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Fish farming finds its way to land-locked Midwest

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Global consumption of seafood is outpacing wild fish populations, so farmers are turning from roving the world’s waters to aquaculture. Increasingly, that includes growing fish in large indoor tanks in the Midwest — hundreds of miles from any ocean, bringing the surf to America’s turf.

Experts say fish farming in tanks — or closed containment systems — nearly eliminates fish manure runoff and waste through use of water recirculating and treatment systems. It also eliminates the chance of spreading disease or genetic mutation to wild populations.

And such tank systems can be placed almost anywhere — from Minnesota to Florida — because temperature and water quality can be controlled in an indoor environment. Recently such operations have popped up in Nebraska and Iowa — typically cattle and corn country.

Council Bluffs pursuit results in the arrest of several teens


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Authorities say a group of teenage males are in custody after a police chase that started with an alert from Iowa authorities. The Daily NonPareil report that at around 1:15 p.m. Thursday, a caller notified the Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Department of Transportation motor vehicle  enforcement of an allegedly stolen Hummer H2, with the driver reportedly flashing a handgun.

Pottawattamie County Communication Center staff used transportation department cameras to locate the Hummer on westbound U.S. Highway 370, according to the Iowa State Patrol. The patrol notified authorities in Nebraska as the Hummer crossed the Bellevue toll bridge, though the agency did not actively pursue the suspects. According to the Bellevue Police Department:

Around 1:30 p.m. a Bellevue police sergeant spotted the Hummer – which had been stolen from an Omaha dealership – and began a pursuit from Bellevue Blvd. North to Fort Crook Road, before terminating when speeds increased. The Hummer was later found northbound on the boulevard, where officers spotted the occupants bail from the Hummer near Chandler Road. Officers chased the occupants and apprehended the 15-year-old driver. Police found handgun ammunition in the vehicle but no gun.

An hour-long search didn’t net the other young men who’d fled the vehicle, but further investigation led to a house in south Omaha where two teenagers – 18-year-old Jose Garcia and a 17-year-old – were taken into custody by Omaha police and turned over to Bellevue police. The pair had fled the Hummer and called friends that picked them up. A 14-year old, fourth suspect, was later located in Bellevue walking out of the area of the search, having been spotted by a resident in the neighborhood.

Bellevue police said the driver and the 14-year-old were pulled over while driving the Hummer around 1:25 a.m. Thursday at 27th and Emiline streets. The driver sped away after initially stopping for police and the officer terminated the pursuit in South Omaha. The 15-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, two counts of flight to avoid arrest, two counts of willful reckless driving and criminal impersonation.

Bellevue Police say the 14-year-old was cited for obstructing and false reporting, while Garcia and the 17-year-old were cited for obstructing.

Commercial Pesticide Applicators Reminded that Continuing Education Courses Must be Completed by End of the Year

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Extension office is once again hosting continuing instructional courses (C-CICs) for local commercial pesticide applicators, but wants to remind anyone who has yet to attend the training that all CIC training must be completed by the end of December. Kate Olson, Extension Program Coordinator in Cass County, says “We know year end is a busy time for all, but we don’t want anyone to miss the
opportunity to attend their annual required training, as time to meet those annual requirements is getting short.”

Olson said “We do offer trainings on a first-come, first served basis, and our hours will be slightly different during the holidays, so we’d like to remind folks to call and get their classes scheduled before our year-end calendar fills up!” Training dates can be scheduled locally by calling the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132 or emailing lander@iastate.edu<mailto:lander@iastate.edu>.

For more information on the Commercial Pesticide Applicator program or the CIC classes, visit

NE IA man charged for allegedly threatening hunters

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say a man from northeastern Iowa was charged after allegedly threatening hunters near his property in rural Cresco. 61-year old Ralph Leroy Flugge, was charged Friday, with two counts of threats of terrorism against hunters, both Class D felonies. He was later released on $5,000 bond.

During execution of a search warrant at Flugge’s home on Friday, law enforcement officers seized 30 different firearms. The search warrant was executed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and
assisted by the Iowa State Patrol Tactical Unit, the Howard County Attorney’s office and the Howard County Sheriff’s Department.

STEM daycamp being offered Dec. 30th in Atlantic


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

How does sinking and floating work? What makes submarines able to go way down deep into the ocean? Youth who attend this hands-on daycamp will explore this and many other items releated to submersibles. The Submerse Into STEM Day camp will be December 30 at the Nishna Valley YMCA in Atlantic from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event is free with lunch, snacks and resources provided, but youth must register by December 22nd. ISU Extension

Participants are asked to please bring a swimming suit and towel. Registration forms are available at the YMCA, Cass County Extension Office or online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/cass/. The Nishna Valley YMCA and Cass County Extension staff and volunteers have teamed up for this day of hands-on learning to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Beth Irlbeck, Cass County Extension Youth Coordinator, says “We are continuing to expand our STEM efforts because there is increased evidence of need and support from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. 4-H has done STEM and positive youth development programming for years and we’re excited to continue our partnership with the Y who has also made its history supporting youth.”

