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USDA Announces Additional Support to Help Schools Buy Local

Posted: Wed, November 20, 2013
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday announced grants for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program. A partnership between the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (NIFF) and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) were lucky to be one of the recipients.

... [ Read More ]


UERPC November Newsletter

Posted: Mon, November 18, 2013
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • UERPC Board Attend Training
  • Employee Spotlight-Ashley Christianson
  • IowaWORKS Did You Know....
  • RPA1 Stakeholders Addressed DOT Commissioners on October 8th
  • "Fall" into Healthy Habits
  • Business Workforce Alliance Luncheon
  • Winter and the Novice Driver-Team Up with your Teen For Safe Driving
  • Quarantine of Firewood
... [ Read More ]


Health Care Reform Events

Posted: Wed, November 13, 2013
Below is information on a meeting which will be held in Elkader this Saturday at 10 am regarding healthcare reform.  If you can't make this meeting but would like to attend another, below is a link to a calendar with more meetings and dates throughout Iowa, as well as webinar information.  Please forward to those you think in your communities will benefit.
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Increased Deer Movement Means Extra Caution Needed on Iowa Roadways

Posted: Mon, November 4, 2013
This time of year it is not uncommon to see deer running beside Iowa's highways. Field and Stream.com (http://www.fieldandstream.com/rut-report) shows deer in many parts of Iowa are currently in the "seeking and chasing" phase of the annual rut. That means more animals on the move and more danger to motorists, especially at dusk and dawn when it is more difficult to see animals along the roadsides.

There is little a driver can do about deer movement, but to reach the goal of zero fatalities on Iowa highways drivers need to be more aware of deer habits to reduce the risk of coming in contact with deer. As of Oct. 15, Iowa Department of Transportation data shows, 3,279 drivers reported collisions with deer so far in 2013. These crashes resulted in four motorist deaths and an estimated 172 injuries. Since 2003, 70 people have died in Iowa as a result of motor vehicle crashes involving animals. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, each year nearly 200 fatalities nationwide are caused by deer-vehicle collisions.

If a deer runs into the path of your vehicle, not veering to avoid the animal greatly increases the chances of maintaining control of your vehicle. Most deer crash injuries and deaths result when drivers attempt to avoid the animal. This action often results in drivers losing control and colliding with other vehicles or running off the road.

When a deer is in the path of your vehicle, the driver of a vehicle (other than a motorcycle) should:
  • Brake firmly.
  • Steer to maintain control.
  • Stop safely within the lane or along the shoulder of the highway.
  • Use a safety belt to reduce the chance of personal injury.
The following motor vehicle driver tips will reduce the risk of deer crashes.
  • Slow down when you see a deer warning sign - pay greater attention.
  • Be especially careful driving at dawn and dusk.
  • Remember deer rutting season occurs in November and December, and deer are more mobile and less cautious.
  • Deer are more mobile during harvest and the hunting season.
  • Be most alert for the presence of deer at locations where three factors converge:
  • Food (corn fields or recently harvested corn fields).
  • Shelter (woods).
  • Water (streams, culverts and river crossings).
... [ Read More ]


For Immediate Release: Iowa Finance Authority Awards HOME Funds to UERPC for: Postville and West Union!

Posted: Fri, October 25, 2013

Upper Explorerland RPC is excited to announce that they are the recipients of HOME funds through Iowa Finance Authority. These funds will be used to assist 10 First Time Homebuyers with down payment and rehabilitation assistance in the Cities of Postville and West Union. The award of the HOME funds was matched with a local commitment from each of the cities.

Upper Explorerland RPC realizes first time homebuyers must make sacrifices to save enough for a down payment on a home, but for some it seems impossible to be able to find the funding to close on the desired home. With the award of the HOME funds homebuyers may receive up to $24,999 in assistance for rehabilitation and down payment assistance. The home must meet Iowa's Minimum Housing Standards upon completion. This program is an affordable way for homebuyers to realize their dream of homeownership. Assistance is in the form of a 10 year receding forgivable loan.

Applicant must be able to obtain financing in the form of a 15 year fully amortized, fixed-rate mortgage. No adjustable rate or balloon payments will be allowed. Homebuyer education classes are required please call 563-864-7551, ext. 111 to sign up.

Applications will be accepted beginning October 30, 2013.

