Category Archives: Local News

Democrats seek to hang Branstad record on Reynolds

DES MOINES — Now that Republican Kim Reynolds is Iowa’s governor, Democrats are hoping to tie her to what they consider Terry Branstad’s unpopular policies.

“It’s not like she just became governor without being a partner to all of these…She was there for every bit of the agenda that’s held back Iowans,” says State Senator Nate Boulton of Des Moines, one of the Democrats who’s running for governor.

Boulton says after scaling back union bargaining rights and rolling back minimum wage increases in “multiple” counties, the only person who seems to have gotten a “bump in status” from the Branstad years seems to be Kim Reynolds.

Democratic leader seizing on Reynolds’ remark on ‘party labels’

DES MOINES — Democrats in the legislature are seizing on what they consider an olive branch from Iowa’s new governor.

Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids attended Wednesday’s ceremony installing Republican Kim Reynolds as governor and he heard her first address.

“On the issues that she laid out, those are issues that we’re willing to work with her on,” Hogg says. “Tax reform that is fairer and simpler and helps ordinary Iowans, we’re interested in working on that as long as it’s not just a guise for a tax giveaway to the wealthiest Iowans.”

Second informational meeting held about downtown hotel, Music Man Square

MASON CITY — About 40 people attended a public meeting yesterday afternoon to further discuss the Gatehouse Capital proposal to place a hotel in the southeastern portion of the main Southbridge Mall parking lot and connect it to Music Man Square. The current museum portion of the building would be transformed into conference and convention space, with a new, separate building being constructed to house the museum’s contents.

David Rachie of Gatehouse Capital says it was a productive meeting in his mind, with developers being open to ideas, including looking into the possibility of placing the hotel on property south of the Music Man Square building.

US Supreme Court rejects appeal by DeCosters

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a sentencing appeal by a father and son whose Iowa-based egg production company caused a massive 2010 salmonella outbreak.

The rejection Monday means Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster will be required to serve prison time for misdemeanor food safety violations. The appeal was denied without comment.

The DeCosters were sentenced to three months in prison by a federal judge in Iowa in 2015 but appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld the sentences last July.

Guilty plea by Rock Falls man involved in high-speed chase, officer assault

ROCK FALLS — A Rock Falls man accused of fighting with a deputy and leading authorities on a high-speed chase has pleaded guilty. A deputy pulled over 28-year-old Joseph Porcelli in the early morning hours of December 10th on State Highway 122 near Iowa Avenue and attempted to arrest Porcelli after drugs were allegedly found in the vehicle. Porcelli fought with the deputy, jumped back into his vehicle and sped away.

Mason City man sentenced on sexual contact charge

MASON CITY — It’s up to ten years in prison for a Mason City man who was accused of inappropriate contact with a child. 47-year-old Greg Courtier pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of lascivious acts with a child. Courtier was accused of inappropriately touching the child on February 14th of last year. District Judge James Drew this week sentenced Courtier to ten years in prison and ordered that he be under the supervision of the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his life, with eligibility for parole, following the completion of his prison term. Courtier must also register as a sex offender.

Man pleads not guilty in deadly western Iowa jail escape

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed a sheriff’s deputy and wounded another while escaping from an Iowa jail.

Online court records say 24-year-old Wesley Correa-Carmenaty filed the written pleas Tuesday to charges of murder, attempted murder, escape, kidnapping and other crimes. His trial in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County is scheduled to begin July 25.

Alliant rate hike hearing Thursday evening in Mason City

MASON CITY — The Iowa Utilities Board will be holding a public hearing tomorrow evening in Mason City as part of Alliant Energy’s application to increase electric rates in the area. Alliant is requesting a permanent annual revenue increase of about $176 million, or 11-point-6 percent. It would be the first increase in six years in the company’s rates. Alliant says the average residential customer’s monthly bill would increase by 12-and-a-half percent, or about $14.26, but the increase varies by customer usage. Alliant implemented a temporary 8-point-3 percent increase last month. That temporary increase is subject to refund if the final rate approved by the IUB is lower. The IUB is scheduled to make a final decision on the rate increase request in October. Thursday’s public hearing will start at 5:30 in the Muse-Norris Conference Center on the North Iowa Area Community College campus.

Kim Reynolds sworn in as governor, delivers first address

DES MOINES — Iowa has a new governor. Kim Reynolds took the oath of office shortly after 10:45 this morning.

Reynolds will serve out the remaining 18 months of the sixth term Governor Terry Branstad won from Iowa voters in 2018.

“I’m incredibly proud to stand before you today as your governor,” Reynolds said in her first address as the state’s chief executive.

Branstad resigned shortly after 10 a.m. today. He was immediately sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China. The federal judge who administered the oath to Branstad was Steven Colloton.

Colloton serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit and he was among the dozen people Donald Trump listed last year as potential picks for an opening on the U.S. Supreme Court. Colloton’s father is John Colloton, a Mason City native who was the director and CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics from 1971 to 1993. It’s Branstad who is now part of President Trump’s Administration.

With Branstad’s exit, the statehouse spotlight has shifted to Governor Reynolds. She delivered her first speech as governor to a crowd gathered in the state capitol rotunda.

Soon-to-be Governor Reynolds reflects on her past, the mission ahead

Programming note: We’ll have live coverage Wednesday on AM-1300 KGLO of the resignation of Terry Branstad as governor and his swearing in as US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, as well as Kim Reynolds taking the oath of office to be Iowa’s first female governor starting at 10:00 AM from the Iowa State Capitol Rotunda in Des Moines. 

