September 2, 2015

Iowans honored at Iowa State Fair with lifesaving awards

Larry "Buck" Koos shows off his scar.

Larry “Buck” Koos shows off his scar.

Nine Iowans and an Illinois man were honored today at the Iowa State Fair during the annual Governor’s Lifesaving Awards Ceremony.

Jackson County Supervisor Larry “Buck” Koos was recognized for his actions at a board meeting last September. A disgruntled resident, Francis Glaser, pulled a gun and fired in the direction of the county assessor. Koos then bear-hugged Glaser and wrestled him to the floor.

Another shot was fired, killing Glaser. “I wasn’t afraid at the time. I was actually pretty calm, surprisingly,” Koos said. “If you believe in divine intervention or whatever, someone had me using my whole body and my whole brain to do the right thing.”

Minutes after the incident, Koos admitted he wasn’t feeling as calm. “Well, you know, when it set in what had happened, that an individual was dead and that his plans probably were to do more than he got done…it set in that this was a pretty tragic event,” Koos said.

No one else was injured, except Koos, who badly cut his wrist on shattered glass that was on the floor from the first gunshot. “I’ve got some nerve damage that they tell me is not going to come back, but all in all, I’m happy to be standing here and my body is working just fine,” Koos said. During the ceremony, as the 56-year-old Koos posed for a picture with the governor, a child in the audience shouted, “way to go Grandpa!”

DPS Commissioner Roxann Ryan, Gov. Terry Branstad, Brett Johnson, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa State Patrol Colonel Michael Van Berkum (L-R)

DPS Commissioner Roxann Ryan, Gov. Terry Branstad, Brett Johnson, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa State Patrol Colonel Michael Van Berkum (L-R)

A young western Iowa man was also among those honored. Nineteen-year-old Brett Johnson of Anita is credited with saving the life of his friend, Zachary Thompson, in November of last year.

Thompson’s SUV left an ice-covered road south of Elk Horn and he was partially ejected from the vehicle. Johnson was driving by and ran to help his friend, who was choking.

Thompson’s sweatshirt was caught in the vehicle and around his neck. “I couldn’t recognize him from his face he was so purple,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t breathing and I couldn’t feel a heartbeat at that time.” Johnson was able to free Thompson from the sweatshirt and Thompson has since made a full recovery.

Here’s a synopsis of the award honorees and their heroic deeds

(prepared by Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Zachary Nelson — Outstanding Service — Des Moines, Iowa
When Zachary Nelson arrived home from work at 4:00 in the afternoon of January 9, 2015, he noticed smoke coming from the upper portion of his neighbor’s home. He knew that Darrel Chesmore lived there, and he knew that Mr. Chesmore needed a wheelchair, which meant he would need help to evacuate the home safely. Zachary ran into the home, assisted Mr. Chesmore into his wheelchair, moved Mr. Chesmore outdoors to safety, checked the home to be sure no one else was there, and gave Mr. Chesmore a blanket to help endure the 13-degree temperature until the fire department arrived.
Thanks to Zachary’s initiative and quick response, everyone was evacuated safely from the home.

Daniel Bohr and Jake Heisler — Lifesaving — Cresco, Iowa
Around 9:00 a.m. on March 17th, 2014, Brad Lodge was working construction in Lime Springs, when he collapsed. Workers nearby called 9-1-1, and rushed to assist. While Jake Heisler made his way down from scaffolding, Dan Bohr began chest compressions, and when Jake reached the ground, he took over for him.
First responders arrived on scene and took over lifesaving measures. The compressions continued while they readied the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Mr. Lodge did not respond to the first few AED shocks. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics immediately took him to the hospital as they continued their work. Mr. Lodge survived, thanks to the quick thinking of Daniel Bohr and Jake Heisler, who immediately began resuscitation attempts.

Brett Johnson — Lifesaving — Anita, Iowa
The roads were icy on November 15, 2014, when Zachary Thompson was driving his Chevy Trailblazer just south of Elk Horn. Mr. Thompson lost control of the vehicle on a patch of ice, and it slid down a steep ditch. He was partially ejected from the vehicle. When Brett Johnson saw the vehicle in the ditch, he immediately went to render aid, and could see that the driver was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The top of the hood was caught on the vehicle and the bottom of the hood was caught around Zachary’s neck, which prevented circulation. Brett moved quickly to remove that part of the hood and restore circulation. Thanks to his quick thinking and decisive action, Brett Johnson was able save the life of Zachary Thompson.

