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Featured

Progress on all fronts, and a new name, too

Elected officials receive an update on Johnson County’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center

NORTH LIBERTY– Johnson County’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC), or Access Center, is taking shape after years of discussion and planning.
Matt Miller, the county’s project manager, provided an update on the facility during a Monday, Jan. 13, joint entities meeting of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, the Iowa City Community School Board, and city councils including North Liberty, Coralville, Iowa City, Hills and University Heights.

An effort to protect vulnerable renters

Johnson County Mobile Home Task Force calls for legislative changes

NORTH LIBERTY– Last April, Havenpark Capital, a Utah-based investment firm, purchased the Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty, along with Midwest Country Estates in Waukee, Sunrise Village Mobile Home Park in Iowa City, Western Hills in Coralville and West Branch Village in West Branch.
Havenpark Capital raised the lot rent from 69 percent (Waukee) to 28 percent (Sunrise).

Navigating succession on the modern farm

Great transfer of wealth coming in the next 15 years

OXFORD– Seventy percent of family farms will change hands in one form or another over the next 15 years.
Those landowners are closing in on retirement age, but the majority don’t have a farm succession plan.
That’s a problem for rural Iowa, according to accredited land consultant Mike Downey.
Downey was the featured speaker at a farm transfer workshop, hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), at the Johnson County Conservation Education Center at F.W. Kent Park near Oxford.

Residents “uncomfortable” with airbnb

Council passes second read limiting short-term rentals to commercial zones

SOLON– Neighbors of a short-term rental at 113 E. Elm St. told city council members they felt uneasy.
Adjacent residents spoke in support of restricting the alternate lodging to commercial zones at a Jan. 8 council meeting.
Council members concurred, and passed the second reading of the new ordinance regulating short-term rental properties, commonly referred to as airbnbs, unanimously.
“We have a great neighborhood,” Tom Wilson said during public comments on the ordinance. “We all know each other. We’ve known each other for years. We talk to one another.”

Capitalizing on partnerships

Tiffin’s new Rec. Center could lead to new opportunities for area schools

TIFFIN– A new recreation center being planned by the City of Tiffin has the potential of forging partnerships between school districts and the city, and providing facilities for high school swimming and diving teams (as well as other competitive swim clubs/teams).
Tiffin City Administrator Doug Boldt gave an update on the project during a joint meeting of the Tiffin City Council and the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District’s School Board of Directors Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Oak Hill Elementary School in Tiffin.

Records set locally and statewide for First Day Hikes

145 people ply the trail at Lake Macbride

SOLON– At least 4,358 people participated in “First Day Hikes” in Iowa’s State Parks on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported it was the highest attendance since the start of the annual event in 2012, and coincided with kicking off the Iowa State Park Centennial Year (2020).

Growing the Parks and Rec. Dept.

Harder steps in to help develop programs

SOLON– This is exactly what he wants to do.
“I’m really excited to be here,” said new Solon Recreation Director Tom Harder. “This is a job that I’ve been picturing myself in for a long time.”
Harder, 26, started his position Dec. 16, replacing Ben Flaherty, who served in the job from September of 2018 to Nov. 7.
A native of Iowa City, Harder attended West High, and stayed in town to attend the University of Iowa (UI), obtaining both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in sports and recreation management.

Bringing kids together

Students helping students in the CCA Middle School’s Peer PE program

TIFFIN– Seventy Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Middle School students have taken on a role typically more mature of seventh and eighth graders, and their classmates with special needs are the beneficiaries. The students, led by Physical Education (PE) Teacher Nick Boeset, spend time each week in a Peer PE program working one-on-one with their classmates in an open gym format.

No Airbnbs in residential Solon

Council passes first reading of zoning changes

SOLON For now, there will be no short-term rentals in residential areas.
The first reading of an ordinance limiting such rentals to commercial areas was passed at a Dec. 18 meeting of the Solon City Council.
Council members were asked to consider allowing the alternate lodging in residential zones by Michelle Bennett, of Solon, who has been offering short-term stays in a house at 113 E. Elm Street.
Council members stuck with the recommendations of the citys Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission, but left the door open to future modifications.

Hoping for less bitter this year, Beat the Bitter returns this month!

A full week of outdoor activities kick off on Jan. 25

NORTH LIBERTY– Winter in Iowa can be rough. Once green cornfields resemble a windswept Arctic tundra from Siberia. Most people huddle in their homes, grumbling about the cold, the wind, the snow, the ice, and whatever reason it is they continue to live in Iowa.
However, there is another group of people who grin rather than grumble and embrace winter rather than curse it. For those special folks, there is Beat the Bitter, a week full of activities designed to get people out from under their comforters and into the great outdoors for fun, adventure and good cheer.

Helping non-profits do great things

Team 218 Web Design donates services annually

NORTH LIBERTY– Team 218 Web Design is not your typical website designer.
“We’re not out to be the biggest or have the most clients,” explained co-owner Chuck Hersey, of North Liberty. “We’re a little more selective in the projects we get involved in. We like getting involved in projects that are interesting to us.”
And once a year, that includes offering free services to a non-profit organization.

Dean’s Dream

Solon Hardware documentary screens at community center Jan. 12

SOLON– For Barry Sharp, the history of Solon Hardware was worth preserving.
“If you want to feel good about living in this community, this is a great story,” he noted.
His documentary film, “Dean’s Dream,” will be screened for the public Sunday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Solon Community Center.
Sharp moved to Solon in 2006 as director of the Iowa City Veteran Affairs (VA) Health Care System. He visited the Solon Hardware Store to purchase garbage cans and other items needed for a new home.