Category Archives: Local News

Mason City leaders meet with IEDA about River City Renaissance project (AUDIO)

DES MOINES — The Board of Directors for the Iowa Economic Development Authority gave a favorable review Friday to the River City Renaissance redevelopment project that’s a part of the Iowa Reinvestment Act program. The board has pre-approved about $7 million in state funding to help leverage a $36 million project that includes redeveloping the western part of Southbridge Mall into a multi-purpose center that includes an ice arena, as well as a hotel and a music pavilion.

GOP lawmakers axing program for art in state buildings

DES MOINES — Republicans in the legislature are getting rid of a requirement that art be installed in new state buildings. Senator Charles Schneider of West Des Moines said it’s not because he and other Republicans are against art.

“When I talk to taxpayers and they know what tough times we’re going through, I hear complaints about things like public art at rest areas…about public art at a hog farm,” Schneider said. “Taxpayers expect us to use their dollars better.”

Regents president attends last meeting

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Outgoing Board of Regents president Bruce Rastetter attended his last meeting today in Council Bluffs.

“It has certainly been an interesting six years and perspective of the public institutions and what the board has that I have really grown to appreciate,” Rastetter says.

Rastetter, who is a businessman from Alden, decided not to apply for another term on the board. He told the board they need to keep active in running the three state-supported universities.

Forest City man charged with mail fraud, wire fraud

FOREST CITY — A Forest City man who has already been sentenced to over a year in prison for failing to pay employment taxes now is facing additional federal fraud charges. The US Attorney’s Office has charged 61-year-old Darell Smith with mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. Smith was the president and general partner of Energae, an investment partnership located in Clear Lake which was a minority investor in Permeate Refining LLC, an ethanol production company based in Hopkington.

Former US Attorney joining private law firm

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – A top federal prosecutor from Iowa asked to resign by President Trump last month is joining a Cedar Rapids law firm.

Kevin Techau, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, will join Scheldrup Blades law firm in Cedar Rapids as a shareholder and leader of its government compliance and internal investigations team.

State to be updated on Mason City downtown redevelopment project Friday

MASON CITY — Mason City leaders will be heading to Des Moines tomorrow to update the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors on the River City Renaissance redevelopment project that’s a part of the Iowa Reinvestment Act program. The board has pre-approved about $7 million in state funding to help leverage a $36 million project that includes redeveloping the western part of Southbridge Mall into a multi-purpose center that includes an ice arena, as well as a hotel and a music pavilion. The major change in that plan has been the hotel.

Legislature passing budget bills, adjournment could be near

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Legislature has approved most bills needed to finalize the roughly $7.2 billion state budget, an indication that adjournment is near for the session.

The Republican-controlled chambers have voted in support of several budget bills over the span of days that address spending on everything from education to economic development. Lawmakers are scheduled back at the Capitol on Thursday, though it’s unclear what day they will finish work.

Budget bill would eliminate ISU ag research center

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A budget bill that would eliminate a longtime research center at Iowa State University is headed to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The Republican-controlled Legislature approved an agriculture-related budget bill this week that eliminates the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture by July 1. Remaining activities within the 30-year-old center would be administered by the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Ban on video monitoring of public restrooms clears legislature

DES MOINES — Video monitoring in public restrooms and locker rooms is likely to be outlawed soon in Iowa.

The Iowa legislature has sent the governor a bill that forbids the practice in public libraries, public schools and other government buildings.

Representative Greg Heartsill of Columbia says in this instance, privacy rights outweigh public safety concerns.

King toasts Border Patrol over deportation

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King is toasting the deportation of a man whose attorneys say is the first known person who qualifies for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be removed from the country by President Donald Trump.

Juan Manuel Montes has sued the federal government over his deportation to Mexico. The 23-year-old says he’s entitled to stay in the U.S. under DACA, which shields people who came to the country as young children.

Meservey man’s kidnapping trial scheduled for July

MESERVEY — The trial of a Meservey man charged with kidnapping and assault has been rescheduled for this summer. 41-year-old Charles Albright is accused of holding captive a 36-year-old woman, who called the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department on October 7th claiming that she had been beaten and kidnapped. Albright is accused of punching and cutting the woman, as well as allowing his dog to bite her and shocking her with a stun gun during a period of 12 to 14 hours.

