Category Archives: Local News

Two Mason City men arrested on burglary charges

MASON CITY — Two Mason City men have been arrested after a burglary to a home. The Mason City Police Department says they were called shortly before 12:50 Thursday afternoon to the area around 26th and South Washington, where on arrival it was determined that a residence had been burglarized in the zero block of 25th Southwest, with two suspects fleeing from the scene on foot. Police say the first suspect, 46-year-old John Adams, was located in the Georgia Hanford Park area, with the second suspect, 21-year-old Dylan Mennenga, being found in the area of 19th and South Carolina Terrace.

Report details impact of new Prestage pork processing plant

STANHOPE — A comprehensive report is being released on the financial impact of the major new pork processing plant that will be built in Wright County. Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss presented the findings in the Hamilton County town of Stanhope Wednesday night. It tallies the pros and cons of the 246-million dollar Prestage Farms plant that’s planned south of Eagle Grove.

US Ag Secretary confirmation hearing getting underway

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Ag Committee will begin a confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to be U-S Ag Secretary today.  Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is a member of the committee.  “This is a very important confirmation for all of us across the Midwest because this confirmation will impact us greatly,” Ernst says. President Trump announced in January that he wanted former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to lead the U.S.D.A.  

Lobbyist for Americans for Prosperity sanctioned

DES MOINES — The Ethics Committee in the Iowa House has unanimously voted to sanction a lobbyist who failed to complete the online registration process required for people who lobby lawmakers. Republican Representative Rob Taylor of West Des Moines is the committee’s chairman. “The reason it’s so important for people to register as lobbyists is so that the public knows who it is that is giving us information and advice either for or against a certain subject matter,” Taylor says, “and it’s a requirement under law that they register.”

Iowa cancer cases projected to be up while deaths go down

IOWA CITY — The annual report on cancer from the State Health Registry in the University of Iowa College of Public Health finds the number of cancer cases this year are expected to be up — with the number of deaths down.

Doctor Mary Charlton revealed the findings of the report today. “We estimate there will be 17,400 new cancers diagnosed in Iowa this year — which is an increase from last year — because cancer cases have not been declining as quickly as estimate, so numbers had to be adjusted up,” Charlton says.

Mason City School Board approves air conditioning for two elementary schools

MASON CITY — The Mason City School Board this week approved a project that would add air conditioning to two elementary school facilities. The board approved the low bid of $1-point-1 million to Mechanical Air Systems of Mason City to place air conditioning in the Jefferson and Hoover buildings. School district business manager John Berg says that’s lower than the estimated cost of the project when it was put out for bids. He says the estimate was in the $1.5 to $1.6 million range.

After Oval Office meeting, King to be ‘yes’ on GOP’s ObamaCare replacement

WASHINGTON — Iowa’s congressional delegation is part of the drama over whether enough Republicans will vote for House leadership’s plan to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Iowa is represented by four congressmen. Three of them will vote no on the bill.

Iowa Senators vote to keep traffic enforcement cameras

DES MOINES — Should they stay or should they go? Iowa Senators debated the fate of traffic enforcement cameras for nearly an hour Wednesday night, dramatically ditching a proposal to ban the cameras. Instead, senators voted to let the cameras remain, with the fines used exclusively for public safety or roads.

Senators vote to let police pull texting, Snapchatting drivers over

DES MOINES — Using a cell phone the wrong way at the wrong time could get you a traffic ticket if a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate Wednesday night becomes law. Drivers still could use a hand-held device to make a phone call or look at a digital map to get G-P-S driving directions, but police could pull a driver over for texting, Snapchatting or having a Facebook live session behind the wheel.

Woman accused of stealing money from Clear Lake auto dealership pleads guilty

CLEAR LAKE — A 43-year-old Mason City woman who had been accused of stealing more than $50-thousand while employed as the office manager of a Clear Lake auto dealership has pleaded guilty. Amy Monahan was arrested on felony charges of ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft and forgery. The charges concluded a seven-month investigation into reports of misconduct while Monahan was working for Lake Chevrolet from 2013 through 2016. Investigators had determined Monahan misappropriated more than $50,000 in funds during a two-year period of her employment.

