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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - Illinois' attorney general is planning to testify in Washington on data breaches.
   Lisa Madigan's office notes the Chicago Democrat is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning before a House committee.
   The attorney general plans to speak about a growing number of data breaches that she says have affected consumers nationwide and prompted multiple investigations in her offices about how businesses are protecting consumers. A data breach is the sharing of information that is supposed to be secure and confidential.
   Madigan says she plans to detail the role Illinois and other states have in responding to data breaches and the steps the private sector and government can take to prevent them.
 

Brutal winter means higher heating bills

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:37 Published in Local News

   The extreme cold this winter is bringing some unwanted news to utility customers in the Midwest and Northeast -- higher heating bills.

   As many in Missouri and Illinois have already seen, propane rates have skyrocketed in the past few weeks.  Gas and electric rates aren't changing, but utility company's say customers should still expect to see higher bills starting this month.  

  A jump in demand because of the brutal winter weather is to blame, according to utility providers.  Demand for natural gas reportedly hit an all-time high during the first week in January.  

   The situation isn't expected to improve any time soon, as forecasters are calling for more cold weather over the next few weeks.

Obama: 7 new 'climate hubs' to help rural areas adapt

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 01:39 Published in National News
   WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming to help rural communities deal with climate change, the Obama administration is creating seven regional "climate hubs" that will serve as clearinghouses for information and outreach about extreme weather across the U.S.
   Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was to announce the new hubs Wednesday at the White House. The hubs fulfill one aspect of a broader climate change plan that President Barack Obama unveiled last year.
   Based at existing Agriculture Department facilities, the hubs aim to help farmers and rural communities fight climate change and adapt to weather changes. The hubs will assess local climate risks, such as drought and wildfire, then develop plans for dealing with them, such as improved irrigation techniques.
   Citing environmental changes such as longer fire seasons and intense droughts, the Agriculture Department said the hubs would help mitigate the unique implications that climate change poses for rural areas and the people who live there. The goal is to synchronize the federal government's preparation and resources with what other entities, such as universities, tribal communities and state governments, are doing to prepare for shifting temperatures.
   The seven regional hubs will be housed in forest service stations or government research labs in Ames, Iowa; Durham, N.H.; Raleigh, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; El Reno, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Las Cruces, N.M. Three smaller, additional "sub-hubs" will be created in Houghton, Mich.; Davis, Calif.; and Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
 

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