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Lori Lindner

Swenka given maximum sentence

Judge accepts Alford plea, Swenka to serve two years

IOWA CITY– Twenty-year-old Zachary Swenka has been sentenced to two years in prison for causing the death of 14-year-old Mackenzie Lown.
Swenka was charged with vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter when Lown was killed in the car Swenka was driving on Oct. 17, 2011, on U.S. Highway 6 near Tiffin.
Swenka’s plea hearing took place at the Johnson County Courthouse on Thursday, Oct. 24, presided by Judge Stephen Gerard. Swenka submitted a guilty plea to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Come on, let’s play ball

Golden retriever Bo gets an invitation to play ball with this golden lab at the Sept. 8 Doggie Plunge, hosted by the North Liberty Recreation Department and the City of North Liberty, but Bo isn’t biting. The event is held every year at the end of summer, just before the outdoor facility at the North Liberty Aquatic Center closes, so people and their pooches can enjoy a dip in the pool before it is prepared for the winter season.

Venenga chosen as NL chief

NORTH LIBERTY– The City of North Liberty has named its new chief of police.
Lt. Diane Venenga was chosen last week among a field of four final candidates culled from a national search orchestrated by Moulder and Associates LLC of Des Moines.

One for the books

NL Community Library hosts grand opening

NORTH LIBERTY– It was a celebration for the books.
An estimated 1,400 people visited the North Liberty Community Library’s grand opening event on Sunday, Sept. 8. The community was invited to celebrate the completion of the library’s $3.3 million, 11,000 square foot expansion and renovation.
The updated space now includes more meeting and study rooms, a new periodical area, a dedicated teen lounge, new Internet and computer stations, a children’s story time room and a children’s reading area, as well as several comfortable sitting areas spread throughout the library.

J&A Tap receives outdoor permit

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s been almost five years since John and Amanda Hruby bought a long-established bar in North Liberty and began working to make it better.
Since then, J&A Tap’s food, beverage selection, live music and volleyball leagues have drawn so many patrons the couple has had to expand their offerings.
On July 23, the North Liberty City Council approved conditional use permit and site plan for J&A Tap, so the crowds of people who come to play volleyball will be able to both serve and be served outdoors.

A feat for the century

Local pumpkin patch sends the community a 5-acre birthday card

NORTH LIBERTY– At Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty, you can walk through an entire century.
Literally.
The Colony farm at 2780 Front St. has been turned into a seasonal attraction for several years now, with a pick-out-your-own pumpkin patch started by the Dean and Katie Colony family in 2005. Last year, the Colonys added a weekend fall festival and corn maze to the fun.
This year, in honor of the community’s 100th birthday, the Colonys went the extra mile on the five-acre swatch of corn, and had the maze designed to replicate North Liberty’s Centennial Celebration logo.