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July 17, 2018

An aerial view of Kotzebue, Alaska.

Twenty-six miles above the Arctic Circle, in Kotzebue, Alaska, there’s a plain white metal trailer in the center of town that blends in with the snowy tundra during the winter. From the outside, it looks like an office or a perhaps a single-family home, but it’s actually a modern-day ice-cellar, or Siglauq, where hunters from across Inuit villages throughout northern Alaska can donate meat to be inspected, packaged, and served in the northernmost nursing home in the United States.

So begins Charlee Catherine Dyrhoff’s Pacific Standard story on providing traditional food for Inuit elderly in the Alaskan town of Kotzebue. You may read the entire story here.


An Iowa Governor Worth Remembing: Robert E. Ray, 1928-2018

July 9, 2018

Image result for Robert Ray Tai Dam

My friend Jim Schaap has posted a fine remembrance of former Governor Ray. It is worth your read, here.

Is Bezos holding Seattle hostage? The cost of being Amazon’s home

July 4, 2018

Pedestrians and cyclists gather near the Bezos balls in Seattle. The conservatories are modelled on the greenhouses at London’s Kew Gardens.

However they see Amazon, for good or ill, residents of the fastest-growing city in the US largely agree on the price Seattlehas paid to be the home of the megacorporation: surging rents, homelessness, traffic-clogged streets, overburdened public transport, an influx of young men in polo shirts and a creeping uniformity rubbing against the city’s counterculture.

So begins Chris McGreal’s report in The Guardian on Seattle and Amazon. You may read the rest of this piece on place here.

The Woman Who Transformed How We Teach Geography

May 14, 2018


On the morning of October 30, 1916, Zonia Baber stood in front of four hundred government officials and leaders in the arts and sciences and told them to go to hell.

As a representative of the University of Chicago, where she taught geography, Baber was testifying in court on behalf of the Sand Dunes of Indiana, which she argued were deserving of National Park status. She concluded by saying: “I can truthfully say that I should like to believe in the old orthodox Hades for the people who will not save the dunes now for the people who are to come.” Today, the sand dunes are part of the protected Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

So begins Leila McNeill’s concise account of Zonia Baber’s contributions to the field of geography. You may read the rest of her post here.

Ecotourism, Nebraska, & Namibia

May 11, 2018


Sarah Sortum leaned outside her tent and gazed at silhouettes of camelthorn trees backlit by the Milky Way. In southern Namibia, after the sunlight settles out of the evening sky, it gets dark. Dark in a way that, if you live within several miles of your nearest neighbor, is new. In May the unmistakable tail of Scorpio rises opposite the sunset. Antares, the red heart of the scorpion, almost pulses. To the south, the bright smudges of the Magellanic Clouds slowly circle. Now and then, a cough rings out: the call of barking geckos roughly the size of your thumb. Sometimes, a hyena laughs.

So begins Daniel Clausen’s report on some folks in Nebraska studying ecotourism in Namibia, hoping to learn what may be applicable in the Great Plains. You may read the entire New Territory story here.

Siouxland Ozymandias

May 8, 2018

Oddly enough, the empire began by way of a very sore bum. An Englishman named William Brooks Close, who, with his brothers, was in Philadelphia for a rowing match in 1876, so banged up his posterior in practice, that he could not sit without pillows. While the rest of the crew continued to work out, but he had to sit out.

So my friend Jim Schaap begins his latest regional story at KWIT–this time, about the Close brothers of England who purchased large quantities of Siouxland acres in the 1870s and 1880s. You may read his entire story here.

The Woodbury County Iowa Courthouse 100th Anniversary Virtual Tour

May 7, 2018

The Woodbury County Courthouse, Sioux City, Iowa is 100 years old, and it is a magnificent example of Prairie Style architecture. Take a look at this virtual tour and see for yourself.

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