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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Dubuque Police Investigating Shots Fired

Dubuque police are searching for a suspect they say fired several shots within a residence Friday night. A press release says officers responded to a residence in the 22 hundred block of Jackson Street at around 8:30 for several reports of shots fired. Police determined the shots had been fired during a confrontation inside the residence. The suspect left the area before police arrived. No injuries were reported and so far no arrests have been made. If you have any any information about this incident contact the Dubuque law enforcement center.

No Injuries Reported When Vehicle Backs Into School Bus In Grant County

Authorities in Grant County report no injuries after a vehicle backed into a school bus loaded with students Friday. According to a release, a vehicle driven by 20 year old Cole Menne of Tennyson was backing out of a driveway, when he was struck by a school bus traveling south on Crestview Drive in Tennyson. There was minor damage to Menne’s vehicle and the school bus. The bus driver and the 35 students on board were not injured. The release doesn’t say if any citations were issued.

Jo Daviess Drug Arrests

Two Dubuque residents were arrested on drug charges in Jo Daviess County over the weekend. A release from the sheriff’s office says a deputy stopped a car shortly after 3 Sunday morning on Highway 20 near Elizabeth for improperly changing lanes. As the deputy approached, he could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The deputy searched the vehicle and found approximately 49 grams of prepackaged cannabis, a scale and multiple items of drug paraphernalia. The driver, 24 year old Saud Almummar and his passenger 23 year old Anthony Underwood were placed under arrest. Both men are charged with unlawful delivery of cannabis, possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Almummar was also cited for improper lane usage.

River Levels Begin to Fall in Many Areas, But Warnings Continue

River levels are now falling in many parts of the Tri-State area, but Flood Warnings are still in effect for several waterways around the region. Here in Dubuque, the Mississippi River is still on the rise, with a Flood Warning in effect. The river is expected to reach the flood stage of 17 feet tonight, before cresting at 17.8 feet tomorrow evening. The National Weather Service had initially said the Flood Warning would expire on Tuesday. But it now says the river will remain above flood stage through at least next Thursday.

In Elkader, the Turkey River topped out at 18.4 feet last night. That’s about 6.5 feet above flood stage, but still well shy of the initial crest forecasts. The Flood Warning for the Turkey will remain in effect until Sunday morning, which is when the river is expected to fall back below flood stage.

The Maquoketa River is on the way down in Manchester. It reached a depth of 17.7 feet last night, but the river level has dropped a foot already since then. It’s expected to fall below flood stage this afternoon or tonight. Meanwhile in Maquoketa, the river crest is expected yet this morning at about 32.3 feet. That’s well into what’s considered “Major Flooding” and only about three feet from the record river depth. The Flood Warning in Maquoketa will remain in effect through Sunday morning.

The Pecatonica River has also started to drop in both Blanchardville and Darlington. In Blanchardville, the river level reached just past the 16-foot level late last night. It’s not fallen much from there, but is expected to begin receding today. It’s expected to go back below flood stage tomorrow night. In Darlington, the crest happened yesterday evening at 17.6 feet. That’s about four feet above flood stage. The Pecatonica has fallen about a half a foot since, and will continue to trend downward until going below flood stage during the midday hours tomorrow.

Darlington Flooding Called Worst Since 1993

Floodwaters overtake a convenience store in Darlington. The Main Street Bridge can be seen at the top of the picture (Courtesy: NBC15).

In Darlington, they’re calling this the worst flooding the community has seen since the summer of 1993. That’s when the Pecatonica River crested at 18.2 feet, only a few inches from where the river got yesterday. Despite reaching what’s considered “Major Flooding,” Darlington Police Chief Jason King is hopeful that the damage will only be minor. That’s partly due to some of the city’s efforts since that 1993 flood. In the wake of the record flooding in 1993, businesses near the river were elevated, installed flood shields, and took other steps to avoid additional flooding. King says, for the most part, those efforts have worked. The Main Street Bridge in Darlington remains closed because of flooding. That span carries both Wisconsin Highways 23 and 81 over the Pecatonica River.

