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Latest attack on NIT: Blocked at courthouse and city hall


This news story was published on December 11, 2012.
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Cerro Gordo county courthouse

by Matt Marquardt –

The latest update on the attacks on NorthIowaToday.com is as follows:

I received a very hushed phone call from a person late last week telling me that “we can’t pull up NorthIowaToday.com here at the (Cerro Gordo) courthouse.”

I had about a 30 minute conversation with the person, who will remain anonymous.  This person told me, among a number of things, that Jay Urdahl was behind having NIT blocked on computers at the courthouse (I’m not saying this is true or not, this is what I was told).  I wasn’t surprised to hear this, because I can’t count the number of conversations I have had with folks over the previous months where Supervisor Urdahl’s name was uttered to me.  Typically, I am told Urdahl hates NorthIowatoday.com, doesn’t think too highly of me, and peppers his remarks to them with colorful profanity.  Many times they do a Jay Urdahl impression while they are telling me these stories.

Perhaps the best story I was told was how Urdahl lambasted Supervisor Phil Dougherty at the courthouse for buying an advertisement on NorthIowaToday.com.  This incident was witnessed by several people.  Maybe another great story I was told was how Urdahl was rounding up allies to go after Amanda Ragan for including NIT on her press release list.  I got a lot more.

Why does Jay Urdahl hate NIT?

The person on the phone went on to say Urdahl is thought of as a “bully” at the courthouse and they “wouldn’t be surprised” if he was somehow involved with getting NIT blocked.

Then, both Friday and Monday, I was alerted by officials at city hall that NorthIowaToday.com was blocked there as well.

I was told by the parties that contacted me that the other “media” sites were not blocked at either location.  I’ve been told by people that NIT has at times been blocked at the Principal building, too.

Now, I am sure this is all part of the recent denial of service attack that was launched against NIT over the last several weeks and the overall attack machine coordinated by people that hate NIT.  I am not a technical forensic expert so finding out exactly who is behind this might be like trying to solve the Kennedy assassination.  I wrote about these attacks on November 28th and again on December 3rd.  My only defense, really, is telling the public and waiting for information to come my way.

I have theorized (theorized only; I am stopping short at this time of outright accusations) that the attack machine involved few locals- only people with the motivation and means to harm NorthIowaToday.com.  The enemies of NIT instead went to my web host (located out of state) and systematically had not only the networks at the courthouse and city hall and other locations blocked, but my own computers in my office as well.  I can produce countless emails where I complained to my web hosting provider, over the course of the last several months, where sometimes on a daily basis I could not view NorthIowaToday.com here in my office.  I could not view it nor open the site nor log-in to work on it.  I have learned that they can, by IP address, easily “ban” or “not serve” a web site to any computer they choose just by adding an IP address to a list.  I also have admissions that they disabled story commenting and altered vital web site files that belong to me on their web server.  Needless to say, these are huge problems when you are trying to produce and post breaking news.

Interestingly, after a terse conversation a few Sundays ago with my web hosting provider, I have not once had an issue here in my office with viewing or working on NorthIowaToday.com.  I have not been locked out in my office since then.

Yesterday, I contacted my web host and gave them the IP addresses of the courthouse (I just got the IP for city hall today).  My web host apologized, saying they are “sorry to hear this is still being an issue for you.  The IP address you have provided has now been unblocked.”

Again, I ask the public to continue with the phone calls, emails and conversations you have brought me.  This information, along with your subscriptions, are vital to keeping NIT on-line.

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63 Responses to Latest attack on NIT: Blocked at courthouse and city hall

  1. Avatar

    Pee Wee Reply Report comment

    December 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    You tell me Smitty why is Doc Blodgett a pile of crap because he hates taxes. Oh yeh I guess you must be one of them takes are money ok now I get it yes.

  2. Avatar

    Union Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Urdahl is Democrat in name only. He is a money grubber that sucks up to rich Republican for more and more and more. I hear Jay has got better then 20 grand banked most of which comes from Blodgett and his rich friends. Some Democrat right.

