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Iowa Finance Authority Awards HOME Funds to UERPC for: Oelwein, St. Point, Garnavillo and McGregor!

Posted: Tue, May 8, 2012
Upper Explorerland RPC is excited to announce that they are the recipients of TWO HOME Investment Partnership Program Awards with funds of $800,000 from 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 and 10 First Time Homebuyers in the communities of Garnavillo, Strawberry Point and McGregor.  The awards of the HOME funds were 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.  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.

Below are the income guidelines by household size.

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

For more information on the General Homebuyer Assistance Program or the income guidelines please contact Lori Brockway at Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 ext. 106. 

Equal Housing Opportunity

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Dollars$ On Your Door$tep

Posted: Mon, April 30, 2012


The Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund (FCLHTF) is accepting applications for housing rehabilitation\improvement projects.  The FCLHTF assists individuals, community organizations, and non-profit and for-profit developers in rehabilitation, renovation and repair projects that improve the condition of both rental and owner occupied affordable housing in Fayette County.   Funding is available of up to $5,000 for low to moderate income homeowners.

The City of West Union is accepting pre-applications for the First Time Homebuyer Program to determine community interest.  The funds for this program can be used for down payment assistance or rehabilitation assistance to bring the purchased home into compliance with Iowa's Minimum Housing Standards.  Assistance is in the form of a 10 year receding forgivable loan with awards up to $24,999.  

A representative from UERPC will be available at City Hall on Tuesday, May 15th from 9:00 a.m. until noon to answer any questions that you may have or assist in the application process.

For more information regarding the above programs please contact Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 and ask for Sarah Snitker, ext. 101 or Cyndi Schulte, ext. 120.  Applications for the FCLHTF can be obtained online at, Housing, Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund.  

Equal Housing Opportunity
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Operation ReLeaf Trees are still available

Posted: Mon, April 23, 2012
Operation  ReLeaf Trees are still available.  Visit the Allamakee County Event Location at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds in Waukon on Thursday, May 3rd from 5 - 7 pm.

Trees will be $25.00 per tree for #5 - #10 container grown trees, 5 - 9' tall. Species available will be; Heritage Oak, Honeylocust, Kentucky Coffeetree, Japanese Tree Lilac, and Black Hills Spruce.

For more information visit the website at

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Fair Housing Seminar

Posted: Mon, April 23, 2012
Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission and Northeast Iowa Community College will be hosting a Fair Housing Seminar, featuring Don Grove with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on Thursday, May 17, 2012 from 10:00 am to 12:00 Noon at the NICC Dairy Center, Room 115, Calmar, IA.

Everyone is welcome.  Please RSVP to Ardie Kuhse with UERPC at 563-864-7551 or
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UERPC April Newsletter

Posted: Mon, April 16, 2012

Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Valley CSD Awarded FEMA Assistance
  • Connect Iowa Kickoff Meetings
  • Housing Updates
  • Economic Development Updates
  • Transportation Update
  • Welcome Dave!
... [ Read More ]

Keep Our Kids Safe

Posted: Wed, April 11, 2012
Keep our kids safe - do not pass a stopped school bus

AMES, Iowa - April 11, 2012 -  Recently, several motor vehicle crashes with school buses have prompted the Iowa Department of Transportation to remind motorists of when it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus on any public or private roadway or driveway.
The bill known as "Kadyn's Law," in memory of Kadyn Halverson, went into effect with the governor's signature March 16. The 7-year-old first grader from Kensett was killed last May by a driver who had illegally passed a stopped school bus.
The new provisions increase the penalties for drivers who fail to abide by the law (Iowa Code 321.372) on stopped school buses. Previously, a motorist who passed a bus when the red warning lights were flashing was fined $200. The new Iowa law increased the penalty to at least $250 and as high as $675 for a first offense and up to 30 days in jail. For subsequent violations, a driver could face fines of up to $1,875. A driver who violates the law and causes an injury could face added fines, jail time and license suspension.
In addition to the situations described below, drivers should never pass on the right. Violations of Iowa's motor vehicle laws should be reported to local law enforcement.
Scenario 1 - You are traveling on a two-lane or three-lane
  • Nearing the bus from the rear; drivers must always stop when either the amber lights or red lights are flashing.  Stop no closer than 15 feet from t he bus.
  • Meeting the bus from the front; drivers must slow their vehicles to 20 mph when amber lights are flashing.  Stop when the lights change to red and the stop arm comes out.  Remain stopped until the lights stop flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. 
Scenario 2 - You are traveling on a road with two or more lanes in each direction
  • Stop if nearing the bus from the rear when amber or red lights are flashing.  Stop no closer than 15 feet from the bus.   
  • When meeting the bus in one of the opposite two lanes (or more), you do not need to stop even if the bus has stopped with lights flashing and stop arm out.  he bus is not permitted to load or unload children who must cross this type of roadway unless there are official traffic control devices or police officers present.    
Contact: David Stutz, 515-237-3230 or

Below are illustrations of vehicle movements related to a stopped school bus on a variety of roadway configurations.

