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Inspection reports show violations at Iowa egg farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A investigation by the Des Moines Register has revealed safeguards at some Iowa egg production facilities remain inadequate, one-year after salmonella sickened at least 1,600 people and led to the recall of a half-billion eggs. The paper reported in its Sunday edition, Iowa egg producers don’t have to disclose salmonella test results to state or federal regulators, egg farms are told days in advance about inspections, federal regulators don’t fine or close egg farms where violations are found and some egg farms refuse to tell government inspectors what brands their eggs are sold under.

One of the egg farms mentioned in the article, was Southwest Iowa Egg, in Massena. During a visit by FDA inspectors four-months ago, the co-op was noted for four violations. Inspectors found the company was not: following its own protocol for preventing salmonella; was failing to review internal plant records as required; was failing to properly document cleaning, disinfecting and efforts to control flied and rodents; and, maintained no records documenting the number of hours eggs were stored on site before being shipped out. The FDA give company officials a poster detailing some of the regulations pertaining to egg production, but imposed no penalties.

In an interview to air 7:30-a.m. Monday on KJAN’s “Heartbeat Today,” with Jim Field, Rich Hall, General Manager of Southwest Iowa Egg says the company has a bio-security plan in place to prevent salmonella from forming at the facility. He says when facility first opened, they allowed tours, but that practice was stopped not long thereafter, to prevent contamination, and provide for a safe product that’s shipped to the consumer.

Hall says the violations were tied to the manner in which paperwork was maintained by the company. He says the documentation is there, but officials with the FDA thought information pertaining to rodent and fly activity should be on separate logs. He says for the past three-years, the birds are vaccinated for salmonella, which is not required. In addition, their facilities have been tested twice, once by the FDA, and a second time by an independent lab. No evidence of salmonella was ever found.

Hall says their new security plan was developed when eggs produced at another Iowa farm were recalled in August 2010, following an investigation into the salmonella outbreak that affected more than two-dozen states. He says they hired a veterinary consultant to help develop the plan, and have implemented that plan according to its interpretation. Hall says they discussed the paperwork issues mentioned by the FDA, and have made modifications to comply with the recommendations.

Hall says an audit in July of the cooperative’s north facility, did not reveal any problems with documentation. Another area egg production facility, Rose Acre Farms, in Guthrie Center, was inspected in April, but the process was aborted when officials discovered that birds in one of the henhouses had been diagnosed by the company, with a viral infection that is harmful to hens, but poses no risks to humans. The diagnosis was not reported to the state veterinarian, as required by law. The veterinarian advised the FDA not to re-enter the farm or any other facilities for at least five days, following the Rose Acre inspection. Officials with Rose Acre Farms say the FDA did complete its inspection, and no action was taken against the company for failing to report the disease, or refusing to provide the requested information about it.

Hall says Southwest Iowa Egg has made significant improvements to its documentation processes, based on discussion with the FDA. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg producer, with 57 million hens laying 14 billion eggs per year.

(update 10:10-a.m. 8-29-11) Two injured in Saturday rollover accident


August 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says a Neola man remains in serious condition at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, following a rollover accident Saturday morning, in Neola. Danker says 38-year old Daniel Colton , of Neola, was transported to the hospital by Neola Rescue, after the vehicle he was a passenger in rolled multiple times before coming to rest on its top in a yard at 514 Front Street in Neola, at around 2:15-a.m., Saturday. 

The driver of the 2011 Chevy Cruze, 37-year old Craig Wiggins, of rural Council Bluffs,  told investigators he had swerved to miss a deer on northbound Railroad Highway, just before the accident occurred. Wiggins suffered what were described as “non-life threatening injuries,” and was transported by Underwood Rescue to Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs.   Rescuers worked for about 30-minutes to free both men from wreckage.

Danker says a blood test was conducted to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash, but the results of the test are currently not available.  Charges are pending the results the blood alcohol test.

Man dies after falling 40 feet from Bluffs parking garage


August 27th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Council Bluffs police say a 23-year-old man has died after he apparently jumped 40 feet from the top floor of a parking garage. Police and fire and rescue squads responded to the Omni Center early Friday morning after a man was found unconscious near the parking garage. Bronson Babcock, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say they believe he jumped from the top of the parking garage. They say a vehicle registered to him was found on the top floor and his billfold was found near the ledge. An autopsy has been scheduled at the state medical examiner’s office.

