Andrei Murphy | Community Leadership

Andrei Murphy is a proud citizen of Des Moines and accomplished insurance solutions professional.

Andrei Murphy-Hawkeyes To Face Off Against Gators In Outback Bowl

Hawkeyes To Face Off Against Gators In Outback Bowl

It’s officially Bowl season. Dozens of college football teams will battle it out over the next few weeks in order to prove themselves as the best in their respective divisions. And this year, the Iowa University Hawkeyes will play against the Florida University Gators in the Outback Bowl. The game will be played on January 2, 2017 in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

With a record of 8-4, the Hawkeyes (Big 10) are ranked number 21 on the AP poll, while the Gators (SEC), also 8-4, are ranked just above the Hawkeyes, at 20 in the AP. And although these two teams both have over 100 years of football history under their belts, this will mark only the third time that they have faced each other in the Outback Bowl. Both Hawkeyes fans and players are craving for this match-up, having lost to Florida in their last outing, ten years ago.

The Outback Bowl, originally titled The Hall of Fame Bowl, has been held since 1986, pitting the third ranked SEC team against the third ranked Big 10 team. The bowl’s name was changed after the popular restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse took over as sponsor in 1996. In the bowl’s 30 year history, Iowa has played a total number of four games, with this upcoming game counting as their fifth. Coincidentally, the first ever Outback Bowl for Iowa was against Florida.

The Hawkeyes in particular have some gripes with the Outback Bowl, specifically with the officiating during the last Iowa and Florida matchup. Several unfair calls were made against the Hawkeyes, giving the Gators the advantage, allowing them to win the game. And this isn’t some sort of conspiracy theory that bares no evidence, the coordinator of Conference USA officials even publicly admitted that mistakes were made in the Outback Bowl’s officiating.

Let’s hope that the officiating this time around is far better and that the Hawkeyes will come out victorious.

Des Moines: A Tourist’s Dream

Des Moines Social Club

You and your family are planning an exciting vacation to get away from the burdens of everyday life. You just want to “set sail,” so to speak, relax your mind and enjoy a week or so with your loved ones. So, where do you go?

You could choose one of the extremely popular and cliched hotspots that are bound to be ripe with other tourists; or you could choose one of America’s greatest hidden gems: Des Moines, Iowa.

While, admittedly, not the most obvious choice at first glance, once you dig a bit deeper into the variety of options the city has to offer, the choice becomes crystal clear.

Whether you’re going on vacation in the summer or the winter, Des Moines has something for everybody, year round.

Family:

Iowa State Fair

There is no finer way to discover just how rich and diverse the Des Moines community is than at the Iowa State Fair. Teeming with a wide array of activities and events, the Iowa State Fair features everything from a midsummer horse and pony show to an elaborate winter wonderland in the chillier months.

Adventureland Park

Maybe you’re a family of adrenaline junkies. Not to worry, Des Moines has you covered. With over 100 rides ranging from the kid-friendly Frog Hopper to the nerve wracking Space Shot, Adventureland Park is the perfect place for the family to spend the day.

Couples:

Planning a trip with your significant other? Or perhaps you’re leaving the kids with their grandparents this time? Either way, Des Moines is still a hotbed of social activity.

Winefest Des Moines

Visit the ever popular Winefest Des Moines and surround yourself with delectable food and fine wine, while also supporting local charities. This is another way to see just how connected the Des Moines community truly is.

Prairie Meadows Casino and Racetrack

Test your luck at Prairie Meadows Casino and Racetrack. The 85,000 plus square foot casino has all the slots and card games you could need. Or try your hand at the races and experience a horse race that will leave your heart pounding. The casino even features a cozy hotel complete with a saltwater pool, fitness center and dedicated airport shuttle service.

Singles:

New in town? Des Moines has plenty of other events that are sure to get you socializing in no time.

80/35 Music Festival

Who doesn’t enjoy music? Indulge in a variety of foods, draft beers and some of the country’s greatest musicians of all time. With a lineup of about 40 artists and thousands of visitors, 80/35 is the best place to meet new people and truly experience what Des Moines has to offer.

