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Featured

Oh, Yeah!

North Liberty’s ninth annual Blues & BBQ festival finally caught a break from Mother Nature, and the rain stopped nearly as soon as the free event opened on Saturday, July 11, at Centennial Park in North Liberty. The rest of the day was hot and smokin’, with plenty of saucy barbecue, cool blues music, ice-cold craft beer and fun kids’ activities to meet everyone’s summer to-do list. Above, Kevin “B.F.” Burt, , accompanied by Big Medicine, offers up his usual great performance on the big stage. See more photos and information on Blues & BBQ in upcoming editions of the Leader.

From these farms to your table

Johnson County Farm Bureau showcases agriculture at Ag Fest

IOWA CITY — The theme for the Johnson County Farm Bureau’s 2015 Agriculture Fest was “From our Farm to your Table: Eat Healthy, Live Healthy.”
Kathy Swenka, the local Farm Bureau coordinator for Ag in the Classroom said the event was in its 21st year, and an ideal event for families to have fun while learning about the vital role agriculture plays in their day-to-day lives.

Amazing maze with a message

Colony Pumpkin Patch supports local food pantry

NORTH LIBERTY– During the last three autumn seasons, Dean and Katie Colony, of Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty, have offered a corn maze that contains dead-ends, detours, loops to be navigated and, somewhere among the stalks, routes to the exit.
Ostensibly designed for the entertainment of visitors, the themes for Colonys’ mazes are also purposefully chosen to create meaningful connections between people and the community.

The 77-day challenge

CCA’s STEM Center is on time and on budget

TIFFIN— A challenge was issued in late April on the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District’s campus in Tiffin. Joe Greathouse, Assistant Professor in the Construction Management program and spearhead for the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center, addressed a crowd of students, parents and local construction industry representatives packed into the middle school library.
“Not to scare you, but once school is out, you’ve got 77 days to build it,” he had said. “So, no pressure.”

Highway patrol

Lake Klamerus, Hunter Andersen and Kaitlyn Sellon (back) clean up trash along Ely Road while (front) Audrey Sellon, Sam Smith and Aidan Sellon work the ditch on Sunday, April 26, during a clean up event sponsored by the Ely Public Library. Library director Sarah Sellon (at far right) led the expedition. (Turn to page 8 for more photos and story by Chris Umscheid)

Udderly educational

Farm Bureau showcases agriculture at Ag Fest

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY — The theme for the Johnson County Farm Bureau’s 2015 Agriculture Fest was “From our Farm to your Table: Eat Healthy, Live Healthy.”
Kathy Swenka, the local Farm Bureau coordinator for Ag in the Classroom said the event was in its 21st year, and an ideal event for families to have fun while learning about the vital role agriculture plays in their day-to-day lives.

Lake Macbride State Park beach to close daily at 6 p.m.

Recent fights, rowdy behavior prompt action by DNR officials

SOLON– The beach at Lake Macbride State Park will be closing daily at 6 p.m. until further notice.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced last week the new hours would take effect Friday, June 19.
The reduced hours come in the wake of two large fights that occurred at the beach Monday, June 8, and Sunday, June 14.
According to DNR Public Information Officer Kevin Baskins, Sunday’s incident apparently started at about 6 p.m. between two men in the beach restroom. The altercation spilled out onto the grass outside where 15 to 20 people became involved.

Lady Spartans win 10th in a row

Solon softball team runs the table at Fort Dodge tourney

SOLON– Since a road defeat to No. 1 Benton Community, the Solon varsity softball team has rattled off 10 victories in a row.
The 3A second-ranked Lady Spartans won a two-day tournament against ranked opponents in Fort Dodge over the weekend and fended off upset bids at home against West Delaware and 3A No. 5 Center Point-Urbana in the week prior.
At Fort Dodge, Solon defeated 2A No. 7 North Union (13-0), Atlantic (4-0), 5A No. 9 West Des Moines Dowling Catholic (1-0) and 4A No. 5 Fort Dodge (12-3) to run the table.
Solon outscored its opponents at the tournament, 30-3.

NLFD answering the call

This is the first installment of a three-part series on the ways the North Liberty Fire Department– a volunteer unit with only three paid positions– continues to meet the challenges of protecting an ever-growing community.

NORTH LIBERTY— As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, the North Liberty Fire Department (NLFD) had responded to 333 alarms. Assistant Chief William Schmooke expects plenty more.
“We’re going to push over 1,000 calls this year,” he said, up from 983 last year.

RAGBRAI test riders sample Solon’s hospitality

Joanne Ulch and members of the Solon Spartans 8U baseball team and Solon Spartans 10U softball team serve up pie, lemonade and water to members of the RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Team Friday at the intersection of Main and Dubuque streets. The baseball and softball teams will have a vendor booth at the Solon RAGBRAI stopover July 24 and were picked to provide samples for the pre-ride. The pies were handmade by Helen Proffitt and featured fruit from her own trees. “The whole scene down there was to give the Ragbrai committee a taste of what Solon offers,” Ulch said.

Solon softball 10-1

SOLON– The Solon Lady Spartan softball team is ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and collected its 10th win of the season over the weekend at the Solon Round Robin Tournament.
Solon pitched a shut-out against both its opponents, defeating Iowa City City High 11-0 and Highland 7-0.
Senior Emily Ira pitched seven innings, striking out 17 and allowing only one hit and two walks to get the win against Highland.

A nursery full of tails

a tale of everyday heroes

CORALVILLE– Each spring as the weather warms, calves, goats, and other furry farm animals take up residence among the flowers and trees at Forever Green garden center, delighting children for one weekend.
But this year, the nursery’s annual open house became more than just a way to celebrate the end of winter.
Last year, a Forever Green employee, Colin Waddick, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer that affects white blood cells inside the bone marrow.