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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Small Business Help Line

A COVID-19 Small Business Helpline is now available for Dubuque area businesses. Kristin Dietzel, Vice President of Workforce Solutions, says it’s a joint partnership between Greater Dubuque Development Corporation and partners that will help all business owners navigate the application process for local, state and federal funding. Trained experts from GRDC, the Small Business Development Center – Northeast Iowa Region, and Northeast Iowa Community College will guide people through the programs.  Business owners may call 563-588-3350 between 8:30am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday or email sbhelpline@nicc.edu.

Paycheck Protection Program Small Business

As of April 3rd, the 349 billion dollar “Paycheck Protection Program” will begin to offer loans to small businesses around the country currently facing bankruptcy. Kristin Dietzel, Vice President of Workforce Solutions, says it is for businesses with 500 employees or less. The loans are designed to provide eight weeks of payroll and certain overhead to keep workers employed. The loans also include unemployment benefits for small businesses, nonprofits, veterans organizations, and sole proprietorships. Greater Dubuque Development Corp. has set up a page focused on employer resources at greaterdubuque.org/covid19.






Finkenauer 1st District Grants

Iowa’s First Congressional District will be getting funding to help battle the Coronavirus. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer has announced the Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide over $2.1 million dollars in grant funding to help low-income families. Dubuque will be getting $647,301. The grant money is part of the CARES Act legislation that passed the House last week and was signed into law. It will be distributed through the COVID Recovery Community Development Block Grant program.

Iowa Dentist Donate PPE To Health Care

On March 26th, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ordered that all non-essential and elective dental procedures be suspended to preserve personal protective equipment in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Since then the Governor says dentists all over Iowa have donated their PPE to heath care facilities in their communities to help during the coronavirus crisis. Dentists around the state are asking that anyone, whether in the medical field or not, who have personal protective equipment to give what they can.

Iowa Lottery-COVID 19

The COVID-19 pandemic is of course affecting all areas of life these days, including the sale of lottery tickets. This is Mary Neubauer of the Iowa Lottery. Neubauer says a slowdown in ticket sales and declining interest rates are also affecting jackpot sizes in the Powerball game. Neubauer says if you happen to be the winner of a larger Iowa Lottery prize, you still have a way to collect your winnings. Neubauer says some state are offering internet based lottery sales, but currently Iowa is not one of them, she says that would take a change in Iowa state law for that to happen.


Winter Farmer’s Market Shuts Down

The Dubuque Farmer’s Market is doing its’ part to stem the spread of COVID-19 by shutting down its’ small indoor market at Kennedy Mall. The 2020 season started on November 1st and was scheduled to run through April 30. Although the market has closed for the season, some farmers and vendors are offering delivery or pick-up during this time. A list of those farmers and vendors can be found at wintermarketdbq.com or on social media.

Opening Doors Delta Dental Grant

A local non-profit has received a grant to help their mission. Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation awarded Opening Doors with a $3,000 grant in response to COVID-19. Carol Gebhart, Executive Director for Opening Doors, says the grant funding will help to ease the impact that this crisis will have on their operating budget. Opening Doors three facilities, Teresa Shelter, Maria House and the Francis Apartments, all have their unique challenges. In accordance with guidance from the state and CDC, residents of Teresa Shelter and Maria House are currently sheltering in place and other measures are being taken until further notice. Opening Doors has experienced an increase in medical and cleaning supply costs with higher utility bills expected to follow. Gebhart says they are only accepting in-person donations of monetary/gift cards, disinfecting supplies and food until further notice.





Community Foundation Disaster Fund

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque,in partnership with the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, has activated the Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Peter Supple, Economic Opportunity Coordinator, says grants are available for non-profits. Grant applications are available now. Sixteen Dubuque-area nonprofits recently received initial grants the fund totaling 165-thousand dollars to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable populations, including seniors and low-income residents. To apply for a grant go to dbqfoundation.org/recoverygrants. The Community Foundation has received gifts totaling more than $550,000, allowing the Foundation to make these grants. To make a gift to the Greater Dubuque Disaster Recovery Fund go to dbqfoundation/DRF.


ATM Skimming

The Dubuque Police Department has begun investigating numerous unauthorized Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals. The investigation that started Sunday revealed card skimmers were placed on two Dubuque Bank & Trust (DB&T) ATMs between March 10th and March 13th.  The affected machines were equipped with anti-skimming technology and were located at 2690 Rockdale Rd. and 2196 Holliday Dr. The skimming affected a small number of DB&T customers. All DB&T customers that used these machines have been identified and increased fraud protections have been automatically placed on their cards.  There is no need for customers to destroy or cancel cards until they receive their automatically ordered replacement cards.  Only customers that have identified fraud and have NOT called the bank need to do so.

Tools Stolen In DC

The Dubuque County sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and capturing at least two people who stole tools valued at $14,000 from a business in Dubuque County last month. The theft happened on March 19th at HMC Kenworth. A company truck was also stolen. The sheriff’s office believes the tools are being sold or traded in the area. The truck has since been recovered but authorities were able to capture images of two people from the truck’s cab camera. They were both wearing masks. There may be a third person involved. Authorities ask that anyone who has recently purchased or been offer to buy tools to contact the Dubuque-Jo Daviess Crimestoppers or the sheriff’s office. Most of the stolen tools are usually available only from licensed dealers.

Latest Update On COVID-19 Iowa Cases

An additional 52 positive COVID-19 cases are being reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. One of those positive cases is in Dubuque County while another one is in Clayton County. That brings the total statewide number to 549. Two more deaths are also being reported. One was an elderly adult over 81 in Polk County while the other was an adult over 81 in Washington County. There have been a total of 7,304 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.

DALH Delivering Groceries

If you find yourself strapped for food during this coronavirus pandemic, Dubuque Area Labor Harvest and East Central Intergovernmental Association’s Community Solutions of Eastern Iowa have teamed up to offer a box of groceries to people and families in need in Dubuque. This is being done to limit the spread of COVID-19. To place an order call 1-833-587-8322.

Clarke Receptionist Checking On Students

A familiar face at Clarke University in Dubuque is taking the time to check in with students now that they won’t be coming back to campus this spring. For the past week or so, welcome desk receptionist Mary Ellen Herbst has been working her way through a list of about 850 students. She is personally calling each one to make sure they are doing OK during their time away from campus due to COVID0-19. Herbst says Clarke is a tight-knit community and the time away from campus is hard on everyone. In this time of uncertainty Herbst tells our coverage partners at KCRG that she is hoping to brighten students’ days even a little bit. She’s even using the extra minutes on her flip-phone to make some of those calls. Herbst is described as the glue that holds the Clarke community together.