If you are interested and meet the qualifications outlined above we would like to hear from you. Applications can be picked up at the City Halls in each of the above communities or by calling Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 ext. 111 or 101. TTY users call 1-800-735-2942. Relay call 7-1-1.

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Iowa DOT kicks off new statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Long-Range Plan

Posted: Fri, October 25, 2013

AMES, Iowa -Oct. 24, 2013 - The Iowa Department of Transportation is seeking public input into the development of a new statewide plan for bicycle and pedestrian transportation at six public input meetings and online. The Iowa DOT is committed to expanding opportunities and further improving conditions for bicycling and walking across the state. The new Bicycle and Pedestrian Long-Range Plan is a major step forward for this effort.


This plan will build upon the Iowa DOT's long-range strategy for multimodal transportation over the next three decades, Iowa in Motion -Planning Ahead 2040.The Bicycle and Pedestrian Long-Range Plan has three key objectives:


  • Align with national best practices, including the federal transportation funding bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and national guidelines for trail development.


  • Develop a list of priorities to expand the trails system between and within cities.


  • Help state and local agencies to put the plan in place by providing tools for funding and design.


Upon its completion, this plan will serve as the primary guide for statewide decision-making regarding bicycle and pedestrian programs and facilities,including sidewalks, trails, bike lanes, paved shoulders, and other trail elements. It will also help achieve a better level of statewide coordination and continuity for all levels of bicycle and pedestrian mobility through regional, county, and city plans and programs.

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Staying Safe this Halloween

Posted: Fri, October 25, 2013
Halloween is one of the most dangerous days for pedestrians. Check out these Trick or Treating safety tips from the Cleveland Clinic, and have a spooktacular (and safe!) night!
... [ Read More ]


UERPC October Newsletter

Posted: Mon, October 21, 2013
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • White House Rural Council Hosts Forum on Regional Innovation
  • Employee Spotlight-Sarah Snitker
  • Audit Complete
  • Municipal Leadership Academy 2013-2014
  • Walk Your Heart Out
  • Safe Routes to School 2012-2013 Annual Report Now Available
  • IowaWorks-Did You Know?
  • Needs Assessment
... [ Read More ]


Youth Advisory Council Agenda 10/22/13

Posted: Tue, October 15, 2013
Please see below notice for more information.
... [ Read More ]


Region I RWIB/CEO Board Meeting Agenda 10/22/13

Posted: Tue, October 15, 2013
Please see below notice for more information.
... [ Read More ]


Municipal Leadership Academy 2013-2014

Posted: Mon, October 7, 2013
Both newly elected and experienced mayors, council members, city clerks and city administrators will benefit from attending the Municipal Leadership Academy.  The Municipal Leadership Academy provides municipal officials with a curriculum to assist them in effectively meeting the requirements of their office. The program offers a comprehensive overview of Iowa municipal government and is presented by the Iowa League of Cities, Institute of Public Affairs and Iowa State University Extension.

Topics covered during the series include:
  •     city finance and budgeting
  •     meeting procedures
  •     municipal law
  •     economic development
  •     ethics and fraud prevention
  •     nuisance abatement
  •     employment and personnel issues
  •     land use and zoning

Attending the Municipal Leadership Academy is one of the first steps a new city official should take toward success in public office. From open meetings to city finances, these sessions are designed to quickly bring new officials up to speed on municipal issues. Current elected or appointed city officials will also find incredible value in the up-to-date information on municipal operations and networking opportunities the sessions offer.

For more information or to sign up online, click here: https://www.iowaleague.org/MLA2013/Pages/MLA2013.aspx
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Be a "Walk Star" October 9th by Joining International Walk to School Day

Posted: Wed, October 2, 2013
Be a "walk star" by participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 9. This fun, healthy, no-cost event encourages everyone - students, parents, teachers, community members, and organizations - to get out on sidewalks and trails. Participating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, showing concern for the environment, reducing traffic congestion; and building connections between families, schools, and communities.
 
This year's International Walk to School Dayis expected to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.Walkers will unite with children and adults in 40 countries around the world.
 
This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, but live in areas with bike-friendly paths to school, to try walking and bicycling to school. If students still need to ride a bus, many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe location to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option can also be used for students who are usually driven to school in private automobiles.
 
To get involved, register for the event at www.walkbiketoschool.org. The site includes a variety of useful information for parents and participating schools. Data collected from registrations will be used to make future programs stronger.
 
