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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
Good morning to you!

Welcome to an extra edition of the mailbag where you will find some of the comments, questions and ideas sent recently by subscribers of this newsletter or our publications. They are edited for space and clarity.

“Shane, I read your column in the February issue of CITYVIEW about the ‘Best of Des Moines,’ and I thought, wow, what a quagmire! I thought you danced through the issue very carefully, considering the suspects. You can't make this stuff up! I enjoy the magazine. Best wishes!” – Scott

Thank you, Scott. We are doing “des” best we can. - Shane

“Actually, I have had enough of not only football players (Hold the mustard, Feb. 13, 2024) but celebrities in general who feel we need to see everything they do in their private lives and their opinion on politics, etc. Just do your JOB, people!” - Lori

Welcome to the wonderful world of social media. - Shane

“I just read your column, and I loved it (Hold the mustard, Feb. 13, 2024). You took the words right out of my mouth about the Super Bowl! Thank you, Shane. I so enjoy what you write.” - Helen

I am glad you enjoyed it. - Shane

“Right on point (Hold the mustard, Feb. 13, 2024)! Not only has the press worn me to the bone with KC and Swifty, etc., but for me, it’s done the same with Purdy and Clark. It’s as if these are the only people on the team, and anyone else on their teams are Mr. and Mrs. Irrelevant. Makes me sick and is the No. 1 reason I refuse to watch any of those sports. Give me a good old car race or motorcycle race any day.” - Steve

I do miss the days when the players weren’t on the microphones and the focus was more on the game than the personalities. - Shane

“Amen (Hold the mustard, Feb. 13, 2024).” - Brad

The opposing view is certainly out there, which was clear by the popularity of the halftime show. - Shane

“Taylor Swift settled for Kelce because all the Iowa tight ends were taken (Hold the mustard, Feb. 13, 2024).” - Kirk

T.J. Hockenson hasn’t tied the knot yet. So I am telling you there’s a chance. - Shane

Have a thoughtful Thursday, 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

A few morning sprinkles are possible on a cooler day today. Warming recommences Saturday and takes us into next week, when we have a Tuesday rain chance.

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 Chinese Food

1. Tsing Tsao

2. Shanghai

3. Lucky Bamboo Asian Cuisine

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

$825,000                                                               35102 Vintage Trail, Waukee, IA 50263

This beautiful, executive 1.5 story home is nestled on a secluded 1.52 acre wooded lot in the highly-desired Napa Valley Estates! You're welcomed to a sprawling open floor plan perfect for entertaining. A highlight is the two-story great room featuring oversized windows with incredible backyard views, wood burning fireplace and built-ins.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale

Lift Every Voice in Love 
Saturday, Feb. 24, 4 p.m. Free admission, however, ticket required. https://www.dmymca.org/lifteveryvoice
First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant St., Des Moines
Master of Ceremonies Simon Estes welcomes Central Iowa to join him as Roosevelt Andre Credit (Broadway – Prince’s “Showboat” revival, “Porgy and Bess,” Live from Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera’s “Porgy and Bess,” and “X: The Life and Times of Malcom X”) returns to Des Moines for another uplifting and inspirational musical experience.

This is a community communion of sharing, anchored by the beloved Des Moines Community Mass Choir with a selection of great gospel songs. Following his singing public performance retirement in 2022 with a memorable appearance with the Des Moines Metro Opera’s “Porgy and Bess,” Dr. Estes has a new career with his magnificent speaking voice, recently serving as narrator for the New York Philharmonic's performance of Adolphus Hailstork's "Done Made My Vow." He will be sharing favorite passages from the Bible.

This unprecedented collaboration of leaders from 12 metropolitan churches hopes to raise funds for Youth Development Programming at the John R. Grubb YMCA. With the construction funding secured, the funds raised through this event will support essential programs for community youth. Attendees may make tax-deductible contributions through the website or at the event. VIP front row seats are available for a $125 contribution.

Business of Art Conference
The Ames Community Arts Council and the Octagon Center for the Arts present the Business of Art Conference to be held at Reiman Gardens (1407 University Blvd., Ames) on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. Designed to strengthen business skills and provide resources for both formally trained and self-taught creatives of all types, this is a wonderful opportunity for artists to learn new business skills and network with local and regional artists. 

Class Act Productions. “The Music Man Jr.” through Feb. 25.

Des Moines Symphony. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert.” Feb. 23-24. 

Des Moines Performing Arts. “Les Miserables.” Feb. 27-March 3. 

— Johns Busbee, The Culture Buzz

From Ankeny Living

Golden employees
Retirement-age workers share why they continue to report for duty.

