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Mason City police seek missing 16-year-old girl

MASON CITY - Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 16-year-old girl.

Cassidy Askildson was reported missing Wednesday in Mason City and was last seen at school that day. Several friends, classmates and contact have been contacted over the last couple days by officials looking for Askildson.


“So far, we have not been able to locate her,” Mason City Police Captain Mike McKelvey said in a news release.

This is not the first time the girl has run away, McKelvey said.

“We are concerned about some possible medical and safety issues for Cassidy,” McKelvey said. “We are also warning anyone that may be aiding her that they may be subject to prosecution for harboring a runaway.”

Askildson is a white female, with short blonde hair, blue eyes and is approximately 5 feet, 6 inches. A clothing description has not been released. 

“We need to make sure Cassidy is ok,” McKelvey said.  

Anyone who knows where Askildson is should contact local law enforcement. Mason City police can be reached at 641- 421-3636 or call Crime Stoppers at 800-383-0088.

— Courtney Fiorini


Globe Gazette, file 

The Dweebs perform at the 2015 Band Festival.  

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Entertainment announced for North Iowa Band Festival in Mason City (with photos)

MASON CITY | For 79 years, the North Iowa Band Festival has showcased local and regional musicians, and this year, the tradition continues.

The five-day festival, which runs from May 24 to 28 in downtown Mason City, will feature ‘80s-themed entertainment and activities for children and adults in celebration of its anniversary.

“This is the 80th year, so we really wanted to highlight all the successes going on so far,” said Kativa Weitzel, festival coordinator, referring to the festival’s theme “Totally ‘80s.”

Betty and the Gents, a local band, will kick off Friday night with a mix of music for all ages, and the Dweebs, a family band from Somerset, Wisconsin, will follow with its high-energy variety rock show featuring stage antics, crowd participation and tribute character appearances. Both bands have performed at the festival in the past.

Saturday entertainment will feature two new bands to the festival.

Brad & Kate, a married music duo from Iowa, will play a variety of music, including covers and original songs, Saturday evening, and Decoy, a Des Moines-based pop-rock band, will round out the evening.

“We love to feature bands that are from the Midwest,” Weitzel said.

Musicians from the Mason City Municipal Band and students from the Mason City Middle School Band, high school jazz band and high school orchestra will also play throughout the weekend. The Mohawk Danzers will perform, as well.

Weitzel said this year’s festival will add an instrument petting zoo that will allow children and adults to try out different instruments in hopes of sparking an interest in music.

“We want to get them excited about music,” she said. “It’s what Mason City is known for and what we should really honor.”

The festival, which also has a carnival and marketplace, honors Meredith Willson, a Mason City native, who is best known for his songwriting of the popular Broadway musical “The Music Man,” and instilling a rich musical tradition in the city. Willson died in 1984.

For more information about the North Iowa Band Festival, visit its website or its Facebook page.

Photos: Band Festival Parade

Arian Schuessler / ARIAN SCHUESSLER/The Globe Gazette, file 

Music fans gather for the 2017 North Iowa Band Festival

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Court records: Iowa murder suspect told police he shot wife 'in cold blood'


CRESCO – A West Union man has been arrested in connection with a Thursday morning death and standoff with police.

During the standoff, Brian Allen Fullhart, 34, allegedly fired at police with a compound bow, and when officers searched his friend’s home after the standoff, they found his wife, 34-year-old Zoanne Fullhart, dead inside.

Brian Fullhart, who also lists an address in Decorah, was arrested for first-degree murder and going armed with indent. He allegedly told investigators that he shot his wife “in cold blood,” according to court records.

Authorities said the Fullharts had been staying at a friend’s mobile home at 700 S. Elm St., No. 32, in Cresco for a few days.

On Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the couple was in a back room when other people in the mobile home heard a gunshot, records state. They looked to see Brian Fullhart holding a gun and his wife with a gunshot wound, records state.

Police were called to the gunshot around 1:30 a.m., and when officers arrived, a witness recounted hearing an argument between Brian Fullhart and his wife and said he was armed with a handgun.

When police approached, Brian Fullhart told officers he would “shoot their heads off” and barricaded himself in the home. During the ensuing standoff, he shot at police with a compound bow, hitting a squad car at least once, records state.

