Author: Dean Close

The meaning of the famous photo that never was, but one day may be

I have bad news for my fellow space-exploration lovers: That beautiful photo you saw this week of the Juno space probe approaching Jupiter is fake. Really. No, I am not one of those who believe that the moon landing was fake in 1969. I am sure that Juno — complete with its LEGO figurines of Jupiter, Juno and Galileo — is indeed circling the biggest planet in our solar system. But the photo of Juno with Jupiter is fake. Actually, it’s not a photo; it’s an image of the planet and probe painted by an artist for the purpose of publicizing the arrival for NASA. Juno does have a camera, but its images are not like those iconic ones we saw of other planets (especially Neptune) taken by Voyager 2 a generation ago. The real photos taken with the Juno camera show Jupiter in the distance, with its four moons circling the planet. The video that NASA released is actually a composite of countless still photos of the planet and its moons. But you wouldn’t know that by reading news reports. Every major news source I have read, along with the science sites that focus on such stories, are posting artist depictions of Juno and Jupiter and saying “This is Juno approaching Jupiter.” But, it’s not. NASA says the probe will soon start sending up-close photos of the big...

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Forget the ‘sports physical?’

Remember the olds “sports physical”? Here’s a better idea. Use the expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act to take advantage of your insurance plan’s “health maintenance exam,” AND fulfill the requirement for your student to participate in sports as well. The Affordable Care Act required insurance companies to provide patients with a health maintenance exam (or yearly physical) without member cost share, such as copays, deductibles or coinsurance. Most plans provide for the free health maintenance exam but check with your insurance company to be certain. What’s different about a health maintenance exam vs. a “sports physical”? A sports physical only checks to make sure a student is ready for physical activity. A health maintenance exam is more thorough and intended to be prevent health problems before they occur. A health maintenance exam will include a health history review, lifestyle risk factors, and an exam of all major body systems. This is a great opportunity to teach your young students to develop a relationship with a health care provider to maintain good health, not just respond when illness or injury strikes. To schedule a health maintenance exam (also known as a yearly physical or “wellness exam,” call your local Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinic in Vinton, Atkins, Urbana or Van Horne. Submitted by Virginia Gay...

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Online safety tips for parents of teens

As adults we know our kids don’t always exercise great judgment. When bad judgement is on display through social media the damage is multiplied and shared with the entire world. Worse yet, there are creepy people who actively look for kids to be “friends” with. Keeping up with all the new social media sites, their dangers and privacy settings sometimes feels like an impossible task. But here are some simple fixes to help keep your kids safer on the most popular sites. Instagram: switch on “Private Account” in “options” to prevent strangers from viewing your kids’ photos. Snapchat: These messages are supposed to self-destruct, but more than one young person’s compromising thoughts or photos have shown up all over the web. Keep unkown people from contacting your children by restricting “Who Can Contact Me” to “My Friends” and be sure to block strangers. Omegle: an “anonymous” video-chatting service that isn’t at all anonymous if connected to Facebook. The recommendation is not to allow it. Facebook: As for Facebook the list of potential privacy problems is vast, but a few simple steps like blocking who can see your information can help. Click on the link Facebook Privacy for basic privacy instructions and ideas. This list was adapted from Wired Magazine, July 2016 Submitted by Virginia Gay...

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Benton County Celebrates 90% Alcohol Compliance Rating

The Benton County Above the Influence Coalition, the Area Substance Abuse Council, and the Benton County Sheriff’s Department collaborated to complete alcohol compliance checks for Benton County in February of this year. Benton County businesses had a 90% compliance rate, a respectable rate, although it remains the same as the rate in the spring of 2014. Alcohol compliance checks are a strategy used to confirm that businesses are checking IDs and refusing sales to minors. This strategy has been identified as necessary due to youth within the county reporting that alcohol can be easy to attain. Through these efforts steps are taken to ensure that retail access is not an avenue used by underage individuals to attain alcohol in our county. Deputy Dave Upah has assisted with these checks since June 2012, partnering with various youth to complete the task. The Benton County Above the Influence Coalition and the Area Substance Abuse Council would like to congratulate the businesses that passed compliance checks in February 2016, including: Blairstown Quick Stop (Blairstown), Casey’s General Stores (Belle Plaine, Urbana, and Vinton), D.J. C-Stores (Atkins, Norway, and Van Horne), Fareway Stores (Vinton), Fast Stop (Vinton), Go America (Urbana), Grieder’s Beverage Depot (Belle Plaine), John’s Qwik Stop (Vinton), Newhall First Stop (Newhall), Roy’s Foodland (Shellsburg), Shellsburg Quick Stop (Shellsburg), and Zip Mart (Belle Plaine). These businesses continue to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring...