Renee Johnson – Camanche, Iowa, and Brian Shields – Albany, Illinois — Lifesaving
While he was fishing on the Mississippi River near Clinton/Camanche, around 4:00 p.m. on August 30, 2014, Robert Snowden’s dog, Shelby, fell overboard. When Mr. Snowden tried to rescue her in the strong current, he fell overboard as well. He held the dog in one hand and held onto the boat with the other hand, and the current took them downstream, where the boat lodged, and Mr. Snowden and his dog were pinned out of sight of others on the river. Fortunately, another group of boaters passing by noticed an unoccupied boat and then saw Mr. Snowden hanging on. Brian Shields was able to pull the group’s boat alongside Mr. Snowden’s. It took all three – Brian Shields, Renee Johnson, and off-duty police officer Dean Ottens – to pull Mr. Snowden and his dog Shelby into Brian’s boat. If not for the actions of these great citizens, Mr. Snowden likely would have succumbed to exhaustion and been pulled under the barge.

Michael Vandenberg — Lifesaving — West Burlington, Iowa
Randy Iserman was on his break at work at about 3:00 a.m. on November 8, 2014 when he became sick, and realized that he had a blockage in his airway. He tried to dislodge it on his own but could not do so. He summoned help from supervisor Michael Vandenberg, who quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver on Mr. Iserman. It successfully dislodged the object and Mr. Iserman could breathe again.

Scott Cherne – Guttenberg, Iowa, and Jeffrey Lincoln – Colesburg, Iowa — Lifesaving with Valor
Employees at the Elkader Veterinary Clinic were working on Scott Cherne’s farm, south west of Guttenberg, on a cold, clear morning on November 25, 2014. They called the clinic for some additional vaccines, and clinic employee Tiffany Mueller, headed to the Cherne Farm. When she had not arrived, Jeff Lincoln went to look for her. As he drove over a bridge not far from the farm, he noticed something odd in his rearview mirror. It was tire tracks leading off the roadway. Jeff quickly turned around and found a pickup upside down in the creek below the bridge. When he yelled down to the vehicle and heard nothing, he went back to the farm to call 9-1-1. He and Scott Cherne returned to the bridge and both entered chest deep water and tried to open the door to the partially submerged vehicle. They heard a faint cry for help. The men were able to bring a tractor and loader, and they hooked the chain onto the truck and lifted it out of the water. The water rushed from the cab of the vehicle, and they broke the window and pulled Ms. Mueller from the vehicle. She was taken by ambulance to the local hospital, with a core body temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. They estimated she had been submerged in the frigid water for 45-60 minutes. Ms. Mueller was later released from the hospital, fully recovered. Scott Cherne and Jeffrey Lincoln’s courageous and selfless acts saved the life of Tiffany Mueller.

Larry Koos — Lifesaving with Valor — La Motte, Iowa
The Jackson County Board of Supervisors had their usual meeting on September 9, 2014 at 10:50 a.m. Local resident Francis Glaser was on the agenda to address the Board regarding property tax concerns in an ongoing disagreement with the County. As the discussion became heated, one supervisor noticed that Mr. Glaser had a gun. County Assessor Deb Lane was the first target, and Mr. Glaser shot in her direction as she was leaving the room. Meanwhile Supervisor Larry Koos rushed toward Mr. Glaser, grabbed him from behind in a bear hug, and forced him to the ground near the door, which was covered with shattered glass from the first shot. Two other men also jumped onto Mr. Glaser. A second shot rang out, but this time, it killed Mr. Glaser. It also narrowly missed Larry Koos, who was holding Mr. Glaser down, and the broken glass on the floor caused serious cuts to Larry Koos’s wrist. There is no doubt that Supervisor Larry “Buck” Koos saved the lives of several people attending the Board of Supervisor’s meeting, along with employees, and innocent citizens conducting business at the court house. The actions Mr. Koos took that day were truly brave and taken without regard for his own life. His actions isolated the attacker to one room, and saved the lives of many that day.

Drivers in U-I study don’t understand technology used in their cars

Daniel McGehee, director of the UI’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division, demonstrates automatic parallel parking.

Daniel McGehee, director of the UI’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division, demonstrates automatic parallel parking.

A University of Iowa study finds many drivers don’t fully understand the life-saving technologies that are built into their own vehicles.

Dan McGehee, director of the U-I’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division, says he was surprised at the findings, which indicate many people are uncertain about safety features that have been standard on most cars for a generation.

“Some of the technologies, like anti-lock braking systems (ABS) or tire pressure monitoring systems, were something that we found people didn’t really understand,” McGehee says, “and ABS has been around for more than 20 years.”

The in-depth U-I survey quizzed more than 2,000 adult drivers across the United States. Features respondants -least- understood include adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, McGehee says, while they best understood back-up cameras, but even that option caused confusion.