Accused Drug Dealer Reaches Plea Deal

A Dyersville man accused of selling marijuana oil appears to have reached an agreement with prosecutors to avoid jail time. But another drug possession charge against him is still pending. 41-year-old Kory Manternach was arrested last fall after being seen throwing about a dozen marijuana oil containers in the garbage at a Dyersville fast food restaurant. He was charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, which is a felony. According to online court records, Manternach has struck a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser charge of Possession of Marijuana. He’s been sentenced to a deferred judgement that includes two years of probation. A deferred judgement means that if Manternach avoids any further legal trouble in those two years, the charge will be wiped from his record. A separate charge of Possession of Cocaine is still pending. Manternach’s trial on that charge is currently scheduled to begin in about a month.

Earlville Man Accused of Murdering Wife Pleads Not Guilty

The trial date has been set for a Delaware County man accused of stabbing his wife to death with a farm tool. 42-year-old Todd Mullis of Earlville will go on trial in mid-May in Delaware County Court. He’s charged with 1st Degree Murder in the November death of his wife, Amy. Mullis entered a not guilty plea to that charge this week. Prosecutors say Mullis stabbed his wife to death with corn rake. The state medical examiner found that her wounds came from several angles, suggesting she was stabbed multiple times. According to court documents, Todd Mullis claimed that Amy had fallen onto the rake while working on the couple’s farm outside of Earlville.

Clayton County Included in State Disaster Declaration

Clayton County will be able to access state funding to help with cleanup from this week’s flooding. The county is one of 21 included in a disaster declaration signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Thursday. The Governor’s action makes individuals in those western and northern Iowa counties eligible for grants. The money can be used to pay for home or car repairs, replace clothing or food, and for temporary housing. Reynolds has also activated the state emergency operations center to coordinate the response to flooding.

US Highway 52 Closed Due to Flooding

Water from the Turkey River tops US Highway 52 near Millville (Courtesy: Clayton County Emergency Management).

A portion of a federal highway that runs through Dubuque and Clayton counties remains closed due to flooding. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, US Highway 52 is closed between Luxemburg and the southern edge of Guttenberg. That’s mainly due to water from the Turkey River coming over the highway near Millville. A detour route is in place, using Iowa Highways 3, 13, and 128. That more than quadruples the driving distance between Luxemburg and Guttenberg. It’s not yet known when US 52 might reopen.

Series of Car Break-Ins Reported at Western Dubuque High School

Three suspects believed to be involved in stealing items from cars at Western Dubuque High School are seen in this security camera image provided by the school. The suspects have been seen travelling in the maroon vehicle on the left.

Students at a Dubuque County high school are being urged to lock their doors after recent a string of car burglaries. Administrators at Western Dubuque High School in Epworth say security cameras have caught suspects going through cars in the school parking lot over the past several weeks. The burglaries typically happen between 8:00 and 10:00 at night. Suspects have mainly been targeting vehicles with unlocked doors. After getting into the cars, they take anything that appears to be valuable. Administrators are encouraging students to keep their car doors locked when parked at the school. They also advise students to not leave valuable items where they can be seen from outside the car. The suspects have been seen driving a maroon Dodge crossover or hatchback vehicle. Anyone with information about the car break-ins is asked to contact Epworth Police or the Dubuque County CrimeStoppers tipline.

Mississippi River Joins List of Flood Warnings

The Mississippi River at Dubuque has been added to the list of area waterways under a Flood Warning. That warning will be in effect until Tuesday morning. The Mississippi level has risen about two feet in the past day, and will continue to increase into the weekend. It’s currently scheduled to reach the flood stage of 17 feet sometime around the midday tomorrow. The expected crest will come on Saturday morning at 17.8 feet. The Mississippi is currently expected to drop back below flood stage on Tuesday.

In Elkader, the Turkey River reached flood stage early this morning and has continued to rise. It’s expected to crest at 22.7 feet around midday tomorrow. That forecasted crest is a bit lower than the 23 feet that had previously been expected. The Flood Warning for the Turkey is expected to stay in effect until late Sunday night.

