LEGO exhibition is sure to please young and young-at-heart


Beginning April 14, visitors to Reiman Gardens can see nearly 500,000 LEGO bricks transformed into 27 sculptures in its "Nature Connects" exhibition. The show, which lasts through Oct. 28, is the first of its kind in the nation at a public garden.

The exhibition is part of the gardens' 2012 theme, Some Assembly Required. The LEGO sculptures, inspired by gardens and nature, range in size from 6 inches to nearly 8 feet. The largest sculpture, a mother bison, is made from 45,143 LEGO bricks. Among the other sculptures are a rose, a dragonfly and a lawn mower.

About the artist

The sculptor, Sean Kenney, New York, is one of only 11 LEGO Certified Builders in the world. He will discuss his 30-year career at a free public lecture on Friday, April 13 (noon, Lightfoot Forum, College of Design).

Additional meet-and-greet opportunities with Kenney are Saturday, April 14 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.), and Sunday, April 15 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), at Reiman Gardens. He also will hold a book signing on Saturday (1-2 p.m.). His books will be available in the gardens' gift shop.

Reiman Gardens members also are invited to a preview party with Kenney on Friday, April 13 (6-8:30 p.m., Reiman Gardens).  Refreshments will be served. RSVP by calling 4-2710.

Reiman Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 ($4 for youth; free for members, ISU students, and children 3 and under).

Leath names associate VP

Miles Lackey, director of the office of federal affairs at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will join the president's office April 16, filling the newly defined position of associate vice president.

Miles Lackey

Miles Lackey

"Miles Lackey brings expertise and experience in higher education, public administration, government relations, budget and finance," Leath said. "At Iowa State, he will help to ensure successful completion of strategic and other important initiatives. In addition, he will coordinate many of the day-to-day functions of the president’s office."

Lackey said he looks forward to joining the university community.

"This is an innovative university that is committed to serving the people of Iowa and is making its mark across the world," he said. "It really is a special place and I am excited to be part of it."

In previous posts, Lackey was director of federal relations for the 16-campus University of North Carolina System and legislative aide to former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.  In addition, he has private sector business experience.

He has a bachelor's degree in political science (2002, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C.),  a master's degree in public administration (2006, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.) and an MBA (2010, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

Search committee to interview candidates in Minneapolis

The search committee for Iowa State's senior vice president and provost will meet in Minneapolis this weekend, April 14-15, to interview candidates.

"We have an excellent set of candidates to visit with in this round of interviews," said Wendy Wintersteen, chair of the search committee and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "The candidate pool was outstanding, with 35 applications and more than 130 nominations."

The meetings in Minneapolis will be held in closed session.  All applicants requested their names be kept confidential during early stages of the search. The names of those who become finalists will be released before they visit campus.

Although no finalists have yet been selected, the search committee tentatively has set dates for open forums to allow the university community and the public to meet the finalists. The tentative open forum details are:

  • April 18, 10:45 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences Building (CCUR Theater)
  • April 19, 1:30 p.m., 1652 Gilman Hall
  • April 23, 10:45 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences Building (CCUR Theater)
  • April 24, 1:30 p.m., 1652 Gilman Hall
  • April 25, 10:45 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences Building (CCUR Theater)

"Our committee urges the campus community to put these dates and times on your calendars," Wintersteen said. "We continue to make progress on an aggressive timeline for the search, and these open forum dates are critical to receive the input of faculty, staff, students and the public."

Are you ready for some football?

Spring football practice

The Iowa State football team and head coach Paul Rhoads, pictured here at Tuesday's practice with defensive backs and linebackers, wrap up nearly a month of practices with the annual spring football game Saturday, April 14 (2 p.m., Jack Trice Stadium). The intrasquad scrimmage allows fans an early look at next fall's team. Fans should enter on the north side of the stadium, and seating is available on the east side only. Admission is free, and free copies of the 2012 football schedule cards and posters will be available for pick up at the guest services booth and table locations on the stadium's east concourse. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Council committee will focus on professional development

A new name and focus for the Professional and Scientific Council recruitment and retention committee was approved at the council's April 5 meeting.

