Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission
January, 2013

UERPC Hosts a "Meet and Greet" with Legislators
On Friday, January 11th, over 40 local businesses and leaders gathered with state and federal legislators to discuss regional priorities.  The “Meet and Greet” was held at the Country Hills Community Golf outside of West Union. Those representatives in attendance were:
  • Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm (serving Chickasaw, Howard, part of Winneshiek Counties)
  • Senator Michael Breitbach (serving Allamakee, Clayton, part of Fayette, part of Winneshiek Counties)
  • Senator Brian Schoenjahn (serving part of Fayette County)
  • Representative Roger Thomas (serving part of Winneshiek, part of Fayette, part of Clayton Counties)
  • Representing Congressman Bruce Braley, Fred Schuster
  • Representing Congressman Chuck Grassley, Will McIntee
A wonderful discussion was held regarding the upcoming sessions and work ahead for the legislators.  A list of regional priorities were handed to the legislators to take with them to the capital on housing trust funds, Section 8, workforce, transportation, education, economic development and planning.

Congratulations to the City of McGregor!
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently approved the construction of a storm water flooding protection project submitted by the City of McGregor. The intent of the proposed mitigation will reduce peak flows not only in the built environment, but throughout the system which will lessen/eliminate the potential for localize flooding and damage to drainage facilities, public streets and private properties. UERPC is thrilled to assist the City of McGregor with the administration of this project and look forward to our continued work with them.

Winter Weather Driving
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions. It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.  Here are some more tips:
Driving safely on icy roads:
  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid...
  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
If your front wheels skid...
  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck...
  1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
Employee Spotlight
Lisa Curtin
My name is Lisa Curtin and I have been with UERPC for 10 years.  I serve as the Employment and Training Specialist for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, a DOL program.  I currently cover Allamakee, Clayton and Winneshiek Counties. The WIA program is designed to assist people with getting into the workforce.  I can be reached by calling (866) 520-8986, ext. 402 or via email at lisa.curtin@iwd.iowa.gov.
 
I was born and raised in Waukon and graduated from Luther College in 2002.  I am married to Trampes Curtin and we have three children, Maycie (8), Graine (6) and Ridge (1½).   We currently reside in Waukon.
Thank you!
UERPC staff and Commission would like to extend a big thank you to Les Askelson, Lennie Burke, Mick Gamez, Bill Ibanez, and Lonnie Pierce as out-going county supervisors.  These board of supervisors not only served in their respective counties as supervisors but also served on the UERPC commission and on various UERPC related boards such as Revolving Loan Fund, Housing Authority, Regional Planning Authority Board, Regional Workforce Investment, and Housing Trust Fund.  Their dedication to their county and to our region is noteable.  Their valued knowledge and expertise will be sorely missed.
Cresco gets “Fit for Life”
The City of Cresco has been selected as one of 10 communities from across the state to participate in the Iowan’s Fit for Life program sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).  As part of the program, the community will participate in a workshop to identify existing options for nutrition and physical activity in their homes, businesses, schools and neighborhoods.  Ultimately, the goal is to identify community health-related projects that improve access to, or use of, these assets for all community members.  Once the project ideas are approved by the IDPH as supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended strategies for obesity prevention, the community will be awarded $10,000 to implement the projects.  A Steering Committee has been formed to guide the program and to make project decisions based on community input.  UERPC is excited to be a part of this project for the City of Cresco!
Endorsements From Our Clients.......
I just want to thank Cynthia Schulte (with UERPC) for everything she did with this program.  She was always willing to help in any way she could and was very prompt with her replies to all of my questions.  This is a wonderful program and I don’t think I would have been able to get my house shingled without all the help and expertise of this program.  Thank you!
 
City of Postville Recipient
Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund
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