Bird Flu Found In NW Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa — A strain of bird flu that can easily cause illness in birds has been found in northwest Iowa.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County.  This is the first confirmation in a commercial flock in Iowa.  The flock of 27,000 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers the risk to people from these H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time.

Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames confirmed the findings.

APHIS is working closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions.

More information from the Iowa Department of Agriculture:

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at


For more information about the ongoing avian influenza disease incidents visit the APHIS website. More information about avian influenza can be found on the USDA avian influenza page. More information about avian influenza and public health is available on the CDC website.  Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at


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Deputies Investigate Vehicle Burglaries

Maurice, Iowa — If you’ve parked your vehicle in Maurice recently and have noticed items missing from your vehicle, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office wants to talk to you.
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They report that during the early hours of Sunday, April 12, they investigated reports of burglary and theft that are said to have occurred from a motor vehicle in Maurice.
Upon further investigation, deputies found that someone had allegedly witnessed a perpetrator illegally enter their vehicle and take property from it. When confronted, the person is reported to have left the area driving westbound from Maurice.

Deputies say the suspect vehicle was stopped a short time later by a Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy near Le Mars. As a result of the traffic stop, deputies cited a 17-year-old boy from Sioux City on charges of burglary of a motor vehicle and theft.

The investigation revealed that there may be additional residents of Maurice who also had items stolen from their vehicles. If you are missing property and believe that it was stolen when these crimes took place, you are asked to contact the sheriff’s office.

Police Departments from Hawarden, Sioux Center, Orange City, and Le Mars, and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies remind you to lock your vehicles and remove valuables from them.

They say the case remains under investigation.

Planting Could Begin As Early As Next Week

Le Mars, Iowa — The U-S-D-A weekly crop report shows farmers got some field work done last week, but wet conditions — including snow in northern Iowa — slowed things down. Iowa State University Extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong, covers northwest Iowa, and says farmers are off to a good start as they move toward planting.

Joel De Jong (file photo)
Joel De Jong (file photo)

(as he says)”And as I think as the conditions warm up and dry up and if we can stay dry this week, I think early next week we can see a lot of planters in the field,” DeJong says.

Soil temperatures dictate when farmers will start putting seeds in the soil.

(as he says)”We’d like to see 50-degree soil temperature at four inches and rising, is kind of what our goal is. We’ve been measuring temperatures all the way into the upper 40’s, it’s dropped back just a shade again, because we cooled back again,” DeJong says. “If you want a real rough rule-of-thumb of what the temperature is at four-inch depth, you average the last three days of temperatures and you are usually pretty close at this stage of the game — unless there is a huge swing — and then sometimes it isn’t quite right.”

DeJong says there are some reports of drought-like conditions, but sub-soil moisture levels in northwest Iowa seem to be sufficient.

(as he says) DeJong says they took several measurements last November down to five feet, which is the rooting depth for corn and bean growth, and the numbers were a little higher. “And that doesn’t go away the winter time, it takes crops or plants growing in it to have it go away. So that tells us that we are at least average at all out sites or maybe a slight bit above average at this stage of the game,” DeJong says.

The U-S-D-A report shows soil moisture levels are adequate for most areas of the state. DeJong says most Iowa farmers will probably plant this year’s corn crop between April 20th and May 10th.

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Budweiser Clydesdales to Appear at Tulip Festival

Orange City, Iowa — Orange City Tulip Festival goers are used to horses in the parade, but this year there will be some world-famous horses. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be making two appearances in this year’s Tulip Festival, and one appearance in Spencer, all in May.
Budweiser says the Clydesdales have been the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933. The horses are scheduled to make several appearances in the area beginning on May 14th, 2015, including two at the Tulip Festival in conjunction with the parade.

The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at the parade on Thursday and Saturday, May 14th and 16th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The day between — Friday the 15th, the Clydesdales will participate in the Clay County Speedway races. The showing begins at 5:00 PM in Spencer, IA.

The Clydesdales’ appearance in Orange City is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.

Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands – or six feet – at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.

Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.

Council To Hold Public Hearing

community services center 300pxSheldon, Iowa — When the Sheldon City Council meets Wednesday, April 15th, they will hold a public hearing on a street resurfacing project. This project consists of five blocks near the downtown area. Knife River Midwest of Sioux City has submitted the apparent low bid totaling $226,465.00, which is approximately 5.6 percent below the engineer’s estimate.

The Council will also consider contracts for a Topographic Survey and Geotechnical Survey for the area where the proposed events center would be located in the new Community Park at Sheldon Crossing. These surveys would include soil conditions, grading recommendations, recommendations for foundation construction, research of records at the courthouse, preparation of a plat survey and other items pertinent to the construction of the events center and surrounding area.

The Council will also consider an application for Tax Increment Financing, hear a presentation by O’Brien County Economic Development Director Kiana Johnson, a presentation by Dave Raak of HTC Communications, and a request from AGP to close 8th street at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing from May 21st to May 28th.  During that time they plan to correct what is called the “wide gauge” at that crossing. This is a pro-active action to prevent rail accidents which could cause possible damage to public or private property. At that time new concrete crossing panels will be installed which will provide a smoother crossing for traffic. The panels will extend to the loading area just south of the 8th Street crossing, creating an area off the street for the rail car mover to mount and dismount the rails, easing traffic congestion.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held at 4:30 in Council Chambers located in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services Center.

The public is reminded that at 6 p.m. Wednesday everyone is invited to the presentation of the updated Community Park Master Plan. This will also be held in Council Chambers.

Osceola Sheriff’s Office: They Weren’t Puppies

Sibley, Iowa — After initially reporting that they were searching for someone who dumped puppies off a bridge north of Sibley, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is now saying they weren’t puppies after all.
Sheriff car rear generic
They report that on Sunday, April 12, 2015, one of their deputies pulled two carcasses from the creek where the alleged dead puppies were dumped.  The Sheriff’s Office was unable to identify the animal or its breed at that time.

The next day (Monday, April 13th) the sheriff’s office reports that they contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to examine the carcasses.  The DNR determined that the animals were not puppies but were raccoons.

The Sheriff’s Office is still looking for information on who dumped the raccoons in the creek.  If you have any information please contact the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at (712)754-2556 or if you want to remain anonymous you can make a Text-A-Tip report.  A link to Text-A-Tip can be found online at