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Motorcycle groups honor 9/11 first responders in Mason City

MASON CITY | Motorcycle groups gathered in Mason City to honor first responders who risked or lost their lives during 9/11.

The Motorcycle Safety Awareness Association, Harley Owners Group and the Patriot Guard assembled throughout town Monday evening, before leaving as teams to various processions throughout northern Iowa.

MSAA members gathered at the Mason City Fire Department and held a moment of silence for those affected that day, before departing at 5:30 p.m. for a procession at the Lake Mills Freedom Rock.

Roger Berk, 44, said the event--in its fifth year--is about showing respect to those first responders who risked their lives 16 years ago. 

"I've been a firefighter, and a lot of brothers have been lost," said Berk, who has been a MSAA member for three years.

Berk said one of Mason City Fire Department's ladder trucks will join them on the route to Lake Mills, donning an American flag.

Robert Linden, Jr., 48, said the importance of Monday's gathering was to remind people what happened 16 years ago.

"For it, it was one of the worst days in the United States," said Linden, Jr., a MSAA member for the last year-and-a-half. And two, it's to help people remember what happened ... if people don't remember, then we don't learn from it."

Chris Zoeller / CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Daniel Zimmerman of Stillwater Greenhouse cuts slices of watermelon for customers to sample Sept. 1 at the North Iowa Farmer's Market, which is held twice a week at the corner of First Street Northeast and North Delaware Avenue in Mason City.

Northwood City Council advances fireworks ordinance, hears residents talk golf carts

NORTHWOOD | At Northwood's City Council meeting Monday night, officials approved the second reading of a fireworks ordinance and agreed to ask the homeowner of a burnt-down property to put orange plastic fencing around its perimeter.

The main concern to residents in attendance, however, was whether they would be able to operate golf carts after sunset.

Gary Pangburn, a resident who strongly opposes the ordinance banning golf cart use at night, presented council members with a petition bearing more than 200 signatures of Northwood citizens who are against it. Other residents in attendance said they should be able to operate golf carts, as long as they are equipped with bright enough head and taillights.

Council members, however, state that police have concerns about tracking the carts, along with the possible safety issues on city roads. One of them, Dan Reeder, said Forest City, Manly, Osage and multiple other nearby towns have a similar sunset ordinance.

Mayor Roger Rustad said discussions about the golf cart issue started in May, adding they only thought they would have to enforce the ordinance for 12 carts. There are actually 62.

"If it's one person, it isn't a problem," he said. "But if all of a sudden, 62 of these are running around town, at night, do we have a problem?"

Along with the golf cart debate, council members approved the second reading of a fireworks ordinance, which would allow them to only be used July 3-4. Rustad said the new ordinance is part of a statewide trend to allow cities to make the call regarding fireworks' use around July 4.

Council members also discussed what should be done concerning 300 2nd Avenue North, a house that was damaged by fire in July. They proposed writing a letter to the homeowner to put orange plastic fencing about its perimeter, as neighbors have complained about its appearance.