You have probably noticed the appearance of the Red Kettle Bell Ringers at the entrance to many popular stores, doing their part to ensure those in need have a happy holiday season.
But the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign isn't the only way the Salvation Army is helping our community. They also assist the Marine Corp. with the Toys for Tots campaign, and hold free holiday dinners for those in need, as well as serve as an overflow homeless shelter on the extra-cold winter nights. Food assistance is also available.
The Toys for Tots campaign started in California in the 1930's, because one little girl wanted to help make Christmas merrier for another child, who was not as fortunate. This tradition continued and moved across the nation and now, new toys are collected every holiday season throughout the Hiawatha, Marin, and Cedar Rapids communities. Volunteers help sort the toys and with registration, which enables parents to pick out a few gifts for their children.
According to the BBC, the Salvation Army was founded in 1865, in the East End of London, by William Booth. Booth was an evangelist who wanted to offer practical help to the poor and destitute as well as preaching the Gospel to them. It was originally called the Christian Mission, but changed its name to the Salvation Army in 1878.
For more information about how to register or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit the Salvation Army's website.
Nearly 44 million Americans are uninsured, and eight out of ten of these are workers and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. With the costs of healthcare skyrocketing, no one can afford to be without healthcare insurance. Obamacare allows Americans, whose employers don't offer healthcare insurance, access to affordable insurance.
The open enrollment period for Obamacare is Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. Over 11 million Americans enrolled in a marketplace plan during last year's open enrollment. Those on the program must re-enroll during open enrollment, even if they want to keep the same plan. For those happy with their current plan, Open Enrollment is also a good time to make updates to their plan, such as adding or removing dependents.
For those who simply cannot afford healthcare insurance, there are free clinics available in Cedar Rapids; The Community Health Center and His Hands Minsitry. (The websites are below for hours and other important information.)
For more information about Obamacare, visit the website at Healthcare.gov.
His Hands Free Clinic
400 12th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Community Health Center
947 14th Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Phone: (319) 363-0416
Did you know that Hiawatha is now a Home Base Iowa community?
Home Base Iowa (HBI) communities offer valuable incentives for veterans that relocate to their community and connects veterans and transitioning service members with partners and resources. This program also helps support veterans and their families with education, training, and career opportunities.
Veterans living in Hiawatha receive a 50% discount on Parks and Recreation programs. Other incentives include waived fees for water service, 10% discount for residential permit work on their property, and 10% off rental registration for the first year as a property owner. Veterans also receive free printing at the Hiawatha Public Library.
Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, passed the Home Base Iowa Act on Memorial Day, 2014, Home Base Iowa was designed to entice veterans to live in the state and for Iowa businesses to hire them. The Act's incentives include:
• State income tax exemption on 100% of military pension
• Up to $7,500 military and homeowner assistance
• Permissive veteran preference in employment
• Streamlined occupational licensure processes
• Automatic in state tuition for qualified veterans, spouses and their dependents
• Veteran specific license plates
For more information about Home Base Iowa, visit homebaseiowa.gov.
While all writers dream of seeing their books published, few actually see that happen. Perhaps the process of finding a publisher can be daunting, or maybe they think they don’t have what it takes. Whatever the reason, the dream of becoming a published author remains out of reach.
However, some authors choose to self-publish their own books, which includes Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The publishing platform publishes books in print and digital, and even does some of the marketing for you.
Although self-publishing platforms can be a bit challenging, one Marion man was able to work through the kinks to see his dream of becoming a published author realized.
John Buckeridge recently published his first book, The Diplomatic Spy (under the pseudonym, Shawn Callon), through KDP. John looked at the options of self-publishing and decided KDP was the best way to go.
“You know where you stand with KDP,” he said. “Some of the information they provide, though, can be overwhelming. My interests lie in creating content and marketing my publication, but not in working my way thru Help pages on layout and formatting. Having said that, my plan is to make the book available in print later this year.”
