Join up with Iowa CCI members and others in Jefferson County to stop a factory farm from expanding two operations.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse.  This is a key opportunity to show strong opposition to and challenge weak spots in the construction permit before your elected County Board of Supervisors, the developer and, most times, local press.


Here’s the release from Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors:

JFAN has learned that local CAFO operator Ryan Robertson applied for construction permits on November 29, 2011 to expand two existing CAFOs in northeast Jefferson County.


The CAFOs are located at 1031 Quince Avenue in Penn Township and 1083 Germantown Road in Walnut Township. Each CAFO presently has two buildings housing a total of 2,490 hogs at each site. The expansions would add an additional 1,200 hogs to each location and entail constructing a new confinement building at each facility. JFAN is sending notification letters to all neighbors within a two-mile radius of the CAFOs.


A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse. This provides an opportunity for the public to learn about or comment on any concerns they have about the expansions.


At this time, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors plans to review the Master Matrix at Monday’s supervisors meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting will take place at 9:00 am in the Supervisors Office in the Jefferson County Courthouse. JFAN will attend the meeting and obtain a copy of the Master Matrix of both facilities to review.


The Master Matrix is a 44-point questionnaire that evaluates how a CAFO’s siting and manure management practices impact the environment and community. Proposed facilities that would house over 2,500 hogs are required to file a Master Matrix, and they must achieve a score of 50% or higher to pass.


Based on the Master Matrix and public hearing comments, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors will recommend that the DNR either approve or deny the expansions. The DNR has final authority to approve any construction permits regardless of county input and can disagree with the county’s Master Matrix evaluation. Counties that use the Master Matrix have the option to appeal a preliminary DNR permit approval to the Environmental Protection Commission if they feel a CAFO should not be built or expanded.


Ryan Robertson currently operates four CAFOs in Jefferson County and also works as a manure applicator. JFAN is currently reviewing any prior violations incurred by Mr. Robertson.


We encourage the community to attend the December 22 public hearing to learn more about these CAFOs and to voice any concerns you may have. Please contact JFAN at 209-6600 or if you have any questions or information about these two CAFO expansions.


JFAN will publish this notice with updates on the Master Matrix scoring, if available, in next week’s December 14 Fairfield Weekly Reader.


JFAN is a nonprofit, educational foundation that works to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County. We provide community education and support to residents who oppose CAFOs in their neighborhoods.


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You and I both know factory farms pollute our air and water and ruin our quality of life.

But does the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)know that?

Tell the EPA today to collect information on factory farms.

Thanks to a recent lawsuit settlement with national environmental groups, the EPA has agreed to start collecting more information about factory farms – such as where they are located, how many animals they have, and where they spread their manure.

Unlike other industries enforced under the 36 year old Clean Water Act, the factory farm industry does not have to regularly report this information – and corporate ag interests would like to keep it that way.

Help us make sure the EPA collects as much detailed information as possible! Click here to contact EPA today and tell them the real story about the impact of factory farm pollution.

EPA is taking public comments on how they collect this information until December 20. This is an important step forward in getting the EPA to crack down on factory farms and clean up our waterways.

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We received great press coverage of our direct action to reclaim $5,500 in unpaid wages owed by the owner of Margarita’s Bar & Grill in Des Moines.

Media coverage helps makes more people aware that wage theft happens in our communities and sends a strong those employers that they will be called out and held accountable.

See the coverage from WHO TV 13, ABC News 5 and the Des Moines Register below.




WHO TV 13 news – Restaurant Pay Protest (video)









ABC 5 TV news – Protest over $5,550 in Unpaid Wages

by Jessica Daley     A former employee of Margaritas Sports Bar and Grill claims the owner owes her thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Friday night she brought support to try and get him to pay up.

Thirty-five people chanted inside Margaritas waiting for the owner Ivan Escalona to show up.

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is supporting Angelica Sandoval, a former employee who says she’s owed $5500 in unpaid wages. The CCI said this is the fourth complaint they’ve received against Margaritas for employees not being paid for their work.  READ MORE


Des Moines Register – Demonstrators claim bar owner not paying up

A former worker alleges she is a victim of wage theft.

Written by Grant Rodgers   Demonstrators visited a southeast Des Moines bar and grill on Friday night, asking to meet with the owner and receive unpaid wages owed to a former employee.

The group of workers and volunteers with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, as well as demonstrators from Occupy Des Moines, claim that Ivan Escalona, owner of Margarita’s Bar and Grill, 1440 Maury St., owes Angelica Sandoval, a former bartender, $5,545 in wages. READ MORE


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“It’s not only unacceptable, it’s illegal.”


On Friday, December 2, two dozen Iowa CCI members and supporters from Occupy Des Moines paid a visit to Margarita’s on Des Moines’ Southeast side. We were there to collect $5,545 in unpaid wages owner Ivan Escalona owes former bartender and CCI member Angelica Sandoval – the equivalent of seven month’s pay.

Sometimes Angelica’s paychecks would bounce. Other times Escalona would only pay for some hours and make up excuses to put off paying her the rest. She came to Iowa CCI after she heard that by working with CCI a former co-worker got Escalona to pay her over $2,500 in stolen wages.

This is the fourth complaint we have received about Margarita’s not paying their employees for their hard work.

Members and staff have spoken with Margarita’s owner on the phone and tried to set up multiple meetings for him to make the situation right. After tonight’s action Sandoval will file a wage claim with Iowa Workforce Development.

“I’m very happy because we made our point here. Now everybody will know what kind of business he is running,” said Sandoval. The action was picked up by Des Moines TV Channels 5 and 13 and the Des Moines Register.

Iowa CCI organizing has helped54 workers win back $122,014.90 in stolen wages in the past year and a half.


























Another survey that states the obvious: Americans, across the board, oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

The AARP’s new state survey finds that 64.5% of likely Republican Caucus goers oppose cuts to Social Security. 67.3% oppose cuts to Medicare.

Read the full AARP press release here.

AARP today released state specific survey results showing that by nearly 3 to 1, (64.5% for Social Security, 67.3% for Medicare), likely Republican Caucus goers overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit. 

“Opposition to these benefit cuts among Republicans across the ideological spectrum confirms what AARP has been hearing from Iowans throughout our campaign to protect Social Security and Medicare:  Whether Republican, Democrat, Independent or Tea Party supporter, voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to these programs,” said AARP Iowa State President Tony Vola.

Read the Iowa survey results here.

To get involved with the fight to save – and strengthen – Social Security, America’s best loved retirement savings program give us a call.


November 14, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer

DNR must answer EPA deadline tomorrow


Federal EPA has ordered Iowa DNR to provide written response to Clean Water Act investigation by tomorrow


Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members are calling on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to publicly release the agency’s written response to an audit recently performed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to an October 28 letter from EPA to DNR, the deadline for DNR’s written response is tomorrow, November 15.

Earlier this month, top EPA officials made on-site visits to DNR field offices across the state and conducted a thorough and intensive investigation and review of DNR files, documents, and records, a result of a Notice of Intent to Sue filed against the EPA in August by Iowa CCI members, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club for the DNR’s failure to administer Clean Water Act permitting and enforcement programs for factory farm polluters.

In June, the DNR’s Environmental Protection Commission voted to scrap tough new rules designed to bring Iowa’s factory farm enforcement program into compliance with the Clean Water Act after nearly 40 years of noncompliance.

Iowa CCI members will attend tomorrow’s Environmental Protection Commission meeting at 10am at the DNR Air Quality Control Building, 7900 Hickman Road, to demand copies of DNR’s written response.

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November, and more than nine in the last few months. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit