KJAN Ag/Outdoor

4th of July weekend campsite reservations open soon

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 21st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Campers anxious to reserve spots for the Fourth of July weekend should mark March 31 on their calendars, when reservations for a Friday arrival open. Campers can make reservations for sites three months ahead of their first night’s stay. Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, says “Electric sites go quickly. And some sites will already be reserved by campers arriving prior to the holiday weekend.”

Not every campsite is available on the reservation system. Parks maintain between 25 and 50 percent 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/stateparks including the link to reservations. Campers can also log on directly to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com; enter their preferred dates and/or parks to see what sites are available and make a reservation.

Council Bluffs OHV Park to reopen April 1

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 21st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports the River Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park in Council Bluffs is scheduled to reopen for riding Saturday, April 1st. The park was closed due to safety concerns over flood-damaged trees. Loggers recently completed work removing potentially hazardous trees and trails are now re-established.

More than 80 volunteers recently helped with final clean-up and preparation for opening. Due to safety concerns and to sustain the work recently completed, riders are reminded they cannot go off trail or make new trails.

River Valley is open to ATV, off-road motorcycles and side-by-sides that are 65 inches in width or less. Riders must have their machines registered with their county recorder’s office or with an ELSI vendor for nonresident user permits. ELSI vendors can be found where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Riders who are ages 12 through 17 are required to have a valid ATV education certificate in their possession. Operators of side-by-sides must possess a valid driver’s license. For more information about park rules, go to www.dnriowa.gov/ohv

Auction planned to help wildfire victims in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 21st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowans are continuing to gather donations to help cattlemen across Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas who were hit hard by recent wildfires. Iowa Cattlemen’s Association communications director, Katie Olthoff, says an auction is planned on April 7th to raise money to help “We know there are a lot of needs out there as producers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas begin to rebuild,” Olthoff says. “They are going to need things like fencing supplies, milk replacer for their calves, hay of course, and eventually they’ll need some replacement livestock. So we want to provide as much cash as possible to help them get what they need to get back on their feet.”

They hope the auction will bring in cash that can go toward purchasing the needed items. She says they are partnering with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation, Dream-Dirt Farm and Ranch Real Estate for the online auction fundraiser. “We’re hoping to get some really great donations. We’ve got some equipment donated, we’ve got some beer and some cattle donated. We’re working some vacation packages right now that will be on that auction,” Olthoff says.

She says you don’t have to be a cattle producer to take part in the auction or to donate to the cause. “Iowans are generous and eager to help when they see people who are hurting and in need of help. And so, we want to make this open to everybody and get as much involvement as we possibly can,” Olthoff says.

Olthoff says Iowa farmers have been quick to respond as they know it could easily have been them who were hit by the disaster. “In our farming communities we know that it often takes generations — decades — to build a successful farm and most of us in the ag community are hoping to pass that on to our children,” Olthoff explains. “So, I think when we see other farmers hurting, wherever it is, we are willing to help out.”

Olthoff says you can got to the Iowa Cattlemen’s website at: www.iacattlemen.org for more information on the auction. She says there’s auction information on the site as well as information on some of the things that have been donated. Olthoff says they are still taking donations for the auction which will be Friday April 7th at 10 o’clock. “You can also bid beforehand if you’d like to participate that way too,” Olthoff says.

Many Iowans have already donated hay already, and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is helping match those donations with transportation.

(Radio Iowa)

Ernst wary of cuts to USDA food programs

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Senator Joni Ernst says she’s “legitimately undecided” about the health care plan House Republican leaders have crafted as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. And Ernst is raising concerns about some of the budget cuts President Trump proposed last week, including a 21 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“When you look at Iowa as a whole, we are a rural state, so our issues are very different from some of the other states that may have much more metro areas, I will be working, watching out for SNAP and other programs like that in the Farm Bill,” Ernst said. Ernst talked about “SNAP” benefits — food stamps — on Friday night during a town hall meeting in Des Moines.

Ernst says there are a lot of issues “nested together” when it comes to addressing poverty in rural America, including inadequate housing and lack of financing for rural businesses in addition to “food insecurity.” Drastic cuts to the free and reduced-price school lunch program would likely meet resistance from lawmakers, according to Ernst, as lawmakers craft a federal budget.

