Nebraska Man Injured In One-Vehicle Rollover

AccidentGeneric 2Archer, Iowa — A South Sioux City, Nebraska man suffered suspected serious injuries after rolling his pickup near Archer Monday night.

According to the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened shortly before 8:00 pm Monday, when a 2004 Chevrolet pickup, driven by 62-year old Gary Tramner of South Sioux City, was westbound on 390th Street, or County Road B40, near Archer.  Deputies say Tramner was distracted by his cellular device, and failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection with Nettle Avenue, went through the intersection onto the gravel portion of 390th Street, where he lost control of his pickup and entered the north ditch where the vehicle rolled over once coming to rest on it’s wheels.

After being extricated from the pickup, Tramner was taken to the Baum Harmon Mercy Medical Center in Primghar by the Archer Ambulance, with what deputies describe as suspected serious or incapacitating injuries.

Damage to Tramner’s pickup were estimated at $15,000.  Deputies say he was cited for Failure To Obey a Stop Sign and Failure To Yield The Right Of Way.

Branstad Responds To Vander Plaats on Planned Parenthood Funding

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he disagrees with assertions by Sheldon native and Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats concerning state money going to Planned Parenthood.  Vander Plaats has said that Branstad is making phony excuses and failing to follow through on a 2010 campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood.

Branstad says Planned Parenthood does NOT get taxpayer money to cover abortion costs, but it does get reimbursed for providing other services to Medicaid patients, like annual reproductive health tests and breast cancer screenings. Vander Plaats says a letter from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal “schools” Branstad on how to cut off that money to Planned Parenthood, but Branstad says Jindal has been sued for making that move.

Branstad says the contracts that provide reimbursement to Planned Parenthood cannot be broken.

Branstad says if he did issue an executive order to cut off all taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood sued, the chances he’d win the lawsuit are “not very good at all.”

The Family Leader has launched a “Keep Your Promise” ad campaign to pressure Branstad on the issue.

MidAmerican Energy Nears Completion On Wind Farm

Primghar, Iowa — There are a lot of first places for MidAmerican Energy’s wind power in O’Brien County.
Wind Turbine Blade MidAmerican
Of all the ways to produce power, the greatest amount of MidAmerican’s electricity generating capacity is now in the form of wind power. MidAmerican ranks number one in the nation in ownership of wind-powered generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities. MidAmerican’s Highland Wind Farm near Primghar, which is now approaching completion is the company’s largest wind farm to date. The Highland wind farm is part of MidAmerican’s “Wind 8” project, which is the largest wind project they have ever done, and it was the largest economic development project in Iowa history at the time it was announced.

Ruth Comer, spokesperson for MidAmerican Energy tells us more about the wind farm construction that is now wrapping up, and a new one, also in O’Brien County, which just getting underway.

She says that soon, they’ll have more wind generation capacity than coal, natural gas, or nuclear generation capacity.

She says O’Brien County has some of the best wind resources of any part of Iowa, and Iowa is a good wind state as well.

She says while there are always opponents to anything, they find a lot of support for wind projects in Iowa. She says they’re good for customers as they bring lower and more stable prices. They bring economic development in terms of jobs and property tax base, and she says wind-generated power is good for the environment.

Liquid Manure Flow Extinguishes Tractor Fire

Paullina, Iowa – It’s not the normal use for liquid manure, but the fertilizer ended up being one of the heros in a fire call on Sunday, October 4, 2015 near Paullina.
liquid manure knife applicator
According to Paullina Fire Chief Brian Feltman, about 3 PM, the Paullina Fire Department was called to the report of a tractor on fire three miles west and two and a half miles north of Paullina in the middle of a field.

The chief says the fire department saw that the fire was nearly put out as they approached the scene. He says the tractor’s operator had been knifing in liquid manure using an umbilical cord back to a manure pump at the manure pit. He says the fire appeared have started when a hot exhaust pipe ignited bean dust. He says when the operator noticed the fire he disconnected the liquid manure hose and used the flow of liquid manure to put out the fire. Feltman says that it did a pretty good job and by the time they got out there, they just had to take some shields off and blow water in there to make sure the fire was out.

Chief Feltman reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

He reports that the back of motor and the cab of the tractor were pretty much destroyed.

He says they used 150 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for 45 minutes.

CRP Now Available For Grasslands

cattleNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa farmers who agree to use sustainable grazing practices may be eligible to take part in the updated Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, for grasslands.

Katie Olthoff of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association says the program is a change to the federal CRP.  She says it now includes a grasslands program nationally. That means farmers can use their grasslands areas for grazing, as long as they agree to certain conservation practices on that land.

Farmers who are interested can sign up immediately, by applying at their local FSA Office.  The application period runs through November 20th, but she says there will be more application periods after that time.  She says that, while CRP has been around for years, this is the first time the new extension has been around.  She says the CRP Grasslands program was created in the 2014 Farm Bill, but there have been some changes just this summer in the July 2015 edition of the Federal Register, so this is the first time it’s been available for Iowa’s farmers.  You can learn more about the program at the Iowa Cattlemen’s website.

EPA Offers Grants To Upgrade School Buses

school busses_sxcSheldon, Iowa — Iowa school districts are being encouraged to apply for federal funding to replace old school buses that emit large amounts of air pollution.  Karen Grimes, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says only a few Iowa districts are likely to be awarded a share of the money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Grimes says there’s $7 million available nationwide…so that’s only about $140,000 per state. Last year, seven school districts in Iowa were awarded EPA funding toward the purchase of at least one new bus. The only northwest Iowa school district was Cherokee Community.

School buses built before 2007 have diesel engines that emit tiny particles known to aggravate asthma, and cause lung damage and other serious health problems.

We talked to Sheldon Community Schools representatives, who told us that of the District’s thirteen buses, seven were built prior to 2007.  Of those, three are regular route buses, with one driven by subs, and three spares.

The Iowa Department of Education reports there are around 6,000 school buses in the state and roughly one-third are from model years 2006 or older. Buses built after 2006 were designed to cut emissions by 90 percent.

School districts have until October 30 to apply for the EPA funding rebates, which can be used to purchases new buses.  Since buses cost in the neighborhood of $80,000 each, the EPA funding rebates can help with a purchase, but most likely won’t cover the entire cost.