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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Sups Vote To Allow ATV’s/UTV’s On Roads

The Dubuque County Supervisors have voted to allow all-terrain and utility vehicles on county roads. The vote Tuesday night was 2-to-1, with supervisors Dave Baker and Jay Wickham voting in favor, while supervisor Ann McDonough voted against the ordinance. However the vote to create the ordinance does include some stipulations.  The ordinance would expire after a certain amount of time. The board’s decision has excited supports like Rom McCarthy who says this will boost the local economy. As expected the board’s decision upset opponents like Katherine Caitlin..
Supervisor Dave Baker believes the ordinance will be good for the county in the long run. Along with giving the ordinance an expiration date, both Baker and Wickham discussed exploring insurance and registration requirements, as well as excluding certain county roads from use.

Biden Visits Eastern Iowa

Former Vice-President and now Democratic candidate for President Joe Biden made several campaign stops in eastern Iowa yesterday, including Dubuque. Biden addressed a group of supporters at the Grand River Center last night. Before coming to the Key City, Biden pumped up supporters at a rally at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. Just as he did in previous presidential bids, Biden made it known that he is a strong supporter of the middle-class Biden says we have to eliminate the 1.7 trillion dollars in loopholes that he says only benefit the wealthiest Americans, while leaving the middle-class behind. Biden is one of 20 announced Democratic candidates for President. All are seeking their party’s nomination in next year’s primary.

Roussell For Council

The senior community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy has announced her bid for a seat on the Dubuque city council. Laura Roussell is running for the seat in the second ward. Councilman Luis Del Toro currently represents that ward. He announced plans to run for re-election in January. Roussell, who will retire from her Black Hills position in June, earned her BA business management and an MBA from Clarke University. She currently serves on boards and commissions, including the Dubuque Zoning Advisory Commission and the Dubuque Area Chamber Business Advocacy Committee. Roussell is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Women’s Leadership Network Women of Achievement Award. The city council election is November 5th.

Dubuque Police Seek Information On Shoplifters


Dubuque police are asking for the public’s help to identify a pair of thieves who stole merchandise from Target on Dodge Street. The suspects were captured on surveillance video stealing from the store on multiple occasions between May of last year and March of this year. One suspect is described as a white male in his 20s or early 30s with a beard and facial hair. He was wearing what appears to be a baseball cap. The other suspect is a white female in her late 20s or early 30s wearing glasses. If you have any information visit the department’s ID4PD website and submit information anonymously.

Two North Carolina Residents Injured In Crash In Jo Daviess County

Two North Carolina residents were injured in a one vehicle crash in Jo Daviess County early Sunday afternoon. A press from the sheriff’s department says a vehicle driven by 57 year old Linda Yeargin-Moquin of Pittsboro was traveling west on East Schapville Road, about a quarter mile west of North Salem Road, when she lost control shortly after noon. The vehicle left the road, traveled onto the shoulder, spun around, slid across the road into a ditch before striking an embankment. Yeargin-Moquin was transported to Midwest Medical Center in Galena to be treated for unknown injuries. Her passenger, 86 year old Laverne Thackaberry also of Pittsboro was injured. Thackaberry was transported to Mercy Health Care in Rockford.

Roussell Seeks Seat On Dubuque City Council

The senior community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy has announced her bid for a seat on the Dubuque city council. Laura Roussell is running for the seat in the second ward. Councilman Luis Del Toro currently represents that ward. He announced plans to run for re-election in January. Roussell, who will retire from her Black Hills position in June, earned her BA business management and an MBA from Clarke University. She currently serves on boards and commissions, including the Dubuque Zoning Advisory Commission and the Dubuque Area Chamber Business Advocacy Committee. Roussell is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Women’s Leadership Network Women of Achievement Award. The city council election is November 5th.

Winter Storm Watch Expanded…..Now Includes Dubuque County

A winter storm watch that was issued earlier today for a number of counties in our listening area has now been expanded. The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities has now issued a winter storm watch for Dubuque, Delaware and Jackson Counties. The weather service is predicted between 3 and 6 inches of snowfall north of Highway 20. That will be accompanied by winds of up to 45 mph. The watch for the new counties goes from 1 to 10 pm Saturday. Counties included in the original watch are Clayton in Iowa and Grant, Lafayette, Iowa and Crawford counties in Wisconsin. That watch is in effect for those counties from 7 Saturday morning to 7 at night.

UPDATE: Anhydrous Ammonia Crash In Dubuque County

 

A crash involving a pickup truck carrying anhydrous ammonia forced the closure of a Dubuque County Road this morning. (Friday morning) A release from the sheriff’s office says 27 year old Austin Willenborg of Epworth was driving the truck south in the 7-thousand block of Olde Massey Road at around 8 this morning (Friday morning), when he lost control rolling over the tank that was carrying the anhydrous ammonia. Willenborg was not hurt, but was transported to MercyOne in Dubuque as a precautionary measure. Since the crash happened near a residence’s driveway, the people inside the home were told to stay inside while authorities worked the scene. The accident closed about a mile of Olde Massey Road for about 3 hours. It has since reopened. Charges against Willenborg are pending.

Dubuque Woman Wins $30,000 on Crossword Scratch Game

Coulson (Courtesy: Iowa Lottery)

A Dubuque woman is $30,000 richer after hitting the jackpot on one of the Iowa Lottery’s scratch games. Lisa Coulson won the top prize in the ‘Bonus Crossword’ Game. She bought her ticket at the Tobacco Outlet Plus in Wacker Plaza last week and claimed her winnings at the lottery’s Cedar Rapids office on Friday. As for what she’ll do with the money, Coulson will use some of it to help out her two children, who are both graduating in coming weeks. Coulson says her biggest previous lottery win was $50.

UPDATE: “Powdery Substance” That Sickened Officer Was Meth

Court documents have revealed that the powdery substance which sickened a Dubuque police officer earlier this month was methamphetamine. A new charge of Possession of Meth has been filed against 46-year-old Nathan Chapman of Dubuque. Police were called to his apartment in the 2000 block of Central Avenue after receiving a report of an assault on April 3. As Chapman was being arrested, officers noticed several items of drug paraphernalia around the apartment. They obtained a search warrant and began to investigate further. That’s when Officer Jon Brokens came into contact with an “unknown powdery substance” and started to get sick. Fellow officers gave him NarCan, an anti-opioid overdose medication, when he began to lose consciousness. Brokens was taken to MercyOne Medical Center, where he was treated and later released. The powdery substance was collected and sent to the state crime lab, which confirmed that it was meth.

Portion of Dubuque’s Main Street to Close for Film Fest Block Party

The annual Julien Dubuque International Film Festival is this weekend, and one of its events will force the closure of a block of a downtown Dubuque street. Main Street will be closed between 2nd and 3rd Streets beginning Friday morning. That’s because of the film festival’s “block party,” which will be set up in the 200 block of Main Street on Friday evening. The block party runs from 6:00 to 10:00 Friday night and features live music on the blocked-off street. The street closure will be in place until 8:00 Saturday morning. The closure will not affect Main Street’s intersections with 2nd or 3rd, and access to the 3rd Street bridge into the Port of Dubuque area will not be impacted.

$50,000 in Items Stolen From Dubuque Co. Home Under Renovation

A Dubuque County family’s “dream renovation” is on hold after thieves stole $50,000 worth of furnishings from their home. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office says the thefts happened last week at the home on Freedom Ridge Drive. That’s a short cul-de-sac just south of the Dubuque city limits and west of the Key West area. Sheriff’s office Captain Dale Snyder says the items stolen ran the gamut of household furnishings. Snyder says the department is pursuing all avenues in its investigation. Homeowner Lauren Peterson tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that she took the news of the theft hard. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about the thefts to come forward. Photos of the items that were taken have been posted to the department’s Facebook page.

Walgreens to Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21

A pharmacy chain with locations in Dubuque is increasing the age required to buy tobacco products. Walgreens says it will no longer sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 21. The policy will apply even in states where the tobacco buying age is 18. The change will take effect at the beginning of September. It comes after a top federal official criticized the retailer for violating laws restricting access to cigarettes and other tobacco products. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in March that Walgreens was a top violator of tobacco sales laws. There are three Walgreens locations in Dubuque: at the intersection of Asbury and JFK roads, on JFK near its crossing with Dodge Street, and at the intersection of 20th and Washington Streets near the Five Points intersection. There’s also a Walgreens in Platteville.

Ernst Schedules Appearances in Dubuque, Jones Counties

Ernst

One of Iowa’s US Senators will be stopping in the Tri-States this week. Senator Joni Ernst’s office says she’ll be making stops on her 99-county tour in both Dubuque and Jones counties tomorrow. In Dubuque, Ernst will host a town hall meeting at the University of Dubuque. The event will begin at 9:30 tomorrow morning at the Heritage Center. That event is open to the public. Ernst will also make stops in Anamosa and the Cedar Rapids suburb of Hiawatha on Thursday, though those events are not open to the public.

