Iowa storm updates: Latest news on recovery, shelters and more, Aug. 17

Here is the latest news on recovery efforts, cleanup, shelters opening and more in the Cedar Rapids area for Aug. 17, 2020. The Gazette staff will update this with new information as it becomes available. 

» WHERE TO FIND FOOD AND WATER: List of distribution sites and free meals being served

» HOW TO HELP: Where to donate to help storm victims

» MORE RESOURCES: For residents affected by the storm, including tree removal help

Linn County drop off locations for organic storm debris

Linn County has contracted with a specialized natural disaster recovery company Ceres Environmental Services, Inc. to assist the county in collection and disposal of storm-generated organic debris in unincorporated Linn County.

» TREE DEBRIS DROP-OFF: Other locations in the Cedar Rapids area

These locations are in addition to the two Solid Waste Agency locations, 1954 County Home Road, north of Marion, and 2250 A Street SW in Cedar Rapids. There is no charge to residents to drop off their organic storm debris. They will begin taking debris starting Tuesday, Aug. 18, except Dows Farm, which will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Morgan Creek County Park: Enter from E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Mount Vernon Secondary Road Shop: 788 Cedar River Road, Mount Vernon, 6 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Whittier Secondary Road Shop: 721 County Home Road, Springville, 6 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Dows Farm: Enter off Mount Vernon Road across from the Lighthouse and Edith Lucille’s, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekdays.

The hours of operation will be expanded to include seven days a week once additional capacity is in place.

Special Instructions:

 The sites are for organic storm debris only (trees, brush, vegetation).

These locations are self-haul, drop-off only. Staff is not available to help unload debris.

Tie down or cover your loads to prevent debris from falling out during transport.

 Use caution around the heavy equipment at the drop-off sites.

If assistance is needed for debris removal, homeowners are encouraged to contact local contractors. Be sure to get a quote for any contract work and do not pay up front for removal or repair services. Contact your insurance company for information regarding damage claims. Save all receipts in case the expenses are eligible for reimbursement from insurance or a disaster relief program.

Residents in unincorporated Linn County who are unable to dispose of their organic debris on their own may place it near their drive entrance for Linn County to remove. Debris placed for removal should not block the roadway or sight lines and must be accessible by road crews. When possible, cut tree limbs into 10 feet long sections.

The Secondary Road Department estimates the cleanup of tree damage in unincorporated Linn County to equal 8,000 dump truck loads of organic debris. This includes debris on private property in rural Linn County. Due to the volume of organic debris, the pick-up process could take several months.

Supplies available in Marion Square for storm victims

The Marion Chamber of Commerce has set up aid and donation stations at Marion Square,  1107 Seventh Ave., all week with many supplies for storm victims, including food, meals, water, diapers and other baby needs, and much more.

There also are community members available to help with advice about storm recovery.

Volunteers are also needed to help distribute supplies. 


Many charities overwhelmed by supply donations

Organizations in Cedar Rapids have received so many donated supplies that some are asking that people no longer give supplies, instead encouraging financial donations. 

The Catherine McAuley Center posted on Facebook on Monday that all its supply needs were met. The Harris Building, the Linn County Public Health building that also was taking donations, is also to capacity with donated supplies, a spokesperson told The Gazette.


State Rep. Tracy Elhert was at Cedar Terrace Apartments on Monday and said there were enough supplies there. Rep. Ehlert advises people that monetary donations are preferred over dropping off supplies at impacted southwest side apartments at this time, as residents are moving out to other shelters.

The Gazette has compiled a list of local organizations where people can donate to disaster relief. Click here for the list.

Burn ban: Recreational fires prohibited in city; fire for cooking only allowed

A burn ban has been added to the City of Cedar Rapids’ Emergency Proclamation. All outdoor recreational fires are prohibited.

Those with asthma, breathing conditions, and those trying to stay cool are affected by smoke lingering in the air. There is also an increased fire danger due to tree debris drying out, and general dry conditions.

Burning debris was already prohibited. Now, outdoor recreational fires are also prohibited. Residents can use dried firewood in a fire pit to cook food for the period of time necessary to prepare the food, but then should extinguish it.

