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Winter Storms and the Novice Driver

Posted: Thu, February 21, 2013
Winter Storms and the Novice Driver

Getting behind the wheel for the first time on a wintery day can be nerve-wracking, even for an otherwise "invincible" teenager. A novice driver's first on-the-road experience with winter weather driving should not be during a major storm. It's better to wait until conditions are less severe.
With the potential for schools to dismiss early on Thursday due to the impending winter storm, reminding your teen driver of these tips in advance may increase their ability to get back home safely in the early stages of the storm.

If your teen must drive during winter weather, remind them of the basics.
•    Give 'em some room: Explain to the young driver the importance of maintaining adequate space between vehicles, demonstrating in a safe location the difference in stopping distances on dry pavement and slick roads.
•    See and be seen: Before starting out on the road, make sure the vehicle's windows, headlights and taillights are cleared of ice and snow.
•    Be prepared: Always be prepared when traveling during the winter by carrying a winter survival kit in the vehicle. View the Iowa DOT's winter preparedness video on YouTube with your novice driver at http://www.youtube.com/iowadot.
•    Check on road conditions: Visit http://511ia.org/to discover all of the ways in which travel information is available via the Web, social media, phone and your mobile device (but never while driving).

... [ Read More ]


Proposed Improvements to Iowa 3

Posted: Wed, February 20, 2013
Proposed Improvement To Iowa 3 in Fayette County Near Oelwein To Be Discussed March 7
 
The Iowa Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting Thursday, March 7,to discuss the proposed improvement of Iowa 3 in Fayette County from Fayette County Road V-62 east to the north corporate limits of Oelwein.

The public is invited to attend the meeting anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. at the Oelwein Public Library, 201 E. Charles St.
 
This public information meeting will be conducted utilizing an open forum format. Iowa DOT staff will be present to informally discuss the proposed improvement. No formal presentation will be made.
 
Traffic on Iowa 3 would be detoured during construction using Fayette County roads V-62 and C-33, and Iowa 150; or Fayette County Road V-62, Iowa 281 and Iowa 150.
 
For general information regarding the proposed improvement or public meeting, contact Nick Humpal, staff engineer, Iowa DOT District 2 Office, 1420 Fourth St. SE, Mason City, Iowa 50401, telephone 641-423-7584 or 800-477-4368, email nickolas.humpal@dot.iowa.gov.
 
Visit the Iowa DOT's project-related public involvement event website at www.iowadot.gov/pim for information about scheduled public meetings and hearings, and opportunities to offer input to the Iowa DOT during the development of certain projects.
... [ Read More ]


W. K. Kellogg Foundation Awards $900,000 to Food & Fitness

Posted: Fri, February 15, 2013
For Immediate Release

Contact: Teresa Wiemerslage, ISU Extension, wiemer@iastate.edu, 563-794-0599

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Awards $900,000 to Food & Fitness


The W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded $900,000 to the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI) to be used in the next four years. The award money will fund current strategies related to school wellness, food systems, and active living with an additional focus on the caregivers of children from birth to age five in Northeast Iowa.

The WKKF invests in community-driven projects across the country that work to change policies and systems to make the healthy choice the easy choice.  Kellogg's investment in northeast Iowa started in 2008 when it was selected as one of nine sites to be a Food & Fitness community, with a two-year planning grant of $650,000.  A three-year implementation grant of $1.2 million followed.  

With the additional support, the initiative now moves from the implementation phase to an extended funding phase with a focus on long-term sustainability for the citizens in the six rural counties of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek.  

Guided by a Regional Leadership Council of local community members, FFI is grounded and supported by the staff of four core partner organizations: ISU Extension and Outreach, Luther College, Northeast Iowa Community College and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission.

These organizations, each with differing missions, unite under a common vision for the region—to provide access to healthy, locally grown food with abundant opportunities for physical activity and play every day.  

"A nine-year investment by a private foundation into a region is unprecedented," said Ann Mansfield, FFI Project Coordinator.  "It also speaks volumes about the quality of the work and the strong community relationships needed to sustain it."  

"Healthier people make stronger families and vibrant communities," said Mansfield.  "The continued support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will help us to further deepen this work with our partners and communities."  

