Iowa’s US Lawmakers Request Federal Help For Bird Flu

Washington, D.C. — All of Iowa’s Congressmen and US Senators in both parties have called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide any assistance they can under their statutory authority to help affected states combat the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI H5N2), also known as bird flu.
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In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Members of Congress detailed the vested interest that the USDA has in containing and preventing the spread of this outbreak. The virus currently infects more than 10 million birds. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state.

In the letter, the members of congress wrote, “Iowa leads the nation in egg production, producing approximately 16.5 billion eggs annually, and is ninth in turkey production. Within the past month, the HPAI H5N2 virus has impacted one-sixth of Iowa’s 59.5 million egg-laying chickens and over 100,000 turkeys.”  They wrote that while there is no known risk of HPAI H5N2 transferring to humans, stopping the spread quickly is necessary to safeguard our country’s poultry and egg producers and to ensure a stable domestic supply of these foods that are an integral part of healthy diets for millions of Americans. They continue, “Our nation has a vested interest in containing and preventing the spread to other Iowa communities and states, and ensuring consumers are not adversely impacted by increasing egg and poultry prices.”

In the letter, the members of the Iowa delegation called on USDA to:

  • Provide communities battling the avian influenza with all available assistance;
  • Provide Members of Congress with time-sensitive updates on new cases and requests for further resources to help turkey farmers and egg producers; and
  • Inform Congress of the economic impact that the poultry and egg reductions will have on producers and consumers.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Corn Crib Near Hawarden Destroyed In Fire

Hawarden, Iowa — A corn crib was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 near Hawarden.
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According to Hawarden Fire Chief Jon Strong, about 11:05 AM, the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of corn crib fire at a place owned by Ron Seik at 1894 480th Street, three miles south and three miles east of Hawarden.

The chief says the fire department saw an old corn crib on fire as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire.

Strong says that there were no injuries reported.

The Ireton Fire Department was called for additional water. The chief says the Hawarden Ambulance crew normally responds with the fire department, but they were out of town on a transfer so the Ireton Ambulance responded instead.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be burning embers from a garbage fire.

He says crews were on scene about two hours.

Expert: Eggs, Chicken, Turkey Safe To Eat

Ames, Iowa — Avian influenza does not impact the foods that consumers eat, says an Iowa State University food safety expert.
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Dr. Angela Shaw, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and extension specialist in food safety says that consumers should feel safe to eat properly-cooked and prepared meat and eggs from poultry.

She says the disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks and geese, and is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. She says it’s technically not impossible for humans to be infected with the virus, but most cases involve very close direct contact with sick birds.

She says it doesn’t matter if you get your eggs and poultry meat from the store or direct from a farmer.

Shaw said the Food and Drug Administration maintains that properly-cooked poultry and eggs pose no threat. She advised that consumers always should follow the FDA’s procedures for safe handling and cooking of poultry products:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry and eggs.
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep raw poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.
  • Cutting boards may be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water.
  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 170°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preference.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 170°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs. Some examples of these kinds of dishes are Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing and sauces contain pasteurized eggs that are safe to eat. Pasteurized eggs and egg products are available from a growing number of retailers and are clearly labeled.

Shaw says she encourages people to continue to support poultry and egg farmers by eating eggs and poultry meat because, as she puts it, “it’s our livelihood.”

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio sound bytes:

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The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at:

The ISU College of Veterinary Medicine has avian influenza information, including materials to protect backyard flocks, at:

Angela Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-0868,
Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-2314,

Runaway Boy Faces Felony Theft Charges

Inwood, Iowa — A Canton, South Dakota boy faces felony theft charges after he was reported as a runaway.
On Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 7:30 PM the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports they were called to assist the Canton, South Dakota Police Department with a juvenile runaway case. The runaway was reportedly en route to Inwood from the Canton area. Lyon County Deputies, the Lyon County K9 unit, the Canton Police Department, and the Inwood Fire Department all searched the area where the juvenile was last seen. At 9:40 PM the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a gas drive off at the Quick Stop in Larchwood. Deputies discovered that the driver involved in the gas drive off was the runaway from Canton. A broadcast was put out to surrounding agencies for the vehicle involved.

On Sunday, April 26, 2015, about 11:30 AM, the Sioux Falls Police Department contacted the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and reported that they had located the runaway in Sioux Falls and that he was in possession of a Chevrolet Silverado pickup, owned by the Inwood Hatchery. Once the vehicle was returned to the owner it was discovered that a radio had been stolen from the vehicle.

