Before we turn the page on January 2021, I wanted to do something that I’ve had in my mind ever since we turned the calendar to the new year and presented our readers with our annual Year in Review section.
I wanted to revisit some highlights from 2020 that weren’t printed that week, but were still just as significant in this editor’s mind. I won’t get far into the details of these highlights, I’ll just list them chronologically as they appear on my legal pads full of notes from preparing for our Year in Review edition Jan. 7.
* In February, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price stepped down amid the debacle that was trying to declare a winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus. It took weeks before Pete Buttigieg was declared the winner. Price was a local boy, a Durant graduate who several times gave exclusive interviews to his hometown paper.
* On Feb. 27, we reported on a fire at the old Wilton College, located behind the site of the old Wilton Elementary School. Long since converted into apartments, it was a sad sight to see firefighters there rushing to save such a historical Wilton landmark. They did, and renovations were made.
* In March, several area restaurants and markets offered free and reduced meal prices for children while our communities, and the nation, began navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic. To this editor, the Wilton Café, Jeff’s Market and others are businesses of the year for what they did and offered to our youth.
* Also in March, it was announced that former Durant standout athlete Jake Soy was named to the Cedar County Wall of Fame. A star in several sports at Durant, Soy went onto set national records and win a national championship as a wide receiver at Northwest Missouri State University.
* In April, we did a fun story on former Durant mayor, and current Cedar County Supervisor Dawn Smith who, along with her daughter Julia, made homemade masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There were several area folks who did this, and still are, as we fight COVID-19.
* In May and June, Durant and Wilton high schools held graduation parades, where members of the senior class, who didn’t have “normal” commencement ceremonies, were able to drive cars in parade form to celebrate graduating from high school. I said it then, and will again now, I hope this becomes the norm at both area high schools.
* In June, we found out that the Muscatine County Fair in West Liberty would not be held due to COVID-19. The Cedar County Fair in Tipton went on as scheduled, but with several modifications due to the pandemic.
* In July, area high schools held outdoor graduation ceremonies on the football fields at Durant and Wilton.
* In August, both annual festivals in Durant and Wilton — Firefighters’ Festival and Founders Day — were canceled due to COVID-19. A golf cart parade was held in Wilton on what would have been the same day as the Founders Day parade.
* In November, COVID-19 found its way into several area businesses, including the Advocate News, as three of our four employees got it, and later recovered, at the same time.
* Also in early November, the Wilton Candy Kitchen sponsored a Halloween parade in downtown Wilton.
* In December, the Wilton Window Walk was canceled due to COVID-19. A drive-by Santa event was held at the Muscatine County Freedom Rock site instead. A drive-by Santa event was also held in Durant at Liberty Trust & Savings Bank.
There were more things on my list, but there you have it. One last trip down memory lane before we put 2020 behind us and I destroy these wonderful notes.
I always say I’m amazed at the amount of wonderful things that happen in our communities each year. While 2020 was perhaps the most trying year of them all, we were still able to find some highlights.