Iowa COVID-19 Update

The Iowa Department of Public Health said Wednesday there are an additional 52 positive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the state. Included in that count was a Dubuque County person, a middle-age adult (41-60 years old). That brings the total to 549 cases. The total negative number of tests now stands at 7,304. There are also two new coronavirus-related deaths in Iowa, both of which involved an elderly person who was 81 years old or older. They lived in Polk and Washington Counties.

Clarke COVID-19 Update

Like thousands of colleges and universities across the country, officials at Clarke University in Dubuque were hoping to resume in-person instruction later this spring, but because of how fast the COVID-19 virus is spreading they won’t be able to do that. In a letter sent to students and employees this week Clarke says it is moving to provide only essential services on campus, while the remainder of faculty, staff and student employees will work virtually from home by the close of business today. They are expected to continue to do so through the rest of the spring semester. Exceptions for instructional continuity will be coordinated and handled by Susan Burns, vice-president for academic affairs.

Archbishop Cancels Holy Week/Easter Services

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Michael Jackels has cancelled Holy Week and Easter services throughout the archdiocese in Dubuque. The cancellation will last until the end of April. President Trump extended restrictions related to COVID-19 at least until the end of April, and as a consequence Jackels says they will not be able to gather as a community to celebrate Holy Week. Also the provisions that were issued a few weeks ago, such as the cancellation of Holy Mass will remain in force until further notice.

2020 Census DBQ

By April 1st, every household in Dubuque will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Guy Hemenway, City of Dubuque’s Planning Services Department Assistant Planner, says residents will receive at least one mailing and more if you don’t respond.  Census takers would go door-to-door this summer to addresses that have not filled out a form online or by mail or phone. Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens says the Census comes in multiple languages and were sent out in city utility bills in March. The Census is completely safe, secure, and confidential. Your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities, including Dubuque, for schools, roads, and other public services. Results will also be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and political representation at all levels of government. The 2020 Census questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.


Sheriffs Lobby Closing

In an effort to further reduce traffic within their building, the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office is closing their visitation lobby. This closure will go into effect on Monday, April 6th, and will be in place until further notice. Visits can still be conducted via Skype and letters via U.S. Mail will still be accepted.

Area Hospitals Prepare For COVID-19 Surge

Area hospitals and clinics are preparing for a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in Dubuque County. During a press briefing Monday afternoon, Kay Takes, President and CEO at Mercy says although their plans are modified from day-to-day their number one priority is “containment.”. The “surge plan” at Mercy involves the postponement of elective procedures. Chad Wolbers, President and CEO at Finley says their plans mirror those at Mercy. John Talent, Chief Executive Officer for Medical Association says their number one goal is to protect patients and the healthcare system so that sufficient providers will be available to take care of people who need care. Also at the press briefing were Mayor Roy Buol, Supervisor Dave Baker and health care specialist for Dubuque, Mary Rose Corrigan.

COVID-19 Iowa Update

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 88 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 424 positive cases. Five additional positive cases were reported for Dubuque County which now has a total of 21 positive cases. There has been a total of 6,162 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.

Hog Building Fire In Dubuque County

Authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed a hog building in Dubuque County early Saturday morning. Sheriff’s deputies along with New Vienna police officers and fire crews from Dyersville and New Vienna responded to the Neil and Helen Kramer farm in the 15,000 block of Pape Road at around 1:15. When they arrived a hog building was fully engulfed in flames. The building and its’ contents were a total loss. Damage estimate is around $75,000. There were no animals in the building at the time and no one was injured.

Winnebago County Fatality

The driver of a semi was killed after his rig crashed in Winnebago County in northwest Illinois Monday morning. Illinois State Police say the semi was traveling on the ramp from U.S. Highway 20 at around 8:40, when the semi left the road and rolled over. The 72 year old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

Deere Suspends Production

John Deere has announced it is temporarily suspending production at its Dubuque Works facility starting March 30. Officials said this comes after an employee at the facility tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. In a statement to KCRG TV, the company says “During the temporary closure the facility will undergo a thorough disinfection that meets or exceeds local and state health-department guidance, including 3rd party industrial hygiene assessments. The facility will also continue to strengthen and enhance processes in place to protect employees.” The company said employees will return to work using a staggered schedule. Some employees will be able to work remotely during this time.


Storm Damage

Severe storms caused damage in eastern Iowa and southwest Wisconsin  Saturday night. Dubuque County Emergency Management Director Tom Berger said at least six farms were damaged by a tornado near Sherrill. The National Weather Service in La Crosse confirms that an EF-1 tornado struck around 8:30 p.m. Saturday near Potosi, in Grant County. The tornado was on the ground for about five minutes, traveling about 7 miles. The weather service says barns, farm buildings and trees were damaged and at least two houses sustained minor damage, but no injuries were reported.

Dubuque County COVID-19

Iowa health officials have confirmed 38 more cases of the coronavirus, including 4 in Dubuque County, and a fourth death. The Iowa Department of Public Health said Sunday that the state now has 336 positive cases, up from 299 on Saturday. The latest death was a Linn County resident between the ages of 61 and 80. The new cases include 10 in Polk County, six in Linn County and four each in Johnson and Dubuque counties. Dubuque County now has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 death.

DBQ Playgrounds Closing

The City of Dubuque is closing its playground areas and play structures as well as the Flora Skate Park to the public as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. City parks will remain open but the more than 50 playground areas containing over 250 play units within those parks as well as the Flora Skate Park will be closed.   Dubuque parks are not yet officially open for the 2020 season so restrooms, water fountains, and other amenities are not yet accessible to the public. Residents are welcome to visit parks but should practice physical/social distancing of at least six feet, as instructed by the Centers for Disease Control and wash their hands as soon as possible after use.

City Utility Billing

Due to a temporary work from home policy implemented for City of Dubuque employees, the Utility Billing Department has been unable to process utility bill payments since Tuesday, March 24. The City estimates an approximate two-week delay in posting payments to accounts. During this time, utility bills will continue to be issued. As a result, any accounts that submitted payment online through WaterSmart, by mail, by phone, via the City Hall drop box, or through a bank or other third party vendor on or after, March 24, will receive next month’s bill without the previous month’s payment deducted from the total amount due. The City estimates approximately 10,000 accounts will be impacted.