Collaborative Strategies
The newest strategy of FFI focuses on early childhood care settings.  The work is being coordinated by Haleisa Johnson who is housed at Northeast Iowa Community College.  

"It is very important to include early childhood outreach because recent studies show increasing prevalence of obesity among children ages two to five. Over 21% of children age two to five are overweight or obese," says Johnson.  "If we do not address the health risk of our youngest children they could face a life of chronic diseases which will in turn affect our health system."
 
While the new strategy is being put into place, FFI plans to build on the three existing strategies by continuing to support area youth as leaders of change in wellness in school and community environments.  

Healthy Places
Individual behavior change is difficult without the support and influence of healthy environments in which to live, work and play.  Because school are hubs of a community, FFI has focused on school wellness for the past three years.  

They have worked to engage each school district within the six counties to create practices that benefit the well-being of students and creates a culture which promotes and sustains healthy habits.

School districts are now turning those healthy practices into policy.  Activities with proven outcomes for students, like walking school bus programs, recess before lunch, stronger food and beverage policies, active classrooms, and strong farm to school programs are paving the road for long-term system change.

"In so many ways we are a culture of excess," said Emily Neal, Director of School Outreach at Luther College.  "Many of our excessive behaviors are those that drive us to be one of the most unhealthy, developed nations in the world."

"Schools are a place to counterbalance societal excess, to model critical thinking and healthy lifestyle habits, and to provide the skills and habits to be productive and healthy citizens of the world," she said.

Outside of the school walls, the Active Living Work Group is dedicated to ensuring that people use the natural and built environments for physical activity, play and active transportation.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS), an international movement to enable and encourage students to safely walk and bike to and from school, is a priority FFI focus.  SRTS efforts began in the region in 2008. Since then, over 2000 students walk and bike to and from school, an increase of nearly 50%.

Ashley Christensen, Regional Safe Routes to School Liaison at Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, spearheads SRTS efforts in Northeast Iowa.

"Our work is really one of a kind in that we are the only regionally-based SRTS program in the state and maybe even the country," said Christensen.  "We are bringing the benefits of Safe Routes to School to rural populations."

"With all the Safe Routes to School excitement and enthusiasm in Northeast Iowa, now is the time to really push forward," continued Christensen. "We need to continue to work hard today so younger generations can enjoy a healthier, happier and safer tomorrow."


Access to Healthy Food
In the next four years, FFI plans to continue making locally grown food available and affordable in communities, neighborhoods, and institutions.

"Demand for locally produced food including fruits and vegetables as well as livestock products has shown substantial growth. Buying and selling locally produced food revitalizes neighborhoods by creating and keeping jobs and money in the community," says Teresa Wiemerslage, Leader for Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition and ISU Extension and Outreach program coordinator.

In 2011, twenty-five food producers reported over $3.5 million in local food sales.  Local schools have purchased over $14,400 from local farmers through farm to school efforts.  More locally grown foods can be found on grocery stores shelves.  

Wiemerslage says it is not only important to increase the sales of locally grown foods, but to also increase the number of farmers in the area to keep the sales numbers growing.

"Iowa's farmers are getting older and we need more farmers.  Almost 30% of Iowa's farmers are over 65; only 7% of our farmers are under 35.  Local food production is a great way for young for people to enter agriculture," Wiemerslage said. "We want to see agriculture grow, and bring new ideas and new families to northeast Iowa."

Next Generation
A key ingredient of FFI's success has been the intentional engagement of youth in the planning and implementation of the work.  Youth are viewed as partners and provide additional insight and enthusiasm for the changes that will directly impact their generation.

Their actions are leading to systems change in schools and communities.  Youth have worked with school food service staff to establish salad bars in lunch programs and to get healthier food options on their ala carte food lines and in concession stands.  They also deliver nutrition education and modeling healthy habits for their peers and younger children.

Youth outreach has become a part of the Iowa 4-H program to provide structure and a long-term home in an existing program.  Lynette Houser, ISU Extension Regional Youth Coordinator points to the four outcomes the 4-H program strives to develop in each of its youth partners: successful learners, effective leaders, productive citizens and outstanding communicators.   Over 240 youth were members of their school-based FFI 4-H teams in 2012.

