Siouxland Magazine - Volume 3 Issue 2

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¿Qué Desafíos has

Experimentado en Siouxland?

Insights from a Wellness Coach

& a Doctor – Keeping Us Strong




Volume 3, Issue 2

By your side

to move you


We wake up every day to serve in the towns

and places you call home. We’ve expanded

our innovative care, expertise and access to

always keep you moving. Because forward

is the only direction we know.

CNOS.NET | 605-217-2667

Welcome to Siouxland Magazine

It’s in these pages we educate and inspire. Even more importantly, we

create a community that thrives on connecting with one another. At our

core, we all want to connect. When we seek to understand, by listening

more intently, we find that our relationships deepen and our community

strengthens as a result. With appreciation for the power of connection

through meaningful conversations, it only made sense to name the

b u s i n e s s Empowering Conversations.

Siouxland Magazine | strength / 3

Stacie Anderson, Owner

It all starts with a conversation; with a desire to learn;

to see things from another perspective; to seek

truth. The truth is, we have more in common than we have

differences. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say, what

brings us together is stronger than anything that divides us.

We would never want to marginalize our differences. We love the words of Audre Lorde,

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate

those differences.” We are unique in vast and complicated ways. It’s our hope that we can

come together with our unique strengths, perspectives and ideas to build a community with a

powerful narrative of “us.”

Through this humble publication, we will start having conversations. This is an ambitious and

beautifully optimistic attempt to shine light on all the things that make our community strong,

but also discuss, in a productive and compassionate manner, the challenges we face.

We are doing our small part in building a cohesive community by creating conversations

that refocus our attention on our similarities. We are bringing people together; replacing

judgment with understanding. Perspective is powerful.

We want to hear from you. At Siouxland Magazine, we feel it is imperative to understand what

the community wants and needs. Share your vision and dreams for Siouxland.

We want you to lean into the conversation and participate in the discussion.


Facebook @siouxlandmag

E m p o w e r i n g

Conversations, LLC




Complexity of Strength............................................................................................................8

Conversation About Strength...............................................................................10

Seventy Years Strong....................................................................................................12

Inclusive Peek................................................................................................................................14

Nebraska 4-H Strong..................................................................................................18

Positivity Can Strengthen Our Community.......................20

I Yam What I Yam.................................................................................................................2 1



Sit Pretty Bakery..........................................................................................................................28

LEAD With STRENGTH in Purpose ............................................30

Finding Your Strength as Entrepreneurs........................................31

How Well Do You Know Your Business? CLAIM IT!...............32

Explore Sioux City...................................................................................................................33

Feelin’ Strong....................................................................................................................................35

Building Our Own Form of Strength..................................................37

Strong Resources to Help You Succeed.......................................39

“She/He Is Strong.”.................................................................................................................40

No Struggle, No Strength.........................................................................................42

Ask the Therapist........................................................................................................................4 4

Seasonal Cycles & Your Body: Springtime is for

Liver Strengthening...................................................................................................................46

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“You have power over your mind – not outside events.

Realize this, and you will find strength.”

– Marcus Aurelius


Intentional Strength..............................................................................................................22

The Tale of Two Organizations..........................................................................24

Nurturing and Networking........................................................................................26

At our core, we all want to connect. When we

seek to understand by listening more intently, we find

that our relationships deepen and our community

strengthens as a result. That’s what our Siouxland

Magazine is all about! We can’t wait to talk to you

and truly connect with you and your audience. If

you are interested in learning more about how to

advertise with us, download the media kit on our

website at siouxlandmagazine.com. Always feel free

to reach out to us via phone, email or Facebook.

We promise to not disappoint. We’re creating a

magazine you won’t want to put down.

Want to be included in our May issue?

Contact us soon!

Deadline to reserve space is

April 12th!

Media Kit at siouxlandmagazine.com


Keeping Spirits High at The Marquee.............................................48

Body Love Warrior.................................................................................................................50

Strength in Numbers............................................................................................................52

Market Experience................................................................................................................54


You won’t want to miss...

Siouxland Magazine’s Facebook


Monday @ 7:30 pm,

Small Business Spotlight

Wednesday @ 7:30 pm,

Nonprofit Spotlight


Photography by Jetske Wauran.

Siouxland Magazine writers


Jetske Wauran,

People of

Siouxland -

Portraits of the



Dr. Cyndi Hanson,

Executive Director for

Northeast Community

College’s Extended



Stacy Orndorff,



Navigator &

Stacy O. Speaks.

Tony Michaels,

KSUX Morning

Show Host with

Candice Nash.

Michelle Lessmann,

Fully Licensed Office

Professional in Keith

Bales Office of Thrivent.

Todd Rausch,

SBDC Regional

Director at



Alex Watters,

Sioux City Council.

University of

Nebraska – Lincoln

Nebraska Extension


Up From the

Earth Leadership



Erin Bahrenfuss, Owner

STRIVE Health + Wellness

& Independent Certified


Dr. Meghan Nelson,

Licensed Physical Therapist,

Professional Yoga Therapist &

Co-owner of Lumin Therapy.

Gladys Smith,

Licensed Independent

Social Worker &

Co-founder of Soul

Creek Nature Therapy.

Grace Nordquist,



Coordinator for

Downtown Partners.

Emily Vondrak,

President for

Sioux City Growth


Peggy Smith,

Executive Director

for Leadership


Adrian Kolbo,

Host of the Webseries

Sioux City

Foodie and Local

F&B Fanatic.

Dr. Nesrin Abu Ata,

Family Medicine

Physician, Integrative

Psychiatrist & Yoga


Erika Hansen,



Resident &


Emily Larson,

Licensed Massage

Therapist & Private

Yoga Instructor.

Kari Nelson,

Graphic Designer.

Starting Conversations in our Community

Align your business with Siouxland Magazine.

Advertise your business in a publication

commited to improving our community.

Visit SiouxlandMagazine.com

And by the way…

…we want to hear from you.

Send us your stories.

Visit our website and click on article submission.

Editors Note

It’s time to celebrate strength.

The seen and unseen moments. The big and little triumphs.

Especially those moments that it was all you.

The moments where you took the next step.

Celebrate strength and recognize it in all its forms.

Siouxland Magazine | STRENGTH / 7

“A hero is an ordinary individual

who finds the strength to

persevere and endure in spite

of overwhelming obstacles.”

- Christopher Reeve

Strong is knowing when to say no or enough.

Strong is knowing when it’s time to recharge your batteries, to


Strong is knowing who you are and staying true to your values.

Strong is following your internal compass.

Strong is asking for help, at times having to borrow strength.

Strong is bravery.

Strong is being vulnerable. Staying open.

Strong is being flexible.

Strong knows when to be silent and when to speak.

Strong allows for space, to rebuild what’s torn, to internalize

before expressing.

Strong is being accountable.

Strong carries responsibility, giving more than you take.

Strong is committed, no excuses.

Strong pushes through for purpose.

Strong is putting yourself out there and facing fears. Moving in

spite of fear.

Strong is bold and beautiful.

You got this. ”

Stacie Anderson

Owner of Empowering Conversations LLC & Siouxland Magazine

Certified John Maxwell Speaker, Trainer & Coach

Passionate about Leadership & Communication

Siouxland Magazine is owned and published by Empowering Conversations, LLC. All materials contained in this magazine (including text, content, and photographs)

are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast or modified in any

way without the prior written consent of Empowering Conversations, LLC or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or

remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of this content.





Complexity of Strength

By Stacie Anderson

Where does strength come from?

Undoubtedly you’ve experienced a time in your life

when you’ve felt anything but strong.

I can’t even begin to count the times in my life when I

felt defeated, when the weight of the world was heavy,

and might I even say at times, unbearable.

Despite the challenges that each of us has experienced,

here we are, stronger for it. Although sometimes I

know it doesn’t feel that way.

“Strength doesn’t always have to roar.

Sometimes it’s a quiet whisper that tells us to

take the next step. From somewhere deep

inside we mustered up enough strength to

move forward.”

We might not always recognize it when it shows up

when we show up, but often in reflection, we see how

we’ve risen. Even if it does take someone to point it out

to us. That’s the complexity of strength - sometimes we

know when we are demonstrating it and other times

not so much. It has the ability to be subtle, showing

up in a quiet way. From being patient, restraining our

words or actions, to holding space for someone to

even letting someone else have the credit or win. There

is also the way in which at times we need to borrow

strength, leaning on someone to help us through.

While other times we lend it and give of it generously.

It is complex. Sometimes in triumphant physical

display while other times quietly evolving through

personal reflection and work. External and internal

thresholds. Resistance coming from our outer world

and from within. It takes many forms: emotional,

mental, spiritual, and physical. None of which are

independent of each other. There is a multitude of

ways that we can expand ourselves, push our limits,

and become stronger. Humans have been testing

our boundaries since the beginning. Whether we are

deliberate about strengthening exercises or it was a

result of an experience we’ve survived, in either case,

we are stronger for it.

Through adversity comes character,

resilience, and yes, strength.

We all have our own mountains to climb, but over the

last year, collectively, we faced a global pandemic. We

felt the isolation as we were encouraged to distance.




Each of us experiencing life in a new way and facing

our own set of obstacles. But we also saw strength

demonstrated in how the community came together,

showing support for one another.

Community is a powerful source of


Certainly, we all have access to something within us

that can pull us through in the darkest of hours. We

find out what we are made of during these tribulations.

Often it is in the space of nowhere else to go but up,

that we find our power source. When we are tested

and our backs are to the wall, it’s then, we find our


But sometimes the way out is too much to endure

alone. It’s in these times that we need to ask for help.

And in that, great strength is demonstrated. For too

long we’ve denied the strength and courage it takes

to ask for help. But no longer. We are evolving and

shedding what does not serve us. In other words, we

are learning our lessons. We are becoming stronger

through authentic, transparent conversation and

choosing the path that gets us results. In accepting

help, we find our strength.

On our own we are capable, but

together we are so much stronger.

The work starts with us. It takes a commitment to put

yourself out there and feel the resistance. It’s musclebuilding

- emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical.

It asks us to expand, to be willing to embrace the

process, to release the fear, or at least move in spite

of it. Sometimes we find our strength at unexpected

moments, but most of the time it comes with decision

and determination.

Commit to building strength.

Make yourself a priority. You can not give what you

don’t have. If you want to be there for others, if you

want to be generous, you have to be plentiful. Taking

time, actually prioritizing your time, so that you are

building yourself up and strengthening your resilience

is essential.

We have a responsibility to one another. We also must

be mindful that we have to love and respect ourselves.

It all comes down to love. What we love and cherish,

we protect and nurture. Love is the reason and the way.

Stacie Anderson, Owner of Empowering Conversations LLC

& Siouxland Magazine. Certified John Maxwell Speaker,

Trainer & Coach.

Photo Credit Photography by KJ

Physical strength: The ability to apply force

or resistance during a given task. To lift, move,

carry, or pull objects without hurting yourself.

Mental strength: To be able to focus over

an extended period of time, through highs

and lows, good and bad. To value your own

opinions and respect those of others and

formulating your own conclusions to questions

based upon the ability and commitment to

continued education and learning of the self.

Emotional strength: The ability to embrace

a wide array of feelings and emotions and to

transition from one response to another with

full awareness, comfort, and confidence to

allow yourself to feel and express them.

Spiritual strength: Is one’s commitment to

personal values and virtues and the commitment

to displaying them on a day-to-day basis. These

virtues should be in the best interest of the self

and of others. Respecting your own beliefs and

accepting the beliefs of others.

Justin Thomas Miller

Siouxland Magazine | strength / 10


Dr. Bennett

Conversation About Strength

This issue, our Conversation participants are Erin

Bahrenfus and Dr. Paula Bennett, M.D.. Each woman

will respond to the same five questions, providing you an

opportunity to hear different perspectives and continue

the conversation with your circle of friends.

Erin owns a healthy lifestyle business, STRIVE Health +

Wellness and operates it with her husband, Jeff. She is

certified by OPTAVIA in partnership with The MacDonald

Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (C.O.P.E.) in

the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing at Villanova


Dr. Bennett has recently been working on the frontlines

of the Covid-19 pandemic in several states and has

witnessed the devastation of the disease. She attended

York College in the City University of New York (CUNY)

where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in

Chemistry while minoring in Spanish. She obtained her

Medical Degree from the State University of New York’s

School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Buffalo—

now known as the Jacobs School of Medicine. She is

one of the founding members of the American Board of

Holistic Medicine.

Siouxland Magazine (SM): When you hear the

word “strength” what comes to mind?

Erin Bahrenfuss (EB): Strength to me is an inner grit

and discipline to do the hard and heart work to break

through barriers and embrace obstacles. It is identifying

areas of weakness and pursuing the tools, people, or

programs necessary to improve. Strength is the ability to

move forward after a setback.

We grow stronger by showing up every day and keeping

the promises we make to ourselves.

Dr. Paula Bennett (PB): My favorite definition of

strength is ‘the capacity of an object, substance, or

person to withstand great force or pressure, and with it,

possessing the emotional and mental qualities necessary

in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or

difficult’ —like those we’ve just been through and continue

to experience as a nation. It is the ability to adapt to both the

brutal and the gentle situations in which we find ourselves,

emerging transformed and improved because of it on the

other side!

Strength is flexibility. If the reed will not bend, it will break.

It is the ability to fight for what we perceive to be right—

yet having the courage to realize we might be wrong,

and the humility and strength of character to accept what

is finally revealed to be truth. To understand that on our

singular planet of 7.4-billion souls, we must learn to share,

to compromise, and to appreciate the differences that

surround us.

Strength is asking for help when our pride would dictate

otherwise, to endure with grace and dignity even whilst

homeless and on the streets, or while transitioning on

one’s deathbed with no family by your side. Strength is

recognizing where we can make a difference with our

unique gifts bequeathed to us by the Creator, and using

them to make our cooperative lives better and more joy


SM: Why have you dedicated your life to the health


PB: I have known that I would become a physician since I

was 8 years old, when my mother died. Perhaps this desire

emerged out of not understanding why my mother left my

sisters and I when we were so young. I had to be able to

figure out why, and stop it from happening to anyone else.

Even back then, I felt a strong tug within me to attend to

those ill and suffering.

In those days, growing up as a girl in Jamaica, the obvious

career choice for a girl with my conviction was to become

a nurse. However, some force compelled me to do more,

to be more. Not even my father believed I could become

a physician-healer, but I persevered, and I believed it was

my destiny.

EB: There’s a fire in my belly that desperately desires

to partner with women to create the very best version of

themselves. We all have times when we feel knocked

down, stuck, hopeless, and unhappy. In these times, we

need someone to walk with us and to believe in us, until we

believe in our own ability.

It is my mission to be that HOPE in someone’s life. I want to

prove to women it is possible to change the trajectory of

your health and to create the life you desire.

SM: What are the most difficult areas of life for you to

maintain/display strength?

EB: I struggle feeling strong when I’m experiencing

something new or when I’m in a situation where I feel

unqualified. When I’m not practicing positive self-talk, I all

too quickly stop myself, or give myself a bailout plan before

I even try. I know I have the strength to try and yet, the reality

that I could fail can cripple me from even starting.

It’s also difficult to display strength in times of vulnerability.

It’s challenging to show the world my imperfections and

insecurities. However, I know there is incredible strength

in vulnerability. It is in our vulnerability that we connect

with others and prove our authenticity. With vulnerability

comes true connection, and with true connection, growth

is possible.

PB: Changing and removing limiting beliefs has been the

most difficult area of my life to master, until recently. When

I completed Medical School and Residency, I was filled

with a great passion and conviction that the world needed

changing—and I was going to change it! People needed to

be healthier, but organized medicine’s strong foundation

is in a disease-based model. My fervent belief is that we

should focus on total well-being, rather than one disease

diagnosis after another. But it became clear that I could not

move a mountain that did not want to be moved without

help. Over time, I began to lose hope. I began to despair.

