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Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024
Good morning to you!

When Jolene and I first started dating, I took her to meet my father, and we went to church with him in Whittemore, population 497. She noticed that most of the cars were backed in on the angled street parking in front of the church and asked me why that was. I didn't have an answer. People had parked that way as long as I could remember. They probably still do. She coined a phrase for this type of back-in parking: Whittemore-style.

On Sunday night, we went to our daughter’s home in Ankeny to watch the Super Bowl. Our son-in-law’s family was there, too, and they all parked in the driveway — Whittemore-style. So, I had to ask. Their answer? They were unloading things. But, as I dug deeper, I learned they also do back-in parking in their garage at home.

Then, I drove into our lot at work yesterday morning, and one of our staff members parked backwards in one of the stalls. Is this a new trend I am missing out on? And are the folks from Whittemore the trend-setters?

At this point, I was deeply intrigued by what drives a person to park backwards, or what convinces some city leaders to require this type of parking in certain areas (including Des Moines). I started asking around. The most popular response was that it is faster to do back-in parking. Although I agree that pulling out of the parking spaces is quicker when you back in, this doesn’t take into consideration the time for the 17-point turn required to get into it.

Others said they back into parking spaces so they can leave quickly in case of emergencies or evacuations. This makes sense for firefighters or EMTs who truly need to arrive to their destination quickly. But what about the folks who zip out of the parking space and then stare at their cell phones at the stoplight for 15 seconds when the light is green?

A few people told me they park backwards to avoid the direct sun, and that makes sense — for half of the day. A couple folks claim to park Whittemore-style in order to be able to see pedestrians better when they start driving. Fair enough, but they should know that, when they pull out of the parking spaces this way, there are no reverse lights or brake lights to give those pesky pedestrians fair warning.

The most logical answer I heard was from people with battery problems that often need jump-started and want to avoid having to push a vehicle out of a parking spot or have it towed.

I will admit there is some logic to each of these answers, but I am giving credit where credit seems to be due — to those trend-setters in Whittemore.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.


Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Mild weather continues into today. A system will bring rain mixing with snow to the Des Moines metro area this afternoon into the evening. No accumulation is expected in the metro, with light accumulations north of Highway 20. Colder air moves in Thursday, then another system gives us a chance of light snow early Friday morning.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The results have been tallied and published in the February issue of CITYVIEW and online!


Best Local American Food
1. Lachele’s Fine Foods

2. Drake Diner

3. B-Bop’s

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.

1074 31st St., Des Moines, IA 50311

This historic home in the Drake Neighborhood has been beautifully restored. The design and finishes are exceptional, making it warm and inviting. The large windows and tall ceilings bring in huge amounts of natural light. The home is more than 3,100 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 3 bath areas, all new mechanicals, and a new 3 car garage.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale

Pay attention to officials’ talk vs. their actions

By Randy Evans


Voters have busy lives — families to care for, jobs demanding their attention, bills to worry about.

So, they can be forgiven if they do not closely track their government leaders’ statements and actions. Sometimes voters may find discrepancies between what politicians say and what they do.

Here is one example:

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird was in the news last week with a statement about the need for Congress to replenish a federal program, the Victims of Crime Act, that assists these people in a variety of ways.


Athene Pedestrian Bridge update: This bridge, which spans the Racoon River, will serve as a connection for cyclists and pedestrians from Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines to Walnut Woods State Park, Brown’s Woods, and Purple Martin Lake Water Recreation Area. As of Feb. 9, 2024, much progress has been made with several piers complete and two truss sections in place. Additional piers and abutments are to be finished in the coming months. Photo/Paul Houston


Coca Cola introduced Coca-Cola Spiced, the first new permanent offering to its North American menu in three years. Coca-Cola Spiced and Coca-Cola Spiced Zero Sugar will go on sale in stores Feb 18. Raspberry is an evident flavor in the carefully guarded secret recipe.

U.S. demand for pork is 9%  less than what it was 20 years ago. U.S. farmers are producing 25% more pork than they did two decades ago. Farmers lost roughly $30 on every hog last year, according to Iowa State University estimates. Tyson lost $139 million in pork operating income in 2023 fiscal year. What happened? 1.) U.S. pork industry became dependent on exports and China rebuilt its herd after hog disease in 2019, so they have cut way back on imports. 2.) The hog industry spent years breeding fat out of pork by making the animals leaner, which makes them easy to overcook. A 2006 USDA study said some cuts of pork were on average 16% lower in total fat. Consumers didn't like "the other white meat" for that reason. Bacon and sausage demand grew while that for leaner muscle meat like pork chops shrunk. The industry dropped the white meat slogan but only niche producers, like Iowa's Niman Ranch Pork, bred fatter pigs.

Wednesday is all you can eat smoked pork ribs night at Machine Shed (11151 Hickman Road, Urbandale).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Urbandale family shocked by a pack of wily coyotes that slammed in to their back door

URBANDALE, Iowa — An Urbandale family had just finished watching the Super Bowl when they say a small pack of coyotes nearly busted through a back door of their home. The homeowner says it sounded like zombies trying to break into her patio door and windows. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Bull euthanized after escaping during Iowa Beef Expo at State Fairgrounds

DES MOINES, Iowa — A bull that got loose during the Iowa Beef Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Tuesday morning has been euthanized. The Des Moines Police Department first notified the public through a post on X at 7:52 a.m. that the bull had been discovered missing, but they weren’t sure whether it had left the Fairgrounds’ property...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Over-the-counter birth control bill advances in Iowa House

The bill, which has just passed out of subcommittee, would allow people to buy over-the-counter birth control from a pharmacist......READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Danai Gurira, Jim Kelly, Rob Thomas, Brett Dier, Drew Bledsoe, Jake Lacy, Simon Pegg, Matt Barr, Renee Fleming, Freddie Highmore, Ángel Di María, Phil Lewis, Simon Pegg

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you call a robbery by a ghost? A BOO-GLARY! - Jolene Goodman, Kris Laurson. OR A POLTER-HEIST! - Brent Antisdel, Kris Laurson, Gail Tomlinson. Or, Robboooobery! - Rex Post. Or, A robbin' by a goblin. - Carolyn Rogers

Today's riddle

What do you call an ocean habitat with inhabitants that argue a lot?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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