Posts tagged floods

Trees Forever grant to go toward flood recovery landscaping

This just in from Trees Forever in Marion:

     Trees Forever today announced that it received a $10,000 grant from the Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) and The Home Depot Foundation. This challenge grant is part of the National NeighborWoods Program, made possible through generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. NeighborWoods is a nationwide initiative that engages the public in meaningful hands-on action to produce tangible improvements to community health through tree planting and stewardship. Trees Forever is one of just eleven organizations nationwide who received a NeighborWoods award in support of partnerships between urban forestry non-profits and affordable housing providers.

  Trees Forever is a regional nonprofit that plants trees and cares for the environment by empowering people, building community and promoting stewardship. Disastrous flooding in Iowa in 2008 irrepara-bly damaged 944 homes in Cedar Rapids, 75% of which were low-income housing. The city needs at least 420 new owner-occupied homes, half of which must be affordable housing. Trees Forever is partnering with Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity to help address this need and ensure green, sustain-able redevelopment in Iowa by planting approximately 40 trees at 20 new Habitat homes in the College Park Estates and Wilderness Estates neighborhoods of Cedar Rapids. 

Trees Forever will also plant another 50 trees at 20-25 Habitat sites in Des Moines, in partnership with the Greater Des Moines chapter of Habitat for Humanity. These projects will revitalize devas-tated Iowa neighborhoods and benefit low-income homeowners by increasing their property values, improving air quality, reducing storm water runoff and producing energy-conserving shade. Volunteers and future Habitat homeowners will receive training on proper tree planting and maintenance to ensure survivability of the trees and maximize their long-term benefits for Iowa communities.

“The NeighborWoods grant allows Trees Forever to help Habitat for Humanity leverage their landscaping budgets on dozens of new flood-recovery homes,” commented Karen Brook, Trees Forever Program Manager.  “And the new homeowners will benefit from the energy savings, aesthetics and improved home value that the trees provide over time,” Brook added.

For more information on the Trees Forever NeighborWoods project, please contact Karen Brook at (319) 373-0650 ext.20.  For more information on Trees Forever and its many programs, log onto www.TreesForever.org <http://www.treesforever.org/> .

About Trees Forever

Trees Forever is a nonprofit organization based in Marion, IA committed to planting trees, encouraging community involvement and stewardship, and caring for the environment. Programs focus on improving air and water quality, increasing wildlife habitat, providing substantial energy savings and beautifying our landscape. For more information visit www.treesforever.org <http://www.treesforever.org/>  or call 800-369-1269.

About Alliance for Community Trees

Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) is dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. With 160 grassroots affiliates in 40 states and Canada, ACT engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where 80% of people live – in urban areas. ACT member organizations have planted and cared for 14.9 million trees in cities with help from 4.3 million volunteers. For more information, visit www.actrees.org <http://www.actrees.org/>

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Looking back: flood photos from inside and outside of The Gazette

Watching rising Cedar River from 16th Avenue SW on June 10, 2008. (Cindy Hadish photo)

Watching rising Cedar River from 16th Avenue SW on June 10, 2008. (Cindy Hadish photo)

One year ago is when it all began. On June 10, my sons and I went to Czech Village in Cedar Rapids to see if we could offer any help in sandbagging efforts. We encountered a flurry of activity, even though no one knew exactly what was coming. Later, we offered our help to Kather Alter, a Gazette employee who was evacuating from the Time Check neighborhood.

Looking back, there was so much more I wish we had done. The historic Cedar River flood ended up affecting not only Czech Village, Time Check and other areas abutting the river, but places I never thought would be touched, including  my mother’s home.  The Gazette, in downtown Cedar Rapids, was also affected, even though we stayed above the floodwaters.

Here are some of the photos I captured during those days in June 2008.

