Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better Late Then Never

In preparing for my Service Learning project I wasn’t sure how to fulfill my requirement, so I started thinking of ideas that would appeal to me. When the idea of helping Habitat for Humanity came after a few family members had participated at the annual build day with their place of work. Before I had a chance to look into it I was asked by a classmate if I would be interested in doing a build day. Replying with “yes”, jumping on the opportunity though a little nervous at first. I wasn’t sure what to expect due to not having much experience with construction other than helping my dad on home projects.

Building a house? That’s right never would not have thought that participating in Habitat for Humanity Build Day would be so rewarding, not only for myself but for the community. A few weekends ago I volunteered my time at a home on the North side of Des Moines. I was in charge of nailing plywood panels to the studs, placing nails every 6- 8 inches then I covered them with foam for insulation, but first I had to make sure they were lined up so we could cut the foam to fit the windows.

Although I had fun minus the fact of people being too cold to work, so they just stood around most of the time. Why did you sign up to volunteer when all you did is complain? Not only was I giving of my time but I also had to put my beloved Hawkeyes on hold since they were playing at the same time. The game we all thought would be a blow out since it was against unranked Indiana ended with a nail bitter. Luckily I caught the highlights and glad they pulled out the victory.

The day went fast since as I kept busy working the whole time and felt like I achieved something when it was over. I enjoyed giving up my time to help those in need, which I would volunteer again either by myself, with a group of friends, family or classmates. You should try to volunteer if you can because until you do it you don’t understand the impact it makes not only on you but those you are helping as well. By doing this service learning project it made me realized how important it is to volunteer as I plan to give of my time in the future.

By: Cody

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Supreme Court Chambers

By Tamra Gredell

My favorite part of the State Capitol tour was the Iowa Supreme Court Chambers. The most impressive piece of work was the judges’ bench. This piece was so elaborately carved it is unbelievable that someone could carve it by hand, not to mention the man who carved the panels of the bench was just 19. The Add Imageintricate detail is something to be admired.

When our tour guide was telling the story of the judges’ bench I was stunned when she said that when four more judges were added to the Supreme Court they needed to extend the judges’ bench, instead of replacing the bend they searched for the man that carved the original bench. When they found him 60 or so years after he carved the original bench he agreed to add more panels to the judges’ bench. When looking at the judges’ bench there is no difference between the part carved when the man was 19 and the part that was carved so many years later.

The other fact I found interesting about the Supreme Court Chambers was that there are five sleeping chambers behind the court chambers intended for the judges to stay overnight because their homes were so far away. I thought it was smart of the builders to think of that when building the State Capitol Building, the Supreme Court judges were probably appreciative too.

I thought it was fascinating that we were able to go into the Governor’s office. I would think it would be a personal space with many important documents and other various important government things. Instead his office was wide open to the public, I wondered how the Governor felt about exposing his office to the public? I know I wouldn’t like it if random people walked through my office every day, guess that’s part of being the Governor.

I have never toured the State Capital before and I learned many interesting things, overall I thought this was a great experience.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I kinda sorta not really conquered my fear of heights...

I absolutely, positively loved the trip to the Iowa State Capitol! It's probably the historian in me combined with my love for the state of Iowa. I haven't gotten to read everyone's post on the capitol yet but I noticed Cody mentioned he thought it was good to have a guide to explain things and I totally agree, some of what she said confirmed information I already knew while other tidbits I learned for the first time. The way some people feel about going backstage for a concert or to meet someone famous is how I felt sitting in the Supreme Court Room or walking into the Governor's office. It was a great experience! There is really no point in listing all the rooms I enjoyed walking through because I enjoyed every single part. (Oh and a quick side note in reference to the title: I made it to the top but I was still shaking from being scared when we ended the visit haha!)

The theme or, message I took away from the guided tour was that the state government (and probably the state as a whole) feels it is important to preserve what the capitol was like originally. I agree with this restoration project not only because it brings out and promotes the beautiful and detailed work that the builders provided but it also shows how dedicated the state of Iowa was to showing the rest of the country that its people were proud and strong. I say this because I'm sure not too many people would think of Iowa as having one of, if not thee most outstanding capitols in the country. Nor do some people think much about the state in general. Just as Iowa tries to show in the current time and atmosphere that it is not in fact, a backwards state, so did the planners of the capitol by combining using Iowa materials (to show that the land, in various ways was able to provide resources), innovative minds of the Iowans and new technology to create a masterpiece. -Kaitlin D

After visiting the Iowa Capital Building last week I never seen so much hard work and detail put into one place. Exploring the capital through a guided tour made the visit more exciting as we learned the great history of our Capital Building. Making stops by the governor’s office where we were informed the pictures on the wall were chosen by Chet Culver the current governor and how they will change once Terry Branstad takes office, the hand carved Supreme Court Justice’s desk, and the exterior dome painted of gold would amounted to the size of your fist if you were to scrape it off.

The interior of the building is very unique with my favorite place being the Law Library with the spiral staircase and the open levels where you can easily see the law books from the different floors. During the Iowa Caucus’s journalist Katie Couric from ABC will often use it to televise from.

