Environment & Weather
Herbert Hoover NHS News Release: National Park Service Offers Tree Pruning Demonstration on Arbor Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Adam Prato   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:02

WEST BRANCH, IOWA— Homeowners or anyone interested in learning about pruning trees and shrubs can join arborist Ed Rinderspacher and the staff of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site for an Arbor Day presentation on Friday, April 27. Arbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

The program is free and begins at 2:00 p.m. at the visitor center. It will last about one hour and may involve about a half-mile of walking to different plantings around the park. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. In the case of inclement weather, please call (319) 643-2541 before attending. 

Ed Rinderspacher is the owner and operator of Rindy Tree and Turf Care, Inc. and a West Branch, Iowa  arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Mr. Rinderspacher will provide a one-hour, hands-on tree pruning demonstration of cuts and techniques for small, young, newly planted trees.   “There are about a thousand trees in this 187-acre national park,” said Pete Swisher, superintendent of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. “We hope our visitors can see examples of the careful work we do to maintain the landscape commemorating Herbert Hoover’s life.”

April 21 through 29 is National Park Week, the annual week for celebration and recognition of your National Parks. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space. For more information go online at www.nps.gov/heho or call (319) 643-2541.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
110 Parkside Drive
PO Box 607
West Branch, Iowa   52358

319 643-2541 phone
319 643-7864 fax

Wildflower Hike Planned PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Lisa Gerwulf   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:01

On Saturday, April 14 the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center will host a wildflower hike at 10:00 A.M. Spring has sprung early in the woodlands of the Wapsi River Center!  Join naturalist, Mike Granger, for a hike to identify some spectacular botanical sights like rue anemone, hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, Jacob’s ladder, spring beauty, dog tooth violet and many more.  Consider bringing a camera to capture these woodland wildflowers at their “springiest”.

The Wapsi River Environmental Education Center can be found 6 miles south of Wheatland or 1 mile northwest of Dixon, Iowa by taking County Road Y4E.  Then turn north at 52nd Avenue and follow the signs for about 1 mile.

Governor Quinn Announces Up to $13 Million in New Relief for Southern Illinois Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 02 April 2012 12:43

Governor Secures State, Federal Resources to Help Southern Illinois Families, Businesses, and Local Governments Recover from Tornado

HARRISBURG – April 2, 2012. At the direction of Governor Pat Quinn, the heads of a number of state agencies today announced in Harrisburg up to $13 million of financial aid and construction projects to help families, businesses and local governments recover from the deadly tornado that ravaged several Southern Illinois communities on Feb. 29. The package put together at the Governor’s instruction includes reimbursements to local governments for some of their disaster-related expenses, road improvements, grants to help homeowners repair or rebuild damaged homes, and low-interest business loans to create jobs and help businesses recover.

“This assistance package offers real solutions for the long-term recovery effort in Harrisburg and other communities,” Governor Quinn said. “Recovery from this tornado won’t happen overnight, but these resources will help residents and businesses of hard hit areas in Southern Illinois begin to rebuild their lives.”

Following FEMA’s denial of assistance for people affected by the tornado on March 10 and denial of an appeal on March 21, Governor Quinn moved quickly to secure support for people and businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). That request was approved the following day, and the SBA began meeting with people interested in the low-interest, long-term loans on March 23.

"In the weeks since the severe storms and tornadoes hit Southern Illinois in February and early March, I have met with representatives from federal, state, and local emergency management agencies to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts in Harrisburg, Ridgway and surrounding areas," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).  "I will continue to work with Governor Quinn and the Illinois Congressional Delegation to seek further opportunities for federal assistance to help these communities rebuild."

In addition to the SBA loans, the state’s multi-agency relief package includes:

  • Assistance from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) – Up to $5 million from the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) will pay for public infrastructure improvements, housing rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. In partnership with Ameren Illinois, another $1 million from the Energy Efficiency Trust will fund energy efficiency incentives through Ameren’s Act on Energy program to benefit customers affected by the disaster. Additionally, DCEO will make as much as $750,000 in Workforce Investment Act grants available to cover wages for dislocated workers to participate in disaster cleanup and structured work-based learning.
  • Assistance from Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) - Up to $2 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) business loans will be available through IFA under a relending in Gallatin, Saline and Williamson counties. Loans from a minimum of $50,000 up to a maximum of $250,000 may be used for the purchase of land, construction or renovation of an industrial or commercial building or purchase of machinery and equipment. The IFA will partner with local banks to market the program to local businesses hurt by the recent storms and tornadoes.
  • Assistance from Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) – Twenty-one municipal road improvements in Harrisburg will be completed at an estimated cost of $1.58 million.
  • Assistance from Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) – Reimbursements up to $1.5 million to affected local governments for some of their disaster-related expenses will be made through the state’s Disaster Response and Recovery Fund, which supports emergency response and recovery efforts.
  • Assistance from Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) – IHDA will commit up to $1 million in federal HOME Funds using the Single Family Owner Occupied Rehabilitation (SFOOR) Program. Up to $40,000 per household in forgivable non-payment loans will be made available to homeowners in affected areas. The funds can be used to build or renovate destroyed or damaged homes.
  • Delta Regional Authority – Governor Quinn secured $400,000 in federal funding to reimburse local governments for expenses related to debris removal.

“Ameren Illinois is delighted to partner with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help make recovery a little easier for residents of the Harrisburg and Ridgway areas,” said Michael Moehn, Ameren Illinois senior vice president of customer operations. ”Through our ActOnEnergy® program and the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends Home Repair Program, residents will be able to receive the financial assistance they need to meet the highest energy efficiency standards as they repair and rebuild. This will allow them to save money today and in the years to come.”

Governor Quinn has directed his staff to continue to work with local, federal and non-governmental agencies to secure additional support for families in the affected areas.

This assistance package is in addition to nearly $1.4 million of in-kind state assistance already provided to the affected region. Shortly after the tornado stuck, Governor Quinn surveyed the damaged area and activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the deployment of state resources and personnel in support of local response and recovery efforts. The state’s response included large deployments from IDOT, the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois State Police, as well as assistance from several other state agencies and mutual aid organizations.

“The state of Illinois has been a trusted partner with us since the day the tornado struck,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg. “Recovery after a disaster of this magnitude isn’t easy. This state assistance package will give our recovery efforts a significant boost. I appreciate Governor Quinn’s continued commitment to helping our communities recover.”

Governor Quinn directed state officials to start developing the state assistance package immediately after the state’s request for FEMA assistance for individuals and subsequent appeal were denied. The administration has been exploring all possible opportunities to deliver relief and assistance to Southern Illinois’ impacted communities.

Additional information about the state’s response efforts is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.


Thursday, March 22 was World Water Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Jewish National Fund   
Friday, 23 March 2012 12:38

Change Begins with a Drop

The best way to understand how important it is to maintain the world's water resources is to figure out how you fit into this global picture. Calculate your water usage.

That's the water you see directly. Water consumption you don’t see, known as virtual water, is the amount needed to create the foods we eat and the products we use. Like the amount of water farm animals drink, the water used to grow their feed, and the water needed to manufacture clothing. That adds up quickly.

Water scarcity, a worldwide concern, has been met head-on by Israel for years. Israel is a leader in desalination technology and water recycling, reusing 75% of its waste water every year—the highest rate in the world. Most of this water is used for agriculture, which saves scarce fresh water for human consumption. JNF's reservoirs and cutting-edge wetlands technology have increased Israel's total water supply by 12%. These techniques are shared with the countries around the world, helping to make it a better place.

Celebrate National Arbor Day by Planting Trees! Get 10 Free Shade Trees When You Join the Arbor Day Foundation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sean Barry   
Friday, 23 March 2012 12:22

National Arbor Day is April 29 this year, and the best way to celebrate is by planting trees. The Arbor Day Foundation is making it easy for everyone to celebrate the tree planters’ holiday. Everyone who joins the Foundation in April will receive 10 free shade trees.

National Arbor Day and Iowa's Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, which is April 29 this year.

By joining the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation in April, you will receive the following trees: red oak, sugar maple, weeping willow, baldcypress, thornless honeylocust, pin oak, river birch, tuliptree, silver maple and red maple. The free trees are part of the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

“These trees will provide shade in the summer and magnificent color throughout the fall,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “By the simple act of planting trees, a person can make a positive impact on the Earth and a deep, meaningful connection to nature. When you plant a tree, you’re giving a gift for future generations.”

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting in April or May with enclosed planting instructions.  The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to TEN FREE SHADE TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by April 30, 2012, or visit arborday.org/April.


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