International Walk to School Day also encourages parents and community members to help schools conduct a walkability assessment of their neighborhoods. The Iowa Department of Public Health, through its Iowans Fit for Life Program, has developed a walkability checklist to help walkers assess what makes the walking environment inviting and safe, as well as identify existing barriers. After the assessment, school staff can help students become advocates for a more walkable community. The walkability assessment is available at www.idph.state.ia.us/iowansfitforlife/common/pdf/access_your_community.pdf
 
To encourage participation in Walk to School Day, the Iowa Department of Transportation has free materials available, including "I'm a walk star" stickers, erasers, and zipper pulls; and "Walk to School" pencils and sneaker stickers. To order any of these items, contact the Iowa Bicycle Coalition at alana@iowabicyclecoalition.org.
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White House Rural Council Hosts Forum on Regional Innovation

Posted: Tue, September 24, 2013
Rachelle Howe, Executive Director of Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission and Teresa Wiemerslage, ISU Extension and Outreach Region 4 Program Coordinator, recently attended Washington, D.C. to attend The White House Rural Council on Thursday, September 18th.  They met with officials from economic development districts, county governments and non-profit organizations to discuss ways to replicate successful regional economic development strategies.

The pair attended the meeting representing the Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative.  Invited organizations were nominated by each state's USDA Rural Development Director and were selected because of their innovative approaches and partnerships to support economic development in rural areas.
 
"Innovative regional development can work especially well in rural areas because it helps communities share resources across boundaries such as county and state lines," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "By focusing on one or a few common sectors, regional development can produce greater economic returns."

The forum at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building is the second on regional economic development. The first was held in June 2012. Vilsack, who chairs the White House Rural Council, delivered the keynote address at this forum.

The White House Rural Council coordinates the Obama Administration's efforts in rural America by improving the effectiveness of federal programs. It works with public and private-sector partners on new ways to solve problems.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) commitment to regional economic development spans several department wide initiatives. The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative coordinates the Department's work on local and regional food systems to grow regional economies, preserve regional agricultural heritage and create additional opportunities for regional farmers and ranchers. USDA's Strike Force Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity aligns USDA resources to promote economic stability, job opportunities and regional growth in targeted high poverty areas. It leverages efforts with the private sector and community partners.

For more information on these initiatives and to read success stories, visit www.usda.gov.
During the forum, Vilsack announced the selection of 186 projects for USDA Rural Development loans and grants to support economic development in rural communities. The funding is being provided through the Community Facilities program, the Intermediary Relending Program, the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.

Funding for each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. In total, Vilsack announced more than $27 million in support for regional and economic development projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. This announcement is one part of the Department's overall efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
... [ Read More ]


Fall Harvest Season Brings Increased Farm Equipment Movement

Posted: Mon, September 23, 2013
Iowa's wet spring and very dry summer have made for an interesting growing season. With harvest around the corner, motorists will soon be sharing the road with farm vehicles. The Iowa Department of Transportation is urging motorists and farm vehicle operators to exercise caution during the movement of slow-moving equipment on Iowa's roadways.
 
Already in 2013, there have been 79 crashes with farm equipment causing five deaths. Data for 2012 shows a total of 176 crashes involved farm equipment. Those crashes resulted in 12 fatalities, 11 major injuries, 37 minor injuries, and 36 other possible injuries.
 
"For too long we have all accepted that highway fatalities are inevitable," said Jeremey Vortherms, Iowa DOT state safety engineer. "But if you think about a realistic traffic fatality goal for your family, wouldn't that goal be zero? If we all work together to buckle up, eliminate distractions and drive alert, we can drastically reduce the number of fatalities on the road and work to achieve a goal of zero fatalities."
 
Tips for motorists
•    Give your full attention to the driving task and watch for slow-moving vehicles. Do not text and drive.
•    Put additional space between your vehicle and those ahead. At this time of the year, the sun can be blinding to drivers during sunrise and sunset. The added space helps you safely maneuver if there is a sudden stop, turn, or a slow-moving vehicle ahead.
•    Be patient and do not assume the equipment operator can move aside to let you pass. The shoulder may not be able to support a heavy farm vehicle.
•    Slow down as soon as you see the triangular-shaped, red and fluorescent orange slow-moving vehicle emblem.

