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UR Here: Hope Localized

January 20 is approaching. The “hope-mongers,” as Barack Obama jokingly called himself at a Northwest Junior High campaign rally in December 2007, cling to visions of revolutionary social transformation. The hardcore liberals are shaking their heads at the President-Elect’s centrist and hawkish Cabinet appointments. To tell you the truth, I’m a little bit of both: […]

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UR Here: Visiting Ober

I visited the grave of Ernest Oberholtzer today last month. I was invited to read from my new book of essays Under a Midland Sky (ok, that’s a plug) at the Unitarian Church in Davenport. This was a wonderful occasion to find the resting place of one of my heroes, especially given that Davenport’s Unitarian […]

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UR Here: Inscrutable Iowa

This is the month of masks. As the calendar veers toward the month’s end, more and more false faces and outré makeup will replace our regular countenances. Who is that? Who are you really? In Iowa, I sometimes wonder if every day is Halloween. People from our state, as well as most Midwesterners, are stereotyped […]

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UR Here: Climate Control

Wow. We don’t want to go through that again. Starting with the heavy snowfalls of November 2007—which then went on and on and on—through the devastating tornadoes of this past spring and on to the historic Flood of 2008, we’ve had more than our share of weather-related disasters here in Iowa this past year. Let […]

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UR Here: Flood Stories

As our community continues to recover from our greatest disaster ever, flood stories are piling up like sandbags near the riverbank. Personal stories of homes destroyed, of the kindness of strangers, of grit and determination, of remarkable generosity, and of watery amazement are all entering the annals of our community experience and history. I’d like […]

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UR Here: Farewell, Mr. Higgins

In Tribute to a Great Iowa Citian: Ron Prosser If you were in the Iowa City Public Library any time before a few months ago, you know who I’m talking about. There’s a good chance he checked out some materials for you, or you at least saw him sitting behind the new library card desk, […]

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