Over the last three years, I have fully embraced the

words of the 13-th century Persian poet Rumi, who wrote,

“Yesterday—I was clever, so I wanted to change the World.

Today—I am wise, so I want to change myself”. I have come

to realize that I have been as much a victim of my own

subconscious beliefs as my patients are of theirs.

SM: So many things in our world are polarized right

now – including viewpoints on pharmaceuticals or

natural remedies. In your opinion, does it have to be

an or thing? Is there room for and in strong physical


PB: I revere my practice in Integrative Medicine because it

is truly the melding of two worlds. There are components

of medicine that Western medicine has truly triumphed in

achieving, while more ancient or natural modes of healing

are unsurpassed in their ability to bring us into a place of

balance. If you’ve just had a heart attack, modern medicine

will save you acutely, more often than not. It possesses

powerful drugs and interventions in its arsenal to bring you

back from the dead—so to speak, and that is definitively

called for in those circumstances. However, once you’ve

recovered from the heart attack, using combinations of

prescription medications and herbal regimens including

adopting healthy food choices and a cadre of vitamin

supplements has been extremely successful at restoring

one to full health. Then with time, one may transition to a

purely holistic course of management.

I have had patients who have refused any pharmaceutical

drugs after their acute phase of recovery and done well

and those who have done poorly. I do believe there is room

for both pharmaceuticals and herbal regimens in today’s

practice of medicine; however, even more crucial than

starting and stopping drugs is truly engaging our patients in

the process of securing their own optimal health. They must

have knowledge and understanding of the dysfunctions

and diseases that ail them and must be allowed to be active

partners in their plan for health. Afterall, they are the true

healers of themselves.

EB: It starts with taking personal responsibility for your

health and evaluating your current reality. Then, you must

take action to choose healthy routines and habits that equip

your body with the strongest armor of defense possible.

There are also situations where medication is necessary

and should be viewed accordingly.

Ultimately, you need to be willing to have an honest

conversation with yourself and ask if changing daily habits

would improve the situation. If yes, then do that. If not or

even if for a season, medication is required to give your

body the self-care it needs, you need to be willing to do


SM: What else should our readers know about you?

EB: I am not a health expert. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

When you make a change, you don’t need an expert. You

need someone you can trust who is a little further ahead on

the journey to show you the way. I am a health advocate, a

pioneer for healthy living and I am a work-in-progress.

I am committed to my health journey and growing into the

best version of myself so that I can authentically lead others

to do the same.

PB: I am Board Certified in Family Practice and will sit for

the Board exam to the newly organized American Board

of Integrative Holistic Medicine-ABPS in May 2021. I am

divorced and live in Sioux City as an empty nester with my

two children migrating home and away to college as their

busy lives allow.

I love travelling, the study of geography, and learning about

other cultures. I have spent significant time in 46-states

and in more than 20-countries around the world. I also

enjoy cooking, singing, and dancing, as well as—writing

poetry, short stories, and journaling, which I believe is one

of the least expensive and most effective forms of selfpsychotherapy.

I am a life-long learner and truth seeker.

Photos Contributed by Erin Bahrenfus and Dr. Paula Bennett.

Siouxland Magazine | strength / 11



Cultivating Meaningful

Powerful narrative of “us”

truth seekers

Seventy Years Strong

By Jetske Wauran

It’s a very special year for Irv and Sue Givot.

This long-time local couple has not only overcome

the first year of the global pandemic, but they are

perhaps the longest living married couple in Sioux

City, Iowa. After all, they’ve been married for 69 years.

“We have done so well together,” Irv said.

Over those nearly seven decades, they had two

daughters and five grandchildren. After serving

in World War II, Irv came home and took over the

family-owned Westside Market grocery store as well.

Sue said they never really had any big arguments, nor have

they had any troubles during this pandemic except that

Irv can’t drive anymore due to health issues. “And that’s

just fine because now HyVee and Walmart deliver our

groceries,” Sue laughed.

“We get along so well. I love him with all my heart,” she

said, “And I knew at first, I would be marrying him too.”

On June 17, 2021, this Northside couple will celebrate

their 70th anniversary, at the place they say they will always

love the most: Sioux City.

“I worked there before the war. My mother ran it for

a long time, so for me it was an easy transition,” Irv

said. “It was a great 69 years. I loved work, I loved

the customers, I loved the challenges. It was the best

decision outside of my marriage with Sue.”

Irv, 97, said the keys to their marriage longevity are

love and respect for each other. “She’s so perfect.”

Irv said there was never a doubt in his mind that he

wanted to marry Sue.

Sue, 91, said she likes to spend quality time with her


“He’s always been a hard worker for our family and

he makes me feel safe.”

Irv and Sue Givot

strengthening our community

Conversations exploring perspectives

coming together

open minded

focused on common good

Hello, I’m Jetske

Wauran and I am

so excited to team

up with Siouxland


This team effort will

serve as an avenue

to share my passion

project, “People of

Siouxland - Portraits

of the Extraordinary.” I launched this project

in September 2020, in hopes of inspiring and

uplifting others in the most trying of times

especially during the pandemic. As a visual

storyteller, my mission is to connect with

people who have made a true and profound

impact in our community and write stories

about the underrepresented individuals and

hidden gems within Siouxland. You’d be

amazed by how many there are! These are

everyday people, from all backgrounds and

walks of life, that are changing our world for the

better. It is an honor to share their unique and

remarkable stories with you. Stories that are

worth encouraging, enjoying, and celebrating,

and can fill our lives with positivity.

Jetske Wauran is a professional photographer

and an Emmy award-winning journalist who

spent six and half years working as an anchor

and reporter at Siouxland News. She has

covered all types of stories from breaking

news, presidential campaigns, uplifting stories,

and much more. Jetske speaks Indonesian,

and before moving to Siouxland, she lived

in Southern California for most of her life. A

community activist, Jetske is passionate about

building bridges and creating a diverse and

inclusive community.

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 14

Inclusive Peek

By Bernice Semana

My name is Bernice Semana and I am an

international student born in Kigali, Rwanda.

I am a senior at Briar Cliff University majoring in

biochemistry with a minor in business. I will graduate

in May 2021 and will attend graduate school in the

United States.

What challenges have you experienced in


The language barrier was difficult, especially at the

beginning. Sometimes people are not understanding

that I, or other international students, come from a

different place or a different background. This can

happen for lots of reasons. It may be that the person

hasn’t had the opportunity to travel or experience

different ways of living. However, in this time in our

world we each have the responsibility to educate

ourselves. Even if travel isn’t an option, there are

many ways to learn by attending cultural events,

doing research online, and developing friendships

with people different than you.

Bernice Semana

Coming to Iowa was a very different experience. I

was awarded a scholarship to attend college here,

so I took a big risk and decided to come. Being away

from family has been difficult. Everything about my

life in college is different from what I was used to.

The teaching and learning styles in American school

are different, the perceptions people have of me

can be based on stereotypes or misinformation. I

did my best to learn about the community I am in

now, but have definitely experienced challenges in

the process. I have experienced some racism during

my time here, and it felt like I was taking two steps

forward and one-step backward.

How has Siouxland been welcoming?

The Briar Cliff University campus has been a

wonderful support group for me. There are other

international students on campus, and we support

each other. In fact, there was another student from

Rwanda that helped me during my transition to

Sioux City. There were other students that grew up

in the United States that were also helpful and have

become good friends. The staff and advisors at Briar

Cliff have also made an impact on my time here

and have encouraged me to keep working toward

my goals. There have been people in the Sioux

City community through my church and community

groups that also welcomed me and mentored me.

I have also had the opportunity to learn leadership

skills through our Women of Color organization

on campus. Together with the other women in the

group we have held educational programs, built

friendships, and supported each other.

What do you want the people of Siouxland to


The continent of Africa is a large and diverse place with

many cultures and countries. Within the continent there

are a variety of communities, cities, and rural areas. There

is a diversity of languages, traditions, ways of making a

living, and more. It is important for people to understand

that even though I am from Africa, my life is not the

same as others. It is the same as in other parts of the

world or even the United States. Each person has their

own unique story and experience. There are struggles

and triumphs that each person carries with them. I want

people to understand this diversity and take time to

educate themselves about the various people within

the community. People will benefit from developing an

understanding and appreciation for differences.

I also want the Siouxland community to know that my

family is very proud and supportive of my educational

and career goals. Even though we are a far distance

apart, they remain a big part of my life. They take every

chance they get to tell people about me and what I have

achieved at Briar Cliff. I know they are proud of me and I

want to continue to make them proud in the future.

Despite experiencing some challenges along the way,

I want the community to know that I am grateful for the

people and opportunities I have come across. Being a

leader in our Women of Color organization at Briar Cliff

has especially made a positive impact. We have done lots

of community outreach and events together. Being in the

Siouxland community has given me access to experiences

that have truly helped strengthen me as a person.

Inclusive Peek – En Espanol

Berenice Semana, es una estudiante internacional

nacida en Kigali, Ruanda. Berenice es estudiante

de ultimo año en la Universidad de Briar Cliff con

especialización en bioquímica con mención en

negocios. Bernice se graduará en mayo del 2021 y

asistirá a una escuela de posgrado en los Estados


¿Qué desafíos has experimentado en


La barrera del idioma fue difícil, especialmente al

principio. A veces, las personas no comprenden que

yo o otros estudiantes internacionales, venimos de

un lugar diferente o de una procedencia diferente.

Esto puede suceder por muchas razones. Puede

ser que la persona no haya tenido la oportunidad

de viajar o experimentar diferentes formas de vida.

Sin embargo, en este momento de nuestro mundo,

todos tenemos la responsabilidad de educarnos.

Incluso si viajar no es una opción, hay muchas

formas de aprender asistiendo a eventos culturales,

investigando en línea y desarrollando amistades

con personas diferentes a uno.

Venir a Iowa fue una experiencia muy diferente. Me

concedieron una beca para asistir a la universidad

aquí, así que tomé un gran riesgo y decidí venir.

Estar lejos de la familia ha sido difícil. Todo sobre

mi vida en la universidad es diferente a lo que

estaba acostumbrado. Los estilos de enseñanza

y aprendizaje en la escuela estadounidense

son diferentes, las percepciones que la gente

tiene de mi pueden basarse en estereotipos

o desinformación. Hice todo lo posible para

aprender sobre la comunidad en la que estoy

ahora, pero definitivamente he experimentado

desafíos en el proceso. He experimentado algo de

racismo durante mi tiempo aquí, y me sentí como

si estuviera dando dos pasos hacia adelante y un

paso hacia atrás.

¿Como ha sido la bienvenida en


El campus de la Universidad de Briar Cliff ha sido

un maravilloso grupo de apoyo para mí. Hay otros

estudiantes internacionales en el campus y nos

apoyamos mutuamente. De hecho, hubo otro

estudiante de Ruanda que me ayudo ruante mi

transición a Sioux City. Hubo otros estudiantes que

crecieron en los Estados Unidos que también me

ayudaron y se hicieron buenos amigos. El personal

y los asesores y Briar Cliff también han tenido

un impacto en mi tiempo aquí y me han animado a

seguir trabajando para lograr mis objetivos. Ha habido

personas en la comunidad de Sioux City a través de mi

iglesia y grupos comunitarios que también me dieron la

bienvenida y me guiaron. También tuve la oportunidad

de aprender habilidades de liderazgo a través de

nuestra organización Women of Color en el campus.

Junto con otras mujeres del grupo, hemos realizado

programas educativos, hemos construido amistades y

nos hemos apoyado mutuamente.

¿Qué quieres que sepa la gente de Siouxland?

El continente de África es un lugar grande y diverso con

muchas culturas y países. Dentro del continente hay una

variedad de comunidades, ciudades y áreas rurales.

Existe una diversidad de idiomas, tradiciones, formas

de ganarse la vida y más. Es importante que la gente

entienda que, aunque soy de África, mi vida no es la

misma que la de los demás. Es lo mismo que en otras

partes del mundo o incluso en Estados Unidos. Cada

persona tiene su propia historia y experiencia. Hay

luchas y triunfos que cada uno lleva consigo. Quiero

que la gente comprenda esta diversidad y se tome el

tiempo para informarse sobre las diversas personas

dentro de la comunidad. Las personas se beneficiarán

de desarrollar una compresión y una apreciación de las


También quiero que la comunidad de Siouxland sepa

que mi familia esta muy orgullosa y me apoya en mis

metas educativas y profesionales. A pesar de que

estamos muy lejos, siguen siendo una gran parte de mi

vida. Aprovechan cada oportunidad que tienen para

contarle a la gente sobre mi y lo que he logrado en

Briar Cliff. Se que estan orgullosos de mi y quiero seguir

haciéndolos sentir orgullosos en el futuro.

A pesar de pasar algunos desafíos en el camino,

quiero que la comunidad sepa que estoy agradecida

por las personas y las oportunidades con las que me

he encontrado. Ser líder en nuestra organización de

Mujeres de Color en Briar Cliff ha tenido un impacto

especialmente positivo. Hemos realizado muchos

eventos y actividades de alcance comunitario juntos.

Estar en la comunidad de Siouxland me ha dado acceso

a experiencias que realmente me han ayudado a

fortalecerme como persona.

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 15

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 16

Inclusive Peek – In Somali

Bernice Semana,waa ardayad caalami ah

kudhalatay Kigali ee wadanka Rwanda. Bernice

Semana, waxay dhigataa Jaamacada Briar Cliff

University waxayna barataa biochemistry iyo

ganacsiga. Bernice waxay qalinjabin doontaa

bisha May 2021 waxayna sii wadandoontaa

taqasuskeeda ee wadankan Mareykanka.

Maxaa halgan ah oo kalakulantey


Somali- Luuqada ayaa idhibtey, qaasatan

belowgii. Inta badan dadku ma fahmaan aniga

iyo ardayda caalimiga ah inaan ka kalanimid

meelo kaladuwan iyo dhaqamo kaladuwan.

Arintan siyaabo kaladuwan bey udhicikartaa.

Waxay noqonkartaa qofkani inuusan fursad u

helin inuu safro ama nolol ka qibrad duwan

mida uu kunoolyahey arko. Si walbaba ha

ahaatee, waqtigaan iyo dunidaan aan kujirno

waa masuuliyad nasaaran inaan iswacyigalino


Xataa hadaan safar ubixin, waxaa jira fursado

badan oo lagu baran karo dhaqamada kaladuwan,

sida adigoo kaqayb galaya bandhigyada

dhaqamada kala duwan, adigoo macluumaad

ka baaraya qadka tooska ah, iyo adigoo dhisaya

xiriir saaxiibtinimo oo wanaagsan ee dadka


Somali- Imaashaheyga ee Iowa waxay aheed mid

qibrad kaladuwan leh. Waxaan ku guuleystay

deeq waxbarasho inaan machadkaan wax kubarto,

isla markaasna waxaan qaatey go’aan halis ah oo

wayn si aan meeshaan u imaado. Kalafogaashaha

aniga iyo qoyskayga aad bey udhib badneyd.

Waxkasta oo nolasheyda kusaabsan ee

machadkaan wey kaduwanayd nolashaydii hore

ee aan kunoolaanjirey. Habka wax loobaro loona

barto ee wadankan Mareykanka waa nuuckale,

fahanka dadku iga qabaan ee kusaleysan malo

ama qiyas iyo macluumaad aan saxsaneyn.

Aad ayaan udidaaley inaan barto bulshada aan

lanoolahey, laakiin dhab ahaantii qibrad adag

iyo halgan baan kalakulmey. Waxaan la kulmay

cunsurinimo waqtigii meeshaan aan joogey,

waxaana dareemey inaan labo tilaabo horey u

qaadayo hal tilaabana gadaal u qaadayo.