Charcoal and propane grills may still be used by single-family homeowners. Charcoal and propane grills larger than a 1-pound cylinder have always been prohibited above ground level in multi-family dwellings and will continue to be prohibited.

Mediacom reports 60% remain offline in Cedar Rapids area

Approximately 60% of customers remain offline mainly due to commercial power outages and extensive tree damage, Mediacom reported in an email to customers.

"We have staged crews to begin work as quickly possible once electric has been restored and we have been given access. We anticipate this restoration to take several more days with many customers having service restored by the end of the week. Please note this may take longer for some areas due to the extent of the damage."

Gov. Reynolds speaking in Cedar Rapids at 4 p.m. Monday; Trump visiting Tuesday

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will speak in Cedar Rapids at 4 p.m. Monday at the National Guard Armory. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor will be with her. The Gazette will livestream video of the news conference at 4 p.m.

President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration on Monday, which will provide to critical resources needed to rebuild and recover, according to a news release from the White House. 

Trump will travel Tuesday to Cedar Rapids and meet with Reynolds, a White House official confirmed Monday. Details of the visit have not been disclosed yet.

Neighborhood Resource Centers open in Cedar Rapids

**On Aug. 18, the ROC Center site was relocated to Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE**

Starting Monday, Aug. 17, Neighborhood Resource Centers will be set up at five sites throughout Cedar Rapids to consolidate resident services. Locations include:

• Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW

• Northwest Recreation Center parking lot, 1340 11th St. NW

• St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 1340 Third Ave. SE

• ROC Center, 1202 10th St. SE  **On Aug. 18, the ROC Center site was relocated to Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE**

• Taylor Elementary School, 720 Seventh Ave. SW

The centers will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and be staffed with city employees and volunteers. Initially, the sites will provide food and daily updates on services for residents. Additional resources will continue to be added including supplies for clean-up, and legal and mental health assistance.

The sites are coordinated by Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster organizations. Services will transition as additional resident needs are assessed.

Charging stations and internet access in Cedar Rapids 

Locations will open according to the schedule below until electrical power in Cedar Rapids has been restored:

• U.S. Cellular Center Arena (370 First Ave. NE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Enter the arena off First Avenue near the Fourth Street railroad tracks. Masks are required for everyone inside the arena, and individual charging stations are social-distanced.

• Downtown Public Library (450 Fifth Ave. SE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Connections will be available outside of the library's main entrance.

City transit service resumes

City transit service resumed Monday, Aug. 17. Buses may be delayed. Find your bus using the bus tracker:

Locations for charging medical devices in Cedar Rapids 

The following locations in Cedar Rapids are open for residents that need a place to charge medical equipment or need a day shelter. Please note that medical supplies are not available at these locations. These locations are available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

 Downtown Public Library (Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street in the parking lot)

• Twin Pines Golf Course (parking lot, 3800 42nd St. NE)

• Northwest Recreation Center (parking lot), 1340 11th St. NW)

• Shores Event Center (Corner of F Avenue and 16th Street NE in the back parking lot)

Day shelters in Cedar Rapids, surrounding areas

These locations are available during the daytime for residents in need:

• Cedar Rapids: Veritas Church, 509 Third St. SE. (Hours will be listed when known)

• Center Point: Anderson Public Library, 720 Main St. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Hiawatha: City of Hiawatha Community Center: 101 Emmons St. 7:30 a .m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Robins: City of Robins Community Center: 265 S. Second St., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Springville: City of Springville City Hall: 304 Broadway St. 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Coggon: Coggon Old Fire Station: 112 Second St. S. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. No air conditioning.

• Palo: City of Palo Community Center: 2800 Hollenbeck Road. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Also an overnight shelter.

Overnight shelters in Cedar Rapids area

The American Red Cross has opened an overnight shelters. Individuals and families who have been impacted by the storm and power outages are welcome to the shelter where Red Cross volunteers are on hand to assist. Protocols are in place to ensure social distancing and additional steps are taken to maintain a safe environment in the shelter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge

• Palo Community Center,  2800 Hollenbeck Road. 

Anyone in need of assistance can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and select option “4,” then option “2,” then option “2” again, and provide information on their location so appropriate services can be arranged.

Download the Red Cross Emergency App for shelter information and to get instant access to information and resources. The app is free and can be downloaded in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or going to

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