KJAN Ag/Outdoor

No ice skating this year in Atlantic; Kayaks & canoes may be available in the near future

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 21st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Coronavirus pandemic has pulled the plug on ice-skating for this Winter, in Atlantic. Parks and Rec Director Bryant Rasmussen told the Parks Board Monday evening, that the tarp for the basketball court is ready to go, but the Board voted to cancel unrolling the tarp and filling it up with water, waiting for Mother Nature to freeze it.

They cited the unknowns with the COVID-19 proclamation and lack of use in past Winters as reasons why there will be no ice skating this year. Rasmussen said if there was no pandemic, they would have had the tarp rolled out already. But with the threat of another proclamation extending the current public health emergency, they would have had to spend time draining the tarp and putting it back into storage.

On bright note, Rasmussen said he checked with a major sporting goods store and looked into purchasing four kayaks and three or four canoes, as well as life jackets, which could be rented out to persons wanting to use them at the Schildberg Quarry lakes for fishing, or other such activities. The equipment would cost roughly $5,000, and hopefully be offset through the use of grants and donations. Rasmussen is in the process of researching grants, and will come back to board when he has more solid backing through those types of funds.

Also, and update to the Atlantic Parks and Rec website is slowly making progress. The good news, is that shelter reservations are being incorporated into the website, and well as ways for people to donate funds for future parks department endeavors, should they want to do so. Reservations for one of the five City Park shelters (Camblin, Kiddie Korral, East and Cedar Park shelters and the downtown City Park Shelter), will available online, soon.

Rasmussen said Parks and Rec brochures will be available when they are finished, at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, and the Parks and Rec Office at Sunnyside Park. Bryant said they’ve been working on the layout and design for the brochures for the past several months.  The goal is try and promote the department, its recreational programs and more detailed information.  Local volunteer organizations who made the park amenities visibly appealing and maintained will be highlighted in the brochures, as well as various programs that may be sponsored by organizations.

The City’s Trail Network brochures are already available. They, along with Walkability information will be featured in the new brochures, also. Rasmussen said the first run printing of the brochures would probably be around 100 to 500, with the higher amount costing just a few dollars more than a lower printing run.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to meet Monday

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 20th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will hold their regular monthly meeting via Zoom, Monday evening, beginning at 5:15.  On their agenda under Action Item/New Business, is the following:

  • Information/discussion with regard to the Ice Skating Rink
  • Water Recreation Equipment news
  • Update on the trails around Atlantic
  • Distribution of Parks and Rec brochures
  • An update on the website
  • And, information with regard to Pool Shade.

In the Director’s Report, Parks and Rec Director Bryant Rasmussen is expected to discuss:

  • Ongoing tree pruning
  • The “Turkey Hunt”
  • Winter activities
  • Applying for grants
  • Donation links
  • along with Entry signs, and the Park Shop.

Meal program passes out 17,000 pork loins to Iowans in need

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 18th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Falls-based Iowa Select Farms wrapped up its Operation Christmas Meal program this week, having passed out 17-thousand free pork loins to needy Iowans during a dozen events across the state. Jen Sorensen, at Iowa Select, says there were long lines of cars and trucks at every stop as the pandemic has made this such a difficult year for so many Iowans who’ve lost their jobs or lost income. “You think about schools not being in session and children, that’s their chance to get a lunch and sometimes a breakfast, too,” Sorensen says. “This is when you start to see hunger levels really spike.”

When the times get tougher, she says, it gets harder for Iowa families to make ends meet. “Oftentimes, when you don’t have enough money, it’s protein and produce that get cut out of diets because they’re expensive,” Sorensen says. “Being able to give away a pork loin really helps fulfill that need.” Iowa families that have never had to take items from a food pantry before are finding it difficult to cope financially this year, and those who’ve benefited from this program make the meat stretch as far as possible.

