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Warm weather could stop any more bird flu outbreaks

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

State and national officials held a conference all with reporters to answer questions surrounding the latest bird flu out break in northwest Iowa. Officials first clarified that the facility in Osceola County has a capacity of five-point-three million egg-laying hens, but there are were three-point-eight million hens there when the disease was discovered. It is still the largest outbreak discovered in the U-S thus far. U-S-D-A chief veterinary officer, John Clifford, says the large number of birds at the Osceola County facility raised concerns.

“A lot of people ask the question ‘well what can we do about it?’ Well, one of the things that we’re doing, we are trying to determine the pathway of introduction into these houses,” Clifford says. “My guess is — and right now there is no solid evidence as such — my guess is there are multiple pathways of entry and it doesn’t mean that people are using poor biosecurity.” The disease is believe to be carried by wild waterfowl. Clifford says other states like Minnesota have seen more cases than Iowa thus far because they have more lakes and more wild migratory birds. He says other states have also had some colder weather.

“And hopefully through the summer we would expect to stop seeing these cases because of the heat. This virus does not like the heat much at all, it prefers cooler temperatures in weather,” Clifford says. He says we could see more cases of the virus as the waterfowl move gain in the fall and spring. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey was asked about the economic impact. He says it has varied since the first outbreaks were reported in other states in January.

“In some cases we’ve lost some markets, some export markets. In that case maybe we see a negative impact to prices — we actually see lower prices because there are less place for these egg products and poultry products to move,” Northey says. “In other cases we now are starting to see some significant reductions in the supply, so we are kind of counterbalancing, so it depends on how this plays out on what the impact might be.” But Northey says while millions of birds have died in Iowa and other states, the impact has not been major in terms of prices.

“Right now it does not appear that the loss of supply in either turkey products or egg products is significant at this time to show a significant impact on prices,” Northey says. The first outbreak in Iowa was in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County. The 37-thousand turkeys there were destroyed and Northey says state and local officials are helping the Osceola County facility euthanized the birds there. Northey says the cases appear to be isolated at this point.

“We do not believe this is spreading in a way that is likely to create other problems on other farms. We believe this is coming from wild birds to these farms. That does not mean we might not see a significant number of new cases,” according to Northey. But he says this could also be the last case found in Iowa too. Northey says these two facilities are a small part of the large egg and turkey industry in the state.

“As of today, eggs are still rolling out of most of our facilities. These are good, healthy eggs,” Northey says. “Consumers need to feel very comfortable eating Iowa eggs, eating Iowa turkey and eating Iowa chicken meat as well.” Doctor Clifford with the U-S-D-A says the eggs from the facility in Osceola are cracked and pasteurized for use in egg products, so that would have killed any of the virus in those eggs. And the chickens are not being released into the market, so they do not pose any threat.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa early News Headlines: Wed., April 22nd 2015


April 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has passed a $365.2 million transportation bill, one of several budget bills requiring floor votes before the end of the legislative session. The Republican-controlled House voted in support of the budget, which would cover the fiscal years ending in 2016 and 2017. It now heads to the Democratic-led Senate. The bill’s funding will go to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which oversees expenses for the state’s motor vehicle division and its highway division, among other things.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s top publisher of magazines and websites for women has announced the layoffs of about 100 employees, one-third of which are in Des Moines. Meredith Corp. officials say the job cuts are a result of the Des Moines-based company’s recent acquisition of several new businesses, including Shape and Martha Stewart Living magazines. Another third of the layoffs are in New York and the rest elsewhere in the country.

GARNER, Iowa (AP) — Jurors didn’t reach a verdict Tuesday after a day of deliberating the case of a former Iowa lawmaker accused of sexually abusing his wife, who suffered from dementia. They will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Prosecutors say 78-year-old Henry Rayhons had sex with his wife at a nursing home May 23 after being told she was not mentally capable of consenting. He testified in his own defense, saying he and his wife did not have sex that day. His wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, died in August.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has approved Gov. Terry Branstad’s bill aimed at expanding broadband in the state, though some lawmakers say the legislation still needs work. The bill now heads to the Senate. The legislation would create a 10-year property tax relief program to help service providers with the cost of adding infrastructure for broadband, also known as high-speed Internet. A grant program would be funded with federal and private dollars.

Harlan Police make 4 arrests


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Four people were arrested recently on separate charges, in Harlan. Officials said Tuesday (today), three arrests took place on Saturday:

20-year old Johnathan Behrens, of Harlan, was arrested after officers responded to a possible road rage situation, where the Behrens was allegedly threatening another driver with a knife. After Police stopped Behrens’ vehicle, he was taken into custody and transported to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with assault with displaying a dangerous weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

28-year old Jared Joyce, of Audubon, was arrested Saturday after officers were called to investigate the theft and use of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card from one of the homes owned by Concerned, Inc. Joyce was brought to the Shelby County Jail where he was charged with theft in the 5th degree.

And, 26-year old Chelsey Hancock, of Elk Horn, was arrested Saturday following a traffic stop, in Harlan. Hancock was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and speeding.

On April 14th, Harlan Police filed charges against 34-year old Juan Romero, of Harlan, after officials with the Harlan school notified police about a young man who might have been abused. Romero was charged with child endangerment with injury. He was cited, given a court date and released from custody.

Atlantic City Council Special Meeting, Wed. evening


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council will hold a special session Wednesday evening in their chambers, at City Hall. The meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. During their session, the Council will act on accepting site plans for the Heritage House addition. During their regular meeting last week, the Council tabled action on accepting the site plan, so the City’s Engineers could review a private engineering firms’ plans to deal with storm water runoff and concerns about how it might affect other area properties.

