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New details: One dead in officer-involved shooting on Highway 218

WAVERLY -- Law enforcement were releasing limited details Thursday about an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead Wednesday night.

The man, whose identity has not been released, allegedly threatened to harm himself and then struck an unidentified officer with his vehicle, according to the Bremer County Sheriff's Office.

Two officers, who have not been identified, fired at the driver, who died, the sheriff's office said.

Iowa DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt on Thursday directed questions about the officers involved and any injuries to the agencies involved in the incident, specifically mentioning the Bremer County Sheriff’s Office.

DCI is the lead investigating agency for the incidents leading up to the shooting as well as the officer-involved shooting, Mortvedt said, following standard procedure for shootings involving law enforcement.

He said no more information will be released until later today or over the weekend.

Bremer County Sheriff Dan Pickett on Thursday said he was unable to answer questions on the condition of the officer who was hit by the vehicle or the officers involved in the shooting.

“We’re not trying to keep stuff from you,” he said. “DCI is doing the investigation. ... They want nothing else released at this time.”

Pickett said investigators have to look at a few details before releasing info. He hopes to be able to release the name of the deceased person soon.

It's not known if the officers who shot the man have been put on leave.

“It’s typically left up to the agencies whose officers were involved to make that decision,” Mortvedt said.

The sheriff's office said the incident started about 8:30 p.m. when authorities were sent to Love’s Truck Stop in Floyd for a report of a man with a gun pointed at his head. The man had left on U.S. Highway 218 by the time officers arrived.

Then about 8:49 p.m., a Nashua officer noticed a vehicle traveling at 104 mph on Highway 218.

The officer stopped the vehicle, and the driver exited and pointed a handgun at his head, according to the sheriff's office. A standoff involving Nashua police, Bremer and Chickasaw county deputies and state troopers ensued.

After 40 minutes of negotiation, the driver fired a shot from inside his vehicle, the sheriff's office said. Officers approached the vehicle and found the driver uninjured.

When authorities attempted to detain the man, he drove forward, striking one officer, according to the sheriff's office. Two officers fired and struck the suspect, who died.

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Mason City Southbridge

breaking featured
Chodur blames Mason City for delays on hotel project

MASON CITY | G8 Development President Philip Chodur in an email Thursday night claimed G8 is in full compliance with the development agreement for the downtown hotel, and that the city and state are not.

Tom Thoma / Picasa 


He also blasted three community leaders who supported the Gatehouse Mason City LLC proposal and questioned why they still hold their jobs.

The email, in response to a question from Councilman Joshua Masson about finalizing financing for the project, was sent to council members, key city officials, stakeholders, a state economic development official and the Globe Gazette.

"The state and the city need to do what is required under the PSDA (Purchase, Sale and Development Agreement)," Chodur wrote at 11:02 p.m. "Robin Anderson, Delena Barz and Elizabeth Allison need to be benched. Their underhanded self-serving dealing have put this project in jeopardy for far too long. Why they still hold the positions they do is beyond comprehension."

Chodur to Masson email

Anderson heads the Mason City Chamber of Commerce. Barz is a member of the Mason City Foundation Board. Allison is the executive director of The Music Man Square.

Anderson deferred comment Thursday to Kelly Hansen, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce's board. Hansen defended Anderson via email Thursday afternoon.

"Robin Anderson is a savvy businesswoman and visionary who has spent her career making North Iowa a better place," he said. "We’re proud to have her lead our organization."

In a follow-up call, he said that although Anderson and others have criticized G8 in the past, it's important to keep the project moving forward for the good of Mason City.

"These are City Council decisions, and you know this project revolves around that," Hansen said. "The Council has a responsibility to move this forward and because of the importance of it ... we’re relying on the Council and the city to make the right decisions."

Barz said via email she is "100 percent committed" to the River City Renaissance Project, and she is "looking out for the best interests of The Music Man Square."

She noted the board is working with G8 to put together a memorandum of understanding, an agreement between parties outlining requirements and responsibilities. 

Allison also said via email she is behind the project, and she is working with  on a memorandum of understanding between G8 and the Music Man Square.

"I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of the River City Renaissance Project and believe it has great potential for the benefit of Mason City," she wrote, later adding: "We look forward to the progress of this project.”

