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Pesticide Drift: A Years-Long Loss for Iowa Organic Farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – When it comes to organic farming, Iowa has one of the largest numbers of certified operations in the nation, but there’s a real danger in the air for those farms and other growers this time of year due to the potential of pesticide drift.
Allowing pesticides to drift is against the law in Iowa, and among those who have been impacted is Andrew Dunham, owner with Grinnell Heritage Farm. He’s had pesticide drift on two of his organic crops, which then require a re-certification process that takes three years.

“In the case of the hay field in 2009, we had to wait until 2012 to be re-certified, so we had non-organic hay,” says Dunham. “The market price isn’t so different there, so that wasn’t as big a loss as the asparagus.” Dunham says his asparagus was hit by pesticide drift in the fall of 2013, and the loss of the organic certification will mean $2 to $5 less per-pound until their crop of 2017.

Also at risk of damages from pesticide drift are some home gardens, along with the state’s fruit and vegetable farms. Paul Ovrum, program planner with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, urges owners of such specialty and organic farms to report any pesticide misuse and sign up for the Sensitive Crops Registry. “This is a registry for producers of sensitive crops, and also bee-keepers,” syas Ovrum. “To list their locations and it’s used by pesticide applicators so that they can minimize the potential for pesticide drift damage.”

Ovrum says the latest count shows more than 2,000 farms and apiaries on the Sensitive Crops Registry statewide.

(Iowa News Service)

A celebration of all things Danish: Elk Horn hosts Tivoli Fest

News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The small western Iowa town of Elk Horn is preparing to host an annual celebration of the community’s Danish heritage. One of the organizers of Tivoli Fest is Lisa Riggs. “Tivoli Fest started 35 years ago. We named it after the largest and oldest amusement park in Denmark,” Riggs says. “It’s kind of a carnival, with fun things to do, food to eat and fireworks.” While there are some “kickoff” events on Friday, the official Tivoli Fest is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday.

Danish Windmill - Elk Horn

Danish Windmill – Elk Horn

Elk Horn was settled by Danish Immigrants and incorporated as a town in 1910. Despite a population of around 650 residents, Elk Horn is still one of the largest Danish rural settlements in the U.S.  “Around 46-percent of us still have Danish blood in us,” Riggs says. The town’s signature structure is a Danish Windmill that was built in 1848. It was dismantled and moved to Elk Horn 40 years ago. Riggs is general manager of the Danish Windmill.

“It was an actual mill that was used in Denmark,” Riggs says. “The farmers would bring in their grain to the mill by horse and carriage. It was used for the livestock grinding, for their bakery and for home use.” The windmill blades quit spinning late last year. Plans for repairs are in the works. “Sadly, for the last eight months, it hasn’t been turning. We’re raising funds right now to get the windmill turning again into the wind,” Riggs says. Elk Horn is also home to the Museum of Danish America.

One of the highlights of Tivoli Fest is the assortment of Danish foods, such as aebleskivers (EB-ul-skee-vurs) and medisterpølse (muh-DEEST-uh-pohls), the Danish version of pancakes and sausage.

(Radio Iowa)

Red Oak man arrested for assault, Sunday

News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Police in Red Oak arrested 23-year old Daniel Austin Heinen, of Red Oak, Sunday afternoon. Heinen was charged with Simple Assault, after police responded to 100 east Oak Street at around 4:55-p.m. to investigate a reported, possible assault. Heinen was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 cash bond.

Analyst says recent gas price uptick part of profit taking

News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The statewide average gas price has moved up each of the last four weeks. While the increases are often due to increases in the prices of oil, Department of Agriculture fuels analyst, Harold Hommes, says it looks like the recent increase is some profit taking by retailers. “In the past month or so I think the margins at retail had gotten a little tight, and this one is probably being passed along by distributors and retailers, other than about a penny or two increases cost at the wholesale terminal,” according to Hommes.

The average cost of a gallon of gas was two dollars, 37 cents four weeks ago, and it is now up to two dollars, 59 cents. Hommes says the market hasn’t favored retailers lately. “Each distributor has a little bit different goal if you will, or margin that they like to maintain. Sometimes competitive pressures require they dip below those, and I think we’ve been in that situation for much of the last two to three months. I think this is an attempt to restore some of those traditional margins,”Hommes says.

The run up to Memorial Day and the start of the summer driving season traditionally has been a signal in the past for prices to start moving up as demand increases. But Hommes says that hasn’t happened recently. “For the last couple of years actually, it’s been flat, in one case I think it actually fell the week or two prior to Memorial Day,” Hommes says. “But it is true in conjunction with that date when you get into June, schools are out, people start traveling on vacations, more summer travel does occur, so demand does go up.”

Hommes doesn’t see any jump in prices caused by summer travel demand to last very long. “Sometime here really shortly — maybe with this recent price hike — I look for values to really top out much earlier this summer, probably by June,” Hommes says. “And I think they are going to be on a fairly long downhill slid thereafter towards the later part of the year.” Hommes says there haven’t been any big concerns with refineries and productions to push the gas prices up.

“Supplies are phenomenal right now — both on crude and gasoline, diesel inventory, refined products if you will. And so, as long as that situation stays the same, I think we’re running 93 to 95 percent refinery utilization,” Hommes says. Iowa’s average gas prices is eight cents below the national average, and 89 cents below one year ago at this time.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Mon., May 18th 2015

News

May 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Strong storms damaged farm buildings across central Iowa, knocked down trees and toppled dozens of empty railcars. The storms caused damage in Decatur, Clarke, Dallas, Boone and Madison counties as it moved across the state early Sunday morning.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — With limited time left before the Iowa legislative session ends, lawmakers have one more opportunity to revive failed bills — with the legislative equivalent of a hail Mary pass, otherwise known as the standing appropriations bill. Often dubbed a “Christmas tree” or “kitchen sink,” the standing appropriations bill is a sweeping measure that includes billions in state spending for a variety of purposes.

