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Chris Umscheid

A financial boost for the Bolts

A look at how the Liberty Fund helps organizations and students

NORTH LIBERTY– Parents of high school kids, as well as co-workers, friends and neighbors of parents with high school kids are no stranger to fundraisers for various student activities; from candy bar and fruit sales to car washes and even painting the school logo on driveways, students spend time every academic year generating cash for a special trip, extra equipment or something else not provided for in the budget.

A plan for the future

NLFD’s Chief Platz lays out a Strategic Plan to the city council

NORTH LIBERTY– The North Liberty Fire Department (NLFD) has been grappling with how best to meet the challenges of a constantly growing community, while also facing recruiting and retention issues coupled with an increased demand for services, for several years. Chief Brian Platz presented a five-year strategic plan for the department to the North Liberty City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 11, outlining how the predominantly volunteer department is addressing the challenges it faces, and is changing to meet the projected demands of the future.

Study and recommendations

Stratton reaches 1,000 points

TIFFIN– Clear Creek Amana’s (CCA) multi-sport standout, Karsyn Stratton, hit the 1,000-point mark Friday, Jan. 4, at home against the South Tama Trojans. Stratton, a junior, reached the milestone in the second period with 14 points already on the board, and finished the night with a game-high 22 as the Creek Girls disposed of South Tama 47-36.

Waves of uncertainty

Backlash prompts further discussion of CCA’s ’19-’20 preschool plan

OXFORD– The School Board of Directors for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District approved a significant change to the preschool program for the 2019-2020 academic year. Currently the district offers a full-day program with state grant money paying for the morning session (aka “Voluntary”) and families paying tuition for the afternoon (aka “Enterprise”). However, CCA has been accumulating a surplus balance on the state-funded portion while routinely running a deficit on the private pay.

Second sight

Katie the Service Dog brings renewed hope to Solon man

NORTH LIBERTY– Two friendly, furry creatures were spotted at the annual Breakfast with Santa event at the North Liberty Recreation Center on Saturday, Dec. 8. One was the North Liberty Lions Club’s mascot; a six-foot tall lion who greeted kids and adults alike, freely dispensing hugs and posing for pictures. The other was a ten-year old German Shepherd named Katie who, despite being on the job and in her uniform (service dog vest), graciously accepted petting and pats from complete strangers.

Hotcakes and holiday wishes

Santa returns to North Liberty for his annual breakfast with children

NORTH LIBERTY— A Christmas tradition continued in North Liberty as Santa Claus appeared at the Recreation Center on Saturday, Dec. 8, for the annual Breakfast with Santa event. Between 250 and 300 kids spent a ltime with the Jolly Old Elf discussing their hopes and dreams for Christmas presents, as well as their behavior over the past year.
The event has grown over the years, since starting in 2006, said Recreation Supervisor Matt Meseck.

No job too large or too small

North Liberty’s Home Repair Team builds on 20 years of excellence

NORTH LIBERTY– What started out as a simple handyman service 20 years ago has grown into an award winning, full-service design-build, handyman and remodeling business.
Home Repair Team (HRT) started in 1998 when Rob Hajek and his father-in-law Dale Steffen started doing small home repair projects and improvement jobs. His wife Julie came onboard in 2001 to handle the administration side of the business, and his father Dick Hajek joined the company in 2005. Dick Hajek and Dale Steffen both retired in 2009.

Winter arrives but work continues on Oak Hill

CCA construction manager gives an update on progress

TIFFIN– Even with the onset of winter, work continues on the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District’s Oak Hill Elementary in Tiffin. The school, scheduled to open in August 2019, will house fourth- and fifth-grade students from Tiffin Elementary and North Bend Elementary in North Liberty. Amana Elementary and Clear Creek Elementary (CCE) in Oxford will continue to house their own fourth- and fifth-graders.

CCA proposes 2019-20 academic calendar

Dates to remember

OXFORD– The School Board of Directors for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District would like to hear from you, if you’ve got something to say about the 2019-20 academic calendar.
A public hearing will be held on the current proposed calendar on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Clear Creek Elementary (CCE) in Oxford.
District Superintendent Tim Kuehl presented the draft calendar to the board during a Monday, Nov. 19, regular meeting at CCE.

Murder and mayhem take the stage at Liberty High

Liberty Lightning Theatre brings classic board game Clue to life

NORTH LIBERTY – Parker Brothers introduced a murder mystery board game named “Clue” to the United States in the late 1940s. Players chose a character, a weapon, and drew cards to deduce the murderer, the weapon used, and which room in a mansion the murder occurred in to win the game.
In 1985, the game was turned into a movie with a screenplay penned by Jonathan Lynn. Ten years later a musical version was created, which was revised and returned to Broadway this year. Lynn modified his theatrical (non-musical) script for the stage in 2016.

Harvey puts his paw prints on the CCA stage

The Creek’s thespians bring a classic to life

NORTH LIBERTY– Elwood P. Dowd is a happy man. Day in and day out, he meets new friends and generally lives without a care. His best friend, though, is a 6-3 white rabbit named Harvey, who nobody else can see. The trials and tribulations of his loving sister, Myrtle Mae Simmons, and her efforts to have Dowd committed to a sanitarium are the basis for “Harvey,” a two-act comedy-drama the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) High School Drama Department presented Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Performing Arts Center in Tiffin.

Trying to fill the void

Johnson County to hold special election Dec. 18 for supervisor vacancy

IOWA CITY– Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese, 54, died on Friday, Oct. 26. His unexpected death sent shockwaves through the county, which have turned into a scramble to find a replacement to fill out the remaining two years of his term.