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UR Here: Defining Success

I recently came across an article by “writer, entrepreneur, and video game designer” Jonathan Chee called “5 Key Traits Super Successful People Share.” Chee draws examples from four individuals of extraordinary achievement: a professional bodybuilder, a self-made multimillionaire, an orchestral clarinet player and a polyglot who is developing a new language-learning system. What struck me […]

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UR Here: Winter’s journey

Here in Iowa City, we haven’t had the historic cold and snow this winter as we’ve had in recent years. But the early January snowstorm and cold snap brought out the predictable grumblings and the inevitable question: “Why, again, do we live here?” I embrace winter fundamentally because it is part of the nature and […]

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UR Here: Growing a community that gives

UR Here

No matter how much we might rail against the obscene consumerism of the Christmas season, most of us are no doubt purchasing some holiday gifts to present to people we care about. And of course, that’s fine and wonderful. But most of the gifts that we will exchange under the tree, at neighborhood get-togethers and […]

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UR Here: Beyond the feast

Thanksgiving: Beyond the feast

For the moment, let’s assume the story of the “First Thanksgiving” is true. You know, how the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621 sat down with the Indians and had a feast that set off an annual tradition in the colonies and then the United States? What we actually do know of that autumn feast is […]

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UR Here: Those last few steps

Staircases can be wonders, both in our material lives and in our imaginative expressions. One of the central attractions of our own Old Capitol is the gorgeous, unique reverse-spiral staircase, its elegant swirl providing a journey into Iowa’s past. If you have any notion of the interior of the RMS Titanic, it is most likely […]

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UR Here: Community and all that Jazz

Jazz Fest!

Recently, I wrote about how organizing and attending our local festivals builds social capital. But another dimension of community is the personal bond we form with our place. The stronger our emotional connections, the more we live well in a place. Deep community is affective as much as it’s social, a relationship on par with […]

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UR Here: Regarding the wolf

UR Here

The wolves have returned to Iowa. Or at least a wolf. In February, a man hunting coyotes shot a gray wolf in northeast Iowa’s Buchanan County. This is the first documented wolf in Iowa since 1925, which reportedly could have been an escaped captive animal. Before that, according to the 2012 Iowa DNR wolf status […]

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UR Here: Spring commencement and life’s new turns

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My daughter Sylvia’s red polyester gown and graduation announcements lay on a table at home, ready for City High’s commencement later this month. We’ve been commencement-heavy in recent years, first with our son Nathaniel’s high school graduation in 2011, then the commencement ceremony for his instrument repair program in Minnesota last year and now Sylvia’s high school… […]

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Mission: Community

April ushers in the vibrant colors of springtime (finally!), but it also sounds the first notes of our community’s festival season. The Mission Creek Festival is here! Highly anticipated for its stellar lineup of musicians and other artists, Mission Creek is always an enjoyable showcase of the cultural vibrancy of our home. Iowa City’s festivals […]

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UR Here: Helping out

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One of the good things (yes, I said good things) about the dramatic winter we’ve lived through is a strengthened sense of community that has arisen from this polar vortex. When adversity strikes, people help each other. If there’s overnight snowfall, our next-door neighbor, Steve Spangler, who has the only snow-blower in the proximity of […]

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UR Here: Baby, it’s cold outside

UR Here

Images of a baby wearing a sash emblazoned with “2014” may have helped you ring in the new year last month. Infant symbolism for the birth of a new year is pretty obvious. And even though starting the calendar on January 1 is rather arbitrary (in fact, England returned to the January 1 new year […]

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UR here: A traditional spice takes center stage

Cooking with Dean

As autumn segues to winter, my seasonal spice shifts, too. Since September, it’s been all about nutmeg for me, the one essential ingredient to my apple crisp (aside from Wilson’s Orchard apples, of course). But as Thanksgiving passes to Yuletide, nutmeg yields to cardamon. Oh sure, I’ll still sprinkle a little nutmeg on the old […]

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