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Tiny tick bite can lead to months of health troubles

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 27th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and an expert says Iowans who’ve been spending any time enjoying the outdoors need to be on-guard for ticks. Dr. Greg DeMuri, an infectious disease physician, says you can cut your chances of catching Lyme disease by taking a few simple precautions anytime you’re heading into the woods for a hike. “Looks a little nerdy, but if you put a rubber band at the base of your pant legs to keep the ticks from crawling up, that’s number one,” DeMuri says. “Number two, doing tick checks after you’re done.” There is also a wide variety of tick repellents on the market which can be highly effective at keeping the pests away.

“Ticks are out with a vengeance. Some of the immature forms of the tick, the nymphs, are out and the ticks are reproducing right now,” DeMuri says. “Those forms of tick can highly transmit Lyme disease, they’re smaller and more difficult to see. So this is, unfortunately, a very high risk time for acquiring Lyme disease.” If you find and remove a tick from yourself or someone else, pay attention to its coloring before you dispose of it. A deer tick’s lower back is red in color, while a wood tick has a black lower back section. “If you can identify whether it’s a deer tick versus a wood tick, it’s important to distinguish the two,” DeMuri says. “If you have a wood tick, there’s no risk of Lyme disease. If it’s a deer tick and it’s been attached for 72 hours or more, then you should contact your doctor. You might want to take a preventative antibiotic.”

Asian longhorn tick (ISU Extension photo)

Scientists say our planet is gradually warming and DeMuri says climate change may be contributing to the number ticks in Iowa and across the region. “When we don’t get those really, really deep freezes, that are below 20-below, the ticks can survive more,” he says, “but more importantly, their hosts can survive.” If you do get infected, Lyme disease can typically be cured with a course of antibiotics that runs two to four weeks, though some patients may have symptoms six months later. Those symptoms can include things like pain, fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

Iowa counties approved for USDA assistance following severe weather in April

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – This (Friday) morning, Governor Reynolds spoke with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the severe weather event in Iowa on April 26th, 2024, and her request on May 14, 2024, for USDA disaster assistance for impacted farmers.

Secretary Vilsack informed the Governor that USDA has determined that Iowa meets the requirements for an FSA Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification (APLN) which will open up federal emergency loan assistance for impacted Iowa farmers suffering from physical farm losses in the following counties: Adair, Adams, Audubon, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clarke, Crawford, Dallas, Decatur, Fremont, Harrison, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Polk, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Shelby, Story, Taylor, Union, Warren, and Wayne.

“I want to thank Secretary Vilsack for approving this much-needed federal disaster assistance for Iowa’s farmers whose property was damaged due to severe weather last month,” said Governor Reynolds. “This opens up federal loans and other emergency assistance programs that will help our farmers recover from their losses.

More information from USDA is expected in the coming days.

Help protect Iowa’s forests – Leave firewood at home

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Thousands of Iowans will be camping and building campfires this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages campers to buy firewood from where they will burn it instead of bringing it from home. Tivon Feeley, DNR Forest Health Forester, says “Moving unseasoned firewood around the state can threaten the health of our forests by spreading insects like emerald ash borer (EAB), oak wilt, and other pests that live in firewood.”

Plenty of firewood is available locally to your favorite state or county park. Ask a park ranger or campground host where you can get local firewood. Make sure you burn all of your firewood at your campsite and not leave it or transport to a new area.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship requires all firewood sold or acquired in Iowa to have the county and state of harvest location on the label of packages and the delivery ticket for bulk firewood.

Learn more about the importance of using local or certified heat-treated firewood at www.dontmovefirewood.org/.

Expect heavy boat traffic on Iowa waters for Memorial Day Weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial beginning to Iowa’s boating season is days away and boaters across the state are busy preparing their watercraft for the holiday. Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said Memorial Day weekend is often the first time on the water for many boaters and they should take time to review Iowa boating laws and plan to have patience at the ramp and on the water. Stocker said “Recent heavy rain across the state will reduce water clarity and add flood debris to the rivers and larger reservoirs. Boaters will need to use caution and watch for obstacles, including debris floating just under the surface.” She said “Regardless of the weather forecast, it will be busy on the water.”

One way boaters can stay on the water is by inspecting their vessels prior to heading to the lake. Stocker says “There are a few simple things boaters can do to have a safe weekend on the water and topping that list is to have a designated boat operator who abstains from alcohol. Operators will also need to watch their speed and be on the lookout for others.” She said boaters should make sure lifejackets are in good condition and the right size for each person onboard. Check the fire extinguisher, boat and trailer lights, whistle, and throwable floatation.

Boaters are reminded about the requirement that drain plugs and other water draining devices must be removed and/or remain open during transport to avoid spreading invasive species. Anglers leaving with fish are recommended to put them on ice, whether in a cooler, a bucket or a live well (plug must still be removed and/or opened). Operators can brush up on rules and regulations, by taking the DNR boating safety course. Iowa law requires any person 12-17 years old, who will operate a motorboat over ten horsepower or a personal watercraft, to successfully complete the education program.  It is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Boating/Boater-Education. Stocker reminds everyone on board that they need a properly fitted lifejacket. Safety officials also urge you to wear it. “It is similar to seat belts on the road. You won’t have time to grab it and put it on, when facing an emergency situation,” she said.

