Posts Tagged ‘Smithsonian Magazine’

Iowa Entrepreneur profiles Ideal Energy, Fairfield

November 1, 2017

IPTV IOWA entrepreneur

Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Entrepreneur aired a profile of a local sustainability company in Fairfield, Ideal Energy, co-founded by two MUM graduates, Troy Van Beek and his wife Amy Van Beek. The show first aired on IPTV July 28, 2017. Here’s the hyperlinked title and description to the video: Ideal Energy, Fairfield.

After returning home from active duty, a Navy SEAL sought an education in sustainability at a small Iowa university. Now, he and his wife work together, using renewable energy to sow the seeds of peace.

The show opens with a description of what makes Fairfield unique and the influence of the local university, Maharishi University of Management. The university was the first in the country to offer a four-year degree in sustainability. Students and faculty practice Transcendental Meditation.

The video profiles Troy’s time as a U.S. Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, a lead sniper, part of a team, to protect the head of the country. We later see him setting up his own security company in Africa. During this time he was having second thoughts about his chosen profession using guns to create peace. When he found Fairfield and MUM on the internet, he was inspired to make a life-changing decision and moved to this small Midwest city to become a student. It was there that he would meet his future wife, Amy Greenfield, an eco-developer.

Troy was immediately recognized as someone exceptional and was asked to help with projects to upgrade the university’s buildings to greener standards. They supported his ideas and he learned by doing. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Sustainability (now a BA in Sustainable Living) and the skills to make a difference.

Mayor Ed Malloy invited Troy Van Beek and Lonnie Gamble, one of his teachers and a founding faculty member in MUM’s Sustainable Living department, to join a select committee to put a Go-Green Strategic Plan 2020 together for Fairfield. Reducing energy usage and making buildings more energy efficient was part of the plan. Companies supported this vision, but there was no one to help implement it.

IPTV-Ideal Energy Co-Founders Amy and Troy Van Beek

To fill that void, Amy and Troy started their own sustainability company, Ideal Energy. They became one of the first solar companies in Iowa, installing around two megawatts of solar power on various buildings across the state. Thanks to their efforts, Fairfield has the highest number of solar energy installations per capita in Iowa. They received national and international recognition. In 2014, Troy and Amy were featured in a Huffington Post article and video: What the EPA Clean Power Plan Means: More Jobs, Less Carbon. And they were invited to speak at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.

I asked Troy how this IPTV show had come about and he said, “They reached out to us. We just made ourselves available. They did reference the Oprah video though. That may be where they heard of us.” Troy and Amy were included in Oprah’s televised visit to Fairfield, America’s Most Unusual Town, which featured an impressive profile of Troy.

In the Iowa video, this dynamic young couple explain how they started the company with just the two of them doing everything. As the demand for more solar installations increased, they needed to hire staff. Troy feels his experiences as a Navy SEAL prepared him to build a team and inspire them with the vision they were manifesting. Not only were they saving energy costs for local businesses, they were also providing jobs, and improving the local economy.

Troy also describes what he saw overseas—the disparities between the haves and the have-nots—especially when it came to energy and power. He sent me a quote for this article. It’s a powerful statement that sums up the core value of their company’s mission—to offer a proven solar solution that could put an end to wars over oil.

IPTV - Troy Van Beek, Co-Founder - Ideal Energy

“We are moving to an abundant sustainable world. Every solar panel adds to this movement. The technology makes it possible to move away from fossil fuels. It’s our mindset and entrenched vested interest that slow the transition. With that said, we are moving from a system of centralized energy and power to one that is distributed. This opportunity makes it one of the most important liberation movements of human history.”

Watch this inspiring 13-minute video profile of Troy and Amy Van Beek’s company, Ideal Energy, in Fairfield, Iowa. Visit their website: www.idealenergysolar.com. The 27-minute show of Iowa Entrepreneur, CapArms & Ideal Energy, aired July 28, 2017.

Related News on Fairfield, Maharishi University, and Ideal Energy

The university did build their off-the-grid Sustainable Living Center, the first of its kind. Troy installed a wind-turbine, with the help of students who built it, and added more solar panels on the energy cottage and new SLC classroom building.

