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Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024
Good morning to you!

Where exactly is the Midwest, and what makes someone a Midwesterner? I thought I had this all figured out until I read an intriguing piece in the Wall Street Journal this week. The article was written about the surprising number of things that Americans get wrong about the Midwest. The story is hidden behind one of those annoying paywalls, so you have to fork over some money if you want to read the entire article. It basically points out how a large number of residents in Wyoming, Montana and even Arkansas consider themselves to be living in the Midwest. I really don’t care. The more, the merrier, in my world. But the notion of being a Midwesterner when you are really not one doesn’t seem to sit well with other folks from those outlying states. They don’t know what they are missing.

Let’s start with where the Midwest officially is. The U.S. Census Bureau says it includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Most all of us living in these states would likely agree to this definition.

If it were only that easy. The Midwest is apparently one of four U.S. census regions with the others being West, Northeast and South. Inside those four regions are several divisions, which include Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, East North Central, West South Central, East South Central, New England, Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic and East South Central. We Iowans are in the West North Central.

These designations are as clear as mud — or at least as clear as comedian Steve Martin’s routine on smoking marijuana: “I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening — or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, midevening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early midafternoon, or perhaps the late-midafternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning… but never at dusk.”

A more important question than where the Midwest is may be what makes someone a Midwesterner. The website inspiredbyinsiders.com offers “25 Signs That You Are a True Native of the Midwest.” Some of this reads like it was written by a person who is not a Midwesterner, but I do agree with a few: We know the importance of a good Jell-O salad. We have a strong connection to our hometowns. We know how to make a good s’more. We have experienced the magic of county fairs. We can handle extreme weather conditions. And we value humility and hard work.

Damn right. But there is one more that should be added: If it makes people feel better, we are also OK with them calling themselves Midwesterners — even if they are not.

Have a terrific Tuesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman 

President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.


Your Clear Mortgage forecast

We'll begin the day with a little freezing rain and then wet snow, with minor accumulations. Rain will move into the forecast by late Wednesday morning, and sprinkles will linger into the middle of the afternoon Thursday. We'll see fog at times this week, along with refreezing of snowmelt in the early mornings in spots.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The polls have closed and a record number of readers have cast their votes in the latest CITYVIEW'S Best Of Des Moines readers' poll — the metro's original and largest poll of its kind.
Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of CITYVIEW!
Listen to our latest podcast! Under the Umbrella!

On this episode, Tammy and Cyote talk about more CITYVIEW stories from the January edition and Iowa Living Magazine features from Urbandale, Grimes/Dallas Center, North Polk, Ankeny and Discover Dallas County.

Listen now
Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
4865 Augusta Lane
Pleasant Hill, IA 50327
Peacefully tucked away in the desirable Copper Creek golf community in Pleasant Hill. This executive home was built in 2000 and boasts of more than 4,000 sq ft, offering something for everyone with many custom features and attention to detail, second to none! Perched on over .50 acre, the professionally landscaped, fully fenced, with irrigation system also offers plenty of room for a pool or any of your outdoor activities, featuring basketball hoop and access to the golf-cart garage that is attached to the lower level of the home.
See More Homes For Sale

The business of snow removal
By Colson Thayer

Oliver Barragan, Eric Vargas and Zach Frye with Vargas Lawn Care Services are prepared for the unpredictable Iowa winter.

When local meteorologists announce snow is on the way, it’s a sign for most of us to stock up on groceries and plan to stay inside. Those who make their living from the removal of that snow, however, make sure they are ready to go 24 hours before it even touches the ground.

While the average citizen merely needs to know where the shovel is and if the snowblower has gas, the business and logistics of snow removal can be quite complex. In addition, unpredictable climate conditions year to year make it difficult to accurately forecast the demand for services each season.

But, at the end of the day, residential and commercial property owners alike need the snow gone. To accomplish that, central Iowans have a multitude of options from small teams to large companies, from seasonal contracts to hourly rates, from 2-inch triggers to zero tolerance, and from salt to no salt, among other options.



Coca Cola is bringing back its seasonal yellow bottle caps. What does that mean? Business Insider reports that it's a Passover marketing strategy to appeal to strict observers of kosher law. Regular red capped Coke is not kosher because it is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Yellow cap Coke is sweetened with either beet sugar or cane sugar or both. They are kosher.

Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest will celebrate its 16th anniversary May 4 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Iowa Pork, Berkwood Farms, Des Moines Bacon Company, BW Outdoors, Campbell's Concessions, Barn Town Brewing and City Meat Market are all sponsors. Tickets - BlueRibbonBaconFestival.com

Tuesday specials at Kwik Star include grilled cheese sandwiches for $1.49 and soup for $1.99. Also their rather famous cinnamon rolls are on sale for $3.99 a four pack through Jan. 29.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: New $2 million pavilion inspired by late Bill Stowe proposed for Water Works Park

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines’ popular Water Works Park may someday soon be home to a $2 million pavilion that reminds us of how important the park is to our daily lives. Plans for a third major feature in the park — in addition to the Lauridsen Amphitheater and the Ruan Connector tunnel — are in the works. It's called Water Curia...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Iowa DCI agent accused of ‘warrantless search’ in gambling investigation of student-athletes in court motion

IOWA — The attorney for former Iowa State Cyclones Eyioma Uwazurike and Isaiah Lee is accusing a DCI agent of using improper investigation techniques and being dishonest in depositions related to an investigation into gambling by student athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University in a new court motion filed on Tuesday...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Driver arrested for hitting patrol cars, fleeing scene, Iowa State Patrol says

An Iowa driver is in custody after hitting two patrol cars, leaving the scene and "revving" their engine until a vehicle fire began.....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Mariska Hargitay, Tiffani Thiessen, Norah O'Donnell, Chesley Sullenberger, Richard Dean Anderson, Anita Baker

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Sports notes
2023 NFL playoffs: 18 unsung plays from divisional round games... Read more
NBA: Spurs 123 76ers 133: Joel Embiid gets smooth layup to fall en route to franchise-record 70 points... Watch now
Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What should you give the teller at a virtual bank? A REALITY CHECK! - Gail Tomlinson. Also sending answers: William Snyder, Rex Post.

Today's riddle

What do you call it when green onions sing Bee Gees tunes?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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