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October 2021

Don’t trash your pumpkins, compost them!

Jack o lanternWhen your Halloween pumpkin begins to decay and the holiday is over, remember to toss your jack-o'-lantern in the compost, not in your trash!

The City of Iowa City’s organics (yard and food waste) program accepts pumpkins. Here's the proper way to compost your pumpkins or seasonal gourds through the City:

  • Remove any candles or lights from inside your pumpkin.
  • Place it in your yellow-lid organics cart or in a paper yard waste bag (bag weight limit is 50 pounds).
    • Note: As of July 1, 2021, personal 20-35 gallon containers are no longer accepted as a container option.
  • Set cart and/or paper yard waste bags at the curb for collection on your normal service day.

Johnson County residents who do not receive curbside services can bring their pumpkins, at no cost, to the City's compost facility located at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave SW. 

For more information, visit icgov.org/organics, or call 319-887-6110.


Paddlers Invited to Practice at Bender Pool

Cedar Rapids, IA – The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department in cooperation with Linn County Conservation is offering kayakers and canoeists a chance to practice their skills such as strokes, rolls, and safety and rescue moves in the controlled environment at Bender Pool, 940 14th Avenue SE. Drop-in pool sessions for paddlers, ages 10 and up, are being offered from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the following Sundays: November 14, December 5 and 19, January 9 and 23, and February 6 and 20. The sessions are practices, not lessons, but experienced paddlers will be available to help. The fee is $10 per person per visit. No advance registration is required. 

Participants must bring their own equipment, including kayaks or canoes, and wear proper swim attire and clean life jackets. A helmet is required for those practicing rolls. The kayaks or canoes must be rinsed, inside and out, before they can be placed in the pool. A hose is available just inside the door. Youth must be supervised by an adult. 

For more information, call Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation, (319) 286-5566.


City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County Launch Joint ARPA Application Process

LINN COUNTY, IA – The City of Cedar Rapids and Linn County have launched a joint application process for the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. ARPA funding is designed to help eligible state and local governments respond to the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and help our communities recover.

This cooperative effort between Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids simplifies the process for applicants because they only need to apply once using the joint application. Applications will be accepted from organizations wishing to utilize this funding for projects or services and submissions will be routed electronically to either the City or Linn County for review. City and Linn County staff will review proposals and collaborate on those projects within the City of Cedar Rapids. This will help ensure the most effective use of funds and allows for projects that address the broad scope of community needs.   

“We are extremely appreciative to have this funding available to help us address many important needs in our community,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart. “This joint application process will make it easy for organizations to apply, and for the City and County to work together to use the ARPA funds to achieve the greatest impact for residents.”

“This has been an impressive collaboration between Linn County and the City of Cedar Rapids. The ARPA funding is a massive infusion of capital resources into our community, and our staffs have worked together seamlessly to create a joint application for the benefit of the entire county,” said Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker.

The online application is available at www.CR-LinnARPA.org or by links through both the City and Linn County websites. Applications for this funding are due by noon on January 7, 2022.


Dawn of new era for MidAmerican Energy: solar projects coming online

3-MW Waterloo array will be the first utility-scale solar project for the company; more nearing completion

DES MOINES, Iowa – Helping to mark American Clean Power Week, MidAmerican Energy is taking the final steps to flip the switch at the company’s first utility-scale solar energy project, located in Waterloo.

This ushers in a new era for MidAmerican’s renewable portfolio – and for its customers – since the Waterloo solar project and others coming online later this year will expand the company’s renewable energy mix in Iowa.

In mid-November, MidAmerican will power-up the 3-megawatt Waterloo solar project, comprised of nearly 10,000 solar panels, northeast of West Airline Highway and Burton Avenue. The array has the capacity to serve nearly 650 average Iowa homes.

“As we place more solar projects online over the next few months and years, they will boost the amount of clean, renewable energy we can provide to our customers. And we’re doing it while also keeping our rates here in Iowa affordable – currently the 11th lowest in the nation,” Mike Fehr, senior vice president of renewable generation and compliance at MidAmerican, said.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in delivering renewable energy to our customers, but that’s not where the road ends. MidAmerican is striving to reach a net-zero future,” Fehr said. “We will continue to find ways to decarbonize our portfolio in a manner our customers can afford, our regulators will allow and technology advances support.”

MidAmerican’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, Fehr noted, include adding renewable generation, investigating additional non-carbon generation technologies such as increasing nuclear generation, advancing transmission infrastructure to expand non-carbon resource generation and access, and exploring energy storage opportunities.

MidAmerican adding 61-megawatts of solar in 2021
In addition to the Waterloo solar array, MidAmerican plans to have solar projects online this year, including the 3-MW Hills solar project near Iowa City, 4-MW Neal solar project near Sioux City, 7-MW Franklin solar project in Franklin County, 24-MW Arbor Hill solar project in Adair County and 20-MW at the Holliday Creek solar project in Webster County. The company will add another 80-MW at Holliday Creek next year.

GreenAdvantage program
In 2020, MidAmerican delivered 83.6% of the energy its Iowa customers used from renewable resources, according to the Iowa Utilities Board’s verification of company data. While that has mainly come from wind energy, solar arrays now being built will add to that percentage in the future.


Through MidAmerican’s GreenAdvantage program, the company enables all Iowa customers to claim a verified amount of renewable energy at no additional charge, helping customers meet sustainability goals.