Morrison Brother Temporary Shut Down

Morrison Bros Co of Dubuque confirmed Friday in a press release that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.  All facilities have been shut down for a minimum of 72 hours. The company continues to follow all directives and guidelines set out by state and county health departments for COVID-19 outbreak.

Jo Daviess Thefts

Authorities in Jo Daviess County are investigating a burglary that happened recently in rural Elizabeth. The sheriff’s office says that someone forced their way into a garage on West Hanover Road and stole two ATV’s. They believed the burglary occurred during the early morning hours of March 24th. If you have any information contact the sheriff’s office or Crimestoppers.

WD School Board Passes COVID-19 Related Resolutions

In response to what affects the coronavirus could have on the economy, the Western Dubuque school board has passed two resolutions. The first one is a “budget guarantee” for next year. Superintendent Rick Colpitts says if Governor Reynolds deems the 2.3 percent allowable growth passed by lawmakers this year is not reasonable because of the affects that COVID-19 had on the economy, the district would have the ability to go on “budget guarantee”. The board also approved a resolution that gives the superintendent the authority to closed schools without having to get board approval. Colpitts says they’re still paying their hourly employees and certified teachers and administrators their regular wages, even if they can’t or aren’t needed while school is closed. The money to pay those employees has already been budgeted. Both Western Dubuque and Dubuque classes are scheduled to resume on April 13th.

DC Property Taxes Due

The second installment of property taxes for Dubuque County residents would normally be due on March 31st before any penalties are assessed on April 1st. But because of the  state of emergency were in because of COVID-19, County Treasurer Eric Stierman says you now have until April 16th to pay your taxes. Paying your taxes online is probably the cheapest way to go. After April 16th, an interest penalty of 1.5 percent per month will be added to your taxes due.

Grant Co Officer Impersonator

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public after they took a report Thursday of a person impersonating an officer. The incident occurred sometime between 7-7:30 am when a Grant County citizen was pulled over by what appeared to be an unmarked squad car on Hwy 80 near Sinsinawa Rd, located in the Township of Hazel Green. The vehicle was an older style black Chevrolet Impala with red and blue lights mounted in the upper windshield and a spot light on the driver door. The reporting party was approached by a male wearing a light brown uniform top and black pants. The suspect was not wearing a badge or name tag but there were patches on both shoulders of the uniform top that said “Sheriff Department”. The suspect came up to the reporting party’s door and asked where he was going.  When the reporting party stated he was on his way to work the suspect informed the driver the State of Wisconsin was shut down and that he needed a permit from his employer to drive, but said he would let it slide this time.  The suspect was describe to be a white male in his mid 30’s or early 40’s with short brown hair and some stubble for facial hair. It appeared he was not armed.

Ernst-1 Trillion Dollar Package

Late Wednesday night the U.S. Senate passed a $2.2 trillion package to ease the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating toll on the U.S. economy and health care system. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the package will provide relief in the form of direct payments to Iowa individuals and families who qualify. Ernst says it will support many sectors like health care, small businesses and farmers. Ernst says much needed funding for health care providers to battle COVID-19 is included. The relief package still needs to be passed by the U.S. House before President Trump can sign it.

Iowa COVID-19 Update

The Iowa Department of Public Health has been notified of 34 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 179 positive cases. No new cases were reported today for Dubuque County. There have been a total of 2,975 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.

Wisconsin Absentee Ballots

Wisconsin residents who still need to register to vote for the April 7 election can now do so online until March 30. Voters must be registered before they can request an absentee ballot. The absolute deadline for most voters to request an absentee ballot is April 2nd at 5:00 pm, and the Postal Service recommends giving yourself at least a week to return your ballot by mail. Register online, and request an absentee ballot, at “MyVote.WI.gov.”

Grant Co Officer Impersonator

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public after they took a report Thursday of a person impersonating an officer. The incident occurred sometime between 7-7:30 am when a Grant County citizen was pulled over by what appeared to be an unmarked squad car on Hwy 80 near Sinsinawa Rd, located in the Township of Hazel Green. The vehicle was an older style black Chevrolet Impala with red and blue lights mounted in the upper windshield and a spot light on the driver door. The reporting party was approached by a male wearing a light brown uniform top and black pants. The suspect was not wearing a badge or name tag but there were patches on both shoulders of the uniform top that said “Sheriff Department”. The suspect came up to the reporting party’s door and asked where he was going.  When the reporting party stated he was on his way to work the suspect informed the driver the State of Wisconsin was shut down and that he needed a permit from his employer to drive, but said he would let it slide this time.  The suspect was describe to be a white male in his mid 30’s or early 40’s with short brown hair and some stubble for facial hair. It appeared he was not armed. Richland County had a similar incident reported two days prior with the same physical description of the offender.

Does Mayor Have Authority To Issue Order?

Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol continues to urge residents to stay at home as the number of COVID-19 positive cases escalates. During a special work session Wednesday night with council members, local health officials, department heads and other community leaders the question of whether or not the Mayor has the authority to issue a “shelter in place” order was brought up. City attorney Crenna Brumwell says she has been discussing that question with other attorneys in larger cities in the state and a specific state code gives Mayors the authority to issue such an order. The authority that the Mayor has would only cover the boundaries within the city of Dubuque. Brumwell says one of the worst things that could happen would be if there were multiple orders coming from multiple jurisdictions and they are not the same. She says that would only create confusion for citizens.

ED Residents, Businesses Coping With Order

On a normal workday in East Dubuque, it would be very hard to find a parking space around city hall, but now you can take your pick because they are everywhere. The trend started last Saturday when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzer issued a “shelter in place order”, which means that people are required to stay inside except for when they need to get essentials such as food and medicine. City manager Loras Herrig tells our coverage partners at KCRG TV the change has been noticeable. Michael Meyer, owner of the Other Side restaurant, says the order has really affected his business. Because of the order, Meyer says they can only serve carry-out or delivery. Herrig says since Dubuque tends to be affected by what happens in Illinois and Wisconsin a similar “shelter in place” order might be next. He says however that people shouldn’t see it as oppressive, but rather a way to encourage people to stay inside.

Dubuque Chamber Requests Delay for Five Flags Expansion Vote

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a request to delay the referendum vote for the Five Flags Center expansion project has been made by the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce. The vote is set for September, but chamber officials are asking the city council to delay it indefinitely until the virus is under control. Chamber board chair Brian Schatz says they are requesting the delay in the best interest of all concerned and in no way is it meant to show support or opposition to the referendum.

