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Dubuque & Tri-State News

New UD Scholarship

The University of Dubuque will have a new scholarship in the name of President Jeffery Bullock and his wife Dana thanks to U-D Alumni. Members of the Spartan Nation surprised the Bullock’s during the Alumni Recognition Brunch on Saturday with a $25-thousand dollar endowed scholarship in their name. U-D graduate, Hank Hector, from the class of 1961 spearheaded the efforts of alumni to create a student scholarship to commemorate the transformation that has occurred on campus over the past 20 years. Jeffrey Bullock was appointed the University’s president in June of 1998. During his years as president, enrollment has grown by over 400 percent to more than 2,300 undergraduate, graduate, and seminary students. At the same time, the campus has been transformed with over $200 million of funded new construction and renovations. In addition, the endowment, which is the primary source of financial aid and scholarship assistance for students, has grown from $16 million to $150 million. The Bullocks will determine the criteria for the new scholarship.

Jo Daviess County Motorcycle Accident

An animal carcass in the roadway is to blame for a motorcycle accident Friday afternoon in rural Galena. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department reports that 70-year old Laurie McWilliams of Machesney Park, Illinois was injured in the accident. She is reported to have been on North Ford Road, near West Stagecoach Trail, when she saw an animal carcass in the roadway and attempted to negotiate around it. She lost control of the motorcycle – traveling into the ditch and tipping the motorcycle over. McWilliams was taken to Midwest Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. The accident remains under investigation.

 

Dubuque House Fire

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation as the result of an early Sunday morning fire at a residence in Dubuque. The fire department reports that crews were sent to 607 Rhomberg Avenue shortly after midnight. Upon arrival, fire crews encountered moderate smoke in the basement. The fire was coming from the area of the homes furnace. Crews extinguished the fire. The entire home was filled with smoke. Two residents of the home were taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. Three pets were also rescued. Home owners reported to the fire department they had been servicing the furnace an hour before the fire broke out.

 

East Dubuque Council to Discuss Changes to Alcohol Ordinance

Changes could be coming to East Dubuque’s regulations on businesses that serve alcohol. The local city council will hold a special meeting later this month to vote on recommendations from a city committee on changes to the alcoholic beverages ordinance. City Manager Geoff Barklow says some of the changes would relate to fees, refunds for closed businesses, and time limits for outdoor beer gardens. Another topic of discussion has been the current closing time imposed on bars. As of now, East Dubuque has a limit of 25 available liquor licenses. Twenty businesses have licenses. Four of them are able to stay open until 3:30 AM, while the rest must close at 1:30. The current ordinance doesn’t allow for any new “3:30 licenses” to be issued. Barklow says the alcohol regulations are not reviewed on a set schedule, but new council members often suggest changes. The special council meeting will be held a week from Monday. It will be preceded by a committee meeting where recommendations for the council will be finalized.

Dubuque Man Admits to Role in Elderly Fraud Scam

Hines

A Dubuque man has become the first person convicted for his role in a scam targeting the elderly. 33-year-old Tobey Hines pled guilty to wire fraud in federal court on Thursday. According to federal authorities, the scheme was based around calling elderly individuals around the country and telling them that a loved one had been arrested and needed money to be released from custody. The victims would then wire in the money. As part of his plea, Hines has admitted to being one of the “runners” in the scam who would receive payments and forward them to the scam’s ringleaders. Hines could face up to twenty years in prison. He’s one of eleven people facing federal charges in connection with the scam. Nineteen others have been charged locally.

Filing Confusion Impacts Cascade Mayoral Race

Behnken (Courtesy: Facebook)

Confusion among members of the Cascade City Council has turned this fall’s mayor’s race into a matchup between the incumbent and a former mayor, though only one of them will have their name on the ballot. Current mayor Marcus Behnken won the office as a write-in candidate two years ago. As he explains, he chose to run as a write-in candidate again this year to give the voters more of a choice. Behnken says he felt he made is intentions well known. But the word apparently didn’t get around. With no declared candidates going into the final days of the filing period, current City Council member and former mayor Greg Staner filed to run for mayor. That means that his name will be on the ballot, while Behnken’s will not. The incumbent acknowledges that makes his path to re-election much tougher. Staner has apparently made it known that he would not have run for mayor if he knew Behnken wanted another term. Regardless of the Election Night result, Behnken says he won’t second-guess how he’s handled the situation. Staner was Cascade’s mayor from 2007 to 2011. We attempted to contact him for this story, but were not able to leave a message.

Enrollment Down Slightly at Dubuque, WD

Dubuque’s public schools have slightly fewer students than they did a year ago. The district is required to send enrollment figures to the state for certification in mid-October. District Business Manager Kevin Kelleher says the numbers revealed an enrollment decline of about 50 students. This year’s enrollment is 10,507, which is a decline of 48 students from the previous year. The district does have to wait for the state to compare their numbers before the enrollment becomes official. The state provides a little more than $6,600 in aid per student. The Iowa Legislature has agreed to increase aid by about 1.1% for next school year. Kelleher says he doesn’t see any more significant increases coming soon. A decrease of 48 students means a revenue drop of around $300,000 for the district. The Western Dubuque district also saw a decline in students this year, though a smaller one than Dubuque. WD’s total enrollment sits at 3,453 students, down 15 from last school year.

West Delaware Students Punished for Roles in Gun Incident

Two Delaware County high school students have been disciplined after an incident involving a gun last month. Details are a bit sketchy, but the West Delaware school board approved the suspension of one student and the expulsion of another, according to minutes from a special board meeting held last week. Manchester Police have told our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that charges were also filed following reports that someone had brought a gun to West Delaware High School late last month. On September 29 – three weeks ago today – Manchester police were called to the school after a caller said a juvenile had a firearm in the school’s parking lot. The names of the students who have been disciplined have not been revealed and the district has declined comment.

False Report Draws Police to North End Neighborhood

An apparent false report drew a massive police presence to a neighborhood in Dubuque’s North End last night. Officers were called to the intersection of Stafford and Providence Streets in the early evening after receiving a report of a homicide in the area. The caller further stated that the killer had a gun and wasn’t going to be taken into custody. The police department’s tactical team set up a perimeter around a house and closed off several nearby streets. Police eventually entered the home, where they found no evidence that a crime had taken place. Officers cleared the area at about 7:30 PM. Police do not know where the initial 911 call originated, but say that if the the person who made the call is found, they’ll face charges for filing a false report.

ISP ID Man In Delaware Co. Fatality

A Masonville man was killed in a one vehicle crash in Delaware County Wednesday evening. According to a crash report from the Iowa State Patrol, a pickup driven by 30 year old Christopher Gudenkauf was traveling east on 210th Street near Masonville at around 6 p.m., when the truck left the roadway and traveled through a barn before crashing into a tree. The report says Gudenkauf was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the fatal accident.

Crash with Deer Injures Boscobel Couple

A couple from Boscobel were seriously injured after their motorcycle collided with a deer. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, 58-year-old Tracy Wagner was driving his motorcycle a few miles southwest of Boscobel with his wife Kathleen as a passenger. A few minutes after 5:00 Wednesday evening, two deer walked onto the road in the path of Wagner’s bike. He tried to brake, but collided with one of the animals. Both the Wagners were thrown from the motorcycle and suffered serious injuries. They were each initially taken to the hospital in Boscobel. Tracy was then airlifted to another facility in LaCrosse. There’s no word on either of their condition.

Lundgren Participates in State Opioid Hearings

Lundgren

A committee looking into ways to combat the opioid crisis in Iowa held a two-day hearing at the State Capitol this week. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta is a member of the committee. She says the big issue is finding ways to prevent people from getting hooked on pain medications. During the hearings, some expressed concern about the seemingly unlimited amount of painkillers that some doctors prescribe to one person. Lundgren says physicians don’t prescribe pain medications to their patients with the intent of harming them. The Prescription Monitoring Program, or PMP, has been in place for more than a decade. It’s used by physicians and pharmacists to access patient information and determine appropriate treatment options. Lundgren says the committee has to submit recommendations on ways to curb the opioid epidemic to the governor by the middle of next month. Last year, Lundgren co-sponsored a bill that would require all physicians and pharmacists to register with the PMP, but that bill did not make it out of the House.

