May 28, 2021

๐ŸŽ– It's Friday, nearly the start of Memorial Day weekend. We're excited about:

Today's Smart Brevity count is 877 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

๐Ÿ•น1 big thing: DSM's new esports league

Illustration: Aรฏda Amer/Axios

Des Moines is launching a new summer esports league starting in July, city officials announced this week.

The big picture: Esports is a big deal. The billion-dollar industry is projected to grow by 400% in the next six years, according to Data Bridge Market Research.

  • Video game usage skyrocketed during the pandemic, and with streaming services like Twitch gaining popularity, the trend isn't expected to slow down.
  • Esports has also carved space in college sports. Just look at Grand View University, the first in our state to launch a varsity esports program that the school says has "exponentially" grown in players ever since.

Why it matters: It could open up opportunities for future investment in our city.

  • Members of the city's Park Board said this week that they'd consider a partnership between the city league and Grand View in the future.
  • It could even open doors for DSM to host big national events. I mean hey, we did it with skateboarding.

Details: Standard registration for the summer league begins Tuesday and costs $30.

  • There are leagues for ages eight and up, starting the week of July 11 and lasting six weeks.
  • To play, you need your own console/computer and gaming account.
  • The games: Madden NFL 21, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.

What to watch: The Des Moines Gaming Club, a new gaming business that will also offer virtual reality, is opening in the coming weeks inside Southridge Mall.

  • It'll have leagues, tournaments, casual play hours and watch parties.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Our thought bubble: Way cool. DSM's forward-thinking helps explain why we were ranked among the top park systems in the nation yesterday.

  • Esports wasn't a factor in the Trust for Public Land's ParkScore index, but it should be!

2. Worker shortage puts wet towel on pool season

Waterslides at Teachout Aquatic Center from earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Fletcher/DSM Parks and Recreation

Memorial Day weekend means it's time to make some waves. And good news, Teachout Aquatic Center opens tomorrow.

  • Regular pool hours at Teachout and DSM's other four public pools begin June 5.

Yes, but: Wading and splash pools will be rotationally closed this season due to a worker shortage.

  • Only five of 24 pool attendant positions have been filled, Ben Page, the city's Parks and Rec director, told his board this week.
  • The city might boost the max pay for that gig from $10.13 to $12 an hour, Page told Jason. Sorry youngins, you gotta be at least 16.

What to watch: If staffing levels dip, it's possible public pools and aquatic centers will also be placed on a rotational operation, Page said.

  • Want a summer job? Apply here.
  • Talk with recruiters at Teachout each day this weekend from open until 3pm

๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ Teachout's MDW hours: Sat.: 11:30am-6pm; Sun.: 1-5pm; Mon.: 1-6:30pm.

3. Your Memorial Day weekend plans

Thank you to Axios DSM reader Tanner Mote for sharing these pictures of awesome strawberries you can see at Des Moines City Hall. Photo courtesy of Tanner Mote

Not sure what to do this weekend? We've got ideas:

๐Ÿฒ The Dragon Slayer, Adventureland's newest rollercoaster, opens Saturday at 10am.

๐ŸŽ  The Heritage Carousel at Union Park is opening for the season Saturday. Rides are only 50ยข. Details here.

๐ŸŒฑ Join Black Families Day at the DSM BLM Farm Saturday. Families will learn how to farm and some gardening basics. Details here.

๐ŸŒบ Cheese Bar and Lua Brewing are hosting a luau to kick off the summer this Sunday. Tickets are $30. Details here.

๐Ÿฎ Blank Park Zoo is hosting its Wild Lights event this weekend, featuring 35 "larger-than-life" animal-shaped Asian lanterns. Tickets are $20. Details here.

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ Hop on your bike and join a party ride from Bondurant along the Chichaqua Valley Trail Sunday. Registration is $30. Details here.

4. ๐Ÿฅ Up your ramen game

A bowl of ramen Linh made using ingredients from C-Fresh Market in DSM. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Instant ramen doesn't need to be a sad college meal.

  • With our wealth of Asian grocery stores in Des Moines, it's time to level-up and improve your ramen game.

Linh likes to shop at C-Fresh Market for her ingredients, but any Asian grocery store will do.

1. Pick your instant noodle base

At C-Fresh, there's literally a whole aisle with everything from extra spicy ramen to chicken cheesy flavoring.

  • I like Shin Raymun or Buldak.
Buldak instant ramen
I am this little chicken dude. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

2. Try an Asian vegetable

Asian vegetables are nutritionally dense and often a little mustardy and bitter. They're perfect for soup.

  • Also, the mushroom section at C-Fresh is stellar. I like to cut these bad boys in half and pop them on.
Enoki mushrooms from C-Fresh
Enoki mushrooms from C-Fresh. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

3. Chinese sausage

Chinese sausage is delicious and savory-sweet. Cut some up and throw them into your water while it's boiling.

  • If you pan fry them, pop them into water first.
Chinese sausage at C-Fresh
Chinese sausage from C-Fresh. Around $7-8. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Linh's favorite combo: Coconut milk base, Shin Raymun Black, sausage, mushrooms, green veggies, egg at the end and a warm slice of melty American cheese.

5. Restoring our memorials

One of the limestone monuments in Woodland Cemetery that was reset and cleaned as part of a multi-year repair program. Photo courtesy of the city of DSM

DSM will spend $85K to fix about 1,000 tombstones at Woodland Cemetery in the coming fiscal year, according to a plan approved this week.

Why it matters: The historically significant cemetery has many monuments from the early 1800s in disrepair with no living relatives to fix them.

Flashback: Des Moines began Woodland restoration efforts in 2017, and more than 4,500 monuments have been reset.

Worthy of your time: Tomorrow is the opening celebration of Woodland History Quest, a new interactive cemetery program we told you about earlier this week.

  • โฐ Check it out: 9:30am, 2019 Woodland Ave.

6. Your thoughts on a recent headline

A pothole on Grand Avenue in downtown Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

We asked: What roads do you dread commuting again?

You answered:

  • "Ingersoll, it's bad!" โ€” June Johnson, Johnston
  • "Fleur Drive" โ€” Chris Irvine, Des Moines
  • "Hickman Road in Waukee" โ€” Denise Dornbier, Adel
  • "The area of University from MLK to 2nd Ave. Lots of potholes, feels not safe for pedestrians in the area, feels underserved" โ€” Rachel Ng, Des Moines
  • "When there's new-fallen snow or ice on the streets, the MLK hill between Ingersoll and I-235 is horrific and impacts the whole area, even into downtown" โ€” Denise Rathman, Des Moines

๐Ÿ‘€ Watch out, Gov. Reynolds: Auditor Rob Sand isn't running for a congressional seat but he's still mulling over a go for your gig, our friends at the Carroll Times Herald report.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ To all our readers whose loved ones have given their lives defending our nation, our hearts go out to you in gratitude.

  • We'll return Tuesday. Thank you for reading.