ASoF finds play in its pandemic programs When the governor issues a disaster proclamation, residents who are eligible can apply for assistance grants to pay for things like repairs, food and other necessities. Those grants have deadlines and are open now for people who live in the 25 counties where Gov. Kim Reynolds has declared disaster. State officials announced Friday that construction can begin on an underground mining project north of White Sulphur Springs that conservationists worry will harm the Smith River.
When the pandemic hit and educators across the globe began to live on Zoom, the staff of Austin School of Film knew they needed to plan carefully. “[Other organizations] were taking programs that were created for in-person experiences and putting them online, which doesn’t work for every type of program, especially something that’s hands-on,” said Faiza Kracheni, ASF’s education and programs director. “We wanted to make sure that if we were going to launch something that was virtual, we were going to do the research; we were going to put in the work; we were going to consult with our community.”
After surveying the school’s hundreds of students and determining what skills and topics were most compatible with online teaching, the directors drew up a slate of free and low-cost workshops for adults called Play at Home. They offer a low-pressure learning environment for all experience levels via two-hour Zoom calls, instead of the full-day or weeks-long courses the film school normally teaches. Some workshops, like “Podcasting at Home” and “Yoga for Creatives,” are free. Others, such as their SFX makeup series, charge a $10-30 fee, but that includes a kit containing everything a student needs, delivered to their door.
Since April, over 1,000 students have decided to Play at Home. The new program has created space for people who couldn’t access film education before, while bringing on all kinds of new educators (event leaders have included an engineer, bartenders, and social justice activists, among others). That fits with the nonprofit’s remit of giving working-class Austinites an alternative education option in film and the arts, but going online allows the team to look beyond city limits. Kracheni said, “Now, we want to give access to people globally.” Emails have already flooded in from prospective students in Italy. A pair of long-separated best friends logged in to the same workshop from different states, unbeknownst to each other. Kracheni has even had a documentary editor she looks up to as a student of her own. With countless stories of collaboration between people with varied life experiences and relationships to film, the school is considering how Play at Home might live on even beyond the pandemic. “We want to keep it going forever,” Kracheni said. “Not everything has to have this grand exit, right? It’s not like, ‘Oh, I took this class and now I really know how to use this camera and I can go use it on set.’ Some of it is just building community and having a positive place to come where you can meet like-minded people and try out new things at free or low cost.”
In the meantime, ASF still has a physical presence in the community: its recently renovated Motion Media Arts Center on Tillery Street. “Now it’s sitting idly,” said Kracheni. “So if anyone out there wants to partner with us on anything, holler.”
For more info, and a complete list of courses, visit to www.austinfilmschool.org/play-at-home.
Author: By Selome Hailu, Fri., Aug. 14, 2020
How To Apply For Disaster Support If You’re Out Of Work Or Have Storm Damage To Repair
Editor’s note: This post will be updated.
Can I apply for unemployment benefits?
Yes. Until the president declares a disaster in Iowa, Iowans can apply for unemployment from the Iowa Department of Workforce Development. You may file for benefits online here: https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/UIInitialClaim. This is the fastest and most efficient way. You can also visit a local IowaWORKS Center.
To be eligible for UI benefits a claimant must:
- be totally or partially unemployed
- have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by UI in the last 15 to 18 months
- have lost his or her job through no fault of their own
- be able and available for work
- Verify your identity through online verification or provide required documents
- be actively seeking work (work search may be waived if certain criteria are met)
- be registered for work (unless the work search requirement is waived)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
When there is a disaster declared by the federal government, that releases disaster unemployment assistance for citizens. Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a program which provides temporary income to eligible individuals who become unemployed as a result of a major disaster. It is funded by the federal government, not by state unemployment taxes paid by employers.
At a press conference on Friday, Aug. 14, Gov. Kim Reynolds said that the state is working to apply for a federal disaster declaration on Monday, Aug. 17.
As of Friday, Aug. 14, the federal government has not declared a disaster in Iowa.
A “major disaster” is a hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, earthquake, drought, ice conditions, fire or other catastrophe. The President declares a major disaster and makes funds available. The Disaster Assistance Period is the first week following the date the disaster began and ends with the 26th week after the disaster was declared. IWD will announce the 30-day benefit application period. You must file your DUA claim during this 30-day period.