Authorities Seize 75+ Marijuana Plants from Home Near Yellowstone

A couple living near a state park in southwest Wisconsin were arrested Wednesday after authorities found several dozen marijuana plants at their home. The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Lake Road near Yellowstone State Park at about 8:30 yesterday morning. A team of investigators found more than 75 marijuana plants as well as about twenty pounds of marijuana leaf clippings. Several firearms were also seized. The residents of the home were not present when the search warrant was executed, but were arrested later in the day. 36-year-old Eric Switsky and 33-year-old Kristen Switsky are facing felony charges of Possession of THC with Intent to Deliver and Manufacturing and Distribution of THC. THC is the chemical compound found in marijuana that produces the “high” users describe.

Dubuque Man Sentenced On Gun Charge 

A Dubuque man will be spending some time in federal prison after recently being convicted on a gun charge. 22 year old Gerraud Bruns was charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to two years and three months in federal prison. In May 2016, Bruns was found to be in possession of a 40 caliber pistol, while being an unlawful user of marijuana.He originally faced state charges of carrying weapons and fourth degree theft. Those charges were dismissed due to the federal case. Bruns must also serve two years of supervised release once he is out of prison.

Dyersville Couple’s Deaths Under Investigation

Dubuque County authorities are looking into the deaths of two Dyersville residents. According to the county sheriff’s office, husband and wife Robert and Kelly Walker were found dead in their mobile home on Dyersville’s northeast side late Saturday night. The sheriff’s office says there’s nothing suspicious about the deaths of the 36-year-olds. Both bodies have been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies which are expected to help determine the cause of death. A Facebook profile for Kelly Walker indicates that she and Robert Walker had been married in June of 2015. Robert Walker had been arrested on a 3rd offense of Operating While Intoxicated last month and was out on bond. Sheriff Joe Kennedy tells KDTH that the couple was using a generator to heat their mobile home. But it’s not yet known if that contributed to their deaths.

Work Release Escapee with History of Running from Police Arrested

Brandenburg

A Dubuque County woman with a history of running from police was taken back into custody Tuesday after failing to return to a work release facility. 30-year-old Michelle Brandenburg was arrested in Cascade shortly before 3:00 yesterday afternoon. Brandenburg had been moved to the Dubuque Residential Facility on Elm Street in early July. Not quite eight weeks later, a warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to return to the facility. Brandenburg is serving time for a couple of incidents in late 2015 and early 2016. On Thanksgiving weekend in 2015, Brandenburg was one of two people accused of shoplifting more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from the Dubuque Kohl’s store and leading police on a chase. About two months later, Jo Daviess County authorities tried to stop her after a theft complaint at the Galena Wal-Mart. Brandenburg then led police from several agencies on a chase that ended on South Grandview Avenue in Dubuque.

Dubuque Racing Association Opposes Cedar Rapids Casino Proposals

Aviles

The head of Dubuque’s Q Casino says “enough is enough.” Jesus Aviles used those words during a meeting of Dubuque Racing Association’s Board of Directors Tuesday. He was referring proposals to bring a new casino to Cedar Rapids. Aviles says existing gaming facilities near Cedar Rapids already serve that community. Aviles says Q Casino and the Diamond Jo are already surrounded by enough competition. Aviles adds that a Cedar Rapids casino would have a negative impact on the money the DRA designates for non-profits, and could mean a loss of jobs. Aviles urged the DRA board and employees of both Dubuque casinos to contact Iowa Racing and Gaming commissioners and tell them to oppose a casino in Cedar Rapids. The racing and gaming commission heard proposals from two groups seeking to operate a casino in Cedar Rapids last week. They’ll decide whether to grant a license to one of those groups at a meeting next month. A Cedar Rapids casino was also proposed in 2014, but the commission turned down that request.

Authorities: Shullsburg Man Steals Truck, Crashes into Vehicle, Building, Mailbox

Niemeyer

A southwest Wisconsin man faces a laundry list of charges after stealing a pickup truck and leaving a trail of destruction through two counties. The Grant County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a truck driving all over the road near Hazel Green at about 4:45 Monday morning. The truck had been stolen in Lafayette County and used in a burglary before the driver headed for Hazel Green. Once there, the truck collided with a parked car and the building that houses the local opera house. The pickup continued northwest and was spotted driving in and out of the ditch just east of Dickeyville. After hitting a mailbox, the truck came to a stop in another ditch in Dickeyville. The driver, 20-year-old Kevin Niemeyer of Shullsburg, was arrested by a Grant County deputy, then transferred to Lafayette County. He’s facing charges including burglary, theft, operating while intoxicated, and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Police: Woman Uses Money Taken From Job to Pay for Truck, Wedding

Gates

A Dubuque woman has been accused of stealing nearly $11,000 from her job, and using the money to pay for her wedding and a new truck. 29-year-old Apryl Gates was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and has been charged with 1st Degree Theft. Dubuque Police say they were initially alerted to the possible theft in early July. An employee at Patterns, Inc. was reviewing records and found several thousand dollars missing. Patterns owns several rental properties and sometimes receives cash payments. Beginning at about the time Gates began working at Patterns, some of those cash payments were not being logged in the company’s system or deposited into the bank. The missing payments totaled about $11,000. Investigators say Gates paid cash for a pickup truck in mid-July. She also moved up her wedding reception at the Hotel Julien to July from December, and made several cash payments to the hotel. After being questioned about the missing money by the owner of Patterns, Gates reportedly brought in $5,000 in cash the following day. 1st Degree Theft is a Class C Felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Dubuque Seeing One of Rainiest Octobers on Record

Courtesy: KCRG

It’s only slightly past the mid-point of October, but here in the Tri-States, we’ve already received a higher-than-usual amount of rainfall for the month. At the Dubuque Regional Airport, just more than 6 inches of rain have fallen since October began. According to meteorologist Kaj O’Mara from our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that’s almost triple the normal amount for the entire month. Much of the rain we’ve received so far this month has come from slow-moving systems that brought soaking rains. O’Mara expects any precipitation we received over the second half of October to move through much quicker. O’Mara doesn’t think we’ll approach the record for wettest October, which was set 50 years ago this fall. No other city in eastern Iowa has received as much rain as Dubuque so far this month. Waterloo is the closest, at 4.4 inches, though that’s still more than an inch and a half less than Dubuque.

Former Olin Fire Chief Accused of Abusing Teen Girl

VonBehren

A Jones County town’s former fire chief has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl. 42-year-old Matthew VonBehren was arrested by the Jones County Sheriff’s Department last week. He’s been charged with five counts of Lascivious Acts with a Child and two counts of Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse. Authorities say he assaulted a 13-year-old girl on multiple occasions last year. VonBehren had previously been the chief of the Olin Fire Department.

Dubuque’s First CNG Plow/Truck Ready to Roll

Courtesy: KCRG

The city of Dubuque is showing off a first-of-its-kind heavy maintenance vehicle that is expected to cut down on fuel usage. The new maintenance and snow removal vehicle that’s powered by compressed natural gas, or CNG, was on display outside the Historic Federal Building earlier this week. According to the city, the gas burns much cleaner than diesel and will produce nearly zero emissions. It’s also much quieter than more traditional trucks. Public Works Director John Klostermann says the city will evaluate the vehicle’s performance over the upcoming winter, and could look into additional CNG vehicles in the future. The city has two smaller vehicles that are also powered by CNG.

Prostitution Arrests Increasing in Dubuque

Dalsing

Arrests for prostitution are on the rise in Dubuque, but local police say that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more of the activity in the city. A Dubuque woman was charged with Prostitution on Friday after admitting to taking payment from a man for sex acts she and a friend performed. That’s the fourth prostitution arrest in Dubuque this year, after there had been no arrests on that charge since 2014. Police Chief Mark Dalsing says there’s no specific reason for that increase. Dalsing says the internet has changed how police are able to investigate prostitution cases. Dalsing would like to see the department be more aggressive in its prostitution investigations, but says staffing limits what they can do. Two of the other prostitution arrests stemmed from raids conducted at a pair of Dubuque massage parlors. Those charges have since been dropped.

Fire Damages Rhomberg Avenue Duplex

A duplex on Dubuque’s North End was heavily damaged by fire yesterday morning. Firefighters responded to the 1000 block of Rhomberg Avenue at around 6:40 AM after people reported smoke and fire coming from the building. Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines says when crews arrived, there was smoke coming from the second floor. Because the fire had spread to the second story, crews had to open up the ceiling above the front porch and some of the second floor walls to get to the fire. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but Steines says the likely cause was an electrical problem above the porch’s ceiling. Fire crews were on scene for nearly four hours.

