Evans: State Fair meeting was an affront to open government

The decision last week to cancel the Iowa State Fair was a reminder of the seriousness of coronavirus and the consequences of many people’s anxiety about returning to activities that normally are an important part of Iowa life. But the State Fair’s decision also illuminated an embarrassing disconnect from the norms of government transparency and accountability in our state. I have attended government meetings for 50 years – from small-town city councils and school boards, to state boards and commissions. I have never seen or heard about a more outrageous abuse of the principle of open government than the State Fair Board exhibited last week. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.

Iowa’s Champion ‘Tomato Girl’ And The Secrets Of Her Success 100 Years Ago

Parents in Page County, Iowa, in 1915 hoped the actions of a local farm girl would cause similar seeds of thought to “germinate in the fertile minds of our youth.”

Eloise Parsons, 14, a member of the Page County Tomato Club, was honored for her work as a model tomato grower. On a small one-tenth of an acre tract of land near Clarinda, she grew a bumper crop of vegetables in the summer of 1914. After deducting her expenses of $15.61, which included renting the land, applying fertilizers, and her labor at a rate of ten cents per hour, Eloise saw a profit of $115.57. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people.

Iowa History: State Fair of 1868: Gloomy, But Motivational

Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing. Visit her website at: www.cherylmullenbachink.com

The Iowa State Fair of 1868, the 15th annual, was a disappointment in some ways.

News Quiz: Iowa Fairs

State and county fairs have existed in Iowa since the mid-1800s. Iowa’s State Fair was first held on October 25 to 27, 1854 in Fairfield, Iowa, and county fairs existed before that. As of 2014, there were 106 state, county, and regional fairs in Iowa.