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Exploring a Siouxland Community, Hartington, NE

26 May

Driving about in Siouxland one comes across many small communities. If time permits and sometimes I schedule my day in a way to spend a little time exploring a place like Hartington, NE. The small community is the country seat of Cedar County and a courthouse plaque gives some background and history.

A plaque commemorating the history of Cedar County, NE on display in front of the Cedar County Courthouse in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Cedar County Courthouse in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was fun to see some still Christmas decorations on one of the courthouse trees. Either a reminder or a promise of what is to come again.

Christmas decorations still hang in a tree in front of the Cedar County Courthouse in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A well kept small town, there was some renovation as a former hotel that appears to be once again reinventing itself as a destination to stay during a visit.

Restoration of a former hotel is underway in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Restoration of a former hotel is underway in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All smaller communities in America share that quiet place except for special events which makes visiting them a chance to slow down, take a casual stroll about and enjoy a less hectic or frenzied moment while still enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Restoration of a former hotel is underway in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The main street in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The local countryside is seen from the top of a street in downtown Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Restored downtown buildings, including a former department store owned by the Globe family in Hartington, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

World Music in Siouxland, National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD

24 May

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble which plays Javenese music is part of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a recent visit to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD I and others enjoyed a Javenese music presentation by a local gamelan ensemble that performed in the small space at the museum. I enjoy a variety of music in general although I lean more toward jazz, classical and some world music. So it was a delight to hear this local group perform and share their  passion and delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Supporting Agriculture in Siouxland, Dordt College in Sioux Center

20 May

Every spring Dordt College in Sioux Center hosts an Ag Day, which coincides with part of its educational mission in helping sustain agriculture in Siouxland and in general. There are at times a variety of equipment parked on campus, new stuff and old stuff.

Some older tractors were on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A large 24 row planter pulled by an equally large tractor which contrasts with older equipment also on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What caught my eye walking about this particular day was remnants of a recent spring snow and the ever remaining low temperatures that made winter reluctant to cede to the coming spring.

A pile of snow from a late snow storm is still melting during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day I arrived early in the day as I had an appointment elsewhere and saw a large number of elementary students roaming campus, looking at a variety of exhibits, maybe sparking an interest in some form of agriculture or related field as they grow and sharing a love of a land that encompasses Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children check out goats during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boy shows off a pet goat during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Chiuldren “play” on older farm equipment on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Singer Andy Williams born in Siouxland, Wall Lake

16 May

 

I am always somewhat amazed but also delighted when I find a bit of nostalgia and history tidbits as I drive about Siouxland. One of those tidbits is the fact that the singer and entertainer Andy Williams was born in the small community of Wall Lake, roughly about 800 people. His birthplace and home for the first eight years of his life is now a restored show place in the community and maintained by the Wall Lake Historical Society.

An autographed photo of himself, Andy Williams, sits on an end table at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Wall Lake, IA, Historical Society Esther Bielema, seated, and Janice Determann, standing at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I visited the home I was greeted by a couple of enthusiastic members of the society and fans of Mr. Williams, Esther Bielema and Janice Determann. While the home is not filled from floor to ceiling with memorabilia, it is full of all sorts of historical items about the singer and his family and basically a shrine to a small town boy who made it big.

The birthplace of singer Andy Williams sits atop a hill overlooking downtown Wall Lake, Iowa, Friday, April 18, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Singer Andy Williams, left, with his parents Jay and Florence Williams appearing in one of his Christmas TV Specials on display at the singer’s birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various photographs of singer Andy Williams adorn the walls of his birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downstairs bedroom where Wall Lake Historical Society member Esther Bielema and others believe that singer Andy Williams was born in 1934 at his birthplace home in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can remember growing up that my parents watched the Andy Williams’ Christmas Specials on TV and while I don’t believe they had any of his records, the songs he sang are well known and include such hits as “Moon River”, “Abraham, Martin and John”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Dear Heart”, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Born Free”.

While there a woman from Des Moines stopped in and walked about the home in awe. For Bielema and Determann the joy of the grand opening when Williams and his wife attended along with other family must have been a thrill they still feel today. History comes alive in places like this mostly because of those who help visitors enjoy it. And one never knows where other historical facts may pop up, but it’s nice to know such gems are still around to find.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a Peek in Siouxland, Coleridge, NE

8 May

A few weeks ago while driving in the Nebraska area of Siouxland, I stopped into the small Coleridge, NE to have a look. Many times while traveling to another location for work or pleasure I will make a mental note to revisit and area to check a place out a bit more. A community of not quite 500 people, it is reminiscent of many small farming communities. The downtown area was lively the morning I stopped by and found an interesting “farm store” downtown with some fare to sell. And a grain elevator anchors the downtown area as in most small, rural communities.  Summer is near and the possibility for more exploration in this land called “Siouxland”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Residents visit downtown in Coleridge, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A downtown farm store has some equipment and spare parts waiting in an alley next door to the store in Coleridge, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A store window of what may have been a former antique shop in Coleridge, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grain truck heads out of the downtown area of Coleridge, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing Art in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

4 May

It’s been a few months since I had visited this part of Siouxland, traveling to Vermillion, SD. I attended a performance by a musical group that I will write about in a later post, but then went to the downtown area to eat some lunch. And it’s always a pleasant surprise to find or notice something I had not seen before. And this time it was sculpted art pieces in the downtown area. It was sweet and nice to see a community have pride to showcase something visual that adds to the ambience of the area, and to let others visiting to also enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

On display is sculpted art in downtown Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On display is sculpted art in downtown Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for the Oddity in SIouxland, Rock Rapids

30 Apr

On the first outing in Siouxland this spring for my Photo Safari class I teach at the local community college we visited Rock Rapids, a small community that has more than three dozen murals decorating the downtown area, with more planned. The community of 2,500 souls has a nice downtown and area parks. But for me visiting this time I was looking for other images although I did photograph some of the murals that decorate the community.

One of the many murals depicting the history of the community seen during aPhoto Safari class outing in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

For me with a bright sunny day I was looking for shapes and patterns and light and shade for my images.

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It sometimes is a challenge to see the same place again and find something that appeals to one in a different way. Having an “arsenal” of ideas and compositional techniques to help one create images is always a good thing, and a way to keep one’s eye fresh and looking beyond the sometimes obvious. But every visit brings its own uniqueness to a photograph. Ten minutes later and what one saw is now a memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and color for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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