DBQ County Long-Term Care COVID-19

At least one person at a Dubuque County long-term care facility has tested positive for COVID-19. The Iowa Health Care Association says four long-term care providers have reported a combined total of five positive cases of COVID-19. These providers are in are in Dubuque, Linn, Poweshiek and Washington counties, and all but one of the positive cases involved employees. Those impacted are receiving medical care and will remain in isolation for at least 14 days. Staff members at these facilities have been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening symptoms of COVID-19 and took immediate action. They have implemented protective protocols, notified residents, families and staff members and contacted public health officials.

Library Ends Curbside Service

The Carnegie-Stout Public Library has ended its temporary curbside service. Despite solid safety practices, the health of the public and staff is of utmost importance. The library wants to do all it can to prevent the further potential spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve” by encouraging people to stay home. Additionally, checked-out materials do not need returned at this time. Patrons may keep items until the library reopens on April 13. As a reminder, the library does not charge late fees and the seven-day past due account freeze will be temporarily waived. Even though the library is closed, library cardholders who reside in the City of Dubuque can access the digital collection 24/7 via the library website (www.dubuque.lib.ia.us). Those without a library card can also access free ebooks for children and teens from TumbleBooks through the library website.



Wisconsin Schools “On Line” Classes

Wisconsin schools will remain closed for in-person instruction and extracurricular activities until at least April 24th under the “Safer At Home” order issued Tuesday by Gov. Tony Evers and the state Department of Health Services. This week, The Southwestern School District began on-line classes or “virtual learning”. Superintendent John Costello says students have access to their lessons and assignments via Google Classroom. Costello says the teachers are conducting class from home. Some parents have expressed concern about the level of work and what their responsibilities are but, the majority of feedback to the online class has been positive.



NICC GDDC Partnership

Area small business owners affected by COVID-19 who would like help in navigating the application process for local, state and federal funding have a new resource. A joint partnership has been established between Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the Small Business Development Center – Northeast Iowa Region, Winneshiek County Development and Tourism, and Northeast Iowa Community College. Trained experts from the organizations will help guide businesses seeking assistance through Governor Kim Reynolds’ and State of Iowa’s COVID-19 Iowa Small Business Relief Program. The program provides financial assistance and tax deferral to eligible small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Business owners may call (563) 588-3350 between 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email at sbhelpline@nicc.edu.

COVID-19 Effects On Gas Prices

Normally, a crisis, like the coronavirus, would drive-up gas prices, but that is not the case. In fact it’s just the opposite. Over the past week, gasoline prices have dropped throughout the country, including here in Iowa. Mark Peterson with Triple A Iowa says the average price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded is $1.91 in Iowa. With the uncertainty of how long will it take to “flatten the COVID-19 curve” Peterson says people are simply driving less. At about this time every year refineries are switching from a winter grade to a summer grade of gasoline, which means that prices start to increase in the Spring, but that won’t be happening….at least for now. Peterson says it’s really difficult to say how long we’ll see these low gas prices. The average national price for a gallon of unleaded is $2.12.

COVID-19-Trucking Industry

The nations trucking industry has been greatly impacted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the trucking companies dealing with the battle of supply and demand is Hirschbach, headquartered in Dubuque with other offices around the country. Brad Pinchuk, President and CEO at Hirschbach says the trucking industry is on the front lines of the fight against the virus. Pinchuk says the truck drivers are facing many new challenges in doing their jobs including trying to stay healthy. Pinchuk says often times consumers don’t always give a lot of thought to how the item they are purchasing get on the store shelves. Pinchuk says Hirschbach employs around 2,500 workers around the country as drivers, mechanics and office personnel.

Parking Fees Suspended

The City of Dubuque is temporarily suspending all parking fees associated with City-owned parking lots and ramps through the month of April. Monthly parking fees for City lots and ramps, as well as hourly and daily parking ramp and lot fees, are covered by this suspension. All monthly permit holders will retain their current parking spaces during the suspension but will not be billed. The City plans to reinstate monthly billing associated with permits on May 1st. This temporary change follow’s last week’s announcement of the City’s suspension of on-street metered parking enforcement through April 12th.

Evening of Light Celebration Postponed

An area nonprofit that provides free, client-centered confidential care for people affected by sexual violence has postponed their 2020 Evening of Light Celebration. Due to CDC recommendations, the Riverview Center has rescheduled their biggest fundraiser of the year to June 25th at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. Michelle Knight will be the keynote speaker. Knight is one of the women who escaped from the home of Ariel Castro in Cleveland after 11 years of captivity, torture and abuse. The Riverview Center provides services to victims of sexual violence in 14 Iowa counties and for people in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties in Illinois.  For tickets and more information go to riverviewcenter.org.

DBQ County COVID-19 Death

The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team was notified Tuesday afternoon by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) that a Dubuque County resident with COVID-19 has passed away.  The individual was an older adult (61-80 years).  No additional information about the individual will be provided. Patrice Lambert, executive director of the Dubuque County Public Health Department, says “This death is a tragedy and a reminder for all of the seriousness of this virus. However, it is also important that everyone understands that this does not mean Dubuque County is more at risk for COVID-19 spread or deaths than other areas.” Lambert said Dubuque County public health officials continue to work with the IDPH and local healthcare providers and other key partners to limit the spread and impact of the virus locally and across the state.

First Responders Appreciation Day

A local organization and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation are teaming up for First Responders Appreciation Day to be held at the Field of Dreams Movie Site Saturday, July 25th. Roman Weinberg, Director of Operations, with Go The Distance Baseball, LLC, says gates will open at noon with festivities planned throughout the day. As a precursor to the highly anticipated game at the Movie Site in August, the police departments representing the cities of New York and Chicago will take the Field under the lights for a 9-inning baseball game at 5:30 pm. Proceeds from this fundraiser event will go toward the Dubuque County Emergency Responder Training Facility, Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, and New York Police Department Widows and Children’s Fund. Other festivities include tours provided every half hour, a silent auction, a three-part skills competition with a chance to win two White Sox regular season game tickets, inflatables, face-painting, time for catch on the Field, and more. To learn more about the event and purchase tickets, fans can visit fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com and click on media and events.

Dubuque County Crash

A head-on collision in Dubuque County Monday afternoon sent three people to the hospital. The sheriff’s office says the crash happened a few minutes after 1:30 on Highway 20 near Castle Road. A vehicle driven by 88 year old Wilma Hogan was traveling west in the east bound lane of 20, when she struck a vehicle driven by 33 year old Candice Haberichter. Hogan, Haberichter and a juvenile passenger in Haberichter’s vehicle were transported to Mercy Hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries. Hogan was cited for driving in the wrong direction on a one-way road.

