Author: Dean Close

State Track: VS athletes earn medals, set new school records

In what one coach called a “great weekend,” VSHS athletes earned medals and set new school records at the State Track meet. Led by senior Cole Overton’s 3rd-place in the shot put, VS celebrated a new success every day of the track meet. On Thursday, Sarah Schminke set a new school record in the 200M dash. On Friday, the distance medley relay team also set a new school record. Then on Saturday, Grace Horst, who had anchored the D-Med team, set another school record, in the 800M run, Overton’s bronze medal was the best showing for VSHS in the...

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Remembering Mike Ferguson: ‘Builder of things, people and the Kingdom of God’

From a Congolese native who became an Iowa church leader, to one of the newest local 911 dispatchers, the speakers and tributes to Mike Ferguson at Saturday’s funeral were as diverse as the personality, talents and skills that the man who was a construction worker, chief deputy, jail administrator and pastor displayed throughout his life. Mike was known for his jokes and funny sermons, and yet was stern when issuing traffic citations or warning audiences of young people about the consequences of bad decisions. He was proficient with firearms at his law enforcement training, and baked the bread he...

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Rickels places 6th in high jump at State Track; Schminke sets new VS girls record in 200M

Two notable milestones left Vinton-Shellsburg fans reason to celebrate Day 1 of the 2018 State Track Meet. Freshman CJ Rickels — the only 9th grader in the field of 24 — finished in sixth place in Class 3A with a jump of 6 feet, 3 inches in the high jump. Rickel’s jump also represents a new personal best; it was two inches higher than his previous best, the 6″1″ he recorded in Decorah last week to qualify for State. It also was good enough to give him bragging rights over his brothers, Dylan and Kelyn — but not yet,...

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Housing development near high school may see the beginning of new homes by fall, says Ketchen

It’s “full speed ahead” in the process of turning land donated by two of Vinton’s most successful farmers into a new housing development, says John Ketchen. Just south Vinton-Shellsburg High School, on parcels of land either donated by John Anderson or left in the trust of the late John “J.W.” Fry, the development may see the digging and pouring of five or six basements and the beginning of framing of houses above them by this fall, says John Ketchen. Ketchen, trustee who his helping to manage the Fry property, says that is the goal of the trustees to create a three-phase subdivision that includes houses, villa-style homes, and apartments, as well as a few spaces for commercial properties. The property is currently outside city limits, but the process of voluntary annexation is under way. The Vinton-Shellsburg School Board also agreed to ask the state to annex a five-acre strip of land as well. That five acres is likely to become part of that subdivision. St. Mary’s Church is also involved in the discussion because a small, triangle-shaped piece of land owned by the church is also part of the annexation. “The board understands there is interest in the land for development,” explains Superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock. “Because they understand the need to have more houses (and thus kids) in our district, they will work to partner with John Ketchen...

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VSEA names Sarah Mathis Teacher of the Year; honors four retirees

“Relentless positivity.” That unique phrase sums up Vinton-Shellsburg first grade teacher Sarah Mathis, says VS Education Association President Mindy McClintock, as she presented Mathis the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award. McClintock praised Mathis for her “spot on lesson plans and classroom management,” the way she takes care of things and people, as demonstrated by her work with VS Sole Sisters as well as helping lead the school’s effort to raise funds  and show the school’s devotion to John Scriven, a school janitor who died of cancer five years ago. “She is always asking, ‘How can I make things...

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State Track Meet begins today; window painting tradition continues

Vinton-Shellsburg Vikette and Viking athletes and coaches planned to leave school around 9 a.m. today for the trip to Des Moines, where the first of the many VS track team members are scheduled to compete in the State Track Meet at around 2 p.m. VSHS will have athletes competing all three days of the track meet. The teams celebrated with supper at McDonald’s on Wednesday evening courtesy of Terry Ehlinger and Ehlinger’s Vinton Express. They painted their names and events on the windows of the gas station, continuing a tradition that all VSHS teams going to state have been...

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Dear Veteran: Thank you — Tilford students write to Honor Flight veterans

The tradition of teaching Vinton-Shellsburg students to honor veterans continued with Tuesday’s Honor Flight, where local vets participating in the trip to Washington, D.C.’s war memorials received many letters from Tilford Elementary students to read during their flight home. Roger Beau was one of the veterans to receive notes from Tilford Elementary students. “Thank you for being there when we needed you,” wrote one girl, who signed the letter, “Your new best friend.” Others thanked Roger for his service, and asked questions about his military life as well as the Honor Flight. Addy Ingham told him about her visit to Washington, D.C., where her grandfather is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Some students shared what they know about the history of the Vietnam War; one expressed sadness at how Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home. See more letters...

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Law enforcement community to honor Ferguson; procession planned after Saturday funeral at VSHS

Funeral services for Benton County Chief Deputy Mike Ferguson will take place at Vinton-Shellsburg High School at 1 p.m. A procession from the cemetery will lead through Vinton and past the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on its way to Evergreen Cemetery. Mike’s obituary includes the story of his two career loves, law enforcement and ministry. Mike began his career in law enforcement with the Central Iowa Special Police and later served as a reserve officer for Benton County from 1978 until 1979. He was hired as a full-time deputy by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in 1980 and was promoted to the position of Chief Deputy and Jail Administrator in 2004, a position he held until his death. He taught Defensive Driving to First Responders and had been an accident reconstructionist for the Midwest Area Traffic Accident Investigators (MATAI). He was a member of the Iowa State Sheriffs’& Deputies’ Association and the Benton County Peace Officers. Michael was a mentor to community youth, speaking at schools about peer pressure, drinking and driving, and making wise decisions behind the wheel and in life in general. He was known for his firearm proficiency. In 1981, Michael met Lori Lynn Vonderheide at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy while both were training to be deputies. They were united in marriage on May 1, 1982, in Vinton. Later in life, Michael found another calling...

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Lamont leads all golfers as VS finishes second in quadrangular meet at CCA

Sophomore Lillie Lamont was the medalist at the Clear Creek-Amana quadrangular meet on Tuesday. Her 47 led the Vikettes to a second-place finish in the final event of the regular season. Coach’s report from Janet Woodhouse: Quad at Amana Colonies Golf Club, par 36 Clear Creek-Amana, Marion, Williamsburg and V-S Weather conditions: Sunny and 80 degrees Team Scores: Williamsburg 198 V-S 212 CC-Amana 230 Marion 270 Medalist: Lillie Lamont, V-S 47 Runner up: Kayte Jacoby, Wmsburg 48 V-S individuals: Lillie Lamont 47 Rachel Tandy 49 Brandi Gerber 55 Carli Lang 61 non counters: Abbye Hendryx, Lauren Murray JV: Jordan...

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Live Healthy Track Meet: Many qualify for State event after winning in Vinton

Many youngsters qualified for the June 9 Live Healthy Iowa Track Meet after winning an event at the Vinton event sponsored by the Vinton Parks and Recreation Department. More than 90 area youth participated in Monday’s event, which included children ages 5-14. See many more photos HERE. See complete results here: Live Healthy Iowa Track Meet Results –...

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Womochil discusses changes in football classes, playoffs during Letter of Intent ceremony

Although Friday nights will look the same to most Viking football fans when the 2018 season starts in the fall, big changes are coming to many Iowa high schools, including Vinton-Shellsburg and its neighbor/rival to the south, Benton Community. Both the Vikings and Bobcats have moved from Class 3A to Class 2A, where most of their schedule will include schools that are smaller than the opponents they have played in the past. Head Coach Jim Womochil told the 8th graders who attended the Letter of Intent signing event about the reason for the change. The Iowa High School Athletic...

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