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TIM SCHOON, University of Iowa 

Grace Moore, a Mason City native, hopes to work in rural Iowa after graduating from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.

Arian Schuessler / Submitted 

Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa photographed from the Mercy Air-Med helicopter.

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Study: Mason City hospital creates $226.7M in economic activity

MASON CITY | A recent study indicates Mercy Medical Center—North Iowa generates a considerable amount of economic activity in North Iowa.

The study, conducted by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), stated almost 2,500 jobs at the hospital generate $226.7 million in economic output for North Iowa.

"We are proud to be serving the North Iowa area, providing jobs that improve the health of our community, and also have a positive impact on the economy,” Dan Varnum, president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa said in a statement.

Chris Zoeller / CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa.

The IHA study also indicated that Mercy Medical Center—North Iowa employees spent about $72.7 million on retail sales and added about $4.4 million in state sales tax revenue last year.

"We are honored to contribute to the health and prosperity of communities through providing quality care and jobs and making investments that make Iowa a great place to live and work," Bob Ritz, president and CEO, Mercy Health Network said in a statement. "We are also committed to our mission of caring for others and giving back to our communities."

Iowa's health care sector creates $17 billion of state economic activity and creates over 330,300 jobs both directly and indirectly, according to the release. 

Chris Zoeller / CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa.

Trump economic aide Cohn departs after trade disagreement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top economic adviser Gary Cohn is leaving the White House after breaking with President Donald Trump on trade policy, the latest in a string of high-level departures from the West Wing.

Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, has been the leading internal opponent to Trump's planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, working to orchestrate an eleventh-hour effort in recent days to get Trump to reverse course. But Trump resisted those efforts, and reiterated Tuesday he will be imposing tariffs in the coming days.

Cohn's departure comes amid a period of unparalleled tumult in the Trump administration, and aides worry that more staffers may soon head for the doors.

The announcement came hours after Trump denied there was chaos in the White House. Trump maintained that his White House has "tremendous energy," but multiple White House officials said Trump has been urging anxious aides to stay.

"Everyone wants to work in the White House," Trump said during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. "They all want a piece of the Oval Office."

In a statement, Cohn said it was his honor to serve in the administration and "enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people."

Trump praised Cohn despite the disagreement on trade, issuing a statement saying Cohn has "served his country with great distinction."

Cohn is a former Goldman Sachs executive who joined the White House after departing the Wall Street firm with a $285 million payout. He played a pivotal role in helping Trump enact a sweeping tax overhaul, coordinating with members of Congress.

Cohn nearly departed the administration last summer after he was upset by the president's comments about the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va. Cohn, who is Jewish, wrote a letter of resignation but never submitted it.

"Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK," Cohn told The Financial Times at the time. "I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities."

Trump loved to boast about the former executive's wealth, but Cohn's tenure in the White House was rocky. In the administration's early weeks, he found himself on the losing side of several contentious battles, including the announcement of plans to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Yet his stock improved to the point that he was one of names Trump was floating for chief of staff last month, when it looked like John Kelly was on thin ice.

Cohn told other White House aides in recent weeks that he would have little reason to stay if Trump followed through with his tariff plans, according to a White House official familiar with his views. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

"I mean it is no secret that he disagreed with Trump on trade and he was opposed to the policy," said Stephen Moore, who served as an economic adviser to Trump's campaign.

The White House did not immediately announce a replacement for Cohn, whose deputy, Jeremy Katz, departed in January. Among those under consideration for Cohn's job are CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

In a tweet earlier Tuesday, Trump sought to portray himself as the architect of the White House staff changes, writing, "I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection)."

Trump acknowledged he is a tough boss to work for, saying he enjoys watching his closest aides fight over policy. "I like conflict," he said during the press conference.

Cohn was nowhere in sight at the press conference and a seat reserved for him in the East Room was filled by a different aide.

