Author: Dean Close

VS, Benton FFA members seeking donations to help farmers impacted by wildfires

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 (Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas) to rebuild their fence lines that were destroyed in the devastating wildfires. The local FFA members are still looking for donations of fencing supplies, hay, and cornstalk bales, as well as financial contributions. For more information about specific needs in particular areas, visit; http://bentonffa.weebly.com/members-helping-neighbors.html Also, the Animal Learning Lab behind VSHS will be a drop off site for those who would like to donate supplies to help farmers/ranches in need. Contact VS FFA advisor Melissa Heeren at melissa.heeren@vscsd.org with any questions you may...

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The City of Lights, at sunset

For years, Vinton has been called The City of Lights, because of the Kersten light display that brings people from all over to see the huge display northwest of town. But today, we show you a different side of the City of Lights: Views from Vinton, and the surrounding area, at sunset. We have taken most of these photos in the past few weeks, although a couple are from from last summer. Thanks to VS teacher Marty Annis for allowing us to borrow her driveway for the unique views of the courthouse as the sun went down. See more of...

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Cedar County Cobras to perform at Garrison Farmers Mercantile, April 8

The Cedar County Cobras are Coming to Garrison. The Cobras have been described as contagious, acoustic rockabilly, dancing bluegrass, or brand new old-time country with the gritty sound of soulful blues. The band is made up of two brothers (Tom & George Speilbauer), a gal (April Dirks) and an army of string instruments to make original music that can only be found down a gravel road in rural Iowa. The blues and rock sound comes from the Spielbauer brothers who bring with them twenty years of playing boogie-woogie music in the band Porch Builder. April brings years of experience playing in traditional bluegrass circles and learning celtic mandolin to make up the signature “gypsy” sound that can be heard in the Cobra songs and she plays a hard-driving rockabilly bass. It is almost impossible to box the sound of The Cobras into one musical genre…just know that you should be prepared to bring your dancing shoes and party with this musical troupe playing true Iowa music. Find out more on the website at http://www.cedarcountycobras.com/ Please join us for an evening of lively music by the Cedar County Cobras. Refreshments will be provided by the Garrison Library (always delicious!) Saturday, April 8th 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm Admission: $8 Farmers Mercantile Hall 100 W Main St Garrison, IA...

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Redlinger shooting case comes to an end; Hines sentenced to 60 days in jail

District Judge Paul Miller sentenced William Hines, Jr., to 60 days in the Benton County jail, with another 360 days suspended, bringing to an end the two-year legal case that followed the accidental shooting of Emma Redlinger. Issuing a sentence more stringent than that which County Attorney Dave Thompson and defense attorney John Breitbach had negotiated, Judge Miller also ordered a two year probation that includes drug testing and forbids the use of alcohol or drugs by the defendant. Hines told the court before sentencing that he would do anything if he could speak to Emma Redlinger one more time, to tell her he was sorry, and that the shooting was an accident. Reading a brief statement to the court, Hines says he did not point the gun at Emma, and does not remember pulling the trigger, but conceded that he must have done so. He told the court that he and some friends were hanging out at the Winterroth residence that evening, playing video games, when someone put that gun on the table on Feb. 24, 2015. Emma, shot in the head, died four days later, never regaining consciousness. In January, Hines filed a written guilty plea to the charges of involuntary manslaughter, interference with official acts and harassment of a peace officer. Miller sentenced Hines to 30 days in the county jail on each of those simple misdemeanor...

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Prom Theme: ‘The Great Gatsby’; Post-Prom Committee still accepting donations

Vinton-Shellsburg High School juniors and seniors, and their dates, are making plans for the April 29 Prom and the overnight Post-Prom event that follows. This year, the event schedule leading up to Prom has changed. The Grand March will begin at 4 p.m. in the VSHS Auditorium. Following the March, there will be a dinner for prom-goers at Revolution Church from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. before the 8 p.m. Prom. The Post-Prom party begins at 11:30 p.m. All VSHS juniors and seniors may attend Post-Prom, even if they chose to not go to Prom. A variety of activities will take place until 3:30 a.m., and hypnotist Jim Ward will again entertain the students at 3:30 a.m. Post-Prom wil end with a light breakfast and final prizes between 4:30 and 5 p.m. The Post-Prom Committee has been working throughout the year, organizing the event and activities, and fund-raising. The group is still accepting donations of items and gift cards from area businesses to give as prizes. Also, parents of juniors are asked to sign up as volunteers for the event. To volunteer or make a donation, contact Mel Davis at 319-560-9911 or MelissaAnneD@gmail.com    ...

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Viking infielder Tanner Davis signs with Mount Mercy

Mount Mercy baseball coach Jack Dahm traveled to Vinton on Wednesday to welcome Vinton-Shellsburg senior baseball player Tanner Davis into his program. Davis, a senior, will play infield (shortstop, second or third base) for the Mustangs, who are expanding their program. In addition to a new field that is covered completed with artificial turf, the Mount Mercy program will be adding a JV team. Coach Dahm said he is impressed with Tanner’s passion for the game, his work ethic and his defensive skills. Tanner, whose parents and younger siblings joined him as he signed with Mount Mercy, said he...

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‘The Dark Side:’ Local teacher to lead only team of blind students in FIRST Robotics competition

Editor’s Note: Sara Larkin of Vinton has organized the first team of blind and visually impaired students to compete in this weekend’s First Robotics competition at the UNI-Dome this weekend. We asked Ms. Larkin to share more about the team and its story.  IT TAKES A VILLAGE! The Iowa Braille School will be competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls this week March 22-25. It all started when Sara Larkin, math consultant for the school, received the Iowa STEM Scale-Up grant and Jennifer Bliss, STEM consultant for the school, received a rookie grant to...