"Positive youth development is the key component to youth engagement in the FFI and vital for sustaining youth leadership in the work," said Houser. "The additional funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will allow more youth in NE Iowa the opportunity to transform their environments through a multitude of outlets."

"The youth involved in FFI are passionate, engaged and have great ideas.  We need to listen to them.  It's their future," she said. 
... [ Read More ]


Request for Audit Proposals

Posted: Tue, January 22, 2013
Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission is currently soliciting bid proposals to conduct the comprehensive audit of the above-stated agencies.  We invite your firm to submit a three-year proposal for the audits that would cover the fiscal years ending June 30, 2013, June 30, 2014, and June 30, 2015.  The following information should guide you in preparing a detailed proposal.

The Commission is a regional planning agency created under Chapter 473A and 28E, State Code of Iowa to serve the counties of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek, Iowa.  The Commission is governed by a Board of Commissioners appointed from the five counties.  Its programs are financed from federal and state grants and contracts, county appropriations, and interest earned on investments.  

The Commission administers various programs such as Economic Development Administration (EDA), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs and administers the programs established under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  The Commission also employs staff to operate the Regional Housing Authority.  The Commission operates several revolving loan fund programs that make low interest loans available to businesses in the five county area.  

The Commission has contracts with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Economic Development, and USDA Rural Development.  The Commission currently employs twenty staff and writes approximately 600 checks per month among the various agencies.

UERPC also serves as the administrative entity for the Workforce Investment Act.  Funding is received through the U.S. Department of Labor and includes Title 1 Adult & Administration, WIA Youth and WIA Dislocated Worker grants.  UERPC's annual operating budget is approximately $4.0 million.  

The Regional Housing Authority is a public housing agency.  Funding is received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  There are currently 407 units under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program with an estimated annual contribution contract of approximately $1.2 million.    

Our agency is requesting that your written proposal break down the cost of the audit of UERPC (including Workforce Investment Act) and UERHA and specifically address the following:

  1. Your firm's expertise and qualifications, particularly in auditing similar agencies and programs.
  2. The personnel who will be assigned to the audits and their qualifications.
  3. The hourly rates of the personnel involved in the audit.
  4. The scope of services that will be provided in the maximum base price.  Include in these services, any expenses relating to travel, copy fees, filing fees, telephone charges, and correspondence that may occur during the duration of the audit and subsequent to the audit.
  5. The approximate number of hours required by your firm of the UERPC staff in the performance of the audit work and the estimated timeframe for completion of the audit.

The audit must be conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and as required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.  

The audit report of the Regional Housing Authority will need to be prepared as a separate document from the UERPC audit report.  Reporting is also required to be completed electronically through HUD's Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) for the Regional Housing Authority.    

The previous audits of these agencies are available for inspection at our office or on the agency website at uerpc.org.  Please submit your written proposal to this office no later than April 11, 2013.  Electronic submissions are also welcome.  Any questions concerning the audit proposals can be directed to Lisa Lensing, UERPC Finance Manager.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully submitted,


Rachelle Howe
Executive Director
... [ Read More ]


Iowa DOT Asks for Cooperation from Ice Fishing Anglers in Allamakee County

Posted: Fri, December 28, 2012
The Iowa Department of Transportation's District 2 Office and the Iowa State Patrol are asking for assistance from ice fishing anglers on the Mississippi River parking along Iowa 26 in Allamakee County.
 
Vehicles parked on the shoulder of Iowa 26 north of Lansing can interfere with snow removal operations. Snowplow drivers end up leaving a bank of snow alongside the vehicles parked on the shoulder that cannot be cleared until the vehicles are moved. This can cause unsafe driving conditions for those leaving their fishing spots, as well as others traveling on Iowa 26. 

Whether winter precipitation is in the forecast, still falling or has yet to be cleared from the road, parking along the shoulder of Iowa 26 should be avoided. Instead, the Iowa DOT and ISP are asking anglers to use the designated parking areas along the east and west sides of Iowa 26 north of Lansing located at:
•    Milepost 1.8 (east side of Iowa 26)
•    Milepost 2.0 (east side of Iowa 26)
•    Milepost 2.4 (east side of Iowa 26)
•    Milepost 7.3 (west side of Iowa 26)

Using designated parking areas allows snowplow drivers to completely clean the roadway in an effort to create safe roadway conditions.

