KNOLL NEWS is good news

River Heights Association

Vol. 8, No. 4                                                                                         June 2009


Message from the River Heights Board’s

New President Brad Thayer


Hello to my River Heights neighbors both old and new. I am stepping into the big shoes of Bill Burger as president of the River Heights Property Owners Association but am very fortunate to have the assistance of many hard working Board members and Knoll representatives. It’s great to live in an association where people are so friendly and cooperative.

I have lived at 5 Longview Knoll for 31 years now, first from 1961 to 1979 as a pond and river-loving kid and again since 1996 when my wife Diane and I bought the house from my parents. They were the original builders back in the very early days of the association, but were ready for downsizing in retirement while we were looking for more room for our family. I feel very lucky to be living in the house I grew up in – quite a rarity these days – and even more fortunate to be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of River Heights.

In the coming months the Board will be looking carefully at erosion and pond siltation issues and deciding on the best course of action to maintain our surroundings and common areas. Clearly the natural environment we all share here is part of both our property values and quality of life. Your Knoll representatives will be in touch with you soon to gather your input on what our next steps need to be. I look forward to getting to know those of you whom I haven’t met yet and maintaining the friendships of those whom I have known for many years.


Check the River Heights website at for up-to-date information on the association and area.



Message from the River Heights Board’s

Outgoing President Bill Burger


As I was preparing for the annual meeting, I checked back to determine the first meeting that I chaired as President of the Association. To my surprise I discovered it was July, 1999—ten years ago. Wow! Time goes by when you are having fun. I want to review some of the things that I think that we have accomplished during these past 10 years.

The first major event was the erosion project that was started in the fall of 2001. We worked with the Iowa DNR folks who advised us. After completing an engineering study, we proposed a $700 per lot special assessment to pay for the project. We completed work over the next 18 months in five ravine areas with the proceeds of the assessment. The total cost of this work was slightly over $113,000.

Then in the fall of 2003 we completed a $125,000 road project. In the past ten years, our annual fees have increased to $400, which is a 100% increase($200 per year to $400). I might add that in the past four years the annual cost of snow removal was gone from $16,000 to over $34,000 per year.

After paying for a $225,000 water improvement project, we cut the water rate by 33%. In our Association you pay for your water usage only.

In the area of governance, we consolidated the Knoll road funds into a single one and it has a current balance of $70,000. We have maintained the cost of our recycling and refuse pickup at $150 per year for over 10 years. We have added a Web site ( as well as a newsletter (Knoll News) which is published 3 times per year. All of these things result from folks who have a sense of community and who work to maintain this sense in our Association. In May we had the second Hazardous Waste Pickup right on our site. You could bring your material, at no cost, and have it taken away.


Our volunteers have been working on maintaining the area on the dams and below the dams to protect their stability. There has been lots of work to make the Peninsula area once again a gathering place for birdwatchers or picnicking.

We have an Association with a sound financial basis, with annual fees well below others in our area, and good people working for the betterment of the whole community. Our new President, Brad Thayer, along with the other officers and board members, will keep us going in the right direction.


I have appreciated your fine support and kind words, and have enjoyed being your president.


Bill Burger




REPORT on the HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION of Saturday, May 2, 2009


These are the results of the hazardous waste collection as reported by Patsy Lawton: 1463 pounds were collected from twenty-six households. The total is broken down as follows:


Latex 800 lbs

A-fuels 120 lbs

Sprays 80 lbs

Poisons 130 lbs

Oil based 160 lbs

Batteries 6 lbs

Cleaners 90 lbs

Fluorescent bulbs 2 lbs

Anti-freeze 75 lbs

Of the total collected, 400 pounds went to the Swap Shop.




Volunteers Needed June 13th


We need experienced canoe paddlers and Jon-boat captains to participate in removal of trash left from recent flooding on the Iowa River.


Canoes will be launched from the Sturgis Ferry boat ramp on Old Hwy 218 South.  We will be launching the first canoe at 8 am.  The length of the paddle is 9 miles and about 4 hours, landing at the Hills access. The garbage will be unloaded from the canoes & boats at the Hills Access boat ramp. Rain date: June 14.

Please contract Carol Sweeting for more information. To register for the Iowa River Canoe Cleanup phone 319-356-5164 or email

Sponsored by: City of Iowa City, Johnson County Conservation Board, The University of Iowa Recreational Services, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources



by Warren Knarr


Yes, our water is safe to drink. Attached is the 2008 Water Quality Report for River Heights (Consumer Confidence Report). This report contains all the contaminants tested for in the past three years that were present at a detectable level. All were below the maximum allowable limit. If a test for a contaminant was below the detectable limit, it is not in the report. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources mandates that we distribute this report to the property owners once a year. It is your assurance that the water is safe to drink.