Tips for farm vehicle operators
•    Make your intentions known when you are turning by using signal lights or the appropriate hand signal in advance of the turn.
•    Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. Traveling partially on the shoulder may cause motorists to risk passing in a dangerous situation.
•    Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the traffic go by.
•    Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train extends 3 feet beyond the tracks on both sides.
... [ Read More ]


UERPC September Newsletter

Posted: Mon, September 16, 2013
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • $1.65 Million TIGER Grant awarded to Winneshiek County
  • Employee Spotlight-Casey Mai
  • Disaster Funding Available
  • Upcoming Board Training
  • UERPC Represented at Safe Routes to School National Conference
  • Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Update
  • Dream Big Grow Here
  • Rural Issues Roundtable
  • Upcoming Historical Workshop
  • IowaWORKS-Did you Know?
... [ Read More ]


Region I RWIB/CEO Executive Board Meeting Agenda 9/16/13

Posted: Tue, September 10, 2013
Please see below notice for more information.
... [ Read More ]


SHPO Workshops Available in October

Posted: Tue, September 10, 2013
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will be presenting two day-long workshops in October.  One on How to Apply for the State Tax Credit program on October 17 and How to Complete a National Register of Historic Places Nomination on October 18, 2013.  The workshops will be held in the Heritage Classrooms, first floor, in the Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa.  Click below for workshop information and registration forms.  These will be the last workshops until spring of 2014.
... [ Read More ]


$1.65 million TIGER Grant awarded in Winneshiek County

Posted: Thu, September 5, 2013
TIGER funds will be used to reconstruct 2.5 miles of deteriorated, suburban two-lane road in the town of Decorah, Iowa, and the unincorporated area of Freeport, Iowa. This regional project replaces an aged, limited-use road with a multi-modal system of roads, bridges, and trails. It will provide alternative transportation options for small town and rural community members, students, and commuters. This project demonstrates strong collaboration among a broad range of participants from the public and private sectors.

Project Highlights:
  • Creates a structurally sound roadway that will reduce traffic congestion and extend the life of local transit buses.
  • Provides access for pedestrians and bicyclists along routes where no lanes for walking or biking currently exist.
  • Creates construction-related jobs and provides access to long-term employment opportunities.
This project will repair a main road in a rural area while creating a modern, multi-modal roadway that supports healthy living, downtown vibrancy, economic development and connectivity. The project provides a ladder of opportunity by directly serving low-income community members, including low income populations that live in multi-unit apartments, mobile home parks, single-family homes, and senior housing. By providing more transportation choices, this project more fully connects people to work, school, and commercial areas.

Additional News:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces $474 Million for 52 TIGER 2013 Projects in 37 States
Projects Support President Obama's Calls to Create Ladders of Opportunity, 'Fix it First' and Contribute to Economic Growth

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that 52 transportation projects in 37 states will receive a total of approximately $474 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program. Among these, 25 projects funded at $123.4 million will be designated for projects in rural areas of the country.

"These transformational TIGER projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.   "Together, they support President Obama's call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation's economic growth."

The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.  These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.

TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2013.  Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled more than $9 billion, far exceeding the $474 million set aside for the program.  In all, the Department received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The projects funded through this round of TIGER illustrate the President's goals of creating "Ladders of Opportunity," the need for a "Fix it First" approach to infrastructure, and contributing to America's economic growth.  The following are examples of how TIGER supports these goals:

Ladders of Opportunity:  A good example of a project connecting people to jobs and economic opportunities is the Atlanta Beltline Corridor, a 33-mile system of trails, transit and parks circling downtown Atlanta and connecting more than 45 communities throughout the city and region.  A total of $18 million in TIGER funds will be used to build two miles of the trail.  This project will provide connections for residents in primarily low-income and minority communities to bus routes, rail stations, schools, parks, and other recreational activities.

Fix it First:  The $10 million investment to reconstruct the Tacoma, Wash., rail trestle is a good example of a project that will repair existing infrastructure. Replacing the 100-year old single-track wooden trestle and bridge with a modern twin-track structure will double capacity and improve reliability and travel time for Sounder and Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service.  This "fix it first" project also adds freight capacity on the Tacoma Rail line, contributing to economic growth and supporting Pierce County, the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma.

Economic Growth:  An example of a project that will help jumpstart local and national economic growth is the $10 million investment in the Houston, Texas, Bayport Wharf extension project.  The investment will allow the terminal to double its cargo capacity by 2033, supporting international trade with more than 1,000 ports in 203 countries.  The project will increase the port's ability to take advantage of the ships expected after the Panama Canal expansion and supporting President Obama's goal of doubling exports.   The project also will increase the productivity of the terminal by reducing truck waiting and idling times.