... [ Read More ]


Holiday Hours for Christmas

Posted: Fri, December 21, 2012
All UERPC offices will be closed on December 24th and 25th for the Christmas holiday. We hope all our partners have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
... [ Read More ]


Travel Not Advised in Much of Iowa

Posted: Wed, December 19, 2012
In advance of forecasted blizzard conditions in the state, the Iowa Department of Transportation is advising motorists that travel across the majority of Iowa is not advised from 8 p.m. tonight through noon Thursday, Dec. 20.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning beginning at 6 p.m. tonight and continuing through 6 p.m. Thursday. In addition to heavy snowfall of 6 to 10 inches, very strong northwest winds (25-35 mph, with gusts exceeding 45 mph) will produce considerable blowing and drifting of snow and blizzard conditions late tonight through Thursday afternoon.

The heaviest snow axis will be along a line from Atlantic to Dubuque. The lowest amounts are expected near the Missouri border. Snow drifts several feet deep will be possible given the strong winds. Visibility at times will be reduced to one-quarter mile or less to whiteout conditions.

The Iowa DOT does not recommend travel during this dangerous winter storm, but if you choose to venture out, take a fully charged cell phone with you. If you become stranded, follow these safety steps.
•    Use your mobile phone to call 911 for emergency assistance. Guide emergency personnel to your location by observing any exit numbers, mileposts, crossroads or landmarks.
•    Pull as far off the road as possible to avoid getting hit by other vehicles.
•    Turn on your vehicle's warning/flashing lights.
•    Remain with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides the shelter necessary to survive and allows you to be found by rescue personnel.
•    Remain calm and be patient. It may take considerable time for someone to reach your vehicle during a storm as emergency personnel typically are assisting multiple persons.
•    Make sure your vehicle's gas tank is full before starting your trip. If you become stranded, run your vehicle about 10 minutes every hour to stay warm.
•    Crack a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up; and clear away any snow from the vehicle's tailpipe so the exhaust can escape.
•    Utilize the resources in your winter survival kit.
 To discover all the ways in which you can receive 24/7 Iowa traveler information, visit http://511ia.org/.
... [ Read More ]


Iowa DOT Urges Caution as Winter Weather Approaches

Posted: Tue, December 18, 2012
With the anticipation of a busy holiday travel weekend approaching, the Iowa Department of Transportation is cautioning drivers that the first major winter storm of the season may hamper some travel plans.
 
Storm severity will vary depending on location. The National Weather Service is predicting 5 to 8 inches of snow along a line from Atlantic through Boone to Waterloo, with isolated instances of 10 inches possible. Rain is expected in southern Iowa along a line from Bedford to Oskaloosa. In between, a rain/snow mix is expected. All precipitation is expected to change to snow overnight Wednesday before ending Thursday morning.

Winds are expected to become very strong Wednesday night from the north/northwest. Sustained winds of 25 to 33 mph are expected, with gusts of 45 mph or more possible. The strongest winds are expected a few hours prior to daybreak through noon Thursday. Blizzard or near blizzard conditions may occur with visibilities reduced below one-quarter of a mile from time to time.
 
The Iowa DOT recommends the following tips for safe winter travel during the impending storm.
 
Trip preparation - is the trip necessary?Often, delaying a trip by a few hours can give snow removal crews time to get the roads back to normal winter driving conditions. For traveler information, now available via the web, Twitter, Facebook or on your mobile phone, visit http://511ia.org/. Or simply call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).
 
For information available from the Iowa DOT's weather stations, including atmospheric conditions, road temperatures and traffic camera images, visit the Iowa DOT's WeatherView website at http://weatherview.iowadot.gov/.
 
Before you leave, let someone know your departure and expected arrival times, along with your intended route. Allow extra time to reach your destination.
 
Prepare your vehicle and passengers. Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition and its gas tank is nearly full. Turn on your vehicle's headlights so you can see and be seen. Ensure all passengers are wearing their seat belts or are in child safety seats.
 
Use your winter driving skills. Do not use cruise control. Allow extra stopping distance by maintaining adequate distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. Avoid abrupt steering maneuvers. Lower your vehicle's speed, accelerate more slowly and apply the brakes in a controlled manner.
 
