaccinated in,” wrote 18-year-old Melvin Briggs of Mechanicsville in his letter dated May 18, 1864, shortly after signing on with the Iowa 13th Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Vaccinations were part of induction for soldiers serving in the Civil War, so Briggs shared that inoculation benefit with his family through the scabs. By a ratio of 2 to 1, disease killed more soldiers than gunfire during the Civil War. Briggs only served thinkstock®

four months, succumbing to disease in August 1864. His commanding officer wrote to the Briggs family, “He displayed as much valor through that day as any veteran Soldier did on the same occasion.” Learn about Iowans’ unique contributions to the Civil War through letters, uniforms, and other artifacts of camp life in

view copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment signed by President Abraham Lincoln. — C.B.

the exhibit Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater at the Hoover Presidential Library through October 27. Also

Learn more at

New Trout Run Trail For outdoor enthusiasts, Decorah’s recently completed 11-mile Trout Run Trail loop courtesy Randy Uhl, Winneshiek County Development Director

provides rich scenic and recreational diversity. You can feed the fish at the Decorah Fish Hatchery; check on the progress of this year’s crop of eaglets; watch canoers, kayakers, and tubers on the Upper Iowa River; or do a little fishing. You can even cool off with a stop at one of the ice cream shops in town. — M.G.

For directions to the trail and parking sites along it, see

courtesy pottawattamie county conservation

KinderNature: Light the Night When the sun goes down and the fireflies come out, children can’t be far behind. That’s particularly true at the KinderNature Bright Fireflies program at Narrows River Park in Council Bluffs, where on July 14 kids will learn not only to catch lightning bugs but also to identify the sex of the creatures that use a chemical reaction called bioluminescence to attract mates. — C.B.

No registration required. See full details at environmental-education/kinder-nature-programs.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


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EXPERIENCE C A R R O L L You will find something for everyone in Carroll!


July 8-21 July 10-14 July 18 July 27 August 10

Upper Iowa UnIversIty Experience. Learn. Lead.

District 1 Sub-State 16” Men’s Slowpitch Carroll County Fair with Figure 8 Races Ridiculous Day Sidewalk Sales RPM Car Club Show & Shine CARRollFeSt (Daytime family activities/evening bands)


Check the Chamber website for

CALENDAR OF EVENTS & BUSINESSES! Carroll Chamber of Commerce 712.792.4383

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Carroll Co. CVB Section: ROP Date: 5-16-2013 Proof #: 2

Come discover history • Heirloom Display Gardens • Free Audio Tours • Hiking Trails • Weekend Guided Tours • Ancient White Park Cattle • Historic Apple Orchard • Heritage Poultry • Trout Fishing • Heirloom Seeds, Plants, Books, Garden Tools, Gifts & more

A thriving university with a hometown, personal feel and global resources. • Accredited, affordable, flexible - 2 classes per term; 8-week terms • Experienced, credentialed faculty • Globally available – offering degrees on campus, and through 19 U.S. education centers, distance education and international centers • Online excellence – nationally ranked for quality, “best buy” online degree-granting programs

Schedule a campus visit this summer

800-553-4150 •

TOMATO TASTING AUGUST 31 Lillian Goldman Visitors Center

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A non-profit organization since 1975

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July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Photos courtesy Holly Baumgartel and TeDxDesMoines


WHERE IDEAS TAKE SHAPE TEDxDesMoines connects people and their passions. story by Nate Brown

few hundred people beat the July heat and gather at the Science Center of Iowa around an illuminated stage sparsely decorated with a red carpet, a large projection screen, and a simple yet stylish backdrop of the capital city’s skyline. Mike Wagner commands the floor, encouraging the audience to acknowledge and embrace their strangeness, asserting that by divulging or exploiting oft-suppressed traits, one will invariably achieve a deeper relationship with others. “You have to experiment with your strangeness,” advises the owner of the Des Moines branding company White Rabbit Group, sharing a personal anecdote involving Johnny Cash, the Temptations, and a TSA agent with whom he momentarily connected. “Because if you let it all out at once, you’re just going to send people running.” Like other TedxDesMoines speakers, Wagner garners laughter, cheers, and applause, but this is less a performance for a rapt crowd and more a participatory forum in which innovation and creativity take center stage. Like many other TEDx talks that take place around the world annually, the goal of the 16


TEDxDesMoines conference (and its motto) is to promote “Ideas Worth Spreading” in the areas of technology, entertainment, and design — also the source of the acronym that forms its name. The national TED organization began in 1984 at a one-time California event; it came under new direction and began holding yearly events in 1990 before assuming nonprofit status in 2001. In an effort to promote its ideal, TED began licensing the name TEDx —the “x” indicates an event is independently organized and not-for-profit — to third parties in 2009.

Enter Alexander Grgurich In 2009 Grgurich (pronounced “GOO-gah-rich”) was a student at Drake University as well as a frequent viewer of the TED talks, most of which are made available online. Not one to shy away from taking action (the 26-year-old entrepreneur served on Norwalk’s City Council in 2008), Grgurich began taking steps to organize an event in his hometown. TEDxDesMoines debuted in 2010 with 100 people in attendance. A second

dimensions LEft: Participants discover that playing together provides the platform for connecting and creating. Right: Des Moines artist Rachel Buse encourages people to defeat their “maker’s block” in her talk, “The Moment Before Making.”

a third in 2012 with 320. Growth is not the overall goal, says Grgurich, who has capped this year’s event at 300 attendees. Instead, the priority is providing a temporary setting for sharing ideas that have a lasting effect. While the conference focuses on one central theme, the subjects of the talks (each up to 18 minutes long) are as diverse as the speakers themselves: At TEDxDesMoines 2012, where the theme was The Space Between, listeners heard not only Wagner’s “The Positive Power of Being Strange” but also Iowa State University aerospace professor Bong Wei’s discussion on the potential of an asteroid to impact with Earth.

Conversation Starter Wagner ruminated that day on the ability of strangers to connect through the quirks that make each person unique. The TEDx conference, he says, is a place where such connections are made possible. “This is more about the provocation and initiation of a conversation rather than being the recognized central expert. It gets us off the type of ‘celebritism’ that sometimes leaves people sitting and passively listening instead of acting.” Grgurich agrees. “The stage is a catalyst,” he says. “Our goal is to deliver a premium experience where attendees are engaged and people can mix.” To facilitate, the TEDxDesMoines team works to ensure that all aspects of the event foster interaction. Guests wear name tags that list their interests as a way of sparking conversation. Throughout the day attendees are presented with engaging activities — behind-the-scenes tours, a communal idea board, molding objects out of Play-Doh — meant to encourage chance introductions and discussions between individuals that otherwise may not have crossed paths.

Passionate People Wanted Because the number of attendees is capped, those wanting to participate can expect more than a regular ticketing process. Candidates are asked to describe themselves and their passions and why they’re inter-

ested in the talks. The information gathering ensures a diverse mix of people from an array of backgrounds, much like those invited to speak. In the audience and on the stage, participants can expect to encounter any number of artists, entrepreneurs, scholars, educators, and scientists, as well as those that may be lesser known to the public or not at all. “That’s what makes TEDx different from other events,” explains Grgurich. “What I see as a shortcoming in a lot of communities, Des Moines included, is that great things may be happening in the start-up space, but everything is siloed. The artist isn’t hanging out with the teacher. The teacher isn’t hanging out with the businessperson. If we could break down the silos and get those people mixing, and use big ideas as a way to push it forward, I think great things can happen.”

Nate Brown is cofounder and coeditor of Spoilage, a quarterly Des Moines-based literary magazine in its first year. (Facebook: SpoilageDSM)

To date more than 6,000 TEDx events have been organized in over 100 countries. Alexander Grgurich and his Des Moines team have planned the next TEDxDesMoines event for September 8 at the Des Moines Temple for Performing Arts. Those wishing to learn more about organizing a TEDx event can participate in a workshop September 7.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Photos courtesy Bluespace creative, Inc.

at work

CREATIVE WORK ROOM On the upper floor of Denison’s American Legion building, designers are inspired by a virtual playground for the mind. story by Mary Gottschalk

n a bright orange room slathered with comic book exclamations, the design staff piles onto red beanbag cushions and puts on their thinking caps — among them a Viking helmet, a yacht captain’s cap, a bright yellow hard hat, aviator headgear. Sometimes they add music — kazoos, bongos, drumsticks, maybe singing along to karaoke. They sit below a monster moose head sporting an Elvis wig and sunglasses, and the search for inspiration begins. “It’s a playground for the mind,” says Denison native Scott Winey, creative director and principal of bluespace creative, inc. (, an integrated design, 18


branding, and communication firm. “A great way to put everyone on the same playing field and loosen us up.”