On March 26, 2013, the President signed the FY 2013 Appropriations Act, which after sequestration provided approximately $474 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments.  Like the first four rounds, TIGER 2013 grants are for capital investments in infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis based on the published selection criteria.  This is the fifth round of TIGER funding.

Under all five rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided more than $3.6 billion to 270 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program outweighed available funds, and during all five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 5,200 applications requesting more than $114.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants:  www.dot.gov/tiger/.
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Detour Route on Iowa 3

Posted: Mon, September 2, 2013
The detour route for a concrete pavement overlay project on Iowa 3 between Readlyn and Oelwein will change beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, weather permitting, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation's New Hampton construction office.

Eastbound Iowa 3 traffic wanting to remain on Iowa 3 through Oelwein is detoured north on Bremer County Road V-56, east on Bremer/Fayette County Road C-33, and then south on Iowa 150 to Iowa 3.
Westbound Iowa 3 traffic wanting to remain on Iowa 3 is detoured north on Iowa 3 in Oelwein, west on Bremer/Fayette County Road C-33, then south on Bremer County Road V-56 to Iowa 3.
Oversize loads will be prohibited on the detour route. This project is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.
 
The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to drive with caution, obey posted speed limit and other signs in the work area, and be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in work zones. As in all work zones, drivers should stay alert, allow ample space between vehicles and wear seat belts.
 
For traveler information anytime, visit www.511ia.org; call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide); stay connected with 511 on Facebook or Twitter (find links at www.iowadot.com/511/socialmedia.html); or download the free app to your mobile device.
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Rural Issues Roundtable

Posted: Mon, August 26, 2013
Local residents, business owners and community leaders will have the opportunity to share their thoughts about opportunities and challenges in rural Iowa when Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, visits Postville on Thursday, September 12th, at 1:00 p.m. at the Upper Explorerland Conference Room at 134 W Greene Street.  If you would like to speak with Bill Menner before the event please contact Darin Leach at (515) 284-4747.

USDA Rural Development's funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa.  Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $2.5 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families. Today, more than 1.7 million Iowans live in rural communities and areas, and nearly half of the state's communities have fewer than 500 residents.
 
This past year USDA Rural Development's investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,600 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
 
For more information about finance programs available through USDA Rural Development, please call the office located in Waverly at (319) 352-1715 Ext. 4. This office serves communities, businesses and residents in Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek Counties. Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting the agency's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
... [ Read More ]


UERPC August Newsletter

Posted: Mon, August 19, 2013
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Fayette Housing Trust Fund Update
  • Employee Spotlight-Heather Delaney
  • Back to School
  • IowaWorks-Did you Know?
  • Project Update
  • Do You Have a REAL ID?
  • A New "Spin" on Smoothies
  • Welcome Mary!
... [ Read More ]


Region RWIB/CEO Board Meeting Agenda 8-20-13

Posted: Fri, August 16, 2013

Please see below notice for more information.

... [ Read More ]


Tall Corn Stalks Obstruct Views on Roadways

Posted: Thu, August 8, 2013
As Iowa's corn crop grows taller, motorists are urged to use extra caution at roadway intersections and railroad crossings where the driver's view may be obstructed.
 
Iowa Department of Transportation statistics show there were 33 crashes during 2012 at rural intersections due to obstructed views by trees or crops. These crashes killed one person and caused at least 40 injuries, 14 of those were considered major.
 
Jeremey Vortherms, the Iowa DOT's state safety engineer, said, "If you've lived in Iowa through a growing season, you know that crops can obstruct views of highway and railroad intersections in rural areas. Still, it seems people underestimate the danger these intersections can hold. Entering an uncontrolled intersection or railroad crossing requires an added measure of caution. Be alert and take the extra time to look for other vehicles."
 
Vortherms said motorists should treat uncontrolled intersections as if they had stop or yield signs posted, and not enter the intersection or cross the railroad tracks until they are absolutely certain no vehicles are coming from the side roads or trains are present, and then proceed with caution.
 