Finkenauer to Host Town Halls in Dubuque, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids

Northeast Iowa’s Congresswoman will hold a series to town hall meetings this weekend, including one in Dubuque. Democrat Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque will host three events, one each in Dubuque, Waterloo, and Cedar Rapids…the three largest cities in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. The Dubuque event will be Saturday morning at 11:00 at the Hempstead High School auditorium. Finkenauer is a Hempstead alum. The first of the town halls will be on Friday at the UAW Hall in Waterloo. The series will wrap up on Saturday afternoon, when Finkenauer appears at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

McKean Switches Parties

McKean

A Tri-State area state lawmaker is switching parties. State Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa announced this morning that he is no longer a member of the Republican Party, but will instead caucus with Democrats from now on. McKean represents Iowa House District 58, which covers all of Jackson County, the southwestern corner of Dubuque County, and a little more than half of Jones County. McKean has already broke with Republicans on a couple of notable occasions this session. He was the only Republican to vote against a proposed constitutional gun rights amendment. He also joined Democrats in opposing a bill that would have allowed stun guns on college campuses. McKean’s time in state government dates back more than 40 years. He was first elected to the Iowa House in 1978 and served there until 1993, when he moved to the state Senate, where he served another decade. He returned to public office in 2016, winning election to the District 58 seat. He was easily re-elected last fall, winning 66 percent of the vote. With McKean’s switch, Republicans still control the majority in the House, but now only by three seats.

Man Accused of Abandoning Dogs Pleads Not Guilty

A Dubuque man accused of abandoning two dogs that officials say had injuries “consistent with dogfighting” has pleaded not guilty. 31-year-old Eric Tillis entered his pleas to charges of animal abandonment and neglect last week. Court documents say in late January, officers were sent to investigate a report of abandoned dogs. They found two animals in kennels without food or water. Both dogs had several scratches and scars police said were “consistent with dogfighting.” Investigators say Tillis and 21-year-old Alexia Ball had lived at the apartment with the dogs, but had moved out days earlier. Bottom of FormBall also has pled not guilty to charges of animal abandonment and neglect.

Sports Betting Bill Passes Iowa House, Awaits Reynolds’ Signature

The state of Iowa is now just a single signature away from allowing gambling on sporting events. A bill that would legalize sports betting in the state passed the Iowa House last night on a 67-31 vote. The legislation had already cleared the state Senate, meaning it now heads to Governor Kim Reynolds for her signature or veto. Reynolds has not indicated whether she would sign a legalization measure. State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, was the bill’s floor manager in the House. He says it will allow the state to control activity that is currently happening outside of the law. The vote did not break along party lines, as nearly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats were against the measure. One of them was Republican Tedd Gassman, who represents a portion of north-central Iowa near two casinos, believes allowing sports betting is a way to prop up a failing industry. Under the bill, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would establish rules for betting on pro and college sports. The state’s licensed casinos would be in charge of taking and paying out the bets. If Reynolds does choose to sign the bill, it would take effect immediately.

Diamond Jo Pays State Penalty

One of Dubuque’s casinos has paid the state nearly $100,000 in penalties over issues with its system for registering gamblers who have banned themselves. The Diamond Jo Casino recently forked over $95,000 to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. According to the commission, the Diamond Jo started investigating after finding a patron they thought should have been on the self-exclusion list. That investigation found that two dozen people who had signed up for self-bans had somehow not gotten their names in to the Diamond Jo’s system. A large portion of what the casino paid the state was jackpots those banned players won…money that would have initially gone to the state if the system worked properly. The casino traced the problem back to an employee who failed to enter some of the names on the state’s self-ban list.

UPDATE: East Dubuque Shooting Victim Identified

Police in East Dubuque have released the name of the woman killed in a shooting outside a bar over the weekend. 44-year-old Jennifer Miller of Dubuque died from a gunshot wound after being taken to MercyOne Medical Center in Dubuque. Police say the shooting happened at about 2:45 Sunday morning outside of The Cave, which sits at the intersection of Sinsinawa Avenue and 1st Street. Authorities are now asking anyone who witnessed the shooting to pass along what they know. They’re especially looking for anyone who might have video or pictures from outside the bar around the time of the shooting. Those with information can contact the East Dubuque Police Department, and can leave an anonymous tip on the Jo Daviess CrimeStoppers tipline.

One Person Killed in Early Morning Shooting Outside East Dubuque Bar

The Cave bar in East Dubuque (Courtesy: KCRG).

A weekend shooting at a bar in East Dubuque has left one person dead and authorities trying to piece together what happened. The shooting was reported at about 2:45 Sunday morning outside of The Cave, which sits at the intersection of Sinsinawa Avenue and 1st Street. A victim was taken from the scene to MercyOne Medical Center in Dubuque, where they later died. Authorities are not releasing the victim’s name. Police are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting to pass along what they know. They’re especially looking for anyone who might have video or pictures from outside the bar around the time of the shooting. Those with information can contact the East Dubuque Police Department, and can leave an anonymous tip on the Jo Daviess CrimeStoppers tipline.

NWS: Mississippi at Dubuque to Hit 23.2 Feet, 4th Highest Crest Ever

Courtesy: National Weather Service

The Mississippi River is on the rise again, and if projections hold true, its next crest will be one of the deepest in history. The river is being measured at 19.5 feet at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge this morning. According to projections from the National Weather Service, the river will begin a steady rise today. It’ll reach the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet by Wednesday evening before topping out at 23.2 feet late Friday night or early Saturday morning. That would be the fourth-deepest river level ever recorded in Dubuque, falling behind only the significant flood events of 1965, 2001, and 1993. The river level would then hold at 23.2 feet until next Sunday morning, before beginning to fall. There’s no indication just yet of when it would drop below even the “major flood” stage, let alone the overall flood stage of 17 feet.

Central-Kaufmann Intersection Closing for Two Months

A significant intersection in Dubuque’s North End will be closing for two months, beginning today. The city says the intersection of Central and Kaufmann Avenues will be shut down today for as many as eight weeks. That’s due to storm sewer repairs being done in the area. The intersection with Central is where Kaufmann Avenue begins, as it moves west toward Grandview Avenue, Carter Road, and eventually JFK Road. To the east of the intersection, it’s marked as 22nd Street, which is one of the only through streets that connect the North End with the lower portion of the Central Avenue corridor. The city says the intersection will be blocked for eight weeks, weather permitting. Access to area businesses will remain intact. A detour around the closure will be in place. Northbound traffic will stay on White Street, rather than merging over to Central at 21st Street. Vehicles will continue on White until reaching the intersection with 24th Street, when they can head west for a block to Central. As for southbound traffic, the detour will begin at 25th Street, which will carry cars over to Jackson Street. Vehicles can take Jackson to 22nd Street if they are headed across the Bee Branch Creek; or continue on until 20th Street, where they can link back up with Central.

Finkenauer Wants Progress on Infrastructure Bill

Finkenauer

The Congresswoman who represents Dubuque wants to see progress on a bill to improve the nation’s roads and bridges when she gets back to work. Congress is currently in the middle of a two-week break for the Easter holiday. They’ll reconvene next Monday. When they do, Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer hopes to see a renewed focus on addressing infrastructure issues around the country. Finkenauer is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She says improving infrastructure will help keep business moving across the country. Finkenauer will hold an open house at her new Dubuque office from 2:30 to 3:30 this afternoon. It’s located in the 1000 block of Main Street in downtown Dubuque, next door to L. May Eatery. She hopes to use the event as a way to highlight ways her staff can assist constituents.

Dubuque Company Wins Bid for Hamburg Levee Repairs

A Dubuque company will be in charge of fixing to a southwest Iowa levee that failed earlier this year. The US Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the contract to repair the levee near Hamburg to Newt Marine Services. That levee broke during catastrophic flooding last month, inundating the entire town of Hamburg with floodwaters. The contract is for 12 million dollars’ worth of work. The company says it can have the repairs done eighty days after they get started. Initial repairs will stop the flow of water through the levee so further action can be taken. That includes making repairs to the section of Interstate 29 which runs near Hamburg. It was also damaged during the flooding.

Prosecutors to Seek Maximum Sentence for Former Youth Basketball Coach

Prosecutors say they’ll push for the maximum possible penalty against a former youth basketball coach who admitted to taking sexually explicit photos and videos of boys. 43-year-old Greg Stephen of Monticello had been the director of the Iowa Barnstormers AAU basketball program. He pled guilty last year to multiple sexual exploitation of a minor and child pornography charges. He’ll be sentenced next week. Prosecutors are asking the judge in the case to sentence Stephen to the maximum penalty: 180 years in federal prison. In a filing submitted last week, they say that “would reflect the harm he caused his victims…and the danger he poses to the public.” As part of his plea, Stephen admitted to secretly recording players while they showered both at his home and on out-of-state trips. He also acknowledged that he posed as a girl on social media to trick boys into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves. Investigators seized electronic devices that had nearly 450 folders with the names of different boys, each containing at least one explicit photo or video of their genitals.