Teacher: New Drivers Now No Different Than in Past

A longtime drivers education teacher says the habits he encourages for new drivers now aren’t all that different from what he taught decades ago. This is National Teen Driving Safety Week, and Northeast Iowa Community College instructor Bill Leonhart says teens face increasing pressures both behind the wheel and away from the car. But for the most part, the kids he teaches aren’t all that different from the ones he had thirty years ago. Leonhart says on major difference with current drivers is being able to ignore distractions, which can include other passengers in the vehicle. Having passengers significantly increases the likelihood of a crash for new drivers. Leonhart says most of the bad habits driving students pick up were learned from their parents. Leonhart has been teaching drivers ed at NICC for the past decade. Before that, he taught at Western Dubuque High School in Epworth.

YMCA Staffer Wins State Workforce Award

Millard

A staffer at the Dubuque YMCA has won a state award for overcoming obstacles to employment. Tonya Millard recently won an Iowa Job Honor Award from Iowa Workforce Development. Millard is the Y’s Executive Director of Social Services. Prior to getting that job, she says she interviewed for many other positions, but knew that her age was playing a role in hiring decisions. Despite believing she was well-suited for many of the positions, Millard says interviewers could not look past her age. Millard took her concerns to Iowa Workforce Development, where she was encouraged to confront the issue head-on and turn it from a weakness into a selling point. In her new position, Millard helps manage the Y’s Victim Services Shelter.

Hopkinton Bank Robber Found Guilty

A New York man could spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty of robbing a Delaware County bank. 27-year-old Daniel Jackson learned his fate in US District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday. A jury found him guilty on four counts, including Armed Bank Robbery. According to prosecutors, Jackson and Jason Centeno drove from their home in Muscatine to Hopkinton to rob the Citizens State Bank last October. Each man displayed a weapon as they demanded that bank employees hand over money. They also restrained two of the employees. The two made off with about 8-thousand dollars and returned to Muscatine. They were arrested in Florida a little more than a week after the robbery. Jackson’s sentencing date has not been set. He’s facing a minimum of seven years behind bars, with a possible maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

Dubuque Man Arrested for Shooting Pellet Gun, Threatening Teens

A Dubuque man has been accused of threatening to shoot two teenagers. According to a police report, the two 14-year-olds were walking home from Senior High School’s homecoming dance on Saturday night. In the 500 block of Clarke Drive, they say they stopped at a vending machine. That’s when a man living on the 3rd floor apparently told them “keep walking or I’m getting my gun.” The teens took off running, but say they heard two shots. Police responded to the area and spoke with 21-year-old Adam Sanchez, who lives in the 3rd floor apartment. He claims that the teens were looking into his mailbox, so he told them to “move along or I’ll shoot.” He said he then used his pellet gun to fire a warning shot into the air. Sanchez has been charged with Reckless Use of a Firearm and 3rd Degree Harassment.

Early Voting for Municipal Election Begins Today

Voters in Dubuque can begin casting ballots in this year’s mayoral and city council election today. Early voting opens this morning and will be available through the day before the election, November 6. Anyone wanting to vote early can do so at the county elections office on the fourth floor of the Dubuque County Courthouse, and at the elections annex on Locust Street. Those wanting an absentee ballot can request on through November 3. All three of the council seats up for election this year are contested. Mayor Roy Buol is also up for re-election. He is officially unopposed, but a couple of people are staging write-in campaigns, including current council member Jake Rios.

Dubuque Woman Facing Prostitution, Forgery Charges

McDougal

A Dubuque woman is facing prostitution and forgery charges after police say she tried to cash a check belonging to her “john.” 42-year-old Yolanda McDougal was arrested at her home on West 17th Street Friday afternoon. According to police, McDougal received several checks from a man and tried to cash them at a local credit union. She reportedly told police that the checks were payment for sex acts that she and a friend had performed for the man earlier this month. The checks totaled $700. She initially told officers that the man had written the checks out, but later changed her story to say she had written the checks out, and the man had only signed them. If convicted on both the prostitution and forgery charges, McDougal could face up to seven years in prison.

New York Man Convicted in Hopkinton Bank Robbery

A New York man could spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty of robbing a Delaware County bank. 27-year-old Daniel Jackson learned his fate in US District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday. A jury found him guilty on four counts, including Armed Bank Robbery. According to prosecutors, Jackson and Jason Centeno drove from their home in Muscatine to Hopkinton to rob the Citizens State Bank last October. Each man displayed a weapon as they demanded that bank employees hand over money. They also restrained two of the employees. The two made off with about $8,000 and returned to Muscatine. They were arrested in Florida a little more than a week after the robbery. Jackson’s sentencing date has not been set. He’s facing a minimum of seven years behind bars, with a possible maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

Dubuque Food Giveaway Saturday

Elderly and low income residents in Dubuque County are being reminded of another food giveaway this weekend. The food giveaway will be held between 7:30 and 9:30 Saturday morning at the Labor Harvest Building on West Locust Street. Food recipients should bring their identification card and a box or container for the food. The giveways are funded by grants from the Dubuque Racing Association and F.E.M.A.

Dubuque Community Engagement Award 

The city of Dubuque along with Teska Associates were recntly recognized for their Imagine Dubuque Community Engagement Plan. The award comes from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association and honors the city in its’ Public Outreach Category. The engagement plan was the public outreach campaign for Dubuque’s new comprehensive plan called “Imagine Dubuque 2037: A Call to Action.” Imagine Dubuque included broad community outreach and made extensive use of traditional methods and technology to expand public participation in planning. Over 12-thousand-500 ideas from over six thousand people from all sectors of the city came from Imagine Dubuque. The 2017 APA-Iowa Awards were announced during the Upper Midwest Planning Conference in Dubuque in early October.

Poll: Blum, Finkenauer in Statistical Tie

Blum, Finkenauer

Iowa Congressman Rod Blum may be in store for the toughest re-election fight of his young political career next year. That’s according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, which finds the two-term Dubuque Republican would be in a statistical tie with one of his challengers if the election were held now. In the poll, Democrat state legislator Abby Finkenauer actually bested Blum, 42% to 40$. But that is within the poll’s three percent margin for error. The survey found that Blum has an approval rating of just 33% in his district, with a majority of voters – 51% – saying they dislike the job he’s done. Just 6% of the district’s voters say they like the job that the new Congress has done since January. More than a thousand voters from the First District took part in the poll, which was conducted last weekend.

Plein Art Festival Brings Artists to Dubuque for Unique Challenges

Artist Kathleen Newman of Chicago works on a pastel painting of the Millwork District (Courtesy: KCRG).

Artists from across the country were in Dubuque this week, completing unique projects around the city. It’s all part of the annual Bluff Strokes: Fall Color Plein Art festival. The artists received several challenges through the week, including doing nighttime works and timed projects. Kathleen Newman of Chicago did a pastel perspective painting of the Historic Millwork District on Thursday. She says the artwork can give Dubuquers an idea of what people from outside the city see when they come here. All of the artwork created this week will be on display at Steeple Square Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Many of the pieces will be up for sale as well.

Dubuque Man Faces Drug Charges, Traffic Citations After Chase

Schumacher

A Dubuque man is facing a handful of charges and traffic citations after leading authorities on a high-speed chase yesterday afternoon. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to make a traffic stop in the Super 20 Mobile Home Park, which is located just off of US Highway 20 west of Dubuque. The driver of the vehicle sped away from the deputy on North Cascade Road. The suspect vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour as the driver headed toward the Key West area. The driver eventually turned northbound on Rockdale Road, but lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a shed. The driver was taken into custody after a short foot chase. He’s identified as 36-year-old Jason Schumacher of Dubuque. He’s been charged with two counts of Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute, as well as single counts of Eluding, Reckless Driving, and Interference.

Kind Votes For Whistleblower Protection Act 

Wisconsin U.S. Representative Ron Kind voted in favor of the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act this week. The bill ensures that no one is retaliated against for coming forward with concerns about waste, fraud and abuse at the VA. The bill offers a number of new protections for whistleblowers and will help ensure that supervisors found guilty of retaliation are held responsible for their actions. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support and is now headed to the President for his signature.

