Hiawatha residents gathered at City Hall Jan. 10 to meet with representatives from Bolton & Menk, an engineering firm, about future plans for Robins Road.
Boards were displayed around the multi-purpose room, which showed different goals, architectural designs, public space preferences, and streetscapes for Robns Road. Residents were asked to choose their preferences by placing a sticker on that particular space.
Adrian Holmes, a representative from Bolton & Menk, said this was the first in a series of public meetings, in which the public will be invited to share ideas before the report is submitted to the city of Hiawatha.
For more information and to see maps of the area, visit the city's website.
Something is different about the annual Lil Cougar dance clinic, held every January at the Hiawatha Community Center.
The clinic will still be taught by members of the Kennedy High School Dance Team. However, this year the team is going to teach the kids a dance routine by popular dance star, JoJo Siwa. JoJo Siwa is known for her big hair bows and style of dancing, who became popular through the TV series 'Dance Moms'.
According to Ambyr Severson, Parks and Rec coordinator, it is the same format as in previous years. The participants will learn a dance routine and then perform it at the end of the clinic.
The clinic will be held Sunday, January 27 from 1 to 2 pm, with the performance at 2 pm. The cost of the clinic, open to kids from kindergarten to 5th grade, is $25. Each participant will receive an official JoJo Bow at the completion of the program. For more information and to register visit the city's website.
Graphic by Cynthia Petersen/Pixabay
The Hiawatha Library is more than just books. It’s also a gathering place for several clubs.
Most of the clubs meet once or twice a month, depending on the members. They gather and play games or share information, or use this time as a way to socialize.
The Scrabble Club meets the second Monday of every month at 5:30 pm. The Crochet Club meets every Wednesday at 6:00 pm. The Mystery Book Club meets the first Thursday of the month at 2 pm to discuss the latest thriller. And you can learn yoga at the Heartfulness Meditation, which meets every Sunday at 9 am, unless the Sunday falls in between or on a holiday.
A new writing club will meet for the first time Feb. 2 at 3 pm and meet the first Saturday of the each month. Participants are asked to bring a piece of their writing to share, as well as a beverage or a snack.
If you have an interest in any of the above mentioned clubs, or if you have an idea for a club, contact a staff member at the Hiawatha Library, 150 W. Willman Street in Hiawatha, or email Marta Petermann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national employment rate stands at 3.9 percent, while approximately 312,000 jobs were created in December 2018.
But even though the unemployment is one of the lowest since they started keeping tabs on statistics, it seems as though more people are looking for new jobs. Maybe you aren’t happy where you are; maybe you want to change directions in you career; or you’re recently retired and you need something to keep you busy.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had to look for a job, you may want to attend one, or all, of the job searching workshops that will be held at the Hiawatha Library in the next few months.
The workshops will be led by Amanda Reeder.
Job Search Series - Resume Writing
Tuesday, February 19 at 6:30 pm
New Year, New Career? Our Job Search Series continues with a look at resume writing. Learn the basics of resume writing. Bring your resume if you have it, or start creating your resume during our workshop. Attend one, two or all three parts of the series.
Job Search Series - Interview Tips and Techniques
Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 pm
New Year, New Career? Interviews can be tough. Learn the STAR method for answering tough interview questions clearly and concisely. Attend one, two or all three parts of the series.
You might have noticed the construction that has begun behind Dave Wright Nissan Subaru on the corner of Center Point and Boyson roads. Construction has begun on the expansion of the car dealership, as well as to make room for the new dog park.
According to Hiawatha Parks and Recreation director, Kelly Willadsen, the dog park should be completed by this fall.
“We are currently working on tree removal and had a volunteer day in November, along with the Linn County Chainsaw Response Team doing a winter chainsaw training,” she said. “We have the boundaries tentatively designated featuring a large dog area and a small dog area. We are designing a bridge that will connect the two areas over a creek. Once all the trees are removed, we will grade the area and install fencing. It’s a work in progress!”
The City of Hiawatha and Dave Wright formed a partnership for the dog park and will be open to the public.
Linn County Conservation
It won’t be long before Peck’s Landing will be open for business. The new retail center is located at the corner of Edgewood and Blairs Ferry roads.
The area just to the east of the center was once home to Peck’s Flower and Garden Shop, which was in operation for 61 years. The shop closed in 2017.
According to Hiawatha City Engineer, John Bender, if all goes well, the new tenants will be able to start moving in at the end of this month.
Bender said the development is the first phase of an even bigger project; an extension of Edgewood Road to Tower Terrace, and eventually to County Home Road. However, said Bender, the completion is still years away.
In addition to the new retail development, a new street, Peck’s Blvd., has been constructed between 18th Avenue and the new extension of Edgewood Road (the drive into the center), to help alleviate traffic in and out of the center.
Ahmann Companies are the developers of Peck’s Landing. They also developed 'The Fountains,' which is located across the street from Peck’s Landing. The company is also planning future developments along Edgewood Road, according to a recent article in the Gazette.
Other projects in the works for Hiawatha including a new stoplight at the corner of Willman Street and Center Point Road because of increasing traffic in that area. According to Bender, the project should be complete by late summer.
The City of Hiawatha is looking for the public's input regarding the Robins Road Corridor. An open house will be held Jan. 10 from 5-7 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room on the lower level of Hiawatha City Hall.
