Tag Archives: iowa

Godot is Waiting for Spring in Siouxland, rural Monona County

29 Feb

Clouds pass through the area in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring is slowly wending its way into Siouxland. Temperatures fluctuate between cold in the 20’s and 30’s and warmer, high 40’s and into the 50’s. Talking with friends it’s the latter 50’s we are all currently interested in. While driving some country roads recently I had to be careful as normally sound roads were a muddy glaze that would navigate well in a pickup truck, but not so much with other vehicles.

Clouds pass overhead near a weathered building in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Clouds pass through the area in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rural landscape is still pretty dull. Browns, shades of brown populate the hills and dales of the Loess Hills region in Siouxland. No early peeking green shoots could be seen by a passing motorist. But hopefully soon. And a chance to wander again on a bright spring day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in the Loess Hills area off of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in Monona County, Iowa Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Extremes in Siouxland and Waiting, Iowa and Nebraska Scenes

5 Feb

Living in the Siouxland region means that residents can experience extremes in weather. Generally not all at once, but with each season comes that particular weather pattern. Personally I like fall and parts of early summer before the very hot and humid settles in. It’s just nice to be out and about.

around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But along comes winter bringing its own weather taste and while I would prefer a longer lasting fall and shorter winter, I know at least that eventually one will go and another will arrive. As the saying goes, “Just wait a minute…….”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A winter scene near Winnebago, NE Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Weathering the Political Storm in Siouxland, Sioux City

18 Jan

A pedestrian makes his way on a city street donwtown as winter weather envelopes Sioux City and other parts of Iowa. The weather prevented former U.S. Sen. and vice president and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden from campaigning in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, today ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter can be unpredictable when it comes to weather in Siouxland, or any place in the Midwest. Sioux City has been spared a lot of winter type weather so far this season, but that came to an end recently as a major storm passed through dumping 6-7 inches on its way east to spread more joy and happiness to other “lucky” residents.

An Iowa DOT snow plow clears a lane for traffic on a state roadway as winter weather envelopes Sioux City and other parts of Iowa. The weather prevented former U.S. Sen. and vice president and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden from campaigning in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, today ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of the presidential election year coming up and the state of Iowa being the first in the nation with a presidential caucus vote, many candidates have been making last ditch efforts to visit and engage potential supporters and energize the base they already have. But Mother Nature can forestall any hopes such as a visit by former vice president Joe Biden to Sioux City. An event here and south in Council Bluffs were cancelled because of weather.  Last year NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio visited the Sioux City area campaigning as the one to lead the Democratic party for the 2020 presidential election. A winter storm was blowing in carrying mostly rain and sleet, and reporters from the eastern city covering their mayor decided to camp out rather than risk driving at night. The Mayor’s team decided to push ahead after the event in town ended and headed out, but for only 30 minutes. The roads became too icy an dangerous to safely drive, and rather than staying where they had been with a choice of accommodations they ended up in a smaller community with one motel choice and at least a Subway sandwich shop to quench their hunger.

Nature doesn’t care about politicians and the schedules they feel the need to keep. Locals will hunker down and only go out if necessary, job depending, but politicians have to “make hay while the sun shines” as the saying goes. And with caucus only a couple of weeks away, to use another cliche, “time is of the essence”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Traffic almost disappears on a state road that leads out of town as winter weather envelopes Sioux City and other parts of Iowa. The weather prevented former U.S. Sen. and vice president and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden from campaigning in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, today ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A U.S. Postal Service employee makes his rounds delivering mail downtown as winter weather envelopes Sioux City and other parts of Iowa. The weather prevented former U.S. Sen. and vice president and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden from campaigning in Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, today ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Candidate Frenzy in Siouxland, Democratic Hopefuls Make their Pitch

8 Jan

Former vice-president and 2020 presidential Democratic candidate hopeful JOE BIDEN begins his 18-stop “No Marlarkey Bus Tour” at the Biden campaign office in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa, and will campaign in western Iowa after the Thanksgiving holiday Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.

With the new year beginning here in Siouxland as it is elsewhere, every four years the state of Iowa is blessed in being the first in the nation with its political caucus involving presidential politics. With less than four weeks remaining to make their pitch to the residents of Iowa why they should become a party’s nominee 2020 presidential Democratic candidate hopefuls are crisscrossing the state and Siouxland itself in making yet another pitch. This happened in 2015 with a large Republican field. And it’s a point of pride with Iowans that they are able to get some personal face time with national candidates wanting to tell their stories and why they should be selected to serve.

U.S. Sen. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful waves to people who waited the better part of an hour as her campaign schedule ran behind while trying to campaign in a number of Iowa counties before stopping at a small winery in Ida Grove, Iowa Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 after the most recent Democratic presidential debate held in December. Klobuchar is making a three-day 27 county bus tour through Iowa.

 

Entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate hopeful ANDREW YANG, center, gives a thumbs up for a supporter’s selfie as a CNN camera person does a sound check for a live broadcast interview at Yang’s campaign office in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

Retail politics demand that candidates spend time with possible future constituents. It’s still a bit of a norm in the day and age of social media and the internet where everything is uploaded to and shared with the world. Depending on one’s definition of world, being a community, state, nation or a select sphere of people who believe in the same norms and policies.

Former Congressman JOHN DELANEY (D-MD), left, and 2020 presidential Democrat nominee hopeful campaigns during a breakfast stop at the Horizons Restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.