Boy Scouts Open Programs to Girls, But Local Girl Scout Chapter Says “No Thanks”        

For the first time in its 100-year history, the Boy Scouts of America will make all of its programs available to girls. The organization approved the decision to allow girls into the Cub Scout program earlier this week. Inclusion of girls is something some girls and their families had been requesting for years. But Katie Wiedemann, a member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, says their organization has no desire to cross over into the boys’ territory. Wiedemann cites research which shows girl scouts are much more comfortable in an all-girl environment, and are more likely to speak up on issues involving girls. While boy scout membership has declined in recent years, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois say they’ve seen a slight increase in membership this year. Allowing girls to participate in their Cub Scout program would eventually allow them to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout ranking. But Weidemann says girl scouts can earn what is called the “Gold Award.” The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has more than 16,000 members.

Farley Man Claims to Have Hit, Killed Kids During Drunk Driving Arrest

Fern

A Farley man being arrested for drunken driving reportedly claimed to have run over several children. 37-year-old Adam Fern was arrested just before 12:50 this morning near his home on the northwest side of Farley. A Dubuque County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled Fern’s vehicle over after seeing it swerve and run a stop sign. The car also had out of date license plates. During the stop, Fern reportedly admitted to drinking “too much” and knew he was going to jail. Fern was then taken to the Dubuque County Jail. According to the arresting officer, while on the way to jail, Fern made several comments about “being glad he ran over those kids and killed them.” Another officer was sent to the area and found no evidence that Fern’s claims were valid. The sheriff’s department did not receive any reports of pedestrian injuries in the area. When he arrived at the jail, Fern’s blood alcohol content was tested at .205, two-and-a-half times the legal limit. He’s been charged with Operating While Intoxicated and also received four traffic citations.

Betty Jane Helping to Raise Funds for American Red Cross

A Dubuque business is using candy to raise money for disaster relief. Betty Jane Candies is partnering with the American Red Cross this month to provide funding for the Red Cross’ efforts across the country. Betty Jane President Drew Siegert explains that a portion of the sales of certain items on the candy maker’s website will go to the Red Cross. The fundraiser runs through the end of October. Siegert notes that this is an important time for the Red Cross, which has been responding to three hurricanes as well as wildfires in California. Siegert says they chose to do the fundraiser online for technology purposes, but also so the effort could reach as many people as possible. Siegert hopes that with Halloween coming at the end of the month, the fundraiser will provide a significant treat for the Red Cross.

Candy Prohibited from 2017 Dubuque Halloween Parade

This year’s annual Dubuque Halloween parade will have one major difference from past years…there will be no candy handed or thrown to parade attendees. The change comes after several discussions between the city, the police department, and the local YMCA, which hosts the parade. According to police Lt. Scott Baxter, the presence of candy at the event has continually presented a safety issue. Baxter says the Halloween parade is unique in that it happens after dark. The decision to prohibit candy was something all parties involved agreed on. While the policy will only apply to the Halloween parade that this point, it could be implemented for all city parades. In past years, people in the parade were barred from throwing candy from vehicles and floats, but could hand out treats to spectators. But police say that policy was widely ignored. This year’s Halloween parade is scheduled for Monday, October 30 at 6:30 PM.

Dubuque Council to Consider Development Deals

Dubuque’s city council will hold a special meeting tonight to discuss three proposed development deals. If approved, the agreements would provide a total of more than $100,000 to three developers: MetX, Steeple Square, and Rouse and Dean. They’re each seeking $35,000 in grants. MetX would use the funding as part of a proposed $9 million revitalization of the former Lamar Advertising building in the 1600 block of Elm Street. That site would become a medical complex which would be the new home of Crescent Community Health Center. Steeple Square is seeking money to continue the renovation of the former St. Mary’s church campus. Their next project is the creation of an event space that will likely cost $10 million . Finally, Rouse and Dean is looking to renovate a building in the Historic Millwork District. They’re proposing a $1.8 million project to turn a vacant building across the street from Brazen into a marketable space. The council meeting begins at 5:30 this evening in the Historic Federal Building.

Finkenauer, Heckroth Boast 3Q Fundraising Totals

Finkenauer, Heckroth

Two of Congressman Rod Blum’s potential challengers each brought in upwards of $130,000 during the most recent fundraising period. Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Thomas Heckroth are both boasting about their fundraising performance in the third quarter, which closed at the end of September. Finkenauer’s campaign is reporting fundraising haul of $152,000. Combined with the money she raised in the second quarter, that gives the Dubuque state lawmaker more than $300,000 in contributions to this point. Of the money raised in the 3rd quarter, Finkenauer’s campaign says 3/4 of it came from gifts of less than $100. As for Heckroth, he raised more than $130,000 in his first full quarter in the race. That money came from more than 600 individual donors. After expenses, Heckroth has about $105,000 cash-on-hand. Blum’s office has not yet released his fundraising report from the third quarter.

Iowa DNR Investigating Fish Kill North of Dyersville

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources is looking into the cause of an apparent fish kill that happened near Dyersville earlier this week. The kill was reported on Monday, when a caller told DNR staff that they’d noticed dead fish in Hewitt Creek following a rainfall. Investigators located thousands of dead fish beginning at the Highway 136 Bridge north of Dyersville, and extending five miles upstream, where an unnamed stream flows into Hewitt Creek. The DNR says the likely source of the kill is manure that washed into that stream from a nearby animal feeding operation. Water sample tests are pending, and the DNR says it could seek penalties against the animal feeding operation.

Near-Record Number of Births at Finley in September

The month of September saw something of a “baby boom” at one of Dubuque’s hospitals. September brought the second-highest number of babies born in a single month in Finley Hospital’s history. A total of 84 children were brought into the world at Finley in September, an average of nearly three per day. That falls behind only May 1946, when 90 babies were born at Finley. 1946 was the first year of the post-World War II “baby boom” that saw the US population jump by more than 12 million people over the last half of that decade. Finley’s record for most births in a calendar year also came in 1946, though 2017 could approach the mark. 828 babies were born at Finley in 1946. The hospital is on pace for just more than 800 births this year, which would be an 18 percent jump from 2016.

Restaurant Owner: Construction Might Force Me to Close

Crews work on a new storm sewer near the intersection of 17th and Elm Streets in Dubuque (Courtesy: KCRG).

The owner of a Dubuque restaurant is concerned that construction outside his business may force him to close. Yanni Karavargoes opened the Corner Grill at the intersection of 17th and Elm Streets back in 2013. About two months ago, the streets on both sides of the business were closed due to construction. Karavargoes says that’s made it nearly impossible for customers to get to the restaurant. The construction is related to the Bee Branch Flood Mitigation System. The city is installing a new storm sewer which is expected to alleviate flash flooding in the area. The work is expected to last through November, and Karavargoes is clinging to hope that his business can survive that long. The city did put up a sign along the detour around the construction letting drivers know that the Corner Grill is still open. Workers also kept one of the sidewalks that leads to the restaurant open as long as they could.

Shaw, Pregler Claim Top Spots in 1st Ward Primary

A pair of political newcomers will face off to represent Dubuque’s 1st Ward on the City Council. Brett Shaw and John Pregler, who are both running for office for the first time, were the top vote-getters in yesterday’s primary election. The two advance to the general election on November 7. Shaw received the most votes, with 359. Pregler was next with 237. The third candidate in the race, Lou Oswald, received just 86 votes. Turnout for the election was just 6.3%. The 1st Ward includes much of the western and southern parts of Dubuque. It is currently represented by Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council.

Walker Promotes Sparsity Boost in Belmont

Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made a stop in the southwestern part of the state yesterday afternoon to promote legislation that would increase funding for rural school districts. The governor told students and faculty at Belmont High School about the proposed increase in sparsity aid. According to Walker, the legislation would boost that support from $300 to $400 per student for districts that qualify. The bill also creates a second tier of sparsity aid by providing $100 per pupil for mid-sized districts. State Senator Howard Marklein of Spring Green is a co-sponsor of the bill. He says if it passes, the funding increase will kick in next school year. Marklein expects broad support for the bill.

 

 

Police Looking for Comiskey Park Fire Suspects

Dubuque Police are looking for a group of young people responsible for setting a garbage container on fire in Comiskey Park over the summer. The fire was reported on August 20. The garbage container was a total loss. Police are more concerned about the fire’s close proximity to the Community Center, which is located in the park. The department has posted images of the suspects on its ID4PD website.

