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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Inmate Escapes From Dubuque Work Release Facility

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Iowa authorities are looking for a work-release inmate who failed to return to a Dubuque center. The Iowa Department of Corrections says 32-year-old Sylvester Paul Hubbard did not return to the Dubuque Residential Center on Friday night from his job. His escape comes a week after he was admitted to the facility. Hubbard is serving a sentence for convictions of domestic abuse assault and other counts.

Alliant Tornado Recovery Donation

The Alliant Energy Foundation has given 10-thousand dollars to the American Red Cross’ relief efforts as the organization assist victims of devastating tornados that ripped through Marshalltown, Pella and Bondurant late Thursday afternoon. There were no fatalities reported, but ten people were injured in Marshalltown, and seven people at a factory near Pella. Dee Brown, director of customer operations for Alliant says they hope that people affected by the tornados can get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Returning Favorite Ten of Soul Headlines July ‘Jazz’

One of Dubuque’s most popular summer concert series returns to the Town Clock Plaza for its second installment of the season this Friday. This month’s ‘Dubuque and All That Jazz’ will get started at 4:00 Friday afternoon. Michaela Freiburger of Dubuque Main Street tells us that this month’s featured band will be a returning favorite, and the opening act will be a preview of an upcoming local musical. The entertainment will begin at 4:00, when performers from the Grand Opera House’s production of “Madagascar, Junior” perform. At 5:00 ‘Jazz’ favorite Ten of Soul will take the stage. In addition to music, ‘All That Jazz’ is also a showcase for a variety of local food vendors. New this month will be the Happy Hibachi food truck, which drew a big crowd at the recent Food Truck Friday at the Dubuque Intermodal Center. The music will wrap up at about 9:00, but Freiburger encourages concert-goers to pick up a “Meet Me at Jazz” button to take advantage of discounts at a range of downtown businesses after the show. ‘Dubuque and All That Jazz’ is held in the Town Clock Plaza on the third Friday of each summer month, as well as on the Friday leading into Labor Day weekend.

Delaware County Fish Kill Being Investigated 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating a fish kill that was reported late Monday in Delaware County. The fish kill ran from south of Greeley to Earlville on Tuesday and Wednesday. A number of species of fish were reported dead along 20 miles of Plum Creek, including game fish such as smallmouth bass and rock bass. DNR officials believe the fish kill happened during a rainstorm on July 13th. The DNR continues its’ investigation as it tries to locate the source of the kill and will take appropriate enforcement action.

Dubuque Unified Golf Tournament This Weekend 

Athletes with intellectual disabilities will team up with people who don’t have those disabilities for the 4th annual Unified Golf Tournament in Dubuque this weekend. The event is being sponsored by Special Olympics Iowa. Bryan Coffey, Director of Unified Programs for SOIA says over 80 special athletes and their partners will participate in the tournament, and the goal is to develop friendships. The unified golf tournament in Dubuque continues to grow in popularity each year. Each year, SOIA host eight unified golf tournaments throughout the state beginning in the summer and ending in the early part of the fall. The tournament will be held on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 at Derby Grange Golf and Recreation.

Dubuque Fireworks Complaints Drop in 2018

The number of fireworks complaints called in to Dubuque Police at the beginning of this month was down compared to a year ago. But police aren’t sure exactly what led to the decrease. During the first week of July, 189 fireworks complaints were called in to Dubuque Police. That’s down about 15% from the same timeframe in 2017, when 221 complaints were received. Police tell us that there could have been several factors that led to the decrease, including the department’s efforts to educate the public about the law. Lt. Joe Messerich says they hope that played a big part. One of the department’s most notable education efforts was a Facebook post written by Chief Mark Dalsing. Published on June 8, the post was shared more than 140 times. In it, Dalsing compared fireworks use to other crimes that offenders don’t always get prosecuted for, like speeding . While the city of Dubuque has a ban on fireworks use, the state law does not allow usage past July 8th. But Messerich says that likely won’t stop additional complaints from coming in the rest of the summer. Of those 189 fireworks complaints, only three have resulted in a charge being filed. Messerich says that goes to show how difficult it is to catch people who are illegally using fireworks. Despite the decrease from last year, complaints have skyrocketed since fireworks sales were legalized in Iowa. The 189 complaints Dubuque Police received in the first week of July this year is more than the department had averaged for the five years before the law change.

Powerball, Mega Millions Jackpots on the Rise

The jackpots for the Iowa Lottery’s top two games have reached a combined half billion dollars. No one won the jackpot in Wednesday’s Powerball drawing. The top prize for that game is now up to $130 million, with another drawing coming on Saturday. The larger prize is in the Mega Millions game, where the top prize has risen to $422 million ahead of the drawing Friday night. That would be fifth-largest jackpot in Mega Millions’ 22-year history.

Mismatched Tires Help Lead Police to Suspected Thieves

A set of tires that didn’t match the vehicle they were on helped lead authorities to a pair of suspected thieves. On the morning of July 4th, the owner of Turpin Dodge told police that four wheels and tires had been stolen off of a Jeep SUV in the dealership’s lot. The tires and wheels had a combined value of $6,000, and another $1,000 was done to the vehicle. Police used traffic cameras to identify a blue Chrysler Pacifica as the vehicle the thieves had used. It was seen driving through the Turpin lot four times. The Pacifica also went to other area businesses, including the Hy-Vee on Dodge Street, where the occupants stole three cinder blocks that were later used to prop up the Jeep. Police sent a description of the vehicle and the two men inside to area law enforcement agencies. Police in Savanna found the Pacifica, which now had the Jeep-branded wheels on it. The vehicle was registered to 46-year-old Jaime Torres, who was arrested at his home in Savanna last week and is being held in the Carroll County Jail. The other suspect, 50-year-old Mark Domer, was taken into custody in Dubuque on Wednesday. He’s been charged with two counts of theft and one of Criminal Mischief.

Police: Dubuque Man Yelled Slurs at Children

A Dubuque man is facing multiple charges after being accused of lobbing racial slurs at children playing in his neighborhood. 55-year-old Jeffrey Merz was arrested just before 3:00 Saturday afternoon at his home in the 500 block of West 16th Street. According to police, one of Merz’s neighbors called officers after her children said that Merz had been shouting at them while they were playing. Merz reportedly used a racial slur toward the children and told them to “shut up.” They said they weren’t doing anything wrong, which Merz responded to with a sexually suggestive comment. The arresting officer reports Merz used the same comment when questioned about the incident. The officer says Merz made additional derogatory remarks about his neighbors’ race while being taken to the law enforcement center. Merz has been charged with 3rd Degree Harassment and Public Intoxication.

Dodge Street Lane Closure Expected to Cause Traffic Delays

A lane closure on one of Dubuque’s most heavily traveled streets is expected to cause some traffic delays the rest of this week. One of the eastbound lanes of Dodge Street will be closed between its intersections with Devon and Cherokee Drives beginning this morning. Devon Drive is the road that leads to the Plaza 20 shopping center. The lane closure will be in place through the end of the day tomorrow. In a news release, the city of Dubuque says drivers should expect delays in the area while the closure is in place. The lane is being closed so city crews can perform emergency water main repairs.

Neighbor: Dyersville Man Shot Dog with BB Gun

A Dyersville man has been charged with Animal Abuse after police say he shot his neighbor’s dog with a BB gun. 74-year-old David Schraad was arrested at his home in the 600 block of 10th Avenue SE Monday morning. According to police, Schraad’s neighbor told officers that her dog got loose and ran to Schraad’s back yard. A few minutes later, the dog began barking loudly and started running back to her house. She says she saw Schraad standing on his patio, holding what appeared to be a small rifle. When it got back to the woman’s house, the dog was bleeding from a small wound in its chest. Police say Schraad admitted to shooting the dog with a BB gun. Schraad told officers he had spoken with the neighbor about the dog repeatedly getting loose in his yard. The dog is expected to survive its injuries, although vets did not attempt to remove the BB from its chest. Police say they’re considering charging Schraad’s neighbor with having an Animal at Large.

Dubuque County Seeking Input On New Hazard Mitigation Plan  

Each year taxpayers pay billions of dollars for disaster recovery. Some events are predictable, and often times than not, damages could be reduced or eliminated. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires communities across the country to develop and approve a five-year local hazard mitigation plan in order to remain eligible for certain federal funding. Dubuque County is currently seeking input from the public on its’ next five-year plan. County emergency management director Tom Berger says that input can be submitted by visiting their website. The plan includes an updated strategy to reduce damage and losses caused by hazard events. At the conclusion of the input session, the plan will be sent to FEMA Region 7 in Kansas City for their approval. People have until the end of this month to submit any comments or suggestions for a new hazard mitigation plan. Dubuque County’s current hazard mitigation plan expires at the end of the year.

