OUR OPINION: Five reasons we are thankful
Editor’s note: For Thanksgiving, the five members of our editorial board offer five reasons, in no specific order, why we ourselves - as Sioux Cityans, Iowans and Americans - are thankful.
Local economic strength
Signs of economic vitality are evident throughout our metro region.
Consider these examples:
- The metro Sioux City unemployment rate was just 2 percent for October.
- In October, local and state dignitaries joined company leaders to celebrate the addition of a second shift at the Seaboard Triumph pork plant located on 250 acres of Sioux City’s Bridgeport West Industrial Park.
The second production shift will add 900 workers, pushing total plant employment to roughly 2,000. Capital investment in the plant, which opened in September 2017, totals some $330 million.
- In August, Fleet Farm opened a 218,000-square-foot store in 64-acre Sunnybrook Village. In September, Hobby Lobby opened a 55,000-square-foot store in the same complex.
In a Journal story on the Fleet Farm opening, Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott estimated total retail, commercial and residential development in the Sunnybrook area of the city as a whole to date exceeds $100 million.
- Progress continues on a proposed Reinvestment District Program involving construction of an agriculture/recreation center at the former site of the John Morrell plant in the old stockyards area; redevelopment to residential and commercial use by Ho-Chunk Inc. of several former industrial buildings in the 100 block of Virginia Street; construction of a hotel and parking ramp next to the city’s downtown Convention Center; and rehabilitation of the former Warrior Hotel building and Davidson Building in the 500 block of Sixth Street.
- For the third consecutive year and for the fifth year in the last six years, the Sioux City metro region ranks first in the nation for economic development activity in areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000, according to Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine. (Sioux City metro ranked second in 2014.)
In 2017, our metro region boasted 26 qualified projects involving either the location of new or the expansion of existing businesses and industries - double the 13 projects for second-place finishers Bowling Green, Ky., Owensboro, Ky., and Gainesville, Ga. To be included, projects must meet one of three criteria: Capital investment of $1 million or more, creation of a minimum of 20 new jobs or the addition of at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.
America’s men and women in uniform
Respect and admiration for members of our armed forces - the world’s finest - and the sacrifices they, and their families, make for all of us is something for which we are thankful each and every day.
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your loved ones today, pause a moment in reflection on our servicemen and women who stand guard each and every day, around the clock, over our nation’s security and freedoms.
In particular, consider the tens of thousands of servicemembers who are deployed far from home in dozens of countries across the globe.
Almost every day, we are reminded of the dangers inherent in the work of law officers. On Monday in Chicago, Officer Samuel Jiminez was shot and killed by a gunman who opened fire at a hospital.
Since the start of 2018, nearly 80 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have died while on duty, with 44 of those deaths caused by gunfire, Fox News reported. Last year, a total of 129 officers died, 46 by gunfire, according to Fox.
In Sioux City, three police officers have been shot in the line of duty since 2013. Fortunately, all three officers returned to work.
No American should take for granted the potential for danger law enforcement personnel face every day or forget the debt of gratitude we all owe these public servants for accepting those risks.
Spirit of giving
Again this year, we reflect in profound admiration at the giving nature of Siouxlanders.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in four Americans took the time to volunteer in 2016. Volunteerism has an annual value of over $184 billion, according to volunteerhub.com.
As area residents for many, many years, the members of our editorial board can attest to the fact this unselfish spirit of volunteerism, as well as a deep commitment to philanthropy, is alive and well within the communities of Siouxland. Time after time, year after year, residents of our tri-state area rise to the occasion to meet a spectrum of civic and charitable needs, challenges and causes.
This blessing of a strong giving spirit speaks volumes about the character of our city and region.
It seems only right on this day when so many of us will sit down to an abundance of food on our holiday tables to share some words about the men and women of agriculture.
More than anywhere else, we in the nation’s heartland understand and appreciate the value and importance of our nation’s farmers - the most prolific producers of food on the planet - to our nation and, indeed, the world.
Today, the average American farm produces enough food to feed about 165 people, according to the American Farm Bureau. In fiscal 2017, exports of U.S. agriculture products reached some $140.5 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.