Senior’s Cowart Selected as Area’s Top Youth Leader

A Senior High school student was named the Dubuque area’s top young leader at a conference late last month. Olivia Cowart received the honor at the conclusion of this year’s Dubuque Area Youth Leadership Conference, or DAYLC (day-lack). Cowart was one of one hundred high school students from around the Tri-States selected for the conference, which aims to unlock the potential of students who have already demonstrated leadership abilities within their schools. Students are nominated by school personnel, then have to complete an application process. Those selected take part in a two-day workshop hosted by Clarke University and the University of Dubuque. At the conclusion of the conference, ten of the students are chosen to receive college scholarships of up to one thousand dollars. Due to her selection as the area’s top leader, Cowart will represent the Tri-States at the National Youth Leadership Conference in St. Louis later this month. Samuel Lange of East Dubuque was chosen to attend that conference as well. DAYLC students come from all three of Dubuque’s high schools, as well as Beckman, Cascade, Cuba City, East Dubuque, Bellevue Marquette, Southwestern, and Western Dubuque.

Scholarship Winners

Maeve Breslin, Wahlert

Abby Connolly, Senior

Olivia Cowart, Senior

Adam Goninen, Cuba City

Anna Herrig, Wahlert

Jalen Hildebrand, Senior

Caitlin Kennedy, Beckman

Samuel Lange, East Dubuque

Madeline Ludwig, Cascade

Emily Tigges, Senior

Man Injured in September Motorcycle Crash Passes Away

The man injured in a motorcycle crash south of Dubuque last month has died, more than two weeks after the crash. According to a release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department, 45-year-old Bobby Lyons died Monday. Lyons was seriously injured in the crash, which happened a few minutes after 11:00 PM on September 23. He was taken from the crash site to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It’s not clear if he was still in the hospital at the time of his death. The crash happened near the intersection of Olde Davenport Road and Scenic View Drive, which is a little more than a mile south of the Dubuque Technology Park.

First Ward Primary Election in Dubuque Today

People living in one section of Dubuque will narrow the field of City Council candidates tomorrow. A primary election will be held in the city’s First Ward, where three men are running to be the council representative. Lou Oswald, John Pregler, and Brett Shaw are each seeking to take over for Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM tomorrow. Voting locations include Rockdale United Methodist Church, Theisen’s, Area Residential Care, the Journey Church, and the Tri-State Blind Society. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on November 7th.

Betwell’s Trial to be Moved Out of Dubuque

Betwell

The trial for a Dubuque man accused of raping and murdering a woman a little more than two years ago will be moved out of Dubuque. A judge last week approved a change of venue motion filed by the attorneys for 21-year-old Helmon Betwell. He’s charged with First-Degree Murder and First-Degree Sexual Assault in the September 2015 death of 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl. The judge agreed with Betwell’s attorneys’ claim that media coverage of the incident has influenced potential jurors. According to police, Betwell attacked Krapfl while she was on her morning walk. She later died of her injuries at a Dubuque hospital. Betwell’s trial is currently scheduled to begin in February, though a new location has not yet been chosen.

Escaped Work Release Inmate Recaptured

Boyd

An inmate who failed to report to a Dubuque correctional facility last week has been re-captured. 33-year-old Danny Boyd was taken into custody a few minutes before 6:30 Monday night. Authorities had been looking for him since late last week, when did not return to the Dubuque Residential Facility on Elm Street following a work release. Boyd had served about seven years of a ten-year prison term before being moved to the Elm Street facility in February. His prison sentence stemmed from a robbery conviction in early 2010. Boyd is now facing an additional charge of Escape. That’s a serious misdemeanor. If convicted, Boyd could face an additional year in prison.

Dubuque Police Investigate Gunfire Report

Dubuque Police are looking into a report of gunfire on the northern edge of the downtown area. Officers were called to the intersection of 19th and White Streets at about 4:00 Sunday morning. Multiple witnesses in the area had reported hearing gunshots. Officers weren’t able to find any spent shell casings, but did located broken glass from a vehicle parked on the street. Traffic camera footage also apparently shows several people in the area around the time the reports came in. No one has reported any injuries or damage related to the suspected gunfire.

Dozens of Cats Dropped Off At Dubuque Humane Society

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society received some unexpected guests over the weekend. Staff members found two U-Haul boxes containing more forty cats and kittens on Sunday morning. Melissa Palfrey from the Humane Society says they don’t know who left the animals, but they are being cared for. Humane Society staff set up a triage to care for the cats and kittens. Once the animals are spayed and neutered, they will be put up for adoption. To the best of Palfrey’s knowledge, this is the first time animals have been left at the Humane Society’s doorstep. It’s believed that the cats were dropped off sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. By the time staff arrived at the building, some of them had gotten out of the boxes and had to be tracked down around the Humane Society’s campus.

Dubuque Man Arrested In Fraud Scheme 

A Dubuque man is the latest to be arrested in a fraud scheme that targeted the elderly. 23-year-old Austin Bain was arrested shortly after 12:30 Sunday morning and has been charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct and Second-Degree Theft. According to prosecutors, those running the scam would call mostly elderly victims and tell them that a loved one had been arrested and needed bail money to be released. The victims would send the money via Money Gram or Western Union. Court documents say Bain was a “runner,” who would collect wire transfers and send them overseas to the people orchestrating the scam. 19 others with ties to the Dubuque area face state charges while 11 people face federal charges in the scam.

Former Police Officer Already on Probation Arrested on Theft Charge

Cross

A former Dubuque police officer appears to have violated his probation after an early morning arrest. 31-year-old Kyle Cross was arrested at about 5:00 this morning and has been charged with Second-Degree Theft. Cross’ current employer, Boost Mobile, claims he is responsible for taking more than $7,200 from the business this year. Cross is currently on probation following his conviction on a sexual abuse charge last year. In May of 2016, Cross reached an agreement to plead guilty to one count of Third-Degree Sexual Abuse. Cross had been accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl, though he claimed she had lied and said she was 19. As part of the deal, Cross was able to avoid jail time with a suspended ten-year prison sentence. He was also required to register as a sex offender and was placed on five years’ probation. According to County Attorney Ralph Potter, probations typically carry a requirement that the offender not commit any additional crimes. It’s not clear exactly what the details of Cross’ probation were, or what increased penalty he could face if his probation is revoked.

Dubuque Council Primary Set for Tuesday

Residents of Ward 1 (green area) will be able to vote in a council primary election on Tuesday.

People living in one section of Dubuque will narrow the field of City Council candidates tomorrow. A primary election will be held in the city’s First Ward, where three men are running to be the council representative. Lou Oswald, John Pregler, and Brett Shaw are each seeking to take over for Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council. But the primary election comes at a cost, according to county officials. That’s because the primary election requires just as much work as a general election, as County Election Commissioner Jenny Hillary explained to our coverage partner, KCRG-TV. Hillary estimates that holding the primary will cost the city between $6,000 and $8,000, but she won’t know the final total until after the general election. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM tomorrow. Voting locations include Rockdale United Methodist Church, Theisen’s, Area Residential Care, the Journey Church, and the Tri-State Blind Society. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on November 7th.

Reynolds to Visit Maquoketa

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor is set to visit Jackson County this week. Governor Kim Reynolds will be touring the YMCA in Maquoketa on Wednesday afternoon, according to the public schedule released by her office over the weekend. Reynolds’ visit to the facility is scheduled for 2:00 Wednesday afternoon. The stop is a part of a tour through east-central and southeast Iowa that will take the governor to seven communities on Wednesday and Thursday.

Southwest Wisconsin Counties Included in Federal Disaster Declaration

Four counties in the southwest corner of Wisconsin will received federal assistance in cleaning up from storms over the summer. Crawford, Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties have been included in a federal disaster declaration that was approved by President Donald Trump on Saturday. Those counties are among eleven in Wisconsin that will now have access to federal resources for storm clean up and recovery. The area was hit by heavy rains and high winds in late July, which caused flooding and mudslides in some places. The counties had already been included in a state disaster declaration. Damage to state-owned infrastructure – including roads and bridges – was estimated at more than $15 million.

Cyclists Finish Ride Across Iowa in Dubuque

A group of a little more than a dozen bicyclists rode into Dubuque early yesterday morning, less than 24 hours after they’d left Sioux City on the other side of the state. The riders were participating in what’s known as the Ride Across Iowa in a Day, or RAID. A group of 28 cyclists began the ride in Sioux City at about 4:00 Saturday morning. Seventeen of them finished the trek as they crossed into Dubuque almost a full day later. An Arizona man was the first to finish the ride, arriving in Dubuque in just more than 16 hours. That means he averaged more than 20 miles per hour on his ride.

