UI’s new residency will have an environmental focus

Occupancy sensor. Photo by dianaHT, Flickr.

The University of Iowa’s first new residence hall in over four decades will include a number of environmental amenities.

The residence hall’s outlets will shut off power when not in use and occupancy sensors will adjust lighting and temperature in unoccupied rooms.

This new building should open in the fall of 2015, and it’s expected to house 501 students.

Read more from KCRG here.

Warm weather brings the ticks out early in Iowa

Photo by John Tann, Flickr.

Stories continue to come out about how Iowa’s unusually warm winter affected our environment. Now, it is being reported that ticks have showed up in Iowa earlier than normal.

Typically, ticks do not start appearing until May or June, but already people have noticed the insects on their pets and on themselves.

This means that people will have to start watching out for ticks, since no one wants to get Lyme disease. Precautions include checking pets and children for ticks after they come inside, and making sure your skin is well covered when outdoors.

The most common spots ticks latch onto are the scalp and folded areas of the skin.

For more information, check out an article from KCRG here.

Flooding around Dubuque County

Photo by cdedbdme, Flickr

A downpour of rain that started Wednesday afternoon has left Dubuque County scrambling to prevent flooding damage. The rain total exceeded 13 inches over the past day, flooding homes and streets. KCRG reports that the rain may continue till the end of Thursday:

City officials report that 13-15 inches of rain has fallen in Dubuque since Wednesday afternoon. Dubuque Public Works Director Don Vogt tells KCRG-TV9 that is in his 36-years in Dubuque, he has never seen flooding of this magnitude. Overnight, the Dubuque Fire Department called in every available employee to help respond to emergency calls, according to fire chief Dan Brown. Chief Brown says that the department’s resources were stretched thin due to the flooding and responding to two fires. Continue reading

Blairstown dairy farm spills manure into Coon Creek

Photo courtesy of thegazette.com

Last Thursday an estimated 100,000 gallons of manure spilled out of a dairy farm near Blairstown into Coon Creek. This accident occurred when a contractor at Cedar Valley Farms punctured a manure transfer pipe. Although Coon Creek flows into the Iowa River, KCRG reports that it’s unlikely that the river will experience significant contamination:

Paul Sleeper, a DNR fishery biologist, said he will have to wait for the water to clear up more before he can tally up the number of fish killed. But he did visit the area where that creek tributary flows into the Iowa River near Marengo.

“We did go down there this (Friday) morning where it dumps into the Iowa River. At this time, we don’t see any impact. The Iowa River has a pretty good flow right now so we don’t anticipate any problems with that,” Sleeper said. Continue reading