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Message From Our Mayor

January 13, 2012
Northern-Sun Print
I hope everyone got through Christmas and New Years without a hitch and you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends.  Jo Anne and I and Dave and Kris Wurr were blessed with a grandson on December 31 at 9:35PM.  Casein Maverick was born to Craig and Autumn.  All is going well with mother and child and dad too.  Needless to say all four grandparents are very happy. The next thing to be thankful for is the caucus is over and no more phone calls and hopefully a new set of ads on TV. I am going to write about something that has nothing to do with city business this time.  As a lot of you know, our daughter Stacey and husband Rhett along with their children, Samantha and Sage, have moved to California from Australia.  I would like to give you a brief description of California life. They live in Mountain House, California which is about 1 1/2 hours east of San Francisco airport.  This is same community they lived in before they went to Australia for three years so they know this community.  Mountain House is a planned community which means it is planned out where schools, houses, parks and streets are before anything gets built.  This is a very new town which was started during the big building expansion so everything is 10-15 years old or less.  It is a very pretty town with all the streets lined with trees, shrubs and flowers.  Everyone waters their lawns and landscaping daily during the hot,dry summer months. The parks, bike trails and common grounds are kept up at city expense and look great.  Most houses are two story with no basements because of earthquakes.  The average home is around 3000 square feet with 2 to 3 baths, 3 to 4 bedrooms and a 2 or 3 car garage.  If they have a 3 car garage the third car is usually separate from the other 2 car garage and is big enough for a motorcycle.  The house the kids live in has a very small backyard with no grass – about 20 x30 ft. of patio space.  The front yard is about 15 x10 ft. with a side walk in the middle.  Goos Implement would not sell very many lawn mowers here as most people commute a long distance in heavy traffic and don’t want much lawn care after work and on weekends.  Foot and bike trails lead to all areas of town and to the schools.  The trails all have a park beside them with playground equipment in them.  There is a soft rubber surface under all playground equipment Everyone has a sidewalk and with the walking trails and streets it is laid out so you can get around very easily.  There are already three K-8 schools and these are all new and very well planned.  The schools are in the center of a block with each building surrounded with open space and lots of play area.  Since this is a mild climate, the classrooms as well as the bathrooms open directly to the outside.  There are no inside hallways like you would see in schools in the Midwest.  A lot of parents walk their kids to school.  There is a very mixed international group of kids who are all very well dressed and polite.  The K-8 schools are planned for 650 kids total – when they hit that mark they build another school.  As of now the high school kids are open enrolled to Tracy, a neighboring town which has two high schools, one really good and one that has the usual problems of big city schools. There are no businesses in Mountain House.  You cannot get gas there but there is a very small store with milk, bread and a few other items.  Rhett drives to Livermore, a town about 25 miles away.  It is four lanes each direction.  He leaves for work at 5:15AM and a lot of time all lanes are full going 25 to 30 MPH.  Stacey does most of her shopping in Tracy about 10 miles east of Mountain House.  That’s a very easy drive with minor traffic.  Any Iowan could do that.  Mountain House is a great town to visit especially when you have grandkids there but it is also great to be able to get almost everything you need right here in hometown Gladbrook.  Keith Sash, Mayor


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