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Featured

NL council approves new city hall

Action paves the way for design work to begin

NORTH LIBERTY– Talk about whether to build a new city hall in North Liberty or extensively renovate the current facility turned into action late last month.
North Liberty City Council members approved moving forward with design work for a new building during their Dec. 22 regular meeting.

Solon Speaks

8th graders create new positive podcast

SOLON– And now for some good news.
2020 was a year with a lot of negative reports, but a group of Solon eighth graders are looking to put the accent on the positive in 2021.
The Solon Middle School students, part of Kerri Coons’ talented and gifted classroom, created a new podcast, Solon Speaks.
Four of the podcast’s staff– Bri Henning, Makayla Keller, Lucy Miller and Piper Artley– introduced the new project at a school board meeting Dec. 17, 2020, and later to members of the Solon City Council during a Jan. 6 session.

Trail Ridge not quite there

City officials raise density concerns

SOLON– Everyone loved the Trail Ridge Estates plan.
But some loved it less than others.
Solon City Council and Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission members split over support of the proposed subdivision during a virtual joint session Thursday, Jan. 14.
No official vote was taken, but an informal poll taken by Mayor Steve Stange indicated three of five council members supported a new concept plan with four of the six commission members opposed.
Those in opposition cited concerns for overall density and the ratio of multifamily units to single family dwellings.

No good deed goes unpunished

Regulators spring sudden $14k fee on Cedar Ridge and other distillers for making hand sanitizer to combat COVID-19

SWISHER– Jeff Quint called it “The final kick in the pants from 2020.” Quint, owner of Cedar Ridge Distillery, was referring to news of a $14,060 fee the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was demanding for producing hand sanitizer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some good things to remember about 2020

Three area teams had state tournament firsts

JOHNSON COUNTY– 2020 will of course be remembered as a year where many activities were cancelled due to the pandemic, including the entire high school spring sports season. However, winter sports wrapped up just in time, and a successful summer season led to the approval of fall sports.

District readies for state assessment

Rebound from COVID layoff expected

SOLON– After a one-year, COVID-induced hiatus, Solon students will take a statewide assessment in 2021.
And while districts nationwide are dealing with a learning gap due to school closures and online curriculum, Solon’s administration expects to bounce back.
The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) was introduced two years ago, explained Solon Community School District (SCSD) Director of Teaching and Learning Josh Lyons during a Dec. 17 school board meeting.
SCSD students took the ISASP during the 2018-2019 school year with paper and pencil, he noted.

Remembering the reason for the season

Grace Community Church in North Liberty brings the Gospel according to Luke to life

NORTH LIBERTY– Christmas: a time of lights, carols, presents and gathering with friends and family. For Christians, of course, it is also the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Grace Community Church in North Liberty decided in the wake of a challenging year to celebrate Christ’s birth in a big way with a drive-through live Nativity scene on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Santa Claus visits Oxford

The tradition of bringing Christmas joy to boys and girls continues

OXFORD– A time-honored tradition continued in Oxford as Santa and Mrs. Claus made a stop in this small town on Saturday, Dec. 19, to visit with the local children, and receive Christmas wishes in person. The jolly couple sat in a sled parked in front of the Veterans Memorial for a few hours in the afternoon, braving a brisk breeze making the air feel reminiscent of The North Pole.

3 more months

City and school renew community center lease New location at fire station?

SOLON– Three months at a time.
The City of Solon and the Solon Community School District agreed to a three-month lease for the former middle school and current community center on South Iowa Street.
The new lease begins Jan. 1, 2021, and runs through March 30, 2021.
Council members approved their side of the agreement at a regular meeting Dec. 16.
The city scaled back the operation of the community center in an attempt to cope with high utility bills and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on recreation programs.

Bolt No.1 calls it a career

ICCSDs Scott Kibby takes early retirement

IOWA CITY Retirement: For many its a time of reflection on a lengthy career, and anticipation looking forward to a well-earned rest.
For Scott Kibby, taking early retirement from the Iowa City Community School District at the end of the month, its a bittersweet thing as he reflects happily on the many students and staff hes worked with, but the impact of the COVID-19 on education had a souring effect.

IC Hy-Vee serves up meals for Solon seniors

100 meals for milestone Kirk Ferentz win

SOLON– It’s been a difficult year for seniors weathering the pandemic indoors.
So, when Hy-Vee offered up 100 free meals to celebrate the 100th Big Ten football win for University of Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, Solon was ready to accept.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, the Iowa City Waterfront Hy-Vee delivered the meals to the Solon United Methodist Church where a group of volunteer drivers were awaiting.
Solon was selected in large part because of its dedication to serving its senior population, according to Hy-Vee’s Nicole Reisen.

A Silent Night in Oxford

A couple walks along a quiet stretch of Augusta Avenue in Oxford in the early evening of Friday, Dec. 4. A “Light Up Oxford!” event, complete with a visit from Santa Claus, had been scheduled for the evening, but was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“With the numbers (of positive cases) spiking we didn’t think we could do it and follow all the rules of social distancing,” event organizer Kimberly Kumpf Carolan said.