    • Avatar

      Smitty Reply Report comment

      December 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Only once again shows what a piece of crap he and his buddies Gary and Todd are!!

  3. Avatar

    James S Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Somethin fishy here, Blodgett is a fascist Urdahl and Dougherty are union guys. Whats up. Anybody know?

  4. Avatar

    Gramma Margo Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Gary Blodgett backs Jay because he opposes increasing supervisors like Watts wants. Blodgett supported Dougherty because Phil does what Jay tells him. Keeping Blodgett happy is important to Jay, probably because Jay loves money. Too bad about this, because we have 3 GOP supervisors.

  5. Avatar

    Former MC Teach Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I never voted for Dr. Blodgett, ‘Class of’, but don’t you think that his backing of some members of the political party opposite his own shows good character, in that he is willing to be objective?

  6. Avatar

    Clyde Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Your right former Democrat Urdahl would of never got in if Gary Blodgett had not wrote him some big checks and gets his rich buddys to keep him in.

    • Avatar

      Class of Reply Report comment

      December 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

      Shows some true lack of Character on the Blodgett behalf.
      Wonder which one was in who’s pocket?????????????

  7. Avatar

    Former MC Teach Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    “Many times they do a Jay Urdahl impression while they are telling me these stories,” sayeth this Editorial. As if that’s difficult? All one need do is utter “F**k” every other word.

    • Avatar

      deep throat Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Another good JU impression is showing up late for work… really late… like say oh about 11 am or so Wednesday at the court house.

  8. Avatar

    Steve R Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    It’s refreshing to have another point of view besides the Globe. This town could also have a decent radio station. Listening to songs from 50 years ago don’t cut it.

    • Avatar

      anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      The radio stations in Mason City are the WORST! They are mostly owned by Three Eagles Corporation. Very low budget, very horrible DJ’s. They have 5 stations and it’s all the same DJ’s on all of them. So much for live radio. It’s all pre-recorded, and I can set my clock by how often some songs are played.

  9. Avatar

    another anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Anonymous tips mean nothing. If Matt wants to go after the council & supervisors then he should back up his words with names & not just print hear-say. I’m not saying some of what he says isn’t true but when he starts right off saying that his tips will remain anonymous, sounds fishy to me. Anyone can print anything they want but you need to back it up with names.

    • Avatar

      50 miles south Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Matt would have to be really stupid to print all the information he is collecting. its the same reason police dont tell everything they know. basicly some of it is non ya buisness anyway.

      • Avatar

        a citizen Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        I believe what “another anonymous” means is that of the things that Matt does print, he should back it up with names, dates, and other information. As “anonymous” wrote on 12/12/12 @1:00pm, “People can say what they want”, which is incorrect since slander is illegal, there would be more credibility is there was verifible evidence to substantiate the truth of what is written. I believe it was President Reagan who coined the phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

      • Avatar

        50 miles south Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        you may be right however I prefer to take my grandfathers stand on this. he said “dont tell people everything you know. then they will be smarter than you, cause they know your information and what they already knew” many more law enforcement officers will say “no comment”. does this mean that you are against law enforcement? I doubt it. people need to remember that some things must stay private and is nobodys buisness at the time. have the evansdale police stated how the girls were killed. NO, because its really NO ONES buisness. people may be curious but thats it. people need to also remember that this is the internet and you cant print anything on the internet unless its true

  10. Avatar

    senior native Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I sure hope the people who comment on here all went to the polls and voted against Urdahl. He has been on the board way too long. Let someone else collect $40,000 plus for one meeting a month!! What a disgrace!! And citizens who are paying his salary can’t even view the meetings on TV.

    • Avatar

      Barnaby Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Over 46,,000.00 plus their benefits & Ipers is what I read.
      It’s the POWER that makes people like Jay feel important!
      Sure would be nice to see a return on our money spent on him alone!!!!

