Axios Des Moines

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February 07, 2024

Hi there, Wednesday.

🌀 Weather: Mostly cloudy with a high of 61°.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Des Moines member Michael Morain!

Today's Smart Brevityβ„’ count is 634 words β€” a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: City questions Hy-Vee's chopped hours

The main Court Avenue entrance at the downtown Hy-Vee has been closed for weeks, directing customers to its rear or side entrances. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Hy-Vee's abrupt cut in operating hours at its downtown Des Moines store this week potentially violates a development agreement with the city, per records obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The city government provided millions of dollars in incentives for a "full-service grocery store" β€” the only one downtown β€” when it opened in 2017.

  • Deputy city manager Matt Anderson tells Axios the store is essential for downtown's growing population.
  • Some of Hy-Vee's financial incentives are over a 15-year period.

State of play: Hy-Vee posted notes on its doors Monday announcing new daily store hours are 8am-6pm.

  • But a development agreement with the city requires the downtown store be open daily from 6am-11pm β€” a seven-hour difference.

Zoom in: Theft and loitering have become a problem at the store with police being called there more than 200 times in the last six months, Hy-Vee spokesperson Tina Potthoff tells Axios.

  • The changes are to ensure safety of customers and employees, she says.

Plus: The number of customers served in early morning and evening hours has significantly decreased at the store since the pandemic because more people now work from home, Potthoff says

Flashback: Hy-Vee announced plans in 2021 to convert the store into a HealthMarket but indefinitely tabled the idea after the proposal was not well received by customers and city officials.

What they're saying: The city's economic development department hadn't received a formal request to amend the contract as of yesterday.

  • The city has contacted developer Knapp Properties to initiate conversations with Hy-Vee, Anderson says.

How it works: DSM generally tries to work with businesses for an agreeable solution before issuing written notices.

  • Hy-Vee would have 45 days to take corrective actions if a notice is formally issued, city spokesperson Devin Perry tells Axios.

Of note: The city occasionally rescinds tax incentives to companies that do not follow through on economic development promises, including Wells Fargo, which recently announced it's leaving some of its DSM locations.

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2. Charted: You need more sleep

😴 Share of adults getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, on average
Data: Apple Heart and Movement Study; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Most Iowa adults aren't getting enough sleep.

Why it matters: Operating without enough zzz's can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

By the numbers: About 68% of Iowa adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night, according to a study that tracked the sleep of Apple Watch users from February to June 2022.

Between the lines: Apple users might not reflect the general population, but the "fact that we don't get enough sleep [is] clear across the board," says Karin Johnson, a sleep medicine specialist and professor of neurology in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The bottom line: Stress, especially for employees in demanding jobs like health care, can cause a reduction in sleep, NPR reports.

  • More adults are also living longer and chronic disease and ailments may keep them awake.

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3. The Ear: The tortured corn-ets department

We had to make a Taylor Swift reference. Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ A bill legally defining "man," "woman" and "sex" advanced in the Iowa Legislature yesterday, despite opponents saying it will result in "LGBTQ erasure." (Des Moines Register)

πŸ“š Ankeny schools is offering a "transitional kindergarten" program for the first time, giving kids an additional year to develop skills before starting kindergarten. (WHO-13)

❀️ Community members are writing letters of encouragement to every Hoover High School student before they take their standardized tests in April. (KCCI)

😈 The Satanic Temple of Iowa says a proposed bill banning all satanic displays from public buildings is unconstitutional. (WHO-13)

Thanks for the pun, Nicole Wiegand!

4. Where's Jason?

This should stump y'all! Last week I made it waaaay too easy. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

πŸ’ Hit reply and correctly guess Jason's location 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.

🀝 Helping hand: Johnston school board member Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, who was hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare vertigo, is fundraising to help pay her medical expenses.

This newsletter was edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Lucia Maher.