The “Submerse Into STEM” event promises lots of fun, hands-on science, opportunities to design and build and meet new friends. Pre-registration is required by December 22. There is no charge for the December 30 event, just a day of fun, food, friends and hands-on STEM. Questions? Call Cass County Extension 712-243-1132.

IDPH Urges Iowans to Get Influenza Vaccine


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges all Iowans over 6 months of age to receive their yearly seasonal influenza vaccine. Surveillance by IDPH influenza sentinel sites and confirmatory testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) shows the flu is circulating in Iowa, and appears to be particularly spreading among children.IDPH

IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “Children are known as ‘super spreaders’ because they are often in close contact with others at schools or daycare, and when ill, can quickly spread the illness to others.” Testing for viral strains by SHL shows three flu viruses – A(H3N2), A(H1N1) and B –
are already currently circulating in Iowa with A(H3N2) predominating. In years when A(H3N2) viruses dominate, the flu season tends to be more severe with more hospitalizations and deaths.

All three of these flu strains are covered by this year’s vaccine – A(H3N2), A(H1N1) and B, although some of the A(H3N2) viruses may only be partially covered in the vaccine. Iowans should be reminded that anti-viral medications are an important second line of defense to treat the flu. There are two anti-viral medications a doctor can prescribe which make flu illness milder, shorter, and reduce the risk of ending up in the hospital or dying from influenza. Antivirals work best if started within 48
hours or sooner of when flu symptoms begin.

While the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza, it’s also important to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. (The “stomach bug” which causes diarrhea and vomiting is not caused by the influenza virus but usually by norovirus; thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.)

Influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa, which means doctors are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza; however, IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network. This surveillance indicates what types of influenza viruses are circulating and how widespread influenza illness is.

Audubon County Arrests


December 12th, 2014 by admin

The Audubon County Sheriff’s Department reports the arrest of two men on second degree burglary charges. 37 year old Robert Lee Atkinson of Anita and 33 year old Joshua Lee Larsen of Audubon were taken into custody Thursday afternoon.
The two were charged after an investigation into a burlary in the 3-thousand block of 320th street. As the resident was returning home a vehicle left their residence. As the victim followed the speeding vehicle property that had been stolen fell out or was being thrown out of the back end of the vehicle. The victim called 9-1-1 and continued following the vehicle approximately 5 miles before the vehicle stopped with a flat tire. Law Enforcement officials arrived and took Larsen into custody on Littlefield Drive while Atkinson was hiding in a heavy timber area of Littlefield Park.
After a short search by Cass County K-9 and Audubon and Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies Atkinson surrendered. Through the investigation a search warrant was executed at 311 South Division Street in Audubon. The Audubon Police Department assisted in the search. Larsen was seen by the magistrate and released. Atkinson remains in the Audubon County Jail on 10-thousand dollar bond. A preliminary hearing is set for December 22nd at 9-30. Officials are continuing to investigate the incident.

Iowa revenue ticks higher but slowdown possible


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A panel of state budget experts says state revenue continues to grow but at a slower pace than recent years which means lawmakers may need to show spending restraint in next year’s state budget. The Revenue Estimating Conference met Friday and estimated state revenue for fiscal year 2016 at $7.19 billion, a 4.9 percent increase over the current year. The fiscal year begins in July.

State law requires Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers to use December estimates to draft the budget.
Department of Management director David Roederer, one of the three members of the panel, says the figure shows Iowa’s economy is showing strength but there are signs of slowing down which means closely watching spending.

For the current year revenue is estimated at $6.86 billion, a 5.7 percent increase.

State move could mean schools will start later in summer


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Education says it will stop granting automatic waivers to school districts seeking to start classes earlier in the summer. Department director Brad Buck sent a letter Friday to state education leaders saying the change is effective immediately.

The announcement came shortly after Gov. Terry Branstad sent a letter to Buck asking that officials only grant a waiver if a school district demonstrates a “significant negative educational impact” of beginning classes on time, as required by law.

Districts must start school no earlier than the calendar week that includes Sept. 1. But nearly all of them obtain waivers allowing them to begin classes earlier. Branstad’s letter says starting earlier “unnecessarily interferes” with families’ summer plans, seasonal hiring and the Iowa State Fair.

Auto dealer chain to pay fine for deceptive ads


December 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A family-owned chain of automobile dealerships located in Iowa, Montana and South Dakota will pay a $360,000 civil penalty for running deceptive ads. The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that Billion Auto and its advertising company violated a 2012 order that prohibited them from deceptively advertising the cost of buying or leasing a car.

The commission’s complaint says Billion Auto’s ads routinely focus on a few attractive terms but conceal other details that limit who can qualify or that add significant costs. One ad, for instance, promoted a vehicle for lease for $179 a month but hid in the fine print that one must be a military veteran and returning customer to qualify.

An FTC official says its enforcement action shows “there is a financial cost for violating FTC orders.”