The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff will be collecting tissue samples during Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons to test for the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Iowa’s wild deer herd. The effort will concentrate in southeast Allamakee County where CWD was found in the wild deer herd, in counties near Wisconsin and Illinois where CWD has been confirmed, in south-central Iowa near Missouri, and in Pottawattamie and Cerro Gordo counties, following positive tests in the past from captive facilities and wild deer in or near those counties.
Most of the 4,500 samples the DNR hopes to collect will be taken during the first half of December, as more than 120,000 hunters take part in Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons. Sampling involves removing and testing the lymph nodes of mature deer.
Many hunters voluntarily contribute samples of their harvested deer for these testing efforts. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points. Hunters willing to provide samples may contact the DNR regionally to arrange collection. In Pottawattamie County, call 712-350-0147.
Since 2002, more than 55,000 wild deer in Iowa have been tested. CWD was first detected in the wild herd in Allamakee County in 2013. Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/DeerHunting/CWDEHDInformation.aspx
Two Iowa turkeys flew to Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon. They made the trip on a plane. On Wednesday, the president will pick one to be part of the annual turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House. Greta Irwin, with the Iowa Turkey Federation, says “They came from Chris and Nicole Domino’s farm up by Early, Iowa.”
The turkeys were hatched in mid-July and are about 18 weeks old. Irwin says “The family has five daughters and the five daughters were actively involved with caring for these turkeys, for training for them to go to the White House because we want very calm, very tame turkeys….The daughters have been playing music for them, grooming them, playing with them, petting them and just getting them accustomed to being around people.”
President Obama will name the two Iowa birds that were sent his way this week, then one of the two will be featured in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden early Wednesday afternoon. Both turkeys will go live in Virginia after the ceremony. Irwin flew on the same plane as the Iowa turkeys and she’ll accompany them to their new home. “Once these turkeys are pardoned, they’ll go to Virginia Tech…and they’ll be part of their teaching curriculum that they use out there,” Irwin says. “So the turkeys will have a nice long life out there with the students at Virginia Tech.”
President Lincoln declared a day of national Thanksgiving in 1863. According to the White House website, Lincoln offered clemency to a turkey that same year. The National Turkey Federation has been presenting presidents with turkeys since 1948, but it seems President George H.W. Bush started the pardoning in 1989. The Iowa Turkey Federation has been selected six times to provide the presidential turkey at Thanksgiving. Obama, the current POTUS — which stands for President of the United States, used the nickname TOTUS — Turkey of the United States — for the bird he pardoned last year.
The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board met Monday evening at City Hall, and heard an update from Parks and Rec Director Seth Staashelm, with regard to the campground pads at the Schildberg Recreation Area, and they approved a proposal to install a liner at Sunnyside Park, so a seasonal ice skating rink can be installed.
Staashelm told the board the trail around Lake #2 at the Schildberg Rec Area was paved Nov. 14th, despite some sprinkles in the air. Some final grading is being done, but Staashelm said the trail should be open soon. On a related note, he said Atlantic Municipal Utilities (AMU) has agreed to provide in-kind labor amounting to some 40-to 50-thousand dollars, to install electrical and water lines to the campground pads. He says they hope to wrap that up before the ground is in a hard, frozen condition.
In other news, Staashelm also presented a proposal before the Board, with regard a 90-by-120 foot ice skating rink where the basketball courts are currently located, at Sunnyside Park. Water would not cover the courts directly. Instead, they would be covered by a heavy duty liner to prevent damage. He says “logistically, I would not just fill it, or plug the drain and fill it.” He indicated the liner is from a company called “Nice Rink” (www.nicerink.com)
The 10-millimeter thick, plastic liner is rip resistant, and would cost almost $2,400, with a total investment of about $2,700, including the purchase and installation of rope lights, to delineate a boundary. Staashelm says he hopes the Community Promotion Commission (CPC) will be willing to cover at least part of the cost. Maintenance would be handled by Parks and Rec crews. Board member Charlene Beane was skeptical about installing an ice rink, and wanted to wait to see how the synthetic “skating rink” being set up for this weekend next to the Rock Island Depot, is used.