Columbine Survivor to Speak in Bellevue

Scott

Just days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, one of the event’s survivors will speak in the Tri-States. Craig Scott was a sophomore at Columbine on the day that two students killed a dozen classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives. He’ll speak as part of a presentation at 6:00 Wednesday evening at Bellevue High School. Scott was one of more than fifty students in the school’s library, which is where the majority of the murders happened. Scott was not injured, and is credited with helping evacuate other students, including one who likely would have bled to death otherwise. His sister, Rachel, was the first student killed in the massacre. Scott’s appearance is being sponsored by the nonprofit organization Value-Up. Its founder, Mike Donahue, will also speak.

Johnson On Border Security/Asylum

Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senator says there needs to be consequences for people seeking asylum in this country who don’t have a valid asylum claim. Speaking on a national Fox News program this week, Senator Ron Johnson said only about 15 percent of those people claiming asylum actually have a valid claim. Johnson says since DACA was instituted in 2012, nearly 900-thousand unaccompanied children and people in family units have been let into this country, and they’re staying long-term. Johnson says human traffickers are making hundreds of millions of dollars off of people who are crossing over into the U.S. illegally by distracting U.S. custom and border patrol agents who are busy with people who say they have valid asylum claims

Ernst To Have Town Hall In Dubuque

As part of her tour of Iowa’s 99 counties, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst will be holding a town hall meeting in Dubuque this week. The event will be held on Thursday, April 25 at the University of Dubuque Heritage Center beginning at 9:30 am and it is open to the public.

Take Back The Night

Students at all three of Dubuque’s higher learning institutions will be taking part in a nationwide event aimed at combating sexual and domestic violence later this month. The annual Tri-College Take Back the Night will be held on April 25th at Catherine Byrne Hall on the campus of Clarke University. According to a news release,’Take Back the Night’ will feature speakers from Clarke, The University of Dubuque, Loras College and the Riverview Center. Survivors of sexual and domestic violence and their allies will have the opportunity to share their stories. The event is free and open to the public. It is being sponsored by Clarke’s Student Life Group and Social Work Club.

Dubuque Schools Eliminate End of Year Late Starts

The Dubuque school district is taking an additional step to make sure students meet the state requirement for time spent in class. The district announced Thursday it will eliminate the scheduled late starts on the final four Fridays of the school year. The district says the move is being made in anticipation of early dismissals that could happen because of excessive heat at the end of the school year. The district is trying to “bank up” some instructional hours to ensure that students meet the state requirement, even if there are some additional weather-related schedule adjustments. Iowa law requires that students attend school for 1,080 hours each school year. Beginning Friday, May 17, school will begin at its normal start time for the four remaining Fridays of the year. The district had already added 25 minutes to the end of each school day to try to make up time lost to delays and cancellations caused by winter weather.

BREAKING: Dubuque County Authorities Arrest One of the Area’s “Main” Marijuana Dealers, Two Associates

Authorities in Dubuque say they’ve arrested one of the area’s most prominent marijuana dealers and two people who helped him move the drug. 19-year-old Devin Keller-Schueler of East Dubuque was arrested at a home in Asbury on Wednesday afternoon. He’s facing two counts each of Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, Use of a Minor in a Drug Trade, and one count of Distributing Drugs to a Person under 18. According to court documents, authorities began investigating Keller-Schueler last fall after receiving a tip from an informant that he was dealing marijuana and marijuana oil to a large number of people in Dubuque. Police learned that Keller-Schueler would receive large, weekly shipments of marijuana from legal dispensaries in California and Washington. He would sell the drugs around Dubuque, and ship cash payments back to the West Coast. Authorities say Keller-Schueler had several people assist with his scheme, using their names and addresses to ship the drugs and cash. Others would exchange large amounts of $20 bills for bigger bills at area banks. Keller-Schueler also had a juvenile drive him to the locations of his drug deals, which included the Hy-Vee and Taco Bell on South Locust Street, the Kennedy Mall parking lot, and the Hardee’s in Key West. In January, authorities say Keller-Schueler and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Payton Helling, traveled to the Los Angeles area to buy large amounts of marijuana and ship it back to Dubuque. Shortly after returning, officers from the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office and Dubuque Drug Task Force raided Keller-Schueler’s apartment in East Dubuque. They reportedly found 14 pounds of marijuana plus $17,000 in cash. Helling was also arrested on Wednesday. She’s been charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver. Another person involved in the scheme, 18-year-old Michael Small, was arrested on Wednesday as well and is facing a similar charge. Court documents say he was one of the people who received the marijuana shipments for Keller-Schueler. If convicted of all the charges against him, Keller-Schueler could face up to 55 years in prison.

Mississippi to Begin Rising Again Next Week

Courtesy: National Weather Service

After falling by a foot the rest of this week, the Mississippi River level at Dubuque is expected to begin rising again early next week. That’s largely due to continued snow melt in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. The Mississippi’s depth at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge was measured at 20.7 feet Thursday morning. It’s on the way down, and expected to drop to 19.7 feet on Saturday. The river will hold there for about a day before beginning to rise again. Projections from the National Weather Service have the river getting back to the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet by the middle of next week, and continuing to rise from there.

Iowa Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill

Iowa is one step closer to legalizing sports betting, and putting the state’s casinos in charge of taking the bets. The Iowa Senate voted Wednesday night to advance a sports betting bill. The measure passed 31-18. Under the plan, betting on pro and college sporting events would be managed by the 19 state-licensed casinos. Gamblers will be able to use a smart phone app to place their bets. The bill also legalizes so-called “daily fantasy sports.” It’s currently illegal for an Iowan to claim winnings from FanDuel, Draft Kings, or other online “fantasy” sports game. The sports betting bill now moves to the Iowa House, where it is also expected to pass.

Crash Involving Semi Carrying Anhydrous Closes US 20

Courtesy: KCRG

We’ve learned a bit more about what led to a crash that closed a portion of a Dubuque County highway yesterday morning. The crash happened at about 8:00 on US Highway 20 about halfway between Farley and Epworth. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 53-year-old Phillip Brown of Farley was turning into the westbound lanes of the highway from Hartbecke Road. As he got onto the highway, his pickup was hit from behind by a semi hauling anhydrous ammonia. The semi, which was being driven by 57-year-old Jerry Radke of Dubuque, rolled over into the ditch. Due to the materials Radke was hauling, emergency responders closed the highway in both directions as a precaution. But no ammonia was leaking, so the eastbound lanes were reopened after about a half hour. The westbound lanes remained closed for several hours while crews worked to remove Radke’s semi from the scene. Radke was taken to Finley Hospital to be treated for injuries suffered in the wreck. The state patrol’s report says that Brown was also treated and released. 19-year-old Nicholas Knipper was also listed in the report as having been treated and released, but it’s not clear which vehicle he had been in.

Dubuque Man Arrested Nine Months After Knocking Out Girlfriend

A Dubuque man has been arrested more than nine months after reportedly punching his girlfriend so hard that she lost consciousness. 33-year-old Stephen Toliver has been charged with Domestic Abuse Assault. According to court documents, police were contacted by a woman wanting to report an assault last July. She met officers in an alley behind the home she shared with Toliver, who was still inside. Police say the woman was still bleeding from a cut above her eye. According to the woman, Toliver had accused her of stealing from him earlier that day. When she denied it, she says Toliver punched her in the face, knocking her out. Police say Toliver then went to the woman’s sister’s home to tell the sister that the woman “needed help.” If convicted, Toliver could face up to a year in prison.

Mullis Asks for Bond to Be Reduced

A Delaware County man accused of killing his wife with a farm tool is asking for his bond to be reduced. 42-year-old Todd Mullis is charged with 1st Degree Murder in the death of his wife, Amy. He’s currently being held on a $5 million bond. But this week, his attorneys asked a judge to lower that to one million dollars. If that would happen, Mullis would be able to pay a bail amount of $100,000 to be released from custody. He’s been held since his arrest in late February. Mullis’ wife was found dead on their farm outside of Earlville last November. Mullis initially told authorities he thought she had fallen onto a corn rake. That’s a farm tool similar to a pitchfork. But the State Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide after finding that her wounds came from different angles, suggesting she had been stabbed multiple times.

Cavanaugh Launches Run for City Council

Cavanaugh

City elections in Dubuque are still more than six months away, but a candidate is already launching a run for the City Council. Brad Cavanaugh announced his bid for the Ward 4 seat on Tuesday night. Cavanaugh was one of the candidates in Iowa House District 99’s Democratic primary last year. But he lost to Lindsay James, who now holds that seat. That was Cavanaugh’s first run for office. Cavanaugh is a Dubuque native who currently works as social work professor at Loras College. The 4th Ward is mostly centered on the area of the city south of Loras Boulevard and east of Grandview Avenue. It is currently represented by Jake Rios, who has said he likely will not seek a second term. 2nd Ward Councilman Luis Del Toro’s and At-Large Council Representative David Resnick’s seats will also be up for election this fall. They have each said they do intend to run again.

