Author: Dean Close

AmeriCorps Campus Director: We love our town, our facility

(Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of stories about the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School campus, and the AmeriCorps NCCC North Central Region, which makes its home on the IBSSS campus.) “We love our community; we love our facility.” With those words, AmeriCorps NCCC Region Director Rob Levis describes the desire of the NCCC staff members to remain exactly where Vinton residents hope they will stay for a long, long time: The Iowa Braille School campus. It’s easy to remember when the first NCCC team leaders arrived in Vinton: They came at the same time as the historic flood of June, 2008. One of their first duties was to help the Red Cross set up and man a temporary shelter for flood victims in the IBSSS gym. Since then, NCCC AmeriCorps and FEMACorps teams have lived in Vinton for several months at a time, traveling throughout the country to help with a variety of projects and disaster recovery efforts. Almost any place you walk in Vinton, you can see the work of NCCC. Veterans Park, near the River, was among the first projects that an AmeriCorps Team – the first team known as Cedar 5 – helped build. Other teams throughout the years have helped repair the roof of the depot, paint and repair the Ray House, make county parks usable again after flood waters damaged facilities,...

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Prayer boxes already connecting, inspiring area residents

The first few weeks of the Vinton Prays boxes have already brought inspiring stories to the ladies who hope they will help others throughout our community. “It’s been awesome,” says April Hummel, one of the organizers of the ladies who began this project during a small group session a few months ago. The boxes offer books, Bibles and other inspirational items free for borrowing for as long as necessary, and a slot for prayer requests. “The prayer boxes have been a great addition to the beauty of this town,” says Hummel. “They have definitely opened up communication and relationships...

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Brush With Kindness: Open House shows much interest in housing repair program

Participants took turns painting a house on a white board, sharing information and asking questions about the Habitat for Humanity’s Brush With Kindness open house last week. “We have a lot of interest and we are working to convert that into full applications,” says Habitat director Jeff Capps. “We are still eager to hear from more interested households and individuals/groups about volunteering,” Members of the Vinton Area Ministerial Association (VAMA) and others joined Habitat representatives at the 4th Street Diner for the event. Many interested home-owners also dropped by to inquire about the program, which is available throughout Benton County. Under the Brush With Kindness program, Habitat helps limited-income homeowners by offering affordable exterior home improvements, combining the donations of local businesses and organizations and hours spent teams volunteers, to improve the condition of homes by painting, landscaping and performing minor exterior repairs at minimal cost to homeowners who would be unable to complete home repairs on their own. Able-bodied homeowners are encouraged to work alongside the volunteers in a cooperative effort. This neighborhood-based program is for homeowners earning 55 percent or less of the area median income. Farmers Savings Bank and Thrivent are among the local business sponsors of the program. See more about Brush With Kindness HERE. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, and its other programs, email Capps...

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Michael Dake

Michael Dake, 48, of Ankeny, and formerly of Vinton, passed on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Taylor House Hospice in Des Moines, Iowa. A visitation will be Friday, April 21, 2017, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a memorial service following at 8:30 p.m. at Memorial Services of Iowa, 4208 N Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, IA. Mike was born February 22, 1969, in Independence Iowa to Larry and Anne(Lynch) Dake. He graduated from Vinton High School in 1987 and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Dakota. He was a long-time car salesman for Dave Ostrem Imports, European Motor Cars, and Stew Hansen Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. He is survived by his grandmother; Delores Lynch of Independence, IA; father and mother Larry and Anne of Vinton, IA; son Tanner and daughter Keely of Ankeny, IA, and son Garrison of MN; brother Jeff of Atkins, IA, sisters Lori (Thess) Harris of Cedar Rapids, IA, and Teresa Lazenby of Van Horne, IA; and many nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his grandparents; Clem Lynch, and Harold and Erma Dake; and a brother in law Bill Lazenby. See his obituary/memorial page...

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Eco-Extravaganza: BC Conservation plans unique activities for youth, adults, April 22

The Benton County Conservation Department invites everyone to its Eco-Extravaganza this Saturday, April 22, at Rodgers Park, where a variety of unique activities will help youngsters and adults learn more about nature. A live owl and hawk will be on display for a special presentation on raptors. Participants will learn to throw (and maybe even spell) an atlatl. And Benton County Conservation employees will be on hand to talk about the department and its programs, and opportunities to volunteer and learn more. See the event flier here: Earth Day Celebration flyer...

