Science & Technology
Energy Efficiency - Now This is Fun! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Mark Luger   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 13:09

Alliant Energy Sends a Positive Message to Students and Families

Minneapolis, MN (March 4, 2013) – Elementary school students will enjoy a fun and educational live theatre performance that teaches them and their parents how to be more energy efficient. The National Theatre for Children (NTC)will perform for students in Fairfield, Dewitt and Cedar Rapids on March 11th and 12th.  The performances are sponsored by Alliant Energy.

The Energized Guyz is a multiplatform energy efficiency program featuring live, professional actors, classroom curriculum and homework assignments.  Parents and teachers also benefit from these dynamic theatrical shows because the performances get their students focused on good energy efficiency habits such as turning off the lights when leaving a room, using CFL light bulbs and unplugging rechargers when not in use.  The program focuses on the following educational concepts:

  • How electricity and energy are made
  • Uses of energy
  • Ways energy is wasted
  • How to conserve energy

Students Test Higher When Linking Natural Resources and Electricity

Studies have shown that linking the need for energy resources to the ways electricity is wasted may help children understand the need for behavior changes, according to Ryan Bliss, project director at RIA, an Oregon-based behavior research firm with expertise in energy-related projects and energy audits. Based on a research study conducted with 30,000 students involved in a similar NTC educational program, “The increased test scores among students who received the NTC curriculum are highly suggestive that in-school energy education helps children learn concepts that can influence behaviors,” Bliss says. “Quality education is crucial to understanding the need to change behavior, and we are seeing increased test scores across all ages, all grades and in both urban and rural schools.”

Dynamic Teaching Platform

“Live theater is a dynamic teaching platform, especially when combined with curriculum activities, in-class discussion and homework assignments that engage parents,” affirms Ward Eames, president of NTC, an organization that has been bringing energy, environmental and social programs to U.S. schools for over 35 years.   Bliss agrees.  “Even young students can understand that they have energy choices.  And the younger they begin learning, the more likely students will retain these concepts throughout their life.

The Energized Guyz features two professional actors who play a variety of characters like the super hero “Nikki Neutron,” his boss “U.R. Fired,” fellow superhero friend “Thunderstorm,” “Bert the Dirt Expert” and the devious villain “The Sneaker.” The performance is action packed with high energy comedy and audience interaction.  Students cheer on and learn from the program’s hero, Nikki Neutron, who needs to stop The Sneaker from wasting all the energy in town.  The show comes complete with professionally designed sets, props and costumes.

About Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy provides electric service to 525,000 customers and natural gas service to 233,000 customers in more than 700 communities throughout Iowa and southern Minnesota  Alliant Energy is committed to providing the energy and exceptional service its customers and communities expect – safely, reliably, and affordably. For more information, visit or call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).

About The National Theatre for Children

NTC is the largest touring educational theatre company in the world. Since 1978, NTC has successfully tackled one important issue after another including: financial literacy, electrical safety, water conservation, health care, smoking prevention, recycling, wise energy use, renewable energy, nutrition, and bullying prevention, (to name a few). Our educational outreach programs are entirely underwritten by corporate, non-profit and governmental sponsors who want to be associated with delivering healthy-living messages to students and their families. NTC performs approximately 7,000 times a year throughout the country, actively engaging 2.8 million students and parents through its programming.


Website Assistance Workshop Scheduled PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Melanie Flesch   
Friday, 22 February 2013 15:51
ROCK FALLS, IL – Melanie Flesch, Assistant Outreach Coordinator for Blackhawk Hills,
will be conducting the second of the Website Assistance Workshops on March 7, 2013, from
10:00 AM to noon, at the Lanark Heritage Center, located at 106 South Broad Street in Lanark,
IL. The workshop will consist of an explanation of how search engines work and how to get
your website noticed through keywords, maintaining a proper updating schedule, and how to
use free Google programs such as Analytics, Insights for Search, and Webmaster. Workshop
participants will also have the opportunity to evaluate websites of those in attendance,
particularly those participating in the Website Assistance Program.

The Website Assistance Program awards a $2,000 match to communities and counties
within the 6-county region of Blackhawk Hills to help facilitate the building or redesigning
of a website. Participants in the program are required to attend two workshops in order to
receive the funds. However, the workshops are open to anyone and are not limited to program
participants. The participants of the 2012 Website Assistance Program are Fulton, Galena,
Rochelle, Warren, and Ogle County. For questions specific to the workshop, please contact
Melanie Flesch at 815-625-3854 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This workshop is required for those receiving funds from the Blackhawk Hills Website
Assistance Program. However, this event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by
calling 815-625-3854 or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About Blackhawk Hills

Blackhawk Hills is a not-for-profit organization based in Rock Falls, IL, that serves Carroll, Jo
Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties in northwest Illinois. Services include
community planning, development assistance, natural resource conservation and protection
support, and grant writing and administration. Blackhawk Hills is sponsored by local county
boards and Soil and Water Conservation Districts and is overseen by an 18-member council,
consisting of three representatives from each of the six counties.