“I think we all understand that we need to tighten our belts a little bit moving forward because we are $20 trillion dollars in debt, but I think this will be a huge push for the members of the Midwestern coalition, especially,” Ernst says. “If you look at Iowa, we do have a lot of children that are food insecure and so this is something that I will be watching out for.”

Ernst held town hall meetings in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines on Friday.

(Radio Iowa)

Boater education is goal of national effort March 19-25

Ag/Outdoor

March 19th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A national campaign is encouraging boaters to enroll in a boater education course before the kickoff to the boating season. Many boater education courses are offering discounts or other incentives during the week of March 19-25, to students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works with BoaterExam and Boat-Ed to offer online boater education courses and during the March 19-25 week, they will be offering 50 percent off the on-line course price.

“March is the perfect time to take a course. The summer boating season will be here before we know it and all of us could benefit from a refresher course,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator for the Iowa DNR.

The exam covers required equipment, boating basics, navigation rules, environmental stressors, aids to navigation and takes about six hours to complete. Once a student has passed the test, they can print off their course completion certificate.

An estimated 236,000 boats are registered in Iowa. Last year, there were 37 boating incidents reported on Iowa waters.

Judge dismisses Des Moines Water Works lawsuit over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a Des Moines water utility’s lawsuit against three counties, claiming their agricultural drainage districts have been sending nitrate pollution into the rivers the water utility uses for drinking water.

The judge on Friday dismissed all of Des Moines Water Works’ claims against drainage districts in Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties, ruling that water pollution is an issue for the Iowa legislature to address.

The water utility alleged the three counties that oversee the drainage districts should be required to obtain federal water pollution discharge permits and pay the utility more than $1 million it has spent for increased filtration methods to remove the nitrates from water.

Utility CEO Bill Stowe says the utility’s board will review its options in the case.

Branstad signs proclamation to allow the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of forage through Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Friday, signed a proclamation to allow the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of forage through Iowa. The proclamation is intended to aid cattle producers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where wildfires have caused a shortage of forage.

The action will allow vehicles transporting forage through Iowa to be oversize and overweight, without a permit, until May 16, 2017. The proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within the state excluding the interstate system, and those which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non‐primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code, by more than 12.5 percent, do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.

The Iowa Department of Transportation will monitor the operation of the proclamation to assure the public’s safety, and to facilitate the movement of trucks involved in transporting forage to the impacted states.

Leprechaun Geocache Hunt in Cass County, Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board is holding a Leprechaun Geocache Hunt Saturday afternoon at the Sunnyside Park- Kiddie Corale Shelter.

 The FREE event takes place from 1-until 4-p.m. GPS units and guides will be available for checkout. You’re asked to pre-register in order to guarantee a GPS unit for the event. Call Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning at 712-769-2372 to pre-register.

Participants will meet at 1pm to obtain their leprechaun locations. Complete them to find all of the hidden locations (geocaches) and return to the shelter for your “pot o’ gold!”

The hunt will require driving, all locations are within the Atlantic zip code but not within walking distance. A limited number of GPS units will be available to checkout for the event.

Two men plead guilty in Greene County poaching case

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 16th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Two men have pleaded guilty to poaching-related charges in Greene County after a trespassing report to conservation officers. Forty-one-year-old Brett Cranston of Jefferson admitted to spotting a deer six miles south of Jefferson in December and firing shots at the animal. He followed the deer on county roads for around nine miles and firing shots at it until he was able to catch the buck in a cornfield southeast of Cooper.

Cranston pleaded guilty to trespassing while deer hunting, using motor vehicle to hunt deer and shooting within 200 yards of residence. He was fined 665 dollars, assessed eight-thousand dollars in damages, had his hunting privileges suspended for one year and forfeited his shotgun and the deer.

Forty-two-year-old Jeramiah Pedersen of Greene Mountain helped Cranston chase the deer and pleaded guilty to not having a hunting license and trespassing while hunting deer. Pedersen was fined 416 dollars.

(Radio Iowa)

Shelby County Fire Danger remains high through this weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 16th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says drying conditions will prevail over the weekend, therefore the Fire Danger rating for grassland and field fires, will remain HIGH. Officials say ss the forecast changes though, we may be looking at very High Danger from time to time during next week, with expected low humidity, sunshine, and winds. At times during the days next week, the fire danger may become EXTREME. But for now, fire stations and participating businesses are asked to please keep your Local Fire Danger Signs in the HIGH category. The next update will be on Monday, March 20th.