DIGEST: Natural gas prices on the rise in Iowa

April 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

NATURAL GAS PRICES RISE IN IOWA: Natural Gas prices in Iowa were up 18 cents this week, closing at $4.75/MMbtu, according to data issued by the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Meanwhile, motor fuel prices stayed fairly steady. As of Tuesday, the price of regular unleaded gasoline averaged $3.60 a gallon across Iowa, according to AAA. That was down a penny from last week and up 20 cents a gallon from one year ago. The national average on Tuesday was $3.67 per gallon. Retail diesel fuel prices in Iowa rose two cents with a statewide average of $3.83 per gallon. One year ago diesel prices averaged $3.76 in Iowa.

MISSING PERSONS SITE LAUNCHED: The state Department of Public Safety’s Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse is launching a one-of-a-kind Facebook page. Officials say the new Facebook page will be used to publicize high-profile missing person cases, child safety education and prevention information, frequently asked questions, missing person related news and statistics. The new page also will serve as a way for law enforcement and the general public to report tips and submit questions to the Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse, which was established July 1, 1985. Housed within the DPS’ Division of Criminal Investigation, the clearinghouse assists in helping to locate missing persons through public awareness and cooperation as well as in educating law enforcement officers and the general public about the missing persons. Anyone with information about a missing person or persons can call the 24 hour, toll-free hotline at 800-346-5507 or email at mpicinfo@dps.state.ia.us, according to DPS officials.

STATE BUILDING GETS ENERGY AWARD: The Iowa Utilities Board-Office of Consumer Advocate building is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects COTE Top Plus green building award. The IUB-OCA building was selected for exceeding its already exemplary performance expectations for energy efficient design, innovation, community integration, land use, material use and construction, lifespan capabilities, feedback mechanisms, and responses to light, air, energy, and water concerns and use. In 2013, the state building also received LEED Platinum status. The building is currently consuming 16.7 Kilo British Thermal Units (kbtu) per square foot annually, which far exceeds the energy-saving design model of 28 kbtu per square foot each year. Additionally, rooftop solar panels are providing 25 percent of the building’s power needs or about double the 12.5 percent that was originally modeled. The building’s net energy consumption is exceeding a savings of 81 percent in comparison to the national office building average of 90 kbtu per square foot per year.

DOT COUNTING VEHICLES: The Iowa Department of Transportation is working across the state this spring and summer to determine how many cars, trucks, and other vehicles are using the state, county, and city roadways. This year’s efforts are concentrated in southeast Iowa, but occasionally crews will work elsewhere in the state. Many employees will spend peak hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at one location counting the morning, noon, and evening traffic. They count and classify vehicles, record vehicle turning movements, tally helmet usage by motorcyclists, and gather other data necessary to plan the future of Iowa’s roadway system. The information gathered allows transportation officials to better predict traffic trends.

MAY 1 DEADLINE: The Iowa Arts Council is encouraging Iowans to submit applications for the Arts Fellowship Program and grant programs on or before May 1 via IACs SlideRoom, an online application portal, at iowaartscouncil.slideroom.com. The fellowship program was created to partner with active Iowa artists who demonstrate exceptional creativity and the capacity to contribute to the excellence and innovation of the arts in Iowa. Fellows will receive $5,000 and work with a variety of crowd-funding sources to leverage additional promotional and monetary support for their work.

Artist Project Grants and Organization Project Grants create opportunities for the arts to flourish in Iowa by investing in projects that positively impact the vitality of the arts in the state, demonstrate public value, and support IAC funding priorities. For more information, visit www.iowaartscouncil.org.

STATE ISSUES WATER SUMMARY: Iowa received above-normal rainfall over the last two weeks — the statewide average was 2.3 inches compared to the normal 1.7 inches. However, officials with the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship say more slow, steady rains are needed. Although shallow groundwater levels in southern central, eastern and northeastern Iowa have benefitted from the rainfall, state officials say parts of southwest and northwest Iowa received very little rain and shallow groundwater levels are much lower than the previous April. Also, water supply operators in northwest Iowa are seeing reduced production, dropping water levels and historically low levels. For a more thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends March 27 through April 9, go to iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.

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