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NOTEBOOK: They grow quipsters in Algona


Algona, a community of about 5,500 people located 135 miles north of Greater Des Moines, received a fair amount of air time at our recent Power Breakfast.

When the conversation at the Oct. 25 Business Record Power Breakfast about Des Moines’ march to 1 million residents by 2040 (according to some forecasts) veered toward driverless cars, McClure community planner and panelist  Zack Mannheimer and panelist Gene Meyer, Greater Des Moines Partnership president, told a couple anecdotes they had carried home from Algona that, if nothing else, demonstrated that folks in Algona have a penchant for turning a memorable phrase.

Mannheimer asked what Greater Des Moines was doing to place driverless cars on the streets sooner rather than later, later than New York, let’s say.

“The joke in Des Moines is that we get things here 10 years after New York. Oddly enough the joke in Algona is that they get things seven years after Des Moines. That means they get things 17 years after New York. When I brought that up in Algona, they said, ‘yeah, we just got hummus.’”

Meyer recounted a conversation he heard a couple of weeks ago between a 74-year-old, retired neurosurgeon and a 43-year-old attorney.

“It’s unfathomable to me that my grandkids will never have to learn to drive a car,” the neurosurgeon said.

“And the young attorney looked at him and said, ‘I never learned to ride a horse,’” Meyer said.

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