KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa One Call spokesman says poor planning not an excuse for digging without calling

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s Attorney General announced seven lawsuits this past week against contractors who hit underground gas pipelines. State law requires contractors to phone Iowa One Call 48 hours before digging to have the lines marked. Iowa One Call communications manager, Ben Booth, says there’s no excuse for contractors who fail to make the call.

He says the call has been mandated since 1992 and became a law in 1993. “If you are a professional working in the industry, there’s no excuse not to know,” Booth says.
The law covers anyone in Iowa, and Booth says they try to keep everyone informed. “We do constantly have outreach…to target homeowners and new homeowners who may not know what the requirements of the law are,” Booth says. “For cases involving professional contractors, you do have to wonder if it is a matter of trying expedite your process and trying to avoid having to wait the required 48 hours — not planning effectively.”

Booth says not planning ahead is not an excuse to break the law. And he says saving a little time by digging without calling can end up costing contractors. “In the long run, you are really potentially opening up a much bigger can of worms by not waiting, by not planning appropriately,” Booth says.

The Attorney General says the seven lawsuits covered five counties. Four of the lawsuits have been resolved or have agreements pending Anyone planning to dig can notify the Iowa Once Call Notification Center or go online at www.iowaonecall.com, or by phone at 811 (or toll-free at 800-292-8989). The center is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

(Radio Iowa)

Conservation Report 02-25-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 25th, 2017 by Chris Parks

Bob Bebensee and DNR Conservation Officer Grant Gelle talk about all things outdoors.

Play

Officials still searching for party responsible for dead eagle

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The search continues for the party responsible for the death of a bald eagle discovered Jan. 25, in Yellow Banks County Park, on the southeast side of Des Moines. Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources believe the eagle was killed sometime around the first week of January. The condition of the eagle’s remains made it difficult to place the exact time and manner of death, but damage to its legs are consistent from being shot with bird shot.

“We received a lot of good information from the public, including information that led us to an individual who was in possession of bald eagle talons that we believe came from the Yellow Banks eagle, but we have not found the individual responsible for the raptor’s death,” said Nate Anderson, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Anderson issued a citation for illegal possession of a protected nongame animal to Mitchell Hoyt, 27, from Runnells, on Feb. 4. Hoyt pleaded guilty in Polk County Court and paid $195 fine on Feb. 22. “We continue to follow leads wherever they take us and hopefully we will catch the individual or individuals responsible for this,” Anderson said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to use the Turn in Poachers website at www.iowadnr.gov/tip or by calling the hotline at 1-800-532-2020. Information can be left anonymously. Bald eagles are a state and federally protected species.

Posted County Grain Prices: 2/24/17

Ag/Outdoor

February 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.17, Beans $9.44
Adair County: Corn $3.14, Beans $9.47
Adams County: Corn $3.14, Beans $9.43
Audubon County: Corn $3.16, Beans $9.46
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.20, Beans $9.44
Guthrie County: Corn $3.19 Beans $9.48
Montgomery County: Corn $3.19, Beans $9.46
Shelby County: Corn $3.20, Beans $9.44

Oats $2.18 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

Shelby County Fire Danger drops to “Low”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Forecast snowy weather has prompted the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency to reduced the field/grassland Fire Danger category to “Low,” from now through Monday, when the next update will be available. Earlier this week, dry and windy conditions, as well as numerous recent grass and brush fires in Shelby County, had resulted in the Fire Danger being elevated to High.

AG files lawsuits for One Call violations

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s Attorney General has filed seven lawsuits covering five counties for alleged violations of the “Iowa One Call” law. The law requires anyone who is going to be digging to call at least 48 hours in advance to have underground utility lines marked. Attorney General Tom Miller’s spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says the people involved in each of these cases failed to make that call. “These are cases where it wasn’t just a matter of a contractor digging near a line, in most of these cases a contractor actually hit a line. These are all involving natural gas pipes,” Greenwood says.

