Axios Des Moines
September 28, 2023
💩 Smell something in the air?
- Waukee officials say it's farmers laying down manure during harvest season.
Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 805 words — a 3-minute read.
1 big thing: Better with age
America's favorite dating reality show "The Bachelor" launches a new spin-off tonight featuring older adults called "The Golden Bachelor."
Driving the news: Iowa native Gerry Turner, 72, is the star of the show. He's seeking a second chance at love after his wife died from a sudden illness in 2017.
- Turner, who previously lived in Davenport, will flirt, date and visit "fantasy suites" as 22 women in their 60s-70s court him.
- He now lives in Indiana and was not made available for comment.
Why it matters: The show puts older adults dating on prime-time television.
- "We need to be able to normalize looking for a partner or looking for intimacy at any age," Nancy Morrow-Howell, a professor specializing in aging at Washington University in St. Louis, tells Axios.
By the numbers: Among Americans over 75, 58% of women and 28% of men have experienced the death of a spouse in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — making this stage of life particularly difficult for older adults.
State of play: Barriers for older adults seeking romantic partners include shrinking social circles and medical conditions that can challenge the "normal picture of a sexual relationship," Morrow-Howell says.
Yes, but: Society has reached a better point where we can acknowledge older people as "sexual beings," she says, including recognizing intimacy goes beyond sex.
- There are also more opportunities for older adults to "re-partner" later in life if they lose a spouse, she says. About 14% of adults ages 60-69 say they've used an online dating app, according to Pew Research Center.
What they're saying: "Older adults are just people that have gotten older and as much as anybody, want intimacy and want a companion and want somebody that they can count on when they're sick," Morrow-Howell says."Who doesn't?"
How to watch: "The Golden Bachelor" airs tonight on ABC at 7pm.
2. Iowa's obesity ticks up
Around 37.4% of Iowa adults were considered obese in 2022 — up from 36.4% the previous year, according to a report by non-partisan health advocacy group Trust for America's Health.
Why it matters: Iowa's obesity rates have trended upward for the last decade and underscore a host of complicated issues, such as eating and sleep patterns, lack of activity, genetics and environmental factors.
- Rural Iowans, as well as Black and Latino Iowans, experience higher rates of obesity, according to the report.
- These populations are also more likely to endure food insecurity, transportation barriers and lower access to medical and nutritional care.
State of play: Iowa is tied with Arkansas as the 12th most obese state in the country.
- All of Iowa's neighbors are ranked lower.
The intrigue: SNAP, the federal program that can help lower-income families afford more nutritional food, is one way that helps populations more prone to obesity.
Yes, but: The study points out that Iowa passed legislation this year tightening its rules on SNAP and requiring asset tests, potentially kicking off thousands of recipients.
3. Charted: Working moms
A greater share of DSM metro-area women who recently gave birth remain part of the workforce as compared to U.S. overall percentages, per new Census data.
State of play: Motherhood can knock women out of the labor force, at least temporarily — slowing careers and contributing to gender pay gaps, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.
By the numbers: Almost 74% of DSM women who gave birth in the previous 12 months were in the labor force as of 2022, per the latest American Community Survey.
- That's down three percentage points from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. percentage last year was 66.6%, a national decade-plus high-water mark.
4. The Ear: A news maize shortcut
🤐 Bruce Rastetter, the Iowa agriculture mogul behind a pending pipeline proposal, will not be required to testify during its permit proceedings. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
🚔 A Des Moines Transportation Safety Committee member who was arrested for allegedly vandalizing 15 law enforcement vehicles at the Iowa-ISU game resigned this week, Mayor Frank Cownie tells Axios.
🫒 The Stuffed Olive is moving into 216 Court Avenue after outgrowing its space. (Business Record)
🛑 Videos allegedly showing two DSM middle school girls assaulting a classmate during a June sleepover were recently posted on social media, resulting in threats against the alleged perpetrators. (WHO-13)
🎬 The vacant Cobblestone Cinemas in Urbandale was purchased this month by a Florida company that's involved with fitness systems. (Business Record)
⭐️ Today's headline maker: Cheryl Benson of Oskaloosa.
On the job hunt?
💼 Check out who's hiring on our Job Board.
- Deputy Chief of Team for Operations, INL Justice Sector Assistance Project, West Bank at Tetra Tech.
- Director - National Assurance Technical Group - GASB Focus at Clifton Larson Allen.
- Chief Communications Officer at City of Des Moines.
Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.
Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.
5. 🕵️ Where's Jason?
📬 Hit reply and correctly guess the location where Jason is located and we'll add you to a drawing for a free Axios shirt!
- Check back tomorrow for the answer and a story about this spot.
🍁 Today's the last day of the Valley Junction Farmers Market for the year.
- The downtown Des Moines market continues through October.
Today's newsletter was edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Lucia Maher.