The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources said Thursday several Iowa state parks have been impacted by recent heavy rainfall and rising rivers. George Wyth State Park in Black Hawk County, will close at noon tomorrow, June 20, through Tuesday, June 24, due to flooding. The park may be closed longer, depending on weekend rains.
The main road through Dolliver State Park, in Webster County, is under water, and the campground and family cabins are closed. The north shelter can be accessed from the north entrance, and the south lodge and the group camp can be accessed from the south entrance. With more rain in the forecast, the main road will likely be closed through this weekend.
Little Paint, Big Paint, Creekside Equestrian and Frontier Equestrian campgrounds at Yellow River State Forest in Allamakee County will be closed through Monday, June 23, due to flooding. Also, all horse trails will be closed through Thursday, June 26.
Although scheduled to reopen at the end of this month, Wilson Island State Recreation Area, in Pottawattamie County is predicted to go under 3 to 4 feet of water Saturday morning, delaying the reopening until sometime in July. For updates, call the park office at 712-642-2069. www.iowadnr.gov/Destinations/StateParksRecAreas/IowasStateParks/ParkDetails.aspx?ParkID=610118&idAdminBoundary=221>
The east, west and north entrances of Backbone State Park, in Delaware County, are closed until further notice due to high water in the main part of the park. However, the two campgrounds, beach area and cabins remain open. Ledges State Park, in Boone County, remains open. However, portions are closed due to flooding.
The canyon road and lower road are currently closed and, with predicted pool levels at Saylorville Lake, will likely remain closed through June 30. Park facilities such as the campground, picnic areas, trails and shelters remain open. Brushy Creek State Recreation Area in Webster County, has temporarily closed equestrian and bike trails due to wet conditions. The 12-mile Lake Trail remains open. Equestrian trails at Elk Rock State Park, in Marion County, are closed due to recent rains. Volga River State Recreation Area, in Fayette County has closed its equestrian trails due to recent rains and downed trees.
Paddling enthusiasts need to evaluate stream levels before heading out to paddle this week. The Iowa DNR says recent heavy rains have created rising water levels across the state and hazardous conditions on many rivers and streams. As rivers rise woody debris, like branches, logs and in some cases entire trees, float downstream lodging at the base of bridge pilings and on the outsides of tight bends. The combination of logjams and high flows create hazardous conditions which can trap and pull tubers and paddlers underwater.
John Wenck, water trails coordinator for the Iowa DNR, says “Logjams can be difficult to avoid at low to normal flows, but at high flows they’re extremely difficult to avoid and can be deadly.” High water levels demand greater skills to avoid obstacles or hazards. “Tubers are more vulnerable than paddlers because they lack the ability to steer,” he said. “They are at the whim of the current which tends to direct them toward the areas where woody debris has accumulated.”
With increased temperatures and high humidity it might be tempting to throw caution to the wind, but it’s important to be vigilant if you plan to paddle or tube on rivers this summer. Wenck offered the following safety tips for tubing and paddling Iowa rivers:
* Avoid paddling or tubing rivers that are rising: Learn more before you go. Review river heights from the nearest U.S. Geological Survey stream gauges at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/current/?type=flow. On the “Discharge” graph, find the median daily flow triangles. If the current water level reading is more than 50 percent higher than the median in late June to early July, use extra caution.
* Wear your life jacket: Properly fastened and cinched life jackets save lives. Life jackets are mandatory for any child under age 13.
* Always pay attention to what is downstream: If timber and debris are floating down the river or the river is out of its banks or nearly so, don’t launch.
* Develop skills to avoid hazards: Novice paddlers and tubers generally have less control as rivers get swifter, and should be more cautious.
* Avoid logjams or woody debris piles: Most high water accidents involve an obstruction. Downed trees and branches can trap boats and people under water. Bridge piers or boulders can pin people on the upstream side. Low-head dams can re-circulate and trap vessels under water.
* Don’t paddle or tube alone
* Let others know where you’re going and when you plan to return
* Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
The Shelby County Supervisors held a unique drainage hearing as part of their meeting, Tuesday afternoon. The Application for Individual Drainage Right hearing filed by Ag Unlimited, Inc. was held inside the Supervisors’ Chambers. James Hudson, who has represented supervisors, trustees, and landowners in more than half the counties in northern Iowa since 1951, is drainage attorney from Pocahontas. As mediator, he explained to Ag Unlimited, owned by Chris and Joni Larson, and the other party involved Tom and Kay Schechinger, that the supervisors were acting as trustees per Iowa Code because Shelby County does not have a drainage system in place.
The hearing was held after Ag Unlimited requested permission to install a tile line to the west, across Schechinger’s property in Section 18 of Jackson Township in rural Shelby County. Larson explained he and the Schechinger’s attempted to work out an agreement for the tile line but were unsuccessful and he had no alternative other than to file the application. The Schechinger’s believed the drainage plan proposed by Larson was not feasible and had been told by their attorney not to enter into any agreements.
Also in attendance were Dave and Pam Borkowski as an interested party due to the water running from the tile line will eventually end up in their waterway. The Shelby County Supervisors heard from all interested parties on issues including the type of piping used for the tile line, NRCS and DNR regulations and who will pay for all the work. After nearly three hours of discussion, the Supervisors created and approved a resolution on the Individual Drainage Issue, but with several stipulations, including:
Hudson will work with the Shelby County Auditor Marsha Carter and draw up the final order.
Ag Unlimited and Schechingers will each be responsible for 50 percent of the County’s attorney fees for the procedure.