Clogged Sanitary Sewer

A clogged sanitary sewer manhole in an off-road area between Patricia Anne Drive and Miller Road in Dubuque caused untreated wastewater to flow into Catfish Creek Monday. The public works department was notified about the clog at around 4:30 and crews worked to remove the blockage for about three-and-a-half hours before the flow was redirected back into the pipe. The DNR cautions people to keep their children and pets away from the area, which is posted for at least 48 hours.

Defense Production Act of 1950

Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is applauding President Trump for bringing back the “Defense Production Act of 1950. The “wartime” resolution allows for the mass production of medical supplies and emergency equipment needed to combat COVID-19. Finkenauer says both Democrats and Republicans understand the urgency of the situation and have set politics aside. Dubuque assistant city manager Teri Goodman says healthcare providers in the county are also experiencing a shortage in medical supplies, but hopefully that will change with the return of the “Defense Production Act”. The President’s executive order allows for more health and medical resources to fight COVID-19 including personal protective equipment and ventilators.

No “Stay At Home Order” For Iowa Yet

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says the data and information she is receiving from state public health officials does not warrant her to issue a “stay at home or shelter in place order” at this time. Because of an influx in patients at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids, that city’s mayor has asked the Governor to issue a “shelter in place” order. During her latest press conference yesterday on the COVID-19 outbreak in the state Reynolds says she will continue to use the metrics that have been laid out by her team, but those metrics change on a day-to-day basis. The Governors of Illinois and Wisconsin have issued “stay at home” orders.

Flexsteel Shutting Down for 2 Weeks

A major employer in Dubuque will be closing its plant temporarily starting this Friday and have a temporary layoff at its headquarters. Flexsteel Industries has announced due to the COVID-19 outbreak they are closing their facility on Seippel Road for 2 weeks to protect the health and safety of its employees, as well as the long-term viability of the company. The announcement does not specify when or how many employees at its office will be laid off temporarily.

Mask Production at Dubuque Mattress Factory

A local business is stepping up the plate to respond to the urgent need for medical face masks for the hospitals, area clinics, fire department and anyone in need during the COVID-19 crisis.  Over the weekend, Dubuque Mattress Factory shifted some of their production work toward making face masks with reusable filters, Dubuque Mattress Factory Owner Doug Dolter.  Dolter says since they’ve began producing the masks, they’ve been overwhelmed by the significant need. Dolter says he challenges anyone with a sewing machine to consider producing the masks to help make a dent in the need. Dolter says his employees have been very excited about helping out, even coming in on their days off to help with the production.


Mayor Buol-Stay Home

Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol is strongly recommending all residents to voluntarily stay home for at least 14 days in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Buol says “It is critical that we all heed the direction from the Governor and our public health officials and avoid all unnecessary contact with others. The best way to do that is to stay home.” He noted that unless you have to go out for essentials, like food, medicine, and health care, or if you must work in an essential service, he urges you to do your part – stay home, stay safe. He says people are still encouraged to frequent local restaurants that offer pick-up, drive thru or delivery. Buol said his request of residents is consistent with similar “Stay Home, Stay Safe” recommendations being issued by his colleague mayors around the country in the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Virtual City Council Mtg

The City Council chambers in Dubuque were empty on Monday, despite the Council being in session. The meeting was held remotely due to COVID-19. Community members were still able to submit questions beforehand via email or through comments on the Facebook Live stream. This was the first city meeting to use this format, but City Clerk Kevin Firnstahl says it won’t be the last. Due to Iowa’s open meetings laws, there must remain a central location for the public to come and listen to the discussion. So, the council meeting was streamed in the chambers for any people who had no other way of watching online. However, only the first ten people were allowed to stay due to social distancing rules. Going forward for now, residents can watch future webinar council meetings live on CityChannel Dubuque (Mediacom cable channels 8 and 117.2), streamed live and archived on the City’s website at www.cityofdubuque.org/media, and streamed live on the City’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofdubuque.


State Assistance For Small Businesses

Over the weekend the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a disaster declaration for small businesses in Iowa. The declaration allows those businesses impacted by COVID-19 to apply for low-interest support loans. Yesterday Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced new state based disaster assistance for small businesses. The Governor says funding is available for small grants for employers with two-to-25 employees. The grants range from $5,000 to $25,000. Reynolds says the grants will provide some much needed relief for struggling small businesses as well as some help with cash flow. The three pronged plan was developed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Department of Revenue and Iowa Workforce Development.

Former Dubuque Teen Gets Probation

A former Dubuque teenager avoided prison time after he pleaded guilty to several assault related charges, which included a felony. 18 year old Rickey Carter, who now resides in Waterloo recently pleaded guilty to two counts of participating in a riot, one felony count of assault, fifth degree theft, fifth degree criminal mischief and interference with official acts. Carter was given three two-year suspended jail sentences, and two years of probation. Police records say Carter was part of a group of people who pulled another teen out of a house last May and assaulted him. About a week-and-half later police say Carter assaulted a girl inside a car in Flora Park fracturing the girl’s skull. In June he was involved in a street brawl in the 500 block of East 22nd. On the theft charges Carter received a deferred judgment, but was sentenced to 30 days in jail on the criminal mischief charge.

Archbishop Gives Dispensation For Fridays In Lent

The Archbishop of Dubuque has dispensed Catholics in the archdiocese from the obligation to abstain from meat this Friday and again on Friday April 3rd due to coronavirus concerns. Archbishop Michael Jackels says the dispensation does not apply to Good Friday April 10th. He says the dispensation is being granted in view of the difficulty people might have in finding meal alternatives to meat, or to go out grocery shopping. Jackels says those who are able to abstain from meat should do so. But people who are not able to abstain should perform some other act of penance.

DLC Inner Lobby Closed

Because of COVID-19 concerns, the inner lobby of the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center on Iowa Street is now closed to the public. Sheriff Joe Kennedy says the closure will be in place until further notice. Sex offender check-ins will be done by telephone. All other business should be directed to the administration’s website at dbqcosheriff.com. You can still contact dispatch for non-emergency calls and 911 for emergencies.

DBQ County 4 Confirmed

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 22 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, including two middle-aged adults (41-60 years) in Dubuque County.  This brings the Dubuque County total to four positive cases and the Iowa total to 90. There have been 1,215 negative tests conducted at the State Hygienic Lab to date.