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Housing News Update

Posted: Thu, March 29, 2012
CDBG Housing Update:
Upper Explorerland RPC is excited to announce that Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) intends to conditionally award the City of Waukon and the City of McGregor a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $324,000, in each community.  These funds will be used for the rehabilitation of 8 owner occupied single family homes.  Funding for the CDBG program was very competitive this year, with only 17 of 53 CDBG applications funded. Lori Brockway, of  UERPC  was very pleased to assist both of these cities in writing these successful grant applications.  For more information contact Lori Brockway at 563-864-7551, Ext. 106 or by email at

Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Update:
The Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Program (NEIRHTF) is pleased to announce that they were awarded funds of $1,000 from the Clayton County Foundation for the Future Grant Program.  These funds will be used to assist residents in Clayton County with their rehabilitation needs such as:  roofs, windows, doors, electrical, plumbing, and handicapped accessibility.  For further information regarding the NEIRHTF program please contact Lori Brockway at 563-864-7551, Ext. 106 or by email at
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UERPC March Newsletter

Posted: Mon, March 19, 2012
Some of the headlines you can read about:
  • Brownfields Project Update: Former Arlington School
  • Broadband Initiative
  • USDA Roundtable Discussion
  • Searching for Locally Made Items
  • Association of Iowa Workforce Partners (AIWP) Legislative Reception
  • Job Opportunities with UERPC
  • NIBN Receives IEDA Marketing Funds
... [ Read More ]

Executive Director Position

Posted: Thu, March 1, 2012
The Executive Director position at Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission has become available.  Please see the below link for job description if you would like to apply.

... [ Read More ]

Ruling in Open Meeting Violations Case

Posted: Wed, February 15, 2012
A judge has thrown out 50 of the 51 counts alleging open meetings violations against Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission which maintains offices in Decorah and Postville. The Commission had filed a motion with the court, asking for dismissal of all counts. Plaintiffs in the case are the City of Postville and Jason Meyer of Postville.

Judge Thomas A. Bitter of the First Judicial District of Iowa made the ruling Feb. 9. The judge also ruled that trial be held on the remaining count which alleges Upper Explorerland "purposefully" prevented the public from having access at a meeting.

The case originated from a Sept. 23, 2010 meeting in which Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission met to consider whether to buy a building in Decorah to alleviate the over-crowding at the Postville offices.

At that meeting, which included members of the public and a representative from the Postville newspaper, a lengthy discussion was held before a motion was made to buy the property in Decorah, which had been determined to be the most viable of all Northeast Iowa possible sites reviewed. The board unanimously agreed to a paper ballot vote. Each member cast ballots and the ballots were counted, showing 10 in favor of buying the property and six opposed.

On Oct. 18, 2010, the plaintiffs obtained an injunction prohibiting the Commission from entering into a contract for the purchase of real property in Decorah. A hearing on that motion was held Oct. 25 and the court issued a ruling stating that the Commission was enjoined from purchasing the property based on the Sept. 23 vote, but that the court could not prohibit the Commission from holding future meetings on the issue.

At a meeting in October 2010, the Commission voted to "table" the issue for 30 days to consider all options for expansion, and on Nov. 30, 2010, the Commission met and voted to purchase the Decorah property.

On Jan. 19, 2011, the plaintiffs filed an amended petition alleging 51 separate violations of Iowa's Open Meetings Laws dating as far back as 1999. The allegations stated that agendas were not posted properly and that Upper Explorerland did not properly publish the names and salaries of the commission members for the years 1999 through 2009.

Judge Bitter's ruling states the Commission properly posted the agendas on its bulletin board, and also that it properly published names and salaries in the Oelwein Daily Register. Plaintiffs had alleged that the Oelwein Register is not a "newspaper of general circulation" because it doesn't serve the entirety of the commission area.