Iowa has more than 211,000 registered boats.

Boating safety Tips

  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Wind, sun, glare and heat can enhance the effects of alcohol hindering the operator’s ability to make decisions.
  • Check for open ramps or water hazards before heading out.
  • Before leaving the house, check the trailer lights, wheel bearings and the hitch.
  • Make sure there is a current fire extinguisher and horn/whistle, a wearable life jacket for everyone and a USCG approved throwable device onboard.
  • File a float plan with a friend, including your destination, expected time of return and type of boat.
  • Wear your lifejacket – it floats, you don’t.
  • Inflatable lifejackets are light weight, comfortable and USCG approved. Wear it.
  • Take a boater education course. It has valuable information and many insurance companies will offer a discount on boat insurance.
  • Top two safety violations in Iowa are having inadequate life jackets and operating too fast and too close to other vessels.

Visitors expected to fill parks over Memorial Day weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Iowa’s state parks and forests are gearing up for a busy Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the outdoor summer recreation season. Sherry Arntzen, chief of the DNR’s State Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau, says “Park visitors are excited to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather after a long winter inside. Our parks offer a variety of activities for all enthusiasts from hiking the trails to picnicking, fishing and swimming. There’s something for everyone while enjoying the outdoors.”

Campers are urged to plan ahead when visiting Iowa state parks and forests for Memorial Day weekend. Most electrical and full hookup sites in busy parks are already reserved, so campers may want to consider non-electric sites or at “hidden gem” parks a little further away from home. Additionally, Iowa state parks and forests offer around 950 non-reservable sites available on a first-come, first-served basis, with most people choosing to stay Thursday through the weekend.

To find site availability and make a reservation, go to https://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ For an up-to-date list of park and trail closures due to renovations or weather-related alerts, visit: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Alerts-and-Closures

Park visitors can help take care of the parks by cleaning up trash after themselves, and carrying out what they brought in. Please park vehicles in designated parking lots and not along roadways. If visiting beaches, be aware that most swimming areas do not have a lifeguard on duty, and pets must be kept off beaches and be on a leash.

Arntzen says “We hope that campers enjoy their time and make memories while staying in our parks and recreational areas, and do so safely and return again.”

Tips

  • Keep track of the weather and have a plan in case of severe weather
  • Pack bug spray, sun screen and a basic first-aid kit
  • Check the registration kiosk for activities in the area
  • Don’t burn trash
  • Don’t bring fireworks
  • Be a good neighbor. Observe quiet hours and pick up after yourself

Local 24-Hour Rainfall Totals Reported at 7:00 am on Friday, May 24, 2024

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

May 24th, 2024 by Jim Field

  • KJAN, Atlantic  .43″
  • Exira  1.35″
  • Elk Horn  .52″
  • Massena  .4″
  • Neola  .77″
  • Missouri Valley  .58″
  • Shenandoah  .72″

Posted County Grain Prices 5/24/2024

Ag/Outdoor

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

  • Cass County: Corn $4.31 Beans $11.79
  • Adair County: Corn $4.28 Beans $11.82
  • Adams County: Corn $4.28 Beans $11.78
  • Audubon County: Corn $4.30 Beans $11.81
  • East Pottawattamie County: Corn $4.34 Beans $11.79
  • Guthrie County: Corn $4.33 Beans $11.83
  • Montgomery County: Corn $4.33 Beans $11.81
  • Shelby County: Corn $4.34 Beans $11.79

Oats: $3.18 (same in all counties)

Drought map shows improvement again

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 24th, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Continued rains across the state brought more improvement in the latest U-S Drought Monitor for Iowa. D-N-R Hydrologist Tim Hall says the two most severe categories of drought are no longer found on the map. “So we’re just down to just over 20 percent of the state is rated in the D-1 moderate drought, so we don’t have any severe drought, no extreme drought in the state anymore,” Hall says. Nearly 67 percent of the state now has no form of drought, which compares to only three percent with no drought in January. Hall says the northeast part of the state is still the driest area, but it’s a lot better now.

“Tama and Benton counties, the last three years, it’s been the driest three years on record for those particular counties in the state,” Hall says. ” And that’s even drier than the dustbowl years of the 30s or the drought of the 1950s. So they were very much in a whole drought wise, and it’s just going to take those parts of the state longer to recover.” Hall says his discussion with the state climatologist indicates we could see spring flip from record dry to record wet conditions this year. “We could very well see a top ten wettest spring season on record by the time all is said and done with here,” he says. The plentiful rain has had some farmers worried about finishing planting, and at times it leaves ponds of water in fields.

Hall says he’s not worried about that at this point. “The fields in the areas that routinely run into inundation problems are seeing that right now with the rain we’ve had, but I don’t think it’s a widespread or catastrophic problem around the state,” Hall says. “I think we’d become used to the dry conditions over the last four years, and we just have gotten out of the habit of seeing saturated fields and standing water.”