Band Festival entertainment lineup announced

MASON CITY — The entertainment lineup has been announced for the 79th edition of the North Iowa Band Festival.

=== On Thursday night, the traditional concerts of the Mason City All-Middle School Band and the Mason City Municipal Band will be held starting at 6 o’clock on the plaza on the north side of Southbridge Mall. The Iowa-based Latin-jazz-dance band Orquesta Alto Maiz will then perform at the First Congregational Church at 7:30.

Two members of Iowa Board of Medicine, including Lake Mills woman, kicked off board

DES MOINES — The Iowa legislature’s on-going battle over abortion was waged on two fronts Wednesday. House Republicans pressed forward with their plan to deny state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. It’s included in a budget bill that cleared the House early Wednesday night. And Democrats in the Iowa Senate were able to kick two members off the Iowa Board of Medicine who had voted in 2013 to ban so-called “telemed” abortions.

“Support the constitutional rights of Iowa women…support safe medical care, not politics,” said Senator Janet Peterson, who is a Democrat from Des Moines.. “This is the Board of Medicine, not the Board of Politics.”

The chairwoman of the Board of Medicine, Diane Clark, who hails from Governor Terry Branstad’s hometown of Lake Mills, AND a doctor from Iowa City failed to get enough senate votes to stay on the board.

Iowa Lottery’s chief, DNR’s director in limbo after missed confirmation deadline

DES MOINES — Two of Governor Branstad’s top administrators have been in danger of being out of a job on May 1st. The Iowa Senate and the governor have an April 15th deadline to confirm state agency leaders for their posts. But the Republican-led senate failed to hold confirmation votes on about a dozen people this year — including the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Lottery’s chief executive. But, because they’re LAW-makers, senators passed a resolution Wednesday to excuse their lapse.

Three arrested after traffic stop in Mason City

MASON CITY — Three men were taken into custody late Wednesday morning after a traffic stop in Mason City. The Mason City Police Department says officers pulled over a vehicle at about 10:55 AM near the intersection of State Highway 122 and South Grover. Officers had been investigating several suspected check forgeries over the last few days in Mason City, and officers suspected one or more of the occupants of the vehicle were involved.

Second arrest made in Madison County covered bridge fire

WINTERSET — A second arrest was made Wednesday in connection with the fire that destroyed one of the iconic covered bridges in Madison County over the weekend. Eighteen-year-old Joel Davis of Norwalk is facing a charge of first-degree arson — along with Alex Hoff, the 17-year-old from West Des Moines who was arrested on Tuesday.

Severe weather possible in north-central Iowa later today

MASON CITY — The entire state is under the threat for severe thunderstorms later today. National Weather Service Meteorologist Cory Martin says the system is expected to enter western Iowa late this afternoon and push east through the evening and into the early overnight hours.

“All modes of severe weather are possible including large hail, strong wind gusts, and also the possibility of a few tornadoes,” Martin said. Martin says the threat for tornadoes likely won’t be here in north-central Iowa, but he says it can’t be ruled out.

Bill headed to governor limiting medical malpractice lawsuits

DES MOINES — Democrats and Republicans in the Iowa legislature have had fierce debates over liability issues this year.

However, a bill that would place new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits now has made it through the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

The legislation would establish a $250,000 limit on “non-economic damages” for emotional pain and suffering that are awarded when health care providers are found liable for medical negligence. However, that cap would not apply if a patient dies, loses major bodily functions or is substantially disfigured.

Taxing and regulating on-line E-cigarette sales proposed

DES MOINES — A proposal to try to regulate and tax electronic cigarettes and other so-called “vaping” products sold online to Iowans has emerged at the statehouse. Senator Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines, said those sales are happening now.

“We want to make sure that sellers of vaping products are verifying that the purchasers of those products are at least 18,” Schneider said, “and they ought to be paying sales tax to the state.”

Trial of two accused of abducting Buffalo Center child delayed again

BUFFALO CENTER — The trials of two people accused of child abduction in Buffalo Center have been delayed again. 30-year-old Daniel Smith and 29-year-old Ashley Machain are accused of abducting Machain’s biological children back on November 24th from a house in Buffalo Center. The children were recovered the next day in Fort Dodge. Machain and Smith were both charged with second-degree burglary, child endangerment, and assault while participating in a felony.

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