See Siouxland kuu soodhaweysey?

Jaamacada Briar Cliff University kooxda joogta si

cajaaib ah bey iitaageereen.

Waxaa kale oo jira ardey caalimi ah ee jaamacada,

waana istaageernaa. Xaqiiqdii waxaa jirey ardey

kale oo kayimid Rwanda oo icaawiyey waqtigii aan

usoo wareegayey magaalada Sioux City.

Waxaa kale oo jirey ardey ku kortey Mareykanka

kuwaas oo icaawiyey kadibna noqdey saaxiibaheyga

wanaagsan. Shaqaalaha iyo lataliyaasha Jaamacada

Briar Cliff ayaa saameyn kuyeeshey waqtigeygii

halkaan isla markaasna idhiiragaliyey inaan

ahmiyadeyda sii wato.

Waxaa kale oo jirey dad katirsan qoomiyada kunool

magaalada Sioux City iyo kaniisadeyda kuwaas oo

isoodhaweyey waxna ila toosiyey.

Waxaan kale oo fursad u helay inaan barto xirfada

hugaaminta ee barnaamijka loo yaqaan ama urur

ka Dumarka Kalarka ee katirsan machadkan. Si

wadajir ah aniga iyo dumarkale ee urur kan waxaan

qabanay barnaamijyo wacyigalineed, waxaan

dhisney saaxiibtinimo iyo in laystaageero.

Maxaa rabtaa dadka Siouxland inay


Qaarada Africa waa weyn tahey waxayna

leedahey meelo kaladuwan oo dhaqamo badan

leh iyo wadamo. Qaarada dhexdeyda waxaa

jira qoomiyado kaladuwan, magaalooyin, iyo

dhul beeraley ah. Waxaa jira kaladuwanaansho

luuqadaha, dhaqamada, habka nolosha iyo wax


Waxaa muhiim ah dadku inay fahmaan inkastoo

aan ka imid Africa, nolasheydu ma ahan sida dadka

kale. Waa sida qeybaha kale ee caalamka xataa

Mareykanka. Qofkasta wuxuu leeyahay sheeko iyo

qibrad asaga u gooni ah. Waxaa jira halgan iyo

guulo qofwalba uusito. Waxaan rabaa dadku inay

fahmaan kala duwanaanshaha isla markaasna ay

waqti qaataan oo nafsadooda ay is wacyigaliyaan

ee kusaabsan dadka kaladuwan ee qoomiyadaha.

Dadku waxay ka faaidayaan horumarinta iyo

isfahanka iyo isku mahadcelinta ee kaladuwan.

ahmiyadeed. Inkastoo aan aad ukalafognahey waa

qeyb weyn oo nolashayda kamid ah. Fursad kasta

oo ey helaan waxay lawadaagaan dadka harumarka

aan kasuubiyey Briar Cliff. Waxaan ogahey inay

igufaanayaan anigana waxaan rabaa inay siiwadaan

kufaanida mustaqbalka.

Inkastoo qibrad adag aan soo maray, waxaan

rabaa bulshadu inay ogaato inaan amaal u hayo

dadka iyo fursadaha aan lakulmay. Ahaanshaha

hugaanka ururka Dumarka Midabka leh ee Briar

Cliff qaasatan waxyeelo wanaagsan bey igureebtey.

Waxaan suubinay inaan laxiriirno bulsho badan

iyo dhacdooyin isku imaansho oo badan. Inaan

kamidnoqdo bulshada Siouxland waxay ii oogalaatey

inaan waayo aragtinimo kahelo taas oo run ahaantii

xoojisay aniga shaqsi ahaan.

Bernice Semana, International Student (Senior) at Briar

Cliff University

Photo Credit Jetske Wauran.

“Everything you do,

do it with love.”

– Bernice Semana

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 17

Waxaan kale oo rabaa bulshada Siouxland

inay fahmaan in qoyskayga uu igufaanayo ina

taageerayo waxbarashadayda iyo hadafkayga

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 18

Nebraska 4-H Teen Teacher leading a lesson on coding with a group of youth.

Nebraska 4-H Strong

By Angela Abts

Nebraska will be celebrating a strong 4-H youth

development program in February. The 4-H

program offers many strengths for youth, volunteers,

and communities. Those strengths include building life

skills through hands-on learning, growing confidence,

resilience, and compassion, while adults provide a

positive, strong environment. The theme for this year’s

Nebraska 4-H celebration is Belong. There will be several

opportunities for the 4-H members, volunteers, and

supporters to celebrate in Dakota County.

The 4-H Pledge is the strong backbone of the 4-H program

that has been around for more than 100 years. The H’s

stand for head, heart, hands, and health. The pledge has

been recited at 4-H meetings and events for almost 94

years. Let’s see what the pledge has to offer youth and


classroom, a cafeteria, a gym, a living room, an outside

space, or online, learning can happen anywhere. One

program in Dakota County that has a strong collaboration

with the South Sioux City Schools is First Lego League (FLL)

Robotics for the past ten years. Each year, approximately

40 students compete in the experience, learning valuable

life skills with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,

while building, programming, and testing robots with more

than 15 coaches and mentors.

Virtual learning experiences increased through Nebraska

4-H in 2020. New statewide programs, including Living

Room Learning, Boredom Busters, Virtual Field Trips, Virtual

Summer Camps, and many more, have been created and

continue to expand in 2021. Statewide and community-

We pledge our heads to clearer thinking.

The 4-H programs are grounded in the belief that kids

learn best by doing. Participants complete hands-on

projects in areas such as science, healthy living, food

supply confidence, community development, career and

college readiness, leadership, and entrepreneurship,

in a positive environment. Through these projects, they

receive guidance from adults and are encouraged to take

leadership roles.

Nebraska 4-H is committed to supporting the youth in our

state with hands-on learning. Whether it be in a school

The 4-H Pledge is the backbone of the program. It is recited

at 4-H events and meetings for the last 94 years.

ased online opportunities within 4-H continue to

broaden this year for youth in classrooms, home school

co-ops, remote learners, and afterschool groups.

[More information can be found at: https://4h.unl.edu/


We pledge our hearts to greater loyalty.

It is important for youth to know they are cared about

by others and feel a sense of connection to others

in a group. Feeling nurtured in a safe emotional and

physical environment is essential to their development.

It is also important for youth to see themselves as active

participants in the future.

Nebraska 4-H is committed to providing learning

environments for youth that contain the elements which

are essential to effective youth development programs.

Belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity, are

integral to designing high-quality activities for hands-on


University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty/staff, as well as

volunteers, are trained to utilize and to incorporate

the Essential Elements into their work with youth. The

elements help these individuals view the whole young

person, rather than focus on a single aspect of life or

development. When used, youth are more likely to

become civically involved.

[More information can be found at: https://4h.unl.edu/


We pledge our hands to larger service.

The 4-H civic engagement programs empower young

people to be well-informed citizens who are actively

engaged in their communities and the world. Youth

learn about civic affairs, build decision-making skills, and

develop a sense of understanding and confidence in

relating and connecting to other people.

Nebraska 4-H is committed to fostering youth’s

commitment and contribution to their communities.

Through service opportunities, young people in 4-H

develop a caring attitude, which builds character.

Throughout 2020, youth across the state have found new

and unique ways to give back to their local communities.

From sending cards and messages to residents of

community care centers, growing vegetable gardens

and donating produce, designing painted kindness

rocks with uplifting messages, or ensuring local health

officials are well-supplied with personal protective

equipment, Nebraska 4-H participants have persevered

by continuing to serve others, despite challenging times.

This movement continues in 2021.

[More information can be found at: https://4h.unl.edu/


4-H members, volunteers, and the communities benefit from

the strong contributions provided by the 4-H.

We pledge our health to better living.

The 4-H healthy living programs empower youth to be

healthy – body and mind – with the skills to make healthy

decisions and lead healthy lifestyles. Having the confidence

and skills to lead healthy lifestyles not only improves overall

well-being; it enables youth to tackle life’s challenges today

and become leaders in their lives, careers, and communities

as they grow into responsible adulthood.

Nebraska 4-H is committed to supporting young people

during times of change. The unpredictability of the

COVID-19 pandemic has changed and continues to

change, the routines of many. The school and activity

schedules, as well as important milestones, of youth in our

state, have been altered this year.

To assist caring adults who help young people cope, a

series of articles focused upon “Supporting Young People

Through Change” were written and made available in

2020. Topics focused upon contributing in a changing

world; creating a routine, coping, and connecting in

changing times; finding comfort in a changing world; and

identifying grief. All who work with and/or care for youth

can provide assistance in helping young people cope with

the challenges and develop into caring, connected, and

capable adults.

[More information can be found at: https://4h.unl.edu/


How do you get involved with this strong

program in Nebraska? Please contact a

Nebraska Extension Office or visit the website

at www.dakota.unl.edu or https://4h.unl.edu.

Angela Abts, a 4-H and Youth Development Extension Educator

with Nebraska Extension for the past 12 years, along with

eight years with K-State Research & Extension. She focuses her

extension programming working with youth audiences through

school enrichment, afterschool, First Lego League teams, and

traditional 4-H clubs in Dakota County and statewide.

Photos Contributed by Nebraska 4-H.

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 19

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 20

Positivity Can Strengthen Our Community

By Alex Watters

Last month, staff with the state of Iowa’s

Department of Cultural Affairs was in town

shooting a video to showcase the newly

renovated Warrior Hotel. They asked a group of

city staff, community members, and two members of

the City Council to gather virtually and present on the

progress being made in our community. I welcomed

the opportunity to present on behalf of the City Council.

In doing so, I was so inspired and excited about the

progress our city had made in 2020, even in the midst

of a pandemic.

For the majority of the year, I was focused on loss and

sacrifice; however, for this brief presentation, I was

inspired by what we had accomplished and once again

looking forward to our future. In this magazine, you’re

going to read about strength, so I want to share some

of those accomplishments in hopes that they inspire

you to think of what is on the horizon and how you can

be a champion of our community’s strength.

Companies expanded and invested in Siouxland.

Sabre Industries announced its plans for a $25

million expansion to include a galvanizing plant and

76 additional jobs. Standard Ready Mix built a new

concrete plant for $7.6 million. CNOS opened a new

Sunnybrook location, and Meridian Clinical Research

relocated and expanded operations into Sioux City.

We saw the opening of multiple hotel projects including

the Warrior Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott connected

to the newly renovated convention center, and most

recently, the Avid Hotel in Virginia Square. Numerous

apartment complexes have started construction, are

under contract, or recently opened, in addition to a

record number of homes being constructed.

Phase 1 of the riverfront redevelopment began, the

Expo Center opened, eight pickleball courts were

added to Riverside Park, and multiple trails were

constructed or connected to ensure you will be able to

stay active in 2021 and beyond.

In addition, Sioux City Gateway Airport secured a

direct flight to Denver, I-29 WAS FINISHED, and the

city completed an $11 million renewable fuels project

that compresses gas into a renewable fuel that is set to

generate approximately $5 million for the city annually.

I understand that there are certain things that we need

to improve and continue to work on, but I’ve noticed

that we as a community don’t talk about our successes

nearly much as our shortcomings. Whether it is the

journal or social media, it seems that when it comes

to our community, we are often the most critical of


For example, I have heard the common claim that all

we are building is hotels and car washes. However,

when you look at it from a different perspective, the city

does little, if anything, to recruit these businesses. Did

you know that Silverstar Car Wash has invested more

than $5 million throughout our community at their new

locations? Our hotels are nearly at capacity for the

weekend of February 20, when the Expo Center will

host a 150-team volleyball tournament with The Arena

Sports Academy, who will also be hosting a basketball

tournament at their own facility.

My point is this, if we want to continue experiencing

growth, investment, and be the community that we

hope to be, we need to start being a cheerleader and

a positive voice for our community. If something is

bothering you, please shoot me an email and allow me

an opportunity to look into it. And the next time you’re

feeling critical or negative about our city, and this goes

for me as well, I hope we can reflect on all we have

accomplished in 2020, a year of unforeseen challenges

and innovation.

Alex Watters, City Council of Sioux City


Photo Credit Jeff Gordon

I Yam What I Yam

By Tony Michaels

I am surrounded by great examples of strength

in my life. That statement really hit home during the

past year. Growing up, the notion of strength was best

exemplified for me by watching Popeye cartoons on

the weekends. But decades later, I realized my parents

in the living room would be a much better example

of strength. I included a picture of me with my “Pops”

because my sister Victoria made a voyage to Poland

a few years ago and found out we may be related to

the real-life Popeye. I can totally see it. Can’t you? My

parents sacrificed so much in their lives while working

multiple jobs to give me and my sisters the best life

possible. For that, I am very thankful.

Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 21

I hope to carry on that characteristic of strength to my

sons. If you read my articles in the past, you probably

know about my son Trey, who happens to be pretty

involved with his autism. How much strength do you

think it takes to be non-verbal in a world that must be

so confusing to him at times? Autism ain’t for weenies!

My youngest son, Beau, is his strongest advocate at

all times! He’s always by his side and leading a great

example to others in his high school. I am very proud

of both of them and how they flex their muscles to their

world. I mean it’s gotta be easy for them. You know,

we’re all related to Popeye. Shiver me timbers!

My lovely wife isn’t as sold on the fact our bloodlines

date back to Frank “Rocky” Feigel but she has other

endearing qualities. A lot has been made about front

line health care workers during the pandemic. I’ve

seen very few reports about the importance of social

workers during this very stressful time for Siouxland

families. I’m happy to watch her strength as she has

been an in-home social worker for more than a quarter

of a century. I’m not sure what the burnout rate is for

that line of work, but I’m sure it’s less than 25 years!

She’s a rock star! Strong! I’m happy to call her my Olive


One good thing about the Huskers not winning much, you

can buy matching $5 t-shirts! Tony and his father Dennis.

I might go celebrate with a side of spinach. Shiver me


Tony Michaels, morning host on “Tony and

Candice” morning show (KSUX 105.7) and

author of an upcoming book “Tacos and Beer

Atmosphere”. Learn more at tacoswithtony.com.

Photos Contributed by Tony Michaels.

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Making a Difference for Small Businesses & Nonprofits

At KSUX, I am amazed at how many nonprofits have

made strong moves to completely pivot away from

traditional fundraising events and go virtual, or some

other creative outlet, to spread the mission of their

agency while still adding money to the bottom line to

make such a positive impact on Siouxland residents.

Working to help others may not afford you the luxury

of driving a new Corvette, but I dare say nothing is

stronger than to make the best life possible for your

fellow woman or man.

That’s exactly what my parents did for me. Corvettes

and muscles are nice. But strength comes from within.

It’s easier to learn that when you have great role models

in your life. I am forever grateful.


Lessons learned from stories in our community.

Austin and Shelby Pierce

Intentional Strength

By Michelle Lessmann

When Austin and Shelby Pierce became husband

and wife, their combined debt exceeded

$100,000. The bulk of this number came from student

loans from when they attended private colleges, Austin

at Morningside College, and Shelby at Colorado

Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado. Before they

wed, Shelby requested they develop a personalized

premarital counseling program to address various issues

that plague most marriages, including money. That is

when they were introduced to Dave Ramsey’s Financial

Peace University Program. They took the program twice,

once before they married and again to ensure they had

laser focus to tackle their debt.

Like many couples, Austin and Shelby took the Program

because they wanted to start their marriage off right

and take control of their money. In 2015, they made the

decision to follow the program to eliminate their debt.

Within five years, they made their final payment and

became debt-free in December 2020. According to

Austin, they “told their money where to go, instead of

figuring out where it went.”

