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Featured

Trail Ridge Estates stalled

No super-majority to overturn P&Z decision

SOLON– Trail Ridge Estates is one vote short.
As is, the proposal to annex and rezone a 130-acre residential subdivision west of Solon’s city limits on Highway 382 has only three of four city council votes needed to override a Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission decision.
Mayor Steve Stange conducted the informal poll of council members at a Feb. 17 meeting.

Dollar General planned

Parking concerns raised; plan sent to P&Z for comment

SOLON– A national retail chain has its eye on a Highway 1 industrial lot.
A concept plan for a 10,640 square-foot Dollar General was introduced to Solon City Council members during a Feb. 17 meeting.
Council members and Mayor Steve Stange raised concerns over a requested variance for parking stalls, and asked for the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) to comment.

Becoming a destination

Auditorium revival adds hotel to Solon. Palmer House Stable and Literary Hotel to provide unique package.

SOLON– “You have to offer an experience that people will talk about years later,” Al Wells said.
And Solon is ready to step up to the plate.
Wells, owner and operator of the Palmer House Stable, and partners Bill Wittig and Bruce Hudson, are knee-deep into the renovation of the abandoned St. Mary Auditorium in Solon.
When complete later this year, the Auditorium Lofts and Commons project with its second-floor hotel, will add another missing element to the community.

“A true role model”

Gov. Reynolds tours and praises Johnson County’s GuideLink Center

IOWA CITY– The GuideLink Center, also known as the Access Center of Johnson County, started accepting patients with an acute mental health or substance abuse crisis on Monday, Feb. 15, as part of a gradual “soft opening.”
The facility, located at 300 Southgate Ave. in Iowa City, has been a goal through roughly a decade of discussion in Johnson County. Momentum was gained in 2015 when then Jail Alternatives Coordinator Jessica Peckover started a crusade for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) made up of law enforcement officers, starting with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO).

Firehouse project continues to seek funds

Donations help lower borrowing 486 calls for service in 2020

SOLON– Solon’s firefighters aren’t done fundraising yet.
The Solon Firefighter Association collected just shy of $1.2 million in the past two-and-a-half years for a new firehouse, noted department member Greg Morris, and the work will keep going until the project is complete.
“You’ve got to be proud of that number,” he said.
Morris had no illusions people were going to dump that kind of money in his lap when he took on a leadership role with raising the $4 million needed.
But, he added, “COVID has really hurt our ability to get in front of people.”

Too big, too fast

Some Solon area residents want to slow proposed growth Trail Ridge discussed at special council session

SOLON– They want Solon to stay Solon.
Locals shared their fears a proposed 130-acre residential subdivision would grow the town too quickly during a special city council meeting Feb. 10 dedicated to Trail Ridge Estates.
Jeff Geistkemper summed up the concerns of several Solon-area speakers.
His property on Solon’s west side would be annexed along with the development.
“We knew the day was coming when we may become annexed,” he said during the virtual meeting. “I just think this is too aggressive.”

Focusing on local food

IA Secretary of Ag Mike Naig visits Iowa Citys Field to Family

IOWA CITY Iowa is well known as an agricultural state, however up to 90 percent of the states food supply comes from out of state. So says Field to Family, a non-profit organization based in Iowa City, which promotes the consumption of locally grown and produced food by providing education, and operating a food hub.

Putting theory to practice

fp Music Academy

SOLON– When he was 2-years-old, Carl Richey’s mother took him to a production of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”
His family was living in Florida at the time, and while Carl doesn’t remember it, the story is he sat through the whole thing, turned to his mom and asked, “Is there any more?”
“I think we knew then I would be involved in music,” he said.
Richey, 21, had the benefit of being exposed to theatre at a young age, and when his family moved to Solon in 2014, the relocated freshman took advantage of everything his new high school had to offer musically.

16.6 million visit Iowas state parks in 2020; Lake Manawa, Gull Point top the list

Lake Macbride comes in 10th

COUNCIL BLUFFS– A record 16.6 million visitors frequented Iowa’s state parks in 2020, according to data from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Iowans turned to the outdoors with indoor activities interrupted or cancelled by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Over the last decade, the Iowa DNR saw between 13.7 million and 15.5 million visitors to their state parks yearly.

Making a good thing even better

Tiffin Fire Association and City of Tiffin discuss new organizational structure

TIFFIN– In 1954, the Tiffin Fire Association was formed with the mission of protecting life and property in the city of Tiffin as well as Clear Creek and Union townships; an area of 58 square miles. Over the years the mission has expanded to provide emergency medical services (EMS) as well as fire protection. The all-volunteer force has provided fire protection, disaster response, hazardous materials response, and EMS to the city on a contracted basis.
However, discussions have begun about potentially restructuring the association to a city-operated department.

Fry-day

Legion Friday Night Fish Fries carryout only in 2021 Help needed as volunteers withdraw in pandemic

SOLON– In past years, profits from the Solon American Legion’s annual fish fries funded community projects and upgrades to the building.
This year, profits will keep the Legion doors open until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, according to Legion member Denny Hansen.
The fish fries are the Legion’s largest fundraiser and 2020 was setting a record pace until the pandemic hit midway through the Lenten season, with 398 meals served on a single night.

Spartan girls 22nd at state meet

111 teams, nearly 500 wrestlers converge on Coralville

CORALVILLE– Not bad for the first time out.
Solon High School’s fledgling Lady Spartan wrestling team entered the 2021 Iowa Wrestling Officials and Coaches Association (IWCOA)’s Girls State Wrestling Tournament Friday, Jan. 22, and Saturday, Jan. 23, at the new Xtream Arena in Coralville’s Iowa River Landing.
While none of the Lady Spartans placed, Solon finished 22nd out of 111 teams.