New Ordinances For ATVs/UTVs

ATV and UTV owners in Lafayette County now have several new ordinances that they will have to abide by. The County Board of Supervisors recently approved and passed three new ordinances designed to make travel safer for operators. The first one establishes a countywide speed limit of 30 mph for ATVs and UTVs traveling on any trail or route within the county. Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill says the fine for violating the ordinance is 200-dollars and 50 cents. The second newly approve ordinance makes it unlawful for any occupant, whether it’s the driver or a passenger, to possess an open container of  alcohol. Gill says for the most part operators of ATV’s and UTV’s have adhered to the law, but the new ordinances will make travel safer for everyone.

 

Student In Possession Of Stun Gun At Hempstead

A student at Hempstead High School was cited after bringing a stun gun to school earlier this week. Dubuque police say a fellow student alerted school officials and the stun gun was immediately confiscated. The 15 year old boy, whose name has not been released, was given a civil citation for possession of a weapon. In an email to KDTH, Mike Cyze, spokesman for the district said “appropriate disciplinary action will be taken after an investigation into the incident is completed.

Delaware County Man Wins Big 

Wayne Weber

A Delaware County man is 50-thousand dollars richer after claiming a 50-thousand dollar lottery prize. Wayne Weber of Delhi won the 30th of 43 top prizes of fifty grand available in the Iowa Lottery’s “Super Crossword” scratch game. Weber bought his winning ticket at Gary’s Liquor and Wine in Delaware. Super Crossword is a five dollar scratch game. Weber claimed his prize at the lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Restaurant Home to the “Gunderburger” Up For Sale

A “Gunderburger” with cheese, tomato, onion, and pickles.

A Clayton County restaurant famous for its large burger is apparently for sale. The Irish Shanti, located just outside of Gunder, shared a sales posting on its Facebook page this week. The listing details the improvements made to the Shanti in the past decade, and shows a price of $165,000. The Irish Shanti has gained notoriety over the years for its “Gunderburger,” a massive cheeseburger weighing anywhere between 1 and 1.25 pounds. The sandwich can be eaten by itself, or topped with cheese and a range of other fixings. The Gunderburger was named one of the top ten burgers in Iowa by the state cattlemen association earlier this year. It has also been featured in various online and print publications. It does not appear that the restaurant’s sale is being managed by any realtor. Interested buyers are instead asked to contact the current owners directly.

New Divine Word President to be Inaugurated Today

Fr. Ascheman

A graduate of Divine Word College is set to be installed as the Epworth school’s next president. 1976 Divine Word alum Reverend Tim Ascheman will be inaugurated today. In an interview with KDTH, Ascheman says his inauguration will bring him full circle. Ascheman served in parishes in Mexico and the US and rose to leadership positions in a worldwide missionary order. He says there’s no doubt that Divine Word’s Board of Trustees took all of that into consideration before choosing him to become the next president. Returning to Divine Word is more than just a figurative homecoming for Ascheman. About a century ago, his great-grandfather farmed the land next door to where the school would be built. Years later, his mother was actually born on that same farm. Ascheman says the notion of what a “missionary” is has changed. In his inaugural speech, Ascheman will ask the question, “Can anything good come from Epworth?” Ascheman succeeds Rev. Timothy Lenchak, who served two terms as president of Divine Word. The inauguration ceremony starts at 5:00 PM.

 

Authorities Seeking Dubuque Work Release Inmate

Boyd

Dubuque authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating an inmate who failed to return to a correctional facility. The Iowa Department of Corrections says 33-year-old Danny Boyd failed to report back to the Dubuque Residential Facility on Elm Street yesterday. Back in 2010, Boyd reached a plea deal with prosecutors and had a charge of 1st Degree Robbery reduced to 2nd Degree in exchange for a guilty plea. A judge sentenced him to ten years in prison later that year. Boyd was moved to the work release facility this past February. Boyd is an African-American man who stands 6’1″ tall and weighs about 315 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Dubuque Police.

UPDATE: State Patrol IDs Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

We now know the name of the man killed in a motorcycle crash outside Dyersville yesterday morning. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 60-year-old David Jones of Palatka, Florida, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which happened about a mile south of Dyersville on Iowa Highway 136. A crash report from the State Patrol says Jones was southbound on 136 shortly after 11:00 AM when he came upon a tractor pulling a manure wagon. As the driver of the tractor tried to turn left onto a farm lane, Jones wasn’t able to stop and collided with the tractor.

UPDATE: Authorities Release Details Involving Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

The Iowa State Patrol has released more information on a motorcycle fatality that occurred near Dyersville this morning. At around ten minutes after 11, a tractor pulling a manure wagon was traveling south on Iowa 136, when it attempted to turn left into a farm lane. The manure wagon was struck by a motorcycle that was also headed south. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. That person’s name has not been released. A portion of Iowa 136, from Castle Road to Rockville Road was closed while the crash scene was being investigated. It has since re-opened.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

Authorities are investigating a motorcycle fatality that happened this morning near Dyersville. Scanner traffic indicated the fatal accident involved a motorcyclist and a piece of farm machinery. The crash happened in the ten thousand block of Iowa 136 just south of Dyersville at around 11:10 a.m. That portion of Iowa 136, from Olde Castle Road to Rockville Road was closed as the crash scene was being investigated.  It has since re-opened. We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

O’Mara: Rain Starts This Evening, Could Last Until Saturday Morning

The rain that will move into the Tri-States this afternoon could stick around for a couple of days. Our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV tell us that rain is likely all day Friday, through the night, and into Saturday morning. Initially, it looked like the system bringing the rain would have gotten here by midday today, but meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says the timing has since shifted. Most of our listening area can expect to receive about two inches over the duration of the rain, with higher amounts where thunderstorms pop up. But O’Mara says the rain won’t fall steadily all the way through Saturday morning, but will come in several spurts. While it’s not uncommon to have showers into October, O’Mara says it is a bit unusual to have a rain event of this duration and volume this far into fall. Depending on the strength of some of the thunderstorms that come with the system, O’Mara says rainfall totals could approach four inches in some areas.

Police: Woman Had Barred Driver Cash Stolen Checks for Her

Zirtzman

A Dubuque woman is facing multiple charges after police say she wrote stolen checks to herself, then had a man without a driver’s license cash them for her. 34-year-old Amy Zirtzman was arrested at about 6:30 Tuesday night. According to court documents, a man identified as Bruce Churchwell cashed four checks made out to Zirtzman at the Dupaco in Key West over a week-long stretch in late August and early September. Churchwell used Zirtzman’s account to cash the checks, which totaled 440 dollars. Churchwell drove to the Dupaco branch in a Honda Civic registered to Zirtzman. That’s despite him being barred from obtaining an Iowa driver’s license. A total of nine charges have been filed against Zirtzman: four counts each of Forgery and Permitting an Unauthorized Person to Drive, along with one count of Fourth-Degree Theft.

18 Months in Prison for Dubuque Woman Who Stole From Employer

A Dubuque woman will spend a year and a half in federal prison as punishment for stealing from the business she worked for. 35-year-old Jennifer Shively was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison yesterday. That comes after she pleaded guilty to one count of Mail Fraud earlier this year. As part of her plea, Shively admitted to stealing more than $70,000 from her employer. Court documents don’t identify the business where Shively worked as a bookkeeper. She admitted to using that position to write herself unauthorized checks from the business account. She also opened a credit card in her employer’s name and used it to buy personal items between August of 2012 and March of 2014. In addition to her time in prison, Shively will have to pay back nearly $80,000 in restitution to the victim.

Grassley Talks Border Security 

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley says there needs to be changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But that might not be something the president campaigned on. Grassley made his comments during a Senate Judiciary hearing on the DACA program this week. President Trump has long said he wants a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. But the administration says it is willing to separate border wall and DACA discussions. DACA is a program that protects children brought to the U.S. illegally from deportation. DACA recipients have until tomorrow to renew their status.

Indecent Exposure Arrest at Mines of Spain

Kaiser

A Dubuque man has been accused of exposing himself to a woman at the Mines of Spain recreation area. 55-year-old Steven Kaiser was arrested by Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon on a charge of Indecent Exposure. Deputies had been called to the Mines of Spain earlier in the afternoon after a woman reported the incident. According to court documents, Kaiser was sitting in a car when he asked the woman if she would “like to party?” That’s when he reportedly exposed himself. Deputies stopped a vehicle matching the description the woman gave. Kaiser admitted to talking to the woman, but denied exposing himself.

