A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Wednesday, Oct. 16. 2019:
STATE BICYCLE MAP AVAILABLE: Officials with the state Department of Transportation say copies of the 2019-20 Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists now are available at DOT driver’s license service centers, county treasurer’s offices, Iowa’s welcome centers and state rest areas.
The publication can be viewed and downloaded from https://iowadot.gov/iowabikes and has been updated to show new 4-foot, paved shoulders and recreational trails completed since the previous version was published.
The map highlights bike-friendly routes throughout Iowa by identifying bike trails and traffic levels on all paved roads. The map also includes insets of Iowa’s 16 largest cities.
DOT officials say a person riding on a public road has all the rights and is required to know and obey all traffic laws and rules of the road, applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle. To assist bicycles in understanding their rights and responsibilities, a section of the map is dedicated to highlighting rules of the road for bicyclists. Bicyclists are urged to always wear helmets, use lights at night and watch out for road hazards including parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, sand and debris.
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IOWA EDUCATORS EARN AWARDS: Officials with the state Department of Education say four Iowa educators have been named recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
The recipients are Deborah Little of the Denver Community School District and Maria “Gabby” Granadillo of the Cedar Rapids Community School District for mathematics, and Katie McGrane of the Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District and Mike Todd of the Ames Community School District for science. Little and McGrane were state finalists in 2018, and Granadillo and Todd were state finalists in 2017.
Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The award is the nation’s highest recognition that a kindergarten-through-12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching.
WINTER WEATHER PREP: Iowa Department of Transportation officials say they are taking a proactive approach by beginning to prepare for the winter road-care season in October.
DOT workers are making the switch from construction maintenance activities to preparing equipment, materials and staffing for the needs of the winter travel season. According to the department, Iowa’s 101 DOT maintenance garages employ 1,062 full-time equipment operators, mechanics and supervisors, in addition to more than 600 temporary employees, to keep the agency’s 902 trucks, 42 motor graders, 27 tow plows and 11 heavy-duty, self-propelled snowblowers on the road during a winter weather event.
During an average winter, DOT road maintenance divisions use more than 140,000 tons of salt and 28 million gallons of brine to help maintain safe travel on the more than 9,500 lane-miles of the primary highway system.