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December 3, 2010

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Greencastle Oil Prices Rise

Greencastle consumers may have seen an increase in oil prices in the last few weeks. Costs for oil reached over eighty dollars a barrel in late November. Greencastle is not the only city to see an increase in costs for oil. Vectren Natural Gas Company promises that natural gas prices will remain stable to help ease upcoming winter bills. Vectren expects the cost of heating a home to drop up to five percent. That’s down by thirty percent from the 2008-2009 winter. Vectren claims that abundant gas supply in the United States has resulted in a decrease in natural gas costs. DePauw Economics professor Humberto Barreto says that the issue stems from the change in winter expectations by producers of natural gas. Producers expected colder conditions by now, but warmer temperatures are causing a surplus in natural gas. This allows Vectren to charge customers less.

Barreto also says that crude oil and natural gas are loose substitutes for each other, so the price of one does not necessarily affect the other. The availability of natural gas substitutes like shale oil also keep natural gas prices down.

Winter Term Enrollment

For some people, enrolling in a DePauw Winter Term class is not as easy as it seems. Assistant Director of Global Opportunities Amanda Blinn says about 15 percent of students who submitted requests were not initially enrolled in a class. Students without a class have a chance to add one if there is an opening. However, this class is often not preferred by the student. Student Maddie Radcliffe experienced difficulty in finding a Winter Term class that she liked.

RADCLIFFE: "When I put a few choices down and I don’t get any of them it’s very frustrating because then what’s left over, it’s nothing I want to take."

DePauw offers 40 Winter Term classes, but the administration is looking to add 1 or 2 more classes to address this issue. The administration is also asking the faculty to increase the number of students in classes with heavy interest. Amanda Blinn says people should be patient and Winter Term options will open up.

Putnam County Library Holiday Book Sale is This Week

The Putnam County Library is an alternative to shopping malls this holiday season. The Friends of the Putnam County Library book sale is running through Saturday. Most of the books at the sale are donated and are being offered at discounted prices. Community relations director for the library Margot (MAR-GOH) Payne (PAIN) is grateful for the sale.

PAYNE: "People donate books because they know that books that are donated to the library, the Friends of the Library use those to raise funds that support programs at the library. That’s how they support many of the programs that we provide to the public for free."

A variety of books are available, from children’s books to more expensive coffee table books. Payne said the attendance thus far has been good.

PAYNE: "Well it’s been pretty steady because every day people are coming in because they know that new books are being put out each day."

Cash and check are accepted forms of payment. The sale will be open until 5:30 PM on Friday and 5 PM on Saturday.

Greencastle Humane Society Still Closed

The Greencastle Humane Society closed its doors in early November and is still undergoing inspection due to an outbreak of an unknown illness. Secretary Ann Provine says conditions have not gotten any better and that more preventative measures are being taken to ensure that the building can reopen as soon as possible. The illness has not yet been identified and the center is still waiting for more information from Purdue University scientists. Provine says that monetary donations are welcome because the shelter is still running power.

PROVINE: "...still you gotta pay electric bills, you gotta pay heating bills, all that so, you know, that doesn’t stop."

Provine also asks people to bring in items like Clorox wipes, bleach, and other disinfectants to help reduce costs.

PROVINE: "...anything like that, and if they could just leave it at the gate and if they could call first."

The Humane Society does not plan to reopen until the building is completely decontaminated.

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