¿Qué Desafíos has
Experimentado en Siouxland?
Insights from a Wellness Coach
& a Doctor – Keeping Us Strong
Volume 3, Issue 2
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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.
E m p o w e r i n g
Complexity of Strength............................................................................................................8
Conversation About Strength...............................................................................10
Seventy Years Strong....................................................................................................12
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
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
“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
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
Media Kit at siouxlandmagazine.com
Keeping Spirits High at The Marquee.............................................48
Body Love Warrior.................................................................................................................50
Strength in Numbers............................................................................................................52
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ON THE COVER
Photography by Jetske Wauran.
Siouxland Magazine writers
Portraits of the
Dr. Cyndi Hanson,
Executive Director for
Stacy O. Speaks.
Show Host with
Fully Licensed Office
Professional in Keith
Bales Office of Thrivent.
Sioux City Council.
Nebraska – Lincoln
Up From the
Erin Bahrenfuss, Owner
STRIVE Health + Wellness
& Independent Certified
Dr. Meghan Nelson,
Licensed Physical Therapist,
Professional Yoga Therapist &
Co-owner of Lumin Therapy.
Social Worker &
Co-founder of Soul
Creek Nature Therapy.
Sioux City Growth
Host of the Webseries
Foodie and Local
Dr. Nesrin Abu Ata,
Psychiatrist & Yoga
Therapist & Private
Starting Conversations in our Community
Align your business with Siouxland Magazine.
Advertise your business in a publication
commited to improving our community.
And by the way…
…we want to hear from you.
Send us your stories.
Visit our website and click on article submission.
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
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. ”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Powerful narrative of “us”
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
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
Siouxland Magazine | Converse / 14
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
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.
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
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
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
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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.COM I 866.537.6052
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.
SIOUXLANDEDC.COM I 712.279.6430
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.
SPRINGBOARDCOWORKING.COM I 515.809.0052
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.
ISUSTARTUPFACTORY.ORG I 515.296.6532
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.
VENTURENETIOWA.COM I 515.471.1300
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
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
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
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
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
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
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!
Learn Network Promote
Small Business Education Series
New Member Coffee
Rush Hour Connect
Chamber Golf Classic
WMN Mentoring & Networking
Post Your Job Openings, Events,
Sales & Services
Chamber Event Sponsorships
Post Your News Releases
Call to become a member today! 712.255.7903
Siouxland Magazine | Grow/34
GRAB & GO SNACKS
Stop in any of our 7 Siouxland locations to fill up fast and save!
Join Pony Rewards and save an extra 5 cents off every gallon
of fuel – plus earn points to use in the store.
South Sioux City • Winnebago • Walthill • Emerson • Rosalie • Sloan
Gourmet coffees, hot breakfast
sandwiches and bakery goods
make your morning just right.
For lunch, choose from steaming
soups, tasty sandwiches, and fresh
salads. Eat in or grab and go!
“I love those who can
smile in trouble, who
can gather strength
from distress, and
grow brave by
for pick up!
to 474747 to
Sioux City • Ho-Chunk Centre
Winnebago • Ho-Chunk Village
O P E N I N G M AY 2 0 2 1
SOUTH SIOUX CITY
– Leonardo da Vinci
Siouxland Magazine | | Grow/35 / 39
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
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
HOLY WEEK & EASTER WORSHIP
8 locations – one near you!
Every gender, every race, ALL are covered by God’s grace!
Augustana Lutheran ELCA (Downtown)
www.augustanasc.org | 255-7694
Trinity Lutheran ELCA (Downtown)
www.trinitylutheranchurchsc.org | 258-0519
St John Lutheran ELCA (Northside)
www.stjohnlutheransiouxcity.org | 277-3945
First Lutheran ELCA (Northside)
www.firstlutheransc.org | 239-3942
Riverside Lutheran ELCA (Riverside)
www.nhcc.me | 233-1491
St Luke Lutheran ELCA (Morningside)
www.stlukechurchsc.org | 276-3346
St Mark Lutheran ELCA (Morningside)
www.scstmark.com | 276-2418
Immanuel/New Life Lutheran ELCA
www.newlifelutheranchurchsbl.com | 255-4729
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.
Vern Eide Hyundai Sioux City
amazing customer service.
4601 SINGING HILLS BLVD
SIOUX CITY, IA 51106
Siouxland Magazine | Grow /38
I have been using the total OsteoStrong offerings,
including the X3, for about 9 months consistently. I have
been in college sports to crossfit gyms, but this system has
done wonders for the day to day convenience which has
equaled consistency. My proprioception and posture
issues are the best they have ever been. Strength gains
and mobility have been great. I’m grateful it found me.
– Shane M.
5001 Sergeant Rd. Suite 265, Sioux City, IA 51106
“It was a very easy procedure
- didn’t take very
long at all. I stayed off
my feet for the weekend
and then went back to
work on Monday and
was fine. I’m definitely
glad I made this decision.
It’s made a world of
difference on my knee.”
– Colette G. (knee)
find out how to receive a free Pain relief treatment and Consultation.
Scan from smartphone camera or visit website.
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
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.
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
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.
“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
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
Boat with chair
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
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
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
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
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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
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,”
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!
IOWA TO-GO COCKTAIL RULES:
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
“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
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
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:
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
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
“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/
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
Broker, RE/MAX Lakes Realty
“Siouxland’s Gateway to Okoboji”
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Sioux City, Iowa 51101