There are also Flood Warnings out for the Maquoketa River in both Manchester and Maquoketa. In Manchester, the river is expected to crest at about 17 feet sometime this morning. That’s three feet above the flood stage. The warning there will expire tonight. In Maquoketa, the river has already reached what’s considered “major flooding.” It’s predicted to crest at 31.7 feet this evening. That’s nearly eight feet above flood stage. The warning there will be in effect until Saturday night.

In Wisconsin, the Pecatonica River is flooding in both Darlington and Blanchardville. In Darlington, the river will crest at 15.9 feet tonight. That’s almost 2.5 feet above flood stage. The Flood Warning in Darlington will be in effect until Saturday morning. In Blanchardville, the Pecatonica will remain above flood stage through Saturday evening. It’s expected to crest at 13.9 feet either late tonight or early tomorrow morning. That’s almost three feet above flood stage.

AP: Dubuque County Treasurer Involved in Possible Ethics Law Violation

The Dubuque County Treasurer is one of two Iowa county officials who may have violated state ethics laws. An investigation by the Associated Press found that Dubuque County Treasurer Eric Stierman recently vacationed with a businessman whose company supplies the website most counties use to collect taxes. Stierman and Winneshiek County Treasurer Wayne Walter are accused of staying at the man’s Florida beach property for free, which would be a violation of state ethics law. Public employees in Iowa are barred from accepting anything worth more than $3 from vendors. In November, Stierman and Walter flew to Florida and met with Marc Carr, the CEO of GovTech Services. The three spent part of their vacation at Stierman’s brother-in-law’s home, and the rest at Carr’s condo in the resort town of St. Pete Beach. Stierman has denied any wrongdoing.

Flooding Causing Road Closures Around Tri-States

High waters around the Tri-States are also forcing the closure of several area roads, including one federal highway. US Highway 52 had been closed between the Northwest Arterial and North John Deere Road. But an alert from the Iowa Department of Transportation says southbound lanes reopened in that area around 10:30 this morning. But Highway 52 is closed at Luxemburg and north through the Millville area due to flooding on the Turkey River. Rupp Hollow and Sageville Roads are also closed. In Wisconsin, Darlington Police say the Main Street Bridge has been closed due to flooding. It carries both State Highways 23 and 81 over the Pecatonica River, which is currently about a foot and a half above flood stage.

Additional Lafayette County road closures:

– State Highway 78, at County H

– County C, north of County G

– County D, at County N

– County G, west of Calamine-Calamine Bridge

– County K, just north of State Highway 11

– County K, between Red Rock Road and Ames Road

– Cisserville Road, to County MM in Green County

– Ferndale Road, south of King Road

– Oak Park Road, south of Rock Road

– Pecatonica Road

– Powell Road

– Riverside Road, between County K and Silver Springs Road

– Roller Coaster Road

– South Lake Road, at Lake Road

– Wildcat Road, west of Otter Creek Road

Jo Daviess County Closures:

– South Creek Road & East Hanover Road (Elizabeth)

– South Creek Road & South Curtiss Hill Road (Elizabeth)

– South Gamble Hill Road & South Rush Road (Hanover)

– South Rush Road & East Heer Road (Hanover)

– East Bethel Road & East Rush Creek Road (Elizabeth)

– East Townsend Road (Stockton)

– East Liebert Road & South Krug Road (Elizabeth)

– East Liebert Road & South Derinda Road (Elizabeth)

– Evergreen Street & South Fulton Road (Hanover)

– South Hanover Hill Road & South Fulton Road (Hanover)

– West Longhollow Road & South Georgetown Road (Elizabeth)

– West Buckhill Road (Galena)

– Carr Road railroad tunnel (Scales Mound)

Flood Warnings Issued for Several Tri-State Rivers

Flood Warnings have been issued for several individual rivers around the Tri-States:

Turkey River at Elkader

Warning in Effect Until Late Sunday Night

Current Level: 6.5 feet

Flood Stage: 12 feet

Will Reach Flood Stage: 4:00 AM Thursday

Expected Crest: 23 feet (midday Friday)

Pecatonica River at Darlington

Warning in Effect Until Late Friday Night

Current Level: 7.7 feet

Flood Stage: 13.5 feet

Will Reach Flood Stage: 8:00 PM Wednesday

Expected Crest: 14.9 feet (Thursday night)

