It's hard to believe this is our last issue of 2023! It's been so much fun showing up in your inbox on Tuesday mornings. We're incredibly grateful to our community of 1,500+ subscribers (like you) who have invested your time, energy and resources into supporting our local, independent news venture!
This time last year, The Local was just a dream we (Kara and Mike) were meeting with friends to discuss. Since launching in February, we've been blown away by your support. We can't wait to keep going and growing in 2024! And we've already got some interesting stories we're following, which we'll share with you next week.
In the meantime... a quick life update: We (Kara and Mike) are expecting our first baby (any day now), so we'll be taking a maternity/paternity leave in January and February. During these months, we're turning the keys of The Local's newsletter and email over to our friend (and fellow Fort Wayne journalist) Ryan Schnurr, former Editor of the Midwest publication, Belt Magazine, and creator of the podcast series, Fire!, on industrial fires and climate crisis in American cities.
From the early days of The Local, we've been meeting with Ryan for advice, and we're SO excited about the talents and perspective he'll bring to our newsletter this spring. We'll give him a chance to introduce himself and tell you more next week.
For now, don't forget: there's still time to become a paid subscriber, and get a FREE draft beer with any purchase at The Green Frog — now through Dec. 31. Upgrade today for just $3 your first month to get in on our monthly deals, which help your newsletter pay for itself in local freebies.
Now, let's get started!
Our top 10 most-read stories in 2023!
Fort Wayne loves food! That's something we learned putting together a list of our 10 most-read stories this year. (Perhaps the results are swayed by social media?) But, hey, we're not complaining!
Fort Wayne's food scene is quickly becoming one of the city's crown jewels, and not just for its delicious eats, but also for its innovative thinkers behind some of these ventures.
We're excited to see what local culinary creatives are cooking up in 2024, and we're glad other important topics, like transportation and housing, made the top 10 list, too. Take a journey with us down memory lane here!
Two quick updates.
- Southwest Fort Wayne is getting a new Illinois Road Trail, thanks to a $1 million Next Level Trails grant from the state. A 10-foot-wide asphalt trail, beginning in Rockhill Park, will provide new connectivity to Jefferson Pointe Mall, Apple Glen Shopping Center, Parkwest Shopping Center and Meijer. It will also join with Getz Road, where an existing 1-mile sidewalk connects to businesses, churches, entertainment, apartments and neighborhoods. Lindley Elementary School and Portage Middle School will connect to the trail via the existing Ardmore Avenue Trail and Towpath Trail, too. The project is expected to be complete by the spring of 2025.
- City Council approved Fort Wayne's first DORA (designated outdoor refreshment area) for open carrying alcohol Downtown last week. Now, the DORA needs final approval by the state before it can be enacted. If all goes well, city officials hope to have it up and running by St. Paddy's Day, allowing drinkers to buy beverages from participating vendors Downtown and carry up to two drinks per person outdoors (most likely in designated plastic cups). The city will not generate revenue from the DORA, but drinks purchased for open carry may be slightly more expensive to cover fees for the cups and cleanliness of Downtown. The DORA will operate daily from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and City Council can adjust or terminate it if issues arise.
What else? Updates on Project Zodiac, riverfront development and the Allen County jail. We cover it all in our premium newsletter.
To do list
Three of our favorite things to do this week.
- Tour: some of the city's best holiday home light displays, and vote for your favorite by Jan. 12 for a chance to win a Fort Wayne Holiday Gift Package for yourself!
- Sing: karaoke at the Green Frog on Friday or Saturday night, starting at 9:30 p.m. (And claim a FREE beer if you become a paid subscriber!)
- Toast: to the New Year at one of several parties around town. Three that caught our attention are: a classy Great Gatsby New Year's Eve Party at Bell Mansion (7 p.m. - 1 a.m. for $50), New Years Eve at Penny Drip (doors at 9 p.m. for $20, or $15 in advance) and a special Kids Night Out New Years Eve Party at The Chateau on Broadway (where you can drop off your littles ages 5-12)!
What else? We recommend three more things to do in our premium newsletter.
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Our independent news publication is run by just two locals, Kara and Mike. We are entirely funded by our paid members, and we'd like to keep it that way. If you've enjoyed reading our newsletter so far and have found value in the service we provide, we'd love to have you become a paid subscriber. Help us keep going by upgrading today, and receive our premium newsletter and perks!
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Have a great week, Locals!
-Your Editor, Kara Hackett