  11. Avatar

    get the truth out Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    1. Any business that supplies employees access to the internet has EVERY right to block any website, ip address, or blocks of ip addresses for productive reasons, liable reasons, and business only reasons.

    2. You can block websites by altering the host file on the local computer, altering DNS entry on the domain controller, and altering the firewall exceptions, all internal settings, which are undetectable from outside the lan(local area network). There is 101 ways to skin a cat …

    3. I don’t condone this practice(stealing)… The Globs attempt to make you pay for the website is vain. Delete the cookies on your computer for the www site and you will be able to view an additional preset amount of articles again.

    4. Ping the website when you can’t reach it. If you can’t ping it aint up and runing. From DOS, Ping http://www.northiowatoday.com .. should get something like this … Pinging http://www.northiowatoday.com
    C:\>ping http://www.northiowatoday.com
    [64.92.120.1] with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from 64.92.120.1: bytes=32 time=251ms TTL=50
    Reply from 64.92.120.1: bytes=32 time=268ms TTL=50
    Reply from 64.92.120.1: bytes=32 time=200ms TTL=50
    Reply from 64.92.120.1: bytes=32 time=235ms TTL=50

    Ping statistics for 64.92.120.1:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 200ms, Maximum = 268ms, Average = 238ms

    If you don’t get good replys, the websites down. There’s programs that will monitor your website for you and send you emails when it’s down. THEN hammer the provider (WTF) ….

    Good luck Matt …

  12. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Could be Urdahl didn’t like that last picture of him sleeping at the meeting. As for the fat man his opinion of NIT is well known.

  13. Avatar

    OverTheHill Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Matt,

    GET A NEW WEB-HOST. I have worked with dozens of web-hosts whom you have to darn near pass a DNA test to get a change processed. Secondly, if the web-host blocked the IP addresses, fine, move on. But, if they were blocked by the IT staff at either the courthouse or city hall, that should be available in the logs of their firewall.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      In information-gathering mode right now and looking to make several moves in the near future. It’s an involved process. I do have a potential host here locally I am considering working with.

      • Avatar

        I Spy Reply Report comment

        December 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        Quite frankly, I would NOT use a local web host. I would use one that is exclusive to you and no one can have contact with or pay off if they don’t like the news of the day. Just an opinion.

  14. Avatar

    Barney Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    No brainer why Urdahl hates NIT. Between the site and Watts trying to expose them for what they are.
    Just to bad the people who think they’re somebody in this town, don’t SEE the truth!
    Very sad situation. Only way he got in was because he ran as a Democrat.

  15. Avatar

    Former Democrat Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Maybe Jay needs to go runing to his buddies in Clear Lake and see if they’ll help him out again–what do you say Gary? Todd?

  16. Avatar

    50 miles south Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    not sure if it was my computer or what, but I could not connect to NIT till about 10pm tonight. tried from 8-9 but nothing. all other sites came up for me

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Wasn’t your computer. Our web host had an “outage” they claim it affected NIT and other sites as well.

    • Avatar

      btincc Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 5:58 am

      50 Miles South, I’m about 30 miles East. I couldn’t get on last night, either. All other sites I visited worked ok….just sayin’…

  17. Avatar

    So What Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Duh. So folks have to wait until they get home to read the truth and comment. That’s how D U M B urdahl is or whoever is in on it.

    No worry Matt one more notch on the good peoples belt, it ALL comes out ALWAYS.

    Freaks.

    • Avatar

      Todd B Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      He’s got more to worry about than this! Unless his wife hasn’t found out yet!!!

      • Avatar

        Katie Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm

        Are you insinuating there is gossip about Urdahl or Matt.

  18. Avatar

    poop Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Guess someone doesn’t believe in free speech!

