Author: Valerie Close

La Porte City PD assist in arrest and conviction of man found Guilty of Methamphetamine and Money Laundering Conspiracies

A man responsible for distributing pounds of ice methamphetamine and sending the proceeds back to Mexico was convicted by a jury on March 23, 2017, after a two-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.           Aldo Omar Lopez Martinez, 22, from Marshalltown, Iowa, was convicted of conspiring to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and conspiring to commit money laundering.  The verdict was returned yesterday afternoon following about two hours of jury deliberations.           The evidence at trial showed that Lopez Martinez arrived in Marshalltown from Mexico in 2015, and began distributing ice methamphetamine to a network of individuals in Marshalltown, Des Moines, and Waterloo, Iowa.  Lopez Martinez received multiple pound quantities of ice methamphetamine from a source of supply in Mexico, remanufactured the ice methamphetamine in Marshalltown, and then distributed the drugs throughout Iowa.  Lopez Martinez typically distributed ice methamphetamine in ½ pound to multiple pound quantities.  His customers paid him in cash, which he then wired back to Mexico in order to obtain more drugs.  On May 5, 2016, police searched Lopez Martinez’s residence and seized approximately $93,000 and over three pounds of 98% pure methamphetamine.  Based on the amount of money and its packaging, investigators testified that members of the conspiracy intended to transport the money out of state by hiding it in a car, also known as bulk cash smuggling.  In connection with...

Read More

2017 Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year: Jim Murray

Vinton-Shellsburg administrators have announced that  Tilford elementary principal Jim Murray has been named the 2017 Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa. There are about 650 elementary principals in Iowa. While this award is given by SAI, Mr. Murray was nominated by staff and parents from his building last spring. Some of the quotes from the nominations included: “Mr. Murray leads by example and is continually seeking effective, engaging professional development for all staff. He attends our professional development as a learner and reinforces his learning to us by leading by example.” “..he has always held his employees to a very high standard of professionalism here at Tilford. How we dress, how we work with students and parents, the examples we set in our daily tasks have always been held to a very high standard.” “…He takes the time for kids whether they are in trouble or earn reward time with him. If they are in trouble, he helps them work through whatever problem they are facing. He doesn’t accusem but helps them to tell him the trouble about what happened and how to make good decisions the next time a situation may occur.” “I can sum up Mr. Murray’s leadership style in a simple sentence – He does what is best for kids.” “Vinton-Shellsburg is fortunate to have Mr. Murray as a part...

Read More

FFA Leadership CDE Sub-Districts

By: Brittany Hansen, V-S FFA Co-Reporter On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, our chapter took 15 FFA members and 1 advisor to Sub-District Leadership Career Development Events in Waterloo  at Hawkeye Community College. The contests that took place were program of activities, job interview, Ag sales, Ag broadcasting, public speaking, extemporaneous speaking, creed speaking, conduct of meetings, parliamentary procedure, chapter quiz, and greenhand quiz. Program of activities is an event that is designed to emphasize group activities and accomplishments and to recognize teamwork opportunities and leadership, branching from an organized school program. It is based upon the chapter program of activities and achievements of the previous year. Grant Ries, Kenyatta Yarbrough, and Madison Novotny all received a gold and advanced to districts. The job interview is an event which prepares members for their future. Members complete a job application on site and produce a resume and letter of application in advance, and these documents are submitted and the student conducts an interview. Ben Eden competed in this event, and received a gold alternate to districts. Ag sales gives a member the opportunity to demonstrate their professional sales process. The member present project summary, and make a sales presentation on an agricultural product. Jordan Pattee competed in this event and received a bronze. Members competing in public speaking deliver a six to eight minute speech on a current agricultural subject. Participants...

Read More

VS FFA and Benton Community FFA chapters holding fundraiser @ Pizza Ranch Monday, March 27

The Vinton-Shellsburg FFA and Benton Community FFA chapters are partnering together to hold a fundraiser at Pizza Ranch in Vinton on Monday, March 27th from 5-7:30. Tips and a percentage of the proceeds and will go towards the Members Helping Neighbors campaign to raise money for the hardworking men and women to our south to rebuild their fence lines that were destroyed in the devastating wildfires. We are still looking for physical donations of fencing supplies, hay, and cornstalk bales. For more information, please visit http://bentonffa.weebly.com/members-helping-neighbors.html Also, the Animal Learn Lab behind VSHS will be a drop off site for those who would like to donate supplies to help farmers/ranches in need. Feel free to message us here, or email Mrs. Heeren: melissa.heeren@vscsd.org with any questions you may...

Read More

Maxine Looney

Maxine Looney, 94, of Vinton, formerly of Solon and North Liberty, passed away Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at the Windsor Manor Assisted Living in Vinton. A memorial service will be held 1:30 Tuesday, March 28th at Blessed Hope Church in Vinton with a time of visitation following the service. Condolences may be shared with her family at www.gayandciha.com. Maxine was born June 7, 1922 in Saratoga, Texas; daughter of Posey and Oma (Lindsey) Phelan. She attended business college in Texas and later and married Donald Looney on October 28, 1945, in Junction City, Kansas. She worked as a secretary...