Looking down Third Ave. SE toward Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Looking down Third Ave. SE toward Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbagging at Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbagging at Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Near Boston Fish at Fifth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Near Boston Fish at Fifth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Hospital CEO Tim Charles inside flooded Mercy Medical Center (Cindy Hadish photo)

Hospital CEO Tim Charles inside flooded Mercy Medical Center (Cindy Hadish photo)

Dan Geiser, Joe Hladky and George Ford inside a darkened Gazette, cooled, somewhat, by fans (Cindy Hadish photo)

Dan Geiser, Joe Hladky and George Ford inside a darkened Gazette, cooled, somewhat, by fans (Cindy Hadish photo)

Stream of cars drive through the Wal-Mark parking lot to pick up bottled water (Cindy Hadish photo)

Stream of cars drive through the Wal-Mart parking lot to pick up bottled water (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbags in front of Gazette building in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbags in front of Gazette building in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Gazette publisher Dave Storey probably regrets being in my photo taken on the back dock of The Gazette. Employees had to use portable toilets for weeks because of water restrictions in Cedar Rapids. (Cindy Hadish photo)

Gazette publisher Dave Storey probably regrets agreeing to be in this photo taken on the back dock of The Gazette. Employees had to use portable toilets for weeks because of water restrictions in Cedar Rapids. (Cindy Hadish photo)

To be fair, this is me in the same spot on the Gazette's back dock - no shower for days because of the city's water restrictions.

To be fair, this is me in the same spot on the Gazette's back dock - no shower for days because of the city's water restrictions.

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Homegrown Iowa band rocks! Update…

Aeroroot

Aeroroot - Lf. to rt: Steve Krusie, Brett Karminski, Tracy Tunwall, Clint Landis

 UPDATE 6/22/09: Aeroroot was one of four bands to make it from this weekend’s competition in California to the finals at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on  Oct. 3.

“It was more humbling than anything else,” lead vocalist Clint Landis, Frontier’s chief marketing officer, said of the outcome.

Aeroroot performed at The Key Club on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif., on Saturday, beating the NBC network’s corporate band and other well-seasoned groups to get to the finals.

“We certainly were the least slick band there,” said lead guitarist Brett Karminski, Frontier’s brand manager. “We kind of felt a little bit out of place. Our only goal was to not mess up and to play as well as we could.”

The band’s raw performance apparently struck a chord with the three judges, who announced Aeroroot as the fourth and last group to make it into the finals.

“We heard, ‘and from Norway, Iowa,’ and that’s all we remember,” Karminski said.

Aeroroot performed the weekend before at Floodstock and the Relay for Life benefit, both in Cedar Rapids. Landis said they will likely take a break, but might do a few more gigs before October’s contest.

Other Aeroroot members are drummer Steve Krusie, Frontier’s director of public relations, and Tracy Tunwall, who plays bass guitar and sings backup vocals. Formerly vice president of human resources for Frontier, Tunwall is now an assistant professor at Mount Mercy College.

Here’s the previous post, before Aeroroot’s  competition in California:

Great story here out of Frontier Natural Products Co-op in Norway, Iowa. Aeroroot, a band made up of co-op employees, has made it to the regional semi-finals of the 9th Annual FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands.

Aeroroot will be playing in Cedar Rapids at Floodstock on June 13, before they leave for the competition in L.A.  Drummer Steve Krusie said the band will play the same set at Floodstock as it will for the judging.

 If you can’t catch them in Cedar Rapids, you can listen to the band here:  http://www.aerorootband.com/listen.htm

Songs they entered in the competition were Voodoo on the Bayou, a cover of Cold Black Night and Dance with Me. Steve, who played in garage bands while a Kennedy High School student in the ’70’s,  said all three songs are on the Web site.

Here is more info from Frontier:

   Selected as one of 16 corporate bands to compete in regional semi-final events, Aeroroot will perform at The Key Club on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, Calif., on June 20. Formerly the historic Gazarri’s nightclub, the venue earned its fame as the home of future rock and roll stars, including The Doors, Tina Turner and Van Halen.

 “To be honest, if we thought we really had a chance, we would have been too nervous to even record our entry,” admits Clint Landis, lead vocalist and Chief Marketing Officer for Frontier Natural Products Co-op, which is located in the rural rolling hills and farm fields of eastern Iowa.