Last year the Des Moines Register’s Kevin Hardy wrote a profile on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit and the University’s sustainability efforts, which included a video interview with Troy: Why this Iowa town is thriving when so many aren’t. And, while ABC News was in town covering the political campaigning, Josh Haskell dropped by for a live report from MUM’s SLC to interview students and learn about sustainability and Transcendental Meditation from Department head David Fisher.

The Smithsonian Magazine rated Fairfield in their top ten list (No. 7) of The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Later that year, Des Moines Register columnist Rox Laird featured Fairfield’s civic collaboration and Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center in his Op-Ed piece: Fairfield defines community action.

The following year, BuzzFeed named Fairfield No. 2 of their 11 Coolest Small Cities It’s Time To Road Trip To. Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott were interviewed on Moving America Forward, a national television show hosted by William Shatner. In 2004, Fairfield was selected Most Entrepreneurial Capital in Iowa, and in 2003, as the Most Entrepreneurial City in America (with a population under 10,000). Read more: Fairfield: The “Entrepreneurial Capital of Iowa.”

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The magic of fireflies is captured in this beautiful short film by @MaharishiU alum Radim Schreiber

October 28, 2015

“I like to capture the magic.” — photographer Radim Schreiber

The little luminary pictured above was photographed in 2010 by award-winning photographer Radim Schreiber, of Fairfield, Iowa. The photo, entitled Amber Firefly, took 1st place out of 56,000 entries in “The Natural World” category at the 8th annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest published in March 2011. 

A designer, photographer and videographer, formerly for the Sky Factory, Radim has won several national and international photography competitions. Also in 2011 he took 1st place in the 41st annual National Wildlife Photo Contest in the “Backyard Habitat” professional category out of 27,000 entries. He won the 2010 Galapagos Conservancy Photography Contest, and the 2008 and 2009 Rainforest Alliance’s “Picture Sustainability” Photo Contest. Awards are listed on his website.

Radim Schreiber had rarely seen fireflies back home and was surprised and thrilled by their abundance here in Iowa. He started taking still photos and then made a movie of them.

“In the Czech Republic where I grew up, I only saw fireflies a couple of times, deep in the forest. When I came to the United States, I was shocked and thrilled to see the abundance of fireflies and their amazing glow. I was happy to encounter this firefly and photograph its magical bioluminescence.”

Read this July 2011 Iowa Source interview with Christine Schrum to find out how Radim braved ditches, swamps, mosquitoes, and chiggers to obtain his fantastic firefly photos: Stalking Fireflies in the Night.

Radim’s award-winning firefly images have been featured at CBS, NPR, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Iowa Public Television (Fireflies In Iowa) The Weather Channel, The National Wildlife Federation, and KEW – Royal Botanical Gardens. Read more in Mo Ellis’s updated profile of Radim on the MUM website.

Update Insert: On March 24, 2016 I found out that Radim’s photo, Synchronous Fireflies, won the Altered Images category of the 13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest. The next day The Des Moines Register wrote: Fairfield photographer’s fireflies win Smithsonian award.

The photo was taken mid-June 2014 at twilight in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Radim was in almost complete darkness surrounded by fireflies and witnessed one of the most amazing and magical natural phenomena—fireflies that synchronize. He used the latest low-light camera technology and took several long exposures over several minutes and merged them together to preserve detail and clarity. He uploaded it November 2015 and it was selected as Shot Of The Day on December 24, 2015, then Editors’ Pick, Finalist, and now Altered Images Winner. See the other winners and finalists here. Radim had used this photo for the cover of his Firefly Experience film described below.

The Firefly Experience on Film

Schreiber-synchronous-fireflies-elkmont-1058341

This summer I saw a magical little film at the first annual Creative Edge Film Fest in Fairfield, Iowa. Made by fellow MUM alum Radim Schreiber, BFA, it was so beautifully put together visually and musically, the audience was spellbound. When it was over, the 2½-minute short elicited an extended exuberant response.

