Science & Technology
Bipartisan Support for Extending the Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:25

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of four governors and a U.S. senator today urged Congress to extend the production tax credit for wind energy, one of a number of tax incentives scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Governor Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Capitol Hill in Washington for a news conference which Governors John Kitzhaber (D-OR), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) joined by conference call.

The renewable energy leaders expressed optimism that Congress will approve an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy during the lame duck session that begins this week.

“Governors want to add perspective on the importance of extending the PTC,” Branstad said.  “My state has directly seen the negative impact related to the PTC not being extended earlier.  For example, Siemans recently laid off over 400 employees at its plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Clipper Wind Power laid off 100 workers at its plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

Grassley said the uncertainty about the future of this tax incentive and others “hurts the economic good these policies do, and Washington should have learned the lesson given by biodiesel when it was allowed to lapse two years ago.  “In addition to jobs being lost, an important source of domestic, renewable energy was hurt.  The wind-energy production tax credit is designed to level the playing field against coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation.  The credit has been tremendously successful for renewable energy development and job creation,” he said.

“We need to invest in domestic energy sources that not only meet our energy needs, but create healthier communities.  We need to invest in energy resources that are clean and renewable, and affordable.  Few policies offer a better return on investment for our country than the wind energy production tax credit,” Kitzhaber said.  “Nationally, the wind energy industry now drives $10-20 billion per year in private sector capital investment and employs 75,000 Americans.  These are jobs created right here in our own backyards that cannot be outsourced.

Branstad is chairman and Kitzhaber is vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition.  Brownback and Hickenlooper are members of the Coalition.

Grassley first authored the production tax credit for wind energy in 1992.  He has worked to extend it over the years and secured a one-year extension in legislation adopted in August by the Senate Finance Committee.  Grassley said no single energy tax incentive should be singled out over others before a broad-based tax reform debate.

 

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HD Video Conferencing Solution Finally Matures PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Brian Suerth   
Monday, 12 November 2012 09:59
Midland Communications Delivers Powerful Technology to SMBs


DAVENPORT, IA- November 7, 2012 - In today's market, large enterprises have come to rely heavily on technology in order to help accelerate their businesses. HD video conferncing has long been thought to be a powerful technology reserved exclusively for use by large-scale enterprises. However, recent developments in technology have lowered the total cost of ownership and now smaller organizations can benefit from this impactful technology. In an increasingly global economy, many organizations are looking to reduce travel expenses, collaborate with remote workers and foster real-time collaboration across all areas of a business. HD video conferencing allows organizations to accomplish this and gain competitive advantage in their industry.
Simply explained, HD video conferencing allows users to conduct face-to-face meetings without leaving the office. Multiple parties can collaborate with one another on various projects regardless of location, instantly increasing office productivity. Essentially, this dynamic technology elevates our expectations of basic web and audio conferencing tools. Users can now broadcast important meetings to other locations, reducing travel expenses and saving lost time. Another factor behind video conferencing's recent success is due to its ability to show non-verbal communication and increase the "human feel" of meetings.
"Our customers have always expressed a very strong interest in the capacities that videconferencing solutions deliver but we didn't to bring this technology to our customers because the cost for this technology was simply too high," stated Jason Smith, Vice President at Midland Communications. "We have built our reputation over the years by truly partnering with our customers, concerning ourselves with their needs and obligating ourselves to only provide them with technology that significantly boosts employee productivity and increases their bottom line. We assert that at the end of the day, technology needs to increase a business' profitability and give them a competitive advantage or it should not be implemented. HD video conferencing has finally matured to the point where our customers can enjoy the benefits of this technology while simultaneously increasing their overall profitabilty. We've been excited to see how different industries have been applying video conferencing to their businesses and have learned quite a bit throughout our experiences. We look forward to helping our customers get the most out of their technology."

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS
Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.

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Governor Quinn Proclaims “Nick Holonyak Day” in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 29 October 2012 13:21

WHEREAS, science and technology have a profound impact on shaping our world; and,

 

WHEREAS, scientists and inventors are deserving of our respect and praise for their contributions to moving our world forward; and,

 

WHEREAS, Illinois is home to numerous prominent scientists and inventors; and,

 

WHEREAS, fifty years ago, in 1962, Illinois native Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr. revolutionized the way we light our world by inventing the first practically useful visible light-emitting diode (LED), a more energy efficient, longer lasting, more durable and mercury free source of lighting; and,

 

WHEREAS, Nick Holonyak, Jr. was born in Zeigler, Illinois and earned his BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and,

 

WHEREAS, Dr. Holonyak was the first graduate student of two-time Nobel laureate John Bardeen, an Illinois professor who invented the transistor; and,

 

WHEREAS, as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1963, Dr. Holonyak and his students have developed the first quantum-well laser, creating a practical laser for fiber-optic communications, compact disc players, medical diagnosis, surgery, ophthalmology and many other applications; and,

 

WHEREAS, few scientists and inventors have done more to transform our lives than Nick Holonyak, Jr., the holder of over 40 patents and inventor of the light-emitting diode (LED), the red-light semiconductor laser (used in CD and DVD players) and the shorted emitter p-n-p-n switch (used in light dimmers and power tools); and,

 

THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim October 24, 2012 as NICK HOLONYAK DAY in Illinois, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the light-emitting diode (LED) and one of our state’s greatest innovators, Dr. Nick Holonyak, “the Father of the Visible LED.”