Teen Takes Dad’s Meth Pipe to School

A Fennimore man is facing drug charges after his son took a methamphetamine pipe to school and gave it to the principal. A release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened last Friday morning. The student attends Fennimore High School. According to authorities, he found a meth pipe in a duffel bag while getting ready to go to school. When the boy got to school, he turned the pipe over to his principal. The boy told the principal he’d found the pipe and a digital scale while taking some of his father’s things out of the bag. The principal contacted local police, who turned the investigation over to the sheriff’s office. Officers went to 39-year-old Jeremy Koppen’s home to question him. But they say that Koppen was uncooperative and was placed under arrest. He is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine Paraphernalia and two counts of felony Bail Jumping.

Wahlert Wrestlers See Damage to Notre Dame Cathedral First Hand

The Wahlert wrestlers and coaches pose for a photo before departing for Paris. Boffeli is second from right.

A handful of Dubuque high school students got to see the aftermath of the Notre Dame cathedral fire up close. A group of wrestlers from Wahlert High School arrived in Paris on Monday to train for an upcoming competition in the Netherlands. They had planned to visit the cathedral as some of their sight-seeing, but what they saw was very different than what they anticipated. Jeremy Boffeli, one of the Wahlert coaches on the trip, says their group saw the smoke from the fire on their way into Paris, but didn’t realize the magnitude of what had happened until they were able to get connected to the internet and social media. Boffeli says the Paris residents he’s seen still seem to be in a state of shock. The Wahlert group includes three coaches, one parent, and five wrestlers. Boffeli says the high schoolers seem to have a good perspective on what they’ve seen, but only expects that to grow in the future. There’s not been a dollar figure put on the damage to the 850-year-old cathedral, though donations of more than $700 million have been pledged.

Council Approval Opens Door for UD Campus Projects

Artist’s Rendering of University of Dubuque South Common

The University of Dubuque has gotten the go-ahead to begin a series of projects on the southern end of its campus. The Dubuque City Council this week approved the school’s request to amend its Institutional District. Assistant City Planner Wally Wernimont outlined the school’s plans to the council. According to Wernimont, the plans received unanimous approval from the city zoning board after no opposition came from neighbors. UD Director of Construction Management Keith Wipperfurth says one of the main reasons from the project is to increase accessibility for those who have physical disabilities. The “South Commons,” as UD is calling it, would sit to the east of the Heritage Center between Grace and Bennett Streets. Construction is expected to begin this week, with completion expected this fall. The cost of the project is $1.7 million.

 

 

City Employees React to New Parental Leave Policy

City employees in Dubuque are happy that the city now offers paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The City Council last month approved a new policy that gives full-time employees up to twelve weeks of paid paternal leave. The policy applies to both mothers and fathers of children who are born, adopted, or are moved to their home from foster care. One employee who will be taking advantage of the new offering is Anne Schreyer. She began working in the City Manager’s office in February. At that time, the city offered no paid paternal leave. Schreyer says continuing to receive a salary while she’s off will make things a lot easier. City Personnel Manager Randy Peck believes the policy change will make the city a much more attractive employer. Dubuque’s offering is more generous than two other major cities in eastern Iowa. Iowa City offers four weeks of paid time off to city employees, while Waterloo doesn’t offer any.

Man Who Tried to Run Over Rival Gets Ten Years in Prison

A Bellevue man who crashed into a downtown Dubuque church while trying to run over another man with his truck is headed to prison. 35-year-old Eric Schmidt was given a ten-year prison sentence in Dubuque County Court on Monday. Back in February, Schmidt cut a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to charges of Going Armed with Intent and 1st Degree Criminal Mischief. In exchange, an Attempted Murder charge was dropped. According to prosecutors, Schmidt and another man had been engaged in a feud that came to a head in May of last year. That’s when Schmidt spotted the man walking in the 12-hundred block of Main Street. Schmidt drove his pickup truck at the man, colliding with the concrete steps in front of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in the process. The crash caused several thousand dollars in damage to the church.

Dubuque Leaders Against Property Tax Bill

Van Milligen

City leaders in Dubuque are among those from across the state of Iowa coming out against a proposed bill that would change how property tax increases are approved. The measure is House File 773. It would require city councils, county supervisor boards, and school districts to vote on any proposed property tax increase of more than two percent. Lawmakers supporting the bill say rising property values essentially let cities, counties, and school districts raise taxes without notifying the public. State Representative Lee Hein, who represents Jones County, says the measure would increase transparency in tax policy. The city of Dubuque on Monday sent a letter to state lawmakers, calling the bill an “unnecessary attack” on the longstanding state policy of local control. City Manager Mike Van Milligen added “there are already systems in place for residents to dispute budgets and promote government transparency.” The bill was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee last week. It now goes before the full Iowa House.

Measles Case Found in Northeast Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Health says it has confirmed its first measles case eight years in the northeastern part of the state. Department officials aren’t giving an exact location for the case, saying that doing so could potentially lead to the identification of the patient. They also say that since there is no public health emergency, there’s no need to release additional details. Health officials say the person was not vaccinated and recently came back from Israel, where measles is spreading. Officials confirmed the case over the weekend through testing at the state hygienic lab.  A press release says the infected person is cooperating with the health department. Officials are following up with others who could have potentially been exposed. Measles symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash.

DCSO Warns of New Phone Scam

The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be on alert for a new phone scam. The scammer is claiming to represent the sheriff’s department and tells potential victims there a civil process that needs to be taken care of right away. They then give potential victims a phone number to call to resolve the issue. But the sheriff’s office says do not call the number. It is not associated with the department. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone living within the county who receives one of the calls to contact their office. Those outside the county can contact local law enforcement.

Nine Dubuque Businesses Cited for Violating Tobacco Licenses

Nearly a dozen Dubuque businesses are facing fines for violating their tobacco sales licenses. A series of settlement agreements with the retailers are expected to be approved by the Dubuque City Council at its meeting tonight. The businesses all failed compliance checks in either November or December by selling tobacco products to customers under the age of 18. The violations were first offenses for five of the nine businesses facing penalties. The Altered State, Eagle Country Market, the Kwik Stop on JFK Road, the Neighborhood Quick Mart, and Sid’s Beverage have each agreed to pay a $300 fine. The other four businesses will be paying $1,500 fines for a second violation of their tobacco sales license in the past two years. They include the Casey’s on Rockdale Road, the Oky Doky on Hill Street and Kwik Stops on University and Central Avenues. Those businesses chose to pay the fine rather than serve a 30-day suspension of their tobacco licenses.

Senior’s Brehm to Attend West Point

A second Dubuque student will be among the class of cadets entering the United States Military Academy this fall. Back in January, we reported that Hempstead’s Jack Gehl had been accepted to West Point. Now comes word that he’ll be joined by Senior’s Elias Brehm, who plans to study engineering at the Academy. In order to even be considered for acceptance into West Point, students must achieve above-average academic rankings, including grade point average and standardized test scores. They’re also required to have taken a rigorous class schedule, including four years of English, an advanced math class, and two years of a foreign language. Applicants are also required to be nominated by a Congressional Representative or US Senator. Only about nine percent of the students who apply for the Academy are accepted.

Board of Supervisors Set Date to Discuss ATV/UTV Usage

A decision on whether Dubuque County will allow ATVs and UTVs on county roads could come by the end of this month. The county Board of Supervisors has scheduled a meeting for April 30 to discuss the issue, which the county has been studying for about six months. Discussion of the issue will be the only item on the agenda for the meeting. The discussion will not include any public comment. Right now, ATVs and UTVs are only allowed to be driven on county roads for farm use. But citizens have been pushing for a legalization of recreational usage. They presented the board with a 2,000-signature petition in support of ATV and UTV use last year. That prompted the board to form a committee to look into the issue. That committee submitted a 610-page report to the board in late January, which did not include a recommendation.

Lansing Mississippi Bridge Closure Begins This Week

The Mississippi River crossing in Clayton County will likely begin seeing some additional traffic today. That’s because of a closure at the next river crossing to the north. The Black Hawk Bridge will be closed beginning today. That’s the bridge that connects Lansing, Iowa, with De Soto, Wisconsin. Crews will be removing and replacing some steel pieces of the bridge during the closure. With the Black Hawk Bridge closed, the nearest alternate river crossing is the Marquette-Joliet Bridge, which connects Marquette, Iowa, with Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Using that crossing will add an hour to the trip across the river. But it’s still closer than the nearest bridge to the north, which is nearly 90 minutes away in La Crosse. The Black Hawk Bridge closure is expected to last about a week.

