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March 2018

February 2018

Register Now for Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Summer Programs

Cedar Rapids, IA – The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department is now accepting online registrations for programs that run from April 1 through August 31. The summer program catalog is available online at and starts on page 25 of Our CR magazine. Cedar Rapids residents will begin receiving the magazine in the mail on March 6.

For those who do not receive the mailing, the Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department’s Play! guide is available online at Copies of Our CR will also be available at local libraries after March 12.

Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation offers programs for all ages and abilities. Some new programs this year are Be a Bee, Harry Potter Camp, Harry Potter Academy, Little Adventures with Tom and Huck, Army Camp for Kids, Dangerous Day Camp – Mad Scientist’s Lab, Hawaiian Luau, Pop Goes the Easel: Painting with Acrylics, Basic Ballroom Dance, Jazzercise by the River, Pet Massage – Canines, Zumba, Goat Yoga, Preschool Playtime, Walking Club, Story Time with Animals and The Growing Classroom workshops at Old MacDonald’s Farm. Other programs include For Kids Only! Day Camp, Adult Co-ed Mud Volleyball Tournament, summer camps at Ushers Ferry Historic Village, swim lessons, preschool classes, baseball and softball, basketball, blastball and T-ball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, adult softball, tennis, track, volleyball, art, guitar, adult belly dance and much more. The Play! guide also contains the pool schedules and park information.

Register quickly and conveniently online (, in person at Northwest Recreation Center (1340 11th Street NW) or City Services Center (500 15th Avenue SW), by phone (319-286-5566) or by mail.

“Crafts with a Cop” Events Scheduled for Spring Break

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Cedar Rapids Police Department has partnered with the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department to host two “Crafts with a Cop” events at the Northwest Recreation Center, 1340 11th Street. NW, during Spring Break.

Boys and girls ages 6 – 13 are invited to stop by on Wednesday, March 14 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and/or Thursday, March 15 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to make a craft with a police officer. This is a great way for children to get to know local police officers while having fun. This program is free and all craft materials will be provided. A parent/guardian is required to stay with their child during the program.

Advance registration is recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Register for program #311315-01 for Wednesday and program #311315-02 for Thursday online at or call (319) 286-5566. Contact Officer Shannon Sampson at (319) 286-5434 or the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department at (319) 286-5566 with questions. 

Kayak & SUP Clinic to be held at Bender Pool March 25

Cedar Rapids, IA – Linn County Conservation and the Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department are offering a kayak and SUP (stand-up paddleboard) clinic, “Paddles in the Pool,” for ages 10 and up at Bender Pool, 940 14th Avenue SE on March 25 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. The fee is $10 per person. Advance registration for program #304223-01 is recommended, however, registrations will be accepted at the door space permitting. 

Experienced paddlers will share their skill and enthusiasm with beginners and those who wish to improve. Topics to be covered are safety, types of boats, care and storage of equipment, paddling skills and techniques, entering and exiting the water, and where to go kayaking or paddle boarding. Boats and paddles will be provided. Participants bring a life jacket and wear proper swim attire. Children must be supervised by an adult. 

For more information, call Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation, 319-286-5566.

Call for Artists — Storm Drain Mural Project Accepting Submissions

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The City of Cedar Rapids, in partnership with Iowa BIG and the Cedar Rapids Downtown District, calls for submissions to the Storm Drain Mural Project. Selected artists will install murals on seven downtown storm drains this spring, contributing vibrancy and educating the public on the stormwater cycle.

Storm drains can become hot spots for illicit dumping—grease, paint, cigarettes, and more. Stormwater pollutants make their way to the Cedar River without treatment, affecting the river’s health. Aquatic life, recreational life, and drinking water all rely on healthy waterways.

Artists must submit design proposals by March 26. Submissions should communicate the value of keeping storm drains clear of pollutants. A complete list of submission requirements is on the City's website:

Cedar Rapids Sustainability Coordinator, Eric Holthaus, says similar ideas in other cities provided the inspiration for this project. “We were looking for a fun way to combine downtown art with water quality education,” Holthaus said. "The Iowa BIG students we’re working with really responded to this idea and have played a crucial role in bringing the project together."

Artists will paint the murals during the week of May 14–18. A celebration of completed works will be on Friday, May 18, 2018 at a time and location to be determined.

