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Here are a few of the more interesting questions answered in 2017.

Q: When I was a member of the Boy Scout Troop in Reinbeck in the 1950s we went to the YMCA in Waterloo to swim and always swam in the nude. What was the reasoning behind that?

A: It used to be very common at schools and YMCAs. The practice evidently dates back to the days of woolen bathing suits; fibers from the suits would sometimes clog early pool filters. And it also was considered more hygienic, as well, for some reason — the American Public Health Association recommended nude swimming for boys from 1926 until 1962.

Q: How many U.S. presidents have had foreign-born wives?

A: Only two — President Trump and President John Quincy Adams.

Q: Why is it within 12 hours after I get a flu shot every year I suddenly crave large amounts of bacon? The rest of the year I don’t particularly care for bacon.

A: An answer from Tim Doyle, ARNP at UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine—Prairie Parkway: “More than likely this is secondary to the body’s response to the vaccination, which is twofold: (1) Getting the flu shot increases cortisol levels within the brain thus signaling the body to consume more foods; (2) The body’s immune system will need to increase overall work load and this may lead the person to crave high-density, lipid-rich foods such as bacon, avocados, potato chips, cookies, etc.”

Q: Why are the notorious “back row boys” allowed to talk so much at the Waterloo City Council meetings? Have they ever been recorded as being in support of anything?

A: Waterloo City Council meeting rules note residents are allowed to speak to any agenda item for up to three minutes. There are those who choose to avail themselves of this option. Many of those in the back row have stated their support to lower the city’s tax rate and use of tax-increment financing, among other issues.

Q: Why does Iowa require the county to be printed at the bottom of all their license plates? Do all states require this?

A: According to a Des Moines Register report last year, we have them largely because we like them: “Every once in awhile, someone at the Iowa Department of Transportation suggests that the state should stop printing county names on license plates. But whenever it comes up, the response is both swift and alarmed. You’d think the DOT wanted to fricassee the state bird.” Iowa isn’t the only state to display county names on plates, but it’s in the minority. Evidently people here just like to see where other people are from, and law enforcement says it helps them identify when somebody is out of place.

Q: I’m 6 feet, 2 inches and weigh around 200 pounds. Would I be legal at work if I drank a beer before work and then drove my 15 minutes to work?

A: According to Capt. Dave Mohlis of the Waterloo Police Department, “Based on the way this question is worded? That would be a question for your employer.”

Q: Regarding the insurance agent named Fish Johnson: Is that his real name?

A: Fish-Johnson Insurance began in 1959 when Jim Johnson purchased an insurance agency named The Mack Fish Agency and merged the two names. The current Fish-Johnson Insurance agency president is Randy Johnson.

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Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.


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