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News for Wednesday, October 26

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CREDIT UNION MERGER

Members of the Northwest Iowa Credit Union, based in LeMars,are going to decide on November 19, whether to merge with CENT, or remain on its own. Matt Chizek is President/CEO of CENT Credit Union in Mason City.

Chizek says an honest vote is important to the credit union members.

Chizek thinks a merger is a good fit for both credit unions.  He says they have a common culture, guided by a family atmosphere, personal service, and promoting community.

To Chizek, this potential merger represents a personal commitment to LeMars, as much as it is a business opportunity.

A merged credit will continue to work to improve on its strengths.

Chizek was asked what concerns Le Mars customers have about the merger.

Saturday, Nov. 19 is the vote. Chizek says there will be plenty of time that day for shareholders to make up their minds and vote on the merger.

There will be a 12 hour voting window on November 19, and a live vote count after the voting stops.

A simple majority vote will decide whether the two CU’s merge.
Chizek says there is a lot of change going on in the financial industry. When he started 25 years ago, there were 200 credit unions in Iowa – there are now 80. Chizek thinks this merger will be good for Northwest Iowa Credit Union of Le Mars and CENT of Mason City. He says the two operate by the same set of values, and a culture of personal service and promoting community.

Should the merger be approved, the Northwest Iowa Credit Union will become CENT Credit Union.  You can access a fact sheet on the proposed merger at both credit unions’ websites.  Chizek himself is making himself available at Bellisimo in Le Mars, from 11 am to 1 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, leading up to the vote.

 

HARVEST THANKS

The Sioux County Fire Fighters Association is going to hold a steak fry to thank those farmers who responded to calls for help during field fires.  County communications has put out calls for farmers and equipment operators to bring their equipment to the scene of these fires to cut fire breaks in the path of the fires.  As a token of thanks, the Fire Fighters Association The steak fry will be held at the Sioux Center Fire Station on Wednesday, November 9, beginning at 6 pm.  Farmers and their families who helped law enforcement during the field fires, are invited to attend.  Contact Sioux County Emergency Management for more information.

 

ESCAPEE RECAPTURED

A report of the recapture of Karen Rose Merrick, who was an accomplice in a Le Mars bank robbery three years ago, brought back memories to an employee of the bank.

Terri Schroeder was working at Iowa State Bank in Le Mars that day, and described what happened.

The suspect said he wanted to set up an account, but instead threatened to rob the bank.

Schroeder wasn’t confronted by Philip White, the bank robber, but she saw what he was up to.

No one was harmed in the robbery, and it was quickly reported it to police.

Schroeder watched White leave the bank.

White, and the driver of the getaway vehicle, Karen Rose Merrick, were arrested a short time later. Schreoder says the robbery has caused her to be more alert on the job.

Merrick, who drove the getaway vehicle, and White, were captured within minutes of the robbery.  Merrick was finishing her sentence at a Sioux City residential treatment facility.  She walked away from a Sioux City residential facility this summer, and did not return.  She was recently recaptured in Minneapolis.

 

KIDS RESPIRATORY ILLNESS

Healthcare providers are reporting increases in respiratory illnesses among kids. University of Iowa Healthcare pediatrian Adam Brown says they are seeing the common flu as well as increases in R-S-V earlier than normal. Doctor Brown says you can use the same preventative measures used during COVID-19 — such as washing your hands frequently — to prevent the spread of the illnesses. He says cases generally increase when cold weather hits as people are closer together inside. Brown says avoiding those crowds now will help your kids avoid getting the viruses. He says never hesitate to call your doctor if you think your child is sick and want to know what to do.

 

HIGH SPEED PURSUIT

An Indiana man is in an Iowa jail, facing a long list of charges after a high speed chase through Hamilton and Hardin Counties. A state trooper says he tried to stop 25-year-old Rushdi Elhussan on Highway 20, near Blairsburg, on Sunday night after radar showed the Indiana man’s vehicle traveling 133 miles an hour. Authorities say Elhussan exited Highway 20 near Iowa Falls and, at one point, turned off his headlights while still driving more than 125 miles an hour. The chase ended southeast of Buckeye when Elhussan lost control and his vehicle got stuck in a ditch. Elhussan is accused of driving while barred and failure to provide proof of insurance as well reckless driving, speeding and other charges related to the chase.

 

GRASSLEY SENIORITY

If Senator Chuck Grassley wins reelection, he could be in the line of presidential succession again. Since the World War II era, the longest-serving U.S. Senator from the party that holds the majority of seats in the senate serves as Senate President Pro Tem. Grassley was in that role in 2019 and 2020 when Republicans held the senate majority. He says besides presiding over the Senate when the vice president isn’t there, it’s a powerful position that would put him at the table with senate leaders when decisions are being made. Eighty-nine-year-old California Senator Dianne Feinstein is about three months older than Grassley. Feinstein has said she will decline the role of Senate President Pro Tem if Democrats keep the majority in 2023.