Category Archives: Local News

Snowplows ready to go for winter storm

MASON CITY — State snowplow crews are preparing for the massive snowstorm that’s forecast to hit a wide section of north-central and northwest Iowa tonight and tomorrow. Craig Bargfrede, the Iowa D-O-T’s winter operations administrator, says they’re well aware of the predictions calling for 12-to-18 inches of snow and the Blizzard Warning for two-dozen Iowa counties.

Mason City council approves study on removing dams on Winnebago River

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City this week has approved awarding a contract for a feasibility study on removing dams on the Winnebago River in Mason City, which in turn would create more recreational activities for the river. The removal of the low-head dams on the river would make it more navigable for kayaking and canoeing.

Legislative forum postponed due to weather forecast

CLEAR LAKE — A legislative forum scheduled for Friday morning in Clear Lake has fallen victim to the weather. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, and Senate Minority Whip Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City, were scheduled to hold a forum at Clear Lake Bank & Trust tomorrow morning, hosted by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce officials issued a statement this morning, saying that the event has been cancelled due to the impending weather. The Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to host another forum on Friday March 24th at the Clear Lake Bank & Trust Community Room.

Medical marijuana bill clears first House hurdle

DES MOINES — Advocates for a bill that would set up state-sanctioned operations to grow marijuana, make cannabis oil and dispense it in Iowa were at the capitol Wednesday, urging legislators to act. Carrie Anderson of Grimes has M.S. “While on vacation this last summer in Denver, my husband persuaded me to try medical cannabis,” Anderson says. “…I can tell you that the first night I took it, I slept through the night for the first time in six and a half years.

DCI: Leath will not be charged over use of Iowa State planes

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State University President Steven Leath will not be charged over allegations that he used school airplanes for personal benefit. The Division of Criminal Investigation said Wednesday that Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds declined to charge Leath Feb. 3 after determining “there was no probable cause to substantiate a violation of Iowa law.”

University of Iowa to eliminate 2400 academic scholarships due to budget cuts

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The University of Iowa is eliminating academic scholarships expected by more than 2,400 resident students for the 2017-18 school year. A letter being sent by university President Bruce Harreld blames the Legislature’s decreasing university funding by $8 million. University officials estimate that cutting the scholarships will save the university about $4.3 million.

Iowa Court of Appeals upholds use of speed cameras

DES MOINES — The Iowa Court of Appeals has turned down a challenge of a speed camera ticket issued in Cedar Rapids. Marla Leaf was issued a ticket after a speed camera on Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids captured her Ford Mustang traveling sixty-eight miles-an-hour in a 55-miles-an-hour zone in February of 2015.

Illinois man charged in Cerro Gordo County with lascivious acts

MASON CITY — A Harvey Illinois man has been arrested and brought back to Cerro Gordo County on a charge of lascivious acts with a child. 29-year-old Sean Dright is accused of sexually abusing a child two years ago in Mason City. Investigators say Dright put his hand down a child’s pants and fondled the child at a Mason City residence multiple times between February and July in 2015.

Blizzard forecast to hit north-central Iowa Friday



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MASON CITY — North-central Iowa is getting ready for a major winter storm to impact the area. A Blizzard Warning is in effect for Cerro Gordo, Worth, Winnebago, Hancock, Wright and Kossuth counties from tomorrow morning through midnight tomorrow night. Rain tonight will transition into snow Thursday night into early Friday morning with winds increasing to 20-30 miles per hour through the day on Friday, causing visibilities to drop to less than a half a mile. Travel will not be recommended during the storm, but if you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you, and if you do get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

Nora Springs woman accused of stealing from booster club fund

MANLY — A Nora Springs woman is accused of stealing over $9000 from the Central Springs High School Athletic Booster Club. 37-year-old Autumn Dillavou has been charged with third-degree theft after she allegedly stole $9334 from the club from May through December 2016. A criminal complaint states that other club members had discovered the money missing from the club’s bank account over a period of six to seven months. Dillavou recently made her initial appearance in court, but online court records do not show an arraignment date.