Carry an emergency survival kit and other supplies.Carry a mobile phone for making an emergency call; do not use it while driving.
 
Place a winter survival kit in your vehicle. This kit should contain items to help sustain your life and the lives of your passengers should your vehicle become stranded. These items can include: booster cables, candles and matches, a flashlight with fresh batteries, extra blankets and warm clothes, nonperishable food items, a can for melting water, and a snow shovel. Sufficient supplies should be in the kit for all persons traveling in the vehicle.

Use caution when approaching, following or passing a snowplow. Snowplows generally operate at much slower speeds than other traffic. Snowplows can be forced sideways when clearing hard-packed drifts and generate a "snow cloud" that may impair the vision of drivers in nearby vehicles. Remain a safe distance behind the snowplow, pass only when clear and never continue to drive alongside a plow. Allow plenty of space when passing a snowplow because the wing of the plow blade extends out to the side of the truck. Do not cut back into the lane of traffic too soon in front of a snowplow truck because the blade also extends in front of the truck.
 
Remember the slogans, "Ice and Snow … Take it Slow" and "Don't crowd the plow."
... [ Read More ]


UERPC December Newsletter

Posted: Mon, December 17, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Northeast Iowa Goes to Washington
  • Save the Date!
  • Creating a Better World
  • Meet and Greet
  • Iowa Finance Authority awards NEIRHTF and the FCLHTF
  • Audit Complete
  • Upcoming Training
  • Worksite Wellness Programs-Good for Business
  • Congratulations to Carolyn Thorsten
  • Motor Mill Bridge Celebration
  • Healthy Christmas Eating!
  • UERPC offices Holiday Dates
... [ Read More ]


Driving Dangers Compounded Over Thanksgiving Holiday

Posted: Tue, November 20, 2012
A combination of winter weather, impaired drivers and other factors have proven deadly on Iowa highways during past Thanksgiving holiday weekends.

Over the last decade, traffic fatality data shows the Thanksgiving holiday (Wednesday noon to midnight Sunday) as having the highest number of highway fatalities of the six different holiday periods tracked by the Iowa Department of Transportation. In the last two years, 12 people were killed in traffic crashes over the extended weekend, four of those fatalities involved crashes with impaired drivers.

While even one death on Iowa roadways is too many, a number of factors have combined to make 2012 one of the lowest on record for Iowa traffic fatalities. To continue the trend, there are several steps people can take to make the roads safer throughout the holiday season.
  • Do not drink and drive. If you are attending an event where alcohol is served, designate a nondrinking driver to drive home from the party and stick with that decision.
  • Put your mobile phone away. Distractions due to talking or texting while driving are leading causes of motor vehicle crashes.  
  • Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt - all positions, all ages.
  • Do not follow too closely behind another vehicle, especially in heavier traffic or when you are traveling at higher speeds.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Slow down if your vision is limited by heavy rain, fog or snow.
  • Monitor weather-related travel conditions. Listen to forecasts; and check road conditions by downloading the "Iowa 511" app to your smart phone, visiting http://www.511ia.org or calling 511.
  • Avoid traveling during peak traffic periods, including Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, and Sunday afternoon and evening.
To see a list of holiday fatality numbers dating back to 1962, visit http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/stats/holidayfatalities.pdf
... [ Read More ]


UERPC November Newsletter

Posted: Mon, November 19, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Local Winners to Compete at Local "Pitch Off"
  • "High" Ratings from HUD for UERPC Housing Authority
  • City Clerk Meeting Update
  • "Walktober 3rd" a Huge Success
  • Revolving Loan Fund and HAWC Partnership
  • NE IA Safety Alliance Meeting
  • Deer Safety: Tips for Avoiding a Collision
  • Exciting News for Waukon!
... [ Read More ]


Online Transportation Survey

Posted: Thu, November 1, 2012
A local team of economic development, transportation, and employment specialists are currently conducting a survey about employment transportation in Northeast Iowa.  The goal is to get a better understanding of current employment transportation options and needs. The team is looking for responses from employees, employers and job seekers that live or work in any of these Iowa counties: Allamakee, Winneshiek, Howard, Fayette, and Clayton. The survey can be found below.