Creativity Comes Home Winey’s grade-school passion for design — evident in the stock cars and baseball diamond placards he decorated — evolved into a career in Denver and Omaha, but it eventually brought him home to Iowa in the mid-1990s. For the next seven years, Winey spent his days as art director for an Ida Grove manufacturer and his nights freelancing from his basement. In 2003, when his freelance client base reached critical mass,

at work LEFT: Thinking caps get the creative juices flowing. RIGHT: Ideas turn into solutions in the Madison Avenue-style studio.

he hung out his own shingle in the tiny community of Charter Oak. The firm’s 2005 move to Denison reflected the confluence of entrepreneurial and community needs. Winey’s growing business needed a larger space; Denison’s Donna Reed Theater needed an upstairs tenant — preferably with some connection to the arts. Winey and his staff of creative designers got to work, fixing up the second floor of the theater in return for free rent. The boutique firm is today tucked away on the upper floor of the 1909 American Legion building and shares this Lincoln Highway town of 8,300 with such old establishments as Cronk’s Cafe and the Park Motel as well as newer businesses such as El Jimador restaurant and Boulders Conference Center. A century earlier the emerging coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway helped put many Iowa communities, including Denison, on the map. Today it’s information technology that’s driving new possibilities in rural America. Easy, high-quality communication with clients anywhere in the world has enabled the bluespace staff of 12 to build an extensive client roster ranging from local Crawford County Memorial Hospital to international banking giant Wells Fargo.

Madison Avenue-Style The group routinely handles today’s standard communication tools such as websites and media releases, but bluespace also develops product packaging, signage, and retail space design. The firm once even designed and printed bus wraps for a client event — just to make sure the message didn’t get garbled. “We’re passionate about creativity,” says New Media Director Brad Dassow about a company that tags itself a “New York City-style studio in small-town Iowa.” Dassow, a Marion native who was educated at Iowa State University and Mount Mercy University, adds, “We want to be at the leading edge, technologically and strategically.”

That’s right where Aaron Lingren wants to be. Lingren, a Schleswig native, grooved on his internship with bluespace as a high school senior. “It was a 100-percent creative experience.” After finishing art school, the graduate found work in Omaha but pestered Winey for months until he got a job offer that brought him back to western Iowa. “I feel like I’m in a New York City agency during the day — and then I drive home to a quiet community in Middle America. I can’t believe my good luck,” he says. The firm’s growing success is likely less about luck and more about late nights and lattes. (Oh, yes. The office includes a cafe with espresso machines.) Culture shapes the ambition of the workforce, too. Winey has built the bluespace creative team with mostly native Iowans, leveraging what he sees as a competitive edge: Iowa values. “I can find good designers anywhere, but I can’t give them a Midwestern work ethic,” he says. “I’d rather start with talented artists who share my passion for client service and train them to work in my style. “Anyone can design a logo,” he adds, “but I want people who can think out of the box.” And in this other-world think space, thinking outside the box is really the only thing they can do. Mary Gottschalk has retired from a career of changing careers. In her latest reincarnation she’s a writer with a published memoir about sailing around the world and a forthcoming novel. She loves freelancing as a way to learn about the highways and byways of Iowa, her new home state.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



Photos courtesy of Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Calming Waters

Low-head dam mitigation improves safety and opportunity. story by Carol Bodensteiner

he 130-year-old Klondike Dam was making people nervous. “That dam just scared the heck out of me,” says Lyon County Conservation Board director Craig Van Otterloo of the structure stretching across the Big Sioux River on the state’s northwest border. “It’s a drowning machine.” He’d been lucky enough to once rescue two people caught in the low-head dam’s undertow. He didn’t want to see another life put at risk. Bonnie Koel was anxious for a different reason. The administrative manager with Lyon & Sioux Rural Water System feared for the local water supply. “We have five wells above the Klondike Dam that provide part of our water,” she says, highlighting the dam’s pooling effect upstream. “With the drought conditions last summer, our water levels were three to five feet below normal. If the dam failed, our water supply would be compromised.” The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also had an eye on the aging dam. In 2008 the agency was mandated to develop a statewide plan to address 20


public hazards to newly formed water trails. The plan identified 177 low-head dams on major waterways that met the criteria for mitigation. Each was evaluated according to impact criteria; the Klondike and other high scorers were targeted first for mitigation. Built in 1883 to provide hydraulic power to the Kruger flourmill, the Klondike Dam has seldom gone longer than 15 years without some reconstruction. The 2008 flood caused more serious structural problems and kick-started discussions for a permanent solution.

Decision Point Since the first dam was built on an Iowa river in 1829, dams have played an important role in the state’s economic development, powering gristmills, woolen mills, and sawmills and generating electricity. Dams help ensure a reliable water supply and support a range of recreational opportunities from fishing to boating. From the beginning, dams have also had a darker side — fatalities related to strong recirculating waters

stewards LEFT: The floods of 2008 caused water to run under the already unstable Klondike Dam, which threatened to wash out the dam and compromise the Lyon & Sioux Rural Water System supply. TOP RIGHT: When the low-head dam was operating as it was designed, it prevented fish migration up stream and created a potentially deadly churn below the dam. BOTTOM RIGHT: The new Klondike Rapids employs a graded rock rapids system that eliminates the churn, allows easy fish migration, and ensures a reliable water supply.

below the dam, fish blocked from migrating upstream, deterioration in upstream water quality as sediment accumulates, exacerbation of flood impact, and, as the infrastructure ages, the danger and cost of dam failure and replacement. “Cities are at a decision point. They could repair or do something different,” says Nate Hoogeveen, Iowa DNR river programs coordinator, highlighting the conversations taking place statewide. To guide those decisions, the DNR offers approaches to address local infrastructure needs while avoiding as many of the side effects of traditional low-head dams as possible. “There are more solutions than people may think,” says Hoogeveen.

Many Voices Inform Solution As the Klondike project worked its way through public hearings and joint decision making (Iowa and South Dakota both had an interest, as did the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), folks around the dam held their collective breath. “We’d patched and repaired, dumped concrete in, filled with rock and gravel as temporary fixes,” says Koel. “We were like the little Dutch boy putting a finger in the dike.” Many voices weighed in. Anglers didn’t want to lose the favorable fishing the dam afforded by maintaining a higher river depth upstream. Canoeists wanted the dam removed for easier and safer paddling. Preservationists voiced concern about losing a historic site. “People tend to think the options are either to have a dam as they know it or to have no dam,” says Hoogeveen. “We’re helping them see they can preserve the character of the dam and approximate what the river wants to do while meeting the needs of people using the river.” That was accomplished with a rock arch rapids, a highly stable, loose-stone structure that replaced the function of Klondike Dam — without a dam. The new Klondike Rapids, completed this spring, stabilized the water supply to wells serving the rural water system,

removed a safety hazard, and has already opened up new recreation opportunities. Plans are underway to establish a water trail from Sioux Falls to Sioux City with camping and river access in both states. “Klondike Rapids requires minimal maintenance, is user-friendly, offers more access, and is safer,” concludes Van Otterloo. Since 2008 five Iowa dams have been mitigated; projects have taken three to five years, beginning to end. Plans are underway to restructure several more in the next two to three years. Carol Bodensteiner is a Des Moines writer who enjoys plunging into the depths of Iowa’s water issues.

Iowa currently has 246 U.S.-, state-, county-, city-, and privately owned dams on major rivers. Low-head dams — river-wide, less than 30 feet high, and normally overtopped by the entire river’s flow — make up 175 of them. Learn more online at > Recreation > Canoeing & Kayaking > Low Head Dams.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



Eating Well

Patients, employees, and locals reap the rewards of Cass County Memorial Hospital’s menu. story by Terri Queck-Matzie

he cafeteria inside Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic looks like any other. Trays are stacked neatly in tall stainless-steel carts. Furnishings and wall tile in earthen tones try to dampen the institutional setting. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer diners a view of a serene healing garden. But this is no ordinary cafeteria. This is no ordinary hospital food service.