In Iowa, disaster unemployment benefits are available to workers or self-employed individuals in the disaster area at the time it occurred and whose major source of livelihood is damaged due to the disaster. You must meet at least one of the following requirements.
As a direct result of the disaster, you:
- Have a week of unemployment following the date the major disaster began
- Are unable to reach the place of employment
- Were to have started work and do not have the job or are unable to reach the job
- Become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household died as a direct result of the major disaster
- Cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the major disaster
File online at https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/UIInitialClaim/ or call 1-866-239-0843 from Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm.
You will need your Social Security Number (SSN). A representative will help you determine if you are eligible for any other unemployment benefits. If so, you will collect those instead of DUA. If not, the representative will help you file your DUA claim.
Provide proof of wages. If you are unable to provide this proof, you can provide proof of employment within 21 days and a determination will be issued for the minimum DUA amount.
Your benefit amount will be based on the income received during the most recent completed tax year. The minimum weekly DUA benefit amount will be used until proof of income is provided. You have until the end of the disaster period to provide proof of wages. You may need to supply a copy of your federal tax return for the prior completed tax year and your claim will be re-determined.
When the governor issues a disaster proclamation, residents who are eligible can apply for disaster assistance grants and assistance.
IIAGP offers grants to families whose household’s annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Each qualifying household MAY receive up to $5,000.00. The IIAGP is activated when the governor issues a disaster proclamation turning on IIAGP for the affected counties. Find more information here.
Disaster proclamations were issued for the following counties as of Friday, Aug. 14, which have deadlines for assistance on the following dates following Monday’s derecho:
- Guthrie and Cass counties in response to a severe storm on August 10 and continuing.
- Audubon and Madison counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 28, 2020.
- Grundy, Jackson, and Jones counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 28, 2020.
- Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Hardin, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, and Washington counties in response to severe storm August 10 and continuing. The application deadline is September 25, 2020.
Food Assistance Replacement
Households who currently receive Food Assistance may request replacement of food destroyed as a result of the recent storm damage, or spoilage as a result of a power outage. As a general rule, food will keep 4 hours if stored in a refrigerator, 24 to 48 hours if stored in a freezer. Households have 10 calendar days from when they discover food loss to complete the application.
- Digital submission: Download and complete the application form, then submit a clear image of the form to: ImagingCenter5@dhs.state.ia.us.
- Forms are available at local DHS offices and are also availble by mail. Completed paper forms can be submitted to local offices in person, by mail or by fax. Use our DHS Office Locator to find the one nearest you.
Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant
IIAGP offers grants to families whose household’s annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Each qualifying household MAY receive up to $5,000.00. The IIAGP is activated when the Governor issues a disaster proclamation turning on IIAGP for the affected counties. Please note – if a presidential disaster declaration for Individual Assistance is issued for a county for the same event, the state program is automatically canceled for that county, as the federal program then goes into effect. The federal program does not have an income restriction.
The application may be downloaded by clicking on Iowa Disaster Assistance Application. Applications can be turned in to a local Community Action Agency, go to www.iowacommunityaction.org to find your local agency. For the Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant program information call toll-free 1-877-347-5678.
Iowa Disaster Case Management
Disaster Case Management is a time limited resource and process that involves a partnership between a disaster case manager and a household impacted by a disaster to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the client with a single point of contact to facilitate access to a broad range of resources, promoting sustainable assistance for individual’s and a household’s recovery. These services are client focused, and provided in a manner consistent with standards for trauma-informed practice in human services.
Contact your local Community Action Agency at www.iowacommunityaction.org to find your local agency.