  19. Avatar

    Your friend Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Matt, I am gonna push you and push you to put your name on the Ballot and run for MAYOR of this town. You will win, trust me. It needs to happen. Your voice has been heard, and I know that many like me will support you day in and day out. Start really thinking about this Matt, because you are the man for the job. Let’s get rid of the corruption in Mason City, stop turning our heads to what really is going on, and make this town what it should really be. Not controlled and influenced by a bunch of wealthy business owners and corrupt individuals, not saying they all are, but they are present. Matt for Mayor, it gonna happen.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      I appreciate the kind words. Being mayor would be a serious job. With the right council, there could be some positive changes made here in Mason City.

      • Avatar

        Polio Loco Reply Report comment

        December 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        Being mayor of this town would serve 3 purposes.
        1. The utmost transparency
        2. A sense of “put your money where your mouth is.”
        3. An OPEN ear to the concerns of everyone in the city.

        I for one would put a check in the box for Matt.

        • Avatar

          Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          December 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

          Just saw this comment. I believe as mayor one thing I would be interested in is no more back room deals. No more chamber of commerce free handouts. Possibly no more chamber of commerce memberships paid by the city. I would never allow an entity like the chamber to bring an item like the sculptures to a work session and discuss it practically in private and then a week later up to $40,000 of taxpayer money spent and gone, just like that. I just witnessed, for example, the local women’s shelter and other very worthy causes that actually help people in need make presentations to the county board of supervisors. It was done publicly, and for all of city hall’s trumpeting of their supposed new “transparency” we all know of the back room deals being cut down there. The supervisors beat city hall on this one. The city spent $40K on sculptures, meanwhile, the women’s shelter is hurting. Something is wrong there.

  20. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    It is perfectly legal for any organization to block a website from its network, and employees agree to this when agree to employment at the organization. And this is done at the organization by their IT staff, this blocking is not done at the web host, and if it is then it can be considered shady at best.

    As far as the slow loading times and other issues that I have, along with others when accessing the site, this is directly related to the web host and/or the WordPress configuration.

    I would also venture to guess that the issues you have had in the past are not DoS attacks but simply a poor hosting solution, if they were DoS attacks your web host would have been greatly affected as it would have most likely brought down any other sites hosted on their servers.

    I think the best thing you could do would be to find a new host that isn’t the bargain basement price, doesn’t have a site for itself that looks like it is from the 1990’s (http://www.netfronts.com/), isn’t located in Denver, and has the reliability, bandwidth, and resources to handle your site.

  21. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Matt the self proclaimed gods of MC are just having trouble walking with the giant burr you have stuck up their a—- by printing every thing that the Glob would cover up. It will backfire on them and they can all go to the country club with their leader and cry over a beer. Keep up the good work. I do agree that people should be working when on the clock but when you only block out one site it shows they don’t want people reading the truth.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      I have only just begun. Once we root out these attackers and get the site tuned up I will really start hammering the fat cats and exposing truths. Fighting so many battles at once takes its toll. I’m gearing up for the next round.

  22. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I had on ordeal with the county a number of years ago, but I’m still bitter about what the county supervisors did to me.
    I lived outside city limits and at the time I lived out there the county came in and put in city sewer lines and we were not able to use our septic systems any longer. They said the neighborhood systems were polluting a creek. I was very abiding about this. I had no issue with paying the 17 thousand dollars that I was assessed for this project and the additional 3 thousand that I had to pay for the private lines from my house to the city lines.
    During the process of this project, the excavators that the county contracted to do this job damaged drain tiles in the neighborhood and everytime it rained my basement would flood. I had lived in that home for a number of years prior to this project and had a completely dry basement until after the did this project.
    I had Phil Dougherty out to my property and also the country engineer. None of those supervisors would do a thing to rectify my situation or try to make things right or even try to fix the problem or even take responsibility for what happened.
    My finished basement was destroyed and we had major water issues for a number of years. And I’m sure the people that now live there also and still have water issues in that basement.
    I battled those three gentlemen for what seemed like a number of years over this issue.
    So I have nothing good to say at all about the country supervisors.
    Corrupt? Possibly, but for sure neglectful.