“I think KDP provides an excellent platform for the novice writer like himself, and probably for the established writer, as well, if minimizing costs is the goal.”
John said he and his wife have been using Amazon Prime for many years and have been subscribers to Kindle Unlimited since 2015.
“We used to buy and borrow books but now most, but not all, of the novels we read are e-books thru Amazon. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) seemed the way to go since it appears to be the market leader. They offer a lot of flexibility and support to the author; if you can’t find an answer in their Help section they will respond by email to you within 24 hours or they will call if you prefer.”
John was born in the UK and moved with his wife and two sons to the US in 1994, where John worked as a director and VP at LeFebure.
“The British company who owned LeFebure at the time wanted to transfer me again, but we decided to remain in the CR area, and we started our own executive recruiting company,” he said. “My wife and I had always talked about owning our own business.”
After 12 years of success John retired and started volunteering with SCORE, and afterwards with the McCauley Center, where he is currently a tutor teaching English as a Second Language to adult immigrants.
“In 2002 soon after our sons left home, my wife Elizabeth and I moved to Marion. One of our sons lives in Marion not far from us and our elder son lives in Portland OR. All of our four granddaughters live near us.”
John has worked in international sales and marketing for 40 years and has visited and conducted business in over 40 countries.
“I’ve always been interested in international current events, culture and languages, and still am. I studied English Language and Literature at London University. I did some writing then, but nothing was published. In my early business career, I did some copywriting, proofing and graphic design, as well.”
John and his wife, Elizabeth are prolific readers – novels, newspapers, journals and social media.
“I have always had a love for the written word and a passion for languages. One day back in 2017, I thought, why not write a novel drawing upon my experiences and interests? My first attempt was not successful. I got bored with it and rushed the ending. The Diplomatic Spy is my second attempt at a novel and my first published work.”
John said he got the idea for his book from the characters in John Le Carré’s novels.
“I love John Le Carré’s novels. I’ve read all of his books, some of them more than once. What I find gripping are his tortured characters, his complex plot lines and his surprise twists. So, Simon Montfort is a spy who works in France (I’m a Francophile, speak the language and lived there when I was a teenager). It’s strongly political because I love politics. Many of the characters I describe I have come across in my years of conducting business in Europe and Russia both before and after the Berlin Wall came down (which I visited in October/November 1989 and helped to destroy). I have many more similar 'colorful' characters I can draw on for my future novels.”
John is planning to publish Book 2 in the Simon Montfort Series in late 2020, as well as a third and final book in the series.
“I have not started writing any text for Book 2. I am still at the planning stage, but this time, I will write out the structural development of the novel rather than make a few notes; write a few chapters, revise the plot, and make a few more notes.”
The Diplomatic Spy is now available at Amazon.com.
Winter in Iowa; it's something that happens every year, yet there are still a few people who wait until the last minute (or not at all) to take the necessary precautions to ensure their cars and homes are able to handle even the most brutal Iowa winter.
Most Iowans aren't shocked that Iowa winters seem so extreme, and we handle whatever Mother Nature dishes out without too much fuss. We have lived through mild winters and severe winters, and we never really know what the upcoming winter will be like until we get there. However, chances are that we will experience at least one frigid cold snap that will test our patience, as well as our furnaces and car batteries.
To prepare your car for winter weather, according to Carmax:
It won't be long before the temperatures drop below freezing. Below are a few tips to winterizing your home and make it more heat efficient and save you money on your heating bill, according to usnews.com:
Some people opt for a warmer climate during the winter months, and it's nice if you can. However, as long as we are stuck here to face the winter, we might as well make it as comfortable as possible.