The couple intently followed four main Ramsey

principles in their quest to become debt-free. First,

they developed a monthly budget and dictated where

they would spend every single dollar they earned that

month. They established categories including the typical

food, rent, and utilities, then added items specific to

them, including weekly date nights. They set the monthly

budget, then followed it religiously. At the beginning of

the next month, Shelby would copy and paste the previous

month’s budget, make adjustments if needed, then repeat

the process, month after month.

Next, Austin and Shelby used Ramsey’s infamous

“envelope system” converting from using credit cards to

an all-cash system. They had physical envelopes for each

budget item and each envelope contained the precise

number of budgeted dollars. Shelby attempted to make

the envelope system more palatable by decorating her

envelopes. When the envelope was empty, plain or fancy,

that category was done. The Pierces laughed that some

months they would have 3 really nice date nights and

then stay at home on the fourth date night because the

envelope was empty, or do something small, like go out

for Blizzards if only a few dollars remained.

Another widely-known piece of Ramsey’s advice the

couple implemented was the Debt Snowball effect to pay

off debt. This system for attacking accumulated debt has

one pay off balances from smallest to largest, regardless

of the debt’s interest rate. Minimum payments are made

on everything except the smallest balance, and the largest

sum is paid toward that. Once that balance is reduced

to zero, those funds are added to the payment on the

second smallest balance until that is paid off, and so on.

In this manner, debt reduction momentum builds and the




small business


snowball keeps rolling to reduce bigger and bigger

balances until all are paid off. Shelby mentioned they

followed this method for the most part, except for one

balance had a higher interest rate than the others. She

laughed as she said that really bothered her, so she

jumped ahead and paid off that balance, then went

back to the system to pay off the remaining debts.

Austin chuckled, too, when he said they could picture

the creditors becoming angry as the couple reduced

the company’s earnings by paying their balances off


Another piece of advice from the program caused the

couple to share a laugh. During one of their sessions,

the question was raised about an emergency fund,

or how much cash they had on hand to use toward

unexpected expenses. They looked at their bank

accounts, quickly performed the math, and came up

with only $151.90 (out of the Ramsey recommended

$1,500). Yet, they knew they were ready to take on this

seemingly impossible task of paying off their six-figure


Their journey wasn’t easy and, like everyone else in

life, they had setbacks along the way impacting their

plan. An unexpected car repair left them without

transportation for a while and cut into their budget.

They also had a relative move in with them for a period

of time, which both said they would never change.

There were also times when they felt like giving up and

hoped for a magical fairy to eliminate all of their debt

with the wave of a wand.

In spite of all the obstacles they faced, the couple

remained focused and committed to paying it all off.

They relied on a few things to keep them going when

they were ready to give up. They reminded themselves

they knew it wouldn’t be easy and they were in it for

the long haul. They stuck to their monthly budget and

followed the envelope system relentlessly. Shelby

kept her numerous spreadsheets so they could look

back and see how far they had already come, which in

turn, gave them the strength to keep going. They put

together a support system to cheer them on and found

accountability partners to push them when needed.

They established a timeline with milestones along the

way to celebrate as each was reached. They also set

up small things to look forward to, such as going out

for ice cream once an account was paid in full. They

would intentionally put larger denomination bills into

their envelopes, which would encourage them to hold

onto them rather than spend them on small items they

decided they could live without. Along the way, they

Austin and Shelby Pierce

have purchased two homes and have built their $151.90

emergency fund into one that now contains more than


Shelby said they eventually found themselves looking at

money as a tool to use and reduced the power that money

had over them. Austin added that “debt is expected in

our society; however, it is possible to live without it.” They

said there are things they could have done differently

to lower their amount of debt. For instance, consider

attending a state university rather than a private college,

pursue more scholarship opportunities, and take more

high school classes that earned college credit, any of

which could have saved them a lot of money.

The final word of advice comes from Austin. He said

that he looks back now and makes the assessment that,

“we took something that seemed impossible and made

it to be only extremely difficult.” The extremely difficult

process helped strengthen their marriage, their peace of

mind, and their tenacity to take on anything. The couple

encourages anyone wanting to pay off their debts to be

intentional, make a plan, and then follow it through. With

some luck and a well-executed plan, they may become

debt-free, too.

Michelle Lessmann, a fully licensed Office Professional

in Keith Bales office of Thrivent. She can be contacted at


Photo Credit Jetske Wauren

Siouxland Magazine | Inspire /24

Erica DeLeon with Source for Siouxland speaks at a recent community gathering.

The Tale of Two Organizations

By Dr. Cyndi Hanson

What makes a strong community? Economic

stability? Educational systems? Accessible Healthcare?

Low crime rates? Quality of life initiatives? I’m guessing

one (or more) of these five traits is something important to

you. According to the Source for Siouxland and Growing

Community Connections, these are the five areas where

focused improvement will produce a positive impact.

The Five Focus Groups are: Economic Stability,

Education, Health, Safety and Quality of Life.

Growing Community Connections (GCC) and Source for

Siouxland work together and the work is very interwoven.

GCC is the communication arm and Source for Siouxland

is the data arm. Data needs to be communicated and

focused goals need data. It is a wonderful match, led by

Erica DeLeon and JoAnn Gieselman.

The two entities engage in work referred to as “collective

impact”. Collective impact is the notion that working

together we are stronger than working independently.

For a region that has a plethora of small non-profit

organizations, the strength of collective impact is

immense. Evidence of that impact is noticed when data

is used to set goals and measure progress toward them.

Source for Siouxland was born out of Comprehensive

Strategy, an effort to collect data on positive youth

development. Over time, the focus of data gathering

has expanded; largely because youth development is

related to so much more – economic factors, food security,

employment, etc. Each year the organization put together

and published a data book that compiled all the data one

might need for grant writing, program development, and

so on.

Growing Community Connections grew out of a desire

to bring people serving organizations together in a way

that encouraged communication and collaboration. The

group meets monthly and before the pandemic, was nearly

outgrowing the meeting space. Since March of 2020, the

group has used Zoom and Facebook Live to involve 100-

150 partners in the discussion.

The Growing Community Connections group has continued

to meet via Facebook Live and Zoom monthly.

Growing Community Connections is open to

anyone. Check out their Facebook livestream

the first Thursday of each month at 10 a.m.

As Growing Community Connections set strategic goals

for positive community impact, it became obvious that

data was needed not only to measure progress but also

to determine the areas of need in the community.

Gieselman said, “as the years have progressed, the

stories of Growing Community Connections impact

weren’t enough. Funders and participants began to

need more than the feel-good impact stories – they

wanted data to show working together was helping the


Siouxland Magazine | inspire/25

At the same time, DeLeon explained, “Source for

Siouxland was looking for a way to make the data more

useful. We had a ton of data, but just publishing a book

of data didn’t seem like enough anymore. We wanted to

use it to drive change.”

So, the conversation began two years ago, now five

community focus groups have been established. “These

five groups zero in on a specific social determinant

of our community’s well-being. Using the data from

Source for Siouxland, we can analyze what they think is

happening and set strategic goals, then create action

plans.” said Gieselman.

“It is a circular process. A goal is set because of some

data; then we look at what specific data can help us

measure progress. We incorporate analysis of data now,

not just reporting data,” added DeLeon.

“The data comes from everywhere. Some of it is

proprietary from Siouxland Cares surveys of middle/high

schoolers since 1999. Some is from the US Census, state

Departments of Education, Economic Development,

Chambers of Commerce, Public Health, police chiefs ...

basically anything tracked by a reputable source can be

gathered and put together,” stated DeLeon.

“Putting it together is extremely important in our Tri-

State area,” Gieselman added “We need information

from multiple sources to tell the whole story of our

community. It helps to keep us accountable and to

identify gaps we may not have expected to see or ask

analysis questions we wouldn’t have thought about


“The annual data showcase is designed to do just

what JoAnn mentions,” DeLeon remarked. “We want

people to look at the data book, and now we’ve started

including some “did you know” data points at each

month’s Growing Community Connections meeting too.

The idea is to get people talking about data, thinking

about it and using it to focus efforts.”

JoAnn Gieselman receives an award on behalf of Growing

Community Connections. Nebraska first-lady Suzanne

Shore, presented the award recognizing the impact of the


The community-wide “0-3 Prime Age to Engage” initiative

came out of a focused analysis of data regarding school

readiness and health benchmarks. “People’s mouths

literally dropped when they saw the trend,” said DeLeon.

As a result, a focused multi-agency action team was

assembled. In less than 3 years, more than 70 partners

have engaged, and the community has won national

recognition for the collaboration. While it’s just a little too

early to see movement on the school readiness data; the

impact is immense. You will find free books in scores of

lounges and waiting rooms across the area – books kids

are encouraged to take home with them. Billboards,

commercials, and pediatricians are all promoting

interactive play, talking, and reading to children age 0-3.

This is the epitome of collective impact – together we

achieve more than we do individually working in isolation.

“Four states have a collective impact similar to this. In

Nebraska, we meet as a state and a nation-wide group

to look at what solutions are and what works. Data and

collective impact work are important parts of it,” Gieselman

added. Both echo – “we truly are stronger together.”

Compilations of Tri-State data on everything

from COVID-19 diagnoses to miles of trails

and number of social clubs can be viewed at


Photos Contributed by Source for Siouxland.

Siouxland Magazine | Inspire /26

1st Friday Coffee at Springboard.

Nurturing and Networking

By Dr. Cyndi Hanson

What makes the Siouxland business community

strong and what can make it stronger?

Collaboration is the one-word answer provided by

Dave Bernstein, founder of Siouxland Venture Initiative

(SVI). He goes on to explain, “People are generally

proud to be from here. They want to help other people

here succeed and continue to fuel that cycle: help

people, get help from others when you need it. Some

of it is paying it forward; some of it is receiving help

when you need it.”

Siouxland Venture Initiative is a fairly new entity

established when Springboard Coworking Space was

looking for a new owner. The co-working space was

established in 2013 and is now on its third owner,

indicating the viability and need for such a space in

Siouxland. Located at 700 4th street, Springboard

provides individual offices and collaborative working

spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, side-hustlers,

and others who don’t want to rent a full office space

or work from their home. “There’s great wi-fi, common

worktables, and private offices. Although the private

offices are all booked right now, you can rent a desk or

a meeting room. It’s a great place if you have a sidebusiness

and don’t want to meet your clients in your

living room,” said Bernstein.

When you are starting out with an idea and

don’t know what resources (financial and

other) are around in the community, it can be

daunting. There are a lot of resources!

In addition to the physical amenities, Springboard

also provides the ambiance of creativity and

collaboration. It’s not the small business incubator of

the past. Bernstein notes that doesn’t exist in Sioux

City anymore. It is a communal, sharing atmosphere

that provides support for people just starting out, or

those who don’t want to be isolated in their homes.

“Springboard is just one component of a bigger

umbrella for me of wanting to nurture entrepreneurial

activity in the area. There are a lot of different resources

scattered around, and Siouxland Venture Initiative

(SVI) is built on the desire to bring some of it together

in one place. There has been a group of us discussing

the ecosystem for entrepreneurship here for quite a

while. We know there is a need to connect people with

angel investors, venture capital, but also mentoring

and advice. We have all that here in Siouxland – we

have forever,” said Bernstein.

As he served on the Iowa Economic Development

Authority Board (IDEA), Bernstein saw a lot of earlystage

development happening across the state.

He came to understand the support and resources

Iowa has to help new businesses. He saw most of

the resources for start-ups going to Des Moines and

university cities, not Western Iowa. One of his goals

with SVI and Springboard is to bring more of that to

Siouxland. His vision means an intentional focus on

what is already here and helping to nurture it.

“We are a bit asleep in some ways in this community

when it comes to economic development in my

opinion. We are primarily stuck in the old mindset

of economic development focusing on bringing an

established business from outside of town, often

through a site selector. What I saw a lot of when on

IEDA, is lots of business growth and development

in Iowa comes from businesses already here and

startups. Existing businesses wanting to grow and

entrepreneurs spinning off of existing businesses

or starting something new. We need to convey the

opportunities and programs available to help them

keep growing,” said Bernstein.

Technology Commercialization Committee is

a subcommittee of IEDA, focused on helping

technology related concepts come to fruition.

“There’s so much happening with technology.

Especially in agriculture and food processing.”

Says Bernstein who recently joined the TCC


An advantage in Siouxland is the tri-state area. There

are different structural advantages in each of those

states depending on what you are doing. Some focused

collaborations like The Siouxland Initiative, Iowa West

Coast, and contests like Swimming with the Sharks

and Entrepreneur-Fest are evidence that growing our

own new business is valuable to our community, but

they are somewhat siloed and not holistic.

In discussing contests for entrepreneurs, Bernstein

explained a key difference in perspective.

“We should not be looking for the best ideas, we

should be looking for all viable ideas. There can be

1,000 ideas that could produce something great.

Instead of making it a contest only rewarding the top

few, I want to see us help all of the viable ones move

forward. The programs are there, we need to harness

the resources in this community to nurture this activity.

There’s nothing wrong with the contests, but let’s not

limit ourselves,” suggested Bernstein.

SVI will tap into existing resources including the Iowa

Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC),

Sioux City Economic Development personnel, the

Common space at Springboard.

Iowa West Coast Initiative, and the Career Academy to

help advance the ecosystem. Bernstein joined the TCC

board in January.

“We need to be catalytic here. I don’t want credit

and I don’t want SVI to get credit, it’s a collaborative

effort. We just want to create the space that provides

an opportunity to learn from others in the community,

bring in speakers, networking events, mentoring, etc.,

etc. I don’t care where these activities are held but want

to offer spaces that are inspiring if needed. I just want

to encourage and support those starting up. We have

good things going on in this community, we need to

be sure we are doing what we can to nurture them as

well. When you are starting out with an idea and don’t

know what resources (financial and other) are around

in the community, it can be daunting. There are a lot

of resources. People here are friendly and willing to

help,” said Bernstein.

“It’s really one of our greatest strengths. Helping

others is enjoyable . . . or maybe rewarding. Actually,

yes, enjoyable and rewarding,” concluded Bernstein.

Springboard Co-working space has day passes,

monthly rentals of open or dedicated desk spaces.

Learn more at www.springboardcoworking.com

Photos Contributed by Springboard.

Siouxland Magazine | inspire/27


Don’t fear failure. Embrace it. It’s where the learning happens.

No risk. No reward.

Sit Pretty Bakery

By Melissa Gritzmaker

Short description of your business:

Sit Pretty Barkery is a licensed and registered dog

bakery. We cater to dog lovers who want to spoil

their furry friends with something that tastes as

good as it looks. We handcraft naturally good dog

treats using only dog-safe ingredients. Our treats

include personalized dog biscuits, special occasion

cakes, mini pupcakes, donuts, pies, and more.

Treats can be purchased online or by calling us to

discuss custom orders. Wholesale offerings are also


What motivated you to start your business?

My brother and his wife, Curtis and Becky Gaskell,

own Bed & Biscuit Doggie Daycare. They were in

need of some special occasion treats for their holiday

dog parties and

birthday celebrations.

Being the baker of the

family, they turned to

me. I have always had

a passion for baking

delicious treats for

humans, so I thought

I’d try my hand at

baking for dogs.

The treats were a hit

right away! Everyone

was asking where

these custom dog

treats were coming

from because their

dogs were going

Bentley’s 1st Birthday.

nuts for my fresh-baked goodness! After receiving

many requests for custom treats, I decided to use my

talent for creating droolicious treats and turn it into a

business. I love being able to help people celebrate

with their dogs by giving them a healthy and fetching

little treat. Dogs are family and they deserve to be


What’s unique about your business?

What makes this business unique is that we offer

creative treats that you cannot buy at pet stores. We

are able to personalize the treats with dog names

and produce one-of-a-kind designs. It took a lot of

trial and error to hone the recipes we use. We keep

our ingredients simple and have no added sugar or

artificial preservatives. Our treats are freshly baked,

and the dogs go crazy for them!