Game Notes: Hawkeyes Face Illinois at B1G Tournament

Iowa (13-18, 4-14) is the No. 12 seed at this week's Big Ten Tournament and will square-off against 13th-seeded Illinois (14-17, 4-14) on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (CT) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
    Single-session tickets for the tournament are available for purchase, ranging from $20 to $135 depending on the session and seat location. Tickets will be available at the Madison Square Garden box office, or

Radio: Iowa games at the tournament are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network, Sirius/XM, and Compass Media Networks. Gary Dolphin handles the play-by-play, along with color commentator Bob Hansen. The network includes more than 40 stations that blanket the state of Iowa and include portions of Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Hawkeye Radio Network coverage includes a 60-minute pregame show.
TV: Wednesday's game will be televised nationally on BTN (BTN2GO). Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo, and Mike Hall will call the action.


Art Van Furniture’s 10th Annual Art Van Charity Challenge To Award $305,000 To Midwest Nonprofits

Application process opens February 26 for charities focused on women, children and human services

WARREN, Mich. –  Celebrating a Decade of Giving Back! Art Van Furniture opened the application process today for Midwest charities to compete in its 10th annual Art Van Charity Challenge. For the fourth consecutive year, Cindy Crawford is the campaign’s official ambassador. Nonprofit organizations will vie for $305,000 in grants, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Art Van Charity Challenge applications will be accepted from February 26 through March 31, 2018. The competition is open to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focusing on women, children or human services located near an Art Van Furniture store in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, St. Louis and Iowa. The fundraising portion of the Art Van Charity Challenge will run May 1 through May 20, 2018.

"Let the Art Van Charity Challenge games begin,” said Kim Yost, president and CEO of Art Van Furniture. “As this spirited competition marks its tenth year, Art Van Furniture is steadfast in our commitment to reward charities dedicated to improving their communities.”

“I’ve been so inspired by the extraordinary individuals I have met over the past four years in my role as Art Van Charity Challenge Ambassador,” said Crawford. “The impact these nonprofits have in people’s lives is immeasurable. I am honored to be part of such a worthwhile campaign.”

Powered by CrowdRise, the Art Van Charity Challenge raised $1.4 million in 2017 and granted $180,000 to winning charities. Since the competition began in 2009, more than $8 million has been donated and over $24 million has been raised for 350 charities. For additional information, visit

About Art Van Furniture, LLC.

Art Van Furniture, LLC is the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer with 184 stores in nine states operating under the following brands; Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Levin Mattress, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Founded in 1959, the company is headquartered in Warren, Mich. Art Van Furniture owned by Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. of Boston. Visit for more information.

Craig Lang Congratulates Bill Northey on Senate Confirmation to USDA Role

DES MOINES − Craig Lang, the first candidate to file this year to run for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, congratulated the current officer holder, Bill Northey, on his confirmation this morning to a U.S. Department of Agriculture post.


Northey's appointment as undersecretary for farm production and conservation has been on hold for months when it was blocked by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, because of Cruz's opposition to federal ethanol mandates. Lang said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made "an excellent decision" when he chose Northey for the position and praised Northey for remaining resolute throughout the drawn-out process.


"It's disappointing that things took so long and Bill deserves a tremendous amount of credit for standing his ground in the face of Senator Cruz's action. Bill is going to do an outstanding job in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our country's farmers and ranchers," Lang said. "He understands what it takes for farmers to be productive and profitable, he understands the need to conserve our natural resources and he understands how government works," Lang said. "When you put all that together, I know Bill will hit the ground running and make a lasting impact across our country. This is a great day for Iowa and for our nation's farmers and ranchers."

ICPL user survey available March 1 through March 7

During the first week of March, the Iowa City Public Library will have user surveys available to gauge how patrons use ICPL and its services. A paper survey will be available at the Library for two sporadic hours each day March 1 through March 7. 

This is the first user survey the Library has presented to the public since 2012. Information from the last survey was used to develop the Library’s strategic plan. The new survey will be used to update that plan in order to best serve the community. 

“Strategic planning is something we do every five years to determine the needs of our community and what the Library can do to meet them. Each year, the Board of Trustees approves an action plan based on overall goals,” Library Director Susan Craig says. “The strategic plan is all about looking ahead. What does our community need? What does our community want?” 

The Bookmobile, which made its debut in 2017, was a need identified in the latest strategic plan. Craig said a user survey with specific questions about the Bookmobile will be offered to anyone who visits the Bookmobile March 1 through March 7. 

“The Bookmobile has been on the road for nine months now and the survey will give us a way to see what people think about it,” Craig said. 

The survey also will be available on the Library’s website at

Information gathered from the surveys will be used to update the Library’s five-year strategic plan, which the Library Board will approve in July. 

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.