Delaware County Man Killed in Head-On Crash

A motorcycle operator was killed after his bike was hit head-on in Delaware County yesterday morning. A few minutes before 7:00, 24-year-old Benjamin Malone of Greeley was headed north on Iowa Highway 38 at the northern edge of Greeley. The Iowa State Patrol says that as Malone tried to make a left turn, his vehicle was struck by an oncoming car. Malone was taken to the Regional Medical Center in Manchester, where he later died as a result of his injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.

Dubuque’s AmeriCorps Program to Receive $500,000

Dubuque’s AmeriCorps program is receiving a major financial boost. The city will receive about a half-million dollars in federal and state money to fund the program for the upcoming year. That’s money that will help pay for two of AmeriCorps main efforts: the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which uses AmeriCorps workers as tutors; and various summer learning programs around the city. Heather Satterly, the AmeriCorps Program Director in Dubuque, says neither of those two programs would exist without financial help. The bulk of the money – about $400,000 – is coming from federal resources and will be put towards the grade-level reading campaign. There rest comes from the state of Iowa and is geared more towards summer programs.

Canadian Man Arrested in SW Wisconsin Bar Fight

A man who was more than 700 miles from home was arrested in southwest Wisconsin after reportedly getting into a bar fight early Saturday morning. 33-year-old David Barrett of Beatrice, Manitoba, Canada, was one of two people arrested outside Trailside Bar in Darlington at 1:20 AM. Both Darlington Police and deputies from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office were called to the bar on a report of a disturbance. Both Barrett and 23-year-old Cody Smith of Bangor, Wisconsin, were arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct. Local authorities believe Barrett is a carnival worker who was in Darlington for the Lafayette County Fair, which wrapped up on Sunday.

UPDATE: Police ID Man Killed in ATV Crash

The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of a man who was killed in an ATV crash Monday afternoon. The victim is 80-year-old Loras Manders of rural Dubuque County. Shortly before 4:00 PM Monday, deputies responded to a report of an ATV crash along US Highway 52, about four miles northwest of St. Donatus. Manders had been driving on a gravel driveway between two homes next to the highway, when the ATV left the road and he was thrown from the vehicle. Manders was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dubuque ID4PD Shoplifting Case

The Dubuque police department has posted another ID4PD case on their website. Police are looking for your help to identify a woman who stole merchandise from Shopko on JFK. The incident happened on June 20th at around 3:45 in the afternoon. The images are difficult to make out, but the suspect appears to be a heavy set white female, with light brown or reddish shoulder length hair. She was wearing a black dress and glasses and looks to be in her mid-20s. If you have any information contact the Dubuque Law enforcement Center.

Takes Named Mercy Regional President

Takes

The president of Dubuque’s Mercy Hospital will also oversee operations at a handful of Mercy-affiliated facilities in eastern Iowa. Mercy has named Kay Takes as its Regional President for Eastern Iowa. The move comes as Mercy institutes a new regional structure that the network hopes will bring better alignment to its properties in the area. In addition to her duties in Dubuque, Takes will also oversee operations at Mercy’s hospital in Clinton and the critical access centers in Dyersville, Elkader, and Guttenberg. Takes will be tasked with developing a regional leadership team from those other properties, which will then report to her. Takes has been Mercy Dubuque’s president since 2015. She’s served in various roles at the hospital over the past twenty years.

Zoning Amendment Opens Door for New Retail Building Near Dubuque Shopko

The Dubuque City Council opened the door for a new retail center to be built in the area near Kennedy Mall this week. At its meeting on Monday, the council voted in favor of an amendment to the planned unit development for the property at 255 John F. Kennedy Road. That’s where ShopKo is currently located. Property owners believe the area is currently “over-parked” and there is room for a new building that would house additional retail businesses. Realtor Steve Moore, speaking on behalf of property owner Key City Investment Company said the new building would be located at the far end of the parking lot, near the US Bank branch. City Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens says the property has about 200 more parking spaces than it needs, which allows room for the new addition. The council approved the amendment on a 6-0 vote. Councilman Jake Rios was absent from the meeting.

Police: Dubuque Woman Set Car on Fire to Get Back at Ex-Boyfriend

A felony charge has been filed against a Dubuque woman accused of setting a car on fire to get back at her ex-boyfriend. Dubuque Police were called about the fire at about 11:30 Friday night. The vehicle was parked in the block of 15th Street that sits between White Street and Central Avenue. While responding to the fire, an officer noticed a woman entering a building on the opposite side of the street. The boyfriend of the car’s owner told police that woman – 28-year-old Sade Jones – was the one who set the car on fire. Jones and the man had previously dated, and he believed she was upset because he was now dating the car’s owner. Police used traffic camera footage to track Jones’ movements prior to the fire. After getting into an argument with her ex-boyfriend, police say Jones walked to a nearby gas station, bought a dollar’s worth of gas that she put into a bleach container, then used the gas to start the car on fire. Jones has been charged with 2nd Degree Arson and Disorderly Conduct.

Blum Accepts Another Invitation, Now Wants Thirteen Debates

Blum, Finkenauer

Iowa Congressman Rod Blum has accepted another debate invitation, and is now proposing that he and his challenger face off 13 times between now and Election Day. Blum announced this week that he has accepted the Anamosa Journal-Eureka’s invitation to debate Democrat Abby Finkenauer. Blum had already accepted invitations from two area TV stations. He has proposed that the debates begin as soon as this Friday, and be held on each of the two following Fridays. Finkenauer’s campaign has not said whether she has accepted any of the three invitations that Blum has. In a statement, she says she looks forward to “establishing a debate schedule that works for both campaigns and gives voters the opportunity to hear from both candidates.” Blum is seeking a third term as the representative of Iowa’s 1st Congressional district, which includes Dubuque.

Residents Urge East Dubuque Council to End Barklow’s Contract

Residents pack Monday’s East Dubuque City Council meeting (Courtesy: KCRG).

Residents of East Dubuque once again voiced their opinions on the future of their City Manager. The East Dubuque City Council will decide next week whether to renew the contract of City Manager Geoff Barklow when it expires in September. Barklow has been accused of sexual misconduct and was the subject of an Illinois State Police investigation, but is not facing any charges. At last night’s meeting, East Dubuque resident Sarah Hinderman questioned what message the council would be sending by retaining Barklow. Another speaker was Jim Adams, the father of one of the women who had accused former East Dubuque Assistant Police Chief Gerald Fluhr of sexual harassment. Fluhr’s behavior was also looked into by the Illinois State Police, but no charges were brought against him either. He resigned from his position over the weekend. The East Dubuque council is expected to make their decision on Barklow’s contract at a meeting scheduled for next Monday.

80-Year-Old Man Killed in Dubuque County ATV Crash

An ATV crash in rural Dubuque County claimed the life of an 80-year-old man. That’s according to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, which responded the crash after it happened at about 4:00 Monday afternoon. Investigators say the man was driving the ATV near US Highway 52 about four miles northwest of St. Donatus. It’s believed that the ATV left the road the man was driving on. The man was found dead at the scene of the crash. The man’s name has not been released as the sheriff’s department works to notify his family.

Key West Fire Chief Dies

Courtesy: Key West Fire Dept.

A volunteer fire department from just outside Dubuque has lost its leader. Key West Fire Chief Brian Arnold died early Monday morning. He was 58. Arnold had been a member of the Key West Fire Department for nearly 40 years, dating back to 1979. Joining the department was a family affair for him, as his father had also been a volunteer firefighter. Two of Arnold’s sons and a daughter-in-law have followed him into the fire service. Arnold was also active in statewide fire organizations, and served as the president of the Iowa Fire Chiefs Association from 2008 to 2013. Funeral arrangements for Arnold have not been announced.

Potosi Man Dies After Falling Into Pond

A man died after falling into a pond in Grant County Sunday evening. The incident happened at around 5:00 PM at Whitetail Bluff Campground. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, 47-year-old Mike Hanfeld of Potosi had jumped from a trampoline that was located in the middle of the pond, onto an attached inflatable pad. As he was landing on the pad, Hanfeld fell backward into the water. He became entangled in the tethering straps keeping the trampoline attached to the pad. Witnesses were able to free Hanfeld and performed CPR once he was on shore. Hanfeld was initially taken to Grant Regional Health Center, then airlifted to University Hospital in Madison, where he died.

Jo Daviess Acreage Reporting Deadline Is Today 

If you farm in Jo Daviess County, and you haven’t reported your spring crops and land uses to your local farm service agency by today’s deadline, you still have time. Cory Cassens, FAS County Executive Director says current year program participation obligates owners and operators to file complete land reports on their farm. Over the years, producers in Jo Daviess County have been pretty dependable about submitting their crop and land uses report to the local FSA office. Cassens says if a producer acquires additional acreage after today, then that acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendar days after the purchase or acquiring the lease.

