Author: Dean Close

Final Vinton Lutheran Home Drive-Thru to raise funds for VPD K-9 unit

The popular Vinton Lutheran Home Drive-Thru will make one more appearance this year, as a fund-raiser for the Vinton Police Department’s K-9 project. The drive-thru will be open next Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Homemade burgers on a pretzel bun will be available for $6; vanilla or chocolate shakes will be $2. See photos of the drive-thru’s first day this season HERE....

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Public Health Dept. offers flood safety cautions

Benton County is ready to assist residents as they prepare for possible flooding.  “While we are more prepared for the 2016 flooding, personal health and safety remains a top priority” said Melissa Smith, Benton County Public Health Director. To help prevent injuries, Benton County Public Health reminds residents to: Avoid contact with flood water as much as possible.  Do not wade or swim through flood water as it may be contaminated by bacteria, chemicals or other pollutants.  If water is above your ankles, turn around and go another way; as little as 6 inches of water can sweep you off your feet. Do not drive in flooded areas. As little as 6 inches of water will cause loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float most vehicles. If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Flood water can make you and your family sick. Wash your hands with soap and clean water. Wash your hands often, especially before preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and after cleaning. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent sickness. In the event of a power outage keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A freezer...

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VS schools to continue as planned, despite flooding

 From the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District:  The excessive rain in the Cedar River basin and the associated flooding has been on many people’s minds over the last few days.  In talking to Emergency Management Director Scott Hanson, the river is not expected to be as high as originally projected, and there is optimism that neither the power plant or sewer system will be overwhelmed in Vinton. Based on what we know at this point, we will have school tomorrow with no delays.   Keith McGowan, Transportation Director, has been working with his drivers to establish routes that will avoid the Mt. Auburn and Highway 150 bridges and will use the Urbana/Shellsburg bridge.  Mr. McGowan anticipates that most rural pickup times will run as scheduled with only a few routes’ times fluctuating.   Please contact the Transportation Department at (319)472-3118.  Parents of rural high school drivers should always use the best judgment regarding their child’s driving skills and route. One of the best things we can do for the students is to keep them in the “normal” routine of school.  Thank you for your help to make this...

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Remembering 2008: Many in flood’s path recall steps they took during the last historic flood

“It seems like last week, not eight years ago.” Dean Studer was preparing to sandbag the Edward Jones office across, between the Vinton Fire Station and the Benton County Courthouse yesterday, as he did in June of 2008. That year, the water from the Cedar River rose just to his door, making him very glad that he had decided in 1999 to haul in several truckloads of dirt to elevate the new office he was building. In 2008, Studer had told me about the laughter he inspired as people watched all that dirt piling higher and higher between 2nd...

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Flood forecast: What 23.1 feet means; what areas will be most-affected

From The Benton County Emergency Management Office The City of Vinton and Benton County are working closely together to prepare for the impending flood water. Volunteers are being utilized to assist in preparations and other resources are being deployed or placed on standby in the event they are needed. The Cedar River flood stage at Vinton is 15 feet. The 2008 Flood reached a level of 24.7 feet. The updated river forecast from the National Weather Service at 3:00 p. m. on Friday, September 23, 2016 indicates a new anticipated river level of 23.1 feet. The Cedar River is expected to crest at Vinton approximately between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25, 2016, with a gradual decrease to below 17 feet at approximately 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Residents are encouraged to monitor the forecasts all weekend as these predictions may change depending on additional rainfall. In Vinton, affected areas may include but may not be limited to the following: Areas along or immediately north of E. 2nd Street between 2nd Avenue and 7th Ave, Area around the intersection of E. 3rd Street and 3rd Ave, Area north of W. 3rd St between G Ave and 1st Ave, Areas along W. 5th Street between H Ave and J Ave and H Ave between W. 4th St and W. 5th St. Sandbags are available to the general...

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City, County leaders working together on flood response

Friday morning began with nearly 30 city and county leaders crowded into the Benton County Supervisors meeting room, for an emergency discussion of how to respond to the impending flood and how to communicate important details to the public. Benton County Emergency Management Director Scott Hansen will prepare a press release shortly to cover some details. The most recent flood forecast remains at a crest of 22.1 feet, predicted for around midnight on Sunday. Hansen told the officials gathered this morning that another heavy rain like the one much of Benton County received last night could significantly add to the flood’s impact. Hansen’s release will include information about sand bags, the potential closing of the Highway 150 bridge that leads north out of Vinton, and other flood issues. Officials believe a Sunday morning closing of that bridge is likely, based on current flood forecasts. Area residents should be able to detour through County Home Road  to Urbana; the bridge south of Urbana was open in 2008 until the river level exceeded 23 feet. One positive note from Friday’s meeting is that with the Hesco barriers and other flood-resisting changes made since 2008, the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility should be able to continue to provide power. A blackout in Vinton was a major issue during the 2008...