Serving Up Fresh and Local In this town of 7,200, the hospital cafeteria is one of the most popular dining spots, known for its homemade specialties and now for its fresh, local ingredients. “We had a long history of making homemade foods before I came on the scene,” says registered dietitian 22


Emily Krengel of the soups, stews, quiches, casseroles, and more on the menu. “Now we’ve taken it up a notch, adding the local foods.” Apples, tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash, ground beef — much of the hospital’s fruits, vegetables, and meat — come from local sources. “Growers approach us,” says Krengel. The hospital currently buys from 5 to 10 growers, some with small gardens, some with acres of produce. They’re not necessarily organic growers, but Krengel pays attention to growing methods and does business with those who grow their food as naturally as possible. “This is Iowa, after all, and we have pests. True organic just isn’t always feasible,” she says.

morsels Supporting Local Bussinesses, Too Krengel developed the plan while attending a dietary conference several years ago. The meeting agenda called for setting goals. Krengel, a self-proclaimed “obnoxious proponent of local business,” set her sights on becoming proactive about purchasing foods locally. “In those early days we sometimes bought tomatoes with petty cash,” she says. “We’re much more businesslike about it now.” Her efforts became hospital policy, and she’s helped establish a Local Food Policy Council that operates under the Cass County Board of Supervisors to promote local food production and use. Krengel discovered that purchasing fruits and vegetables was actually easy. “Many people think health regulations are prohibitive,” she says. “That’s not really the case. It’s all about processing. That’s what is prohibitive. We have to buy things whole.” That means certain types of produce just aren’t practical, even though they may be plentiful and readily available. Like green beans: “They’re just too labor-intensive,” she says. Handling fresh produce does take more time and effort than that already prepared for institutional use, as does creating more dishes from scratch. “The staff has to be committed,” she says. Fifteen dietary workers at the hospital prepare round-the-clock meals for 25 patients and daily Meals on Wheels for 100 shut-ins in the community, plus serve 150 cafeteria lunches to the public and hospital employees. “Things like our winter squash and sweet potato soup are favorites,” says Krengel, “and the added bonus is our overall vegetable consumption has increased.” Buying locally grown meat proved to be more challenging and, in many ways, more rewarding. “We have three meat processing lockers in the county,” says Krengel. “When I approached them and said I wanted to buy local meat from them, they laughed at me.” Locker owners explained that not all the meat they process and sell from their shops is raised locally, and they don’t necessarily track what is and then take it to the locker for processing. With the help of a local farmer who knew how to buy good beef on the hoof, Krengel made a trip to the Cass County Fair’s livestock auction. “The first calf we bought, we got a standing ovation,” says Krengel. “It was very humbling.” And it cemented the hospital

administration’s backing of the program. “Advertising dollars can’t buy that type of PR.” The food service uses one to two beef calves per month and also purchases a pen of three hogs at the fair. They use few locally grown chickens because, like the beans, handling is just too labor-intensive. They utilize more beef than pork because it produces more cuts that suit their needs. Pork chops are often too large, but loin, bacon, ground pork, and ham are all usable. The hospital does not use the prime cuts of beef in the cafeteria. Those are sometimes given to staff as incentives or prizes. Some are retained by the locker and sold retail; the proceeds go toward the hospital’s processing bill.

Doing the Right Thing — for Everyone Krengel says not only is the staff supporting and committed to the cause, but community feedback has instilled a sense of pride. “They hear from people how great the food is and how great it is that it’s grown locally. And that really encourages them to do more. They’re proud of what we do here.” So is Krengel. So much so that she would like to see the effort to use local foods expanded throughout the county. “It can be done,” she insists. For Cass County Memorial Hospital, the effort just may be destiny. This health care facility sits on land that was once a large truck farm. For Krengel, however, there’s more to it than history or local economics or dietary benefits. “It’s just the right thing to do,” she says as the cooks nearby set about peeling potatoes and chopping onions and browning ground beef in preparation of another meal of fresh foods, cafeteria style.

Growing up on the family farm in the southwest region of the state, Terri Queck-Matzie began her love affair with Iowa at an early age. Today she photographs and writes about the state’s people and places from her home in Fontanelle.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


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July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Forcesof Nature

Iowa advocates unite to protect outdoor spaces.

story by Jennifer Blair | photography by Mike Peterson



n unexpected late-February blizzard pummels the grounds of the State Capitol, hampering efforts to make it gracefully to the public entrance. Once inside the wind-weighted double doors, however, a warm, humid buzz fills the air. The building is teeming with talk of bike trails, water trails, nature preserves, hunting grounds, sailing lakes, campsites. Iowans have come from every corner of the state today, seemingly unfazed by the weather challenge and focused instead on a political one. Matt O’Connor mills about among a group of orange-capped men outside the Senate Chamber, shaking hands and sharing friendly words with passersby. The Dubuque native, national Habitat Forever Coordinator of Pheasants Forever (PF), and PF state leader is at the center of the large contingent of PF members, all clad in orange hunting caps, all here to impress on their individual state legislators the importance of increased funding for natural resource protection. The rotunda on the floor below is temporarily home to a warren of information booths, posters, and demonstrations on myriad outdoor topics ranging from grass waterways to sailing safety to native tree planting. Tucked along the east wall between displays promoting state parks and soil analysis is the table organized by the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and anchored by Jane Clark, its former chair. Like O’Connor, Clark knows many faces in today’s crowd, a mix of causedriven groups hoping to convince legislators that the protection of Iowa’s natural resources is a top priority for Iowans.

Native Ottumwan Mark Langgin acquired his passion for conservation from his father. He steadfastly lobbies at the statehouse in Des Moines to preserve Iowa’s natural resources.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Common Ground Outspoken and passionate, O’Connor speaks with equal zeal about pheasant hunting and the need to protect Iowa’s outdoor spaces. With a background in biology and experience working for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and serving on the Bremer County Conservation Board, he sees the bigger picture when it comes to protecting Iowa’s natural resources. “Anytime I can be outside chasing birds is pure happiness to me, but this is about more than just protection of pheasant habitat. This is about ensuring that future generations of Iowans have the opportunities to enjoy the land the way my generation did,” he says emphatically. “Dammit, our natural resources and outdoor recreation spaces are just as important as job opportunities when it comes to keeping young people in the state.” Unlike O’Connor, Clark’s idea of “chasing birds” has more to do with binoculars than a bolt action shotgun. A longtime resident of Clive who in 28


her “retirement” serves on the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Commission and the boards of the Iowa Environmental Council, Des Moines Audubon Society, Iowa Audubon Society, and Sierra Club, Clark followed with ongoing interest the creation and development of the Clive Greenbelt, an urban green space buffering Walnut Creek. She knows its bends and birdsongs like her own backyard and more often than not also knows the people walking, jogging, or biking along its seven-mile trail. With unwarranted humility, she shifts the spotlight away from herself: “Change only comes about when local citizens are involved.” For the past seven years, the paths of these two advocates have crossed time and again through their work in a statewide coalition advocating for a permanent fund to support natural resource protection and recreation enhancement in Iowa. Under the proposed plan, the fund would support numerous projects, including initiatives to conserve soil on

THIS PAGE: A restricted waterway in Delaware County is only a few miles from the home of environmentalist Matt O’Connor. OPPOSITE: O’Connor, Pheasants Forever’s national Habitat Forever coordinator, and his hunting dog, Guinness, visit a field of prairie grass near his home in Delaware County.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Supply & Demand farmland, restore wetlands, expand the trail system, and improve lake and river water quality. O’Connor and Clark have found that their shared enthusiasm for Iowa’s outdoors eclipses any difference in the way they enjoy it. “When I knew I’d be working with Jane as a representative of the Sierra Club, I braced myself, thinking, ‘There’s going to be a conflict here between hunting and preservation,’” recalls O’Connor. “But that conflict never came. I found that Jane and the Sierra Club believed in the same things Pheasants Forever did.” Clark agrees. “In Iowa, especially for this cause, there has been a great deal of overlap for the protection of natural areas and for funding goals.” 30


As the second greatest agricultural producer in the nation (behind California, according to the United States Department of Agriculture), Iowa uses its resources intensively but makes a relatively small per capita contribution to their protection through public funds. A few striking facts: An estimated 5 tons of soil is lost per acre per year on Iowa farms, with up to 12 times that amount eroding during severe storms and flooding. In the last decade the number of Iowa’s rivers, lakes, and streams failing to meet state water quality standards has more than doubled. A 2012 study in BioScience by Thomas Brown and Pamela Froemke found that on a scale of 1 to 5 (5

Delaware County’s Plum Creek is one of Iowa’s waterways impaired by chemical run-off from farm fields and soil erosion. Plum Creek is a watershed and is not fed by a lake or river.