River Drowning

One man drowned after the fishing boat he was in started taking on water near Lock and Dam 10 on the Mississippi River in Guttenberg. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources say the 14-foot fishing boat went into a restricted area near the low head dam around 1:30 pm on Saturday. The boat began taking on water in the turbulent area. The passenger, 54-year old Shawn Oppenheimer, of Quasqueton, went overboard. He did not have a life jacket on and drowned. The driver of the boat was able to get safely back to shore. The Iowa DNR continues to investigate this drowning.

Defense Production Act Of 1950

Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is applauding President Trump for bringing back the “Defense Production Act of 1950. The “wartime” resolution allows for the mass production of medical supplies and emergency equipment needed to combat COVID-19. Finkenauer says both Democrats and Republicans understand the urgency of situation and have set politics aside. Dubuque assistant city manager Teri Goodman says healthcare providers in the county are also experiencing a shortage in medical supplies, but hopefully that will change with the return of the “Defense Production Act”. The President’s executive order allows for more health and medical resources to fight COVID-19 including personal protective equipment and ventilators.

Iowa Reynolds Disaster Proclamation

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued an order closing all hair and nail salons, pools, tanning facilities and tattoo parlors through March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But she is vowing to keep childcare open by looking to expand options statewide. The Governor’s expansion of her disaster proclamation comes after cases of COVID-19 in Iowa doubled over the weekend to 90 cases in 24 counties. Included in that 90 are 6 people who have recovered from the virus. Iowa’s Governor is calling on schools, churches and others with space to open up childcare options, particularly for essential staff.

Illinois Governor Orders Residents To Stay Home

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered the state’s residents to remain in their homes except for essential needs. Pritzker’s order announced Friday will still allow the state’s 12.6 million residents to seek essentials. All non-essential businesses must cease operations. The Governor’s order is effective until April 7th.  Pritzker had previously ordered all schools statewide to shut down and limited gatherings to 50 people to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the state. He also closed dine-in service at bars and restaurants. Illinois has joined similar efforts in California and New York to limit the spread of the virus.


Mayor Says Dubuque Prepared For COVID-19

Dubuque County health officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on Thursday and Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol says both city and county officials have been preparing for the confirmation of COVID-19 for some time. The Mayor says he has the upmost confidence in the county-wide response from the Dubuque County Public Health  Incident Management Team. Buol says government and health care officials have obvious roles in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and so does the general public.

Update on Coronavirus in Dubuque County and Iowa

A second case of Novel Coronavirus has been confirmed in Dubuque County according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.  Dubuque County Public Health Department Executive Director Patrice Lambert said that like the rest of the state, ‘we expect to have more cases confirmed in the coming days and weeks’. Lambert says they continue to urge everyone to practice social distancing and to limit any outings or interactions to essential needs. Other additional cases were also reported Saturday in Iowa . The Iowa Department of Public Health said in a news release Saturday that Johnson County reported five new cases, Polk County had four, Linn County had three and Allamakee and Black Hawk counties each reported two new cases. The counties of Dubuque, Fayette, Henry, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Story and Washington each had one new case

Illinois Governor Orders Residents to Stay at Home

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered the state’s residents to remain in their homes except for essential needs. Pritzker’s order announced Friday will still allow the state’s 12.6 million residents to seek essentials. All non-essential businesses must cease operations. The Governor’s order is effective until April 7th. Pritzker had previously ordered all schools statewide to shut down and limited gatherings to 50 people to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the state. He also closed dine-in service at bars and restaurants. Pritzker’s order takes effect Saturday, March 21st at 5 pm. Illinois has joined similar efforts in California and New York to limit the spread of the virus.

Jo Daviess Co Disaster Proclamation

The Jo Daviess County Board has passed a proclamation declaring the county a disaster area in an effort to contain and mitigate the local impact of the expanding global outbreak of COVID-19. This proclamation will assist the residents of Jo Daviess County by and through its Emergency Management Agency and through coordination of federal, state, county and municipal resources and response activities. The goal is to prevent and reduce further damage and hazards, protect the health and safety of persons, protect property and provide emergency response. The Jo Daviess County Courthouse and the Public Safety Building are anticipated to remain operational, however additional steps must be taken to ensure the health of the public and the health of county employees. Members of the public and county employees will be screened prior to entering the Courthouse and/or Public Safety Building.

Dubuque County Coalition COVID-19 Briefing

The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Dubuque County. That person is currently self-isolating at home. Members of the Dubuque County Healthcare Preparedness Coalition met yesterday to provide the latest information on what they’ve done to get ready for a potential major outbreak in the county. Dubuque County Health Department executive director Patrice Lambert encourages people to continue to make prevention a priority by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, staying home when ill and practicing social distancing. If you think you may need healthcare, Lambert encourages people to contact their primary care provider first. Mary Rose Corrigan, health care specialist for the city of Dubuque, says there are several criteria used by the state hygienic lab for testing COVID-19. Corrigan says primary community health providers, including the ones here in Dubuque, are waiting to get more test kits. Meantime, Blackhawk County reported its’ first confirmed case of COVID-19 Thursday. That case is travel related. So far no case have been reported in Linn County.

Clarke University COVID-19 Update

Clark University intends to continue classes through visual instruction for the remainder of the semester. Students will receive more information about their classes from their instructors on or about March 23rd. Clarke has also decided to close the residence halls and ask all students to check out by 9 pm this Sunday. Students currently living in Clarke housing will be contacted by the Residence Life Office with instructions on how to check out and move out of their residences. Students not currently on campus are asked to retrieve their belongings by 9 pm Sunday. For questions about Clarke housing contact the Residence Life Office.

NICC COVID-19 Updated Plan

Northeast Iowa Community College has released the latest changes in operations due to COVID-19. Officials say college campuses and centers will be closed to the general public starting March 23rd through April 10th. All face-to-face classes will be conducted via an online format beginning March 23rd. Previously scheduled online classes will continue. Related classroom activities such as lab and internships remain cancelled. College operations will continue with staff working remotely beginning March 23rd. All events at NICC are cancelled through April 10th, and community and business related classes, when possible, will be offered via an online format.

Dubuque Suspends Parking Meter Violations

Motorists who typically feed parking meters in Dubuque won’t have to worry about that, at least for a while. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has temporarily suspended enforcement of parking meter violations through April 12th. During this time people are not required to feed parking meters. The city will however continue to enforce all other street parking regulations including but not limited to street storage, which is vehicles parked on the street longer than 24 hours without moving, disabled parking spaces, fire zone compliance and blocking driveways. Monthly reserve parking in ramps and surface lots are still being enforced.

