Author: Dean Close

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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‘Get Active, Get Local: Video shows family enjoying Vinton parks, restaurant

Vinton Unlimited summer intern Celia Turner worked with VU Director Melissa Schwann and the Vinton Parks and Recreation Department on a video showing the fun things to do for kids in Vinton, while their parents enjoy a quiet dinner at a local restaurant. The video is on Youtube, as well as is currently the featured video on the VU Facebook page. “I fell in love with making videos after I made an informational video about gravity in my 8th grade science class, starring my little sisters of course,” says Celia, a 2016 VS graduate. “Ever since then, I’ve probably...

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Council elections: Three candidates have filed, deadline is Sept. 21

With exactly one week to go before the Sept. 21 filing deadline for candidates, three candidates have filed papers for the Nov. 7 election. Incumbent Brian Parr has filed for the at-large seat he holds. Gary Garwood has also filed papers for that seat, according to City Clerk Cindy Michael. The only other candidate to submit a nominating petition is Rich Hainstock, who is running for Mayor. Long-time Mayor John Watson had previously announced he will not run again for Mayor, but said he has taken out papers and is considering a run for city council. Dean Haack announced that he has taken out papers to run for Mayor, and is currently collecting signatures. Up for election this year along with the mayoral seat at at-large position are the 1st Ward seat held by Ron Hessenius and the 3rd Ward seat held by Bud Maynard. See the election calendar for cities HERE....

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Why Do You Love Vinton? Residents share their thoughts in new VU video

By Melissa Schwan, VU As we go through the daily hustle and bustle, we may easily forget what a great community Vinton truly is. If you need a reminder, take 3 minutes to watch this great video prepared by Vinton Unlimited Summer Intern Celia Turner. Sometimes we almost become immune to certain things in the community because we see or experience them daily. Watching this video is a great reminder of what makes us so lucky to live or work in Vinton notes Melissa Schwan, Vinton Unlimited Director. “I fell in love with making videos after I made an...

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KidSight: Lions offer free eye screening for area children

It is that time of year again and the Lions are offering free vision screening to children ages 6 months to kindergarten. Since 2004 trained Vinton Lions have screened over 1,000 children for visual health, sharing special high-tech equipment with eight other clubs in the area. Lions raise funds to pay for the $10,000 cameras that capture images of a child’s eyes to see how light refracts through them The photos are sent electronically, to be evaluated by Department of Ophthalmology specialists at UI Children’s Hospital who determine the need for further follow-up by eye care professionals and send results to...

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Girls deliver Kindness Rocks to all Garrison homes

The girls who painted Kindness Rocks last month at the Garrison library spend a few hours delivering them on Sunday. Caroline Erickson, Renee Gram and Teeana Schulmeister (who came from Vinton to help) left the Garrison library early in the afternoon, pulling a little red wagon loaded with more than 160 rocks. The girls, along with a few others, had spent hours painting the stones and writing inspirational messages on each. Their goal was to create enough so they could deliver one to every home in Garrison. Librarian Angela Dague says she is proud of the girls for the work they did and for following through with the large project. Resident Tiffany Fritz received a rock that reads, “Make today so awesome that yesterday gets jealous.” “I thought it was pretty cool,” Fritz said. Others shared similar comments and words of thanks. “It was a very nice surprise to come home to,” says Lorri Floyd. “I found a nice little surprise gift on my doorstep,” wrote Brandy Fix, whose rock reads “You matter.” Many other residents responded to the girls, or their parents, with words of thanks, telling the girls they love the gift. While the Kindness Rocks were very popular among almost all Garrison residents who received them, the response was not quite unanimous. “One guy gave his rock back to the girls,” says Amanda Erickson, Caroline’s mom....

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Nearly a year after second-highest recorded flood, Cedar River level is down to 2.28 feet

The Cedar River level today measures 2.28 feet, according to the National Weather Service/ U.S. Geological Survey readings continually updated HERE. That’s nearly 20 feet below the 22.10 level at which the river crested just under a year ago, Sept. 25, 2016; that was the second-highest river level ever recorded, but about 3 feet lower than the record-setting devastation of the 2008 level or 24.7 feet. The low river level does not cause nearly as much concern to humans as a flood imposes, but there are some impacts on wildlife and water lovers. “The effect on our parks is minimal,”...