“Every manufacturer has a different scale in terms of these little bars that show up in different colors,” McGehee says. “Some have predictive tracks of where you’re going to back up. The early days of the back-up camera, it was just that, but now, there are different features being added on there.” Back-up cameras can also be fouled by dirt or blinded by direct sunlight.

Other features studied include: blind spot monitors, forward collision warning systems and traction control. McGehee says the study made it clear, there’s a “tremendous need” to improve consumer understanding of critical safety features. The U-I is partnering with the National Safety Council to launch “My Car Does What,” a national campaign aimed at educating consumers about safety technologies and how they work.

“ is really a website that we put together to help educate the drivers and consumers out there about all the different, fantastic life-saving technologies that are coming out on cars,” McGehee says. “The survey was really a way for us to identify what features we should concentrate on.” The website includes educational videos and other information about safety features that help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of a crash. It’s part of a larger national education campaign set to launch this fall.

U-I photo by Justin Torner


Emerald ash borer moves west with possible human help

Iowa-EAB-Pos-Sites-(7)The Iowa Department of Agriculture and DNR have confirmed that Montgomery County is the 27th of Iowa’s 99 to be confirmed with an emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation.

It’s not news that invasive beetle continues to spread, but Ag Department EAB coordinator Mike Kintner says this is the farthest west the bug has been discovered. And he says the movement appears to be faster than what would normally be expected.

“There’s been a significant amount of detections down there along Highway 34. And of course that travels right through Red Oak, so you could kind of make the assumption that some this is attributed to human assisted movement — if not all of it at this point in time at least for those large jumps,” Kintner says. He says the emerald ash borer moves very slowly on its own, and the quarantines on the movement of firewood and other wood products have been designed to prevent that movement from picking up the pace.

“It’s a shame that it moved that far west, a lot of the finds have been in the eastern half of the state. But that time was bound to come,” Kintner says. Kintner says EAB has taken a back seat to other concerns this summer, but he says everyone should still remember that moving firewood is one of the key ways the pest gets spread. “All the EAB team members here in Iowa, we try to stress that fact, try to keep the firewood as local as possible. Keep it in your community and burn it where you buy it,” Kintner says. “Because you just don’t know what is going to hitch a ride — not only EAB — but there’s other concerning insects and diseases out there too that could travel by way of firewood.”

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The bug burrows under the bark of the tree and eventually destroys it. There are some treatments available if you want to protect your ash tree, but Kintner says you have to be aware of the timing of the treatment. “Generally speaking treatments can be done from spring until fall,” according to Kintner. “But you don’t want to push it too far into the fall. It’s best to consult if you are thinking about having hired help, consult with your arborists, ask those important questions and make sure that you can feel comfortable, and they can explain why they are treating and when they are treating.”

The EAB is a metallic green bug that is around one-half inch long. EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the top of a tree, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, and water sprouts along the trunk and main branches. Kintner says you should contact Iowa EAB Team members to have suspicious looking trees checked in counties not currently known to be infested.


Iowa Farm Bureau study details the impact of avian flu on egg prices and jobs in Iowa

chickensA study commissioned by the Iowa Farm Bureau shows it could take up to three years to see egg prices recover, and thousands of jobs could be lost from the impact of the avian flu outbreak.

Spencer Parkinson is the executive director of Decision Innovation Solutions of Urbandale, which conducted the study. “What we found was that about 8,400, 8,500 jobs would be impacted or lost as a result of the avian influenza outbreak. About $1.2 billion in lower output and about 425-427 million dollars in lower value added,” Parkinson says.

Some 34 million birds on 77 Iowa farms had to be destroyed after contracting the virus. Parkinson says the amount of time it takes to get the operations running again adds to the overall cost. He says they found that a lot of the laying hens would be out of service anywhere from one year to 18 months. The turkey producers have a 30 week turnaround to get back up and operating.

Parkinson says they did separate out the impact on the businesses that provide services to the poultry producers — the veterinarians, trucking companies, processors and lenders for example — that’s included in that $1.2 billion overall total . “As far as the ones that would be not part of just the farms — we’re talking about 2,500 jobs or so. And then as far as output that would be lost, it would be right around $570 million as far as what the indirect and induced impact would be from the outbreak itself,” according to Parkinson.

He says the number of jobs lost is based on the time it takes the operations to get back up and running, and their ability to keep employees from moving on. “In these areas where the outbreak has occurred, the unemployment rate is already lower than the state average — and so there’s plenty of jobs. And in some cases some of these employees that have been trained and retained over the last number of years, they are going to move on to some other work,” Parkinson explains. “So these farms are going to have to find new people.”

