You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
Local
featured
Seeking a home 'purr' the holidays: 7 kittens crammed in carrier, dumped in Mason City ditch (with photos)

MASON CITY | A Good Samaritan is credited with helping save seven kittens crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC. 

The kennel was found the afternoon of Nov. 6 in a roadside ditch just north of North Iowa Area Community College, according to Humane Society of North Iowa Executive Director Sybil Soukup.

Soukup said the small kennel was covered in feces when it was found. 

“It was like a clown car in there,” Soukup said. “They were crammed in the kennel.”

A woman, who could not be reached for comment, saw the kennel and stopped to investigate, according to Soukup. 

“She had no idea if they were in there for hours or days,” Soukup said. “There was no room for them to even turn around in the kennel. It was disgusting.”

The woman kept the kittens overnight until Animal Control could come get them. The kittens were brought to the Mason City Stray Animal Shelter the next day. The shelter is owned by the city of Mason City and managed by the Humane Society of North Iowa. 

Humane Society of North Iowa 

Seven kittens were crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC, according to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A Good Samaritan discovered them Nov. 6. 

The kittens have been examined, bathed and cuddled by staff, Soukup said.

“It’s disheartening to think that anyone would just throw these kittens out in a ditch and not even give these kittens a chance to survive,” Soukup said. “This was certainly a death sentence for them had they not been found.”

The seven kittens were named after the dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey.

Humane Society of North Iowa 

Seven kittens were crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC, according to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A Good Samaritan discovered them Nov. 6. 

The kittens are being kept in the back of the building so they can stay healthy and grow stronger before being handled too much by the public.

They appear to be from two litters, with three larger kittens estimated to be about 14 to 16 weeks old and four smaller orange kittens about 7 to 8 weeks old. There are five orange kittens and two larger gray tabbies.

Chris Zoeller / CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Humane Society Executive Director Sybil Soukup plays with the seven kittens, which shelter employees have named after the Seven Dwarfs. The kittens were found stuffed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch in Mason City Nov. 6. 

“They are so cute,” Soukup said. “They’re just the sweetest little things.”

The large cage the kittens now occupy is warm and comfortable for the seven little ones. As Soukup picked them up, they let out little meows and purrs.

“You come here, you need some snuggles,” she said to a tiny orange one reaching out to her, nibbling her hand. “They are very playful. Love to be held.”

The shelter is inundated with kittens, Soukup said, and is required by the city to hold them for a week.

Humane Society of North Iowa 

Seven kittens were crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC, according to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A Good Samaritan discovered them Nov. 6. 

Technically they are all available for adoption, Soukup said.

“The bigger ones, we think they’re available to go,” she said. “It’s the four little ones, we’re waiting for them to get a little more weight on them so they can get spayed or neutered before adoption. That’s a requirement too.”

The Humane Society is hopeful someone will come forward about what happened to the kittens.

Humane Society of North Iowa 

Seven kittens were crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC, according to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A Good Samaritan discovered them Nov. 6. 

“I’m grateful that they’re here and we can help them,” Soukup said. “We just want the community to know that there are resources. You do not have to throw away your unwanted pets in a ditch. They should call us for help.”

Anyone with information on the abandonment of the kittens should call the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636. Anonymous tips can be left at the CrimeStoppers line, 800-383-0088.

Humane Society of North Iowa 

Seven kittens were crammed into a kennel and abandoned in a ditch near NIACC, according to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A Good Samaritan discovered them Nov. 6. 


Local
top story
G8 Development bids on Mason City hotel project

MASON CITY | The hotel sweepstakes for downtown Mason City took a surprising turn Tuesday when the city received a competitive bid on its hotel project.

The City Council was poised to approve a development agreement with Gatehouse Mason City LLC that had been negotiated for months.