Dating back to the campaign, Trump has frequently and loudly complained about the quality of his staff, eager to fault his aides for any mishaps rather than acknowledge any personal responsibility. But the attacks on his own staff have sharpened in recent weeks, and he has suggested to confidants that he has few people at his side he can count on, according to two people familiar with his thinking but not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

Coinciding with the heated debate over tariffs, Trump's communications director Hope Hicks, one of his closest and most devoted aides, announced her resignation last week, leaving a glaring vacancy in the informal cadre of Trump loyalists in the White House.

Turnover after just over a year in office is nothing new, but the Trump administration has churned through staff at a dizzying pace since taking office last January, and allies are worried the situation could descend into a free-fall.

Making matters worse, the list of prospects to replace departing aides grows shorter as the sense of turmoil increases. Vacancies abound throughout the West Wing and the administration at large, from critical roles like staff secretary to more junior positions in the press office.

Multiple aides who are considering departing said they didn't have a clue who could fill their roles — adding that their desire to remain team players has kept them on the job longer than they had planned. But they warned they were nearing their breaking point.

A number of aides have expressed worry about the legal implications — and steep legal bills — they could face if ensnared in the ongoing Russia probe. The probe has had a chilling effect on an already sluggish White House hiring process, according to officials, and there is wide concern that working for Trump could negatively affect future career prospects.

Meanwhile, the prospects for significant governing achievements in the coming years — like the GOP tax bill passed in December — are shrinking, as Republicans face a daunting electoral environment this fall.

In a riff Saturday at the Gridiron Dinner, an annual white-tie affair, Trump engaged in a rare bout of self-deprecating humor, comparing the Oval Office job to his past career as the host of the reality-television show "The Apprentice."

"In one job I had to manage a cutthroat cast of characters, desperate for TV time, totally unprepared for their roles and their jobs and each week afraid of having their asses fired — and the other job I was the host of a smash television hit."

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Mitchell sheriff: Osage Schools not threatened, concerns result of 'domestic misunderstanding'

OSAGE | Law enforcement said concerns over a school threat in Osage Tuesday are unfounded and are the result of a “domestic misunderstanding.”

Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver told the Globe Gazette there was no threat to Osage Schools.

“We took a report this morning,” Beaver said. “There was a domestic misunderstanding between a foster mom and a 16-year-old son.”

Beaver said that the misunderstanding had nothing to do with schools.


“I think some folks were monitoring scanners,” Beaver said. “It was mentioned from the foster parent that the son could have a gun.”

The Globe Gazette and the Mitchell County Press-News do not report scanner traffic without official confirmation from law enforcement. Scanner traffic, though occasionally helpful to those outside of law enforcement, can be inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.

The rumor, possibly originating from a police scanner, took off on social media.

Beaver said the incident was was never investigated as a school threat. It was investigated as a domestic incident. 

A Mitchell County sheriff's deputy was with the 16-year-old male within 10 minutes of the domestic report.

“Everything was checked out and cleared,” Beaver said. “He didn’t threaten a school.”

The sheriff’s office and Osage Schools used social media, email and text alerts to ease public fears and concern.

“Please be aware that the call this morning that has people concerned has been investigated,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “The concern was caused by human error. There is no threat to the Osage Schools.”

Osage Schools posted on Facebook that there is no threat to the school district involving a student.

“It was reported to administration, by students, and parents that they heard something over a police scanner,” the post said. “Administrators immediately called law enforcement to follow up on this information.”

Parents and those located in the Osage area commented on the Facebook posts and took to social media to express concerns over the perceived lack of information. Some said they were worried about their children’s safety.

“Unfortunately, this is what we deal with with everything going on in the country,” Beaver said.

Beaver noted people everywhere are concerned and nervous when it comes to the potential for school violence.

“The school is safe,” Beaver said. “Anyone with concerns can call my office if they have any questions.”

The community concerns come on the heels of several school threats locally and nationally. 

Last month in Mason City, a teenager threatened to bring a weapon and use it against other students and staff at Mason City High School. Another threat was investigated in Mason City involving a possible social media threat directed at a pep rally.

Riceville Schools in Howard County canceled classes last month due to a shooting threat. A female is accused of messaging a person online asking him to "shoot up Riceville School," according to law enforcement.