UERPC has become recognized as an ideal vehicle for addressing issues that require a regional perspective, obtaining over $225 million in grant funds since its establishment in November of 1972. More specifically, this fiscal year UERPC obtained over $8.2 million from grant funds for our various counties and communities. UERPC continues to focus on its customer service approach. The goal is for all communities and counties to see UERPC as a resource for their housing, transportation, workforce, economic development and community needs. To accomplish that goal, the agency continues with their all-inclusive marketing campaign to include: Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletter, success stories, and more.
During FY 2013, UERPC management set a priority to train and educate our 24 member board so they can promote our agency in a uniformed fashion. UERPC also reflected upon the staff to match job descriptions with skill sets in a more efficient way. To build a workplace with more staff camaraderie, greater productivity, and less absenteeism, an organization-wide wellness initiative was implemented.
Management continues to strive for financial stability of UERPC. This proved more challenging during this fiscal year as compared to preceding years. As a publicly funded organization, UERPC has had to face significant budgetary shortfalls. A combination of issues such as the recession; the recent sequestration of major program funds including Department of Labor (DOL) and Housing & Urban Development funds (HUD); changes in administrative funding levels; and grant requirements related to UERPC have all resulted in the need to re-evaluate practices and processes and to be able to change these practices quickly. This included a concentrated review of staffing levels to meet the ever changing financial resources which were available and will be available to UERPC in the upcoming fiscal year.
Some of the headlines you can read about this month:
The FruitGuys Community Fund offers funding to support sustainability projects for small to mid-size farms. A primary goal of the fund is to help farms and orchards operate more sustainably and to promote advocacy that, over the long term, creates a more sustainable food system and healthier planet. Applications must be received by February 16, 2015.
The Iowa Safe Routes to School meeting will take place on January 24, 2014 from 8:30-10:00 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. We will have two guest speakers and the theme of our meeting will focus on the best practices for building walking school bus programs.
Our first speakers, Pam Hoogerwerf, Director for Community Outreach and Injury Prevention University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Dr. Cara Hamann, a postdoc and injury epidemiologist for the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Pam and Dr. Hamann will discuss their upcoming project, Pedal PORTAL pilot, a naturalistic bicycling study conducted in Iowa that utilized GPS-enabled helmet cameras to capture the bicycling experience of children and adults. Results presented will include descriptions of typical riding patterns, differences between adults and children, and rates of errors, near crashes, and crashes.
Ashley Christensen serves as the Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa and is dedicated to increasing physical activity levels among youth by enabling and encouraging students to safely walk and bicycle to and from school and in daily life. Ashley will review her guide on 10 Steps to Creating a Rural, Regional Safe Routes to School Program.
During the last part of our meeting we will be discussing Walking School Buses: Best Practices. We hope to have Walking School Bus Coordinators from around the state come to share their best practices. This is a great networking opportunity for individuals and communities to share their stories with successes and hurdles. Come sit with us and let's compare our notes on our sustainable Walking School Bus Programs.
Let’s explore our mutual mission by expanding the importance of Safe Routes to School. This meeting is a fantastic opportunity to network while growing lasting partnerships and to change the state of Iowa one safe route at a time.
For more information on the Iowa Safe Routes to School program and to register for this free meeting, please visit http://iowasaferoutes.org/ or contact Alana Croco (email@example.com).
Thanks to generous support from the Allamakee County Community Foundation (ACCF) and the Depot Outlet, the 2015 Bike Rack Challenge will again take place this coming spring!
The Bike Rack Challenge, a project organized by UERPC’s Northeast Iowa Safe Routes to School Program and the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, encourages biking to school and other community destinations through youth creativity, skill and leadership. Bike racks ultimately benefit the health of individuals, communities and the environment by providing a secure bike parking location, which helps people get around better by bike.
Each spring, high school industrial technology classes are challenged to construct a usable bike rack for their school or other community location using as much recycled material as possible. Classes have from January until May to design and construct their bike rack.
Again, many thanks to the ACCF and the Depot Outlet for supporting this fun, challenging and rewarding project for students and for supporting community wellness and community betterment for years to come!
Northeast Iowa schools can still sign up for the Bike Rack Challenge! Click below to learn more or contact Ashley Christensen: 563-382-6171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.