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Darlene Elizabeth Hartwell

Darlene Elizabeth Hartwell was born on August 17, 1941 in Livermore, California to Leo and Florence (Evans) Schoonover. She grew up and attended school in different places throughout California, Colorado and Iowa until her family settled in Vinton, Iowa where she graduated from high school. After graduation she worked in the NASA Space Program at Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa while pursuing her Associates Degree from Coe College. On August 17, 1969 she married her soul mate, Rev. Tom Hartwell and they began their life and ministry together. They served the Lord in traveling evangelistic work for many years throughout the Midwest and pastored congregations in Indiana, Idaho, Montana and Minnesota, including Slayton from 1991-1998 when they moved to Minneapolis. She started working as a production planner for Covidian until she retired in 2011. In 2013 she was diagnosed with cancer and fought a courageous battle until she passed away July 2, 2016 at the age of 74. Her faith, courage and ever-present smile brought joy to everyone who knew her. Darlene was a woman of many of talents and enjoyed art, cooking, sewing and flower gardening. She most enjoyed spending time with her family, especially seven cherished grandchildren. Survivors include her husband, Reverend Tom Hartwell of Minneapolis, MN; three children and their spouses, Nate (Patricia) Hartwell of Ramsey, MN; Heidi (Scott) Winter of Slayton, MN; Masa...

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Free Christian Concert!

Be sure to mark your calendar for a FREE concert with a performance by Zachary Freedom sponsored by Blessed Hope Church. There will be free refreshments and children’s activities, everyone is invited to attend. JULY 29TH @ 6:30PM at Riverside Park.  ...

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Vikings split with Benton, improve to 16-11

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikings baseball team is 16-11 and hoping to keep improving as they seek to return to the State Tournament. Tyler Rippel, who pitched for the Vikes at State last year, held Benton Community scoreless in the first of two games on Monday. The Vikings won 9-0, as Rippel allowed four hits and three walks in pitching all seven innings. He struck out seven batters. Scottie Wirth’s two-run double gave the Vikings the lead for good in the second inning. Nathan Struve went 3-for-3 , with two runs scored and two RBI. The Vikings had 11 hits in the game. The nightcap included several errors by both teams, and only a total of five earned runs in a 7-4 Bobcat win. Viking pitchers also allowed 10 bases on balls. The Vikings host Western Dubuque tonight. New artificial turf awaits in Independence Monday also was a big night for one of the Vikings’ nearby rivals. Independence held a dedication ceremony for its new artificial field turf baseball field. The Vikings will play on that surface for the first time July 8. While the Vikings have not encountered field turf on any other high school field, they have played on it at Waverly-Shell Rock, which uses the Wartburg baseball field for its home games. Those familiar with the field turf says the...

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Thirty four high school students from across Iowa traveled to Washington, D.C.

Thirty four high school students from across Iowa traveled to Washington, D.C. on June 10-16 to join more than 1,600 other students from around the nation for the 2016 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has been giving high school students the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C. for over 50 years. “The Youth Tour is the highlight of the summer for many students from Iowa, and we’re proud to send 34 of our best and brightest to Washington, D.C. this year to participate,” said Shelly York, Iowa Youth Tour Director. “These students gained a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and made connections with others from across the country that will last a lifetime.” Jamie Thompson and Kirstie Martin, represented and were sponsored by East-Central Iowa REC for the 2016 Youth Tour trip to D.C.Jamie attends Vinton-Shellsburg High School and is the daughter of Julie Barnes of Palo and Kirstie is an Independence High School junior and the daughter of Curt and Deb Martin of Independence. Students on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour participated in leadership training, engaged in one-on-one conversations with elected officials, jumpstarted their national peer network, learned about electric cooperatives and toured Washington, D.C. The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for the past 50 years. Students apply and are selected for this program by their local...

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Vinton Parks & Recreation Department Announces Nature Trail Project

Summer weather is here and that means that people of all ages are itching to get outside! On a quest to deliver fresh outdoor recreational opportunities to the community, the Vinton Parks & Recreation Department is in the process of developing a multi-use nature trail system that will utilize approximately fifty acres of timbered city property just north of the sledding hill at Riverside Park. This network of trails will permit residents to experience the outdoors, connect with nature and maintain an active lifestyle right here within city limits. The final project will eventually be six to eight miles of looped trails ideal for walking, running, mountain biking, hiking and cross country skiing. The trail system will also provide access to beach areas along our stretch of the Cedar River as well as a public hike-in camping area. A wider, relatively flat 2.7 mile green loop ideal for walking, trail running or biking is expected to be fully complete and ready for use by late July. In an effort to assure that sustainable, professional-grade soft trails are developed, the Vinton Parks & Recreation Department has partnered with the Linn Area Mountain Biking Association (LAMBA) to learn from their trail building expertise. LAMBA is the backbone behind many successful and highly utilized trail projects in the Cedar Rapids/North Liberty area including Beverly Park, Sac & Fox Trail, Squaw Creek and...

