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April 27 A1 skybox

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Trial set for Osage man accused of sex abuse

OSAGE | An Osage man sentenced to up to 35 years in prison last year for attempted murder and sexual abuse has a trial set in June on additional sexual abuse charges involving a second alleged victim.

Mark Retterath, 52, is accused of committing sexual acts against the will of a man while acting as his Alcohol Anonymous sponsor in May and June 2015.

Retterath was not only the man's AA sponsor, but also served as an officer with the organization, according to the criminal complaint.

He is scheduled to be tried June 6 on felony charges of third-degree sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist.

Those charges were filed in June 2015, around the same time Retterath was charged with attempted murder and solicitation to commit murder for allegedly plotting to kill another man accusing Retterath of sexually abusing him from the time he was a teenager.

Retterath was found guilty by a jury in August 2016 of attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder and third-degree sexual abuse.

Investigators said Retterath decided to kill the accuser in the initial sexual abuse case with the poison ricin to prevent him from testifying against him.

Retterath allegedly got the idea for the murder method from a friend, who'd seen a TV character make ricin from castor beans and kill someone on AMC's hit show "Breaking Bad."

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Carroll Sales closes doors; auction Saturday

MASON CITY | Seven forklifts, semi-trailers and trucks are among items that will be auctioned off Saturday marking the closing of Carroll Sales, a Mason City business that at one time did $10 million in annual sales.

It opened in 1936 and was a wholesale feed distributor to elevators, feed stores and co-ops and also had a booming warehousing business.

"Business declined in recent years for many reasons. Mergers were a part of it. Our customer base shrank," said Steve Schlultz, company president.

Mason City businessman Tim Latham has purchased the property which is at 600 Fourth St. S.W., next to Latham's Furniture/Mattress Outlet.

Carroll Sales closed on Feb. 17. The warehouse closes Friday.

Schlutz's father, Marvin Schlutz, has a 70-year history with the company. He began working for Carroll Sales in 1947 and was drafted into the Army the next year. After two years of military service, he got his old job back. He became one of three owners, along with Harlan Johnson and Gordon Schaper in 1976. He is now 89 years old and in retirement.

"This was the only job he ever had," said Steve Schlutz. "It was good to him over the years with a lot of fond memories."

The auction Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m., will feature the forklifts, semi-trailers and other trucks and will also have railroad carts on the auction block, according to Frank Fox, auctioneer. 

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Mills Fleet Farm apologizes for denying wheelchair to disabled man at Mason City store

MASON CITY | Mills Fleet Farm's corporate office has released a public statement following an incident at its Mason City store that resulted in a viral Facebook post.

Shane Zahn, who is disabled, posted photos and video of his experience at the store on Facebook after he was allegedly told he could not use a store-provided electric wheelchair to reach his car. 

“Went to Fleet Farm today to do some shopping,” Zahn said in the public post Monday. “Paid for all my items and went to leave, was told I couldn't use the wheelchair to go to the car.”

Zahn said he returned the items he purchased and had to “walk out on my hands and knees.”

The video shows Zahn walking on his knees without assistance as he leaves the store. 

“Just trying to make people aware of how Fleet Farm treats handicapped customers,” Zahn wrote. 

Zahn didn't immediately respond to an online request for comment Wednesday from the Globe Gazette. 

The post garnered more than 5.5 million views, over 23,000 reactions and more than 75,500 shares by Wednesday afternoon.

Mills Fleet Farm posted a statement on their Facebook page from CEO Wayne Sales saying that the company is aware of the incident.

"While use of carts in the parking lot with the uneven terrain can pose a hazard, we feel that in this instance our team member made the wrong decision," Sales said in the statement. "We apologize to the customer and to everyone who may be affected."

Sales said the company "did not live up to the values or the service our customers have come to expect from us."

"We should have gone the extra mile and helped the customer use the cart to return to his vehicle after shopping," he said, noting the company wants to "make things right" for Zahn. 

Mark Retterath

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Mason City hate crime lawsuit settled out of court

MASON CITY | An out-of-court settlement has been reached in a hate crime lawsuit filed by a mixed-race family against a man who set fire to their former home in Mason City.

The lawsuit alleges Roger Kuck of Mason City committed hate crimes against the family while they were still living in the home, which was vacant and in foreclosure at the time of the fire in October 2013.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, said Joel Yunek, Kuck's attorney. 

Linda L. Turnure, Tiffany L. Coleman, Devon D. Thomas and Meggan J. Alexander filed the lawsuit in 2015 in Cerro Gordo County District Court. Linda and Terry Turnure owned the home at 112 Brook Terrace, but Terry Turnure was not named as a plaintiff.

While living at the residence, the Turnure family consisted of a Korean daughter; a Korean sister-in-law, niece and nephew; an African-American son-in-law; two grandchildren who are part African-American; and a Hispanic granddaughter, according to the lawsuit.

The family claimed that after Kuck moved into the neighborhood in 2004, he began acts of terrorism and hate crimes against them.

They claimed Kuck carried a running chainsaw toward a member of the family in a threatening manner, vandalized and shot at vehicles belonging to the family, set fire to a large canvas tree swing in the front yard, made threatening phone calls to the house, and sprayed a heavy dose of chemicals on the lawn.

The lawsuit also alleged Kuck turned in false reports to the police and animal control departments about the family.

The family claimed they eventually moved out of the home and to another part of town due to the harassment, but even after they left Kuck continued to vandalize the home and finally set fire to it.

Kuck entered an Alford plea to second-degree arson, a Class C felony, and was given a 10-year suspended prison sentence and put on probation.

An Alford plea is a legal arrangement in which the defendant doesn't admit to the crime but acknowledges prosecutors can likely prove the charge.

The Ecological Society of Willowbrook and its past president, E. Howard Sonsken, originally were named in the lawsuit, but District Court Judge James Drew dismissed the claims against them earlier this year.

The society includes 29 properties in the area north of Willowbrook Mall that share some common ground. Members pay yearly dues to finance maintenance projects such as removing dead trees.

The Turnures, who were members of the society while living at the Brook Terrace residence, claimed that beginning in the late 1990s other society members used racial slurs against them and threatened to kill them and their pets.

The family claimed Kuck's actions were on behalf of the Ecological Society of Willowbrook or at least one of its members, and the society did not discourage the actions.

Drew ruled that although minutes from the society's meetings reflect that "the condition of the (Turnure) property was a source of consternation for its members," no evidence was in the record that Kuck was acting as an agent of the society or Sonsken when he started the fire.

His ruling also stated the statue of limitations applied because the family did not allege any incidents pertaining to the society of Sonsken within the two years between the fire and the filing of the lawsuit. 

Drew dismissed Coleman, Thomas and Alexander as plaintiffs last month because they did not have an ownership interest in the property at the time of the fire.