North Liberty


North Johnson County Paper April, 2015

Easter Egg Scramble

NORTH LIBERTY– On your mark, get set....scramble!

It was another egg-ceptionally well-attended Easter Egg Hunt at the North Liberty Recreation Center last Saturday, March 28, as hundreds of kids lined the two gymnasiums and waited for the horn to sound the start of the event.

Sponsored jointly by the North Liberty Recreation Department and the Optimist Club of North Liberty, the free to be exact - egg hunt is usually scheduled for outdoors, but frequently held indoors because fo cool or wet conditions. Lacking grass and natural terrain, the indoor version is done with individually wrapped candy strewn about both gym floors so kids - seperated into age groups of those 5-and-under and 6-to-10 years old - can easily scoop the loot into their baskets and bags.

Recreation Director Shelly Simpson said there is no good way to do a head count of participants, but they planned for about 425 kids.

"After sponsoring the event from year to year, we look to make sure most of the kids are leaving with a good amount of candy. We spent $1635 on candy for this year's event, and the Optimists assist with some funds," said Simpson.

She said pafrents like that the event is held indorrs when the weather is cold or wet outside, but also enjoy it outside when Mother Nature cooperates.

"Some ask about having traditional eggs, but that would be a lot of work," Simpson said.

The event has grown from year to year, indicating the format is just ducky with most parents.

"Individuals seem to walk away happy, it goes fast - 2 minutes, 19 seconds, to be exact - and cleanup is usually a breeze afterwards," Simpson said.

North Liberty Leader April 3, 2013

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

NORTH LIBERTY– The anticipation built slowly as more kids and parents made their way into the gymnasiums of the North Liberty Recreation Center.
Saturday, March 23, was the city’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, and while it wasn’t much of a hunt, it did begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. with the blast of a horn that startled many in attendance into action.
The North Liberty Recreation Department and the Optimist Club of North Liberty jointly sponsor the city’s egg hunt, which was held indoors this year at the North Liberty Recreation Center. Candy was spread out over the gymnasium floors and kids and parents lined up along the edges ready to pounce on the unsuspecting candy. In a matter of a minute or two, the event was over, except for the sharing of the goodies.
Assistant recreation department director Brian Motley said nearly $1,500 in candy was purchased for the event.

North Johnson County April, 2013

Avenue of Flags available this year for North Liberty residents

NORTH LIBERTY - The time is quickly approaching when residents of North Liberty are invited to display an American flag as a colorful acknowledgment of national values and in support of those who are actively defending freedom around the world.
For the third year, the Optimist Club of North Liberty is offering the North Liberty community an opportunity to display an American flag in front of their home or business on five national holidays.  The Optimist Club will place a 3 X 5 foot nylon American flag on a 10 foot pole in front of a home or business on these five national holidays: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veteran's Day.
Upon placing a subscription or renewal, the Optimists will mark the location of the flag along the street in front of the home or business and contact Iowa One-call for a utility marking.  After the utilities have inspected and approved the proposed placement site, Optimists will place a flag pole receptacle in the mark location and ensure it is at ground level so it does not interfere with mowing or walking.  On the holidays, volunteers will deliver the flags at dawn and retrieve them prior to dusk.  For all renewals, the flag pole receptacle will be inspected, repainted and if needed, driven back to ground level.
Please join your neighbors in this colorful, patriotic program.  Consider subscribing in honor of a soldier or in memory of a veteran or loved one.  Subscriptions also make great gifts.  Subscriptions may be donated to someone else's home or business in North Liberty, just be sure the Optimists have the address for One-Call and flag placement.
The cost for this subscription is $40 for the five holidays and all proceeds support youth oriented organizations and events in North Liberty.
If you would like to show your patriotism and support the youth of the North Liberty community, please fill out the information below, cut and mail along with a check for $40 made out to North Liberty Optimists to: Darlene Smith, 347 Fox Run Dr., North Liberty, IA 52317.  If you would rather download an electronic subscription to review and return via mail, please visit the North Liberty Optimist website at  This site also lists the youth organizations supported by the Optimist Club of North Liberty. CLICK HERE FOR FORM.
Thank you for considering this opportunity to support our youth and for displaying the American flag.