Beane1 :08 Q: “In Atlantic.”
City Council liaison Ashley Hayes said she’s had people ask her about an ice skating rink, for years.
(Hayes said she’s had around 40 people inquire about an ice rink for the City.)
The liner would be stored in the Parks and Rec shed when not in use for the season. The Parks and Rec Board gave Staashelm the go ahead to meet with the CPC December 1st. The Parks and Rec Board said it would be willing to cover at least some of the costs associated with the project.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – An Iowa-based organization that supported a Washington state ballot measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods in 2013 has been fined nearly $320,000 over campaign finance violations. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor issued the fine Monday against Food Democracy Action. The group must also pay the state’s legal fees and trial costs.
Earlier this month, another Thurston County judge ordered the initiative’s opponents, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to pay $18 million in civil fines for concealing the true sources of $11 million in contributions received from some of the nation’s biggest food and beverage companies.
Ferguson said Food Democracy Action collected almost $300,000 from its supporters and transferred $200,000 of that to support Initiative 522, but didn’t register its political action committee or identify its 3,100 donors until after the election. The initiative failed.
The sponsors of the Cass County Conservation Board’s Trumpeter Swan arrival contest have determined the official arrival of the swans was November 19th. There was on that day, four Trumpeter Swans at the Schildberg Recreation Area. The birds stayed more than twenty-four hours. Therefor, the winner is Jane Kite.
She will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board. The school contest was won by Mrs. Haynes’s three year old Morning Preschool at Jack and Jill Preschool! The students will receive a trumpeter swan prize and Mrs. Haynes will receive a trumpeter swan t-shirt! Cass County Conservation thanks to all who participated!
The Shelby County “Fire Danger” index continues in the “Moderate” category, this week. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says the participation they are receiving from the public, in calling-in and reporting their planned burns, is very valuable. It reduces the unneeded emergency responses, allows for local chiefs to be more aware of activities in their area. The “Moderate” rating will continue until at least Monday, Nov. 28th.
Officials with the Page County Extension service report they will be hosting an Agricultural Outlook Meeting on December 15th from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Wibholm Hall in Clarinda. The address is 200 S. 6 St. The program is designed to provide participants a concise evaluation of crop, livestock, and land market conditions.
Presenters at the Agricultural Outlook Meeting are knowledgeable and experienced Iowa State University (ISU) Extension specialists. They will discuss expected crop and livestock income potential, as well as review elements that determined land values in 2016 and may affect the direction in 2017.
Wendong Zhang, ISU Extension Economist, will explain impacts of Chinese production, supply, and demand on U.S. corn, soybean, beef, and pork prices. On December 13, he will share the results of the 2016 Iowa Farmland Value Survey. Two days later in Clarinda, Zhang will identify critical factors that influence land value trends in southwest Iowa.
In light of the recent harvest, Chad Hart, ISU Grain Marketing Specialist, will focus on marketing tools that make sense for 2016 and 2017. He will help participants understand price projections using current market information and point to issues that could cause significant changes in 2017 prices.
Lee Schulz, ISU Livestock Marketing Specialist, will assess the strength of the cattle cycle and where producers are in that cycle. He will also demonstrate decision tools, e.g. Raising versus Buying Heifers for Beef Cow Replacement, so producers can determine which option is most practical and profitable for their operation.
Registration is $20 and includes refreshments and educational materials. For more information about the Agricultural Outlook Meeting and to register, call Page County Extension at 712-542-5171. Registration is appreciated by December 13th.
An ag industry analyst says the economic downturn is hitting all sectors of agriculture and virtually all Iowa farmers are feeling the brunt. Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says every commodity is being impacted. “Corn prices are down more than half from where they peaked a couple of years ago,” Miller says. “Soybeans are down about 60%, hogs are down 45% from two years ago, cattle are down 35% this year. It’s across the board with all of the major commodities we produce here in Iowa.”