In this film, Radim Schreiber tried to capture his experiences with fireflies in Lamson Woods, a State Preserve and segment of the Jefferson County Trails System near his house in Fairfield, Iowa. He wanted to document not only their beauty and magical glow, but also behavior in their natural environment, the Neff Wetlands section of the Fairfield Loop Trail.

“When I walk through a quiet forest in the middle of the night full of fireflies, I have an experience of a magical forest. When I see fireflies being a mere reflection of stars under the Milky Way, I feel connected to everything in the universe. They are communicating to me. I am listening.”

Radim chose to not do any digital manipulation to the video itself. The footage came straight from the camera. This is not time-lapse photography, but realtime footage of fireflies!

Radim Schreiber’s Firefly Experience is synchronistically edited with a beautiful soundtrack specifically composed and performed for the film by Tiko Lasola. Radim loves the song. “It is a perfect match for my photos. In fact I was shocked that it happened this way.” I agree! After watching the film you can hear Tiko’s full 3½-minute Fireflies piece here.

After the screening, Radim was selling HD and Blu-ray DVDs of his film. I bought the Blu-ray. I never tire of watching and listening to it; it’s beautiful! It produces a calming effect.

For optimal viewing, Radim suggests we watch the video at night in full screen mode with all lights turned off and the sound turned up.

Visit Radim’s website to see more firefly photos and videos at www.FireflyExperience.org.

A Firefly Poem

Have you ever experienced the magic of fireflies? I’ve seen them around Fairfield, but never like what I saw in southern Missouri during a summer Residence Course in the early 1990s. I had driven with three other Maharishi Ayurveda Health Technicians to a movement facility in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri to provide rejuvenation therapies.

The building was located at the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest. The warm night air was thick with nature’s sounds and sights. Hundreds of frogs incessantly called out to each other from a pond behind the building. Swarms of fireflies dazzled me with their exuberant flashing lights as I walked around the grounds. Their colors and bubbly nature reminded me of Champagne! Inspired, I wrote this short four-line poem.

FIREFLIES

EFFERVESCENT FIREFLIES
PHOSPHORESCENT HUE
SPARKLING LUMINOSITY
EVENING DROPS OF DEW

See newer photos by Radim Schreiber in his July 2017 newsletter.

“Moving America Forward,” a national TV show hosted by William Shatner, to feature Fairfield

March 6, 2014

Fairfield to be featured on national TV
By ANDY HALLMAN for The Fairfield Ledger, Jan 30, 2014

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

In the past few years, Fairfield has been in the national spotlight as numerous television programs and magazines have publicized what makes this town such a great place to live.

This year appears to be no different. That’s because Fairfield will be featured on a television show called “Moving America Forward,” hosted by William Shatner. The show will focus on the town’s entrepreneurial spirit and how this affects the residents’ quality of life.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott flew to Los Angeles last week to be interviewed for the show. Their interviewer was Doug Llewelyn, who is most famous for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner, which aired from 1981 to 1994.

The episode about Fairfield will air on YouToo TV this spring. After it airs on television, viewers can see it on the website YouTube.

Lippincott said he and Malloy chatted with Llewelyn for a few hours before taping began to give him an idea of what Fairfield is all about.

“We touched on what it’s like to live in Fairfield, and we covered the areas that make us a great place to live,” said Lippincott.

Fairfield will be the first town “Moving America Forward” has featured on its show, which normally highlights the accomplishments of individual business owners rather than whole cities. Lippincott said the show’s producers heard about Fairfield through the Smithsonian Magazine, which in 2013 named Fairfield the seventh-best small town to visit.

“Fairfield was recognized for fostering the environment that helped these businesses grow,” he said. “What makes this a unique recognition is we have 9,000 people but we have accomplished so much. That is, at its core, why we were recognized by ‘Moving America Forward.’”

Malloy said he began talking to the show’s senior producer Ruth Collins last year, who informed him Fairfield was a candidate for a spot on the show.

“She said they had done some research on our city and they found it fascinating, with all these different elements such as the entrepreneurship, sustainability and arts and culture,” he said. “She said, ‘We’d like to know more,’ so we sent them links to some of our websites.”