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Upper Iowa University announces Summer 2016 Dean’s List

Upper Iowa University announces the Dean’s List for the 2016 Summer Term. To be honored, a student must have earned a minimum 3.50 grade point average for the semester and be enrolled as a full-time student. Among the honorees were: Blairstown, IA – Samuel Scheer, a Business Admin major Belle Plaine, IA – Nikki Lown, a Psychology major About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,800 students-nationally and internationally-at its Fayette campus, 25 U.S. education centers, as well as centers in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree programs. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit...

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Storm halts sandbagging, floods streets and downs trees

Mother Nature found yet another way to harass Vinton area residents, dumping  heavy rain with strong winds throughout the Benton County area on Thursday afternoon, as members of the VFD and VMEU staff and many volunteers were attempting to set up and fill the Hesco flood barriers. The storm blew through at around 5:30 p.m.; it also canceled the chili contest at the Vinton Farmers Market, as well as the live music that had been planned for the John’s Qwik Stop Grand Opening celebration, where band members and attendees scrambled to move the sound equipment and even the keg as...

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Flood forecast rises to 22 feet; VFD, VMEU begin protecting facilities

Members of the Vinton Fire Department have begun setting up and filling the Hesco sand-filled flood barriers around the fire station, and employees of VMEU are also taking steps to protect Vinton’s elecric utility from flood damage. The National Weather Service has revised its flood forecast up to 22.1 feet by Sunday night. The previous crest prediction was 19.6 by Monday morning. The predictions are reminders of the historic 24.7 feet flood of 2008, but also the flood scare of June 2013, when volunteers joined a sand-bagging effort but the river did not rise as predicted. Vinton City Manager...

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Carol M. “Kelly” Gould

BELLE PLAINE – Carol M. “Kelly” Gould, age 88 of Belle Plaine, passed away Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 at the Marengo Memorial Hospital. Memorial Service will be 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, Kloster Funeral Home, Marengo with Rev. Jim Davis officiating. Inurnment: Koszta Cemetery, rural Marengo with military honors. The family will receive friends after 9:30 a.m., Saturday until service time at the funeral home. Memorials may be contributed to the Marengo American Legion Post 76 or the charity of the donor’s choice . Kelly is survived by his wife, Joyce “Elaine” Gould of Cedar Rapids; a son, Benjamin (Cindy) of Appleton WI ; two daughters, Becky (Mike) Hite of Gresham, OR and Christine Carol Gould of Crooks, SD; six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Kelly was also the substitute father for Norma Gould’s children, Amy (Tony) Tomash and Lori Gould. He was preceded in death by a daughter. Carol Mervin Gould was born Feb. 15, 1928 in Honey Creek Township, near Koszta, Iowa. He was the son of Benjamin and Ladye Sloan Gould. He attended the Honey Creek School. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Kelly and Joyce Elaine Miner were married Dec 15, 1952. He farmed in the Vinton area for many years and did other farm work before that. Kelly was a member of the American Legion Post #76. Online condolences may...

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EMA Director: Pay attention to Cedar River flood forecast

With another round of heavy rain passing through the Cedar River basin in the counties north of Vinton, the river is expected to rise above flood stage early Saturday morning and crest at 19.6 feet on Monday. Benton County Emergency Management Director Scott Hansen advises Vinton area residents and those who live near the river to stay informed. “The message today is: Pay attention,” says Hansen. “The river will be coming up over the weekend. The forecast will change, and people need to watch the web site forecasts and the news. We will be getting information out as things change.” This warning is “worth paying attention to,” says Hansen. At 19.6 feet, the low-lying areas surrounding the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility will be under up to two feet of water, says Hansen. While many of the houses in that area were removed after the 2008 flood, there are still some residents and apartment buildings that would be affected. Click HERE to see the National Weather Service page that records and predicts Cedar River levels in...

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William F. “Bill” Tharp

VINTON – William F. “Bill” Tharp, 66, died Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at his home in rural Vinton. A Celebration of Bill’s Life will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 24, 2016, at Blessed Hope Church in Vinton with Rev. Matt Hantz officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, September 23, at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home, Vinton. Cremation will follow services, and committal services will be held at Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton, at a later date. Bill was born September 20, 1950, in Vinton, Iowa, the son of Lois Merle Vogt Tharp. He attended school in...

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