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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Postville Mayor: Recovery Could Take Years

By Lynda Waddington | 06.06.08 | 1:23 pm

Although Postville Mayor Robert Penrod believes his community is slowly working its way back to something akin to life the way it was before a May 12 federal immigration raid on Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant, he also freely admits that it is going to be a slow and perhaps painful process.

“Our community is pulling together, and our businesses are pulling together. We are just trying to get back to normal,” Penrod said during an interview with Iowa Independent this week. “We’re trying to get people back in [to the community] to work at Agriprocessors — family-oriented people. It’s a slow process, but I hope we are going down the right roads to meet that goal. We need to get families back in here. That’s our goal: to get families back here.”

Immediately following the raid, which was labeled by federal authorities as the largest single-site action ever taken in the nation’s history, the city of Postville estimated that more than 100 rental properties stood vacant. Penrod said he hasn’t heard new housing numbers and wasn’t sure if those estimates had gone up or down.

Gabay Menahem, president of the Postville real estate firm Gal Investments Ltd., declined an interview Wednesday, citing an overwhelming workload. His company, which owns 127 rental units in the community, reported a vacancy rate of 75 percent immediately following the raid and had to freeze loans in order to avoid bankruptcy.

“As far as exact counts go, we just don’t know,” Penrod said. “We’re still in the process of tallying up all of this stuff. These are tasks that just can’t be done overnight.”

In the wake of the raid, several businesses in the community, particularly those with direct ties to the Hispanic community, shuttered their doors. Although most remained closed that first week, they’ve since re-opened for business.

“They are back to their regular schedules again,” Penrod said. “[The raid and continuing federal presence in the community] just made everyone really nervous.”

Penrod, who is a full-time employee at a business in a neighboring community in addition to serving as Postville’s mayor, wasn’t in town on the morning of the raid. He also received no notice before Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swooped in on his town’s largest employer and took 389 people — 18 percent of the town’s total population — into federal custody on possible immigration violations.

“The day of the raid it was like a disaster because everything was just in chaos,” he said. “I felt that way at the time — that it was like a disaster area — but I don’t think I feel that way now. We are getting back to normal as much as we can. But the truth is that it’s definitely going to take months, if not a few years, to get everything back up to snuff again.”

The primary goal of the community, he said, is to entice “family-oriented” people to move back into the community. He said this was also a goal of Agriprocessors, a business that will fail without an adequate workforce.

“We know it is going to be a slow process,” Penrod said. “It took years to build to where we were and get these people here. So it’s going to take awhile to get them back.”

While there is no denying that Agriprocessors is a “substantial employer” for the community, Penrod isn’t willing to speculate right now on what will happen to Postville if the plant closes.

“It will hurt,” he said. “If something does happen, I guess we’ll pursue our options at that point.”

The day-to-day task for everyone involved is just to pick up the pieces and carry on. Part of that, according to Penrod, is maintaining what’s left of the town’s population.

“We’re trying to keep them here,” he said. “Some of these families have lived in Postville for a number of years. This is where they’ve had children, raised their families and had children going to school. They like this community, and it is basically a safe place to work in — which is a plus. We’ve got problems just like every other town with Hispanics and whites and whoever. But for the majority [of our population], the city is basically a safe place to work. You see people walking all the time, and I think if we had continual trouble-makers, you wouldn’t see people walking.

“Overall, it’s good to hear that [people like our community and want to stay here], because that’s what the community wants.”

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Comments

  • Vangie Emperado

    Illegal aliens are just that, ILLEGAL. “We are a nation of immigrants” is always the cry of the far left. It should be, “We are a nation of LEGAL immigrants.”

    Kudos to Immigration and I would hope the good people of Iowa will honor and respect the Immigration laws rather than coddling law breakers. I do believe the majority of fine Iowans are descendants of LEGAL European immigrants?

    Vangie May Emperado
    The Philippines

  • Vangie Emperado

    Illegal aliens are just that, ILLEGAL. “We are a nation of immigrants” is always the cry of the far left. It should be, “We are a nation of LEGAL immigrants.”

    Kudos to Immigration and I would hope the good people of Iowa will honor and respect the Immigration laws rather than coddling law breakers. I do believe the majority of fine Iowans are descendants of LEGAL European immigrants?

