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Enjoying a Frosty Day in Siouxland, Rock Rapids

4 Mar

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

This particular Siouxland winter seems to continue forever. It’s still February, well technically maybe not, but the continued cold spell doesn’t appear to have an end in sight. On a recent excursions for a photo assignment in Rock Rapids recently I stopped by a Train Depot Museum in the community. Everything seemed frozen in place. Although it really wasn’t, standing outside to photograph was really tough after just 10-15 minutes the cold was that pervasive.

Because of a good amount of recent snowfall there were piles of it about which at least made it easier parking near the little museum. It all looks so nice from inside the warm car. Crisp blue sky, snappy colors, yes. I could settle for a fall scene though.

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

But the days are getting a bit longer and the sun a bit stronger which will hopefully melt some of the accumulated snow. I don’t if this year I will wistfully look back and fondly remember this winter other than to remind myself how really cold it was. Did I see some nice winter scenes? Yes, but with temps in the single digits and minus zero with wind chill added on, well, there is always next year. Getting soft? Maybe, but hey, I’m not going to complain about that either, much.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

 

 

Exploring Outside of Siouxland, Lincoln, NE

18 Feb

Many times when I visit a place to explore and see what’s there, especially when I haven’t been there previously, I find myself photographing a lot of subjects that are not directly related to one another, but which I find appealing because it reveals something about the place. Visiting Lincoln, NE a couple of time this past year and hanging out in the Haymarket area and surrounding blocks gives one a sense of the place and the people that live there.

A mural on a building in downtown Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are outside murals and indoor murals that depicts history about a place. Showing visitors something about an area in which people live and work.

A mural inside the visitors center in the old railway station at the The Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like seeing these things because one can get a sense of where you are. In Lincoln, probably the majority if not all residents and university students are supporters of Big Red, the Huskers many varied sports teams. And that gets reflected in the neighborhoods that are adjacent to the UNL campus there.

Nebraska Big Red fever can be seen around the area bordering the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s also nice to see the whimsical and unexpected, and even better when one can “touch” a piece of art, or sit on it and relax after walking about getting to know a place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Various sculpture pieces dot the area around the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Art Around Siouxland, Great Plains Art Center, Lincoln, NE

12 Feb

The Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space sits just a few blocks from the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always an enthusiast to enjoy art galleries when I visit new places in and around Siouxland, and for that matter, those places I frequent more often. I accidentally walked by this exhibit space a couple of times knowing I was close, but not seeing the hanging signs from the direction I was coming from. The exhibit I saw featured a number of local or Nebraskan artists, in all different mediums. While not a big fan of sculpture, there was plenty of hanging art to view.

The Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space shows off regional artists, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the next time I am in Lincoln, NE I now have a landmark that should make it easy for me to remember this place, as well as the history of the Siouxland area because of an expedition a couple of centuries earlier.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Statues of the Lewis and Clark explorers sit outside the entrance to the Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space sits just a few blocks from the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

27 Jan

While driving about Siouxland I always enjoy looking at architecture. I have never taken an appreciation class, like is offered for art (although I never took one of those either) but enjoy the symmetry that is visually there. And I tend to like more traditional architecture than ultra modern, but it depends on the day, the amount of coffee I have consumed and my mood. Siouxland is defined by more traditional architecture than larger American cities having developed in those formative years of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when that architecture was popular. But it all has it’s place and it is nice to have a smorgasbord of building types to view. And maybe I just need to get out more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature and man’s buildings on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Repetition in arches at the Estelle Siebens Science Center on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Understanding Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

9 Jan

Many times I have visited the community of Storm Lake where Buena Vista University is located. It’s a nice looking campus, situated near a lake and a city park and contains many interesting elements in and of itself. One place on campus I have not checked out what a science center.

Natural science items on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Alaskan brown bear on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students learn science by doing according to online information. I was surprised by the number of stuffed animals on display, as well as a few skeletal remains exhibited too. Walking by classrooms and viewing the taxidermy students seemed very engaged in their learning process. And seeing items posted in a hallway it seems students get a chance to put their theory into practice. Posted photos showed students in the field learning and performing field tasks.

The skeletal remains of a white rhinoceros on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of animal busts on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally love education. There is all sorts to be had, not all of which requires an extended amount of time studying in institutions of higher learning. But my own college education was something I still draw from to this day. The experiences, people, both student and instructor and for the first time using my noodle to decipher and understand a much larger world around me than I could even imagine growing up at home. While I might not have directly used my higher education in pursuit of my career, its foundation and learning the ability to critically think and understand and improve my comprehension of various matters have helped me immensely as I have traveled through life. And I also find that even though my collegiate years are decades behind me, I am still learning and striving to critically assess and understand life events that unfold around me and help inform me to better understand the world I am living in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skeletal remains of an African elephant on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Siouxland, Alton

30 Dec

Somedays when I am driving about I stop in small community towns to visit and see what is there. Many times it’s during the week when people are at work so I don’t always see a lot of folk about. One such visit was in Alton, a community of a little over 1,200 people according to the last census count.

A mural reflecting Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many of Iowa’s small communities Alton came to life in the latter part of the 1800’s as people moved west. A railroad arrived in 1872 and a hotel was built in 1873. A saloon also opened, but closed shortly afterwards.

Downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of down town Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A quiet town that hasn’t forgotten its roots, but like many of the smaller communities that started with vibrancy, its beginnings are now different that current developments and citizens and young have migrated to larger communities offering more opportunity, but is still a good place to raise a family and enjoy a slower, quieter pace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A tribute to those locals who have served near downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Le Mars

26 Dec

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to those attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People bundled up against the cold attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Despite the cold people lined the streets to watch the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lighted Parade that is an annual event in Le Mars was postponed a week because of a snow storm that basically brought the area, and actually most of the country, to a stand still. The storm basically shut down I-29 and many secondary county and state roads. A lot of events were cancelled. However, the parade happened the following week. There was less snow, but the cold and a crisp wind made for a very chilly night as people bundled up to watch those parade floats that participated in the second attempt.

Parade participants grab for more candy to pass out during the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Everyone bundled up for the cold to watch and ride in the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And later there is always the visiting of the Pioneer Christmas Village at the Plymouth County Fairground. A brisk walk and ride for those so inclined to sit behind chilled horses giving “sleigh rides”. And a few watch fires to roast marshmallows and warm hands and feet.

Christmas lights lit up the Pioneer Village Christmas at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An attendant feeds a fire at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When thoroughly chilled, I ducked inside a couple of places to view Christmas decorations and to see decorated Christmas trees. But inside where the trees and a few dozens other people kept fogging my camera lens which gave a hazy appearance that was not really the case indoors. But still a delight to see many happy people anticipating the day, and especially kids, whose eyes still grow wide seeing Santa decorations in the Round Barn and also in person, granting those last timed wishes for Christmas morning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A variety Christmas decorations greeted people inside the Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fairground’s Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camera lenses fogged up inside a pavilion where decorated Christmas trees were located for the Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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