School Official: Police Would Determine Credibility of Any Possible Threat

School districts in several parts of Iowa have gone on alert this week after vague threats about attacks have been sent to parents or posted online. The threats first popped up in the Des Moines suburb of Johnson Monday night. Classes were cancelled there Tuesday, and schools opened late Wednesday. Additional threats have also been reported in the northern Iowa town of Algona and the Quad Cities. There have not been any threats against Dubuque schools to this point, but district Community Relations Director Mike Cyze says they would work with local police to determine the credibility of any threat. The district has a range of steps it could take in the event of a threat, from adding security officers in specific buildings up to cancelling classes. Cyze says the first thing the district would do if a threat was received would be to turn it over the local police, and he hopes that parents would do the same. Johnston Police have determined the threats to schools there was not credible. In Algona, the local police department says it didn’t have enough time to evaluate the threat before school started on Wednesday.

Dubuque County’s Emergency Plan Covers Range of Possible Disasters

Berger

Agencies from across Dubuque County would come together in the event of a large-scale disaster similar to this week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. According to County Emergency Management Director Tom Berger, a plan is in place to respond to what’s known as a “mass casualty situation.” Berger says the plan is extensive, and involves several local departments and agencies. Much of the plan mirrors the procedures that federal and state agencies would follow. The county runs a full-scale emergency drill every three years, though some organizations test out more often. But Berger admits that there’s no level of planning that can truly prepare officials for a large-scale emergency. A copy of the county’s emergency plan can be downloaded from the county website.

Wisconsin Man Found with Meth in Dubuque County Jail

Eastlick

A Wisconsin man has been accused of having meth in the Dubuque County Jail. 36-year-old Derek Eastlick of Mount Hope has been charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Institution. According to court documents, jail staff found Eastlick with a ten-gram bag of meth on Sunday night. Eastlick was in jail after being arrested the previous morning on additional drug charges. Dubuque Police officers say he had marijuana, LSD, and drug paraphernalia in the parking lot of Q Casino. Both of the latest charges against Eastlick are felonies.

Intersection of University & Pennsylvania Closed

The intersection of two of Dubuque’s most traveled streets is expected to be closed much of this morning, impacting some morning commutes. According to a release from the city, a car struck what’s called a “major” utility pole at the intersection of University and Pennsylvania avenues last night. Alliant Energy has told the city that repairs to the pole could take until mid-morning today to complete. That intersection is now closed, and a detour around it has been set up. Even with that detour in place, the city is asking drivers to avoid the area if possible.

Rios To Stage Write-In Campaign For Dubuque Mayor 

Rios

A member of the Dubuque City Council will try to unseat Mayor Roy Buol as a write-in candidate. 4th Ward representative Jake Rios will challenge Buol for the mayor’s position next month. It was anticipated that Buol would be unopposed for a fourth term in office, but Rios says issues that he’s brought to the table since being elected two years ago are not being addressed. With only about five weeks before Election Day, Rios realizes he’ll have to campaign quickly and efficiently. Late last month, Rios and fellow councilman Luis Del Toro accused Buol’s wife of sending racially insensitive messages on social media. But Rios says that did not play into his decision to challenge Buol. City elections will be held November 7th.

Crews Fighting Barn Fire Near Darlington 

Multiple fire units were at the scene of a large barn fire near Darlington this afternoon. According to scanner traffic, crews responded to the 19-thousand block of Wisconsin 81 west of Darlington at around 12:15 this afternoon. The barn houses livestock and hay and it’s not known at this time if there was a lost of human life or if any of the animals parished in the blaze. Along with the Darlington Fire Department, mutuel aid was being provided by departments from Belmont, Cuba City, Gratiot and Mineral Point. We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

Alliant’s Dubuque Solar Projects Nearing Completion

A pair of solar energy projects being built in and around Dubuque are nearing completion. Alliant Energy is currently constructing so-called “solar gardens” west of Dubuque on Humke Road and in the industrial area just east of the Historic Millwork District. According to Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss, the company is now making the final checks on those projects. The array being built on Humke Road will be the largest solar farm in Iowa, with a capability of producing five megawatts of power. Alliant is looking to host some city leaders to show them the progress later this month. Completion of the downtown project will happen further into the winter, so Alliant won’t show off that site until next spring. Foss says Alliant will take the lessons it learns building the Dubuque solar gardens and apply them to future projects. Alliant has several wind and solar constructions underway in Iowa at the moment. When they all come online, the company expects to produce as much as one-third of its electricity from renewable sources.

Dubuque Chamber Makes Council Endorsements

Dubuque’s Chamber of Commerce wants to see some new faces on the City Council. The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the upcoming council elections, and it will be backing newcomers to the council in each of the contested races. In the 1st Ward, the Chamber has put its support behind John Pregler. He’s one of three candidates seeking that seat, along with Brett Shaw and Lou Oswald. Those three will face off in a primary next Tuesday, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general election. In the 3rd Ward, the Chamber is backing Damien Waid over Kate Larson. They’re both running to replace the outgoing Joyce Connors, who’s been on the council since 2002. The Chamber is also supporting a new face in for the At Large seat that’s on the ballot this year. That’s jeweler Jonathan McCoy, who is challenging incumbent Ric Jones. The Chamber has also endorsed Mayor Roy Buol, who is unopposed for a 4th term in office.

Dickinson: Retaining Flexsteel a “Twenty Year Overnight Success”

Dickinson

One of Dubuque’s economic development leaders says retaining Flexsteel would not have been possible without the city’s foresight to develop industrial parks on the outskirts of Dubuque. Rick Dickinson, Executive Director of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, delivered that body’s quarterly report to the Dubuque City Council last night. Dickinson called Flexsteel’s decision to stay in Dubuque an “overnight success” that was actually decades in the making. Dickinson also defended the incentive package that the city and county will be providing Flexsteel, which includes a ten-year period where the company will pay no property tax on their new facility. He says that property tax break the company will receive is no different that the tax-increment financing that other cities use to lure companies. Flexsteel is also using state economic development funds to help finance the construction of their new plant.

Flexsteel Breaks Ground on New Facility

Courtesy: KCRG

A Dubuque-based manufacturer officially began the process to keep about two hundred jobs in the Key City. Flexsteel broke ground on what will be a $25 million facility in Dubuque’s Industrial Center West yesterday morning. Company officials announced last fall that they were planning to leave their current plant on Jackson Street. From there, the company worked with local economic development leaders to come up with a way to stay in Dubuque. Flexsteel President Karel Czaderna says she’s happy they were able to make it work. Flexsteel will be receiving an incentives package from the city, county, and state. In exchange, they are donating their Jackson Street plant to Dubuque Initiatives in the hope that it can become the home of another business. Czaderna says Flexsteel is proud to be able to build on its decades-long history in Dubuque. Flexsteel will be keeping about two hundred jobs in Dubuque at the new plant.

Gas Leak Causes Evacuation On Dubuque’s West End

A gas leak forced the evacuation of several homes in the area of Sieppel Road and North Westbrook Drive on Dubuque’s West End this morning. Fire Chief Rick Steines says crews were dispatched to the area at around 10:45 a.m. He says contractors were installing a fence in the yard of a resident, when they struck a gas main. Sieppel Road has since been re-opened. According to Steines, it took crews from Black Hills Energy a little longer than normal to shut off gas to the area. The residents were allowed back into their homes once the leak was contained. No injuries were reported.

Sidewalks Vandalized Near Bee Branch

 

Dubuque Police are asking for help identifying a group of juveniles who vandalized a sidewalk near the Bee Branch Creek Greenway. The sidewalk is located between East 22nd Street and Rhomberg Avenue. Police say the juveniles threw large rocks onto the sidewalk, causing hundreds of dollars in damage. Several images of the kids involved have been posted to the police department’s ID4PD website. Additional image below:

Platteville Man, Grandson Escape Serious Injury as Truck Starts on Fire

A Platteville man and his young grandson were able to escape serious injury after their pickup truck collided with a piece of farm equipment and caught fire. At about 7:15 last Tuesday night, 65-year-old Kevin Zimmerman was driving west on County Road A south of Livingston. His pickup met a semi pulling a silage bagger, which was extending into Zimmerman’s lane. Because of the size of the semi, Zimmerman wasn’t able to see the bagger, which ripped up his front drivers-side tire. Zimmerman’s truck continued on for a few yards before bursting into flames. He and his four-year-old grandson were able to get out of the truck, suffering only minor injuries. Zimmerman’s truck has been deemed a total loss. The bagger sustained an unknown amount of damage as well.

