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News

Supervisors still lack conviction on future justice center

Board of supervisors hear from architects in on-going justice center discussion

By Chris Umscheid
Solon Economist

IOWA CITY– They asked, they received, and they still lack a majority consensus.
At the conclusion of a Nov. 6 work session centered around the question of what to do about the county’s jail and courthouse in the wake of May’s failed bond referendum, a request was made for preliminary designs for two new options. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, those options were laid out in great detail for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors (BOS).

Supervisors still lack conviction on future of jail, courthouse

December meeting brings more discussion without direction

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader

IOWA CITY– They asked, they received, and they still lack a majority consensus.
At the conclusion of a Nov. 6 work session centered around the question of what to do about the county’s jail and courthouse in the wake of May’s failed bond referendum, a request was made for preliminary designs for two new options. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, those options were laid out in great detail for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors (BOS).

Judge upholds Swenka’s two year sentence

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader

JOHNSON COUNTY– The two-year prison sentence for 20-year-old Zachary Lee Swenka will stand.
On Monday, Dec. 16, Judge Stephen Gerard presided over the hearing of a motion for reconsideration of Swenka’s Oct. 24 sentencing to two years in custody for pleading guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Swisher special election set for February 4, 2014

Voters will elect new mayor, but implied controversy lingers

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader

SWISHER– A new chapter in the history of this small Johnson County community will be written Tuesday, Feb. 4, as residents go to the voting booth to elect a new mayor.
The vacancy was created when Tim Mason resigned suddenly during the regular monthly meeting on Nov. 11. City clerk Connie Meier also resigned.

NL’s library director Crowner will retire as of December 31

NORTH LIBERTY– In most libraries, Dee Crowner’s next step could be found filed somewhere in the 332.024s. But, since the North Liberty Community Library switched to subject-based classification last year, here it would be simply under “retirement.” Crowner, who has been the North Liberty Community Library’s director since 1987, will be stepping down at the end of the year.
“Dee has been a valuable member of our staff for more than two and a half decades, and I’m thankful for her dedication and stewardship of the library,” said mayor Tom Salm. “Her retirement is well deserved.”

Solon looks at open enrollment caps

School board also continues facilities discussions

By Alex Kline
Solon Economist

SOLON– When do you decide to close the doors on open enrollment?
The Solon school board discussed options for open enrollment benchmarks at the Dec. 9 meeting. Superintendent Sam Miller presented a framework that set parameters at which open enrollment could be closed at each grade level.
Though the number wasn’t a flat rate, most grades close at five students before target capacities, a level approved by the board last year.

County approves $3.7 million design

By Lori Lindner
Solon Economist
JOHNSON COUNTY– Last Thursday, Dec. 5, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors took a significant step toward replacing a county facility that was damaged by fire last spring.
It came at higher price than the board would have hoped, but members justified it for its longevity, functionality and accordance with the county’s efforts toward sustainability and reduced energy consumption.

Arctic Wolf brings display to life

By Antonia Russo
Special to the Economist

SOLON– Once again the Solon library window takes us to Russia for our holiday display. We have visited the glittering late 19th Century world of the Tsar with Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Now we return to view a winter scene in Stalin’s Russia with Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”
Far in the north, at the edge of a snowy forest– set amidst birch trees, is Grandfather’s cabin. Here, Grandfather, Peter, the little bird, the duck, wolf, and hunters perform the musical drama that has delighted children for generations.

Can you hear me now?

Tiffin seeks public input on proposed cell phone tower

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
TIFFIN– The City of Tiffin has a new water tower, and a cellular service provider would like to take advantage of it. The city, however, is not saying yes or no until they connect with the public.
The Tiffin City Council will hold a public information meeting Jan. 8, 2014, in order to gain citizen input on whether or not to enter into an agreement to rent space atop the town’s new water tower for cellular antenna equipment.

The Dock asks for a second date

SOLON– The owners of the Dock want you to take a second look.
John and Kristen Ahlf opened the restaurant at 101 Windflower Ln., in June with the intent of providing a dining experience to satisfy the most refined tastes.
“The reviews were about 60-40,” said John Ahlf, referring to the comments several early customers posted online; sixty percent being positive, and the rest, not so much. “We read every single comment, good and bad.”
That’s what inspired the Ahlfs to make changes to the restaurant’s décor, menu and staff.

ICCSD discusses changes that expedite new elementary

By Alex Kline
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– The Iowa City Community School District (ICCDS) Board of Directors met on Tuesday, Nov. 26, to discuss adjustments to the facilities master plan in a work session. Updates to the plan will be presented to the board and voted on at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting.
The biggest update to the plan was to accelerate the building of a new north elementary school by one year. The changes call for the new elementary to be open by 2019.

NL council approves design contract for eastward expansion of sewer, water

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY– The City of North Liberty is preparing to take its first steps eastward.
In its Nov. 26 meeting, the North Liberty City Council approved a $155,000 contract with Fox Engineering to create preliminary designs for expanding water and sanitary sewer services to the city’s designated growth area east of the current city limits.