Author: Dean Close

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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Miller found guilty of voluntary manslaughter

Facing a first-degree murder charge and its accompanying mandatory life in prison without parole charge, defendant David Miller was found guilty on Wednesday of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The jury in Miller’s case announced its verdict at around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The defense had rested Monday without calling any witnesses. The Code of Iowa offers this definition for voluntary manslaughter (Section 707.4): “A person commits voluntary manslaughter when that person causes the death of another person, under circumstances which would otherwise be murder, if the person causing the death acts solely as the result of sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a person and there is not an interval between the provocation and the killing in which a person of ordinary reason and temperament would regain control and suppress the impulse to kill. Voluntary manslaughter is an included offense under an indictment for murder in the first or second degree. Voluntary manslaughter is a class “C” felony.” Under Iowa law, Class C felonies have a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. The jury also found Miller guilty of two counts of second degree theft, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date. “Questions we couldn’t answer” Benton County Attorney David Thompson said he was disappointed that the jury did not return...

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Fall Treasure Fest set for Sept. 24, in Belle Plaine

More than 20 nonprofit organizations from Benton, Iowa, Poweshiek and Tama Counties are joining to present the 2016 Fall Treasure Fest, a day of great buys, live entertainment, fabulous food, and a chance to win great prizes. In short, an extravaganza with something for everyone. Items for sale at the Fest include collectibles and rummage sale items, baked goods, fresh produce, graphic T-shirts and sweatshirts, window decals, books and bookmarks, nuts, fudge, and much more. The fest will host a read-a-thon with school-age participants receiving goody bags that contain coupons for free Subway sandwiches, McDonalds ice cream cones, and other gifts.  Student participants will be eligible for hourly door prizes as well. Special guests at the read-a-thon include Claire Roth of Iowa Public Radio; Cara Miller, President, Silos & Smokestacks; and Rep. Dawn Pettengill. Master gardener Marvin Kucera will be on site to answer those difficult gardening questions, and information on preventing medicare fraud and other kinds of fraud will be available. Prize-winning artist Jane Hrabak will create a one-of-a-kind artwork, and other pieces of her art will be displayed in an exhibit that includes work from Benton County Artists Jon Eichhorn, Greg Walton, and Don McKinney. Live entertainment throughout the day will include performances by Miranda Pope, Jim Magdefrau, Kate West, Ella Kramer, Jolene Engel, Betty Moeller, and BP cheerleaders. Raffle tickets will be on sale for a chance to win original artwork, RoughRider game passes,...

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How you can help Vinton’s Post 57 Legion: Show up

Question: What does a school cross country meet on the south edge of Vinton have to do with a meeting of veterans that takes place on the west edge of town. Answer: Nothing, but this: Both the young runners and the old soldiers and sailors rely on the support of those not involved to help them succeed. I spent two hours at the high school campus on Tuesday night, watching as VS Middle School and High School cross country runners competed. While taking photos of people running does not offer the most unique photo opportunities, taking photos of those cheering on the runners can inspire. And there were lots of enthusiastic spectators in the audience. The 7th grade VSMS volleyball team wandered over from the gym after practice to cheer on the VSMS runners. Still wearing their practice apparel and protective gear, the team members, at the request of Coach Duffy and Coach Hanson, lined the route. Those girls were among the loudest and most energetic of the evening, yelling and gesturing as their classmates and friends jogged past them. The high school runners also had their cheerleaders, as those who had finished their races cheered for those taking their turn on the course. Among the most inspiring photos of the night showed Vikette freshman Amelia Birker, overcome with exhaustion, being carried on the back of her father, Jeff....

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Vikings win home CC meet; Vikettes second

The Vinton-Shellsburg High School and Middle School cross country teams only hold one home meet each season, and that took place Tuesday in a new location: The VSHS campus. Led by sophomore Nolan Haisman, the Vikings won the varsity meet. Grace Horst led the Vikettes to second in their varsity meet. Sophomore Libbie Timmerman won the JV girls event while freshman Cameron Karr won the JV boys race. The VSMS girls were the top team in the middle school race, in which 7th and 8th graders ran together. The VSMS boys were third. See more photos of all the races HERE. See...

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Geraldine Mae Shaffer

VINTON – Geraldine Mae Shaffer, 94, died Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at her home in Vinton following a brief illness. Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 23, 2016, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Vinton with Rev. Sue Thomas officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, September 22, at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home in Vinton and one hour prior to services at the church on Friday. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton. Geraldine was born July 27, 1922, on the family farm in Elgin, Iowa, the daughter of James D. and...

