• Alliant, ISU lab partner to deliver face shields to schools
• UI physicist gets more funds to study quantum computing
• What did Iowans Google in 2020? Top trending searches
• Iowans among least happy WFH employees, study shows
CBJ announces 2021 Economic Forecast Luncheon livestream 
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
Alliant, ISU lab partner to provide face shields to schools
Alliant Energy and Iowa State University’s Digital Manufacturing Lab are partnering with two Iowa companies to provide 9,000 free face shields to schools and daycare facilities across the state.
Face shields, unlike face masks, let instructors see a child’s mouth when speaking. These shields are specifically made for youth and fit on the bill of a hat. They can easily be trimmed to fit any size of head.
Alliant Energy has started delivering the face shields that were developed, produced and donated by the Digital Manufacturing Lab at Iowa State, part of CIRAS (Center for Industrial Research and Science). CIRAS worked with Angstrom Precision Molding in Ottumwa and The Dimensional Group in Mason City to manufacture the face shields.  
To date, face shields have been delivered to the following school districts: Alta-Aurelia, BGM (Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom), Burlington, Creston, Fairfield, HLV (Hartwick-Ladora-Victor), Ogden, PCM (Prairie City-Monroe), Pekin, Sigourney and Webster City. Alliant Energy received input from the Iowa Department of Education to determine which schools could benefit from the shields.
Last spring, Alliant Energy partnered with a team of ISU students to manufacture and distribute face shields for Iowa hospitals and medical facilities. 
Face shields are still available for schools and daycare facilities. Those interested in a delivery are asked to contact Nick Peterson from Alliant Energy at (515) 268-3411 or nickpeterson@alliantenergy.com.

PHOTO: Nick Peterson, community outreach manager at Alliant Energy, delivers face shields to the BGM Community School District. CREDIT: ALLIANT ENERGY
UI physicist gets more funds to study quantum computing
A University of Iowa physicist has been awarded $2.3 million in federal funding to continue studying the foundational aspects of quantum computing in theoretical high-energy physics.

Yannick Meurice, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, had previously been awarded $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science. The extra funding, over three years, will allow Mr. Meurice and other researchers to collaborate with experimentalists using cold atoms to perform quantum simulations of theoretical models.

Quantum computing is being developed in high-energy physics to better understand the physical interactions and processes at the sub-atomic level, according to a release from the UI. The long-term goal of theoretical effort is to study the step-by-step aftermath of proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, the sub-atomic particle smasher that has produced discoveries significantly improving humans’ understanding of the forces and interactions that govern the universe. 

Mr. Meurice is the principal investigator of an academic consortium that includes Boston University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, University of Maryland-College Park, and the University of California-Santa Barbara.

PHOTO: Yannick Meurice.
What did Iowans Google in 2020? Top trending searches
Google recently released its 2020 Google Year in Search report, reflecting the trillions of searches, questions, news, people, causes, places and events that shaped the year.

PolicyWorks LLC of West Des Moines extrapolated from the report to find the top trending searches in Iowa for 2020. “Trending” searches are those that have a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Here are the Iowa-specific trends from the report:

Top People Searches: Ryan Newman, Kim Jong Un, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Kim Reynolds, Tom Hanks, Shakira, Joe Exotic, Patrick Mahomes
Top “Near Me” Searches: COVID-19 testing, gas prices, dentist, fireworks, Mexican food, apple orchard, ice cream, homes for sale, restaurants open, pumpkin patch
Definition Meaning Searches: Simp, antebellum, WAP, pandemic, culture, furlough, juneteenth, fomo, asexual, GOP
“Where is” Searches: My stimulus check, my tax refund, Johnson County Iowa, Trump today, toilet paper made, “Yellowstone” filmed, the Super Bowl, my rent rebate, Linn County Iowa, the coronavirus
Sports Team Searches: Lakers, 49ers, Chiefs, Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Celtics, Washington Football Team, Ravens Steelers, Chicago White Sox, Miami Heat
Iowans among least happy WFH employees, study shows
If there’s one thing we can all agree on about 2020, it’s that most of us have never spent so much time at home. With bans on travel and going into the office, we’ve had to adapt, and fast. But how has working from home (WFH) affected us?
Lifestyle, gear gadget and style website Improb.com polled 3,000 WFH employees across the country to find out, and it appears Iowans have not taken to it well. The average employee in Iowa rates their happiness to work from home at just 6/10, below the national average of 6.6/10.
South Dakotans are the happiest in the United States to work from home; they rate their WFH happiness at 9/10. West Virginia residents rate their WFH happiness factor at 4.5/10, the lowest in the country.
Broken down by industry, the happiest home-workers are in the law industry, at 7.1/10; Conversely, those in IT are the least happy to be working from home, with a WFH happiness ranking of just 4.9/10. The breakdown by industry, according to the Improb.com report:
  • Advertising: 6.3/10
  • Banking: 6.8/10
  • Charity: 5.8/10
  • Education: 5.4/10
  • IT: 4.9/10
  • Law: 7.1/10
  • Media: 6.4/10
  • Real Estate: 6.0/10
  • Tech: 6.6/10
The survey found that the longest employees go without leaving their home is 3.7 days. Over half of employees (61%) say they put in more hours of work each day when WFH than they do in their physical workplace. Over half (55%) take fewer breaks than they would have if they were at the office. And 76% of employees have said they take fewer sick days while WFH.
Check out a map of Improb.com’s Work From Home Happiness Index here.
CBJ announces 2021 Economic Forecast Luncheon
The Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) announces its 2021 Economic Forecast Luncheon livestream, to be held Jan. 20 from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. 
This free virtual event invites a keynote and panel to share their insights into where the economy is heading under the Biden administration and the biggest opportunities and challenges facing their industries and the Corridor. 
Gary Hufbauer, a nonresident senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, will kick off the program with a keynote address on what’s ahead for the Biden administration and trade in the new year. Mr. Hufbauer was the institute’s Reginald Jones Senior Fellow from 1992-2018, and before that held leadership and research positions with the Council on Foreign Relations, Georgetown University and the U.S. Treasury. He has written extensively on trade, investment and tax issues, coauthoring more than a dozen books. 
Following Mr. Hufbauer’s remarks, Jack Evans, chairman of The Hall-Perrine Foundation, will moderate a local business leaders panel discussion. Panelists include: 
  • Joe Ahmann, owner and president of Ahmann Companies 
  • Jennifer Bennett, president of Shive-Hattery 
  • Mike Gerdin, president and CEO of Heartland Express 
  • Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics 
  • Mike Ralston, president of Iowa Association of Business and Industry 
Traditionally the CBJ’s largest event of the year, the format of this event has changed to a livestream for the safety of speakers, staff and attendees. There is no cost to register. Registrants who cannot watch live will be sent a link after the event to watch the program on demand. For more information or to register, visit www.corridorbusiness.com/corridor-economic-forecast-luncheon/ or call Ashley Moore at (319) 665-6397, ext. 311. Registration ends Jan. 18.
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Short Term Event Planner
Jan. 6
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:30 a.m., online. Join for community connections 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 a.m., online. Join for community connections and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MillionCupsIC.

Jan. 7
Wake Up Marion, by Marion Chamber of Commerce, 8 a.m., online. Grab a cup of coffee and get to know host Angie Chaplin with Mindful Leadership. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/33VOopt.

2021’s Hottest Businesses, Markets & Trends, by U.S. Small Business Administration, noon, online. Learn about America’s changing demographics, attitudes and consumer behaviors; how a small business can adapt and address those changes; how restaurants can transform their operations; and how COVID-19 has created entrepreneurial opportunities. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/3oxcsXy.

Jan. 12
How to Pivot to Sell in the New Economy, by National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), 11 a.m., online. Mary Lombardo, of NAWBO Chicago, will discuss how to pivot your sales strategy to find new ways to bring in business and how to keep your sales team motivated and focused. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/3r3G1Ck.

Jan. 13
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:30 a.m., online. Join for community connections 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 a.m., online. Join for community connections and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit facebook.com/1MillionCupsIC.
Whole Organization Budgeting: A Collaborative Approach for Nonprofits, by CLA, 10 a.m., online. Learn the four phases of whole organization budgeting, how to involve a wide cross-section of staff in the budgeting process and outline an effective plan for using your organization’s resources. Free. To register, vist bit.ly/2J15XgQ. 
Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 1,813 more COVID-19 cases and seven more COVID-19 related deaths today. As of 10:30 a.m., the state’s data shows a total of 286,679 Iowans have tested positive for the virus and 3,999 people have died with the virus since the pandemic began. This data shows COVID-19 was the underlying cause of 3,666 of the deaths, and COVID-19 was a contributing factor in 333 deaths. A total of 247,723 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19.

The owners of a home with a vibrant Christmas light display said that they were able to raise thousands of dollars from visitors over the course of the season, which will help people in need locally. Steve and Sandy Tomash have carried on the decorating tradition for 15 years. After such a tough 2020 for so many, they decided to try to raise some money with a donation box outside of their home for onlookers to support local food banks. Their charitable target changed somewhat after a fire at an apartment building in Fairfax killed a man and displaced others right before the holidays. In the end, they were able to raise more than $1,900 for the victims of that fire, over $3,200 for the Linn Community Food Bank and around $500 for the Fairfax Food Bank. In total, the family raised $5,686.

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Expect partly cloudy skies this afternoon for our only bit of sunshine over the next couple of days. Highs will be in the upper 20s, near 30 degrees. Clouds move into the forecast again tonight and areas of fog are possible overnight and through tomorrow morning. A system will be pushing in from the west tomorrow, when we may see flurries throughout the day, otherwise overcast skies. This system will keep cloudy skies and areas of fog in our forecast through the end of the week. Highs stay consistent in the upper 20s and low 30s.