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Iowa Land Records

by Tom Jordan on June 24th, 2016

Iowa Land Records is a website where you can search for and view Iowa real estate documents.  It’s put together by the Iowa County Recorders Association.

In order to use the site you’ll need to register with a username and password.  After logging in, select the Land Record Search link.  The next page requires you to select the counties you’d like to search; it looks like this: Read the rest of this entry »

Tales of a Budding Bicyclist Part 3

by Brian Visser on July 22nd, 2016

maxresdefaultI’ve blogged about biking in the past.  I thought that doing a third post might be too much, but I realized it has almost been a year since my last cycling-related entry (the days are long, but the years are short).  I think that RAGBRAI gets me in the mood to write about one of my favorite pastimes.  My escalation in bike riding could not have been foreseen.  Seriously, though, I went from not riding a bike to thinking that going for a 36 mile ride is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!  I feel like it’s time to invest in a new, better bike, and ICPL has a great resource to help figure out what’s best for me.

Last year during RAGBRAI, I got serious bike envy.  Let me explain–four years ago, I had decided that riding a bike to work would be a good way to exercise.  I walked into a local bike shop and told the friendly employee that I needed a bike to make my short-ish commute downtown.  They got me set-up with a no-frills bicycle for that very purpose.  I was (and still am) very happy with it (I would like to mention that I named my bike Road Warrior).  Thing is, I feel like I’m working harder than I need to on longer rides.  My bike is heavy with wide tires.  Hence the RAGBRAI bike envy.  Everyone had really nice bikes, and I was riding the bike I use to get to work everyday.

I have an idea of what I want to get, but I definitely needed to do research.  The Library has access to the Consumer Reports database (currently only available within the Library, but we’re working on it).  Consumer Reports is known for its unbiased information and reviews on numerous products.  They have a Bike Buying Guide.  I should mention that it’s a section that they’re no longer actively updating, but the info that is provided is very helpful.  They have a great “Getting Started” section that gets you thinking about BBGhow you want to ride, how much you want to spend and where you should get your bike from.  They recommend going to a bike shop.  We’re lucky to have so many options in Iowa City including World of BikesGeoff’s30th Century Bicycle and Broken Spoke.  Going for a test ride is important to make sure you’re comfortable with the bike.

They go through the different types of bikes, which was actually quite helpful for me.  I always assumed that my current bike was a road bike, but the description is more in line with a fitness bike.  Which makes sense, because it says that fitness bikes are good for commuting.  A performance road bike seems like the kind of bike that I’m interested in now.  After that, there’s a section about several brands of bikes.  I also appreciated this section due to the fact that I was only aware of a handful of popular manufactures.  Consumer Reports also has a guide for purchasing a helmet and great articles like “Gear Up for a Safe Ride.”  They recommend getting a mirror for your bike.  I do too!  I’ve found my mirror to be invaluable.

I’ll probably be getting that new bike relatively soon.  It takes me forever to make a decision like this.  I want to be happy with it, because I plan on riding it for years and years to come.

It’s not the heat, it’s the corn sweat!

by Maeve Clark on July 21st, 2016

corn-field-c-keeva999-flickr-creative-commonsCorn sweat, what on earth is that you ask? Well, let me tell you. Corn sweat is evapotranspiration and according to the United States Geological Survey evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. The transpiration aspect of evapotranspiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the openings (stoma) where water is released to the atmosphere to open and the more humid it becomes.  And while evapotranspiration does not make it hotter, it makes it more more humid and that makes us feel much hotter.

The Washington Post just ran an etreamely informative article, complete with a map of corn acreage by county and a chart of relative humidity clearly corn mapshowing how high humidity can make it feel  oppressive inside without adequate cooling and make  activities dangerous for those who work or recreate outside.  This type of weather can also be life-threatening for livestock.  In fact the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning with the following precautions:

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER…STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ROOM…STAY OUT OF THE SUN…AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING HOT WEATHER WHEN CAR INTERIORS CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPERATURES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

Most of us have air conditioned homes and workplaces, but if you don’t or if you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to stay hydrated.  The American Red Cross offers the following suggestions:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.

If you would like to learn more about weather and heat and humidity and corn sweat, come find us at the Information Desk on the seconsnowfalld floor of the library.  Weather is one of our favorite subjects to research.  And don’t forget, winter is only a few short months away…

 

 

 

 

Iowa City Community School District Candidate Special Election Forums and election information

by Maeve Clark on July 11th, 2016

J.P. Claussen, Paul Roesler and Janice Weiner are in the race to fill the seat of Tom Yates, who resigned in May. There will be a July 19 special election to fill his vacant seat.