The remaining count involves the Nov. 30, 2010 meeting in which some members of the public were required to stand in the hallway outside the meeting room because the room was not large enough to accommodate all attendees. Judge Bitter decided that a factual determination needs to be made at trial concerning this allegation. "This is a disputed factual issue," the judge wrote in his decision.

A date for the trial, which will be held in Allamakee County, has not been set.


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UERPC Awarded "Impact Award"

Posted: Tue, January 31, 2012
UERPC was awarded yesterday with an "Impact Award" during the Winneshiek County Development's awards banquet. Upper Explorerland was recognized for moving its administrative offices to Decorah, while maintaining a work office in Postville. From left, WCDI Board President Ron Stoskopf; Rachelle Howe, UERPC Economic Development Department Head; Fern Rissman of Iowa Works; and Randy Uhl, UERPC Commission chairman.
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Keep IA Beautiful Grant Opportunities

Posted: Mon, January 30, 2012
2012 Keep Iowa Beautiful Grant program applications are now available.  This program is designed for communities of less than 5,000 population for implementing  beautification projects and is intended to leverage local dollars, support volunteer efforts and encourage the work of communities with the desire for improving the image and appearance of their areas.
Project Eligibility:  
  1. A community beautification project must have one or more of the following as its primary purpose:
    • Litter prevention  / removal / education / implementation / public awareness
    • Recycling education / implementation / public awareness
    • Beautification programs - flower, tree and shrub planting, painting & fix-up and general landscaping.
    • Public nuisance abatement.
  2. Grant limits are $5,000 for beautification projects.
  3. Projects with long-term or continuing benefits are desirable as opposed to one-time projects without lasting benefit. As an example - a short term project might include flower planting while a longer term value project might be tree planting.
  4. Projects involving youth with a focus on service learning opportunities are most encouraged.
  5. The following are not eligible for funding:
    • Taxes.
    • Vehicle registration.
    • Legal costs.
    • Contingency funds and / or organization operational costs.
    • Proposal preparation.
    • Motorized equipment costing more than $1,000.
    • Contractual project administration.
    • Land / building acquisition, leases, easements, etc.
    • Speakers, entertainment, refreshments and food.
    • Costs for which payment has been or will be received under another federal, state or private financial assistance program.
    • Costs incurred before a written agreement between the applicant and KIB has been executed.
    • Office furniture, computers, fax machines and other office furnishings and equipment.
    • T-shirts and give-a-way items.
    • Outdoor furniture (grants are available under the "Build with Bags" program).
    • Administrative and general operating costs of the project sponsor.
  6. An approved community project must be completed within the funding period.
  7. Photo documentation and media planning are required giving recognition to grant administrators and fund sources.
  8. Be prepared to undergo an audit regarding expenditures of the grant.
Click here for more information or to obtain an application.
Keep Iowa Beautiful
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Burkes Resigns

Posted: Thu, January 19, 2012
Aaron Burkes, our executive director, has accepted a new position in Wisconsin and has left Upper Explorerland.  Aaron's work at Upper Explorerland has strengthened the organization and brought new opportunity to the region.  We have truly enjoyed having Aaron lead our organization and while he will be missed, we wish him the best in his exciting new endeavor.

With Aaron's departure, please contact the following with specific questions on:

IowaWORKS:  Fern Rissman

Economic Development and Grant Writing & Management:  Rachelle Howe

Community Planning, Brownfields and Transportation:  Karla Organist

Community Housing Programs and Loan Funds:  Lori Brockway

Section 8 Rental Assistance:  Bev Krambeer

Finance Department:  Lisa Lensing
Questions regarding the Executive Director Position can be directed to UERPC's Board President, Randy Uhl.
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Safe Routes to School Plan Awarded

Posted: Wed, January 11, 2012
Upper Explorerland is excited to announce the awarding of funding in the amount of $115,000 for a Safe Routes to School Plan.  The Iowa Transportation Commission approved $1,512,885 in total funding for 14, Safe Routes to School program projects throughout the state. Five projects were awarded for non-infrastructure and nine were awarded for infrastructure. The program was created with federal transportation funds in 2005 with the purpose of increasing the number of children safely walking and bicycling to school. Funding is available to cities, counties, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and public and private schools through an annual application-based program. We will be working closely with the 20 school districts in our region creating this plan.  For more information contact Casey Mai at 563-382-6171, ext 212.
... [ Read More ]