Bellevue Man Wins $200,000 on Powerball Ticket Sold in Cascade

We now know it was a Bellevue man who purchased a winning lottery ticket in Cascade last week. According to the Iowa Lottery, Gene Herrig of Bellevue bought a Powerball ticket which matched four white balls and the Powerball for a prize of $200,000. Herrig purchased the ticket at the Casey’s General Store in Cascade last Wednesday evening, only about three and a half hours before the Powerball drawing. Herrig claimed his prize money at the Iowa Lottery office in Cedar Rapids last week. We’ve reached out to Herrig to get his reaction to his win, but our calls were not answered. No one won the Powerball jackpot last Wednesday, or this past Saturday, so the jackpot is now up to $110 million.

Project AWARE Volunteers Pull Car From Maquoketa River

Volunteers from Project AWARE prepare to put their canoes into the Maquoketa River (Courtesy: KCRG).

Volunteers cleaning up the Maquoketa River made quite a find last week. A group from Project AWARE found a car submerged in the river during their annual clean-up effort. The volunteers then used shovels and axes to break the car into pieces so it could be lifted out of the water and moved to shore. Every year, Project AWARE takes a group of several dozen volunteers to an eastern Iowa river to clean it up for a week. Project Coordinator Brian Soenen has been with the group since its work began 15 years ago. He says it’s exciting to see so many people come together for the river cleanup. Among the other materials that the volunteers were able to pull from the river were more than 200 tires and upwards of 15,000 pounds of scrap metal.

Bernard Man Accused of Recording Sexual Assault Reaches Plea Deal

A Bernard man accused of sexually assaulting a woman and sending a video of the assault through a mobile phone app has reached a plea deal with prosecutors. 21-year-old Robert Decker pled guilty to one count of 1st Degree Harassment and two counts of Invasion of Privacy in Dubuque County Court last week. Those charges are all misdemeanors. Decker had originally been charged with 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse, which is a felony. According to prosecutors, Decker sexually assaulted an unconscious woman at his home in Bernard on Christmas Eve Day. He used Snapchat to take a video of the assault and sent it to a friend. Under his original charge, Decker would have faced up to ten years in prison. The agreement he reached with prosecutors recommends a suspended six-year prison sentence. He would also have to register as a sex offender. Decker will be sentenced in September.

Dubuque Man Accused in Federal Meth Conspiracy

Federal prosecutors have accused a Dubuque man of conspiring to deal methamphetamine after he was found with more than two pounds of the drug. 34-year-old Jeremy Kieffer was arrested on Friday morning. He’s facing four federal charges: Conspiracy to Distribute Meth, Possession of Meth with Intent to Distribute, and two counts of Distribution of Meth. Prosecutors say they seized more than 500 grams of a meth mixture and about $11,000 in cash from Kieffer’s home on Chaney Road back in March. Federal authorities believe Kieffer and two other people had been selling the methamphetamine between December of 2016 and that raid by federal agents in March. Neither of the two other people accused in the conspiracy are from Dubuque.

Dubuque Woman Pleads to Federal Gun Charge

A Dubuque woman has admitted to having three guns while under the influence of two illegal drugs. 38-year-old Marliesha Scott has pled guilty to a federal charge of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Drug User. According to prosecutors, Scott had a rifle and two pistols in her possession while she was using both cocaine and marijuana in April of this year. Court documents state that officers from the Dubuque Drug Task Force found the guns, several types of ammunition, and a small amount of cocaine when they searched Scott’s home. Scott had initially faced a local charge of Possession of Cocaine, but it was dismissed when the case moved to federal court.

Gas Prices Hold Steady Locally, Nationally

Gas prices both across the United States and here in the Tri-States have remained steady this month. According to the Lundberg Survey, the national average price for a gall of unleaded gas is now $2.94. That’s a penny lower than it was three weeks ago. But prices are still significantly higher than they were at this time last year…to the tune of 63 cents. The Lundberg Survey does indicate that prices could continue to fall, as demand has fallen off. Here in Iowa, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.73. That’s also a penny lower than earlier this month, but still more than a half-dollar higher than this time last year. The average price here in Dubuque is slightly higher than that state average, at $2.79 per gallon.

Fluhr Resigns As ED Assistant Chief

The assistant police chief in East Dubuque, who was the subject of an investigation by Illinois State Police, has resigned. East Dubuque City Manager Geoff Barklow announced yesterday that Gerald Fluhr tendered his resignation from his employment at the police department. State police looked into misconduct claims made against Fluhr. He was placed on administrative leave while the investigation took place, but returned to duty. The Jo Daviess County State’s Attorney chose not to file charges against Fluhr, citing a lack of evidence. Meantime, the fate of City Manager Barklow is in the hands of the East Dubuque city council. The council will decide whether he will retain his position, after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against Barklow. The State’s Attorney also decided not to file any charges against Barklow, because of a lack of evidence. The council will decide if it will renew Barklow’s contarct at a meeting scheduled for July 23rd.

Cascade 5K to Benefit Miracle League of Dubuque

An annual fun run in Dubuque County is shifting its resources this year and will be raising money to help build a baseball field for kids of all abilities. Since 2013, the Cascade-based organization called Small Heroes, Mighty Cause has helped raise money for children with genetic disorders. In the past, proceeds from their annual 5K run/walk have gone to spinal muscular atrophy research efforts. But this year, the money will go to the Miracle League of Dubuque, which is working to build an all-abilities softball field at Veterans Memorial Park in Dubuque. Small Heroes, Mighty Cause co-founder Amanda Schlemme says the change comes as the group is anticipating its biggest event to date. Schlemme’s son, Colin, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was still an infant. He’s spent much of his life since then in a wheelchair, unable to play baseball with his brother and friends. But Schlemme says the Miracle League would change that. The Small Heroes, Mighty Cause 5K begins tonight at 5:30 at Riverview Park in Cascade. Following the run, there will be live music in the park’s amphitheater featuring the Adam Keith Duo.

$200,000 Powerball Ticket Sold in Cascade

Someone from Cascade could be a couple hundred thousand dollars richer in the very near future. According to the Iowa Lottery, a Powerball ticket sold in that community ahead of Wednesday’s drawing matched four white balls and the Powerball…making it worth $200,000. The ticket was sold at the Casey’s General Store on 1st Avenue East in Cascade. No one won the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, meaning the jackpot for that game is now up to $100 million ahead of tomorrow night’s drawing. The jackpot for the Iowa Lottery’s other premiere game, MegaMillions, is up to $340 million going into its drawing tonight.

Wisconsin Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Sun Prairie Firefighter

American flags will fly at half-staff in a second of the Tri-States today. Flags in Iowa had already been lowered in honor of former Governor Robert Ray, who died on Sunday and will be laid to rest today. Now, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has ordered flags in that state to be lowered in honor of the volunteer firefighter killed in an explosion in a Madison suburb this week. Sun Prairie Fire Captain Cory Barr died in Tuesday’s blast that destroyed the restaurant that he and his wife owned. Barr’s funeral will be held Saturday morning at Sun Prairie High School. Walker has ordered that the state’s flags fly at half-staff through the day on Saturday.

Blum Proposes Twelve Debates, Finkenauer Responds

Blum, Finkenauer

The Congressman who represents Dubuque has proposed a hectic debate schedule ahead of this fall’s election. According to our coverage partners at KCRG-TV, 1st District Congressman Rod Blum wants to debate his Democratic challenger, Abby Finkenauer, a total of a dozen times between now and Election Day. That works out to a debate almost every ten days. Blum says he’s already accepted invitations from two other local TV stations for debates that would happen on each of the next two Fridays. Finkenauer’s campaign has not said whether they’ve also accepted those invitations, but did say they’ll work with Blum’s staff to establish a debate schedule over the coming weeks. During Blum’s first run for re-election two years ago, he initially called for ten debates with opponent Monica Vernon. That number eventually shrunk to just a single debate, held about two weeks before that 2016 election.

Stolen Wallet ID4PD Case

Dubuque police are looking for a woman who allegedly stole a wallet from the Walmart Store on Dodge Street. The incident happened on June 9th at around 6:40 p.m. the suspect is described as a black female, in her mid to upper 30s. She was wearing a sleeveless while T-shirt and cut-off blue jeans. An image of the suspect is posted on the police department’s ID4PD website. If you have any information about this incident contact the Dubuque law enforcement center.

Proposed Guttenberg Aquatic Center Receives Grant

A proposed aquatic center in Guttenberg has received a financial shot in the arm from the state. The Enhance Iowa Board approved a Community Attraction and Tourism, or CAT, grant for a little more than $481,000 for the center. The new aquatic center will feature zero-depth entry, water features, an energy efficient and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bathhouse, shade structures, six 25-meter lap lanes, a diving tower, and a water slide. Total cost of the project is around $4 million. The Enhance Iowa program provides financial assistance to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational, and entertainment facilities.

