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The Week in Social 5/11–5/15

Everywhere you look, Iowans are uniting like never before. While times may be tough right now, we’re seeing it won’t stop the great people in the state from supporting one another. Many have taken to social media to help those in their communities, share helpful resources or to simply highlight something positive to bring joy to others. This Week in Social will round-up the best of #IowansUnite and share these uplifting stories.


Big Grove Brewery is releasing a new beer, dubbed "All Together," and donating the proceeds to the Iowa Restaurant Association’s Employee Relief Fund, which helps those in the hospitality and food-service industry in Iowa who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The hazy IPA will be sold in four packs, and for every pack sold, Big Grove will donate $5 of the proceeds to the fund. Big Grove has locations in Iowa City and Solon.

"You have to help when you’re in a position to help,” said Big Grove co-founder Doug Goettsch. That’s what it’s all about."


With (virtual) graduations currently taking place and Father’s Day in the not too distant future, you may find yourself looking for some gifts for your loved ones. Want to support Iowa small businesses in the process? It’s easier than you think. We’ve compiled a list of Iowa locals and natives who have created gift ideas that are made all across the state including Dirt Road Candle Company, Iowa Popcorn Company, Bozz Prints and more. The perfect gift for your favorite Iowans can also come from Iowa.


Masks and personal protective equipment are in high demand across the country, especially for frontline medical workers. The nation of Taiwan donated 100,000 surgical-grade masks each to Iowa and Wisconsin. The masks arrived on May 12 and were accepted with thanks from Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Governor Reynolds. This is the latest donation from Taiwan, which has also donated masks to Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, among others.


River Travel Magazine understands the desire to travel, but also taking the proper safety precautions. The editorial team created a list of various self-guided tours that you can take in Fort Madison, including the War of 1812, the historic residential district and the historic downtown district.


Turning 100 years old is quite the cause for celebration, even if it needs to look a bit different than it would have months ago. Jeanne Kuentzel, born in Chicago in 1920, found that out last week. A resident of Oaknoll Retirement Resident in Iowa City, she was given a surprise party and received 100 flowers and a visit from family members.

Adhering to social distancing guidelines, Kuentzel, staff members and several family members gathered in the courtyard, which was decorated with balloons and gave the centenarian a birthday crown.

"When you can't give someone a hug, lots of smiles is great," said Kuentzel’s daughter Kathi Dykstra. "She's having a great time."


In a guest column for The Gazette, LaNisha Cassell, executive director of the African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI), wrote how the museum is adjusting to a COVID-19 reality and still making an impact on the community. The AAMI has been hosting weekly trivia videos, virtual experiences, video presentations and more to educate viewers on relevant local and national themes. Some events have been cancelled, but others are moving forward in a new format, including their annual Juneteenth celebration. "While uncertainty abounds, the AAMI and our arts and culture neighbors are still planning to remain the economic forces that drive our community," Cassell wrote.

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