Cedar Rapids has been selected to host the 2020 USA Roller Sports National Championships, the Cedar Rapids Tourism Office announced Monday .

The annual competition will be held for 23 days during July 2020 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.  Roller Sports consists of figure skating, inline hockey, rink hockey, roller derby, freestyle and speed skating.
"We're beyond excited about what the City of Cedar Rapids is going to bring to the table for our 2020 national championships," USA Roller Sports Executive Director Eric Steele said in a release. "We especially love the intimacy and set-up of the venue, which we think is going to dovetail nicely with our event."

The advantages of the venue include  built-in seating, two completely separate rink areas, free parking, on site scoreboards/video screens, locker rooms, vendor space, club suites, and other amenities, Mr. Steele said.
The coast-to-coast search process for a venue began in the fall of 2018 and involved over 50 different cities expressing some level of interest in hosting the event. Five cities submitted formal bids and the final two cities, including Cedar Rapids, hosted site visits in March. On April 13, the USA Roller Sports Board of Directors selected Cedar Rapids to host the 2020 National Championships.
"The City of Cedar Rapids is thrilled to host USA Roller Sports National Championships during the summer of 2020," Cedar Rapids Finance Director Casey Drew said in a release. "This event is estimated to generate more than 10,000 overnight stays and approximately $8 million in visitor spending. I also want to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Cedar Rapids Tourism Office staff to make this event a reality."
Additional details about the event are available at:  teamusa.org/USA-Roller-Sports.

Monica Vernon
The Czech Village New Bohemia Main Street District organization, which will celebrate its first decade of operation this month, has created a new position to drive and facilitate the strategic vision and development of the area.

Monica Vernon has been named Czech Village New Bo Main Street executive director of strategic development. Ms. Vernon built a career in marketing, communications and market research founding and building Vernon Research Group over two decades and teaching entrepreneurial marketing at the University of Iowa for eight years. 

Having served eight years on the Cedar Rapids City Council and 10 on the Cedar Rapids City Planning and Zoning Commission, Ms. Vernon has a comprehensive understanding of land use, place making, community and neighborhood building as well as experience working with local, state and national government entities to spotlight the needs of our community. She also has experience with economic development as a longtime member and past chair of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

In the position, Ms. Vernon will be tasked with developing a comprehensive strategic vision and goals for the Main Street District. The process will engage district organizations, entities, businesses, stakeholders as well as the city council and state. It will support future initiatives and help achieve the property, business, community, and economic development best suited for the unique district of Czech Village - New Bohemia Main Street. Additionally, Ms. Vernon will be the liaison to local governments, businesses and other organizations and individuals outside the district who are interested in participating in some way with the district.
"I plan to work with our board, staff, volunteers and organizations and individuals throughout the region to keep the district growing and vibrant while preserving the character and enjoyment of these special places for years to come," Ms. Vernon said in a release. She  joins Abby Huff who was recently hired as executive director and who operates the comprehensive in-district Main Street program.

SOKO Outfitters, a locally owned specialty outdoor store in Cedar Rapids, will offer kayak and stand up paddle board (SUP) rentals this summer.

SOKO will have a rental location on Cedar Lake next to the Sag Wagon. It will be open Friday-Sunday on fair weather days from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Customers also can rent boats from the SOKO store starting on May 5. 

Weekend rentals at Cedar Lake will be available by the hour. All paddlers are required to wear personal flotation devices, which are included in the $15 per hour price. Customers also can rent equipment at the store Monday-Thursday and use their own transportation.

"Cedar Lake is an untapped asset in our community," said SOKO Outfitters co-owner Steve Shriver. "It is an easy launch with no current, so it's a great place for beginners to learn. We are thrilled to offer a form of recreation that hasn't been easily accessible or family friendly in this area until now."

To celebrate, SOKO is hosting two water sport days during the weekend of May 4-5 at its Czech Village store, 41 16th Ave. SW The Saturday event will feature a large swimming pool in the parking lot with SUP demos, including SUP yoga, safety tips and technique pointers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The celebration will continue on Sunday as SOKO de Mayo, with additional water demos and a store sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SOKO is committed to increasing access to water sports in Cedar Rapids. SOKO co-owner Steve White is on the Parks Foundation board and continues to work on the kayak launch, which is planned off the nature trail near Mount Trashmore. SOKO is currently selling stickers with all proceeds going to the kayak launch. SOKO will match all donations from sticker sales up to $500 during the event.

American pork shipments abroad, amounting to $6.48 billion in 2017, could be at risk if African Swine Fever (ASF) finds its way into U.S. hog herds from Europe and Asia, farmers and officials say.
"I have some concerns," said producer Trent Thiele, whose Howard County operation near the Minnesota state line is home to some of Iowa's more than 20 million hogs. "If it got into the United States, that could shut our exports right off."

