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Featured

A glimpse of normal

CCA continues a patriotic tradition near Oxford

OXFORD– A common cliché heard frequently in this time of viral pandemic is “the new normal.” In a time of traditions such as going to church, high school graduations, RAGBRAI and the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival all being cancelled or prohibited, some glimpses of normal, or tradition, can still be found. For example, the large American flag still flies over the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District’s Administrative Offices, at the intersection of Highway 6 and Upper Old Highway 6, just north of Oxford.

Meals on wheels

Big Grove donates 60 meals for shut-ins

SOLON– They were thinking of each other.
And it ended up helping the community.
Solon Community Food Pantry organizer and senior activist Sandy Hanson had been contacted by several people wanting to donate money to help furloughed restaurant workers.
She called every restaurant in town to see how they were doing.
After leaving a message with Big Grove Brewery managers Andrew Mitchell and Doug Goettsch, she learned they were wondering about her.

Lakeview teachers flip for students

Reverse parade packs SRNA parking lot

SOLON– Solon is known for hosting long parades.
Vehicles lined up in the Solon Recreation and Nature Area (SRNA) Saturday, April 25, and stretched out north and south on Racine Avenue as Lakeview Elementary teachers and students connected from a safe distance in a “flipped” parade.
Lakeview staff lined the SRNA parking lot with their vehicles and stood by with signs, balloon wands and happy waves as students and their families drove through with their own signs and decorations.

Adapting technology in a time of need

Local initiatives protect those on the frontlines in the war against COVID-19

NORTH LIBERTY– COVID-19 is thought to spread primarily through close, person-to-person contact via microscopic respiratory droplets, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The droplets are released when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes, and can land in the nose or mouth of somebody close by, possibly even inhaled into the lungs.

The end

Gov. Reynolds cancels the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year

JOHNSTON– Students will not return to classes for the 2019-2020 school year after Governor Kim Reynolds issued her third and final proclamation for the schools during her daily COVID-19 press conference Friday, April 17, at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston.
“I regret to say Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year,” Reynolds said.

Play and Learn to close

Longtime preschool center to cease at the end of May

SOLON– Play and Learn Preschool and Daycare has provided a quintessentially Solon early childhood experience for generations of families.
But not for much longer.
In a letter to families, Director Lisa Kaefring announced the center will be closing at the end of May.
Kaefring has been director since 2008, succeeding her mother Ellen, who started Solon’s first preschool and daycare center 50 years ago.

Lighting up for the seniors

Liberty High honors seniors’ leadership

NORTH LIBERTY– All spring high school sports remain postponed until at least Monday, May 4 (first practice date of May 1), but all of the athletic fields at Liberty High were lit up Wednesday, April 9, in a salute to the seniors.
Liberty, like many schools, was holding a Virtual Spirit Week with Wednesday’s emphasis on leadership. Athletic Director Mike Morrison said lighting up the fields was a way to honor the seniors and recognize their leadership.

Service with safety in mind

NL True Value offers delivery and pick-up service

NORTH LIBERTY– The COVID-19 epidemic has led to many changes in local businesses with some forced to close for the duration, and others having to alter how they serve their customers in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the number of infected people.
North Liberty True Value Hardware was among the first to shift their business model as they initiated curbside pick-up and delivery services early on.
“We did it right when the news came out,” owner Doug Christner said. “It was one of the first things we did. We posted on our sign out front and advertised it on our Facebook page.”

The Great Gamble

Bluder layers sports, gambling and intrigue

SOLON– The hardest skill was mastering the different voices of his characters, explained first-time author Dave Bluder.
“I’m kind of a plot guy, I’ve got all these different plots for different novels,” he said. “I just kind of crank out plot and make it really interesting.”
Bluder, of rural Solon, spent the last decade learning the craft of writing, culminating in the publication last month of his thriller novel, “The Great Gamble.”

The gym is gone, but the memories live on

Work begins on new gym for Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford

OXFORD– A big piece of Oxford’s history was reduced to rubble last week.
The gym at Clear Creek Elementary fell victim to a large yellow Caterpillar track hoe excavator, and was hauled off one truckload of debris at a time. The gym, built in 1936, had become outdated, and too small. In its place, a new and larger gym will be built at a cost of $4,359,000, one of the final projects for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District to be funded by a voter approved bond issue in 2017.

E’s Florals hunkers down

Local florist sees sales drop

SOLON– Elissa Lewis found out about Gov. Kim Reynolds’s decision to close florists in a series of rapid phone calls.
Other panicked businesses were calling her.
“At that point, I had already closed my shop, but was still doing business, either at the curb or making deliveries,” she said. “I guess I was already prepared for it.”
Reynolds had closed restaurants and bars, fitness centers, barbershops and salons, theaters and casinos earlier in the month in response to the community spread of COVID-19.

Solon churches hold worship online

Looking forward to being together again

SOLON– We are now limited in how we connect, Rev. Ken Ferguson said.
“COVID -19 has had an impact with how we relate simply because as most people we enjoy shaking hands and patting each other on the back,” the pastor of the Solon United Methodist Church observed. “We enjoy sitting down across from each other for a coffee and roll.
“Today we cannot,” he added. “With the current situation there is a great deal of anxiety around this new reality.”
Solon’s churches, like others across the country, closed all public services and retreated online.