A Year in Review

By Molly Roberts
Posted 12/29/21

The News is proud to have brought our community local news coverage through the year of Kalona, Lone Tree, Riverside, Wellman and the surrounding areas. Here are some of our favorite things we …

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A Year in Review


The News is proud to have brought our community local news coverage through the year of Kalona, Lone Tree, Riverside, Wellman and the surrounding areas. Here are some of our favorite things we covered this year.



Population growth

Kalona saw continued population growth in the results of the 2020 census, with the population increasing by 11.3% (267 people) to bring the total population to 2,630.

Senior meal delivery

Starting in 2020, the City of Kalona partnered with the City of Wellman and the Goodwin Senior Dining Center to deliver meals to Kalona senior citizens. Since the start, Kalona has delivered over 2,500 hot meals. The service currently runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Interested parties can contact City Hall at 319-656-2310 to get signed up or learn more about the program.

Return of community events

After cancellations and postponements were common in 2020 due to the pandemic, many community events returned to Kalona in 2021, including Kalona Days, Fall Festival and Christmas in Kalona. The community relished the ability to gather and celebrate once again.

American Rescue Plant Act Funds

The City of Kalona has been working since September to determine the best uses for the American Rescue Plan Act Funds. The City will receive about $380,000. Some “high priority” projects the city plans to2take action on include:

• Clean filter media in water plant: $70,000.

• Clean well casings: $25,000.

• Circulation mixer for Southtown water tower: $15,000.

• North 6th Street sanitary sewer connection: $110,000.

Most, if not all, projects are being funded through the ARPA funds and budget funds through the city’s Capital Improvement Plans.

North Ridge / Southtown Area

2021 saw the creation of a new subdivision with 85 residential lots coming on board. The first occupancy permit was issued in early December. In the spring of 2022, the City looks to open up some of the amenities to the public, including a 1.5-mile walking trail, a dog park, a 9-hole disc golf course, public fishing and a nature scape park.

WCRF Municipal Funds

The Washington County Riverboat Foundation allocated $140,000 to the City of Kalona for projects that will better the community. In 2021, $15,000 was allocated for the Kalona Historical Society (summer camp, marketing, fall festival), $50,000 for Community Center debt service, $10,000 for Southtown disc golf, $20,000 for the Kalona ADA park (in addition to $40,000 in 2020), $30,000 for Southtown recreation (trail head, dog park, nature scape park), $1,500 for a used flag drop-off receptacle and $13,500 for the B Avenue pocket park.

Lone Tree

Lone Tree Historical Museum

The Lone Tree Historical Museum has ramped up its presence in the community in 2021, including celebrating its 20th anniversary in October. The musem, located at 203 S. Devoe, houses a varied collection of items and artifacts from people who have lived in Lone Tree — everything from vintage wedding dresses, to old yearbooks, to an antique stump puller.

“Younger people don’t realize that we used to have three grocery stores in this town, we had two opera houses, we had meat markets, we had car dealers — you didn’t have to leave Lone Tree to buy anything,” said museum volunteer Dale Johnson. “We had everything here.”

School groups and the public can come tour the museum, which is now open some Sundays.

“A lot of towns and small as Lone Tree don’t have anywhere where the history is preserved,” said museum volunteer Suzie Elliott. “[The museum] needs some new life, so there are a bunch of people trying to create more interest in it so we can do some repairs.”

Lone Tree Farmers Market

The streets of downtown Lone Tree bustled with activity on Tuesday nights when the farmers market set up along the sidewalks to sell produce, handmade goods, and ready-to-eat food.

“We like this market, just because it’s our hometown,” said Trey Forbes, who, with Lindsey Kruse, runs Forbes Family Farm about five miles south of Lone Tree. “We know everybody walking by and it’s fun to sell local.”

“We both grew up in Lone Tree,” Kruse said. “It’s just fun for people, as they go through, to see others that they know. We’ve got people know have known us since we were young and they say, ‘You just keep the change for seed money,’ and they’re just excited that we’re here.”


Riverside Community Center

During 2021, plans were born for a proposed community center in Riverside.

Mayor Allen Schneider said Carl A. Nelson & Company has shared plans for a community building with a budget of about $6.8 million, which would cost about $7 million by the time the city begins to build.

When it comes to funding the center, City Administrator Christine Yancey said the city has “plenty of bond capacity” to fund the entire project but does not believe it’s in the city’s best interest to pay for the whole project using bonds.

The city also already has $1.2 million in available funds to build the center. Mayor Schneider said he believes a good funding breakdown would be 25% of the project paid for by savings and community fundraising, 25% from grants, and 50% from a bond referendum. He said that breakdown could be a “rough idea of what might make sense.”

Trekfest 2021

2021 saw the return of Trekfest, when hundreds of fans visited Riverside to celebrate Star Trek on June 25-26. Despite a full day of rain on Saturday, the festival was successful and well-attended.

Star Trek star Robin Curtis, who played Vulvan Lieutenant Saavik in the films Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, was a guest of honor for the festival. She judged the costume contest, rode in the parade, and signed autographs for fans.


Fourth of July

The Wellman celebration of Independence Day drew huge crowds again in 2021, when the public lined Main Street for a parade, then moved over to the YMCA and Parkside Activities Center for events such as a tractor pull, face painting, inflatables, games and food trucks.

The Parlor

Downtown Wellman welcomed a new addition to the business district, The Parlor at Cilino’s. The Parlor serves hard scoop and soft serve ice cream in addition to other treats, such as old fashioned 1900’s sodas from the Slagle soda fountain.

The Parlor is a female-owned-and-run business. Jennie Rodgers of Wellman brainstormed this chilly idea in hopes to create a shop that kids could come in and order whatever they would like.

“The plan is that a kid could walk in with two dollars and ask, ‘What can I get?’ No need for mom and dad to be there,” Rodgers said.

The Parlor played host to many community events in 2021, such as visits from antique car clubs and sponsoring an event with the Wellman Heritage Society that allowed visitors to the museum to answer a card full of questions for a chance to win a Centennial Book and a $20 gift card to the Parlor.


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