Friday Afternoon News, May 15
Bird Flu Strikes Plymouth County
(Des Moines) -- The bird flu has now struck Plymouth County. Iowa Department of Agriculture officials have confirmed the avian flu virus H5N3 has been detected in a chicken operation. Dustin Vande Hoef is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
(sot) Vande Hoef1
The pullet farm has experienced increased mortality, and Vande Hoef says the farm will be quarantined, and the birds will be euthanized. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Vande Hoef says officials believe the bird flu virus will greatly slow down, or go away all together, once the weather warms up.
(sot) Vande Hoef2
Most of the reported bird flu cases have been from larger commercial size operations, But, Vande Hoef says the bird flu is also affecting smaller-sized backyard poultry operations.
(sot) Vande Hoef3
Sioux County is also reporting another case of the bird flu at a pullet operation. With the two new cases, that brings the total number of 52 cases for the state of Iowa. Agriculture officials have quarantined the premises. The Center of Disease Control says there is no risk to humans. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected, and there is no food safety risk for consumers.
State Fair Undecided Whether To Cancel Poultry Show
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - While several state fairs around the country are calling off poultry shows because of the Midwest bird flu outbreak, the Iowa State Fair is taking a wait-and-see approach.
Spokeswoman Mindy Williamson says officials are monitoring the bird flu outbreak and coordinating plans with the state veterinarian and other agriculture officials.
She says poultry show entries are not due until July 1 giving fair officials time to monitor the situation and make a decision.
Scientists say warmer weather and an end to wild waterfowl migration is likely to stop the virus spread.
Bird flu has affected more than 33 million birds in 15 states hitting Minnesota and Iowa turkey and chicken flocks hardest.
Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are among states to have canceled poultry shows at state fairs.
Area Schools Prepare For Graduation Ceremonies
(Le Mars) -- Commencement activities have been finalized for the Class of 2015, the 138th graduating class of Gehlen Catholic School. The week will conclude with Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 17, at 12:30pm, in the LeRoy Kellen Memorial Gym.
There will be 51 seniors that will graduate from Gehlen Catholic High School.
Due to the high academic caliber of this year’s graduating class, as determined by their Grade Point Average (GPA), Gehlen Catholic has five (5) Valedictorians and two (2) Salutatorians. They are:
o Michaela Bretey, daughter of Dr. Keith and Mrs. Teri Bretey of Le Mars;
o Aaron Britt, son of Mr. David Britt and Mrs. Tamie Britt, both of Le Mars;
o Nathan Klein, son of Mr. James and Mrs. Mary Klein of Le Mars;
o David Puhl, son of Mr. Nick and Mrs. Deb Puhl of Le Mars; and
o Ryan Stoll, son of Mr. Dan and Mrs. Betsy Stoll of Granville.
• Salutatorians include:
o Matthew Holzman, son of Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Mary Holzman of Alton, and
o Ashley Weber, daughter of Mr. Jeff and Mrs. Tracy Weber of Le Mars.
This year’s Commencement Speaker is former Gehlen Catholic Coach, Mr. Erv Whitehead of Le Mars.
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community High School will hold its Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 17th at 3:00 p.m. from the new High School gymnasium. This year, 167 seniors will receive their diplomas. Valedictorian speakers include: David Barker, Brett Marek, Ellen Meis, Peter Meis, Allison Perera, and Dayton Rand. Both Gehlen and Le Mars Community graduations will be broadcast on KLEM radio.
(Remsen) -- At Remsen, graduation ceremonies for Remsen-Union begin at 1:00 p.m. with 27 seniors, and across town at Remsen St. Mary's, their commencement ceremony is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. at the Vern, Dan, Joy Bunkers Memorial Gym. Remsen St. Mary's will have 24 graduating seniors. Guidance counselor Eric Huechen will serve as the speaker.
Siouix City Man Given Probation For Car Theft
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An 18-year-old has been given four years of probation and two suspended prison terms for car theft and setting a fire inside a vacant Sioux City apartment building last fall.
Dominique Whitebeaver was sentenced on Thursday in Woodbury County District Court. She'd pleaded guilty to arson and theft charges.
Court documents say Whitebeaver and another juvenile set fire to the building on Oct. 28. Firefighters also responded to a December blaze at the building. The building was demolished in March.
Des Moines Police Investigating Found Dead Body
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police are investigating the discovery of a body found in a home thought long abandoned.
A report filed Thursday says three people with the Neighborhood Finance Corporation went to the house on 37th Street after the organization had gained ownership. Taxes had not been paid and the owner wasn't seen for more than a year.
They found a body in extreme decomposition on a couch. Officers say the home appeared to be a hoarder house with stacks and piles of trash and boxes.
No foul play is suspected and an autopsy is planned.
The home was owned by Paul Jennett, who neighbors say never left the house and hadn't been seen in more than a year. Police say the most recent papers found were 3 years old.