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Linh Ta
1 hour ago - News

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits John Deere strikers

Tom Vilsack meets with a John Deere striker.
Dennis Green (left), a UAW member, speaks with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the picket line, Oct. 20. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he's willing to speak with Deere & Co.'s CEO to make sure he "understands and appreciates" the importance of resolving the historic strike happening at its factories.

Driving the news: Vilsack briefly visited the picket line at the John Deere factory in Ankeny Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's added layer of pressure for Deere leaders to offer a contract union leaders can agree with — this time, from the Biden administration.

Des Moines office rental prices see dramatic drop

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Office rental asking prices in downtown Des Moines this year fell by more than 35% from pre-pandemic levels, according to the most recent data from CBRE.

  • It was $13.99 per square foot in the first quarter of this year, down from $21.62 in 2019, per the commercial real estate firm's data.

Why it matters: The lower prices could help position DSM as an attractive place for business growth, said Greg Edwards, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.

  • Yes, but: It could also dent the tax base and make local governments struggle.
Linh Ta
2 hours ago - Food and Drink

Des Moines' East Village is getting a new bar for vinyl listening

The former location of Dobre at 503 E Locust St. in Des Moines.
Do Not Disturb is moving into the former location of Dobre at 503 E Locust St, Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

A new, intimate cocktail bar is opening in the East Village this holiday season.

  • Do Not Disturb is a chill hangout space where you can listen to vinyl all nightlong, said Nick Tillinghast, a partner with Des Moines Does Things. It's inspired by Japanese listening bars.

PDM Precast plans $10 million expansion in Des Moines

A photo of PDM Precast in Des Moines.
PDM Precast plans a $10 million expansion at this site on DSM's southeast side next year. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

PDM Precast will launch a $10 million expansion on Des Moines' southeast side next spring, Matt McAllister, the company's chief administrative officer, told Axios this week.

Why it matters: It's another indication that Des Moines' "economic revitalization and goods movement" is on the right path.

Linh Ta
Oct 20, 2021 - COVID

Removing barriers to vaccinate Polk County's immigrants and refugees

People getting vaccinated at EMBARC'S vaccine clinic.
EMBARC holds a clinic with Vineyard Church in Des Moines in May 2021. Photo courtesy of EMBARC

Vaccine hesitancy is holding back Iowa's ability to reach a meaningful immunization level, but one way Polk County is making headway is through outreach with immigrant and refugee populations.

Why it matters: As of 2018, at least 9% of Polk County's population of nearly 500,000 people are immigrants or refugees.

  • They're a big part of our community, but they face unique obstacles to getting vaccinated, such as misinformation and language barriers.
Jason Clayworth
Oct 20, 2021 - News

Des Moines-area public high schools, ranked

Data: U.S. News; Table: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

West Des Moines' Valley High School was recently ranked as the top public high school in the metro, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Why it matters: The rankings assess how schools are doing, and they can help direct resources for improvement.

Linh Ta
Oct 20, 2021 - News

See your words on Iowa Transportation Department's big screens

Two messages encourage safe driving on Iowa DOT highway boards.
The Iowa DOT shares messages like this on highways across the state. Image courtesy of IDOT

The Iowa Department of Transportation's highway message boards are some of our most visible screens in the metro — and your words could soon be up there.

After nearly eight years of no repeated messages, the IDOT said it's running out of ideas for its boards that encourage safe driving.

  • Who could forget zingers like "Get your head out of your apps"?

How you can help: If you're a bit punny, submit your suggestions here.

Iowa Democratic Party chair reports racist threats after Trump op-ed

A headshot of Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Democratic Party

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn is speaking out about threats he's received — including one that referenced lynching — in response to his recent op-ed criticizing former President Donald Trump.

Why it matters: The escalation of harassment of public servants and political figures in recent years makes it challenging to bridge differences and resolve problems, the state representative from Ames said Tuesday.