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All of Boomtown is a go; IPA finds new location for shooting largest shells

  By Tamara Stark, Vinton Boomtown Committee It’s official! The original Boomtown, as we’ve all come to know and love will GO ON in it’s entirety; homemade shells, Junior Pyrotechnic show, Main show and all! After months of discussion and planning, the individual-hand crafted shell portion of Boomtown has a new location! Several members of the Iowa Pyrotechnic Association attended the April 13th Vinton City Council meeting to ask for permission to use an isolated section of a city ditch as the new home for the launch site of the I.P.A. members home built displays. These displays have included shells built by former Grand-Master champion, Jim Breitbach and lifetime Grand-Master Champion, Scott Anderson as well as several other multi-award winning members of the club, pyrotechnic displays that you will not see anywhere else. Club members come from several states away in order to shoot their hand built shells, which is not permitted in many of their home states ~ making Boomtown very unique for the opportunities it provides. After a brief discussion and a few questions, Vinton’s Council unanimously agreed to allow the I.P.A. the use of the ditch requested and the closing of the road where the ditch is located. August 26th will be the 11th annual Boomtown Vinton and it’s right on track to be our Biggest, Baddest and BEST yet! Mark the calendars, call the family,...

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‘Monster in My Closet:’ VSHS students encourage youngsters to join theatre camp

The Vinton-Shellsburg drama department’s presentation of “There’s a Monster in My Closet” did not include the ending of the musical, when the high school singers and performed for the Tilford Elementary students on Wednesday. Apologizing for the incomplete play, senior Brittany Grendler, told the youngsters there is one way to find out how the musical ends: To join the Little Vikes Drama Camp. Marcy Horst directed the high school version, and will also be the Little Vikes Drama Camp director. A few of the high school students will assist Marcy with the youngsters at the camp that begins June...

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Aerial platform truck arrives at VFD

Members of the Vinton Fire Department have been busier than usual over the past few months as they worked to update their vehicle fleet. First, the VFD received an offer from the federal government for a free fire truck. But while driving that truck from Ohio to Vinton, its engine blew. Estimates to replace that engine topped $30,000. Deciding that cost was prohibitive, and that it would be impossible to find out whether or how well the other features of that truck worked without the engine, VFD leaders then resumed the search. They recently found what they are looking...

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Multi-county chase ends near Benton County line; suspect wanted on Linn Co. warrants

A man with a lengthy criminal record in several Iowa counties, including Benton County, added to that record today after a high speed chase involving several agencies ended at the southern edge of Benton County. “We got him,” says Benton County deputy Dave Upah, one of the officers who helped apprehend Corey Matthew Ary, 26. The chase began this morning in Iowa County, when an Iowa State Patrol trooper attempted to stop an man driving a vehicle licensed to Jill Happel. The driver sped away, and a chase ensued. Authorities lost sight of the vehicle on a couple of occasions, but eventually found it. The driver led them to a rural farm house, and fled on foot. Officers from the Iowa, Poweshiek and Benton County Sheriff’s Departments joined the ISP and the Iowa DOT Enforcement Division in the pursuit. A trooper in a State Patrol plane equipped with the FLIR thermal imaging camera system also aided in the pursuit. Upah and an ISP sergeant apprehended the suspect. Ary was arrested for a variety of traffic charges and eluding; he was also wanted on Linn County warrants. According to the Iowa Courts web site, Ary’s arrest record includes OWI, drug and drug paraphernalia possession charges, and parole violations. No vehicles were damaged in the pursuit. “We all went home safe,” says Deputy Upah....

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Haircut leads to marriage, new business and life in Iowa for Thailand native Tik Coberly

One day, a Thailand native stopped by Old School Produce Company to admire the gardens, telling the owner of how they reminded her of back home. Tik Coberly grew up on a farm in a rural area of Thailand, the sixth of seven children. Soon she was talking to Mike and Cindy Elwick about the plants she helped raise as a child. The Elwicks eventually offered Tik a job, helping them plant, harvest and prepare produce. Later, they helped Tik with the education and other steps needed to open Tik’s Nails. Now, Tik divides her time between the two...

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Youth mental health first aid training set for April 25-26

Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an 8-hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social and self-help care. The Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum is primarily focused on information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-age youth, ages 12-18. The next training will take place April 25-26, at the Abbe Center in Cedar Rapids. See the event flyer here: Youth MHFA Flyer #5  ...

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Adverse Childhood Experience training seminar planned in Vinton

ACE Interface Training May 31, 9am – 4:30pm Revolution Community Building at 417 1st Ave in Vinton An ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) seminar will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 31, in the Revolution Community Building at 417 1st Avenue in Vinton. This course provides an in-depth look at adverse childhood experiences and is designed for educators, human service providers, law enforcement, and others concerned about the resiliency and well-being of individuals who have experienced trauma. Participants will be able to: Become familiar with what Adverse Childhood Experiences are Understand the research behind ACES and how it impacts the developing brain at critical stages Understand the impact of ACES on those we serve Understand and be able to apply resiliency strategies with individuals impacted by ACES to improve outcomes. See the event flyer here: ACES training announcement Benton...

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