The danger is not only from oncoming traffic on gravel roads. Trains can be very difficult to spot when tall corn stalks limit the view at a rural crossing. Tammy Nicholson, director of the Iowa DOT's Office of Rail Transportation, says, "Although trains are considerably taller than most crops, it still becomes difficult to see them approaching at an uncontrolled intersection where the view is obstructed by vegetation or other visibility hazards." Nicholson reminds motorists to "Look, Listen and Live" when crossing railroad tracks.
... [ Read More ]


Northeast Iowa Mobility Solutions Team Conducting New Survey

Posted: Tue, July 30, 2013
The Northeast Iowa Mobility Solutions Team is a team of local economic development, transportation and employment specialists selected to participate in the national Job Access Mobility Institute through the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA).  The goal of the institute and our Northeast Iowa Team is to ensure that transportation is always the link and never the barrier to employment.  The Team has been meeting for some time and has developed some new regional transportation ideas and is now in the concept evaluation stage of their project.

The Team is currently conducting a survey to collect input on the concepts they have developed to help determine the feasibility of the ideas that have been proposed to improve commuter transportation in the region.  The video survey can be accessed at:  www.EARLtransit.com  and is completely anonymous.  The team is seeking input from employees, employers and job seekers who live or work in any of these five Iowa counties:  Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek.  The survey will be open through Aug 15, 2013.  For additional information regarding the survey or the Job Access Mobility Institute project in Northeast Iowa, please contact Karn Pankow, Operations/Mobility Manager at Northeast Iowa Community Action:  1-866-382-4259/karn@neicac.org or Karla Organist, Transportation Planner at Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission:  korganist@uerpc.org.
... [ Read More ]


Iowa DOT Adding Mobile Option to Interactive Bike Map

Posted: Thu, July 18, 2013
Have you ever had to change plans in the middle of a trip? The Iowa Department of Transportation is making that quick shift in plans a little easier for bicyclists by activating a mobile version of its popular interactive bike map.

Explore this interactive map to plan or alter your trip. Find bicycle trail routes and features including trailheads, parking, restrooms, and bicycle shops.

•    Plan your bike trip ahead of time or on the fly: Simply enter the starting address and destination address and a suggested route will be generated.
•    Discover Iowa's bicycle facilities: This interactive map shows bike lanes, paved trails, unpaved trails, roads with paved shoulders, sidepaths and bicycle-friendly roads.
•    Locate bicycle amenities: The map includes features such as trailheads, restrooms, and water fountains along trails of 5 miles or longer.
•    Need repairs: Bicycle shops are also shown.

Both the regular and mobile versions of the interactive bike map website can be found at http://www.iowadot.gov/interactiveiowabikemap.htm. On either version of this site, you can also request a free paper copy of the Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists at this website. The map is also available as part of the myIowaDOT app. Find it on Apple devices through the iTunes Store or on Android devices through Google Play by searching for myIowaDOT.

Bicycles and motor vehicles share the same roadways and must follow the same rules of the road. Safely sharing the road is the responsibility of both the bicyclist and the motorist.
Safety tips for bicyclists:
•           Always wear a helmet
•           Know and obey traffic laws
•           Ride on the right, with traffic
•           Use hand and arm signals
•           Use lights at night
•           Ride only where permitted
•           Pass on the left
 
 Safety tips for motorists:
•           Do not honk at bicyclists
•           Use extra caution when passing bicycles
•           Be aware that cyclists might swerve to avoid road hazards
•           Be careful when opening your vehicle door
•           When in doubt, yield to bicyclists

For more information contact Milly Ortiz at 515-233-7733 or at milly.ortiz@dot.iowa.gov.
... [ Read More ]

News Headlines

UERPC October Newsletter

Posted: Mon, October 15, 2018

Here are some of the headlines you can read about this month include:

  • Final Community Visioning Meeting for All-In Plan
  • The UERPC offices will be closed for Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 12th
  • October proclaimed Healthiest State Month
  • Nature Explore Northeast Iowa Project
  • Staff Retreat Held
  • Upcoming IowaWorks Decorah Workshops
  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th - Remember to Vote!
  • Iowa DOT features Cresco in new video
... [ Read More ]

Community Workshops for "All-In" County Plan

Posted: Tue, September 25, 2018

Allamakee County is partnering with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) to develop a new comprehensive plan for the County. Dubbed All In Allamakee, or the "All-In Plan" for short, the plan will consider a host of issues and topics that affect quality of life in the County, ranging from public infrastructure and housing to parks and transportation.