Last year, MidAmerican helped Iowa lead the nation in the percentage of electricity generated by wind energy, which was nearly 60% statewide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

Renewable energy technicians: two of the top three fastest-growing jobs
With MidAmerican adding utility-scale solar projects this year on top of its expansive and growing wind energy fleet that employs hundreds across Iowa, the company is expanding the state’s workforce in two of the nation’s fastest-growing job fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing job in the nation and a solar photovoltaic installer is now third.

About MidAmerican Energy
MidAmerican Energy, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves 795,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 774,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at midamericanenergy.com and company social media channels.


Cedar Rapids Police Department’s K9 Elo to get donation of body armor

K9 UnitCEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Cedar Rapids Police Department’s K9 Elo will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.  K9 Elo’s vest is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and will be embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.”  Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified.  Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,415 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations. 

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies.  K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate.  There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest.  Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty.  For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978.  Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.  


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Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory Lifted

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The City of Cedar Rapids is lifting the precautionary water advisory for all customers in the NW quadrant previously affected. Final testing confirmed water is safe for personal consumption. 

Results of bacteria sampling and chlorine monitoring revealed all testing parameters are within normal limits and confirmed that the water is safe for consumption. 

Affected Residents are Reminded to Flush Internal Plumbing

Any time water service is impacted by a brief outage, it is always a good idea to flush internal plumbing in a home or business. There may be air in the line, or a cloudiness in the water associated with increased turbidity. These symptoms are expected, and the water has been confirmed safe to drink.

Steps to clear the water:

  • Run cold water after an outage through a faucet that does not have an aerator screen. Bathtubs and hose bibs are good candidates.
  • Open faucets slowly to allow the air to escape. Air will make a spurting or hissing sound as it escapes through the faucet.
  • Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run for up to five minutes to ensure the service line is thoroughly flushed. The first water may be cloudy due to air in the water or particles that dislodge as the pipes fill with water. The cloudiness should clear fairly quickly.
  • It may take up to 48 hours for the turbidity to settle down once the system is restored to normal configuration. Continue to run cold water through a faucet daily until these symptoms go away.

If kitchen or bathroom faucets do not perform normally following a water outage, it may be necessary to remove the aerator screen. Typically, the aerator can simply be unscrewed from the faucet. Inspect the screen for small particles and rinse away any you find. Reinstall the aerator and test performance of the faucet again. If you experience difficulties, such as low pressure throughout the house following a water outage, call Utilities Water Division at 319-286-5900 for assistance during regular business hours. 

The precautionary drinking water advisory has been lifted for all affected addresses, including:   

  • On Johnson Avenue NW, between 28th Street NW and 23rd Street NW
  • On D Avenue NW, between 26th Street and 28th Street
  • On 24th Street NW, between Johnson Avenue and Burch Avenue
  • On 23rd Street NW, between Johnson Avenue and Burch Avenue
  • On 26th Street NW, between D Avenue and Maple Drive NW
  • On 27th Street NW, south of Johnson Avenue, but not in the area between Sue Lane NW and 1st Avenue
  • On 28th Street NW, between D Avenue and Johnson Avenue

The City of Cedar Rapids is no longer advising residents within this area boil their water before using it for cooking or consumption. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank our customers for their patience.

Additional information is available online at www.CityofCR.com or by contacting Customer Service at 319-286-5900 during normal business hours (7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday).

WATER IN ALL AREAS IS SAFE TO CONSUME


Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory Issued for Limited Set of Customers in NW Quadrant

Cedar Rapids quadrantThe City of Cedar Rapids is asking water customers at the addresses listed below to consider boiling water used for personal consumption as a precautionary measure.

If you are pregnant, nursing, or have infants under 6 months of age USE BOTTLED WATER ONLY.

Affected Addresses are located in the regions bounded by:

  • On Johnson Avenue NW, between 28th Street NW and 23rd Street NW
  • On D Avenue NW, between 26th Street and 28th Street
  • On 24th Street NW, between Johnson Avenue and Burch Avenue
  • On 23rd Street NW, between Johnson Avenue and Burch Avenue
  • On 26th Street NW, between D Avenue and Maple Drive NW
  • On 27th Street NW, south of Johnson Avenue, but not in the area between Sue Lane NW and 1st Avenue
  • On 28th Street NW, between D Avenue and Johnson Avenue

View a map of the affected addresses below, or search for an address on the City’s website. 

A nearby water main break caused disruption to normal distribution operations, which created a potential for bacteria contamination to occur.

After the broken water main has been repaired, water pressure will be restored, and flushing of the affected area will take place. Water division staff will be monitoring chlorine levels and providing bacteria sample analysis.

Although there is no current indication of contamination, we are advising residents in the affected area to follow these steps for added protection:

  • Open one or two cold water taps, such as the kitchen faucet and a bathtub faucet, and let water run for 5 to 10 minutes to flush internal plumbing,

Additionally,

  • Bring water to a boil,
  • Let it rapidly boil for at least 1 minute,
  • Allow to cool completely before consuming.
  • DO NOT CONSUME BOILED WATER IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, NURSING OR PREPARING FORMULA FOR INFANTS — USE ONLY BOTTLED WATER.

We anticipate completed results of bacteria analysis around 5 p.m. on Friday, October 22, at which time this advisory will be either lifted or extended. Please check the City website at www.cedar-rapids.org for up-to-date notifications, or call the water department at 319-286-5900 during business hours.

The water department stresses that this advisory is PRECAUTIONARY and limited to the addresses listed above. Residents in nearby areas may have experienced low water pressure, but do not need to take any additional precautions at this time.

WATER IN ALL OTHER AREAS IS SAFE TO CONSUME.