Brian Fullhart surrendered around 6:45 a.m. and was taken into custody.

Authorities searching the home found Zoanne Fullhart deceased inside, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The slaying came about a week after Brian Fullhart was released from jail on a burglary charge.

On Jan. 15, 2018, he was found with a bottle of alcohol inside the Echo Valley Event Center in West Union, which was downstairs from his apartment. He had unscrewed a piece of plywood that had been covering the doorway, records state. When the owner approached him, he ran off and apparently got into his wife’s vehicle in the parking lot outside.

Zoanne Fullhart allegedly attempted to stop officers from arresting her husband and tried to drive away. Brian Fullhart was shocked with a Taser and allegedly threatened West Union Police Chief Paul Becthold during the incident, court record state.

Brian Fullhart remained in jail until Feb. 21, when he was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Brian Fullbright has also had other recent encounters with law enforcement in the past year.

In January 2017, Fayette County sheriff’s deputies found him staggering near a vehicle in a ditch on 100th Street. When he failed to follow instructions, a deputy started to place him in handcuffs, and he allegedly turned and punched the deputy in the chest. A struggle broke out, and a second deputy helped restrain Brian Fullhart, records state.

During the ride to jail, he allegedly kicked the inside of the squad car door, causing more than $500 in damage, records state.

Another altercation broke out when it came to remove Brian Fullbhart from the car at the jail. A detention officer shocked him with a Taser, and he kicked the detention officer, records state. A breath test registered a .037 blood-alcohol level, and deputies suspected he was also under the influence of illegal drugs, records state.

Then on Dec. 31, 2017, a West Union officer noticed Brian Fullhart driving a Mercury Sable near the city library and attempted to stop him on Highway 18 west of town for having a suspended license, court records state. He pulled over but then drove off when the officer approached the vehicle.

The chase led to a landscaping business where Fullhart worked. He entered the building and hid in a locked bathroom where he was eventually detained, records state.

Higher tax on Iowa sports betting could be deal-breaker

DES MOINES — More than doubling the proposed state tax on casino-based sports betting from 7.33 percent to 17 percent could be a deal-breaker, a spokesman for the Iowa gaming industry said this week. 

“We believe it would be,” Iowa Gaming Association President Wes Ehrecke said after the chairman of the House Ways and Means said he wants to tax sports betting at 17 percent rather than the 7.33 percent proposed by the association.

Ways and Means Chairman Guy Vander Linden, R-Oskaloosa, agreed that the higher tax rate could be a deal-breaker, “but I don’t see why the state should tax this less because their profit margin is less.”

The higher tax would make handling sports betting less attractive to Iowa’s state-licensed casinos, Ehrecke said after a subcommittee approved House File 2448 for consideration by the full Ways and Means Committee.

Under the bill, which has been approved by the State Government Committee, the gaming commission could authorize licensed casinos to conduct advance deposit sports betting. Under that, bets could be placed in person at a casino or by telephone or other electronic means.

Any legal sports betting action in Iowa is predicated on a favorable ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought by New Jersey challenging a federal ban on states authorizing or licensing sports betting.

Ehrecke laid out a scenario in which the casinos would handle $10 million in wagers, but after paying winners, the nonprofit organizations that hold the casino licenses, and state and federal taxes, the casinos would be left with about $65,000 to pay expenses.

“Out of all that, we’d still have overhead and maybe a slight profit,” Ehrecke said. “There are very thin profit margins in this.”

Vander Linden seemed skeptical.

“These guys are saying sports betting is somehow different from their other games,” he said. “We don’t tax black jack slightly less than we do slot machines. It’s all taxed at 22 percent.

“To me, this is just another piece of their business,” Vander Linden said. “If they choose to take it on and it doesn’t make as much margin as their other games, that’s up to them.”

Sports betting won’t stop if the casinos don’t handle it, Ehrecke said. It’s likely Native American casinos, which don’t pay state taxes, would handle the wagering.

And, he added, illegal betting, which is about 95 percent of sports betting, will continue.

“We’re going to have to try to educate the legislators on the formula and why the formula we proposed works,” he said.

Vander Linden plans to keep the bill moving.

“I know they’re very anxious to get this, but why we should tax it at one-third what we tax everything else, I just don’t understand,” he said.