Look at the short list of stories from Vinton in the past few years and see if you can identify something they have in common:

* A collision with a deer on the Vinton runway damages a plan which a local pilot had spent months building.

* A federal search warrant at a local business leads to the discovery of gold bars hidden in a rest room.

* The Iowa DNR causes a fire that damages area properties.

While all three of these stories became headlines on TV stations and newspapers throughout Iowa (and beyond), you read about all three of these stories first, here, on Vinton Today.

But the purpose of today's column is not to convince you that Vinton Today is the best or fastest news service (although we do think it is).

The purpose is to do the one thing we least like to do: Ask for your financial support.

For 365 days of the year, we offer you the news for free; it's just once each year that we give you the opportunity to contribute.

We allow anyone, anywhere, to read all of our stories, as often as they wish, without asking anyone to pay. We publish obituaries and classified ads, as well as notices of fund-raising dinners for local organizations, again without charging anyone.

That's the way we think it should be.

We could ramble on about all of the things that virtually every newspaper in the world asks you to pay for on a daily basis, but you already know about the cost of subscriptions, newsstand issues, obituaries, classified advertisements and announcement about weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations, as well as the public notices that cities, counties and school districts are required by law to pay newspapers to publicize their minutes and other notices.

So, today, as we thank our advertisers for their terrific support every month for the past four years, we ask you to consider making a donation to Vinton Today. Your support will help us maintain our web site, make updates and improvements, and purchase cameras and computer equipment that helps us bring the news to you quickly and thoroughly every day

We sent a letter to those who have donated in the past; if you did not receive one, click the link at the end of this column to see it.

That's all. Other than to say thanks for your support, every day. Thanks for reading, for sharing our stories and photos with friends and relatives. Thanks to all of you who have helped us cover the news, either by giving us tips, sending us stories, or sharing photos from events you have attended or things you have seen.

Your help every day makes it possible for us to do what we love to do. IF you would like to help, you may send your donation to: Vinton Today Fund Drive, Box 477, Vinton IA 52349.

Click HERE see the fund-raising letter.

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