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to

overcome as you’ve grown your business?

We have spent the last couple of years combing

through the regulations to be a licensed pet treat

manufacturer. We follow the guidelines and each of

our treats have been lab-tested and then the label is

approved by the state. It has taken a lot just to set the

foundation to start doing business.

What has been your greatest reward?

I have had customers thank me for my talent and tell

me the treats look too good to eat. I believe dogs

deserve pretty treats too! Seeing dogs gobble up our

treats and having their hoomans share pictures of the

celebration makes all the hard work worth it.

personal growth



business development


How have you benefited

from the startup community

in Sioux City and the

region? What resources

did you use?

I had the opportunity in

November and December to

participate in the Small Business

Marketplace event put on

through the Downtown Partners

of Sioux City and Iowa’s West

Coast Initiative. This event is

designed to get new businesses

into spaces downtown to help

promote local shopping. I was

able to host a pop-up shop in

a vacant building downtown.

It was a great experience to be Melissa, Owner, Sit Pretty Barkery.

able to have an actual store for

dogs and their hoomans to visit and pick out treats. Being able

to interact with my customers in person was amazing and has

inspired me to take part in more events.

Why is it important for the community to support startups

and small businesses?

It is important to support and promote new and unique

businesses to add to the attractiveness of the community and

to keep it growing. A great way to help them is by providing

cost-effective opportunities. This makes it possible for small

businesses to get a foothold and stay in business. Participating

in the Small Business Marketplace event really helped our

business become better known.

What advice would you give to someone looking to

start a business?

Be prepared to wear all the hats in the beginning. There are a

lot of decisions to make at first and you are the one in control

of it all. Also, pursue a business that you are passionate about,

that way all the hard work will be worth it once you start to see

your business grow.

How can the community continue to help your


With a small startup budget, it is difficult to afford much

advertising. Having people share our Facebook and Instagram

page @SitPrettyBarkery, tag us in pictures, or leave us a review

helps to support our business.

What are some future goals for your company?

We have recipes we are working on to offer more flavors

and grain-free options. Our goal for 2021 is to do more local

events. Also, we have plans to add more wholesale accounts

from veterinarians, groomers, and bakeries.

IAWESTCOAST.COM I 712.224.5500

Entrepreneurs and small business owners now have

access to an information specialist who can assist you

in finding solutions to your most pressing questions by

facilitating connections to the right people, data, and



IASourceLink is the premiere business resource in Iowa

for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Free

business webinars, expert advice, and a searchable

directory of organizations that assist Iowa businesses can

all be found on IASourceLink.

IOWASBDC.ORG I 712.274.6454

Do you need free, confidential and customized business

counseling? Contact SBDC for advice on developing a

successful business plan.


Siouxland Economic Development Corporation offers

financial assistance programs and services to assist

small and medium sized businesses in getting started or


iowaeda.com/innovate/ I 515.348.6159

The Iowa Economic Development Authority offers

funding to demonstrate proof of concept for an

innovative technology, develop and bring new concepts

to market, accelerate the pace of market development

and expand product lines.


Springboard Coworking offers shared office space in

downtown Sioux City for entrepreneurs that combines

the best elements of cafe culture with a productive,

functional, and affordable work environment.


ISU Startup Factory is designed to help businesses bring

new products to the market and work with companies to

make them attractive to outside capital investors.


VentureNet Iowa connects ideas to resources,

management, and investors, to create jobs and build

businesses in Iowa. If you have a business idea in the

areas of Biosciences, Advanced Manufacturing, Value-

Added Ag, or Information Technology, you may qualify

for assistance through VentureNet Iowa.

Did you use one of these great resources? We

want to share your story! Visit our website at

siouxlandmagazine.com, fill out the form and connect

with us today!

Siouxland Magazine | Grow/30

LEAD WITH STRENGTH in Purpose – Grow Your Purpose

During These Times!

By Linda K. Krei (ActionCOACH ExcelEDGE)

During uncertain times, great leaders continue

to assess the environment, identify the emerging

trends, look for opportunities to embrace and

recognize threats to be managed.

Appropriately so, great leaders also focus to ensure

“safety” and “security”? When we let it, that focus often

takes us to a reflective space where we simply want and

need more. More of what? A recognition from within

often creates an emerging need or pent-up desire

for Purpose once again. Purpose for self, Purpose for

others, Purpose with and among employees, customers,

and communities. A need evolves to push through, to

grow through and move beyond the chaos and crisis,

becoming resilient as we live in the chaos and crisis.

Getting grounded or maybe getting re-grounded in

Purpose can become the compelling driver to become

more resilient, to recognize once again that we still do

and always will have a choice; a choice to engage and

re-engage today, and in the times ahead. Re-engaging

around a common Purpose propels us forward to


So, how does one Lead with Strength in Purpose these

days? What does it mean to lead with purpose during

this crisis? I have observed with many of our clients and

those with whom we should partner, that this is a time

when people are searching for and longing to be a part

of something bigger than themselves. As a leader, invest

in yourself and your team to create an environment to

be Purpose-focused and Purpose-driven as the path

to meaningful engagement or to re-engagement at a

deeper level. Your “A” Team players already know how

to do this. They want and need an environment these

days that encourages them to do so.

what would it mean to Live into our Purpose in three


• Doing what is expected of me and us as a collective


• Inviting others to creatively partner around a shared


• Going the extra mile, going above and way beyond

what is expected.

Create space today to simply ask and reflect upon what

it would take for me to Lead with Strength in a deepened

sense of Purpose. Purpose, and the desire for purpose,

will build momentum to outlast this pandemic and

become a sustainable force through any challenge or

opportunity. It naturally evolves into a “way of being”

and simply guides daily choices. We individually and

collectively become better; an even better version of

who we are today. BE x DO = HAVE.

Take Action Today.

Contact Coach Krei for your Complimentary

Strategy Session to get you started.

Think about the behaviors associated with finding

strength in Purpose. What does that look like and feel

like? It may be to declare Purpose before Profits and

doing what it takes to demonstrate proof of Purpose

before Profits; inviting others to demonstrate proactive

engagement with Purpose in spite of and because

of these challenging times. To literally find strength

in Purpose and issue a rally cry for others to join you

especially during times of fear and uncertainty. Help

them BE CERTAIN that a Purpose-driven path will create

the compassion, sensitivity and respect our customers

and communities want and need. Abundance WILL

follow. Abundance will be the measurable outcome.

So, what are you and your team doing beyond the

current “Now but temporary Unhealthy Normal” to

push beyond to a New Purpose-Driven Normal? Simply

start by identifying the key stakeholders for you and

for your organization, your team members, customers,

community members, and business partners. Then ask,

As an award winning, globally

recognized, Certified Executive

Business Coach and Facilitator,

Linda would love to help you take

your leadership to the next level.

Linda Krei, ActionCOACH Excel Edge


E: lindakrei@actioncoach.com


Finding Your Strength as Entrepreneurs

By Stacy Orndorff

I’ve been talking to entrepreneurs lately about

honing in on their strengths. From time to time, I can

get lost in projects, roles, and even new business ideas.

When I chat with entrepreneurs who’ve lost their way, I

often encourage them to explore their strengths. Here

are a couple of my favorite resources to help you explore

where your strengths line up:

Siouxland Magazine | Grow/31

1. Strengths Finder 2.0 from Gallup and Tom Rath.

Discover your Clifton Strengths by Don Clifton. “Pair

this book with the online assessment (https://www.

gallup.com) to discover your Top 5 Talents from a list

of 34 themes. Loaded with hundreds of strategies

for applying your strengths, this new book and

accompanying website will change the way you look

at yourself — and the world around you — forever.”

I was first introduced to this book when I purchased

it for an upcoming “no electronics 7-day vacation.” I

took the test right before I left and used the vacation to

really dive into my strengths and strategize about how

to utilize them. This was during my transition from nonprofit

director to founder of Coffee & Nosh and was

instrumental in defining my role going forward. I found

out I’m really good at activating people into action and

driven by achievement. I was able to embrace my love

of learning and utilize that to my advantage in starting

a business. I thought some of the things identified

were common in all people. Being able to identify

these attributes as strength, really catapulted me to

capitalize on these gifts.

2. The Enneagram Institute. https://www.

enneagraminstitute.com/ “Discover your type by

taking the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator

(RHETI® version 2.5). At its core, the Enneagram helps

us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level,

and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to

self-knowledge.” Also, The Enneagram: A Christian

Perspective by Richard Rohr.

There are a ton of resources on the Enneagram:

Books, Websites, Instagram Accounts, and more! My

niece first introduced me to Enneagram on her path

of self-discovery during her college years. Seeing her

develop an understanding of herself and those around

her convinced me to explore this more myself. I was

able to take this understanding and apply it to therapy

sessions to really work through some of my insecurities

common with my Enneagram type and come out

the other side emotionally and spiritually stronger.

Additionally, it has helped me approach managing

a crew of different personalities according to their

motivations and ways they feel appreciated. Anyone

working with people will benefit from understanding

the Enneagram.

A few more resources I recommend for

discovering your strengths:


1. The Motivation Code, by Todd Henry

2. Chazown, by Craig Groeschel

3. Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer


1. Unlocking Us with Brene’ Brown

2. EntreLeadership Podcast

3. The Reboot Podcast Jerry Colonna

4. Typology with Ian Morgan Cron

Stacy Orndorff, Stacy O. Speaks

Facebook @ stacyospeaks

Photos Contributed by Stacy Orndorff.

Siouxland Magazine | Grow/32

How Well Do You Know Your Business? CLAIM IT!

By Grace Nordquist

Downtown Partners is here for all of our

downtown businesses, and one simple

way we provide assistance is through our

marketing efforts. If you are not utilizing the

downtown website and social media, we can help

you start.

The downtown website features all of our 438

businesses. Each of these listings has the unique

option for business owners to “CLAIM” their

business on the website. Claiming a business

listing on our website is quick and simple. By

claiming your business, you have access to keep

your business information up to date. Then people

will have accurate information when searching

all there is to do in downtown on our website. To

claim your business, simply follow these steps…

• Go to our website: downtownsiouxcity.com

• Search your business name

• Scroll to the “Is this your listing?” and click

“claim listing”

• Create an account on our website

• Enter your business information and hit “submit”

claim your business listing on our website. If you have ideas,

comments, questions, or concerns on downtown, please

share them with us at info@downtownsiouxcity.com or give

us a call at (712)-252-0014.

Downtown Partners is a non-profit organization that works

with downtown stakeholders to create a vibrant, expanding

downtown. To learn more about Downtown Partners

and to stay up to date on downtown projects and events,

visit www.downtownsiouxcity.com

Once you do this, Downtown Partners verifies and

confirms the claim to avoid any fraud or scams.

Once approved, you have access to update your

page, post events, change hours, post specials,

add images, and more!

For an easy “how to” video on claiming your

business listing, visit our website and social media.

Another simple way to increase traffic to your

business is through social media. If you’re active on

social media (which we highly recommend), make

sure you are following and tagging Downtown

Partners when you post about events, specials,

closings, etc. That way Downtown Partners can

help you get the word out more efficiently. You can

find Downtown Partners on Facebook, Instagram,

Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

As the new year emerges, Downtown Partners is

excited to create new events and reinvent old

ones, inspire innovative ideas, and continue to

develop an expanding and vibrant downtown

Sioux City. We can only do this by working together

and communicating with you and your business.

Let us help you! Follow us on social media and

Explore Sioux City

By Ron Bower

Hello Siouxland! My name is

Ron Bower. I am happy to be the

first Destination Manager for The

Sioux City Regional Convention

& Visitors Bureau, better known

as Explore Sioux City. You may

ask what a Destination Manager

does? I like to say that I promote

FUN! My focus is to attract

potential sports tournaments,

meetings and conventions, Ron Bower

motorcoach groups, destination

weddings, and business and

leisure travelers to Siouxland.

The Sioux City area has so

much going for it with unique

attractions, brand new lodging

options, state-of-the-art sporting venues, and some of

the best food in the Midwest. It may take me awhile to

try all the delicious food in Siouxland, but I’m up for

the challenge.

in Marketing and Communications. I promised my mom

that I would finish college after not being successful the

first time around. Word of advice, always keep promises

made to your mother. In 2012, I started my career in

tourism. I knew after the first week that this was what I

was supposed to be doing. During my career I have been

fortunate enough to promote destinations in Ohio, North

Carolina, and Wisconsin. During this time, I also earned

several tourism industry certifications as well as numerous

marketing awards for social media and blogging.

I relocated to Sioux City in December with my life partner,

Tim, and our cat, Kluber. We were impressed with Sioux

City the moment we visited. As I stated above, there is so

much here. This place already feels like home. So, what do

I like to do for fun? Well, I’m a comic book collector. I have

roughly 500 comics. Superman is my favorite hero. I love

1980’s music and movies. You’ll want me on your team

for 80’s trivia night. Oh, and I’m a Cleveland Sports Fan.

Yeah, I know. Don’t hold that against me, we Cleveland

fans have suffered enough.

Siouxland Magazine | | Grow/33 / 39

Now a little about me, I am a born and raised

Midwesterner from Ohio. I lived there the first four

decades of my life. In 2003, I went back to college

and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business

Administration followed by a Master of Science degree

Lastly, thank you for welcoming me and my family. Midwest

nice is certainly true in Siouxland. I look forward to getting

to know this community and making it our home. Now I

have to get Exploring!

Let the Chamber work for you!

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Community Enhancement


Government Relations

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Newsletter Advertising

Post Your Job Openings, Events,

Sales & Services

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Post Your News Releases

Call to become a member today! 712.255.7903


Siouxland Magazine | Grow/34




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– Leonardo da Vinci

Siouxland Magazine | | Grow/35 / 39

Feelin’ Strong

By Peggy Smith

“Feeling strong is more important than being strong.

Because you may be the strongest in the room:

But if you are not feeling strong, Then you are gone.”

– Mohit Aggarwal

There have been a lot of situations I have

encountered in my life that I look back on

now and realize that I had the ability to make

a difference, but I didn’t. Times that I could have

been successful, but I didn’t think I had the ability, so

I gave up too soon and failed. Things I could have

accomplished, but I doubted myself, so I didn’t try. I

can be my own worst enemy, and I bet that could be

true of you too, at least some of the time.

Why do we shoot ourselves in the foot? Why do we

sabotage our own success? We often blame our

weakness and our lack of confidence in ourselves on

others. “My parents never encouraged me, and they

made me feel like a failure.” “My classmates called me

names and made me feel stupid.” I remember a hard

lesson I learned a long time ago that made me step

back and re-evaluate. I was grousing about what a mess

my life was in, but how it certainly wasn’t my fault. It

was because of the way “they” made me feel. I couldn’t

possibly fix my problems because “they” made me

feel worthless, helpless, inadequate and incapable of

change. My friend pointed out the fact that my feelings

are my feelings – only I can control them, no one else

can. And if I choose to take those feelings on, they will

become true. I will become worthless, helpless, and

inadequate. Or I can take control and write my own


What a lesson! He was right – the way we feel about

ourselves makes all the difference and becomes our

truth. The little engine that could, could - because

he knew how to think - “I think I can, I think I can”.

Confidence and trust in ourselves exude strength, and

we gain it by learning to understand – and appreciateourselves.

The old adage, “Fake it till you make it”

reminds us that if we act confident and strong, people

will look at us differently and treat us differently and

that will cause us to be more confident and stronger.

We will become what we try to be.

Another great quote I love is by Brigham Young: “Why

should we worry about what others think of us; do we

have more confidence in their opinions than we do

our own?”

Strength comes from within – from our own decision

to BE strong. Own your feelings, write your own

story, and do not let others determine what you can

accomplish. Be strong!

