Lauren Mills

Recent Stories

Severity Of Algae In Iowa Lakes Is On The Rise


That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure. Continue Reading →

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The Science Of Iowa Lake Scum

A photo of an algae bloom this summer on Green Valley Lake in Union County.

Only certain strains of cyanobacteria can produce toxins, although they don’t always do so.

“Scientists generally agree that the cyanobacteria evolved this ability to produce toxin either as a competitive advantage or as some sort of protection,” Mary Skopec, who heads the Iowa Department of Natural Resources beach monitoring program, said. Continue Reading →

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News Quiz: Iowa’s Unsolved Murders


The term “cold case” doesn’t always sit well with law enforcement officials who are seeking and following leads in a criminal investigation. The reason: they still are investigating, for example a murder, but while they have not solved the case they also are not letting on a pile of work gather dust. Continue Reading →

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News Quiz: Grant Wood


Iowa painter Grant Wood, recognized mainly for his regionalist style and portrayal of the American Midwest, was born in Anamosa, Iowa, in 1891, and lived there for ten years until the death of his father. For the remainder of his life, Wood lived mostly in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, and is still celebrated as a famous Iowan. Continue Reading →

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Grant Wood Illustrates Children’s Book

Cheryl Mullenbach, "Iowa Stories" author

In 1936 when the children's storybook Farm on the Hill was published, most Iowans knew Grant Wood as a famous Midwestern artist who was born on a farm near Anamosa in 1891, grew up in Cedar Rapids, and gained instant fame after painting “American Gothic” in 1930, a portrait of a stern looking couple standing in front of their Gothic style wood farm house in Eldon, Iowa. People may not be as familiar with his work from this book. Continue Reading →

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