being the highest risk for water quality impairment), all of Iowa’s waterways have risk levels of 4 or 5. According to the Trust for Public Land, Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for per capita spending on natural resource protection. For example, from 1998 to 2005, Iowa spent just under $19 million of public funds on land conservation, amounting to $6.50 per person. Over that same time period, Missouri, which adopted a pioneering trust fund for natural resource protection in the 1970s, spent $140 million, or $24 per person. While Iowans continue to place greater demands on our natural resources, they are also seeking more ways to engage with the outdoors. In a 2012 economic study at Iowa State University, Dr. Dan Otto and

others found steady growth in participation in outdoor recreation in the state and with it increased economic impact. Outdoor recreation activities contribute over 31,000 jobs and $1.16 billion in personal income annually to the state’s economy, according to the study. “Greater investment in our natural resources really is a no-lose situation because increased access to recreation opportunities enhances the quality of life and health of Iowans and furthers Iowa’s economic development goals,” concludes Otto. Iowa’s legislators have previously created mechanisms to fund resource protection, but followthrough has not been consistent. Created in 1989, the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program was seen as landmark environmental legislation, allocating up to $20 million per year for REAP projects through 2021. However, since its creation REAP has only once been fully funded and last year received just $12 million. Insufficient REAP funding has very real consequences for Iowa’s landscape and outdoor opportunities, says Harry Graves, executive director of the Johnson County Conservation Board. He’s witnessed the impact firsthand for decades. “From 1995 to 2007 I sat on the County Conservation REAP Grant Review Committee, where we would distribute funds for worthy projects like lake restoration, parks improvement, and soil conservation,” he explains. “We usually received requests totaling $5 million in great project applications but would have approximately $800,000 to distribute. These great things just won’t get done. By not fully funding REAP, we have created a debt long owed to the citizens of Iowa and to generations yet unborn.” July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Return on Investment A bipartisan group of state legislators convened a committee in 2006 to investigate ways to significantly increase funding for Iowa’s natural resources and recreation. Drawing leaders from Iowa’s environmental, hunting, and farming organizations, including Matt O’Connor and Jane Clark, the committee met regularly for nearly two years to discuss options. They looked to the success story in Missouri, which in 1976 adopted a one-eighth of a cent sales tax to fund natural resource protection. That fund annually receives around $100 million. Dave Murphy, executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the group that spearheaded the tax in the 1970s, says the economic impact of that investment has been monumental. “Hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, and forestry industries in Missouri generated more than $11.4 billion for the Missouri economy in one year. That same year, our citizens paid just over $100 million in the sales tax — a more than 10,000 percent return on investment!” The committee in Iowa decided on a similar proposal: a perpetual trust fund to be supported by an increase of three-eighths of one percent of the next increase of the state sales tax, which Otto estimated would generate around $123 million per year. Because the new Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund would require dedicated and protected annual budget dollars, the plan first had to be put to the people of Iowa for a vote to amend the constitution.

Briefcases find a temporary home on the second floor of the State Capitol building while their owners lobby for their agendas with legislators.



That’s where Mark Langgin, a young and enthusiastic environmental advocate and former assistant to the House Majority Leader at the State Capitol, comes in. Growing up in Ottumwa, Langgin inherited a passion for conservation from his father, an active Izaak Walton League member who introduced his son to camping, fishing, and hiking in the area. Langgin’s passion for advocacy came from his experience at the Capitol. “I was intimately aware of the issue from working with legislators who led the charge on this,” he explains, “and I was also excited about this as a ballot measure. We don’t get many opportunities to amend the constitution in Iowa, so I was excited to be a part of something historic.”   When the offer came to lead this advocacy effort, he jumped at it, moving from the State Capitol to office space a few blocks down Grand Avenue. The location became the headquarters for the largest ballot measure campaign in Iowa’s history. Working with many of the leaders on the planning committee, including O’Conner and Clark, Langgin grew the group to over 130 interested organizations as he made countless phone calls, attended meetings across the state, organized media stops, and utilized the strength of such groups as Pheasants Forever and the Sierra Club to rally support among statewide networks. Calling themselves Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition, the supporters advocated for a “yes” vote on the November 2010 ballot by crisscrossing the state to spread the word about the amendment and its potential impact. Matt O’Connor was in his element, driving over 45,000 miles in 2010 alone, speaking to hundreds of interested groups, all the time trying to change a mindset. “I think we’ve traditionally had this belief that, as the breadbasket of the world, we somehow have to sacrifice some of our environmental quality. I went out on the road to tell people that it’s not either/or — it can be both. We can be just as productive while protecting our extraordinary resources.” He refers to his work with the DNR in the Great Lakes region of Iowa in the 1990s as an example of smart investment and great return. “Dickinson County, which includes the Iowa Great Lakes, is the only rural county in Iowa not adjacent to a major urban area that

Photo courtesy of Neila Seaman, Director, Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter

is increasing in population. By investing REAP funds in public land, wetlands, and lake restoration, we’ve created some of the best pheasant hunting in the state and some of the largest stretches of public land,” says O’Connor. “It’s still a very productive area; it’s just also a great destination.” In the end, the hard work paid off: 63 percent of Iowans voted in favor of the amendment to the constitution that would create the Trust Fund. But as the champagne corks hit the ground, the Coalition turned to the next step. The creation of the Trust Fund did not fund the trust fund. It would take separate legislation, and much more advocacy, to actually increase Iowa’s sales tax.

Idealism & Tenacity A statewide poll carried out by a bipartisan research team this January found that 63 percent of Iowans support an increase to the sales tax now (the same percent that voted yes to the amendment). That number crossed party, gender, and generational lines, revealing a fairly consistent level of support across the state, according to the research team. As the new data were being released, legislators in both the House and Senate crafted legislation to increase the sales tax. Senator Dick Dearden (D-Des Moines) helped to convene the 2006 bipartisan committee and currently serves as chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee. In February he introduced a bill to increase the sales tax by three-eighths of a cent, with all proceeds from the increase going into the Trust Fund. “If this had been done 19 years ago [as in Missouri], we would have spent $2 billion on improving natural resources in the state. If I’m asked, ‘Why now?’ in relation to this legislation, my answer is ‘Why not?!’” Representative Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque) has introduced nearly identical legislation in the House. He is less hopeful of its passage but believes it deserves to be considered. “If 63 percent of Iowans voted to set up the trust fund, the legislature owes Iowans a discussion on it.” As a final push of the issue in 2013, Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) introduced a further bill in late May to both raise the sales tax and lower income tax, a compromise that could quell concerns

about raising taxes during an Sierra Club’s Jane Clark, Clive, is one of Iowa’s economic recovery. environmental activists It’s here that progress stopped working to increase at the Statehouse for 2013, but funding for Iowa’s Mark Langgin has been here natural resources and before and is not deterred. “We’ll recreation. just keep plugging away,” he says without a hint of resignation. “There aren’t high-paid lobbyists for trees and ducks. We’ve just got to work with what we have, and that is a clear voice of support from the majority of Iowans.” Jane Clark remains determined. Her many years of advocacy have proved that change takes patience. Binoculars in hand as she strolls the Clive Greenbelt, she stops to point out the ruby-crowned kinglets perched in understory shrubs and two barred owls surveying their territory from the cottonwood canopy. “I’ll continue to work with the Coalition,” she declares. Matt O’Connor has a colorful description for the process, quoting Paul Johnson, a former state representative and early advocate for REAP: “To succeed at environmental change, you’ve got to have the wideeyed idealism of a child and the tenacity of a bulldog.” “I don’t have to go any farther than upstairs to look at my sons to see the reason for what I do,” says O’Connor. “I am not going to let this opportunity slip away.”

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



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Mighty Tasty Flavors Old and New in Le Claire story by Jim Duncan | photos by MARK TADE

e Claire rises above a sharp southwestern bend in the Mississippi River. Even before the town was chartered in 1834, bold men settled there, taming the river’s Upper Rapids so that lumber and other natural resources could be shipped to southern markets. After railroads replaced riverboats as chief transports of commerce following the Civil War, the town’s population eroded steadily for about 75 years. That has been followed by another 75 years or so of steady population growth that received its biggest boost when Interstate Highway 80 deposited travelers directly on Le Claire’s south side in the 1960s. Today just short of 4,000 citizens reap the benefits of a 2007 revitalization effort that boosted tourism, the town’s hedge against manufacturing’s decline in a down economy. Food travelers come for two unique treats, representative of both a growing tourism economy and the immutable simplicity of river life. 34


Fullmer’s Fish Market Dan Fullmer has been living off the Mississippi all his adult life. “I started selling fish in 1958 — as soon as I graduated from Le Claire High School,” he explains. “I sold them off a shanty boat down by the dock until I built this shack here in 1980.” Fullmer’s Fish Market sits directly on the riverbank just a few feet from train tracks that haul John Deere tractors, soybeans, and chemical compounds to market. Its yard is a rusty hodgepodge of tires, washtubs, boats, and power winches. Fish carcasses hang on a giant cottonwood tree. All are trophies of the Mississippi, except for one 100-pound blue cat that came from an Illinois river. Fullmer net-fishes Old Man River for sturgeon, catfish, carp, and buffalo fish. He holds them three or four days in a live fish tank “to clean them out.” Then they are butchered and heads removed. He sells some

Located where I-80 crosses the Mississippi River, Le Claire is birthplace to Buffalo Bill, American Pickers, and two flavorful venues we feature here: Fullmer’s Fish Market and Mississippi River Distilling Company.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN




fresh fish but says his smoked fish generates about 90 percent of his sales these days. The latter is brined in salt only, rinsed, and smoked for 12 to 14 hours in an 80-cubic foot outdoor smoker with any combination of apple, hickory, pecan, apricot, and pear woods. “It’s completely full all summer long,” says Fullmer. Inside his cabin antiques hang around a blackboard listing available products. “People stumble in here after coming to see the American Pickers place,” says Fullmer, referring to Antique Archaeology, home base for the popular television series. “They say, ‘You got more junk than they do!’” All fish are sold whole except for buffalo fish, which are split. The end products are remarkably moist compared to most commercially smoked fish available in supermarkets. The sturgeon, carp, and catfish are easy to eat, and Fullmer will show guests how to remove their spines. Big-boned buffalo fish are more challenging but, to aficionados, well worth the care. They are much enjoyed in the American South, particularly in soul food cuisine. Carp are popular in much of Europe and Asia but rarely eaten in North America (though one Omaha restaurant has specialized in them for most of a century). Sturgeon were nearly fished to extinction in North America — for their eggs, not their flesh. “Most people think the sturgeon is the best, but I really like the catfish myself,” touts Fullmer.

