Archive for  March 27th 2019

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DES MOINES, Iowa –On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate voted to make all automated traffic cameras a thing of the past, but that makes the revenue they generate a thing of the past as well.

But how much do they bring in? And where does the money end up?

Fiscal year 2016 was the last time all of the speed and red-light cameras were turned on for an entire year. In that year the total revenue was a little over $4 million.  The city got to keep about $2.4 million of that, and the approximately $1.6 million left over went to the company who operates the cameras. The city’s portion becomes earmarked for public safety use only.

“If the police department needs a piece of equipment or we need some training, same thing would apply to the fire department or EMS. I think you could probably make an argument that if we needed to improve lighting in a park as a part of a public safety issue, it could be used in that fashion also,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Currently, the money is being put toward a $12 million state-of-the-art communication system for the police department. The system will allow police to more easily communicate with other state emergency agencies. Des Moines Police says that need isn’t going to change, but what might change is who foots the bill.

“People think the police department is making a lot of money off this. What’s happening is the burden on the taxpayers being relieved significantly as expenses go up. We’re not building a pool out in the back parking lot, this is for the benefit of the city,” said Parizek.

Some drivers say they are torn over the cameras and the revenue they provide.

“I want that, but I also want to be able to speed if I want to. I think that they’re there for a good reason although I, like many other people, don’t like them being there,” said Dawn Voelker.

Others like them less so.

“They can go away, they can go away and I’m pretty sure most of the city can agree with it too,” said Ryan Stimple.

Meanwhile, the Iowa House is considering a separate traffic camera bill which would heavily regulate the cameras, but not outlaw them wholesale. In that version of the bill, the money would also be allowed to go to road improvement.

ALTOONA, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture has confirmed a highly contagious virus in a horse barn in Altoona.

Equine Herpes Virus or EHV-1 can be fatal to horses and can easily spread from one horse to another through humans and even inanimate objects. It’s not a threat to humans or other animals, but it can be deadly to horses.

Now, state veterinarians are issuing a quarantine to try and prevent an outbreak.

“That’s why we implement a quarantine,” state veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand said. “[The facility] is also monitoring all the horses twice a day for any other clinical signs. We would take the next steps if a horse shows clinical signs. We would test that horse and determine if that horse might be affected also.”

The horse was boarded at the Pine Hollow Stables in Altoona. The state veterinarian says no other horses at the stable are infected as of Monday afternoon, but the quarantine is still necessary until they are sure the virus isn’t spreading.

The horse owner, Heather Otis, says the infected horse, Rowdy, went from perfectly fine to nearly dead in a matter of hours. She sent Channel 13 a video of Rowdy unable to get up. He ended up having to be euthanized.

“He’s never been transported like this whole year so it wasn’t like he went somewhere and contacted this,” Otis said. “I don’t want to point fingers because I don’t have a finger to point to really, but that’s not going to bring him back.”

Dr. Kaisand says it’s important for all horse owners and the Altoona horse barn to take precautions and use biosecurity to prevent an outbreak.

“It could’ve come in different ways,” Dr. Kaisand said. “It could’ve come in from a different horse or it could’ve been in the horse for a long time, but in order to make sure, we are being cautious and it doesn’t spread to other horses. That’s why we quarantine the facility, monitor horses in case they’ve been exposed and may show clinical signs and leave and go expose other horses.”

There is a horse fair put on by the Iowa Horse Council set for this weekend at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. We spoke with President David Beary who says the event is still on after speaking with Dr. Kaisand and other vets confirming there is no increased risk at this time. One horse was asked to not attend the event, since it was determined it may have been in contact with the infected horse.

 

Beary says it’s standard procedure for them to have a vet on the fair grounds for the horse fair, and that will not change this weekend. Also, like always, all horses that come to the fair must have health papers present.