Author: Dean Close

5 generations gather to celebrate with Wanda Sellers

Wanda Sellers has an opportunity that few people can enjoy: Seeing her great-great grandchildren. And she’s lived long enough to see the fifth generation include seveng great-grandchildren, from one month old to age 7. The family recently gathered for a family photo. All but two of her descendants were able to join the family for the photo. Wanda’s great-granddaughter, Jessica Good, says her children also have another great-great grandparent still living and her family plans a different five-generation photo for next...

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Union’s Alpers, Brehm receive All-State recognition

Two Union seniors who played most of the team’s downs on both offense and defense have received All-State recognition from the Iowa Newspaper Association. Koby Alpers was named to the Class 2A 1st team; Carter Brehm the Class 2A 2nd team. Alpers scored 21 TDs for the Knights, 11 on pass receptions and 10 rushing. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry and 19 yards per catch. He caught 43 passes this season for 813 yards. Alpers was also the team’s second-leading tackler “Koby is a playmaker, a mentally- and physically-tough teammate who fights through injuries time and time again to contribute,” says Coach Joe Hadachek. “He is versatile as a wide receiver, wildcat quarterback, reverse runner, defensive back, and punt returner.” Brehm played right tackle and nose guard for the Knights this season, after moving from center. “Carter’s heart is as big as his body,” says Hadachek.  “He is a leader who takes care of the underclassmen without being asked. He made the move as a team player from center to right tackle out of team need.  He played both ways for us, doubling as a nose guard and getting double-teamed the majority of the time.” Alpers, Brehm and the rest of the Knights and their families and fans will gather at the school Sunday, Dec. 3, for their Reward and Recognition Ceremony in the UHS...

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Occupant of home where stolen items were recovered faces 1st degree theft charges

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has arrested one suspect after investigating a string of robberies that took place throughout Benton County this summer. Scott Lewis, 31 of 5923 16th Avenue, was arrested on a warrant for first degree theft. According to a criminal complaint dated Nov. 20, the Sheriff’s Office received a report on Aug. 28, of a stolen 1980 Honda three-wheeler from a residence on Jones Street in Shellsburg. A deputy observed that Honda at the address listed above on Sept. 4, along with many other stolen items. Because the value of the stolen property is in excess of $10,000,...

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Despite challenges, Kersten light display set to light up Thanksgiving night

Squirrels and/or mice chewing light strings and scratching the paint from decorations. A display that fell on her, requiring staples to close a head wound. Wind and other elements wearing on displays that are nearly 50 years old. Those are just a few of the challenges Heidi Kersten has been facing for the past several years, as she, with the help of a few friends, attempts to keep going the famous light display her father, Larry started around 1965. Despite the challenges, including the wind storm of 2011, Heidi has continued to set up the show pretty much the...

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Sweet Cakes by Kelly: New bakery opens on K Avenue

Sweet-toothed area residents will be happy to learn that a former health food store is now a bakery. Sweet Cakes by Kelly opened last Friday, in time for the Holiday Open House. Kelly Fuchs used to run a similar business in Dysart, and is now baking cakes, cookies and other treats at 208 N K Avenue, next to Tootsie’s Ice Cream and More. The Healthy Hut was formerly in the building. Along with the bakery, Fuchs is also sharing space with some craft and antique vendors. Hours are 7-5 Tuesday through Friday and 7-noon on Saturdays. A grand opening is set for Saturday, Dec. 2. See the business Facebook page...

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Dictionary Day! Tilford 3rd graders receive donation from Vinton Kiwanis Club

Third grade students in Tilford Elementary laughed together, as they read a book that is not normally considered to be funny: A dictionary. This happens about this time every year, as the Vinton Kiwanis Club members distribute dictionaries to the students. Tuesday was Dictionary Day at Tilford, where Vinton Kiwanis Club President Christine Kelchen and member Lexa Speidel visited the school to hand out the dictionaries. The Kiwanis members pointed out several of the unique features in the books, including information about Iowa and other states, the list of U.S. Presidents, a page teaching how to express the letters...

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Buddy Bench: Den 3 Scouts donate to Tilford

The members of Pack 47, Den 3 Cub Scouts shared a special gift with their classmates at Tilford Elementary on Tuesday: A Buddy Bench. Working with parents and Scout leaders, the youngsters helped assemble, sand and finish the bench, which soon will find its place near the Tilford playground. The project accomplished several goals, says Den 3 leader and Scout mom Chelsea Kettler. First, it provides the Buddy Bench, which encourages students in need of a friend to find one. Students who see another child sitting alone on the bench are encouraged to sit with them, or encourage that...

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Scout camp: Outdoor cooking, life lessons and team-building

Dutch apple pie. (Yes, I typically start with desert first.) Smoked turkey. Ham. Cheesy potatoes. Corn casserole. Squash. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Biscuits. Pumpkin and pecan pie. Sounds like the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and it is. But on Saturday, at the Izaak Walton League, the Troop 47 Boy Scouts served it with a unique twist: All of their Thanksigiving meal was made outside. “Anything you can cook in the kitchen, you can cook at camp,” explains Jay Lash, a long-time Scout leader and current Troop 47 committee chairman. Dan Hill, the Troop 47 Scoutmaster agrees, but explains that the...

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Quilts of Valor: Four Vinton Lutheran Home residents receive gift of thanks for military service

“They don’t want to brag,” said Elayne Gassett, one of the area Quilt of Valor leaders, of the three veterans who received a quilt Saturday at the Vinton Lutheran Home. But Robert Arnold disagreed. “I do want to brag,” said Arnold, who served on a PT boat in the Pacific, where a sailor from another boat observed Arnold and his crew in a firefight with Japanese vessels, and then drew the battle with colored pencils. That drawing was on display on Saturday, along with a copy of the PT boat’s insignia, which Arnold also brought home. Arnold’s son Steve,...

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Sole Sisters: VS running club for 5th grade girls ends fall season with Sunday fun run

For much of the school year, the 26 members of the 5th grade Vinton-Shellsburg Sole Sisters have been meeting with teachers Sarah Mathis and Lindsey Otto, learning about fitness, friendship and life skills. The group has been meeting, and running, for several weeks, and wrapped up its fall session with a fun run on Sunday. The girls, along with the teachers, their older “sisters,” which included relatives and friends, and some other runners and walkers, for a 2K walk/run. Before beginning the race, they painted faces and hair, and posed for a group photo. This is the third year...

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From Viking to Red Tail: Cole Overton signs with Hawkeye track team

At the end of a very successful 2017, Vinton-Shellsburg senior Cole Overton is looking forward to continuing his athletic career in 2018, first in his final year of high school and then at the next level. Overton, who set a school record of 54 feet, four inches in the shot put during the 2017 track season, and later qualified for the State Track Meet by winning the District qualifying event, has signed with Hawkeye Community College. He plans to be part of the Red Tails throwing team, participating in shot put and discus. “I have had a couple visits...

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Library Gingerbread House Contest to return this year

Virginia Holsten and the rest of the Vinton Public Library staff are again inviting area residents to compete in the gingerbread house contest. Contestants can drop off their houses between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. The houses will remain on display in the library through Dec. 18-22. Judging takes place Dec. 9. The houses must be completely edible. Only one entry per person or group. Entry forms are available at the...

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