Producers Preparing For Possible Return Of Bird Flu

chickensNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa egg and poultry producers are preparing for a possible return of avian influenza this fall as migrating wild waterfowl are again flying over. The bird flu wiped out 34-million chickens and turkeys on 77 Iowa farms this spring. Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry and Egg Association, says experts’ predictions about the fall migration are varied.

The U-S-D-A is preparing to handle an outbreak on more than 500 farms this fall, which is twice the scale of the spring outbreak.

Last month, Ames-based Harris Vaccines received conditional federal approval for its avian influenza vaccine, which is reported to be up to 95-percent effective. The U-S-D-A has hired around 200 of a planned 350 additional veterinarians, animal health technicians and other workers should a bird flu emergency occur. Olson says those are very positive moves.

If there’s another avian influenza outbreak this fall on the scale of last spring, Olson says it would be devastating to the industry.

Osceola County Acquires New Life Saving Device

Water RescueSibley, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has added to their arsenal of lifesaving equipment with the addition of a device designed for water rescue situations.

Sheriff Doug Weber says the ARM-LOC device is designed to slide onto a victim’s forearm, at which point a lanyard is pulled that causes a CO2 cartridge inside the ARM-LOC to inflate the device, which allows the victim to be pulled from the water with the use of the attached rope without the need for the victim to actually hold onto a rope during the rescue process.  He says the device can also help the victim float if it’s pulled in close to the chest.  Weber says it can be deployed in seconds, and is completely reusable.  The Sheriff says the device can be especially useful in rescuing panicked victims without putting rescuers at risk.

Weber says that, while the ARM-LOC is designed for water rescues, it can also be used to help extricate someone who is becoming trapped in grain, as well as any situation where the person in need of rescue is out of reach of potential rescuers.

He says he thinks it would be particularly helpful in rescues from frozen bodies of water.

Weber says that, due to the cost of the units, his office currently has only one, but he hopes to equip each of his deputies patrol vehicles with one of these devices as time goes by, since they are most often the first rescuers able to reach a scene.

Bottorff To Serve 10 Years

Kyle BottorfOrange City, Iowa — A 19-year old Hawarden man who escaped from the Sheldon Residential Treatment Facility in August of this year has been sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.

Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says that 19-year old Kyle Bottorf had originally pled guilty to  six counts of Burglary in the Third Degree, in connection with numerous burglaries in the Hawarden area.  Kunstle says each count was a class D felony.  Kunstle says Bottorff was given a 10 year suspended prison sentence and required to reside at the Sheldon RTF.  Kunstle says that, on August 28th of this year, Bottorf was discovered to have escaped from the RTF.

Kunstle says Bottorff appeared in Sioux County District Court in Orange City Monday, where he received the 10-year sentence for violating the probation that had originally sent him to the Sheldon RTF.  He says Bottorff was ordered to report to the Sioux County Jail before being transferred to the Iowa Deparment of Corrections.

Council To Talk About Rec Trail

new Sheldon signSheldon, Iowa — The Recreational Trail Project is the only new business item listed on the agenda for the Sheldon City Council to discuss at their meeting Wednesday October 21st. The Council will address an engineering proposal for approximately 6900 feet of additional rec trail in the new park on the East side of the City. The project would involve construction of a ten foot wide trail in and around the park according to the Master Plan for the area.

Beck Engineering of Spirit Lake estimates that the project would cost approximately $490,000 and could be constructed all at once or in phases and they would charge $19,500 for their engineering services. If the agreement is approved by the council, Beck Engineering will begin their work this month and have a preliminary design with the City Staff in November. They would have the plans and estimated construction cost ready for the city in December.

Wednesday’s Council meeting begins at 4:30 in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services Center.

Osceola Supervisors Approve Urban Renewal Resolution

Sibley, Iowa — About two dozen people crowded the Osceola County Courtroom this morning, with nine speakers rising in opposition, and written objections received from five others to the proposed establishment of an Urban Renewal Plan that would provide the City of Harris to use Tax Increment Financing to pay for upgrades to their sanitary waste system, as well as improvements to a section of White Avenue, during a Public

Dennis Peters of the HLP School District Addresses the Osceola County Board of Supervisors
Dennis Peters of the HLP School District Addresses the Osceola County Board of Supervisors

Hearing held during the Osceola County Board of Supervisors meeting in Sibley.

At issue is the utilization of TIF funds from a wind farm project in northeastern Osceola County to finance the improvements and upgrades needed by the City of Harris.

Several of those who spoke at this morning’s meeting voiced opposition that County tax revenues would be diverted into a municipality instead of being used to augment the County’s budget.

Dennis Peters spoke on behalf of the Harris-Lake Park School District, and he said the District opposes the resolution under the “Equal Protection Clause”, since the District’s residents who reside in Dickinson County have no representation in this decision.  He proposed that the Supervisors eliminate the White Avenue portion of the project from the TIF funding, and require the City of Harris to apply for a USDA loan or grant to help offset the cost of the sanitary waste system.

Harris Mayor Greg Spoethy told the Supervisors that the City of Harris had talked to other communities who said they had encountered problems with their USDA Grants or loans.  He said that the engineer with whom the City is working on the project advised them to not go to the USDA, saying that Harris’ project wouldn’t fit the USDA criteria.  Spoethy says Harris is already at it’s debt ceiling, which would require them to rely on grants.  He said they have applications filed for a Community Development Block Grant, as well as other grants, but that no word has been received on whether they will be approved.

Al Brueggeman chastised the Board of Supervisors for failing to answer any questions about the project.  He told the Supervisors that, “if you approve this, I guess we’ll have to see you in court”, before tossing a draft copy of his group’s proposed lawsuit filing onto the table in front of the Supervisors.

Board members assured the gathered crowd that the decision on this issue was not an easy one.

A motion was made and seconded to establish a Resolution to Declare Necessity and Establish an Urban Renewal Area, and approve the Urban Renewal Plan and Project for the Osceola County Urban Renewal Area #7.  The measure passed 4-1 on a roll call vote, with Supervisor LeRoy DeBoer casting the lone dissenting vote.

Click here to see a draft copy of the threatened lawsuit.

Kooiker Will Not Seek Re-Election In November ’16

Boyden, Iowa — Representative John Kooiker (R-Boyden) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016 and will retire from the Legislature at the expiration of his term in January 2017.
John Kooiker cropped
Kooiker says his goal was, and still is, to help fill the gap left by the death of his good friend, Representative Dwayne Alons. Kooiker says it has been a privilege to serve in this capacity. He says he will continue to work hard to serve the citizens of District 4 through the end of his term, and then he hopes to pass the torch to the younger generation of leaders.

Rep. Kooiker cited nine additional reasons for his retirement – his nine grandchildren who will all soon be living within fifty miles from home. He is a retired farmer, rural mail carrier, and teacher. He plans to continue serving in various other capacities, including volunteer work and as a Sioux County Soil & Water Conservation District Commissioner.

Rep. Kooiker was first elected in 2015, in a special election following the death of longtime Rep. Dwayne Alons. During his time in the House, Kooiker served as Vice Chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee, and also sat on the Labor, Local Government, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs committees.