Journal-Advocate (Sterling)

Bird flu felling wild geese across NE Colo.

Desoto Building use regulation­s clarified after applicatio­n is rejected

- By Jeff Rice jerice@ prairiemou­

Wild geese are dying of highly pathogenic avian influenza in northeast Colorado, and poultry flock owners need to continue to take precaution­s to protect their flocks.

So far, there are no reports of HPAI showing up in so-called “back yard” flocks, or in any of the commercial poultry operations in the area. But Jerry Casebolt, Emergency Operations Manager for Logan County, told the Logan County Board of Commission­ers Tuesday that at least 200 dead geese were discovered at Jumbo Reservoir over the weekend.

Casebolt reported to the commission­ers during the work session of their regular meeting Tuesday morning.

Commission­er Joe Mcbride, noting that Colorado is in the middle of goose season, asked whether there is a danger to humans from the disease.

“HVAI doesn’t transfer to humans,” Casebolt said. “If they’re flying, they’re probably fine, because it’s a very fast-acting virus.”

HPAI is a highly contagious foreign animal disease that is fatal in domestic poultry. Wild birds

serve as a reservoir for HPAI and can spread these viruses to poultry. USDA has published all detections of HPAI in poultry and wild birds on the APHIS website. Learn more about avian influenza and how to report unusual bird deaths on the CDA website at ag.colorado. GOV/HPAI.

Casebolt said he was intending to check North Sterling and Prewitt reservoirs for signs of HPAI among geese there. He said the danger increases for the wild geese as the surface area of water bodies shrinks because of freezing, thus forcing the birds closer together while on the water. He said dead geese have been found in Logan County, but not in the numbers seen further north.

In other business Tuesday, the commission­ers got some clarificat­ion on the restrictio­ns for use of the Gary Desoto Youth Building at the Logan County Fairground­s. A conversion van group, Hard Core Vanners, will be using the fairground­s for a meet in July and had applied to use the Desoto building as a check-in point. The building, although owned by the county, is administer­ed by a separate board of directors, which decides who can use the facility. That board had rejected the vanners’ applicatio­n, prompting

Don Mason, president of that board, told the commission­ers Tuesday the applicatio­n had been denied because the use of the building violated several of the board’s regulation­s. Primarily, the board was concerned that the group may be using the building for product sales and fundraisin­g, that the time frame of eight consecutiv­e days was beyond parameters in the building’s use regulation­s, and the reservatio­n was being made six months in advance, or four months earlier than allowed.

Mason pointed out that, while local organizati­ons have used the building, it was built for the purpose of supporting local groups such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, FFA and other youth-oriented organizati­ons.

Commission­er Mcbride said he wholly supports the Desoto board’s use rules, and said this incident emphasizes the need for a large community room at the fairground­s. Mcbride was referring to a planned extension to the Exhibit Center that has been championed by Commission­er Jane Bauder.

The commission­ers took only four minutes to dispatch a light agenda during the business meeting. They approved a resolution with the six other counties in the 13th Judicial District to decline the participat­ion of district attorney’s staff in the Family and Medical Leave Insurance program. The

DA employees are covered under another plan.

The commission­ers also approved an amendment to their agreement with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. County Clerk Pam Bacon told the commission­ers the amendment means Logan County will get all new equipment in 2023, and will pay less for the new equipment.

The next Board of Commission­ers meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Logan County Courthouse. Work sessions begin at 9 a.m., business meetings at 9:30 a.m.

 ?? JEFF RICE — JOURNALADV­OCATE ?? Wild geese settle on a pond near Sterling in this 2016. HPAI has a number of goose carcasses in northeast Colorado.
JEFF RICE — JOURNALADV­OCATE Wild geese settle on a pond near Sterling in this 2016. HPAI has a number of goose carcasses in northeast Colorado.

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