Dubuque Now Offers Twelve Weeks of Paternal Leave

The city of Dubuque is extending the amount of time employees can spend with new children. The now offers twelve weeks of fully paid paternal leave. The city has adopted a new policy and now offers eligible full-time employees the paid time away from work for the birth or adoption of a child. The policy applies to both mothers and fathers. Eligible city employees will receive their regular base pay and benefits following the date of birth, adoption, or foster-to-adopt placement.

Mississippi’s Decline to Pick Up Speed This Week

The Mississippi River level at Dubuque will begin falling a bit more quickly this week, though a drop below flood stage is still a ways off. The Mississippi’s depth at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge was measured at about 20.6 feet this morning. The National Weather Service projects the river level to stay mostly steady through the day on Tuesday, before beginning to fall on Wednesday. The river level is expected the drop to 19.3 feet by the end of the week. That’s a decrease of nearly a foot and a half over five days. If the river would continue to fall at that pace, it would drop below the flood stage on the final day of April.

UPDATE: Early Morning Fight Leads to Stabbing on North End

One person was hospitalized following a stabbing on Dubuque’s North End early this morning. Police were called to a home at the intersection of Francis and 23rd Streets a few minutes after 12:30 AM. That’s where they found 19-year-old Dustin McGonigle suffering from a stomach wound. He was taken to Finley Hospital for treatment. McGonigle told police that he’d been in a fight with another man outside the Francis Street home. During the fight, the other man stabbed McGonigle in the stomach and ran from the area while McGonigle retreated inside the home. Police believe those who live in the house know the suspect and don’t consider the incident a random act. They’re asking anyone with information about the suspect to contact the local CrimeStoppers tipline. McGonigle was later released from the hospital and arrested on a warrant for Failing to Appear for a court date.

Suspect in Series of Dubuque Rapes Pleads Not Guilty

The suspect in a series of Dubuque sexual assaults has pleaded not guilty. 29-year-old Martel Fountain entered that plea in Dubuque County Court this week. Fountain is charged with four counts each of 1st Degree Burglary and 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse. He’ll be arraigned on Monday. Police say Fountain forced his way into the homes of four women and sexually assaulted them. Three of the assaults happened over the latter half of 2011, with the fourth coming in May of 2014. DNA collected from each crime scene indicated that the same suspect had committed each assault. But Fountain wasn’t identified as a possible match until May of last year after he was taken into federal custody on an unrelated charge. His DNA was again analyzed later last year, and matched the samples connected to the rapes.

Dubuque Police Investigate North End Stabbing

Dubuque Police are investigating a stabbing on the city’s North End this morning. According to our coverage partners at KCRG, police were called to a home near the intersection of Francis and 23 Streets early this morning. Police at the scene confirmed that one man had been stabbed. But that’s about all we know at this point. Police have not released that victim’s name, age, or condition. They also haven’t said whether they have a suspect in custody.

NWS: Mississippi No Longer Expected to Return to “Major Flood” Depth

The Mississippi River at Dubuque is no longer expected to return to the “major flood” range. An updated river level forecast from the National Weather Service shows the river level remaining mostly steady – and below the 21.5 foot “major flood” threshold – through the coming week. The river level this morning was just shy of 21 feet. It’s expected to stay at around 20.9 feet until early Sunday morning, then rise slightly up to 21.2 feet by Monday evening. The projections have the river level staying at 21.2 through Wednesday, when it will begin to drop. The weather service’s projections do not include any additional snow melt that happens to our north. Parts of southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin received heavy snowfall yesterday. As much as 10 inches of snow fell in some areas.

Proposal Would Give NarCan to Every Iowa Police Officer

Every police officer in the state of Iowa could soon have access to the medication that likely saved a Dubuque officer’s life. Last week, a Dubuque Police officer became sick and lost consciousness after coming into contact with a powdery substance during an investigation. The officer was treated with NarCan, which is used to combat opioid overdoses, before being taken to the hospital. Now Iowa state officials want to put NarCan in the hands of every officer in the state. The Iowa Department of Public Health has applied for a federal grant to supply departments throughout the state with NarCan kits. The kits can cost as much as $200, and Kevin Gabbert from the Department of Public Health says he doesn’t want that cost to keep police from having the medication. Data shows that opioid overdose deaths are trending down in Iowa. Last year, there were 137 deaths across the state, compared to 206 in 2017. But Gabbert says there’s still more work to be done. The total cost of the NarCan program is estimated to be around $400,000.

Reckless Homicide Filed Against Semi Driver Involved in Trooper’s Death

The semi driver involved in a crash that killed an Illinois State Trooper is now facing a criminal charge. Prosecutors on Thursday filed a charge of Reckless Homicide against 55-year-old Craig Dittmar of Stockton. They say he was behind the wheel of the semi that hit Trooper Brooke Jones-Story late last month. Jones-Story was performing an inspection on another semi at the time of the crash, which happened on US Highway 20 near Freeport. Immediately following the crash Dittmar was cited for Improper Lane Usage and violating Scott’s Law, which requires drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. In addition to the Reckless Homicide charge, Dittmar is also facing one count of Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle While Fatigued. Jones-Story was the third Illinois trooper that’s been struck and killed so far this year.

Forecasters Downgrade Mississippi’s Expected Secondary Crest

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Forecasters have downgraded the Mississippi River’s expected secondary crest, though the river level will still get back to the “major flood” range. The river was measured at 21 feet at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge this morning. It’s expected to continue to drop through the day today, eventually falling to 20.8 feet. But it will start to rise again tomorrow evening. The current forecast has the Mississippi getting back to the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet on Tuesday evening. The river then holds at that level as far out as the projections extend.

Ex-Employee Accused of Shoplifting from Dubuque Wal-Mart

A former employee of a Dubuque big box retailer is accused of using a tool he got from the job to steal merchandise from the store. Police were called to Dubuque’s Wal-Mart at about 4:40 Monday evening. According to store employees, a man later identified as 19-year-old Shauntez Thomas was seen looking at a Bluetooth speaker. A worker asked if he needed help, but Thomas said “no” and walked away. The worker then reported hearing the speaker’s packaging being placed back on the shelf. When she went to check on it, she found the wrapper, but no speaker inside. Police say Thomas had worked at Wal-Mart until being fired about three weeks ago. They suspect that he used what’s known as a “Spiderware remover” to take the speaker out of the packaging. Thomas has been charged with 5th Degree Theft and Possession of a Theft Detection Removal Device. If convicted on both charges, he could face more than a year in jail.

Dubuque Schools Hire Equity Director

The Dubuque school district has its first equity director. The school board approved the hiring of Taj Suleyman at its meeting on Monday night. The position was created in hopes of leveling the playing field for students across the district. Suleyman says he’ll start his work by simply getting to know the district, its buildings, and what issues need to be addressed. One parent who’s been critical of the district’s efforts to this point is praising Suleyman’s hiring. Christine Darr, who has two kids, says the addition of an Equity Director is a good step. Darr is especially concerned about Dubuque’s Title 1 schools. Those are the schools that receive federal funding because of high numbers of kids on free and reduced lunches. Suleyman comes to the school district after working as an Equity Outreach Coordinator for the city of Dubuque. He’s held that job since early 2016.

Wisconsin Statewide Tornado Drill Postponed

The threat of actual severe weather has caused Wisconsin state officials to push back a planned statewide tornado drill. That exercise was initially planned for this afternoon and evening, but has been pushed to tomorrow. The timing of the drill will stay the same. It will begin with a test tornado watch being issued at 1:00 PM. At 1:45, a test tornado warning will be triggered. That will remain in effect until 2:00, when both the watch and warning will be cancelled. An additional mock warning will be issued at 6:45. Many local cities and counties are expected to test their outdoor warning sirens during the drill. But alerts will not be sent though weather apps installed on cell phones or similar devices.

Wife of Hardee’s Robber Sentenced

A Dubuque woman who helped her husband plan to rob the fast food restaurant where she worked has been sentenced to a short stay in jail, with the threat of additional time if she doesn’t stay out of trouble. 38-year-old Mary Brown was sentenced this week for her role in the robbery at the Hardee’s on Asbury Road last October. Back in February, Brown agreed to plead guilty to charges of 1st Degree Theft and Child Endangerment in exchange for avoiding significant jail time and having robbery charge dropped. Brown’s suspended sentence will require her to spend 90 days in jail, a year in a residential correctional facility, and then be on probation for five years. If she gets into any additional legal trouble in that time, she could be sent to prison for up to ten years. Prosecutors say Brown worked with her husband to plan an early-morning robbery at the restaurant while she was working there last fall. Her husband, William, was sentenced to between five and ten years in prison last month after pleading guilty to 2nd Degree Robbery and Child Endangerment charges.

