PHOTOS: Iowa City in the Rocky Mountains

Spent a long weekend in the Rockies with many of my best friends, most of whom I lived with in a big house in Iowa City during college. Our second 106 reunion (106 N Governor was the address of the house) was incredibly fun: great hiking, awesome weather, and good times catching up with old friends as if a day hadn’t passed since the last time we were all together — 3 years prior in Oregon.
[nggallery id=7]Click on photos to embiggen or to view as slideshow. Or view on Flickr.

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Iowa Under Water: Familiar Ground is Flooded

coralville iowa city floods 2008

In the months before my freshman year at the University of Iowa, the Iowa River flooded its banks, closing one dorm for the entire first semester and leaving me with 2 roommates in a double dorm — some doubles were turned into quads, in fact. Fifteen years later, and the flooding is worse — just look at the extensive and graphic slideshows at the Iowa City Press-Citizen website and this timeline of two freakish weeks of rain.

It was clear by midweek (last week) that the flooding would surpass the epic proportions of 1993 — in Cedar Rapids the river crested 5 feet higher than it did in ’93. But — in a typically pathetic show of domestic carelessness by the Bush Administration, it wasn’t until Friday that FEMA declared disaster areas in Cedar and Johnson county (Iowa’s governor declared 83 of Iowa’s 99 counties disaster areas by the end of the week). And today — Sunday — with supplies of drinkable water subsiding and key arteries closed in Iowa City/Coralville, FEMA does not even have an office established in the county. Not even a trailer. And the Iowa River may not crest until Monday night / Tuesday.

Now, summer school has been suspended, and at least 15 University of Iowa buildings have started to flood. Pictured above is the Taco Bell in Coralville that was the site of many cheap feeds and multiple refills of Pepsi back in my undergrad days.

I hope the university and the residents throughout the state get the help and relief they need — it doesn’t look pretty. More good (student) coverage at the Daily Iowan (w/ video too). Live video stream available via KCRG-Cedar Rapids. Viewer-contributed footage via KCRG / YouNews is here and below.

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Iowa City Twisters

I was up late Thursday night and first heard mention of tornadoes in Iowa City on BBC radio of all places, piped in via KPCC. Immediately I checked for media coverage and was impressed to find a video report and slideshow already up on the Daily Iowan (university paper) website. Additionally, the Iowa City Press-Citizen had a collection sent in from readers and also from two staff photographers who apparently were out all night before getting aerial shots the next day that were inevitably re-printed nationwide.

There were even pictures of baseball-sized hail posted on flickr. Iowa City Public Access TV had already posted a video (unfortunately, without sound) of the storm passing overhead. This must be what the oft-erroneous phrase “citizen journalism” is all about.
But the greatest surprise came today, when I received an e-mail forward linking to a photo sent to the Daily Iowan, showing the century-old house on the corner of Governor and Jefferson in which I lived along with as many as eleven other friends during a two-year stint of intense debauchery education.

the house looks fine, but ah the symbolism of the twisted one-way signs