Weight Limit on Bridge Near Stockton

A weight limit has been posted on a bridge on US Highway 20 in Jo Daviess County. The bridge is located about three miles west of Stockton. The bridge weight limit of 15 tons was posted by the Illinois Department of Transportation on July 3rd and is in effect until further notice. Despite the limit, the Illinois State Police say they’re still seeing vehicles weighing more than 15 tons trying to cross the bridge. There is a detour around the bridge for vehicles over the weight limit. The detour pushes traffic to Illinois Highway 73, then US Highways 52/64, to Illinois Highway 84, and back to US 20.

Dubuque Woman Accused of Taking $48,000 from Elderly Aunt

For the second time this week, a Dubuque woman has been accused of stealing money from an elderly relative. 53-year-old Kathryn Billmeyer was arrested on Wednesday morning and is facing one count each of Dependent Adult Abuse and 2nd Degree Theft. According to court documents, Billmeyer has Power of Attorney over a 96-year-old aunt who suffers from dementia. From November of 2016 through May of this year, police allege that Billmeyer used her aunt’s bank account to rack up $48,000 in charges at fast food restaurants, gas stations, clothing stores, and online services like Amazon and Spotify. She’s also accused of using her aunt’s money to have her nursing license renewed and for veterinary services. At the same time, the aunt’s monthly bill at Stonehill was not being paid. Stonehill had given Billmeyer a 30-day notice that they would terminate her aunt’s care this spring. Then in mid-May, Billmeyer paid her aunt’s bill of nearly $34,000 in full. If Billmeyer’s convicted on both charges against her, she face up to ten years in prison.

East Dubuque Council Tables Decision on City Manager’s Contract

Citizens crowd into a Civil Service Committee meeting in East Dubuque Wednesday (Courtesy: KCRG).

City leaders in East Dubuque will decide whether to fire the city manager later this month. The city council held a Civil Service Committee meeting last night to discuss the contract of City Manager Geoff Barklow. An Illinois State Police investigation recently uncovered allegations of sexual misconduct against Barklow. A woman accused him of offering her a ride home, but instead driving to his own house, where she says he pressured her into beginning a romantic relationship and touched her breast. A couple dozen citizens attended Wednesday’s meeting, and several urged the council not to renew Barklow’s contract. The council eventually entered a closed session. Afterward, they announced that they will make a decision on Barklow’s status at another meeting, which is scheduled for July 23. Barklow is one of two East Dubuque city officials that were the subject of the state police investigation. They also looked into misconduct claims made against Assistant Police Chief Gerald Fluhr. Fluhr was placed on paid leave while the investigation was underway, but has since returned to duty. The Jo Daviess County State’s Attorney chose not to file charges against either Barklow or Fluhr, citing a lack of evidence.

Fire Captain Accused of Harassing Intern Allowed to Resign

A Dubuque Fire Captain accused of sexually harassing an intern was allowed to resign, rather than be fired. That’s the finding of an investigation by our coverage partner, KCRG-TV. They reported back in April that a complaint had been filed against the former fire captain Jim Abitz. He was placed on paid leave last December, and continued to draw a salary and collect benefits until the end of May. According to a separation agreement between Abitz and the city, he was accused of what’s being called “inappropriate conduct toward another city employee”. As part of that agreement, Abitz has agreed to not sue the city or participate in any other litigation involving the city. A spokesperson for the city tells KCRG they’re discussing ways to improve the city’s sexual harassment related training.

Dubuque Woman Accused of Stealing $140,000 from Mother

$140,000. That’s how much money Dubuque Police say a local woman stole from her own mother’s bank accounts in a little more than a year. 54-year-old Susan Shea was arrested Wednesday morning and has been charged with a felony count of Dependent Adult Abuse. According to court documents, police first began looking into allegations that Shea was stealing from her mother in January. That’s when a Department of Human Services employee alerted police to the possible theft. After reviewing Shea’s mother’s financial statements, police say at least $140,000 went missing from her accounts between December 2016 and this past January. Court documents indicate that most of the money was taken through ATM withdrawals. Shea’s accused of taking out an average of about $4,700 over the course of 19 withdrawals each month. Police say bank surveillance images show Shea, and not her mother, making nearly all of the withdrawals.

Credit Card Skimmer Found on Gas Pump at Dubuque Convenience Store 

Courtesy: Dubuque Police

Dubuque Police are investigating a possible credit card skimmer found at an area convenience store. Employees at the FasMart in the 2100 block of Central Avenue, called officers Tuesday morning to report they found the skimmer on one of the station’s gas pumps. That pump was immediately shut down. Skimmers are illegal card readers which are attached to electronic payment terminals and record data from the magnetic strips of cards. Criminals often sell that data or use it to make purchases. Cardholders usually never know their information has been compromised until they get a bank statement or overdraft notice. Police are not sure how long the skimmer was on the gas pump, or if any data was gathered. Anyone who used a credit or debit card on gas pump number 3 at the FasMart is urged to keep a close eye on their financial accounts.

Dubuque For Refugee Children Needs Your Help 

In 2014, there was a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. from the Mexican border, and during that year Dubuque for Refugee Children was founded. The not-for-profit organization primarily assists refugees and immigrants in the Dubuque area under the age of 21 and are always looking for financial help from residents in the Tri-States to assist the refugees with legal representation, medical and dental expenses and getting enrolled in school. D4RC Chair R.R.S. Stewart says there are several steps that have to be taken in order for a person to become a legal guardian of a refugee child. Since the organization was founded over 30 refugee children have been matched with a guardian. Although most of the kids initially live with a relative, that relative does not have legal status, and that’s where the D4RC steps in. Stewart says they also need volunteers to provide rides to appointments, educational mentoring and interpretation. To send a donation to the organization, send it to Dubuque for Refugee Children, P.O. Box 1741, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-1741.

Grassley Has High Praises For Kavanaugh

The day after President Donald Trump announced his choice for Supreme Court Justice, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee met with the President’s nominee. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley had a meeting with Brett Kavanaugh in his office Tuesday morning. Grassley says he came away from the meeting impressed with Kavanaugh’s credentials. Grassley says Kavanaugh understands that it’s Congress’s job to pass laws and the Judiciary’s role to apply them. Some Democratic leaders have pledged to block whoever Trump nominates for the high court. Grassley made his remarks on the floor of the Senate. He expects to hold a confirmation hearing on Kavanaugh’s nomination in late August or early September.

Finkenauer’s Continues Strong Fundraising, Bringing in $765,000 in Second Quarter

Finkenauer

A Dubuque state lawmaker seeking to unseat Republican Congressman Rod Blum is reporting another strong fundraising showing. According to a report from her campaign, Democrat Abby Finkenauer raised more than three-quarters of a million dollars during the quarter that ran from April through the end of June. According to the left-leaning blog Iowa Starting Line, Finkenauer’s $765,000 fundraising total is the most money ever raised by an Iowa Democratic Congressional candidate in a single quarter. The previous record was 4th District candidate Jim Mowrer’s $704,000 during the 3rd quarter of the 2014 race. Since entering the race in May of last year, Finkenauer has now raised more than $1.8 million . Her campaign says that money has come from more than 65,000 individual donors, with an average contribution of $16.

Dubuque Man Sentenced for Galena Burglary

A Dubuque man will spend some time in an Illinois prison after admitting to his role in a break-in. 32-year-old Alvin Harrison recently pled guilty to a burglary charge in Jo Daviess County Circuit Court. According to court documents, Harrison broke into a Galena building in January of 2017. He moved several bags of tools to an outside gate, but never came back to retrieve them. Harrison has been sentenced to three years in the Illinois prison system. He’s currently being held in an Iowa prison due to a Dubuque County conviction for Domestic Abuse. The time he spends in prison in Iowa will be credited toward his Illinois sentence.

Southwest Wisconsin School Districts Receive Safety Grants

A total of three school districts in southwest Wisconsin will receive state money to make their schools safer. The districts were awarded school safety grants from the Wisconsin Department of Justice this week. The grant money is to be used for safety improvements as well as training for faculty and staff. Of the local districts receiving grants, Shullsburg schools will be getting the most money, at more than $61,000. The Iowa-Grant district will receive nearly $42,000, while the school district serving Cassville has been awarded just shy of $39,000. Some area private schools had previously been announced as grant recipients as well. They include Holy Ghost-Immaculate Conception school in Dickeyville, St. Joseph’s in Hazel Green, and St. Rose of Lima School in Cuba City.

