Ashley Grabe Zumbas her way to fitness

Those watching Ashley Grabe teach Zumba might think the 32 year-old has been doing it her whole life. But she actually just took up the fitness program a little over two years ago.

Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor
Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor

The Zumba instructor, partnering with Back in Line Chiropractic, recently held a free class at the Hiawatha Community Center so that more people could learn the benefits of Zumba Fitness.

Grabe said she started the popular exercise program as a way to lose weight, but soon found out it was a great addition to her life in general.

“I started gaining weight a few years ago and wanted to join an exercise class, but I hesitated because I’d never had much luck with them. I saw a class advertising Zumba and because liked Latin and Salsa dancing, I decided to try it.”

Grabe said she fell in love with it right away.

“I couldn’t believe how much fun it was,” she said. “I found that I didn’t watch the clock like I normally did. And when it was over, I couldn’t wait to do it again. I just couldn’t believe how good I felt.”

She said she attended more Zumba classes and learned the different music and routines.

“Someone told me once that I should become a Zumba instructor, and I thought, why not? I loved to do it and I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do. I would do Zumba every night if I could.”

Grabe received her certification to teach Zumba in May 2013, after completing a day-long program to learn the steps and teaching methods necessary for certification.

“I had been subbing at the YMCA and continued to do that for a while, but then I decided to take my workout classes to the Shueyville Community Center,” she said. “I’m just trying to get my name out there.”

Together with Alicia Anderson, of Cedar Rapids, Grabe started Dance Club Cardio, which includes Hip Hop, pop, and funk music dance moves.

“We like to use a variety of genres in our classes,” she said.

Grabe, a sales executive with Communications Engineering Company (CEC) in Hiawatha for the past three years, lives in Shueyville with her husband.

Grabe graduated from Kennedy High School in 2000 and earned her Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Kirkwood Community College. She graduated Capri College and obtained her license in aesthetics.

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Hiawatha chiropractor opens unique practice

Erica Smothers was still in middle school when she learned the importance of chiropractic care.

Eric Smothers, of Hiawatha, specializes in the chiropractic care and treatment of all families members, including children and pregnant women. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)
Erica Smothers, of Hiawatha, specializes in the chiropractic care and treatment of all families members, including children and pregnant women. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)

Smothers was introduced to the world of chiropractic adjustments after a sports-related injury. Even after she recovered, she continued to be treated because she noticed that it helped her overall health, as well.

“My mom and I both noticed that I was sick less often and I didn’t miss school,” she said. “I just generally felt better.”

Smothers said it opened her eyes to how chiropractic care can help people stay healthy.

“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons I went into chiropractic care,” she said.

Smothers, owner of Awaken Family Chiropractic, 2205 Blairsferry Crossing, Suite B, graduated from Kennedy High School in 2006, where she was active in volleyball, softball, and basketball. She attended Coe College after graduation and earned her Bachelor’s degree before attending and graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in the Quad Cities.

“I interned for a chiropractor in Des Moines who specialized in pediatric chiropractic care and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.

Smothers not only adjusts children, including infants, but pregnant women, as well.

“Babies go through a traumatic event when they’re born,” she said. “Most people don’t realize what it does to their neck and spine, but it can affect their health and can contribute to challenges down the road, such as ear infections and colic.”

She added that C-section deliveries seem to amplify these challenges, many of which can be helped with chiropractic adjustments.

Smothers uses  neuro-spinal scans on new patients instead of conventional X-rays. The scans provide her with information regarding the function of the patient’s nervous system and spinal muscles. This allows her to develop individualized care plans for each patient.

“However, If a patients’ condition require that X-rays be taken, I can send them to a facility that will do that.”

Smothers said she has known for a long time that she wanted to bring her practice to Hiawatha.

“This is where I grew up,” she said. “I’m happy with the area and I love Hiawatha.”

Smothers said she would like to become more involved in the community and has held a few health-related workshops since she opened her office in September.

She said she would like to make the workshops a monthly occurrence, but she is also available to talk to organizations and businesses in the community; not just about chiropractic care, but on a variety of health-related subjects.

“And of course, it would be free of charge,” she added.

Smothers said that though she is the only one in her office right now, she would like to eventually hire a massage therapist.

“I have several mentors who have shown me the ropes,” she said. “They have helped me get started, answering my questions and telling me what to expect with opening my own practice. They have been such a big help. I owe them a lot.”

Smothers said she got the idea for the name of her business while visiting a mentor, and pediatric chiropractor, who practices in Illinois. He had a patient who had been on medication for attention and hyperactivity for most of his life and when he started chiropractic care, he was able to go off his medications.

“He said it was like being ‘Awake’ for the first time in his life. It was just very powerful.”

Smothers said that while she does care for adults and older patients as well, the biggest thing that sets her apart from many other chiropractors in the area is her commitment to caring for children and women going through pregnancy.”

“Working with children is very rewarding. It’s nice to see children when they are well and being able to help prevent illness is a wonderful feeling. I have seen a lot of good results from my patients.”

Smothers said she couldn’t stress enough how important chiropractic care is to a person’s overall health.

“It’s really about keeping the spine aligned and free of nerve disturbance. It’s about making sure the nervous system is working as well as it should, since it controls everything else in your body,” she said. “It’s also about preventing illness and promoting overall health and wellness.”

“I think people are starting to look for other alternatives to traditional medicine,” she said. “There is absolutely a time and place for medications and other medical interventions, but if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you?”

For more information about Awaken Family Chiropractic, go to

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Hiawatha chosen as one of the ‘safest cities’ in Iowa

Safe Choice Security, a national home and business security monitoring company, has named hiawathapicHiawatha one of the safest cities in Iowa.

According to an article on Hiawatha’s website, Safe Choice Security created a list of the top 25 safest cities, and named Hiawatha as 7th. The article states that they “considered both the property and violent crime statistics to get some realistic insight into the actual incidences of crime in the towns and cities in Iowa … with this information, you have a confident starting point for finding the ideal municipality for your next home or start-up business.”

Hiawatha, the home of Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Salvatore Guinta, has a number of outdoor parks and recreational centers, such as the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which travels north to Waterloo and south to Ely.hiawatha_ia

Hiawatha is dedicated to providing a safe and affordable living experience and has placed a lot of attention and care into its town center and public places, “making Hiawatha an enjoyable place to raise a family and do business.”

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