Miller says part of the reason for the economic drop is tied to large crops globally. “We really have had very few production problems for the last four years across the world,” Miller says. “That is leading to good growth in consumption but it’s continuing to build stocks as the production has continued to outpace production and that’s putting pressure on prices.”
Miller says it’s an unfortunate reality but the situation won’t likely improve until there’s some monumental natural disaster. “There is no big new demand on the immediate horizon, such as we had with the development of the biofuels industry a decade ago,” Miller says. “Coming out of this is probably going to happen because of weather problems someplace significant around the world.”
Miller says you don’t often get five years in a row without inclement weather impacting agriculture.
The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Board is set to meet on Monday, November 21st at 5:15pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. A number of updates will be given and discussed on numerous ongoing projects.
The Board plans to discuss the Sunnyside Pool Steering Committee, Schildberg Lake 2 Trail Project, Trevor Frederickson Field Renovation Update, Enhance Iowa Application Update, and Schildberg Recreation Area Campground update. Discussion will also take place in regards to signage update as part of a beautification plan. They will also discuss the Sunnyside Basketball Court and Ice Rink Proposal and consider a request for safety storage cabinets.
Director Seth Staashelm will also provide a report that includes information on the Iowa Parks and Recreation Conference, Summer Programs report, and an update on Little League Improvements. Staashelm will also discuss seasonal employees being laid off for the winter and talk about winter preparations. The Sunnyside Park restrooms have been closed for the season but the streets will remain open weather permitting.
The Iowa Utilities Board heard an update on the progress of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the state and complaints from those who oppose it at their meeting Thursday. I-U-B attorney David Lynch gave the latest progress report from the company. “It indicates that 99 percent of the pipeline in Iowa has been lowered into the trench — and 96 percent of that trench has been backfilled. Only Buena Vista and Cherokee Counties are not yet complete to that stage,” Lynch says.
Work is more than halfway done in finishing up construction. “The report also indicates that 52 percent of the clean up and land restoration has been complete, while 61 percent of the pipeline in Iowa…has been hydrostatically tested,” according to Lynch.
Lynch told the three board members information from the board has been filed in the lawsuit against the pipeline. He says those who filed the lawsuit have until next Monday November 21st to file their reply briefs, and the oral arguments before the district court at still set for December 15th. He says they received three more complaints about the pipeline since the last meeting. “This gives us a total of 23 inquiries or complaints that have been filed since the first one on March 31st 2016. Fifteen of those 23 have been closed and eight of them are still in process. Most of those are in a state of a proposed resolution being drafted,” Lynch says.
The board heard from two representatives of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Mark Edwards talked about concerns that the pipeline workers did not drain water away from the areas where they worked. He told the board it was difficult to get complaints addressed and says the county board of supervisors did not want to take action because they were afraid of being sued. “I could go on with further examples of going down this rabbit hole of this public plunder for private gain. But it has been clear from the beginning that this is a rigged game,” according to Edwards. “Three politically appointed people have been given the power to risk the public waters, land and navigate private landowners’s rights. These proceedings have been quite the education and clearly illustrate we have little hope in our government to protect our rights and our land and our water.”
Carolyn Raffensburger also spoke about what she says are violations by the construction company, including continuing construction on land that was inundated with water. “What we have seen is that they have violated the largest commitments that they made and down to the smallest ones,” Raffesnburger says. “What we now know is that this is the rule of money rather than the rule of law. If there is not monitoring and no enforcement of your regulation — of the rules that you put in place — then it has no meaning whatsoever.”
Raffensburger made another plea for the construction to stop. “What we’re asking you today is to put on hold the rest of the construction. They are not done with construction in two counties. They have not complete the boring under the Des Moines River. That is not complete. We ask you put that on hold, that you stop construction until your rules have been followed,” Raffensburger says.
The I-U-B also heard from people about the pipeline during their public comment period. They listened for around 30 minutes to comments of those who are opposed to the pipeline. The board did not give any response to the comments.