KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Des Moines water supplier to sue counties over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. The board voted Tuesday afternoon to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

The counties oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts north of Des Moines. The lawsuit will allege the drainage systems are no different than city wastewater treatment plants in that they discharge pollutants and should be subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

Nineteen citizens spoke in support at the meeting. Several farm groups say in a statement the lawsuit undermines the relationship between the water utility and farmers upstream but they’ll continue to work on water quality.

Shelby County Fire Danger is MODERATE this week (3/9-12)

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County is entering its Spring Fire Season. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says there is an abundance of dead material that is in the process of fully drying out. With limited access to fields due to thawing conditions, Seivert says they are going to start their bi-weekly updates to our Fire Danger Boards. Updates are Tuesday, and Thursday of each week.  From now through Thursday, Seivert is asking local businesses and fire departments to place their “Fire Danger” Boards into the MODERATE category. The next update on fire conditions will be Thursday morning.

Shelby County has four color coded distinct levels:

LOW – You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief.
ModerateYou are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief. Timing for burns should be morning, or evening hours and extinguished by dark unless authorized by Fire Chief due to possible impacts to roads and health from smoke. Burns must be monitored at all times.
High 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. Please call 712-755-2124 with questions.
Extreme – Burning is prohibited, unless you have a signed permit from the local Fire Chief. Fires on Extreme days can grow rapidly and pose a risk to the Health and Safety of the Community. Citations can be issued if burning without permission.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency at 712-755-2124.

Lawn & garden tractor stolen from Creston Business

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A business in Creston has reported to police some stole a lawn and garden tractor sometime over the course of the past week. Agrivision at 801 W. Taylor Street reported Monday afternoon, that a John Deere L-120 lawn and garden tractor was stolen sometime between March 3rd and 9th. The loss was estimated at $1,500.

Des Moines water supplier to vote on lawsuit over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Des Moines Water Works board has scheduled a vote on whether to sue three northern Iowa counties, alleging that they are responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for water. The board’s meeting agenda for Tuesday afternoon indicates a closed session to discussion potential litigation. The board is expected to publicly vote to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties.

In January it sent a notice of intent to sue, which is part of a procedure outlined in the federal Clean Water Act. The counties oversee 10 drainage districts north of Des Moines that help move water from fields. The lawsuit will claim the drainage districts are the same as city wastewater treatment plants and should be regulated.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves engineering services contract for Dog Park

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Rec Board Monday evening, approved an engineering services contract with Snyder and Associates for the layout and surveying of a land at the Schildberg Recreation Area, for the Buck Creek Dog Park project. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm spent time with Mayor Dave Jones, City Administrator John Lund and City Clerk Deb Field, discussing options for funding the project from Local Option Tax and Hotel-Motel Tax revenue.

Snyders will prepare a plan drawing for the proposed dog park fencing, and bid documents with sufficient detail to obtain competitive quotes within about two-weeks. Their fee for the service is $850. Herring said in discussions with the County Engineer with regard to moving the now closed Buck Creek Bridge to another location nearby, he’s learned the move – which will not likely take place for at least five to 10-years – will not affect the size of Dog Park.

The Parks Board also approved a contract with Snyder’s for the Sunnyside Park Shelter Replacement Project, which includes a topographic survey of the area in preparation for a site plan, a detailed grading and paving plan for the shelter pad and access drive, and bid documents. The cost of the service is $2,850.

In other business, a local troop of Girl Scout Cadets has approached the City with a service project to eliminate second-hand smoke at the Sunnyside Park Kiddie Korral and other areas of the park. Herring told the Troop that the City of Atlantic, last year, rejected efforts to establish an ordinance banning smoking in the Parks, because of the legalities involved.

In a meeting with the Cadette Troop, Herring suggested they find a way to appeal to smokers’ sense of decency and courtesy. He said the Parks Board would be willing to post a sign about the dangers of smoking if the Cadettes come up with a catchy slogan to make their point without being overbearing.

The kids came up with three slogans, which the Assistant Parks Director Seth Staashelm suggested be combined into one. The slogan suggested was “Kids in the park like to breathe clean air, Be aware of your surroundings. Please don’t smoke around the playgrounds.” Once the signs and design are created by the Troop, they will need to make a presentation before the Parks Board, which includes a sample design for the signs. It’s unclear how soon signs may be put in-place, because the concept is still in its formulative stages.

Sunnyside Park gates to open this Friday evening

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The gates to Sunnyside Park in Atlantic will be opened to vehicle traffic, effective 4-p.m. Friday (March 13th). The gates were closed January 5th for the Winter season, but with this week’s warm weather and no snow in the forecast, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said during Monday’s meeting of the Parks and Rec Board, that the timing was right to re-open the gates.