Dubuque Men Facing Charges After Fighting with BB Gun, Gas Container

Two Dubuque men are each facing charges after getting into a fight involving a BB gun and an energy drink can filled with gasoline. Just before midnight Monday night, officers were called to the Kwik Stop at 24th Street and Central Avenue on a report of a fight. According to witnesses, 50-year-old Reginald Harland and 41-year-old David Miller had started fighting in an apartment in the 24-hundred block of White Street. The fight continued outside, where witnesses say Miller chased Harland with a BB gun. Harland reportedly left the area and came back with an energy drink can filled with gasoline. He then dumped the gas on Miller and threatened to set Miller on fire. After being taken into custody, both men had blood alcohol contents well above the legal limit. Miller’s BAC registered a reading of .229, while Harland’s was tested at .277. Both men have been charged with Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct. Police say neither man was clear about wanting to press additional charges, though they did ask officers to follow up with them when they were sober.

VP Pence to Campaign for Blum in Cedar Rapids

Pence

Dubuque’s representative in Congress will be getting an assist from the nation’s second-in-command this week. Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for Congressman Rod Blum in Cedar Rapids tomorrow. According to Blum’s office, Pence will tour Rockwell Collins while he’s in Cedar Rapids. It’s not clear whether the public will be able to attend the event. Blum says he’s looking forward to Pence’s visit so he can discuss issues with the Vice President. In response to the visit, Blum’s opponent this fall, Dubuque state legislator Abby Finkenauer issued a statement where she accused Blum of putting politics ahead of Iowans’ needs. Her statement reads, in part, “Unless Rod Blum is hosting a meeting between the Vice President and our soybean and corn farmers and pork producers, where they can personally tell the administration how their trade war is devastating to Iowa families, then he’s not doing his job.”

Blum Hosts Opioid Conference in Dubuque

Courtesy: KCRG

Congressman Rod Blum was in Dubuque on Monday to host a conference on the nation’s opioid epidemic. Representatives from the medical community, law enforcement, and local lawmakers were all on hand at Northeast Iowa Community College’s downtown Dubuque campus to discuss both the progress that’s been made, as well as the challenges that still exist. Joyce McDermott is the director of Psychiatric Services at Dubuque’s Mercy Hospital, home of the Turning Point Clinic. While their patients are getting clean, she says more help is still needed, particularly from insurance companies. But one perspective not often shared in discussions about opioids came from Dubuque resident Carolyn Busko. She suffers severe nerve pain and has tried nearly every drug available, finding opioids to be most effective. But she now believes her doctor is worried about prescribing them. Several medical professionals also spoke about the need for an in-patient treatment clinic in Dubuque.

Police: Suspect Goes Off Road Trying to Elude Officers

A Dubuque man who went off road in his attempt to run from police is facing a handful of charges. 26-year-old Blake Amling was arrested near Dubuque’s Lowe’s store a few minutes after 12:30 Sunday morning. According to police, officers first began tracking Amling about a half hour earlier when he was seen speeding on Dodge Street near its intersection with Devon Drive. Police say that Amling raced away from them westbound on Dodge, eventually reaching a speed of 95 miles per hour. Amling turned into Wal-Mart parking area, but came back out near the intersection of Dodge and the Northwest Arterial. That’s where he crossed into a grassy area between the highway and nearby businesses. Amling eventually turned back toward Lowe’s, parked his car, and was arrested after trying to run from officers. Amling’s been charged with a 2nd offense of Operating While Intoxicated, Eluding, and two counts of Interference with Official Acts.

Platteville Police Search For Wanted Man

Police in Platteville are asking for help locating a suspect who eluded officers early Monday morning. The suspect, 37-year-old Derek Eastlick has several outstanding warrants for his arrest. Eastlick is described as a white male with blue eyes and brown hair. He’s six feet tall and weighs around 175 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white or yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack near the intersection Business Highway 151 and Mineral Street. Anyone with information about Eastlick’s whereabouts is asked to  contact the Platteville Police Department.

Long-Serving Iowa Governor Ray Dies

Courtesy: Drake University

Former longtime Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray, who helped thousands of Vietnam War refugees relocate to the state and defined Iowa Republican politics for years, has died. He was 89. Ray’s former chief of staff David Oman said Ray died Sunday at a nursing home. He said Ray had battled Parkinson’s disease for several years. Ray was elected governor in 1968, after helping rebuild the Iowa Republican Party following devastating national GOP losses in 1964. Ray never faced a serious election challenge during his 14 years as governor. In 2011, Ray told The Associated Press he was especially proud of his work helping Vietnam refugees resettle in Iowa. That began in 1975, and Iowa became one of the largest resettlement locations in the U.S. Ray said his approach to governing was simple: decide what’s right, then figure out how to promote it.

State Patrol: Texting Tickets Increase Significantly After Law Change

Iowa’s law making texting while driving a primary traffic offense is a year old, and officers with the state patrol say they’ve seen a significant increase in tickets. On July 1st of last year, Iowa law changed and officers became able to pull driver over simply for texting while behind the wheel. In the year since, Iowa State Patrol troopers have issued more than 1,100 tickets. That’s compared to about 180 in the year before the law change. Here in Dubuque, local police report the number of texting while driving citations increased ten-fold after the law change, from 7 to just less than 70. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department hadn’t issued a single texting ticket in the year prior to the law change, but wrote out three in the year after.

River Drops Below “Action Stage,” Miller-Riverview Status Unclear

Courtesy: National Weather Service

The Mississippi River at Dubuque is back below the so-called “action stage,” but there’s no indication of when a popular riverside park and campground will reopen. The river’s level at the Railroad Bridge fell below 15 feet at about 5:00 yesterday morning. That’s the level when Dubuque parks officials will close Miller-Riverview Park. After previous flooding events, the parks department has said it will typically take at least two weeks for Miller-Riverview to reopen after the river level falls below that “action stage.” But when the park flooded earlier this year, city crews were able to get it ready for visitors in just less than two weeks. This is the fifth year out of the last six that Miller-Riverview Park has been closed due to high waters on the Mississippi.

Sherrill Man Accused of Abusing Young Girl

A Sherrill man faces charges after being accused of sexually abusing a young girl. 31-year-old John Berwanger was taken into custody at his home in Sherrill last week. He is charged with 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse, Lascivious Acts with a Child, and Enticing a Child. The charges stem from allegations that Berwanger inappropriately touched a girl younger than 12 between May of last year and May of this year. The incidents were reported by a man who called authorities in early June. The victim says Berwanger told her not to tell anyone about what he was doing to her and at one point he told her that “if she was ten years older, he would marry her.” She also says Berwanger tried to force her to touch him inappropriately.

Fake Ticket Seller Pleads, Sentenced to 65 Days in Jail

A man wanted in connection with as many as eight murders in the Chicago area has admitted to selling phony concert tickets in Dubuque. 21-year-old Natrell Jackson pled guilty to two counts each of 4th Degree Theft and Interference with Official Acts in Dubuque County Court. He’s been ordered to spend 65 days in jail, with credit for time already served. According to Dubuque Police, Jackson was selling counterfeit tickets to this past April’s Willie Nelson concert at Five Flags. Two people who had bought tickets from him contacted police, who set up a sale with an undercover officer and arrested Jackson afterwards. Jackson is also currently wanted on eight counts of 1st Degree Murder in Cook County, Illinois. He has an extradition hearing scheduled for today.

Energy Efficiency Plans Due Monday

Iowa’s investor-owned utilities have until Monday to submit five-year energy efficiency plans to be approved by the Iowa Utilities Board no later than March of next year. The plans are necessary after Iowa lawmakers approved legislation to limit how much utilities can spend on efficiency programs, a major blow for Iowans advocating for conservation programs that encouraged residents to reduce energy use. Kerri Johannsen with the Iowa Environmental Council says until now, Iowa has always been a leader in trying to reduce energy use, which can mean fewer power plants. Iowa’s legislation requiring that utilities offer energy-efficiency programs dates back to 1990. But Johannsen says the new legislation ties the hands of energy-conservation advocates who have tried to keep energy costs down and create jobs. Public polls show 97 percent of Iowans support increasing energy efficiency, and 82 percent support requiring utilities to increase investment in energy efficiency. Nonetheless, the new law allows utility companies to reduce or even eliminate rebates for smart thermostats, energy-saving appliances and home energy audits.

Eudaley-Loebach Recognized As Transit Manager Of The Year

The Director of Transportation Services for Dubuque has been named “Transit Manager of the Year.” Candace Eudaley-Loebach received the honor at a recent awards banquet co-sponsored by the Iowa Public Transit Association and the Iowa DOT. At the banquet, transits systems in Dubuque, Davenport and Bettendorf were honored for their accomplishments during the 2017 fiscal year. Eudaley-Loebach has managed Dubuque’s public transit system since 2013.