Read More

Letter to the Editor in Response to ‘fake news’

By John Stiegelmeyer FAKE NEWS WRITER: Step back – take a breath you are being manipulated by “talking points”. Anger has no solutions. “the biggest purveyor of FAKE NEWS? It is Trump himself. He would rather take the unsubstaniated word of a conspiracy theorist and Tweet out a blatant lie against the former President… “ First off how did this story get leaked to major newspapers unless there was surveillance?   As of today on the news there is evidence that the Trump campaign team and the transition team were surveilled. Nothing really new here probably has been done before, but held secret.  If the Russian ambassador was surveilled this is O.K., but when an American Citizen shows up on that surveil it must be discarded. Whether or not there was a FISA request through a FISA Judge the leak of this conversation is a felony, as well as leaks of conversations of various heads of state. These conversations are classified. This is my understanding. “Trump’s press secretary wildly accuses Great Britain of being the source of the non-existent wiretap.” Judge Napolitano on FOX based on info from sources (unnamed) suggested that an individual in the Obama Admin or close to it was able to get the British intel. GCHQ. (Signals intel. — Gathering and Analysis) to intercept signals from Trump people. In this way there is no Obama Administration...

Read More

VSHS Annnounces Winter Activities Receive Recognition

By Deb Cummings Vinton-Shellsburg High School is pleased to announce that several 2016-17 Winter activities have been recognized for their academic achievements. The Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Music Association recognize the following: The Distinguished Academic Achievement Award is awarded to the teams who achieved a combined grade point average of 3.25-4.00 for Trimester 2. This award was received by the following: Girls’ Basketball Basketball Cheerleading Jazz Band The Excellence in Academic Achievement Award is awarded to the teams who achieved a combined grade point average of 3.00-3.24 for Trimester 2. This award was received by the following: Boys’ Basketball Girls’ Bowling Wrestling Cheerleading Each participant will receive a certificate from their respective...

Read More

Max Griffith selected to receive ISU College of Human Sciences scholarship for student teaching

Max Griffith of Vinton,  will receive a scholarship from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences to support a student teaching experience. Griffith is a senior studying Kinesiology and Health. Students who are selected to receive this scholarship may use it to offset the cost of living while gaining relevant experience to advance their career. The scholarship is funded through an anonymous gift made to the College of Human Sciences as part of the endowed deanship held by Laura Dunn Jolly, dean and Dean’s...

Read More

Pill Bottle Ministry Ends After 9 Years

By Rev. Jessica Crane-Munoz After almost 9 years and over 150,000 bottles, the Pill Bottle collection ministry at the Presbyterian Church of Vinton is coming to a close. The program will wrap up at the end of March after successfully cleaning and processing 158,250 bottles over the course of many years. The program is ending due to the decreased need by the clinic. “Circumstances have changed since the ministry program started. We have been thankful to be able to provide the bottles to the clinic, but the need simply no longer exists at the level it once did,” said Rev. Jessica Crane Munoz, pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Vinton. A trio of dedicated core volunteers with occasional others have been processing bottles once a month for years. A morning’s work will yield them anywhere from 400-700 bottles that have been sorted, had labels removed, checked for cracks, and then cleaned for reuse at a free clinic in Cedar Rapids. The bottles are then stockpiled and delivered in large batches. The free clinics in Cedar Rapids do continue to rely on free, reused pill bottles to cut down their costs. However, the bottles they receive currently outpace their need. “When we started, the need was so great at that time,” said one volunteer. Now, she says, there hasn’t been that amount of need. Directly after the flood in 2008, the...

Read More

Benton County Board of Supervisors Minutes 3/14/17

March 14, 2017 The Benton County Board of Supervisors met in regular adjourned session with Supervisors Wiley, Primmer, and Bierschenk present. The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. Unless otherwise noted, all actions were approved unanimously. Primmer moved/ Bierschenk seconded: Approve the minutes of March 7, 2017. Motion carried. Bierschenk moved/Primmer seconded: To approve fireworks permits for Chuck Yedlik for April 1, 2017, May 25-26, 2017, July 29, 2017 and October 28, 2017. Motion carried. Bierschenk moved/Primmer seconded: to approve use of the courthouse lawn by the Vinton Park and Rec Department for Thursday June 22, 2017 and Saturday October 28, 2017. Motion carried. Primmer moved/Bierschenk seconded: To approve Resolution #17-18, Granting Variance to Sub-Division Ordinance. Motion carried. RESOLUTION #17-18 Variance to the Benton County Subdivision Ordinance WHEREAS, Benton County adopted the Benton County Subdivision Ordinance #72; and WHEREAS, said ordinance prohibits the creation of multiple splits within a 40-acre aliquot part; and WHEREAS, said ordinance sets forth the minimum requirements and improvements for subdivisions created in the unincorporated area of Benton County; and WHEREAS, a request has been presented to the Board of Supervisors by Alliant Energy to vary the required provisions in Articles 4.01-4.05, 5.01-5.07, 6.01-6.03 and 7.01 of the ordinance to allow one additional division on a parcel located in the NW ¼ NW ¼ of 23-82-9. NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the...

Read More

Hearn makes Dean’s List at Milwaukee School of Engineering

The following student received academic honors from Milwaukee School of Engineering for the 2016-17 Winter Quarter: From Urbana,  Elizabeth Hearn, Dean’s List, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate students who have earned at least 30 credits and have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher (out of 4.0) are on the Dean’s List. Students who have maintained a 3.70 or higher receive “high honors.” Undergraduate students on the Honors List have earned a GPA of at least 3.20 (out of 4.0) for this quarter and are not on the Dean’s List. Milwaukee School of Engineering is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,900 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 97% placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and...

Read More