Housing Rehabilitation Applications Available in Many NE IA Locations

Posted: Wed, January 11, 2012
Funding Available for First Time Homebuyer Programs in City of Postville

The City of Postville has funding available for the First Time Homebuyer Program.  Postville was awarded HOME grant funds of $494,300 through the Iowa Finance Authority and Housing and Urban Development.  These funds of $24,999 per home will be used to assist First-Time Homebuyers with general homebuyer assistance and rehabilitation activity necessary to bring the home up to Iowa's Minimum Housing Standards.  Rehabilitation repairs are designed to help maintain the home structurally such as replacing shingles or siding that are in poor condition; and/or aid in energy efficiency such as adding insulation to the attic and walls, or replacing drafty old windows, and updating the electrical and plumbing.

The City of Postville's First Time Homebuyer Program is still accepting applications. The processing of applications will be on a first come first served basis until program funds are depleted. We are proud to state that we have helped many new families fulfill their dream of becoming new homeowners. We currently have one opening available.

To determine if you are eligible for the grant funds: you must be a first time homebuyer which means you could not have owned a home fora 3 year period before the purchase of a home and you must be income eligible.  Income eligibility is based on household size and annual (gross) household income.

Household Size

Gross Income

















If you are interested or know someone who you think would be interested and meets the qualifications outlined above, we would like to hear from you.  Applications can be picked up at the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission at 134 W.Greene Street, in Postville during regular business hours or by contacting Sarah Snitker or Cyndi Schulte, Program Administrators at Upper Explorerland in Postville at 563-864-7551 or at 877-474-7551.

The City of Postville is a Fair Housing Advocate.

FCLHTF Accepting Applications

The Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund (FCLHTF) is accepting applications for housing rehabilitation/improvement projects.  The FCLHTF assists individuals, community organizations, and non-profit and for-profit developers in rehabilitation,renovation and repair projects that improve the condition of both rental and owner occupied affordable housing in Fayette County.

For more information on the FCLHTF, please contact Upper Explorerland RPC, at563-864-7551 and ask for Sarah Snitker, ext. 101 or Cyndi Schulte, ext. 120.  Applications can be obtained online at, under the Housing link, Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund.

NEIRHTF Accepting Applications

The Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund (NEIRHTF) is accepting applications for housing rehabilitation/improvement projects.  Applicants can be low-moderate income homeowners, landlord/for-profit organizations or non-profit organizations to promote and create affordable housing activities.  All applicants must be in one of the four counties of Allamakee, Clayton, Howard, and Winneshiek. Eligible projects include rehabilitation and repair of existing housing, including, but not limited to: Roofs, windows, siding, plumbing electrical, energy efficiency, lead paint issues, and handicap accessibility.


For more information on the NEIRHTF, please contact Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 and ask for Sarah Snitker, ext. 101 or Cyndi Schulte, ext. 120, or you can obtain an application online at, under the Housing link, Northeast Iowa Housing Trust Fund.

... [ Read More ]

News Headlines

UERPC November Newsletter

Posted: Mon, November 19, 2018

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

  • Rising Star: Michelle Barness
  • UERPC Employee Spotlight Jennifer Engelhardt
  • 5-2-1-0 Summit
  • Upcoming IowaWorks Decorah Workshops
  • Final opportunity to participate in regional transportation survey
  • Funds Available for First Time Homebuyers in Postville
  • Fayette Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program
  • UERPC offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Nov. 22nd and 23rd.

... [ Read More ]

UERPC Job Openings

Posted: Wed, November 21, 2018

UERPC currently has two jobs openings available

Full time WIOA Career Advisor position (s).  

Bachelor’s Degree preferred in Human Services field, Social Work, Education or related field.  Previous experience in case management& knowledge of the local workforce preferred.   Upper Explorerland is an EEO/EEP employer.  Please submit resume and cover letter to:  Rachelle Howe, Executive Director 325 Washington Street, Decorah, IA 52101 or email to


Full time Housing Department Head position. 

Experience in a related housing program, governmental administration, human resources management, supervision of employees, public administration understanding, and purchasing is preferred.  Upper Explorerland is an EEO/EEP employer.  Please submit resume and cover letter to:  Rachelle Howe, Executive Director 325 Washington Street, Decorah, IA 52101 or email to

... [ Read More ]

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:

Quick Questionnaire:

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 or 563-382-6171.

... [ Read More ]
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