Friday Morning Read: Iowa State Fair kicks off, license plate designs unveiled, new Coralville cyclocross course makes its debut

A cyclocross demonstration is held following a Thursday evening ceremony to open the new Coralville Creekside Cross. The park will be the first permanent cyclocross course in Johnson County and only the third in the state. Use of the 2.6-mile course will be limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays this fall to let the course settle, with a goal of being open seven days a week next year. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
A cyclocross demonstration is held following a Thursday evening ceremony to open the new Coralville Creekside Cross. The park will be the first permanent cyclocross course in Johnson County and only the third in the state. Use of the 2.6-mile course will be limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays this fall to let the course settle, with a goal of being open seven days a week next year. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

What to expect from this year's Iowa State Fair - The allures of the Iowa State Fair are many — the livestock shows, the legendary butter cow, the rotation of newborn piglets, chicks and calves. Thousands of Iowans and out-of-staters typically flock to the fair in Des Moines; last year’s opening day saw more than 70,000 people. 

Read more about the fair's attractions here.

Iowa's new potential license plate designs unveiled - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds showed off three new license plate designs Thursday at the Iowa State Fair. Applause was polite but not overwhelming as she and Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe pulled back a shroud to reveal the trio of new designs.

Iowans can vote for their favorite design at the DOT’s booth (number 762-764) in the Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds or online and voting will be open Aug. 10-20. 

See the designs and take our poll here.

insurance commissioner's plan allows more Iowans to keep health coverage - Thousands of Iowans will be able to afford and maintain health care coverage through Iowa’s Affordable Care Act exchange if federal regulators approve the stopgap measure submitted earlier this year by the state’s insurance commissioner, according to an economic analysis released Thursday.

Read more about the analysis here.

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What is Coralville's new cyclocross course? - An inquiry about a two-day biking event led city officials and volunteers to — in short order — convert woods and grassland on the southwest side into the area’s first permanent cyclocross racing course.

John Stonebarger, of Goosetown Racing, approached Coralville officials on March 7 seeking options for a temporary location for a cyclocross race in November, said Sherri Proud, director of Coralville Parks and Recreation.

She and her staff identified a patch of unused land acquired more than a decade ago for the Creekside Ball Park.

Read more about the course here.

Quotable - “It’s been fun choosing your colors and having your voice heard when talking to architects. I got to play homeowner," said Scott Kibby, principal at Liberty High School, regarding the brand-new building in North Liberty. “I called our facilities guy and told him the stone in the commons area is absolutely beautiful. He said, ‘You should like it, you picked it out.’”

Read more about the new facility here.

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