Dubuque Man Man Jailed For Setting Fire To His Apartment

A Dubuque man was arrested this week after police say he set fire to his apartment so that he could go to jail and get “three hots and a cot.” Courts records from Dubuque County say 33 year old Matthew Voseberg was taken into custody Wednesday night and charged with first degree arson. Fire crews responded to Voseberg’s apartment in the one thousand block of Bluff Street at around 6:15 Wednesday evening. When they arrived smoke was coming from the second floor of the complex. After putting out the fire, crews found some clothing that was heavily burned just inside the door of Voseberg’s apartment. Voseberg was sitting on the front porch of his apartment building and admitted to setting the fire with a cigarette lighter. The apartment as well as other parts of the complex sustained smoke and heat damage. Voseberg told investigators that after starting the fire he went to an apartment on the first floor and told the resident there what he had done and to get out. He then called 911 sat on the porch and waited for authorities to arrive. First degree arson carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Dubuque AmeriCorps Program Grants

Several Dubuque AmeriCorps programs are receiving grants from Volunteer Iowa. VI has approved 12.7 million dollars in state and federal AmeriCorps grants that will leverage private and local dollars supporting nearly 0ne thousand AmeriCorps members. The Partners in Learning Program will get a little over a half million dollars, while the Health and Nature Education Program receives just over 35 thousand dollars. The Summer Program gets around 49 thousand dollars. Organizations across the state will be recruiting AmeriCorps members to begin service in the fall.

Jo Daviess Traffic Crash Sends Two To The Hospital

Two people were injured in a one vehicle crash in Jo Daviess County yesterday (Wednesday afternoon) According to a release from the local sheriff’s department 78 year old Daniel Elder of Cedarville was driving southeasterly on North Main Street in Elizabeth just before 1:30 p.m., when he veered off the road and struck a street sign. The vehicle then continued through the intersection and off the road before it collided with a house. Elder was taken to Midwest Medical Center before being transported to U of I Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. His passenger, 77 year old Roberta Elder was initially taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque before being taken to Iowa City. The press release doesn’t say what kind of injuries the Elder’s sustained.

Dubuque House Fire Causes Considerable Damage

The cause of a fire that damaged a house on Dubuque Regional Airport property on Tuesday has been determined. Crews from the Dubuque Fire Department responded to the single family home just before 11 a.m. The fire was contained to the kitchen area and was quickly put out, but heavy smoke was coming from the home. Crews ventilated the kitchen area to remove the smoke and stayed on scene for a while checking for any flare ups. A press release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office says the fire started after a cardboard box was placed on the stove. The home is owned by the city of Dubuque. There was damage to the kitchen area and heavy smoke damage throughout the house. Total damage was estimated at 100-thousand dollars.

Hanover Man Charged After False Report

A Hanover man has been charged after police say he called in a false report. Court documents from Jo Daviess County Circuit Court say 62 year old Danny Holland faces a charge of felony-level false reporting to 911. Holland is accused of calling 911 on the night of June 17th to report that he saw a child fall into his neighbor’s swimming pool. He told police that he could not see into the pool, because it was fenced in. He later called back told authorities it might have been a raccoon that he saw fall into the pool. Crews from the Hanover Fire Department responded to the neighbor’s pool and drained it. They didn’t find a child or an animal at the bottom. The neighbor later told police that he had been having an ongoing feud with Holland.

Food Pantry Lunch Program

With school out for the summer, a local food pantry has set a goal to provide more lunches for children during the summer months than ever before. A recent grant to the Dubuque Food Pantry from the Women’s Giving Circle of Greater Dubuque has made that goal seemingly a little easier to reach. Last year the pantry served more than 36 hundred kids in the Dubuque area with a free lunch during the summer months. This year that goal is to serve 5 thousand. In order for the food pantry to feed more kids, a grant of over 27-hundred dollars was awarded from the Women’s Giving Circle. Theresa Caldwell manages the food pantry. She says the grant money allows them to buy milk and juice for all of the 5 thousand meals they plan to give out, and for them, it’s all about their mission to provide help to area families. Caldwell says so far this year they’re averaging around 70 kids per day, but she would like to see 100 or more per day.

Construction to Impact Airshow, Fireworks Traffic

Construction on some of the roads that lead to Dubuque’s “Point” area is expected to cause some traffic delays as people head to the annual July 3rd Airshow and Fireworks this year. Traffic is reduced to one lane on US Highways 61/151, with ramps from the elevated portion of those highways mostly closed. Construction is also going on at certain points on Kerper Boulevard and East 22nd Street…both popular routes for getting to AY McDonald Park. Police Lt. Joe Messerich says drivers will need to be patient as they head toward the event. According to airshow organizer Perry Mason, the Iowa Department of Transportation has agreed to open up the ramp from Kerper onto southbound 61/151, which should reduce traffic issues after the event. Another place where patience will be key is on the Mississippi River. Boats will be held south of the Iowa-Wisconsin Bridge during the airshow, then allowed to move up toward the fireworks location. But with the river above flood stage, that could be a more difficult process than usual. After the fireworks, pedestrians will be the first allowed to leave. Vehicle traffic will be held for 20-30 minutes to allow some of the foot traffic to filter out. It’s been estimated that as many as 250,000 people attend the annual airshow and fireworks.

Dubuque Council Advances Plan to Require Sidewalks on JFK Road

The Dubuque City Council took the next step toward requiring the installation of sidewalks along one of the city’s heavily traveled roads. The council voted Monday night to direct city staff to draft language which would require sidewalks to be placed along John F. Kennedy Road between its intersections with Asbury Road and the Northwest Arterial. The proposal had come before the council twice before, but previous council members passed on the requirement due to opposition from residents. Many of those same residents, including Jolene Rettenberger, again spoke against the plan. Bill Stoffel, who lives a couple blocks off of JFK, said that the lack of a sidewalk has limited pedestrian traffic. Councilman Brett Shaw said it was clear that sidewalks are needed in the area. Councilman Jake Rios agreed with Shaw, but opposed the plan because it was too focused on one street. Mayor Roy Buol noted that JFK is the only street of its kind in Dubuque without sidewalks. The council voted 5-2 to require the sidewalks, with Rios and Luis Del Toro against. Shaw’s proposal to have the city share the cost did not go forward, though the city did agree to take over snow removal on the properties behind Gordon Drive.

Report of Suicidal Man Leads to Three Arrests

A call about a suicidal person led to three arrests in rural Cascade last week. Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Steger Road at about 1:00 Friday afternoon. Arriving officers stopped a vehicle trying to leave the area. The driver, 28-year-old Nicole Hicks of Farley, did not have a valid driver’s license and was arrested for Driving While Barred. A passenger in the car, 31-year-old Patrick Carpenter of Ottumwa, reportedly tried to run from the car, but was captured after a short foot chase. Deputies found marijuana, unidentified pills, and about $2,300 in cash in his pockets. About 40 grams of methamphetamine was found in the vehicle. More meth was found on Carpenter after he was taken to the Dubuque County Jail. Carpenter has been charged with Possession of Meth with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Facility. The third person arrested, 35-year-old David Muntz of Dubuque, had an outstanding warrant for violating his parole.

Dubuque Men Face Charges In Wisconsin

Three Dubuque men face a number of charges following a traffic stop in Lafayette County Friday night. A deputy pulled over a vehicle for speeding at around 11:15 on State Highway 11 in Gratiot Township. Following a search of the vehicle, the driver 36 year old Brad Howes was charged with speeding, having open intoxicants in a motor vehicle and possession of both THC and drug paraphernalia. One of his passengers, 42 year old Jesse Howes was charged with possession or drug paraphernalia and THC. A third passenger, 65 year old Bruce Howes was cited for having a prescription order without a label.

Illinois Man Logs 5th, 6th Public Intox Arrests Since Mid-May

An Illinois man picked up for Public Intoxication by Dubuque Police four times in eight days earlier this year was arrested twice more last week. 57-year-old Stuart Rogers of Freeport was again arrested on Public Intoxication charges both Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. The Wednesday arrest happened at about 7:00 PM at the Hy-Vee on South Locust Street. Employees noticed Rogers was stumbling around the store and notified two officers who were there on unrelated business. Then shortly after 7:00 Saturday morning, Rogers was found asleep outside the main entrance of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library. A breath test showed he had a blood alcohol content of .101. Rogers has pled guilty to each of the four counts of Public Intoxication he was arrested on in May. Those pleas have produced a total sentence of 32 days in jail.

Crescent Gets Financial Help

Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque has been awarded a grant that will assist in its’ expansion plans. According to a press release, the 20-thousand dollar grant comes from Black Hills Corporation Foundation. Last year Crescent provided medical and dental services to nearly 65-hundred patients. This year that number is projected to climb to around 8 thousand. To raise money for the expansion, Crescent will be launching a capital campaign late this year or early 2019.

