Annual Picnic at Terry Trueblood Park (5 June, 5:30p)
Presentation by Kitty Buckwalter (24 Apr, 1:30p)
Annual UIRA Business Luncheon (5 Apr, 12 p)
Talk by Dr. Melissa Shivers (12 March, 2p)
Presentation by music professor John Rapson (25 Feb, 2 p)
Talk by UNI Prof. Jean Dunhanm on Fake News and Alternative Facts (16 Jan, 1p)
Meet U.I. President Bruce Harreld (3 Dec, 1p)
Presentation by Dr. Chris Okiishi's on American theater (15 Nov, 2:30-2p)
Tour of Miracles in Motion Therapeutic Equestrian Center  (20 Sept, 1p)
Flu Vaccination Clinic  (11 Oct, 12-2p)
Talk: Transforming the University of Iowa  (25 Oct, 1-2:30p)
UI Benefits Update  (8 Nov, 2-4p)
The Gray Hawk Steppers (Tuesdays, 9:15
International Events and World Politics (first Thursdays)
The Gray Hawk Writers 

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, beginning at 1:00 pm, you can Spend a fall afternoon touring the Miracles in Motion Therapeutic Equestrian Center just west of Swisher.  You’ll tour the facilities, hear about their programs and facilities, and have a chance to meet the horses.  Miracles in Motion, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, uses horses to work effectively with adults and children who, due to disabilities or complex medical conditions, need assistance in developing the kinds of everyday skills that allow them to function more independently at home, school, or work.  Begun in 1988 with six students and borrowed horses, Miracles in Motion now serves more than 100 students each year with a work force of over 100 trained volunteers and a herd of 17 horses at its Equestrian Center near Swisher.  Its students, children and adults with physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges, come from Linn and Johnson Counties, as well as other nearby counties.  Miracles offers several options for people with physical, motor, social, or cognitive disabilities, including therapeutic riding classes, hippotherapy sessions, unmounted programs, or a combination of these experiences to aid in rehabilitation, therapy routines, and strengthening.  They also have a MVECS (Military Veterans Equine Care Squad), *designed not only with the veteran in mind, but also the family or partners who provide support and are also experiencing challenges and changes to help reduce the sense of isolation and create a shared experience.  The Equestrian Center is located on 70 acres just west of Swisher.  The facility includes indoor and outdoor arenas and a stable with 10 stalls.  In 2006 a new outdoor arena and pavilion were added.  A sensory trail has been incorporated into the space around these newer facilities.  Listen to Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa June 7 program featuring Miracles in Motion.  Directions and Parking:  Head north on I-380 north and take exit 10 (Swisher/Shueyville).  Turn left on County Rd 12 (120 St) toward Swisher. Go 3.28 miles (through Swisher).  Turn left into the Center, which has a paved parking lot. The street address is 2049 120th St. NW, Swisher, IA 52338.

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, from noon to 2:00 pm, the Visiting Nurses Association will again present their Flu Vaccination Clinic at the Coralville branch of Hills Bank (lower level), 1009 Second Street, Coralville.

On Thursday, October 25, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Rod Lehnertz, UI Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations will present Transforming the University of Iowa, in Schwab Auditorium, Coralville Public Library  (lower level).
In case you missed it Eighty members spent an informative afternoon of October 25 with UI Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz as he spoke about the Transformation of the University as it emerges from the flood and the nearly $1.2 billion in construction projects recently completed or underway.  He gave us a look at the projects under
construction: the Brain Sciences building on Iowa Ave; the new pharmacy building on the Quadrangle dormitory site; and the Kinnick north end zone renovation.  Projects in the planning stages include:  Stanley Museum of Art to be built on Burlington Street south of Main Library; the Finkbine Golf Club; and an entrepreneurial innovation center in the original art building, which was saved because it had housed Grant Wood's studio.  After flood waters receded from the basement of the art building, wall frescoes, were discovered.  They had been hidden behind drywall.

On Thursday, November 8, 2018, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, Jessica Wade, Assistant Director of Benefits and Lori Felger, Client Consultant for Health Alliance Medical Plans will present the annual U.I. Benefits Update at Parkview Church, 15 Foster Road, Iowa City.