Questions about Blackhawk Hills Regional Council may be directed to (815) 625-3854 or
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Midland Communications Helps SMBs Keep Their Network Running Smoothly Whether You’re Using iPhones, Droids or VoIP PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Janet Dufour   
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:13
With More Employees “Bringing Their Own Devices”, Networks Are Getting More Complex

DAVENPORT, IA- DATE - Midland Communications, a leading provider of unified communications and technology management services, announced today the launch of their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) management services. With more and more organizations finding themselves facing the challenges of a BYOD environment, Midland Communications’ solutions are coming at just the right time.
Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the need for a diversity of support in their infrastructure. They’re facing new challenges every day in trying to support mesh wireless, transient users, and meet the security challenges that go along with it. In addition, as employees continue to seek out best of breed solutions for individual tasks, today’s networks face are far from unified networking environment.
Midland Communications lets organizations be proactive in managing their infrastructure. This means reduced costs, better security, and a network that’s more aware of who and what is connecting to it.
Organizations need to be alerted when a new device is coming onto the network. Midland Communications helps an organization scan a device to make sure it’s not bringing with it security risks, and establish proper security measures for access control levels, including the separation of employees from guests. Midland Communications can identify which devices are using the lion’s share of an organization’s bandwidth, and make infrastructure changes to accommodate the changing needs of the BYOD user.
“A business should be able to focus on what it does best and our solutions free up businesses to do just that. By bringing proactive infrastructure management to the BYOD environment, our clients enjoy greater efficiency, security, and agility. A more efficient network means that our customer’s technology is running to its fullest capacity. When we’re increasing overall productivity our customers are dropping more to the bottom line and that’s how we know that our customers have a leg up on their competition,” stated Scott Nauman, Consultant, of 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

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Thank Congress for Extending the Renewable Energy Tax Credits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Chris Chwastyk   
Monday, 04 February 2013 15:20
Business is picking up in the wind industry now that Congress has extended the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC).  We encourage you to take a moment to write to your legislators and thank them for extending the renewable energy tax credits.

Among the positive announcements that have been made since January 2, when President Obama signed the legislation extending the tax credits into law, are the following: 
  • Wind project development company First Wind announced that they are projecting a 50 percent growth in business over the coming year, which translates to another 500 megawatts of wind projects.  “That will mean jobs and investment, and consumers will be getting clean energy at a competitive price,” CEO Paul Gaynor told the Boston Business Journal.

  • Wind project development company Midwest Wind Energy announced that they are moving forward with construction of their 75 megawatt wind project in Nebraska.  “There are several business decisions that play into the schedule (turbine purchasing, sale of the asset to equity, etc.) but the PTC was the last remaining stumbling block,” Director of Development Tom Swierczewski told the Kearney Hub.

  • Carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek announced that the PTC extension will help the company keep up the momentum from its high-performing year in 2012.  “This is definitely helpful because investors were holding back on projects to see what would happen,” Chairman and CEO Zsolt Rumy told the St. Louis Business Journal.
We have been very pleased to see these news stories, and many others about wind projects that are ready to be built, and manufacturing orders that are ready to be placed.  Please click here to make sure that your legislators hear about these positive developments in the wind energy industry!

Thanks again for your tireless efforts last year to urge your legislators to extend the wind energy tax credits.  We hope you are glad to see that your efforts are paying off.

Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Ranked Fourth State Nationally in Green Building Survey PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 31 January 2013 14:31

New Study Lauds Governor’s Commitment to Sustainability Across Illinois

CHICAGO – January 30, 2013. Governor Quinn today announced that Illinois has become a national leader in “green building,” according to a study released by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which ranked the state fourth out of 50 states in new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. The group cited the governor’s commitment to making Illinois a healthier place to live, play, work and grow.

“Since the day I took office I have been committed to making sure Illinois is the most environmentally-friendly state in the country,” Governor Quinn said. “I’m proud to have the U.S. Green Building Council recognize the success of our efforts to make sure sustainable practices are implemented in homes, schools and businesses throughout Illinois.”

“Illinois has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable-built environment within a generation,” Jason Hartke, USGBC vice-president of Advocacy and Policy said. “I applaud the extraordinary leadership of those in Illinois – designers, architects, chapter advocates, public officials, everyday citizens – who are working to create the healthiest possible environment for people to work, live and play in.”

The annual study ranks states based on the amount of LEED-certified space per capita. With 140 million square feet of LEED-certified space, Illinois certified 1.94 square feet per resident - behind only the states of Virginia, Colorado and Massachusetts.

Illinois certified 156 LEED projects in 2012, including the Chicago Center for Green Technology, Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign, G&W Electric Company in Bolingbrook and Rush University Medical Center. The USGBC also lauded the KONE Centre in Moline, the first Illinois project to earn Platinum rating.

“We are so proud of our state’s achievements in green building,” Katie Kaluzny, interim executive director, USGBC Illinois Chapter said. “We look forward to continued partnerships with state and local leaders to advance sustainable building and communities across Illinois.”

Throughout his career in public service, Governor Quinn has been an advocate for green building in Illinois. In 2009, Quinn fought for and signed Illinois’ first capital construction plan in more than decade. The Illinois Jobs Now! plan requires all new state-funded building construction projects to seek a minimum LEED Silver certification, and all major renovations of existing state-owned facilities to seek LEED certification.

The Illinois Capital Development Board currently has nearly 50 projects slated to meet LEED certification, including projects at the University of Illinois and College of Lake County in Grayslake which are expected to earn the highest rating (“Platinum”).

Governor Quinn has also signed numerous Executive Orders and statutes into law to ensure greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and protection of Illinois’ land, air and water resources. For more information about Governor Quinn’s sustainability initiatives, please visit


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