Collins said Fairfield was chosen from a pool of 70 candidate cities.

Malloy said Fairfield is often referred to as “Silicorn Valley,” a play on “Silicon Valley” near San Francisco, for the numerous technology and computer companies that were born here. He said many of those businesses were started in the late 1980s by software engineers educated at Maharishi International University, now known as Maharishi University of Management.

“Everyone who came to study and wanted to stay had to bring their own livelihood with them,” he said. “Because there were so many people who had a background in computers, there were a good dozen to 20 companies that were developing software. It became a phenomenon that these companies were originating from a small town in Iowa.”

Malloy said a financial journalist was doing a story about the entrepreneurial boom in Fairfield at the time, and referred to this technological enclave as the country’s “Silicorn Valley.”

During their interview with Llewelyn, Malloy and Lippincott mentioned not only the town’s strong IT sector but also its many other strengths such as manufacturing, tourism, education and agricultural economy.

The taped interview with Llewelyn lasted 15-20 minutes. Although Shatner is the host of the show, he was not on set for the interview. He introduces the clips and provides commentary throughout the show.

Malloy was filmed answering a set of questions about Fairfield. Shatner will be filmed asking those questions, and the two clips will be spliced together to make it appear Shatner is talking directly to Malloy.

Lippincott said the answers he and Malloy gave to the questions were not scripted, although the producer had an idea of what they would say from talking about their town with Llewelyn that morning.

In addition to the interviews with Malloy and Lippincott, the segment on Fairfield will include still photographs and silent camera footage of noteworthy places and events in town to be shown during the interviews. Malloy said he and others submitted videos to the producer, and the producers will get more video footage on their own later.

Even if residents miss the opportunity to watch the episode when it’s broadcast on television, chances are they will be able to view the video later. That’s because three Fairfield entities pooled their resources to purchase the video to use as a promotional tool once “Moving America Forward” is done with it.

Rights to the video cost $11,700, and the three entities who chipped in to purchase it were the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield Economic Development Association and the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three entities will own the video collectively.

Malloy said he felt the asking price to purchase the video was a bargain. He said he is glad the city will be able to show the “Moving America Forward” segment on the Fairfield Media Center’s public access cable channel, FPAC–9.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Related articles on Fairfield, Iowa’s entrepreneurial spirit:

@DMRegister’s Rox Laird Features Fairfield, Iowa’s Civic Collaboration and @MaharishiU’s Sustainable Living Center

Des Moines Register: Oprah in Iowa: Fairfield meditation segment airs Sunday

The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively

See an article on The Power of the Entrepreneurial Class: Turning Fairfield, Iowa into a Rural Renaissance City, by Burt Chojnowski, published in the Economic Development Journal.

Fairfield Ledger: Smithsonian Magazine names Fairfield 7th best small town in America to visit

March 23, 2013

Smithsonian: Fairfield seventh best small town

By ANDY HALLMAN | Mar 22, 2013

Smithsonian Magazine has named Fairfield the seventh best small town in America to visit.

Fairfield will be featured in the April edition of the magazine along with the other small towns that made the top 10 list.

Smithsonian Magazine sent a writer to Fairfield for the weekend of Jan. 26-27. Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce director Nancy Morrissey gave the writer, Susan Spano, a tour of the town when she came to visit.

Spano visited numerous businesses and attractions while she was here. She went to the ICON Gallery, Maasdam Barns, Maharishi University of Management’s Sustainable Living Center, Sky Factory, Creative Edge Mastershop, Café Paradiso and many other places.

“Having spent a full day and a half with Susan Spano, I was convinced that we were going to be chosen as one of the top 10 small towns to visit in 2013,” Morrissey said. “Susan was charmed with the warmth and intimacy of Fairfield, fascinated with Fairfield’s sustainability lifestyle and entranced by our diversity, infusion of culture and entertainment and strong appreciation of our history.”

Morrissey said her only regret from Spano’s visit was that she did not get to visit Carnegie Museum. A combination of rain and freezing temperatures made travel difficult that weekend and the museum could not be open.

