Tonight’s United Policyholder Meetings is Postponed
No New Date Set Yet
Colorado Springs, CO, Dec. 5, 2013 – Tonight’s United Policyholder meeting “Roadmap to Recovery: Milestone Gathering” for the Black Forest residents has been postponed due to the winter weather.
“Due to the dangerous temperatures and driving conditions, we have determined it best to postpone the meeting tonight,” said Kerri Olivier, Colorado Disaster Relief Coordinator for United Policyholders. “We are working on a new date and time and will advise you as soon as we have some dates to consider.”
The workshop was scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Heights Campus of Woodmen Valley Chapel.
For Black Forest Fire Assistance Information, visit www.BFFassistance.com.
For more information about United Policyholders, visit www.uphelp.org/BlackForestFire.
In collaboration with the Colorado Springs City Council and the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force is holding public meetings to gather initial citizen feedback on stormwater management ...
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Leon Young Service Center, 1521 S. Hancock Expressway
“These meetings are about listening,” said Val Snider, City Council member. “Since the task force began its work more than a year ago, we’ve heard from citizens and businesses that stormwater management is a problem the community must solve to protect life and property. Of the many options available to us, we need to know how the public wants stormwater addressed.”
About the Stormwater Task Force
The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force was formed in August 2012 by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities, community business leaders and citizens to determine the breadth of the community’s stormwater needs and options for managing it. The group includes business leaders, interested citizens, professional engineers, and city, utility and county staff.
For more information on stormwater in the Pikes Peak region and the work of the Task Force, visit http://www.pikespeakstormwater.org/.
FEMA Registration Deadline Extended for Disaster Survivors in Colorado
DENVER – At the request of the state of Colorado, FEMA has approved an extension for storm and flooding survivors to register for federal disaster assistance.
The new registration deadline is November 30, 2013, which is also the new deadline to complete and return low-interest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan applications.
Survivors who register may be eligible for federal grants to help cover various disaster-related expenses, including rent, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
The extension is for all 11 Colorado counties designated for federal Individual Assistance: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld.
People living in these counties who sustained losses due to storms and flooding should register with FEMA even if they have insurance. Applying by the deadline may help survivors avoid a funding shortfall if they later find that they are underinsured or have additional damages.
Under the SBA disaster loan program, homeowners may be eligible for as much as $200,000 in loans to repair or replace their storm-damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for as much as $40,000 for replacement of personal property. Businesses and private nonprofits may be eligible to borrow as much as $2 million to repair or replace storm-damaged property.
Register with FEMA by phone, 800-621-3362, from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., MST, seven days a week. Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA helpline. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages. People who have a speech disability or are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585; users of 711 or Video Relay Service can call
Register online at:DisasterAssistance.gov"> DisasterAssistance.gov. Register by Web-enabled device, tablet or smartphone: type m.fema.gov in the browser.
Udall Urges Coloradans to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance Before Fast-Approaching Nov. 14 Deadline'Flood Victims Need to Register for FEMA Assistance Now Before Time Runs Out'
Mark Udall, who has fought to ensure Coloradans have the federal resources they need to recover from last month's devastating flooding, urged flood victims to register for FEMA disaster assistance before the Nov. 14, 2013 deadline — which is one month away. FEMA registration is the first step for survivors of the flooding, landslides and mudslides in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan and Weld counties. FEMA assistance can provide money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
"Even though the flood waters have receded from Colorado, families are still suffering the effects of August's biblical rains. We will recover and Colorado will rebuild, but flood victims need to register for FEMA assistance before time runs out," Udall said. "In the meantime, I will keep fighting to secure every federal resource possible for Colorado communities and flood victims."
Coloradans can register with FEMA:
By phone by calling 1-800-621-3362;
Online at DisasterAssistance.gov; or,
Via a tablet or smartphone through m.fema.gov.
Once they register with FEMA, Coloradans may be eligible for Small Business Administration assistance, including low-interest home-disaster loans and business-disaster loans. Survivors must submit the Small Business Administration application for home and business loans by Nov. 14, 2013. Coloradans have until June 16, 2014 to apply for economic-injury disaster loans, which help businesses and nonprofits confront ordinary financial obligations that could not meet due to the disaster.
Coloradans who are denied FEMA assistance should remain diligent and read determination letters carefully as they may be eligible for appeal of denials or pre-approved amounts of assistance. Those seeking aid have 60 days after the letter was issued to file an appeal, which can be done at a Disaster Recovery Center.
