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Let's Catch Up - June 2022


Photo credit: Iowa Cubs
Photo credit: Iowa Cubs

Get seated early for Friday evening’s Iowa Cubs game with the Columbus Clippers. You won’t want to miss the 14th annual pre-game ceremonies that transform Principal Park into a temporary courtroom. That’s right: a courtroom.

At 6:30 preceding the I-Cubs game with the Columbus Clippers (7:08 first pitch), U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Locher of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa will stride out onto the infield to conduct a swearing-in ceremony for 30 new citizens from 20 countries. It is a colorful, emotional event for those standing on the third-base line when they swear the Oath of Allegiance. And it’s a Kodak moment for cheering families and a stadium of baseball fans.

Michael Gartner, formerly the Iowa Cubs majority owner, once remarked, “It combines baseball and citizenship and fireworks, everything American but Mom and the apple pie.” Read more about the ceremony.

One of America’s newest citizens‚ Tammoy Bagchi, from India, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Countries represented Friday evening: Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo (Kinshasa), El Salvador, Eritrea, India, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Mexico, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Korea, South Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

Since the first on-field event in 2009, 421 new citizens have been naturalized at Principal Park.

Here are remarks by U.S. Senior Judge Robert Pratt, who served up a memorable 2- or 3-minute speech in previous years.

Download PDF • 44KB


Des Moines Parks and Recreation staff recently completed installing new public art along five Des Moines trails. Pretty cool stuff! Be sure to check out the art—funded by a BRAVO Greater Des Moines grant—along the John Pat Dorrian, Bill Riley, Carl Voss, Neal Smith, and Walnut Creek trails. Park planner Aaron Graves, above, was in charge of the project, which represents 10 artists and photographers. HOMEOWNERS RENOVATION PROGRAM HITS $4 MILLION MARK Invest DSM reports that in two short years, homeowners have invested more than $4 million through the Homeowner Renovation Program. For every Invest DSM grant dollar ($1.367 million to date), property owners invested $1.93. The four Invest DSM targeted neighborhoods are Franklin Area, Oak Park/Highland Park, Drake Park, and Columbus Park. For 124 completed projects, the average project cost is $32,262. CITY-WIDE BLOCK CHALLENGE GRANTS: WIDELY POPULAR Heather Tamminga, the neighborhood outreach coordinator for Neighborhood Services, reports that 40 neighborhood teams applied for the citywide Block Challenge Grants for exterior projects that opened May 1. Some neighbors were roaring to go at the first opportunity: The first team application was posted at 12:01 am.

Because of the program's popularity, City funding for the program, originally budgeted for $200,000 in match funds, has been increased to $400,000. To date, 16 teams have been approved and exhausted the funding for the 2022 cycle.

The approved projects represent more than $1 million in planned home improvements by 207 homeowners.

Eight of the teams are in low-moderate income neighborhoods. Gray’s Lake Neighborhood was the most aggressive neighborhood association with four teams. Most teams were in Ward 1 and Ward 3.

Applications are now closed for 2022 but you can learn more about the program and plan for 2023. ZOO’S CONSERVATION PROGRAM GETS WINGS

A Butterfly bush in Melanie Johnson’s front yard on 44th Street

There’s a lot more going on at the Blank Park Zoo than visiting giraffes, rhinoceroses, and Red River Hogs. Conservation efforts, for example.

The zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. program is all about making residents aware of pollinator issues and taking action to preserve them. Chris Eckles, the zoo’s chief engagement officer, has been busy encouraging residents to register all types and sizes of garden spaces, from pots on a back porch to entire prairie restorations. No effort is too small, Chris reports: One nectar plant and one host plant qualify as a pollinator garden.

So far, residents have registered 1,641 gardens. Chris has a goal of 2,000. Here’s how to register yours. Here is how to register yours. BROADLAWNS NURSING STUDENTS SIT IN ON PORGY & BESS REHEARSAL

Ten students enrolled in this summer’s Training and Education for a Career in Healthcare (TECH) at Broadlawns Medical Center had a lifetime experience when they sat in on Porgy and Bess dress rehearsals at Simpson College. And seeing Simon Estes rehearse for his final stage performances? Woozier!

Izaah Knox, left, Urban Dreams executive director, and Dennis Henderson, right, TECH program director, arranged the evening with the cast rehearsing for the Des Moines Metro Opera performances. The TECH class includes upcoming seniors and recent graduates from five Des Moines high schools.

There were 100 applicants for this year’s TECH 8-week program; 10 were accepted. TECH details listed here:

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