Author: Dean Close

Vinton native Kremer earns Regional Emmy with ‘Last Summer at Camp Tahigwa’ documentary

As a soon-to-be fourth-grader, Vinton native Kelsey Kremer learned to love nature, photography – and most of all, simply being a kid – at Camp Tahigwa, the Girl Scout camp in rural northeast Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River or the Minnesota border. Now, Kelsey’s documentary about her a summer at Camp Tahigwa has earned the Des Moines Register photojournalist an award normally given to those in television: A Regional Emmy. Kelsey, the daughter of Jon and the late Teri Kremer, received the award, her first, during the 2016 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy ceremony in Minnesota on Saturday....

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Celtic guitarist Barlow to return to Vinton library, Nov. 5

The Vinton Public Library will once again welcome acclaimed Celtic fingerstyle guitarist Jerry Barlow, for a free concert at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. Barlow is a virtuoso  musician, a warm and accessible performer, and a world-class storyteller. His repertoire is composed of a synthesis of  traditional music from the British Isles and his own original  Celtic-inspired compositions. Barlow’s music transports the listener across time and space on an imaginary journey to a rustic Irish fishing village or the misty  Scottish Highlands or an enchanted English forest. In concert,  Barlow brings the songs alive by sharing the history, legend and  humor behind the music. His expressive arrangements have been described as “music to soothe the soul, warm the heart, and lift the spirit.” Music from Barlow’s first CD, KEEPSAKE, is played on National Public Radio stations throughout the country and was used in a PBS documentary, “Songs of our Children.” The title track from Barlow’s second CD, BRING DOWN THE STORM, won a prestigious Indie Project Award for “Best Songs of 2006.” Other tracks from that recording have been used in a Landlocked Films and University of Colorado production, “Learn More About Climate.” Barlow’s latest CD, FIELDS AND FENCES, was released in October 2011 to excellent reviews.The album was one of five nominees for Instrumental Album of the Year (2011) by the Independent Music Association. Tracks from this CD...

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Legion, Scouts continue long tradition of solemn flag disposal

Since 1937, the American Legion has helped honor worn American flags with a solemn disposal-by-burning ceremony. On Thursday, members of the Vinton American Legion, joined by Pack 47 Cub Scouts, retired dozens of worn flags by burning them, after reciting the ceremony approved by the Legion 79 years ago. Otto Bush led the ceremony, reading the script which detailed how the flags “became unserviceable in a worthy cause.” After a prayer and the playing of “To the Colors” by the bugler, the flags were burned. See a transcript of the ceremony HERE. See photos of the ceremony...

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Area singers among Dec. 3 Christmas concert performers

Two free concerts on Dec. 3, including one in Cedar Rapids, will allow audience members to make a free-will offering to HACAP (The Hawkeye Area Community Action Program). There will be a concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Temple, 616 A Avenue, on Dec. 3. The singers will also perform at 1:30 p.m. that day in Iowa City, at the Clarion Hotel, 2525 Dodge Street. “Metro Mix and Cedar Sounds are ‘Sweet Adeline’ choruses and Harmony Hawks and Old Capital Chorus are men’s barbershop groups. I am a member of the Cedar Sounds Chorus.  This will be a great family event to attend,” says Beth Carlson of rural Brandon, one of the...

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Fund-raiser set for Nov. 5 for family that lost van in fire

The minivan fire that filled downtown Vinton with the smell of smoke last week also deprived an area family of a vehicle needed to take one of its members for dialysis treatments. Now, friends and family the James’ are organizing a fund-raising dinner for Nov. 5, at the Atkins Pavillion, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The James both have medical conditions that require frequent trips to medical facilities, including dialysis appointments. The couple also has custody of three of their grandchildren. The event will include a meal, bake sale and silent auction. Penny Cook is organizing the event, and accepting donations of items for the silent auction as well as things necessary for the dinner, including napkins, paper plates, bottled water, plastic tableware, cups and more. Monetary donations are also welcome. For more information, call Cook at 319-573-6366, or email pcook@netins.net. See the family’s Go Fund Me page HERE. See the story about the fire, with a video of that fire,...

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Employers have big role in substance abuse prevention

By Jeffrey Meyers, ASAC The phrase “worksite wellness” is becoming better known as employers strive to keep their worksites healthy and safe in an effort to increase productivity, raise employee wellbeing, and even lower health insurance costs. While this is most commonly associated with activities relating to exercise, healthy eating and stress reduction, one aspect that is increasingly getting attention of many employers is the key role that substance use prevention plays in promoting a safe and vibrant workplace. For many employers, tobacco remains a top concern, and for good reason. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found, for example, that cigarette smoking as well as secondhand smoke cost $92 billion each year in lost productivity. This can be seen in a number of ways. Tobacco users average more sick days per year than non-users, experience more hospital visits than their non-using counterparts, and average longer stays once hospitalized. Once more, a nationwide study undertaken by the American Productivity Audit found tobacco use was a greater factor in determining a worker’s lost productivity time than alcohol consumption, age, or family emergencies. Add to this the much higher insurance rates tobacco users face, along with the increased maintence costs employers experience when their employees use tobacco, and it becomes clear why more and more employers are looking for ways to address this issue. Tobacco, however, is certainly not alone...

