Mahaska County shares county engineer

Mahaska County has been without a full time county engineer since last November, when Dave Shanahan resigned.  Since then, the County has shared the services of Monroe County Engineer Jeremiah Selby.  But at Monday’s (8/19) Mahaska County Board meeting, the Board voted to end its 28E agreement with Monroe County for Selby’s services and establish a 28E agreement with Keokuk County for their county engineer.  Mahaska County Board Chairman Mark Groenedyk explains.

“They’ve got a lot going on in Monroe County right now and his time is really being pressed in Monroe County. So he asked to be relieved of his duties here  So we’ve reached out to the Keokuk County Supervisors and Andrew, their county engineer.  They’re in favor of working with us and sharing an engineer for the time being until we can find an individual that’s a good fit for our county.”

Keokuk County Engineer Andrew McGuire’s availability to work for Mahaska County is expected to be approved by the Keokuk County Board.

Trump, Biden top State Fair straw poll

During the Iowa State Fair, you may have taken part in a straw poll for the 2020 Presidential race.  According to the final tally from Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, President Donald Trump got 96 percent support from Republicans, as well as 46 percent overall.  The Democrat side was much closer, with former Vice President Joe Biden edging Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 17.7 percent to 17.2 percent—a margin of ten votes.  More than four thousand people took part in the straw poll.

How big will the sports betting market be?


RADIO IOWA – Sports gambling got underway in Iowa Thursday at the casinos which are already cleared to take bets.

Iowa Gambling Treatment program manager, Eric Preuss , says there’s one big question about who will be making the bets. “Do we have a bunch of new players — or is it people who are already doing that activity themselves and saying ‘hey now it’s legal, I’m going to do it?,’” Preuss asks.

A recently completed survey on gambling showed many Iowans already have an interest in sports betting. “It’s about one in five adult Iowans — about 20 percent have wagered — either in a game of skill, an office pool, or sports betting, played fantasy sports, that type of thing. So, 430,000 Iowans have participated in these types of activities,” according to Preuss.

While the casinos are creating sports book areas on their properties — the bulk of the sports gambling is expected to happen through their online apps. Preuss says the online option is something that fits in with what is already taking place with technology.

“We all carry smartphones with us. We all play games that have in-app purchases,” Preuss says. “And any time that you have an in-app purchase opportunity, you have an opportunity of a gambling type behavior,” Preuss says. He says one area of concern is young people and their parents understand the difference between the games on their phone and sports gambling.

“When you see already the trends that are happening with the 18 and older crowd here in the state of Iowa and the in-app purchases they’re doing and how they’re video gaming and the things and the money that they are putting in their video gaming — it is this concern that parents might think it is a fun thing to do,” Preuss says. His says parents need to talk with kids and let them know sports gambling is the same as other forms of gambling and not legal for those under 21.

“It’s not appropriate for parents to buy lottery tickets for their kids. It’s not appropriate for parents to say ‘hey go place a bet on my phone,’” Preuss says. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved sports betting licenses for 18 of the 19 state-licensed casinos.

August 18, On This Day

In 2006 – Keith Urban’s “Once in a Lifetime” became the highest-ever debuting song on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart during the Broadcast Data Systems-era, ranking at #17 in its first week. “Lifetime” breaks the 10-month-old BDS-era standard set by “Good Ride Cowboy” by Garth Brooks.

Florida’s iconic palm trees threatened by invasive disease


DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s iconic palm trees are under attack from a fatal disease that turns them to dried crisps in months, with no chance for recovery once they become ill.

Spread by a rice-sized, plant-hopping insect, lethal bronzing has gone from a small infestation on Florida’s Gulf Coast to a nearly statewide problem in just over a decade. Tens of thousands of palm trees have died from the bacterial disease, and the pace of its spread is increasing, adding to environmental woes of a state already struggling to save its other arboreal icon, citrus trees, from two other diseases.

“Getting this disease under control is essential because it has the potential to drastically modify our landscape,” said Brian Bahder, an entomologist who studies insect-borne plant diseases and is a leader in the state’s battle against lethal bronzing.

If nothing is done, Bahder said, “I don’t think all the palm trees will die, but the issue we see will get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Lethal bronzing, which experts say likely originated in Mexico, also is found in parts of Texas and throughout the Caribbean. Some worry it will migrate to California and Arizona, infecting date palms and damaging that fruit crop. The disease has already heavily damaged Jamaica’s coconut plantations, and Brazil is taking preventive measures to avoid invasion.

Coincidentally — but conveniently — lethal bronzing is attacking palms right outside Bahder’s office at the University of Florida’s agriculture research station near Fort Lauderdale. Some are dying, some are dead. This gives him a lab to test ideas and make presentations, so he is not removing infected trees as recommended.

“To understand the disease, I need to watch it spread and see what it is doing,” said Bahder, an assistant professor with UF.