Morrissey created Spano’s itinerary for the weekend. She said it was difficult to decide on which sites to visit since Spano had limited time and because most of her tour was done on a Sunday when many establishments are closed.

Spano stayed at the MainStay Inn, where she had breakfast with a number of leaders in the community. Morrissey said Spano liked that, since it was a change of pace from the formal presentations she had received from community leaders in other towns.

Ken Chawkin, the media relations coordinator at Maharishi University of Management, was with Spano as she toured M.U.M., including the Sustainability Living Center. She met with David Fisher, chair of the Department of Sustainable Living, and Jon Lipman, who has designed all the buildings on campus since 2000. Those two gave Spano a presentation on what the Sustainability Living Center was all about.

“She was very impressed with the Sustainability Center,” Chawkin said.

The Smithsonian photographer, Charles Ledford, took a photo inside the Maharishi Patanjali Dome, which appears on the Smithsonian’s website above its article on Fairfield. Chawkin said Ledford was very appreciative of being allowed into the dome. Ledford also took photographs at Eco Village and inside Café Paradiso. Chawkin said Ledford got to hear a local Celtic band practice. Tim Britton even played a special tune for Spano when she visited the café.

The Fairfield residents Spano spoke with were interested to know if Fairfield would make the top 20 or even the top 10 list.

“She told us at breakfast that Fairfield kept coming up highly in their selection criteria,” Chawkin said. “Ours was the only town where she sat at a table to have brunch with people. She felt that was very warm and friendly.”

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy was with Spano for part of her tour.

“Susan was openly impressed with Fairfield,” he said. “She was not hiding her enthusiasm about what she was seeing.”

Malloy said he and other Fairfield residents were hopeful they could make a positive impression on Spano to propel the town into the top 10.

“The news that we’re No. 7 is thrilling,” he said. “It acknowledges all the work we’ve been doing to promote our community, and it helps us stay current in defining how Fairfield is a great place to live and raise a family.”

Malloy said some members of the tour group were worried the bad weather that weekend wouldn’t give them the opportunity to put the best possible face on the town.

“To get that objective verification that we make that big of an impression on an outside organization or person is wonderful,” he said. “We really are a small town with limited resources.”

One resource that is not in short supply in town is friendly people. Malloy said visitors to town can sense the warmth of the city’s residents.

“The friendliness and compassion we have for our community shines through to people from outside,” he said.

Terry Monmaney, executive editor of Smithsonian Magazine, said he started the search for the best small towns by consulting with the geographic information services company Esri. Esri contains information about the services and amenities of virtually every town in the country.

“We asked Esri to look at towns under 15,000 people and check them for a couple dozen different cultural features or assets, such as museums, performance stages, parks, galleries, amusement parks and the like,” he said. “That resulted in a list of a few dozen high-scoring towns ranked by the number of assets.”

Smithsonian Magazine then narrowed those results further to achieve a ratio of the number of “cultural assets” per capita, which was mostly responsible for determining a town’s ranking.

“For the overall list we were looking for geographic range, editorial mix and what might be called freshness,” he said. “Fairfield met all those criteria and then some.”

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

(I forgot to mention that “Stretch” Ledford, the Smithsonian photographer, had also visited MUM’s organic greenhouse and took some amazing photos of Steve McLaskey with an armful of vegetables he and his wife Susie had just picked.)

See The Smithsonian’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Fairfield, Iowa is in the Top 10 (No. 7). KTVO: Fairfield makes Top 10 in list of small towns to visit. Des Moines Register: Iowa town ranks No. 7 on list of Best Small Towns to Visit.

The Smithsonian’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Fairfield, Iowa is in the Top 10 (No. 7)

March 23, 2013

Best-Small-Towns-Illustration-631

The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013

What makes a small town big on culture? For the second year running, we sought a statistical answer to this question by asking the geographic information company Esri to search its databases for small towns and cities—this time, with populations of less than 15,000—that have exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings.