There are three upcoming community workshops for the All-In Plan that will be held in Postville, Lansing, and Waukon. At these workshops, attendees will help create a countywide vision for Allamakee County’s future through interactive community visioning activities. All residents of Allamakee County, as well as those who visit or work in the county, are invited and encouraged to attend

All workshops begin at 5:00 p.m. and will last about an hour and a half. There will be a brief presentation at the start followed by interactive activities. Members of the public are free to come and go at any time during the meeting, even if they miss the beginning. Light refreshments will be provided. The schedule for the three community meetings is below.

     • Postville: Tuesday, October 9th at UERPC offices, 134 West Greene Street
     • Lansing: Wednesday, October 10th at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center, 1944 Columbus Road
     • Waukon: Thursday, October 25th at the Senior Center at Waukon Wellness Center, 1220 3rd Avenue NW

Additionally, all residents of Allamakee County and those who visit or work in the county are invited and encouraged to give feedback on a broad array of issues by completing an online survey and a quick questionnaire. Visit the web addresses below to take the survey and answer the brief questionnaire.

Community Survey: www.tinyurl.com/yd69ng8w

Quick Questionnaire: www.tinyurl.com/ydebs423

Twitter and Instagram users are invited to tweet and share photos of everything they love about Allamakee County by using #allinallamakee. Those who participate may have their tweet or photo featured in the final plan document.

Those interested in being notified of updates and events related to the All-In Plan, as well as those interested in being part of one of the focus groups may contact Aaron Detter at adetter@uerpc.org or 563-382-6171.

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UERPC September Newsletter

Posted: Mon, September 17, 2018

Some of the headlines you can read about this month include:

  • Revolving Loan Fund to Assist the City of Fayette
  • UERPC Planner Achieves National Certification
  • Career Learning Link Proud
  • Lunch and Learn - Unemployment Insurance Lunch
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Hot Diggity Dog! Our Bus Got a Brand New Set of Wheels!
  • Invitation for the Northeast Iowa Family STEM Festival
  • Community Meetings for Long-Range Transportation Plan
... [ Read More ]

Public invited to community meetings

Posted: Wed, September 5, 2018

Public invited to community meetings for 5-county Long-Range Transportation Plan

Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) has begun development of an update to the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for the region consisting of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties in northeast Iowa. The Iowa Department of Transportation requires that our region’s LRTP be updated every five years. The current plan was adopted by the Upper Explorerland Transportation Policy Board in March of 2014.

The LRTP has a 20-year planning horizon and is intended to guide transportation investments in the five-county region in support of a transportation system that is safe for all modes and users, and that facilitates the efficient movement of people and goods. The plan includes a description of the region's existing conditions; identifies current transportation challenges; anticipates potential future needs; and explores various strategies for addressing those challenges and needs.

To ensure that the LRTP reflects the priorities and goals of the people who live in and visit our region, the public is invited to participate and give feedback in various ways. Community workshops have been scheduled in each of the five counties in the coming weeks. Residents of the region may attend any of the workshops, regardless of where they live.

All workshops begin at 5:00 p.m. and will last about an hour and a half. There will be a brief presentation at the start followed by interactive feedback activities. Members of the public are free to come and go at any time during the meeting, even if they miss the beginning. The schedule of community meetings is below.

  • Cresco: Monday, September 10th at NICC Cresco Center, Room 102, 1020 2nd Avenue SE
  • Fayette: Wednesday, September 12th at UIU Student Center, 2nd floor, Student Life Conference Room, 603 Washington Street
  • Calmar: Thursday, September 13th at NICC Wilder Business Center, Room 106, 1625 Highway 150 S
  • Elkader: Thursday, September 27th at Clayton County Office Facility, 600 Gunder Road NE
  • Waukon: Thursday, October 4th at the Senior Center at Waukon Wellness Center, 1220 3rd Avenue NW

 

All residents of the five counties, as well as those who visit this area, are invited and encouraged to complete an online survey about transportation in our region. Survey responses are anonymous and the more people that complete it, the stronger and more representative of the region the final plan will be.

The survey can be accessed at www.tinyurl.com/ybfo4epe. Information on the LRTP, as well as a link to the survey, are also available on UERPC’s website, www.uerpc.org.

Those interested in being notified of updates and events related to the LRTP, and anyone wishing to request a paper copy of the survey, may contact Aaron Detter at adetter@uerpc.org or 563-382-6171.

... [ Read More ]
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