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Cover Story: No Place Like Home

There are plenty of reasons why Central Iowa is a terrific place to live.
Here are some of the best.

We talk a lot - as a community - about what we need, what we want, what we don't have, what we should have. As residents of Central Iowa, there is much to complain about. Our cities are far from fiscally fit. Our property taxes are high. Our schools aren't what they used to be. Corporate welfare is staggering. There are hints of corruption and hints of incompetence regarding our leaders. And the list goes on and on. >> more

Jon Gaskell: Pull some punches

Toboggan tussle began for no reason

I'm all for watchdogs and activists, but what has transpired on our city's East Side regarding the so-called "tearing down" of a sledding hill has been despicable, and for no reason whatsoever. See, you never open your mouth until you know what the shot is, until you've absorbed all of the facts. Being an activist and a watchdog requires patience and reason. Without those two qualities, really, all you're doing is bitching. You're background noise, a blabbermouth, a naysayer. >> more

Civic Skinny: Rainforest back in Des Moines?

People are talking, but odds are against it

According to a top philanthropist/ business type and another top government source, Downtown Des Moines could try to swing for the fences with regard to the Rain Forest project. Here's what we know: First, federal legislation mandating that the Rain Forest project be built in Johnson County (essentially on the Coralville site, which the city is now backing away from) is due to change to include all of Iowa. Second, Sen. Charles Grassley has "no intention of getting egg on his face" with regard to this project after taking so much heat, and is reaching out more than ever before to make it happen. Third, after hinting around to a few business types that the project may be interested in trying to make it work in Des Moines (as originally planned) and getting rejected, we're hearing that a number of Des Moines players who once wrote Ted Townsend off as "crazy" are starting to come around. Described as a "long shot," but also a "sure-fire way to make Des Moines a destination," a plan is being quietly discussed regarding a scaled-down version >> more

Food Dude : Iowa Bakery Café

By Jim Duncan

November triggers two of humankind's nobler urges: to bake bread and to cook soup. Since the majority of Americans no longer do either, I went looking for people to do them for me, at the Iowa Bakery Café, where the specialty of the house is scratch-water bagels, baked fresh all day. This means hand-formed dough is boiled in a kettle before being baked, a process with which many bagel joints don't bother. This gives bagels a superior crisp texture. >> more

Scene Scribe : Angry Gods happy to have found one another

By Michael Swanger

After banging around with different bands over the years, the members of Angry Gods of the Radio, a group of local hard-rockers, say they have found a kindred spirit in each other. And that camaraderie is most evident in the quartet's newly released and self-titled debut album, an impressive feat considering it was recorded two months after the band was fully formed in July." >>more

City Sounds : Blues Traveler

By Michael Swanger

Legendary singer-songwriter-pianist to release new album to benefit the Crescent City

There's so much passion for New Orleans in Dr. John's fingers that every time they touch the piano it feels like Mardi Gras. But ask him how he feels about the way the Crescent City and its citizens and environment have been treated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and you can feel the darkness of its back alleys and floating graveyards rise through the hoodoo-voodoo king's voice. >>more

City Sounds 2: Watermelon Slim picks low-down blues

Bill Homan, a.k.a Watermelon Slim, has spent years on the road earning his living, but he seems to be at home pickin' low-down blues. For 18 years, he hauled industrial waste and dry goods, but now he drives his band, the Workers, to blues ports around the country.

"The band I'm playing with is responsible for my success," the 56-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist says. "They're the reason I'm getting anywhere 'cause they help people take me seriously." >>more

Rant & Rave:

You think you know something we don't know? Think we suck? Think other people suck? Think you can lead us to the promise land, or do you just want to spout off some serious lip? Then grab that thing in your hand (No, the thing in your other hand) and double-click right here. After we check to make sure you aren't wanted by the authorities and that you have your facts as close to straight as possible, we'll post it right here. Then other people sitting in their cubicles -- just like you -- can bask in your wisdom.

Oh, and if you're really funny, or enlightened or wonderfully horrible, we'll print what you've laid down in next week's issue of Cityview. So go ahead, what are you waiting for? >>more