Second Arrest Made in Possible Dog Fighting

Dubuque Police have arrested a second person accused of abandoning dogs that had fighting injuries. Back in late January, police were called to an apartment near the intersection of 29th and White Streets. The property manager had called after finding two pit bulls in the kitchen. Police say both dogs had scratches and scarring consistent with dog fighting. Police arrested 21-year-old Alexia Ball, who was supposed to be caring for the dogs, and she was charged with Animal Neglect and Abandonment of Dogs. This past Tuesday evening, Ball called police to report she had been assaulted by 31-year-old Eric Tillis. The two had previously lived together in the apartment where the dogs were found. Ball told police she and Tillis had gotten into an argument when he shoved her off of a bed and punched her twice. Tillis has been charged with Domestic Abuse Assault, as well as Animal Neglect and Abandonment of Dogs charges that mirror the ones filed against Ball earlier this year.

NTSB: Dog May Have Caused Fatal Plane Crash Near Monticello

Naylor (Courtesy: KCRG)

Federal investigators say a small plane crash that killed a 90-year-old pilot was likely caused by his decision to allow his large dog near the flight controls. The final National Transportation Safety Board report says investigators don’t know for certain what caused the single-engine aircraft to go down in a cornfield near the Monticello airport in June 2017.But the report says the 75-pound dog likely came in “contact with the flight controls during landing, which resulted in the pilot’s loss of airplane control.” The report says the plane was in good working order before crashing. Pilot Jerry Naylor of rural Jones County was killed. An autopsy showed he died of multiple blunt-force injuries. The dog survived the crash.

Police: Drivers, Pedestrians Share Safety Responsibility

Last weekend’s shot of spring-like temperatures showed some of the dangers of the warmer weather, as collisions between cars and pedestrians in Dubuque caused one death. Police say that drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility of staying safe. Lt. Joe Messerich of the Dubuque Police Department tells us that drivers have to be aware of their surroundings and their speed. Messerich says extra attention has to be paid at intersections. From a pedestrian standpoint, Messerich says they can help drivers out by being predictable. Pedestrians should also be prepared to stop or change their route if a driver does something wrong. Car-pedestrian crashes cause about 6,000 deaths nationwide each year.

Police Release Additional Details About Pedestrian Traffic Death

Dubuque Police have released additional details about an elderly pedestrian’s death in a traffic crash over the weekend, including the man’s name. A few minutes before noon on Saturday, police were called to the area near the intersection of University Avenue and Finley Street. That’s where 82-year-old Walter Bockenstedt had been struck by a vehicle and was pinned underneath it. Bockenstedt was pronounced dead at the scene. Police now say that the car that hit Bockenstedt was being driven by his wife, Mary. She had been backing the vehicle out of their driveway.

Another pedestrian was seriously injured in a collision with a vehicle on Friday evening. At about 5:15 PM, police say 26-year-old Anthony Kalloway walked out in front of a car in the 24-hundred block of Central Avenue. Kalloway was not in a crosswalk at the time. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Finley Hospital. There’s no word on his condition.

Mississippi River Falling, But Will Remain Above Flood Stage

Flood waters push into a parking lot at AY McDonald Park in Dubuque (Courtesy: City of Dubuque).

The Mississippi River at Dubuque has crested, but is expected to stay well above flood stage for the foreseeable future. The river topped out at 22.6 feet at around 6:00 Saturday morning, and has fallen only slightly since then. This morning it was being measured at a depth of 22.2 feet. At this point, the river is expected to drop below the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet on Wednesday afternoon. But there’s no signal in the National Weather Service’s river level projections that shows when it might go below the overall flood stage of 17 feet. According to the weather service, the river will drop to a depth of about 20.5 feet by late Friday, but then hold steady through next Monday.

Cascade High School Principal Expected to Retire

Vander Lugt

Dubuque County’s longest-serving high school principal appears ready for retirement. Greg Vander Lugt has been the principal at Cascade High School for the past 20 years. The Western Dubuque school board is scheduled to consider his resignation at their meeting tonight. If it’s approved, Vander Lugt would step down at the end of the current school year. District officials would also immediately begin the search for Vander Lugt’s replacement, who would take over at the beginning of next school year. Vander Lugt came to Cascade High School in the fall of 1999 and provided needed stability to the school’s top administrative position. Prior to his arrival, Cascade had gone through four principals in two school years.

Illinois Tobacco Sales Age Increasing

The legal age to purchase tobacco products is going up in Illinois. Governor JB Pritzker has signed a bill that outlaws sales of tobacco to anyone younger than 21. The legal age to buy tobacco had previously been 18. The law will take effect on July 1st. When it does, Illinois will become the seventh state to boost the tobacco buying age to 21, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oregon. In addition to cigarettes and chewing tobacco, the law will also apply to e-cigarettes and vaping materials, which have been growing in popularity among teenagers. The bill also does away with penalties for underage possession of tobacco. But businesses will still face fines and other sanctions for selling to underage customers.

Juvenile Charged in Delaware County Fire

Authorities in Delaware County have filed an arson charge against a juvenile accused of starting a fire at a home in Edgewood last month. According to a release from the Delaware County Sheriff’s office, the fire happened on March 21. Deputies were called to the Edgewood home, where they determined that the juvenile had started a fire inside the home. The youth was arrested and is now charged with 1st Degree Arson. The sheriff’s department hasn’t released the name or age of the juvenile. In Iowa, 1st Degree Arson is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

One Killed, One Seriously Hurt in Weekend Pedestrian Crashes

One pedestrian was killed and another seriously injured in separate crashes in Dubuque over the weekend. On Saturday, police say that an elderly man died after being hit by a car that was backing out of a driveway. The crash happened a few minutes before noon Saturday near the intersection of University Avenue and Finley Street. Police say the victim was an 82-year-old man, but have not released his name.
Meanwhile on Friday evening, a 16-year-old driver was behind the wheel when a man walked out in front of her vehicle. That incident happened at about 5:15 PM in the 24-hundred block of Central Avenue. Police say 26-year-old Anthony Kalloway was not in a crosswalk when he stepped out in front of the car. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Finley Hospital. There’s no word on his condition.

VA Clinic To Open This Summer

The highly anticipated opening of a new clinic that will serve veterans in Dubuque County and six other surrounding counties is coming soon. The Veterans Affairs Community Outreach Center was scheduled to open this spring, but the brutal winter conditions slowed the construction process. Randy Rennison executive director of the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs Commission says they are shooting for the first week in July for a ribbon cutting. The clinic, located in the old Kmart Building on Dodge Street will include a number of new amenities that will serve veterans well. Unlike the current VA outpatient clinic on the campus of Mercy Health Center, the new clinic will provide plenty of parking for veterans and clinic staff. Rennison says another new feature will allow veterans who choose not to go to Iowa City to communicate with their doctor from home via an iPad.

Dubuque County Right To Life Speakers

The 27th annual Dubuque County Right to Life dinner will feature a couple of well-known anti-abortion attorneys. A press release from the non-profit organization says Tom Brejcha the president and chief counsel of Thomas More Society along with senior counsel Martin Cannon will speak at the event which will be held at 5 pm on April 26th at the Grand River Center. Both Brejcha and Cannon have defended high profile, anti-abortion cases and supported several pieces of anti-abortion legislation. The event is free, but attendees are asked to RSVP by April 15th by contacting Dubuque County Right to Life.

Mississippi River Reaches Crest at Dubuque

The Mississippi River has reached its anticipated crest at Dubuque earlier than expected. The river climbed to a depth of 22.5 feet at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge at about 3:00 this morning. According to the National Weather Service, the river will hold at that level until tomorrow afternoon, when it begins to slowly fall. The Mississippi is currently predicted to dip below the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. It’s still unclear when it would fall below the overall flood stage, which is 17 feet.
Upriver in Guttenberg, the river reached its crest of 19.5 feet yesterday afternoon. It’ll be at that level until this evening, when the river begins to recede. The Mississippi there is in the “moderate flood” range, but will fall back to “minor flooding” when it goes below a depth of 18 feet on Tuesday afternoon.
In Bellevue, the Mississippi just pushed past the “major flood” stage of 20 feet last night. It’s expected to crest at 20.3 feet tomorrow morning. The Mississippi will stay above that “major flood” stage through the weekend, dropping back below 20 feet on Monday afternoon.

Mechanic Accused of Trying to Get Woman to Trade Sex for Repairs

A Dubuque mechanic has been accused of trying to pester a woman into trading sex for repair work. 30-year-old Kenneth Hess was arrested Wednesday morning at the Midas on John F. Kennedy Road, where he works. According to court documents, a woman had brought her car in for an exhaust repair late last month. She met with Hess and a manager, who estimated the price of the repair at $400, but said they would give a discount if she paid in cash. She says that when Hess contacted her to say the repair was done, he noted that there was another problem he’d be willing to fix at no extra charge. When the woman went to check on the repair, Hess told her to come back on Sunday when the manager wouldn’t be there. When she dropped the car off on Sunday without meeting Hess, she says he backed out of the offer. She provided police with text messages from Hess where he says he “thought this was a different kind of deal” followed by a text including emoji symbols of an eggplant and a peach. Those are commonly used to indicated sexual activity. Hess has been charged with 3rd Degree Harassment.

