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Jason Clayworth
3 hours ago - News

Iowa and Polk County officials raise alarm about missing emails

An illustration of an email vanishing.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of government emails have been reported missing or unreadable by Iowa and Polk County officials recently, according to court documents and interviews conducted by Axios.

Why it matters: The lost records have compromised investigations linked with child abuse and extortion, Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin and Supervisor Matt McCoy said in separate interviews Tuesday.

Linh Ta
3 hours ago - News

Meet the Iowa designer behind some of JoJo Siwa's colorful style

Two side-by-side photos of a Tanner Lee standing with his arms stretched by his designs.
Tanner Lee. Photos courtesy of Tanner Lee

Pop star Jojo Siwa's signature rainbow style is hard to miss.

  • And many of the 18-year-old LGBTQ icon's designs were created by someone right here in Iowa.

Driving the news: Tanner Lee, 26, is a full-time landscaper in Bellevue. But in his free time, the self-made graphic designer is drawing up giant colorful decals and even painting customized Gucci bags for Jojo Siwa and her "Dancing with the Stars" partner, Jenna Johnson.

Jason Clayworth
3 hours ago - News

Des Moines firefighters see rise in calls amid worker shortage

Data: Des Moines Fire Department; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Calls to the Des Moines Fire Department have increased by nearly 50% in the last decade.

  • EMS accounted for about 65% of the nearly 31,000 calls last year.

Why it matters: The increase in calls comes as the city struggles to fill a firefighter shortage that's costing Des Moines thousands of dollars in weekly overtime.

Mad Meatball returns to Des Moines

Mad Meatball's signature sub.
Jason got reacquainted last night with Mad Meatball’s signature sandwich. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Mad Meatball reopened in its new spot in Des Moines Tuesday.

Flashback: The popular pizzeria and sub shop closed its East Village spot in 2019 with plans to reopen at LINC at Gray's Station the following spring.

Jason Clayworth
Jan 25, 2022 - News

Dakota Access Pipeline hurt Iowa crop yields, study shows

A photo of the Dakota Pipeline project through an Iowa field.
Keokuk County farmer Steve Roquet says this picture shows how some of the most fertile topsoil in his field was in 2016 buried feet underground as part of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photo courtesy of Steve Roquet

Iowa's soil in the right-of-way of the Dakota Access Pipeline is still recovering roughly six years after the project was installed.

Why it matters: Three companies are proposing new pipeline projects that would cross Iowa to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilizer plants.

  • Environmental impacts and the future of agriculture in the area are under debate.

Nina's Tacos cooks up unique birria dishes in Des Moines

A plate of quesa tacos from Nina's Tacos in Des Moines.
Jason's plate of quesa tacos. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Nina's Tacos opened late last year and its atypical menu — along with the story behind the restaurant — make it worthy of a visit.

State of play: A year ago, Nina Tejeda, a single mom of four children, was working three jobs, she told Axios.

  • Her homemade tacos were popular among friends, who last year convinced her to buy a food truck and launch a business.
  • She made enough money from a few festivals to quit her other jobs and open her new, permanent spot.
Jason Clayworth
Jan 25, 2022 - News

Polk County supervisor proposes tax rebate for low-income seniors

Illustration of a collection of checks with the shadow of a hand with a pen looming over one of them
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Polk County's portion of property taxes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities would be rebated under a proposal Supervisor Matt McCoy announced Sunday.

Why it matters: It could mean hundreds of dollars in savings a year for roughly 20,000 homeowners.

Jason Clayworth
Jan 24, 2022 - News

Scoop: Red Bull Soapbox Race is coming to Des Moines

A photo of a soapbox racing down the steps of the Iowa Capitol.
Red Bull Soapbox officials have considered hosting a DSM event for several years, testing this small-scale version at the Capitol in March of 2020. Photo courtesy of Ryan Taylor/Red Bull content pool

Red Bull Soapbox Race — promoted as "the world's wildest downhill” competition — is coming to Des Moines on June 18, organizers told Axios.

Why it matters: The races have attracted tens of thousands of spectators in places like Los Angeles and Hong Kong. This will be Red Bull's first competition in Iowa.

  • At least 25,000 people are expected to attend the Des Moines races, with an economic impact of $1 million, Greg Edwards, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, told Axios.