The highly-contagious, hard-to-eradicate virus has caused the destruction of more than a million pigs in China, is "on the move in Russia and Poland," and could easily arrive in the United States via the livestock feed chain or an international traveler's clothes or shoes, said Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialist Thomas Miller - a fact that led to the cancellation of this year's World Pork Expo, which typically draws 20,000 people to the Iowa State Fairgrounds each June.
While no threat to human health, ASF kills 95 percent of infected hogs and could inflict untold economic pain on Iowa's pork producers, who would have to euthanize herds and decontaminate facilities if the virus shows up on their farms. 

Farmers like Mr. Thiele, producer groups, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) are fighting to keep the disease away from U.S. shores and ramping up rapid-response plans in case it does arrive.

Read the full members-only story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ. 

The deadline is approaching to nominate for Leadership Iowa, Iowa's premier statewide issues awareness program hosted by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation.

Leadership Iowa provides an opportunity for 40 current and emerging Iowa leaders to visit eight locations across the state and rediscover what makes Iowa a special place to live and work. The program is designed to educate, inspire and grow a network of informed leaders and to encourage their ongoing local and statewide engagement to create a better future for Iowans.

The program is open to individuals interested in learning about issues important to Iowa and exploring a variety of outstanding communities and organizations. Leadership Iowa offers participants a seat at the table with some of the state's top subject-matter experts, as well as opportunities to connect with leaders of diverse opinions, occupations and backgrounds. The program gives participants the tools they need to have a positive impact on organizations, communities and Iowa.

More than 1,000 leaders from across Iowa and from all industries have graduated from Leadership Iowa over the past 36 years.

Nominations can be made online at www.LeadershipIowa.com and will be accepted through May 1 for the 2019-20 class, which begins in October. Individuals must be nominated to apply for the program. Self-nominations will be accepted. For more information, contact info@leadershipiowa.com or (515) 235-0570.
April 16
Iowa City Roundtable, by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, 1225 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City. Network during this social lunch and keep up-to-date with chamber and community events. Free. For more information, visit iowacityarea.com.
April 17
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join for community connections, free coffee, and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MCICR.
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Iowa City, 9-10 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, free coffee, and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more . Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MillionCupsIC/.
How to Effectively Share Your Story with Government Customers, by Iowa State University CIRAS, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Workshop attendees will learn how to understand the value of storytelling in a government sales environment, refine company positioning to attract clients and more. Facilitated by Jennie Morton, owner of Herringbone Freelance. Free. For more information, visit bit.ly/2U6wZ5F.
North Liberty Roundtable, by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., Adelita's Mexican Grill, 555 Highway 965, North Liberty. Network during this social lunch and keep up-to-date with chamber and community events. Free. For more information, visit iowacityarea.com.
See and Be Seen

in the CBJ Book of Lists - THE definitive resource guide for business leaders. Ranked information on Corridor companies by sector, regional market facts and profiles of the most influential people under one cover. Don't be left out - Be Seen! For advertising information, contact Andrea Rhoades at  andrea@corridorbusiness.com .
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
Iowa is one of the top wind energy producers in the country. Now, leaders and lawmakers say they want to keep it that way. Embedded in the cornfields of Delaware County are wind turbines producing electricity and creating good paying jobs while pumping millions of dollars into the local economy. On Monday, Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer got a tour of the wind farm outside of Greeley. "It's not a Democratic or Republican issue, it's just an Iowa issue," the congresswoman said. "All of the great work that this has now helped, with the school district, the revenue coming in."  Ms. Finkenauer is new to Capitol Hill, while another member of Iowa's Congressional delegation was there and authored the bill that started the Wind Energy Tax Credit. "As the father of the Wind Energy Tax Credit," said Sen. Chuck Grassley. "And now, I suppose after 25 years, I'm the grandfather of the Wind Energy Tax Credit, I didn't know that wind would be the big thing that it turned out to be."  But the tax credit has already begun to wind down in recent years and next year will expire completely. Mr. Grassley says that's OK, calling wind energy a mature industry. Those who build and operate Iowa's growing wind farms say they can survive without the tax credit, but they just want a level playing field. "Make sure that if subsidies go away for wind energy, then they should go away for everyone else. Giving everyone an equal opportunity," said Kevin Lehs, project manager of Elk Wind Energy.

Police in Marshalltown believe a body found on Monday morning could be that of a woman who was reported missing last month.  The Marshalltown Police Department received a report of a corpse discovered in a farm field just east of Walmart.  That is the same area where 32-year-old Michelle Grommet of Mason City was last seen when she was reported missing on March 22. Preliminary information that police have suggests that it could have been Ms. Grommet that was found.  At this time, there is no evidence or information known to investigators that suggests foul play. The manner and cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is completed.

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

Today will be warmer than yesterday under a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures will be in the 60s north to 70s south. Our next storm system will begin to move into the area tonight and bring the chance for a few scattered showers and thunderstorms  The storm will continue to move through Wednesday and produce scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon and evening. Some storms could be strong, depending on the location of the warm front and how unstable the atmosphere gets. Some storms will be capable of producing large hail, gusty winds, and heavy rain. Temperatures will be in the 50s north and 70s south.  Clouds along with some light rain showers will stick around for Thursday. It will be cooler with temperatures in the 50s.