Leadership Siouxland is an organization dedicated

to developing diverse, informed leaders who shape

our community for today and tomorrow.

Photo Credit Peggy Smith.

Siouxland Magazine | Grow /36


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First Lutheran ELCA (Northside)

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St Luke Lutheran ELCA (Morningside)

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Siouxland Magazine | Grow/37

Building Our Own Form of Strength

By Emily Vondrak

Oftentimes, strength refers to physical ability,

the power of one’s muscles. Sometimes

it is handling a difficult situation well, not

breaking down, keeping it together. But,

frankly, sometimes strength is getting out of bed

in the morning, brushing your teeth, and going

to work. There are times even the smallest things

require great strength.

It is funny how our perceptions of strength have


A hundred years ago, strength was lying about your

age to sneak into the military or staying home to

raise children. “Strong” was mainly a masculine term

and it meant you didn’t cry, you got up and threw

some dirt on it. Strength was keeping it together, no

matter what, and it was selfish to focus on yourself.

Humans kept everything bottled up and put on a

face when something was wrong.

While a soldier and mother are still noble professions,

as we have progressed as a society, we have

learned more about mental health, equality, and the

opportunities offered. We have learned to better

take care of ourselves and others. We know that

emotions and feelings are not a sign of weakness.

And we know that it takes strength to overcome

struggles with our mental health.

Ultimately, strength is different for everyone.

We all face different trials and tribulations. Some of

us overcome homelessness, cancer, disability, and

other difficulties others could not even begin to

imagine. Those people are undeniably strong. But

there is strength in all of us. Being a good parent or a

good friend, taking steps to improve your health, seeing

a therapist, or going back to school all take an immense

amount of strength, too.

I believe that we all build our own form of strength to face

our own struggles. Hopefully, we can do our best to help

others have strength, as well. To be there to listen, pick

them up when they are down, be the shoulder to cry on or

the sounding board for ideas. After all, at the end of the

day, we are all in it together.

Sioux City Growth Organization welcomes progressive

and innovative ideas. As a group, we work to put these

ideas into action and build the momentum to take Sioux

City into the future.

Photos Contributed by SCGO.


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Siouxland Magazine | Grow /38

I have been using the total OsteoStrong offerings,

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Strong Resources to Help You Succeed.

By Todd Rausch

Strong Resources to Help You Succeed. Most people

reading this are naturally strong individuals with a

vision for their lives. If you are a business owner, you

have the amazing internal strength to even launch

a business. The question is, did you know there are

strong resources to help you become even stronger?

Siouxland Magazine | Grow/39

To begin with, of course, I will talk about the SBDC.

We are Federally and State Funded with one goal

in mind, and that is to help you become successful

in your business ventures. There are 1300 centers

across the nation with 15 being here in Iowa, along

with our State office.

Our services are free!

The center for this area is hosted by the truly amazing

Western Iowa Tech Community College and my office

is in the Corp. College building on campus in B113.

Our phone is 712-274-6454 and our email is todd.


So, what can we offer? My answer is always the same,

what do you need? Our primary focus is not on

startups as many people think. Even though 30% of

our time is dedicated to startups, we spend 70% of our

time with existing businesses. We help them expand,

access capital, and in many instances succession plan

to exit their business.

We do a lot of help with planning your business,

whether it is a startup or an established enterprise.

We do a lot of financial forecasting for our clients.

We also do a lot of market research, not primary

source meaning we don’t go around asking people

questions. Ours is more database driven. We have

access currently to four very good databases that can

give us really solid numbers on markets.

Also, amazingly sometimes, we are here only to be a

sounding board. The last year especially we have been

used simply to sound things out so an owner can talk

an idea through. That is particularly rewarding as we

encourage them to make decisions not on emotion

but on strong data and judgment.

One of the things we are most often used for is to

connect owners with additional resources to meet

their needs. Other resources in our area that are truly

strong to help the small business owners include:

Our awesome local Chambers of Commerce, The

Small Business Administration, The USDA, The SEDC

Siouxland Economic Development Corp., our local

economic developers, our local Revolving Loan

Funds, our private Banks who are the primary source of

lending for small businesses. Local lawyers, CPAs, and

Insurance Agents are also very helpful.

Also, the Iowa West Coast Initiative is a wonderful resource

to help you. Iowa Source link is truly an awesome resource

to help people. They are out of UNI. Other resources

include Venture School from U of I and Startup factory

from ISU. Our three-pitch off competitions are also a

good resource for grant money and sound advice. Those

include Dream Big Grow Here, Swimming with the Sharks,

and Innovation Market.

That is a small list of 14 resources that you can immediately

reach out to. You can be strong on your own. It is simpler

to be strong with the help of others. That is what we exist

for. Please, use us to help you succeed in 2021 in your


Stay Strong in 2021.

Todd Rausch, Regional Director for the Small Business

Development Center at Western Iowa Tech Community


America’s SBDC Iowa provides free, confidential,

customized, professional business advice and consulting

in all 99 Iowa counties to entrepreneurs.


Inside and out.

Climb the Mountain.

“She/He Is Strong.”

By Erin Bahrenfuss

When you hear this phrase, what comes to

mind? Do you think of a shredded, weightlifter? Do

you think of a cancer survivor? Do you think of a single

parent who is showing up for his/her children, pursuing

a career, and also fulfilling personal commitments?

What about the parent who lost a child and finds a way

to heal? Do you think about them?

I sure do. I think about all of them. In each of these

scenarios, strength is a factor. Strength encompasses

areas in our overall well-being. It describes physical,

emotional, spiritual, and mental attributes.

For this example, consider me. Upon first glance, you’d

say I’m strong because I am active, muscular, and

embody a healthy lifestyle. You would be correct. I am

strong physically.

If you dove a little deeper and had a conversation

with me, you would learn I own my own business,

intentionally choose healthy daily habits, and am in

fearless pursuit of a mission to grow individuals into the

best version of themselves. With these facts, you would

say I have a strong mindset and you would be correct. I

am strong mentally.

If we got to know each other on a deeper level, experienced

a significant amount of time together, or empathized about

a similar fire we each walked through, I’m sure you would

agree that despite lofty barriers, I am a survivor. You would

say I am emotionally strong and you would be correct again.

I am strong emotionally.

Knowing these truths would help you to see that I am a

strong spiritual believer. My faith and relationship with my

Heavenly Father are the driving forces in all I do. My purpose

to provide health and hope is the backbone of who I am.

You see, strength is such a multifaceted word. It’s a word

often reduced to physical strength but it is more than that.

Strength is an inner grit and discipline to do the hard and

heart work to break through barriers and embrace obstacles.

It means identifying areas of weakness and pursuing the

tools, people, or programs necessary to improve. Strength is

the ability to move forward after a setback.

We grow stronger by showing up every day and keeping the

promises we make to ourselves.

Strong people have weak moments.

Just because I am strong doesn’t mean I am perfect. In fact,

sometimes, I feel weak…and that is quite alright. You can be





both strong and experience weak moments.

I feel weak when I experience something new or when

I’m in a situation where I feel unqualified. When I’m not

practicing positive self-talk (which requires a great deal

of strength), I am quick to stop myself or give myself a

bailout plan before I even try. I know I have the strength

to do hard things and yet, the reality that I could fail

cripples me from starting. Ever been there?

I feel weak on days at the gym when I can’t lift as much

weight as I would like or even on the days when getting

to the gym seems impossible. I am not always in control

of my food choices and slip into old, bad habits. I

experience times where meeting the expectations of

others leads me into areas that are not good for me. I

feel incredibly weak when I do not keep the promises I

made to myself.

One area that I know feels weak at the moment but

requires a great deal of strength is vulnerability. It is

challenging to show the world my imperfections and

insecurities. However, I know it is in our vulnerability

that we connect with others and prove our authenticity.

With vulnerability comes true connection and with true

connection, growth is possible.

Strength is grown and it is grown on a lifelong journey.

How do I grow stronger?


Make a commitment to yourself to move your body and

elevate your heart rate for at least 30 minutes, every

single day. You don’t need to run a marathon or climb

a mountain every day, but you do need to move. Your

body was designed for healthy movement.

Set yourself up with a workout plan that will help

you achieve your goals. This could mean seeking

support from someone to design a lifting plan for

you, downloading an app, or purchasing a gym

membership, or fitness equipment for home use.

Plan a schedule and block out the appointments

in your calendar for when you will exercise. Set a

realistic commitment for yourself and show up for your

appointments. You wouldn’t cancel on a good friend –

don’t cancel on yourself.

Eat food that nourishes your body with key vitamins

and minerals. Remember, food is fuel for you – it’s gas

in the tank. You wouldn’t put cheap, inefficient gasoline

in your vehicle so choose to replenish your body with

rich nutrients that bless your body.

Physical Strength.

Mentally, Emotionally & Spiritually

Spend time with people who are good for your soul. We

greatly underestimate the weight of which our surroundings

play into our emotional and mental well-being. You need to

find people that want to climb the mountain with you!

This might mean using the Unfollow button on social

media, stopping outings with a crowd of people that

leaves you feeling run down or unhealthy, or connecting

with positive groups both in-person and online that share

common interests. Establish these connections to occur

regularly in your routine. Showing up for these events is just

as important for your growth as showing up to the gym.

Learn from encouraging, growth-minded mentors. There are

countless influencers providing information about how they

achieved what you’re dying to do. Utilize podcasts, YouTube

videos, books, and other resources like this to lead yourself

in the direction of your goals. By empowering yourself, you

give yourself the necessary tools to be successful. As your

confidence in these areas grows, your mind and emotional

endurance will grow stronger.

Remember this: You are strong. You are stronger than you

realize and you have everything in you that you need to be

successful. Embrace the journey and you will grow stronger

every day.

Erin Bahrenfuss, Owner STRIVE Health + Wellness &

Independent Certified OPTAVIA Coach

Photos Contributed by Erin Bahrenfuss.

Siouxland Magazine | Balance /42

No Struggle, No Strength

By Dr. Meghan Nelson

It’s important to consult your physician or physical therapist

before beginning any new physical activity. Always listen

to your body and respect any warnings you hear.

“Where there is no struggle,

there is no strength.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Sadly, all are probably too well familiar with the

struggles that we can face as a country, a community, or

as family members. Nearly every person I speak to these

days is stressed out, hurt, scared, or confused by the

chaos, the unknown, the struggles we face throughout

this nation with jobs, health, relationships, school, the

list goes on. The heavy loads that we all carry during a

global pandemic alone are enormous strains and many

are getting hit with forces from all directions, on all


But is all the stress we face in life a bad thing? Can a

crisis illuminate opportunities?

How can we grow stronger without the stress? I am

hopeful that what has been broken will be repaired.

Somehow those fissures will all draw closer, the divisions

disappear, and strength rebuilt where the struggle was

the greatest. We just need to connect back with our

foundation, our own strength within for that sense of

stability and confidence to handle whatever will come

our way. We are all going to come out of this stronger

than ever. I have to believe this.

This protocol is based on Wolff’s Law, after the German

anatomist and surgeon from the 19th century, which

states that bones will adapt to the stress placed on them.

As you increase the load or increase the stress and

strain, the bone will continue to remodel itself stronger

and stronger in all the areas where stress is applied.

This law is why we emphasize the benefits of weightbearing

and resistance exercises throughout the aging

process. Because the inverse of this is true as well, if one

decreases the amount of load put throughout, the bones

will lose mass and density and become weak and brittle.

We can give resistance through moving the body

and limbs through space, against gravity, using our

body weight as resistance, bands, or dumbbells. The

power and strength we can get behind the muscular

contraction can come through an increase in neural

motor connections. In other words, if we focus and

use the mind-body connection we can recruit a larger

number of nerve endings to fire efficiently and attract the

greatest force from the muscle groups. This comes from

mindfulness and repetition—the more we practice, the

greater the neural muscular connection.

Let’s begin.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

This is how the physical body works. We will never build

strength in our muscles if we do not put these tissues

through some stress. If we want to increase the bulk of

our muscles, we first have to tear them down a bit. With

the stress and strain put upon muscles, small muscle

cells or fibers may be torn. The body then responds

by sending new muscle cells to repair all of the little

microtears that occurred, bulking up muscle mass. The

more we build that resistance over time, the stronger

the muscle grows.

Our bones work in a similar way: to increase strength,

we must increase stress. For individuals who have

suffered from bone fracture, the strength of the bone

was unable to withstand whatever load was given.

Through physical rehabilitation, we can assist the

remodeling process of fractured bone after it begins

to heal. Your physical therapist will gradually introduce

weight-bearing and resistance exercises to your plan of

care to build up the strength at the fracture site from all



Mountain: This pose is the essence of stability and

foundation; it can be done in many positions and is

often found in other postures or poses. Engage core

by maintaining a neutral spine with the navel drawing

inward. Legs and arms are fully engaged with an open

heart. Feel connected and grounded to the Earth, while

lifting your crown to the Heavens. Feel solid, strong,

like a mountain, nothing can knock you down. Breathe

in this moment stability and strength.

Boat (with variations): The goal again is to maintain that

neutral spine like in Mountain. Reclining backward slightly

will increase the load on the core but avoid going beyond

the muscles’ ability to maintain that neutral spine. Numerous

variations of this pose can include, arms helping to support

the lift of the heart, feet on the ground, knees bent or

extended. Try this pose in a chair with various positions of

the legs and/or arms. Always keep your boat looking lovely

and afloat with your heart center lifted. Do not compromise

your spine in this pose by losing the neutral position and

rounding throughout the back. Stay with whatever variation

in which the core can maintain a long, neutral spine. With

continued practice, the muscles will strengthen, and then

you can advance to greater intensity if you wish. Breathe in

this moment stability and strength.

Siouxland Magazine | Balance /43

Mountain chair

Plank: Think about the strength of the Mountain

pose for trunk and core, maintaining a neutral spine.

Arms are extended out, bearing weight through

hands to strengthen wrists, elbows, shoulders, and

tone muscles of the arms. Options to start with low

resistance by performing a plank at the wall, counter,

or a chair. The more horizontal the body to the

ground, the more gravity puts a greater load through

muscles and joints. Breathe in this moment stability

and strength.

Medium boat

Boat with chair


Big boat

Plank with chair

Dr. Meghan Nelson, a licensed physical therapist and

professional yoga therapist with a passion for using yoga

as medicine for optimal health, injury prevention, and

overall health and wellness. Meghan is co-owner of Lumin

Therapy, which provides integrative healing of the mind,

body, and spirit through the practice of physical therapy,

medical therapeutic yoga, and mindfulness.

Photo Credit Britton Hacke Photography.

Siouxland Magazine | Balance /44

Ask the Therapist

By Gladys Smith

Question: I’m struggling to adjust to all the

difficult changes that come with what’s been

referred to as our new normal. How can I

tap into my strengths to adapt and deal with

these changes?

Response: This is certainly a challenging time to

be alive! When our normal way of navigating life

has been turned upside down, it can be difficult to

muster the strength to keep going. It is during these

difficult times that we are often propelled to not only

tap into the strengths that we have, but to discover

new ones.

With all the changes we as a society have been forced

to make, it can often feel as though our lives are out

of control. When we find ourselves in this position,

it’s difficult to feel as if we have any strengths, let

alone know how to tap into them. One of the first

steps you can take to regain your inner strength is

to ensure that you have some semblance of order

in your life. It can be helpful to develop and stick

to routines for completing your daily tasks. Routine

can add structure and a measure of predictability to

your daily life, which will in turn lend to feelings of

relaxation and calm.

In order to tap into our strengths, it’s critical to

pay attention to your thought life, as our thoughts

impact how we feel about ourselves. When we

think negatively about ourselves or our situation, it’s

difficult to draw on our strengths. If you find that your

thoughts are mainly negative in nature, it’s helpful to

replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.