Man Charged With Sex Assault

A Scott County man has been arrested in connection with a sexual assault that took place in Delaware County nearly 9 years ago. Court records say 33 year old Zachary Broders is charged with third degree sexual abuse. Authorities were able to link Broders to the crime through DNA. In July of 2011 a woman told police she was sexually assaulted by a man named “Zac”, who gave her a ride to Ryan. Investigators received word on the DNA match in February after Broders was arrested for another crime. He will next appear in court today.

Alliant Energy Suspends Disconnections

Alliant Energy is temporarily suspending disconnections for all of Iowa and Wisconsin customers during the public health emergency related to the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, the company plans to waive late fees in Iowa to help customers who are suffering financial hardships and will collaborate with partners and organizations in Wisconsin to offer a similar solution.

Funding Allocated For COVID-19 Response

The Dubuque County Supervisors have voted to allocate $950,000 for the potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the county. Supervisor Jay Wickham says the bulk of the appropriation is for the county health department. He says the department will use the $500,000 allocation to put things in place for the safety of all county residents. The Emergency Management Department, headed by Tom Berger is getting a $200,000 increase to its’ budget. That money will be used to fully activate the emergency response team on demand if need be. The Dubuque County Emergency Response Team on COVID-19 consist of city, county and health care professionals and they meet on a daily basis. And thanks to technology they are doing it online, adhering to the Governor’s disaster emergency declaration. The board also appointed oncologist Dr. Bobby Koneru as the county’s medical liaison for COVID-19 efforts.

DMASWA Drop-off Suspended

The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) has suspended all residential drop-off services for electronics and household hazardous materials until at least April 12th. Currently, DMASWA is continuing to offer all other services. The landfill is open 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday – Saturday.


Jo Daviess Accident

Two people were injured in a single vehicle rollover crash in Jo Daviess county Tuesday afternoon. According to the sheriff’s office a vehicle driven by 22 year old Cesar Vega-Gonzalez of Burbank was traveling east on U.S. Route 20 when he lost control as he drove over the paved portion of the round while rounding a curve. The vehicle skidded and spun around causing it to roll over. It then struck a guardrail and came to rest on the shoulder of the road. Vega-Gonzalez and his passenger 43 year old Juana Vega-Gonzalez also of Burbank were transported to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque where they were treated for their injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

ED Voters Reject School Bond Issue

A bond referendum that would have added an elementary school addition to the high school in East Dubuque has been rejected again by voters. On Tuesday nearly 790 voters cast no ballots for the 10.5 million dollars bond issue. In addition to the elementary school add on, if approved the referendum would have also paid for a number of renovations and additions to the high school. Last year voters rejected a 12 million dollar bond issued for the same project. The total cost of the project is around 16 million, and if approved the district would have paid for the remaining cost by using reserve funds and grants.

Man Arrested For Firing Shots

A Dubuque County man was arrested this past weekend after police say he fired several shots during a domestic disturbance. 20 year old Cody Heim of New Vienna was taken into custody early Saturday morning and charged with domestic assault while displaying a weapon, domestic assault with strangulation and domestic assault with injury. A woman who was dating Heim called authorities and reported that he choked her and pushed her into a cabinet where she struck her head. Heim then locked the woman out of the house. She then told police she heard several gunshots coming from the back of the home. Heim then let the woman back into the house where an argument ensued in the basement. The woman says Heim had a rifle and a shotgun while they argued. Heim then locked the woman in the basement where she called 911. Heim told investigators that the two had both shoved each other during the argument and the shots he fired were at coyotes.

YMCA Closes

The Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA is closed to the public until March 31st. Though the facility will not be operating as a wellness center over the next 15 days, they WILL be operating both childcare locations as well as school age care at their Booth Street location.

Five Flags Food Donation

The Five Flags Center is donating about 12 boxes of food to Project Rooted. The brand new nonprofit is providing healthy sack lunches to food-insecure kids while schools are shut due to coronavirus concerns. The program will start serving lunches at Convivium Urban Farmstead on Monday, March 23. Families can drive up and have sack lunches for kids ages 0 to 18 brought to their car. Project Rooted plans to serve lunches the entire time school is canceled.

Library Closing

The Carnegie-Stout Public Library will close today at noon until April 13. This closure includes the cancellation or postponement of all scheduled programs and events until April 13. Outreach and homebound services are also suspended at this time. While the library is closed, the public should continue to return materials at any of the return drop boxes. For those who may be not be able to leave their homes for health-related reasons, the seven-day past due account freeze will be temporarily waived. The library will also provide curbside pickup for materials that patrons place on hold beginning Thursday. Curbside pickup times will be Monday through Friday from 12-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Meals Available For Dubuque Kids

The Dubuque Community School District has partnered with a number of organizations to provide meals for kids 18 and under at several locations throughout the community during school closures. The grab-and-go meals will start on March 23rd. Go to the district’s website to find locations and times. The Iowa legislature has waived a requirement to make up lost instructional time due to COVID-19. If you need to pick up medication from school, you need to contact district lead nurse Allie White by noon March 23rd to schedule an appointment.

DC Courthouse To Close To the Public

Beginning today the Dubuque County courthouse is closed to the general public. This includes the county’s west campus building on Seippel Road. According to the Dubuque County Assessor’s office property taxes are still due in two weeks and can be paid online. For additional information call the treasurer’s office.

DC Sheriff’s Office Making Changes

In an attempt to contain COVID-19, the Dubuque County Sheriff’s office has made a few changes to protocol effective immediately. Sheriff Joe Kennedy says starting now until further notice they are asking the public to limit exposure for themselves and his staff by avoiding personal business in their lobby. He says a lot of the business that people conduct in their lobby can be done online. If the sheriff’s office gets a 911 call, deputies will respond, but each situation will be handled in the manner it requires. Kennedy says to protect the inmate population, the jail has suspended all outside programming. Kennedy says since inmates are in such close proximity with each other, the risk for spreading any viral disease becomes higher.

Iowa Public Health Emergency

Governor Reynolds on Tuesday issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, effective at noon today through March 31. This means events of more than 10 people are prohibited, according to the governor’s office. Planned large gatherings must be canceled. According to the proclamation, all restaurants and bars are closed to the public, though carry-out or drive-through can stay open. In addition, all fitness centers, gyms and health spas must close. Facilities that conduct adult day services or other senior citizen centers are also ordered to close. The move allows state agencies additional flexibility in responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation and supports the critical work of public health.