During the last three years we have had our water tested each month for coliforms and tested once each year for nitrates. The results do not appear in the water quality report since they were below the detection level. In addition we just submitted a sample for radionuclides (radioactive contaminants), but do not have the results back yet. In the past the radionuclides have been below the maximum allowable limit.



As recalled by Paul Heidger


Bob Shaffer stands in the memory of those of us who knew him as one of the truly legendary figures in River Heights history. Long-time resident (with his beloved German Shepherd, Lacy) of Lakeview Dr., and member and President of our Board for many years up until his untimely death, Bob was a champion of community volunteerism, and stalwart promoter and conservator of the natural beauty of the River Heights area. He was as well a vigorous advocate of conservative fiscal policy, bringing our Association’s General Fund balance from $11.00 cash-on-hand when he assumed Board leadership to a healthy surplus on his retirement!


I had the privilege of serving as Board vice-President with Bob for two terms—given this responsibility, together with my personal friendship with Bob, there was no polite escape from sharing lots of hard work on his favorite projects, particularly very early on a Saturday morning when a big Ford diesel pickup might just park in one’s drive, blocking all escape! Long after his “volunteers” had begged off from exhaustion, Bob could be seen shoveling our hydrants free of deep snow in winter, chipping free our ice-clogged drains in spring, felling dead elms on our common property in all sorts of weather, and burning off huge piles of branches on vacant land (now the beautiful gardens of Lynn and Jim Gardner). Other indelible Shaffer images include his hand-sweeping the whole Knoll free of left-over winter sand with a modest-sized garage broom to prevent the clogging of our waterways and ponds, and repeating the same chore the length of Lakeview Dr. in summer, gathering up grass clippings from the street before they entered the drains and his favorite pond behind his house.


Only a few of us “favored” Board members might recall standing with him in his flat-bottomed boat, lawn rakes in hand, physically removing what must have amounted to tons of algae and weed from this same pond over the years.


Bob served also as River Heights’ self-appointed game warden, not afraid of accosting and evicting “visitors” to our ponds without the required “accompanying resident” in tow before they reaped a big catch of “our” bass and blue-gills! Serving as a Coordinator of Staff Development at UIHC for many years honed Bob’s skills at such “friendly persuasion,” but didn’t prevent his voicing strong displeasure with visitors—and residents—who persisted in ignoring or pleading ignorance of River Heights covenants, rules and regs. The latter, I always surmised, stemmed from his early years in the Navy, during which I can only imagine things were totally “ship-shape” on his watch! Beneath that sometimes gruff facade, though, was a generous heart, dedicated to his community, his friends, and the environment.


For this, the Board, following Bob’s last term, could think of no tribute more fitting than to honor his many years of service and dedication to River Heights by making it official that “his” pond was truly his. The inscription on the stone placed on the walkway to the pond off Lakeview Place sums it all up. Look for it on your next outing, and recall Bob’s continuing legacy to us all, on this, the tenth anniversary of its placement.


Shaffer Pond


Named by the River Heights Association in honor of its resident and retiring Board President of many years,


Robert B. Shaffer

Selfless Friend of Nature and the River Heights Community.

April 13, 1999





By Duane Van Demark


We started building on Highview Knoll in September 1966.  The day they started digging the basement I got a job offer at Vanderbilt but I thought selling a hole would be a little difficult, so we stayed.  We moved at the end of March 1967 to a hill of mud -- and had our second son three weeks later.  I finally got a yard started after straw had blown all over the Knoll.  There was nothing like having a newborn and starting to water the yard at five in the morning.  Dave Culp commented that at least the dandelions were green.

 Dubuque Street was known for accidents and sometime in 1968 some kids failed to make the curve and after hitting the gas main landed in the Linds’ living room at 10 Highview Knoll.  That is when I decided to make a stone wall around the place!  Since I was raised on a farm, I decided to do a bit of gardening and landscaping.  After being in Denmark in 1970, a green house was purchased, and by this time the boys were about ready for shopping at plant sales.  As time went by a little boat was ours and our sons spent hours fishing, catching turtles, making huts on the ponds, and just being boys.  We even managed to  build a tree house.  River Heights still seemed to be in the country; after work, it was great crossing the old Dubuque St. (Butler) bridge and forgetting patients. I can remember how excited I was when I saw my first deer and I never thought about seeing a wild turkey.  The ponds and the warming house were great for ice skating.