Dubuque Fire Department Reaches Smoke Detector Install Milestone

Dubuque’s firefighters recently passed a milestone for installing smoke detectors. The fire department notes that it has installed its 4,000th smoke alarm over the past ten years. Those installations have been helped significantly through a partnership the department has with the American Red Cross. They supply the fire department with as many smoke alarms as are necessary. Those four-thousand smoke alarms have been installed in about 800 homes. Firefighters continue to install the alarms anywhere they’re needed. Those who want a smoke alarm installed can call the fire department’s headquarters.

Hockenberry New JCEA Director

The assistant director of the Jackson County Economic Alliance is now the director. Nick Hockenberry’s promotion was recently approved by JCEA’s board of directors. Hockenberry takes over for David Heiar, who will continue at the JCEA as a senior advisor and community coach. Hockenberry has been at the JCEA for the past four years, and in addition to serving as assistant director he also served as economic development specialist. His experience includes business attraction, retention and site assistance, downtown and community development and public speaking. He also facilitated partnerships between civic groups and public service agencies.

Tax Credits Approved For Several Preservation Projects In Dubuque 

Several historic preservation projects in Dubuque are benefiting from State Historic Tax Credits. Tax credits totaling over 1.2 million dollars have been approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority for Marquette Hall, a residential facility, while 2.1 million in tax credits was approved for St. Mary’s Church and rectory. It will help establish an education center, childcare center and offices. Metz Manufacturing Company, a proposed healthcare complex received a little over 1.5 million in tax credits from the IEDA. In all, the IEDA approved 19.1 million in historic tax credits for 11 projects in seven communities.

Airport Aircraft Open House Next Week 

Prior to the annual Fireworks and Airshow along Lock and Dam 11, the Dubuque Regional Airport will host an open house to give people a chance to view the aircraft that will be in the show. The open house will be held on Monday at the old terminal ramp from 4 to 6 p.m. Karin Spisak, marketing coordinator at the airport says this year’s display will feature some old as well as some new aircraft for people to see. Spisak says they are hoping to have some of the pilots at the open house to talk in detail about their particular aircraft. There is no charge to attend the open house. Members from the Veterans Freedom Center will be accepting free-will donations and there will be bottled water for sale.

No Injuries Reported In Dubuque House Fire

No injuries were reported in a house fire in Dubuque early this morning. Crews responded to a report of a fire at a home in the 28-hundred block of Pinard Street a few minutes after 6:20 a.m. When firefighters arrived on scene there was fire and heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building. Crews were able to put out the fire in about 20 minutes, but remained on scene for a while to extinguish some hot spots. No one was inside the house at the time of the fire. No damage estimate is available at this time, but there is extensive damage on the first floor and smoke damage throughout the structure. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Work Begins on Central Avenue Murals

Courtesy: KCRG

Work is already underway to paint another series of murals on downtown Dubuque buildings. Last year, more than a dozen murals were installed on buildings in the Lower Main area. This year, ten more murals will be placed on buildings that sit on Central Avenue between 14th and 18th Streets. The group Voice Productions is leading the installation of the murals. They hosted a workshop for volunteers and student artists who will be helping with the murals this week. Clarke University art student Laura Reiss is participating in the workshop and looks forward to seeing the finished product. The first of the Central Avenue murals is being painted on the Carpenters Local Union building in the 1600 block.

Narcan Available for Free at Area Pharmacies Friday

A medication that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose will be available for free at several Tri-State area pharmacies later this week. Narcan is a nasal spray used to revive people who have overdosed. It can keep them from dying and give rescuers time to get them to a hospital. The Iowa Department of Public Health is distributing about 2,000 Narcan packages that contain two doses of the drug around the state. Those packages will be available for free on Friday. The Narcan kits typically cost about 150 dollars. Here in Dubuque, the Narcan packages can be picked up at local Hartig, Hy-Vee, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart pharmacies. Packages will also be available at pharmacies in Dyersville, Guttenberg, Manchester, Maquoketa, and Monticello.

Cascade Man Seriously Injured in ATV Crash

A Cascade man was seriously injured after crashing an all-terrain vehicle south of Bernard Saturday night. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, 31-year-old Alex Ressler was making a turn when the wheel of the vehicle dug into the gravel. That caused the ATV to flip. Ressler was thrown from the vehicle and knocked unconscious. He was wearing a helmet at the time, though still suffered bruising to his forehead and knee. Ressler was flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City to be treated. His condition is not available, though family members have posted on Facebook that he has been released from the Intensive Care Unit, is conscious, and has been up and walking around at times.

Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory, Warning for Weekend

The National Weather Service is warning those in the Tri-States to take precautions ahead of expected heat and humidity this weekend. The weather service has issued a Heat Advisory for much of our region, though the northern portion of our listening area will be under an Excessive Heat Warning. The Heat Advisory will go into effect at 10:00 tomorrow morning until 7:00 Saturday evening. Temperatures in the Dubuque area will reach into the 90s both Friday and Saturday, with humidity levels getting to what the weather service describes as an “oppressive” level. That will create heat index readings of close to 110 degrees. The Excessive Heat Warning will be in effect for both Clayton and Grant counties. It will be in effect from noon to 7:00 PM tomorrow, before giving way to the Heat Advisory. Within the warning area, the weather service says heat-related illness can set in after only a half hour of exposure.

Dream Fearlessly Event This Weekend In Dubuque

Often times than not, when homeless women and their children check into Maria House or Teresa Shelter in Dubuque, they come with nothing but the clothes on their backs. A few years ago American Family Insurance created “One Saturday to Dream Fearlessly”, a national event designed to inspire, protect and restore dreams. This year the local agency chose to support Opening Doors, which operates both women shelters as well as the Francis Apartments. Local agent Michael Pennington says on Saturday, hundreds of volunteers from the community will gather at the Steeple Square Event Center to assemble care kits for the residents at Maria House and Teresa Shelter. The care kits are for incoming residents at both of the women’s shelters. Once the care packages are assembled, they will be stored away and given to homeless women and children as they arrive at the shelters. Pennington says the decision to support Opening Doors was made months ago. There will also be free family activities and vendor booths, including the Dubuque police and fire departments. Food and beverages will be available for sale. The event starts at 11 o’clock Saturday morning.

Boaters Asked to Stay Clear During Airshow Practice

Dubuque’s annual July 3rd airshow and fireworks are just a couple days away. Before Tuesday’s show, some of the participating aircraft will need some time to practice their maneuvers. That practice is scheduled for early Monday afternoon, between 1:00 and 2:00. During that time, show organizers are asking boaters to stay out of the area between Lock and Dam 11 and the Iowa-Wisconsin Bridge. The restricted area during the practice is the same space where boats will be prohibited during the airshow itself. Dubuque firefighters and officers from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be patrolling the water during both the practice and the airshow. Among the aircraft participating in this year’s airshow are the Iowa National Guard’s Chinook helicopter, an Osprey from the US Marine Corps, as well as the US Army Golden Knights parachute team.

Mississippi to Reach Flood Stage Today

The Mississippi River at Dubuque will reach flood stage today, and its crest is now expected to reach into the “moderate flooding” category. As of early this morning, the river level at the Railroad Bridge was just shy of 16.8 feet. That’s just a couple inches below the flood stage of 17 feet. The river will likely reach that depth later this morning. Now the river is reaching the flood stage a day later than originally forecast when the Flood Warning was first issued late last week. The Mississippi is expected to push into what the Weather Service describes as “moderate flooding” tomorrow night. It will then reach a crest of 18.2 feet on Friday morning. At this point, the river is expected to fall back below the flood stage around midday Monday. But the river forecast does not include any rainfall that our area might receive tomorrow.
The Mississippi is also expected to reach the flood stage in Guttenberg later tonight. The flood stage there is 15 feet. The river will hold right around that level for a couple of days, before falling back below stage on Friday night.
In Bellevue, the river is not expected to reach the flood stage of 17 feet. It will climb to about a half-foot below stage when it crests early Saturday morning.

Funnel Clouds Spotted Over SW Wisconsin

Winds from a tornado caused crop damage outside of Platteville (Courtesy: National Weather Service).

Yesterday’s thunderstorms included several funnel clouds that appeared over southwestern Wisconsin, though none of them appear to have done much damage. According to local emergency management officials, one of the funnel clouds descended between Dickeyville and Platteville a few minutes after noon. It touched down briefly just across the Lafayette County line, where it damaged some trees and crops. No structural damage has been reported so far. In addition to that twister, the National Weather Service says another tornado touched down south of Blanchardville a few minutes before 3:00.

