Sioux Center Egg Executive Testifies In DC

Washington, DC — Avian influenza was the topic of Tuesday afternoon’s hearing of a U-S Senate panel and two Iowans were on the witness list — both men who run poultry operations that saw heavy losses. Senator Chuck Grassley says one of the men is in the egg-laying industry, the other raises turkeys, and both testified about how Iowa’s been very hard-hit by bird flu.
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(As above) “Two-hundred and twenty-three detections have occurred affecting 41-million birds in the United States and almost two-thirds of them were from Iowa,” Grassley says.

Both of Iowa’s U-S senators are serving on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst were among the senators hearing testimony about the devastating impact of the virus.

(As above) “We start the hearing with two gentlemen who are administrators within the Department of Agriculture giving us their perspective of it,” Grassley says. “That’s very important from the standpoint of any policy changes that need to be made or any more money available.”

The Iowans who will testify are: Jim Dean, chairman of United Egg Producers in Sioux Center, and Brad Moline, manager and owner of Moline Farms, a turkey production facility in Manson. Grassley says biosecurity was already tight on the Iowa poultry operations, so they’ll look for other potential solutions to future bird flu outbreaks.

(As above) “There is the possibility of a vaccine, but also, that brings about a political and scientific problem, whether or not we want to use vaccine that might eliminate some export of chicken meat to other countries where they haven’t approved of the drug,” Grassley says.

The U-S-D-A has already spent a majority of the money allotted for the bird flu epidemic, much of that on destroying and disposing of the infected birds and the comprehensive clean-up.

(As above) “About 400-million (dollars) was available and approximately 400-million will probably be spent in this short period of time,” Grassley says. “Is more money needed? That’s one issue for Congress. The other would be the exploration of an insurance program that would be new.”

In recent months, Iowa’s had at least 77 poultry operations hit by bird flu in 18 counties, resulting in the death or euthanizing of more than 31-million birds.

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Smoke Causing Minor Temperature Depression

Northwest Iowa — You’ve probably heard about all the wildfire smoke coming down from Canada, causing air quality issues and a smokey smell in the air.
smokey sun
Meteorologist Matthew Dux from the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls gives us the situation.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials say that since the wind changes continually, it can mean differing levels of fine particulate matter in the air, and that can affect air quality.

On days when the air quality is low due to this smoke or for other reasons, the DNR recommends individuals with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children limit prolonged outdoor exertion until the smoke plume passes and air quality conditions improve.

Dux says some people assumed the smoke would last for a few days, but he says it’s been several weeks now already, and no one knows how long we’ll have to deal with its effects. He says Canadian weather conditions this past spring created a high fire risk.

He says the smoke on Monday was more intense than it had been for the last few days, and it may have caused a slight reduction in daytime temperatures.

He says it may even affect temps even more than a degree or two. But, says Dux, you can’t blame the smoke for causing all of the recent cool temperatures.

Back to the air quality issue for a moment. If you’d like to keep track of evolving air quality conditions, you can do so at:

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Council Seeks Volunteer Painters For Schoolhouse

Sheldon, Iowa — The Prairie Arts Council is asking people to join them in painting the historic Baker Township Schoolhouse, which was recently moved to Sheldon.
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The Arts Council’s Hal Tuttle says they hope to do the “Tom Sawyer Day” at 8 AM on Saturday, July 18th.

Tuttle says you can leave your marbles and broken knives home, but they do hope you’ll join them to paint the old schoolhouse.

He says it will take two coats, so it may take two days. Tuttle says some of the painting supplies have been donated. For instance, the brushes have come from Menard’s.

He says the Prairie Arts Council learned something interesting after the recent publicity about the Baker Township Schoolhouse coming to their grounds.

Tuttle says if you have a group that wants to see the schoolhouses or if you need more information, he’d be happy to help. You can call him at 712-324-4190. He says he’ll make sure the facility is open and provide a guide.

