The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.
But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.
This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turns 100.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with students after urging Congress to pass legislation that would keep federal student loan rates from doubling in the East Room of the White House June 21 in Washington, D.C.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / AP
A demonstrator holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt during an Occupy D.C. protest in Washington in October.
Congress has a matter of days left to work out a compromise or interest rates on some federal student loans will double. Five years ago, lawmakers offered students a reprieve — by cutting Stafford loan interest rates in half — but that ends July 1.
That's left many students worried that their heavy debt burden is about to get heavier.
Coming a week after President Obama announced that he would defer deportation proceedings for many young illegal immigrants, it was safe to predict that he'd get an appreciative response from an audience of Latino leaders. They didn't disappoint.
You may not have heard of the special-effects studio Digital Domain, but you've probably seen their work. They sank the Titanic for James Cameron; they aged Brad Pitt backward in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most recently, their virtual likeness of the late Tupac Shakur performed in concert.
Having worked those wonders, they're tackling thornier challenges: fur and feathers.