Author: Dean Close

ACT 1 ‘family’ comes together in moving musical about a girl looking for one

Whether a theater professor would call it “irony,” “paradox,” or something else, it was inspiring to see so many families represented on the ACT 1 stage, beautifully (and ironically or paradoxically) telling us the story of an orphan. On Sunday, I did what I don’t do nearly enough concerning community events. I left my camera, phone, and even my reading glasses in the car, and went to our local community theatre group’s final show of the famous musical, just to watch, and enjoy it. I had sat through most of one dress rehearsal, and more than half of another one, thoroughly enjoying it. I even brought a couple granddaughters to one rehearsal. But focusing on taking photos, with my eyes on the small area bordered by the rectangular view-finder, makes it hard to see, hear – and most importantly, feel – what’s happening on the entire stage. What was happening is that as many as 18 different families came together, sharing the acting, singing and dancing talents of children, parents and grandparents, to make a show that thrilled audiences and created a lifetime of memories for the many people who worked for so long, so hard to make the show so good. From the very first soothing notes of “Tomorrow” from John Fuoto’s trumpet, to the final exclamation of “Sandy,” ACT1’s “Annie” was a melodious, inspiring gem that made...

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One dead, two injured in semi-garbage truck accident on Highway 150

The driver of a garbage truck was killed and his two others injured in a Tuesday morning accident involving the garbage truck and a semi on Highway 150, at the intersection of 24th Avenue Drive, four miles north of Vinton. Heavy fog affected visibility; the garbage truck apparently turned left in front of the semi, which was hauling hay grinding equipment. The Iowa State Patrol, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office as well as local ambulance services responded. The intersection will be closed much of the morning, as the ISP continues its investigation and a local HAZMAT team removes diesel fuel.   As of 2:00 p.m. the road remains...

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To The Editor: Iowa law does require headlights: Did you use yours in the fog?

By Tressa Walton, Vinton Did you turn your lights on this morning? Did you know that IT IS a state law that you need to have your headlights on in fog, sleet, snow, or rain? I was in shock this morning at the number of drivers who did not have their lights on. In this day and age, most car’s lights automatically come on but many of them have sensors and if it is not dark enough, they don’t come on. There should be a light on the dashboard of your car that does tell you if your lights are on or not. Regardless of it being a law, it should be a common courtesy to other drivers and yourself to turn your lights on. Please value your life and the lives of your passengers so that cars can see you coming when they are deciding to pull out at intersections. A simple flip of the switch can prevent a lot of tragedy. Below is the text of Iowa’s law: 321.384 When lighted lamps required. 1. Every motor vehicle upon a highway within the state, at any time from sunset to sunrise, and at such other times when conditions such as fog, snow, sleet, or rain provide insufficient lighting to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of five hundred feet ahead, shall display...

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One dead, two injured in semi-garbage truck accident on Highway 150

One man died and two others  were injured in a Tuesday morning accident involving a garbage truck and semi on Highway 150, at the intersection of 24th Avenue Drive, four miles north of Vinton. Heavy fog affected visibility; the garbage truck apparently turned left in front of the semi, which was hauling hay grinding equipment. Witnesses say three men in the garbage truck were taken by ambulance to a hospital, some with life-threatening injuries. The Iowa State Patrol, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office as well as local ambulance services are on the scene. Because of the large vehicles blocking...

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Betterton, patients donate to Kameron Roberts family

The family of Kameron Roberts continues to feel the support of the local community, as Kameron fights cancer. The latest donation came from Betterton Chiropractic and its patients. Matt Betterton presented a check to Kameron and his parents, Tyler and Tara, last week. Patients had a chance to donate during Khiropractic for Kameron Week, leaving donations in a box decorated with his name. “We are beyond overwhelmed with how much everyone has come together for us,” says the family. See more about Kameron’s journey...

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A moment to wave, a lifetime to remember…

Many of the thousands of Iowa Hawkeye fans could only imagine, as they looked up, at the end of the first quarter, waving at the tiny faces and hands across the street and several floors above, what life must be like right now for those tiny people looking down, waving back. Me, I didn’t have to imagine. I’ve been there. On Saturday, continuing what ESPN is already calling “college football’s newest cool tradition,” the second round of waving at the patients looking down from the top two floors of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital took place on Saturday, when Iowa...

