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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State News
  • Iowa State says data breach could affect thousands

    The Social Security numbers of nearly 30,000 people who enrolled at Iowa State University over a 17-year period were exposed in a data breach, school officials announced Tuesday.

    Five information technology servers on the Ames campus were hacked, and those servers contained the Social Security numbers of people who took certain classes at the school between 1995 and 2012, ISU officials said in a news release. There is no evidence that any of the personal files were accessed, the school said, and the records didn't contain student financial information.

    April 22, 2014

  • Iowa woman arrested after child falls from window

    A Manchester woman has been arrested after her toddler fell from a second-story apartment window.

    The Manchester Police Department says 27-year-old Stacy Neuhaus was arrested Monday in Iowa City. She faces charges of child endangerment. Court records do not list an attorney.

    April 22, 2014

  • House rejects Senate plan to reopen juvenile home

    The Iowa House has rejected a Senate amendment to the health and human services budget that would have reopened the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. The House action Tuesday morning sends the bill to a conference committee where members of both parties will work out the differences in the bill.

    The Senate Monday evening passed it along party lines with only Democratic support. The Republican-led House rejected it on a voice vote only.

    April 22, 2014

  • Bill proposes new state hiring, firing practices

    The Senate Government Oversight Committee is proposing a bill that would make sweeping changes in some state government practices.

    The bill would make all personnel settlement agreements subject to review by the attorney general, prohibits confidentiality provisions, and posts all agreements on a state website.

    April 22, 2014

  • Session continues but expense payments stop

    Iowa lawmakers have work to complete before adjournment, but they'll be finishing up without daily payments for their expenses.

    The session has no specific end date, but Tuesday, the 100th day of the session, marks the last day lawmakers will receive their per diem payments. Pages will be sent home and Capitol staff will be reduced, but lawmakers must stick around to wrap up budget bills and finish work on other measures.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fort Madison plans big increase in sewer rates FORT MADISON (AP) -- Sewer rates are going to soar in Fort Madison as the southeast Iowa city makes required changes to its sewer system. The Daily Democrat reports the City Council last week approved a 27 percent rate increase, effective June 1. Cou

    April 22, 2014

  • Quinn's taxes show little change from year before

    Gov. Pat Quinn has released 2013 income tax returns showing he earned roughly the same as previous years and donated a little more to charity than 2012.

    The handwritten returns released Monday show he made a salary of $161,962 and a taxable refund of $1,508. In 2012, he earned $160,421 and a taxable refund of $1,203.

    April 21, 2014

  • Des Moines police identify teen killed by train

    Des Moines police have identified a teenager who died while trying to climb aboard a slow-moving freight train.

    Police announced Monday that 18-year-old Phillip Tyshawn Simmons died in the early morning accident.

    Officers were called to a crossing on the city's east side at 1:18 a.m. and determined that a teen had been waiting with friends at a rail crossing. The teen tried to climb onto the train, possibly to cross to the other side.

    April 21, 2014

  • State auditor investigating secret settlements

    Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman said Monday she is conducting an audit of confidential, secret employee settlements that have troubled Gov. Terry Branstad's administration for more than a month.

    State Sen. Jack Hatch, a Democrat who's running for governor, asked Mosiman on April 8 for an audit.

    Mosiman responded in a letter, saying she began to review the settlement agreements the day after her office learned of them in March. She also said her office is working to identify anything improper or inappropriate, and she'll issue a public report when the investigation ends.

    April 21, 2014

  • USDA establishes rural business investment program

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related business in rural areas with cash needed to expand.

    Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in Cedar Rapids the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to increase business opportunities.

    April 21, 2014

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