 Aeroroot submitted its CD entry to the contest in March. A panel of representatives from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum selected the final 16 bands, which include groups from such corporate giants as NBC, Symantec and Johnson & Johnson. At stake is an opportunity for the band to play in the final competition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 3, 2009.

 Other Aeroroot members include lead guitarist Brett Karminski, Frontier Brand Manager, and Steve Krusie, Director of Public Relations, who plays drums and sings back-up vocals. Tracy Tunwall, formerly Vice President of Human Resources for Frontier – who is now assistant professor at Mount Mercy College – plays bass guitar and also sings back-up vocals.

 Based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Natural Products Co-op is best known for its broad variety of natural and organic products, including culinary herbs, spices, and seasoning mixes; bulk herbs, spices and teas; and pure aromatherapy products.

 The name Aeroroot comes from the name of the herb arrowroot, one of the natural products Frontier produces. The spelling was changed as a nod to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Aerosmith. “We considered using lungwort, the name of another herb, but decided the images associated with that weren’t very attractive,” quips Krusie.

Formed five years ago during a lunch break in Frontier’s on-site organic café, Aeroroot intended only to provide entertainment for the annual holiday party. The performance was an overwhelming hit and with encouragement from Frontier employees, the band decided to stay together and began playing for charity functions, including fundraisers for the American Cancer Society and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Before heading to L.A. for the 9th Annual FORTUNE Battle of the Corporate Bands semifinals, Aeroroot is slated to play its competition music set at 1:00 p.m. on June 13 at the Floodstock Festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an outdoor benefit concert to assist in the recovery of the devastating eastern Iowa floods of 2008.

For more information about Frontier Natural Products Co-op, visit www.frontiercoop.com

For more on Aeroroot, see: www.aerorootband.com

The official Facebook page for the competition: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cleveland/FORTUNE-Battle-of-the-Corporate-Bands/48405335963#

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City gardens ready for potato planting on Good Friday

imga00711Good news for gardeners who lease plots from the city and want to get their potatoes planted on Good Friday… 

Despite some weather setbacks, Cedar Rapids parks staff finished tilling and marking all three of the city garden sites this week. Cedar Rapids leases out 150 plots at Ellis Park; 102 at Squaw Creek Park and 60 at the Tuma Soccer Complex. As of today, only 97  plots were rented at  the Ellis garden, which was flooded out for the season last June. Soil tests for benzene, arsenic and other chemicals have come back at safe levels, but some of the people who gardened at Ellis may have also been flooded out of their homes and won’t be back to garden.  

I spoke to E.B. Kunkle of Cedar Rapids today, who appeared to be the first gardener back at the Ellis site.

E.B. Kunkle

E.B. Kunkle

E.B. was planting onion sets. Last year, he was able to harvest green onions, spinach and radishes before the floods wiped out everything. Gardeners were advised against returning last year due to possible contaminants. Today’s weather was in the 50s and the soil was dry enough to get started, at least on onions. E.B. has tried growing potatoes in the past, but they were overcome by (my nemesis) the potato beetle.

Gardening lore calls for potatoes to be planted on Good Friday, which is tomorrow (April 10, 2009.) I doubt that I’ll get mine in that day, but as usual, turned to my uncle, Craig Musel, for advice. Uncle Craig gardens near Chelsea, Iowa, and always manages to win at least a few blue ribbons for his potatoes at the famous and fabulous Iowa State Fair. I talked to him Monday, and he said he started planting his potatoes about three weeks earlier, which would be mid-March. His tip? “I plant them whenever I can get them in the ground,” he said and keeps planting “until I’m done.”  Those blue ribbon winners – never want to reveal their secrets.

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A move for Cedar Rapids farmers market

    Iowa City officials are handling a potential move of its farmers markets from a covered parking ramp – on an occasional basis to a busier site a few blocks away  – by talking to market vendors. Cedar Rapids has a different way of changing its farmers market sites and doesn’t have to jump through the same hoops as Iowa City.  A couple years ago, some vendors and customers were upset over the move from the covered Riverside Roundhouse in Cedar Rapids to an open air market at the city parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Second Street SE.  Market officials say the new site is no longer an issue for customers or vendors.      Nevertheless, Teresa White, the city’s farmers market supervisor, decided to move the Thursday markets from Eighth Avenue to Greene Square Park. “I just want to be different,” she said. Teresa also hopes the market will be a boost for workers in downtown Cedar Rapids, which is still recovering from last June’s flood.  