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VS Fellowship of Christian Athletes group to hold first meeting, Sept. 29

  The Vinton-Shellsburg Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will hold its first meeting of the 2016-17 school year at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the VSHS commons. The VS FCA is in its second year and members are looking to expand the group.There are five student leaders who make plans each month to engage students in time of community. They are connected to the Eastern Iowa FCA organization and this is their website: http://easterniowafca.org/ VSHS students can contact Wes or Will Edwards or Tanner Davis for more information. The VS FCA leaders joined CPU FCA leaders to organize a prayer for players from both teams after the VS/CPU football game....

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Welcome!

Several Union families have been sharing Facebook photos and links to stories on this page, so for those of you who are new to Vinton Today, let me explain what you are reading. Since 2010, Vinton Today has been an on-line only newspaper not connected with any other publication or organization (although we worked at several papers for nearly 20 years). It’s among the first, and still among the only on-line only news sources in Iowa. Like other newspapers, we receive support from dozens of great advertisers. Unlike other newspapers, we do not charge our readers for anything. The news is free; classified ads and even obituaries are free. Once a year we do conduct a fund-raising campaign, accepting donations from readers who believe our coverage of area news merits support. These funds pay for the technology of the web site — web hosting, Internet and computer expenses, etc. We focused solely on the Vinton area for the first few years. In recent years, however, some residents of cities beyond Vinton have asked us to share their news on our site. So as we developed this new page (same name, new look) over the summer, we added a few places for residents of area communities to share their news with their neighbors, as well as the rest of our area. You can check out the main site at www.vintontoday.com,...

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VHSH honors students for academic achievement

Vinton-Shellsburg High School sophomores, juniors and seniors received academic awards honoring them for their achievements last school year during a special ceremony at in the VSHS auditorium on Monday evening.         Honorees include: Class of 2019 Katlyn Clemens Christopher Clements Olivia Coder* Alexzondria Diveley Blakeley Dlouhy Casey Funk Nolan Haisman Cassandra Hazen Grace Horst* Sadie Mauer Makayla Moeller Colston Neilson Katelyn Noren Brock Ortner Seth Patterson* Grace Petrzelka-Gage Fayth Plower Weston Powers Brock Radeke Grant Ries Sarah Schminke Claire Smith* Taylor Spies Rebecca Steffen Keegan Thompson Morgan White Isaac Wiley   Class of 2018 Matthew Andreesen...

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Legion members to discuss future tonight

Members of the George G. Luckey Post 57 of the American Legion will discuss the future of their post and even the possible sale of the Legion Hall at the west end of Vinton, according to a letter to members from Adjutant Brad Anderson. “We will be discussing the future of Post 57,” Anderson wrote, adding that the potential sale of the building and “other subjects germane to our future” will be on the agenda. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Anderson confirmed to Vinton Today the pending discussion of the sale of the building, and encourages all Post members to attend....

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Jurors begin deliberations in Miller murder trial

The jurors in the David Miller murder trial began deliberations Monday afternoon, after the State rested its case and the defense did not offer any witnesses. The only statement jurors heard from the defense in the case was the closing statement by public defender Aaron Hawbaker, in which he claimed that a “delusional and possibly drug-induced” state of mind led David Miller to flee his house in panic after discovering that his girlfriend, Sabrina Janish, had been murdered. Hawbaker told the jury that prosecutors offered no motive, no reason why Miller would kill Janish, who had indicated to her mother two days earlier how happy she was to make a “new start” with Miller. The defense also claimed that the local and state law enforcement officials suffered from “investigative bias,” focusing on Miller and not considering other possible suspects, including David Janish, the estranged husband of Sabrina, or his known associates. (David Janish was in jail in Linn County when the murder took place.) Hawbaker also pointed out that the DCI lab in Ankeny did not test all samples investigators had collected, including hair found in the victim’s hand, or a cigarette butt found along the blood trail that led from the house to where a pickup truck was stolen. Throughout last week, Benton County Attorney David Thompson had presented evidence and several witnesses as he attempted to prove...

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Chili chefs invited to first Farmers Market Chili Cookoff, Sept. 22

Fall weather means changing leaves, football, a cozy sweatshirt and, of course, chili! The Vinton Farmers Market will be hosting its first ever Chili Cookoff on Thursday, September 22. Entry into the contest is free and awards (non-monetary) will be given to the winners. Those wishing to participate are asked to bring at least one warm quart of their chili to the Farmers Market by 4:45 PM so that it can be put into a crockpot and sampled by our panel of judges. Winners will be announced by 5:30 PM. The rules for entry are simple: 1) Home cooks only, no businesses 2) Must use fresh ingredients as much as possible. Once judging has finished, attendees will then by able to sample some different chili entries along with a hot bowl of chili provided by the Vinton Parks & Recreation Department. The Vinton Farmers Market only has two weeks left to the 2016 season so please stop on by the Vinton Railroad Depot from 5-7 PM on September 22 and 29 for all of your fresh produce, baked goods and handicraft needs. -Submitted by the Vinton Parks and Recreation...

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