On November 20, 2011, in , by Jody Ewing
Jody Ewing

Jody Ewing

About Jody


Jody is an author and cold case journalist based in west-central Iowa. She began writing at age eight, both penning and illustrating her dog-napping short story, “The Mystery of Kalo’s Disappearance.”

She went on to work as a correspondent for The Sioux City Journal and a staff writer for the arts and entertainment newsweekly, Weekender.

She launched the Iowa Cold Cases website in 2005 after working on a Sioux City cold case series for the Weekender. A website that began as a handful of case summaries from the Siouxland area now has expanded to include more than 500 cases from all across the state. Iowa Cold Cases incorporated as a nonprofit agency in April 2010.

Two years after launching the cold case website, Jody’s stepfather of 25 years — Earl Thelander of Onawa, IA — died from burns sustained in a house explosion caused by copper thieves. Jody added her stepdad’s name to the ICC site in 2008 after officials announced his case had gone cold. It remains unsolved today.

Jody is the author of One Way: Bumps and Detours on the Road to Adulthood, a collection of humorous and inspirational essays about childhood and growing up, and when not researching or writing about cold cases, is working on revisions for other completed writing projects. Her work with Iowa Cold Cases is featured in Silvia Pettem’s 2017 book, The Long Term Missing: Hope and Help for Families.

Jody graduated magna cum laude from Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (Communications and Social Science) and Criminal Justice Studies. In early 2015, she partnered with the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) in a year-long “Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s Unsolved Murders” series, and in September 2015 was named a “Friend of Iowa Newspapers,” an honor conferred by INA board members to those who’ve made significant contributions to the newspaper industry in Iowa.

Siouxland News presented Jody with a Jefferson Award Foundation medal in March 2017. The Jefferson Award is given in recognition of outstanding public service.

Jody has three grown children, Bill, Jennifer, and Rhett, a stepdaughter, Vicky, two grandsons and two granddaughters. Her other “kids” include rescue dog Jack, and Clyde, an African Grey parrot who thinks he’s a World War II bombardier pilot.

Johnny Cash Rocks (My!) Website

On November 19, 2005, in Authors, Entertainment, by Jody Ewing

Okay, so I’ll admit that in the year and one month since I’ve had my official website up, I’m still learning when it comes to deciphering all those webpage stats such as Total Unique Sites, Total Unique Referrers, Total Unique User Agents and the like, but the one statistic I have gotten to know well is Total Hits per specific web page — and that’s not counting my own visits (which, with all due respect to the articles I’ve written, is something I don’t need to do. Hey, I wrote it. I don’t need to re-read my own articles or see if they’re still there).

So, in light of the fact I’m doing another Johnny Cash story (there’s the film, you know, the documentaries and the books and all that juicy chatter about The Oscars), I decided to check my website stats. (I differentiate here between my personal website and the Weekender website, where most of my articles have their first online run after print, thus stats to which I don’t have access.) I didn’t question interest in the Man in Black or how sexy Joaquin Phoenix would be saying “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” — of course there’s interest in that, what with “Walk the Line” and all — but to see if there’d been any interest showing up on my website for one of my recent articles on Cash. (Heck, isn’t every journalist writing about J.C. right now?) But did they visit my site? Did they read my article on Hugh’s book?

(With a big gulp here) — SURPRISE!! And a big Thank You to Hugh Waddell, author of “I Still Miss Someone,” Hugh’s brilliant, insightful, heart-tugging and fabulous tribute book to J.C. with more than 40 individual tribute chapters from some of “John’s” closest friends. (If you were a close friend, you’d know why it’s John and not Johnny. And if because I call him J.C. it gives away I wasn’t a close [sniffle] personal friend, so what?)

I mean, we’re talking tributes by Cash’s daughter Cindy Cash, his son John Carter Cash, Luther Fleaner, W.S. Holland, Merle Kilgore, Lou Robin, Bob Wootton, his #1 fan Dennis Devine (from Iowa, yeah!) and many more, and that’s not even counting the beautifully written forward by the Rev. Billy Graham and his wife Ruth.

Okay, so the big question: did they or didn’t they? Well, I may not be the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune, but for a year-old website still in its infancy, I didn’t think 941 hits to Hugh’s story — in October alone — was too shabby. And here it is, only Nov. 19, and already 1446 hits for November! And these were just to the story on Hugh’s book, not counting the hits to the J.C. images that accompanied the story. (Special thanks here to Michelle Brown at Cumberland Publishing.)

(Between you and me, I think I’m developing a close relationship with Cumberland — on Monday I’ll be interviewing Earl Hamner, Jr. [yes – The Waltons‘ Earl Hamner, Jr.] as well as James Person, author of the new bio, “Earl Hamner: From Walton’s Mountain to Tomorrow” — and yes, also published by Cumberland.)

Like I said, I’m not USA Today or People Magazine, but the highest number of hits I’d had before in any one month for one specific story were within the 300-mark, so to have over 1440 hits in less than a month just to read that one article is truly a big deal to me. And (in case you haven’t guessed) Hugh’s book is a big deal to me; it’s simply phenomenal, and Nope — I’m not receiving a dime for promoting it here. It’s just one of those must-have books if you’re a Johnny Cash fan. Or, if you’re not and know someone who is, I think you know your way to and also know the number of days until Christmas…

Oh, and when you leave your review on, make sure to include your shoe size and hometown. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Parting thoughts (solicitations?): on Nov. 24, be sure to check back and read my article (under my Author Interviews) on Peggy Knight’s three books on Johnny and June and Mother Maybelle, as well as comments on the film. You Cash fans know who Peggy is. I’ll also have more JC photos and some “Devine” comments from Johnny’s #1 fan.

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