Des Moines Social Club

Meet new people while exploring your creative side at the Des Moines Social Club. Probably the most spontaneous hot spot in Des Moines, the Des Moines Social Club features everything from theater, art classes, galleries, trivia competitions and even aerial acrobatics.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Science Center of Iowa, Blank Park Zoo or Des Moines Botanical Garden. So whether you’re just moving in, looking for a vacation getaway with the family or willing to try something new, Des Moines is brimming with engaging and entertaining activities for everybody from all walks of life.

A New Des Moines

The Old Capital at Des Moines

Unfortunately, Des Moines–and Iowa in general–is plagued with a reputation of being dull and lifeless. While states like New York and California have vast, robust metropolises, teeming with millions of citizens and bright lights, Des Moines exists on a much humbler scale. However, regardless of its reputation, Des Moines has a deep, rich history that sets it apart from the rest.

Des What?

As with any brand new city, there lies a large importance in its name. Most of our country’s cities all have interesting origins to their names. Philadelphia’s name literally translates to brotherly love, Los Angeles’ name has a fairly religious background and Miami was named after the Mayaimi, the Native American tribe that inhabited the area. But few cities have as interesting and hard to pinpoint history as Des Moines.

Originally thought to be named after the nearby Des Moines River, the capital city of Iowa may owe its name to the Native American language. Some historians propose that Des Moines is, in fact, derived from the Native American word “moingona,” or, river of the mounds. This term referred to the several burial mounds near the river. Other historians believe that the city was named after the Trappist Monks, known as Moines de la Trappe.

While the general consensus is that the city’s name is based on some variation of the word moingona, it is entirely possible for the other explanations to prove true. We may never know.

Progressive Development

Although it started out as a barren land with low expectations when it became the state capital of Iowa in 1858, Des Moines quickly managed to silence the critics and detractors and develop rather quickly.

The Des Moines Plan, a unique concept at the time, had streamlined both municipal government and charted development. The push for female rights was also demonstrated in the small but blossoming city when Fort Des Moines, the city’s original namesake, became the first ever training center for the Women’s Army Corps in 1942. And Des Moines’ economy was completely revamped when it became a national publishing and insurance center, cited as the “number one spot for U.S. insurance companies” according to Business Insider.

Luckily, Des Moines is shaking its lackluster reputation and beginning to catch the nation’s eye as a thriving metropolis with a vibrant art culture and proud community, ready to compete with the likes of New York City and Chicago. According to an article from Politico.com, Des Moines has had a bevy of accolades thrown its way these past few years, being dubbed the country’s richest city and being excellent for young professionals, families and businesses.

Andrei Murphy Des Moines, Iowa

Doing Des Moines Right

When we think of vacation destinations, Des Moines, Iowa, is hardly the first to spring to mind. We conjure up images of bustling metropolises like Manhattan and Los Angeles, picturing sidewalks swarmed by passerby pedestrians and immaculate skyscrapers penetrating the clouds. Yet, what if we could have access to all the amenities big name big cities offer while enjoying a smaller and more intimate atmosphere? Enter Des Moines.

A hub of activity, Des Moines mimics Chicago’s metropolitan lifestyle but also boasts the personal touch of a small town. Friendly neighbors and local businesses are always willing to embrace someone, or something, new and it shows when you walk through the city streets. Congenial smiles greet you from every direction and even those in a rush have a minute to give you directions.

That’s why the next time you’re looking for a quick getaway to a new and exciting spot, you should heavily consider Iowa’s capital. Here’s a quick itinerary for those looking to make the most of their short time ‘flyover’ state’s reason to stop:

La Mie

First and foremost, you need to visit La Mie, the bakery over on 42nd street. Their delighted pastries have delighted customers for decades and their local passion for product reminds you of the old New York, the Manhattan before big banks and homogenization faded out small business. Remember the taste of food prepared not with precision, but with love.

Des Moines Art Center

On par with artistic centers even in the Big Apple, the Des Moines Art Center houses some phenomenal pieces created by the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, and even Josef Albers. It was initially designed by Eliel Saarinen and expanded later by I.M. Pei and Richard Meier, which has collectively given it an aesthetic that is truly second to none.

The sculpture garden and rose gardens are fantastic displays for those looking to appreciate art while taking a nice picnic. As your eyes feast on mankind’s highest cultural accomplishments, your mouth devours homemade lunches. Save some cash by not eating out and find a better dining experience than you originally thought possible in this small town big city.