Udall has worked since the flooding began to ensure Colorado communities and agencies have every federal resource they need to save lives, protect homes and start the recovery process. He championed legislation to remove a cap on the amount of emergency transportation funds Colorado can access to repair the state's battered roads, bridges and highways in the wake of the recent flooding. He also has addressed the nation from the U.S. Senate floor to highlight the challenges Colorado has faced since the flood.
PHOTO SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25th.
Rocky Mountain Field Institute launches its first juried photo contest. The theme for the competition, “NATURE!” challenges photographers of all skill levels to think about the dynamic between humans and the environment. Ranging from passion to rage to thrill to despair, our relationship with the environment is complicated by natural disasters such as wildfire and flooding. Categories include:
Reaction: images of the force of nature, including fires, floods, or other damage.
Rebirth: images that highlight the efforts to overcome devastating natural events.
Rejoice: images that showcase the beauty of our natural areas and the wonderful outdoors we enjoy.
Recreate: images that capture humans enjoying nature.
Youth: images encompassing the theme of the contest, taken by those 17 and younger
RMFI is looking for powerful images that capture the multi-faceted relationship between people and the natural environment. 2 images from each category will be selected as finalists. These images will be exhibited throughout November (including our annual Fall ShinDIG at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center Nov. 7th), culminating in a final exhibit on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at the Business of Art Center (515 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs, CO). A grand prize winner will be chosen by public vote and announced at the final exhibit. The final exhibit is an Indy Give! event hosted in partnership with the BAC, UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art, Medicine Wheel and Concrete Couch.
HOW TO ENTER: Entry fee is $10/jpeg. 3 jpegs for $25. Thereafter, $7.50 for any additional images. Please submit entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pay entry fee online at rmfi.org/donate or mail/deliver payment to RMFI: 815 S. 25th St, Ste 101, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Deadline for submission is October 25, 2013.
Top entries will be decided by a panel of professional photographers and artisans. Chosen entries will need to be printed, mounted and framed by photographer to be displayed throughout November (name and contact information may be included). Prizes include much laud and fanfare from RMFI, your name in lights and in our e-news, and the prestige of having won.
For more information or questions please contact 719-471-7736 or email@example.com.
Mayor Bach proposes hybrid Storm Water solution
Today, at the City Administration Building, Mayor Steve Bach convened a meeting to discuss the findings on the scope of the region’s storm water needs from independent engineering firm CH2M Hill.
CH2M Hill was contracted by the City to give a third-party assessment on the scope and depth of the storm water needs figures presented earlier this year by the Regional Storm Water Task Force. Additionally, Mayor Bach proposed the following alternative storm water solution:
Storm Water Hybrid (New Regional Authority, Individual Participant Funding Sources, No Overhead)
New Regional Authority to be formed within El Paso County boundaries by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and other interested municipalities. Additional municipalities may join in the future.
Each participant will bring its own funding source and receive commensurate spending. Any participant may elect in its discretion to provide a financial or “in kind” grant to any other participant.
The Authority will be led by an unpaid Board of Directors comprised of representatives of the participants. Voting will be proportional based on the impervious service/population.
The Authority will have no staff. The Colorado Springs Executive Branch will administer the Authority based on an Intergovernmental Agreement and as an “in kind” contribution, affording other participants the ability to maximize their spending on capital improvements and avoid overhead.
Projects design, construction, and maintenance will be outsources to the private sector with local vendors receiving preference wherever practical to help create local private sector jobs.
The Authority will formally report quarterly top the public on its progress toward reaching measureable outcomes.
Colorado Springs Capital Improvement Projects and Operations and Maintenance Funding (No New Taxes or Fees for Colorado Springs residents for at least the first half decade)
First Half Decade
Capital Improvement Projects: Repurpose maturing Springs Community Improvements Programs bonds, and add other General Fund cash flow, to issue new bonds subject to voter approval, providing 175 million dollars spendable. Complete 35 million dollars per year comprising approximately 20 million dollars per year for storm water, approximately 11.5 million dollars per year for roads and bridges, approximately 2.5 million dollars per year on public safety infrastructure, and approximately 1 million dollars per year on parks. There will be no new taxes or fees for Colorado Springs residents in the first half decade.