Bender said the city is also considering hiring a consultant to do a study of the railroad crossings in and around the city to see if a “quiet zone” is feasible for those areas.
Bender explained that some cities are choosing quiet zones, so they can do away with train whistles in some of the more populated areas. However, several factors have to be taken into consideration, including how well constructed the crossings gates are.
These crossings include Center Point Road, Emmons Street, Boyson Road, and Blair Ferry Road (with Cedar Rapids).
For more information about city projects visit the city’s website at hiawatha-iowa.com.
Bolton & Menk
Courtesy of accesshealthcareservices.com
Many people experience “winter blues.” The weather turns cold and all they want to do is eat all their favorite comfort foods and hibernate. While this is normal, especially for people living in the Midwest, it can also be a sign of something else.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to the change in seasons that happens around the same time every year. Symptoms, which include tiredness, lack energy, depression, moodiness, and lack of concentration, usually start in the fall and continue into the winter months. However, SAD can also cause you to feel down or depressed in the spring or early summer.
According to Mayoclinic.org, symptoms may include:
Health care professionals aren’t exactly sure why some people suffer from this malady and others don’t. It could have something to do with individual’s biological clock, or circadian rhythm. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt the body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
Another cause could be the serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Serotonin is produced by sunlight, so the reduction of sunlight could cause a drop in serotonin levels and could trigger depression. The changing seasons can also disrupt melatonin levels, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your health care provider. They may prescribe medication, light therapy, or psychotherapy.
For more information about SAD, visit mayoclinic.org.
Most people know that the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) serves Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties by distributing food through its food reservoir program (6 million pounds annually), but the Hiawatha-based organization serves the community in several other ways, as well.
The Mobile Food Pantry is a van stocked with food, which visits sites throughout the region each month. (Click here for schedule).
Operation BackPack provides students with nutritious food at times when other food resources many not be available, specifically on weekends and during school vacations. Backpacks are packed for students who fit the criteria and handed to them as they leave school on Friday. According to the HACAP website, Operation BackPack began in 2008 with eight schools participating and have grown to 77 schools, distributing 95,000 backpacks to students within a 7-county service area, with the help of sponsors.
The Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Program is a public health program that serves pregnant and postpartum women, and children under the age of five. It provides milk, formula, cheese, fruit, cereal, and other nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education, and referrals to health care and other social services.
Rural Senior Services are dining services that are targeted towards seniors, although anyone can participate. According to the HACAP website, the 4th Street Diner in Vinton offers a buffet-style lunch Sunday through Friday, as well as a Tuesday Evening Meal. Hot noon meals are available for delivery within Vinton's city limits any day the meal site is open. HACAP also provide Senior Totes, which addresses food insecurity among seniors. This program brings food to older adults in the rural communities of our region who might be home-bound or find it difficult to leave their homes.
HACAP also provides healthcare to children and families in need through the Care for Kids Child Health Program ( which facilitates achievement and maintenance of optimal health in children under the age of twenty-one receiving Medicaid or Title IX), I-Smile (which connects Iowa families with preventive dental care and education for their children), Maternal Health (which provides prenatal education, nutritional education and social assessment for pregnant women), hawk-I (which provides low-cost or no-cost health insurance program) and Well Child Screening Clinic (which provides well child care for children from birth through 21 years of age).
HACAP also has a rapid re-housing program, which helps those who become homeless to find affordable housing.
For more information about these programs, visit the HACAP website.
We can agree that there are things you need to do to take care of your body. Eating right and exercising every day can help you physically, but we seem to forget that our mental health needs care, too.
According to an article on psychologytoday.com, hugging isn't just a display of affection; frequent hugs can actually help you live a better life.
Studies have shown that those who were hugged and cuddled often as children have fewer stress symptoms when they become adults. They have more confidence and more self-esteem than those whose parents didn't cuddle and hug them as much. One of the reasons for this is because the hormone oxytocin is released when we are touched. Oxytocin elevates feelings of attachment, connection, trust, and intimacy.
Healthline.com states in a recent report that scientists have found that hugs can also reduce anxiety in people with low self-esteem, and keeps people from isolating because it reminds them of their mortality. Hugging shows support for others, while making us feel less lonely. Hugs lower our heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is harmful to our health.
So how many hugs does one person need a day? According to Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist, most people need four hugs a day for mental health, but more is always better.
Another way to enhance your quality of life, is to adopt a dog. Though having a pet may have an impact on your quality of life, research has shown that dogs really do make your life better.
In May 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific statement that showed owning a dog reduces heart disease risk factors and help you live longer.
Being a dog owner motivates you to be more active by taking your dog for a walk, or run, or playing ball with them. The study showed that dogs also reduce stress and prevent loneliness.
Other factors that impact your mental health include your job, your home life, your friends, your economic situation, how social you are, your attitude about life, and more.
Photo by Pixabay
The flu season runs from December to February according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and reports are already coming in about the flu making its way through homes, work places, care centers, and schools.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. (It's never too late!) However, there are ways you can prevent illness, which include the 3 C's; Clean, Cover, and Contain.
Clean your hands. Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
Stay home when you are sick. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
And be sure to practice other good health habits, as well. It is also helpful to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. (Don't forget cell phones, computer keyboards and mouses. door knobs and door handles). Get plenty of sleep, exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
For more information about symptoms and illness prevention, visit the CDC website.