Trump budget proposes cutting Essential Air Service program, would impact MCW

MASON CITY — The manager of the Mason City Municipal Airport says President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Essential Air Service program would have a big impact on the airport. Pam Osgood says while Trump has cut it from his proposed budget, the elimination of EAS funding has been unsuccessfully threatened in the past. She says there’s been discussion of eliminating the program since 1982. “We just all need to keep in mind that the presidential budgets are policy recommendations and Congress has to ultimately be the one that decides on what the budget is going to be.”

Winnebago Industries posts strong second-quarter earnings

FOREST CITY — Second-quarter earnings at Winnebago Industries show the company had a profit of over $15 million. The Forest City-based recreational vehicle manufacturer reports on a per-share basis, it had a profit of 48 cents. Earnings were 46 cents per share. Winnebago posted revenue of $370-and-a-half million for the period, exceeding Wall Street forecasts. Company CEO Michael Happe says the company is building the foundation for a stronger future.

Ag Secretary Northey talks about National Ag Week

MASON CITY — Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was one of the featured guests at this morning’s “Ag Breakfast” sponsored by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce as part of National Ag Week. Northey says people take a lot of things for granted with agriculture and this is a week to recognize how important agriculture is to Iowa. He says a lot of people take for granted the economic impact agriculture has.

Lake Mills man accused of bilking investors pleads not guilty

LAKE MILLS — A Lake Mills man accused of bilking investors out of more than $800-thousand over a four year period has pleaded not guilty. 53-year-old Randall Finer was arrested in February on a charge of ongoing criminal conduct. The Winnebago County Attorney’s Office accuses Finer of soliciting more than $800-thousand from community members for investment purposes from 2011 to 2015 and issuing promissory notes equal to the amount of the loan, plus a guaranteed rate of return.

Suspended sentence for Osage woman who took mother’s money for gambling

OSAGE — It’s a suspended jail sentence for an Osage woman accused of gambling away her mother’s money at a local casino. 58-year-old Marilyn Spartz was originally 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. The theft was discovered when Spartz’s mother’s health insurance company declined to pay her medical bills from a recent hospitalization after the woman’s health care plan had been cancelled because there wasn’t enough money in her checking account to pay for the insurance.

Man accused of double-cashing paychecks pleads not guilty

MASON CITY — A former employee of a Mason City pizza restaurant accused of illegally doubling his paychecks has pleaded not guilty. Investigators accuse 20-year-old Brandon Tonn of Plymouth of depositing eight paychecks from Domino’s Pizza twice by first using a smartphone application to deposit the paychecks into his account, and then later depositing those same checks again. Tonn is accused of illegally gaining just over $2000 by doing that between November 10th 2015 and August 18th of last year.

Forest City man loses appeal of domestic abuse case

MASON CITY — A Forest City man convicted of domestic abuse and burglary in Cerro Gordo County has lost an appeal of his case. Steven Sifuentes pleaded guilty to domestic abuse assault, third-degree burglary and domestic abuse assault as a third or subsequent offense. Sifuentes contended in his appeal that his guilty pleas were not knowing and voluntary in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons, and that his plea counsel provided ineffective assistance in allowing him to plead guilty under the circumstances.

Fireworks bill passes Iowa Senate

DES MOINES — Iowans may soon be able to buy their bottle rockets, Roman candles and smoke balls at fireworks stands within the state’s borders. The Iowa Senate has voted to make it legal for Iowans to buy and ignite consumer fireworks in celebration of a few major holidays.

Iowa Senate votes to lift cap on enrollment in online academies

DES MOINES — The Iowa Senate has voted to expand on-line learning options for Iowa students. If the bill wins House approval, too, there would be no longer be a limit on the number of Iowa students who may take classes online rather than attend a traditional school in their neighborhood. The measure addresses other education issues as well. Senator Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, says the bill has two main purposes.

Bill drafted in response to verbal abuse at Glenwood facility headed to governor’s desk

DES MOINES — The Iowa legislature has unanimously passed a bill that expands the definition of dependent adult abuse. Senator Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene, says it’s partly in response to the verbal abuse of mentally disabled residents at the state-run facility in Glenwood. “Caretakers were swearing at the residents and had inappropriate sexual conversation with the residents,” Costello says. “…They were abusing them by repeatedly saying these things that were inappropriate.”

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