Archive for  April 5th 2019

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NEWTON, Iowa– Iowa’s wind energy industry says President Donald Trump’s claims against wind energy are nothing more than hot air.

Wind energy supports 9,000 jobs in Iowa and that number increases every year.

Now, some of those employees fear President Trump’s false claims, and stance on wind energy could reverse the trend.

“I wanted to get his opinion about what he thought about the future of our town,” Newton resident Patricia Scalabrini said.

Back in 2015, Channel 13 News hosted a town hall meeting in Newton. The city is home to two large wind turbine manufacturing plants, TPI Composites and Trinity Structural Towers.

Scalabrini’s husband works for TPI and she pressed then presidential candidate Trump.

“It’s the company that moved into the old (Maytag building) and I have a question for you. What is your position on subsidies for wind energy?” Scalibrini asked.

“Well I am OK with it, I know a lot about wind it is a tough business,” responded Trump.

But Scalabrini says she wasn’t fooled.

“I really got a negative feeling after he answered my question because I realized he said it was very expensive and he leaned more towards fossil fuels subsidies.”

Now, four years later, Scalabrini says she isn`t surprised by the Trumps latest anti-wind comments.

“No. Wind`s not good. And you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They are all made in China and Germany,” Trump said.

Scalabrini`s left worrying that the lack of support from the President could put her husband out of a job.

“It would be a big negative issue to this town if they were to close.”

TPI says it employs 1,100 people in Newton, the city says that has a huge economic impact.

“They are a key part of our revitalization, all of the jobs that were lost when Maytag left have been replaced one for one and then some, and wind energy has been key to that,” Newton Community Director Erin Chambers said.

 

WAUKEE — Residents in Waukee’s Midwest Country Estates mobile home community are fed up.  “Right now we are living the american nightmare in our community,” said Matt Chapman.

In late March, Haven Park Capital out of Utah took over as new owners and turned the community’s paradise into panic with a letter taped to their doors.  “For families to get a letter stating their rent would be increased by almost seventy percent is a very shocking thing.  Especially when you are trying to raise a family, put food in the table and pay your bills,” said Daniel Potter.

The new company gave them a sixty days notice of the rent hike which is required under Iowa law.  Patricia Potter said, “We have a woman that lives in this park that is 91 years old and lived here over fifty years.  It is taking her down to her last dollar.  She has to eat, she has to take her medicine.”

Thursday a community meeting was held inside Waukee’s Church of Hope to search for answers.  “You can imagine the gamut and range of emotions that were felt by every single resident in this park,” said Chris Crone.

Iowa Legal Aid helped calm some fears with Haven Park’s declaration that residents sign a new lease within thirty days.  “They cannot increase your rent until after that lease term is over. So if you are in the middle of a lease they cannot say June 1st, you have to pay a higher rent,” said a legal representative from Iowa Legal Aid.

Waukee Mayor Bill Peard says the new company is following Iowa laws but their approach is not how Iowans operate.  “Sometimes there is a wrong way to do things and a right way and I`m not terribly impressed with how they went about it,” said Peard.

The letter also claimed the hike was to protect the community saying otherwise the land is more valuable as apartments or retail space.  The Mayor didn’t agree with that either.  “I don’t believe that and the city has not been involved in this purchase and new lease agreements in any way.”  Daniel Potter feels his community is being preyed upon.  He said, “They are trying to line their pockets as quick as possible without any regard to their fellow-man.”

Haven Park Capital operates twenty-five similar communities in nine states including one in Indianola.  The community asked a representative to join the public meeting but they were not present.