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Grant Wood Area Education Agency
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Grant Wood AEA
Flood Recovery Update

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Here's the latest information regarding the flood recovery for Grant Wood AEA and its staff:

Tremendous Effort and Big Hearts
We have so many staff who have worked incredibly hard to help recover from this 500-year flood. Thank you to all the individuals who have contributed so much in so many different ways to help return the agency and employee's lives to some semblance of normalcy. Even though the flood's destruction was disheartening, the positive, can-do attitude of agency employees has been inspiring.

Sixth Street Progress Report
Virtually all of the carpet has been removed from the first floor of the Sixth Street building. The crews have begun to remove ceiling tiles, and we expect all of those will be out by end of the day on Friday. The conference center floors have been thoroughly scraped, and the media center holdings will soon be relocated to the conference center area and temporarily reset there. The disaster recovery team has already begun to clean hard-surfaced office furniture.

We need Volunteers and Supplies
If you can help with cleanup at employee's homes, we have an immediate need for volunteers at multiple locations! The work is dirty and sometimes downright nasty, but it must be done before FEMA will release funds to the affected home owners! If you can help, please call 319-929-7538. Also, on the Flood Recovery section of our agency Web site, we have a list of materials and equipment that staff need for the cleanup work. We desperately need squeegees for helping to remove or push water out of the homes.

Contributions Are Deeply Appreciated
We have begun to receive contributions for the Grant Wood AEA Employee Relief Fund.  If you would like to give to the fund, you may stop by the 33rd Avenue office and drop off cash or checks; or you may mail your contribution to: Grant Wood AEA Employee Relief Fund in care of Kelly Couchman, Hills Bank. 3610 Williams Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

The Agency Phone System Has Been Restored
The phone system is up and down today as the suppliers work to restore voice mail and long distance.  Voice mail and long distance should be up soon. However, when the phones are disconnected with the repair work at the Sixth Street office, the voicemail may not function properly - the phones may ring "busy" and not allow voice mail messages. As soon as we have telephones assigned to relocated staff, we will post their temporary phone numbers in the Flood Recovery information site (below).

Disaster Unemployment
If you are aware of anyone who may be out of work due to the flood, Katy Lee (from the GWAEA CISM Team) shared the following information that you can pass along to them:

If a person is on a leave without pay from their job due to the flooding, they should apply for unemployment benefits as well as disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).  It is recommended that they apply in person rather than online since the additional DUA form may be confusing.

The completed forms are being sent to Des Moines for processing so it may take up to 3 weeks for a response and money to be available.  Compensation amount and duration are determined based on wage credits earned during 2007.  There is a formula for this.  The maximum amount is $347.00/week for 26 weeks (plus extra DUA time if appropriate).  The woman I spoke with stressed that these were the figures for high-end employment and that it would be be considerably less for entry level employment history.

When people apply for assistance they need to provide the name of employer, employer address and phone number.  They also need to provide the number of dependents declared on 2007 income tax.

To apply in person, go to Regis Middle School gymnasium at 735 Prairie Dr. NE in Cedar Rapids.  The phone numbers for Iowa Workforce Development are 743-8265, 743-8267 and 743-8317.  The offices are open M-F from 8:30 to 4:30.