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A 15-year-old girl was fatally shot at her home in Waterloo, and now her younger brother is facing charges. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the girl was shot Friday evening and died later at the hospital. Her 14-year-old brother was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. Police said the brother stole a handgun Friday and later shot his sister with the weapon accidentally. The brother is also facing burglary and weapons charges.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Someone purchased a Powerball ticket worth $1 million at a Des Moines supermarket before Saturday’s drawing. Iowa Lottery officials say the ticket purchased at Cash Saver matched five of the six numbers in the game. No one won Saturday’s jackpot of $110 million, so the prize will grow to $121 million for this Wednesday’s drawing.

CAM School Board to act on 2015-16 School Calendar

News

May 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the CAM School District’s Board of Education will meet in a regular session Monday evening, at the High School, in Anita. The meeting begins at 6:30-p.m. On their agenda is discussion and possible action, with regard to: Resignations; Contracts; an IWCC (Iowa Western Community College) Memorandum of Understanding; approval of a revision to the 2015-16 School Calendar; An agreement with Casey Computer Consulting; A review of the CAM administration structure, and consideration and/or approval of Athletic Director and Transportation Director job descriptions.

In other business, the CAM School Board will consider a resolution proposing continued participation in an Instructional Support Program (ISP), and authorizing the publication of time and place for a public hearing on the matter. The Board will also receive an update on discussions with the Adair-Casey School District’s Board of Education, with regard to Whole Grade Sharing and related matters.

The A-C Board held separate meetings last month with members of the CAM, Guthrie Center and West Central Valley School Boards, with regard to possible sharing arrangements. The Adair-Casey board is set to meet this Wednesday evening in a regular monthly session also, but the topic of Whole Grade Sharing is not on their agenda.

(Update) Straight line winds caused damage in IA early Sun. morning

News, Weather

May 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A broad-scale mesoscale convection vortex (MCV) moved across south central and central Iowa early Sunday morning.  An assessment by the National Weather Service in Des Moines, determined along the track of the MCV, the circulation produced a broad swath of damaging straight line thunderstorm winds from Decatur to Boone County. The winds resulted in the derailment of a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train, with over 80 railcars being blown off the tracks 4.0 miles west of Osceola. Other tree and structural damage occurred to outbuildings in the same area.

Winds across the region were estimated to average 60 to 70 mph with higher embedded Gusts of 70 mph to 80 mph. The large MCV then progressed nearly due north producing other straight line wind damage along a line from west of Truro to west of St. Charles north toward Adel, Bouton, and into Boone County. Several farm structures were damaged and trees uprooted. Winds in the area reached around 70 mph at times in the hardest hit areas.

The storms also dropped roughly 2 inches of rain in Ringgold and Humboldt counties.

Griswold School Board regular meeting tomorrow (5/18)

News

May 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Griswold School District’s Board of Education will meet Monday evening (May 18th), in the Central Office at the Middle School/High School Building. The session begins at 5:45-p.m.

During the meeting, the Board will act on: Certified Staff Negotiations approval; Nutrition prices; approving bids for a van purchase; approving – Fuel Bid specifications, Technology Support Specs., Registration Fees and various Board Policies.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board mtg. preview

News

May 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet in a regularly scheduled session, 5:15-p.m. Monday, in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall. During the meeting, the Parks Board will discuss and/or act on a proposal from Girl Scout Cadette Troop 40116 for signs in the parks asking people not to smoke around playground equipment and other areas.

Draft of proposed Clean Air/No smoking sign proposed by the local GS Troop

Draft of proposed Clean Air/No smoking sign proposed by the local GS Troop

The Board will also receive an update on the Buck Creek Dog Park, including site plan modifications, fencing cost, and a potential timeline for the project. Other updates include those with regard to: The Kiddie Korral site and Camblin Shelter refurbishment project at Sunnyside Park; Little League Complex playground equipment and installation; and a report on Summer Recreation Program registrations.

Wells Fargo text scam hits Shelby County area

News

May 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A text message scam that’s been around in various forms since at least 2011 has hit the Shelby County area. Numerous residents received messages on their cell phones Sunday and earlier in the week, stating that their “Debit/credit card has been blocked.” The message provides a fake link, which, if accessed, requests your account information. A similar scam hit Cass County twice in March. Do not click on the link! Delete the text message. If you have a question about your account, call or stop by your local bank branch. If you have accessed the link and provided information, notify the bank immediately.

A Facebook user reported Sunday this message came across via text on their cell phone.

A Facebook user reported Sunday this message came across via text on their cell phone.

Wells Fargo’s website has numerous tips to prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud. They also have information about the scam mentioned in the text message: “A phishing attempt sent via SMS (Short Message Service) or text message to a mobile phone or device. This tactic is also referred to as smishing, which is a combination of SMS and phishing. The purpose of text message phishing is the same as traditional email phishing: convince recipients to share their confidential information.

Never take action on a request for your personal or financial information, including account numbers, passwords, Social Security number or birth date. If you receive a text message expressing an urgent need for you to update your information, activate an account, or verify your identity by calling a phone number or submitting information, on a website, do not respond and delete it. These messages may be part of a phishing scam conducted by fraudsters in an attempt to capture your confidential account information and may be used to commit fraud.”