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Chris Soules listens as defense attorney Robert Montgomery presents during a hearing in Buchanan County District Court Monday in Independence. Reality TV star Soules is charged with leaving the scene in a fatal April crash near Aurora.

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Responders rescue motorcyclist who crashed into Mason City waterway (with video, photos)

MASON CITY | A crowd gathered in the Southbridge Mall parking lot Monday afternoon to watch rescuers pull a motorcyclist out of Willow Creek in downtown Mason City.

Officials responded to the call about 1:30 p.m. on the northbound Highway 65 bridge where South Federal shifts to South Delaware at Fourth Street Southwest.

The driver, who has not been identified by police, appeared to have veered off the road, crashed his blue motorcycle into a barrier and bridge guardrails before falling into the water. 

The motorcycle did not fall in with the driver.

Two rescuers climbed down a ladder to assist the man, who was able to make his way out of the water and onto the embankment.

Photos: Man crashes motorcycle, lands in Willow Creek in Mason City

Mason City Fire Capt. Jared Ogbourne shouted directions to the ladder engine operator and rescuers as they secured the man on a stretcher in a basket before raising him above a wall.

Ogbourne estimated the drop to be about 20 feet and into shallow water.

“That’s quite a drop,” Ogbourne said. “You fall that far, luckily, he had a helmet on, so that helped, and he had a leather coat on, which helps as well.”

The man was waving to those watching the rescue and shouting "hello" before he was strapped to the stretcher. His condition has not been released. 

This type of rescue is practiced often by Mason City Fire and Rescue, according to officials.

“A lot of our confined space training comes into play here,” Ogbourne said. “We train for it all the time.”

The rescue took about 30 minutes.

“It took a little bit longer than we would like, but the gentleman was not in a condition where we needed to be immediate,” Ogbourne said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Mason City police provided assistance at the scene. 

Former Mason City fire chief agrees not to sue city in exchange for severance package

MASON CITY | Al Dyer Jr. will receive full pay through mid-January and agreed not to sue city officials regarding the circumstances that led to his resignation earlier this month.

The Globe Gazette first reported last week that Dyer resigned. On Monday, the newspaper obtained a copy of a resignation and release agreement between Dyer and the City.

The agreement, signed by interim City Administrator Kevin Jacobson and Dyer on Nov. 17, states the former fire chief will receive his "normal paycheck" through Jan. 15, 2018. After that date, he will also be compensated for unused vacation days.

Dyer will also receive health insurance through the city until Jan. 31, 2018.

Al Dyer resignation agreement

According to the agreement, Dyer cannot sue the city for the circumstances leading to his resignation earlier this month.

"Dyer further agrees not to sue or to institute or cause to be instituted any kind of claim or action in any federal, state, or local agency or court against the City ... arising out of or attributable to Dyer's employment, or separation of employment with the City," the agreement states.

According to the agreement, the city will only provide the dates of Dyer's employment and his resignation, his salary history and the jobs he held while working for Mason City to prospective employers.

Perry Buffington, director of human resources for Mason City, declined comment on why Dyer resigned, directing a reporter to ask Dyer that question.

Dyer didn't respond to a message from the Globe Gazette seeking comment Monday afternoon. 

The resignation is now permanent, as Dyer had seven days after the agreement was signed to revoke it.

Dyer was placed on administrative leave earlier this month pending an investigation. Councilman John Lee told the Globe Gazette he leaked a confidential memo to a KIMT-TV reporter when they saw each other in a grocery store.

Dyer began as the city's fire chief in October 2016. His salary is $98,197.

According to city officials, Doug Janssen, the fire department's current chief of operations, will serve as acting fire chief until the city council meets Dec. 5. He will be appointed interim fire chief by council members at that meeting.

Arian Schuessler / ARIAN SCHUESSLER, The Globe Gazette 

Al Dyer Jr. addresses the Mason City Fire Department after being sworn-in as chief on Nov. 1, 2016. 

After shift in votes, Mason City Council approves G8 for hotel project (with photos)

MASON CITY | The Mason City Council selected G8 Development of San Diego to develop a downtown hotel as part of the River City Renaissance project. 

The final vote -- 5-0 with Councilman John Lee abstaining -- came late Monday night after an earlier vote in which the council voted 4-2 against the G8 plan.

