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Solon Economist

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.”

Third grade self-portraits on display downtown

Fore Solon funds banners to celebrate youth, civic partnerships

SOLON– A bunch of third graders are hanging out downtown.
Self-portraits of Lakeview Elementary students are now hanging on Main Street banners thanks to Fore Solon.
Fore Solon committee member Rick Jedlicka came up with the idea a few years ago while on vacation in Colorado.
In a small town south of Denver, Jedlicka noticed a lot of local artwork hanging in storefront windows and thought it was a great idea.
Last fall, he was trying to figure out how to do something similar in Solon.
“I was uptown one day and I saw the banners and I thought, that’s the perfect option,” he recalled.

In the thick of it

Andresen coordinates county communications amid outbreak

SOLON– It all changed Monday, March 9.
Johnson County Communications Coordinator Kelli Andresen was home in Solon with a pink-eyed daughter.
Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) were notified of the state’s first positive case of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus.
It was in Johnson County.
Andresen made arrangements and went into work where she met with Emergency Management Director Dave Wilson and JCPH Director Dave Koch and started getting information out to the public.

Friday Night Lights

SOLON– Spartan Stadium will be lighting up.
The stadium was lit Friday, April 10, and will be lit again for the next two Fridays at 8 p.m., according to Solon Community School District Activities Director Casey Hack.
Hack said the district is responding to an invitation from the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association (IHSADA) to “Light Up Iowa” by illuminating school stadiums to show support for students. The lights will be left on a minute for each day of school missed.

High school baseball and softball schedules adjusted

DES MOINES – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the high school baseball and softball seasons.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IHSAU) jointly moved the first days of practice for both sports to May 18 and the first day of competition to June 1 based upon the assumption Iowa high schools will resume classes on May 1. The postseason series for both sports currently remain unaltered a with the state softball tournament July 20-24 and the state baseball series July 24- Aug. 1.
Other items of note in the announcement include:

Jeff Walker named interim head volleyball coach

SOLON– Solon High School Activities Director Casey Hack took to Twitter to announce Jeff Walker as head volleyball coach.
“Pending School Board approval help me welcome Jeff Walker as Interim Head Volleyball Coach at Solon HS. Jeff is excited to lead our volleyball program and create a dynamic atmosphere. #solonstrong,” the Tweet read.
“Jeff did a great job as our sophomore coach here a couple years ago and he is familiar with the program,” Hack commented via email. “Jeff has a lot of experience coaching volleyball at every level.
“We are excited for him to lead our program,” Hack added.