He says finding the new people to train and getting them to stay in the jobs once a facility is operating again will be a challenge. Another cost for the egg producers is filling the contracts they had in place when the outbreak hit. Parkinson says it is expensive to find the eggs to fill the orders. He says they are looking at using powdered eggs that go into pancake mixes and other things to fill their orders. “They are honoring their contracts and it’s becoming more difficult and of course those eggs are going to be bought at a premium. So, there’s additional implications in that route too,” Parkinson says.

Turkey producers are in a better situation compared to egg producers. “The reason for that is they are an all-in, all-out system, and it’s easier to recover from that because you are not trying to stagger the ages of your poultry,” Parkinson says. Parkinson says this outbreak had some key factors that have made it different from anything else his company has studied.

“I guess the closest would probably be the PEDV (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus) outbreak in the hog industry about a year-and-a-half or two ago. The interesting thing about this one though, is how fast it spread,” Parkinson says. “Within a couple of months, the Iowa layer industry lost half the layers — and that is something I have never seen on that scale — an industry losing half of their birds in just two-to-three months.” He says the hog industry’s return from their outbreak should offer some hope to poultry producers.

“We saw that they were able to recover and the price of pork has come down from what it was two or three years ago. And that’s a bright spot with the price of eggs being where they are now. We can expect the price of eggs to be elevated for a period of time, but they will eventually come down,” according to Parkinson. You can see the full report on the Iowa Farm Bureau website.

Accidents on Iowa waterways about the same as last year, fewer fatalities


Two people were thrown off their tube this past weekend when a rope broke as they were being pulled on the Mississippi River near Clinton.  One  suffered injuries when he hit some rocks.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says they are still investigating to determine if excessive speed or some other factors were involved.

Baskins says it has been a busy boating season, and relatively safe. “We have had 32 boating or vessel incidents so far this year. Unfortunately three of them have resulted in fatalities. If you look at 2014, we had seven fatalities and 32 incidents. In 2013 we had three fatalities and 24 incidents,” Baskins says. “But we are down from some years — if you go back to 2005 — we actually had 77 incidents that year and 10 fatalities.”

Baskins says one big key to preventing deaths in accidents on the water is something they talked about all the time. “The fact that everybody on board needs to have a proper fitting life jacket on. You never know when something is going to throw you in the water, and once that happens, it’s really too late to put on,” Baskins says. He says making sure you have enough distance and not going too fast is another safety tip.

Baskins says boaters also need to stay sober when they are driving the boat. “For instance, last year when we had seven fatalities on the water, 71 percent of those had alcohol related. You go back to 2013, it was 66 percent, 2012 it was 70 percent,” according to Baskins. “Certainly we are not saying people can’t have alcohol on the water. But they need to be conscious of how much they are having.”

There have been some heavy rains and high water at times this year, but Baskins says that hasn’t appeared to be a problem. “We haven’t had a lot of reports in terms of incidents of debris and hitting debris and stuff like that,” Baskins says. He says those are concerns you have with heavy rains, then you sometimes get debris washed into the water which can cause problems.

Baskins says 31-year-old Kurt Parker of Fulton, Illinois was the person injured in the accident Sunday on the Mississippi. Parker crashed into the shoreline after the tube’s tow rope broke and he was thrown on the shore and knocked unconscious. He was treated in Clinton for head injuries and later transferred to Iowa City where an injury report is not available.


Le Mars teen involved in fatal crash identified

Ambulance-genericPlymouth County authorities have now released the name of the victim in a fatal traffic accident Sunday near Le Mars. The accident victim has been identified as 16-year-old Zachary Rolfes of Le Mars.

Investigators say Rolfes crossed the centerline, and was hit by a semi truck and trailer. He was pronounced dead at the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars. The driver of the semi, 43-year-old Jon Edwards of Sibley suffered only minor injuries.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)


Teen from Le Mars dies in accident

Ambulance-genericA Le Mars 16-year-old was killed Sunday afternoon when his car collided with a semi near Le Mars. Apparently, the teen driver was driving a Honda Accord and was traveling north bound when the car swerved into the southbound lane of traffic and was struck by the truck.

The driver of the car was ejected from the vehicle and was transported to the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars where he was pronounced dead. Authorities are still investigating the accident to determine as to why the driver lost control and entered the southbound lane of travel. The name of the teen driver is being withheld pending the notification of family members. The driver of the semi is identified as 43-year-old Jon Edwards of Sibley. He was taken to the Floyd Valley Hospital with minor injuries.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)