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      Helium shortage being felt in floral departments

      Helium tanks at Kirksville Hy-Vee

      We've all grown used to dealing with rising prices of gasoline and some food items, but how about an increase for helium?

      For floral stores, that has become a growing concern.

      It was brought to the attention of the Kirksville Hy-Vee store two years ago.

      And six months ago, the shortage started to become an issue.

      Hy-Vee has been taking precautions for some time in order to conserve as much helium as possible.

      "What we're doing is going to ballons that we're air filling, and we're putting them on sticks as another choice for our customers," said Robin Clitchcow, of Hy-Vee. "Also, it's a little cheaper for them because we can conserve on it and, prices have doubled on us on helium."

      As a result of the helium price hike, Hy-Vee had to raise its prices from anywhere between 50 cents to $2.00 depending on the type of balloon.

      Helium is a by-product of natural gas. Due to the warm winter, less natural gas was produced, leading to less helium.