Lethal bronzing’s first Florida appearance came near Tampa in 2006, but it’s now found from the Keys in the south to Jacksonville in the north. The disease is transmitted solely by the haplaxius crudus, a tiny winged insect sometimes called the American palm cixiid or, generically, a treehopper. These specific treehoppers (there are other kinds) inject the bacteria through their saliva when feasting on the sap from a palm’s leaves. Any palm cixiid that later feeds from the tree will pick up the infection and pass the bacteria to more palms.

Genetic testing shows lethal bronzing likely originated in Mexico’s Yucatan region. Bahder’s hypothesis is that 2005′s Hurricane Wilma, which tracked from the Yucatan to Florida, or a storm with a similar path carried infected treehoppers across the gulf to Tampa. Those insects infected area palms, which infected native treehoppers. The disease spread when winds blew infected bugs to new territories or they hitched rides on vehicles. Bahder said the palm cixiid is particularly attracted to white cars.

To check the spread, the state agriculture department regularly inspects palm nurseries and certifies those found free of the disease. If infected trees are discovered, they’re destroyed and the nursery’s remaining trees are quarantined for at least six weeks. Calls to about a dozen palm tree farms around the state weren’t returned — Bahder said it is a problem owners don’t like to discuss publicly, fearing it will hurt business.

Eric Muecke, Tampa’s urban forestry manager, said the city has had success containing the disease by keeping its palms healthy and surrounding more susceptible palm varieties with trees that don’t attract the bacteria-spreading bugs.

“It’s not like it marches through a tree population — you don’t see one dead tree after another,” Muecke said. “It hops around; it’s pretty sporadic.”

Brent Gaffney, a Gainesville landscaper, said Bahder’s research is the state’s best hope for containing the disease, but only if he gets enough funding. Studies are underway on whether massive doses of antibiotics can save trees in the infection’s early stages.

After infected trees are removed, nearby palms need preventive antibiotic injections to halt the spread. Each injection costs $50 and loses effectiveness after three months: that makes injections before the disease is present too costly for most homeowners, businesses and municipal governments, Bahder said. Only high-end resorts that use mature palms to enhance ambience might consider injecting trees without a nearby infection, he said.

Lethal bronzing is sometimes called “Texas Phoenix palm decline” because it appeared in that state in the late 1970s, killing trees in the Rio Grande Valley around Brownsville. That state’s agriculture department says outbreaks today are infrequent and isolated. But Bahder said global warming is widening the threat.

“With increased human movement around the region and, especially, stronger weather patterns in regards to climate change, there are more possible routes for invasive insects,” Bahder said.

Statesmen volleyball prepare for season opener

By:  Joe Lancello

William Penn University’s volleyball team is getting ready to open their season this weekend.  A year ago, the Statesmen finished 19-15 overall, the most wins for the team since 2012.  Statesmen Coach Aleesha Cleaver was asked about the team’s strong points.

“I’m not sure yet. I think it’s going to be nice when we can finally play somebody other than ourselves and see how we match up.  We brought a lot of talent in and we have a lot of good pieces.  I think for us, it’s going to be figuring out who to put where and who stands out and who performs and is night in and night out being that player we need to contribute and who’s performing.”

The Statesmen return sophomore middle blocker Corrin Lepper, who was third team all-conference last season.  The Statesmen play four games Friday and Saturday (8/23 & 24) at a tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.  Their home opener will be the Wendy’s Invitational August 31 and September 1.

Osky City Council meets Monday

By: Joe Lancello

Monday night (8/19), the Oskaloosa City Council will vote on approving the layout for the Pear Tree Estates subdivision, and will also consider changing the city’s building permit requirement…so that you would need a permit for a structure 120 square feet or larger.  The current requirement is for a building 80 square feet or larger. Monday’s Oskaloosa City Council meeting starts at 6 at City Hall.

Osky football practice begins

By Joe Lancello

“It’s that fun time of the year again.  It’s hot and it’s August and we’re getting the ball rolling.”

Oskaloosa High football coach Jake Jenkins is glad to be back on the field as the Indians prepare for the 2019 season.  Last year, the Indians featured a wide open passing game with Cole Henry setting school records by throwing for over 2100 yards and 22 touchdowns.  The No Coast Network asked Jenkins if this year’s offense would be more of the same.

“Well, we always adjust to our personnel and that’s something I feel like you have to do as a coach.  So our offense is going to look a little different than it did with Cole Henry back there.  We have some good young quarterbacks that are really battling it out right now.  Really, each one has a different skill set.  It’ll be exciting to see who we give the nod or if it’ll be a couple of them.  Right now, they’re just fighting it out and yeah, there’s going to be a different offensive game plan for each one of them.  Defense will stay…it’s going to be very similar with a lot of new faces out there.  A lot of guys returning on the defensive line…a couple of good standout linebackers.  The secondary is pretty much all new, which should be interesting, but we have some guys that have stepped up big that are filling those roles.  I’m excited to see who will take those positions and….even our two-deep, who those guys are going to be.”

Oskaloosa opens its 2019 football season two weeks from Friday (8/30) at home against Pella Christian. Remember, you can hear Oskaloosa Indians football all season long on KBOE-FM and KBOE Radio dot com.


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