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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.

Judge agrees Labor Department should depose former Agriprocessors employees

By Lynda Waddington | 10.02.08 | 6:18 pm

Nine former Agriprocessors employees that were swept up during a massive May immigration raid at the plant and are now in a federal penitentiary will be interviewed by the U.S. Department of Labor prior to their deportation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles acknowledged in his order authorizing the interviews that he was not requiring a future court to admit deposition testimony from the nine men.

“That is, in any further proceeding the Court may consider the circumstances surrounding the depositions, the substance of the depositions, and the other evidence to be presented, and then determine whether Agriprocessors, Inc. would be prejudiced by permitting the introduction of deposition testimony as substantive evidence,” Scoles wrote in today’s order.

The hearing by telephone on the motion to allow the Labor Department to interview the men began as scheduled this morning and, according to court documents, ended after 44 minutes. Both the federal agency and Agriprocessors were represented by two attorneys.

In his written order Scoles noted that the petition filed by the Labor Department was not verified and that no evidence was introduced at the time of hearing, something which did not draw the objection of the Agriprocessors legal team.

Attorneys for the federal government told Scoles that the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor began an investigation into the practices of “donning and doffing” work gear at Agriprocessors in June. During the course of that investigation, 23 immigrants detained during the May raid were interviewed by investigators on July 9 and 10 while the men were being held in Leavenworth, Kansas.

The investigators believed these individuals would be held until their deportation date of Nov. 1. Nine of those interviewed, however, were moved from Kansas to a federal facility in Miami, Florida and scheduled for an Oct. 10 deportation date.

Scoles ordered that the depositions must take place on Oct. 7 and 8 at the correctional facility in Florida.

The Agriprocessors legal team argued that the charges related to “donning and doffing” were “not new claims,” but had already been introduced and placed before the court in a case launched in March 2007. The particular case cited — Salazar et al vs. Agriprocesors — is a case in which the dismissal documents have been sealed by the court for confidentiality related to proprietary information.

The Labor Department has indicated the need for the depositions stem from the agency’s current inability to bring a court action against the Postville meatpacking plant in relation to wage discrepancies.

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