The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

State News

January 7, 2014

Bitterly cold weather exposes unsafe practices to stay warm

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cold weather is nothing new for Alliant Energy customers. Even so, the forecasted temperatures this week are a little extreme, so Alliant Energy reminds customers about some common safety tips to help keep customers warm and safe during the cold stretch.

The threat of carbon monoxide poisoning is typically highest in the winter, even more so when the temperatures dip so low. Exposure to carbon monoxide happens when heating equipment malfunctions. It’s important to know CO is a deadly, odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Only a special CO detector can alert you of a problem. These detectors should be installed on every floor of a home or business, and especially near bedrooms.

“Because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu without a fever, victims often don’t realize the cause of their illness,” said Richard Sublett, Senior Manager of Natural Gas Compliance and Operational Performance. “Headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion and shortness of breath are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have these symptoms after being in an enclosed area, get fresh air immediately and seek medical attention. Be sure to tell your doctor that you may have CO poisoning.”

CO can also fill your home if you warm your car up in the garage, or even halfway outside the garage. Commonly the exhaust containing carbon monoxide fills the garage and doesn’t dissipate, forcing it into the home.

Don’t use a cooking stove or a grill, either gas or charcoal, to provide heat in a home, garage, or fishing shack. Do not use a fuel-burning space heater in an enclosed space without proper venting.

Make sure your natural gas appliances or equipment are installed, maintained and used properly and safely. Throughout the year, regularly clean or replace filters in your furnace or space heater. With a furnace and water heater running overtime, condensation can form ice and block the vents located on the top or side of your home. Chimneys and sidewall vents must be clear to allow proper venting, which prevents accumulation of carbon monoxide or equipment malfunction.

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    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead

    The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

    The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

    April 19, 2014

  • Ill. GOP officials who wanted Brady out replaced

    A crop of Republican officials who wanted to oust former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady for his statements supporting same-sex marriage have been replaced in their party positions.

    Illinois Republicans across the state held elections for all 18 state central committee member posts this week, replacing six of the seven officials who signed on to a letter last year to hold a vote on removing Brady as chairman. The seventh person to sign the letter, Mark Shaw of the 10th Congressional District, was re-elected to a four-year term.

    April 19, 2014

  • Iowa gets nearly $72M in yearly tobacco payment

    Iowa received $71 million this week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs.

    The Iowa Attorney General's Office says that since 1999, the state has received more than $960 million in tobacco payments.

    April 19, 2014

  • U of I burn center sees jump in ammonia burns

    The University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center is reporting a higher-than-normal number of patients suffering from anhydrous ammonia burns.

    The center says it has treated five people in the last two weeks. The center's medical personnel say they usually only see one or two cases each year. Official say the high number of patients in such a short amount of time is concerning.

    April 19, 2014

  • Officials announce plan for Microsoft data center WEST DES MOINES -- Microsoft will begin construction on a new data center in West Des Moines, state and local officials announced Friday, bringing the company's total investment in Iowa to nearly $2 billion, the largest in the state to date. Gov. Ter

    April 19, 2014

  • Blagojevich campaign account donates final dollars

    A federal campaign account for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now empty, two years into the Chicago Democrat's prison term.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports Friends of Rod Blagojevich donated $709.85 to a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery earlier this month.

    April 18, 2014

  • GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library

    A Republican lawmaker is protesting after an Illinois House committee recorded a 9-0 vote to commit $100 million for President Barack Obama's library and museum, even though the committee's four GOP members weren't there.

    Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein says he didn't expect a vote during Thursday's hearing. He told WBEZ radio and the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald he would've voted no.

    Sullivan says "the legacy of the Obama presidential library shouldn't be kicked off in a cloud of controversy."

    April 18, 2014

  • Prosecutor says 6 felon voting cases will proceed

    A prosecutor pursuing several cases against felons charged with voting illegally says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling shouldn't impact them.Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Linda Fangman said Thursday the prosecutions will "proceed as is," despite Tuesday's ruling suggesting that not all felons lose their voting rights. She's handling felony election misconduct cases against six offenders accused of voting in the 2012 election even though they lost their rights. A seventh may plead guilty Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Iowa's unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

    Iowa's unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent in March as more people entered the labor force.

    Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday the rate was up from 4.4 percent in February. It compared to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March 2013.

    April 18, 2014

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