Claussen is a former West High special education teacher, Roesler is an outreach leader at Scheels and Weiner is a former U.S. diplomat of 26 years.

The Daily Iowan published piece on the three candidates as well the Iowa City Press Citizen and the Gazette.

Early voting began Tuesday at the auditor’s office, and residents can cast their votes on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Upcoming events are scheduled as follows:

Mission Iowa City: Monday from 7-9 p.m. at Meeting Room A in the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. The event will focus on questions organizers are gathering from students, parents, educators and other community members. Those interested in posing questions can send them to ICSchoolBoardQuestions@gmail.com. Read the rest of this entry »

B.Y.O.Book Upcoming Events

by Candice Smith on July 8th, 2016
B.Y.O.Book Upcoming Events Cover Image

If you’re in the mood for a little reading, eating, and talking, think about joining us at one of our B.Y.O.Book meetups. For the Summer/Fall series, we will be celebrating the exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio at the University of Iowa Main Library Gallery (August 29-September 25) by featuring a nonfiction book about Shakespeare’s work and two fiction books that have Shakespearean themes. This will be a very unique opportunity to read a book (or three) by or about one of the world’s most famous and influential writers, while at the same time having the chance to view the first printing of his collected plays.

Tuesday, August 2, 6-7 p.m. at The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.) we will be discussing Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Tuesday, September 20, 6-7 p.m. at Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro (in the Sheraton Hotel) we will be discussing Andrea Mays’ The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Tuesday, October 18, 6-7 p.m. at Northside Bistro (203 N. Linn St.) we will be discussing Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven: a Novel.

There will be a limited number of copies of the books available at the second floor Info Desk in the Library. If you have questions or want more information, please call 356-5200, or email candice-smith@icpl.org or jason-paulios@icpl.org

We hope you can join us!

The Adult Summer Reading Program is halfway over – but there’s still time to join in the fun!

by Beth Fisher on June 30th, 2016

July 1st is here!  That means we’re halfway through the 2016 Summer Reading Program. But you still have time to play along.

This year, participation is even easier – you can do it online or with a paper game-card available at any public service desk in the Library.   For people 18 and over, all you have to do is complete 5 activities.  You can read 5 books of your choosing, or use one of the suggestions on the came card or from a recommended list on the Summer Reading Program 2016 website

Some of the Reading List topics you’ll find on the SRP website:gooreads choice

  • Adventures on a Bike
  • Books Becoming Movies in 2016
  • Change your life one book at a time
  • Explore Iowa
  • Fiction Set in Iowa
  • Goodreads Choice Awards 2015: Best Fiction
  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen – Grilling & Barbecue Cookbooks
  • NPR’s Book Concierge Best Biographies & Memoir 2015
  • Wanderlust – True Stories of Exploration and Adventure

NOTE:  Sorry, I can’t make a direct link into the Summer Reading Program website.  You have to log in to see the book list.  (And you want to, you really do!)
Read the rest of this entry »

New local biography series – Iowa City People: Steve Bridges

by Bond Drager on June 28th, 2016

The first episode of our new biography series, “Iowa City People” has made its debut online and on Library Channel 20. Our guinea pig guest, “Captain” Steve Bridges, has a fascinating story. Most people in Iowa City know him as the morning co-host on KCJJ 1630, but there’s a lot more to his tale.

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy and I want to see fireworks

by Maeve Clark on June 27th, 2016

FireworksMonday is July 4th and there are fireworks all over Iowa.  In fact, if you want to want to get a head start on your holiday fireworks, the City of Iowa will be hosting a fireworks display on Sunday, July 3rd.  It’s Jazz Fest weekend, a not-to-be-missed, multi-day event in the Summer of the Arts calendar.  The three-day event culminates with fireworks. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and take in the fireworks  from the University of Iowa Pentacrest lawn. The west lawn provides the best view, although the display will also be visible from the east side of the Old Capitol building and Downtown.Fireworks will be launched from Hubbard Park, at the intersection of Madison Street and Iowa Avenue, and will get underway sometime between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Inclement weather may call for flexibility in the start time. Rain date for fireworks is Monday, July 4, same time, same place.