“We hear that back from families,” she says. “‘You gave us this pork loin and we were able to make it into two or three really great meals,’ and that’s what we really like to hear.” This is the fourth year for the program which made stops this month in: Marshalltown, Hampton, Osage, Carroll, Storm Lake, Rockwell City, Mount Ayr, Osceola, Humeston, Webster City, Fort Dodge and Iowa Falls.

Join the First Day Hike Challenge in Iowa State Parks

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 17th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – The Iowa DNR and Travel Iowa invite Iowans to participate in the 2021 First Day Hike Challenge to ring in the New Year through the digital State Park Passport. The challenge takes the place of traditional guided hikes due to COVID-19. “We are looking for ways to encourage both outdoor fun and social distancing,” said Todd Coffelt, Bureau Chief of Parks, Forests and Preserves. “First Day Hikes are a popular tradition in state parks, and the passport is a great way for people to enjoy winter hikes on their own or with their families.”

With the First Day Hike Challenge, park visitors can check into any of the more than 50 participating state parks on the passport from Friday, Jan. 1 through the end of Sunday, Jan. 3. Every check-in will qualify for a prize drawing of a 2-night stay at a 2-bedroom cabin at Lake Darling State Park near Brighton. Restrictions will apply on the cabin stay, with reservation fees and other business rules applying.

Visitors can go to as many parks as they wish during the weekend — every check-in counts as a contest entry.  Additionally, visitors will find trail suggestions and directions from park staff under the “More Info” tab for each park entry on the passport.

Last year, more than 4,300 people participated in hikes on New Year’s Day across Iowa. Hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, and experience spectacular views, beautiful settings and the cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s State Parks. Participants should dress for the weather, including warm, sturdy boots for winter conditions.

For more details on First Day Hikes in Iowa’s State Parks, and to find links to sign up for the Parks Passport, visit

Van Wall Equipment Announces Purchase of Horizon Equipment John Deere Locations


December 16th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

PERRY, IA (December 16, 2020) – Van Wall Equipment and the Van Houweling family announced Wednesday, the purchase from the Puck family of the Horizon Equipment John Deere dealership locations in Adair, Audubon, Avoca, Manning, Missouri Valley and Woodbine, Iowa. These locations are now officially operating as Van Wall Equipment, further broadening the company’s John Deere location footprint in Iowa.

Don Van Houweling, Van Wall Equipment President. said “It is our goal to meet and expand the long-term track record of customer care and commitment that has been the benchmark of the Puck family and their excellent team. We will be dedicated to doing four very important things: Minimizing producer’s downtime risk, making it easier for them to manage their operations, helping them increase their margins and profitability, and giving them a competitive advantage.”

Nate Puck, Horizon Equipment Chief Executive Officer, said “The Puck Family has been privileged to maintain a contract and relationship with John Deere Company, our customers, and associates for 94 years. Our family has enjoyed four generations of building partnerships that we hope added value to production agriculture, our customers, and communities in Western Iowa and surrounding areas. We see this organizational change as an opportunity that can bring new ‘Horizons’ for customers and our associates as the mission to provide beneficial partnerships remains.”

Van Wall Equipment plans to leverage its scale – with its robust inventory of parts, same-day intra-store parts transfer system, and substantial field support resources – to keep customers running.

Stay safe as Iowa lakes freeze over

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

December 16th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The recent blast of arctic air is growing ice on lakes and ponds over much of Iowa. Anglers are ready to get out for the popular early ice fishing season. “Many of us can’t wait to get out on the ice each winter,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Ice fishing is a fun, inexpensive activity for anglers of all ages to get outdoors and avoid cabin fever.” The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of clear ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.

“Check ice thickness as you make your way to your favorite fishing spot,” Larscheid said. “Ice conditions change constantly and its thickness can vary across the lake. Trust your instincts – if the ice does not look right, don’t go out.” Early ice offers an excellent chance for success.  If fish are finicky, cut a series of holes and spend 15 minutes at each hole. Use small baits and light line.

