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Civic Skinny

The most interesting man in the NFL. Sensory garden opens. Census stats released. Lunches.

9/1/2021

Who is the only player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass for eight different teams? The same person who will soon, in all likelihood, have done so for nine franchises: Ryan Fitzpatrick. If you haven’t heard of him, “Fitz” is recognizable by his voluminous facial hair, and he goes by at least three nicknames: “Fitzmagic,” “Fitztragic” and “The beard.” Also because of the beard, he calls himself the “Amish Rifle,” but he isn’t Amish. 

The 17-year NFL vet played his college football at Harvard University. After earning a finance degree, he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. From there he bounced around the league, but it appears he has found a home in the nation’s capital. The journeyman has quarterbacked the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and now, the Washington Football Team.

Besides his massive beard and penchant for changing jerseys, Fitzpatrick is also known for being a player who sports a wedding ring on the field while playing. He doesn’t take it off because, “I love my wife,” he said. Said wife, Liza Barber Fitzpatrick, was an athlete in her own right. She played soccer at WDM Valley High School and earned a scholarship to Harvard University, which is where the two met. It’s a long story, but he proposed to her at a McDonald’s restaurant. Amidst their travels as a married couple, all seven of their kids were born in different states. …

Dallas County is the fourth fastest-growing county in the nation, according to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data released recently. The county’s population grew 51% (66,133 to 99,672). During that same stretch, Polk County grew by 14.3% (430,640 to 492,401). Iowa’s population grew 4.7% (3,046,355 to 3,190,369), but more than 60 of Iowa’s 99 counties lost population. …

Bicycling trend to watch. More than 400,000 e-bikes were sold in the U.S. in 2018. That’s up from 185,000 in 2013, according to Deloitte. In 2019, 3.7 million e-bikes were sold. Some experts predict that upward trend will continue until sales hit 17 million e-bikes in 2030. These e-bikes closely resemble traditional pedal-powered bicycles, but the rider can also opt for a lithium-ion battery-powered boost from an electric motor. Ichi Bike sells these in downtown’s East Village, as does Barr Bike in Clive and Bike World, which has multiple local locations.

Prep Iowa

“Prices are about $1,500-$7,000,” reports Daniel Koenig, owner of Ichi Bike, of his inventory. “The demand for e-bikes has been skyrocketing for a few years.” 

Those prices could fall as battery technology improves. Either way, expect central Iowa bike trails to see more usage in the near future. …

The first pro-marijuana legalization billboard in Iowa was constructed in Des Moines on Aug. 16 along I-235 — at the intersection of Euclid and I-235 in Des Moines. Brought to you by NORML Chapter at Iowa State University. NORML stands for “The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.” “Legalize it, Iowa,” it reads. “Sign the letter. LegalizeIowaLetter2021.com.” This billboard is on display for four weeks. …

During the past year, 30% of Iowa’s young adults ages 18-35 have “boomeranged” back into their parents’ homes, according to a recent survey by ISoldMyHouse.com. The national average is 36%. Twenty-three percent of parents say they feel burdened by this, and 15% say they have had to delay retirement plans. …

Former Drake men’s basketball player Aliou Keita is a rising star in the local business world. Keita has been promoted to Senior Business Development Officer at LSB, according to a recent announcement by the bank. Keita was born and raised in Dakar, Senegal. He came to the U.S. in 2000 as a foreign exchange student and attended Regina High School in Iowa City his junior and senior years. He attended the University of Tulsa his freshman year of college and later transferred to Drake University in Des Moines. He was a three-year starter on the Drake team under Dr. Tom Davis. Keita graduated from Drake in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in information technology. …

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Hy-Vee announced a new multi-year agreement last month. The deal should return the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to the Iowa Speedway in Newton. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for next year’s doubleheader event set for July 23-24 at the 0.875-mile oval after a one-year hiatus. Billed as “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” Iowa Speedway opened in 2006. IndyCar added it to the schedule the next season and ran a total of 15 races there, including a doubleheader last year as the series tried to salvage some kind of season. The speedway dropped off the IndyCar schedule this year and its future looked murky if it couldn’t lockdown a title sponsor. NASCAR, which had bought the track in 2013, pulled the Xfinity and Truck Series races from Iowa after the 2019 season, sending only its minor league ARCA Series the past two years. 

Onlookers marveled recently at how quickly the entire former Wendy’s restaurant and its parking lot were leveled, carried off and gone while few changes have happened to the Grand Avenue corridor to West Des Moines in front of the store. When CITYVIEW asked a few construction people how the private job could proceed so much faster than the government job, they laughed, but one added — and all agreed — that “the Wendy’s job was done by Corell Contractor, the most efficient company in town.” …

Free lunch. Every student will have access to a free breakfast and lunch every school day, regardless of income during this school year, according to Des Moines Public Schools Food and Nutrition team. The program receives funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To receive a free meal, students need to select at least three items deemed healthy and nutritious by the USDA. The staff will help students make selections. DMPS Food and Nutrition serves more than 20,000 students each day. …

Not a free lunch. The Polk County Republicans’ annual Summer Sizzle fundraiser is at Ankeny’s Lakeside Center on Thursday, Sept. 9. The event features special guests former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as well as Gov. Kim Reynolds. Tickets are $35 at www.polkgop.com/summer_sizzle_2021. …

CITYVIEW mourns the death of G. Wyatt Schultz, a kind and wonderful man who dedicated much of his life to promoting the sport of wrestling. As publisher of The Predicament newspaper and digital offerings, Schultz was seen in the gymnasiums and auditoriums not only in Iowa but around the nation, crouching on the mats with his camera in hand, smiling, conversing and sharing what he was truly passionate about — wrestling. He may have been invited to more graduation parties of high school wrestlers across the state than any other person, and he attended many of them. ♦

 

This edition of Civic Skinny was compiled by CITYVIEW staff. Michael Gartner will return next month. 

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