Author: Dean Close

Pettengill appointed House Rules Review Committee Chair

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) recently announced that Rep. Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn) will serve as the Chairman of the House Administrative Rules Review Committee. “Rep. Pettengill has worked as a strong check on burdensome government regulation.  I know as chair of the Administrative Rules Review Committee she will continue to fight to ensure state government is working on behalf of the people,” said Speaker Upmeyer. Pettengill was also appointed to the following committees:  Commerce, Government Oversight, State Government, and Ways & Means. The legislative session begins January 9,...

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VS Middle School, High School musicians celebrate season at holiday band concert

The annual Vinton-Shellsburg winter Band Extravaganza took place in the Middle School gym on Monday, where the audience heard the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade bands, as well as the VS High School band, play a variety of songs including several holiday favorite. The concert began with a harp solo. Middle School band director Jody Bierschenk and High School Band Director Nick Waymire led the bands. See a video of the concert HERE. See more photos...

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Rural Vinton teen injured in I-80 crash that claimed three lives

Just a few weeks ago, rural Vinton teenager Hayden Rast and his Omaha AAA hockey team members were celebrating their the Omaha AAA Hockey Club after winning the 14U North American Hockey League Future Prospects Tournament. Now, the Rast family and the rest of his team is mourning the loss of a coach who died in an accident Saturday. The 14-year-old Rast was among several people severely injured in a three-vehicle crash on I-80 in Cass County that killed three others on Saturday, when the SUV they were riding in collided with a semi that had just crossed the median and crashed...

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Maximum sentence issued in Miller case: 40 years for manslaughter, 2nd degree theft

The man who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing and strangling death of his girlfriend has been sentenced to 40 years in prison – the maximum for the three felonies for which he was convicted on Sept. 21. “It was the best we could hope for; the maximum sentence possible with the jury’s verdict,” explains Benton County Attorney David Thompson. Originally charged with first degree murder, Miller was found guilty by a jury of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of second degree theft – each as a result of trucks he stole from neighbors while fleeing the crime scene. Because of his extensive previous criminal record (Miller had been released from prison just 10 days before killing Sabrina Hustad Janish), the defendant received the maximum sentence on all three felonies, Thompson said. The judge sentenced Miller to 10 years, the maximum, for voluntary manslaughter, and the 15-year maximum for the two vehicle thefts, with the sentences to run consecutively, for a total official sentence of 40 years. The most Miller could actually serve under current sentencing policies, said Thompson, is 20 years. He said that based on the defendant’s criminal history, he believes that Miller’s total time in a state penitentiary will be close to 20 years. However, said the county attorney, Miller’s lawyer could appeal the sentence. Before the sentence was issued, the court heard victim impact...

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Library Ginger Bread House contest winners listed

The entries in the first Vinton Public Library Gingerbread House contest are still on display. Each entry received a unique award (with prizes coming soon). Winners include: Gingerbread Contest Winners 2016   1. Olivia, Thomas & Isaac Spencer with Dianna Wiese ~Best Jamaican Gingerbread House   2. Zoey & Charlee Austin  ~  Best Sledding Party   3. Wes & Dan LaGrange  ~  Mr. & Mrs. Gingerbread Hideaway   4. Kira Jacobs ~ Best Cabin in the Woods   5. Mia Jacobs ~ Best Gingerbread House Getaway   6. Sandy Johnson ~ Best Building Permit   7. Kelly Graham, Carmen &...

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Coming soon to Vinton PD: K-9 Officer Gino

Vinton Police Officer Ben Parmater will return next week with his new partner, a German Shepherd named Gino. The pair are completing their training in Indiana, and soon Gino will become the first Vinton PD K-9 Officer. Police Chief Ted Paxton showed photos of the dog to city officials during the council meeting Thursday evening. At that meeting, the council approved a lease-purchase agreement for the vehicle which the K-9 team will use on patrol. Gino is being trained in officer protection, suspect apprehension and drug detection. Community support The VPD began a fund-raising campaign to help cover the cost of the K-9 program, including the purchase and training of the dog, food, housing and other expenses. Area residents have donated well over...

