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Answer Man: Con-Tech is in the cement mixing business

Dear Answer Man, there's a business south of Dodge Center on the state highway called Con-Tech that says they're hiring, and farther along that road, I saw another sign for Con-Tech, pointing toward another plant. What kind of business is that?

If it's near Dodge Center, you can bet it's somehow related to McNeilus Cos. , and that's the case: It's a private company owned by Grant McNeilus and Dan Welsh, and they serve the ready-mix industry with custom-made cement mixers, drums for trucks as well as the chassis, parts and just about anything else related to cement-making and transporting.

As you likely know, that's what made McNeilus big also, along with garbage trucks. McNeilus got its start in 1970 and, in 1998, was acquired by Oshkosh Corp. They remain one of the biggest employers in the area.

Dear Answer Man, why is there a Mexican flag flying with the U.S. flag in front of the Diamond Jo Casino?

There isn't. It's an Iowa state flag, which in fact doesn't look a whole lot like the Mexican flag.


Here's another Iowa-related question:

Dear Answer Man, have you seen the Joni Ernst commercials ? She's running for U.S. Senate from Iowa, and you can't tell what party she belongs to. She even says things about Social Security and Medicare that make her sound like a Democrat, but she's a Republican. That got me looking at other commercials, and in a lot of cases, there's no party I.D.

I know why that would be, but doesn't it seem like false advertising? Is there really no law that requires candidates to identify their party affiliation? — Ruby

There's no law that you have to identify your party affiliation in TV ads, and as Ruby suggests, it's now good politics to leave the red and blue stuff out of it.

It doesn't take much Web searching, though, to track down a candidate's political connections and track record. I recommend you read broadly when reading about politicians.

Siren song

An appreciative Answer Maniac sent this after my masterpiece Tuesday on sirens in Kasson and other small towns:

"Dear All Knowing Wise One, you are not alone in your love of the daily small town sirens. There are many of us out there who also enjoy – and depend on – these thrice-daily reminders. Seriously, after seven years, you would think your disgruntled correspondent would have figured out the practical applications of our beloved sirens.


"This is one of our few remaining small town elements every generation can enjoy. We fervently hope your correspondent learns to love them as we have."

Thank you for acknowledging my wisdom. Regarding the "disgruntled correspondent," I respect his point of view, and as I said, if I lived right under the siren, I might have a different opinion.

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