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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.

Demonstrators march by Western Gateway Park in Des Moines as part of 'National Bank Transfer Day.' (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)
Demonstrators march by Western Gateway Park in Des Moines as part of 'National Bank Transfer Day.' (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Photos: Iowans march to promote ‘Bank Transfer Day’

By Lynda Waddington | 11.05.11 | 6:36 pm

DES MOINES — More than 70 people answered the call of Occupy Iowa and an independent grassroots movement Saturday morning to march roughly two miles in protest of two national banks along Ingersoll Avenue.

Demonstrators gathered in Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines on Saturday morning and, with police escort, traveled Grand and Ingersoll avenues in order to visit Wells Fargo Bank, 2840 Ingersoll Ave., and Bank of America, 3422 Intersoll Ave.

At Wells Fargo, the group’s first stop, entrances to the bank were blocked by members of the Des Moines Police Department, but some demonstrators made their way inside. Among those entering the bank were Cat Rocketship and her husband, Scott Kubie, who closed their business account with Well Fargo — a key message of the social media-sparked “National Bank Transfer Day” initiative.

“It seems incongruous to have our money in a big bank while our business supports buying locally and the community,” Kubie explained.

“What are we paying these people for? I understand paying someone for innovation, but anyone can look at a spread sheet and say if we quit paying people, we’ll make more money.”

One demonstrator, Ross Grooders of Des Monies, took advantage of the proximity to law enforcement to spread the broad message of economic inequality held by members of Occupy Iowa, Occupy Des Moines and other similar demonstrators throughout the nation.

“The police are a part of the 99 percent and have a stake in the triumph over big banks,” Grooders said.

J.R. Bruce, a Wells Fargo customer who left during the demonstration, said he acknowledged the crowd’s intent and their right to freedom of speech. He added, “Obviously, it’s going to take more than what these people are doing to get anything done.”

Gloria Miller waits outside of Bank of America in her wheel chair with another Bank of America customer Saturday in Des Moines. The bank closed briefly in response to a 'Bank Transfer Day' demonstration. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Officials with Wells Fargo had no comment, but an employee said they remained open to customers throughout the protest.

The response was different at Bank of America, where bank officials reported closing their branch for roughly 15 minutes while demonstrators gathered and chanted outside.

As the crowd demonstrated next to the drive-through window, Mario Funetes, a Bank of America customer yelled back through his car window, “Shame on you!”

“I wanted to go inside, but I have to go to another bank,” Funetes said.

Another Bank of America customer, Gloria Miller, waited outside the branch in her wheelchair alongside another woman Saturday morning while the the branch was closed.

“If I’d known they’d be here,” Miller said, referring to the demonstrators, “I wouldn’t have been here.”

Around 11:30 a.m. the crowd dispersed and officials re-opened the bank.

Des Moines Police said the protests were peaceful and resulted in no arrests.

Although Saturday was dubbed “National Bank Transfer Day,” credit unions in Iowa and throughout the country have received massive benefits in the weeks prior to the actual day of awareness and demonstration. The Iowa Credit Union League reports that its affiliates have gained $49 million in new deposits and 7,000 new members since the beginning of September. Nationally, credit unions have gain 650,000 customers and added $4.5 billion in new accounts during that same time, according to the Credit Union National Association.

Although the grassroots-inspired “Bank Transfer Day” is independent of the occupy movement, they have similar goals — namely to defuse corporate influence in public policy. Many customers of the big banks have also been discouraged and disenchanted by increased fees and other proposals by the financial institutions.

“I started this because I felt like many of you do,” said Kristen Christian, organizer of the switch day. “I was tired — tired of the fee increases, tired of not being able to access my money when I need to, tired of them using what little money I have to oppress my brothers and sisters.

“So, I stood up. I’ve been shocked at how many people have stood up alongside me. With each person who RSVPs to this event, my heart swells. Me closing my account all on my lonesome wouldn’t have made a difference to these fat cats. But each of you standing up with me … they can’t drown out the noise we’ll make.”

Des Moines Police Department squad cars escort demonstrators on Grand Avenue Saturday morning. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

The group, which was organized by Occupy Iowa, marched to Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America, both on Ingersoll Avenue, as part of 'Bank Transfer Day.' (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Although the march and demonstration was being held primarily as a part of 'Bank Transfer Day,' demonstrators carried signs featuring many of the statements that have already become well-known through the occupy movement. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Darby Shannon of Des Moines marches with her 'occupydsm' sign on Grand Avenue. She was one of more than 70 people who turned out to demonstrate against big banks and encourage Americans to switch move their accounts. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Des Moines police officers guard the entrance to Wells Fargo Bank while Hugh Espey, executive director of Iowa CCI, cheers demonstrators inside the facility. Former Iowa Rep. Ed Fallon exchanges words with one officer near the door. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Ross Grooders of Des Moines speaks with a member of the Des Moines Police Department during the Occupy Iowa demonstration and march. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

Wells Fargo’s doors are shut to the crowd of demonstrators Saturday, Nov 05, 2011 in Des Moines. The bank remained open to its customers. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

A sign posted at Bank of America reads: 'Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are temporarily closed. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your continued patronage.' Bank of America closed for 15 minutes as a crowd protested outside as part of National Bank Transfer Day Saturday, Nov 5, in Des Moines. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

A woman sits in the drive-through lane at Bank of America as demonstrators chant in protest of big banks. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

A Bank of America employee counts cash shortly after closing the drive-through lane due to the demonstrators. The bank closed to the demonstrators and customers for 15 minutes until the crowd dispersed. (Photo: Jon Lemons/The Iowa Independent)

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