Halloween is just around the corner and the community is gearing up for the little monsters (and cartoon characters!) that will soon invade our communities! Below is a list of the activities in Hiawatha and surrounding communities:
(Scroll down for the Trunk and Treat Events )
Bass Farms- Fall Festival
$7 (2 and under Free), 10 am - 6 pm
The Play Station-Spooky Station
Basic $12/Ultimate $16 (Adults Free), 11 am - 6 pm
Bloomsbury Farm - Fall Festival
Mon-Sat: 9 am-6 pm / Sun 11 am-5 pm
Colony Pumpkin Patch (N Liberty)
Fridays & Saturdays: 7 pm-10 pm, Flashlight Corn Maze - $7
Creepy Kid Zone & Family Costume Contest
3-5:30 p.m. @ NewBo Market
Part of the NewBo Halloween Celebration. Activities include: Face Painting, Haunted House Maze, Carnival Games, Photo Booth, Costume Parade and Freaky Family Costume Contest at 5 pm.
2019 CR New Bo Czech Village Halloween Parade
6:30 – 8 p.m. @ NewBo/Czech Village
The third NewBo/Czech Village parade is themed “Scary Things That Go Bump in the Night”
Fall Fest @ New Covenant Bible Church
2 – 3 p.m.
Fall Fest is a fun-filled family-friendly event! At New Covenant Church, 3090 N Center Point Rd, your family can enjoy games, a hayride, giant inflatables, prizes, a photo booth, costumes, interactive family activities, and of course, candy! Fall Fest is for families and kids – 5th grade and under accompanied by an adult. Kids are invited to wear costumes…. or better yet, get your whole family to dress up! A hot dog lunch is available for $3.50. Open to the public! Free! Invite some neighbors to join you for an event every kid loves!
Fall Festival @ Guthridge Park
10 am. – 1 p.m.
The Fall Festival coincides with the last Farmers Market of the year! Tricks and treats (while supplies last), Trackless train, Costume Contest and more!
11 am – 5 pm
Children’s Museum (Iowa City) - Museum Admission ($9)
Family Fall Fest
2 – 5 pm
St Paul's Lutheran Church - 915 27th St, Marion (off 8th Ave.)
Oakland Church - 3000 42nd St NE
Special Needs Trick or Treat @ Lindale Mall
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Those with special needs (and their families) are invited to attend our Special Needs Trick or Treat. Extra precautions are taken to create an environment more suitable for individuals with sensory concerns. Visit tables/stores throughout the main level of the mall to collect candy and show off your costume!
Trick or Treat @ Marion City Hall
3 – 5 p.m.
Area princesses, superheroes, ghosts and goblins are invited to include a stop at Marion City Hall in their Halloween plans. The City of Marion will host a trick-or-treat event at City Hall (1225 6th Avenue) from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31. Children can dress up in their Halloween costumes and collect candy and other treats from staff on both floors at Marion City Hall. They can even explore the fire engine and visit with firefighters onsite.
Cedar Rapids Trunk or Treats
Marion Airport (10 am-1 pm) P&N Flight and Charter and LuxAir Aviation are hosting their 5th annual community outreach “Trunk or Treat” event at the Marion Airport. This event allows children to come out to their local airport and experience trick or treating in a safe environment while learning about aviation. The kids go “door-to-door” among different vehicles (airplanes, helicopters, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire engines, etc.) that have been decorated in some kind of Halloween theme. Airplane RIDES: $25 per person ($30 per person with pumpkin drop). Candy drop at 12:30 and there will be plenty of candy and trinkets at the Treat Event.
Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, 5400 Council St NE, 1-3 pm; Bring your children to our SPOOKTACULAR Kid’s Client Appreciation Day event! Come in your Halloween costume ready to have some fun! Vote on your favorite decorated trunk! Enjoy free popcorn and candy!
Schwenn Family Chiropractic, 5475 Dyer Ave, 2-3:30 pm; Bring your ghosts and goblins, princesses and dinosaurs to our 3rd annual Trunk-or-Treat! Join us Saturday, October 26, 2-3 pm in our parking lot for some fun! Local businesses will be handing out candy and treats, the Marion Fire Department will have a fire truck for the kids to see, and we’ll have a photo opportunity with prizes! Put on your best costume, bring your bucket and some friends, and come see us!