River Heights was a great place for kids to play and grow up, and to this day my sons, now 42 and 43, often talk about the fun they had.


We  had great neighbors: the Robertsons. Puhls, Culps, Petricks, Davises, and Waltons.  Now after living in the Lexington, Kentucky area, I still love the green grass and country setting.  In those days River Heights had been the Gays’ cow pasture and you could see all the houses on Longview Knoll and there was only one big elm on Lyle Duncan's lot.  Gretchen Harshbarger, one of the first residents in RH, was the queen of hostas.  If any of you remember Gretchen, you can bet she would have had an answer to your deer problem! 


Addition to the list of “longest residents”


Bor-Luh Lin and Hsin Lee Lin have lived on Valley View Knoll and Place since 1978.


Newcomers to River Heights


Sheila and Pete Davisson have moved into the Loewenbergs’ house at 6 Brickwood Knoll with their daughter Oni. Their phone is 321-2475.

Their email addresses are


Cindy and Paul Postler and their 4 sons (Austin, Will, Harrison and Ethan) have moved into the DeWitt's house at 17 Brickwood Circle.  Their phone number is 337-7441 and their email address is


Community Information


Water Bills

All lot owners are responsible for reading their own water meters.  If the meter card with the reading is not returned, the bill is estimated at $300 and the home owner is billed accordingly. When a home is sold, the owner is required to send a final reading to the River Heights Association Office, PO Box 2292, Iowa City, 52244.  Any sale or refinancing creates a demand for a release from the Association to the financial lender indicating that all bills are current.


Neighborhood Appearance


Living in an area like River Heights with friendly neighbors, nature trails, and space is an exciting privilege. Over the years, as we all have worked together to maintain a special community, quality standards for living in community have evolved. The standards are all based on being thoughtful neighbors who maintain their property and who are considerate of other property owners. Some examples of these standards follow.

·                Park vehicles in your garage or driveway, not

on the street or lawn.

·                Keep the yard tidy and groomed

·                Do not sweep debris into the street.

·                Make sure lawnmowers and noisy power tools

are only used during daytime hours.

·                Inform your neighbors of any large projects

involving large trucks or noise and the timeline

for project completion.

·                Pick up animal waste when walking pets.


Farewell to River Heights

By Ina Loewenberg


Jerry and I and our two children moved to Iowa City in August 1969 and rented the Harshbargers’ house (now the Fullers’) on Longview for the one year we expected to stay. It is 40 years later and we are still here! We built our own house on the then-new Brickwood Knoll and have loved every minute of our house, designed by Bill Nowysz, and of the beauty, good planning and good governance of this unique neighborhood. We never expected or intended to leave but when we were captivated by an apartment in Marc Moen’s Plaza Towers, we concluded that it was the right time at our age to downsize, to drive less, and to return to our urban roots “downtown.”


We had just agreed to take on the editorship of the Knoll News when this change of plan hit. After this issue new editors will be needed. We encourage one or two of you to step forward. It is not hard and it is fun.




River Heights Knoll Representatives


Brickwood Circle and Knoll

Patsy Lawton 337-9318


Fairview Knoll

Jim Lundahl 338-2475

Mike Cilek 354-4631



Glenview Knoll  

John Boyt          354-4444


Highview Knoll 

Laura Walton      354-8090


Lakeview Circle 

Lee Burch          338-3401


Lakeview Dr., 1st Add.     

Steve Price 354-6413

9 Lakeview Drive, 1st Add.


Lakeview Dr., 2nd Add.

Paul Heidger 351-4743


Lakeview Dr 3rd Add.

(Lakeview Drive North, Lakeview Place North, Lakeview Knoll North)

Mel Alberts & Kathy Bresnahan 338-0857

Warren Knarr      354-7838


Longview Knoll 

Brad Thayer 338-4072


Stewart Rd. & Valleyview Circle

Co-Knoll Reps:

Steve Beisler      351-9050

Bill Burger         338-8790


Valleyview Knoll & Place

Jay Cayner



The Next Edition of Knoll News


Send news articles or items of general interest to:

Brad Thayer, President, at to hold for the next editors.


Topics include, but are not limited to, news regarding residents, maintenance and use of common areas, environmental topics, or seasonal events. The purpose of the newsletter is to

Build community, to educate, and to inform residents on association, environmental, and infrastructure issues.


River Heights Association

P.O. Box 2292

Iowa City, IA 52244