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Meet the candidate: Hayley Rippel

Editor’s Note: Today we continue our election coverage with a profile of Hayley Rippel, the Republican candidate for Auditor. As with other profiles, we offer this information in the candidate’s own words. I am Hayley Rippel, a lifelong resident of Benton County. I was born and raised in Vinton, Iowa. I graduated from Washington High School in 1992. After High School, I attended Kirkwood College for my general education. I am married to my husband Jeff for 23 years. My parents are Kathy and Doug Tumilty and the late Kenneth Mahr. My in-laws are Jim and Sharon Rippel, all from Vinton. We own and reside on an acreage north of town. We have three sons, Dylan, Tyler and Chase. Our oldest, Dylan is a junior at UNI. Tyler is a freshman at Mt Mercy University in Cedar Rapids and is on the baseball team there. Chase our youngest is a 7th grader at Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School. With all three being active in numerous sports, 4-H and other activities, it has kept us very social in our community. Our family also helps on the family farm and grows sweet corn that our boys like to sell in town. I am a member of the Vinton Presbyterian Church, Vinton Country Club, Vinton-Shellsburg Athletic Boosters and Farm Bureau. I also volunteer at numerous events in the area. I have worked in the...

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Meet the Candidate: Vicky Schwenker

Editor’s Note: We continue our election coverage today with a profile of Vicky Schwenker, the Democratic candidate for Auditor. As with all other profiles, we offer this information in the candidate’s own words. Hello my name is Vicky Schwenker and I am running for Benton County Auditor. I am 51 years old, currently live in Vinton & have been a Benton County resident for 19 years. I am a mother of three grown children & grandmother of two. I am a member of the Vinton Presbyterian church and am currently serving as a Deacon. I try to stay active in local fund raisers & volunteer as much as time will allow.      At present time I work for Benton County as a Deputy Assessor. I am one of two State tested Deputies in the courthouse. I have worked in the Assessor’s office for thirteen years. Prior to working for the County I was a small business owner. In addition to the experience I received as a business owner I also have 20 years of experience in management. This ranges from general manager to business partner. The experience includes payroll, accounting, budgets, staff management & development. I also have education in Accounting from Iowa State & Kirkwood Community College.      I feel with my extensive experience in management, education in accounting, business background, & knowledge of County operations I would be the best...

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Halloween schedule: Trick or treating hours, parties and more

Several events are scheduled for this weekend’s Halloween celebration. The Vinton City Council will be asked to approve the traditional Halloween Trick-or-Treat hours of 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. Virginia Gay Hospital’s Nursing and Rehab Center will also welcome children during those hours; the Vinton Lutheran Home and Windsor Manor also welcome trick-or-treaters, with the Windsor Manor event running from 4 to 6 p.m., and residents and staff members handing out safety items as well as goodies. VPRD events The Vinton Parks and Recreation Department will also offer its traditional events, including: Kid’s Halloween Party & Parade Saturday, October 29, 2016 10:00am until 12:00pm This is a free activity for all youth who love carnival games, pumpkin coloring and parading through downtown in their Halloween costumes. Held at the Courthouse lawn, along with trick-or-treating to downtown businesses. This event is for all youth fifth grade and younger. Open Skate Costume Party & Ghostly Glow Mini Golf Saturday, October 29, 2016 7:00pm 9:00pm Anyone who wears a Halloween costume (more than just a mask) will get a $1 skate admission and entered in our Halloween costume contest! And if you think putting is tough during the daytime, just think how hard it will be in the dark with ghosts & goblins in the mix! GRADES: all          FEE: skate-$4.50/skater ($1 off if wearing a costume) mini...

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Garrison library leaders seeking donations for silent auction

The Garrison Public Library is beginning a silent auction fund-raiser. Already, many area crafters have created and donated items. “We will start bidding on Halloween and end Nov. 19, so winners can enjoy for the holidays,” says Library Director Angela Dague. “We have received some really nice creations. We are raising funds for a projector.” The library continues to accept donations through Oct. 31; to participate, visit the library or its Web site...

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Meet the Candidate: Democratic Iowa House District 75 candidate Paula Denison

Editor’s Note: We continue our candidate profiles today with an introduction of Paula “Polly” Denison, the Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 75. As with all of our candidate profiles, we offer this in the candidate’s own words: I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa.  I graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in 1991.  I always knew I wanted to work in government using my skills to help people.  I worked at the Arizona Department of Health Services.  I returned to Iowa and was lucky enough to work at the Johnson County Attorney’s Office.  I gained invaluable experience and insight into public service, transparency, and accountability.  I continued to work in the legal field until 2013. Presently, I live in Van Horne with my husband, Neal Denison.  I am an insurance agent, I own my agency and work through Farmers Insurance.  I chose Farmers because of its strong support of education.  I am an active in the Van Horne Lions Club, Benton Development Group, as well as the Benton County Democrats, and more recently, the Iowa County Democrats.  I have been lucky enough to work with the Light up Van Horne and Van Horne Music Fest Committees. As your State Representative, I will prioritize the following issues: Education.  We need to ensure the proper and timely funding of education. Privatization of Medicaid.  Too many...

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