Mississippi River Distilling Company Two blocks north the comforting aroma of yeast welcomes visitors to Mississippi River Distilling Company (MRDC). A hammer mill grinds grains into flours. A copper and stainless-steel still towers over six fermentation tanks, four blending tanks, and a mash tank. Some of their produce will be delivered to 30-gallon oak barrels in which it will be aged for one year as both corn mash bourbon and rye whiskeys. All bottling is by hand. Opened in 2010 by brothers Ryan and Garrett Burchett, the distillery is already expanding. Soon it will take over a neighboring building and share that space with Great River Brewery of Davenport. MRDC has distinguished itself by only using grains grown within 25 miles of the distillery. All bottles are numbered so that the sources of grains can be identified. A new MRDC program allows a customer to pick his

OPPOSITE: Fullmer hangs fish carcasses­— his “trophies” — from a cottonwood tree. ABOVE: The majority of the sturgeon, catfish, and buffalo fish Fullmer sells is smoked in a massive outdoor smoker.

choice of grains, yeasts, and barrel and to follow them through the entire process. The Burchetts apprenticed with German spirit maker Klaus Hagmann, who visits Le Claire a couple times a year. Their River Rose gin is remarkable for its restraint of juniper berries in favor of lemon and orange peels, anise, rose petals, coriander, angelica root, lavender flowers, cinnamon, and cucumber leaves. Its recipe is Hagmann’s and dates from 1800. MRDC makes two vodkas, and the tasting room demonstrates a dramatic difference. The River Baron artisan vodka is only distilled twice so that the flavors of its corn and wheat mash are evident. “Multiple distillations are not much of a measure of quality,” explains Ryan. “They’re more of a marketing thing.” MRDC’s newest artisan product is rum made with sorghum from Maasdam Sorghum Mills of Lynnville. It’s a seasonal product made twice a year in 2,000bottle batches. The distillery also produces seasonal vodkas that are flavored with local fruits, particularly strawberries from Long Grove, as well as a honey whiskey sweetened by honey from Yaddof Apiaries in July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN




Preston. Ryan says that the local farmers and beekeepers have helped build the customer base. “Each one adds to it. It’s hard to get locals to wrap their brains around drinking local spirits, so using local products is a big incentive. We remodeled the interior here with local barn wood, and all our artwork is local and changes each month.”

Mississippi Flavors at Their Finest This river town’s two distinctive tastes, old and new, are derivatives of the Mississippi. The river continues to produce the water supply for the entire Quad Cities area. Whiskey and vodka, both anglicizations of words meaning “water,” add value and local color to the water of the river and the grains of its basin. Smoked fish add value and shelf life to the top feeders of the river’s food chain. Some things have not changed here at all.

OPPOSITE: After milling, cooking, and fermenting locally grown grain, Mississippi River Distilling Company completes the distillation process with this copper and stainless-steel still. ABOVE: Ryan Burchett, who owns and operates the distillery with his brother Garrett, tests the distillate for smoothness.

Fullmer’s Fish Market is open seven days a week. 112 East Ferry Street, 563-289-5107. To learn more about, Mississippi River Distilling Company, tours, and hours, visit

Iowa, Shaken or Stirred Though the distillery’s tasting room offers straight stuff,

One of her drinks, the Iowa Sunset, is a striking

it’s easier to wrap one’s brain around the MRDC drinks

cocktail in which grenadine and orange juice emulate the

that Mandy Harvey serves at her Le Claire restaurant, The

summer evening sky over the river. Sipping one sunset

Crane and Pelican, in an historic home built by a 19th-

while watching another reminds travelers that the river and

century river baron. Another advocate for local foods,

the town have intermingled destinies.

Harvey makes her own limoncellos and ice creams and presents the distillery’s products in grand style. Cody Road Rye is used in the Sazerac, a dramatic drink often thought to be America’s original cocktail. It’s made in absinthe-washed glasses with Peychaud’s bitters, sugar, and a lemon twist. River Baron Artisan Vodka finds its way into a French martini shaken to a foam with pineapple juice and Chambord. River Pilot Vodka is served with white grapefruit juice as a Salty Dog. Harvey recommends a simpler presentation of Cody Road Bourbon — neat or on the rocks. She says the local food and spirits help her business grow because “travelers want to taste something they can’t find back home. They’re a huge part of our business. In the summertime about 80 percent of our customers are from out of town.”

The Crane and Pelican

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Pyr mid Sc

courtesy Fusion Edge Photography

The applause rises above the roar of outboard motors as a human pyramid skims across the water’s surface. It’s the kind of reaction you’d expect to hear at Florida’s Cypress Gardens Adventure Park or in the Wisconsin Dells. But these oohs and aahs are commonly heard at lakes and rivers in eastern Iowa.



Iowa’s east side is home to four award-winning performance waterskiing teams. They ski backward, barefoot, and in formation. They flip off ramps and complete daredevilish feats. And they put on shows worthy of the thunderous applause and countless accolades each has received.


Waterskiing shows in Iowa? You bet. story by Mike Whye


to b y Mik e Wh ye

LEFT: The Five Seasons Ski Team performs the world-record-level five-high pyramid at its Ellis Park showsite. ABOVE: A ski student begins to rise from the water during a lesson from Nathan Kreitman, a member of the Five Seasons Ski team.

Five Seasons Three-time Division I Midwest Regional titleholders since 1997 When not competing in Midwest skiing competitions, the Five Seasons Ski Team offers a regular schedule of free performances in Cedar Rapids. Spectators gather alongside the Cedar River to watch amazing stunts that include barefoot skiing, jumps, wakeboard, and precision choreography.

On Sunday mornings team members gather to teach others to ski. Gordon Park, club president, says, “We put a boom about 10 feet long out alongside the boat; it’s five times easier to get up [on skis] that way.” For showtimes and more information about waterskiing lessons, see

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


photos by Mike Whye

LEFT: Melanie Kitzle, Waterloo, makes one of several costume changes required during the show. BOTTOM: Twenty-four Waterhawks members thrill spectators as they ski near the stands.

Waterloo Waterhawks 2009, 2011, and 2012 Division I Midwest Regional Champions The Waterhawks’ primary stage is Eagle Lake, which the team purchased in 1993, just southwest of Waterloo. From its original 16 members in 1958, the team has grown to more than 100 skiers who put on weekly shows. “We’ve put on road shows, too — Storm Lake, Clear Lake, Okoboji, Nashua, and Iowa Falls,” says team 42


member Larry Meany. From 400 to 700 spectators typically line the bleachers and the shoreline for performances, which continue through Labor Day. For a schedule of shows and ticket information, visit

photos by Mike Whye

Above, left to right: Stacey Burkle, Tiffany Leytem, Kaci Chapman, and Shawna Burkle perform a time-honored Hartwick Huskys tradition — untangling the ski ropes after the performance. Bottom: During a regional competition in Rock Island, Illinois, the Huskys execute the “conventionals” routine, in which small skiers are hoisted onto adults’ legs and held between their arms and the ski handle.

Hartwick Huskys 2009 Division II Nationals and 2012 Division II Midwest Regional Champions Named after the town of Hartwick (which disappeared when Lake Delhi was formed) and to honor skier Merlin “Husky” Ruchotzke (who died with his family in a car crash), the Hartwick Huskys is a precision team comprised of skiers ages 4 to 45. Formed in 1965 as a way to get people together, the team now includes youth and adults from Delhi, Manchester, Cascade, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Anamosa, Ryan, Dyersville, Farley, Hopkinton, Earlville, and New Vienna. Although the team calls Lake Delhi home, they currently perform at Schram Pond near Manchester while reconstruction is underway at the Lake Delhi dam, which burst in 2010. For a schedule of home shows, visit

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


photos by Mike Whye

Ski Bellevue Noncompetitive performances Ski Bellevue’s free public performances began in 1982, when Max Reed helped form the Mississippi River team for Bellevue’s Fourth of July celebration. In addition to providing feats that are as visually stunning as physically challenging, Reed says, “Our show can become interesting at any time because a barge can go through it.” Joy Bacon, whose daughter skis competitively with the Hartwick Huskys and noncompetitively with Ski Bellevue, says, “Bellevue does it for community and the love of skiing.” Above: Team members gather on a Mississippi River bank to receive preshow instructions, a necessity before any waterskiing performance. Left: Justin Harms of Bellevue holds on with one hand to flip off a ramp in the water.