Finkenauer Named Vice Chair of Highway Committee

Finkenauer

The Congresswoman who represents Dubuque has been chosen to another committee leadership position. Democrat Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque will serve as the Vice Chair of a House subcommittee on highways and transit. That subcommittee will operate as an offshoot of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, one of the committees that Finkenauer sits on. Among the subcommittee’s responsibilities are developing nation surface transportation policy, construction and improvement of highway facilities, and regulation of commercial motor vehicle operations. In addition to being Vice Chair of that panel, Finkenauer is also the Chair of the Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship subcommittee, which operates under the Small Business Committee. Finkenauer has also been appointed as an Assistant Majority Whip in her first term in Congress.

Dubuque Officer Hospitalized After Contact with Unknown Substance

A police vehicle sits outside of a Central Avenue apartment building Wednesday night (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Dubuque Police officer was hospitalized after coming in contact with an unknown substance last night. According to a release from the department, the officer was called to a disturbance at an apartment near the intersection of Central Avenue and 21st Street at about 7:45 PM. Officers arrested 46-year-old Nathan Chapman on charges of Domestic Assault Causing Injury and 2nd Degree Harassment. As police were investigating, they noticed pieces of drug paraphernalia around the apartment. During a search, the officer accidentally inhaled a powdery substance and began to lose consciousness. Fellow officers administered NarCan and the officer was taken to MercyOne Medical Center for treatment. He was treated for several hours and has since been released to recuperate at home. The name of the officer has not been released, though the department says he’s a nine-year veteran of the force. The powdery substance the officer came in contact with was collected and is being tested. Chapman had previously been arrested for drug possession on Tuesday morning.

Mississippi Crest at Dubuque Coming Friday

The Mississippi River at Dubuque is still expected to crest tomorrow, and we now have an idea of when the river will fall back below the “major flood” stage. According to updated projections from the National Weather Service, the river will top out at 22.6 feet at the Dubuque Railroad Bridge during the midday hours tomorrow. That crest is slightly above the high water mark that the weather service had been projecting as recently as yesterday, but is still in line with predictions from earlier this week. The river is expected to hold at that depth for about 24 hours before starting to fall. At this point, the river is expected to drop back down to the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet by Tuesday morning. There’s no word yet on when it might go back below the overall flood stage of 17 feet.

Residents of Island Near Guttenberg Displaced by Flooding

Abel Island near Guttenberg is underwater due to Mississippi River flooding (Courtesy: KCRG).

The Mississippi River is at its crest in Guttenberg, where the river has cut off access to several homes. The river at Guttenberg currently sits at 19.4 feet, which is in the “moderate flood” range. But Abel Island, which sits just north of the main town of Guttenberg, is underwater. That’s forced its residents to higher ground. Bob Waterhouse and his wife Darlene are two of those residents. They are staying at The Landing in Guttenberg until the situation improves, which could be at least a week away. Jamie Gamerdinger owns The Landing, which is fuller than usual right now because of those displaced island homeowners. But he says the flood is cutting into his fishing tour business. Most of Guttenberg is protected by a levee that was built following the historic flood of 1965. But Mayor Bill Frommelt says before it was in place, floodwaters could come several blocks into the town. City leaders are closely monitoring the levee. Ponds and canals in the middle of town have filled up, so pumps are being used to remove some of that water. But the town has not yet done any sandbagging.

Police: Drugs, Guns Found in Cascade Home

A Cascade man is facing a felony charge after authorities found drugs and guns in the home he shares with an infant. 26-year-old Adam Young has been charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver in Jones County District Court. He’s also facing misdemeanor charges of Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Child Endangerment. According to court documents, Cascade Police searched Young’s home on 9th Avenue Southeast last week. They found more than one hundred grams of marijuana. That amount of the drug could be sold for upwards of $1,200. Police also located items containing cocaine residue, a loaded 22-caliber rifle, an AR-15 assault rifle, and magazines for the AR-15. Police say Young’s girlfriend and 4-month-old daughter also live in the home, prompting the Child Endangerment charge.

Dubuque Chiefs, Sheriff Competing to Go “Over the Edge”

From left: Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy, Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing, and Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines (Courtesy: Austin McElroy).

The heads of three Dubuque public safety organizations are competing to see who will go “over the edge” this summer. The Dubuque chapter of the United Way is hosting a fundraiser challenging participants to rappel down the side of the Hotel Julien. Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing, Fire Chief Mark Steines, and county Sheriff Joe Kennedy have all agreed to participate, and are encouraging donations for each other. Anyone who collects at least one thousand dollars in donations will get to go “over the edge.” That’s sparked a friendly competition among the chiefs and the sheriff. If he were forced to pick, Dalsing says he’d prefer to see Sheriff Kennedy go down the side of the building. That’s largely because Fire Chief Rick Steines has some prior rappelling experience through his fire department training. As for Steines, he’s excited for either of his law enforcement colleagues to go “over the edge,” though he admits he’d prefer to see Chief Dalsing go. Steines estimates that the drop from the Hotel Julien roof to the street below is about 100 feet, which would be more distance than most of the previous rappelling he’s done. Dalsing sits on the Dubuque United Way board, and hopes the fundraiser goes over well. So far, Dalsing has received the most donations, with $220 dollars. Neither Steines nor Kennedy have cracked the 100 dollar mark yet. The rappelling event will be June 28th. Online donations for the event are being accepted here.

Mississippi Crest Lowered Slightly Again

Forecasters have once again slightly lowered the expected crest of the Mississippi River at Dubuque, which is now above the “major flood” stage. The river crossed that threshold early yesterday afternoon and stands at a depth of 21.8 feet this morning. It’s expected to rise to 22.4 feet on Friday afternoon, then hold at that depth through the day on Sunday. While slightly lower than crest predictions from earlier this week, that 22.4 foot depth would still be the 10th highest river level ever recorded in Dubuque. The National Weather Service’s projections still don’t show when the river might fall below the “major flood” level, much less below the overall flood stage.

ED Voters Pick New Mayor, Reject School Bond Proposal

East Dubuque voters have chosen their new mayor. Kirk VanOstrand will be taking over that role after staging a successful write-in campaign. He defeated fellow City Council member John Digman, 225 votes to 181. VanOstrand will become East Dubuque’s third mayor in the past nine months. In the contested races for seats on the East Dubuque council, Robin Pearson and Martin Werner are the winners. Pearson edged Jacob Walsh by four votes in Ward II, while Werner easily defeated Hayley Taylor to represent the 3rd ward.
Voters, however, rejected a $12 million proposal that would have brought all of the community’s students onto the same campus. The East Dubuque school district had asked for a bond issue to build a new elementary school off of the current junior and senior high school. That measure failed by about 140 votes, 692-554.
School bond proposals were also voted down in Bellevue, Stockton, and Mineral Point. In Bellevue, a $14.5 million proposal to build a new elementary school received only 47% support, falling well short of the 60% needed for passage.

East Dubuque Residents, Business Owners Watching River

Floodwaters push toward East Dubuque’s Midtown Marina (Courtesy: KCRG).

They’re keeping close tabs on the river level is in East Dubuque. At its current depth, the river has started to seep into the Frentress Lake area. It’s also started to creep toward the Midtown Marina. Owner Jeremy McDowell tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that even the slightest change in the river’s depth could have a significant impact on the business. Not far from the marina, water has surrounded the Shore Acres area. People that live there have been forced to take boats to get into and out of their homes. They’re also without running water, due to a main break that East Dubuque Public Works Director Mark Fluhr says the city can’t fix. While Shore Acres is unprotected from the river, a levee keeps the Mississippi out of most of East Dubuque. Fluhr says the bigger concern for the majority of the town is stormwater. Many in East Dubuque say the current flooding is the worst they’ve seen since the spring of 2001. The Mississippi crested at 25.4 feet that April.

Glen Haven Levee Being Helped by Sandbagging

The levee in a small southwest Wisconsin town is now being supplemented by sandbags after inspectors noticed “seepage” in it. The Grant County Emergency Management Agency says inspectors began to notice seepage or erosion on the levee in Glen Haven this week. Glen Haven is a town of about 500 in the far western portion of Grant County. It lies across the Mississippi River from the northern end of Guttenberg. A press release from the emergency management agency says that sandbags will be used to keep water at a level that pumping operations can manage. The Mississippi at Guttenberg is expected to reach 19.4 feet on Friday morning. That’s about a foot and a half below the “major flood” stage.

Bellevue Among Mississippi River Locks to Close

Lock and Dam 12 in Bellevue

The Mississippi River lock at Bellevue is one of more than a half-dozen that are being closed due to flooding. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday that it would be closing seven locks, mostly between the Quad Cities and St. Louis. In addition to Lock and Dam 12 at Bellevue, the Corps is also shutting down the locks at Muscatine in Iowa, New Boston, Gladstone, and Quincy in Illinois, and Canton and Saverton in Missouri. A spokesman for the Corps’ Rock Island District says lock closures on the river effectively stop all traffic. The Mississippi at Bellevue is expected to crest at 20.2 feet on Saturday evening. That’s just above the “major flood” stage.