Pecatonica River at Blanchardville

Warning in Effect Until Saturday Evening

Current Level: 7.2 feet

Flood Stage: 11 feet

Will Reach Flood Stage: Early Thursday morning

Expected Crest: 13.9 feet (early Friday morning)

Maquoketa River at Manchester

Warning in Effect Until Friday Morning

Current Level: 5.5 feet

Flood Stage: 14 feet

Will Reach Flood Stage: Late Wednesday night

Expected Crest: 16.4 feet (midday Thursday)

Maquoketa River at Maquoketa

Warning in Effect Until Saturday Evening

Current Level: 21 feet

Flood Stage: 24 feet

Will Reach Flood Stage: Midday Wednesday

Expected Crest: 29.9 feet (midday Thursday)

Klobuchar, O’Rourke Expected in Dubuque on Saturday

Klobuchar, O’Rourke

One declared presidential candidate and one potential candidate are both expected to be in Dubuque this weekend. According to events posted on Facebook, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke will both visit the Key City on Saturday. Klobuchar is hosting what’s described as a “meet and greet” at 7 Hills Brewing in the Historic Millwork District at 1:00 Saturday afternoon. The event is open to the public. Klobuchar is one of the dozen Democrats currently seeking the party’s nomination in 2020. She launched her campaign in mid-February. O’Rourke has not yet launched a presidential campaign, or an exploratory committee, but his trip to Iowa this weekend is fueling speculation that he will join the race. O’Rourke will be the guest of honor at a Saint Patrick’s Day house party being held by Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy Saturday evening. O’Rourke represented far western Texas in Congress for three terms. He gave up his seat to run for the Senate last fall, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.

First Flood Watch of 2019 Issued for Tri-States

It’s still a week until spring officially begins, but the first Flood Watch of the season for the Tri-States is already out. The watch will go into effect this afternoon and last until Thursday afternoon. Our entire listening area is included. According to the National Weather Service, the area included in the watch will receive between three-quarters and a full inch of rainfall. That, combined with melting snow, will cause a sharp increase in rivers and streams, especially those in low-lying areas. The risk of flooding is also elevated by the already saturated or frozen ground across much of the region.

Flooding Preparations Underway in Elkader

The Turkey River in Elkader (Courtesy: KCRG)

One of the communities under a Flood Warning has started preparing for a potential river rise. Elkader sits right along the Turkey River, which is expected to rise to a depth of 23 feet by Friday. That’s eleven feet above flood stage. But the Clayton County Engineer is hoping to make room for some of the water before it reaches Elkader. Rafe Koopman says removing snow from road ditches is one step that could give rising waters somewhere else to go. But Koopman says the county’s crews have already been overworked by a rough winter. The county’s trucks are currently equipped with snow removal equipment. Koopman isn’t sure about removing that gear from the trucks with winter not over yet. The expected river crest in Elkader will fall about five feet below the record, which was set in 2008. Business owners along the river estimate they’ve dealt with about two dozen floods since then.

Proposed Wind Power Line Would Run Under Tri-States

A proposed underground transmission line for wind-generated electricity would run through the Tri-State area. North Carolina-based Direct Connect Development Company unveiled its plans for the project this week. The line would run from Mason City to suburban Chicago. It would carry electricity generated mostly by wind turbines in northern Iowa. The line would mainly run along existing Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks. It would reach the Mississippi River at Marquette, then follow the railroad south through Dubuque, before crossing the Mississippi at Sabula. The project would cost an estimated $2.5 million, though Direct Connect says it has three major investors already lined up. If approved by regulators, the line could be operational by 2024.

Gas Leak Forces Evacuation at Darlington High School

Students at a southwest Wisconsin school were evacuated because of a gas leak in the school building yesterday. The Darlington Police Department received a report of a gas leak at the local high school just before 8:00 yesterday morning. Officers responded to the school, and helped evacuate students from the building. They were moved to the local middle school, which is right next door. Students were held in the gymnasium there while the leak was investigated. Police say it took less than an hour for the leak to be stopped. Once the building was deemed safe, students were given the OK to return to class. No students or staff reported any injuries or illness due to the gas leak.