Downtown

Venture down to the central business district of the thriving city and take a moment to soak in the sights. The area’s unique architecture is due to the variety of boutiques and small business, one of which is West End Architectural Salvage. Over four stories are filled to the brim with antiques, guaranteeing any collector that they are bound to find something that resonates. There’s also a coffee shop on the ground floor to give you that extra push should you find yourself slowing down.

In the wake of ever expanding big business, America struggles to retain its identity. While Manhattan and Chicago become uniform reflections of bland corporate culture, Des Moines goes against the grain. Although growing, it sacrifices nothing in the way of community, culture, or history. It is a gem of individuality, and it is time America unearthed it.

Motion, Andrei Murphy, Public Transit

Putting Des Moines Transit in Motion

Throughout human history, urban centers have always attracted massive concentrations of people, thus requiring an extensive system of public transit to be formed. How to transport immense quantities of people to and from the metropolis has proven to be a feat that is sometimes achieved with deft talent. At other times, it can be cumbersome, burdensome, and frustrating. Creating the right transit system can a make an extreme difference in attracting and retaining top talent, be that in regards to culture, capitalism, or simple urban development.

With Des Moines on the rise, it is clear that public transit is taking on a role of great importance. It is time to implement an efficient system that causes convenience and not frustration.—one that makes life easy, not hard, and one that fosters economic development. That is why the Transit Future Work Group is so important. Formed through the Capital Crossroads Vision Plan in order to analyze transportation challenges and create/implement new and efficient transportation methods for Des Moines urbanites, the group promises to better the future of Iowa’s most distinguished and fastest growing city.

According to the US Census Bureau, Des Moines has grown 9.4% since 2010, and Dallas County has grown by an immense 21.2%. Not to mention, Iowa’s unemployment rate is below 4%. With these tell-tale numbers, Iowa is fast becoming a magnet for the professional world. The only way to sustain such incredible growth is to expand public transit. In this regard, young Des Moines professionals were asked: “What is your top priority for improving the region?” Their answer—public transit. A separate DART survey concluded that non-riders emphasized the importance of investment in public transit over adding new or widening old roads.

Fortunately, there is a fairly clear consensus on where and how money should be spent. This bodes well for the future of Des Moines and where we are heading. With cars on the busiest stretch of Des Moines road (Interstate Highway 235) having increased tremendously from 115,000 to 127,000 in just the last six years, the time to act is now. Moving forward into this very significant part of Des Moines history, the value of cohesion, unity, and collaboration cannot be understated. It’s a good thing Iowans know how to get along.

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Senate passes GMO food labeling bill 63-30

Recent legislation was just passed in Des Moines requiring the labeling of most food items with their respective genetically modified ingredients. Moving forward,  Iowan consumers should be able to see if their food has GMOs or not. For more information, please proceed to this article.

Jazz Festival en Route to Des Moines

An exciting new jazz festival is coming to Des Moines this fall. As the list of live concerts grows larger and larger, this festival in particular catches my eye as an exceptional celebration of significant renown. It will have both local and national talent so, in addition to being supportive of the surrounding community, it will also bring in talented artists all across the United States. Here’s the article!

City of Des Moines can do more to help homeless

Here’s a very interesting article I stumbled across while reading The Des Moines Register. Written with a keen eye for both past and present, it makes a number of good points concerning the homeless population in our great city and their dealings with the police. Interesting, insightful, and more relevant than ever, I highly recommend you give it a read. Check it out!

Andrei Murphy, Beer, Des Moines

The Delectable Nightlife of Des Moines

The metropolis of Des Moines is seemingly bursting at the seams with a palpable energy. Between its electric nightlife, its burgeoning industry and its cosmopolitan culture, the Hartford of the West is a bustling city, offering all the amenities of a major metropolis while retaining its own unique small town charm. It seems that no matter how fast the city seems to be growing, it always keeps its polite composure, embracing residents and tourists alike with open arms and a congenial smile. This trend is perhaps most evident in Des Moines’ exponentially expanding nightlife, where despite always meeting someone new, there is also an immersive and comfortable atmosphere of familiarity. It is for this reason that I have elected to list some of Des Moines’ most well-known, most exciting, and most reputable nightlife establishments:

El Bait Shop

No, this is not a literal bait shop. Already caught for you, the fish here is some of the most delicious seafood you can find at a reasonable price in the entire metropolis. Not to mention, and perhaps more importantly, El Bait Shop offers 180 (yes, 180, it’s not a typo) different beers on tap and even more bottled options. From IPAs to Saisons and lagers to ales, El Bait Shop can and will satisfy your thirst with delicious beer right up your alley no matter what you prefer. Put frankly, it’s the spot to be.

