Events coming up during the next two weeks (updated)

Political activity slows down during the summer, especially in an off-year, but there's still plenty for progressives to do. Event details are after the jump. Please post a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of other events I've left out.

If you live near southeast Iowa, please consider volunteering for Curt Hanson, Democratic candidate for the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90. UPDATE: Senator Tom Harkin is headlining a fundraiser for Hanson on Saturday, Augsut 1. Details below.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers during the Iowa State Fair (August 13-23):

The Iowa DNR River Programs will be at the Iowa State Fair this year and requests your help to staff our booth at the DNR building. We will have a River Programs staff person there the whole time, but our space is much larger this year. Because of the large number of visitors who pass through the building, any help we can get is greatly appreciated. We are asking for a 5 hour shift from each volunteer. You may sign up for more than one shift if you'd like. The morning shift will be from 9:00 to 2:00 and the afternoon shift will be from 2:00 to 7:00.  What you get: A River Programs Volunteer Cap and a ticket to the fair the day you volunteer, and the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference.

Please respond by email or phone with your desired shift(s) and availability Thursday, August 13th through Sunday August 23rd to John Wenck, IDNR River programs outreach coordinator,, 515-281-8969 or 515-491-9881.

Wednesday, July 29:

From Organizing for America:

Health insurance reform legislation is moving through Congress, and key committees in both chambers have already cast their first votes. We need to make our voices heard in this fight before the decisions are made -- and that window is closing fast.

So we're planning a Community Health Care Discussion in Des Moines on Wednesday, July 29th, to publicly show our leaders in Washington how much support there is for reform.

Where: Des Moines Public Library- Downtown (Des Moines, IA), 1000 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309

We'll hear from folks who've struggled firsthand with the broken status quo and talk with health care professionals and community leaders about the next steps we can take toward reform.

RSVP now to attend the Des Moines Community Health Care Discussion.

Local press will be invited, so a strong turnout is crucial. Together, we can show our representatives that the special interests trying to block reform in D.C. are not as powerful as the real Iowans fighting for change.

As the President has said, reform will happen "this year, or not at all." Let's make it happen.

RSVP today:

From the Iowa Bicycle Coalition:

Event: IBC'S Monthly Chat 'n Ride

     "Let's talk about bicycling in the Iowa City area"

What: Informational Meeting

Host: Iowa Bicycle Coalition Supporters

Start Time: Wednesday, July 29 at 12:00pm

End Time: Wednesday, July 29 at 3:30pm

Where: Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room B

This sounds like fun:

The main events of the "Khrushchev in Iowa" 50th anniversary aren't until August 27-30, but the fun already starts in Coon Rapids next Wednesday, July 29!

Author Peter Carlson, will speak at Whiterock Conservancy about his new book, K Blows Top, a hilarious account of Khrushchev's 1959 US tour.  

"Khushchev's two-week journey across America quickly became one of the most outlandish episodes in the annals of Cold War history," wrote Jacob Heilbrunn in The Washington Post.  "A deft and amusing writer, Carlson does a marvelous job of recounting it."

Come hear Carlson recount some of Khrushchev's many adventures. The Soviet Premier got stuck in an elevator in New York, and "blew his top" in California over being denied access to Disneyland, but in Iowa, he fared much better.  In the Corn State he was provided with a baby blue Cadillac convertible; ate his first hot dog (only after it was checked by a Geiger counter!); and created at press riot at the Garst Farm.  

So intense was the media pressure that host Roswell Garst, a self-appointed citizen diplomat promoting "Peace through Corn," ended up fighting off the reporters with handfuls of corn silage.  The Khrushchev visit was Iowa's first real exposure in the national-level media.

Peter Carlson, author of K Blows Top

5:30 pm

Wednesday, July 29

The Riverhouse at Whiterock Conservancy

1313 Fig Avenue, Coon Rapids

Come hear Carlson tell all about it, and you can also buy a copy of his book!  Just out, K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist, has already won praise in publications ranging from Parade magazine to the Boston Globe to The Onion.

For all lovers of Iowa, Coon Rapids, history, and hilarity, this July 29 event is not to be missed!!

Following Carlson's 5:30 author talk, feel free to stay on for a 6:30 grill-out and live music starting at 8:00.  Three bands (Local Natives, Snowblink, and Mac Lethal) will be playing at Whiterock's Riverhouse Barn as the culmination for the first-ever Daytrotter Barnstormer (see for more information).

"Khrushchev in Iowa" commemorative activities will continue in August.  Don't miss the Agricultural Progress Festival to be held in Coon Rapids on Saturday August 29th.  This will include a ceremony to celebrate the entry of the Garst Farm (now owned by Whiterock Conservancy) into the National Register of Historic Places, historic film clips, performance of an original two-person play on the Garst-Khrushchev relation, a farm machinery parade, speeches by Sergei Khrushchev and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; plantings of corn from different eras; agribusiness displays; family-fun activities; live music; food; and a beer garden.  See for more details.