Four of the lawsuits have been resolved or have agreements pending. He says these types of violations are not something that can be overlooked. “We are concerned when something like this occurs because it is a public safety threat,” Greenwood says. “Whether it’s a gas line, or electrical line or telephone line — it endangers the public when a contractor goes in and digs without calling first and doesn’t know where those lines are located.”

Greenwood says there are a variety of underground utilities and hitting them can create some serious issues. “We’ve had situations before where underground lines have exploded. We’ve had situations before where people have been electrocuted. We’ve had situations where the phone lines went down and a whole community had not access to its 9-11 system or other ways to make a phone call,” Greenwood explains. “So, that’s why we take these cases seriously.”

Greenwood says being in a hurry to get work done is not an excuse for not calling and having the underground lines marked. “We hear that once in a while that someone was trying to save time or money — and that argument just doesn’t wash. That’s because this is a free call, it doesn’t cost you anything to call these folks and have them come out and do what the law requires,” Greenwood says. “The surveying is free. So, it’s a one call phone call and they will come out and survey the area and mark where these lines are located underneath the ground and that protects, you, it protects the public and it protects the utilities.”

And Greenwood says it can cost you a lot more to go ahead and dig and hit a line instead of waiting. Anyone planning to dig can notify the Iowa Once Call Notification Center about planned digging or excavating online at www.iowaonecall.com, or by phone at 811 (or toll-free at 800-292-8989). The center is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The lawsuits, include four that are resolved or where the agreements are pending.

Here are the details:
In Calhoun County, Ag Repair of Manson alledgedly hit a Northern Natural Gas pipeline while doing tile work and had to replace a section of the pipeline at a cost of 100-thousand dollars. The lawsuit in this case seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the company from violating the One Call law.

In Dickinson County a lawsuit against Lynde Construction Incorporated of Sioux Falls South Dakota, alleges that on April 4, 2016, the company hit and damaged a two-inch underground natural gas line as part of a drainage tiling project in Arnolds Park. The excavation allegedly took place several feet away from a permanent natural gas pipeline marker. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Lynde from violating the One Call law.

In Lee County the lawsuit alleges that in late January of 2016, DeLong Construction, of Washington, Iowa, was excavating as part of a ditch cleaning in rural Lee County, when it hit and damaged a one-foot diameter natural gas line. Through a proposed consent decree agreement has DeLong admitting violations and paying a seven-thousand dollar ($7,000) penalty and the company agrees not to violate the One Call law.

There are three lawsuits in Marion County District Court, which were tentatively resolved through proposed consent decrees. According to Miller’s lawsuit on August 7th, 2015, K-M-A Development L-L-C, doing business as K-M-A Trucking & Excavating, of Princeton, damaged a one-inch diameter natural gas line in Knoxville, while excavating to plant trees. Through a proposed consent decree agreement has K-M-A, admitting violations and agreeing to a five-thousand dollar ($5,000) penalty and the company agrees not to violate the One Call Law.

The lawsuit alleges on March 23, 2016, Koopman Roofing Incorporated doing business as Hopkins Roofing of Pella, excavated land in Pella to lower an underground natural gas line. During the excavation, Hopkins damaged the line. Through a proposed consent decree agreement Hopkins Roofing admits violations and will pay a three-thousand-dollar ($3,000) penalty and agrees not to violate the One Call law.

The lawsuit alleges on February 1st, 2016, Peterson Tiling & Excavating L-L-C, of Pella, was excavating as part of a drainage tile installation in Pella when it hit and damaged a an underground natural gas line. Through a proposed consent decree agreement says Peterson admits violations and will pay three-thousand dollars ($3,000) and agrees not to violate the One Call law.

In Sioux County, the lawsuit says on May 5th 2016, Steve Doorenboos, of Boyden, was excavating land as part of a drainage tile project in Boyden when his equipment hit and damaged an underground natural gas line. The incident resulted in the city losing natural gas service. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Doorenboos from violating the One Call law.

