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Solon Economist

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.

Rickels recognized by state professional association

SOLON– Jodi Rickels was a finalist for the 2020 Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year award, sponsored by the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI).
"We are pleased to recognize school leaders who provide high-quality learning opportunities for students in Iowa," said SAI executive director Roark Horn.
Her peers nominated Rickels for the award, and she will be recognized at SAI's regional district meeting.

A request for assistance

Solon firefighters ask county supervisors to help build the house

IOWA CITY– Solon’s volunteer firefighters have been working for roughly two years to build a new fire station on the south side of town.
The firefighters have received donations from young and old, from local businesses and various corporations, and from across the country via online donations.
Now they are turning to the county government.

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.

Rickels to retire June 30

Tabor takes on Lakeview duties

SOLON– Jodi Rickels will retire as Lakeview Elementary principal June 30, and Solon Intermediate School (SIS) Principal Jessica Tabor will absorb Rickels’ duties for the 2020-2021 school year.
Solon Community School District Superintendent Davis Eidahl made the announcement Tuesday, April 14, in a letter to the community.
Eidahl congratulated Rickels “for all the achievement attained with her leadership by Lakeview students and staff” and thanked her for “all of her contributions to the community and success of our students.”

The longest-serving council member in Swisher

Mary Gudenkauf has helped shape her community since 2008

SWISHER– During the March meeting of the Swisher City Council, Mayor Chris Taylor offered congratulations to council member Mary Gudenkauf, who he said “just set a new record for Swisher’s longest-serving council member in at least 40 years!” Gudenkauf was elected to the council in 2008 and is serving a term which expires in 2023.
When asked about the distinction, she initially and jokingly called it a “rumor,” but added since Taylor is a Conflict of Interest Research Application Analyst with the University of Iowa, “I’m inclined to believe he fact-checked his own statement.”

Governor: Students not going back

Solon to continue voluntary and required continuous learning plans while school buildings are closed

SOLON– Solon students will not return to the classroom to end the 2019-2020 school year.
The Solon Community School District (SCSD) will comply with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ and the Iowa Department of Education’s order to close for the remainder of the school year, SCSD Director of Teaching and Learning Josh Lyons said Friday.
“Students will continue to be provided learning opportunities for the remainder of the closure; required for high school courses and voluntary for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade,” Lyons wrote in an announcement.

He was hoping for a return to spring sports

Hack scheduled events for May, waiting for governor

SOLON– “They just want to know the answers we want to know,” Activities Director Casey Hack said of Solon students.
“Are we going to have a spring season? Are we going to get back to school? Are we going to have prom? Are we going to have graduation?”
Unfortunately, the answer to most of those questions is no.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the extension of a statewide closure to the end of the school year during a press conference April 17.
Up until that point, Hack was hoping to provide students with at least part of a spring sports season.

Coach McMurrin and Spartans’ soccer hoped for a season prior to spring sports cancellation

SOLON– After a couple postponements, the spring sports season held promise for the Solon boys’ soccer team as the Iowa High School Athletic Association began preparations for a spring season pending the return of students May 1.
Head Coach Jeremy McMurrin took a few minutes on April 13 to correspond about his hopes for the coming varsity schedule, regardless of how abbreviated.

No school? No spring sports. And no track

SOLON– Everyone hoped for better.
In the face of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called on schools in mid-March to shut down on-site education. Spring sports– girls’ and boys’ track, soccer and golf¬– were suspended.
Still, a framework existed for a possible three-meet end of season finish had there been a return to the classroom

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.”