    Vangie May Emperado
    The Philippines

  • Mary Vondrak

    I am a refugee from the city of Chicago, a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state. My former neighborhood, a gateway community for more than a hundred years is now a barrio. All the thriving “gringo” business are gone, for lack of business, replaced by substandard “mom and pops” and by street vendors and flea markets. Signs and billboards are not even bilingual, all in Spanish. Entry-level jobs such as those in banks and medical facilities are reserved for Spanish-speakers. Schools are overcrowded and underfunded, but they can’t be built fast enough. Grafitti is everywhere. So is trash. Alley rats are no longer under control. The police district my family lived in for some 80 years traditionally had one of the lowest crime rates in the city. By the time we had to move, it skyrocketed to the point where we could hear gunshots out of our windows and the newspapers didn’t even bother to report the killing. We listened to police reports on a scanner so we’d know where not to go. And these people have the nerve to protest when they get caught? Spare me the crocodile tears for families torn apart. These people are illegal. If they get a pass, we may as well open our jail cells and let the criminals out. Their families are torn apart, too.

  • Mary Vondrak

    I am a refugee from the city of Chicago, a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state. My former neighborhood, a gateway community for more than a hundred years is now a barrio. All the thriving “gringo” business are gone, for lack of business, replaced by substandard “mom and pops” and by street vendors and flea markets. Signs and billboards are not even bilingual, all in Spanish. Entry-level jobs such as those in banks and medical facilities are reserved for Spanish-speakers. Schools are overcrowded and underfunded, but they can't be built fast enough. Grafitti is everywhere. So is trash. Alley rats are no longer under control. The police district my family lived in for some 80 years traditionally had one of the lowest crime rates in the city. By the time we had to move, it skyrocketed to the point where we could hear gunshots out of our windows and the newspapers didn't even bother to report the killing. We listened to police reports on a scanner so we'd know where not to go. And these people have the nerve to protest when they get caught? Spare me the crocodile tears for families torn apart. These people are illegal. If they get a pass, we may as well open our jail cells and let the criminals out. Their families are torn apart, too.

  • Rod Martin

    What is it about ILLEGAL Postville, Iowa does not understand? They people here illegally should have been deported years ago! Guess the good ole boys were happy to have them so they could pay substandard wages to these illegal immigrants instead of hiring Americans!

    About time INS raided them I hope INS keeps going back every 60 days and keep them free of Illegals.

  • Rod Martin

    What is it about ILLEGAL Postville, Iowa does not understand? They people here illegally should have been deported years ago! Guess the good ole boys were happy to have them so they could pay substandard wages to these illegal immigrants instead of hiring Americans!

    About time INS raided them I hope INS keeps going back every 60 days and keep them free of Illegals.

  • Marlene Penrod

    Can you forward this message on to your major? Checking to see if we come from the same family line? My father’s father was Elmer Penrod from Kansas. I understand two brothers came from England, one went further West and the other settle in Penn. area. Penrod is not that common around here. My father was Curtis John Penrod born in Weir.Ks 1910 died July 1965 San Francisco, CA. He had 12 brothers and 1 sister.
    Sincerly, Marlene A. Penrod “Penny”

  • Marlene Penrod

    Can you forward this message on to your major? Checking to see if we come from the same family line? My father's father was Elmer Penrod from Kansas. I understand two brothers came from England, one went further West and the other settle in Penn. area. Penrod is not that common around here. My father was Curtis John Penrod born in Weir.Ks 1910 died July 1965 San Francisco, CA. He had 12 brothers and 1 sister.
    Sincerly, Marlene A. Penrod “Penny”

  • sassyshari

    After reading the article on CNN internet, I wonder why the major is so upset, because of this ICE raid, now legal Americans and those legal to work here will have jobs, they also will pay taxes and contribute to the economy. Does he only want illegals to have that privilege?
    ICE is finally doing their job, whether it is in LA or else in the USA, they are protecting Americans from losing their identities and enforcing the Laws. Kudos to ICE

  • sassyshari

    After reading the article on CNN internet, I wonder why the major is so upset, because of this ICE raid, now legal Americans and those legal to work here will have jobs, they also will pay taxes and contribute to the economy. Does he only want illegals to have that privilege?
    ICE is finally doing their job, whether it is in LA or else in the USA, they are protecting Americans from losing their identities and enforcing the Laws. Kudos to ICE

  • sassyshari

    After reading the article on CNN internet, I wonder why the major is so upset, because of this ICE raid, now legal Americans and those legal to work here will have jobs, they also will pay taxes and contribute to the economy. Does he only want illegals to have that privilege?
    ICE is finally doing their job, whether it is in LA or else in the USA, they are protecting Americans from losing their identities and enforcing the Laws. Kudos to ICE

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