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In your email and online every week.


"Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone."


Paper or plastic?

At our home, a brown paper bag simply cannot be found. My wife prefers the plastic grocery bags, and since she does most of the shopping, that’s what we have. Admittedly, they come in handy with the family dog’s duties, but I cringe each time I see them blowing in tree branches or stuck in ditches. The better solutions are the reusable bags, but we don’t seem to remember to put them back in our vehicles after each use. Change isn’t easy. Thankfully, Margaret Knight didn't give up that readily.

Margaret is the inventor of the iconic flat-bottomed, brown-paper grocery bag. She envisioned this idea while working for the Colombia Bag Factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, where her job was to fold paper bags by hand. This was a slow and inefficient process that resulted in many irregularities in the bags. Margaret began to draw up plans for a machine that would automate the manufacturing of these paper bags so that the bottoms were flat. She filed for a patent for her invention but was surprised to learn that one had already been awarded to Charles Anon, a man who was familiar with her design. Margaret hired an attorney and sued, claiming this invention was her own. The court ultimately sided in Margaret’s favor, and she was awarded a patent for her machine in 1871. Although improvements have been made to her design over the years, Margaret’s bag is quite similar to the brown paper grocery bag still in use today.

I thought of the brown paper bags when I heard a reference to elementary grade students who wrapped their textbooks in them and then customized the covers to their liking with crayons, markers or pens. I was one of those students, although I am not sure I could recall the exact cutting and taping process today. Margaret likely didn’t envision that use, but her invention clearly made grocery sacking, carrying and delivering much simpler. And if she were alive today, she would certainly cringe at the sight of the plastic bag waste, too.

Paper or plastic? Think of Margaret before you answer next time.

Thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305


Seen around town

The Urbandale Chamber of Commerce celebrated a ribbon cutting for Trainers Edge on Aug. 13.

Nicole Berger presents a plaque to Eric Tolle and Tyler Phelps, along with Christy Jones.

Bob Andeweg, Eric Tolle and Brad Zaun

Urbandale ranked one of the Best Places to Live for second year in a row

Urbandale ranked No. 40 on Money’s 2021-2022 “Best Places to Live” list. Money looks at cities and towns across the United States with populations of at least 25,000 and then narrows the list by collecting and analyzing more than 300,000 different data points. Money considers data about economic factors like cost of living, economic opportunity, diversity, education, amenities, health and safety, housing, and overall quality of life.

“We’ve made the ‘Best Places to Live’ list numerous times,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “Year after year, Urbandale continues to rank nationally thanks to our outstanding amenities, amazing schools, and wonderful residents and businesses.”

Urbandale’s population now exceeds 45,000 people and continues to grow steadily upward. Urbandale has been busy this year planning with the Buccaneers hockey team and the City of Des Moines to build a new arena at Merle Hay Mall. The new project will revitalize the area with a mix of housing, a new hotel, and expand entertainment options. The City is also finishing phase one of a natural playscape park in western Urbandale to complement the 50-plus miles of paved trails already in the community.

“Everything we have accomplished this year combines to make Urbandale feel like home,” said Mayor Andeweg. “Money’s ranking is an endorsement of the work of city leaders, businesses and residents.”

Upcoming events

• The Arbordale hosts open house: The Arbordale, 2727 82nd Place, Urbandale, is holding an open house ice cream social on Sept. 29 from 1-3 p.m. The public is invited.

• State of the City Address: Thursday, Sept. 30, 6 p.m. at Fire Station 43, 15100 Meredith Drive. The public is invited to attend Mayor Andeweg’s State of the City Address. An open house with light refreshments will be held from 5-6 p.m. The presentation will start promptly at 6 p.m. A time capsule dedication will take place at the conclusion of the event. RSVP at www.Urbandale.org/RSVP.

• Mayor’s Bike Ride and Lions Pancake Feed: Meet at the Giovannetti Community Shelter at Walker Johnston Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 2, for the Mayor’s Bike Ride. Urbandale Lions Club will be providing a pancake breakfast from 7-9 a.m. The ride starts at 9 a.m. This is a free event brought to you by the City of Urbandale. Please pre-register at: www.urbandale.org/ride-reg.

• Historical program: The Roller Skating Rink in Urbandale will be presented Sunday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. at Urban House, 4010 70th St. The Urbandale Historical Society will host this program. Come to learn more about this  popular recreational venue for young people, enjoyed during the 1950s. Bring your memories and stories to share with others during the meeting. 

Joke of the week:

What did Blackbeard the pirate say when
he turned eighty?

Aye, matey!!!

Your Urbandale Living magazine

Mailed to residents of Urbandale the first Thursday of each month. 

This month's cover story: 

Home run

Residents share home renovations that “hit the ball out of the park.”

By Darren Tromblay

Judging by the popularity of websites like Pinterest and TV channels like HGTV and DIY Network, home improvement projects are all the rage right now. Since many people have spent more time in their homes than ever before during the last 18 months, it’s not surprising that they are noticing their home’s imperfections and outdated styles and being inspired to take on projects worthy of social-media posts and magazine spreads. From small projects, like installing a tile backsplash, to the more complex, like a whole-room re-do, residents are hitting the ball out of the park with their renovations.


Read this month's issue
Urbandale Lions Club celebrates 75 years

The local chapter has been active since 1945.

By Lindsey Giardino

The Urbandale Lions Club will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 28 at the Urbandale Senior Center.

The event will feature guest speaker Bill Biggs, past president of Lions Club International and Omaha native.

“We’re very pleased to have him,” says Marilyn Osborn, Urbandale Lions Club 75th Anniversary Committee member.

Osborn, who has been part of the organization since 2003 and held every officer position, including president, adds that the celebration enables the club to look back at all they’ve accomplished throughout the years and encourages them to continue doing more to serve others.


Read More
Family meals that deliver flavor and nutrition

As kids and parents return to busy schedules full of sports, homework and weeknight activities, building a plan for nutritious and easy meals can be challenging. Piecing together a menu that fuels active minds without spending hours in the kitchen is a common goal for many families.

For a customizable kid-pleaser, turn to chopped chicken taco salad and garnish with your family’s favorite toppings. This recipe requires minimal prep and calls for on-hand ingredients like dairy food favorites that provide nutrients people of all ages need to grow and maintain strong bodies and minds.


Read More

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