The professional development committee is charged with "developing training and sourcing materials for employee access." The resolution also suggested committee initiatives, including:

  • Planning a recurring professional development conference
  • Offering professional development training opportunities throughout the year
  • Developing personal and professional training "tracks" for departments and programs
  • Identifying experts to assist in training and development programs

Parking presentation

In a presentation to council members, vice president for business and finance Warren Madden gave an overview of campus parking.

"I would say, in general, that Iowa State's parking arrangements on campus are pretty similar to what you would find at most colleges and universities like Iowa State," Madden said.

"We have enough parking spaces at Iowa State to accommodate everybody that wants to park today," he said. "The problem is they aren't in the right places, or the places that everybody would like them to be."

Madden's presentation included several statistical and informational facts:

  • ISU's self-supporting parking enterprise generates about $3.5 million per year from parking fees and permits (two-thirds of total revenue), and violations/fines
  • Maintenance, facilities, operation costs and capital improvements are covered by parking funds (no appropriated or university funds are used)
  • A 23-member transportation advisory council makes recommendations on parking decisions
  • ISU has 19,382 parking spaces, more than any other regent institution
  • Parking allocations include approximately 6,900 in the core campus areas; 7,400 for students (such as residence halls, housing); 4,300 in the Iowa State Center area; 627 in the Memorial Union ramp; and 270 motorcycle spaces
  • About 13,606 permits were sold this year, including an estimated 7,100 for students
  • Iowa State's parking rates are the second lowest among Big 12 Conference peers
  • Parking structures generally cost about $15,000-$20,000 per space to build

Other business

Steve Mayberry, environmental specialist in environmental health and safety, was elected 2012-13 council president-elect.

Help Ames become a Blue Zones community


Blue Zones

Ames remains in contention to become a Blue Zones community, one of several Iowa cities that will be awarded extra resources and programs to become a model of health and well-being.

Register online or text your support

You can help Ames make its case by registering at the Ames Blue Zones Project website. Click the green "I'm a Citizen . . . Support Ames" button. Your registration indicates your support for the promotion of healthy lifestyles in the Ames community. The short form requires your name, zip code and a password (supplied by you).

Another option is to show support for the project by texting "BZP" to the number "772937." Don't use the texting option, however, if you've already registered for the Blue Zones project.

Anyone 13 or older with a home, work or school address under an Ames zip code can register. Iowa State employees who live outside of Ames can still pledge, based on their work zip codes. Pledges must be completed soon, as final decisions on Blue Zones communities will be made by mid-April.  Individual pledge support is key to the selection.  Final Blue Zones demonstration communities will be announced May 4.

The goal: No. 1 in health and well-being

The Blue Zones Project, a key component of Gov. Terry Branstad's healthiest state initiative, involves a collaboration between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways.

Selected Iowa communities will receive advice from a team of international experts on longevity and healthy lifestyles, and on how to make permanent changes in their communities. The communities, in turn, will share experiences and mentor other Iowa cities as they adopt Blue Zones principles.

The Blue Zones project encourages all Iowa communities to become Blue Zones communities over the next five years.  Over the short-term, 10 communities will be selected as models for the project. Three or four of these communities will be announced in May. Ames is competing against 10 other Iowa cities and currently is in fourth place, behind Spencer, Cedar Falls, and Mason City. Check the Blue Zones scoreboard for the current standing of the Iowa contenders.

Elaine Hieber and John Shierholz, Ames, are co-chairs of the Ames Blue Zones Project. ISU representatives are Suzanne Hendrich, university professor in food science and human nutrition; Greg Welk, associate professor of kinesiology; Pete Englin, director of the department of residence; and Emily Bisbee, a senior in kinesiology and health.

'Rent' headlines Veishea stage


Seniors Jonathan Brugioni and Heather Smith portray musician Roger Davis and dancer Mimi Marquez in the Stars Over Veishea production of Rent.

Rent, this year's Stars Over Veishea musical, opens its two-weekend run at Fisher Theater April 13. Based on the plot of Puccini's La Boheme opera, Rent is the story of eight friends struggling to make it as artists and musicians, with the specter of HIV and AIDS lurking in the shadows. The rock musical earned a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award during its 12-year Broadway run.

The annual SOV production is a joint effort of Veishea, the department of music and ISU Theatre. Tickets for Rent are $21 ($16 for students), and available through the Stephens Auditorium box office or Ticketmaster. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays. Photo by Timothy Reuter.