I would suggest making a list of positive affirmations

that resonate with you. An example might be, “I have

within me what I need to succeed,” or “I have the skills

to accomplish my goals.” When you notice that you

are thinking negative thoughts, work to replace those

thoughts with your positive affirmations. You will find

that with practice, this can become an effective habit

to help you better manage your emotions in difficult

and trying situations.

Developing ways to enhance your feelings of

accomplishment is an important aspect of enhancing

our self-worth and inner strength. It’s been suggested

that one way to do this is to make daily or weekly

goals for ourselves. I find it helps to write your goals

down as a way to hold yourself accountable and to

have a visual note of what you plan to do. I like to

make lists of the tasks I want to accomplish as it feels

good to be able to check them off my list. You’ll want

to be careful that your goals are realistic, so as not to

set yourself up for failure as this can leave you feeling


Send Your

Questions to

the Therapist.

As always, it’s important to make sure that you are

practicing self-care as a way to cultivate your inner

strength. With the hustle and bustle of daily living, some

feel this is a luxury they can’t afford, while others feel that

caring for themselves is somehow selfish. In the words of

L. R. Knost, “taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first’,

it means ‘me too’.” Self-care can be practiced in a myriad

of ways as it depends on what you find replenishes you.

Doing things, even small things, that bring you joy are

great ways to practice self-care. It’s also imperative that

you are not only getting enough sleep, but that you’re

getting good sleep. In the words of one of my wise

mentors, good sleep is restorative sleep. Developing

calming routines around bedtime can help to slow down

your mind and provide a sense of calm, making it easier

to fall asleep. Exercise, eating a balanced diet, and staying

hydrated are also important ways to practice self-care.

There are times in our lives when we can benefit from

drawing strength from others’ examples. Think about

the people you feel are strong and have modeled that

for you. What did you notice about their actions, or how

they related to you and others that conveyed strength?

What can you learn from their example that can help you

draw on your strengths in difficult situations? It can be

helpful to talk with others in your life that you feel possess

strengths you would like to develop. Don’t hesitate to ask

them what strengths they see in you as we don’t always

recognize the qualities that others see in us.

With all of the changes our new normal brings to our

daily lives, it’s important to ask yourself if you have truly

accepted these changes. One sure way to zap your inner

strength is to fight changes that you can’t control. I recently

found myself in a situation where I had to ask myself if

I was resisting a change that was beyond my control. I

finally realized that I needed to give up the fight, (which

was making my situation worse), and practice accepting

my situation for what it was.

In her article entitled, “Four Ways to Practice

Acceptance Every Day”, Amy Hillock, 2016,

shares the following:

Nix judgement – try to avoid thinking of

situations as good or bad and simply see them

for what they are.

Acknowledge always – practicing acceptance

means respecting the process and your

current place, and also acknowledging that

everything is or can be temporary.

Start with self – a positive mind pushes

you forward, and when you acknowledge

that you’re capable of doing better, any

shortcoming begins to matter less.

Find the good – even though it may seem

impossible, there is always something to be

positive about. It may take some time and

effort but developing the skill to seek out the

positive is well within everyone’s ability.

It’s important to note that accepting your situation doesn’t

mean that you necessarily approve of what has happened,

or that you have given up. It’s about acknowledging that

what has happened cannot be changed without the ability

to accept what has happened. The act of acceptance can

free you up to be able to tap into your inherent strengths

as well as to reveal strengths you didn’t realize you had!

“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that

you never really know. They’re what make the instrument

stretch – what make you go beyond the norm.”

– Cicely Tyson

Gladys Smith, a Licensed Independent Social Worker

with Mental Health Associates, who has over 35

years of clinical experience in inpatient, outpatient,

and residential settings. Although she provides

therapy to adults and families, she specializes in

working with adolescents who are struggling with

mental health, behavioral and substance disorders.

Gladys is a co-founder of Soul Creek Nature Therapy

that focuses on offering peace and healing through

a connection with nature.

Photo Credit Carolyn Goodwin Photography.

Siouxland Magazine | Balance /45








Siouxland Magazine | Balance /46

The wood element symbolizes new growth in springtime.

Seasonal Cycles &Your Body: Springtime is for Liver Strengthening

By Emily Larson

With spring upon us, it is my hope to offer you

a great healing resource that is relevant to this

season of growth and renewal. As intelligent

beings, humans have developed strong and variant

ways to heal our bodies as we take on the art and

struggle of living. Our developed world today comes

with quickly advancing technology and continuously

updated research, which shows itself in modern

Western medicine. We continue to find new ways to

address many different illnesses and diseases when

they find their way into our bodies.

This important form of medicine also has an important

compliment to ancient medicine. Since developers

of ancient forms of medicine did not have access to

advanced medical technology to treat disease, they

had to utilize the natural world around them to help

their bodies be well and prevent diseases that could

be difficult to treat. One form of medicine that has

truly withstood the test of time, with more than 2,000

years of practice is Traditional Chinese Medicine. Since

it draws great influence from the earthly seasons and

elements, it allows us to connect and live in harmony

with the Earth’s cycles since those cycles are strongly

reflected in our own bodies.

The Chinese calendar consists of five seasons, each

of which has an associated earthly element and vital

organ. Each season, element, and organ association has

deeply interconnected properties and functions, which

exemplifies the strength of our relationship to the earth. For

example, wood represents new growth and all things living

in spring. During the springtime, the Earth is concentrating

its energy on utilizing the nutrients of the soil to grow anew

from the darkness and cold of winter. Thus, the renewal of

spring is associated with the liver as it is responsible for

cleansing the blood via filtration, removal of toxins, and

storage and distribution of nutrients to the body.

The fire element represents heat and transformation in

the warm summer months. The long, warm days energize

our bodies and represent a time of peak power within the

seasonal cycle. We can see the transformative quality of fire

in the small intestine as it converts our digested food into

nutrients and sends them directly into the bloodstream.

The heat of blood circulation via the pumping action of the

heart also embodies the element of fire.

After a climb toward long, warm days and summer, the

Earth reaches a more stable period during late summer

in preparation for the harvest of fall and darkness of

winter. The stomach and spleen are organs associated

with cultivating nutrients from food in the initial stages of

digestion, a foundational process in nourishing the body.

Thus, these two organs are clear representations of the

Earth element.

Autumn, which is associated with the metal element, is

a time of organization and order for the harvest. This is

when we collect everything that is pure and necessary

and rid ourselves of anything unnecessary or a waste

of energy. The lungs, which take in oxygen and expel

carbon dioxide, share this same process with the colon,

which absorbs water and eliminates waste. So, the

refinement of pure minerals into the finished product

of metal is also a representation of the autumn season.

Water symbolizes the fluidity and tranquility of winter, a

time of darkness and turning inward. Our entire bodies

are great representations of water since this element

is the foundation of our physical makeup in the blood,

fluids, and organs. We embody water especially in

kidneys and urinary bladder which function to filter our

body’s fluids and purify them by expelling waste.

Siouxland Magazine | Balance /47

The strength of the connection between the Earth, its

elements, and our bodies is also apparent in the herbs

and foods naturally available during each season.

For example, as we enter the season of spring, the

sprouts and greens popping up around us are ideal for

cleansing the liver. This is the largest organ of the body,

its master laboratory, and storage site for essential

vitamins and minerals. Thus, the high mineral content of

spring greens makes them an ideal resource for a liver

cleanse. The liver cleanse takes place over an eight-day

cycle with seven days on and one day off.

During this time, the practitioner consumes no meat

with the main food source being an ancient Indianinfluenced

dish, called khichuri, of sprouted greens or

lentils and warming spices like cardamom, cinnamon,

and garlic. Throughout the liver cleanse, the practitioner

also takes tea with herbs that provide a high mineral

content such as nettles, dandelion leaves, and milk

thistle. Since the liver cleanse utilizes greens with

relatively small particles and low toxicity, the body can

easily digest and process them. The warming spices

help further stimulate digestion while the herbs target

and heal the liver specifically by helping to detoxify it

and replenish mineral storage.

In order to assist the liver cleanse process, the practitioner

can also take mineral baths with warming herbs like

yarrow, ginger, elderflower, or basil. Ginger especially

can draw a strong healing response by stimulating a

low-grade fever, which can help the body rid itself of

old waste and latent illness. The practitioner can deepen

the liver cleanse further by receiving lymphatic or deep

tissue massage, which has detoxifying effects.

After the initial seven days of the cleanse, the practitioner

takes one day “off” on the eighth day by fasting,

consuming only vegetable broth, and beet or carrot

juice. After the eighth day, it is time for the practitioner

to finally break the fast, but gently! It is best to start

with a small, clean-ish meal, even though the craving

for a greasy burger and fries may be strong. Cleansing

The fresher the herbs, the stronger the tea!

the liver in this way can have profound healing effects,

especially if the practitioner adheres strictly to the food

and herbal prescription. However, great liver healing

can still take place when the practitioner simply finds a

degree of the cleanse during spring that suits their own

needs and availability. For example, simply incorporating

the buffer tea and mineral baths during spring can be

simple yet strong ways to find liver healing. Both of these

resources are available for your own exploration at Mind

& Body Connection.

As with springtime and liver cleansing, we can also take

the herbs and foods that are naturally available during

the other seasons of the earthly year. By taking each

season’s unique and naturally occurring offerings, we can

address the healing of each vital organ of the body. This

technique of the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine

practice exemplifies the profoundly strong connection

we have to our Earth and its seasonal cycles. Working

through this connection gives our bodies the ability to

protect themselves from possible disease, be well and

strong, and live fully in this one precious life.

For any questions concerning seasonal cleanses and the

Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, you are welcome

to contact the Mind & Body Connection, and we will do

our best to assist you in your own unique explorations of

self-care and healing.

Emily Larson, Licensed Massage Therapist, Private

Yoga Instructor, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

& Human Performance, Co-teacher of Anatomy for

massage therapy students at the Bio-Chi Institute,

mother to Noah.

Photos Contributed by Emily Larson.


Enjoy Your Life.


Mitch Martin, co-owner of The Marquee, with a few of his creations.

Keeping Spirits High at The Marquee

By Adrian Kolbo

Early last year, just before the pandemic

shutdowns, many event spaces and restaurants in

Siouxland had just closed the books on a banner

year and were expecting more of the same.

One relatively young live music venue on Historic 4th

Street, The Marquee, had been humming along since

their opening in May of 2017. “We were just cranking ‘em

out, national shows, regional shows, local shows, I had

everything booked up until about August 2020,” says The

Marquee co-owner Mitch Martin. “Normally we book 3

months out. At that time I was booking out 6-8 months in

advance and everything was looking great,” Martin said.

At the time there was really no way of knowing what was

in store for this community, and certainly no idea of how it

would affect the events industry.

“Come February 2020 we started hearing rumblings of a

global pandemic. And then I remember hearing that New

York (had) shut down, and then Illinois shut down, and

then it was like, we’re on our way here,” he explained. It

was clear that the shutdowns were moving inland.

“Then on March 17,” he continues, “which is historically our

second busiest night of the year - St. Patty’s Day - we got the

word that we had to shut down by 12pm. I shouldn’t have

been in shock because I had been watching it happen to

other states, but I was just in shock.”

As I write this it is officially just shy of one year later, February

2021, and Martin now stands behind his bar in a black

hoodie with a matching buff around his neck. He asks me if

I would like a glass of water and I accept with appreciation.

I can see that it’s been a challenging year for him, but I can

also tell that he’s proud to be where he is right now.

After what has now been a full year of unexpected twists and

turns, it’s safe to say that major shifts are now just par for the

course. Martin and his co-owners, Kelly and Nikki Quinn and

Martin’s wife, Emily, have all had to act quickly, decisively and

with intention in order to keep things afloat.

“You have to be able to diversify and pivot, to recognize

that we have to do something different if we are going to

survive,” he explained.

And pivot they did. Shortly after the shutdown it was

announced that the state of Iowa would relax their liquor laws

to allow drinking establishments to sell pre-batched and togo

cocktails. This presented a new revenue opportunity for

The Marquee and others with similar business models in


“We’d been doing these Ultimate Bloody Mary’s with our

house mix since we opened in 2017. Probably around fall

of 2019 is when we did our first MitchSlap (Bloody Mary

Mix), and then the shut-down happened and we were really

looking for a source of revenue, we had nothing coming in,”

says Martin.






Once things really got moving, The Marquee was

scrambling to keep up with demand for their premade

MitchSlap Bloody Mary kits. “It would usually range

between 75-100 kits. Those were in addition to the other

drinks going out as well as cocktails to-go,” he says.

“We were seeing people come in that had never been

to the Marquee before, and saw our giant bloody mary

with all this food on it on our Facebook page and just

wanted to give it a shot. So it was really cool”, Martin says.

His namesake bloody mary mix line now includes Regular,

Spicy, Spicy Pickle, and Jalapeno Bacon flavors, all bottled

and wax-sealed by hand at The Marquee.

Recently, with the success of to-go items including canned

cocktails, he’s added MitchSlap Marinara and MitchSlap

Chili Starter mixes. ”All you have to do is brown some

hamburger and put some beans in it and you’ve got a pot

of chili. And our Marinara sauce, which is a recipe that I

already like to make for my family, now includes a touch of

MitchSlap,” he says.

“My wife hates it because I’m experimenting all of the

time. She’s like, can we please not have something tomato

based today?” he says with a laugh.

“At this point, I’m most interested in better understanding

how I can get my “go-to” Bulleit Rye Old Fashioned “togo”.”

“We make them all doubles,” Martin says, “because it’s

a larger can, so it’s essentially two drinks. We’ll make the

drink in the shaker like normal, we pour it into a can, seal

it with our crowler machine, slap a label on it, you take

it home and pour it over ice, and you’ve got your old

fashioned.” Sounds pretty slick to me. But what if cocktails

to-go and gargantuan Bloody Mary’s are not your thing?

“We’re doing Sunday Fun-day and I was starting to get

people ordering all of the food on the Bloody Mary with

whatever brunch drink they really wanted. So [I thought]

let’s do a Mimosa with a ton of breakfast food on it. Instead

of a slider, a breakfast sandwich and a french toast stick.

It’s a quick brunch and a drink in one. We call it Marquee

Mark and the Funky Brunch,” Martin says with a laugh.

When asked about other innovations and collaborations

that have been helping to drive revenue during the

shutdown, Martin is quick to bring up his Coffee &

Cocktails collab with Alex Paulsen, owner of Nightingale

Coffee. “We do this the last Sunday of every month. Alex

has been really open to ideas and he’s very innovative.

Every month it gets better and better,” he says.

Good to know!


The rules prohibit the sale of mixed drinks or

cocktails to-go in paper or Styrofoam cups, or

plastic cups that are intended for one-time use.

Lids with straw holes or sipping holes are also


Containers of mixed drinks or cocktails to-go also

must bear a seal that makes it apparent when that

seal has been tampered with. The types of sealing

methods allowed under the rules are heat shrink

wrap bands around the cap or lid, twist-top caps

that break apart when the container is opened, or

vacuum or heat-sealed pouches containing the

mixed drink or cocktail.

As a sample of what types of drinks to expect, Martin offers

up the Cold Fashioned as a favorite: a coffee-based take on

an Old Fashioned that includes Cold Brew Coffee, Bulleit

Bourbon, Bitters, and Simple Syrup, and is available to go

along with the rest of the specialty menu.

When asked to find a few positives to take away from this

challenging time, Martin is quick to mention community

support as first on his list.

“Community support has been the #1 positive. Sioux City,

per capita, the support they have for local business is

unmatched in my opinion. I think they’ve really shown that

they can support and help small businesses survive during

this time. We’re very fortunate,” he says.

And what is Martin most looking forward to in the coming


“We will continue to do cocktails to-go. As the vaccines start

rolling out and people are feeling better about things we’ll

bring back more live music,” he says.