Atlantic Student Maren McNees Speaks at National Elks Convention


August 27th, 2011 by Jim Field

Click on the link below to view the speech Maren McNees made at the Elks National Convention in July in Phoenix, Arizona.  She spoke in a convention center about a block in size in front of between 4,500 and 5,000 people. Maren is the 15 year old daughter of Mark and Bobbi Jo McNees and a student at Atlantic High School.  She pledged as her new years resolution to do a good deed for someone every day.  Her speech is a motivational one with that theme.


Groundbreaking ceremony to be held Monday for the new, Lewis Library


August 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new library will take place Monday afternoon, in Lewis. An official with USDA Rural Development will be on hand for the event, which is set to begin at 4-p.m., Monday, August 29th.

USDA Rural Development is assisting the project with grant funds totaling $187,250. The funds are being awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $550,000 and should be completed in the spring of 2012.

The new, future library, which is located just east of the Lewis City Hall, will replace the current building that was built in the late 1800’s, and does not have adequate space for the services offered by the library. The current facility is also not handicap accessible.

Update 2:08-p.m. I-29 NB in Harrison County re-opened


August 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Transportation reports I-29 northbound has reopened to normal traffic flow, following  a vehicle crash earlier this afternoon.  Details on the crash will be posted when they become available.

9AM Newscast 08-26-2011

News, Podcasts

August 26th, 2011 by admin

w/ Ric Hanson


Atlantic couple charged with child abuse


August 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic couple was being held in the Cass County Jail today (Friday), after they were arrested Thursday on charges related to child abuse. According to the Atlantic Police Department, 21-year old Tony Berry and 20-year old Alyssa Bates, have each been charged with Multiple Acts of Child Endangerment, Willful Injury, and two-counts each of Serious Assault. Berry faces an additional charge of 1st degree Harassment.

Police Chief Steve Green says the couple were placed under arrest following an investigation into allegations of child abuse occurring at their home. After officers accompanied Department of Human Services personnel to home and conducted an investigation Tuesday, a four-month old child was taken into protective custody.

Green says the investigation, which also involved medical staff at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, determined the child had suffered abuse and serious injury. The infant was placed with the DHS, pending the outcome of Bates’ and Berry’s court proceedings.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr train derails in Neb.


August 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

MAX, Neb. (AP) – Amtrak says a train carrying about 175 passengers between Chicago and San Francisco has derailed in southwest Nebraska. Spokesman Marc Magliari says the California Zephyr derailed around 8 a.m. Friday near Max, not far from the state’s borders with Kansas and Colorado.

Magliari says there have been no reports of serious injuries but can’t say for sure whether anyone aboard was hurt. He says it appears the train struck a vehicle on the tracks. He didn’t know what kind of vehicle was hit.

Big air shows zoom into Waterloo, Omaha this weekend


August 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Modern warplanes and historic aircraft will fill the skies during two major air shows on opposite corners of Iowa this weekend. The Thunder in the Valley Air Show in Waterloo is expected to draw 50-thousand spectators, while Omaha/Council Bluffs hosts its Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show at Offutt (OFF-it) Air Force Base. Lieutenant Colonel Donovan Routsis is the 55th Wing Group Commander at Offutt and says they have an entertaining lineup, starting with parachutists.

“The Army Golden Knights kick off our air show and then we’ll have an F-15-E Strike Eagle demonstration team,” Routsis says. “We’ll also have a Russian attack helicopter performing for the first time ever at a U-S air show. This will also be the first time we will have a B-2 (stealth bomber) on display here at Offutt.” In addition, the base has scheduled more than 20 aerial performers and more than 30 static displays. Flying can be a hazardous business and he notes, just last weekend, there were three deadly crashes at air shows nationwide.

“We’re very saddened by the tragic accidents that happened last weekend and we express our condolences to those families and friends of those involved,” Routsis says. “We’ve heard nothing from the FAA and our operations group stays in very close contact with the FAA in regards to accidents and our open house and air show are going to take place as scheduled.”

Routis was referring to the crash at a Kansas City, Missouri air expo, which took the life of 50-year old Atlantic native Bryan Jensen on August 20th. That same day a 33-year old Royal Air Force pilot died at an air show in the U.K. The next day, wing Walker Todd Green fell 200 feet, after an attempting an aircraft transfer from a Stearman to a Helicopter at an air show in Michigan.

Both airshows in Waterloo and Omaha are planned for Saturday and Sunday. Jensen had been scheduled to perform this weekend, at the air show in Waterloo.