DIRECTIONS: Coon Rapids is located on Highway 141, 70 northwest of Des Moines and 100 miles east of Omaha . The Riverhouse is located at 1313 Fig Ave.  To get there go 2.3 miles east of Coon Rapids on Hwy 141, then turn south on Fig Ave (gravel) and continue for an additional 2.2 miles.  The house and barn are located just before the river bridge, on the right.  Parking is on the left side of the road.  

Friday, July 31:

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and they are throwing a series of parties around the state. The party in Des Moines is this Friday evening. Click here for event details and to RSVP by July 30.

Saturday, August 1:

From the Curt Hanson campaign website:

Campaign Kick-Off Fundraiser Featuring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin

     Please join:

     Curt Hanson

     Democratic Candidate - Iowa House

     At His Campaign Kickoff Event for the September 1st Special Election for the Iowa House of Representatives.

     And Special Guest:

     U.S. Senator Tom Harkin

     Luncheon Reception at:

     The Pony Farm

     2835 239th St.

     Fairfield, IA 52556

     Saturday, August 1, 2009

     12:00pm - 1:30pm

     Host: $250

     Sponsor: $100

     Friend: $50

     Supporter: $25

     All Contributions are Welcome

     Please make checks payable to:

     Hanson for State Representative

     RSVP to Adam at 319-350-9201 or

From I'M for Iowa:

Really, Really Free Market (Des Moines)

A huge, free yard sale the first Saturday of every month at Drake Park, 24th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. It runs from 11:00 - 2:00, or so. People are invited to come and shop or bring things to donate. Face painting and kids' crafts, too. Contact Tracy Robson at

Strengthening Community Dialogue Forum (Cedar Rapids)

A forum and resource fair to connect community members to resources, service providers and business leaders. It's at the Jane Boyd Community House, 943 14th Street from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. Contact LaSheila Yates at (319) 651-9829 or

Sunday, August 2:

La Leche League of Des Moines is holding a family potluck picnic to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. You do not have to be currently nursing a child to attend--all who support the goals of La Leche League International are welcome. They've reserved Coneflower Shelter B at Raccoon River Park from 2-6 pm. A great playground and beach are nearby. They will have a raffle and silent auction. Please bring a dish to share and table service for your family.  LLL will provide drinks.

Tuesday, August 4:

Another event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Iowa will take place at the Des Moines Public Library's downtown location, 1000 Locust, from noon to 1 pm. Four panelists will discuss Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 visit to Iowa with both historical perspectives and personal insights. Sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, the Iowa Council for International Understanding (ICIU), and the Des Moines Public Library. For more information on this series, contact Christina Sibouih at or 515-282-8269 x 15.

Thursday, August 6:

From I'M for Iowa:

From Hiroshima to a World Without Nuclear Weapons (Des Moines)

Join us in telling Congress to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  We will also welcome Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, a leading member of "Mayors for Peace."  Meet at the Japanese bell, west of the Iowa Judicial building on the south side of Court Avenue across from the State Capitol.  The rain site will be Calvary Baptist Church, 606 E. 9th St.  Please bring lawn chairs.  For more information, contact Jeffrey Weiss at (515) 274-4851, (x 16) or

Friday, August 7:

Another Khrushchev in Iowa event will take place at the Des Moines Public Library from noon to 1 pm. "Cold Warriors: Kennedy and Khrushchev," will focus on the relationship that defined a generation: two personalities who changed the Cold War, prevented a nuclear war and symbolized their respective cultures. It will be led by international affairs scholar Gordon Goldstein, who is the International Security Advisor to the Strategic Planning Unit of the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General. Goldstein, a Huffington Post columnist, has had his articles appear in The New York Times, Newsweek and The Washington Post. For more information on this series, contact Christina Sibouih at or 515-282-8269 x 15.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa is holding a 75th anniversary party on Friday, August 7 in Arnolds Park (Okoboji area). Click here for event details and to RSVP by August 6.

Saturday, August 8:

I'm taking my kids to this event at Whiterock Conservancy, near Coon Rapids off Highway 141. It's running from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday:

A Biodiversity Blitz, or "Bio-Blitz," is a snapshot assessment of the various organisms that live in a specific place. During the 24-hour BioBlitz at Whiterock Conservancy, teams led by biologists and staffed by natural history novices and enthusiasts will explore 4,300 acres of Whiterock-managed lands in the Middle Raccoon River Valley and document diversity through recording every species encountered. The Whiterock BioBlitz is open to all members of the public to come and explore Iowa's largest land gift and most unexplored treasures, and to help us document diversity! For more information and to register, visit http://www.whiterockconservanc...

From I'M for Iowa:

Yes We Can - Ban All Nuclear Testing (Des Moines)

Supporters of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will meet at the Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue, Des Moines from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.  For more information, contact Jeffrey Weiss at (515)274-4851 (x16) or

  • Meet the candidate at an open house for Skip Moore Candidate for Des Moines City Council

    You are invited to meet the candidate at an open house for Skip Moore

    Candidate for Des Moines City Council At-Large

    Hosted by Kathrine & Ralph Caracciolo, Connie & Isabella Marturello, Vincent Scavo & Joe Henry

    Thursday, August 13th

    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Food & beverages provided

    At the home of Joe Henry

    2463 E. Highview Drive,  Des Moines

    Please RSVP to Skip Moore or Mitch Henry at 729-2926 or email

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