Dubuque County Barn Fire Causes $100,000 in Damage

A Dubuque County farm sustained six figures worth of damage in a fire late Monday night. Shortly after 11:30, firefighters from Epworth were called to a fire on East Pleasant Grove Road about a mile and a half west of the Timberline Golf Course. A barn on the property had caught fire and county dispatchers were receiving numerous calls about it. A release from the Epworth Fire Department says the barn was fully engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived on scene. The barn is being called a “total loss.” Total damage is estimated at $100,000, which includes both the barn itself and everything that was inside at the time. No animals were being housed inside, and no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined yet, but is not believed to be suspicious.

Hardee’s Robber Sentenced to Prison

The man who robbed a Dubuque fast food restaurant with the help of his wife is headed to prison. 41-year-old William Brown was sentenced Monday to between five and ten years in state custody. That follows his guilty pleas on 2nd Degree Robbery and Child Endangerment charges late last month. Brown admitted to working with his wife, Mary, to rob the Hardee’s on Asbury Road, where she worked. He went into the restaurant shortly before it opened on October 11, displayed a handgun, and demanded money from another worker. Brown will be required to serve five years of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole. Ten years is the maximum sentence. He was also given two years in prison on the Child Endangerment charge, but he’ll serve that term during the same time as the Robbery sentence. Mary Brown reached a deal with prosecutors last month to plead guilty to theft and child endangerment charges. She’s expected to receive a suspended prison term and probation when she’s sentenced next month.

Dubuque School Board Approves Use of Smart Phone Emergency App

The Dubuque school board will provide teachers and staff with a phone app they can use in case of emergencies. The board approved a three-year contract with Rave Mobile Safety at its meeting Monday night. That’s the company that supplies the “Rave Panic Button.” The phone application lets teachers and administrators send emergency alerts to the rest of the staff in their building. It also puts the person sending the alert in direct contact with emergency dispatchers. District Directors of School and Community Relations Mike Cyze says Rave is the company that supplies the 911 system used by Dubuque County. He says making schools safer is one of the district’s main priorities. Mark Murphy, the manager of Dubuque County’s 911 emergency communications center, expressed his support for the Panic Button app. The district will pay Rave about $30,000 per year.

Woman Arrested for Meth Possession Twice in Just More Than a Day

Dubuque Police arrested a woman for drug possession twice in a little more than a day over the weekend. 32-year-old Courtney Beecher now faces two counts each of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. According to police, Beecher’s car was pulled over shortly after 5:00 Saturday evening for having a brake light out. During the traffic stop, a police K9 indicated there were drugs in the car. Court documents show police found several small bags of meth and multiple syringes. Beecher was arrested and taken to jail. Then, at about 10:00 Sunday night, Beecher’s car was pulled over again, this time near the intersection of 9th and Main Streets. Beecher again had both methamphetamine and needles on her. If convicted on the charges against her, Beecher could be sentenced to more than two years in prison.

Weather Service: Major Flooding on Mississippi “Near Certain” This Spring

The latest spring flooding outlook from the National Weather Service doesn’t hold much good news for the Tri-State area. Forecasters are saying that it’s a near certainty that the Mississippi River will go above flood stage at Dubuque, with a good chance of what they call “major flooding.” That’s when the river reaches a depth of 21.5 feet at Dubuque’s Railroad Bridge. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says if that happens, it would be one of the highest levels the river has ever reached. The highest the Mississippi has ever gotten in Dubuque was the 26.8 feet it reached during the Flood of 1965. While the outlook does put a high level of certainty on flooding around Dubuque, O’Mara says there are still factors that could impact the situation. The Tri-States are largely at the mercy of how much precipitation falls in Minnesota. The weather service has targeted mid- to late April as the most likely time for significant flooding. That lines up with some of the worst floods in Dubuque’s history. The Mississippi is expected to rise to 15.7 feet by Saturday evening. That’s into the “action stage” for flooding.

