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Why are gas prices rising? Your Call the Courier questions answered
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Why are gas prices rising? Your Call the Courier questions answered

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Q. When are the next stimulus checks planned on being dispensed?

A. Congress has not approved another round of COVID-19 relief. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she hopes a package is passed by the end of the month. If it is, checks should go out by late March or early April.

Q. Can Nancy Pelosi be removed from office?

A. The House and Senate can expel members with a two-thirds vote, as is laid out in Article I of the Constitution.

Q. What is Mike Pence doing now?

A. Pence and his wife, Karen, are currently living in northern Virginia, where the former vice president has opened a transition office, according to USA Today. Pence plans to return to his home state of Indiana this summer.

Q. How much money did Congress spend on trying to impeach Trump twice, and the Mueller investigation?

A. Robert Mueller’s Russia probe cost nearly $32 million in total, according to the Justice Department. Roll Call estimates the first impeachment trial in January 2020 cost $1.83 million. Another estimate, from the conservative Heritage Foundation, put the price tag at $3.06 million, including the salaries of not only lawmakers but 106 congressional staffers, all of whom would have been working anyway, and six lawyers. The first Trump impeachment trial was much longer than the second -- the Senate debated impeaching Trump for two weeks and six days in 2020, but only five days in 2021 – so the second trial was presumably much cheaper.

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Q. The Waterloo Street Department isn’t plowing my street. If they don’t plow my street, I don’t shovel my sidewalk. Can I be fined for this?

A. If the city receives a complaint about your sidewalk not being cleared, a crew might be assigned to clear it and you will be billed.

Q. Is it legal to shovel your snow onto the sidewalk?

A. No. If the city receives a complaint about your sidewalk not being cleared, a crew might be assigned to clear it and you will be billed.

Q. Why is Walgreens and CVS in charge of the vaccine distribution? They tell us to go online to schedule them but most of us senior citizens don’t have computers so this method is not working out.

A. Pharmacies have not been put “in charge” of vaccine distribution. The federal government is sending supplies of COVID-19 vaccine to 21 national drugstore chains and independent pharmacies to speed distribution. You can still get vaccinated through your health care provider. In the Cedar Valley, your health care provider – such as MercyOne or UnityPoint – will contact you when you are eligible for the vaccine to schedule an appointment. People without health care providers can call the Black Hawk County Health Department at (319) 292-2360 to schedule vaccine appointments.

Q. In November, I paid $1.55 for a gallon of gas. Now it's $2.39. Why the large increase?

A. Gas prices are rising due increased demand and not enough oil production. OPEC nations cut production over the last year in response to the pandemic, but now more people are driving again. The winter storm in Texas could also boost prices in the coming weeks as refineries are forced to close because of the weather.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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