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Planning for the season ahead

Riverside has ice in place and activities are expanding as we head toward the main season.

The Bruins had a scrimmage at Riverside this past weekend and will have more scheduled action which will be open to the public via admission by late September.

Park and Rec is currently running Youth Fall 3-on-3 Hockey. Figure skating began with ice time in early August, and activities (practices and games) for AHS Hockey and Austin Youth Hockey are just around the corner. We’ll be offering some public skate times as well as we enter October.

Packer Arena

Early October will be the start of ice making in Packer Arena in preparation for seasonal activities which are held there beginning in November, including Austin Youth Hockey, AHS boy’s and girl’s hockey and curling via the Mower County Curling Club. Public skate times will also shift from Riverside to Packer where there will be slightly more available ice time once the ice is ready at Packer.

Curling

I noted curling and discussed this one a bit last year.

If you’ve not yet considered trying this sport, I think it’s definitely worth the time as I found curling to be both enjoyable and non-strenuous, probably somewhere between cornhole, bean-bag-toss and bowling, but with both the thrill and chill of ice.

The Mower County Curling Club will be coordinating some “try-it” curling dates along with league play. No special equipment is necessary, although some choose to invest in shoes designed for the activity. Club members are very helpful for beginners and thus are quick to guide on use of available equipment.

The club’s available ice times will be on Wednesday evenings after 8 p.m. in addition to many Sundays. What will be new for curling this year is the introduction of new stones which will not require the typical two-hour chilling period for conventional curling stones.

The Kwik Cool technology, created via adding a thin, hard, bottom surface to the granite stones, will enable play within 15-20 minutes of the previous activity, meaning less down time for the ice (and related staff). It will also (hopefully) make for some more convenient times for league play without having that buffer/waiting period for the stones to chill to ice temperature.

One might ask: Why pre-chill the stones? Curling stones will retain heat and cold, and if the temperature varies from where they were stored and left sitting for more than a few minutes in one place on the ice, they will begin to melt into the ice. So, the typical stones require moving them to the ice and then moving (sliding) them again to a different position every 15-20 minutes to avoid impressions (or worse) in the ice surface.

Outdoor Rinks and Sledding Hill

At present, the plan is to open the rinks, sledding hill and related warming houses. This typically happens over Christmas break for area K-12 schools. Keep in mind that with the current limitation of 25 percent of typical capacity, this can mean no more than approximately six people (give or take, depending upon building size) in a warming house at one time, so there may be some challenges in accommodating everyone at once, as is the case for anyone running a business indoors this year. However, we know that the public will be eager to work with us on complying.

Fall Yard Clean-Up   

The city’s fall yard-waste drop-off site will be open from dawn to dusk, Sept. 19 to Nov. 29, at the Cook Farm site, north of Walmart and off Highway 218. Leaves, grass, and plants from lawns, flower beds, and gardens will be accepted, but no branches or sticks.

If using garbage/leaf bags to transport the leaves, site users are asked to empty the contents of the bags into the piles and then dispose of the empty bags in the nearby trash cans. Otherwise, unemptied bags get buried and then can eventually wind up in the compost pile the following year. From there, they could end up in Mill Pond, etc. So, thank you for your assistance with the environment beyond your yards.   

Downtown Flowers

Daily watering of the downtown plants (hanging baskets, big round planters, and ground plantings) is scheduled to continue through Sept. 25, provided that they continue to look fairly healthy throughout that time. The hanging baskets have been lacking their dosage of near-daily fertilizer throughout these past few rainy days, but they’ve been “hanging in there.” Thank you to all who were involved in acquiring funding for, planting of, and caring for this year’s flowers.

Watering crew: sometimes it may feel like a thankless job, but you are appreciated!

Adult Volleyball

The ‘Fall Dig’ entry deadline is Friday, Sept. 25. League play is scheduled to run Wednesdays, Oct. 7 through Dec. 16.