The Parks and Rec Board Monday, approved Herring’s 2015 Summer Recreation Program recommendations, with very little change from last year. Herring recommended, and the Board approved: Continuing with the Men’s Slow Pitch Softball program, and sponsoring a tournament at the end of the year as a fundraiser. Other goals for the program include adding concessions to bring in more revenue for facility improvements; Herring also recommended the Swim Team registration fees remain unchanged from last year. A Tri-State Conference meeting will be held March 22nd to determine the schedules.

Youth Summer Tennis fees will remain unchanged from last year. Parks and Rec Board President Stuart Dusenberry told the Board, Monday, that the tennis team is now in the Western Iowa Junior League, which includes Audubon, Carroll, Denison and Atlantic. Dusenberry mentioned also, the tennis program received a $400 grant to help cover expenses for the half-dozen or dozen kids who will participate in the program. Sunnyside Pool will open for the Summer on Memorial Day weekend and close the day before the 2015-16 School year begins, in Atlantic. Admission fees are unchanged from last year, with daily fees for those 12 and over $4.00, children 3-11 will be admitted for $3.  Season passes are also unchanged.

In addition to approving the Summer Rec Program plans, the Parks and Rec Board, Monday, approved continuing a partnership with the Nishna Valley YMCA in Atlantic for this Summer. The cost of their services is unchanged from last year, at $5,140.

Grassland Fire Danger High today

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency is warning area residents, thatwith weather forecast to be in the upper 60’s to low 70’s this week, the Grassland Fire Danger Index will likely be an increased risk all week.

Counties in orange (Nebraska) have  a Very High Fire Danger index. Those in yellow have a High Danger index.

Counties in orange (Nebraska) have a Very High Fire Danger index. Those in yellow have a High Danger index.

Today (Monday’s), the Grassland FDI is in the HIGH category. If you are burning, use caution as fires can become out of control in a matter of minutes!

DNR: There’s no such thing as “safe ice” — 3 ice fishermen die in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

After the weekend deaths of three ice fishermen, state officials are warning all ice anglers to be extremely careful as they venture onto frozen ponds and lakes, especially with very warm weather in the forecast. Kevin Baskins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says there’s no such thing as “safe ice” even during the middle of winter, but conditions are more risky now with spring arriving next week.  “Ice never forms uniformly,” Baskins says. “You can have objects that are just under the surface that aren’t visible that can cause the water to be a little warmer there and that ice to be softer.”

Some bodies of water may be fed by springs or pipes that pump in water and keep the ice very thin and fragile. Ice fishing season is not officially over, even though the high temperatures this week are forecast to reach into the 50s and 60s.  Baskins says, “Certainly, as you get to the far north, there is still some fairly thick ice that’s still available as you get up into some of those northern natural lakes.”

Anyone venturing onto the ice needs to watch out for thin, clear or honeycombed ice, while dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.  “When we get to this time of year, I don’t think people realize how quickly the ice conditions can change,” Baskins says. “As we start getting these warmer temperatures, now, we even have projections of it being above freezing during the nighttime hours, this ice will go out pretty fast.”

Divers recovered the bodies of all three missing fishermen from a farm pond in Union County on Saturday. All three were from Creston and they’re identified as: 71-year-old Earl Burkhalter, 73-year-old Charles Critz and 68-year-old James Oshel. Officials say it’s possible a tile line caused water to run into the pond, creating very thin ice.

(Radio Iowa)

Texas’ Cruz tells Iowans he opposes renewable fuel quota

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is telling Iowa Republicans and agribusiness leaders that he opposes the federal standard for renewable production, including ethanol. At a forum focused on agricultural issues on Saturday, Cruz likens the federal renewable fuel standard to “corporate welfare.” Cruz tells the audience of roughly 1,000 that he has “every bit of faith that businesses can continue to compete, continue to do well without going on bended knee to the government.”

Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of ethanol. A 2007 law increases the volume of ethanol and other renewables blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 proposed reducing the increase. Leaders from both parties in Iowa say that would hurt the state’s economy.

Western IA Watershed Quality Initiative to receive funding

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A watershed project that spans three counties in the KJAN listening area has received a grant amounting to $354,000 toward the total project cost of $713,000. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Thursday) announced the Elk Run Watershed Quality Initiative Project in Sac, Carroll and Calhoun Counties, headed up by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance, is one of three such projects across the state selected to receive a total of $1.4-million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative, over the next three years.

In addition to the state funds, the three projects, including those in Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Story, Boone and Hamilton Counties, will provide an additional $1.4-million in matching funds to support qater quality improvement  efforts, as well as other, in-kind contributions. The selected projects will join 13 targeted Water Quality Initiative demonstration watershed projects that were previously funded to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.

The demonstration watersheds selected cover 274,596 acres. More than 30 partners from agricultural organizations, institutions of higher education, private industry, local, state and federal government and others, are working together on the projects.