On July 4th there are several opportunities for viewing fireworks in Johnson County.  Coralville’s fireworks start at dusk and are the final event in Coral4thFest!  Their fireworks take place at S.T. Morrison Park, between 7th and 8th Streets.   Coralville also has a parade on July 4.  The 4thFest parade begins at 10:00 am on Monday, July 4. The 4thFest parade is the area’s largest Independence Day parade.  It’s a really big parade and lots of fun.

Hills has activities planned for both Sunday and Monday with a parade starting at 5:30 on Monday and  fireworks at dusk.  Oxford has a whole weekend of activities beginning with a street dance on Saturday night and a parade at 3 pm on July 4th. Oxford, like Iowa City,  will have its fireworks on Sunday at dusk.

If you know of other fireworks in the area, please share.  And if you use fireworks at home, please be careful.

Beer Caves

by Maeve Clark on June 21st, 2016

beer caveThe Iowa City Press Citizen ran a story today about the beer caves found under Brewery Square! The story by Andy Davis is about the work the Office of the State Archaeologist and the University of Iowa Geographical and Sustainability Sciences Department in making high definition 3-D images of the caves.  Seeing the maps will bring me even closer to my dream of getting to actually down in them.   At Weber Days last year, Marlin Ingalls from the Office the State Archeologist, gave a talk on the not only the beer caves below Brewery Square, but the other caves in Iowa City as well as the caves in Cedar Rapids.  You can watch the program, Prohibition, Breweries and Beer Caves, and learn about the history of the brewers, when Iowa City went dry, (it was more than once), and find out about the beer riots.

If you want to read more about beer in early Iowa City history Irving Weber has also written about bars, brewers and all sorts of carrying on.  You can read Irving Weber’s columns through the University of Iowa’s Iowa Digital Library.  And if you are interested in learning about beer and finding the best ones to try,  the library can help you with that too.

What is so historic about US Route 6?

by Maeve Clark on June 13th, 2016

Historic Route 6 Iowa signHave you wondered about these signs?  The signs are easy to explain, but story behind the US 6, is a long and winding one.  U.S. Route 6 (US 6), is a main route of the U.S. Highway system. It currently runs east-northeast from Bishop, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts, although the route has been modified several times. The highway’s longest-lasting routing, from 1936 to 1964, had its western terminus at Long Beach, California. During this time, US 6 was the longest highway in the country.   The first numbered segment of Route 6, extending from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Brewster, New York, was designated in 1925. Soon thereafter Route 6 was extended to Erie, Pa, the Pennsylvania segment routed along the “Roosevelt Highway,” a name that would soon apply to the entire transcontinental Route 6. In 1931, Route 6 was further extended to Greeley, Colorado along a path that combined quite a number of separate numbered and unnumbered segments, including U. S. 32 across part of Illinois and all of Iowa, and U. S. 38 across part of Nebraska. Finally, in 1937, the route was extended westward to Bishop, California and south to Long Beach. Then in 1965, the segment south of Bishop was decommissioned. The name “Roosevelt Highway” seems to have stuck for a while, but had faded by the 1950s. Throughout its history, before and after the magic moment in 1937 when Route 6 gained its transcontinentality, numerous route modifications were made, most of them at a local scale. (http://www.heritagedocumentaries.org/Route6/story.html)                 GAR sign

In 1953 Route 6 was designated the Grand Army of the Republic [GAR] Highway to honor those who served in the Civil War and signs were found as  in all fourteen of the states through which it ran. Through the 19602 and 1970s the GAR Highway signs gradually disappeared.In the early 1990s, this name was revived and it appears on signs in all fourteen Route 6 states (numerically ranging from four in California, to nearly 100 signs in Indiana).

Iowa has a fascinating road history, (look for more posts on this topic), parts of  the River to River Road which was built in a day across Iowa in 1910, became Route 6. It was built through the coordinated effort of people in every township along the way. In the 1920s, the road that would become Route river to river6 was designated by utility poles that were painted white, creating the White Pole Road, or White Way Highway. These designations had disappeared until the Spring of 1999 when a series of White Pole whitePoleRoadMapRoad signs appeared along Route 6 in Cass County, Iowa.  Irving Weber writes about the White Way Highway, among other highways in volume 5 of his Historical stories about Iowa City.

In 2013, with the help of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau,  Iowa City added the Historic Route 6 signs.  If you want to learn more about the Historic Route 6 a great place to start is the US Route 6 Tourist Association.   And if you want to learn more about Iowa City streets, including Historic Route 6, be sure to watch Tom Schulien’s 2016 Weber Day’s presentation Making Sense out of Iowa City Streets

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