Operations and Maintenance: Dedicated General Fund line items will be provided annually for storm water (approximately 5 million dollars per year) and roads and bridges (approximately 16 million dollars per year). These initial numbers will grow as the City achieves additional efficiencies and sales tax gains.
After the First Half Decade
Capital Improvement Projects: Scaling up the economy, including the City for Champions Regional Tourism Act proposal, will help generate incremental sales tax to fund additional Capital Improvement Projects. If organic General Fund growth is not sufficient trending into the third and fourth years of this plan, then voters may be asked to approve additional funding via a Metropolitan Area Projects model used in Oklahoma City. This potential sales or property tax increase would include a Sunset Provision.
Operations and Maintenance: The City will continue to dedicate General Fund line items for storm water, roads, and bridges.
Weather Finally Cooperates for Black Forest Road Projects Delayed by Fire and Floods
El Paso County, CO., October 7, 2013 – The catastrophic Black Forest Fire and post-fire flooding have caused significant delays in the schedule of several important transportation improvement projects in the Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs. County Engineer Andre Brackin says contractors are hoping for good fall weather to wrap up several of these major construction projects. “Several projects are behind schedule because of the fire and floods and we really appreciate the ongoing patience of motorists through these delays,” he said.
Contractors continue paving operations at the Black Forest and Burgess Road intersection. The final installation of traffic signals will complete the required safety improvements at that location. The intersection is part of a 3.65 mile section of Black Forest Road where surface improvements are being made. “A two-inch overlay is needed to extend the life of the road,” Brackin said.
Drivers are typically experiencing 15 minute delays during peak driving times through this area of Black Forest but, weather permitting, contractors are expected to complete most of the remaining work on the intersection and the overlay in October allowing for the return of normal traffic flow.
When finished, the new Black Forest at Burgess Road intersection will be much safer for traffic needs. Safety improvements were necessitated by the number of turn movements in all directions through the intersection. They include upgraded signal operation, better lighting, signing and striping that is more visible day and night, safer clearances for pedestrians and those on bicycles and upgrades to drainage. Electric lines and above ground natural gas transmission facilities have also been moved to reduce crash hazards.
Safety improvements are also in focus for the construction on Hodgen Road which will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Monday, October 7 and continuing through Friday, October 11 between Meridian Road and Northcliff Road.
The project includes rebuilding the road, realignment, paving the shoulders, and intersection and drainage improvements. A hill near the Meridian and Hodgen intersection will be lowered to improve lines of sight. The flashing signal will be removed and left turn lanes will be added. Construction on Hodgen Road is expected to continue later into the fall.
Funding for these projects is provided through the voter approved Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).
Udall, Bennet Introduce Deficit-Neutral Bill to Eliminate Cap on Emergency Road Funding for Colorado in Wake of Devastating Flooding
Legislation Will Allow Colorado Department of Transportation to Quickly Repair Roads, Highways, Bridges Hobbled by Flood Waters
U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet introduced deficit-neutral legislation today to remove a problematic cap that limits the emergency transportation funds Colorado can access to rebuild the state's battered roads, bridges and highways in the wake of the recent flooding. The bill, the Deficit Neutral Infrastructure Disaster Relief Act, would tap already appropriated dollars and allow Colorado the same flexibility to use existing relief other states have received in the wake of massive natural disasters.
Current law restricts access to a large portion of emergency road funds administered by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration to $100 million per disaster. The governor and the Colorado Department of Transportation have estimated that the damage resulting from last week’s historic flooding will be in the range of $300 million to $500 million, easily exceeding the current funding restrictions. In recent years, Congress has raised the cap for states devastated by Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Irene as well as the 2011 Missouri River flooding.
"This common-sense and deficit-neutral proposal will help Colorado reconnect communities along the Front Range and in the foothills where overflowing creeks and streams literally washed away roads, bridges and highways," Udall said. "With winter upon us, the time is now for Congress to stand united to help Colorado rebuild. With Coloradans by my side, I will keep fighting to make this simple change to our disaster-response and clear the way for the U.S. Department of Transportation to help our communities rebuild in the wake of our state's most destructive natural disaster."
"As the floodwaters recede, Coloradans are beginning the long road to recovery. The damage to our roads and bridges is devastating and will be a critical need throughout the rebuilding process," Bennet said. "With cost estimates already exceeding the emergency funding caps, it is crucial that this funding cap be lifted for Colorado to get this important infrastructure back in working order."