For showtimes, see

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July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN





Campground City, U.S.A. Each year at the Iowa State Fair, a virtual city of campers settles on 160 acres of campgrounds overlooking Des Moines. And it brings a culture all its own. photos by JON LEMONS | essay by NATE BROWN

Home Away from Home For 11 days in August, around one million people come to explore the Iowa State Fair — nearly 5,000 of them call the fair campgrounds their home. For many families, gathering at the fair is an annual event. Here, some campers watch fireworks taking place at the Grandstand after one of the bigname acts.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Family Affair Friendly faces make meeting new people and greeting old friends easy. Neighbors are all around, and everyone is welcome — even the family pet.




Decked Out Roughing it can be hard work, especially for the many campers who build decks for their campsites each year. As the story goes, a woman stepped outside on a rainy afternoon and slid all the way down the muddy slope next to her trailer. Fairgoers anticipate at least one day of rain, so — to combat similar fates — some campers construct elaborate spaces where they can kick back and relax, rain or shine. July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



Years of Experience After a day of exploring, Scarlett Finch and her older brother, Wyatt, play with a wooden crossbow and sword purchased at the Buckskinner Camp in the fair’s Heritage Village. The seasoned siblings, 4 and 6 years old, have never missed a year camping at the fair.

Local Fare Like other campers, John Richtsmeier and his wife, Marsha, find that preparing their own meals is cost-effective and tasty. A small, on-site convenience store stocked with snacks and other necessities supplies the campers and other fairgoers. 50


Business as Usual TJ Spurgin gives his stepbrother, Austin Bowden, a haircut while Keith and Jeri Bowden look on. TJ, an artistic director at Bella Salon & Spa in Johnston, takes advantage of the annual family gathering at the fair to get the kids looking sharp in time for the new school year.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



Home Decor Many campers reserve the same campsite year after year, adding touches to make it feel like home. Some use familiar or playful items, such as these homemade wind chimes constructed out of recycled bottles. Other popular fixtures are string lights, picket fences, and even pink flamingos.




Close Community At the end of the fair, the sea of campers and trailers will disperse until next year. Many will return, some will not, but all will leave having experienced the type of camaraderie and community that only the Iowa State Fair can inspire.

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


discover discover discover discover discover discover discover discover

Carnegie HistoriCal MuseuM an iowa Century Museum

Ames Historical Society provides unique opportunities for learning about Ames history through programs and exhibits. Open for visitors Wed-Fri 1-5pm.

416 Douglas #101 • Ames, IA 50010 515-232-2148

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Ames Historical Society SECTION: Museums PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-23-2013 Kinney Pioneer Museum Join us for Olde Fashion Ice Cream Social in July, Kids Day in August, and Cider and Donuts Day at the end of September. Open Tues-Sun, 1-5 PM, May–September 8 miles West of Mason City on Iowa 122 1 mile east of I-35, Exit 194 (641) 423-1258

Iowa Gold Star

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Military Museum CLIENT:Honoring KINNEY PIONEER MUSEUM Iowans’ Military Service to Our Country SECTION: MUSEUMS PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-9-2013 OUR MISSION:

NEW: Union Cavalryman, James Hopwood Nesmith’s 1863 field diary. A transcription is accompanied by historic maps, his sword, rifle & other personal effects. Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 1:00–4:00, and the first Friday of Art Walk 6:00–9:00.

112 s. Court street, Fairfield, ia 52556 641.472.6343

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Carnegie Historical Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5/8/13 Proof #: FINAL Clay County Heritage Center Clay County History is “Smokin’ Hot!” Learn about Spencer’s 1931 fire and more at the new Clay County Heritage Center! 7 Grand Avenue Spencer, IA 51301 712.262.3304

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Clay County Haritage Cneter Des Moines Section: IMA Treasures County Date: 5-8-2013 Heritage Proof #: FINAL Center Revisit history at the Des Moines County Heritage Center. Visit for more details.

To honor and depict the military experience of Iowa Citizens in all wars, homeland defense, and Iowa service. 7105 NW 70th Avenue Johnston, IA 50131 515-252-4531 Email:

Iowa Museum Association

501 N 4th Street Burlington, IA 52601 319.752.7449

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: DSM County HC Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home and Interpretive Center Key coordinator of the woman suffrage movement, Catt played a leading role in the successful campaign to win voting rights for women. Open Memorial Day–Labor Day, 10–4; Sunday 12–4; and by appointment. 2379 Timber Avenue Charles City, IA 50616 641.228.3336

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 The Danish Client: Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Immigrant Section: IMA Treasures Museum Date: 5-8--2013 Danish Modern: Proof #: FINAL

Design for Living — unique furnishings of the 1950s & 60s, 30-acre prairie restoration park, fabulous gift shop, open year round.

I-80, exit 54, 6 miles north 2212 Washington Street Elk Horn, IA 51531 712.764.7001

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Danish Immigrant Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

Family Museum Operate a crane, shop for groceries, sort mail, and climb in a tree house in this fun-filled, interactive museum for kids. 2900 Learning Campus Drive Bettendorf, IA 52722 563.344.4106

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Family Museum Special Advertising Section Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

iscover discover discover discover discover discover discover discover Who Doesn’t Love Trains? The Iowa Children’s Museum Family attraction for hands-on, minds-on fun. Interactive exhibits, including Take Flight!, inspire all children to imagine, create, discover, and explore through the power of play. 1451 Coral Ridge Avenue Coralville, IA 52241 319.625.6255

The Dollies

This unique display is now open in the c1905 Study Hall. Anatomically correct, these 81 hand-carved “Dollies,” also known as the “Firewood Floozies,” are 5/8ths human size and complete with handmade clothing, jewelry, and furniture. The artist, Robert Smith, farmed near Battle Creek and created the collection over 20 years. Visit one of the Midwest’s largest county heritage museums to see these treasures and more!

Plymouth County Historical Museum

335 First Avenue SW, LeMars, Iowa

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Plymouth County Historical Museum Come live and play as a lumberjack while being swept away by the American lumber saga at The Sawmill Museum. Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

Lumberjack Festival NEW for 2013 – Water Sports July 13, 2013 The Sawmill Museum An American Lumber Experience 2231 Grant Street • Clinton, IA 52732 563-242-0343

The University of Iowa

Pentacrest Museums

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: The Iowa Childrens Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL Catich Gallery Saint Ambrose University Art exhibitions featuring works by regional and national contemporary artists, SAU Senior Honors students, and the late Fr. E.M. Catich. Located in the Gavin Fine Arts Center. 518 W Locust Street, Davenport, IA 52803 563-333-6444

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Delaware Client: Catich Gallery Section: IMA Treasures County Historical Date: 5-8-2013 Society Proof #: FINAL Nine Buildings

(Restored Lenox College): Civil War Monument and Resources. Local, School, Farm, Railroad, Pharmacy and Natural History displays.

Listed on Iowa Scenic Byway and National Register Historic Places 563.926.2639

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Delaware County Historical Society Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

Doorways to Discovery

Old Capitol Museum and the Museum of Natural History Celebrating history, culture and nature through exhibits, events and public engagement.

On the historic Pentacrest in downtown Iowa City • 319.335.0548 • 319.335.0606 Special Advertising Section

The Figge Art Museum Put a little art in your life and visit today. The Figge is known for art exhibitions, education and some of the Midwest’s finest collections. 225 West 2nd Street Davenport, IA 52801 563.326.7804

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Figge Art Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

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Open Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00 PM April – November 207 Chestnut Street, Atlantic, Iowa Additional inquiries contact: Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce 877-283-2124 712-243-3017

Taildraggers to space shuttles! Beautiful vintage aircraft collection, outstanding aviation memorabilia. Home of the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame. 2251 Airport Road Greenfield Municipal Airport Greenfield, IA 641-343-7184

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Muscatine CLIENT: Atlantic Coca-Cola Center & Museum CLIENT: Iowa Aviation Museum Art Center SECTION: Museums SECTION: Museums The Musser The History PROOF #: 1 PROOF #: Muscatine Final Museum‘s and Industry Center rooms host DATE: 5-9-2013 DATE: 5-9-2013 collections of paintings, sculpture, and Oriental carpets. The Stanley Gallery hosts national, traveling art exhibitions. 1314 Mulberry Avenue Muscatine, IA 52761 563.263.8282 Find us on Facebook and Pinterest

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Muscatine Art Center Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library The NCSML inspires people from every background to connect to Czech and Slovak history and culture. 1400 Inspiration Place SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 319.362.8500

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: National Czech and Slovak Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

We proudly tell the town’s story in becoming the Pearl Button Capital of the World and continuing today in the 21st Century as a thriving manufacturing and entrepreneurial center led by many including C. Maxwell Stanley, Roy J. Carver and Stanley M. Howe. 117 W. 2nd Street, Muscatine, IA 52761 563.263.1052

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Muscatine History & Industry Center Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL Porter House Museum Experience the world adventures of a naturalist and his wife, amidst the Victorian elegance that was their home and heritage. 401 W Broadway Decorah, IA 52101 563.382.8465

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Porter House Museum Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

Iowa’s Best Kept Secret

Stroll through historic buildings, quilt galleries & museums to see vintage treasures & rare antiques, or take an Amish Countryside tour. Groups Welcome.

