Axios Des Moines
May 04, 2021
Hey buds, it's Tuesday! High today is 66.
💉 ⚾️ 👩🌾Vaccine alert: Play ball! Hy-Vee is offering COVID-19 shots at the Iowa Cubs game today and at the Downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday.
- Remember when we didn't even know when those events would return?
Today's Smart Brevity count: 849 words, a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Des Moines' chain wish list
A couple weeks ago, we asked what store or restaurant you wanted in Des Moines.
- Hundreds of you responded and the #1 answer was overwhelmingly Ikea — but after that, it was a mixed bag!
The state of play: Big factors that play into location decisions for retailers and restaurant owners are population density and the distance people are willing to drive.
- Companies don't want to cannibalize an existing spot, but they also don't want to miss possible revenue.
Why Ikea isn't here: We're 700,000+ strong here in the Des Moines metro, but that's not even close to the two million Ikea requires before considering opening in a city.
- There are certain distances people are willing to drive for particular stores and, sadly, it's clear: We're willing to go 2.5+ hours to the nearest one in Kansas City.
A hot take from a survey taker: "More mom and pop places and variety. Chain stores and restaurants are numbingly boring."
Check out the rest of the top 5 (Topgolf, Portillo's, Crate and Barrel and Shake Shack) to find out if your dream will be coming true anytime soon.
2. 💧 Ask Axios: Why does our water taste nasty?
Got a question about our city? Hit reply and ask away.
Question: My DSM water has started to taste like dirt the last few days. Am I the only one? Or is this a spring water run-off issue? — Jessica Lown, Des Moines
Answer: DSM Water Works has received multiple calls about the problem, CEO Ted Corrigan told Axios.
- A taste issue was detected early last week and treatment adjustments were made, which should make it fade in a few days, Corrigan added.
What's happening: Our water comes from the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers and its quality changes constantly.
- Treating for taste and odor in the water is challenging. Changes are made in the treatment process as issues are detected.
- "Turning river water into drinking water through this range of dynamic changes is both an art and a science," according to Corrigan.
Don't worry: The water is safe to drink and has met all state and federal regulations.
3. Des Moines' new Pride flag
Des Moines' iconic red, white and blue flag just got a makeover in time for June, which marks Pride month.
- Flag of Des Moines, which spearheaded a grassroots campaign that successfully brought back the city's flag in 2019, teamed up with local organizations to create the flag.
- They partnered with Capital City Pride, One Iowa and Black Liberation Movement on the project.
In the original flag, the blue represents the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers; white represents the Walnut, Grand and Locust Bridges and the red represents Des Moines' "passionate" residents.
- The Pride version incorporates 11 colors to represent LGBTQ folks.
- 15% of each purchase will be split between the three organizations.
4. The Ear: Your daily stalk report
- Des Moines resident Greg Abel is in line to take over as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway even though 90-year-old billionaire Warren Buffett has no immediate plans to retire. (CNBC)
- EPA administrator Michael Regan will today tour the 43-acre toxic site Des Moines is cleaning as part of a proposed $60 million downtown soccer stadium project.
- Meredith Corp. is selling its 17 television stations to Gray Television Inc. for $2.7 billion. The Des Moines-based company will focus on expanding its print and digital magazines. (AP)
- Sam Clovis is suing a Sioux City hospital, alleging malpractice linked with spinal cord damage. Clovis was a candidate in the 2014 Republican Senate primary. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
- Sexually transmitted diseases were up in 2020 despite a drop in testing. (WOI-TV)
(Thanks for the corn pun, Jo dee Stewart of Ankeny.)
5. Where "Des Moines" comes from
We shared with you a few weeks ago that Des Moines in French means "The Monks."
- While that may be true — the etymology of how "Des Moines" came to be is a complicated one.
The backdrop: Michael McCafferty, a linguist at Indiana University, wrote in 2015 that Des Moines originally derives from "Moingona" — a tribe that lived north of the Des Moines River.
- From there, French explorers and early mapmakers named the river based off the tribe, thus "Riviere des Moingoana."
- A game of translating telephone got it to "River de Moyen" — literally, an average river.
- After additional etymological mishaps, it ultimately became "River des Moines" — "of the monks."
Fun fact: Not only does the history of Des Moines' name derive from being "average," but the name of the original tribe may actually mean "one has s--t on his face," McCafferty wrote.
- As French explorers were covering new ground, the neighboring Peoria tribe told them about the nearby "Moingona" tribe.
- But the name they shared may have actually been a way to insult the Moingona, as a way to get the French to trade with them instead.
😇 So surprise! We're average monks with s--t on our faces.
6. First look at a new fair venue
The Elwell Family Park will open on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in time for this year's tractor pull competitions on Aug. 17 and 18, officials announced yesterday.
- Construction recently began on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds.
- Donors Denny and Candy Elwell pledged two million dollars for the park.
What to expect: It’ll have permanent seating for 2,100 this year. Future phases will expand the seating to 6,000.
- Monster truck, rodeo and barbecue competitions are among its intended future uses.
Now hiring: 5 top job openings in Des Moines
If you’re on the hunt for a new job, here are 5 to get you started.
- Agile Product Owner at TalentBridge
- Executive Sales Leadership at Heartland
- Senior Market Manager at MKTG
- Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company (F&G)
- Senior DevOps Architect at Amazon Web Services
Looking for a specific industry? Let us know what you’d like to see.
Hiring? Post a job.
🍔 🚫 The top-10 list of Iowa's best burgers leaves out one particular place — the Des Moines metro!
- If you had to pick one of our city's best burger spots to highlight in the state, who would you tout? We'll share them later this week.
Thanks for reading!