High Life Lounge

As the title might imply, the High Life Lounge is an ode to High Life beer by Miller Light. I know, that’s not exactly a selling point (unless you’re an advocate of the champagne of beer), but the bar is fantastic despite what some may consider to be a sleight against it. Fashioned after a 1960’s style, the bar has a Formica bar top, vintage wallpaper, wood paneling, retro light fixtures, and vintage Miller beer promotional signs everywhere. Although the beer’s legacy was created half a century ago, it thrives to this day. The friendly staff, unique atmosphere, and excellent service keep patrons coming back again and again. Oh, did I mention it was named Best New Bar and Best Downtown Hangout by Cityview Magazine; because it was. It was even featured on the Travel Channel’s famous Man vs Food show in addition to being spotlighted in none other than the New York Times. They call it the Champagne of Bars for a reason, after all.

Up-Down

An arcade bar, Up-Down actually offers more than forty vintage arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s in addition to pinball machines, three skeeball alleys, Nintendo and Sega console games, and even Connect Four. Each game is only a quarter to play which ensures that your wallet, if anything, will appreciate the night out to Up-Down. However, that’s not at all to discredit the drink selection.

In fact, there are a respectable twenty beers on tap (not including bottles and cans) as well as classic 80’s and 90’s cocktails. Quench your thirst with drinks from the past while you game on vintage pinball/arcade machines. What more could you possibly ask for from a night out?

Andrei Murphy, Des Moines, Iowa

Dining in Des Moines

Although smaller than many metropolises, Des Moines has much to offer in the way of tourism, culture, and sports. Yet, it is its community that stands out to me the most, and in no other aspect of the city is this more apparent than in the exquisite cuisine it offers on nearly every corner. Through word of mouth among friends, neighbors, and relatives, there are a few restaurants in particular that have emerged above the rest, offering unparalleled service, a friendly atmosphere, and more importantly, delicious, excellent, edible goodness.

Fong’s Pizza

Known throughout the state of Iowa for it quirky pizza combinations that work, Fong’s pizza has become a fixture in the Des Moines community. From Crab Rangoon pizza to Sriracha Chicken bites, your tastebuds will never be bored when exploring this creative and diverse menu. With mouth-watering memories, you are bound to not only never forget your first time at Fong’s, but to return and try the rest of the menu as soon as humanly possible.

Centro

Urban. Elegant. Sophisticated. This cosmopolitan Italian eatery offers only the freshest of ingredients in its quest to present fine dining at the most cost effective price possible. Although certainly sleek and one might even say modern, the restaurant never sacrifices its Des Moines down-to-Earth roots and has fostered a deep sense of connection with its surrounding community.

Zombie Burger & Drink Lab

This creative take on the many emerging burger and shake shacks offers a fantastic variety of quality milkshakes and what are self-described “gourmet burgers.” Located in the East Village, it is in the perfect position to satisfy the hunger and quench the thirst of hungry Iowans on lunch break looking for a fun momentary escape from the office. Peruse its menu of the undead for a laugh and a good old fashioned American burger, and maybe even a slight supernatural chill.

Smokey D’s BBQ

What kind of list this would be without mentioning barbecue I don’t know, and I don’t intend to find out. For Des Moines’s “championship BBQ,” look no further than Smokey D’s. From customized catering for a corporate event to an intimate family meal, Smokey D’s is the perfect option for those looking to kick back and fill their stomachs with some of the best food in Iowa.

There may be many restaurants in Des Moines, but there are only a few worth mentioning. The above represent the best of the best, the most awe-inducing, mouth watering, salivating inspiring gustatory establishments in all the land. If you’re ever looking for a quick bite, you can do no better than Des Moines’ finest.

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