North Liberty Leader March 20, 2013

Flippin' 40
Optimists Club of North Liberty celebrates pancake breakfast birthday

NORTH LIBERTY - The Optimist Club of North Liberty celebrated four decades of flipping cakes and scrambling eggs earlier this month.
The Optimists held their 40th annual pancake breakfast Sunday, March 3, at the North Liberty Community Center.
The Optimists served over 800 customers, according to club president Darlene Smith, who spent most of this year's fundraiser in the kitchen.
"I broke eggs for a lot of the day." Smith said.
Smith has been involved as an Optimist since 1996 and has managed to attend most of the March fundraisers.  She learned the ropes from "whoever was close by."
Dave Roberts was one of the charter members of the group 40 years ago, and the former North Liberty mayor is still on the board.
"It's a way for people to do something for the community, and it's a whole lot easier to do it as a group," Roberts said.
Roberts was recruited to help promote the new chapter because of his position in the community, but he's grown even more involved in the last decade.
"I've gotten to work with a lot of great people," he said of his decades as a North Liberty Optimist. "You get to know people you wouldn't know otherwise."
The local Optimists marked the 40th anniversary with wall displays and scrapbooks full of photos and clippings from years and years of serving hearty morning meals to thousands of North Liberty residents.
For decades, the Optimist Club has been "A Friend of Youth."  The club is the chartering organization for Boy Scout Troop 216 and Cub Scout Troop 216, and it supports numerous youth programs and projects in the area, including North Liberty baseball and softball leagues, Scouting programs and 4-H, the North Liberty Community Library, parks and community center, North Liberty schools and the family resource center as well as the North Liberty Food Pantry.
In addition, the group provides kid friendly holiday food baskets and youth scholarships.
Working with fellow Optimists to fund those efforts, and seeing the community come out in support is what Smith enjoys most about the pancake breakfast.
"What a wonderful day," she said.
But the celebration isn't quite over.
The Optimist Club of North Liberty will be hosting a 40th birthday party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Pizza Ranch in North Liberty.


North Liberty Leader January 9, 2013

Holiday abundance
Optimists bring holiday cheer to 80 families

By B. Adam Burke
North Liberty Leader

IOWA CITY - Students on free and reduced lunches can miss meals when schools close for the holidays, but thanks to the North Liberty Optimist Club, student families are getting some treats and toys through the North Liberty Family Resource Center.

Optimists dropped off their bounty of pancake mix and syrup, tortilla chips and salsa, bananas, cheese, butter, carrots, mac and cheese, clementine oranges, pasta, granola bars, cereal and other snacks at Penn Elementary on Monday Dec. 17.

NLFRC workers Kris Hynek (Penn), Allison Krause (Van Allen) and Jill Winders (Garner) each played Santa and helped distribute 100 loaves of bread and other foodstuffs, plus some donated books, games and toys in the ninth year of the Optimists' drive to help families in need.

"We're at different schools, but we work as a team." said Winders of the NLFRC crew, all of whom were happy and excited to begin giving away their veritable grocery store of goods.

Hynek said that some deliveries would need to be made, (through front doors, not chimneys) to accommodate families without transportation.

The Gazette Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Optimist Club makes holidays cheery for families

By Meredith Hines-Dochterman
The Gazette

IOWA CITY - Several members of the North Liberty Optimist Club met in the Aldi parking lot last week with a plan.

Quarters in hand, the small group grabbed several grocery carts to transport nearly $3,000 worth of jars of peanut butter, boxes of cereal and cartons of crackers from the grocery store to their vans, trucks and SUV.

"There's really no good way to get large quantities of food out of this place," John Fisher says with a grin during one of the trips.

But they did.  Cases of canned fruit, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and jelly filled the automobiles from floor to ceiling.

The day was only half over, though.  After packing their purchases, the group had to transport the food to Penn Elementary School in North Liberty, to be divided among needy families at North Liberty's three Iowa City school district elementary schools - Garner, Penn and Van Allen - for winter break.

"This is my favorite project," Sandra Gay says.  "Of all the projects we do, this is my favorite."

For more than 10 years, the North Liberty Optimist Club has teamed up with the schools' Family Resource Center to provide holiday food boxes for families during the two-week break.

Working with the resource center, club members purchase large quantities of family friendly food, including jarred spaghetti sauce, pudding, bread and canned soup.  The food is then distributed by resource center staff members to families that qualify.

"There's enough stress at the holidays," Mary Mitchell says.  "It has to help if you don't have to worry about having food for your kids."

"We're told the family's faces just light up because they know they'll have food to get them through the break," Margaret Rios, the club's secretary, adds.

The number of families the project will help this year could be as high as 80 - a huge difference from the project's first year, which provided food for about 25 families.

But while the need has grown, so has the North Liberty Optimist Club's commitment.

"Our club is about helping the youth of North Liberty," President Darlene Smith says.  "We feel this is one of the many ways that we can do this.  It is a great feeling being a part of making the lives of the unfortunate better."