FRAUD ON CAMPUS: Last month, it was an Iowa State University research team member, Dong-Pyou Han, admitting fraud in making it appear an experimental vaccine was effective against AIDS. The project team had secured $19 million in federal grants. Last week, it was an ISU professor, Palaniappa Molian, who admitted to submitting expense vouchers with false information to the National Science Foundation. Molian resigned and pleaded guilty.
UNDERGROUND BATTLE: The punishing blasts of arctic cold we’ve endured pushed frost deep into the ground. The increased pressure underground led to a record number of January water main breaks in Cedar Rapids (at least 40) and near record in Iowa City (26). The January averages for those cities, respectively, are 16 and nine.
PROPANE PROBLEM: The unusually cold weather also has led to a propane gas shortage. The average price nationwide hit $2.98 per gallon last week — highest since the government began tracking it in 1990 — and it topped $4 in Iowa, where the fuel commonly is used in rural areas. Causes linked to the shortage also include a Midwest pipeline shut down for maintenance, high demand for propane last fall to dry a lot of wet corn, and competition for pipelines and rail cars caused by increased domestic oil and natural gas production.
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