UnityPoint Visitor Restrictions

In its ongoing effort to keep patients safe during the global outbreak of COVID-19 and continued widespread seasonal influenza activity, UnityPoint Health – Dubuque is closing select entrances to better conduct screening of incoming patients and visitors. Effective immediately, non-emergent patients and visitors are asked to enter Finley Hospital through the valet entrance located on Delhi Street. The entrance between Delhi Medical Building and Finley Hospital will be closed to the public. Patient needing emergency care should enter through the emergency department entrance located on Grandview Ave. All patients and visitors will be screened at the valet and emergency entrances and have their temperature taken. Visitors will only be allowed if they do not have symptoms of respiratory. Additionally, children under the age of 18 will not be allowed except under extraordinary circumstances.

Project Rooted No Cost Meals

In partnership with Convivium Urban Farmstead, Project Rooted will be offering no-cost sack lunches to children (ages 0-18) in need during school closures. Beginning March 23rd, lunches will be available for pick up at the outdoor area in front of Convivium Urban Farmstead at 2811 Jackson Street in Dubuque. One per child please. These grab-and-go lunches will be offered Monday through Friday from 11am-2pm each day during school closures, while supplies last. For those interested in donating toward this effort, monetary donations will be accepted at gofundme.com/f/projectrooted.

City Emergency

City leaders in Dubuque are taking steps to prohibit gatherings on public grounds and recommends that private businesses do the same. Mayor Roy Buol declared a state of emergency for the city of Dubuque at the Dubuque City Council last night that prohibits groups of 50 or more people from gathering on public property. Most city buildings will be closed to the public starting today, including City Hall and its annex, Housing & Community Development, the Leisure Services Department, Bunker Hill Golf Course, and the Municipal Services Center. Programs through Leisure Services and the Multicultural Family Center have been canceled through at least April 12. Refunds for people in paid programs will be issued, and those people will be contacted by the city’s staff.

Archbishop Responds To Coronavirus

In an effort to “flatten the  curve” and lessen the burden on the local healthcare system, Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels says beginning Thursday, all public celebrations of Holy Mass have been cancelled until further notice. The Chrism Mass will be celebrated, but only with liturgical ministers present and the oils will be blessed, bottled and distributed in some way to the parishes. Also during this time, the Archbishop will live-stream a celebration of Holy Mass each Sunday if the situation hasn’t changed by then and will lead the Rosary each week on Thursday. In addition the existing schedule for Confirmation is cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later time. Funerals, weddings and baptisms may be held, but limited to the immediate family, or at least no more than 10 people present. And all archdiocesan sponsored events where 10 people or more are gathered have been canceled.

Dubuque Closings

In light of the reported spread of COVID-19, Q Casino will be temporarily closed. Q Casino President and CEO, Jesus Aviles, says they will be closed 30 days and will re-evaluate at that time.

Following recommendations from the CDC, the Iowa Department of Public Health and local officials, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium will temporarily close to the general public as of today.

The Dubuque Community YMCA has a change in hours starting today until further notice-(Monday-Friday 5 am-8 pm, Saturday 6 am-4 pm, Sunday 9 am-3 pm). All programs, classes and events will be suspended until further notice (including swim lessons, youth sports and group exercise classes).  Child Watch will be closed and the YMCA will not be offering day passes at this time.


Dubuque Schools Closed

 All Dubuque and Tri-State area schools are closing. Iowa schools will be closed until April 13. This is due to the recommendation of Governor Reynolds that all Iowa schools close for four weeks upon discovery of the existence of substantial community spread of COVID-19 in the state. Wisconsin schools are closed through April 6th. Illinois schools, including East Dubuque, are shuttered until March 30th. East Dubuque schools will transition to online learning during this period.

NICC and Loras College Classes

Northeast Iowa Community College has cancelled all face-to-face classes and related activities from today to Friday, March 20th. Online classes will continue as scheduled. NICC campuses and centers will remain open with staff reporting to work as scheduled. Loras College has announced they will be cancelling in person classes next week. Classes will continue as currently delivered through Wednesday, March 18. All classes scheduled for March 19th, 20th, and 23rd are cancelled. Classes will resume on Tuesday, March 24 through an exclusively on-line delivery. The on-line delivery approach will remain until at least Friday, April 17.

Large Neighborhood Grant Program

The City of Dubuque and the Dubuque Community Development Advisory Commission are now accepting competitive applications for the Large Neighborhood Grant Program. The deadline for applications is April 13th.
The program intended to support neighborhood development and provide a direct benefit to low/moderate income individuals or neighborhoods. The maximum grant is $3,000. Information on applications, guidelines, and how to apply online are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/neighborhoods.  Organizations that are interested in applying for funds are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming grant workshops to receive additional information on the grant program and the application process. The grant workshops will be held on Wednesday, March 18, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, March 25, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Lacey Board Room at Carnegie Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11 St.

Dubuque County Declares Emergency Declaration

Dubuque County is preparing for the chance that the coronavirus reaches this area. Friday, the board of supervisors approved an emergency declaration. County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Burger says the declaration means that they’ll utilize all available resources, including state funding to combat COVID-19 if there’s an outbreak. Despite the emergency declaration, Burger says there’s no need for the public to push the panic button. The declaration was approved on a 2-to-1 vote, with Supervisor Ann McDonough voted against it. She told fellow Supervisor Jay Wickham that there should have been more discussion before the declaration was voted on. The supervisors will start to meet twice a week with emergency, law enforcement and health professionals to share the latest information on COVID-19 beginning Tuesday.

Dubuque Man Facing Prison Time For Neglect

A Dubuque man who recently pleaded guilty to a neglect charge could face up to ten years in prison when he is sentenced in May. Documents out of Dubuque County say 28 year old Mark Ward and his girlfriend 29 year old Iesha Searcy also of Dubuque were charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. Both Ward and Searcy were the primary caregivers of Searcy’s daughter who was nine months old when the two were arrested in February of 2018. They had taken the girl to a dietician and at the time she weighed only ten pounds eight ounces. The girl was eventually hospitalized and doctors said she was severely malnourished and could have developed serious physical problems and even death. Ward will be sentenced on May 4th. Searcy has pleaded not guilty and will next appear in court on March 23rd.

Globetrotters Postponed

Due to health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Harlem Globetrotters event at Five Flags Center on Friday, March 20 is postponed. A rescheduled date will be announced soon. Five Flags ask that fans retain their tickets, as they will be honored on the new date.

Dickeyville Community Event Postponed

The Dickeyville Community Bingo event for Sunday March 15 is postponed until April 19th.