When it appeared the council was headed for3-3 vote on the Gatehouse Mason City LLC plan, Councilman Bill Schickel, who voted against the G8 proposal, asked that it be brought back to the table.

He said he still favored the Gatehouse plan but said it was more important to move the project forward. So he changed his vote to yes on G8.

Lee said he too favored the Gatehouse plan and could not bring himself to vote for G8. So, to keep the vote unanimous, he abstained.

G8's proposal to build a downtown hotel contained many savings to the city compared to Gatehouse's proposal. 

Both parties took part in a "bid-off" Monday morning in which G8 representatives made specific changes in proposed costs. Gatehouse made no changes in its latest proposal but questioned whether G8 was a responsible bidder.

The bid-off was required because G8 submitted its proposal moments before the deadline last week and City Council considered it a competitive bid.

Major points in the two proposals:

• G8 is proposing a loan from the city of up to $3.7 million, instead of $4.2 million in the Gatehouse proposal. The loan would be paid off in intervals rather than at the end of 20 years.

• Gatehouse is asking for $750,000 in non-refundable pre-construction costs. G8 is asking $500,000 and guarantees repayment if the project does not go through.

• Gatehouse has not identified a lender. G8 has a commitment from an out-of-state lender as well as a letter of support from First Citizens Bank in Mason City.

• Gatehouse has received interest from Hyatt. G8 has a franchise agreement with Marriott.

In an email to city officials, attorney Rick Kopf, representing Gatehouse, pointed out G8 was previously under contract with the city on another project, and despite three extensions, did not meet deadlines and was terminated. G8 President Philip Chodur then sued the city, Kopf said.

G8 has agreed to drop the suit if Chodur's latest proposal is accepted.

Kopf said Gatehouse has a memorandum of understanding with the Mason City Foundation which operates The Music Man Square. G8 does not.

Kopf claims Hyatt's commitment to Gatehouse is the same as Marriott's is to G8 and that the financial commitments are essentially the same.

Also, Kopf said G8 does not have the resources to get the hotel project done on time and on budget.

Tom Thoma / Picasa 


Cheer Fund donations: Monday, Nov. 27

Today’s total: $8,493

To-date total: $8,493

To reach goal: $116,507

Maria Mitchell Study Club, $100

Linda Koopman, $50

Karen Dole, $50

Richard and Adorine Voellinger, $20

Joan and Bob Watson, in memory of Mildred, Lila and Elmer, $25

Jim Kirk, $20

Bob and Kathy Trainer, in memory of the parents Jack and Frankie Goering and Harold and Dorothy Trainer, $30

Karen, Susan, Steven and Janet - "Remembering Christmas Past," $10

Robert and Karen Cole, $100

Terry and Lana Eagen, $100

Warren L. DeVries Family Charitable Trust, $500

Eldon and Betty Siemers, $25

In memory of the Village of Dougherty, $13

Ann Wolf, in memory of Tom Wolf, $30

Gerald Mondahl, $25

Thomas and Sally Waggoner, $100

Ron and Leilani, in memory of our parents Tom and Irene Hartwig, Else and Irene Dannen and brothers Mitchel and Duane (Pete), $150

Mavis Espinosa, given in memory of Blackie, Debbie and Sonny, $100

Ed and Rosemary Schoolcraft, $100

Robert Nuehring, in memory of loved ones, $25

LaVonne and Bruce Kaasa, $100

Jim and Jean Mariinos, $50

Roger and Jo Nuehring, in loving memory of our parents Alvin and Estella Nuehring, Lloyd and Olive Gregory, children Sandi Jo Boyd, Michael Stickney, Cheryl Stickney and many other family members and friends, $50

Jo, in memory of my best friend Irene Miller, $10

Terry and Trudi Hoil, $25

David and Jane Rowe, in memory of our families and friends, $25

Warren and Mary Woerner, in memory of Barbara Ellen Woerner, $100

James Cash, $25

Arnold Pueggel, $75

Steve and Shelley Moore, in memory of our parents Don and Ruth Stanton and Lowell and Helen Moore, $50

