Happy Thursday, DSM.

  • ☀️ It's 88° and sunny today. We're feeling 8) about it.

⚡Situational awareness: Des Moines Public Schools is closing two of its administrative offices until Monday due to positive COVID-19 cases among staff.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 849 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Thieves steal new metro e-bikes

A new BCycle station at Colby Park. Photo courtesy of BCycle

A local nonprofit running the metro's newest electric bike program has had at least $12,000 in equipment stolen this summer.

State of play: BCycle — operated by the nonprofit Street Collective — rolled out the e-bike sharing system in June.

  • People can rent e-bikes from docks around the metro for a small fee. There are currently about 55 out for public use.

What happened: In the first week of July, three batteries were stolen, each worth $450, said Mike Armstrong, Street Collective's planning and communications director.

  • The nonprofit took back the bikes and spent several thousand dollars to install new locks to prevent battery thefts.
  • The group returned them to their stations two weeks later.

But by late July, four entire e-bikes were stolen.

  • "This is not something that happened in Omaha, Madison, in our peer cities," Armstrong said. "We expected some troubleshooting and some risk, but this was pretty unexpected for us."

Between the lines: To try and prevent more thefts, Street Collective has added credit card holds on the e-bikes, but resorting to these methods adds barriers for people who want to use them, Armstrong said.

  • The $10 hold is cost-prohibitive, and adds up if someone rents multiple bikes.

The big picture: Street Collective was trying to do good in the city, but their unexpected bill puts a big stress on the small group.

  • You can help the nonprofit recuperate its losses by donating on Venmo @Street-Collective or on their site. Consider volunteering as well, or using BCycle.
A BCycle bike that's vandalized
Vandals also recently defaced a BCycle bike. Photo courtesy of Street Collective

2. One fair stop with no lines: The vax booth

Robert Wenck, 72, got a COVID-19 booster shot at the Iowa State Fair earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch

There's not much foot traffic over at the Iowa State Fair's COVID-19 vaccine booth.

  • We reviewed the Hy-Vee pharmacy booth's attendance and vaccine numbers, and found that few people are getting their shots.

By the numbers: As of Sunday, 150 people had been vaccinated at Hy-Vee's booth.

  • That equals less than .07% of the nearly 216,000 fair attendees from Friday through Sunday, the first three days the vaccines were offered.

Why it matters: Just over half (51%) of Iowans have been fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times.

What they're saying: A Hy-Vee nurse stated the obvious to the Iowa Capital Dispatch Tuesday, "We're not really changing a lot of minds."

Yes, but: They are reaching people.

  • Otley resident Arlan DeHeer, 61, got his first dose at the fair Tuesday.
  • "My arm was kind of twisted a little bit" by my family, DeHeer told the Dispatch.

Of note: Free COVID-19 vaccinations are part of multiple other state fairs this year, the AP reports.

  • In Wisconsin, 608 people were vaccinated during the fair's 11-day run.
  • At the ongoing Illinois and Indiana fairs, 156 and 304 people, respectively, had been vaccinated, as of Monday.
  • Minnesota will offer shots when the fair starts Aug. 26.

💉 Get yours: COVID-19 vaccinations are available at the Iowa State Fair daily from 10am-6pm. Hy-Vee's booth (#40050) is located between the Grand Avenue gate and the Elwell Family Food Center.

3. The Ear: Some news to leaf through

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

📈 Iowa's COVID-19 average daily cases have gone up about 60% in the last two weeks, with an average of 814 infections. (The New York Times)

📚 Find metro back-to-school plans, including pandemic-related information, all in one spot. (WOI-TV)

Another local BLM activist was found not guilty of charges related to protests last summer. She joins at least 80 other related cases that were dropped or found not guilty. (Des Moines Register)

A man who set a room on fire with his father inside was charged with attempted murder by DSM police. (KCCI-TV)

🍳 Fairgoers decided this year's best new Iowa State Fair food is the chicken egg salad with Indian fry bread from Cluck'n Coop. Read our review of it, here.

🌽 Thanks Lydia Fine of North Liberty for the pun!

4. Most Americans support masks

Percentage of adults supporting mandatory masking in schools
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Most Americans support mandating masks in schools and vaccinations to return to the workplace, and they oppose states' efforts to ban such moves, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index

  • Yes, but: The survey finds the Republican base going against the grain so disproportionately that it helps explain the defiant postures of many red-state governors, writes Axios' Margaret Talev.

And here in our area: Midwesterners were the most critical of mandates.

Go deeper: Axios-Ipsos poll — Most Americans favor mandates.

5. 1 dinner to go

(Left to right) George Lu, Jessica Bruning, Jason Clayworth and Linh Ta eat dinner at Proof! Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

We went out to dinner a few weeks ago with our Axios referral winner Jessica Bruning and her boyfriend, George Lu.

  • Jessica picked Proof as her dinner of choice and obviously, she didn't need to twist our arms.

A surprising dessert we all raved about: Charred milk custard ($12).

  • This dish is all about balance, both flavor and texture-wise. The malted milk ice cream offered a rich, mellow base, but the surprise smokiness found inside the dish amped up the sweet notes.
  • If you want to taste a smokey ice cream sundae with hints of citrus that surprisingly all works well together — this is it.
charred ice cream from proof
Charred milk custard, made of malted milk ice cream, malt cake crunch, milk jam, orange supremes and vanilla bean oil. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

A big thank you to Jessica for her help in spreading our Smart Brevity™.

📌 Scavenger hunt time: We're back with a new riddle and a chance for you to find an Axios hat!

  • 🌹 I'm somewhere near that's flowery and sweet.
  • 🥚 Hidden in an eggshell, but you can't crack me.
  • 🖼️ By a world of art you can see for free.

If you're the lucky treasure finder — hit reply and let us know!