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MARY KLAES THE PRESS-NEWS 
Osage sophomore Spencer Mooberry finds himself at No. 4 in The Predicament's latest rankings at 170 pounds in Class 2A. He was seventh last month after beginning the season unranked.

Crime-and-courts
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Magistrate: North Iowa woman's request to keep 13 animals denied

NORTHWOOD | A Worth County court ruled animals seized from a North Iowa puppy mill will not be returned, documents said.

Barbara Kavars, 65, Manly, asked the Worth County Magistrate Court to allow her to keep 13 animals, nine Samoyeds and four house cats, of the 154 animals seized by the county the Worth County Sheriff's Office and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in November.

Worth County Magistrate Douglas Krull ruled Monday that the 13 animals requested are deemed “threatened animals” and will not be returned to Kavars.

“The Court concludes that overall, and specifically to the 13 animals at issue, the evidence of neglect as defined by the Code of Iowa is overwhelming,” Krull said in court documents.

Krull did not find portions of Kavars’ testimony to be credible.

“The court as a finder of fact determines that Kavars either is being untruthful regarding the condition and her care of the animals, or she does not comprehend the actual conditions which were in existence at the kennel and the status of the dogs and pups in her care,” Krull said.

Krull noted that the animals were not abused or tortured but they were neglected.

“The conditions in which the animals are kept, including the limitations of food, water, and the existence of any foul order (sic), the presence of matted fur, abscesses, chewed ears, bacterial infection and parasites support a finding of neglect,” Krull said.

Krull did not believe that Kavars would stop breeding dogs in the future.

One of the dogs Kavars wanted to keep was pregnant.

"If we were to reward back a dog that is pregnant, we will be back in this situation next year," ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Pearlman said during her testimony.

At the time of the animal’s seizure, Kavars told Worth County Deputy Andy Grunhovd that she wanted to continue breeding and she would like at least two female dogs back.

Krull noted that Kavars failed to provide sufficient food and sufficient quality of water. He also noted that she did provide adequate shelter and did not take appropriate measures to stop the animals from fighting which resulted in the death of at least one animal.

“Animals were confined, injured because of the confinement, and left in horrid, filthy conditions,” Krull said.

Kavars has a right to file an appeal within 20 days.

Photos: Inside the kennels, home of a North Iowa woman accused of running a puppy mill

Photos: Inside the kennels, home of a North Iowa woman accused of running a puppy mill

Courtney Fiorini / COURTNEY FIORINI, The Globe Gazette 

Barbara Kavars, 65, of Manly, listens to testimony from Worth County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Grunhovd during a hearing in Worth County Magistrate Court Monday in Northwood. Kavars is requesting custody of some of the animals seized from her property by the ASPCA Nov. 12. 


Iowa
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Investors, farmers guessing as shutdown delays crop reports

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it must delay the release of key crop reports due to the partial government shutdown, leaving investors and farmers without vital information during an already tumultuous time for agricultural markets.

The USDA had planned to release the closely watched reports Jan. 11 but said that even if the shutdown ended immediately , the agency's staff wouldn't have time to release the reports as scheduled. Congressional leaders met with President Donald Trump on Friday but there were no indications the shutdown would end soon.

"The longer it goes on, the more distorted our reference points get," said grain market analyst Todd Hultman, of Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider DTN. "It's a lot of guesswork."

The reports detail the size of the 2018 harvests of corn, soybean, wheat and other crops and give an early estimate for what farmers will plant in the upcoming season. Depending on the estimates, the price of the commodities can rise or fall as they show the current supply and forecast how many acres will be devoted to different crops in the coming months.

The government shutdown has now forced the delay of such reports for two weeks, and uncertainty about the commodity supply will only grow as more time elapses, Hultman said. USDA reports provide the foundation for understanding the U.S. agricultural industry, and because they also estimate farm production in other countries, they are essential for understanding global crop markets.

Although the government is still releasing some information, such as the Labor Department's monthly jobs report , the USDA hasn't released key reports since Dec. 22. This includes the closely watched World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and information about specific crops, such as winter wheat and canola seedings.

The lack of information comes amid the uncertainty of trade with China, where tariffs led to an abrupt drop in U.S. agricultural exports to the country. There were indications that China was beginning to resume at least limited purchases of U.S. crops, but because of the government shutdown it's unclear what's happening.

"We certainly don't want to be in the dark and miss any big changes like that," Hultman said.

University of Illinois professor Todd Hubbs, who studies agricultural commodity markets, said he finds the report delays especially frustrating because he thinks they could confirm a belief that the U.S. soybean crop was smaller than earlier forecast. If true, that information would mean a smaller supply and could raise soybean prices, helping farmers who have struggled with low prices worsened by the trade dispute with China.

Until the USDA releases its information, investors and farmers can't be certain about where they stand, he said.

"Those kinds of numbers are fundamental," Hubbs said. "When the USDA produces the numbers, they are the numbers. They move markets." 


Crime-and-courts
Mason City woman accused of getting drunk, endangering a child

MASON CITY - A Mason City woman was arrested for becoming intoxicated and allowing a 2-month-old to “roll off the bed” according to court documents.

Lakesa Marie Mitchell, 36, was charged with felony child endangerment causing bodily injury.

At about 4:06 a.m. Saturday, Mason City Police and paramedics responded to a medical call involving a 2-month-old infant at a residence on the 1700 block of South Delaware Avenue.  

Pig theft, school threats, puppy mill: North Iowa crime and courts news for December (with mugshots)

Mitchell was left as a caretaker for a  2-month-old relative.

During that time she became intoxicated to the point that she was unable to safely care for the child, court documents said.  

Police said child rolled off the bed and onto the floor and was found on the floor by the child’s mother.

The child was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

A preliminary breath test indicated Mitchell had a BAC of .214, according to police.

Mitchell was booked in Cerro Gordo County Jail and was released on her own recognizance Saturday. 

A no contact order was issued the same day. 

At about 1:46 p.m. Wednesday, Mitchell allegedly took two packages of meat from Fareway in Mason City.

Mitchell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor third degree theft.

103 odd North Iowa crime stories from 2018: Pasta salad evidence, cigarette robbery, stolen pigs (with mugshots)

She has been convicted on theft charges twice before in Cerro Gordo County.

Mitchell was released on her own recognizance Thursday following her initial court appearance, two days before the alleged child endangerment incident.  

Mitchell is scheduled to appear Jan. 18 in Cerro Gordo County District Court for the theft and child endangerment charges. 

North Iowa's mugshots of 2018