Alison Gowans

Features reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Hoopla.



In Iowa: Flood of helpers transforms scars to strengths

With hurricanes pummeling cities and whole islands alike and earthquakes burying school children in Mexico, it has been hard to watch the news lately. And those are just the natural disasters; we'll leave the human-made ones for another column.

So ... »

Joni Ernst greeted by lively town hall crowd in Iowa City

IOWA CITY - Healthcare was at the top of voters' agendas at a town hall meeting with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa City on Friday, even as the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act hit a roadblock.

About an hour before Ernst' ... »

Watch Replay: Sen. Joni Ernst holds town hall meeting in Iowa City

Watch Live as The Gazette streams Sen. Joni Ernst’s town hall meeting in Iowa City. Sen. Ernst is expected to cover topics from health care to the economy.

l Comments: (319) 398-8434;

Maggie’s Wood-Fired Pizza expands menu, moves to Iowa City

Maggie's Farm Wood-Fired Pizza has come a long way from its days as a mobile pizza oven serving up pies at local farmers markets.

The eatery, which operated for years at NewBo City Market, opened in mid-August as its own brick-and-mortar space in ... »

A photographic eye: Owner of Galena's River Bend Gallery breaks barriers

Geoffrey Mikol has been interested in photography since he was a teenager. Now in his early 20s, he owns his own gallery in downtown Galena, Ill.

He proudly greets customers as they come through the door of River Bend Gallery, directing their at ... »

Get a taste of Root Beer Revelry in Galena

Rick Mulcahey knows so much about root beer that he's earned the nickname "Root Beer Rick" by the vendors and regular customers who stop into his small shop on Galena's Main Street. Get him talking and he'll weave a history of the classic soda from Colo ... »

Exploring Galena: History, galleries anchor tourism mecca

On the south end of Galena's Main Street, a chalkboard sign tucked into a cobblestone alley reads, "Antiques have personality, charm, soul and scratches."

That sign may have been written in reference to the contents of the adjacent shop, but it ... »

Escaping Holocaust inspired a life of activism for speaker appearing in Cedar Rapids

It can't happen here.

That's what everyone thinks before their country descends into war. It's what everyone thinks until their neighbors are being rounded up, branded, killed. It's what everyone thinks until formerly peaceful citizens begin perpe ... »

Mount Vernon and Lisbon hosting first ever Restaurant Week

Joe Jennison wants to welcome you to some of his favorite tables.

The director of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, he is enthusiastically promoting the first ever Mount Vernon and Lisbon Restaurant Week.

#x201c;We ... »

Belmont Hill Victorian Bed and Breakfast in Cedar Rapids marks 20 years

Step into Belmont Hill and you're stepping into Cedar Rapids history.

Ken and Shelley Sullens have run a bed-and-breakfast in this historic home tucked into a quiet northwest-side neighborhood since 1997. This year they're marking 20 years of open ... »