If you know of someone that would want to complete the survey, but does not have computer access, a paper version is available. Please contact Karn Pankow, Operations / Mobility Manager at NEICAC to request one. Email: karn@neicac.org or phone: 1-866-382-4259.

This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Responses will be accepted Nov 1 - 18, 2012. This is an anonymous survey; only general demographic & transportation questions will be asked.
... [ Read More ]


Iowa Agencies Promote National School Bus Safety Week

Posted: Mon, October 22, 2012
The Iowa departments of Transportation, Education and Public Safety are joining the National Association for Pupil Transportation in promoting National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 22-26, 2012. Motorists can expect heightened traffic enforcement directed toward persons who illegally pass stop school buses during this period.

The theme for this year's educational campaign is "I See the Driver. The Driver Sees Me!" It is derived from the national school bus safety poster contest held in 2011.
The purpose of the annual safety week is to educate students, parents/caregivers, bus drivers, educators and motorists about the importance of school bus safety and measures they can take to decrease injuries and fatalities.

Each year, more than 800 students nationally are killed going to and from school. In Iowa, there were 207 school bus-related crashes in 2011, including three fatalities and seven major injuries. Through July 31 of this year, there have been 86 school bus-related crashes.

To learn more about school bus safety, what motorists must do when a school bus is stopped, how students can safely board or unload from a school bus, and the penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus, go to www.iowadot.gov/schoolbus. 

In March 2012, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Senate File 2218, the Keep Aware Driving - Youth Need School Safety Act, commonly known as Kadyn's Law. The law is named after Kadyn Halverson, age 7, who was struck by a pickup truck while trying to cross the road to board her school bus.

Kadyn's Law increased the criminal penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus and directed the Iowa DOT to adopt rules that increase the administrative driving privilege sanctions. Under these rules, a person's driving privilege will be suspended 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.

... [ Read More ]


UERPC October Newsletter

Posted: Mon, October 15, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Community Foundations Are Awarded
  • Are you Ready to Be Interviewed?
  • Metronet
  • Thank you Dave!
  • Don't Miss the next City Clerk Meeting!
  • UERPC Partnership with Hawkeye Community College
  • Guttenberg Comprehensive Plan
  • Tours Throughout the Area
  • Congratulations to Fayette
... [ Read More ]


Be a 'walk star" Oct. 3 by joining International Walk to School Day

Posted: Mon, September 17, 2012
Be a "walk star" by participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 3. 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 Day is expected to draw participation from 5,000 schools from all 50 states. 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.walktoschool.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 john@iowabicyclecoalition.org.
... [ Read More ]


UERPC September Newsletter

Posted: Mon, September 17, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Tell Us About Your Projects
  • Dream Big Grow Here $15K Competition
  • 2013 Tax Tables Move in a Positive Direction
  • NE IA Team Selected to Participate in Job Access Mobility Institute
  • Safe Routes Update
... [ Read More ]


Political Campaign Signs: Where can they be legally posted?

Posted: Tue, September 4, 2012
Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation remind campaigners of the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the placement of political campaign signs in the state. A section of the Iowa DOT's website is devoted to answering the most frequently asked questions about legal posting of such signs - www.iowadot.gov/iowaroadsigns/pol_sign_info.html

"We realize that most sign violations are the result of efforts of ardent campaign supporters who are unfamiliar with the laws. Therefore, the Iowa DOT has prepared information to be used as a guide for political candidates, party chairs, campaign workers and election officials, to help them become acquainted with the laws before this year's signs are posted," said Iowa DOT spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher.

The Iowa DOT is urging individuals to visit the website or speak to their political headquarters to insure campaign signs are properly placed and to avoid having signs removed from the public right of way.

... [ Read More ]


UERPC August Newsletter

Posted: Mon, August 20, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • State Revolving Fund Interest Rate Proposal will Lower Rates
  • Small Business Outreach Program
  • Brownfields Successes!
  • City of Elgin Awarded RBEG Grant
  • Safe Routes Tally Report
  • UERPC Receives Technology Funds
  • IEDA Visits Northeast Iowa
... [ Read More ]


Turkey River Trail Grand Opening Ceremony

Posted: Wed, August 15, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Turkey River Recreational Corridor is excited to
celebrate the Grand Opening of Phase I of
The Turkey River Land Trail!

