Tag Archives: sioux city

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©)

Enjoying Summer in Siouxland, Sioux City’s Municipal Band

23 Jun

 

During the summer months in Siouxland many small communities have local groups that perform free concerts for their residents. The Sioux City Municipal Band plays a summer concert series of eight performances on Sunday nights in Grandview Park which has a bandshell that was built during the 1930’s by the Civil Works Administration (CWA).

Summer concerts in general evoke an era of the play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. Mild evenings, light breeze and music drifting over the area, some more enthusiastic than others depending on the play bill for the evening. But always delightful.

 

The Sioux City Municipal Band warms up as patrons arrive before playing a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People relax in their lawn chairs while listening to the Sioux City Municipal Band play a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Folk will bring picnic lunches as children run about and play and just joke in the evening as the sun settles on the horizon behind the bandshell and a nice way to start the week.

The Sioux City Municipal Band plays a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Patrons sit on the grass and in park seating as they listen to the Sioux City Municipal Band play a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

And generally throughout the eight week series the music offerings appeal to most everyone’s taste. The band members should also be congratulated for giving of their time to rehearse and then play for its community. It makes something special about summer nights and small towns.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Patrons enjoy the Sioux City Municipal Band as it plays a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sun sets as the Sioux City Municipal Band plays a concert in Grandview Park, Sunday June 10, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Cats in Siouxland

21 Jun

An ongoing summer theatrical venue is located at Morningside College in Sioux City, at the Betty Ling Tsang  outdoor performance stage on the school’s campus. Music and theatre can be heard there during the summer as performances involving professionals, students and talented town folk are involved in the productions. This weekend a short rendition of the popular “Cats” production was performed, and it was very entertaining. Of course the actors and actresses, if such gender distinctions are still  recognized could take a lesson from Clyde, a visiting neighborhood cat that likes to hang out once in a while. Stretching, yawning and still not falling off his comfy perch puts all the smooth moves I saw this weekend at a different level of performance. But it was a nice performance and break from a summer routine, basically in one’s backyard.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Remembers United Airlines Flight 232 Crash, Sioux City

25 Jul

This past weekend Sioux City, Iowa, celebrated an anniversary. Not especially a happy one, but one of survival, one remembrance, and one of a community coming together to help those in dire need. It was the 25th anniversary of United Airlines Flight 232 which crash landed in Sioux City, July 19, 1989, due to an historic engine failure never before occurring. An anniversary of 112 who did not survive, and a 186 who did survive. Of the entire Siouxland community, not just Sioux City, that responded in a crisis and through that response helped save many lives. The 25th anniversary occurred over three days, the first being a community discussion about what took place with Capt. Al Haynes and flight attendant Jan Brown, both crew members, talking about what happened that day along with others, including first responders. The following day was a remembrance of the 112 who did not survive, with survivor Jerry Schemmel and again, Capt. Al Haynes talking what occurred. The third day was an outdoor service, again remembering those who did not survive but also thanking the Lord for watching over those who did. With a little searching online, information about the crash, as well as current reports are easily available for a fuller look at what occurred.

I was not living in the Siouxland area at the time, but working for a  newspaper in Louisiana. And I don’t really remember hearing about the crash, embarrassingly too focused on my job at the time that it didn’t register. But I do remember a friend I worked with talking about the crash. Listening to the stories this past weekend, how it affected so many people and the outpouring of support and help from small communities in the Midwest restores one faith in people helping one another. Something sorely missing in Washington and many state legislatures these days. But this weekend’s celebration again showed the caring nature of people and the strong pull of memories such an event has on individuals makes a lasting impression. To learn so much good came out of such a horrific event in heartening, but doesn’t displace the heartache felt by so many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland is a Community, Le Mars, Orange City

18 May

This past Saturday ended another 6-week class session that I teach at the local community college, Western Iowa Tech Community College. My short classes are offered through the Lifelong Learning program of the school and are not credit courses, but programs geared to adults and those retiring baby boomers who have an interest in something they want to pursue. Having worked for newspapers over 25 years, it has been an interesting and fun switch to teaching people how to further their knowledge about photography and learning to use their cameras to photograph an image how the individual sees it, as opposed to setting the camera on program and letting it decide how an image should turn out. I spend a lot of time on composition, learning to see light and shadow and how together they help create an image the photographer wants to share with viewers.

The Photo Safari class is one week longer than the others and allows me to give an introduction to some aspects of photography and then spend four weeks actually going on location to photograph. The last day of class we share photos we each made at the various locations. Since I also teach in classroom sessions about photography, this particular class is geared to being in the moment, on location, and the class meets whether it is sunny, hot, raining, or snowing. Barring a major storm of any kind, the class is geared to help the students photograph what is before them at that moment in time, and I am on location to help, offering suggestions if needed as well as talking about composition, light and shadow, and other various photographic techniques.

I find this class the most fun simply because the people attending it truly become a small community for 6 weeks. And while friendships are made in the other classes I teach, here as we wander around the downtown of different communities, state parks, preserves and various entities looking for a photograph, these like-minded individuals explore with each other and share what they are seeing as well as helping one another achieve their own personal vision. And come the final week, albeit sad because it is the last day, it is fun to see how everyone interprets the same geographic location on their own terms and what fascinates them about the places we visit, and then to say goodbye.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland evening sky, Sioux City

27 Apr

Spring has finally arrived in Siouxland, even if it is a little later than normal. This weekend thunderstorms and some tornadoes are appearing throughout various states in the Midwest. Sunday Sioux City was spared storms that hit other areas, but it also meant this area didn’t get much rain either, something it really needs as well. But as storm clouds pass in and out of the area and the day grows dim, one doesn’t always see spectacular evening skies, but they can still be pleasant nonetheless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Music Festival, Etheridge and Sublime with Rome, Sioux City

7 Jul

Every year for the past 23 years, there has been a free music festival in Sioux City, Iowa. Donations are gathered and various bands contacted to see who might be able to play at Saturday in the Park, otherwise now referred to as SITP. This year the line-up consisted of the Kris Lager Band, ZZ ward, Sublime with Rome, The Dirty Heads and Melissa Etheridge. Quite an eclectic combination. The festival itself has grown, and different genres of music  have played. It seems that past performances were more weighted toward the blues. But in recent years, rock and indie bands have been making appearances. The festival always occurs the first weekend following the 4th of July holiday.

It was fun people watching this year. It’s always fun, but when the music lovers of Sublime with Rome left the area, they were replaced with possible their parents who came to see Melissa Etheridge. Some years it can get quite toasty. The temperature was near or around 90 degrees and announcers before the bands and after the bands played kept telling people to drink water. They are plenty of food vendors, rides and activities for children and other vendors with wearable items. So the crowd and attendees are a bit eclectic themselves, and always well behaved which makes it family friendly. Although it was tough to see young parents up close to the stage with their wee babes, and only see one parent place noise canceling headphones on their child’s ears so their hearing wouldn’t be damaged. It is a nice venue, the bands play on an outdoor amphitheater built during the era when WPA projects were underway, during the time of the 1930’s depression.

And tonight, at the outdoor amphitheatre, the Sioux City Municipal Band will be playing. Yes, a different kind of crowd, but there might possibly be some crossovers. Maybe wine, cheese and crackers tonight, instead of beer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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