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Special Road Embargo To Continue

By Staff | Sep 10, 2015

Representatives from Daybreak Foods were on hand at the regular meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday September 8, to discuss the possibility of keeping road embargos in place through the Fall near their poultry farm east of Graetttinger.

“We are asking that Palo Alto County keep the road embargo through the Fall to see what will happen with the Avian Flu. We just aren’t sure we are out of the woods yet. I don’t believe there is a Governor’s proclamation at this time and there are no active cases of Bird Flu in Iowa right now. This is purely precautionary,” explained Brett Pickar, Manager of the Graettinger location of Daybreak Foods.

“Basically what the embargo did was to restrict poultry product movement past the business. I received no complaints but did get a few questions. Once the questions were answered, that was the end of it,” Palo Alto County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Hunefeld said.

‘I had one complaint from a farmer by West Bend, but I don’t think it had anything to do with poultry,” Supervisor Keith Wirtz commented.

“Without a Governor’s proclamation, I do have a concern about keeping roads closed, but I would have no problem with the embargo continuing,” County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth stated.

“Keeping the signs in place through the fall won’t hurt since they are still don’t know how it was transferred,” Hunefeld said.

“Farm sites infected and those not infected have been interviewed and no solid conclusions have been determined as to the cause of the bird flu,” commented Julia Rolston, a representative of Daybreak Foods.

“If possible, maybe someone could look at the sign to the west of our farm. It is after the corner and if possible be moved to before the corner,” Pickar said.

“Is there a possibility that an extra sign could be put in warning of the embargo coming up?” asked Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

“The signs come from the Department of Transportation at no charge so it can definitely be checked into,” Hunefeld said.

“I think that it is great that you guys were able to survive this outbreak,” commented Supervisor Chair Craig Merrill.

“We are worried about the dust in the air once harvest starts. They really don’t know how the bird flu spread but if you look at once the crops came in this spring, the soil got firmer and the dust settled, it seemed like this virus went away. Like I said, this is strictly precautionary,” Pickar said.

“What about the manure?” Supervisor Linus Solberg asked.

“It really wouldn’t be fair to tell our neighbors that they cannot spread poultry manure from another producer. We compost the manure produced before spreading,” Pickar said.

The supervisors agreed to leave the embargo signs in place through the Fall and also agreed to adding or moving a sign as suggested.

In other Secondary Road matters, the resignation of equipment operator Andy Barnes was accepted. Barnes is the second long-time employee of the department to resign, joining equipment operator Ron Soenen, who submitted his resignation late last month.

Davis-Oeth presented a utility permit application from Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative for the installation of 2000 feet of new overhead line in Booth Township Sections One and 12, which was approved unanimously.

Davis-Oeth also requested board approval in awarding the contracts for the two bridge replacement projects after bids were submitted last week. After double-checking figures for Bridge EB27 and WB77, Merryman Bridge Construction of Algona submitted the lowest bids at $198,963 and $183,560 respectively. The Supervisors approved the awarding of both contracts on a unanimous vote.

Addressing a road concern brought to the Supervisors in late August, Davis-Oeth reported back on the issue.

“I have also talked more with farmer Mike Kollasch regarding concerns about 400 Street in Fern Valley Township. The plan is to bring out crushed concrete to strengthen and build up the road for about a mile and a half, and then next year do a full regrade for two to three miles. This will hopefully correct any issues going forward,” Davis-Oeth said.

“That’s great. I also wanted to let you know that I have had calls saying the intersections are much better,” Solberg said.

“I’ve also had a couple,” Supervisor Ed Noonan commented.

The board approved the hiring of Donny Joyce of Emmetsburg as a full-time jailer at the Palo Alto County Jail. Joyce began his duties Sept. 8 at a salary of $14.71 per hour.

In other business, Palo Alto Zoning Administrator Joe Neary presented the Board with a conditional use permit to Tom Brown of J2K, LLC to construct one hog-finishing barn in Section 20 of Walnut Township. After ensuring that all guidelines, including the Good Neighbor Policy had been complied with, the permit was approved on a unanimous vote.

Unanimous approval was also given for Griggs Environmental Stratetgies Inc. to provide a bid for wetland investigation services for Drainage District 28. The purpose is to perform wetland investigation activities consisting specifically of jurisdictional wetland determinations and delineations.

And in final action, the board accepted a drainage petition filed by Richard Nelson requesting a study in Drainage District 64, with Rick Hopper, Drainage Engineer of Jacobson-Westergard & Associates of Estherville, being appointed by the board to conduct the study.