   Greene Square is quite a convenience for those of us who work in The Gazette, as the park is just outside our office. What do you think? Will that move be a good one?  And what should become of the roundhouse? Is it just a  relic that should be demolished with other flood-damaged buildings?

 

   I will be updating the farmers market schedule for as many in Eastern Iowa as I can find and will post it here later this spring. Most markets don’t start until May, although the Hiawatha one usually gets a head start in April.

   If you are a market master, have information on a farmers market or know of a new one, you can send the info to me at: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com or leave a message below. Please include a contact name and phone number.

 

    Here is the Cedar Rapids farmers market schedule for this season:

 

    Eighth Avenue and Second Street SE parking lot will be May 2 through Oct. 24; Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, except when the Downtown Farmers Markets are held. Thursday markets will be 4-6 p.m. in Greene Square Park, from June 11 through Aug. 27.

   Noelridge Park farmers markets, from May 1 through Oct. 23, are 4-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

   The larger Downtown Farmers Markets – with a record 160 vendors this year – are 7:30 a.m. to noon on June 6 and 20; July 18; Aug. 1 and 15; Sept. 5 and Oct. 3.

 

 

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Organic oasis in Cedar Rapids

   In November 2007, I wrote a Gazette article:   http://tinyurl.com/dl5seb  about Sheree’s Skin Care Studio, where owner Sheree Ramm had been operating in the Guaranty Bank Building in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Sheree Ramm inside new location of Sheree's Skin Care Studio

Sheree Ramm inside new location of Sheree's Skin Care Studio

   

 

 

The studio specializes in organic skin care products and treatments. Lotions, peels, makeup and other items are made with naturally grown organic fruits, herbs and vegetables and are safe for sensitive skin. Sheree notes that the products are gentler than artificial ingredients found in most  products in stores.  A great source for people who not only care about what they’re putting in their bodies, but on their bodies.

    But like most downtown businesses, even though her studio was on the fifth floor, Sheree was affected by last June’s devastating flood. The building remained closed while Sheree scrambled to find another place to open. She found temporary quarters in the historic Ausadie building, 845 First Ave. SE, and then this winter, moved to another historic building. This weekend, Sheree had an open house at her new site, the Calder House, at 1214 Second Ave. SE.

    Besides an enthusiasm for her organic products, Sheree has an appreciation for historic buildings and found the cottage house a perfect fit for her business.

 

Here is what she shares about the site:

Sheree's Skin Care Studio (at left)

Sheree's Skin Care Studio (at left)

     

 

   Built in 1868, the building is a 2-story gabled cottage house similar in scale and materials, built by the same builder, Charles Calder, as its twin at 1216 2nd Ave SE. The house has a stone foundation and brick walls. This rare brick building and its twin next door are both very well-preserved and are the oldest residences in the historical district. Both are among the oldest standing houses in Cedar Rapids. The integrity of the building is in excellent condition.

Charles Calder came to Cedar Rapids in 1851 with his family from central New York state. He made his fortune in real estate and land speculation and was termed, “among the heaviest property holders” in the city at the time of his death in 1890.

  Like many flood-affected business owners, Sheree could have moved out of town, but chose to stay in Cedar Rapids. As the city begins a “buy local” campaign, remember those who have been hit with the double whammy of the flood and economy.

 

Sheree’s Skin Care Studio is by appointment only. Hours: 10-5:30pm, Every other Sat 9-2pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays.  

 

Contact: Sheree, who is a Licensed Esthetician, at:  (319) 551-4876 or (319) 365-7000. More can be found on her Web site at:  www.shereeskincarestudio.com

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Disaster recovery and digging trees

   Marion-based Trees Forever is accepting applications for two programs: “Recover, Replant & Restore,” which funds planting projects for flooded neighborhoods or other disaster-affected areas, and, in partnership with Alliant Energy, “We Dig Your District,” a tree-planting program.  