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VS speech students to perform Division 1 routines at Palace, Sunday

The Vinton-Shellsburg High School speech team is pleased to present its 2016-2017 Speech Showcase this Sunday, March 26 at the Palace Theatre. The event will begin at 2 pm. Several State Division I group and individual performances will be presented, including the All-State One Act entitled I and You, featuring David Steele and Hannah Haisman, supported by Samuel Schmidt, Rhianna Turner, and Mady Rule. Other performers include Sarah Schminke, Gracie Horst, Allissa Hendryx, Olivia Coder, Brittany Grendler, Lindsey Miller, Baylee Bruce, and Jamie Thompson. This event is free and open to the public, and includes Free Popcorn!  Please join us for an entertaining...

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Iowans mourn death of firefighter who brought unique style to Flaughless 5K events

Friends and relatives from Vinton, as well as the rest of Iowa, are mourning the sudden death of an Ames firefighter who brought one of the most creative costumes to the annual Flaughless 5K. Steve Buser was found unresponsive after a workout at the end of his shift at the Ames fire station on Friday. A few months ago, he participated in the Fifth and Final Flaughless 5K, wearing the costume he had worn for most of the events: His firefighter’s helmet, a Flaughless 5K t-shirt and kilts. Buser’s widow, Angie, is a niece of Dr. Brian Meeker and cousin of Georgia (Meeker) Sysouchanh. “Angie and Steve participated in the race each year,” says Georgia, who organized the Flaughless 5K events. For the last few years, Steve loved to wear his fireman’s helmet and kilt — designed with a pattern created specifically for firefighters. “Although they didn’t know Dan Flaugh personally, they came to support the cause and to support me and my family,” says Sysouchanh. “We’re a tight-knit group and rally around and support one another. My extended family was also impacted by suicide when my dad’s brother, Steven Meeker, father to my cousins Angie (Meeker) Buser, Mindy Meeker, and Stori (Meeker) Thompson) took his own life during the farm crisis in the 80s, before I was born.” Everyone who knew Steve is completely heartbroken by his death,...

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ACT 1 plans auditions for ‘Burnt Part Boys,” March 26, 28

ACT I of Benton County will be holding auditions for the musical The Burnt Part Boys on Sunday March 26th from 4:00-6:00 PM and on Tuesday March 28th from 6:30-8:00 PM at the ACT I Center in Vinton (the south part of the old West school building; use the west door).  The main cast includes (4) teenage boys and (1) teenage girl. Additionally, (4) adult men are needed for secondary roles, and up to (8) additional adults/older teenagers could be cast for a supporting male ensemble. All roles require singing and acting. The Burnt Part Boys takes place in West Virginia and is set in a small coal mining community. The story concerns the five teenagers, four of whom lost their fathers in a mining accident ten years earlier. The five climb the mountainside to the mine where their fathers and eight other miners died. The show is a mix of comedy and drama, set to a lively and tuneful Bluegrass score giving the show a distinctive Appalachian flavor. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin the week of April 10th, with performances tentatively scheduled for June 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th at 7PM and June 11th and 18th at 2PM. Any questions can be directed to Monica Funk at mfunk@pointbuilders.com or...

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Would, you, could you on two wheels? A unique invitation from VORC

The members of VORC (Vinton Off-Road Cyclists) invite everyone to come try out a fat bike on the miniature course they plan to set up outside the Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School (across the street from the Skate Center, where most of the Benton County Health Fair booths will be set up) from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 1. Bikes and helmets will be available so riders can learn what to expect if they try to ride the new trails VORC members and volunteers are creating in the hills near Riverside Park. The trails include teeter-totters and narrow rails...

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Viking Smith to play in Eastern Iowa All-Star Game March 22

A week after leading the WaMac West team to victory in the annual Senior Shootout, Cole Smith will represent the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikings in the annual Eastern Iowa All-Star Game on March 22nd at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The event is a girls/boys double-header with the girls tipping at 6 pm and the boys following about 7:30 The event will also feature a 3-pt shootout during halftime of the girls game and we will also have a jamfest at the half of the boys game. The game will be televised on KCRG TV 9.2. The doors will open to the public at 5:30 pm. During the WaMac Senior Shootout, Smith scored 21 in the West’s 91-91 win over the East team last Saturday in Van Horne. Boys Roster: North (White Uniforms) Name Height Position School Joe Smoldt 6’1″ G   Gladbrook-Reinbeck 10 Ethan Wyant  6’0″ G  Jesup Lowden Rockweiler 6’3″ G  Decorah Tristen Kautman 6’0″ G  MFL Mar-Mac 2 Cole Smith 6’4″ G Vinton-Shellsburg Max Techau 6’7″ F  Cedar Rapids Xavier 50 Austin Phyfe  6’9″  F  Waverly-Shell Rock 11 Connor Duax  6’5″ G  Dubuque Hempstead 2 Drake Brewster  6’6″  F  Cedar Rapids Kennedy 21 Max Smith-Drahos 6’1″ G  Cedar Rapids Prairie   South (Dark Uniforms) Name Height Position School 2 Devontae Lane  6’2″ G   Iowa City West 10 Ray Miller 6’0″ G  Davenport Central 12 Niko Gosnell  6’7″ F  Lone Tree 15 Dakota Sonkensen  6’3″ G  Camanche 23 Abe Kinrade 6’8″ F  Maquoketa 23 Cooper Kabela  6’5″ F  West Branch 24 Austin Ash 6’2″ G  Mt. Vernon 30 Connor McCaffery 6’5″ G  Iowa City West 33 Bailey Basala 6’6″ G  North Scott 42 Seth Moeller 6’4″ G  Prince of...

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