 

DES MOINES — The woman who will become Iowa’s next governor later this morning credits her “small town roots” with propelling her to this point in her political career.

Republican Kim Reynolds will take the oath of office at about 10:30 this morning, shortly after Governor Terry Branstad resigns and is sworn in by a federal judge as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Reynolds is well aware that as Iowa’s first female governor, she’s breaking barriers.

“Young girls just come up already and they’re so excited,” Reynolds told Radio Iowa yesterday afternoon, her voice cracking with emotion. “You have to see it sometimes to believe in it.”

Court workers getting Friday off without pay in budget cutting measure

DES MOINES — Those who work in the state court system are going to get an extra day off this holiday weekend without pay.

The Iowa Judicial Branch announced Tuesday that all offices, including clerk of district court offices, the office of the clerk of the supreme court, and juvenile court services offices, will be closed Friday (May 26) to help make up for the cuts in the budget.

Veal ruled competent to stand trial in Mason City double homicide case (AUDIO)

Listen to the entire hearing by clicking on the left side of the audio player below:

 

MASON CITY — A Cerro Gordo County judge has ruled a Lake Mills man accused of murdering two people in Mason City last November is competent to stand trial. 30-year-old Peter Veal is accused of the November 17th murders of Mindy Kavars and Caleb Christensen, as well as the attempted murder of another person, at a residence in the 1600 block of North Hampshire. In March, District Judge Rustin Davenport ruled that Veal was not competent to stand trial after reviewing the results of a psychiatric evaluation.

Branstad heading home to north-central Iowa on his final day as governor (AUDIO)

Programming note: We’ll have live coverage Wednesday on AM-1300 KGLO of the resignation of Terry Branstad as governor and his swearing in as US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, as well as Kim Reynolds taking the oath of office to be Iowa’s first female governor starting at 10:00 AM from the Iowa State Capitol Rotunda in Des Moines. 

 

DES MOINES — Terry Branstad is going to spend his last day as governor where — in his words — “it all began.”

“I just want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to the people that launched my career,” Branstad said this morning.

Branstad was born in the Forest City hospital, grew up on a farm near Leland and practiced law in Lake Mills. Branstad’s first successful campaign for office was to represent Lake Mills and the surrounding area in the Iowa House.

“They were so generous and supportive of me and I want to let them know how much I appreciate the honor and the opportunity that I’ve had coming from that small county in Minnesota border,” Branstad said.

Branstad will visit the museum in Forest City where some of his political memorabilia has been deposited and where more of it is being transferred as he packs for his new post as U.S. Ambassador to China. He’ll also visit his elderly aunt as well as other family and friends in the area.

Reynolds to reveal ‘forward-looking policy’ in first speech as governor (AUDIO)

DES MOINES — Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will take the oath of office tomorrow at 10:30 in the state capitol, right after Governor Branstad resigns in the office he’s occupied for more than 22 years and is sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China.

Reynolds will deliver her first speech as governor tomorrow and she gave a hint of what it may contain this morning.

Grassley reacts to terror bombing in England

WASHINGTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says last night’s terrorist attack in England that killed at least 22 people and injured around 60 has cast a “somber” mood over this morning’s work at the U.S. Capitol. ISIS is claiming responsibility for the bombing in Manchester at a concert featuring American pop star Ariana Grande.

“What was supposed to be a joyous occasion was ruined by hate,” Grassley says. “Attacks like these remind us that the war on terror is a multi-generational battle and one that is about nothing less than humanity’s values.”

Second downtown hotel meeting planned for Wednesday evening

MASON CITY — The Mason City Foundation will be hosting another public forum tomorrow night about the proposed hotel development plan with Gatehouse Capital and Music Man Square. David Rachie of Gatehouse Capital will be in attendance to answer questions regarding the hotel, which is proposed to be constructed in the southeastern portion of the Southbridge Mall main parking lot.

Competency hearing today for Lake Mills man

MASON CITY — A Lake Mills man accused of murdering two people in Mason City last November plans to use an insanity defense in his trial. 30-year-old Peter Veal is accused of the November 17th murders of Mindy Kavars and Caleb Christensen, as well as the attempted murder of another person, at a residence in the 1600 block of North Hampshire. In March, District Judge Rustin Davenport ruled that Veal was not competent to stand trial after reviewing the results of a psychiatric evaluation.

Not guilty plea in Mason City sexual abuse case

MASON CITY — A not guilty plea has been entered by a Mason City man accused of sexual abuse. 37-year-old Christopher Hull was charged earlier this year with second-degree sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child after being accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old child in June 2015. Hull entered a written plea of not guilty in Cerro Gordo County District Court on Monday. His trial has been scheduled for July 11th. If convicted of second-degree sexual abuse, Hull would face up to 25 years in prison.

Algona man gets three years of probation for asbestos violations

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) – An Algona man has been given three years of probation for asbestos violations.

57-year-old Gary Christianson was sentenced last week. He’d pleaded guilty to one count of failing to notify state and federal authorities about building renovations that involved asbestos. Prosecutors dropped other charges in exchange for his plea.

Iowa schools to stop using $14M testing software after audit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Education plans to end its contract with a testing software vendor after a technical audit found the $14 million system was “unfit.”

The 91-page audit found that the TIER testing platform, which is designed to give reading tests to students, was a “dense and disjointed” system and would likely experience technical failures in the future.

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