 

   Here are details on both programs:

 

   Trees Forever is accepting applications for disaster recovery assistance and funding through its Recover, Replant & Restore Program.  The goals of the program are to help neighborhoods and communities plan, implement and fund planting projects that will rebuild hope and community spirit in some of the most devastated areas of Iowa.

 

   Iowa communities that were directly impacted by the storms or floods of 2008 are eligible to apply.  Examples of projects that will be considered include neighborhood tree plantings, park or trail recovery or planting projects, waterway recovery or plantings, school ground plantings, downtown business district landscaping, assessing and caring for storm-damaged trees, etc.

 

   Through the Recover, Replant & Restore program, Trees Forever staff will provide assistance with damage assessment, project planning, plant material selection, planting design, volunteer organizing, and tree care or cleanup projects.  In addition, cash grants of up to $2,000 are available to help purchase trees and other plant materials.

 

   “We recognize that many communities affected by last year’s disasters are still in the basic recovery process,” notes Karen Brook, Trees Forever program manager.  “Our goal right now is to provide whatever assistance we can to communities and neighborhoods… to give them some hope for a brighter, greener future.”

 

   Applications for the first round of assistance from the Recover, Replant & Restore program must be submitted by February 27, 2009.  To apply, interested communities or groups should contact Karen Brook at 800-369-1269 ext. 14 or e-mail kbrook@treesforever.org.  A Trees Forever field coordinator will be assigned to assist each applicant with completing a simple nomination form.  Communities or projects accepted for the program will be announced in early March, 2009.

 

    Trees Forever established the Campaign to Recover, Replant & Restore to raise money to assist communities that were affected by the natural disasters of 2008.  Thanks to a major gift from Van Meter Industrial and others donations from across the state, Trees Forever is now able to start assisting these communities.  Anyone interested in more information about the campaign, or wishing to donate to this fund, can contact Mark Signs at 800-369-1269, extension #20, or log on to www.TreesForever.org

 

 

 

   We Dig Your District

 

   Would you like to see more trees planted in your favorite neighborhood park? Do you know of a school playground, nursing home, non-profit, public library, sports complex, cemetery, or trail that could benefit from a few well-placed trees? If so, let your ideas be known.  Site nominations for the We Dig Your District program in Cedar Rapids are due February 25, 2009.

 

Alliant Energy and Trees Forever are once again offering We Dig Your District, a partnership program to plant trees in each of the five Cedar Rapids City Council Districts to demonstrate how trees improve energy efficiency and contribute to a healthier and more beautiful community. And, we need your help!

 Get into the energy efficiency groove and submit suggestions for the 2009 We Dig Your District tree-planting locations.

 To submit a suggestion, tell us the following in 300 words or less.

1. Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (optional)

2. The community location where you would like to see trees planted (The location must be within Alliant Energy’s electric service territory in Cedar Rapids.)

3. Why your location should be selected; what makes it special and how trees would make a difference at this site.  Suggestion(s) must be submitted by February 25, 2009 to receive consideration. Submissions can be made online at www.alliantenergy.com/wedigyourdistrict  or via mail to Alliant Energy, Community Relations, Attn: We Dig Your District, 200 First Street SE, PO Box 351, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-0351.

 

 

 

Suggestions will be reviewed based on their potential to improve energy efficiency, enhance the environment and meet a community need. The review committee will include representatives from Alliant Energy and Trees Forever, with input from local city council members.

 

Selections will include one site within each of the five Cedar Rapids City Council Districts. Planting sites will be announced in March 2009. The 2008 We Dig Your District planting sites included Arthur Elementary School, Cleveland Elementary School, Regis Middle School, Redmond Park and Wilderness Estates Park. Planting at Ushers Ferry was postponed due to the summer flooding.

 

For more information, contact Karen Brook, Trees Forever field coordinator at 373-0650 ext. 14 or email kbrook@treesforever.org

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