Small Towns News

Iowa Nice shines through following derecho

Aug. 10, 2020, is a day I will never forget. A storm with winds comparable to an inland hurricane, called a derecho, blew through the corn belt and hit Iowa from west to east along U.S. Highway 30 at varying intensity, causing damage to homes, buildings, and crops.

There are many details that will stick with me, including watching a tree fall on my house and a limb coming through the ceiling and into my kitchen. But most of all, I will never forget how Iowans reacted in the aftermath of the storm. 

After pandemic hits close to home, cafe owner contemplates changes

Coffee talk that once revolved around the weather and crops has evolved to include the latest COVID-19 numbers and milling over who got it and how they are doing. When one of the two regular employees at the Left Bank Cafe tested positive, those morning conversations came to a halt.

“Life kind of stops when one of you gets sick,” said Paula Matson, owner of the small cafe.

Staff spotlight: After time in Washington, D.C. Nathan returns to Midwest roots

Many years ago, my great-great-great-great grandparents, Joseph and Malvina Choquette, built a spare frontier cabin in Salix, Iowa, just south of Sioux City. They came from up north in Canada looking for the promise of the American west, hoping to make a new life for themselves on Iowa’s bountiful soil. They did just that, and started generations of Choquettes farming in the area.

Stories of rural resiliency: Community newspapers persevere during pandemic, other challenges

They’ve been chronicling the people, places, and events of small towns for decades—some even 100 years or more. However, as social media, the internet, and other sources of information have come on the scene, community newspapers have had to fight for readers’ and advertisers’ attention.

Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, owners are once again facing tough decisions as they deal with declining revenue. While some newspapers across the country have closed, two Nebraska publishers are forging ahead.

As Iowa reels from derecho, some relief available

The derecho storm that hit central and eastern Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, left a devastating swathe of damage that has residents still reeling. Many people have lost their homes, millions of acres of crops have been destroyed, and tens of thousands are still without power as Iowans work to recover from this storm.


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