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Featured

A ride to remember in a year like no other

CCA seniors parade through the streets of Tiffin

TIFFIN– Clear Creek Amana (CCA) High School seniors were to have donned their “Clipper Blue” caps and gowns, and crossed the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas on Friday, May 22, in a graduation ceremony.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wipe out mass gatherings, the district cancelled the event and announced a “virtual ceremony” in its place at 7 p.m. on May 22. The district also tentatively announced an official ceremony for July 24 with the decision to be made by July 10.

All dressed up and nowhere to graduate

Liberty High seniors receive their caps and gowns while graduation plans remain uncertain

NORTH LIBERTY– Curbside pick-up has become a mainstay of the new normal during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants and hardware stores have adapted in order to serve their customers in a safe and socially distanced manner. At Liberty High School in North Liberty, curbside delivery was utilized on Thursday, April 30, as a way to distribute graduation caps and gowns to the seniors during a two-hour event. A drive-through lane was set up outside the main entrance to the school where tables were set up with boxes full of bagged caps and gowns, arranged alphabetically.

Waiting for the green light

Coberly ready to start cutting hair again

SOLON– Lisa Coberly is anxious to go back to work.
But she’ll have to wait until Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health decide it’s safe.
Coberly’s Solon Barber Shop has been shuttered since a March 22 proclamation in which Reynolds closed a slew of retail businesses.
“I saw it coming,” she said. “I was expecting it. It still kind of broke my heart when it actually happened.”
Coberly admitted she’s happiest when working. It’s been hard not seeing her customers.

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.”