Author: Dean Close

Jack-O-Lantern Jump set for Sunday; all residents invited to bring pumpkins to drop from water slide

The Vinton Parks & Recreation Department will be hosting its annual Jack-O-Lantern Jump on Sunday, November 6th at the Vinton Recreation Center/Community Swimming Pool. The event will begin at 2 PM (don’t forget to set those clocks back) and serves as a great way to get rid of those mushy, decaying pumpkins by dropping them to a target below from the top of the waterslide tower. Everyone names their pumpkin before the launch and it is quite a sight when they hit and splatter. All pumpkins must be carved and gutted before we let them launch. This event is co-sponsored by our local Pizza Hut who gives participants a personal pan pizza just for giving Jack the leap of faith. The forty foot drop can be a little scary but once the pumpkin is launched, they really don’t feel a thing. There are targets on the ground and the child and adult to have their pumpkin hit closest to the bull’s eye wins a large pizza from Pizza...

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Christie Vilsack to join Vernon in Vinton campaign stop, Saturday

Former First Lady of Iowa Christie Vilsack will join Monica Vernon, candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District for Get Out The Vote events across northeast Iowa on Saturday, November 5th. “Northeast Iowa needs Monica Vernon in Congress,” said Christie Vilsack. “I know Monica will go to Washington and be a strong advocate for early childhood education and stand up for Iowa’s families.  We need someone who knows how to get things done and I believe Monica Vernon is the right person for the job.” The two will appear in “Get Out The Vote” events in several cities, including Vinton, where they will speak at Benton County Democratic Headquarters at 603 W. 8th Street, at 1:30...

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VGH plans switch to EPIC Nov. 5; some delays expected

From Virginia Gay Hospital Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics is switching systems effective at midnight on November 5th, (Friday night) which may in turn cause some delays as we transition to EPIC from our existing EMR systems. Your patience is appreciated as we move towards one system for the hospital and clinics which will improve overall care. We have been preparing for this implementation to EPIC for the past year with ongoing build and trainings. VGH will be a community connect partner with the University of Iowa for EPIC and look forward to improving our patient care throughout the community. Further information will be distributed in the near future on the additional benefits of moving to the new...

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Assessor responds to candidate’s complaints about commercial property appraisal process

Editor’s Note: Assessor Larry Andreesen wrote this in response to comments made about the policies of the assessor’s office by candidate Richard Primmer. See those HERE. By Larry Andreesen, Benton County Assessor In regards to comments and statements made by Mr. Primmer in his ‘Meet the Candidate’ profile posted on Vinton Today October 25, 2016: The letter that was sent out to commercial & industrial property owners by the Benton County Assessor’s Office requesting income information was sent per a request from Vanguard Appraisals for the revaluation. Our cover letter stated it was asked to be returned, not required. When commercial property owners contacted our office we told them it was a request, and only if part of the property was leased. We have not told any property owners that this is required information. The future need and budgeting for a reappraisal of commercial and industrial properties has been discussed each year at the Benton County Conference Board since January 2008, which was prior to the state of Iowa property tax reform of 2013. The last Benton County commercial revaluation was in 1995. Part of that state of Iowa tax reform was the Business Property Tax Credit. This credit, currently, can be worth $3400 or more per parcel to a taxpayer. The Benton County’s Assessor Office has worked diligently by contacting commercial & industrial property owners to achieve a...

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Meet the Candidate: District 3 Supervisor Candidate Joan Flecksing

Editor’s Note: We continue our election coverage with this profile of Joan Flecksing, the Democratic candidate for the District 3 Benton County Board of Supervisor seat. District 3 covers the southern part of Benton County, but voters from the entire county vote on all candidates. As with all other profiles, we offer this in the candidate’s own words. Benton County Supervisor democratic candidate in District III, Joan Flecksing is 39 years old and resides in Walford with her husband, Bob Ford jr. and their three children, Olivia, Zoey and Dominic. Born in rural Toddville and as the youngest of twelve children, raised in agriculture by her hard working parents, Robert and Barbara, neither of whom had a high school education, but who stressed the value of education for their children.This fostered in Joan a passion for education for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, with the understanding that it is first and foremost through combinations of education and training that a society can stop cycles of dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, crime and failure to contribute to one’s own community. Paired with education was Joan’s upbringing on a large homestead that was as self-sufficient as possible, working on a llama farm from the age of 12 to 17, sports, church and 4-H. After graduating from Regis High School in January of 1995, Joan would go onto Kirkwood Community College...

