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      Say goodbye to helium balloons

      If you're thinking about having a big birthday bash in the next couple of months with a display of balloons, think again. Hy-Vee in Kirksville said it's all out of helium, which is used to make the balloons float.

      The good news: the store can make balloons filled with air instead. The difference-the balloons filled with air can't hang in the air and when let go, they fall straight to the ground.

      But on the positive side, balloons filled with air last longer.

      Store Director Jeff Suchomel said there's a national shortage.

      "The government used to be in the helium business," said Suchomel. "They used to have a stockpile of helium for reserve. Now they don't so that's kind of driven the helium market crazy and right now there just isn't any."

      Suchomel said the helium is a by-product of natural gas, which the government drills. Because there was a warm winter, the government drilled less natural gas, which in effect has depleted its stockpile of helium.

      Suchomel said he doesn't expect to get more helium for the store until January.