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Featured

Trump and Warren win JoCo Caucus

Lots of participants, slim margins and a technical glitch make Caucus 2020 memorable

NORTH LIBERTY– The 2020 Caucus will be remembered for a number of reasons, including a glitch with a software application which delayed the Democratic results for several days.
Several precincts, for both the Democrats and Republicans, filled rooms at the North Liberty Community Center and clogged the parking lots. Overflow parking migrated to other nearby lots with Recreation Center staff fielding several angry phone calls from businesses whose lots were filled with caucus goers, preventing customers from parking.

Time to read

SMS 40-book challenge a real page-turner

SOLON– Middle school students are reading more and more.
And it’s making a difference in reaching benchmarks set by the district.
At the heart of it all is Solon Middle School’s 40-Book Challenge, an optional but highly encouraged competition over the course of the school year.
Every student is asked to read 40 novels from a wide variety of genres, and are given dedicated school time to accomplish the task.
“There’s something quite amazing going here,” said Julie Smith, middle school instructional coach.

The dogs have their day during Beat the Bitter

NL’s weeklong winter festival wraps up with winter games

NORTH LIBERTY– North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter winter festival, a weeklong effort to break people out of their wintertime hibernation, wrapped up Saturday, Feb. 1, with adult kickball and the Run the I“Bitter”Rod 1k doggie fun run/walk at Penn Meadows Park, along with several other events around North Liberty, including the Snuggie Crawl and Boy Scout Troop 216’s annual Chili Supper.

35th Annual Legislative Symposium and FFA Day at the Capitol

DES MOINES– Future Farmers of America (FFA) members from across Iowa converged on the Iowa State Capitol, in Des Moines, to build character and promote citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism. Approximately 300 high school students wearing blue corduroy from 51 schools flooded the Iowa State Capitol Building on Jan. 28. The students visited with legislators, exhibited skills learned in the agriculture classroom and learned the importance of citizenship. It was all part of the 35th Annual Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium and FFA Day at the capitol.

Golfletics

Austin Kopp returns home to fuse technology and fitness efficiently

CORALVILLE– Golfletics is a perfect place to discover the game of golf.
The new performance center features two cutting-edge public simulator bays where you can play some of the best courses in the world with no weather issues. In the back is a 600 square-foot gym and an additional instruction and club-fitting bay.
“It’s kind of a marriage of all my experience,” explained Solon native and North Liberty resident Austin Kopp.

Bigger, but not as Bitter

North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter concludes this weekend

NORTH LIBERTY– Beat the Bitter, a weeklong winter festival, opened on Friday, Jan. 25, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 1. The annual event started in 2016 and has continued to expand its offerings as a way to get families out of their homes in the middle of winter for fun and community fellowship. With only a slight breeze and temperatures in the low 30s, the weather was far less “bitter” than it was during last year’s Polar Vortex.

Crunching the numbers

Budget time in NL brings public safety discussions

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s budget time for municipalities, and the City of North Liberty is no exception. The City Council met to discuss the general fund for the coming fiscal year (FY21), which starts on July 1, in a special session on Tuesday, Jan. 21. City Administrator Ryan Heiar gave councilors a brief overview of budget requests in the categories of Public Safety, Public Works, Culture and Recreation, Community and Economic Development, General Government, and General Fund Revenues with department heads on hand to take questions.

Getting vets outdoors

Solon-based Iowa Veterans Outdoor Experience growing through giving

SOLON– They’re just taking care of family.
And veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are the biggest family you’ll ever know, Brad Storck explained.
Storck is a co-founder of Iowa Veterans Outdoor Experience (IVOE), a homegrown non-profit which hosts a group of disabled veterans twice a year for an exclusive hunt on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ground at Coralville Lake.
The group has been around for seven years, staffed by volunteers from the Solon American Legion and supported with contributions from area businesses and organizations.

Progress on all fronts, and a new name, too

Elected officials receive an update on Johnson County’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center

NORTH LIBERTY– Johnson County’s Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC), or Access Center, is taking shape after years of discussion and planning.
Matt Miller, the county’s project manager, provided an update on the facility during a Monday, Jan. 13, joint entities meeting of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, the Iowa City Community School Board, and city councils including North Liberty, Coralville, Iowa City, Hills and University Heights.

An effort to protect vulnerable renters

Johnson County Mobile Home Task Force calls for legislative changes

NORTH LIBERTY– Last April, Havenpark Capital, a Utah-based investment firm, purchased the Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty, along with Midwest Country Estates in Waukee, Sunrise Village Mobile Home Park in Iowa City, Western Hills in Coralville and West Branch Village in West Branch.
Havenpark Capital raised the lot rent from 69 percent (Waukee) to 28 percent (Sunrise).

Navigating succession on the modern farm

Great transfer of wealth coming in the next 15 years

OXFORD– Seventy percent of family farms will change hands in one form or another over the next 15 years.
Those landowners are closing in on retirement age, but the majority don’t have a farm succession plan.
That’s a problem for rural Iowa, according to accredited land consultant Mike Downey.
Downey was the featured speaker at a farm transfer workshop, hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), at the Johnson County Conservation Education Center at F.W. Kent Park near Oxford.

Residents “uncomfortable” with airbnb

Council passes second read limiting short-term rentals to commercial zones

SOLON– Neighbors of a short-term rental at 113 E. Elm St. told city council members they felt uneasy.
Adjacent residents spoke in support of restricting the alternate lodging to commercial zones at a Jan. 8 council meeting.
Council members concurred, and passed the second reading of the new ordinance regulating short-term rental properties, commonly referred to as airbnbs, unanimously.
“We have a great neighborhood,” Tom Wilson said during public comments on the ordinance. “We all know each other. We’ve known each other for years. We talk to one another.”