KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Guilty pleas reached in cattle rustling cases

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three counties in Nebraska and Iowa are prosecuting a group of Omaha residents they suspect of slipping into feedlots in the dark of night and hauling off steers and cows to sell at sale barns and livestock auctions. According to a report in the Omaha World-Herald, the modern-day cattle-rustling suspects, Ervin John Jacob, James Michael Brunzo and Amy Louise Springer, face charges in connection with cattle thefts in Cass County, Iowa, and Cuming County, Nebraska. Jacob and Springer also face charges in York County, Nebraska.

Jacob, who is 57, and Springer, age 42, have already pleaded guilty in some of the cases. Brunzo, 49, is in federal custody after pleading guilty in a drug case in January. Brunzo’s warrant in Cass County remains in effect until he can be brought here for prosecution. The other two have been ordered to pay restitution. In addition, Springer was given two-years probation in Cass County and a deferred judgement on a felony theft charge, while Jacob plead not guilty this past Thursday in Cass County District Court, to a misdemeanor Theft charge. He received probation, in an agreement with prosecutors.

Green Valley Lake – Microcystins Levels High

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) say they have identified a hepatotoxin, called microcystin toxin, in Green Valley Lake near Creston in Union County.

Microcystin toxin is released by blue-green algae or cyanobacteria
Cyanobacterial blooms can form in warm, slow-moving waters that are rich in nutrients such as fertilizer runoff or septic tank overflows. Blooms can occur at any time, but most often occur in late summer or early fall.

Symptoms may take hours or days to show up in people, but normally show up within one week after exposure. Symptoms of microcystin exposure/poisoning include
• Rash, hives, or skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits).
• Gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headaches, and fever.
• Runny eyes and nose, cough, and sore throat, pleuritic pain, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic reactions.
• Exposure to large amount of microcystin can cause liver damage.

Swimming in the lake should be avoided. If you do swim, do not ingest the water, and wash thoroughly before you leave.

Heading out for a dip? Tips on how to avoid becoming a drowning statistic

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Before the summer is over, statistics show about 33 people will drown in Iowa’s lakes, rivers and swimming pools. Deb Cooper, at the Iowa Department of Public Health, says it’s vital to follow safety rules when you’re around a body of water, especially as we head into the hot, busy 4th of July weekend.  “The thing I can’t stress enough is to watch children around open areas of water,” Cooper says, “whether it’s at the swimming pool or at a lake or a pond, always keep your eye on children.”

According to state records over the past decade, as many as 43 people drown in Iowa during 2005, while there were 22 deaths from drowning in 2009. Cooper credits the role that pool lifeguards play in keeping everyone safe and in keeping water quality healthy. “Most public swimming pools do provide lifeguards and you should always swim in an area where there’s a lifeguard, that’s the safest way,” Cooper says. “There are people at the swimming pools who regularly test the water to make sure the chemical levels are staying up where they should.”

All Iowans are encouraged to learn how to swim and how to perform C-P-R. “Always wear a life jacket around open bodies of water,” Cooper says. “Two-thirds of drowning victims are good swimmers, so it’s important you wear a life jacket when you’re around those areas of water.”

Find more tips at the Iowa Department of Public Health website: www.idph.state.ia.us.

USDA Report 07-02-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 2nd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Dave York


Independence Day weekend looking good for State park visitors

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Parks are gearing up for the Fourth of July weekend and are ready to welcome thousands of campers, cabin renters, picnickers and outdoor enthusiasts. The weather forecast for most of the state and weekend is favoring plenty of outdoor activity. Todd Coffelt, DNR State Parks Bureau chief, says “State Parks are great destinations for these major summer holidays. Whether you are staying for a week or making a day trip, they provide great opportunities for families and friends to gather and make memories.”

Reservable campsites have been filled for three months. Last minute campers can take their chances with walk-in campsites, as 25-50 percent of all state park campsites are first-come, first-served. Most of these sites are non-electric and realistically most will be occupied by Thursday. Best chances to secure a site will be at smaller, more remote parks. Visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks for a list of parks and their amenities.

Despite recent wet weather in some areas, nearly all state parks are in good shape and getting ready for the big weekend. Here are a few reminders for those planning a trip to specific state parks this weekend.

· Only one state park campground is closed due to recent weather (as of June 30th). Walnut Woods State Park, southwest of the Des Moines metro area, is still cleaning up from Raccoon River flooding. The park is expected to reopen late next week.

· Canyon Drive at Ledges State Park has reopened to vehicle traffic, but visitors are cautioned that any rain event in the area will likely close it again. Potential visitors wanting to drive into that area of the park are encouraged to call the park office at 515-432-1852 for closure information. The campground, trails, other roads, parking lots and both open shelters remain accessible by vehicle.

Visitors to Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are reminded that those beaches will close at 6 PM each day. Due to high use and limited parking at the beach area at Lake Macbride, visitors should expect a beach closure on weekends and holidays. Access to the beach may be closed for up to 2 hours. During these times, people in vehicles will be stopped at the park entrance and asked to return to the beach at a later time or asked to visit one of the other beaches in Johnson County such as Sandy Beach, Sugar Bottom, West Overlook or Kent Park.