715 D Ave, Kalona, IA 52247 319-656-2519

National Balloon Museum • Participative quizzes • Family-oriented • History of Ballooning • Gift Shop • Kid’s Corner in the U.S. from • Video Presentations 1783 to present • Interactive displays • Research Library 1601 N. Jefferson Way Indianola, IA 50125 515.961.3714

The Iowan July/August 2013 Client: National Balloon Museum Section: IMA Treasures Appanoose Date: 5-9-2013 County Proof #: Final2 Historical & Coal Mining Museum

David Plowden’s Iowa: A Sense of Place A photographic exhibit July–August 2013. 100 West Maple Street Centerville, IA 52544 641.856.8040

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 ExploreMuseum Iowa’s past at the Client: Appanoose Co. Historical Section: IMA Treasures State Historical Museum with artifacts, programs, Date: 5/8/13 exhibitions, and more! Proof #: FINAL

Carnegie Cultural Center Pella Historical Village features many unexpected treasures including the Street Organ Goliath, Wyatt Earp’s Boyhood Home and the tallest working Mill in the United States. Pella Historical Village / Vermeer Mill Pella, Iowa 641-628-4311

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Pella Historical Society Iowa Museum Association Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

models . . . models . . . models Circuses • Toys • Tractors Trains • Road Builders • Horses & something new every time! 7 North Water Avenue New Hampton, IA 50659 641.394.2354

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Carnegie Cultural Center Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

600 East Locust St. Des Moines, IA (515) 281-5111

Special Advertising Section

iscover discover discover discover discover discover discover discover Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County

Open Daily 9-5 • i-90 exit 14 (605) 642-West (9378)

Highway 2 East, P.O. Box 104 Corydon, Iowa 50060 641-872-2211 |

Belle Plaine Area Museum & Henry B. Tippie Annex

• COWbOys, RanCh life, histORy Of RODeO • ameRiCan inDian CultuRe anD aRtifaCts • GOlD mininG, fORestRy anD bentOnite • authentiC antique WaGOns anD faRm implements

• fuRnisheD lOG Cabin anD RuRal sChOOlhOuse • live lOnGhORn Cattle • bOOk stORe & Gift shOp • live COWbOy musiC anD pOetRy

see OuR viRtual tOuR at WWW.WesteRnheRitaGeCenteR.COm


Come experience Belle Plaine’s history along the Lincoln Highway. Visit the Belle Plaine area museum and Henry B. Tippie Annex. 901 12th Street, Belle Plaine, IA 52208 319.434.6093

See the Charles City from its early days. Historic displays from a pioneer’s log cabin to Legel Drug Store, the railroad and of course, tractors built in Charles City.

Floyd County MuseuM 500 Gilbert St. Charles City, IA 50616 641-228-1099 | Open all year Monday thru Friday 9:00-4:30 with weekend hours in summer

Madison County Historical Complex 815 S. 2nd Ave., Winterset, Iowa 515-462-2134 Mon-Sat 11am-4 pm; Sun 1 pm-5pm

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Belle Plaine Section: IMA Treasures Date: 5/8/2013 Proof #: FINAL Amana Heritage Museum Exhibits in three 19th century communal buildings tell the story of the Amana Colonies National Historic Landmark. Introductory video. Museum Store. 319-622-3567

New Ice Age Exhibit open in lower level of museum. Planetarium programs are by appointment or the last Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. Free Admission! 117 E Willow St Cherokee, Iowa 51012

Granger House Museum The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Amana Heritage Museum SECTION: Museums PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-23-2013 Wapello County Historical Society Wapello County Historical Museum presents exhibits for all ages: railroad memorabilia, doll and toy collections, 1920 fire engine and John Deere exhibit. 210 W. Main Street , Ottumwa, IA 52501 641.682.8676

The Iowan JULY/AUGUST 2013 Client: Wapelllo Co. Historical Musem Special Advertising Section Special Advertising Section: IMA Treasures Section Date: 5-8-2013 Proof #: FINAL

See the largest collection of National Bank Note issues on permanent exhibit in the U.S. Come see America’s commemorative paper money depicting: * Landing of Columbus * Embarkation of the Pilgrims * Signing of the Declaration of Independence * Other great events in our history

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Sanford Museum & Planetarium SECTION: Museum FREE ADMISSION PROOF #: 1 Open mid-May until mid-September DATE: 5-9-2013 Tues. - Sun., 11 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Marion’s Granger House, its furnishings & the story of its residents provide a snapshot of the Victorian lifestyle experienced by many middle-class families in Iowa & the Midwest during the 1880s. Open for tours: Thurs–Sun, 1-4:00 pm 970 10th Street • Marion, IA • 319.377.6672 • now on facebook, too! 1507 Sanborn Ave. • Okoboji, IA 51355 712-332-5859 ©2006 William R. Higgins Jr. Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

discover discover discover discover discover discover discover Experience life on the frontier at the Fort Museum!

Road Trip!

Visit Both Historic Sites of The Wallace Centers of Iowa

The Country Life Center Birthplace Farm of Henry A. Wallace 2773 290th Street, Orient

Present this ad and receive

Half Off your admission to the

Grout MuseuM of History & science

to see the neW exhibit it’s not your Grandparents farm, or is it?

Gathering Table Restaurant: Friday Lunches & Dinners Organic Produce Gardens • Restored Iowa Prairie Floral Gardens • Interactive Outdoor Art Sculptures Abundance food products • Prairie Harvest CSA Gift Shop • Seasonal Gardening & Cooking Classes

See what it was like to be a pioneer at one of Iowa’s first frontier military outposts. Visit an 1855 log home, 1857 sutler store & country school, general store, cabinet shop, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and more. 19 buildings in all. The Fort Museum has one of the finest collections of Native American, pioneer, and military history and artifacts in the Midwest.

Hours: Tues.-Sat., 9-5

The Wallace House

admission: $10 Adults, $5 Veterans & Kids 4-13, 3 & Under and Members FREE

Home of “Uncle Henry” Wallace 756 - 16th Street, Des Moines

contact: 319-234-6357, location: 503 South St. Waterloo, IA 50701

Restored National Landmark • Iowa’s Millennium Tree Wallace Family Artifacts & Displays Thursday evening Food for Thought Dinners Hearts & Homes Historic Teas Prairie Harvest CSA • Seasonal Cooking Classes

Open daily May 1–Oct. 12, Mon.–Sat. 9–5, Sun. 11–5

Fort Museum & Frontier Village Located on Business Hwy. 20, Fort Dodge, IA 515.573.4231|

otHer details:

Open Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment Nominal fee for group tours

641-337-5109 (Farm) • 515-243-7063 (House)

expires 12/31/13

Taking Shape

Recent Acquisitions in the Fine Art of Craft On view through February 23, 2014 Bringing together more than 80 extraordinary works from the collection, this exhibition celebrates a series of recent acquisitions in decorative arts, including ceramics, glass, wood and metal. Most of these are by contemporary artists, although older work has also been acquired in an effort to show the continuum within a medium.

re happen he s g in h t n fu

This exhibition has been made possible

gift of the artist, 2005.013.


410 Third Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Iowa Museum Association




Dewey Garrett, R/B, 2004, palm wood, dye, ebonized walnut insert,

Greater Cedar Rapids Community


in part by the Momentum Fund of The

CULTURAL CENTER 319.366.7503 Cedar Rapids, IA

Special Advertising Section

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: The Brucemore SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 2

What was Africa like before the slave trade began? Find out in... Welcome to Onawa, Iowa

Join us for the Onabike 21st Annual Bike Ride! “Western Iowa’s Largest 1-Day Bike Ride Through The Loess Hills”

2013 Calendar of Events Monona County Fair July 10-14 Classic Car Swap Meet August 18 Onabike August 25

Open Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 55 12th Ave. SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 319-862-2101

For more information visit

Onawa Chamber of Commerce Email | 712.423.1801

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN


Visit “One-Of-A-Kind” Maquoketa!

