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Jennifer Moore

Stealing the spotlight

Solon native Riese Lutz to compete in Mr. Gay USofA Pageant

That penchant for the limelight continued throughout his life. Now, Lutz will compete in the Mr. Gay USofA pageant in San Antonio, Texas this November.
Though this is Lutz’s first year competing in pageants solo, he is no stranger to the stage. He spent several years traveling and working as a backup dancer for drag queens and previous pageant contestants. But being in the background was nearly impossible for someone who was born to be the star.
“After a couple of years, they were like, ‘Riese, you’re stealing the show,’” Lutz said. “They told me now was my time.”

Mary’s Meals provides food and education to help impoverished children around the globe

Just one good meal

SOLON– In the early 1990s, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow went to Romania with the simple goal of bringing food and clothing to children’s hospitals.
However, once he arrived, his mission changed drastically.
After wandering into a room where he admits he probably wasn’t supposed to be, he was greeted with the sullen, hopeless faces of about 50 children, long forgotten and abandoned by society. Some, even at the age of 12 or 13, couldn’t even walk, simply because no one had bothered to teach them.
At that moment, he knew he had to do more than just provide them basic aid.

The Popcorn Shoppe

Gourmet popcorn shop has endless options, tasty treats

NORTH LIBERTY– Seventeen pounds.
That’s the weight of a sperm whale’s brain. It’s the weight of an average road bicycle. It’s a Shih Tzu with an eating problem.
It’s also the weight of an extra-large bag of caramel popcorn from North Liberty’s Popcorn Shoppe.
“With all of the toppings we can add, they can get pretty heavy,” Leo Young, owner of the Popcorn Shoppe, said with a chuckle.
But that hasn’t stopped Eastern Iowans from lugging the delicious treat from the store to their homes each day.

New owners bring love of the game to the Lake MacBride Golf Club

Couple takes a shot at the golf industry

SOLON- Rich Currie recounts the best round of golf he’d ever played.
Almost.
After going out for a friendly game with a friend, Rich decided to call it quits at the 16th hole. The game had become too drawn out, too time consuming for him to continue; so with two holes left, the two threw in the towel. Afterward, Rich’s friend tallied up their scores, then looked at him in astonishment.
“He said ‘Dude, if you had finished, you probably would have broke 80!’” Rich said. “I could not believe it. I couldn’t believe I didn’t stay.”

Yotopia boasts fresh, Iowa-made ingredients

NORTH LIBERTY– Just call Veronica Tessler the yogurt queen.
She was the first to bring frozen yogurt to the Iowa City area in 2011;the first to use 100 percent yogurt with live and active cultures; and the first to source her ingredients locally.
Now the queen is expanding her empire to North Liberty.
Yotopia in North Liberty opened its doors along with Molly’s Cupcakes this past March. Tessler had been contemplating moving to a smaller town for months, and with the ever-expanding market in North Liberty, she knew she had found her business’s new home.

Molly’s Cupcakes opens its second Iowa bakery in NL

NORTH LIBERTY– Serendipitous.
It’s a word Molly’s Cupcake’s owner Jamie Smith uses quite a bit when she talks about her journey with the bakery.
When the Manchester native first left her career in real estate, Smith applied for jobs at five different bakeries in Chicago. Molly’s was the only one who returned her phone calls. It was simply meant to be.
“It worked out great. They’re the best,” she said. “I absolutely love them.”

Sheedy traveling with God

Father Tim Sheedy brings his knowledge of the world to Solon

SOLON– Father Tim Sheedy’s experiences with the Catholic Church have taken him all across the globe. He’s seen the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Turkey. He’s visited the Holy Land in Israel three times. He even studied for three months in the Vatican. But none of these wonders compared to his visits to a small town with a population of just over 4,000.