(Radio Iowa)

Memorial Weekend campsites soon available for reservation

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports the three-month window to reserve a state park campsite for a Friday arrival on Memorial Day weekend opens this Sunday, Feb. 26. More than a few campers will plan their arrival for the weekend before Memorial Day and stay through the holiday, which means their window is open now.

Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, says “Campers can make reservations for sites three months ahead of their first night stay. And we have a flurry of reservations from campers who begin their stay prior to the Memorial Day weekend.”

Lake Wapello, Lake Keomah state parks and Fairport State Recreation Area all underwent campground renovations last year and are anxious for visitors to check things out. Red Haw State Park’s campground will be open to walk-in camping only starting on April 17 due to the final phase of its renovation. Advanced reservations will be accepted starting on June 22. And Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area’s campground #1 will be closed through June 30 for an electrical upgrade.

Most parks will have nonelectric sites available for the Memorial Day weekend. Not every campsite is available on the reservation system. Parks maintain 25 percent or more of the electric and nonelectric sites as non-reservation sites, available for walk-up camping.

Information on Iowa’s state parks is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/parks
including the link to reservations. Campers can also log on directly to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com; enter their preferred amenities and requirements, dates and/or parks to see what sites are available and make a reservation.

Campers are encouraged to note closures when making their reservations. Some campgrounds may be closed Memorial Day. Weather will play an important role in how soon projects will be completed and a how soon campgrounds will be back online.
Closure information is current on the DNR website and reservation system. Closure information can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks-Rec-Areas/Closure-Information and on individual park webpages.

High Fire Danger across western IA/eastern NE today

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE COUNTIES…Wed Feb 22 2017

Very high fire danger is expected this afternoon across the area, with low humidity and strong winds creating dry conditions in fields and grassy areas. Residents are urged to avoid using motorized vehicles in fields or grassy areas, where hot exhaust pipes can spark fires. Avoid outdoor burning, and don’t carelessly discard smoking materials.

John Deere earnings report shows optimism for farmers

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The first quarter income report from John Deere and Company released Friday showed a drop in net income — but it also held a positive message for the ag industry. Sales were up two percent and spokesman Ken Golden says there are signs of continued improvement.

“U-S farm income is expected to increase slightly in 2017, that’s always good news for people who sell to farmers,” Golden says. “In construction and forestry it’s the overall economy and G-D-P growth, housing starts and several other areas that really are indicators for our construction and forestry business.” Deere predicts sales will increase four per cent this year.

“In recent years we’ve been talking about decreases it seems like every quarter. So, this is beginning to give us indications we are near the bottom of the agricultural market and are beginning to swing in the right direction,” according to Golden. Deere in fact had predicted last fall that sales would drop one percent this year, before revising it to the projection of the four percent increase.

(Radio Iowa)

Field/Grassland Fire Danger Assessments begin in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 20th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency say Local Fire Danger Assessments for this spring season have begun, as a result of several, recently experienced grass and brush fires. EMA Coordinator Bob Seivert says with the record breaking and unseasonably high heat , dead vegetation is extremely flammable. The National Weather service is issuing Fire weather watches for tomorrow (Tuesday) for parts of southeast Nebraska.

Seivert says one change you should be aware of, is that when conditions rapidly change to the very highest category and or the NWS issues a Red Flag Warning, the Shelby County EMA will immediately change the local Fire Danger Boards to Extreme and all burning will be prohibited, unless prior arrangements are made with the local Fire Chief and a burn plan is completed and filed. Fire departments will be notified via “I am responding.”

Seivert says even with the snow in the forecast, once it is gone, drying occurs much more rapidly than most people realize. Their goal, he says is to reduce unnecessary emergency response, by elevating the public’s awareness of conditions favorable to burning, and offering burn plan assistance, for any size burn. The cooperative initiative between the local fire Departments, their Chiefs, and Emergency Management in Shelby County has proven effective in every aspect.

Participating businesses and fire stations should place their Local Fire Danger Signs in the HIGH Category until the next update on Thursday, Feb. 23rd.

As a reminder: The High Fire Danger Category means Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and Fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Call 712-755-2124 if you have any questions.