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Day of the Dead: Local restaurant invites residents to learn more about colorful celebration

Every parent who had to wake up a child after a long night of trick-or-treating knows just how big a deal Halloween is to American families. But this time of the year is even a bigger deal – one of the biggest of the year, in fact – for people like Carlos and Carmen Legaspi. The owners of the La Reyna Mexican restaurant, along with Steve Anderson, the local Americano who serves La Reyna’s front manager, are hoping this year to share a bit of the history and meaning of the holiday known as Day of the Dead. Called...

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Meeting on long-term care insurance set for Wednesday morning

The public is invited to a free Long Term Care Workshop at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at the US Bank Building. Lisa Staab from Winsor Manor will speak; Wilson-Hite Insurance representatives have invited Cal Chapman of Harlan, Iowa, who deals with several different companies on a variety of long-term care insurance options. Organizers plan to discuss policies that now offer Return of Premium for those who are worried they pay all this money for this policy and don’t get anything from it if they don’t have to go into a nursing home, as well as policies that can also be life insurance policies or used towards Long Term Care. “We’ll also discuss how most plans now cover in-home health care which allows people to stay in their homes longer which is everyone’s ultimate goal.  It should be fairly short and sweet but hopefully informative,” says Tressa Walton of Wilson-Hite. The average monthly fee is $7000 for a nursing facility and the average stay is approximately 2...

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0% Holiday Loan Program returns to Vinton for Christmas shopping season

By Melissa Schwan, Vinton Unlimited To continue our efforts to promote shopping in Vinton, we are again offering the 0% Holiday Loan Program. This program allows shoppers to borrow money from a Vinton bank at 0% interest for up to 6 months to make purchases at participating businesses. The banks participating in this VU promotion this year are Farmers Savings Bank and Cedar Valley Bank & Trust. The process is easy as 1 – 2 – 3! 1. Stop into either Farmers Savings Bank or Cedar Valley Bank & Trust and fill out some paperwork. Note: You do NOT need to be a current customer at either bank to participate. 2. Start shopping at any of the participating businesses! Pick up your Christmas gifts! Need a new set of tires? Been putting off buying that new couch? Now is the time! 3. Repay your loan by May 1, 2017 and pay NO INTEREST! Any loans not paid off by May 1, 2017 will start to accrue standard bank interest. Participating businesses include Arnold Motor Supply, Cameron Clothing, Clingman Pharmacy, Ervin Motor Company, Henkle Creek Mercantile, Jessy’s Gem Gallery, Koop’s Automotive, LaGrange Pharmacy, McDowells, Michael & Dowd, Nature’s Corner, Nick’s TV & Appliance, Rabe Home Comfort, The Mall @ RJ Enders and Theisens. The 0% Holiday Loan Program runs November 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 but don’t waste any...

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Meet the candidate: Gary Bierschenk

Editor’s Note: We continue our candidate profiles today with information from Benton County District 3 Supervisor candidate Gary Bierschenk. As with all other candidate profiles, we offer this information in the candidate’s own words. BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE: Gary Bierschenk, 62, is a life long Benton County resident.  He and his wife Phyllis of 42 years have raised 3 children in Benton County.  He started farming in 1973 and is continuing that tradition with his son, Brian, in Benton and Iowa counties.  He also sells real estate with his son, Brian, at Skogman Realty.  He attended Central Lutheran, is a 1972 graduate of Benton Community, and attended Kirkwood.  He currently is on the Blairstown City Council and Benton Development Board. He served in a leadership role on many local, state and national farm organization committees over the years.  He has over 40 years of experience as a successful business man working in the private sector. He has been involved at St. John Lutheran Newhall Church and Central Lutheran School.  He served on the church stewardship committee and sat on the Central Lutheran School Board, where he acted as treasurer. STATEMENT: I believe that Benton County is and has been a great place to live, work and raise a family.  What is it that I can do as your public servant to keep and improve the quality of life in Benton County. It...

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