Equestrian trails are currently closed due to wet conditions at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area (except for the 12-mile Wet Weather Trail), Elk Rock and Waubonsie state parks and Shimek Forest (except the 3-mile Wet Weather Trail) and Stephens Forest. However, if dry weather conditions continue, equestrians are encouraged to call individual areas for re-openings.

Closure information is posted on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/parks and the parks reservation site at http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com. Current information is also available by calling individual park offices directly.

Boating this weekend? Don’t pick up “hitchhikers”

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

As the Fourth of July approaches, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding boaters and anglers to check for any unwanted hitchhikers to protect Iowa lakes and streams. Aquatic hitchhikers are invasive species – everything from zebra mussels to Eurasian watermilfoil – that are transported from one waterbody to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets, and other equipment used in the water. When brought to another lake or stream, they often grow quickly and spread rapidly due to lack of natural controls.

These aquatic invasive species can create serious problems for Iowa waters by reducing native species and making lakes and rivers unusable by boaters, anglers and swimmers. Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new waterbodies. Boaters and anglers need to clean, drain, dry after each time on the water to stop aquatic hitchhikers.”

• CLEAN any plants, animals, or mud from your boat and equipment before leaving a waterbody.

• DRAIN water from all equipment (motor, live well, bilge, transom well) before leaving a waterbody.

• DRY anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs). Before transporting to another waterbody either: Spray your boat and trailer with hot, high-pressure water; or Dry your boat and equipment for at least 5 days.

• Never release plants, fish, or animals into a water body unless they came out of that water body and empty unwanted bait in the trash.

It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species in Iowa. The fine for violating this law is $500. Signs are posted at public accesses to remind boaters to stop aquatic hitchhikers and to identify infested waters. It is also illegal to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment. Boaters must drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water access and must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport. It is also illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters.

More information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters can be found in the 2015 Iowa Fishing Regulations booklet.

Cass County Extension Report 07-01-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 1st, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Ex-Iowa egg farm manager gets probation after assisting feds

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A former Iowa egg farm manager will avoid jail time after cooperating with investigators in a criminal prosecution stemming from a 2010 salmonella outbreak. U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett sentenced Tony Wasmund to four years of probation Tuesday after the government said he provided “substantial assistance” in the salmonella case. Bennett imposed no restitution or fine on Wasmund, of Willmar, Minnesota.

Wasmund worked for egg tycoon Jack DeCoster, whose Iowa operations caused the outbreak that prompted the recall of 550 million eggs and sickened thousands. Under a plea deal, Wasmund pleaded guilty in 2012 to his role in bribing a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector to allow sales of eggs that didn’t meet federal standards. He cooperated in an investigation that led to convictions of DeCoster and his son Peter.

Heavy rains lead to high bacteria in water a state beaches

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The weekly tests of the water near 10 state park beach areas showed high levels of bacteria last week — the most since the second week of testing when there were 13. The D-N-R’s Mary Skopec says all the rainfall is the biggest factor. “We’ve had several pretty intense rainstorms come through the state, so it is typical for this early in the season to have a number of beach advisories,” Skopec says. “But I think as we move through into the drier part of the summer, hopefully some of those advisories will go away.” The rain serves as a conduit for the bacteria to get into the lake.

“It washes any bacteria that are on the beaches or surrounding the beaches, or in the area surrounding the lake, into the water where people swim. So we have seen for many years with heavy rains, the bacteria levels really jump up,” according to Skopec.
Skopec says sunshine is the cleanser that clears the bacteria out. “The increase in the bacteria really depends on the lake, but generally within one to two days the numbers come down. Especially if we gave sunny calm weather, the bacteria drop out and numbers get a lot better,” Skopec says. Many lake levels are up right now after the rains — which can also lead to an increase in bacteria.

“The high water levels can have an impact. We do know that the near beach areas, the beach sands can actually be a source of bacteria,” Skopec says. “Goose droppings on the beach for example, can be washed into the lake. And so when those lake levels are higher because of high levels of rainfall or flooding — we do get some of that — geese droppings moving into the lake area. So, it will be a problem for awhile.” Beaches with high levels of bacteria have green signs posted on them.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa State Fair will pair butter cow with Monopoly game

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Organizers of the Iowa State Fair are pairing the event’s famous butter cow sculpture with another butter piece celebrating the Monopoly board game. Officials say the accompanying piece, which changes every year, will this summer celebrate the game’s 80th anniversary.

Sarah Pratt designs the butter cow each year as well as a second piece. She is expected to feature some famous Monopoly pieces alongside the game’s main character, Rich Uncle Pennybags. Monopoly was first commercially sold in the 1930s. The property trading game has been printed in more than 37 languages.

The Iowa Star Fair is scheduled Aug. 13-23 in Des Moines.