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Council member Maynard files papers for Vinton mayor’s race

Vinton Council member Max “Bud” Maynard became the third man to file an election petition for the mayoral election in the Nov. 7 city election. A life-long Vinton resident, Maynard had served on the council for 8 years, and stepped down about  a year before the 2015 elections, saying during the 2015 campaign that he chose to step down so he could have some time to look at city issues from the outside. Maynard, a project manager for Garling Construction of Belle Plaine/Cedar Rapids,  challenged incumbent John Watson in 2015, losing by a margin of 37 votes, 466-429. In May of this year, Mayor Watson appointed Maynard to fill the vacancy left when Zach Parmater resigned from the council in May, after Parmater moved outside of the 3rd Ward. Watson has said he will not run for mayor this year, but is considering running for City Council. Rich Hainstock and Dean Haack have also filed papers for the mayoral race. The deadline for filing for the Nov. 7 election is 5 p.m. Thursday. Offices up for election this year, in additon to the Mayor’s seat, are: The At-large position now held by Brian Parr,  the 1st Ward seat held by Ron Hessenius, and the 3rd Ward seat held by Maynard. So far, the only candidates to file for city council seats are at-large candidates are Parr and Gary...

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Live to Ride the VanWey: Hundreds show love for local cancer patient

Celebration Park was filled on Saturday with motorcycles and motorcyclists who had gathered to show their love and support for Scott and Becky VanWey, and to raise money for him with hours of music, an auction, and dinner that followed the ride. Riders returned to the park Saturday afternoon, after pulling out at 10 a.m. Scott stood to greet them, and they responded with gestures, a little burned rubber, handshakes and hugs. “They love you, Scott. I’m amazed. That’s a lot of love,” said one of the attendees, as Scott finished greeting the riders. To donate to Scott via...

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FOTSI shoe drive continues

FOTSI is once again hosting a shoe drive to help the animals in our care! I would appreciate it if you would publish the press release below, on both your Facebook page and website! Thank you! Friends of the Shelter, Inc. is once again conducting a shoe collection drive now-October15 to raise funds to offset vet expenses for the animals in our care. FOTSI will earn funds based on the number of pairs collected as Funds2Orgs will purchase all of the donated goods.  Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used or new shoes at our downtown adoption center (211 West 4th Street-Vinton) or Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids. You can also email VintonShelter@yahoo.com to coordinate a drop off time.  All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of microenterprise partners in developing nations.  Funds2Orgs helps impoverished people start, maintain and grow businesses in countries such as Haiti, Honduras and other nations in Central America and Africa. Proceeds from the shoe sales are used to feed, clothe and house their families.   “Our first shoe drive in 2015 was such a success, that we can’t wait to do it again!,” said Taylor and Peyton Frank, FOTSI volunteers. “We’re always looking for creative ways to raise money for the animals, but this fundraiser allows us to help people at the same time. It’s truly a win-win.”   FOTSI would like to extend a thank you to Stacy Murphy at...

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Union wins big, again; defeats Oelwein, 58-0

The Union Knights went on the road to their second district game in 2A D4 tonight and with a strong defense and explosive offense produced a 44-0 halftime lead while putting up 440 yards in offense. With the entire second half played under a the continuous clock of the “Mercy Rule,” Union scored two more TDs for a 58-0 final tally. The Union defense had held Oelwein to 37 total yards in 27 attempts in the first half. Union QB Troy Hanus had another spectacular night of efficiency where he was 11 of 14 for 246 yds and 4...

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QU Wedding: Tilford 1st graders continue unique tradition

Quickly and quietly, a quartet of Tilford Elementary 1st Grade classes celebrated the unique union of the letters Q and U on Friday, with the traditional QU Wedding. Tilford Principal Jim Murray presided over one service, in which the students of Mrs. Mathis and Mrs. McLaughlin participated. In a separate ceremony in the lunch room, Vinton Mayor John Watson presided over a similar celebration for the students of Mrs. Neblung and Mrs. Vasquez. Each class had cupcakes; Susan Meyer also made a special “QU” cake for Mrs. Mathis’ and Mrs. McLaughlin’s students. The students, joined by teachers and some parents, also enjoyed many wedding dance favorites, including “YMCA,” “The Chicken Dance,” “Macarena,” and “Splish, Splash.” See more photos...

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Iowa National Guard soldiers begin overseas assisgnment; largest deployment since 2010

Vinton residents and airport enthusiasts often sen the National Guard helicopters using the Vinton airport (VTI, in aviation terminology) for practice landings and other training exercises. Now, the National Guard has announced that nearly 400 soldiers from several units, including more than 100 from the Waterloo center, will be deployed overseas. Test pilots are among those being deployed. Among those deployed are Shane Lutgen of rural Garrison, who has previously served overseas. Below is information from a news release: The 248th ASB is comprised of aircraft maintainers, test pilots, and logistical support personnel. A total of approximately 500 Army...

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