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Civic Skinny

22 million pounds of manure. $50,000 in RAGBRAI seed money. 2,096 cases of gonorrhea. 1 Iowa Grammy. And a whole bunch of &’s.

3/6/2024

A recent study by innerbody.com ranked Des Moines 43rd in a list of the top 100 U.S cities with the highest sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates. The ranking came from the amount of STD cases per 100,000 people. Des Moines was listed as having 942 cases per 100,000. The report named the total number of cases of some of the high profile STDs. In Des Moines, they reported 34 cases of HIV, 3,817 of chlamydia, 2,096 of gonorrhea and 134 of syphilis. …

How are Iowans handling debt? Better than Montana, but it stops there. AWallethub.com report ranked the states with the largest personal loan debt increases based on the company’s proprietary consumer data from the third quarter in 2022 to the third quarter in 2023. The average unsecured personal loan amount in Iowa increased by 15.72%. This was the second-highest percentage increase, only behind Montana at 31.17%. Although the percent increase was big, the average unsecured personal loan amount in Iowa was only $11,142, which places the Hawkeye state 21st on the list. …

It pays to work in public administration, apparently. All Star Home analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Community Survey in 50-plus cities, and one of the key findings was the occupations with the highest median earning were lawyers and judges, which sat at $201,510. The report also found that the health care and social assistance industry has the highest employment rate, with more than 15,000 employees working in the industry. Those working in public administration also fared well. All Star Home listed the highest earning industry on average to be in public administration, with a median income of $123,669. …

Iowa produces more factory farm waste than any other state, according to an analysis by Food & Water Watch from new USDA data. Their analysis discovered that Iowa factory farms produced 109 billion pounds of waste annually, which is a 78% increase over the last 20 years. Food & Water Watch used data from the USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture that was released in February 2024. Other findings from this report include that the average factory hog farm in Iowa doubled in size from 2002-2022, meaning there’s an average of 6,868 swine per farm today, with each farm producing an average of 22 million pounds of manure annually. There are also three times as many mega dairies and five times as many factory farmed dairy cows in Iowa than there were 20 years ago. Fewer than one-third as many family-scale hog farms and dairies exist today compared to 20 years ago. …

RAGBRAI announced its route for 2024, which will trek across the southern part of Iowa with stops in Glenwood, Red Oak, Atlantic, Winterset, Knoxville, Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant and Burlington. With this new route come some financial assistance for cities, as RAGBRAI will pay incentives to overnight hosting towns in the amount of $50,000 to use as seed money to help cover costs such as coordinating stage equipment, campground amenities, volunteer shirts and printed materials, according to an email from planners in one of the overnight communities. …

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Tremaine Winfrey, known as Yung Fyre, aka Ian Rich, is a Des Moines native. Winfrey was awarded a Grammy at the 66th annual award show on Feb. 4 in Los Angeles. Winfrey won the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work producing “Barbie the Album.” The 37-year-old is a man of many hats, as the talented artist is a multi-platinum record producer, composer, lyricist and creative director. …

DART survives for another day. Kemin Industries is partnering with the struggling regional bus service to launch a new route. “Local Route 2” will serve an area southeast of downtown Des Moines twice daily, which started on Feb. 18. The route will travel from DART Central Station to the Iowa State Fairgrounds and back, with stops along Maury Street and E. 30th Street, which is close to Kemin’s global campus. The route aligns with Kemin’s work shifts, running from 5:31 to 6:40 a.m. and from 5:30 to 6:41 p.m. …

Despite cold temperatures and feet of snow, real estate metrics saw slight increases in January, according to the Iowa Association of Realtors. Home sales in Iowa increased 1% in January, with 1,685 homes sold compared to 1,669 sold in January 2023. Pending sales, however, saw the opposite, thanks, in part, to volatile weather. Pending sales fell 14.7% with 2,004 pending sales recorded in January compared to the 2,349 pending sales one year ago.

Inventory saw a minuscule increase with 2,360 new listings added in January, a 0.1% increase from 2,357. Days on the market also saw an increase of 8.3% from 48 days in January 2023 to 52 last month. The median sales price jumped 8.5% in January to $215,500 from the $191,993 median price of last year.

Closed sales for townhouses and condos increased 6.7% in January with 224 properties sold compared to 210 properties sold at the same time last year. Pending sales saw a downward swing, with a decrease of 15.5% with 289 properties pending versus the 342 pending in January 2023.

New listings declined in January. The 428 new listings represented a 8.2% decline from the 466 new listings recorded last year. Days on the market increased to 78 days in January from 63 days. Median sales price declined 0.8% to $243,000 from $245,000. …

With Kum & Go convenience stores purchased by Maverik in August of 2023, and its name up in the air due to swirling rumors despite no definitive public statement on the matter (see Ask CV), Skinny has a few questions. If, and seemingly when, Kum & Go does make the name change to Maverik, what will happen to the ampersands (&) that adorn so many stores? Some newer Kum & Go stores have giant community art structures with the symbol on their properties, and many of their store door handles are also designed with ampersands. Could the huge ampersands find their way to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, or serve as public art elsewhere? Could the ampersand door handles be given to another business in need of hundreds of new door handles? H&R Block? AT&T? F&G? A&W Root Beer? Or our choice, B&B Grocery Meat & Deli? ♦

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