I enjoyed getting another opportunity to visit the Capital as an adult to experience what I did as a youth. As I witnessed the different images of Iowa on the walls for example the painted picture of the corn cobs or the replica of the USS Iowa battleship. You defiantly have a better appreciation for the history of the building and I remembered a lot more this time.

If you have the time to visit the Capital I highly recommend going on the guided tour so that you get a better understanding of all the history Iowa has to offer as well as getting a chance to go up to the dome, looking down at all the floors that is if you’re not afraid of heights and don’t mind going up and down stairs.

By: Cody

State Capitol Take Two

As this was my second visit to the Capitol in just under a month, I can honestly say I was excited to go. My first trip was as a staff member for the World Food Prize. As such, that trip was less about visiting the Capitol and more about making sure a member of the Russian Delegation didn't get lost, or finding the Minister from Mali before the Ceremony began... so on and so forth. Very stressful stuff. That experience was very fun, but I'd much rather have sauntered about the Capitol and take time to enjoy the sites.
This trip was much more about leisure and much less about work. The tour of the Capitol was very informative. It's always interesting to visit some
where you've been as a young child and see the place through your now-adult eyes. Most of the information I learned was new, though I've always remembered the fact about the dome every since my first trip.
It was good to actually be able to see the Capitol. During the World Food Prize, there were so many tables on the first floor it was difficult to get a feel for what the interior of the building looked like. While it was a beautiful setting, it did not look like the type of place where the state government was kept. I thought maybe seeing the Capitol on it's own would change my opinion on the inside of the building. I love the outside, but the inside (with how it was dressed) looked more like a ballroom than a state capitol during my first visit.
I quickly found out that it wasn't just the tables everywhere influencing my opinion. I thought the interior of the Capitol was quite garish. The tour guide mentioned on several occasions that our dear old Capitol is very highly thought of by many people who visit capitols and think about these things, but in my opinion there was just too much excess it seemed. Maybe 19 different types of marble isn't the right way to go if the colors of the marble don't work well together. Maybe we should sell some of that marble and deal with some
of our budget troubles heh...
Overall, however, I'm glad I had the opportunity to take a guided tour. The library was wonderful (if a bit musty smelling) and the old Supreme Court chambers were my favorite part of the trip. While this fits right in with the excesses, the hand carved bench where the justices used to sit was a thing of beauty. It's too bad proceedings don't take place in there anymore. I'd go just to study that bench more.

~Justin H.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

State Library of Iowa

By: Lauren

As an intern for the Des Moines Public Library, the State Capitol’s Law Library stood out to me with its charm and intricate appeal. While I think that the Central Library has unique architecture and some great attributes, I prefer a cozier atmosphere like can be found at the Law Library. There’s something about cuddling up by a fireplace (or a snazzy staircase) with a good book and not so much allure to reading by a cement structure.

London architect, David Chipperfield, designed the minimalistic styled Central Library in a way that allows visitors to see outside from any location (and also under the opinion that the building itself is a work of art and does not need artwork inside). During my internship, I have visited other library branches around Des Moines and prefer a more homely feel such as the warm colors in the Waukee Public Library. Needless to say, my short while in the Law Library was instantly compared to my experiences in other libraries.

I have a much greater appreciation for the attention to detail and old beauty of the Law Library. Its exquisiteness (from the big and small, old and new books to the exclusive spiral staircases) drew me in and made me want to stay for awhile. Like everywhere in the State Capitol, the Library has an extreme amount of character. Looking up at the thousands of books neatly organized and lined on woodworked shelves seemed like an illusion. I almost felt like I was in a Harry Potter scene and the staircases were about to move.

We learned that the interior of the Capitol building had to be restored after the 1904 fire and while I’m not glad that a fire occurred, I am grateful for the opportunity to see the reconfigured original designs. Not all libraries have traditional adornment and a one of a kind motif. Although I love the Central Library (with its modern and eco friendly large panes of copper embedded glass and grass covered roof, whew), the Law Library’s ornamentation made it memorable and a place to treasure.

Capitol Tour

The trip to the Capitol Building was more interesting than I thought. I was actually surprised more about how much the tour guide knew than being in the actual building since I had been there before. One of the first things she said was that Iowa's Capitol Building is known as one of the best in the country and that came as a shock. Most of the time when you hear about things coming from Iowa it is either the State Fair, corn, caucuses, or the Hawkeyes, and if it isn't one of those things, it normally comes as a surprise.

While it came as a shock that it was well-known, it didn't however shock me why after I heard it. All you have to do is look around and it is obvious that is a well-crafted building. Whether it is the hand-carved bench or the gold on the dome, it really is a beautiful building. The minimal amount of gold on the dome is amazing considering how big it is. I remember going to the Capitol as a kid for a field trip, and going back now, I think they should wait until high school so kids in the state can have a little more appreciation for it.

Despite the workout going up and down the stairs to the dome, it was neat to hear all the different tid bits of information about our capitol and what makes it unique. From the gold paint on the walls to the specially made door hinges, the Capitol Building is something that shouldn't be passed up in the talk about what makes Iowa great, and it is no question as to why we went when in a class about Images of Iowa.