Rural Dubuque Man Accused of Giving Runaway Girl a Ride, Place to Stay

Maker

A 19-year-old rural Dubuque man has been accused of helping a teenage girl run away from home. Brandon Maker was arrested a few minutes after 4:30 Sunday afternoon at his apartment on John Deere Road. Deputies from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department say they found a 14-year-old girl hiding in a closet in the apartment. That’s after Maker had denied knowing where the girl was. The girl’s parents had reported her missing on Thursday, and told officers it was possible she would be with Maker. After being found by the deputies, the girl reportedly told them that Maker had helped her run away by offering her a ride and a place to stay. Maker is now charged with Harboring a Runaway, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Are Changes Coming to Iowa’s Bottle Bill?

Bender

Changes to Iowa’s so-called “Bottle Bill” could be on the horizon. In the late 1970s, the state’s legislature enacted a law that placed a five-cent deposit on drink containers. Iowans can redeem that deposit at a variety of locations, including grocery stores. Those stores are now leading the push to either repeal or change the law. Jake Bender is the Vice President of Bellevue-based Bender’s Foods. He says it’s inconsistent to expect stores to maintain high levels of cleanliness while handling empty bottles and cans. Earlier this year, a proposal passed the Iowa House which would have taken that responsibility off of grocery stores and put a larger emphasis on local redemption centers. It would have also expanded the law to cover containers of non-carbonated beverages, such as bottled water and sports drinks. Bender would also be in favor of extending curbside recycling programs to rural parts of the state, as has been done with garbage collection. Changes to the “bottle bill” have been discussed for many years, and Bender sees next year’s legislative session as the best chance for lawmakers to get something done. Bender’s Foods operates grocery stores in Bellevue and Guttenberg in Iowa, plus Fennimore and Muscoda in Wisconsin.

Jackson County Celebrates “Manufacturing Week”

This week is “Manufacturing Week” in Jackson County. Businesses will be opening their doors to students, as part of an effort to help people understand the industry and the career opportunities it provides. Nick Hockenberry, Assistant Economic Alliance Director for the county, says one of the activities during the week will have high school students touring manufacturing facilities throughout the county. Manufacturing adds more than $31 billion to Iowa’s economy each year. The manufacturing payroll in Jackson County totals more than $35 million per year. A shortage of skilled manufacturing workers is expected in the next few years. Plastics Unlimited in Preston will hold an open house for the general public tomorrow and will be accepting applications for employment.

Teen Arrested After Late Saturday Night Chase

A Dubuque teenager is facing a handful of charges after leading sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase that started Saturday night and stretched into early Sunday morning. 19-year-old Levi Duve was arrested about a mile outside of the Sherrill city limits after officers used stop sticks to disable his vehicle. The chase had started just outside of Dubuque on Riverside Road just before midnight. Deputies had been called to the area on a report of a suspicious vehicle. As officers approached the car, it took off. Duve has been charged with Operating While Intoxicated, Eluding, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A juvenile passenger in the car was turned over to their parents.

Charges Dropped Against Accused Massage Parlor Workers

Two women accused of taking money for sex acts in Dubuque massage parlors have had the charges against them dropped. 27-year-old Yan Yan Zhao and 54-year-old Mingyan Li were both arrested in early May after law enforcement raids at two Dubuque massage parlors. They were initially charged with Prostitution and failing to have proper licenses. But according to online court records, those charges have now been dropped. The two women were both scheduled to go on trial in two weeks. The owner of the parlors where they were arrested, John Hart, is facing human trafficking and pimping charges, as is his wife. They’re scheduled to go on trial later this month.

Fire Destroys Machine Shed In Dubuque County

Authorities continue to investigate a fire that destroyed a machine shed and its’ contents in Dubuque County Friday night. A release from the Sheriff’s Office says fire crews from several departments responded to the Steve and Donna Kalb farm in the 19-thousand block of Pilot Grove Road at around 9:37 p.m. Upon arrival crews discovered a large machine shed that was fully engulfed in flames. The building and its’ contents, including a combine tractor and other farming equipment were a total loss. The exact cause of the fire is not known at this time, but authorities say it does not appear suspicious in nature.

Farley Bar Won’t Be Showing NFL Games Anytime Soon

It appears to be picking up momentum across the country, as more and more local watering holes and sports bars, including one in our listening area, have decided not to show NFL games as long as players continue to kneel during the national anthem. NFL players have long said that the purpose of kneeling is to protest police brutality and racial inequality in America, but many people view it as a sign of disrespect toward the country and the flag. Ann Casutt, co-owner and operator of the BrickHaus Bar and Grill in Farley has joined some of her fellow bar owners around the country who won’t be showing NFL games. She says when they first opened nine months ago, the community welcomed them with open arms, especially the veterans from American Legion Post 656. Casutt says while she supports anyone’s right to protest, she doesn’t believe kneeling during the national anthem and disrespecting the American flag is the way to do it. Casutt says they turned off the Bears/Packers game last night (Thursday night) in favor of college football. She says they realize by not showing NFL games, their bottom line could be affected over the long haul, but that’s a risk they’re willing to take. If the protest ended next week, Casutt says she and her partner would discuss if and when they would resume making NFL games available to their patrons.

Driver Trying to Escape Police Reaches 80 MPH in Residential Area

A Dubuque man is facing a litany of criminal charges and traffic citations after leading police on a high-speed chase through a residential area early this morning. A few minutes after 1:00 AM, police were notified of some suspicious activity near the intersection of West 3rd Street and North Grandview Avenue. A responding officer spotted a vehicle described by witnesses and began following it south on Grandview. That’s when the vehicle began to speed up, eventually running a stop light and turning west. The vehicle turned again onto Lombard Street and reached 80 miles per hour as it approached the intersection with South Algona Street. The driver took the turn too fast, and the car ended up in a grassy area. The driver got out and ran off. Police set up a perimeter around the area and used a PA system to call out to the driver, identified at that time as 18-year-old Isaiah Boyd. Boyd surrendered after a few minutes and has been charged with Eluding, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He’s also been cited for driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and running a red light.

Craft Beer Booming Across US, in Iowa

7 Hills Brewing Company’s Dubuque taproom (Courtesy: KCRG).

An industry that is booming across the country is also seeing an upswing here in Iowa. A recent report by the Brewers Association found that craft brewing contributed about $67 billion to the US economy last year. That includes more than $860 million worth of business here in Iowa. Dubuque has a long beer-making history, and several new start-ups are getting back to those roots. 7 Hills Brewing recently opened a taproom in the Historic Millwork District. Brewer Brian Zeimet says the entire idea behind craft brewing is making beer of the highest possible quality, not quantity. 7 Hills President Keith Gutierrez says the business is filling a demand that had largely gone untapped in Dubuque. 7 Hills is one of two locally-owned microbreweries now operating in Dubuque, along with Jubeck’s New World Brewing, which opened in 2014. The Dubuque Bier Company is based in Dubuque, but does their brewing in nearby Potosi. And Coralville-based Backpocket Brewing also has a taproom in the Millwork District, but company doesn’t do any brewing on-site.

Flexsteel to Break Ground on New Facility Monday

Flexsteel will officially break ground on their new facility next week. The company’s decision to build a new facility, rather than move out of Dubuque, will keep at least 200 jobs in the Key City. Flexsteel’s new plant will be located on Seippel Road in Dubuque’s Industrial Center South. The facility is expected to cost $25 million to build. Some of that money is coming from incentives approved by the city and state of Iowa. Employees at the new facility will work on product design and development, industrial engineering, trucking, and various other manufacturing roles. The groundbreaking for that new building will be held at 10:00 Monday morning.

Dubuque Man Faces Tampering Charge 

A Dubuque man has been accused of trying to intimidate a witness to a recent assault. 22-year-old Raymond Armour has been charged with Tampering with a Witness of Juror. According to police, he rode his bike past a neighboring home in the 3-thousand block of Jackson Street last Saturday afternoon. The woman who lives in the home had reportedly seen Armour assaulting another person a few days earlier. As the woman was on her front porch, Armour rode up on his bicycle and began shouting obscenities at the woman, her son, and her son’s father. Armour reportedly directed his threats at the woman, but turned them on the man when he tried to intervene. The woman went inside the home and armed herself with a Taser, but Armour rode off without any physical altercation taking place. He was arrested later that day. If found guilty on the tampering charge, Armour could be sent to prison for two years.