West Ridge Care Center, 3131 F Ave NW, 2-4 pm; West Ridge is inviting you and your family to come out and trick or treat with our residents. It is an open house setting, you are welcome to come anytime between 2 and 4 pm. We ask that trick or treaters are limited to children 10 and under. Candy donations are welcome! Please see Mell with any questions.
Salem United Methodist Church, 3715 33rd Ave SW, 4-5:30 pm; It’s our annual Trunk or Treat! Join us in our parking lot and in Fellowship Hall for a free, safe and family-friendly time of trick-or-treating, crafts, games, activities, face painting, and a balloon artist! Children will experience the fun of trick-or-treating from parked car to parked car whose trunks are opened and decorated. A fun evening for all!
Linn County Fairgrounds, 1-2:30 pm; Join us for the 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat event. For further information or to register you trunk, please visit our website.
The Jaycees Center, 225 5th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 2-4 pm; Your Cedar Rapids Jaycees are beyond excited to host the 1st Annual Trunk-or-Treat Fundraiser on Sunday, October 27 at our Jaycees’ Center. In lieu of charging to participate in this special Halloween event, we are asking those who attend to bring a cash donation or a donation to benefit not one, but TWO local animal rescues: Fur Fun Rescue and S.A.I.N.T. Rescue (Saving Animals in Need Today)! Along with the trunk-or-treat offering candy and allergy-friendly treats for the kids, our Jaycees’ are excited to offer a FREE photo booth, FREE temporary tattoos, and music from Sounds by Novak. We will also host a Cookie Walk that will cost $1 to participate and everyone who participates will win a cookie, thanks to Iced Bakery. All proceeds from the Cookie Walk will benefit our two animal rescues.
Palo Community Center, 2-4 pm; Trunk or Treat Halloween is an event where families gather and park their cars in the parking lot of the Palo Community Center, open their trunks or back of their vehicles, decorate them and pass out candy from their trunks. This is not an event to replace trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Contest for best costume & best decorated trunk. Join us for a hayrack ride & be ready for ghoulish games and freaky fun!!!
St Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1340 3rd Ave SE, 3-4 pm; We look forward to hosting our neighbors at our annual Trunk or Treat event for an afternoon of fun, food, and of course CANDY! No TRICKS here…only TREATS! You and your children can walk through our parking lot, stopping at each parked car to get candy. Join us at the 2nd Ave. parking lot on Oct. 27 from 3-4 pm for this family friendly event.
Community Savings Bank, 3414 Mt Vernon Rd SE, 3-4:30 pm; Costumes required! Children are invited to Trick-or-Treat while viewing decorated trunks in the bank parking lot.
Farmers State Bank, 8th Ave., Marion, 3:30-4:30 pm; Farmers State Bank is excited to announce their Trunk or Treat event! The staff of FSB will be joining in on the fun by decorating cars, dressing up and handing out candy. We will also be adding a small petting zoo this year! This event allows children to come out to their local bank and experience trick or treating in a safe and fun environment. All are welcome, so bring out your whole family and even the neighborhood kids! This will be held in the front parking lot of the main branch in Marion.
Western Fraternal Life; 1900 1st Ave NE; 5:15-6:30 pm. Come to our annual Trunk-or-Treat event 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.! Safe trick-or-treat experience all in one location as car trunks are decorated to delight, and goodies are given to children. In case of bad weather, the event is moved indoors to the Annex Building near the parking lot.
Wolfe Eye Clinic, 1195 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, 5:30-7:30 pm; Join us for our 2nd Annual Trick or Treat event at Wolfe Eye Clinic in Hiawatha! This is a free fun event for all ages filled with games, prizes and trick or treating through our spooky trail! Can’t wait to see you all there!
Good News Baptist Church: 1203 3rd Ave SW, 6 pm