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Nancy's Notes - January 22, 2015

Library History, “Getting Life” by Michael Morton, “Spare Parts” by Joshua Davis.

Nancy’s Notes

        Linda and I cleaned out the storage room yesterday. It looks the best it has ever looked, I should have an open house. While we were digging through the boxes we ran into some Clarion history. There were three pictures we are now planning to hang in the library. One is a very old, undated aerial picture of Clarion. It shows Clarion’s first brick schoolhouse which was located where the Lutheran Church now resides. The former high school on 3rd Avenue looks new with a plain oval where the stadium now sits. The next picture shows an old dilapidated house. We found a description which said the home was located on the sight of our original library. It was purchased for $750 and moved to 1st Ave. S.E. The final picture was the original portion of our building, The Morgan Everts Library, in 1908. Stop in and have a look they are very interesting.
        Michael Morton has written, “Getting Life”, his memoir. He spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  On August 13, 1986, one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton went to work at his usual time. That day his wife Christine had been savagely bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bed and the Williamson County Sherriff’s office in Texas wasted no time in pinning her murder on Michael, despite a lack of physical evidence. Michael was swiftly sentenced to life in prison for a crime he had not committed. He mourned his wife from a prison cell and lost all contact with their son. Life, as he knew it, was over.  It would take twenty-five years and thousands of hours of effort on the part of Michael’s lawyers, including the team at the New York-based Innocence Project, before DNA evidence was brought to light that would ultimately set Michael free. The evidence had been collected only days after the murder but was never investigated.
        Joshua Davis’s, “Spare Parts”, is a true story which began in 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested that they might amount to much until two science teachers convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert that they should try to build an underwater robot. Their robot wasn’t pretty and they were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country.  The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts and against all odds they won! But this is just the beginning for these four, who went on to become first-generation college graduates.
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This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.