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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Judge gives Wisconsin voters more time

BREAKING: Judge William Conley just ruled.

  • EXTEND THE DEADLINE to request absentee ballots to Friday at 5pm
  • EXTEND DEADLINE to return ballots until Apr 13
  • WAIVE witness requirement



Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Couleecap assistance for COVID-19 unemployed


Couleecap Launches New Program for La Crosse County Residents Unemployed Due to COVID-19
Couleecap is launching the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program for low-to-moderate wage workers whose employment has been ended or reduced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The program, which is funded by the Great Rivers United Way and La Crosse Community Foundation, will provide limited financial assistance for critical expenses, emergency budgeting help, and referrals to programs available to people in need.
A simple, online application process will determine recent unemployment, income eligibility, and critical needs of the household so appropriate assistance can be determined.  All participants will be provided referrals to the Wisconsin Unemployment Office, other government programs for which participants can apply, and local resources, such as food pantries.  Program participants will also receive information on emergency and unemployment budgeting, including tips for reducing or eliminating expenses during a crisis.
“We are getting calls every day from people in our area asking for assistance because their jobs have been terminated or their hours have been cut. They don't know how they are going to pay their bills until unemployment benefits kick in,” says Ashley Lacenski, Community Development Director for Couleecap.  “As a community action and financial counseling agency, we are able to help.” 
“We truly appreciate the responsiveness of the donors who are making this program available,” says Hetti Brown, Executive Director of Couleecap.  “When I reached out to them for help, they didn’t hesitate.”
Residents seeking assistance can complete an application at www.Couleecap.org.  General household information, recent pay statements, and documentation of reduced or terminated employment will be required.  For phone assistance, residents may contact Sara Berger at 608-632-6512 but given the volume of calls Couleecap is receiving, online assistance will be faster.  Funding is limited and, therefore, the highest needs will be determined through the application process. 
Other Couleecap resources are available to help people impacted by the current emergency.  Agency food pantries in Sparta and Prairie du Chien have expanded hours, Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, with curbside pick up and limited home delivery.  To find details, visit the Couleecap website.  Other services may also be found on the site.
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About Couleecap, Inc.
Couleecap, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. Couleecap helps people in need with housing, food, transportation, and more. Created in 1966, we are a community action program that fights poverty and promotes self-sufficiency in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties. Learn more at couleecap.orgFacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Friday, March 27, 2020

While at home GROW A GARDEN

A new website, WhileAtHome.org, aims to connect people to information, help, opportunities to help.

La Crosse County has a very good page of info and redoubt links at lacrossecounty.org/covid19

La Crosse Neighborhoods are working on resources for neighbors to help neighbors. Mire coming soon.

CouleeDSA is working through thr FB page, Coulee Region Mutual Aid to connect helpers with those needing help.

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Our community has a large number of food-insecure children, families, and individuals in "normal" times. We can only imagine how much more need there will be going forward, not just for food, but for meaningful opportunities to work for the good of others, get healthy exercise, and be socially active.

Please consider GROWING A GARDEN or expanding one if you are already a gardener. Is there a space in your neighborhood, like the middle of a roundabout, that could grow beans, corn, and squash this summer? Might your elderly neighbor have the space and knowledge but not the physical capability to grow a garden? Can you grow carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash, even corn in containers? (Yes, you can.)

Planting season's here or soon will be depending on your style. Now's the time to find your space, get it ready, find some helpers if needed, and grow. This is especially a great idea if you have kids. Every kid should have a chance to learn how to grow her own food.

There are lots of books, extension websites, experts, and orgs that can help. Try square-foot gardening. Plant things in buckets, milk cartons, cardboard boxes. (Consider starting your corn seeds in toilet paper tubes so you can plant them outside in croups of three when weather gets warm.):

UPDATE: The city will prepare some good size garden plots on city property and city parks to provide more food-growing capacy plus opportunities for community engagement and healthy outdoor exercise. They are looking for volunteers to sign up to help plant and maintain (hoeing, weeding) a garden. If you are interested, please contact your neighborhood association leader. If you are not part of a neighborhood association, contact the city planning department at 608-789-7512.

Then, think about HIRING a helper, maybe securing their services in advance by offering to pay April rent or other critical expenses since payments to individuals will likely not arrive until after April rent is due.

Finally, if you live in the area bounded by Ward Ave, South Ave/MC Rd, Broadview, and the railroad tracks on the south side of La Crosse and you need pre-ordered groceries or medicine picked up and delivered because you have a health or transportation issue and can't make it yourself, please call 608-315-2693. Text or leave a clear voice message with your name and phone number. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bad Bill Bails Bigs (again)/Gundersen Requests Assistance



DEMAND THAT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ADDRESSES THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have reached a tentative agreement on a third COVID-19 response package. The final package is a dramatic improvement from the original Republican bill, which was essentially a giant no-strings-attached corporate giveaway without any real support to workers and families affected by this crisis. 
Senate Democrats deserve a lot of credit for sticking together to make improvements to the bill, such as dramatically expanding unemployment insurance, and providing money to support our already-strained health care system. However, the bill still falls short of what people need in this moment of crisis, and the House should fight to improve it.
Your representative needs to hear from you so that they work to improve the third coronavirus response bill before voting on it. Specifically, you should ask your member of the House to:
  • Increase election security and access to voting, including financial support for states to implement vote by mail before November,
  • Add guardrails for the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts in the bill (e.g. requiring that companies that get bailouts retain ALL of their employees and can’t waste money on executive bonuses or stock buybacks)
  • Provide universal paid sick leavenot just for some people — everyone, 
  • Improve the cash assistance provisions of the bill by making the payments recurring and available to all people, including immigrants, and
  • Support patients and health care workers by expanding federal Medicaid funding, ending surprise billing, and ensuring frontline workers have the protections they need to stay safe
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More on making masks here.

GUNDERSEN CLINIC IS REQUESTING HELP SECURING PPE AND IS ACCEPTING HOMEMADE MASKS

Gundersen Health System is accepting donations for new and unused protection supplies. Because of the spread of COVID-19, health officials have warned that staff in busy hospitals may see a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Gundersen says it has adequate amounts of PPE, but the health system wants to prepare for a potential surge in patients.

Items requested include:

  • Face shields
  • Digital thermometers
  • Eye protection such as safety glasses and goggles
  • Hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Masks including both N95 and surgical masks (any level) *
  • Gloves
  • Gowns

To donate any of the above and help keep staff, patients and community as safe as possible, please contact Gundersen Medical Foundation at (608) 775-6600 or gmf@gundersenhealth.org.

*Note: Homemade masks are being accepted if they meet specific criteria. For directions and a pattern, please contact Gundersen Medical Foundation at (608) 775-6600 or gmf@gundersenhealth.org.

Mask specifications can be found here (scroll down for how-to video).

To align needs and supply of PPE, PLEASE call Gundersen Medical Foundation first. This will allow staff to track the number of masks being made and who is making them. 

Monetary donations for purchasing equipment and supporting medical research—such as the COVID-19 test our Microbiology Research Lab recently developed—also are being accepted here.