Daily Post #1

I am going to try something new.  Aside from class assignments, I will try to write something every day.  The topics here will run from school,to photography, to my business, to travels, to my hobby, or none of the above. (Comments and critiques are welcome, including yours, Ross!)

My first post here will be a picture from “my summer vacation”.

In June, my family and I took the first summer vacation, where it was just us, in almost 20 years.  Being a small business owner, vacations have been pretty limited to a weekend in Omaha or Sioux Falls.  Not always because of money, but more because of time.  Before I was ‘full time’ self employed, we did do a week here and there, but we usually tagged along with my mom and sister, aunts and uncles.  This would be the first time we would do a ‘biggie’ just by ourselves.

By ‘biggie’, I mean this: Two weeks.  On the road. In a car. No planes, airports, busses, etc.  Just like the old days, when my wife and I were kids.  There is something to be said regarding a vacation by car vs. flying.  I will admit that the convenience and speed of commercial aviation (hassles aside) have their advantages in this day and age, but there is something to be said for going the car way.

Which leaves me to my first photo.  This is where being ‘on vacation’ hit me the first time.  This was around noon on the second day out.  I’d been in St. Louis several times.  Once through the airport and several times blowing through on I-70.  This was the first time I had stopped, and we took the opportunity to visit the Arch.  More properly known as the Gateway Arch (part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial), I had never been up in the Arch.  Fascinating, and a good time.  Being a photographer, I took a selection of gear with me on the trip.  (I almost also took my newest HD camera, but space was a limiting factor, as well as the thought of a ‘smash and grab’ leaving me without one of my primary sources of income).  As it was, I took a small HD camcorder, Nikon D-40 DSLR and two lenses.  This was taken with the D-40 and a 18-55 VR zoom.

As I said, this was about the time I felt ‘on vacation’ for the first time.  The tour of the arch and the memorial around it was really neat.

Well, that’s all for now.  Hopefully I will post again tomorrow.


Rewriting assignment for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A car accident two miles east of Sioux City has left one person dead and three hospitalized.  Moyer Quick, 65, from South Sioux City, was killed when a truck driven by Randy Radin, 17, attempted to pass Quick’s vehicle.  Radin’s vehicle struck the front of Quick’s vehicle, sending both into the ditch on the north side of Highway 20.

Radin, of Sioux City, is also hospitalized in critical condition. Two passengers in the Quick vehicle, Dorothy Quick, 61, also of South Sioux, and Maxine Steuerwald, 43, of Lawton were hospitalized.

Writing assignment for September 15, 2010

Responding to a cat in a tree call could have turned out better for fire fighter Bob Harwood.  The cat’s ok, but Harwood is in St. Luke’s Hospital following a 15-foot fall while attempting to rescue the cat.

The calico cat, belonging to twins Suzanne and Samantha Decker, twin daughters of Charlie and Kim Decker, was trapped 50 feet up in the tree.  Fire fighter Harwood broke his left leg when a dead limb broke 15 feet up. The cat then landed on top of Harwood.


East High principal Laura Vibelius revealed this week that a series of suspensions has resulted from 5 students who were caught smoking Marijuana on campus.  Those five were suspended for one week.

Ten upperclassmen received one-week suspensions for triggering a series of false fire alarms in protest of the suspensions.  In a possible unrelated event, there was a food fight that closed the school cafeteria on Tuesday.  Principal Vibelius commented that there was general unrest in the student body, “not so much … because of the suspensions, but because of summer vacation being so near.” She feels that there will be no continuation of these “incidents” in the near future.


Catastrophe and HAZMAT procedures and training proved valuable when a Texaco tanker truck, filled with gasoline, overturned just outside of town.  The accident, occurring at the corner of 48th and Correctionville road, spilled the fuel into sewer lines and over the streets and ditches in the area.

Local traffic was re-routed through side streets, and four families were evacuated from their homes for the two hours until the gas was flushed away.


Observing the Observatory – final draft!!

The O’Donoghue Observatory.

Comm208 Writing Assignment

Final Draft

By Chris Mansfield

On a chilly, rainy Thursday, students walk quickly by the building without giving it a second glance.  Many students may even graduate without setting foot in it.  On a campus where many of the buildings measure tens of thousands of square feet, it figures out to just 678 square feet.  (Some dorm suites are larger.) According to the latest course catalog, no classes are held here.

The O’Donoghue Observatory sits on the expansive lawn to the northwest of the James and Sharon Walker Science Center on the Morningside campus.  Gifted to the college in late 1948, the observatory, named for Dr. James H. O’Donoghue, was formally dedicated on May 28, 1950, the 60th anniversary of the namesake’s graduation from Morningside, then known as the University of the Northwest. Dr. O’Donoghue’s son, Dr. Arch F. O’Donoghue, gave the observatory to the college in honor of his father. The dedication, following the college’s baccalaureate services, featured a panel of speakers whose names were eventually to grace several other buildings on the campus, such as President Earl Roadman and Miss Lillian E. Dimmitt.

Except for the original door with a porthole window (which was replaced with a solid steel door sometime in the recent past) the building looks much the same as it did when dedicated over 60 years ago. It’s large, silver dome sits imposingly atop a short, stout single story building.  Its tan brick walls provide a firm footing for green ivy that covers them like an airy quilt.  The ivy’s long tendrils are just now starting to assault the silver dome, and have almost covered the building’s name above the doorway.

Appearing to sit dormant for several years, the observatory hosts a 12” reflector telescope “of the German type of mounting which has many advantages and few drawbacks” according to the dedication program from the Morningside archives. At the time of its construction, this was the largest telescope in the state of Iowa.  (It may still be one of the largest, as the telescope atop the physics building at the University of Iowa is only 7”.)

Peering through the windows, the interior walls are decorated with a timeline of the universe.  In several places, the plaster and paint are peeling from moisture, and chips of the same litter the floor just in front of the door leading up to the telescope chamber itself.

As a child, my parents would point out the observatory building to me while driving past, and I was suitably impressed. I could imagine peering through the optics at the craters of the moon, rings of Saturn, or the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Years later, as a newly minted freshman in the fall of 1985, I don’t believe I ever gave the O’Donoghue much thought as my interests were more fixed on the new television studio and student operated radio station.

We may not know what the future holds for this building, arguably the smallest, but (for me, at least) probably the most memorable of buildings on the Morningside campus.


From the “who approved this??” dept.

A recent article posted on the Sioux City Journal’s web site (lifted from the Des Moines Register) covers the uproar caused by Drake University’s latest marketing idea.


Here it is: (Credit: The Des Moines Register)

Having worked in the industry for the last quarter century plus, I can appreciate a catchy jingle or risque billboard or print ad, especially when well done.

However, the ‘D+’ thing with a school smacks too much like those mild ‘double entendre’ tag lines that make us just a little uncomfortable.  Why not go ahead and say ‘Come to Drake and be mediocre!’, or perhaps less!

It did have the result of raising awareness and generating discussion, but not in the same vein as academic excellence and scholastic achievement.  As was posted in the title to this article, there has to be some board or at least a department head that should have some explaining to do.  If not at the school then at the advertising agency that shoveled this out the door.

Perhaps the company had something to do with Salt Lake City’s marketing:

According to the Des Moines Register, Drake has pulled the logo from their web site but is still using it on printed matter.  No wonder since they probably had thousands of pieces printed up to get a good rate at the printer!

Till next time . . .


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