“I’m just excited to hit the ground runnin and make it happen

this year,” Martin says as I begin to pack up my things. “I’d

rather be having shows with people hanging out, but we’ve

proven that we will make it happen either way.”

Adrian Kolbo is the Host of the Web-series Sioux City Foodie

and Local F&B Fanatic.

Photo Credit left to right, Adrian Kolbo, The Marquee and

Britton Hacke Photography.

Siouxland Magazine | EXPLORE /50

Gill loves to capture images of her clients in beautiful natural settings.

Body Love Warrior

By Erika Hansen

When photographer and body image activist

Sarah Gill hit her own personal rock bottom in

2017, she had no idea what journey awaited

her. Or the changes she’d experience in her own

development that would give her the vehicle to help

other women transform their own body image and selfesteem

- one picture at a time.

“My own body image has always suffered,” said Gill

during a phone call one chilly morning in January. “I’ve

never been able to fully love my body and love myself

because of that.”

Gill was hospitalized in 2017 for mental health. It was at

that point that a shift began to take place.

Gill said she didn’t originally think about body image

activism. But as she decided to invest in her own

education as a photographer, she attended a workshop

in Philadelphia. She had her photos taken by a boudoir

photographer, an industry she had just recently entered

after the brides she photographed started asking for the


“The photographer in Philadelphia took my pictures

as part of the class, and when I saw them, I realized,

‘Wow, so that’s what I look like.’ Suddenly, I felt like I had

permission to exist. And I realized I needed to do this for

other people.”

“Yoga teacher training coincidentally started two weeks

after getting out of the hospital,” said Gill. “It was divine


Gill said she found her power by immersing herself in

the practice of yoga. Through breath and breathing, Gill

said she realized she’s allowed to take up space, and

developed the power to say, “This is who I am, and there

is nothing wrong with this. Finding my voice, I realized

I needed to give people the space I’d been afforded,

so they could feel the same way.” And the momentum


Clients express freedom and release during their sessions.

Boudoir photography is described as a photographic

style featuring intimate, sensual, or romantic images

of its subjects in a photographic studio, bedroom, or

private dressing room environment. But Gill’s clients

experienced a palpable shift in power after one of their


“I’ve seen people go from quiet and shy, to immediately

asking when they can book another session,” said Gill.

“It’s hard to describe unless you witness it yourself. It’s a

look in their eyes, the way they walk, the way they carry

themselves, the way they interact with other people.”

Siouxland Magazine | EXPLORE / 51

Gill said some of the clients she sees have suffered

various forms of abuse, and the photography session is

a deep release of shame or pain that’s been buried over


When asked about the most common misperceptions

about what she does, Gill doesn’t hesitate.

“Because I center a lot of my work on what I call

‘marginalized’ bodies, I get a lot of comments like ‘You’re

promoting obesity,’ or ‘You’re promoting unhealthy

behaviors,’ and that’s simply not true. I’m giving people

space where they can feel loved and realize there’s

nothing wrong with them.”

Sarah’s self portraits are unfiltered and authentic.

Gill has backed up her work in the studio with a nowthriving

Facebook group called Body Love Warriors.

The online community supports one another, giving its

members a safe space to voice fears, celebrate wins, and

continue the mission of body-positivity. The group’s 2020

Let Free Your Wild event raised money and collected

goods to donate to the Safe Space in Sioux City.

“We’re not only building community, we’re giving back

to the community,” said Gill.

She’s also used her yoga teacher training to offer body

image bootcamp workshops.

Gill hosts Let Free Your Wild retreats that include

journaling, group support, body acceptance, and most

importantly, healing. Her next retreat is scheduled for

Breckenridge, Colorado, in September.

Gill said she sees a ton of progress happening. Lots of

work still needs to be done to arrive at the concept of

body neutrality. But there is movement. She plans to

make sure her Body Love Warriors are front and center

of the positive shift.

Sarah invites her clients to dress in whatever feels most


“I try to give people permission to exist as they are. We

shouldn’t have to justify the way we show up in the world.

That’s one of my favorite things to teach.”

“Also, because I do take a lot of photos with minimal

clothing, some say the subjects aren’t respecting

themselves. But these people are reclaiming their

sensuality and sexuality. Many of them are reclaiming

their power.”

Power seems to be a theme in all of Sarah Gill’s work. The

images are stunning, and the (mostly) women in front of

the camera appear incredibly comfortable; something

that’s difficult to imagine in today’s ultra-filtered, ultrahappy,

social media environment.

Curious about exploring the connection between

outward appearance and inner power? Erika is

passionate about showcasing accessible style, and

fostering a spirit of inclusion with no limits on age or

body type. You can find more of Erika’s journey on

Instagram, @erikahansen.official.

Erika Hansen, a professional model, influencer, and

lifelong lover of fashion.

Photo Credit Sarah Ann Boudoir

Siouxland Magazine | EXPLORE /52

Appreciation of beauty is one of our greatest strengths as gardeners. Stop and smell the tomatoes! There is nothing more

beautiful than a cool summer morning and buckets of ripe, red fruit.

Strength in Numbers

By Lisa Cox

“By soliciting modest contributions from the

many, we have produced a store of collective

know-how with far greater power than any

individual could have achieved.” In 2008, Atul

Gawande published Better. It is a collection of medical

essays. However, it is not the type of writing that one

would expect from a surgeon at the top of his game. It

is an introspective examination of details and, as others

have said, compassion and humility. Why look back at the

small things when outcomes are positives and numbers

are up? Why pursue character strengths for the greater

good? And what use to the world would these gifts be

once discovered? Up from the Earth (UFTE) took a step

back to dissect these questions for itself and saw great

potential for growth in the Spring of 2021 and Siouxland


Since 2014, UFTE has been serving Siouxland with its

creativity by harnessing the power of local gardeners

to increase food security. During these six years,

approximately 130,000 pounds of fresh fruits and

vegetables have been harvested. This is a lot of food

for families. Breaking it down, about 390,000 servings

of fresh, seasonal, complex carbohydrates hit the

tables of Siouxland. That is a big deal. This helps lower

cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and reduces the the

risk of stroke. We are also helping parents teach healthy

lifestyle choices. Why does this not seem like enough?

Honestly, according to the Foodbank of Siouxland, “Not

only those who were food insecure before we heard

the term COVID-19 or coronavirus but now countless

individuals and families who are no longer certain of their

paychecks are likely to need our help as well.” This means

more families are in need now. Gardeners are starting

to look ahead to bump up produce production for the

summer. Even though our numbers are strong, and the

collection sites and pantries are working together, we

also need to assess our strength as a UFTE team. When

we examine the details and inspect our actions, we can

see how we can make them better.

Sometimes the act of checking out the details reminds

us of Bill Murray’s character in What About Bob? as he is

about to go sailing, “but if your friend is a good sailor, and

the craft is seaworthy.” Often, we rely on our judgment

or the abilities of others. We seek people out who have

certain skills or talents to help or assist. In the case of Up

from the Earth, those with more computer proficiencies

tackle the website, ISU Extension Master Gardeners seek

out the gardens, and former teachers assist with public

education. We see it as planting a garden with fertile soil.

The interesting part is that these resources have a fluidity

because they are connected to character strengths. We

are strong not because we are gardeners, teachers, or

other professionals. We are strong because we possess

many of the VIA Institute on Character’s 24 Strengths of


When you have a moment, check out viacharacter.org.

Here is where you will find: Strength comes in many

forms, and values like prudence, humility, and kindness

are really good things to bring to the table. Take the

ten minutes to learn what kind of signature principles

are guiding your life. Which ones come most natural

to you? Are you one of those people that ask lots of

questions? Curiosity may be your strength. Similarly, to

those diving into a task with their head are those leading

with their heart. If you find yourself working at this for a

longer period of time than ten minutes, you may have

persistence or a Love of Learning. Often these two go

together, combining like a recipe for chocolate zucchini

bread. For those relentless individuals who seek to

create something better than the original, you are UFTE.

As a result, with the sage words of Dr. Gawande ringing

in our ears, Up from the Earth is seeking the collective

contributions of Siouxland gardeners and problemsolvers

this Spring of 2021.

Up from the Earth Harvest Heroes, Craig, Ron, and

Dennis, at the Dennis and Barb Anfinson farm.

Siouxland Magazine | EXPLORE / 53

Likewise, if you appreciate beauty and have a sense of

humor, there is definitely a place for you with us. We are

seeking the gritty, the curious, the persistent. This year,

when we plant, share, grow we want to know, are you

Zesty? As we are a Hopeful group with Gratitude for

the Kindness that Siouxland has shown UFTE’s last six

growing seasons, we are looking forward to connecting

people and having our numbers grow.

To sign up, Go to:



Or stop by our Facebook page at:


Or website:


Can you make a garden more organized, increasing

the productivity? Taking the time to problem-solve

strengthens a garden and its team.

UFTE’s detail that we can do better is to gather a strong

database of volunteers. The question is how do we expand

this archive to have talents and skills that are inside and

outside the garden realm during a pandemic? As Sonny

would say, “We go to the mattresses.” No, we go to the

technology! This year UFTE is starting a SignUpGenius

for volunteers who have a passion for decreasing food

insecurity in Siouxland. If you are physically strong

and want to be a Harvest Hero or work in one of our

community gardens, we need you. If you are a family

that wants to volunteer as a group, we can connect you.

Lisa Cox, an ISU/Woodbury County Extension Master

Gardener, NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer, and former

high school teacher, combines her passion for education

and gardening while seeking to understand the impact

of food insecurity. She is active in UFTE, DKG, the South

Sioux Cooperative Learning Garden, and the Sioux City

Garden Club.

Up From The Earth exists to connect extra produce

from home gardens to people in need.

Photo Credit Lisa Cox (left page). Photo Credit Lisa Cox

(this page, left column). Photo Contributed by UFTE


Siouxland Magazine | EXPLORE /54

A kayaker is hanging out in his life jacket, sipping

a bloody mary, and listening to live music as he

peruses the organic offerings at the Farmer’s

Market. He passes by people enjoying yoga on the

new boardwalk down by the Ferris Wheel before

kayaking home. This is not just a pretty story painting

a picture. This is real life, and that kayaker personifies

what Krissy Thiessen and Tracy Evans had in mind when

they launched the market at Arnold’s Park.

There are only five Farmer’s Markets in the USA you

can boat up to. One is in Iowa and it’s a street party

you can basically grocery shop at. Why hasn’t this

always existed? The intent was to create a new market

with an atmosphere that emulated the lakes area:

high quality produce and craftsman items like those of

Lakeside Woodworking, live music, kids’ activities, and

more all right on the water on Lake Street. This must see

experience occurs every Saturday during the summer

and continues through the fall.

“We started with around 15 vendors but continued to

add on through the end of the first season and into last

season. We were planning on 40+ vendors last year

but COVID stomped on that a little. We’re hopeful this

year we will have close to 40 vendors give or take!”

commented Krissy Thiessen, Executive Director –

Farmer’s Market in the Park and owner of Cherry Lane


Investment in the Okoboji experience is abundant. Park

goers now take picturesque strolls on the Norwegian

kebony wood planks of a newly constructed boardwalk

up to Preservation Plaza donning nine arches with 250

programmable LED lights that are lit up when bands like

OAR and Iowa legend Damon Dotson take the stage.

Rachel Carlson, RE/MAX Preferred hosted bands

like Smashmouth on the very same stage during her

time in the marketing department at Arnold’s Park.

Beautification of the area is prominent and at its apex,

the renaissance of The Inn Hotel.

There is something magical about hotels and resorts

of the past. In 1896, The Inn was erected on West Lake

Okoboji and was labeled “the hub of society,” ushering

in what was coined, “The Golden Age.” The legendary

resort enjoyed occupants from all over the region

for more than a century. Marc and Mercedes Steffes

decided to run it back. In honor of the Inn and a nod to

its history, they wanted to introduce a modern version

that embodied the magic of an earlier era. The design

remained true to the Art Deco feel of its predecessor,

while introducing next-level amenities including a

rooftop pool and The Beach Club just steps away from

Arnold’s Park.

“The Beach Club transports lake-goers to

the northern Caribbean in its heyday. Inside

the sweet smell of rum infuses handcrafted

cocktails, while the luxe interior, romantic lighting,

and vintage sounds of Cuban Jazz culminate

in an island-inspired speakeasy vibe,”

stated Mercedes Steffes, owner

- The Inn Hotel.

So. Much. Awesomeness. Is this heaven? No…it’s Iowa.

Jeff and Rachel Carlson, Carlson Group @ RE/MAX


Carlson kids enjoying the Farmer’s Market.

Back in the day, when I was just a young

boy, we took a ton of backroads to get from

Okoboji to Sioux City. I would stay for a week

a couple times a year with the Johnsons on Floyd

Blvd. I remember their home seemingly sat on the

highest point of Floyd and the massive sledding

hills we were so fortunate to go down. As a kid,

I felt like I was visiting a HUGE metropolis with

trains, stockyards, and old buildings. Boy, what a

transformation has occurred since then.

Siouxland Magazine |EXPLORE/ 55

The trip is so much easier by swiftly cruising down

Highway 60. We’re met with gorgeous new housing

developments, golf courses, incredible retail,

restaurants, event centers, the Hard Rock, and so

much more. It is jaw-dropping for this non-local

to see the progress and Sioux City’s opportunity

for growth. It’s an exciting time to invest in the

community and to be a part of a great team at RE/

MAX Preferred.

Okoboji Real Estate News

The Iowa Great Lakes continues to be the

most sought-after vacation home destination

in the Midwest. We’re fortunate to live in an area

that seems to have a shield against economic and

housing concerns like other parts of the United

States have faced the last 20 years. Property values

continue to rise through market crashes, poor ag

markets, and a worldwide pandemic. The real estate

market in Okoboji this year was strong. Low interest

rates have driven buying at a rapid pace.

Inventory is at all-time lows. Let’s check stats.

As of February 14, 2021 , there are only 3 homes

on West Lake for sale and only 1 condo. On

East Lake, 1 home and 2 condos. On the other 3

connecting lakes, Minnewashta, Lower Gar and

Upper Gar, there are zero, yes zero, properties on

the market. Finally, there are 3 Big Spirit listings,

and none priced at more than $450,000. I’ve

never witnessed such a limited inventory in

my life and front foot lakeshore is setting alltime

records. Perhaps there is no better example

Aerial view of The Inn.

of how strong the market is than Bridges Bay. Between

the hundreds of condos and cabins there, there are

ZERO on the market. This is crazy. It’s a great time to be

a seller, but can be frustrating to be a buyer.

If you’re a buyer looking for your Okoboji dream home,

I highly recommend working with a REALTOR. During

a tough supply time, they can be your eyes and ears.

If you’re one day late finding out about that

new listing, you are simply too late. More buying

opportunities are coming, but with a ton of competition.

Though some people refer to the University of Okoboji

as a mythical campus, nothing could be further from the

truth. If you believe in the spirit of Okoboji, as everyone

that steps their foot on campus does, you never want to

leave. Summers are filled with endless fun for families

and friends, and complete strangers develop lifelong

friendships. If you aren’t ready

to buy, then come for a week;

visit all the local businesses that

try so hard to make your stay

memorable. We look forward to

seeing you.

Aaron Jones,

Broker, RE/MAX Lakes Realty

Siouxland’s Gateway to Okoboji”

Highest Quality...

Best Price Guaranteed...

Think Pflanz...

Staying on top of the

electronic evolution for over 60 years,

offering Audio, Video, and Security

for Home & Business!

415 Pavonia Street

Sioux City, Iowa 51101

(712) 252-4507


Monday 10-7

Tuesday 10-6

Wednesday 10-6

Thursday 10-7

Friday 10-6

Saturday 10-6

Sunday Closed

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