G8, a San Diego-based development company owned by Chodur, was chosen to build a hotel in the Southbridge Mall parking lot, connect it to The Music Man Square via a skywalk, and build a conference center inside The Music Man Square.

The hotel is a key component in the city's River City Renaissance project that also includes a performing arts pavilion and an ice arena/multipurpose center. One of the requirements is $10 million in private investment. The hotel is valued at $15 million. 

The total project is estimated at more than $38 million. The city has applied for up to $10 million in state money through the Iowa Reinvestment Act to help leverage the project. 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority, which oversees the Iowa Reinvestment Act, is scheduled to discuss the project Friday in Des Moines. No vote is expected.

Earlier this week, Interim City Administrator Kevin Jacobson said the city was two-thirds of the way toward meeting IEDA requirements for state funding help with its downtown redevelopment project.

Jacobson said the development agreement with G8 has been signed and G8 has dropped a lawsuit against the city. The remaining requirement is proof of appropriate financing from G8.

But Chodur, responding to the email from Masson, said, "The city has not done the things required under section 3.1 (of the development agreement).

"We are out signing contracts for services which, at this point, the city has not done its part to make sure the service providers get paid for their services," Chodur said.

"Development requires that a certain order is followed in the completion of tasks. Until plans are to the construction document stage, where all costs are calculated, underwriters can't underwrite and they certainly can't underwrite when the city and state have not fulfilled their obligations within the PSDA.

Jacobson said Thursday, "According to Section 3.1 of the development agreement, the two items that need to take place are the IEDA board approval and a memorandum of understanding between G8 and the Mason City Foundation (operator of The Music Man Square).

"We are working on the board approval, and G8 and the foundation are working on the memorandum of understanding," Jacobson said.

Chodur originally planned to build a hotel next to City Hall. When he failed to meet several construction deadlines, the city found him in default and the deal fell through. City officials said at the time that Chodur could not get financing.

But in his email to Masson, Chodur wrote, "The last time, we had loan approval for the project and a USDA guarantee. There is no reason to believe that Live Oak (bank) will not again approve the project.

"They (bank) were assured by Brent Trout (former city administrator) that the project would be given back to G8. Based on the assurance, they brought their whole team on their corporate jet to Mason City. Everyone spent a great deal of time and money. Here we are a year later trying to move forward again in an orderly manner."

Trout said via email Thursday evening that city council members, not he, had the authority to select the hotel developer—and thus, he didn't believe he would have presented it as an assurance to Live Oak Bank. He added Live Oak is a "quality and experienced bank," given its past projects with the USDA.

"They were very interested in supporting Mr. Chodur and his project," Trout wrote about Live Oak, adding: "Which was evident by their decision to provide a letter committing to financing of the project at the time that we were considering a selection at the end of the RFQ (request for quotation) process."

Chodur is apparently referring to the circumstances after he defaulted. The city put out requests for new bidders. G8 and Gatehouse responded. The City Council approved the Gatehouse proposal.

The council negotiated with Gatehouse for about six months. Because of substantive changes during the negotiations, the city was required by state law to put the project out for bids once again. G8 submitted a bid that Council found more favorable than Gatehouse's and voted to go with G8.

In his email, Chodur said, "We are 5-6 months ahead of where Gatehouse would have been at this point. With the $150,000 they received, they should have had a franchise and schematic design approval from Hyatt. At the very most, the costs incurred for what was done should have been around $30,000, not $150,000.

"Everyone needs to do their job. We know how to do our job and we have great local partners for the construction and hotel management. We are receiving none of the state grant money."

Cheer Fund rounds out 2017 campaign nearly $4K shy of goal

MASON CITY | For the first time in the Christmas Cheer Fund’s 90-year history, it did not meet or surpass its goal.

The Cheer Fund was more than $3,600 short of its $125,000 goal for 2017. 

The fund was established by Globe Gazette Publisher Lee Loomis in 1927 so every child could have a present on Christmas morning, and in the years since, it has come to mean a little help during the holidays for people of all ages.

Since the Cheer Fund began, more than $3 million has been raised to help thousands of North Iowans.

This year, more than 2,600 applications were received by the Cheer Fund from individuals and families who were struggling with homelessness, family hardships, unexpected disasters and more.

Donations may still be dropped off or mailed to the Globe Gazette's office, 300 N. Washington Ave., Mason City, IA 50402-0271. Contributions can be made at any time throughout the year. 

— Ashley Stewart

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