One of the big draws for people who attend the Iowa State Fair each year is the food and fairgoers will get to sample several new item this year. Fair spokesperson Lori Chappel says five of the new foods will be involved in a contest. “They’re all quite decadent,” Chappel says. The contestants include the Three Buck Bowl, which features two crispy potato skins filled with scrambled eggs, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese. Another offering is Funnel Cake Sticks, which are made with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry funnel cake batter, served on-a-stick and topped with icing.
Another sweet treat in the contest is The Brownie Blitz. “It’s cream cheese brownie bites, with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and coconut. It comes in a bowl,” Chappel says. There’s also Smoked Brisket and Bacon Mac N Cheese. “It’s macaroni with smoked brisket chunks and apple wood smoked bacon in a creamy three cheese sauce,” Chappel says. The fifth entry is a healthier offering – Caprese Salad On-a-Stick. It’s a skewer of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.
All five of the food items in the contest will be sold for $3. Fairgoers who sample the foods can vote for their favorite, with the winner to be announced on August 12. The 2014 Iowa State Fair runs from August 7-17 in Des Moines.
Officials with the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) report they will be accepting application for cover crops until Monday, July 14th. Cover crops are used to reduce soil erosion and capture residual nutrients that protect the soil resources and water quality.
Producers should stop by the Cass SWCD office at 503 W. 7th Street in Atlantic, to make an application. Call 712-243-3180, extension 3, for more information.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The World Food Prize Foundation is announcing the winner of its annual award at a ceremony in Washington featuring Secretary of State John Kerry as the keynote speaker. The prize was founded in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1970 for boosting agricultural production in what has become known as the “Green Revolution.”
The prize honors individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Past laureates have come from more than a dozen countries and the United States.
The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines. It will host the recipient at the Iowa State Capitol in an award ceremony on Oct. 16 with more than 800 invited guests.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Two makers say sales have been rebounding for a ground beef product that critics have dubbed “pink slime.” The Lincoln Journal Star reports that spokesmen for Cargill and Beef Products Inc. say sales have risen, but Cargill says they fall short of the volume before the controversy erupted in 2012.
BPI has sued ABC, saying the network’s March 2012 coverage damaged BPI by misleading consumers into believing the lean finely textured beef product is unhealthy and unsafe. BPI says the sales drop forced it to close plants in Iowa, Kansas and Texas, leaving open only a Nebraska plant.
Cargill spokesman Mike Martin says his company sells the product to about 400 customers, which is more than before March 2012, but the sales volume remains down about 40 percent.
As summer approaches, the number of farmer’s markets, roadside food stands, and other outdoor markets grows. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans that warmer weather makes it even more important to ensure food is properly transported, cooked and stored. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “The variety of fresh foods available at outdoor markets means you should come prepared when shopping. Bring a cooler with ice to transport perishable products home and just as you should when shopping at a grocery store, buy cold foods like meat and poultry last, right before leaving.”
Drive directly home from the market so the food doesn’t sit in a hot car any longer than necessary. Once home, place meat and poultry and fresh non-pasteurized items, like salsas and guacamole, in the refrigerator right away. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won’t be used in one or two days and freeze other meat within four to five days. Whether purchased at a grocery store or roadside stand, it’s always important to wash your hands before and after handling food. In addition, always keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean, and always use one plate for raw foods, and another for cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination. For more information on food safety, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Foodborne.aspx.
Summer is also prime garage sale season. Buyers and sellers should be aware of potential safety issues with children’s toys and cribs. Make sure items are in good working order. Also, check the online database from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.saferproducts.gov) to ensure these items have not been recalled due to safety issues. For example, some cribs with drop sides have been recalled because they can trap and injure children.
Dr. Quinlisk said “Also, bed bugs have been making national headlines for years. Mattresses and sleeper sofas (that have been slept on) are two of the main places these bugs hide out. If buying used beds or mattresses, check them carefully for signs of bed bugs.” Small bloodstains from crushed bed bugs or dark brown spots from their droppings may be evident on mattresses. Because young bed bugs shed their skin several times, the “empty shells” may also be evident.
While bed bugs do not transmit disease, their bites cause large, itchy welts. Although infestations can be treated by pest control companies, it’s best to avoid selling or buying mattresses with signs of bed bugs. For more information, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/healthy_homes.asp.
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said Iowa is entering prime strawberry picking season and growers across the state are ready to welcome customers. The late spring has slightly delayed the berries this year, but with the recent warm weather growers around the state are reporting a good crop. Northey said “Fresh strawberries are delicious and when they are in season you get the best flavor, prices and nutritional value. Strawberries have one of the shortest harvest seasons, so don’t delay in visiting a farm or shopping for fresh berries at your local farmers market.”
It is good to call or check the farm’s website before going to a “You Pick” farm to make sure strawberries are ready to be picked and that conditions are favorable. To get the “berry” best pick, look for berries with their green caps intact. Strawberries will not continue to ripen after they are picked and are best when eaten within a few days.
To store strawberries put unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for no more than 3 days. Do not wash berries until you are ready to eat them. Remove the green cap after you have washed them.
Iowa-grown strawberries are a delicious part of a healthy diet at only 45 calories per serving. Strawberries are low in calories but full of vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium, all of which helps with better digestion, lower blood pressure, and stronger bones.
Check out the harvest of other Iowa products by going to the website: http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/pdf/FINAL3281IowaFVmagnet.pdf