Oct 20

Roland-Story needs an outlet

Next year, the Roland-Story school district will mark 50 years since consolidation. The district wants to build new athletic facilities, reports the Ames Tribune, but — in a sign of how old things are — the school is “landlocked” and has no available room around it.

Last weekend, the Story City outlet mall closed for good. (Articles: Ames Tribune, KCCI) It wasn’t too hopping in the early 2000s, and this weekend’s opening of the giant outlet mall development in Altoona was the death knell.

Roland-Story wants to buy the mall land and build a football field where the building is now. Article/plans: Story City Herald (note: north is left on that map). There will be a public tour of the current field — and auditorium, which despite being built in 1990 is obsolete in both lights and audio — Sunday to gin up support for a bond issue next year.

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Oct 18

Who gets the flugelhorn?

Questions that must be asked, just not to the State Board of Education…

All other issues raised, including the ownership of the “famous flugelhorn,” are deemed irrelevant to the question of the legality of the whole-grade sharing agreement and accordingly no further discussion or resolution.

That’s in the second-to-last paragraph of the state dismissal of an appeal from parents in the United school district (the one between Boone and Ames with a 55 mph “school zone” on US 30) in 1992.

I know that United entered into a whole-grade sharing agreement with both Boone and Ames in 2010, but I didn’t realize the high school had closed before that. Now, the 1992 decision references Boone sending its sixth-graders to United and an option to enroll in Gilbert, but I don’t know if that was carried out, and if so, for how long. (Help always accepted, especially in this case where “United” and “Boone” aren’t the most unique search terms.)

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Oct 16

Harmony, Van Buren move toward consolidation

The Harmony school district is about to face the music.

At the end of August, the Harmony and Van Buren school boards met to start petitions for consolidation of the two districts. (Story: KTVO) The “new” name would be Van Buren County Community School District, “county” being the change. (That means North Tama and South Tama would get some company on the official name convention.) Since the vast majority of the district is in Van Buren County, it makes sense. Harmony extends about three miles east of the county line, including Hillsboro. The vote would be in February.

Neither the story nor the petition mention anything about grade allocations or buildings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if either the Harmony building or Douds Elementary are closed. The next question is what happens to the shuttered Bonaparte building.

The petition lists the land area to be reorganized, by township, and check out the old-school measurements:

Van Buren Township (Township 66-67 North, Range 7W)

Section 3- Part of the S1/2 bounded by a line beginning at the NW corner of the SW1/4; thence S 120 rods, thence East 160 rods to the Quarter section line, thence S 4 rods, thence E 65.1 rods to the Center of the public road; thence along the center of the road northwesterly to a point on the quarter section line directly East of the POB, thence West to the POB.

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Oct 13

Dust off US 30 ROW at US 169

July 5, 2013: West junction of US 30 and US 169 between Ogden and Beaver. There used to be a weigh station to the right. This is 30′s last at-grade intersection with a numbered route until IA 21.

In light of this summer’s go-ahead for “prioritization” of US 30 corridors in Iowa, one segment has a little leg up on the others.

In 1982, with the help of an early CAD program, the Iowa DOT drew up a right-of-way acquisition plan for the west US 169 interchange between Ogden and Beaver. It’s online at the Document Portal.

The four-lane running west from its current end would have to dip southward at 169, to account for the bridge over the railroad that’s just north of the current intersection. The north side of the interchange is at the current location of the intersection, with an inside loop ramp for southbound to westbound. The four-lane would rejoin current 30 (the westbound lanes) at P54 near Beaver.

The plan might require some modifications to meet current standards, but this looks like solid groundwork to move forward.

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Oct 11

When autofill goes horribly wrong

Western Illinois’ website has some problems, to say the least, with its schedule formatting. In the 2012 football schedule:

  • Indianapolis has the Indiana logo.
  • Both South Dakota and South Dakota State have the USD logo.
  • Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State until they decided they were too good to be directional) has the Missouri logo — something no one wants to be associated with at the moment.

And then this — with the wrong weblink to boot. This outrage must not stand.


(Discovered while working on the ISU TV schedule post.)

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Oct 09

There’s a “Back to the Future Minute” podcast

GREAT SCOTT! This is heavy.

There’s a podcast that started in late 2015 that, like the “Star Wars Minute”, tackled the “Back to the Future” trilogy, dissecting every minute of the movies in 15- to 20-minute segments.

The podcast link at the iTunes Music store only covers the last 300 episodes, so the first 50 podcasts (for the first 50 minutes of the first movie) have to be listened to or retrieved from the website.

That should cover about the next two years of road trips.

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Oct 08


Due to a cascade of inexplicable subroutine malfunctions, the Matrix will be shut down for diagnostics and given a hard reset. The management apologizes for the inconvenience.

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Oct 06

Alta-Aurelia consolidation approved

The Alta and Aurelia school districts — one mostly in Buena Vista County, the other mostly in Cherokee County — extended their whole-grade-sharing agreement last year. Last month, however, they dove into full reorganization, effective next year. Story: Cherokee Chronicle-Times.

The school board of the consolidated district will start as a transitional board, with technically three active boards at once in the next school year, and it will eventually be whittled down to one five-member at-large board. (Chronicle-Times, again) The new state law combining city and school elections had no effect on this decision, but it will be interesting to see if districts change to an at-large plan because of it.

The Alta and Aurelia districts combined have lost 25% of their students since 2000.

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Oct 04

Oklahoma’s tuneup for Texas

This weekend, for only the second time in the Big 12 era, Iowa State is in a position it used to be in quite often — the warmup act for the Oklahoma Sooners the weekend before their game against Texas.

It may not have been an official secret bylaw in the Big Eight, but Oklahoma’s season schedules made Iowa State the first conference opponent a disproportionate amount of time. Remember, this was before Oklahoma and Texas were together in the Big 12.

Before 1974, OU played a conference team eight times the weekend before Texas; ISU accounted for three of those. (Oklahoma State was not a conference opponent for most of this time.) Usually, though, in a schedule that started the weekend after Labor Day, OU played all non-conference teams including Texas before the Big Six/Seven/Eight teams.

Then from 1974 (shortly after the emergence of the 11-game schedule) to 1995 (the end of the Big Eight), ISU was both OU’s first conference opponent and the opponent before Texas 10 of 21 times. Five other years, OU’s conference opener and pre-Texas game was Kansas State in the “Futility U” era.

When Big 12 play began, and the North teams only played OU twice every four years, its pre-Texas opponents were more varied. Three of the first five Big 12 seasons, OU played Kansas, but that included the John Blake era and KU managed to win in both Lawrence and Norman.

It’s Oklahoma week, and as such, here’s the link to my compilation of just how thoroughly non-competitive ISU has been in this series. Because of Kentucky’s late-fourth-quarter collapse against Florida this year, ISU-OU remains the sixth-longest active overall winless streak between teams in the same conference.

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Oct 03

Look what Taylor Swift made the Iowa DOT do

Yesterday’s “Message Monday” from the Iowa DOT:

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