Author: Dean Close

Annual VGH Tree Walk begins; bidding deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22

The 7th annual Virginia Gay Hospital Tree Walk is in full swing and ready for you to browse and bid on any number of wonderful Christmas trees or holiday decorations. As in year’s past, the lobby of the hospital has been transformed into a holiday extravaganza ready for you to browse and bid silent auction style on numerous holiday items that have been generously donated by local business, community individuals and several hospital departments and employees. Though the temperatures outside has been unseasonably warm this November, Virginia Gay Hospital and the Virginia Gay Hospital Healthcare Foundation are reporting that it’s very “cool” inside the hospital’s lobby but that has nothing at all to do with the temperature. “Thanks to generous community support and our local sponsor Edward Jones Investments of Vinton, we are off to a great start,” says Kim Frank, Director of Human Resources for the hospital. “This event continues to grow each year. We are very pleased to have around 50 displays already in place and want the public to know they are welcome to come in, look around, place a bid and of course stop back often to check to see that they haven’t been out bid.” Frank continues. The trees and decor will be displayed from now until Tuesday, November 22 with bidding set to end at 5 pm sharp that day. All the proceeds...

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Military marker honors Navy career of Vinton’s Don Holmes

Long before Don Holmes was a beloved teacher or well-known coach and wrestling ref, he was a sailor, a signalman who traveled to many continents during his U.S. Navy days, where he even once found himself one table away from celebrities including Clark Gable. While most Vinton residents remember Don as a teacher, coach or wrestling referee, his long-time wish was that his tombstone tell his military story. That wish came true this past weekend, as Don’s son Jeff joined members of the local Post 8884 VFW in setting his official white marble military monument at Maplewood Cemetery. “I...

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Union girls eye State Volleyball Championship

After breezing through three opponents in their Class 3A region, the Union Knights are looking forward to facing the tough competition that awaits this week at the State Volleyball Tournament in Cedar Rapids. The top-seeded Knights begin their tournament play at 10 a.m. Wednesday on Court One at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, where they will play Osage. If they win that match, they will play again on Thursday at 2 p.m. against the Mount Vernon/Sioux Center winner. Mount Vernon is the only Class 3A team to defeat Union this year; the Mustangs defeated the Knights 25-16 and 25-20 at the Waverly-Shell Rock tournament on Oct. 1. Union’s only other losses were to Class 5A teams Ankeny Centennial and Linn-Mar. The Knights hope to advance to the Class 3A Championship on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The other four teams in the Class 3A bracket are Dike-New Hartford, North Polk, Kuemper Catholic of Caroll and Davenport Assumption. Union senior Megan Hudson, a four-year varsity starter, says the Knights are confident heading into the tournament. “It’s obviously super exciting being a senior and being apart of this well-rounded team that’s making a trip back to the state tournament,” says Hudson. “We definitely know that if we play our game we can make it to the finals and get that state title. We’re definitely prepared and can’t wait to play and...

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‘Thin Blue Line:’ Law enforcement flag inspires tributes, questions among area residents

A few people have inquired about some flags being displayed outside of Vinton homes, or on vehicles. Intead of the traditional red, white and blue, these flags show black and white stripes, white stars on a field of black, and a thin line of blue in the place of one of the white stripes. This flag is known as the “Thin Blue Line” flag, and it is a tribute to police officers, and especially, to officers who have died in the line of duty. “I love the support! And I love even more that people are becoming aware,” says Becca Ingham of Vinton, whose father, Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Scott Webster, was killed by a career criminal a year ago. “I just hate that we need to support and be aware,” says Ingham. “It’s sad.” Ingham says she became aware of the flag after her father’s death. “I’m glad I know now and I’m helping to spread awareness,” Ingham says. “I’ve had a few people ask or have even heard a few talking about it.” The flag outside her house has been flown a few times in recent days.   “We put it up from the annivesary of the day my dad was shot to the day he got his final dispatch,” Ingham explains.  “It will be up again during national police week in May.” Ingham has also noted...

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Meet the candidate: Dennis Mathahs

Editor’s Note: We continue our profiles of election candidates with Dennis Mathahs, the Democratic candidate for Iowa Senate District 38. As with all other profiles, we offer this in the candidate’s own words: Dennis Mathahs was born in Marshalltown, IA and raised by his adoptive parents, Richard and Dolores Mathahs, in Manly, IA. Richard was the Chief of Police and a Teamster, and Dolores was an entrepreneur, making wedding cakes, selling real estate, running a dress shop out of their basement. She was also a civic leader, a passion she instilled in Dennis at a young age. Dolores served on the local church council, library board, and was elected to the city council. The family also owned and operated a car wash and laundromat, where a young Dennis worked to help support the family. Dennis went to catholic school as a boy and had his first job as a paper boy for the Globe Gazette. He played football, basketball, and cross country at Newman High School in Mason City, but had to quit athletics his senior year to take a job at Perkins. He graduated a semester early and went on to North Iowa Area Community College, working his way through and graduating in just one year. He continued his higher education at the University of Iowa, but unlike at NIACC, Dennis did not graduate from UI until 1989,...