By Ashley Rullestad

The vision of what life is like “after retirement” is as unique as each individual. For some, that vision focuses on leisure: traveling to warm beaches, afternoons spent reading, extra rounds of golf, more time for hobbies, friends and families. For others, however, employment continues to be an important aspect of their lives. From those who continue full-time careers to those who put in a few hours to keep busy, work can be a key part of life after retirement age.

Super sub
After 37 years as a lower elementary teacher, Lori Haaland retired last year — kind of.

“I only retired from teaching because my husband changed positions in his career, and we moved to Ankeny to be closer to children and grandchildren. I knew that I would continue to work. Teaching is great because you can continue in your chosen profession as a substitute teacher. I knew how desperately substitute teachers were needed, so it was easier to give up my classroom and still continue to teach.”

Haaland spends her days now in the Ankeny Community School District. She’s currently a long-term substitute at Crocker Elementary, covering for her own daughter, Morgan Carswell, a kindergarten teacher who recently had a baby.


Coffee bean supplies are in future jeopardy. Brazil, Columbia and Vietnam produce most of the world’s coffee beans and all are becoming too hot for optimal growth. The biggest future problem though is that humans only drink two of many coffee varietals - robusta and arabica. (The Irish potato famine would not have been had Irish farmers planted more than one variety of potato. The Inca were planting 50.) Scientists are developing coffee hybrids that can handle the heat but, because 80% of beans are grown on small farms, hybrids are often too expensive for most farmers. Australia, China and Southeast Asian countries other than Vietnam are better located for the future and are planting more coffee. Until those mature, expect coffee inflation to outpace that of other foods.

Georgia peach farmers are coming off their worst ever harvest last year. Early indicators suggest things should be much better this year. Unlike last winter, there have been enough cold winter nights to inspire the fruits. Of course, a late March or early April hard freeze could still mess everything up, but there is reason to believe. (Fox Business)

Cream filled peaches at Tumea & Sons (1501 S.E. First St., Des Moines) are Italian Des Moines' unique dessert craving.

Tony Lemmo of Aposto (644 18th St., Des Moines) shared his recipe for crustulas, aka Lambrusco cookies. He says they are a holiday tradition in the parts of Calabria from which most Des Moines Italians' ancestors emigrated.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Des Moines photographer charged with producing child pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines photographer is accused of producing and possessing child pornography at his in-home photography studio. FBI officials are investigating Jeffrey Walter Gray, 61, of Des Moines. According to court documents, Gray captured images and videos of dozens of minors engaging in "sexually explicit conduct" from approximately 2005 to 2016. ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Back in time! Renovated, updated, stunning Val Air Ballroom opens this weekend

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — At the corner of 63rd and Ashworth, a battle awaits between how much you’ll recognize the newly renovated Val Air Ballroom — and how much you won’t. ..READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: New research discovery at Iowa State to pave way for blood disorder treatment

Geneticists found that receptors in cells, which activate immune response, also play a role in developing blood stem cells during embryonic development.....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Weekly fuel report

The price of regular unleaded gasoline rose 7 cents, averaging $3.01 across Iowa according to AAA. Prices are down 20 cents from a year ago. The national average on Wednesday was $3.27, up 1 cent from last week’s price.

Retail diesel prices in Iowa rose 3 cents this week with a statewide average of $3.83. One year ago, diesel prices averaged $4.06 in Iowa. The current Iowa diesel price is 27 cents lower than the national average of $4.10.

Wholesale ethanol held steady and is currently priced at $2.16.

Propane prices averaged $1.59 per gallon statewide.

Home heating oil prices averaged $3.27 per gallon statewide.

Natural gas prices rose 15 cents at the Henry Hub reporting site and are currently priced at $1.76/MMbtu


It’s FFA Week – Among other activities this week, Brokaw FFA celebrates with a Tractorcade. With a city police escort, 12 FFA students drove their tractors on a designated route around the town. (Gotta love a small town!) — Diane Ferguson

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Drew Barrymore, Baby Kaely, Julie Walters, Zach Roerig, James Blunt, Julius Erving, Kyle MacLachlan, Amy Alcott, Howard Bach

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

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you need to know to sell vacant land successfully? LOTS AND LOTS! - Rex Post, S. Hill Watkins. Or, How to be outstanding in their field! - Carolyn Rogers. Other answers from: Gail Tomlinson

Today's riddle

Which part of a room is always warmest?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in Johnston Living magazines, contact:

Andrea Hodapp
Account Executive
Office: 515-953-4822 ext. 322
Mobile: 515-883-0523

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