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Civic Skinny

Merry Christmas

12/2/2020

Twelve drummers drumming…
…for Helen Eddy, the very busy Polk County health commissioner…and Karen Schunk and all the other women (and men) who make and give away masks to help protect us from the virus…including Linda Cravens, who sends masks to Iowa friends from far-off Salt Lake…and the men and women in the crowded hospitals trying to juggle the care-giving for those felled by Covid-19…Sen. Charles Grassley, who caught it somewhere, somehow…and Mayor Frank Cownie, who sensibly ordered us to wear masks when state officials refused to….

Eleven pipers piping…
…for new zoo boss Ann Shimerdia…and Sara Rhine and Brad Rhines — she thrilled us on the Drake basketball court, he’s at Prairie Meadows…for Carter Baumler, the Dowling pitcher who signed a $1.5 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles…and Musco’s Casey Scheidel, who knows everything about turf…and Chris Schlosser, who kept the Principal Park field beautiful all year — though there was no professional baseball there.

Ten lords a-leaping…
… for Mary Andringa, Romonda Belcher, Teresa Bomhoff, Mary Jane Cobb, Kellie Markey, Sheri McMichael, Kesho Scott, Maura Nelson, Teresa Adams-Tomka and Nataliya Boychenko — tapped by the Business Record as this year’s Women of Influence…to pollster and businesswoman Ann Selzer, a woman of influence who is always right…to Melissa O’Neil at Central Iowa Shelter and Services…and architect Ann Sobiech Munson….

Nine ladies dancing…
…to celebrate the re-election of Polk County supervisors Bob Brownell and Steve Van Oort…and for new county manager John Norris and his family…for Jim Autry (and buy his fascinating new book “The White Man Who Stayed”)…for Ocheyedan city councilman David Johnson, who always has a cause…and new Simpson College president Marsha Kelliher (and welcome to Iowa)…for whoever makes the pies at the Flying Mango…and the pastries at La Mie…and the lasagna at Billy Vee’s and at Baratta’s…and the sandwiches at B&B…and the grilled cheese concoctions at the Cheese Bar…to Marty Scarpino and everyone at the Embers on Ingersoll, the best restaurant in Des Moines…and to Jessica Dunker at the Iowa Restaurant Association….

Eight maids a-milking…
…for Tom Keating at the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Jean Berger at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, who have had challenging years (and, gosh, isn’t it time you merged your groups?)…and for Joe Drzycimski, the high-school baseball player who delayed the tournament by accidentally locking himself in the dugout bathroom…for Bill Knapp, who can’t stop making deals…and Mike Richards, who has led the Board of Regents through a very tough year…for artist Jenna Brownlee (and all outdoors people miss her grandfather, Tom Kollings)…and Bob Hopson (who grew up — 80 years ago — down the street from the Kollingses)…and 96-year-old Jim Tyler of Atlantic….

Prep Iowa - Pride Month

Seven swans a-swimming…
…for Lloyd and Julie Von Hagen…and Harry Moulton…for Mike and Susie McDermott in Cedar Rapids…and hair-dresser Kelly Morris…for Steve Sypal and Steve Seipel, who have never met…for Tommy Birch and Pat Brown and Sue and Audrey and photographer Dylan Heuer and Dave and Marsha Wiggins and Kathy and Gene Meyer and all those other Principal Park regulars we missed last season…and Joan Strentz…and for newlyweds Sean Callison and Emily Upchurch….

Six geese a-laying…
…to the principals of Milo and Olive, an Iowa corporation… and Jax and Rizz and Charlee, adjusting to their new homes…and Gilda the Corgi…to Rachel Munro and her sister Theresa, who love dogs, and to Christi Anderson, who pampers them (and people)…and to the vets and staff at the Ingersoll Animal Hospital, who love our animals as much as we do…and the folks at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa….

Five gold rings…
…and a big Welcome! to Blessed Stone from Burma and America Herrera of Mexico and Rose Soso of Thailand and the other 553 men and women from 35 countries who were sworn in as new citizens at the ball park this year — 69 on the field on September 17 and 487 as drive-throughs in the parking lot in late June — making it 883 citizens sworn in at Principal Park in the past 12 years. And to Federal Judge Bob Pratt, who swears them in from home plate with an inspirational short talk, and Susan Voss, who welcomes them with her perfect rendition of the National Anthem…and Scott Sailor, who organizes the whole thing at the ballpark….

Four colly birds…
…for Sonya Heitshusen — we miss her on Channel 13 — and April Samp, who did a good job at Channel 5…for Lucas Grundmeier at The Register…and Suzanna de Baca at Connie Wimer’s Business Publications…and for Connie Wimer, too…and columnists Dave Elbert and Lee Rood…for Celeste Tilton, at Cityview, and her boss Shane Goodman (and Jolene, too)…for talk-radio magician Andrew Downs, who keeps things running at KXNO…for broadcaster Larry Morgan and former radio talker Marty Tirrell… for Dave Price of WHO, who knows politics…for Laurie Belin, without doubt the best reporter in Iowa…and for the wry Randy Evans, who fights the good fight for open meetings and open records….

Three French hens…
…for Archie Brooks, who should have a street named after him, and John and Michael Mauro and Ned Chiodo and former mayor John (Pat) Dorrian, guys with rollicking stories of local politics of a generation or two (or maybe three) ago…historians John Zeller and Steve Nelson-Vaux, who can fact-check the tales those guys tell and who can find out anything else about the past in this great city…and, of course, the wonderful 100-year-old Neal Smith, who lived the history that historians have to look up….

Two turtle doves…
…for all those babies saved by Count the Kicks since it was founded in 2008…and the five Iowa women who started it after their daughters were stillborn…and Emily Price, who runs it…and the folks at the Iowa Center for Children’s Justice, which works with kids whose parents are divorcing…and for all those kids between 6 and 16 that it helps…for auditor Kent Shirley and accountant Ron Hintz…for employee of the year Beth Giudicessi….and her nephews Hugo and Alastair…and Zachary and Mackenzie and Christopher and Maggie, the best grandchildren ever….

And a partridge in a pear tree…
…in memory of lawyer Steve Roberts, one of the last of the moderate Republican leaders from a generation ago — the generation of Bob Ray and Mary Louise Smith and Art Neu and Andy Varley and Phil Hill… and Jim Cooney, patriarch and editor and lovely human being…Official scorer Mary Herman, a fixture at the high school tournaments…for Ken Fuson, a great writer and sweet man…Cynthia Rehm, a good friend…the gregarious Bob Kirke…and Barbara Graham and Max Holmes and the oh-so-nice Joann JensenLori KalainovNancy Turner…and Dean Borg, whose voice was familiar to everyone in Iowa…newspapermen Nick Kotz and Jim Lawless and Harold YeglinIan BinnieJan KruseMary Kay McNarney… and coach Jim MahoneyAnita MandelbaumHarriet Macomber…charismatic Coach Johnny MajorsBarry Griswell…Mayor and businessman Tom UrbanOwen Newlin…wildlife artist Maynard Reece, who lived to be 100…Judge Joel NovakFrank Fogarty, a gentleman…Sheldon Rabinowitz…Councilman and pharmacist Tom Vlassis and banker John Burgeson…photographer Ken Scarpino…broadcaster Rich FellinghamBill Lozier…historian (and so much more) Tom Morain…and, always, the first Christopher. ♦

— Michael Gartner

One Comment

  1. Diane Kolmer says:

    Thank you, Michael, for reminding me of all the interesting, compassionate and talented souls that make my world better. As you do on on a regular basis.

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