Democrat tells Leath use of school plane ‘probably…wasn’t the best decision’

DES MOINES — During a legislative hearing on Wednesday, two Democratic lawmakers questioned Iowa State University president Steve Leath about campus hiring decisions, his use of a university-owned plane AND where his guns have been. Leath says it was “well known” when he took the job that he was an avid hunter. Leath says he got a waiver to keep his guns in the president’s residence which is in the “guns-free zone” of the Ames campus.

Bakken pipeline protesters occupy governor’s office

DES MOINES — Twenty people began occupying the governor’s office early Wednesday afternoon, to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline which passes through Iowa. At 5 p.m., four were arrested and charged with trespassing when the office closed for the day. Frank Cordaro, a spokesman for the group, says continued reliance on oil will cause “more dirty wars.” “It’s oil-based this. It’s oil-based that,” Cordaro said. “We’ve sold our soul to oil.”

Grassley doubts “rambunctious” town hall crowd was paid to protest

NEW HARTFORD — President Trump suggests some vocal protesters at Tuesday’s public appearances by Iowa’s two Republican U-S senators may’ve been recruited to be there by “liberal activists.” Senator Chuck Grassley says he “enjoyed” interacting with the people who attended his Iowa Falls and Garner town hall meetings. Grassley says they were “rambunctious” but he doesn’t think any of them were paid Democratic Party protesters. “I wouldn’t have any evidence they were paid to be there,” Grassley says.

Ernst expresses concerns about cantankerous crowd in Maquoketa

CLINTON — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst followed Tuesday’s loud and cantankerous public forum in Maquoketa with a closed-door meeting with a drug abuse fighting organization in Clinton. Ernst spoke with local reporters after the meeting and expressed concern about the tone of the Maquoketa meeting. “I am o.k. with people coming out and exercising the right to free speech,” Ernst said. “They certainly can do that, but what is concerning is that when are we going to start coming together and having a productive dialogue.”

Sentencing set for Mason City woman accused of child neglect

MASON CITY — The sentencing date has been set for a Mason City woman accused of making her children sleep in a room covered with human waste. 25-year-old Alexis Martinez was taken into custody on September 12th of last year on three charges of neglect of a dependent person. She was accused of allegedly forced three children, ages two, four, and six, to sleep for a week in a room with feces on the walls and floors, with the door to the room being locked from the outside.

Mason City man’s kidnapping trial delayed again

MASON CITY — A Mason City man’s trial on kidnapping, attempted murder and burglary charges scheduled to start next month has been delayed. 43-year-old Jason Clausen is accused of assaulting his girlfriend on the morning of May 29th of last year. The woman was taken to Mercy-North Iowa with what were described as serious injuries. Clausen was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, attempted murder, first-degree burglary, and violation of a no contact order.

Osage woman pleads not guilty to gambling away mother’s money at casino

OSAGE — An Osage woman accused of gambling her mother’s money has pleaded not guilty to a theft charge. 58-year-old Marilyn Spartz was charged with second-degree theft after being accused of gambling with her mother’s money from July to December at the Diamond Jo Casino near Northwood.

Mason City council sets budget hearing, levy proposed to decrease one cent

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night set March 7th as the date for a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The proposed budget shows a one-cent decrease in the tax levy from $13.71 per $1000 assessed valuation to $13.70. The projected tax levy increase was five-percent, but council members, staff and department heads worked on the budget to get to the one-cent decrease. Councilman Travis Hickey says he’s pleased with the staff’s work on this budget.

Lawsuits filed against seven businesses for hitting underground gas pipes

DES MOINES — Iowa’s Attorney General has filed seven lawsuits covering five counties for alleged violations of the “Iowa One Call” law. The law requires anyone who is going to be digging to call at least 48 hours in advance to have underground utility lines marked. Attorney General Tom Miller’s spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says the people involved in each of these cases failed to make that call.

Police respond to mental health check at NIACC

MASON CITY — Police were called to North Iowa Area Community College on Tuesday morning after receiving a report of a suicidal person on campus. The Mason City Police Department in a statement says they were notified at about 10:30 AM that someone Winnebago County authorities were looking for as part of a welfare check was at the NIACC campus.

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