INSURANCE - REAL ESTATE 210 West Platt St. Maquoketa, IA 52060 Office(563) 652-5684 (800) 684-0693

The Decker Hotel 1875 Come visit this Historic Hotel built in 1875. We offer beautifully decorated rooms, great dining and a popular lounge.Lunch daily 11-2 Monday thru Saturday, Dinner 4:30-9:00 Wednesday thru Saturday, Breakfast buffet every Sunday from 9:00-1:00. Lounge open Wednesday thru Saturday 4:30-close. Happy hour daily.


The Story of Iowa’s Wine


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TheIndustry Iowan July/August Comes to2013 Life! CLIENT: The Decker Hotel 1875 SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: FINAL DATE: 5-29-2013

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Facebook and Twitter @ TaborWines

Old City Hall


Oil Paintings Artists Rose Frantzen Charles Morris

For Sale Portrait of Maquoketa Book 121 S. Olive St. Maquoketa, Iowa 52060 563-652-3405



The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: The Engel Agency SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 3 DATE: 5-29-2013 Get away from it all at GrandView Farm Bed and Breakfast! Enjoy the grand views, wrap-around porch, hearty farm house breakfasts and good old fashioned mid-western hospitality. Bring the kids & feed the goats! 563- 543- 5262

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Grandview Farm B&B SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-28-2013 Meet: Local and Regional Artists See: Open Stage Performances,

Artwork and Demos Create: Kid’s Classes, Adult Classes and Fine Art Workshops 124 S. Main Street Maquoketa, IA (563) 652-9925

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Maquoketa Art Experience SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-9-2013 Whispering Meadows Resort LLC River Ridge ATV Trails LLC 34580 100th St., Spragueville, IA Steve & Kathy Tebbe (Owners) Cell: 563-357-3784 Home: 563-872-4430

61 Drive In Whats’ Showing? Call 563-652-3535 Since 1950 – one of only four drive in’s in Iowa! Located 5 miles south of Maquoketa Dennis Voy – Owner


The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: 61 Drive In SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 1 AM5-28-2013 1320 - FM 95.1 DATE: Since 1958! Our 55th Year! Serving

Jackson, Jones, and Clinton Counties Dennis Voy - Owner

The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: KMAQ Radio SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 1 DATE: 5-9-2013 Hurstville Interpretive Center Educational Exhibits • Nature Trails Outdoor Play area • Free admission Open weekdays - 9-4 • Weekends Noon - 5 U.S. Highway 61, 1 mile N. of Maquoketa. Nature Center/Visitor Center 563-652-3783 Visit to learn more.

Special Advertising Section

The Iowan July/August 2013 The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Whispering Meadows Resort CLIENT: Hurtsville Interpretive Center SECTION: Maquoketa SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: 1 PROOF #: 1

Visit “One-Of-A-Kind” Maquoketa! Ohnward Fine Arts Center

“Bringing the arts to everyone!”

Guys & Dolls July 19 & 20 at 7:00 PM, July 21 at 2:00 PM The Ohnward Fine Arts Players and the Peace Pipe Players present Guys and Dolls. Four Bitchin Babes Saturday, September 7th at 7:00 PM Hormonal Imbalance – A mood swinging musical revue! Maggie May Saturday, October 12th at 7:00 PM A traditional country music concert you don’t want to miss! Copa Crew Big Band Holiday Show Saturday, November 30th at 7:00 PM Fast-paced holiday humor frames the Great American Songbook backed by big band sound! Joseph Hall’s – ELVIS New Year’s Eve at 7:00 PM Star quality so real that you will think you are watching the King himself!

JULY 24TH – 28TH, 2013

BIGGER & BETTER for 2013 Featuring the Charlie

Daniels Band

Saturday, July 27th 1215 E Platt St. Maquoketa, IA 52060 (563) 652-9815 Box Office M-F 9 AM to 1 PM or purchase tickets online at:

Tickets still available. To order by phone call: (563) 652-4282 More information online at:



an era of elegance Jacuzzis • Suites • Candlelight Dessert Check out our FIVE STAR reviews Visit for special packages

(563) 652-6961 418 West Pleasant St. • Maquoketa, IA 52060

123 McKinsey Drive, Maquoketa, IA Open Daily 10-5

HUGE JULY 4THth SALE th June 28 — July 8

$AVE up to 50%* throughout the mall (*dealer’s discounts vary)


August 30th — September 2nd

(563) 652-2359

Special Advertising Section

Two Fine Museums Jackson County History Museum: Two stories and a large machine shed of engaging exhibits tell the story of Jackson County, Iowa. Period rooms, 2-headed calf, 1914 Case steam engine, authentic log cabin and so much more. 1212 East Quarry Street / Fairgrounds Maquoketa, Iowa 52060 563-652-5020 Clinton Engines Museum: An Iowa Great Place, the restored administration building of one of the largest small engine manufacturers in the world is now a fine interactive museum; Race a Go-Kart, build an engine, view some of the 18 million engines built here. Also home to the Jackson County Research and Genealogical Library. 605 East Maple Street Maquoketa, Iowa 52060 563-652-1803 Admission is $3 for one / $5 for both - ample parking, handicapped accessible. Hours of operation 10 - 4 Tues through Fri 12 - 4 Sat & Sun Closed Mon. and major holidays

61 July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN The Iowan July/August 2013 CLIENT: Jackson County Historical Society SECTION: Maquoketa PROOF #: FINAL

in focus


HIDDEN MASTERPIECE Not everyone gets to see this colorful canvas located beneath a busy highway overpass. While biking on a local trail, I came across the concrete structure that brims with vivid imagery and seemingly gives voice to some who might not otherwise be heard. Although not everyone will see this as art, I want the viewer to decide, though creative talent is certainly visible. I stood with my camera, waiting for the sunlight to create just-right amounts of light shining through the small division in the highway above. Three shots — each with varying degrees of highlight and shadow — were then merged to create this photograph, in which a strong band of sunlight leads the viewer across the scene’s cacophony of elements. —Jason Fort, Cedar Falls



in focus

July/August 2013 | THE IOWAN



Memory Maker “Dirty John’s” offers good cheer in Iowa City. photo and story by Mark Tade

When cases and kegs of craft-brewed beer arrive at John’s Grocery, steel doors in the sidewalk open and a ramp sends the beverages down and into a climatecontrolled stone cellar beneath the aged-brick store. As quickly as they arrive, the store’s food and libations seem to flow out the Alberhasky family’s front door, spreading cheer throughout the city. Sitting a block from Central Junior High (now long gone), the stalwart corner store was where my friends and I once hung out, sneaking 64


peeks at then-unsealed magazines that would have made my mother blush. Despite a nickname that stuck — Dirty John’s — it’s actually a clean, well-lit store that provides a delightful array of food, beverages, people, and memories. In fact, it was here that I rubbed elbows with American novelist T.C. Boyle and University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz. For more information on John’s Grocery, visit

It’s Simple. Just be Here.


JUNE 15 World of Outlaws Mediacom Shootout plus 360’s #9 21 Nostalgia at Knoxville 22 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #10 Mid Season Championships plus 305’s – Farm Bureau Night, Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame Induction Banquet 29 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #11 – Marion County Cattlemen, Corn and Soybean Growers Night, 360 Twin Features Night JULY 6


AUG 1-3

AUG 7-10

SEPT 26-28

Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #12 & #13, Town Crier 410 Twin Features, Fill the Stands for Hospice Night 12 Marion Co. Fair Entertainment – Hairball in Concert 13 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #14 plus 305’s HyVee Night, Marion County Fair 16 Marion Co. Fair Entertainment – Full Blown Rodeo 18 Harris Clash – Modifieds and Sport Mod’s 20 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #15 plus 305’s – 3M Night 27 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series #16 plus 305’s – Candi’s Flowers Night AUGUST 1 23rd Annual Arnold Motor Supply 360 Knoxville Nationals 2 23rd Annual Arnold Motor Supply 360 Knoxville Nationals 3 23rd Annual Arnold Motor Supply 360 Knoxville Nationals plus 305’s 4 Knoxville Championship Cup Series Capitani Classic 410’s #17 7 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals – Qualifying 8 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals – Qualifying Night 9 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals plus Speed Sport Knoxville World Challenge Pella Motors Night 10 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals – Finals 24 Lucas Oil Knoxville Championship Cup Series Finals #18 plus 305’s – Walmart Night

SEPTEMBER 7 Knoxville Extreme Enduro 20 Monster Jam 21 Monster Jam 26 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store 27 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store – Ideal Ready Mix Qualifying Night 28 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store – Finals Schedule subject to change. Check website for schedule updates.

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The Iowan | July/August 2013 vol.61 | no.6  

Net Effects: Catching the Flavors of Le Claire/Forces of Nature Meet three advocates for protecting Iowa’s outdoor spaces/Mighty Tasty Along...

The Iowan | July/August 2013 vol.61 | no.6  

Net Effects: Catching the Flavors of Le Claire/Forces of Nature Meet three advocates for protecting Iowa’s outdoor spaces/Mighty Tasty Along...