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AMVETS share large flag with area schools, still accepting donations

After making its debut at the first Vinton-Shellsburg home football game, the large AMVETS Post 218 flag made its first visit to another area school last Friday. AMVETS members and Commander Denny Miller unfolded the flag before Union’s varsity game vs. Monticello, helping the seniors from each team line up and unfurl the 40 x 25 foot, 38-pound flag. Miller says the Vinton AMVETS post became inspired to buy their own, after borrowing one from a Cedar Falls post a couple of years ago for the Nets for Vets basketball game in Vinton. That flag is so popular, said...

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Garrison’s Trimble to lead IFA

For the next year, the leader of the Iowa Firefighter’s Association will be long-time Garrison fireman Marv Trimble. At last week’s IFA convention in Forest City, Marv received the President’s gavel from another long-time Garrison fireman, Paul Schellhase, who had served as IFA President in 1990-91. As President, Trimble expects a busy year, working with other IFA leaders, as well as the State Legislature, members of Congress and other leaders on a variety of issues affecting firefighting – and firefighters. “We are looking into setting up retirement accounts for firefighters. This will be a multi-year project. This will take a long time, but it will offer our firefighters something at retirement,” said Trimble. Another big issue facing Iowa firefighters, as well as those in other states, is the ongoing concern about cancer. “There are six types of cancer tied to firefighting,” says Trimble. “We need to look at what it takes to prevent that. To protect ourselves, we need to start with a registry.” While some states have begun registries to track cancer among firefighters, Iowa is not one of them. Trimble and the IFA leaders are working with firefighters’ organizations across the country to encourage Congress to create a national database. There is one proposed firefighter cancer registry bill in Congress now. In Iowa, there are also a couple of projects Trimble will lead the IFA in addressing...

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VS-Union swimmers take first in 6-way meet

The Vinton-Shellsburg-Union girls swim team took 1st place in a 6-team invitational last night in Williamsburg, winning 8 of 11 events and placing second in two others. Other teams were Tipton, Linn-Mar, Grinnell, Oskaloosa and Williamsburg. “The girls are right on top of their best times, most are starting to drop time, and we’re still building to the peak of the season – we’re right where we want to be positioned to hit Conferences and Districts in prime condition,” says Hesson. “With each meet, their confidence grows – mentally, they’re getting tougher. The team is getting closer and stronger...

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Newhall Library to have new home in Grovert building soon; city hall project next

Although the Grovert Chevrolet dealership south of Newhall has been sold, the Grovert name will become a permanent part of downtown Newhall, with the opening of the library in the Grovert Municipal Building. The former offices and shop of the dealership are becoming the new Grovert Municipal Building. The library portion of the building is nearly complete, and soon children will be reading books in an area that currently includes a table containing blueprints. Later, crews will begin the renovation of the rest of the building, which will become city hall offices. The project had originally been scheduled for completion in July, and then in August, but delays caused book moving days to be postponed. Grovert Chevrolet has been in business for more than 100 years, although the car dealership founded by the William Grovert (the grandfather of the last Grovert to own the business, Bill Grovert) sold Fords for its first 13 years. See more of the Grovert dealership history and its relation to other century-old dealerships HERE. For more about the Grovert Municipal Building library project, see the library web site HERE or its Facebook page...

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VS FFA cow pregnancy check: Ag Lab offers another unique hands-on learning experience

The Ag Learning Lab at Vinton-Shellsburg High School brought agriculture students and FFA members another unique hands-on learning experience on Monday, when student Jakob Long brought in 6 heifers for a pregnancy wellness check. “The Advanced Animal Science class was able to work with Dr Nathan Geater from the Winthrop Vet Clinic to palpate to feel for the fetus/embryo depending on how far along they might be and also look at the ultrasound screen to see it there also,” says teacher Melissa Heeren. Each student had the opportunity to examine the fetus growing inside a heifer who is pregnant...

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