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4th Street Diner News

4th Street Diner HACAP North Benton Center 202 East Fourth St Vinton, IA 52349 319-472-4761 Serving Buffet from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Sunday thru Friday. Everyone is WELCOME! Suggested contribution for individuals 60 years old or older, and their accompanying spouse (regardless of age) is $3.25 for the meal. Individuals who are not yet 60 are WELCOME but need to pay $4.25 directly to the site manager for their meal. If you are just coming for the activity, the suggested contribution is $1.00. Carryout meals are available. Hot Home Delivered Meals are available Sunday thru Friday in Vinton. The suggested contribution is $3.75/meal if you are 60 or older. For those under age 60, the required contribution is $4.50/meal. Please call by 10:00 AM daily to cancel or add a Home Delivered Meal. FREE SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM AVAILABLE DAILY FOR EVERYONE WHO EATS A MEAL AT THE SITE DURING MEAL SERVICE TIMES. For more information about services, please call 319-472-4761, or to reserve a table for groups of three or more. We also have nutritious frozen meals and liquid supplements; delivery is available throughout Benton County. All contributions are used toward the continued operations of the meal site. Each month the 4th St Diner has a birthday celebration on the second Tuesday. Anyone having a birthday for that particular month is encouraged to make a reservation for...

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Little Vikes Drama Company to present ‘Over the Moon’ next weekend

Little Vikes Drama Company is gearing up for final rehearsals next week of their production,Over the Moon. Thirty-seven campers, age 5 – 12 are totally jazzed to share their interpretation of this fairytale musical written by best-selling author Jodi Picoult. This show presents a twist on such famous classics as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, and Shrek. Luna, the Moon (Julia Johnson), comes down to earth to help humans find love. Along the way she meets the Hairy Godmother (Levi Lutz), Prince Jack (Destin Solberg), Felicity (Molly Haisman), Hugo the Giant (Tucker Mensen), the Three Bears (Levi Mensen, Annabelle Newton, Olivia McDaniel), and the evil Queen Ferocia (Maya Lapan-Islas) and her equally nasty daughters Gertrude (Addy Chvala and Sadie Burke). Other characters include Newsgirls (Olivia Primrose, Patience Kies), Johnny Nova (Alex Funk), Jean-Claude (Jacoby Johnson), Pinocchio (Brady Whelan), Humpty Dumpty (Ali Lutz), the Talking Trees (Kalie Burke, Brylee Bruce, Zena Aragon, Rebekah Lindauer), Cinderella (Aspen Ahrenholz), Snow White (Sophia Vasquez), Grumpy (Will McKenna), Sneezy (Alliana Banks), Sleeping Beauty (McKenna Kingsbury), Goldilocks (Mieke Ternus), Rapunzel (Athena Aragon), Old Woman in the Shoe (Gracie Whelan), Lil Red in the Hood (Amaia Sloop), the Three Blind Mice (Gracyn Kingsbury, Wren Ahrenholz, Brynn Wilden), the Three Pigs (Luke Wilden, Aiden Andersen, Will Primrose) and Blitzer the Big Bad Wolf (Jackson McLaughlin). Over the Moon is directed by Marcy Horst, with music direction...

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VSHS to change 1:1 computer roll-out for 2016-17 school year

The Vinton-Shellsburg High School roll-out of computers will be different this year. All registered students entering grades 9-12 at VSHS will continue to get a computer for the 2016-17 school year. Based on feedback from the past three years we have changed HOW they will be getting them. Please see the schedule below and contact Kim Meyer with additional questions. 9th Grade Students & Students New to District On Thursday, August 18, at 1:00pm OR 5:30pm parents and students will be asked to attend a presentation (about 30 min) in the VSHS Auditorium where both parents and students will learn about the 1:1 Initiative (proper care, policies, and procedures) and sign all necessary paperwork before receiving their computer, bag, and accessories. Students will receive their computers at this time and will set up their machines before the first day of school. Returning Students Grades 10-12 Due to parental and community feedback, we adjusted when and how returning students will receive their computers. We feel it is necessary to review information with both students and families just like we review other agreements/information on an annual basis. We will try a “video approach” this year where I will send out the informational video in early August. Parents will sign a waiver when they come with their student(s) to check out their laptops stating they watched and agree to the information in...

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