winter

Michael Leland/IPR

The man in charge of administering Iowa’s low income heating assistance program, known as LIHEAP, says the cost of staying warm this winter may become a public health emergency. Jerry McKim says he is especially worried about some of the state’s older citizens.

“In an effort to better afford their utility bills, a lot of those elderly households will cut back on their prescribed medicine or they set their thermostats too low risking their already insecure health,” he says.

Flickr / thenicole

All 902 plow trucks owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation now equipped with a new GPS system. It allows vehicles to gather all sorts of data, which the DOT will use for clearing Iowa’s roadways of snow and ice more efficiently. 

Craig Bargfrede heads DOT winter operations. This new system costs about $850,000, but Bargfrede says the upgrade will pay for itself in time and money savings. 

JOHN PEMBLE

*This is an updated version of this story. 

If you don’t have to travel, it's best to stay off Iowa roads today since the blizzard that blanketed parts of the southwest U.S. has moved into the Midwest as a heavy snowstorm. Roughly 5000 Iowa Department of Transportation trucks are out clearing snow from the state’s interstates and highways, most of which are partially or completely covered with snow, ice and slush.

Pat Blank/IPR

Once the weather turns cold, the first utility bill following the temperature dip usually prompts homeowners to look for ways to rein in costs. Most Iowa utility companies and rural electric cooperatives offer ways to save energy free of charge.  Some offer to bring in a home energy specialist like Jason Jefferson.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On a cold, blustery day in Dubuque, Iowa, a giggly, 5-year old named Etta McCarthy was bundled up in pink snow gear at Bunker Hill Golf Course.