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Doug Lindner

“New” church building celebrates 100 years

Sts. Peter and Paul holds special Mass to mark century

SOLON– It was a bright and sunny morning on Sunday, June 5, at Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel.
Across the road from the former Catholic church, a large tent was set up in a grassy area of the cemetery, the site of a special Mass featuring Most Rev. Martin J. Amos, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport.
At the conclusion of the service, a stream of young children carrying baskets filled with white and pink flower petals strew them in advance of a processional leading to altars situated on the edges of the cemetery.

Board drops Ames firm; new CM hired

Local oversight of construction projects to save thousands

SOLON– It’s a move that could save the school district up to $250,000.
At a special meeting Wednesday, June 29, the members of the Solon Community School District’s Board of Education voted to terminate its contract for construction manager services with Story Construction of Ames.
Instead, the district will move forward with its middle school and auditorium projects utilizing the Iowa City firm McComas-Lacina Construction.
According to Solon Superintendent Davis Eidahl, it’s a change the district has been considering for months.

Fall on the sword GOP

Not so much

It’s been morbidly fascinating to watch.
First, full disclosure: I’m a registered Democrat and I skew to the socialist side. I have my gray areas, but I’m mostly shading toward the line in left field.

Gun control

Not so much

According to author Bill Bryson in his wonderful book “A Sunburned Country,” Australia has more things that will kill you than anywhere else.
“Of the world’s 10 most poisonous snakes, all are Australian,” Bryson wrote. “This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip.”
So it’s a good thing that humans in Australia can no longer be counted as a mortal threat, at least when it comes to mass murder.

Council kicks in $500 for splash pad promotion

Fundraising committee to recruit help at June 29 Music on Main

SOLON– City council members agreed to prime the pump.
A splash pad committee is seeking to raise over a half-million dollars for a municipal water playground at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area, and the city has agreed to contribute $500 to help boost upcoming fundraising efforts.
The decision was made at the city council’s June 15 meeting.
The volunteer effort dates back to a 2012 survey of residents conducted by the Solon Parks and Recreation Commission seeking guidance for possible capital park improvements.

Big Grove, Newport and Cedar townships, Solon sign service agency charter

Fire station and equipment to be deeded over

SOLON– On the surface, it will appear as if the Solon volunteer fire department is operating as usual.
Behind the scenes, however, there will have been some major changes.
At the conclusion of a special city council meeting June 6, representatives of the City of Solon and of Big Grove, Newport and Cedar townships signed a charter agreement to create a new fire service agency.
The Solon Tri-Township Emergency Response Agency will in turn establish, by resolution, the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department and oversee its operation beginning July 1.

DNR proposes alcohol ban at Lake Macbride

Public hearing July 26 at Palisades-Kepler State Park

SOLON– If a proposed rule change goes into effect, alcohol will no longer be allowed at the Lake Macbride State Park beach.
But the process for approval is such that it may be October 2017 before the recommended changes take effect.
At a meeting Thursday, June 9, members of the Iowa Natural Resources Commission voted to approve a notice of intended action to amend the administrative rules governing state parks.

RJ’Z Express reopens with new Godfather’s

SOLON– Randy Walter is happy to be back open.
The co-owner of the RJ’Z Express convenience store waited five months to reopen his new building, and now it’s here.
Walter and his partners John Himmelsbach and Tom Zumsande made the decision to tear down the existing building in order to expand its retail and food opportunities.
“Being locally owned, we wanted to serve the Solon community better,” Walter said.
The business closed at the end of November and the walls came down in December.

Saving St. Mary’s

130-year-old church needs new roof, siding

NEWPORT– There used to be a village of Newport along the road halfway between Solon and Iowa City.
St. Mary’s Church of Newport is just west on Newport Road, and if funds for its preservation are not raised, it may soon become a memory from the distant past, too.
The 130-year-old structure no longer serves a Catholic congregation as it did for the first 110 years of its existence. Even its role as a precinct polling place has fallen along the wayside.
The church bell, added in 1891, now tolls only a few times a year to mark the consecrated nuptials of a just-wedded couple.

Saving Sugar Bottom’s hardwood trees

Bur Oak Land Trust launches campaign to purchase more Big Grove timber

SOLON– Imagine you’re in the heart of Iowa City on a busy day– cars, people and concrete.
Now think about being 7 miles away, standing in the middle of the Bur Oak Land Trust’s Big Grove Preserve, a centuries-old forest populated with tall hardwoods– calm and quiet, broken only by the occasional songbird.

Setting the table for outdoor dining

Council gets first look at proposed Main Street policy

SOLON– The vision for outdoor dining on Solon’s Main Street came into a little sharper focus at a May 4 city council meeting, but it’s still a little blurry around the edges.
In March, Red Vespa Pizzeria and Wine Bar owners Aziz and Angie Longou asked the city to consider allowing seasonal outdoor service by leasing a Main Street parking spot in front of their business.
In April, council members agreed and directed city staff to develop guidelines to allow sidewalk and street seating for Main Street eateries.

Density rising: More units, more cars, more complaints

Developer agrees to more parking stalls, but site plan still tabled

SOLON– The site plan submitted by Mike Bails and Jeff Mekota for two eight-plexes in the Fox Ridge subdivision met all of Solon’s requirements and was recommended for approval by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Spartan Structures developers had already scaled back from 24 to 16 residential units based on city input and the site plan was on the agenda for council consideration at an April 20 meeting.