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Local officials declare State of Emergency as more than 100,000 Linn County residents remain without power


Aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho in Cedar Rapids. — photo courtesy of Steve Shriver

Linn County residents continue to feel the impact of the derecho that moved through the state on Monday.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors declared a State of Emergency for the county during its Wednesday meeting. Shortly after, Marion Mayor Nick Abou-Assaly announced a State of Emergency in Marion.

Marion’s State of Emergency declaration is in effect as of Aug. 11 and will remain in place for 90 days, or until it’s rescinded, extended or canceled by the mayor. The declaration authorizes deployment of available municipal resources. According to a city news release, the declaration will also help the city qualify for reimbursement of disaster-related expenses.

The resolution also reminds residents of the city’s 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew that began Tuesday night. An end date for the curfew has not been announced.

During the overnight curfew, Marion residents are prohibited from being upon all public streets, sidewalks, alleys or other public ways and grounds,” according to the declaration.

The county’s resolution allows the Board of Supervisors to:

• Execute the expenditure of emergency funds from all available sources

• Invoke mutual aid agreements

• Apply to the State of Iowa for assistance

Most of Linn County still without power

As of Wednesday morning, nearly 90 percent of Alliant Energy’s Linn County customers were still without power. Of Alliant’s 97,603 Linn County customers, 87,348 are out of power.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department said that “getting back to ‘normal’ is still a long ways away.” Many trees and powerlines are still down across the city.

However, CRPD added that power has been restored to a section of northeast Cedar Rapids, which includes Lindale, Collins Aerospace and Target, as well as a portion of downtown.

There are power strips set up outside of the Marion Police Department for individuals who need to charge their phones or other devices.

Marion also announced on Tuesday that the American Red Cross set up a temporary shelter in the Thomas Park Safe Room, 343 Marion Blvd.

“Marion residents in need of a place to stay are advised to visit with the Red Cross in person at Thomas Park,” the city said.

Aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho in Cedar Rapids. — courtesy of Steve Shriver

Tree and debris removal

The City of Cedar Rapids said in an update that the first priority for crews is to open roads and remove hazardous trees. Crews are temporarily placing tree limbs and debris in the area between the street and sidewalk to help open up the roads.

The city reminded residents to stack debris in separate piles and to not mix tree debris with other materials. Branches should be cut in sections smaller than 10 feet in length. Tree trunks should be cut in half or quarters so they can be easily moved.

Residents should use the city’s web reporting tool to report damage to public trees. The city is asking residents to refrain from reporting tree damage by phone, if possible.

There will be no garbage, recycling or yard waste collection on Wednesday. Garbage will be collected again on Thursday.

Thursday, Aug. 13: Collection of gray GARBY (garbage) carts ONLY for neighborhoods with regular collection on Tuesday & Wednesday. We will do our best to navigate to your street, but if we cannot get there on Thursday, our next collection attempt will be next week.

Friday, Aug. 14: Gray GARBY (garbage) cart ONLY collection for neighborhoods with regular collection on Thursday & Friday. We will do our best to navigate to your street, but if we cannot get there on Friday, our next collection attempt will be next week.

Week of Aug. 16: Garbage collection will be prioritized on your regular collection day. We will do our best to navigate to your street and assess the need to re-run routes later in the week if necessary. When resources allow, recycling collection will resume.

Information about the placement of garbage carts and how to dispose of spoiled food can be found on the city’s website. Individuals with damaged carts or lids should contact solid-waste-recycling@cedar-rapids.org.

Damage to Cedar Rapids schools

The Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) said that more than 20 school buildings were damaged by Monday’s derecho. Some have “minor roof issues,” while others have “significant roof and structural damage.” Despite the building damage, no one was injured by the storm, according to the district.

“We recognize there are many questions around how this relates to the school start date,” CRCSD said in a statement. “There are several factors to consider and information will be forthcoming.”

The district’s Board of Education was scheduled to discuss pushing the school year state date from Aug. 24 to Aug. 31 at a meeting on Monday. However, that meeting got canceled due to the storm. A new meeting date has not been announced yet.

Transit suspension and curfew continue for Cedar Rapids residents

Cedar Rapids announced on Tuesday that city water remains safe to consume, despite rumors to the contrary. The city also asks anyone who sees water bubbling in the street to call customer service at 319-286-5900, since it may indicate a leaking water main.

Cedar Rapids Transit is suspended until further notice, and the city’s overnight curfew is still in effect. Like in Marion, Cedar Rapids residents are asked to stay home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. as city crews clear off debris and fallen utilities.

The city said it is working with partner agencies on shelter, food and volunteer efforts, and will share more information once details are finalized.

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