Safety tips on the ice

  • No ice is 100 percent safe.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice.
  • Don’t go out alone – if the worst should happen, someone will be there to call for help or to help rescue.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
  • Check ice thickness as you go out – there could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed.
  • Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
  • Bring along these basic items to help keep you safe: hand warmers, ice cleats to help prevent falls, ice picks (wear around your neck) to help you crawl out of the water if you fall in, a life jacket, a floating safety rope, a whistle to call for help, a basic first aid kit and extra dry clothes including a pair of gloves.

Waterloo man dies in accident with farm equipment

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 16th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A Waterloo man was killed in a farming accident Monday afternoon. Black Hawk County sheriff’s officials identified the victim as 36-year-old Christopher Holman. According to authorities, Holman was operating farm equipment when the accident occurred around 3:30 PM. Officials say it appears Holman got caught by moving parts as he was attempting to break items loose from the machinery.

The accident happened on a dairy farm on the southern edge of Waterloo.

Adair County Extension: 4-H and FFA to Weigh Beef January 2, 2021


December 16th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County ISU Extension and Outreach office reports Market beef weigh-in for Adair County 4-H and FFA members is set for Saturday, January 2, 2021 at the Adair County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. All market steers and market heifers must be tagged and weighed to be eligible to exhibit at the 2021 Adair County Fair slated for July 21-25.

Identification of Iowa State Fair market beef will be between 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Animals will be weighed and tagged at the fairgrounds then go to the Adair County Vet Clinic for retinal imaging. FFA members and 4-H’ers that plan to exhibit at the county fair only should arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Cost to identify state fair entries is $5.00, including retinal imaging. Exhibitors will pay $1.50 for county fair tags.

Officials say staff and exhibitors will be practicing social distancing. Families are asked to stay in their trucks until it’s time to weigh their animals. Masks are required if social distancing cannot be maintained.

For questions about the 4-H market beef project, the Live Beef Performance – No Fit Class, or the weigh-in, call the Adair County Extension office 641-743-8412. Please call the Extension Office by December 30 if you plan to weigh in market beef on January 2.

Tyson plant in Storm Lake sued over worker’s COVID-19 death

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The family of a 65-year-old Iowa man is suing Tyson after he died of COVID-19 while working at the company’s pork plant in Storm Lake. Michael Everhard, of Fonda, died June 18, three weeks after he contracted the virus. His family contends in a lawsuit that Tyson didn’t implement proper safety precautions to protect Everhard and other employees from the virus.

Several Tyson executives at the plant are also named in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Everhard’s three children. A Tyson spokeswoman said the company has implemented several safety measures that meet or exceed federal guidelines designed to slow the spread of the virus.


Iowa Farmers Union leader urges legislators to address water quality issues

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The president of the Iowa Farmers Union says he’s reaching out to state lawmakers in hopes they make addressing the state’s water quality issues a top priority in the new legislative session opening January 11th. Aaron Lehman says Iowa has a lot of work to do on clean water issues and farmers need to be an integral part of that. Lehman says, “Finding out what that state investment will be and whether Iowa will fund our Natural Resources Trust Fund, as voters passed it ten years ago, will be the largest question before the legislature.”

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted multiple vulnerabilities in the state’s food production system and Lehman says he’d like to see legislators create more opportunities for smaller meat processors across the state. “Developing the infrastructure for our smaller processors is critically important, as is developing other links in our food system chain, which is very much relied upon by our citizens,” Lehman says. “In Iowa, the startling thing is, all the food we eat in Iowa, less than 15-percent of it comes from Iowa.”

Lehman says he also expects legislators to address property tax relief in the upcoming session. “We’ve got a lot of details to figure out on how those efforts can actually reach the farm and reach our fields,” he says. “There’s a lot yet to be figured out with that but I think it will be something that the legislature’s likely to take up.” Lehman acknowledges state lawmakers will have a lot on their plates in the new year, including crafting the all-important state budget.