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Doug Lindner

Sex, drugs and fishing licenses

Billerbeck shares the darker side of patrolling for the DNR in new book

SOLON– A lot of people think of a game warden as the friendly officer checking fishing licenses.
And while partially true, there’s another side to the job that’s not as family-friendly, according to Erika Billerbeck.
Billerbeck, of Solon, recounted some of the grittier true-life tales from her career as an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) law enforcement officer in her newly-published memoir, “Wildland Sentinel: Field Notes from an Iowa Conservation Officer.”

Three positive cases

SCSD adds COVID dashboard to website

SOLON– So far, so good for the young but already tumultuous school year.
Solon Community School District (SCSD) classes began Monday, Aug. 31, and as of Friday, Sept. 11, three positive cases among students were reported.
The district placed a COVID-19 dashboard on its website under the “District Return to Learn” menu, tracking positive tests for students and staff, as well as absenteeism and quarantine numbers.

Solon picks up wins at home quad

1-2 at Linn-Mar

SOLON– They bested Huskies and Tigers, but had trouble with Lions and Cougars.
Solon’s varsity volleyball squad went 2-1 at a home quad meet Sept. 10 and 1-2 at a Linn-Mar tourney Sept. 12. If you toss out the 3-0 sweep at the hands of the top-ranked (3A) Mount Vernon Mustangs to start the week, the team notched a .500 mark.
The Spartans stayed close with the No. 1 Mustangs in Mount Vernon, falling 25-18, 25-14 and 25-18.
“We did a good job of shutting down their big hitter, we just made too many mistakes,” observed Solon Head Coach Jeff Walker.

Fireworks up for debate

Council members split on possible ban

SOLON– Should Solon continue to allow fireworks?
The question will be put to a vote after council members informally split on the issue at a Sept. 2 meeting.
Council members Lynn Morris and Lauren Whitehead spoke in support of banning the private displays, allowed July 1-4 since late 2017.
“We had some complaints about the size of shows going on,” noted Mayor Steve Stange. He said Morris and members of the public asked for the topic to be revisited.

Dawn of a new day

Methodist Church readies remodel for Sunday School From flip phones to smart phones

SOLON– It’s time to adapt for the Solon United Methodist Church (SUMC).
The COVID-19 pandemic shook up an already changing cultural landscape for many churches, but provided a silver lining for the local Methodists.
The global shutdown early in 2020 allowed the SUMC to tackle a messy basement remodel and pave the way for a new Director of Christian Education.
The renewed focus on families and youth will be front and center as the church re-launches live Sunday School classes Sept. 13.

Lady Spartans come from behind against Linn-Mar, Marshalltown

Solon starts season battling bigger schools

SOLON– Solon’s varsity volleyball team is putting it together.
The Lady Spartans collected wins over Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids Washington and Linn-Mar while facing a bevy of larger schools during a varsity round robin tourney Sept. 5.
Solon swept the Warriors of CR Wash 2-0, and galloped back for 2-1 wins over Marshalltown’s Bobcats and the Lions of Linn-Mar, 2-1.
The Lady Spartans also suffered losses at the hands of No. 8 (4A) Waverly-Shell Rock (2-0), Dubuque Senior (2-1) and Cedar Rapids Kennedy (2-1) to move to 3-4 on the young season.

Firehouse campaign trying to push past COVID

$500k contribution moves project closer 2021 construction possible

SOLON– When things were looking bleak for fundraising, a Solon family came through.
The Dennis and Jana Munson family of rural Solon donated $500,000 to the Solon Firehouse campaign.
“Obviously, our hats are off to the Munson family,” said firefighter and Firehouse organizer and Greg Morris. “Dennis and his family are just committed to what we provide and do for our community. They all view it as an important entity of our community.”
Morris was on the treadmill when his phone rang with a number he didn’t recognize.

High positivity rates, 100% return concern parents

Third-party option not really equitable education Solon parent and epidemiologist would have preferred a hybrid school model

SOLON– As a parent, teacher and public health epidemiologist, Kelly Baker is concerned about the Solon Community School District (SCSD) Return to Learn plan.
Solon schools opened for the year Aug. 31, with an estimated 95 percent of students attending in person.
It’s been difficult for numerous parents to decide whether to send students to school or to utilize a third-party, online-only option, she said.
The district’s plan has lacked a lot of detail, and while it’s still evolving, it’s not the hybrid model Baker would prefer.

Stange asks for special September session to discuss community center

6-month lease expires at the end of 2020

SOLON– It’s time to talk about the future of the Solon Community Center.
At the end of an Aug. 19 Solon City Council meeting, Mayor Steve Stange asked for a September work session to discuss the converted school building.
Stange said he had individual conversations with council committee members, as well as City Administrator Cami Rasmussen and Recreation Director Tom Harder, regarding the facility the city has operated since June of 2018.

Lady Spartans reload

Former players join Walker as VB coach

SOLON– The Lady Spartans lost two of their top weapons from 2019, but still have a lot of experienced players coming back for first-year Head Coach Jeff Walker.
Solon’s varsity volleyball team opened the season Aug. 27 with a 2-0 loss against Center Point-Urbana at a relocated triangular meet in Mount Vernon.
The Stormin’ Pointers took a close 27-25 victory in the first game and then cruised to a 25-15 win in the second. No stats were available for Solon.

Picking up the pieces

Backup generators do their job for city

NORTH LIBERTY– Council member Raquisha Harrington summed it up during an Aug. 11 meeting.
“2020 has not been nice to anyone at all,” she observed.
Harrington was echoing comments from other North Liberty City Council members who voiced support for city employees after an inland hurricane known as a derecho tore a path across the state and into Illinois Monday, Aug. 11, leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days.
Power was restored to most North Liberty residents by Tuesday afternoon, allowing council members to continue with a regularly scheduled virtual meeting.

Picking up the pieces

Neighbors unite to clear storm damage Most power restored before weekend Take debris to SRNA

SOLON– Public Works Director Scott Kleppe had about a half hour warning.
But even then, the alert was for a line of severe thunderstorms producing winds up to 70 miles per hour (mph).
It was about noon and his staff just went home for lunch.
Kleppe contacted Central Cable, the contractor for South Slope Communication Cooperative’s fiber overbuild, and provided a warning for high winds.
By the time he finished a quick lunch, the storm arrived.
The city has no instruments to measure wind speed.