Secretary Vilsack announces voluntary water quality program for MN farmers

Photo by Simone Ellsworth; Flickr

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, former governor of Iowa, has launched an experimental program in Minnesota to provide farmers with protection from increased regulation. In return, the farmers will adopt environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Continue reading

Heat wave sweeps across the Midwest

It’s hot out there, folks.  And temperatures are hitting remarkable levels all over Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. 

Check out this coverage from Weather Underground and a map of Thursday’s heat forecast below.

Map courtesy of Weather Underground

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New Kwik Trips wired for electric car charging

Photo by Kara Allyson, Flickr

The new Kwik Trip gas stations being added in Northeast Iowa will have a new service to provide for their customers – electric outlets for charging cars.

The gas station chain plans on adding outlets at 25 stores in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin so far in an attempt to catapault the chain into the future.

Midwest Energy News reports:

A convenience store chain is installing free electric vehicle charging stations at stores in three Midwest states. But will the stations – essentially standard household outlets with a sign attached – really make a difference?

The family-owned Kwik Trip chain is installing the stations at all its new stores, a total of 25 so far in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. But the outlets only provide 110 volts, which, charging for the few minutes it takes to grab coffee and use the bathroom, would barely get someone out of the parking lot and down the block. Charging for an hour at that voltage might allow a typical electric vehicle to run three to five miles.

Kwik Trip officials and electric vehicle proponents acknowledge the limitations, but say the charging stations are a significant symbolic move and also lay the groundwork for more powerful charging stations in the future. With the infrastructure laid for 110-volt stations, Kwik Trip spokesman Dave Ring said, the company can more easily upgrade the stations to higher voltage if demand increases. Continue reading