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Q: When I was young many years ago I had a pair of Flame tennis shoes. Are these still available to purchase?

A: We couldn’t find any shoes with that brand name. You can buy shoes with flames on them — Converse, for example, makes old-school sneakers with orange flames printed on.

Q: How much does it cost to plug in an electric car every night?

A: Depends on what state you’re in. In Iowa, the average cost per kilowatt hour of electricity is a little more than 8.55 cents. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an electric car needs 30-35 kilowatt hours of energy to travel 100 miles. So at Iowa prices, a charge of 35 kWh would cost just under $3.

Q: What is the alcohol made of that is mixed with gasoline? Is it the same as rubbing alcohol?

A: An explanation from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Ethanol is a clear, colorless alcohol made from a variety of biomass materials called feedstocks (the raw materials used to make a product). Fuel ethanol feedstocks include grains and crops with high starch and sugar content such as corn, sorghum, barley, sugar cane and sugar beets. Ethanol can also be made from grasses, trees, and agricultural and forestry residues such as corn cobs and stocks, rice straw, sawdust, and wood chips.” It’s not the same as isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Q: What form of identity do you need to show to get a passport? What else do you need?

A: According to the U.S. Department of State, you need:

  • Filled-out DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport form.
  • Social Security number.
  • Proof of citizenship — a previous U.S. passport, an original, valid U.S. birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. You also need to bring a photocopy of that proof.
  • Current ID — valid driver’s license, learner’s permit, U.S. passport book or passport card, government employee ID, U.S. military or military dependent ID, plus a photocopy of that ID.
  • A photo (there are specific requirements).
  • And money to pay the fees.

Find more details at https://travel.state.gov or at a passport office at the courthouse or post office.

Q: What is the phone number for the U.S. division of a Honda motorcycle distributor?

A: You can call the Motorcycle Division of American Honda Motor Co. at (866) 784-1870.

Q: If born in 1939, what year would you be eligible to apply for Social Security and retire?

A: According to the Social Security website, “If you were born in 1939 your full retirement age is 65 and 4 months. Remember, the earliest a person can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits will remain age 62.”

Q: How far does a previous sex offender have to live away from an elementary school?

A: According to Iowa Code, “A sex offender shall not reside within two thousand feet of the real property comprising a school or a child care facility.”

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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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