Because Gatehouse made changes from the original proposal, the city was obligated by state law to put the project up for competitive bidding. Tuesday was the deadline — and at noon, G8 Development of San Diego submitted a bid. G8 is the company that proposed a Marriott hotel next to City Hall last year but defaulted because it continually missed deadlines for starting construction.

State law also requires that if city officials determine the new bid is "no less favorable" than the other bid, the council is obligated to authorize a "bid-off" in which the competing bidders try to change their proposals to outdo their competitor.

The council had the option of approving the Gatehouse proposal or allowing for the bid-off. By a 4-1 vote, they favored the bid-off. Councilman Bill Schickel voted against it, citing, among other things, the 75 percent voter approval on Nov. 7 for two issues related to the present plan. Councilman John Lee was absent.

The bid-off will be done by conference call at City Hall on Monday.

Interim City Administrator Kevin Jacobson compared several facets of each bid that made them competitive.

• While Gatehouse wants $150,000 upfront, G8 requires no upfront money.

• While Gatehouse wants $750,000 in pre-construction costs that are nonrefundable, G8 guarantees payback if the project is ended.

• Each would require a mezzanine loan of about $4.2 million. Interest on the loan, about $1.2 million would be paid by the city in the Gatehouse plan, by G8 in the G8 plan.

• The Mason City Chamber Foundation is the guarantor of the loan in the Gatehouse plan. G8 is the guarantor in the G8 proposal.

• Gatehouse is proposing a 106-room Hyatt hotel but has no final agreement with Hyatt. G8 has a franchise agreement with Marriott.

• Gatehouse is working with developer Dean Snyder Construction. G8 is working with Henkel Construction.

Most of the speakers during the public forum urged the council to stay with Gatehouse.

Dan Latham, who drew Gatehouse's attention to Mason City last year, said, G8 has a record of not producing. "I have something in common with G8," he said. "I've never built a hotel either. Don't mess this up. That's all I can ask."

But JoAnn Hardy said the bid-off option is exciting. "Your responsibility is to get the best deal for the city," she said.

Former Councilman Max Weaver said, "The law is pretty specific. This is great news for Mason City."

Councilman Joshua Masson said, with the new bid being "no less favorable" than the other one, "I don't know that we have a lot of options."

Paul Adams said, "We have a duty to protect the taxpayers and take the next logical step."

Travis Hickey said, "This caught people off guard. But no matter what happens, we're going to build a hotel and a hockey rink. This creates a competitive bid. What businessman doesn't like that? The bids won't go up. They have to come down.

"Gatehouse and David Rachie can blame themselves for this by the demands they put on us."

Director of Developmental Services Steven Van Steenhuyse said the bid-off will take place Monday via conference call at City Hall and will take about three hours.

Then, at a later date, it will be once again up to the City Council to decide where the process will go from there.


Tom Thoma / Picasa 

Chodur


Local
breaking top story
Casey's buys Clear Lake Barrel Drive-In site for $342K

CLEAR LAKE | A sale price has been finalized for the old Barrel Drive-In site in Clear Lake.

Casey's General Store, which has a location next door at 202 Highway 18, bought the site for $342,500, according to Cerro Gordo County property transfer records.

Seth Thackery, former owner/operator of the Barrel Drive-In, did not respond to an email requesting comment Monday morning.

James Pistillo, vice president and treasurer for Casey's, confirmed Monday that Casey's had bought the property.

"I can confirm that shortly we’ll be tearing the building down," Pistillo wrote in an email. "We haven’t finalized plans yet to construct on this site, so it would be premature to say much more on that front."

He added that the current building should be torn down in the next couple of months, but that a timetable has not been set for demolition.

Remnants of the site had slowly been disappearing since rumors were spreading about the Barrel Drive-In permanently closing earlier this year. The restaurant's iconic barrel and giant chicken were removed last month, and should be on display at Barney's Drive-In in Waseca, Minnesota, by next summer.

Coincidentally, that drive-in sits just south of a body of water also called Clear Lake.