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News

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.

. . . . . Full story available to subscribers only. . . . . .

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.”

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Teaching kids to volunteer

“Kids Can Do it Too " program Monday, Jan. 20

SOLON– Solon area families are invited to participate in a "Kids Can Do it Too " program being held Monday, Jan. 20, from 9-11 a.m., at the Solon United Methodist Church. The Martin Luther King Day program is a "come and go" event. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate with mom or dad's help and supervision.
Participants can bring an optional donation of the following: a food item for the local food bank, unused trial size toiletries for local domestic violence shelters, new or used Dr. Seuss books or a lightly used pair of shoes for the Soles For Souls program.

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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.

Benefit for Norm Ziskovsky Jan. 18 at DanceMor Ballroom

SWISHER– A benefit for Norm Ziskovsky will be held Saturday, Jan. 18, beginning at 4 p.m. at the DanceMor Ballroom in Swisher.
The benefit will feature a silent and live auction, as well as a ribeye ($12) or Maid-Rite ($8) dinner.

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.

A Very Merry Christmas in Swisher

Santa Claus and The Grinch team up for Christmas joy

SWISHER– The sights and sounds of the season were on full display Saturday, Dec. 14, in a small, northwestern Johnson County community as “A Very Merry Christmas in Swisher” was held for an evening of holiday festivities.

Sheriffs office confirms pharmacy break-in

SOLON– What was originally thought to be a fluke accident is now being investigated as a burglary.
According to Lt. Randy Lamm of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, an alarm was reported at Solon Towncrest Pharmacy shortly after 4 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23.
Both the responding deputy and the owner found the glass of the front door shattered, but everything appeared to be in place with no other evidence of a break-in.

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.

Johnson County’s Unified Development Ordinance passes third vote, takes effect Jan. 15

IOWA CITY– Johnson County’s updated Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) passed its third and final consideration on a 3-2 vote Thursday, Dec. 19, during a formal meeting of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. As with the previous two readings, Supervisors Rod Sullivan, Pat Heiden and Royce Ann Porter voted to approve while Janelle Rettig and Chairwoman Lisa Green-Douglass opposed.

A Very Merry Christmas in Swisher

Santa Claus and The Grinch team up for Christmas joy

SWISHER– The sights and sounds of the season were on full display Saturday, Dec. 14, in a small, northwestern Johnson County community as “A Very Merry Christmas in Swisher” was held for an evening of holiday festivities.