Governor Extends Bird Flu Disaster Proclamation

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has announced that he is extending the State of Disaster Emergency in response to the avian flu outbreak through July 31, 2015. This is the second extension the governor has made to the original disaster proclamation. The governor’s original disaster declaration was set to expire Sunday, May 31, 2015, but he extended it until July 1, 2015, on May 29, 2015. The latest disaster proclamation can be read here.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

The extension comes less than two weeks after Branstad requested a Presidential Disaster Designation for four Iowa counties hit by the virus. In bipartisan fashion, members of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging him to grant the governor’s request on June 19, 2015.

The proclamation of disaster emergency does the following:

  1. Activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s (HSEMD) Iowa Emergency Response Plan.
  1. Authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa HSEMD in order to do the following:
  • Track and monitor instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza  throughout the state of Iowa and the country,
  • Establish importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,
  • Rapidly detect any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,
  • Contain the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,
  • Engage in detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and
  • Eliminate the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.


  1. Temporarily authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety.
  1. Authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa DPS, the Iowa DNR, IDPH, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies to implement stop movement and stop loading restrictions and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the IDALS or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease.
  1. Authorizes state agencies to assist the IDALS in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts.
  1. Temporarily waives restrictions to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.
  1. Temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration, subject to certain conditions outlined in the disaster proclamation.


Rock Valley Fire Department Saves Manufacturing Plant

Rock Valley, Iowa — A manufacturing plant was saved from fire on Friday, June 26, 2015 in Rock Valley.
RVFD Rock Valley Fire
According to Rock Valley Fire Chief John Wallenberg, about 8:30 AM, the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of structure fire at TCS Manufacturing, the former Kooima Manufacturing plant at 2080 Tenth Street in Rock Valley.

The chief says that when they got there, the fire department saw all the employees had been evacuated. He says they saw lots of smoke from the south end of the building as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire.

He says the cause of the fire is officially unknown, but it was contained to the air filtering system outside of the building. He says he believes a filter started on fire and that started the rest of the fire. He says there was also some duct work damage, as it was a very hot fire.

Chief Wallenberg reports that the filtering system was destroyed, and there was lots of smoke in the building.

He says they used less than a thousand gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene 45 minutes.

Wallenberg says there were no injuries reported.

He says they originally called the Hull Fire Department for help, and they were on their way, but when Rock Valley Firefighters knew what they were dealing with, they told the Hull department that they were not needed this time.

Giving To Help Crash Victim’s Family

Spirit Lake, Iowa — Donations are being collected to help the family of a young woman from Ukraine who was killed in a car versus bicycle crash last week in northwest Iowa.
Iryna Shevchuk
The Go Fund Me Page for 20-year-old Iryna Shevchuk will help her family get her body back home as well as to pay off debts they incurred to get her to the U.S. The fundraising effort is more than halfway toward a $5,000 goal. Shevchuk was in Iowa as part of the Summer Work and Travel program and was studying Agricultural Technology, forestry and horticulture.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, on the night of June 23, Shevchuk and another person were riding bicycles on Highway 71 in Spirit Lake when Shevchuk was hit from behind by a car. It happened just before midnight. The motorist, 23-year-old Dustin Abbas of Milford, reported he did not see either of the cyclists who were wearing dark clothing and did not have lights or reflectors on their bikes. No charges have been filed in the crash.

Shevchuk was working two full time jobs at the Spirit Lake Dairy Queen and the Inn of Okoboji.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park is donating $1 of all Park Day Passes purchased through July 3 to the fundraising effort.

Click here for a link to the Go Fund Me page.

Story from Radio Iowa

No New Cases Of Bird Flu

Des Moines, Iowa — Finally there’s a little bit of good news on the bird flu front. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said there were no new probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the state last week and the last positive flock was detected on June 16.
Infected turkey flocks have been depopulated and are currently being composted.  Cleaning and disinfection is taking place.  Environmental samplings of all sites will take place to confirm successful cleaning and disinfecting before restocking.  IDALS and USDA officials have been meeting with affected farmers regularly to share information and answer questions.

All the commercial laying and pullet facilities have been depopulated and cleaning and disinfection of facilities continues.  Disposal of affected birds has been completed except for the last layer site announced.  That site had been doing on-site burial of affected birds, but due to the recent wet weather, burial has been stopped.  The birds are now being placed in bio-secure boxes and will be disposed of via incineration or at the landfill in Southwest Iowa.  Disposal of other materials from affected sites continues as well.

To-date, over 1000 bio-secure boxes have been disposed of via incineration or at one of the two currently-approved landfills.  Approximately 250 are still in need of disposal.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contractor Clean Harbors is moving the materials.  All trucks are cleaned and disinfected before they leave an infected property and before leaving a disposal site.


USDA has more than 2300 staff and contractors helping respond to the avian influenza situation in Iowa.  A USDA Incident Management Team (IMT) has been operating out of Ames and overseeing USDA’s activities.

More than 300 state employees have also participated in the disaster response at some point. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health (in conjunction with local public health officials), Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa National Guard have all supported the response effort to this disease.

Updated information avian influenza will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.

Northey participated in International Conference on Avian Influenza and Poultry Trade

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey participated in the International Conference on Avian Influenza and Poultry Trade this week.  The meeting was hosted by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from June 22 to 24 in Baltimore, MD.

The conference was organized to review the risks of introduction of avian influenza viruses through global trade in poultry and poultry products, and to discuss appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

More information about the conference can be found here.

Background information

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

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.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

DNR Emphasizes Boating Safety, Boating Sober

Iowa Lakes and Rivers — Authorities tell us we are approaching the busiest time for boating on Iowa’s waters. So it’s a good time to think about boating safely.
Okoboji Docks-300
An effort called “Operation Dry Water” is wrapping up today as federal, state and local law officers look to prevent drunken boating. The Iowa D-N-R’s boating law administrator, Susan Stocker, says officers make their presence known on the state’s lakes and rivers in the operation.

(as she says)”Last year we were able to check approximately 11-hundred boaters and we contacted more than 354 vessels that were out there,” Stocker says.

Stocker says boating drunk can have severe consequences for you and your passengers.

(as she says)”More than 71 percent of our boating fatalities in 2014 involved alcohol. So we are stepping up the effort….in order to curb the intoxicated boater who wants to operate a boat,” Stocker says.

She says there is a simple step you should take to keep things safe.

(as she says)”Make sure that you do have a designated driver — just like if you were driving a car you would have a designated driver — to operate a boat. And or, wait until you are done for the afternoon to enjoy a beverage on the shore,” Stocker says.

The blood alcohol level for boating while intoxicated was reduced in 2001 from point-one (.10) percent to point-zero-eight (.08) percent to make it the same level as driving a car while intoxicated.

DNR officials also say while the letter of the law says that you only have to have a personal flotation device or “PFD” for everyone in the boat, they say you’re much safer wearing them at all times because in an emergency you may not have time to find your PFD .

Cut 1
Cut 2
Cut 3

Drug Dog Purchased Using Drug Money

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has a new officer. A K9 officer that is.
Missy - Lyon County SO Dog
The new canine team member, Missy, is handled by Deputy Kyle Munneke. He gives us a little information about the dog and what they’ve been doing.

Missy is originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, according to Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep.

Deputy Munneke says the money to purchase Missy came from Lyon County drug forfeiture funds.

Munneke says she is trained and certified as a single purpose K9. But she excels in both drug detection and human tracking. He says you’ll have a chance to meet Missy later this summer.

He says Lyon County’s other dog is a German Shepherd, handled by Deputy Rob Ver Meer.

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio sound bytes:
Cut 1
Cut 2
Cut 3