    • Avatar

      Code Jay Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      I hear everything you’re saying. But no dis-respect to you, Why didn’t you make this known to the public when these bozo Supervisor’s came up for election again?
      Could you or would you support someone else for a change?
      I agree with you, they are a waste of the taxpayer’s money!!!!

  23. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Employees are supposed to be working, not browsing the internet. I say block all the sites that are not needed for their job.

    • Avatar

      former mayor Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      All employees need NIT since it is the only news source in North Iowa that never lies. They should all be required to read it everyday after they clock in.

      • Avatar

        Haha Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm

        Globe now only allows you to visit their webpage 10 FREE times in 30 days. If you go over that you get a pop up telling you to buy it now for 6.95. NIM at least gives you free articles and a snip of the ones you have to pay to view.

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm

        Just wait until the Glob lays off a couple dozen people and puts their building up for sale. I will be there with my camera in some people’s faces. Same goes for that joke TV station a few blocks away.

    • Avatar

      Insider Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      The only ones in the City that are allowed Internet access are mostly salaried staff!! They are the only ones with time on their hands.

  24. Avatar

    John Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I would not put this past Urdahl or Bookmeyer. They are both corrupt. Good Luck pursuing this Matt.

    • Avatar

      a citizen Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      The next time you call someone corrupt, I suggest you validate your remark with facts.

      • Avatar

        50 miles south Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        those facts and comments have been on here many times in the past. If you want to know, they can be found on here if you take the time to reread many articles . I do not have the time to copy and paste for anyone… sorry

      • Avatar

        anonymous Reply Report comment

        December 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

        This isn’t court and people can say what they want. I suggest you go F**k yourself. See its easy!

  25. Avatar

    Bobby G Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Katie you need to remember what kind of county attorney were dealing with.

  26. Avatar

    Faye Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Hopefully your on to something here Matt, and can get to the bottom of it. On my end, I have noticed your site comes up very very slowly now and I don’t know the reason for that.

  27. Avatar

    tina Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    ..and we wonder why Jodi was never found? Maybe Ohl was right…this town hides and has secrets..

  28. Avatar

    tina Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Go after them Matt. Kick some arse.

  29. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I’m not sure it’s illegal for a private employer to block anything on the Internet. And what are public employees doing looking at NIT or any other non-work related web sites on the time clock, anyway? They are supposed to be WORKING. We do not even have Internet access on our work stations. It isn’t needed. We have one computer with Internet access for placing orders and sending work email. Internet browsing and cell phones have no place in the work place other than for emergencies.

    That aside, it is not right that one local news site be blocked and others be allowed at a taxpayer-funded location. This needs to be challenged if it is true and continues to happen. The county attorney needs to investigate whether a legal line has been crossed.

    • Avatar

      ArmBears Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Good observation Katie. While allegations of attacks on NIT are a deep concern, equally troubling is public employees surfing any web site on our dime. NIT readers would be and have been the first to complain about irresponsible government. We can’t have it both ways.

  30. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    December 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Matt-I know there are ways to trace this stuff. I admit I am not smart enough to do it but there are people out there who can. I believe what they are trying to do to you is illegal and at the very least you could file a law suite aginst them. I think you can file a cease and desist through a lawyer. Make this public in every way you posssibly can and maybe we can impeach the jerk.

    • Avatar

      Brother Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Smart enough to spell lawsuit?

      • Avatar

        ArmBears Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        This is for the birds. Its law suet.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

        @brother-just what this site needs, another spelling god that like to bully people because they make a typo. Are you sure you have it right bully? What makes you so smart? I bet you are one of those educated dummy’s aren’t you?

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

        @brother-well damn, there I did it agin. I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings by not admitting I made another typo so I meant to say likes not like. I beg your forgivness bully. I mean brother.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      I wondered where high-priced lawyers might practice out of a fancy hotel. Now I know.