Kassi Clear is new executive director of Main Street Orion

by Mindy Carls correspondent
Mindy Carls

Kassi Clear, who has lived in Orion about five years, has taken the reins of Main Street Orion. She started Oct. 1.

A native of Alaska, Clear moved to Orion from Minnesota because her fiancé Evan Freymann’s family lived in the Quad Cities. His mother, Kim Wood, used to live in Orion and still owned a rental home in the village that Kassi and Evan could use. Wood offered to help with their children.

Evan’s aunt and uncle, Becky and Jeremy Jungwirth, also live in Orion.

After settling in the village, Clear loved attending Main Street Orion events. When executive director Candice Schultz moved to Aledo, Main Street volunteer Alicia Dierikx called Clear to say, “You should apply for this.”

The most interesting part of her job, Clear said, “is working with the community to plan the events and seeing everybody having fun with the events as they go on.”

The most challenging part is going on right now as she learns the job, Clear said. She has looked at the national Main Street website, and Schultz left a lot for her to review, but she still has a lot of questions.

“People don’t see the reports I have to file,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made things rough, Clear acknowledged.

“A lot of things have been cancelled,” she said. “Now we’re planning events with COVID-friendly ideas.”

All Hallows Drive on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31, was the first event since the COVID-19 restraints began, Clear said. She and Dierikx were stationed with Pat and Brian Stoudt on the east side of Central Park to hand out goody bags to children in cars, golf carts and other vehicles driving by.

Clear had not volunteered with any Main Street events before she became the executive director. She did volunteer with pre-school and kindergarten at C.R. Hanna Elementary School.

She plans to attract more volunteers, especially younger ones, from among her friends.

Her pitch will be, “I got this job, I need some help.”

Clear is hoping to get events going again in the village she loves for its small-town feel.

“Everyone gets together and does things,” she said. “Everyone knows everybody and is there for everyone if they need it.”

Kassi Clear is the new executive director of Main Street Orion.