The Council Wed. evening will also act on approving an amendment to an Economic Development Agreement with Sonntag Development, LLC, with regard to the Southern View Estates Housing Project.

And, prior to adjournment, the Council will enter into a closed session to review and/or discuss records which are required or authorized by state or federal law, to be kept confidential.

Iowa jobless rate drops for third-straight month


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A state report released Tuesday shows Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped for the third-straight month this year, down to 4.0 percent in March. Iowa Workforce Development data shows the rate improves upon February’s 4.1 percent and the March 2014 rate of 4.4 percent. It is also under last month’s national average of 5.5 percent.

Iowa lists approximately 1.65 million people as employed in the state, 600 more than in February and 25,500 higher than last year. The report also shows the education and health services sector posted the most job gains in March with an increase of 2,300.

Agency director Beth Townshend says consistent growth in Iowa’s nonfarm workforce shows such employment has expanded to an all-time state high, boosting the overall number of nonfarm jobs to about 1.57 million.

$21.8 million awarded to Iowa communities for infrastructure and housing development projects


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Awards totaling $21.8 million were announced today (Tuesday) for 57 communities across the state. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support 58 community investment projects. The federally funded grants were awarded for community facilities, infrastructure improvements, downtown revitalization and single family owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

In the KJAN listening area, CDBG funds were awarded to the following cities for their respective projects:

Guthrie Center – $500,000 for the replacement of old, undersized water mains, with new, 6-to 8-inch mains.
Magnolia – $183,000 for the construction of improvements to the city’s water system to provide a reliable source of water and to comply with 10 state standards.
Mt. Ayr – $420,000 for the installation of a sewer main extension to add 4 customers who are illegally not on the municipal system, and better serve a 5th household.
New Market – $143,500 for the repair of the sewer collection and lagoon valve systems to reduce inflow and infiltration, and eliminate excess discharges.
Elk Horn – $304,00 to be administered through SWIPCO, for eight housing units.
Red Oak – $368,500 administered through SWIPCO for 10 housing units.
Adair – $300,000 for the rehabilitation of 18 downtown building facades.
Clarinda – $500,000 for the rehabilitation of 16 downtown building facades.
Walnut – $300,000 for the rehabilitation of 15 downtown building facades.
Mapleton – $482,586 for Stormwater verge infrastructure.

Debi Durham, director of IEDA said “Using these federal funds in all areas of our state, we are able to make strategic investments in Iowa’s smaller communities to assist them in becoming development-ready. As a result of these projects, thousands of Iowans will see infrastructure improvements, rehabilitated housing, new community facilities and exciting enhancements in their downtowns.”

IEDA received 108 applications for funding, totaling $38.9 million in requests. Grants were awarded based on benefit to low- and moderate-income persons, slum and blight elimination, financial need, project impact and readiness, and commitment of local resources to the project.

The Community Development Block Grant program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). IEDA is responsible for administering the CDBG funds in the non-metropolitan areas of the state. Applications are solicited annually, generally during the fall.

Outstanding High School Seniors to be Honored at Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony

News, Sports

April 21st, 2015 by Jim Field

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – April 20, 2015 – 436 high school seniors from across Iowa will be honored Sunday, April 26, 2015, at the 13th Annual Governor’s Scholar Recognition Ceremony, held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines starting at 1:00 p.m.

The Governor’s Office, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and its title sponsor, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, are presenting this recognition program.

The Honorable Governor Terry Branstad will host the event and address the audience of 2,500-plus. Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill; Dr. Craig Scott, Chairperson of the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association; and Clemencia Spizzirri, 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year, will also deliver messages to the students and their guests. Spizzirri’s message will be a video as her Iowa Teacher of the Year duties require her to travel to Washington D.C. at the time of the ceremony.

The seniors being honored were selected by their high schools as their highest academic achievers. Each student will receive a photo plaque of themselves with Governor Branstad and a certificate to commemorate their achievement. Each student’s most influential teacher will also receive a certificate of appreciation. A reception for the students, their parents, their most influential teachers, and other guests will follow the ceremony.

In addition to being recognized as the state’s brightest students, over 98 percent of the group participates in school activities, with approximately 76 percent participating in at least one interscholastic sport. Nearly 60 percent plan to pursue their post-secondary education in Iowa.

Following the April 26 ceremony, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation will be sending the honoree’s hometown newspaper a short news release and a photo of Governor Branstad congratulating the student.

A list of this year’s honorees (ordered alphabetically by high school) is available HERE.

Elliott woman arrested Tuesday on OWI charge


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Deputies in Cass County arrested an Elliott woman this (Tuesday) morning. The Sheriff’s office says 48-year old Kristine Courtney Ryan was taken into custody on a charge of OWI/2nd Offense. Ryan was brought to the Cass County Jail where she remains held on $2,000 bond.

Griswold School Board approves updated 1:1 technology


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Griswold School Board, Monday evening, approved the purchase of new 1-to-1 laptops. Superintendent Dana Kunze said the current generation of laptops for the students are ending their life span. Kunze said the board also approved the purchase of Ipads and an expansion of the 1-to-1 initiative to include 1st and 2nd graders, which means all students in grades 1 thru 12 will have computers or Ipads in the next school year.

He said also, the Griswold School Board approved the specifications only, for the possible purchase of a new, 8-seat full-size van. The vehicle has not yet been purchased.

2 arrests in Atlantic, Monday


April 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two people were arrested on separate charges Monday, in Atlantic. The A-PD reports 28-year old Jacky Walter, of Atlantic, was arrested for Domestic Abuse Assault causing bodily injury. Walter was booked into the Cass County Jail. And, 17-year old Damian Sibbits, of Greene, was arrested on a charge of Harassment in the 1st Degree. Sibbits was transported to the Juvenile Detention Center, in Council Bluffs.