 

U.S. Sen MICHAEL BENNET(D-CO), left, and 2020 presidential hopeful campaigns at a local brewery in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday evening, Nov. 8, 2019.

Ans for all the caterwauling that other states and pundits make about Iowa getting a personal and up close look at potential candidates,  people in Iowa take the challenge and responsibility seriously. Asking tough questions about how and why a particular candidate might be worthy of their support. Unlike attendance at large “big-city” rallies or high end dollar fund raisers and dinners, the people meeting these potential Presidential persons are moms, small business owners, folk who live in a rural setting most often and in communities on average no larger than 3-5,000 people, and many times maybe only 1,200 people who live in a small town. They represent a microcosm of American life with all the ills of a larger society but often times without the benefit that is afforded to larger communities because “rich” people don’t live there and individually these folk have no sway or lobbying power than the more “affluent” try to affect to curry favor.

U.S. Sen. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-PA) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful campaigns at the Woodrow Wilson Junior High School gymnasium in Council Bluffs, Iowa Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. All candidates are in a push to visit the state of Iowa with roughly one month left before the Iowa caucus event, Feb. 3, 2020.

 

Businessman and investor TOM STEYER and 2020 presidential Democrat nominee hopeful campaigns at the Sioux City Convention Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

 

South Bend, IN, Mayor PETE BUTTIGIEG, and 2020 presidential Democratic nomination hopeful, listens to a woman’s issue dealing with Social Security as he meets Iowa voters in an intimate setting at Cronk’s Cafe in Denison, Iowa Nov. 26, 2019.

The people only have their own dreams and dreams for the children to have a better life. A hope maybe that their children might pursue some kind of career that would keep them nearer home and not have to move away to a larger city to pursue work options and make enough money to survive, get married and start a family on their own. So the folk of these small Siouxland and other communities in Iowa feel they have a vested interest in being picky about who might represent them and others like them in the next election. And not all candidates make the cut, some falling by the wayside between the start of their campaigning in ernest and and their failing in having the funding to continue. But most try. And I find it interesting that since 2015 and the large Republican field then with the large showing of Democratic hopefuls this election cycle, running for the highest office in the nation seems to have become a bit more democratic in and of itself. Candidates can survive for a period of time on smaller donations and not just being bankrolled by wealthy individuals and corporations and others who more than likely have a more selfish interest in who gets elected. And so it goes, until Feb. 3 in Iowa, when everyone gets together in their local caucus and chooses who they would like this time to represent themselves and the candidates go forth hoping they will become the chosen one.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

U.S. Sen. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful laughs along with the audience during an introduction as he campaigns iat The Fruited Plain Cafe in Sioux Center, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 21 2019 after the most recent Democratic presidential debate held in December.

 

Former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate hopeful JULIAN CASTRO speaks on the campus of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 as he campaigns in western Iowa.

A Siouxland Fall in Preparation Canyon State Park, Moorhead

29 Nov

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sign provides visitors with a history about the area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of doors and enjoy a walk, even a short one, in nature. Preparation Canyon State Park is one area I had not done much hiking in. And it was still pleasant enough of a fall day one could enjoy a walk and not be cold and still see some color in the Loess Hills region of Siouxland. As the cold settles in and the precipitation turns to snow all the color in this and surrounding areas will disappear until next year.

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking out onto surrounding farm land near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And because this area along with others in Siouxland were settled in the 1850’s or so there is history to be found if one can find it and help you understand a bit more about the area. All of which must look a lot different than the prairie that the first settlers laid eyes on before the invention of the plow changed the landscape.

The vegetation and animal life has changed a great deal over the centuries around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around the forrested area of Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am hoping for a few more days of pleasant fall weather and maybe a milder winter without days of cold and windchill with a minus 5 or more below zero temperatures for a little more exploration before any ideas of hibernation set in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking a look around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Finding the Rustic in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

1 Nov

A weathered barn near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving around the Siouxland area that I live in, there are many “rustic” scenes one can find without much effort. Weathered barns are a bit of a staple in rural Iowa. But over the course of the years these barns have begun to diminish as farmers put up more durable buildings that are made of metal. And as the “family farms” that dotted the rural landscape in Iowa for decades get swept up into ever larger conglomerations if just for survival or bought by corporations, these scenes will probably disappear entirely. Many I have seen over the years and able to revisit have fallen into disrepair. And the need for such buildings has disappeared as well as small farms or farms in general no longer have the variety of livestock (milk cows, pigs, chickens, some steers, etc.) there is no need. Another American icon that will eventually fade into memory for those who can remember such scenes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Tractor parked near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changing Seasons in Siouxland, rural Monona County

30 Oct

Colors are appearing in Monona County, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors this year have been a bit spotty. Appearing here and there, just getting started and making one wonder if the colors will mature. Wet weather and heavy winds recently makes me think I am lucky if I find a nice patch of woods to share its beauty as I hunt around the Loess Hills in Monona County and other places.

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sadly, as the light appears later in the morning my personal engine doesn’t rev up as quickly until I down a couple cups of coffee and then bundle up against 35 degree temperature to look for the changing scenery and the fact that soon Christmas music will be heard over the radio airwaves and in stores. I can wait for the weather that comes with that change in season and hope to enjoy one or two, maybe three more weeks of fall and the spectacular display that Mother Nature can on occasion share.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors near Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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