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UR Here: Open Spaces

In the days when prairies stretched from river to river across the expanse of what we now call Iowa, bison disturbance was essential to the health of the ecosystem. As the herds thundered across the grasslands and created wallows—depressions in the ground in which the animals rolled to cover themselves in mud and dirt—like a […]

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UR Here: Phasebook Update

I’m kind of an almanac-y guy. I like a day’s statistics—what the high and low temperatures were, the average temperatures, the precipitation. I like to note where a day is in the annual round—solstices, equinoxes, cross-quarter days and everything in between. I like weird holidays (as I finish writing this on August 20, it’s National […]

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Lost in Transition

When you read this, presumably sometime in May, who knows what the weather will be like? You might be covering your plants for tonight’s frost, or you might be heading out for ice cream because you’re sweltering in 100-degree heat. That’s the kind of spring it’s been. Granted, spring in Iowa is often full of […]

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UR Here: Death by 1,000 Razings

For the last month or so, the talk of the town has moved on from Stephen Bloom to Washington Street. By the time you read this, the houses in the 500 block of Washington Street that housed The Red Avocado restaurant, Defunct Books, and the Golden Haug Bed and Breakfast may very well be dust. Yet another multi-story apartment building with ground-floor retail space will soon arise. At deadline, Defunct Books announced they were moving to Sycamore Mall. The fate of the Red Avocado is still highly questionable. […]

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UR Here: The Community, the Crises and the Commons

A lot of people think something is really wrong with our country–indeed our whole world. Last winter and spring, mass protests throughout the Middle East swept long-standing regimes out of power. This past summer, European cities experienced mass protests about the state of economies and jobs. This fall, the Occupy movement has swept from Wall […]

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UR Here: The Cat & The Commons

One of the best things to happen to Iowa City this fall has been the mountain lion. I know, I know. There may not even be a mountain lion. Maybe people saw a big kitty, or a deer, or, heck, even a dog. It doesn’t matter. Whether ol’ Snagglepuss is as real as a downtown parking ticket or as imaginary as the white-cuffed-and-collared, pink-hued cartoon cat who just wants to exit stage left, it doesn’t matter. He (or she) has contributed much to the sense of the commons in Iowa City. […]

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UR Here: And So, Summer Ends…When, Exactly?

The end of summer is a peculiar time. For no other season are we so compelled to define “the end.” For the last month or so I have found myself and others repeating, “Well, I guess summer’s over because…” And there are a lot of “becauses.” Because the near-downtown neighborhood street curbs are full of […]

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