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office charged the juvenile from Canton with theft in the 2nd degree — which is a class D felony — for the theft of the motor vehicle, the radio, and gas. The juvenile is currently being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Sioux Falls.

Prosecution Continues To Present Case In Buddz’s Trial

Buddz's FirePrimghar, Iowa — The prosecution continued to call witnesses Thursday morning in the Arson and Insurance Fraud trial of former Buddz’s owner Kristina Manasil.

Thursday’s session saw a return to the witness stand of Fire Investigator Michael Ling of Unified Investigations & Sciences.  Wednesday afternoon, Ling was questioned by Assistant Iowa Attorney General Coleman McAllister who is prosecuting the case.  Thursday it was defense attorney John Rigg’s turn to cross examine the investigator.  Under cross examination, Ling told jurors that the evidence of the pattern on the floor of the building indicates flammable liquid was used, based upon the fire’s timeline and what he called “arc mapping”.

The prosecution then called two Sheldon women who had been inside the building as customers early on the evening of the fire.  The first testified that she arrived at Buddz’s at, or shortly after 5 pm that day.  She said she ordered onion rings, and shortly before 6 pm, noticed a burning smell.  She said she left the business sometime between 6:20 and 6:25 pm.

The second customer called to testify stated that she arrived at Buddz’s at about 5:10 that afternoon, and upon entering the parking lot, noticed an employee of the business cleaning a grate of some kind.  She told jurors that at about 5:30 pm she noticed a strong odor that she described as “like an incense smell”.  She said the smell got stronger, which caused her to get nauseated.  She testified that the business’s bartender apologized, saying they had “burned something really bad”.  The witness said she left Buddz’s at 6:21 pm, and made the approximately 10 minute drive to her home.  She said that when she arrived at her home, her daughter received a text message from a friend stating that Buddz’s was on fire.

Then McAllister called a manager from the Washington Avenue Casey’s store in Sheldon, who provided a video from her store’s surveillance system that showed the defendant, Kristina Manasil and her employee Adam Sickles, entering the convenience store at 6:37 pm, and leaving at 6:39 pm.

McAllister then called a mother and daughter that lived in a house just north of Buddz’s at the time of the fire.  The mother testified that she went outside the home shortly after 6 pm to smoke a cigarette, and witnessed the defendant and Sickles walking to their car.  She said that, at that time, she saw nothing out of the ordinary, and before returning to her home, had a brief conversation with a Buddz’s employee who was cleaning a grate in the parking lot.  She said that she went back into the house, and went upstairs.  Shortly before 7 pm, she told jurors, the home’s lights flickered.  She said she looked out the upstairs window of her house and saw smoke coming from the Buddz’s building next door.  She stated that the Sheldon Fire Department was already on scene by that time.

The daughter testified that she had been outside with her mother, and had also witnessed Manasil and Sickles leaving the business.  She says she remained outside after her mother reentered their home, and saw the Buddz’s employee who had been cleaning the grate, leave on his bicycle.

Both mother and daughter told jurors that, at the time, they thought it strange that the Buddz’s parking lot was completely empty, and the business closed, at that time of the evening.

Manasil is being tried on charges of 1st Degree Arson and Insurance Fraud in connection with the blaze that destroyed the business nearly two years ago.


Information on previous sessions of the Manasil trial can be found here.

Drug Enforcement Operation Nets 73 Arrests

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office advises that their deputies recently participated in a drug enforcement operation, which covered several counties in multiple states and netted 73 arrests.

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They report that it took place from April 1, 2015 to April 21, 2015. We are told it included law enforcement agencies from federal, state, and local levels, covering Omaha Nation and Winnebago Nation Tribal Lands, Plymouth, Woodbury, Sioux, and Monona counties in Iowa, Union County in South Dakota, and Dakota County in Nebraska. The Operation was called “Blue Fog,” an enforcement operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tri‐State Drug Task Force which targeted low level drug dealers/users.

The Operation made 73 arrests and issued 19 drug citations; additionally, seven search warrants were executed.

Drugs seized were crystal methamphetamine, crack cocaine, marijuana, marijuana wax, THC chocolate candies, THC gummy bears, Molly (Ecstasy,) Adderall, Hydrocodone, and Xanax pills. Other items seized were a meth lab, 30 drug pipes, 14 drug scales, a marijuana grinder, MSM (cutting agent for methamphetamine), a false bottom container, baggies, and other misc. drug paraphernalia.

The investigation is on‐going and additional drug arrests are pending.