RETAIL GAS PRICES DROP AGAIN: Iowa average unleaded retail gasoline prices fell by 12 cents per gallon this week, closing at $3.78 in a new AAA survey. Likewise, the price of 10 percent ethanol-blended fuel dropped by 12 cents to an average of $3.69 per gallon, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Iowa’s price was above the national average, which stood at $3.62 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline. Retail diesel fuel prices in Iowa were down a penny on the Tuesday report with a statewide average of $3.76 a gallon. One year ago, diesel prices averaged $3.70 in Iowa. On the heating fuel side, natural gas prices in Iowa were down 13 cents from last week’s report, ending the week at $4.00/MMbtu.

ELDER ABUSE: The state Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office is encouraging Iowans to help prevent elder abuse in long-term care settings. Iowa has 414 licensed nursing facilities with the capacity to house more than 29,000 individuals and 314 assisted-living programs with the capacity to house more than 19,000 individuals.

State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Deanna Clingan-Fischer is calling upon Iowans to increase their awareness and help move toward the prevention of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation in long-term care settings by reporting any signs that might indicate concerns. Abuse, neglect and exploitation can occur in the community or within a facility and can be committed by a caretaker, friend, fiduciary or family member, she said. Abuse comes in many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and sexual exploitation.

To report suspected abuse, neglect or financial exploitation in a long-term care facility or assisted-living program, contact the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals at 877-686-0027. To discuss concerns by or for a resident or tenant, contact the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 866-236-1430.

PERMIT REVOKED: An Iowa administrative law judge has upheld the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s decision to revoke the dairy plant permit for Meinders Farm Fresh Dairy in Buffalo Center. According to the department, state officials conducted numerous inspections of Meinders Dairy in 2012 and concluded Meinders Dairy violated the milk or milk products requirements of Iowa law. In addition, testing results from samples collected from milk and milk products from Meinders Dairy contained bacteria and coliform counts exceeding acceptable standards for pasteurized milk products.

Because of the violations, the department entered into a settlement agreement with Meinders Dairy requiring that its raw milk used for processing and each finished product would be tested periodically. However, state officials said Meinders Dairy failed to perform all agreed-upon testing. The department then revoked Meinders Dairy’s plant permit and that decision was approved by an administrative law judge on Wednesday. As a result, Meinders Dairy must cease all operations and cannot sell milk or dairy products, according to a department news release.

— Times Bureau

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I'm the city editor at the Quad-City Times. You can reach me at dbowerman@qctimes.com or 563-383-2450.