UPDATED: The original version of this story included two incorrect names.
The values statement recently compiled by the Cascade Heart & Soul Committee lists seven qualities of Cascade that are heavily valued by its residents — community, atmosphere, safety, convenience, activities, development, and education. Not only are these qualities valued by those already living in Cascade, but they also serve to attract new people to move there and motivate many to return who had previously left.
Hailey Rausch, formerly Hailey Manternach, is one such example of a returning resident who decided that Cascade was the perfect place to settle down after she graduated college. A teacher at Cascade High School, community and education were at the top of her list of reasons to call Cascade home.
“I went to Cascade High School and graduated in 2013 and even after graduation, I felt a very strong connection to the high school because of my and my current husband’s younger siblings,” said Rausch. “We took a lot of time coming back and being a part of watching athletics and the plays. I personally felt such a strong connection to the high school that I just kept coming back to see the great things they were doing. After college, I was looking for a job, and conveniently enough, there was a job open at the high school. I had other job offers as well, but it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to teach at Cascade High School because they do so well preparing students and helping them grow, whether it be in academics, athletics, or just as people. I was excited to be a part of the teaching staff here to help them achieve those things.”
Rausch attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and developed a sense of perspective while in other cities during this time.
“Through my college experience, I had the opportunity to be at a lot of different schools, and schools are a great gateway to the community,” she said. “I had teaching experiences in Waterloo schools, Cedar Falls High School, Maquoketa Valley High School and Maquoketa Middle School. While all of those places are very different from one another, they all didn’t have the same feel of connection, support, and dedication for excellence as Cascade did. I’m also a big person on knowing everyone’s name, and while I tried my hardest at all those places, it was impossible at some of those larger schools, and honestly it’s harder to be a supporter and advocate for all those students at once.”
Another resident of Cascade, Peter Kasper, was also attracted by the education available in Cascade, as well as the safety and economic advantages his family could gain from moving. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the Kaspers moved to Cascade two and half years ago.
“We were looking for a better public school system for our seven-year-old daughter,” said Kasper. “We were also looking for small-town life. Both of us have spent most of our lives in larger cities. We were also looking for a better quality of life: less crime, less commuters to deal with on a daily basis.”
Peter and his wife, Ewa, have worked as semi-truck drivers and have been heavily involved with the liquid ethanol and bio-diesel hauling from Iowa, primarily to the Chicago area terminals.
Kasper said, “We traveled Interstate 80 and Highway 20 every day, and decided that we would like to give Iowa a try for lower property taxes, better public schools, and a better quality of life to get away from crime. I’m still amazed we only have two police officers here in Cascade.
“We are very happy, the neighbors have been very welcoming, and we pretty much have found what we wanted in Cascade. We looked for half a year prior to moving, and Cascade just interested us because we only have one stoplight.”
In addition to the appeal of a crime-free community, the Kaspers were also attracted to the better deals on housing and lower taxes.
“We work for a company out of Dyersville now, and that’s working out really well for us,” he said. “We were just tickled pink to be able to purchase a brand new home that basically is three times the size of the home we moved out of for half of what we were paying for property taxes back in Chicago.
“We were after a quieter life because I’m 62, I only have maybe another eight to ten years of doing what we’re doing to make a living, and this is a nice area to retire in.”