Mississippi River to Reach Major Flood Stage Today, Crest Lowered

Forecasters have lowered the expected crest for the Mississippi River at Dubuque, which is expected to reach “major flood” stage today. The river level this morning was measured at 21.3 feet, which is just below the major flood threshold. The river will then continue a slow rise until Friday evening, when it tops out at 22.5 feet. It’s only expected to briefly touch that depth before falling back down. The river level’s drop will be just as slow…if not slower than, its rise. The National Weather Service’s projections for the river level only extend to next Monday night, when the river’s depth will still be about 22.1 feet.

Sandbags Available in Dubuque

The city of Dubuque is helping local residents and businesses prepare for possible flooding. The city is making sandbags available this week. The pre-filled bags are free for the taking. While most of the city will be protected by the John Culver Floodwall, there are areas above, below, and on the east side of the floodwall that may be impacted. To schedule a time to pick up the sandbags, contact the city’s Public Works department.

Loras Receives Anonymous $125,000 Gift

One of Dubuque’s colleges has received an anonymous gift of $125,000. Loras College announced on Monday that a donor has agreed to provide a dollar-for-dollar match to the school’s Spring Appeal. That’s the fundraising effort currently underway. As part of the agreement, the donor will match whatever contributions Loras receives, up to that $125,000 level. The school says that will allow donors to maximize the impact of their contributions. Loras did not release any information about the anonymous donor’s identity, except to say that she was “inspired by her son’s positive experiences at Loras.”

Police: Dubuque Man Choked Girlfriend After Argument

A Dubuque man is facing several charges after police say he held his girlfriend against her will and choked her. Early Saturday morning, police were called to an apartment in the 21-hundred block of Washington Street. A man there had called police after overhearing a fight between his brother, 23-year-old Troy Koranda, and Koranda’s live-in girlfriend. According to court documents, the girlfriend told officers she and Koranda had gotten into an argument. She says it escalated when Koranda began throwing things at her head. She tried to leave, but he grabbed her, threw her on a bed, and began to choke her while banging her head against a wall. When police arrested Koranda, they reportedly found a small bag of meth in his pocket. He’s been charged with False Imprisonment, 1st Degree Harassment, Aggravated Domestic Assault, Domestic Abuse Assault, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Inmate Fight Leads to Broken Jaw, New Charge

A fight between a pair of inmates at the Dubuque County Jail led to one of them being hospitalized and the other facing new charges. According to court documents, the fight happened at about 8:00 Sunday night. 39-year-old Lafayette Dean and 21-year-old Matthew Foxhood were being housed in the same unit and began to argue. Authorities say Dean punched Foxhood in the face several times after Foxhood made a racist comment. Foxhood was then taken to MercyOne Medical Center to be treated for a possible broken jaw. He was in jail in connection with a robbery. Dean has been charged with Assault Causing Injury. That’s on top of the domestic abuse and drug charges he was already facing.

Dubuque Council Approves Incentives for Prairie Farms Expansion

The Dubuque City Council this week approved tax incentives for an expanding dairy company, against the objections of one council member. Prairie Farms is making upgrades to its facility on Dubuque’s North End. The company plans to invest $6.7 million into the project, which is expected to create about ten new jobs. Prairie Farms had asked the city for ten years of tax breaks. Councilwoman Kate Larson, who represents the part of the city where Prairie Farms’ plant is located, questioned the timing of the request, since Prairie Farms has already started work on the project. City Manager Mike Van Milligen explained that the company did appear to jump the gun. The council approved the incentives for Prairie Farms on a 6-1 vote, with Larson voting against.

Dubuque Woman Accused of Dealing Meth

A Dubuque woman has been accused of selling meth after police reportedly found several bags of the drug in her pants. 35-year-old Mellisa Altman was arrested at about 10:30 Monday night near the intersection of Windsor and Clinton Streets in the North End. Police say they had seen Altman driving away from a block where methamphetamine is commonly sold. An officer followed her and pulled her vehicle over after she tried to speed away. Altman had an outstanding warrant and was taken under arrest. While police were searching her, they reportedly found three bags containing a total of 10 grams of meth stuffed into the front Altman’s pants. That amount of meth would be worth about a thousand dollars, if sold. According to police, the amount of the drug and the way it was packaged indicate that Altman was intending to sell the meth. She’s been charged with Possession of Meth with Intent to Deliver.

Mississippi at Dubuque to Reach Major Flood Stage Tuesday, Crest Friday

Courtesy: National Weather Service

We now have a better idea of how high the Mississippi River will crest at Dubuque, as well as when it could begin to recede. The river level this morning was measured at just shy of 20.8 feet. That’s almost four feet above flood stage. The river is expected to reach the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet during the midday hours of Tuesday. It will rise about another foot from there, before topping out at 22.6 feet on Friday evening. That would be the 10th deepest river level ever measured in Dubuque. At that depth, water would affect the Midtown Marina facilities and parking lot in East Dubuque. The river will then begin to slowly fall, dropping about a half of a foot by Sunday night. That’s as far out as the weather service projection goes.

East Dubuque Election Includes City, School Votes

Voters in East Dubuque will have several issues to decide when they head to the polls tomorrow. First, they’ll be picking a new mayor. Current city council members John Digman and Kirk VanOstrand are running for that job. They’re seeking to replace Steve Robey, who’s chosen to not run for re-election. There are also two contested seats on the council up for a vote. In Ward Two, Martin Werner and Hayley Taylor are vying for the spot on the council. Residents of Ward 3 will decide between Jack Olinger, Robin Pearson, and Jacob Walsh.

Meanwhile, voters are also being asked to approve $12 million in bonds that would pay for the construction of a new elementary school. Plans for the new building have it being built as an addition to the existing junior and senior high school. That would mean that all of East Dubuque’s students would be on the same campus. The current elementary school has such structural problems that the state of Illinois actually condemned the building. School Board President Don Kussmaul says the district was then given 90 days to put together a plan to rebuild the school. The East Dubuque district has nearly 700 students and Kussmaul says it makes sense to add a new elementary school now. The total cost of the project is $16.1 million. That would mean a slight tax increase for property owners. Polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM tomorrow.

Tattoo Parlor Holds Fundraiser for Hills and Dales

A woman receives an autism-inspired tattoo during a fundraiser at the Crow’s Nest Saturday (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Dubuque nonprofit that supports people with disabilities was gifted several thousand dollars this weekend, thanks to a unique fundraiser. The Crow’s Nest tattoo studio opened up early on Saturday morning to provide tattoos benefiting Hills and Dales’ autism programs. People could pay fifty dollars for one of several autism-inspired tattoo designs, and the parlor donated all of the proceeds to Hills and Dales. Alyson Beytien of Hills and Dales says it was a great way to raise awareness for autism. The fundraiser brought in nearly $4,200 for Hills and Dales, topping the four thousand dollar goal that the tattoo studio had set.

Benton Police Issue Advisory About Recent Thefts

Police in a small southwest Wisconsin town are encouraging residents to lock their doors after a recent string of thefts. Benton Police posted the advisory on Facebook over the weekend. In the post, police urge residents to be diligent about locking doors and not leaving valuables in their vehicles. This comes after what police describe as an “uptick” in thefts. They say that criminals are always looking for an easy target, and unlocked doors can appear to be an “open invitation.” The post does not indicate whether any arrests have been made in connection with the recent thefts.

Dubuquer Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Illegal Guns

A Dubuque man will spend a little more than three years in federal prison for having illegal guns in his home. 66-year-old Neil Ness pled guilty last fall to Possession of an Unregistered Short-Barrel Shotgun. A judge sentenced him to a total of 37 months in prison this week. According to prosecutors, Dubuque Police officers searched Ness’ home in August of 2016 after being tipped off that someone was selling marijuana out of the house. During that search, officers found a cabinet containing several guns in Ness’ bedroom. Among the weapons were a sawed-off shotgun that was not registered to Ness and a pistol that had its serial number removed.

UPDATE: Mississippi River to Reach Major Flood Stage Next Week

Courtesy: National Weather Service

The Mississippi River at Dubuque is now expected to push past the major flood stage in the coming week. According to updated projections from the National Weather Service, the river will continue a slow, but steady, rise through next week. The river stage is currently just shy of 19 feet, which is in the “moderate flood” range. It will push past the “major flood” stage of 21.5 feet either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The weather service’s projections only extend out a week, but have the river at a depth of 22.1 feet next Thursday night. If the river’s rise would stop there, it would be the 10th highest river level ever recorded in Dubuque. But the weather service doesn’t expect the actual crest to happen until sometime after April 5th. Any rainfall that the Tri-States get this weekend likely won’t have much of an effect on the river level. But some heavier rain is possible next week, which would have a larger impact. Regardless, the weather service expects the Mississippi to remain above flood stage through at least the end of April.