Road trip to promote Iowa tourism

April 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

IOWA TOURISM “EPIC” ROAD TRIP: Officials with Iowa’s tourism industry Friday announced plans for an “epic Iowa trip” to promote the state’s attractions. Beginning next week, a specially wrapped motorcoach will travel nearly 2,100 miles promoting more than 60 tourism destinations in 33 counties and 46 communities. The effort — a partnership among the Central Iowa Tourism Region, Eastern Iowa Tourism Association, Western Iowa Tourism Region and the Iowa Tourism Office — is meant to showcase and recognize Iowa’s travel destinations. “Travel is big business in Iowa, as traveler spending here exceeds $7 billion annually,” Iowa Tourism Office Manager Shawna Lode said in promoting the May 2-10 effort. “This trip will highlight Iowa’s thousands of tourism destinations and the people who manage them. Along the way, we want to inspire people to choose Iowa as a vacation destination.” Highlights of the trip include the Market on Main in Ottumwa, Snake Alley in Burlington, Mount Vernon’s Chalk the Walk Festival, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott, Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy Farm in Hudson, Charles City’s Whitewater at Riverfront Park, Arnold’s Park in Okoboji, the Danish Windmill Welcome Center in Elk Horn and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs. Tourism in Iowa generates more than $7.6 billion in expenditures, employs 64,400 people statewide and accounts for $328 million in state taxes. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

MISSING PERSONS: 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 and missing person related news and statistics. The 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 Department of Public Safety’s 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 1-800-346-5507 or email at mpicinfo@dps.state.ia.us, according to Public Safety officials.

NATURAL GAS PRICES: 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 a year ago. The national average on Tuesday was $3.67 per gallon. Retail diesel fuel prices in Iowa rose 2 cents with a statewide average of $3.83 per gallon. One year ago, diesel prices averaged $3.76 in Iowa.

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 building was selected for exceeding its 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 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.

ARTS FELLOWSHIPS: The Iowa Arts Council is encouraging Iowans to submit applications for the Arts Fellowship Program and grant programs on or before May 1 via 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 impact the vitality of the arts in the state, demonstrate public value and support Iowa Arts Council funding priorities. For more information, visit www.iowaartscouncil.org.

WATER SUMMARY: Iowa received above-normal rainfall over the past two weeks; the statewide average was 2.3 inches compared to the normal 1.7 inches. Officials with the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship say, hoever, that more slow, steady rains are needed. Although shallow groundwater levels in southern central, eastern and northeastern Iowa have benefited 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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