9:00 a.m.—Fun walk, run or bike from Clermont & Elgin
10:00 a.m.—Grand Opening Ceremony
11:00 a.m.—Turkey River Turkey Dash
Refreshments following

Location: The new pedestrian bridge located next to the
Valley Bridge Canoe Access #62 on Canoe Road (County Hwy W51)

Parking available at the Valley School parking lot.
Purchase a turkey for just $5.00 for your chance to win great
prizes during the Turkey Dash race on the Turkey River.
Tickets are available at the Fayette County Economic
Development office and Elkader City Hall.

... [ Read More ]


Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Annual Meeting Announced

Posted: Tue, August 7, 2012
The Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 3:30 P.M. at the Upper Explorerland Conference Room, 134 W. Greene Street, Postville, IA.  You are invited to attend this public meeting to learn about the Trust Fund and its application procedures, and about the type of home repair projects funded thus far.  Your feedback on our Housing Assistance Plan is important to the process, and copies will be available for your review.  Please join us!  Treats will be provided. 

... [ Read More ]


Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund Annual Meeting

Posted: Tue, August 7, 2012
The Fayette County Local Housing Trust fund will hold its fifth annual meeting on Wednesday, August 15th at 3:00 p.m. at the Fayette Library ICN room.  Citizens and officials from Fayette County communities and the rural area are invited to attend this public meeting and learn about the Housing Trust Fund, its application procedures and the types of home repair projects funded thus far.  Community feedback on our Housing Assistance Plan is important to the process, and copies will be available for review.  Treats will be provided.

... [ Read More ]


IFA Awards HOME Funds to UERPC for the city of Oelwein

Posted: Wed, August 1, 2012
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 City of Oelwein.  The award of the HOME funds was matched with a local commitment from the City of Oelwein.

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 can 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. 106 to sign up.

Applications will be accepted beginning August 15th, 2012.

Below are the income guidelines by household size: 

  •  Household Size 1: Gross Income-$33,250
  •  Household Size 2: Gross Income-$38,000
  •  Household Size 3: Gross Income-$42,750
  •  Household Size 4: Gross Income-$47,450
  •  Household Size 5: Gross Income-$51,250
  •  Household Size 6: Gross Income-$55,050
  •  Household Size 7: Gross Income-$58,850
  •  Household Size 8: Gross Income-$62,650


If you are interested and meet the qualifications outlined above we would like to hear from you.  Applications can be picked up at the Oelwein City Hall or by calling Lori Brockway at Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 ext.106.  Applications can also be accessed by clicking below.


Equal Housing Opportunity


... [ Read More ]


IFA Awards HOME Funds to UERPC for 3 Cities in the Region

Posted: Wed, August 1, 2012
Iowa Finance Authority Awards HOME Funds to UERPC for Strawberry Point, Garnavillo and McGregor!

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 McGregor, Garnavillo and Strawberry Point.  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 can 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 106 to sign up!

Applications will be accepted beginning August 15th,  2012.

Below are the income guidelines by household size:

  • Household Size 1: Gross Income-$33,250
  • Household Size 2: Gross Income-$38,000
  • Household Size 3: Gross Income-$42,750
  • Household Size 4: Gross Income-$47,450
  • Household Size 5: Gross Income-$51,250
  • Household Size 6: Gross Income-$55,050
  • Household Size 7: Gross Income-$58,850
  • Household Size 8: Gross Income-$62,650

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 Lori Brockway at Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 ext. 106.  Applications can also be accessed by clicking below.

Equal Housing Opportunity
... [ Read More ]


WIA Annual Report has been posted

Posted: Wed, August 1, 2012
The Workforce Investment Act Annual Report for the program year 2011 has been posted to our Workforce page.  To access the document click below.
... [ Read More ]


Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund Annual Meeting

Posted: Tue, July 31, 2012
The Fayette County Local Housing Trust fund will hold its fifth annual meeting on Wednesday, August 15th at 3:00 p.m. at the Fayette Library ICN room.  Citizens and officials from Fayette County communities and the rural area are invited to attend this public meeting and learn about the Housing Trust Fund, its application procedures and the types of home repair projects funded thus far.  Community feedback on our Housing Assistance Plan is important to the process, and copies will be available for review.  Treats will be provided.
... [ 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.

... [ Read More ]

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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