By Dan Ehl - Managing editor
Albia and Monroe County economic development officials aren’t sure who sent out a news release about a new industry coming to town, but they are pretty positive it’s a hoax. At least they are hoping that a Chinese clothespin factory won’t be moving in a plant that will serve as a halfway house for “convicted sex offenders and others who have committed violent crimes.”
Dan Tometich of the Albia Industrial Development Corporation said both the Daily Iowegian and Ottumwa Courier have called asking about an email from a real Chinese company called Linhai Hongyi Plc. If a new factory was coming to town, Tometich said, he is sure he would have heard of it.
The apparently bogus release stated, “Linhai Hongyi Plc. is pleased to announce plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Albia. When fully operational, the plant will employ a staff of approximately fifty-four employees.
“The facility, which will be located just south of the Albia city limits, will manufacture traditional wood spring clothespins.
“The plant will serve as a halfway house for convicted felons upon release or parole, and will consist of both residential and manufacturing components. Employees will live onsite in dormitory-style housing, complete with a cafeteria and pub, which will serve beer and wine but no hard liquor.
“The program will be available only to individuals deemed to be at a moderate to high risk of recidivism. Convicted sex offenders and others who have committed violent crimes will be subject to an extra level of screening prior to admission to the program. In order to achieve positive integration into the Albia community, employees will be encouraged to participate in local church and school volunteer projects.”
There is a Linhai Hongyi Arts & Crafts Factory in Baishuiyang, Zhejiang, China, as stated in the e-mail. The company promotional material says it is one of the biggest professional manufacturer of plastic and wooden pegs and was established in 1990.