New report finds broad support for STEM education in Iowa 
The percentage of Iowans saying they are "very supportive" of STEM education efforts in K-12 schools improved from 44% in 2014 to 56% in 2019. CREDIT Iowa STEM Evaluation Report. 
A new report from the Governor's STEM Advisory Council shows that Iowa teachers and residents are embracing the need for increased STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in Iowa's K-12 schools, but there remains room for improvement when it comes to piquing student interest. 
The 2018-19 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report shows widespread support for STEM education, with 95% of Iowans saying STEM should be a priority in local school districts, and nearly 9 out of 10 Iowans supporting state efforts to devote resources and time to promoting STEM education.
K-12 educators who participated in STEM Scale-Up programming - a slate of 10 high-quality STEM programs Iowa educators could apply to implement at their school - reported growing comfort in teaching STEM topics, with 94% of those educators agreeing or strongly agreeing that they have more confidence teaching and have increased their STEM knowledge, up from 91% in 2017-18. Ninety percent of educators said they would use STEM Scale-Up programming with their students next year, compared to 80% in 2017-18.
Nearly three-quarters of educators reported observing an increase in both student awareness (65%) and interest in STEM topics (82%), while almost 32% stated they observed increased student achievement in STEM areas.
Students who participated in STEM Scale-Up programs performed better on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, and reported greater interest in pursuing a STEM career and/or someday working in Iowa than their peers as a whole in the state. However, interest levels in STEM subjects fell slightly among students in STEM Scale-Up programs between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 reports, with smaller percentages saying "they like it a lot" or are "very interested" in mathematics (31% versus 34%), engineering (46% versus 54%) or technology (55% versus 61%). The percentage of STEM Scale-Up students interested in science remained unchanged, at 40%.
Nevertheless, more than 80% of all students statewide indicated they were very interested or somewhat interested in pursuing a STEM career. Community college STEM diplomas, certificates and degrees increased 13% among white graduates and 31% among minority graduates when compared to 2013-14.
The Iowa STEM Evaluation Report is conducted by a collaboration of partners from Iowa's three Regent universities: the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR), the Iowa State University Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) and Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa.
To view the entire report, click here.  
IIn the CBJ: Will patients demand virtual care solutions in 2020? 
Pete Cohen of Teladoc, speaking at the CBJ's Health Care Summit on Feb. 14.
Likening one 19th century doctor's aversion to the stethoscope as a diagnostic tool to the rise of virtual medicine today, Pete Coen predicts 2020 will be the year patients exercise their rights as consumers and revolutionize health care.
"I was told all kinds of things - it would never work, people would never trust [telemedicine] and so on," said Mr. Coen, director of broker and consultant development at Teladoc, one of several companies bridging the consumer-provider gap online, offering fast and low-cost online by diagnosis and treatment. "Things are changing and changing fast ... Prepare for virtual care to take center stage in 2020."
What's changing is consumer expectations. From 2008, when Teladoc started, to 2018, about 1 million health consumers called in, mostly for common aches, pains, colds and flus. The following 14 months brought another 1 million virtual customers. This year, the company is on track to serve 4.2 million health consumers via phone and video.
"It's almost going to be a necessity that you see your primary care physician on a virtual basis," said Mr. Coen, citing rising costs, a worldwide shortage of physicians and the convenience factor of visiting a doctor from home for both minor ailments and mental health issues that go mostly untreated due to shame or worry about missing work.
Speaking at the CBJ's recent Health Care Summit, Mr. Coen made five predictions for 2020, including:
Virtual care will become a top priority beyond plan sponsors and care. "Employers and consumers are demanding a benefit that is separate from their health," he said. "They want a specific, stand-alone benefit like dental insurance or life insurance, something totally different."
Read the full members-only story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ. 
Para3Goldfinch Health adds chief medical officer to leadership team
Goldfinch Health, a medtech startup founded by two University of Iowa alumni, has named Dr. Mario Leyba as its new chief medical officer, the company announced last week.
Dr. Leyba is a board-certified surgeon who performs a wide variety of surgical procedures, including robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgery. A key opinion leader who has trained physicians nationally on minimally invasive surgical techniques, he specializes in complex robotic surgical procedures and has done many of the first robotic procedures in New Mexico.
"We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Leyba to our team," said Brand Newland, CEO of Goldfinch Health and a graduate of the UI College of Pharmacy, in a release. "As a cutting-edge surgeon, he understands the tremendous benefits of minimally-invasive procedures and Enhanced Recovery care pathways to patients and the larger system. He shares our vision for bringing this 21st century version of surgery to millions more patients in the coming years."
Goldfinch Health was  founded in 2018 by Mr. Newland and John Greenwood, a UI biology graduate. The company is focused on using a combination of nurse consultations, patient engagement technology and clinically validated surgical protocols to help patients recover better after surgery, with fewer opioids needed.
Its approach involves a nursing consultation with the patient to ensure they are receiving the least invasive surgical procedure for their medical problem or issue. As they prepare for surgery, the company educates the patient in using enhanced recovery protocols that can help them manage pain better. Finally, Goldfinch-developed app allows patients to record pain scores and medication use, and share them with a patient's medical provider.
Dr. Leyba will be the company's lead physician voice as it seeks to make Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)-based care the standard in U.S. health care.
"I've delivered advanced surgical approaches in my practice for some time, and been pleased with faster recovery, reduced opioid use and happier patients because of it," said Dr. Leyba in a release. "But there is only so much individual physicians and surgeons can do to change the larger health care system. That requires greater understanding of and demand for these services from employers and other payers of health care. I believe Goldfinch has the right, innovative approach."
Learn more at www.goldfinchhealth.com.
Laurie Pieper
America's SBDC Iowa (SBDC) has named Laurie Pieper as the small business development program's new tech director. 