~Doug L.

Tour of the Capitol

By: Keith P.

Before arriving at the Capitol I was wondering how much I was going to get out of the experience. I couldn’t remember much from my middle school visit but I figured I wasn’t missing out on that much. I was pleasantly surprised to see we were actually getting a guided tour instead of just wondering about. Learning the history of each room and the detailed accounts of the construction of each piece really made me appreciate the effort of all those people. It truly is a work of art and I am proud to know that it is considered the best capitol in the country.

I would have to say one of my favorite rooms was the law library. The fact that they were able to stack so many shelves of books in such a tight area with those spiral staircases is amazing. All the time and hard work that had to go into that has to be appreciated by everyone who uses or even visits the library. During our walk through I even saw a construction worker painting in a corner room which shows that basic upkeep and maintenance is a high priority.

Overall I am glad we had the opportunity to experience the tour of the capitol together. Considering my attention span in middle school wasn’t necessarily “up to par”, I’m glad I could go again and really appreciate the detailed stories the guide was able to explain to us throughout the tour. I’ll have an entirely different outlook every day I pass by the capitol after our visit.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trip to the Capitol

By Christine K.

I was pretty indifferent about going on a tour of the state capitol. I have been there once before for an 8th grade field trip, and I figured it could not be that different from the last time I was there. After going back though, I realized that I did not remember much of anything from my previous tour.

I really liked the architecture, and agree that the fact the entire building is painted, and not wallpapered, is really surprising. The building gave me and overall nostalgic feeling. That could be because the last time I was there I was pretty young, or just because the building is old in general. Either way I really enjoyed the tour of the capitol. It was really neat to see all of the artistic work that went into every detail throughout the building. Especially the mosaic tiles, I can not imagine how long that piece took, but the end result is amazing.

The stories that go along with the various pieces, such as the judges bench, really enhanced my appreciation for the work. I think it is interesting to find out that the same man that carved the first part of the bench was able to return many years later to add more to it. I really enjoyed the tour of the capitol, and am certainly glad I got the opportunity to go back.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Month Left....

It's hard to believe that there is only a month left in the Des Moines Center. It seems like not too long ago we were sitting in the classroom for orientation wondering how the semester will turn out. I think the thing I have personally enjoyed the most this semester is the actual "work" aspect of it all. I think this experience has showed me that I am ready to move on from school and get into the working world. Despite the occasional boring day where I just want to go home, majority of this semester has been a great learning experience and has truly shown me that this is what I want to do.

I understand that I am far from being a pro at this type of job, but I am way better off now than I was back in August when this journey began. I think the thing I have enjoyed most about this position is being able to be comfortable on the job. I grew up around this team and Buccaneer Arena which has made the transition fairly easy. At the end of all of this I would really hope to get a position out of it, but with the economy the way it is, who knows if they're willing to bring me on? Not me.

The season is 8 games in and with football games coming to an end soon, the attendance at the games is only going to go up, which in turn makes it a better game experience. I don't know what it is, but when they score a goal and the Madhouse on Hickman roars with excitement, it is ALMOST comparable to celebrating a touchdown in Kinnick. Simply gives me the chills hearing the crowd yell along to the best goal song of all time, Rock and Roll, Pt. 2 (look it up)

I don't know what the future may hold with this organization, but what I do know is that this organization has made me who I am today. Starting youth hockey in that arena 16 years ago, going to the Bucs games for 10+ years as a fan, and now giving me this opportunity to intern with them, it has been an important factor in my life.

If there is one thing I can tell everyone is that if you haven't been to a Bucs game, it is definitely something you need to do before you leave Des Moines. While some people say the building is too old, and what not, it's history in the city of Urbandale being around since the 60's or 70's, and it will hopefully stick around for a long time. Plus, (teachers don't read this part), if you pick the right night, you can come to the $1 Buc Beer Night. Anyways, I encourage you to come out.

Go Bucs! ~Doug L.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Iowa State Capitol Tour

By: Hannah

I had been most excited for the state capitol trip all semester. There were so many things that were just so amazing in that place that I didn't understand back when I was in grade school when I toured it for my only time. Today I wanted to blog about the architecture and paintings inside the capitol. I was dumbfounded that there was absolutely NO wallpaper anywhere in that gigantic building; it is all hand painted! To think how long that must have taken to complete every tiny leaf bordered around a door, or large mural on a wall amazes me.

This is a picture of the large center dome of the capitol as if you were looking up at it. If you look closely, you can see the American flag in the center of it. There is still more dome above that! 20 feet to be exact said our tour guide! High above the flag are hand painted clouds as well. How could someone get up there is my question?!

There is just so many jaw dropping facts that you find out about when you tour the Iowa State Capitol. According to our tour guide, we are known for a great capitol and have a reputation of being the best. I didn't know that, and to me, that is something to be proud of. I highly suggest to anyone to tour it if you ever get the chance. There is just so much to learn about.