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Featured

Outnumbered but making a statement

Supporters of President Trump sail the Coralville Reservoir on Labor Day

NORTH LIBERTY– Johnson County has long been a bastion of the Democratic Party, with 57,631 (active and non-active) registered voters as of Sept. 1, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. In contrast, the Republican Party has 20,693 (active and non-active) registered voters in the county in its ranks.
Despite being heavily outnumbered, Johnson County Republicans took to the Coralville Reservoir and Mehaffey Bridge on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7, to show support for President Donald Trump during a “Make the Rez Great Boat Parade.”

Ranshaw House renovation moves forward

NL council approves bid after reductions

NORTH LIBERTY– Phase Two of the renovation of the historic Ranshaw House, in North Liberty, was granted the green light Tuesday, Sept. 8, as the North Liberty City Council approved a bid from Wolfe Contracting, Inc., of Muscatine.

Three positive cases

SCSD adds COVID dashboard to website

SOLON– So far, so good for the young but already tumultuous school year.
Solon Community School District (SCSD) classes began Monday, Aug. 31, and as of Friday, Sept. 11, three positive cases among students were reported.
The district placed a COVID-19 dashboard on its website under the “District Return to Learn” menu, tracking positive tests for students and staff, as well as absenteeism and quarantine numbers.

Maybe something virtual this fall, maybe something next spring

CCA School Board ponders the fate of Homecoming 2020

OXFORD– It is practically a cliché to say nothing has been left untouched, unchanged, by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
However, after a spring which saw all high school sports cancelled, schools closed and graduations cancelled, done drive-through style in school parking lots, or held virtually, another annual high school tradition is in jeopardy of being unlike any other.

Dawn of a new day

Methodist Church readies remodel for Sunday School From flip phones to smart phones

SOLON– It’s time to adapt for the Solon United Methodist Church (SUMC).
The COVID-19 pandemic shook up an already changing cultural landscape for many churches, but provided a silver lining for the local Methodists.
The global shutdown early in 2020 allowed the SUMC to tackle a messy basement remodel and pave the way for a new Director of Christian Education.
The renewed focus on families and youth will be front and center as the church re-launches live Sunday School classes Sept. 13.

Sharing his passion

New location allows Jewelry by Harold to offer classes, and keep the craft alive in NL

NORTH LIBERTY– The making of fine jewelry is both a time-honored craft and an exacting art form.
For Harold Van Beek, owner of Jewelry by Harold in North Liberty, it is also a passion he wishes to share with others.
Van Beek, a native of The Netherlands, came to the United States in 2005 after visiting Iowa City since the late 1970s to spend time with friends of his family. “I’m ‘Harold,’ I’m named for someone in Iowa City, and so are my siblings. My son (Laurens) is named after someone in Iowa. So yeah, it’s been quite an adventure.”

Firehouse campaign trying to push past COVID

$500k contribution moves project closer 2021 construction possible

SOLON– When things were looking bleak for fundraising, a Solon family came through.
The Dennis and Jana Munson family of rural Solon donated $500,000 to the Solon Firehouse campaign.
“Obviously, our hats are off to the Munson family,” said firefighter and Firehouse organizer and Greg Morris. “Dennis and his family are just committed to what we provide and do for our community. They all view it as an important entity of our community.”
Morris was on the treadmill when his phone rang with a number he didn’t recognize.

Picking up the pieces

Backup generators do their job for city

NORTH LIBERTY– Council member Raquisha Harrington summed it up during an Aug. 11 meeting.
“2020 has not been nice to anyone at all,” she observed.
Harrington was echoing comments from other North Liberty City Council members who voiced support for city employees after an inland hurricane known as a derecho tore a path across the state and into Illinois Monday, Aug. 11, leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days.
Power was restored to most North Liberty residents by Tuesday afternoon, allowing council members to continue with a regularly scheduled virtual meeting.

Picking up the pieces

Neighbors unite to clear storm damage Most power restored before weekend Take debris to SRNA

SOLON– Public Works Director Scott Kleppe had about a half hour warning.
But even then, the alert was for a line of severe thunderstorms producing winds up to 70 miles per hour (mph).
It was about noon and his staff just went home for lunch.
Kleppe contacted Central Cable, the contractor for South Slope Communication Cooperative’s fiber overbuild, and provided a warning for high winds.
By the time he finished a quick lunch, the storm arrived.
The city has no instruments to measure wind speed.

CCA FFA leaders attend district conference

TIFFIN– Each year, Southeast district and Iowa Future Farmers of America (FFA) officers plan and facilitate Chapter Officer Leadership Training (COLT) Conferences for FFA members in the Southeast district. Clear Creek Amana welcomed FFA chapters from all over the Southeast district on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

100 miles an hour

Inland hurricane blows through Solon and most of state

SOLON– Winds in excess of 100 miles an hour lashed the area Monday, Aug. 10, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction.
The inland hurricane, or derecho, struck Solon around 12:30 p.m., snapping trees across the community and leaving thousands without power.
One local fatality was reported by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Auditorium Lofts plan approved again

Second story slated for hotel/motel

SOLON– It’s been a long time since Solon had a hotel.
One is potentially in the works as Solon City Council members approved a new site plan for Auditorium Lofts & Commons at an Aug. 5 meeting.
Prairie Equity Group of Iowa City has proposed to renovate the 1915 former St. Mary auditorium at the corner of Dubuque and Short Streets into a mix of residential and commercial uses, including “The Literary Hotel,” a collection of 11 guest rooms on the second floor.