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Shianne Fisher

Everybody Plays!

Courage League brings adaptive sports to Eastern Iowa

NORTH LIBERTY– Jolene and Chad Darter traveled nearly four hours to give their daughter one hour of giant bowling, noodle hockey and aerobic drumming– activities that may seem more like fun and games than sports.
But Melissa Clarke-Wharff, founder and executive director of Courage League Sports based in Central Iowa, believes her organization provides just what kids with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities need.
“It’s more than just sports,” she said.

Beer Burger coming soon

Family-friendly restaurant to feature Iowa breweries

NORTH LIBERTY– Though the menu is being kept secret until opening day, future customers can probably venture a good guess as to what will be served at a restaurant called Beer Burger.
“If you think about it, it’s super simple,” said co-owner Bobby Thompson. “Ninety percent of people that walk into a restaurant get a beer and a burger.”

An Iowan for Iowans

Nielsen to stress Midwest belief system, public education if elected

NORTH LIBERTY– Amy Nielsen thinks North Liberty is the best place to live in Iowa, but she’s willing to make Des Moines “home” part of the year if voters choose her to represent Iowa House District 77 at the polls on Nov. 8.
“We have just about anything you could want or need right here,” said Nielsen. “I’m sure there are other places where people are proud of their community, but I just feel it so strongly here in North Liberty.”

Soft heart, strong faith

Phillips pushes amendment rights, economy in bid for state house

CORALVILLE– Royce Phillips didn’t always want to be a pastor.
Growing up in Forth Worth, Texas, he possessed a knack for math and science and had every intention of being a physicist at NASA.
“If I wasn’t going to be a physicist, I was going to teach math at the University of Texas system somewhere,” he said. “That was just the assumption.”

Women aim to revitalize Swisher

Downtown business owners uniting for Nov. 5 block party

SWISHER– The namesake of the rebranded bar in downtown Swisher is no doubt obvious to current residents, but the stories behind the “Main Street” boutiques may only be familiar to natives.
Rebekah Neuendorf, co-owner of Black Squirrel Tap & Beer Garden, open since August at the old Shooter’s locale, said choosing the bar’s name was fairly straightforward.
“Everybody who comes into town notices the black squirrels,” she said. “For the local people, they know they’re here. It kind of becomes a cool story and good talking point.”

Let there be traffic lights?

Tiffin council awaits Hwy. 6 signalization warrant

TIFFIN– It’s a race between vehicle and pedestrian.
With the Ireland Avenue extension project complete, Tiffin residents are no doubt enjoying the ease in traffic flow.
But it comes at a cost.
“There really are no acceptable gaps for students or pedestrians to cross the intersection without some sort of assistance,” said Ben Carhoff of Hart-Frederick Consultants at a Tiffin City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The cost of a blue bin

City council approves 60-cent increase to utility bill recycling fee

NORTH LIBERTY– Residents of North Liberty may not feel the effects of a 60-cent increase on their utility bills next month, but the city’s recycling provider sure will.
At a meeting Oct. 11, members of the North Liberty City Council approved a slight increase to single-stream recycling rates in response to a request from Steve Smith of Johnson County Refuse.
It’s the third time since 2000, when North Liberty signed a recycling contract with Johnson County Refuse, Smith has asked for an increase in the fee residents pay. The last contract approval in 2014 raised it to $4.55.

Afternoon bus route now available

North Liberty flags down October for transit take-off

NORTH LIBERTY– A new North Liberty bus route made its inaugural loop this week.
After nearly a year of development, the North Liberty transit pilot program picked up its first passengers Monday, Oct. 10, starting a soft launch week. The official grand opening is tentatively set for Monday, Oct. 17, and will include a ribbon cutting and remarks by staff at the start of the route, said Communications Director Nick Bergus.
“It’s a long time coming,” said City Planning Director Dean Wheatley, who has coordinated the process.

­Let’s play two!

North Liberty youth fall ball expands on summer’s success

NORTH LIBERTY– Some kids don’t know when to quit. For the North Liberty Youth Baseball and Softball league, that’s a good thing.
A 900-plus player operation in the summer, the league has been seeing more turnover into the fall season, when a five-week clinic is offered through the Diamond Dreams Sports Academy.
“Obviously the partnership is working because kids are coming back, for one, and new kids are signing up,” said Diamond Dreams’ general manager Kyle Sherman.
After a 998-player and 83-team summer season, NLYBS had 140 kindergarteners through eighth graders sign up for fall ball.

Life on the mat

Missouri transplant opens martial arts gym for kids, adults

NORTH LIBERTY– When Ben Brown was a kid, he just wanted to be a ninja. Now, he hopes to help other kids on their way to fulfilling that dream.
And, the grown-ups are invited.
“I hear often that adults would love to train for various reasons, it’s a good workout, it sounds fun, or they just want to defend themselves,” said Brown. “But they just feel weird standing next to a 9-year-old. I get that completely.”

Forevergreen Rd. interchange becoming reality

Iowa Department of Transportation presents final design to council

NORTH LIBERTY– While not set to be fully functional until late 2019, plans for the Forevergreen Road interchange are virtually complete.
Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) staff presented a project overview, including a local roadway improvement plan, during a North Liberty City Council work session Tuesday, Sept. 13.
“We’re now reaching the detailed part of our design,” said IDOT engineer Newman Abuissa, who first presented the proposal to city council in September 2015.

Ordinance to push archers outside city limits

City council passes first reading of public safety amendment

NORTH LIBERTY– Just outside North Liberty city limits is the Johnson County Archers (JCA) shooting range. Many don’t know about the public range, said JCA Public Relations Coordinator Dan Heitzman, but soon it could be the nearest place for archery enthusiasts to shoot their bows.
At a Sept. 13 meeting, the North Liberty City Council passed the first reading of an amendment to the city code regarding public health and safety, adding arrows to the list of weapons unlawful to be discharged within city limits. Other weapons on the list include several types of firearms.