David and Patricia Klinge, $50

Mary Helen Meyers, for family, $25

Myrna Barlas, in memory of father, mother and brother Tom, $25

Doering family, $50

Gary and Candy Moore, in memory of lost relatives, $25

Nicholas and Dorothy Digregorio, $25

James and Linda Arndorfer, in memory of our parents, $25

Erika, Liz, Alex, Eliana and Penelope, $100

Stephen and Elizabeth Gales, $100

In loving memory of Harold Leach, Freda and Merrell Zeigler, Emma Leach, Anna Haake, Karl Haake, Lillian Chollett, Lawrence Pavek, Glenyce Loomer and Nellie Lunde, $150

Anonymous, $25

Verna Weitzel, $20

Robert Kinsey III, $100

J.A. and Dixie Dunagan, $100

Amanda and James Ragan, $100

Don and Gwen Cottingham, $100

Jo and John Stumo, $25

Betty Coxson, $50

Bob and Kathy Follmuth, for the love of our grandkids E, M, P, A, J and G, $25

John and Mary Oertel, you are loved and missed - Katie Oertel and Cathy Alcorn, $100

Ray and Lorraine Gordon, in memory of loved ones, $25

Marlys Swenson and family, in loving memory of Gordy, $50

Yvonne and Tom Stibal, $25

Susan Borcherding, in memory of our parents Harry and Esther Borcherding and Francis and Ruth DeSart, $50

Maria Wentworth, in honor of Royal's first grandchild Rowan Grace, $100

Mary Jean Dolphin, $100

Chryl Bergvig, $100

James Jacobson, $20

Shirley Berry, in memory of my husband Bob Berry, $30

Larry and Gail Langlitz, in loving memory of our parents Mell and Jose VerHelst and Ira and Wava Langlitz, $50

Barrett and Marilyn Brainerd, in loving memory of Ron Heinold and Dr. Robert and Connie Brainerd - Merry Christmas! $20

Merl and Joyce Schulting, in memory of Craig and other loved ones, $200

Tom and Marilyn Hanna, $50

Paul and Nancy Danzow, $100

Daniel and Allison Staudt, $300

Bill and Joan Otterman, $100

Ray Hewitt, $200

In memory of the Theis and VanLent families, $30

Gloria Heinkel, $100

Mark and Jan Feustel, in memory of our parents, $50

River City Morning Kiwanis Club, in honor of the children of Mason City, $500

Paul Strathman, $10

Occident Study Club, $30

Gary and Susan Gerdes, in memory of Greg Gerdes, $20

Eugene and Shirley Smith, $25

Wayne and June Pope, in memory of Linda, Marcia, Sharon, Sandy and Amy, $250

In memory of Dixie Murl, $40

Thomas and Jacqueline Martin, $25

Jim and Marlene Sivwright, $200

Betty McCarthy, in memory of Jim and Richard McCarthy, $50

Joann Johnson, $25

Nancy Berregaard, $50

Harlan and Marge Baack, in honor of our family, $10

Harlan and Marge Baack, in memory of loved ones, $10

Jim and Diana Blood, $100

Phyllis Bierle, $25

A gift from Saint Ansgar, in memory of loved ones, $50

Joan Coonley, $20

Anonymous, $25

Shirley Harmon, in loving memory of Dale and Matt Harmon, $50

Fred Heinz and Cheryl Ross, $250

Anonymous, $100

Dennis, Kim, Adam, Joe and Ben, in loving memory of Leland and Sandy Moore and Melvin Popp, $100

Margaret Jost, in memory of Dean L. Jost, $50

Jerry and Debra Sedars, in loving memory of Orvis, Roma and Jo Sedars and Gordon Pennington, $100

Jerry and Debra Sedars, in memory of Lynne Wisman, Frances Hoffman and Charles Spear, $50

Marjorie Lundberg, $100

Penny and Henry Anderson, $50

Douglas and Kayla Halfpap, $25

Anonymous, in memory of Skip, Dan and Laura Ann, $100

Iona Nuehring – Merry Christmas, $50

Members of the Leland Womens Study Club, $170

Marianne Holst, in memory of Todd Holst, $100

Margaret and Lyle Krumm, $20

Russel and Geraldine Stahl, $50

James and Patricia Ueker – Thankful for our family and our four grandsons, but remembering with love those no longer with us, $25

Gladys Wessels, in memory of Elmer Wessels and Jim Riekens, $100

Steve and Pam Smith, $100

Dennis and Vickie Shollenbarger, $20

Joanne Kerr – God Bless, $75

Anonymous, $200

Wayne and Katherine Hult, $15

Shalom Tower I Coffee Club, $125