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Governor Quinn Launches Illinois Open Technology Challenge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:54

Competition Expands Availability of Local Public Data;
Encourages Technology Innovation and Job Creation in Pilot Communities Belleville, Rockford, Champaign and the South Suburbs

CHICAGO – October 20, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a major accountability and transparency initiative designed to help local governments expand the amount of data available to the public. The Illinois Open Technology Challenge is a pilot initiative that will make Illinois’ open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, available to municipal governments statewide. The Challenge, which will launch in the pilot communities of Belleville, Champaign, Rockford, and Chicago’s South Suburbs, will promote the availability of public data and encourage the use of technology to address government challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We live in a knowledge economy that is driven by access to information and new ideas,” Governor Quinn said. “The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will not only increase transparency at the local level by giving the public access to government data, it will give entrepreneurs the chance to develop new, innovative applications for the data that will create jobs and make a positive impact.”

ILOpenTech (www.illinoisopentech.org) builds on the state’s leadership role around open data and Governor Quinn’s recently issued Executive Order establishing a new state Open Operating Standard. The state’s support of 2011’s Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois competition produced winners like iFindit, an innovative application that provides information on food, housing and medical care to the homeless and OkCopay, which is a directory of affordable medical care for those without insurance. The initiative brings together local governments with developers, area universities, nonprofits and community leaders in a common mission to use public data to create digital tools that serve civic needs and promote economic development across Illinois. The competition will include at least $75,000 in prize funding, which will be awarded to Illinois’ most innovative developers who solve a digital problem in one of the four pilot communities. An additional prize will be awarded to the developer of the strongest application with a statewide purpose. A demonstration day and the announcement of prize winners are anticipated in early 2013.

ILOpenTech challenges the pilot communities to both transform currently available data into usable applications as well as produce new datasets that will be uploaded to the state site. The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) currently publishes data on a wide range of regional resources including transportation, infrastructure and housing. With the availability of the state portal, that data will be more easily accessible to the general public for download and analysis.

“In Rockford, we are searching for solutions to the economic challenges we face and are thirsty for new ideas,” said Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “We’re excited to see what creative solutions local talent can produce though our participation in this initiative and look forward to showcasing new innovations in Rockford’s government.”

“The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will help to make better connections across our community in leveraging the tremendous tech talent here to better understand what applications and will best serve civic needs,” said Champaign Mayor Don Gerard. “We are thrilled to join in this effort to advance the open data movement.”

“We have collected a lot of data on economic development, housing, infrastructure, planning, and natural resources, which is a powerful tool for our region,” said Edward Paesel, executive director of the SSMMA. “The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will help us put this data to use for interactive applications that help promote economic development for our municipalities across the region.”

“Increasing access to the information collected by the city of Belleville will lead to better government, more informed citizens, and exciting new innovations,” said Belleville mayor Mark Eckert. “We are excited to be working with the state of Illinois to see new companies and jobs being created out of this innovative program.”

The State of Illinois Open Data site, Data.Illinois.Gov, is a searchable clearinghouse of information from state agencies that is helping inform residents about the operation of state government and encouraging the creative use of state information, including the development of applications for mobile devices that can be built around the data. This site, which the governor launched in June 2011, now contains more than 6,500 data sets.

Sponsors of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge include the Chicago Community Trust, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google, and the Motorola Mobility Foundation. Additional support is being provided by Comcast. Administrative support for the project is provided by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition and Smart Chicago Collaborative.

This is another initiative of the Illinois Innovation Council, created by Governor Quinn in February 2011, to promote economic development through innovation and the engagement of citizens, developers, academia and industry. For more information, please visit www.illinoisinnovation.org.

For more information on the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, including competition rules, submission requirements, and ways to engage, visit www.illinoisopentech.org.

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Soy Oil Delivers Another Use PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 19 October 2012 08:16

New York City’s sometimes progressive mindset coupled with its frigid winters also helped make it a big focus for a new soy oil market: Bioheat®. This heat source combines home heating oil with biodiesel, resulting in a renewable, cleaner-burning fuel.

“Biofuels are welcomed in this part of the world and embraced by home heating oil representatives,” says Lewis Bainbridge, soybean farmer from Ethan, S.D., and farmer-director for United Soybean Board. “Everyone is working together to promote Bioheat.”

The home heating oil industry itself took proactive action to implement biodiesel into their systems, replacing petroleum with the cleaner burning fuel. They resolved to use Bioheat blends of B2 to B5 and proved to be instrumental in passing a New York City law that requires that all home heating oil contain 2 percent Bioheat starting this month.
Watch this video to learn more.

 
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