Happily, the top towns also boast heartwarming settings where the air is a little fresher, the grass greener, the pace gentler than in metropolitan America. Generally, they’re devoted to preserving their historic centers, encouraging talent and supporting careful economic growth. There’s usually an institution of higher learning, too.

Most important are the people, unpretentious people with small-town values and high cultural expectations—not a bad recipe for society at large. As a sign on a chalkboard in Cleveland, Mississippi (our No. 2), puts it, “Be nice. The world is a small town.”

Best-Small-Towns-Fairfield-IA-praying-large

Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome (© Charles Ledford)

7. Fairfield, IA

Fairfield sits in an undulating landscape with farmhouses, silos, barns and plenty of sky. A railroad track runs through town and there’s a gazebo on the square. You have to stick around to learn about things you’d never find in Grant Wood’s American Gothic, like the preference for east-facing front doors. That’s the orientation prescribed by Transcendental Meditation movement founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose followers went looking for a place to start a university and landed in the cornfields of southeast Iowa.

The Maharishi University of Management now offers B.A.’s in 13 fields, among them Vedic science and sustainable living. With students riding bikes and plugged into iPods, it looks like any other college campus, except for twin gold-domed buildings where practitioners gather to meditate twice a day.

Fairfield could stand as a case study from The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida’s book on the link between educated populations and economic development. Fairfield got the one when the college opened its golden domes, drawing accomplished people who saw its sweetness; it got the other when they started dreaming up ways to stay. “Everyone who arrived had to reinvent themselves to survive,” said mayor (and meditator) Ed Malloy.

The economy started perking in the 1980s with e-commerce and dot-coms, earning Fairfield the name “Silicorn Valley,” then launched start-ups devoted to everything from genetic crop-testing to investment counseling. Organic farmer Francis Thicke keeps the radio in his barn tuned to Vedic music; his Jerseys must like it because everyone in town says that Radiance Dairy milk is the best thing in a bottle.

But there’s more than mellow. The new Maasdam Barns Museum, with buildings from a farm that raised mighty Percheron horses, displays agricultural machines made by the local Louden Company. A walking tour passes the rock-solid, Richardson Romanesque courthouse, a Streamline Moderne bank, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired residences and myriad examples of Vedic architecture.

Artists and performers find they can afford to live in Fairfield. ICON, which specializes in regional contemporary art, joins galleries and shops in hosting a monthly art walk, featuring the work of some 300 local artists.

The striking new Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts welcomes acts from chamber groups to Elvis impersonators. The soon-to-open Orpheum Theater will offer something that is dying out in big cities—an art movie house.

Solar panels help banish electricity bills at Abundance Eco Village, an off-the-grid community on the edge of town. But it’s less about altruism than well-being in Fairfield. Take, for instance, the quiet zones, recently instituted at railroad crossings to silence incessant train whistles; newly planted fruit trees in city parks; and Fairfield’s all-volunteer, solar-powered radio station, producing 75 homegrown programs a year. “Fairfield,” says station manager James Moore, a poet, musician, tennis teacher and meditator, “is one of the deepest small ponds you’ll find anywhere.”

Visit an interactive map at the end of the Fairfield article on the Smithsonian site and click on the pins for photos and more information.

Related news coverage: Fairfield Ledger: Smithsonian Magazine names Fairfield 7th best small town in America to visit. KTVO: Fairfield makes Top 10 in list of small towns to visit. Des Moines Register: Iowa town ranks No. 7 on list of Best Small Towns to Visit.

Here is a scan of part of the two-page spread in the print edition of the Smithsonian magazine. At the top is a wonderful photo Charles “Stretch” Ledford took inside Café Paradiso of the mural in the background and a couple having coffee in the foreground. The head covering and look on the face of the lady at the table matches the shawl covering the head of the female artist in the mural behind her. They share the same sideways glance to the left, and even share the same orange color on their clothing! Stretch said: “I had my lens trained on her and kept the composition for at least 10 minutes, probably 15 +, waiting for her to turn just the right way.  I have about a dozen or so shots, but knew the winner would be when she turned.  Eventually she did, I was lucky enough to still have my finger on the shutter, and I made the shot.”

Smithsonian-Fairfield


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