IOWA DERECHO 2020

Iowa storm updates: Latest info on recovery efforts in the Cedar Rapids area, Aug. 19

Here is the latest news on recovery efforts, cleanup, shelters opening and more in the Cedar Rapids area for Wednesday, Aug. 19. The Gazette staff will update this with new information as it becomes available. 

» WHERE TO FIND FOOD AND WATER: List of food and ice 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

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

How to verify if contractors are licensed in Iowa

Any general contractor doing work locally is required to be licensed and registered through the State of Iowa. Cedar Rapids and Marion have created ways to help verify if your contractor is able to work in Iowa. Visit medcoiowa.org/disasterrecovery or call the Cedar Rapids Building Services Department at 319-286-5929, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

What you need to know about permits for repair, demolition work

Call before digging: The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) reminds anyone whose restoration efforts involve digging to call 811 or visit the Iowa One Call website for information on scheduling a utility locate before beginning a project.

IN CEDAR RAPIDS:

Home Repair Permits: Permits are required for home repairs, including roof or structural repairs, or substantial interior repairs. Your contractor is responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits from our Building Services department. The City is doing everything possible to expedite these permits so residents and their contractor can begin repairs immediately.

Additional questions about permits can be directed to our Building Services Department at 286-5831.

Demolitions: For safety, proper utility disconnections must be verified prior to demolition, which is part of the permit process. For any questions related to the permit process, please contact Building Services at 319-286-5831.

IN MARION:

Emergency repair work can begin without a permit. However, building permits are required for home repairs, including roof or structural repairs, or substantial interior repairs. Contractors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits from the City of Marion.

Permits are not required for tree removal. A list of local and registered non-local tree removal companies is linked at cityofmarion.org/StormResponse. Be sure to check this list as you consider entering into agreements with non-local companies that you may not be familiar with.

More information about building permits is available at cityofmarion.org. Questions may be directed to the Building Services Division at 319-743-6330.

Placards: Some buildings have been placarded with yellow and red cards. A yellow placard indicates home/business owners can enter at their own risk, making it permissible to go in and collect belongings. A red placard indicates a structural or electrical issue and it is not safe to enter. Only qualified contractors are permitted to enter.

Inspections: Building inspections are being handled in order of necessity (i.e. electrical, concrete/foundation work and underground plumbing). The department expects regular inspections will resume by the end of the week.

Rental inspections will be delayed for at least six weeks. The City will be communicating with landlords to clarify the responsibilities of tenants and owners.

Marion roads closing Wednesday for utility work

On Wednesday, dozens of utility trucks will be shutting down East Post Road at Grand Avenue south to Iowa Hwy 100 to restore power. There will be no traffic north or southbound on East Post Road and no side street access during the work, beginning sometime after 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Police will be on scene directing traffic throughout the day.

Also on Wednesday, the city is having a large number of contractors (dozens of trucks and personnel) begin picking up tree debris. Access to neighborhoods will be extremely limited. People are asked to not park vehicles on the streets after 7 a.m., or the removal teams may not be able to collect your curbside tree debris and will move on to other areas instead.

Drive-thru food pods no longer in service

The drive-thru assistance pods previously located at Kingston Stadium, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, and Marion Walmart have been closed as of Tuesday, Aug. 18. Food assistance remains available daily at the Neighborhood Resource Centers (scroll down for locations).

Cedar Rapids curfew shortened

The curfew in Cedar Rapids has been shortened to between midnight and 6 a.m. daily, city officials announced Tuesday afternoon. 

A curfew has been in place since Aug. 10, when the powerful derecho knocked out power to most residents' homes in the area.

Recycling pickup resumes Monday, yard waste on Aug. 31

The Solid Waste and Recycling Division will begin collecting recycling containers again starting next Monday.

To accommodate excess recycling, customers can place any recycling items that do not fit in their CURBY cart in a large cardboard box. The crews will collect the box and its contents for free along with other recycling on their regular collection day. 

The city expects to resume collection of the green yard waste – or YARDY – carts starting the week of Aug. 31.

The city also is working to remove non-tree-related storm debris and materials damaged in the storm and plans to begin collecting these items next week. Using contractor assistance, crews will likely follow the snow prioritization routes and move their way through neighborhoods systematically. Crews will return in multiple waves until neighborhoods have been cleared of debris.

As a reminder, place storm debris at the curb in separate piles from tree debris. 

Neighborhood Resource Centers updated in Cedar Rapids

Five Neighborhood Resource Centers are open to residents in the Cedar Rapids area. On Tuesday, the center, previously located at the ROC Center, 1202 10th Street SE, was moved to Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE. All of the Neighborhood Resource Center services for the ROC site are available at the Metro High School parking lot.

Updated list of Neighborhood Resource Centers: 

• Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW

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

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

• Taylor Elementary School, 720 Seventh Ave. SW

• Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE

The centers will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and be staffed with city employees and volunteers. 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 updates will be translated into French, Spanish, Swahili and Kirundi. The translated updates will be available at the sites a day after the English version to allow time for translation.

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

Iowa hotline, website available for mental health help

COVID Recovery Iowa is responding to the mental health needs of Iowans impacted by the recent storm. Help is available by contacting the Iowa Concern Hotline.

COVID Recovery Iowa is for Iowans who have been impacted by both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and living in the aftermath of last week’s storms. In addition, the program offers support groups, activities, and resources and information referral, COVID Recovery Iowa offers virtual counseling to all Iowans at no cost.

COVID Recovery Iowa is administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services, made possible with support from FEMA, and is an extension of Project Recovery Iowa. COVID Recovery Iowa utilizes partnerships with a statewide network of service delivery providers to determine how best to serve each individual participant.

Iowans in need of assistance can contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 or go to covidrecoveryiowa.org. Program staff can also provide referrals and information about programs that will help Iowans manage stress, family financial and farm financial concerns.

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.

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 redcross.org/apps.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.