Linh Ta
10 hours ago - News

Haunted houses face lumber, microchip shortages

An actor with a bird mask from Slaughterhouse haunted attraction
An actor from the Slaughterhouse Haunted Attraction in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Slaughterhouse

Here's a frighteningly real scenario: Operators of haunted houses, which heavily rely on now-scarce construction materials, had to pay premium prices to build their attractions or they weren't able to open at all.

State of play: High-lumber prices stalled construction for Zombie Hollow in Winterset this past spring. The operator told KCCI that they faced quadruple the typical costs.

  • Meanwhile, padding material that Merlyn Linn uses for Linn's Haunted House jumped from a couple bucks to $28 a piece, he told Axios.
  • And immersive attractions that rely on microchips and computers for motion-sensor lights, sound and animatronics struggled sourcing materials, said Ian Miller, owner of The Slaughterhouse Haunted Attraction.
Jason Clayworth
10 hours ago - News

Ask Axios: What can and can't I recycle?

An illustration of a hanger shaped like a recycling sign.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Recycling etiquette is at the top of some of your minds after our story last week about Des Moines homeowners who lost their recycling privileges this year.

  • We turned to Des Moines Public Works director Jonathan Gano and sanitation administrator Jo Ferrell to answer your questions.
Jason Clayworth
Oct 14, 2021 - News

Iowa's health report card

Illustration of a wrench turn a red cross
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa lost ground on 95 of the more than 250 measures used to track our progress meeting health goals as part of a five-year statewide initiative, according to a recent report.

  • Yes, but: We improved in 138 measures. (23 haven't changed.)

Why it matters: The initiative is part of a public health benchmark that sets the state's agenda for helping Iowans live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

  • Its results influence how state resources and grants are allocated.
Jason Clayworth
Oct 13, 2021 - News

Majority of Iowa children under age 6 have lead in their blood

Reproduced from JAMA Pediatrics; Map: Axios Visuals

An estimated 76% of Iowa children under 6 years old had lead detected in their blood, according to a newly released study conducted between 2018 and 2020.

  • It's among the highest proportion in the nation, behind Nebraska (83%), Missouri (82%) and Michigan (78%). The national rate was about 51%.

Why it matters: There's no blood lead level that has been identified as safe in children, according to the CDC. Even low-level exposures can negatively affect IQ, behavior and academic achievement.

Linh Ta
Oct 13, 2021 - News

Developer plans townhomes to replace troubled Des Moines bar

The exterior of Des Moines' High Dive bar.
High Dive bar at 508 Indianola Road in Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

A developer is building luxury townhomes in Des Moines' southside with plans to get rid of a local bar that has troubled police.

What's happening: Adam Sieren, owner of Premier Construction Services, told Axios he's building at least 18 townhomes in the area by High Dive bar along Indianola Rd. and SW 7th St. He plans on demolishing the bar's property before the end of the year.

  • "The area has got to go," Sieren said.
Jason Clayworth
Oct 12, 2021 - News

Life expectancy improved in Iowa before COVID-19

Data: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

Iowa's life expectancy is 79.4 years, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute. That's a slight increase from 79.2 years recorded by the CDC three years ago.

  • Sioux County had the state's highest projection (83.9 years), while Montgomery had the lowest (75.8).

Yes, but: The recent report uses prepandemic data from 2017-2019, so COVID-19 and a recent spike in opioid deaths aren't yet fully reflected in the data.

Des Moines metro's $15K stormwater warning

Illustration of pattern of houses partially submerged under water
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New homebuyers are paying as much as $15,000 more on property lots due to regulations linked with a new regional stormwater plan, the Home Builders Association of Des Moines (HBA) warns.

  • Des Moines and West Des Moines are expected to consider adopting the plan in coming months.

Why it matters: The plan aims to address regional flooding by calling for stricter design standards to capture and slowly release rain. That typically means more land is needed.

  • Yes, but: The HBA says a financial analysis was never conducted and costs of implementing the plan can be excessive.

Polk County proposes bringing food trucks to Lauridsen Skatepark

Kody Tamanaha, a professional skateboarder from Hawaii, practicing at the Lauridsen Skatepark.
Kody Tamanaha, a professional skateboarder from Hawaii, practicing at the Lauridsen Skatepark. Photo courtesy of Dew Tour

One thing missing from the new Lauridsen Skatepark? Food vendors.

  • But a Polk County proposal could change that.

Why it matters: Food and fun are great teammates. Vendors and more special events could help make the venue pop.

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