Postville declares a State of Emergency - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Postville declares a State of Emergency

Postville (KWWL) - The city of Postville has declared a state of emergency after its largeest employeer shut down.

It's an emergency weeks, if not months in the making. Agriprocessors remains closed, workers haven't been paid, and the community has been left to deal with the aftermath. Hundreds of workers have no way of paying for food, rent or utilities. Today the local government made its first move to heal this broken community.

Maryn Olson is just one area resident who has seen Postville change in the past few weeks. She is volunteering to help relief efforts.

"You can't see the disaster unless you look in their eyes, if you sit down and have a cup of coffee with them. Families have been ripped apart, it's not just this week, it's been going on since the may 12th immingration raid," Olson said.

This group at Postville City Hall is coordinating that effort for now. They say getting the right help in the right place is difficult.

"We had donations going all over the place. We had them going to churches, we have them going to city hall, we need to have a central place where we can have it ready for everybody," Chris Dahlstrom, Allamakee County EMC, said.

The first order of business at Turner Hall is a job fair. Representatives from other meat packing plants in the state held interviews with perspective workers. In some cases, they offer jobs on the spot. Representatives from JB Swift in Marshalltown and Tyson Foods in Waterloo each have about 50 to 100 jobs open right now.

"The real need for these people is jobs. We've been holding off because Agri has been promising their jobs would be there, it's now coming to the point, that it isn't looking promising, and people have needs that have to be met," Ardie Kuhse of Upper Explorerland said.

"I think we're gradually sinking as we speak. The plant is closed, there's no place to go and no money. It's not just a huge impact on postville, but surrounding areas as well," Robert Penrod, Postville Mayor said.

An impact this group will continue to feel as the holiday season approaches. An emergency relief fund has been set up at Citizens State Bank in Postville. It will go to community relief efforts. Volunteers are also working on setting up a phone hotline.


Online Reporter: Bob Waters

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