On November 15, from 12:30 to 2 pm at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, Dr. Chris Okiishi presents So You Watt to See a Show? What’s Hot, What’s Not, What’s Worth Your Trip?  His Senior College Course last winter on the history of musical theater received rave reviews.  Join Chris at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts for an informative and entertaining guide to the current commercial American theater.
In case you missed it:  Dr. Chris Okiishi informed and entertained 100 folks on November 15 in a captivating 90-minute program about the current American commercial theater.  He began by explaining different types of theaters, including Broadway, off-Broadway, regional, university, road houses, local professional, and community.  He gave tips on where to buy tickets and what sites to avoid.  He then detailed his must-sees and showed video clips and indicated what, in his opinion, you might want to avoid.  He also gave his Tony predictions!  Many attendees asked for copies of Chris' slides, so we’ll be sending those out by email.  Chris will be teaching a Senior College course next semester, Musical Theatre's Great Performers, Decade by Decade.

On Monday, December 3, 2018, at 1 pm, at the Levitt Center for Advancement (Park Road; west of Hancher Auditorium), U.I. President Bruce Harreld will meet with UIRA members to share his perspectives on the past year, and on what the coming year holds for The University of Iowa.  Park in the lot next to the Levitt Center; UI Parking will not be ticketing cars during this time.

On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 1 pm in Schwab Auditorium at the Coralville Public Library,  retired professor of library studies at UNI Jean Donhanm will speak on Fake News and Alternative Facts; more details forthcoming in the January Gray Hawk.
In case you missed it:  Over 100 UIRA members came to hear Jean Donham’s presentation on Fake News and Alternative Facts.  Emil Rinderspacher sent a PDF version of her presentation to the UIRA mailing list, so you can read that and get a sense of the information Jean presented.
Follow-up article:  Continuing the Discussion: Journalism and Fake News  by U.I. Journalism professor emeritus and past president of UIRA Ken Starck,.
After listening to Jean Donham’s excellent UIRA presentation Jan. 16, I got to thinking about the role of journalism in her discussion of what she called “drivers” of today’s “fake news.” Two issues came to mind: 1) the relevance of journalism in a society such as ours; and (2) suggestions on how to cope with the glut of false reports, fabricated stories, political spinning, and who knows what else. 
Journalism is a method of presenting a version of events. There is—or ought to be—a big difference between a journalistic version and some-other version of events. Real journalism is curated communication, that is, information that is collected and edited, which means checking facts for accuracy and presenting the information in as fair and impartial a manner as possible. When errors are made, corrections are made. As Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame is fond of saying: journalism is the “best obtainable version of the truth.”  
As anyone who has not been marooned on the other side of the moon knows, journalism these days is not what it used to be. A technological tsunami has ruptured the economic underpinnings of most traditional journalism. Newspapers, variously, have disappeared, shrunk, and downsized. Combine that with today’s political divide in which many of the new and some of the old news media favor partisanship over any semblance of seeking the truth, and we have a situation that undermines democracy.
It is worth asking: What is journalism for? Kovach and Rosenstiel ask the question in their compact book, The Elements of Journalism, and answer, “The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.” It doesn’t get much more succinct than that. The authors then ask: Who do journalists work for? Again, succinctly: “Journalism’s first loyalty is to citizens.” 
With the onslaught of new communication technology and its applications, the concept of journalism has taken on a muddled meaning. Journalism is not technology. Journalism is not “the media.” And while journalism is fact-based, it is more than that. It has been the adhesive in self-government linking the public to the political sphere. An astute observer, G. Stuart Adam, notes that newspapers developed the journalistic method which emerged later in other media, such as broadcast, becoming “a distinctive form of expression on which modern democratic societies depend.” 
So what is it with fake news? Well, it’s a lot older than any of us can remember and probably traces its origin to the time humans began telling one another stories. What is different today is that technology and hyper-political partisanship have so shaded our perceptions that despite contending with geysers of information we seem to communicate less. How do we deal with this? As Jean Donham said, one answer is media literacy. We all should be more media literate. This means a basic understanding of how communication works, how media impact our
lives, how our system of government depends on information that can be trusted as well as questioned and, finally, how media can shape our opinions and attitudes in a way that imprisons us intellectually.
So how do you react when you discover a report that turns out to be false or incomplete (see BuzzFeed, Pizzagate, the Covington, KY, students, etc.)? It probably depends on what your first reaction was. Did it fit into your belief system, reinforcing prior assumptions? When new information came out, were you able to fit it into your perceptions? Did you have any doubts at the outset whether the report was accurate? If you felt you were being conned by the media, you probably were. But don’t blame the media—blame yourself. It’s your fault that you didn’t follow rule number one: caveat lector—“let the reader beware.” Another rule is to be aware that a news report seldom ends with one report. News evolves. Paul Harvey used to play with his radio audience when he inserted early into his report a snippet of information that seemed to just hang there until at the end, he would say, “And now you know the rest of the story.” Finally, with so much free information floating out there, it’s a good idea to remember the simple axiom: You get what you pay for.

On Monday, 25 February, 2019, at 2 pm, John Rapson, professor of music at the University of Iowa since 1993, will present Hot Tamale Louie: Telling Stories without Words.  He is a composer and recording artist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms.  Sometime between chemo and radiation, Rapson was inspired by the June 6 & 13, 2016 (a combined issue) New Yorker article "Citizen Khan" by Kathryn Schulz ( wyoming).  She told the story of Zarif Khan, who as a teenager left his home near the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan and eventually settled in the Wyoming town of Sheldon in 1907.  Within years of his arrival, Khan was running a small restaurant, Hot Tamale Louie's, which sold legendary hamburgers in addition to tamales.  As Rapson followed "Louie" through his immigrant's journey of earning citizenship only to have it stripped by his "being a member of the yellow race," he recognized a story of immigration that echoes today's political conversation about what it means to be an American and who can stay in the country.  Eventually Rapson organized a group of seven musicians whose own interests and specialties range from classical to folk music.  He imagined a thirteen-section musical suite evoking different aspects of Khan's life, penned with musician Danyel Gaglione.  Mr. Rapson uses video clips from the 2016 performance of Hot Tamale Louie to explore how music can give unique expression to the narratives that most compel and captivate us.

On Tuesday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Schwab Auditorium at the Coralville Public Library, Dr. Melissa Shivers, UI Vice President for Student Life, will give us an update on student life at Iowa and talk about how the Student Life division fosters student success within and beyond the classroom focusing on three areas: health and safety; multiculturalism; and student leadership development..  Melissa Shivers arrived in Iowa in June 2017 and in a short time has already demonstrated what seems to be unlimited energy and devotion to student success.  Not only is she the VP for Student Life but also is serving as Interim Chief Diversity Officer.  Not one to be satisfied with the status quo, she has faced challenges within the fraternity and sorority community head on, with a focus on student safety.  This courage earned her recognition as the Press-Citizen's Person of the Year for 2018.  President Harreld in his December remarks to the UIRA spoke of student success as being one of the three goals of the University's strategic plan.  Melissa and the Division of Student Life are at the vanguard of these student success efforts.  Dr. Shivers is a dynamic and engaging speaker.
In case you missed it:  Melissa Shivers, the UI Vice President for Student Life and interim Chief Diversity Officer, spoke to an enthusiastic audience of UI retirees in March.  She described the many facets of student health, safety, leadership development, and engagement that her office is pursuing.  After she spoke, several retirees talked with Shivers about their ideas for engaging students and parents.  She welcomes opportunities to connect with the retirees; if you are interested in contacting her, send email to  When I (the Gray Hawk editor) wrote to her to suggest including her email address in a short summary of her presentation, she also included flyers about the Food Pantry and Hawkeye Service Teams.”  Several folks mentioned an interest in supporting these initiatives so I thought these might be good to include in the newsletter as well,” she wrote.  Because the flyers would take two pages in the Gray Hawk, here is a summary of the information they contain.
The Food Pantry at Iowa was founded in 2016 by students with the goal of fighting food insecurity and its stigma in the Hawkeye community.  The Pantry resides within the IMU and is a confidential resource for students, faculty and staff of the University.  We are volunteer run and led, with an Executive board composed of seven students and one staff advisor.  We partner with local agencies such as Table to Table to provide healthy, nutritious food to our fellow Hawkeyes at no cost, as we believe that no member of our community should have to go hungry or sacrifice a healthy diet because of lack of food affordability and accessibility.  We do not assess the needs of the students, as they are allowed to come and “shop” the pantry for themselves once a week.  We recently opened a second location on the West Side of campus and are excited to have the chance to reach more students.  To learn more, visit:

On Friday, April 5, 2019, UIRA holds its Annual Business Luncheon, at the Radisson Hotel in Coralville.  The cash bar opens at 11:30 a.m. followed by the luncheon at noon, and then business meeting which will include annual reports, election of new board members, photo contest awards, service awards, and recognition of the UIRA scholarship recipients.  Complete and return the reservation form (on page 2 of the March 2019 Gray Hawk) with your check to Emil Rinderspacher by Friday, March 22.
In case you missed it:  The April 5 Annual Meeting at the Radisson in Coralville opened with president Sue Otto introducing the two students who received UIRA scholarships of $1000 each this year: Kevin Cai and Kayla Comried.  Following acknowledgment of committee reports, Warren Boe, who chaired the nominations committee, announced the selected slate for 2019-2020: Sam Cochran, president elect; Judy Barkalow, treasurer; Lois Lembke, director-at-large, and Chuck Dayton, director-at-large. The slate was unanimously elected.  Sam Cochran, who chaired the awards committee, announced and introduced this year’s winners: Gay Mikelson received the Community Service Award; H. Dee Hoover received the University Service Award.  Door prizes were given to selected winning ticket holders.  Then
attendees saw the photographs that won awards for the Fifth Annual Photo Contest. See the article below for some of those photos and the winners in each of the three categories.

On Wednesday, April 24, Ms. Kitty Buckwalter will present Aging with Vitality: Cognitive Health on Wednesday, in Schwab Auditorium at the Coralville Public Library.  She will provide a brief overview of aging, factors that support cognitive health, risk factors for cognitive decline and things that don't make any difference.  Kitty is a geropsychiatric nurse whose interests are in caregiving and long-term care, including behavioral management strategies for dementia caregivers and the effectiveness of community programs to address psychiatric problems in the rural elderly.

On Wednesday, June 5,  UIRA will hold its annual picnic at The Lodge at Terry Trueblood Park, 579 McCollister Blvd, Iowa City.  Plan now to attend this free event, a great time to see friends before the hectic summer months.  Bring a dish to share (salad, veggie, or dessert to serve six).  UIRA provides the rest: table service, chicken, veggie lasagna, and drinks.  The Lodge is air-conditioned and the path around the park invites strolling.  No reservations needed.

The Gray Hawk Steppers SIG meet every Tuesday morning at 9:15 at the Coral Ridge Mall and walk around the mall until approximately 10 a.m.  Members interested in joining this group should contact Beverly Robalino.

International Events and World Politics SIG:  It's happening!  Out there in the world.  It's crazy, or hopeful, or confusing, or provocative.  But what does it mean?  What's the background story?  How does it fit into a larger picture? Let’s share perspectives on the world we live in.  We meet on the first Thursday of each month (September through May), from 1:30-3:15 p.m., at Hills Bank (Muscatine Ave branch); first conference room on your left as you enter.  We welcome your input!  Get more info from convener Phil Klein.

The Gray Hawk Writers have been meeting fortnightly since April 1999.  We read aloud what we have written, encourage one another, and offer friendly critique.  In 2014 we published an anthology, Yesterdays.  Our storytelling and writing styles are quite diverse; there are many pathways that can be followed when writing.  Visit us as a guest — you may decide you would like to join the group.  Everyone has a story to tell. Contact John Hudson.

View the UIRA Programs and Events Archives:  2017-2018  2016-2017  2015-2016  2014-2015  2013-2014