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VSMS Pearl Harbor ceremony honors Iowan chaplain who died so others could live

Three days past his 32nd birthday, Father Aloysius H. Schmitt was like a father to many of the sailors on the USS Oklahoma, because of his age relative to theirs, as well as his status as a Catholic chaplain. An Iowa native, Father Schmitt allowed other sailors to escape from the sinking battleship as water filled the compartment in which they were stranded. “Go with God, my son,” Schmitt told the last sailor to escape as backed away from the opening and quickly drowned, becoming the first chaplain to die in World War II. While Father Schmitt’s family knew...

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‘Sweet Dreams:’ ECHO begins campaign to provide beds for area children

E.C.H.O. (Every Church Helping Others) Ministries is kicking off Operation “Sweet Dreams.” This program will supply kids their very own bed and keep them from sleeping on the floor. You can help by giving a tax-deductible sponsorship of a $160. Your sponsorship will include, a twin bed, sheets, a blanket and a Bible book. Please contact E.C.H.O. Ministries at...

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6th grade VSMS Lego League team advances to State

Watching the video of these five members of the VS Middle School 6th grade Chattery Chinchillas sharing the energy of their song and their enthusiasm for their project makes it easy to see why they won the “Team Spirit” Award at the regional First Lego League event, and earned their way to State. The team includes Brylee Bruce, Cameron Dawson-Fink, Annabelle Newton, Ashlie Meyer, Lizzie Noe, Aspen Ahrenholz, Alyssa Griffith, Autumn McGowan and Ian Allsup. “This is an awesome group of kids with a ton of energy and a lot of motivation,” says teacher Jeff Mangold. “They are already preparing for...

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Giving season: Vinton lions donate to Honor Flight, VS Booster Club

The Vinton Lions Club is celebrating the season of giving by sharing funds it has raised with area organizations. Club President Rob Levis presented Roger Uthoff of Eastern Iowa Honor Flights a check for $3,000 for upcoming flights to Washington, D.C. for area veterans. The club raised that money at its annual chili supper, held the same night as the Lighted Veterans Holiday Parade. The club also raised $1,200 for the Vinton-Shellsburg Athletics Booster Club from its sales of funnel cakes and other items at home football games this year....

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VGH Home Health Agency sponsors Third Annual ‘Angel Tree’

“You have two hands. One to help yourself, and the second to help others.” Virginia Gay Hospital Home Health Agency has announced that for the third year, they will again be hosting an “Angel Tree” to benefit those they currently serve. The community is invited to help make a difference by purchasing a new gift for an angel that’s been selected from the “Angel Tree” located at Virginia Gay Hospital on the main floor, behind the front registration desk, near the elevator. Tags will be displayed on the tree starting Tuesday, December 6. Wrapped gifts should be returned to the hospital’s lobby desk by Monday, December 19. Those interested in helping are asked to select a tag from the “Angel Tree,” purchase and wrap a new gift from the suggestions listed on the tag. Donors are cautioned that used items of any condition cannot be accepted, nor can monetary donations. If multiple items are being donated for the same angel, you are asked to package them together securely along with the tag. This ensures the right gift(s) get to the right angel. Melissa Smith, RN, BSN, Director of Home Health/Public Health explains, “ We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of giving by members of our community in the past couple of years and we are excited to help our clients have another joyful, meaningful Christmas again this year....

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Analyzing the 2016 Election: Where, when, how and why Trump won

Think of all the great Presidential speeches in American history: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” – FDR “That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abe Lincoln “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” – JFK In just a few weeks, the guy in the position to say the words that will live in history will be Donald J. Trump. Yeah, the guy who up until two years ago, was most famous for saying “You’re fired” – and tried to copyright that phrase more than a decade ago – will be the one standing before our country in times of change or crisis, explaining what happened and how we, as a nation will respond together. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. The Oklahoma City bombing....

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