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Mason City Council approves grant funding for methamphetamine task force
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Mason City Council approves grant funding for methamphetamine task force

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Mason City Hall

Mason City Hall

At its Tuesday night meeting, the Mason City Council approved an item that wasn't one of the costliest on the agenda but one that deals with an ongoing focus for local law enforcement officials: methamphetamine. 

The resolution, which the council unanimously approved, lets the North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force (NCINTF) receive money from the state's "Office of Drug Control Policy" to cover staffing costs incurred from mid and high-level methamphetamine investigations. 

According to Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley, the $3,000 is "passing-through money that will come through the NCINTF." Reimbursements are processed through those accounts and then given to participating agencies in the NCINTF which includes not just Cerro Gordo but also Butler, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth and Wright. 

In late July, the North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force saw an arrest made in a case where a Mason City man was charged by police with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession with intent to deliver heroin, felon in possession of a firearm and interference with official acts. The first two are class B felonies that can be punishable by up to 25 years in prison. 

When that news broke, Brinkley put out a press release that said the arrest was "just part of this investigation." The release then went on to say that "Additional follow-up, lab testing, and investigation will be necessary as additional defendants were identified as a result of today’s activity."

Just a few years back, from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, the task force seized 1,746 dosage units.

A much more financially hefty item the council heard Tuesday night was an update on the ongoing Winnebago River Dam Mitigation project which intends to make the stretch through Mason City more navigable for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife. As of now, one of the three dams on the stretch has had mitigation work completed. 

Angela Kolz, who works with the consulting, engineering and surveying firm WHKS, informed the council that costs right now for completing the two dams that still need mitigation are around $603,500. However, the city won't have to cover all of that. Funding is a 50/50 split between the city and the state because both entities have an interest in mitigating the dams.

"We’re looking at construction for Dam No. 1 in 2021 followed by Dam No. 2 the following year," Kolz said. 

According to her, the concept for Dam No. 1 is to add boulders and rocks that work as "recreation and habitat enhancement." The proposal also includes a boater channel with wave pools with rock arch rapids.

"We’re starting the permitting process now and that is going to go for several more months," Kolz said. 

If permitting comes in quickly, construction could start before the year is up. 

During the discussion surrounding the update on the project, Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel attempted to hammer home the intended impact the mitigation work would have on safety. 

"(There's a) three-foot drop off on that dam and it's very hazardous," he said. "We’ve had four fatalities there and a number of near misses."

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Photos: 2019 Mason City Homecoming
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MCHS Homecoming 2020
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MCHS Homecoming 2019
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MCHS Homecoming 2019
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MCHS Homecoming 2019

Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.

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