Hall says it’s good to see the groundwater and stream flows come back to normal for the first time in a long time. And he says June is normally the wettest month of the year, so the pattern is likely to continue.

Sunnyside Pool Announces 2024 Season Opening and New Manager

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) — Nishna Valley Family YMCA Executive Director Dan Haynes, today (Thursday) report Sunnyside Pool in Atlantic will hold its grand opening for the 2024 summer season, on May 31st! The pool will be open daily from 1-until 7-p.m., offering the community a perfect place to cool off and enjoy the summer days. Sunnyside will be operated under the direction of the Nishna Valley YMCA this year with partnership of the Atlantic Parks and Rec department. The YMCA will be handling all day to day patron and staffing operations and the Park and Rec will be taking care of the maintenance and water.

Haynes said “The YMCA is happy to reengage and partner with the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department to bring the community the very best aquatics activities we can offer and maximize the talent and facilities we currently have. I’d like to thank Chelsie Rush and Chelsie Huddleson for their work in helping us get to this point as well as Jeff and Kirk from the City side to prepare the pool”

He added, “We are excited to introduce Vanessa Proehl as our new manager this year. Vanessa plans to continue building on last year’s successes by introducing new events and options for our patrons to enjoy. With her leadership, we anticipate a season filled with fun, community, and growth.”

Season Pass Information

Sunnyside Pool offers a variety of season passes to fit everyone’s needs:

  • Group Pass: $130 (passholder + four additional members)
  • Individual Pass: $90 (single member)
  • Punch Pass: $35 (ten entries)

Passes can be conveniently purchased online through a form link available on the Sunnyside Pool Facebook page, or simply scan the QR code on the flyer, this form will collect a payment from a card when submitted. Memberships will also be available for purchase at the pool, payment methods accepted at the pool this year will be cash, check or card. Checks should be made out to the Nishna Valley Family YMCA.

Upcoming Enhancements

While the city was unable to install a slide this year due to regulatory constraints, we are pleased to announce that a new pump system will be installed mid-season, improving the pool’s overall efficiency and water quality.

Parks and Rec Coordinator Jeff Christensen says “We understand that a new pump is not all that exciting but it is necessary to keep Sunnyside Pool up and running.”

Stay tuned to the Sunnyside Pool Facebook page for updates on the pump installation dates, exciting new evening events, weather closures, special promotions, and more.

Storm damage and flooding impact some Iowa state parks for Memorial Day weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 23rd, 2024 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports several Iowa state parks have been impacted by recent heavy rains and storms, causing closures in some areas. Visitors are urged to plan in advance heading into the holiday weekend in case a park activity or location is affected.

Impacted parks include:

Backbone State Park (Delaware County) – The north gate entrance is currently closed. Mud and sand are on the road in the flats area. Debris and logs are along the trout stream road. Staff will reopen the north entrance once roadway cleanup is complete.

Big Creek State Park (Polk County) – Flash flooding has caused high water at Big Creek Lake, which should recede by the weekend. Damage from flooding will be assessed once water levels go down, but is expected to be minor. Access to docks at the marina may be impacted.

Dolliver Memorial State Park (Webster County) – The road in the central part of the park is currently closed due to flooding. The campground, cabins, and center lodge will be closed through the Memorial Day weekend. The north shelter and south lodge will be accessible.

George Wyth State Park (Black Hawk County) – The park is closed through Memorial Day weekend and possibly longer due to flooding and the potential for more rain. The park is closed to all traffic including driving, walking and biking.

Ledges State Park (Boone County) – The canyon drive is currently closed to vehicle traffic due to flash flooding. Visitors can hike into the canyon from the Oak Woods picnic area (near the Canyon entrance gates) but are advised not to enter the rapid, rising streams. As the Des Moines River crests Friday, the county road (Oriole Road) on the west side of the park is expected to be flooded.

Rock Creek State Park (Jasper County) – the west road to the beach, in addition to the beach, beach boat ramp, west shelter and trail access are all closed due to flash flooding. Some campsites will be closed due to debris and flooding. Visitors should avoid any dock that is in a bind or not in its normal location. The south end boat ramp and shelter also are closed due to excessive debris and damage. The lake contains a significant amount of new debris and trees from recent rains.

Walnut Woods State Park (Polk County) – The Purple Martin Water Resource Area has experienced flooding. The area will remain open, but part of the loop trail is inaccessible.

Wapsipinicon State Park (Jones County) – The Wapsipinicon River is expected to flood parts of the park. Staff plan to close some roads starting Friday, May 24, which will make the lodge and playground shelter inaccessible.

Additionally, several trails are closed to equestrian and bike use at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Elk Rock State Park, Stephens State Forest and Volga River State Recreation Area due to wet conditions.

Visitors are encouraged to avoid driving through high water and to use extra safety precautions for water recreation activities due to swift currents and debris in many lakes and rivers. Additionally, be aware of potential tree debris within parks in mowed areas and on trails; staff are cleaning as they are able. A full listing of alerts and closures can be found at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Alerts-and-Closures