Colorado's members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to introduce bipartisan companion legislation.
Udall, Bennet and Colorado's members of the U.S. House of Representatives have worked since the flooding began to ensure Colorado communities and agencies have every federal resource they need to save lives, protect homes and start the recovery process. They led a delegation effort last week to urge the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to make crucial resources available to help Colorado recover from the recent historic floods by lifting the cap on funds that can be used for infrastructure-related expenses. Udall and Bennet also welcomed the release of $30 million in emergency transportation funds.
Udall and Bennet each spoke to the nation last week from the U.S. Senate floor to underscore not only the extent of the disaster itself, but also the resilience and strength Coloradans have shown in the wake of the floods. The lawmakers will continue to coordinate with Colorado's congressional delegation and federal agencies to advocate for additional federal resources to aid in recovery efforts.
Manitou Springs Establishes Emergency and Recovery Fund
In the wake of recent flooding generated by runoff from the Waldo Canyon burn scar, the Manitou Springs community has established the Manitou Emergency and Recovery Fund through the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF) to support emergency relief as well as short-term and long-term recovery efforts. Funds raised will be used to benefit non-profits and other agencies providing support to residents and businesses impacted by flooding, as well as benefit business recovery activities and infrastructure improvements. PPCF is underwriting all of the administrative costs associated with the Fund.
An advisory committee of Manitou residents and community leaders will oversee distribution of the funds and ensure contributions bring maximum benefit to the community. Advisors are Nancy Bramwell, Aimee Cox, Reverend Dave Hunting, Natalie Johnson, Marcy Morrison, Dan Stuart and [Independent publisher] John Weiss. Application requirements are forthcoming.
Donations made to the fund are tax-deductible and can be made by check payable to PPCF – Manitou Emergency and Recovery Fund (ME&RF) and mailed or hand-delivered to:
• Pikes Peak Community Foundation, 730 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
• Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829
• iManitou, 354 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829
• On-line giving will be available soon.
For more information contact Marcy Morrison at 719-685-5089 or via email at http://www.altweeklies.com/aan/managing-editor-at-the-village-voice/JobPosting?oid=7264662">ManitouRecoveryFund@gmail.com.
DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE NOW AVAILABLE
TO INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY BLACK FOREST WILDFIRE
Work search may be waived for claimants affected by the fire
(DENVER) –The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced today that individuals who have become unemployed because of the Black Forest Wildfire in June may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), a federal program that provides temporary financial assistance to workers and self-employed individuals who have lost their jobs because of a disaster and who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
A Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the Black Forest Wildfire by the President on July 26. With this declaration, individuals may now be eligible for unemployment assistance if their unemployment resulted from the physical damage or destruction of their place of employment or because of the physical inaccessibility of the worksite due to its closure by the federal, state or local government in immediate response to a wildfire.
Claims can be filed at www.coloradoui.gov.
In addition, the Department of Labor and Employment is announcing that individuals who are currently receiving unemployment benefits while living in the burn area will receive a waiver from their requirement to seek work beginning the week the fire began in their area. The start date for the Black Forest Wildfire was June 11, 2013.
These individuals must continue requesting payment of unemployment benefits as they always have. As long as the fire is the only circumstance that is preventing them from looking for work, they should report that they are able to work, available and looking for work.
Some claimants impacted by the fire may currently be receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation, federal benefits that go beyond the regular 26 weeks. Individuals receiving EUC benefits must complete a series of reemployment services within six weeks. However, for the immediate future, the Department of Labor and Employment is extending the amount of time in which those claimants must complete the services.
If individuals lost their jobs because of the wildfire and are eligible for regular UI, they should apply for those regular unemployment benefits. DUA is available only to those individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. These individuals will typically be self-employed individuals who don’t meet the “employment” qualifications (e.g., ranchers, farmers, in-home day care providers, etc.) or individuals who don’t have enough wage history but can prove that they were working or were scheduled to begin work on or after the date of the fire and now cannot perform that work any longer.
If eligible, unemployment benefits are normally available for up to 26 weeks beginning the week following the Presidential disaster declaration. Additional weeks may be payable during the period between the incident starting date (June 11) and the formal Presidential declaration. When able to return to employment or self-employment, benefits will stop.
The deadline is fast approaching to file a DUA claim. DUA claims will only be accepted through August 28, 2013
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