A week of arrests in Des Moines

Most of us know that sinking feeling that weighs in the throat and chest when the rearview mirror glows with swirling blue and red lights. We hurriedly scramble for a driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration cards. Some have different rituals such as stealthily clicking on their seatbelts, stashing illegal substances or even speeding off in guilt.

While most everyone can relate to the anxiety that accompanies being pulled over by the police, not everyone can relate to the disparaging feeling of cold, hard cuffs tightening around the wrists. Regardless of what led up to the arrest, a protocol process then ensues that leads to a lifelong record of fingerprints and mug shots — eternal evidence of a person’s mistakes or poor choices.

“ The biggest reason people commit violent crimes is in part due to either impairment by alcohol or drugs or their need to support their alcohol or drug addiction,” said Sgt. Chris Scott of the Des Moines Police Department.


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Redistricting, Greg Geoffroy, Tom Beaumont and more!


The Legislative Services Agency has drawn redistricting maps that are so close to perfect that no one is complaining — very loudly. But that doesn’t mean the maps for the new Congressional and state legislative districts will be accepted by the Legislature.

“ No way,” says one guy. “Yes, this one will pass,” says another guy. Both have spent hours going over every nuance. But one man’s nuance is another’s deal-killer.

Two things are clear: One, the LSA did a great job. Two, the maps tend to favor the Iowa Democrats in Congress, though it’s unclear which party wins in the remapping of the Iowa Legislature.

First, the congressional map. The Census dictates that Iowa lose one of its five Congressional seats, and since all five incumbents want to stay in office, someone will get screwed. At the moment, that someone looks to be Tom Latham but it could end up being the man no one thought could ever lose — Steve King. The new map, which divides Iowa into quarters roughly along the lines of Interstates 35 and 80, strives for districts with an ideal population of 761,589. The actual populations vary by just 76; that is, the 1st district, in northeast Iowa, has 41 people fewer than the ideal; the second, in southeast Iowa, has 35 people more than the ideal.

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Weekend in jazz: Wycliff Gordon and ICP Orchestra play the metro


Two artists, two nights, two towns. It’s good to be a jazz lover in Greater Des Moines.

On Friday, April 8, Georgia-born jazz trombonist Wycliff Gordon brings his quartet to Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium for a 7:30 p.m. concert sponsored by Civic Music Association. Tickets are $10-$38 through Midwestix or by calling 280-4020. A free pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. in the auditorium and a free workshop and masterclass conducted by Gordon at 7 p.m. at the Turner Jazz Center are open to the public.

Then on Saturday, April 9, the Amsterdam-based Instant Composers Pool Orchestra (ICP) plays The Caspe Terrace in Waukee at 7:30 p.m. A reception following the concert will be hosted by the Waukee Area Arts Council. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Call 279-6452 or email abe@trilixgroup.com.


Jazz bone


Trumpet and saxophone players may garner more headlines, but the list of accomplished trombone players and their contributions to jazz music (Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, JJ Johnson) is impressive. Included on that list is Wycliff Gordon, former member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra, whose hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz is identified by his mastery of the plunger mute and prodigious technique. A successful solo artist who travels the world with his quartet, Gordon is also a composer, arranger and faculty member of the Jazz Arts Program at Manhattan School of Music.


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The Café: overcoming word abuse


Like people, words that are frequently abused often behave perversely. Consider “the.” The Oxford English Dictionary ranks it the most common word in our language. When used emphatically to mark a noun as a categorical superlative, it’s the most overused word in marketing, too. For every legitimate use, like “Chow’s is the school for gymnasts,” it’s used a dozen times as hyperbole, as in “the place to be seen.” Call yourself “the” anything, and you risk becoming a joke. However, if you coddle your “the” with enough respect, you can create a meaningful signature. Consider The Café.

Along with sister restaurant Aunt Maude’s, this Ames company has graduated the most impressive chef alumni in Iowa, including James Beard Award winner Eric Ziebold (The French Laundry, CityZen). Maude’s sprung from 1970s fern bar culture and owned its niche as “the place in downtown Ames for visiting parents to take their kids to dinner.” The Café was a child of 1990s real estate bubble culture and anchors a faux downtown amidst a faux small town real estate development, several blocks north of the Iowa State campus. Authentic trappings compensate for whatever might be perceived as ersatz about this French country style venue. The façade is real brick, the interior is dominated by plank floors, cork board table tops, brushed nickel ceiling fans and brick ovens burning fires of real wood. Three distinctive rooms specialize in bar, bakery and dinner services.

The bar featured large jars of vodka infused with fresh fruits, peppers and other vegetables. Juices were freshly squeezed, and infusions were “buddled,” a bartending term (borrowed from mining) for a trendy method of filtering. Though the wine list has been upgraded over the years, it still disappoints oenophiles compared to downtown Des Moines standards. However, its wine by-the-glass list ($4-$6) would cost a few dollars more in the 50309.


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Tell us what you think about local politics, music, restaurants, bars, entertainment or anything else going on in Des Moines.


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