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Park Donations Amount To Over $5000 For Family

Spirit Lake, Iowa — The Arnolds Park Amusement Park has raised over $5000 for the family of a 20-year-old from Ukraine who was killed in an accident in Spirit Lake.
Iryna Shevchuk
The money comes from the park’s recent Casey Muessigmann concert; a donation from Muessigmann and his Dad and a match from Jake Jostad and Tim Sather, owners of Oak Hill Marina; and $1 of each Park Day Pass purchased last week.

Over $3,200 has been raised through a Go Fund Me account as well.

Iryna Shevchuk was killed June 23rd in Spirit Lake. She was riding a bike and was hit by a car.

New Free Tool Nudges Iowans To Live Healthy

Des Moines, Iowa — A new online tool has been created to help gauge the well-being of Iowans and “nudge” Iowans to make improvements. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is encouraging Iowa businesses, communities and schools to use it.
iowa healthiest state initiative

(as said) “This assessment tool is a great resource for those who want to seek change and positively impact the health of our state, but they may not know where to start,” Reynolds says. “The assessment tool will provide immediate feedback on opportunities for improvement and access to resources that will help support those improvements.”

Jami Haberl is executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative, which led the effort to create this test.

(as said )”Being healthy extends beyond physical activity and nutrition,” Haberl says, “and it includes other factors such as tobacco and substance abuse, dental health, community engagement and emotional health. In the tool you’ll find questions about all of these areas.”

A number of Iowa schools and businesses have already taken the assessment as part of a pilot project. Answers are scored and provide immediate feedback on how Iowa schools, workplaces and communities support or put up roadblocks to the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health of Iowans.

The online tool, which is free, is available at

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Lyon County Government Wins With Casino Grants

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Lyon County Schools, Cities, and County government continue to win big with grants from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.
Grand Falls Casino sign at night
The foundation is the non-profit license holder for the Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood. State law mandates a certain percentage of the casino’s gaming take has to go back to the community. The agreement between the casino and the non-profit stipulates that for the first $20 million the casino collects in gambling winnings in a year, they will give the foundation 4.5 percent. When they get up to $20 million, the percentage goes up to 4.75 percent; and when they get up to $30 million, it goes to 5 percent.

The Lyon County Riverboat foundation is set up to give half of the money in grants to county government subdivisions and schools, and half in a competitive grant process to non-profit projects.

This time, Lyon County public schools — Central Lyon, George/Little Rock, and West Lyon are each being granted a little over $43,000. That makes their total so far for 2015 about $84,400 per school. Since the Riverboat Foundation started giving grants in 2011, each school has received nearly $678,000.

Lyon County cities are given grants based on their population. They range from about $13,000 for Lyon County’s smallest incorporated community of Alvord to almost $16,000 for Rock Rapids this time around. That brings the total so far for 2015 to a low of almost $26,000 for Alvord to a high of nearly $31,000 for Rock Rapids. Since the grants started in 2011, the total ranges from almost $209,000 for Alvord to over a quarter of a million for Rock Rapids.

The County of Lyon is being given just over $18,000 this time, bringing the 2015 total so far to over $35,000, and the grand total to-date to almost $290,000.

The total amount being given to government subdivisions in this quarter is nearly $260,000 and so far for 2015, the total is over half a million dollars. You can find all the exact amounts in the table below.

The foundation says that what the government subdivisions do with the money is up to each one’s board or council.

The grand total given away to the government subdivisions by the foundation so far is over $4 million. Another $4 million has been given to non-profit projects in the competitive grant process. The deadline for the next round of competitive grant applications is in September, and the grants will be announced during a ceremony at the Grand Falls Casino and Resort in October .

Plus, the foundation has also started a new grant process called mini grants. The deadline for mini grant applications was June 23rd. According to David Childress with the foundation, over 200 applications for the up-to-$2000 grants were received. There is up to $100,000 to give away. He says the grant recipients will be announced July 21st at the Grand Falls Casino and Resort.

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