Ms. Pieper will lead the SBDC's Rural Development Initiative and work with clients and resource partners around the state to develop opportunities for the successful commercialization of Iowan businesses' technologies, products and services.

Prior to joining America's SBDC Iowa, Ms. Pieper developed the Rural and Independent Innovators Conference model for America's SBDC Kansas and worked to assist Kansas clients with pathways to commercialization. She is a Certified Global Business Professional through North American Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE), and has held faculty appointments at the University of Oregon and Kansas State University.

She was a business owner for many years and enjoys using her background in education and in entrepreneurship to help small businesses set and reach their goals, according to the organization.
America's SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University's Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, America's SBDC Iowa has 15 regional assistance centers located strategically across the state, including in Hiawatha and Iowa City.
Para5Data network launched for Marion Enterprise Center
A drone view of the Marion Enterprise Center. CREDIT MEDCO 
Marion Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) has joined forces with Involta, ImOn Communications and the city of Marion to launch the Marion Enterprise Network.
The communications network will connect qualifying business investments in the Marion Enterprise Center (MEC) directly to Involta's nearby data center.
The Marion Enterprise Center is a 184-acre business park on the east side of Marion located on U.S. Highway 151.
MEDCO described the Marion Enterprise Network as a business attraction tool that aligns with the community's target industry strategy and supports companies requiring high-speed connectivity and state-of-the-art data and IT services. New businesses that purchase ground in the MEC, invest a minimum of $2M in a new facility and create a minimum of 10 high quality jobs as defined by the Iowa Economic Development Authority will have the ability to access the network. Additionally, businesses must meet minimum benchmarks for data usage.
The fiber infrastructure at the MEC is both looped and redundant with direct connectivity to Involta. The park was constructed with 72 strands of excess fiber capacity to meet future business needs. The Marion Enterprise Network will be a private circuit that uses a minimum of one dedicated fiber to serve each qualifying tenant in the MEC.
"This partnership leverages unique business attraction assets to target specific types of companies," says MEDCO President Nick Glew. "As communities strive to differentiate and offer tools that deliver competitive advantage, we believe the Marion Enterprise Network positions us as leaders in supporting the growth of high-tech business."
Interested businesses can learn more about benefits and qualifying criteria by visiting www.medcoiowa.org/network.
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Short-Term Event Planner
Feb. 25
MEDCO Onboarding Social, by Marion Economic Development Corp., 4:30-5:30 p.m., Brick Alley Pub, 1038 Seventh Ave., Marion. Learn about MEDCO's role in the community and hear timely public policy updates. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/36Fw8Q0.
Business Start-Up Basics Seminar, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 25, March 3 and March 10, Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Road, Hiawatha. Learn the process for growing a business from an idea to a viable venture. Cost: $59. To register, visit bit.ly/3775vUk.
Feb. 26
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/. 
Women on the Rise Book Club, by Jennifer Zach, 12:15-1 p.m., Dash Coffee Roasters, 509 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids. D iscuss Adam Grant's "Give and Take - Why Helping Others Drives Our Success." Free. To register, visit bit.ly/36v1o3P.
New Member Mixer, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 4-6 p.m., Amish Connection, 1426 Twixt Town Road, Marion. Meet and mingle with new members of the Economic Alliance. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2Om4npl.
Headlines from KCRG-TV9  
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
A former school bus driver in Cedar Rapids accused of sexual misconduct is scheduled to go on trial May 11.  Linn County court records say Thomas Williams pleaded not guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and sexual exploitation by a school employee.  Investigators have said Williams forced a 10-year-old girl to sit on his lap inside the bus he drove Jan. 2 in a district parking lot.  Court documents say he grabbed the girl's head and tried to kiss her before she pulled away and left the bus.  The district has since fired Williams. 
Casey's General Store customers now have a little more time to turn in their pizza box tabs.  In December, Casey's announced that its box top rewards program would be going digital. Customers collect 10 tabs to earn a pizza.  Customers had until the first of March to turn in their tabs into digital rewards.  Now, the company says stores will accept the cardboard tabs through June 30.  "We encourage our guests to redeem their free pizzas and sign up for Casey's Rewards to start tracking them in the new program. Casey's pizza lovers also can visit their local store and have the box tops loaded into their Rewards account," the company said in a release.
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Plan on a partly to mostly cloudy sky to hang on today as low pressure moves to our south. This system will struggle to bring moisture to our area, so only scattered flurries are possible over far southeast Iowa today. It'll stay dry elsewhere. Highs will be in the upper 30s to lower 40s for many of us. That chilly north wind will also continue today into tomorrow, and while temperatures do cool down through the week, it's not as bad as our last two cold snaps were. We'll come right out of it for the weekend as temperatures warm well into the 40s, with Sunday being the warmer of the two days.