The Iowa Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT) is a trained team of volunteers who will respond to the mental health needs of Iowa residents following disasters and critical incidents. The team provides services for community providers based on local area needs and may be delivered at a disaster site in an affected community or statewide. Services may include:
- Conduct behavioral health needs assessment following a disaster
- Provide Psychological First Aid
- Provide brief crisis counseling and intervention
- Provide community outreach
- Provide public information and education
- Provide critical incident stress debriefing
- Provide behavioral health consultation for providers, communities and individuals
- Provide screening and referral for those affected by a disaster or critical event
Local authorities may request DBHRT assistance in order to meet the behavioral health needs of communities in crisis by contacting the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Duty Officer. The duty officer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 515-725-3231. For more information go to www.iowadbhrt.org.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are concerned about someone who is in mental health crisis, contact Your Life Iowa by calling (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398.
In Des Moines, anyone struggling to provide food for their cat or dog can come to ARL Animal Services (1615 SE 14th St., Des Moines) on Tuesdays and Fridays between 12 and 4 p.m. The ARL pet food pantry was created to help pets (and therefore people) during times of crisis just like this.
For anyone who is unable to come in-person due to health or transportation concerns, or needs help sooner, they can email email@example.com or call 262-9503. For those lucky enough to be able to provide for their pets, they can PAW IT FORWARD to help those in need at http://ow.ly/uQWR50yRbbL.
You can always call or text 211 to be connected with help. Find more information here:
Author: Iowa Public Radio News | By
State approves construction on copper mine near Smith River, work to begin Monday
State officials announced Friday that construction can begin on an underground mining project north of White Sulphur Springs that conservationists worry will harm the Smith River.
Tintina Montana Inc., owned by the Australian mining company Sandfire Resources Inc., can begin the first phase of construction on the Black Butte Copper Project, a controversial underground copper mine approved for the Little Belt mountains.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued a final permit to the company Friday, allowing it to proceed, according to a news release.
“This is our final permit,” said Rebecca Harbage, a DEQ spokesperson. “It comes after a very long and stringent environmental review process.”
The first phase of the project involves road building and staging areas for construction materials and equipment. Harbage said the operating permit only authorizes site preparation. The company will need to post another bond to actually mine.
Tintina posted an approximately $4.6 million bond to cover the project’s first phase. The DEQ is working toward calculating an appropriate bond covering reclamation costs, which the company will need to post before mining.
Before mining, Tintina must provide the DEQ with detailed designs for the project and obtain additional permits from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The permits are needed to address the flow of nearby Coon Creek during mining operations, according to Harbage.
Nancy Schlepp, a spokesperson for Tintina, said work will begin Monday. She estimated the initial phase would take up to six months, and full construction on the mine would take about two years.
“We are pleased with the really thorough job that the Montana DEQ has done on this project,” she said.
Schlepp said Tintina has worked to address concerns through a number of technological breakthroughs.
The company is storing half of the mine’s tailings in a separated facility double-lined with cement to prevent contamination, she said. The other half of the tailings will be put in the ground.
In addition, water that is used in the underground mine will be treated and added back to the groundwater, and all entrances into the mine will be closed off, according to Schlepp. She estimated ore extraction would take 11 to 15 years, and reclamation would take three years.
Mining activity would take place about 20 miles upstream from the confluence of the Smith River and Sheep Creek.
Colin Cooney, the Montana field coordinator for Trout Unlimited, said Sheep Creek is a critical trout fishery and tributary to the Smith River. The river contributes about $10 million annually to the state’s economy, he said.
“I don’t believe the company or the DEQ have thoroughly proved that the project is not going to harm Sheep Creek,” Cooney said. “Anything that affects that tributary is going to affect the Smith.”
Trout Unlimited was among several conservation groups that sued the DEQ and Tintina over the Black Butte project this June. The groups, represented by Earthjustice, claim the environmental impacts of the project weren’t sufficiently considered before its approval.
According to the complaint filed by Earthjustice, Tintina’s proposed method for storing tailings in an above-ground facility hasn’t been tested before, and frequent exposure to oxygen and water could compromise the structural integrity of the facility.
Additionally, Tintina’s water treatment may not sufficiently mitigate the release of nitrogen into Sheep Creek, the complaint says. Excessive nitrates can cause algae blooms, harming fish populations.
Schlepp said Tintina addressed every possible environmental impact. The project, she said, will be an economic driver that will benefit those living nearby.
Schlepp anticipated the litigation will be slow. Judges haven’t yet set any dates for hearings, she said.
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Author: Helena Dore