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Showing posts from March, 2017

First Maple Syrup Festival in new digs

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Last weekend's 34th annual Maple Syrup Festival was the first held at Indian Creek Nature Center's new location at 5300 Otis Road SE...
...and about the best-attended-ever as well. About 2500 people had been through the line by the time we got there late Sunday morning.

There were plenty of pancakes and...

...syrup (here, sap collecting from trees near the old barn)...

...but a sudden dearth of sausages stalled the line for about 20 minutes.

Raptor demonstration
The natural amphitheater near the facility is named in honor of Rich Patterson, the visionary director whose long years of leadership helped make the Nature Center a community institution. He's pictured here with his wife Marian, who also served the community in many important ways, including as my son's first P.E. teacher.

The weather was sunny and seasonally pleasant, making for a great day to celebrate nature and the community, traditions and those who helped make them.

SEE ALSO: Cindy Hadish, "Sap Fl…

CR Transit moves cautiously in the right direction

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CR Transit and the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization rolled out the changes to the bus system they will propose to the City Council, with implementation anticipated this summer. The changes are cautious, more limited than the most incremental model presented at last spring's open house (see link below). They are unlikely to attract new riders, which is unfortunate, but within the limits of their budget and political mandate they will improve the experience of many current riders.

The core features of the bus system remain: daytime only operation (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), with lines running hourly out of downtown on looping routes to maximize the service area. However, in a few cases low-use areas have been trimmed, making for a more logical route. The two southeast side routes, pictured below, have been combined, making for a two-mile straight shot along high-traffic Mt. Vernon Road. The routes from the New Bohemia neighborhood near the river to the Mt. Vernon Road Hy-V…

Race: A way through?

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It is all very well to hope, as Dr. King did, that children "will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of the skin, but by the content of their character." How long does it take to judge the content of someone's character? It takes less than 1.8 seconds to assess the color of someone's skin. As long as race has been salient in American culture, which as Jelani Cobb points out is as long as there's been American culture, this has been hard to get past. So while acknowledging all the progress that's been made on civil rights and race relations, we seem stuck in a place far from where we'd need to be to make King's dream a reality, or to achieve the level of community we'll need in the 21st century.

A huge step individuals can take to help us across the racial divide may be to acknowledge to themselves the persistent reality of race, according to three presenters from the Iowa Department of Human Services who led a wor…

Race, politics and reasons for hope

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Ending his talk on a hopeful note, historian Jelani Cobb reminded his audience at Coe College, "People have won under far more difficult circumstances than the ones we currently face." Cobb, a staff writer for The New Yorker as well as professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, was at Coe to give the 14th Contemporary Issues Forum lecture. With a detailed sweep of American history, and speaking in front a of a slide show of racially charged images, he spoke of the centrality and inescapability of race from our earliest days until now.

Beginning with the Declaration of Independence, which had an anti-slavery clause removed by the Continental Congress, and the U.S. Constitution, which contains three clauses protecting or incentivizing slavery, race is not a "side order" to the history of the United States but "permeates the entire country." And this reality is inescapable, even for those who are not black. Recent acts of racist violenc…