NEWS 3.5.21: Ho-Chunk Capital Expands, Jail Delay, Weekly SCCSD C-19 Report, and More

Mar 5, 2021

Credit Ho-Chunk Capital

A big economic development from Ho-Chunk Capital today. The company finalized purchase of several businesses on historic Fourth Street in Sioux City from the Aalfs family. This includes the Aalfs main office building, Buffalo Alice, Antiques on Historic Fourth, M’s on 4th and SoHo.

Ho-Chunk plans to preserve and renovate several buildings and create new opportunities for commercial and residential tenants.

Ho-Chunk Capital is in charge of all investments for Ho-Chunk, Inc, the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Ho-Chunk, Inc. is an underwriter for Siouxland Public Media.

News release from Ho-Chunk Capital below.

Construction on the new Woodbury County jail has been delayed until at least the fall due to a jump in the cost of materials.

The Sioux City Journal reports officials with the Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center Authority, overseeing the new jail say items increased in cost by as much as 70%. 

In March of last year voters approved the $50 million dollar project to replace the current jail that authorities say was in bad shape and horribly overcrowded.

The jail was estimated to open in 2022 on 28th Street east of Lewis Boulevard.

The weekly COVID-19 report from the Sioux City Community School District shows one more student and one staff member testing positive for the coronavirus. There are 199 students and six teachers and staff in quarantine.

Credit Sioux City Community School District

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 13 more Iowans died of complications of COVID-19 with more than 500 testing positive, with 22 more in Woodbury County.

There are 176 hospitalized in the state with 8 patients at Sioux City’s two medical facilities.

The head of Siouxland District Health, Kevin Grieme says even though the number of cases and hospitalizations has fallen, people still need to follow health guidelines, including wearing masks.

“We just have to ask people to continue with it when we better assurances that this is all under control. This is going to take a few months.”

When looking back on the past year, Grieme says it was unfortunate how the pandemic became so polarizing.

“And I know people have strong feelings related to it. But, when we get down to caring for our neighbor, isn’t that a simple thing we could have just done.”

Grieme says local health officials are working to get the vaccine to underserved populations of the community. The final large scale vaccination clinic is scheduled for Monday at the Tyson Events Center.

Meanwhile, Wells Enterprises plans to vaccinate employees at an onsite clinic in Le Mars on Monday and Tuesday.

Numbers put out by state health officials show more than 200,000 Iowa residents are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. By Friday morning, numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed more than 768,000 vaccine doses had been administered and that nearly 208,500 had received a second dose. The department also reported more than 366,000 positive tests and 5,549 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year. Iowa’s seven-day rolling average COVID-19 positivity rate remained on the rise this week, going from 14.15% for the period that ended Feb. 18 to 19.37% for the period that ended Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Officials across the nation are closing prisons as crime rates drop and views about drug use change, but not in Nebraska, where the governor is pushing for a new $230 million prison to relieve overcrowding and house a steadily rising inmate population. It’s not certain that lawmakers will support Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ plan to build a 1,512-bed maximum security prison, but the fact that the state is considering what would amount to a 37% increase in bed space runs counter to most states. California, Missouri, Connecticut and others have announced plans to shutter prisons because of declining inmate numbers in their states.

Advocates for a voter-passed measure to legalize marijuana in South Dakota are crying foul about a taxpayer-funded lawsuit from Gov. Kristi Noem opposing it. The firm currently bills the governor’s office for legal services at a rate of $190 an hour for partners and $170 an hour for associates, according to a contract with the firm. The legal battle the measure is set to enter its final round at the state Supreme Court. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has launched a fundraising effort that includes a live-streamed concert it is calling “Freedom We’re On It” — poking at two idioms the Republican governor is famous for using.

An Iowa journalist faces trial on charges stemming from her coverage of a protest against racial injustice. Prosecutors have pursued the misdemeanor case against Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri 

Police officers are shown arresting Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri after a Black Lives Matter protest she was covering on May 31, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa, was dispersed by tear gas. Sahouri is set to stand trial on Monday, March 8, 2021, on misdemeanor charges, a case that prosecutors have pursued despite international condemnation from advocates for press freedom.
Credit Katie Akin via AP

despite international condemnation from free press advocates who say she was just doing her job. Sahouri was pepper sprayed and arrested by a Des Moines police officer while reporting on a clash between protesters and police outside a shopping mall. The two-day trial at Drake University will highlight an aggressive legal response by Iowa authorities against those who organized and attended protests that erupted last summer and occasionally turned violent. Sahouri and her former boyfriend are charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts.

News release from Ho-Chunk Capital:

Ho-Chunk Capital announces major purchase of Historic 4th Street Sioux City properties, including Aalfs building

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Ho-Chunk Capital has finalized purchase of numerous properties on historic Fourth Street from Sioux City’s Aalfs family, including their landmark office building.

The parcels amount to 78,527 square feet, and feature a vibrant mix of current tenants, including bars, offices, shops and restaurants on the 1000 block of historic Fourth Street. The deal closed March 5, 2021.

“We look forward to preserving and revitalizing these historic downtown properties,” said Dennis Johnson, CEO of Ho-Chunk Capital. “This purchase symbolizes Ho-Chunk Capital’s growing investment in the future of Sioux City. We are honored to work with the Aalfs family to continue local ownership.”

Ho-Chunk Capital – a division of Ho-Chunk, Inc. – has emerged as the region’s leading real estate developer in recent years, including major investments in downtown Sioux City and the Flatwater Crossing master-planned community in South Sioux City.

The Aalfs family were central figures in helping revitalize the downtown area previously known as “Lower Fourth” into what is now Historic Fourth Street. Jack Aalfs said they wanted to preserve the historic integrity of the area while also offering an opportunity for small business development.

“We are grateful we had the privilege to participate in its transformation to ‘Historic Fourth,’” Aalfs said. “The decision to sell our properties was not an easy one, so it was important to us to find a buyer that shared our commitment to Sioux City and its history. We believe that Ho-Chunk Capital has demonstrated that commitment, and we are excited for the future of Historic Fourth in their hands.”

In addition to the five-story Aalfs building at 1005 Fourth St., the purchase includes adjacent parcels of 1019- 23 Fourth St., 1014 Fourth St., 1016-24 Fourth St. and 1010-12 Fourth St. Some commercial tenants at these properties include Buffalo Alice, Antiques on Historic Fourth, M’s on 4th and SoHo Kitchen & Bar.

Ho-Chunk Capital will develop long-term plans to preserve and renovate the buildings to historic standards and create new opportunity for commercial and residential tenants. The oldest obuilding dates back to 1885.

Ho-Chunk Capital’s real estate investments help generate long-term revenue for Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s mission. The company reinvests in the Winnebago Tribe among shared priorities of housing, employment, youth,

education and elders.