When Delta Airlines began layoffs after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, aircraft mechanic Seth McKenzie prepared for unemployment. The career change took him from Atlanta to Ottumwa, where the father of four studied at Indian Hills Community College to become a nurse. McKenzie and his family of six plan to stay in Iowa. He even recruited his brother, Micah McKenzie, from Salt Lake City to study nursing. "In Iowa, the cost of living here has been really a good thing. Housing's very affordable. A lot of people have been great to us. We've been really involved in the community. We've really enjoyed our time here. I'm not going to jump and leave when I'm done." Des Moines Register, March 14, 2007.
The southeast region of Iowa is bordered by the winding Mississippi River valley on the east, Lake Rathbun and the rolling hills of Iowa to the west, the Interstate 80 corridor on the north, and the Iowa/Missouri state line to the south.
The University of Iowa in Iowa City is located within this region, offering professional training in medicine, dentistry and law; schools of liberal arts and business; and Big 10 sports and cultural events.
The Quad Cities metropolitan area; the Mississippi River towns of Muscatine, Burlington, Fort Madison and Keokuk; the seven authentic German villages of the Amana Colonies; and the quaint yet progressive communities of Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant share this sector of the state. Along the Des Moines River valley, riverboat ports from the mid-1800s are renovated as artist colonies and historic preserves, known to locals and visitors alike as the Villages of Van Buren.
The southeast Iowa region covers 20 of Iowa’s 99 counties, including: Appanoose, Cedar, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Lucas, Mahaska, Monroe, Muscatine, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington and Wayne.