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Election 2016 takes place Tuesday!

5 p.m. Monday is the latest that residents can cast absentee ballots in the Benton County Auditor’s Office. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout Benton County, as well as all other Iowa polling places. Those who have requested absentee ballots but have not turned them in can surrender them at their precinct polling place and vote there. More than 4,100 county voters have requested absentee ballots, a few hundred fewer than in the 2012 Presidential Election. In addition to the federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House), county residents will vote in two state elections. Democrat Dennis Mathahs is challenging incumbent District 38 State Sen. Tim Kapucian The Libertarian Party’s John George is also a candidate in the District 38 race. Democrat Paula (Polly) Denison is opposing Republican Dawn Pettengill in Iowa House District 75. County races on the ballot include: Supervisor District 3: Democrat Joan Flecksing is running against Republican Gary Bierschenk; incumbent Don Frese did not seek re-election. Supervisor District 2: Democratic incumbent Terry Hertle is being challenged by Republican Richard Primmer. Auditor: Democrat Vicky Schwenker is running against Republican Hayley Rippel. Incumbent Jill Marlow did not seek re-election. Sheriff Randy Forsyth is retiring; the candidates for this race are Republican Ron Tippett and Independent Vince Snyder. There are also township clerk and trustee candidates on ballots in rural precincts. The Soil and...

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Donors give more than $40K to family following tragic accident that claimed two lives

Efforts to help a Belle Plaine-area family devastated by a car accident last week have exceeded expectations. On-line donors have contributed more than $40,000 to the family of Jennifer Van Nevel Perez. Perez was in her subcompact Chevy Aveo car with her four daughters on Thursday, when their vehicle was hit from behind by a pickup while they waited for the truck in front of them to turn left. Two of Perez’s daughters, Selena Apodaca, 16, Isabella Severson, 13, died in the crash. She and her other daughters were hospitalized with serious injuries. One teen daughter remains in critical condition; Perez and her youngest daughter are expected to be released from the hospital soon.   More than 900 people have already donated via the Go Fund Me page set up by Amanda Lorimer Loesche, a close friend of Perez. See that page, which friends are continuing to update, HERE....

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Meet the Candidate: Ron Tippett

Editor’s Note: We continue our candidate profiles today by featuring Republican candidate for Sheriff Ronald J. Tippett. As with other candidates, we present his information in his own words: I am Ronald J. Tippett, 52 years old, and live with wife, Cindy, in Vinton.  We have two grown children, Mitchell who lives in Chicago, and Emily and her husband Chris, and 3 granddaughters, Myla, Caraline and Loralei who live in Vinton.    I graduated from La Porte City High School in 1982 and continued my education at Hawkeye Institute of Technology graduating with an AAA degree in Police Science in 1984.  I then attended Wartburg College taking classes in Psychology and Criminology. In 1986 I started working part time at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer/dispatcher.  While working as a jailer/dispatcher, in 1987 I started working as a reserve officer with the Belle Plaine Police Department.  I then moved from part time to full time as a jailer/dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Office and, in 1989, was hired as a full time police officer with the city of Belle Plaine.  I then attended and completed the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 1989 becoming a certified Peace Officer.  In 1990 I was appointed Chief of Police in Belle Plaine and served in that capacity for 11 years.  In September of 2001, I was hired as a full time Deputy...

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Meet the Candidate: Vince Snyder

Editor’s Note: We continue our candidate profiles today by featuring Independent candidate for Sheriff Vince Snyder. As with other candidates, we present his information in his own words: My name is Vincent Snyder and I am running for Benton County Sheriff. I am 44 years old. My wife Gloria and I have three daughters, Gianna (5), Jocelyn (3) & Johanna (2). We own and reside on an acreage south of Garrison. We are active members of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Van Horne. I sit on the elected Cluster Council board for the five parishes in the cluster all located in Benton County. I have served in law enforcement capacities over the last 20 years. I attended the Cedar Rapids Police Reserve Academy graduating in the spring of 1996. I worked for Cedar Rapids Police as a Reserve Police Officer 1996-2001. Also in the summer of 1996-2003 I began working with the U.S. Marshal Service of the Northern District of Iowa where I was appointed as a Contract Special Deputy U.S. Marshal. During that time in 1999-2008 I was hired as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for Benton County. I also served for the City of Coggon Police, City of Belle Plaine Police Department. In late 2003 I joined the City of Vinton Police Department as a Reserve Police Officer. I was appointed Lead Reserve Officer over the newly formed...

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Playoffs: Underclassmen lead Union to victory over Crestwood; rematch tonight at North Fayette

Union’s come-from-behind victory at Crestwood in the first round of Class 2A play-offs gave Knights fans a glimpse into the next year’s team.Brit Rolison’s 49-yard touchdown run provided the first spark after Crestwood had quickly jumped to a 7-0 lead and the Cadet defense had stifled the Knight offense on its first possession. Rolison, one of two sophomores who hope to fill the shoes of senior Isaiah Vaughan next season, led the Knights with 112 yards rushing and two TD runs. Sophomore Junior Kody Alpers made a diving catch in the end zone on a 4th-down pass from Troy...

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