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Cale Stelken

Tending a fowl situation

Veterinarian visit opens discussion on North Liberty wildlife

NORTH LIBERTY– What do you do when chanced upon a wild animal whose life is threatened by human negligence? It’s a question recently faced by residents of Saint Andrews Drive in North Liberty.
Every day for the last five years, a flock of ducks has waddled across the yard of Dan and Ruthann Schrock, to be fed by Kay Klein. The ritual keeps the neighbors eager to greet the charming fowl as they march into the neighborhood, looking for grub. But on Tuesday, July 31, the neighbors noticed one of the ducklings exhibiting some impairment.

Site plan for Liberty Executive Park takes shape

"Trendsetting" commercial-residential subdivision proposed west of Kansas Avenue

NORTH LIBERTY– Seven years after its rezoning, plans to develop the first lot of Liberty Executive Park are moving forward. During its July 24 session, the North Liberty City Council approved a site plan by A&M Development, which seeks to deliver a new approach for the city’s growing district.

From the skies to the sea

Joining the Eastern Iowa Model Yacht Club

NORTH LIBERTY– You could say Elton Combs is a tinkerer of sorts. He’s been a remote control airplane enthusiast for many decades, dating back to his Missouri farm upbringing. In fact, the walls and ceiling of his North Liberty basement serve as a mini museum, with dozens of hanging aircrafts. From early gas-powered engines to electric, Combs has quite the collection.
“That’s the stuff you’d find on Antiques Roadshow,” he remarked, pointing to a model from the 1950s.

Scale and balance

Centennial Park’s innovative new playground opens

NORTH LIBERTY– Centennial Park’s new climbing playground was open for its first whole week Monday, July 30, and there’s been no shortage of kids eager to try their hand at scaling its unique features.

Setting the table for opportunity

Catering service to provide ServSafe certification to aspiring young chefs

NORTH LIBERTY– Matt Zacek always had a passion for cooking, but for decades never realized it beyond a family pastime.
“I’ve always had this ability to take an empty pantry and make a meal out of it,” he remarked. That is until about five years ago while watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The show featured a non-profit restaurant in California called Worth Our Weight, which serves as a culinary apprentice program for at-risk kids.
“It really struck a cord with both my wife and I as something we would really like to do,” Zacek recalled.

Restoring Kent Park Lake

Anticipating completion next spring

OXFORD– Those who haven’t been out to Kent Park Lake in some time would certainly find it unrecognizable. Overlooking the dried-out lake bed, overgrown with vegetation and scattered with park remnants like uprooted tree stumps, it’s almost hard to imagine it was once the aquatic centerpiece to the Johnson County park. But the park’s most ambitious restoration project, which began in spring 2017, is moving at a persistent pace. Outdoor enthusiasts can rest assured, if all goes to plan, the lake with return to its previous glory by spring 2019.

A necessary measure

A strong showing for Blues & BBQ

17k come out for great food and music

NORTH LIBERTY– Bigger musical talent, new activities and a strong attendance at an evolving park characterized North Liberty’s 12th annual Blues & BBQ Saturday, July 14. A muggy start tapered off into the evening as the festival played host to an estimated 17,000 people.
“We’re really proud of that number,” said Nick Bergus, Communications Director for the City of North Liberty and member of the 2018 Blues & BBQ committee.
The Pig & Pint Prelude sold out for its second year with 260 guests, up from the inaugural event. The event is expected to return next year as it continues to grow.

Art in the name of water

North Liberty’s storm drain murals provide environmental platform

NORTH LIBERTY– Those who cruised through Cherry Street last week likely noticed some colorful new additions near Liberty Centre Pond.

Tiffin frisbee golf course unveiled

Makes creative use of floodplain along Clear Creek

TIFFIN– This summer, Tiffin introduced perhaps one of its most scenic recreation spots, quietly unveiling the new Tiffin Timbers frisbee golf course.
The roughly 20-acre layout features nine holes taking players through heavily wooded grass paths, open prairie and partially along the city’s concrete, multi-use trail.
“It’s got a beautiful layout with the timber and the open fields and so forth,” remarked City of Tiffin Parks Director/Public Works Maintenance Worker Jonas Zimmer. “We were able to design it and kind of cut it through the timber, and use the timber to our advantage.”

A new era for the paper

The Leader office makes a new home in Solon

SOLON– This summer, the North Liberty Leader set out for a new horizon. Fortunately, all it took was a short stroll down Main Street.

Journey Counseling Services marks a decade in North Liberty

Hosting open house Fri., Aug. 3

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s been a slow burn, but over the course of 10 years, Journey Counseling Services (JCS) has made a solid niche for itself in North Liberty.
Located at 6 Hawkeye Dr. Ste. 105, the ministry offers Christian-based counseling with over 30 years of combined experience.
“As we’ve been doing this longer, I’ve found it to be kind of a unique spot that we’re in, because not a lot of other people do it,” said owner and counselor Holly Smigel.

Jazzed to play Iowa City

Liberty Jazz Combo takes to Youth Stage

IOWA CITY– The Liberty High Jazz Combo had the privilege of performing on the Youth Stage for the first time at the Iowa City Jazz Festival, Saturday, June 30. Facing temperatures in the upper 80s, the nine-student band sweated out two sets, one at 6:30 p.m. and another 8:30 p.m. Cracking jokes between songs and ending the night with a composition of their own, the group played to a sizable audience on bustling Iowa Avenue.