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CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation agents and local police investigate the scene where two bodies were found in a home on the 300 block of 27th Street Southwest on Tuesday.

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Police identify Mason City couple found dead in their home Tuesday, grandson charged with homicide


MASON CITY | Mason City police have identified the people found dead in a Mason City home Tuesday morning.

Kenneth Hackbart, 61, and Kathleen Hackbart, 64, were found dead at 327 27th Ave. S.W. after police conducted a welfare check Tuesday morning. Court documents list the time of the incident as 7:23 a.m.

Police said in the criminal complaint that the two were stabbed, but didn't provide any other details. The crime scene will remain secured and no additional information will be released at this time, the Mason City Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.

Photos: 2 found dead in Mason City home, witness in custody

The Hackbarts owned and occupied the single-story blue house, according to property records, which is located across the street from the former Madison School property. 

The Hackbarts' grandson, Codie Matz, 25, of Mason City, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Tuesday evening. Court documents indicate he lived with the Hackbarts. 

Police on Tuesday were seeking Matz, who they said was last seen in Mason City about 8 a.m.

An Iowa State trooper on Tuesday afternoon saw Matz in the Hackbarts' vehicle near a rural address in the Des Moines suburb of Bondurant.

The vehicle turned into "an apparent random driveway and parked," according to police. Matz was already out of the car when he was taken into custody about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"The residence near Bondurant is not believed to be involved," police said in a statement Wednesday. "No other suspects are being sought at this time."   

Matz is being held on a $1 million bond in the Cerro Gordo County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 in the Cerro Gordo County District Court. 

Matz has a limited criminal history in Iowa. In April, he pleaded guilty in Cerro Gordo County District Court to stealing a pair of designer sunglasses in Mason City, according to court records, and was fined $100. A contempt of court charge related to the case was dismissed. 

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Auditor: Tuesday's voter turnout in Mason City highest in 20 years

MASON CITY | Voter turnout in Mason City's municipal elections Tuesday was the highest in nearly 20 years, according to Cerro Gordo County Auditor Ken Kline.

Complete but unofficial totals show 7,195 voters cast ballots, a turnout of 37.6 percent. That is only the fourth time in the past 20 years when turnout has surpassed 7,000. In 1999, 7,424 people voted, a turnout of 39.2 percent.

Early voting gave the first indication that overall turnout would be high. In Mason City, 1,672 absentee votes were cast, a record turnout for absentees, according to Kline. That was almost 300 more than the overall turnout in 2015, when just 1,397 people voted.

Election officials said high community interest in two public issues related to the city's River City Renaissance project contributed to the high turnout.

Voters approved a lease agreement with Southbridge Mall for an ice arena/multipurpose center as well as a plan to issue up to $14 million in bonds to help pay for expenses related to building a hotel in the south parking lot of Southbridge. Both measures passed with roughly 75 percent approval. 

The hotel represents required private investment in the nearly $39 million River City Renaissance project, which includes the ice arena/multipurpose center. 

In three contested elections, City Councilman Bill Schickel was elected mayor; two ward elections will require runoffs, as neither candidate received half of the vote.

In the Second Ward, Will Symonds and Troy Levenhagen were the top two vote getters. In the Fourth Ward, John Jaszewski and Matt Marquardt finished one-two. The runoffs to decide the winners will be on Dec. 5.

Tom Thoma ran unopposed as an at-large candidate.

CZoeller / CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Gary Herrig casts an absentee ballot Nov. 2 at the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse in Mason City. 

Trump says he and Xi can solve 'probably all' world problems

BEIJING — President Donald Trump emerged from a lengthy meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping today to declare that he believed he and Xi together can solve "probably all" the world's problems.

"I look forward to many years of success and friendship working together to solve not only our problems, but world problems, and problems of great danger and security," Trump said between meetings at the Great Hall of the People. "I believe we can solve almost all of them, and probably all of them."

Trump and Xi were discussing a series of thorny issues during Trump's second day in China, including China's willingness to put the squeeze on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, and the U.S.-China trade relationship.

Trump projected confidence on both fronts. He said both he and Xi believe "a solution" exists on North Korea. And he said the countries' trade relationship — which he complained had gotten "so far out of kilter" — would be made "fair and it'll be tremendous for both of us."

Xi, meanwhile, said U.S.-China relations were at a "new historic starting point." He said China was willing to work with the U.S. "with mutual respect, seeking mutual benefits, to focus on cooperation and control our differences."

Before the meetings, China rolled out the red carpet for Trump, treating him to an elaborate welcome ceremony on the plaza outside the Great Hall of the People before the leaders turned to their private talks.

Trump looked on approvingly as a Chinese honor guard played the national anthems of both countries, cannons boomed and soldiers marched. He clapped and smiled as children waving U.S. and Chinese flags and flowers screamed and jumped wildly.

Before arriving in China, Trump had delivered a stern message to Beijing, using an address to the National Assembly in South Korea to call on nations to confront the North.

"All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea," Trump said. "You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept."

He called on "every nation, including China and Russia," to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea enforcing sanctions aimed at depriving its government of revenue for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The latest measure, adopted after a September atomic test explosion, the North's largest yet, banned imports of its textiles and prohibited new work permits for overseas North Korean laborers. It also restricted exports of some petroleum products.

Trump's words drew a caustic response from North Korean state media, which issued a statement Wednesday saying the U.S. should "oust the lunatic old man from power" and withdraw its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang "in order to get rid of the abyss of doom."

White House officials said Trump would underscore his public messages about North Korea during his private talks with Xi. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, and Trump is expected to demand that the nation curtail its dealings with Pyongyang and expel North Korean workers from its borders. Trump has praised China for taking some steps against Pyongyang, but he wants them to do more.

China is increasingly disenchanted with North Korea over its nuclear weapons development but remains wary of using its full economic leverage over its traditional ally. It fears triggering a collapse of the North's totalitarian regime that could cause an influx of refugees into northeastern China and culminate in a U.S.-allied unified Korea on its border.

China also poured on the pomp and pageantry for Trump's arrival Wednesday. The president and first lady Melania Trump were greeted at the airport by dozens of jumping children who waved U.S. and Chinese flags. The couple spent the first hours of their visit on a private tour of the Forbidden City, Beijing's ancient imperial palace. It's usually teeming with tourists but was closed to the public for the presidential visit.

The Trumps walked alongside Xi and his wife through the historic site and admired artifacts from centuries' past. Trump posed for photos and, with a wave of his hand, joked to Xi about the reporters watching. And he laughed and clapped along during an outdoor opera featuring colorful costumes, martial arts and atonal music.

The president also is expected to showcase a round of business deals, including those signed Wednesday by Chinese and U.S. companies that the two sides say are valued at $9 billion.

Among them: a pledge by China's biggest online retailer to buy $1.2 billion of American beef and pork. Such contract signings are a fixture of visits by foreign leaders to China and are aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing's trade practices.

It's "a way of distracting from the fact that there's been no progress in China on structural reform, market access or the big issues that the president has tried to make progress on with regard to China," said Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar U.S. trade deficit with China a priority for his administration. During his campaign, he accused China of "raping our country" on trade and pledged to minimize the countries' trade imbalance.

China's trade surplus with the United States in October widened by 12.2 percent from a year earlier, to $26.6 billion, according to Chinese customs data released Wednesday. The total surplus with the United States for the first 10 months of the year rose to $223 billion.