Grassley On New VA Health Care Law 

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is backing a provision that’s included in the VA Health Care Bill that was recently signed ino law by President Trump.. The VA Mission Act includes a provision cosponsored by Grassley that would help VA health care professionals provide telemedicine services to veterans and service members in rural communities. Grassley says the provision will improve the VA’s health care delivery system and provide veterans with more choice and fewer barriers to receiving health care. The provision also gives the Secretary of Veterans Affairs more flexibility to do their job. The provision to the VA Mission Act was authored by Iowa’s other Senator Joni Ernst. The measure passed in the House in May by an overwhelming bipartisan margin before it passed in the Senate.

Rennison Says Vets Need To Understand The New VA Mission Law

The Executive Director of the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs Commission says the VA Hospital in Iowa City and the Dubuque VA Clinic on the Mercy Hospital campus have an outstanding working relationship. Randy Rennison says what the Dubuque clinic can’t offer the clinic in Iowa City provides specialty care to veterans. The VA Mission Act was signed into law by President Trump recently, and Rennison says it will take some time to work out the kinks. Rennison says veterans should only go to a local emergency room if they have a life-threatening condition. If you have a stomach ache, Rennison says do not go to the ER, because the VA won’t pay for it. Work will soon begin on a new clinic in Dubuque that will serve area veterans. The clinic will be inside the old Kmart building on Dodge Street and is scheduled to open next spring.

Dyersville Drug Arrests

Two people were arrested on drug charges after a search warrant was executed at a residence in Dyersville last week. A release from the police department says officers conducted a search warrant last Friday at a residence in the 600 block of 5th Avenue SE looking for controlled substances and other related items. Following the search, police arrested Kasindra Berg of Dyersville and Luke McCleary of Cascade. Both are charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Berg was also arrested on two active warrants from Dyersville dating back to a search conducted for illegal drugs in February. The police department was assisted by several surrounding law enforcement agencies, including Cascade and Farley police and the Dubuque and Delaware County Sheriff’s Departments.

AAA: Gas Prices Continue to Fall Ahead of July 4th Holiday

Gas prices are continuing to trend downward nationwide, a trend that isn’t likely to change between now and the July 4th holiday. That’s according to the national auto club AAA, which reports that the national average prices for a gallon of gas has dipped another few cents this week, and is down nearly twenty cents since this time a month ago. AAA spokesperson Nick Jarmusz says prices here in Iowa have been on a similar decline. Factors on both the supply and demand side are helping bring gas prices down. Those influences have more of an impact on gas prices than just about any other consumer product. Jarmusz expects gas prices could fall another few cents ahead of the 4th of July, which could inspire some additional travelers over the holiday. AAA projects that 47 million Americans will be traveling sometime between July 3rd and 8th. That would be the highest Independence Day travel volume on record.

Cascade Council Approves 1st Avenue Lane Reduction

The town of Cascade will be changing the traffic pattern on its main street, reducing it by a lane. 1st Street in Cascade is currently a four lane road. But the City Council there voted in favor of a plan to reduce it to three lanes on Monday night. Under the proposal, there will be one lane each of east- and westbound traffic, with a center turning lane. There will also be two feet of space on the outer edge of each side of the street to accommodate bicycle traffic. The council also approved the installation of traffic warning signals at two intersections along 1st Street. One will be near Cascade Elementary School on the east side of the town, while the other will be on the other side of the community. It’s not clear when the changes will be made. If there’s time to complete them before school begins in August, the council will pursue that option. If not, the lane reduction may not happen until after school lets out next summer.

Sherrill Woman Injured in Crash with Bridge Support

A Dubuque County woman was critically injured when her vehicle collided with a bridge support Monday evening. The crash happened a few minutes after 5:00 where the Heritage Trail overpasses US Highway 52, just north of the Dubuque city limits. According to a release from the county sheriff’s office, 23-year-old Nicole Soppe of Sherrill was driving north on Highway 52 when she lost control of her vehicle. The car then hit the base of the overpass bridge head-on. Soppe was initially taken to Finley Hospital before being airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. There’s no word on her condition. The sheriff’s department estimates the crash caused at least $50,000 in damage to her vehicle and the bridge support.

Commission Recommends Multi-Million Dollar Expansion for Five Flags

Courtesy: KCRG

A Dubuque commission is recommending that the city pour up to $75 million into expanding the Five Flags Center. The Civic Center Advisory Commission yesterday reviewed the final results of a feasibility study for Five Flags. The consultant that conducted the study presented four possible scenarios for the future of the facility, ranging from minor renovations to the multi-million dollar expansion. The commission voted unanimously to pursue that option. Commission Chair McKenzie Hill says commission members heard from citizens that believe an improved arena will attract better entertainment. The proposed expansion would call for the arena to grow its seating capacity to 6,000. The building would overtake the portion of 5th Street that runs between Locust and Main Streets. The cost of the plan has been estimated between $68 million and $75 million. The City Council is expected to review the study and the commission’s recommendation at their meeting on Monday.

Wedding Crasher Starts Fight

An unwelcome wedding guest is facing charges after punching and biting other attendees. Dubuque Police officers were called to Eagle Point Park a little before 3:00 Sunday afternoon. According to witnesses, 28-year-old Melissa Shaffer-Herrion had come to the wedding looking to fight another woman’s fiancé. That woman tried to speak with Shaffer-Herrion, but got punched in the face for her trouble. Another guest, a 25-year-old Maquoketa man, saw Shaffer-Herrion punch the woman and tried to intervene. Police say Shaffer-Herrion bit him on his bicep, causing an open wound. Officers arrested Shaffer-Herrion and she’s been charged with two counts of Assault Causing Injury.

Riverview Center Hosts SART Summit

A Dubuque-based victim advocacy group held a summit this week to educate those who respond to reports of sexual assault. The Riverview Center brought together members of several Sexual Assault Response Teams from across eastern Iowa. Those teams can be made up of law enforcement officers, educators, social workers…basically anyone who might be asked to help a victim after an assault has happened. Brandi Lewin of the Riverview Center says it’s important for victims to know there are people who want to help. One of the presenters at the summit was retired law enforcement officer Justin Boardman. He spoke about changing how responders communicate with victims, something that helped his department grow its sexual assault reporting rate by 400 percent. Among the attendees was Iowa National Guard Judge Advocate Benjamin Hayek. He says there were some valuable take-aways. The Riverview Center estimates that a sexual assault happens every 98 seconds in the United States.

Iowans Hiking for Healthcare in Dubuque

Hundreds of Iowans are expected to take to the streets Tuesday and call on Congress to fix what they call the “TrumpCare Disaster.” Everyday Iowans Speaking Out for Healthcare will be participating in hikes in Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. Following the hikes, participants will visit the offices of Congressmen Rod Blum and David Young. Dubuque’s hike will start in the 1000 block of Main Street beginning at 5:30 PM.

Clayton County ID’s Crash Victims  Involved In Fatality

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office has release the name of a person killed in a multi-vehicle crash over the weekend. The wreck happened at around 4:30 Saturday afternoon on Iowa Highway 13 near 215th Street. That’s about six miles northeast of Elkader. 61-year-old John Fish of Luana was driving a northbound SUV that crashed into two southbound motorcycles. 57-year-old James Everett of Jesup was driving one of the motorcycles and died at the scene. The driver of the second motorcycle, 26-year-old Jacob Moran and his passenger, 25-year-old Dystany Moran, both suffered critical injuries. They were first taken to an area hospital, before being airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Fish suffered only minor injuries.

KCRG Features Dyersville in “Our Town” Series

Earl

An annual showcase of eastern Iowa communities will feature one Dubuque County town this week. Our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, is taking its yearly “Our Town” series to Dyersville. KCRG’s Chris Earl put together several segments that will showcase the town, and some of its more notable attractions. When he received the assignment, Earl came to realize it had been several years since he’d reported on a story on Dyersville. While much of eastern Iowa might know Dyersville for its connection to the movie “Field of Dreams,” Earl made an effort to feature some of the town’s less widely-known aspects. One of those attractions is the Dyer-Botsford House, which is home to a doll museum. The series will also explore how Dyersville plans to shape itself for the coming decades. Earl also put together features on the St. Francis Xavier Basilica and a local wood carving club. “Our Town: Dyersville” launches on KCRG’s newscasts this evening, when Earl will broadcast live from the community.

Grant County Law Enforcement Aims to “Stuff the Cruiser”

More than a half dozen law enforcement agencies from across Grant County will combine their efforts to help local food banks this week. The departments are teaming up for “Stuff the Cruiser” events in several communities. Officers will bring marked squad cars to grocery stores in each of the towns, with the hope that donations of food items will fill up the vehicles. The events are all happening Friday afternoon from 3:00 to 7:00. In Boscobel, Lancaster, and Platteville, officers will be stationed at the local Piggly Wiggly. Dickeyville’s event will be at the Kieler’s Grocery Store. In Hazel Green, the cruiser will be parked outside of the Gasser’s True Value. Bender’s Foods will host the event in Muscoda.