SW Wisconsin Couple Accused of Keeping Drugs Near Children

A southwest Wisconsin couple is facing multiple charges after being accused of doing drugs near young children. 29-year-old Alvin Colson and 37-year-old Diana Colson were arrested on the final day of February at a home on Ann Street in Platteville. According to a release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, officers from the Richland-Iowa-Grant Drug Task Force executed a warrant at the home. Inside, they reportedly found methamphetamine, marijuana, and several pieces of drug paraphernalia. Three children, including an infant, were inside the home at the time. They were turned over to local social services agents. Alvin Colson is facing a total of six charges, ranging from possession of both meth and marijuana to Child Neglect. Diana Colson has been charged with two counts of Child Neglect and one of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Storm Spotter Trainings Begin This Week

A series of storm spotter training sessions being offered by the National Weather Service begins this week. The weather service is hosting three of the trainings across the Tri-States this month. The first session will be held Wednesday evening at 7:00 at the Edgewood fire station. Training sessions resume the final week of the month, with events in both Dubuque and Galena. The Dubuque training will be held on Tuesday, March 26, at 6:30 PM at the county emergency responder training facility. The Galena session follows that Thursday evening at 6:30. It’ll be held at the Galena Territory Owners Club. Another session is scheduled for late April in Platteville.

Former Nightclub Owner Takes Plea Deal

The former owner of a downtown Dubuque nightclub has agreed to plead guilty to charges he passed more than $10,000 dollars in bad checks. 28-year-old Patrick Person pled guilty to a total of eleven forgery, theft, and Ongoing Criminal Conduct charges last week. Prosecutors have recommended that he be given a suspended prison sentence along with between two and five years of probation. According to court documents, Person issued himself several payroll checks from Club Rise while he owned the Central Avenue business. Person then cashed the checks at the Diamond Jo Casino and several Dubuque Hy-Vee grocery stores. The club wasn’t able to cover the checks, which had been written out for a total of more than $10,000.

Dubuque Wins Big at Main Street Iowa Awards

The city of Dubuque cleaned up at an annual ceremony honoring Main Street organizations around Iowa. Iowa Main Street presented its yearly awards over the weekend, and several honors are coming back to the Key City. Dubuque Main Street was honored for two events that made their debut in 2018…the ‘Build a Better Block’ and downtown live music crawl. ‘Build a Better Block,’ which showcased what Central Avenue could look like in the future, received the Outstanding Image Activity award. The first downtown music crawl, held in January of last year, was named the Excellent Special Event. It returned for a second edition earlier this year. Among the other awards:
– Dimensional Brewing won Terrific Total Building Rehabilitation for the work done at its location on lower Main Street
– The Superior Interior Rehabilitation award was given to the Creative Adventure Lab
– Fountain of Youth was honored as the Partner of the Year
– The Signature Award was shared by several groups behind the restoration at Steeple Square, including the Friends of Saint Mary’s, Jeffery Morton Associates, and Gronen Restoration
– Smokestack owner Susan Price was named Volunteer of the Year

Weather Round-Up

The Tri-States saw a variety of weather on Saturday from rain, sleet and snow to some gusty winds topping it off overnight. Dubuque officially received .61 inches of rain Saturday at the Dubuque Regional Airport and a half an inch of snow. The weather is expected to warm up by mid-week, with day time highs in the 50’s for both Wednesday and Thursday, however rain is expected both days. With the rain and melting snow to our north, the Mississippi River at Dubuque is also expected to climb by the end of the week, going from 9.6 feet today to over 12 feet by Friday.

Governor Touts Future Ready Iowa In DC

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds met with President Trump in Washington this week. (last week) She showed him the Future Ready Iowa program, something she says is helping Iowans get into the workforce. The governor is a member of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump co-chairs. The group met for the first time and shared ideas on how to improve the job market to better match people to the skills that good paying jobs require. Reynolds talked about how Future Ready Iowa is working to get 70 percent of the people in the state to have post high school job training or education by 2025. She says other governors could use this as a model to help create jobs in their states.

O’Mara: Limited Snow Melt This Weekend, But More As Temperatures Rise Next Week

O’Mara

This weekend’s rain and warmer temperatures will cause a limited amount of snow melt. But meteorologists tell us we can expect even more melting early next week. According to our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV, high temperatures will be in the middle 30s through the weekend, with at least an inch of rain expected on Saturday. KCRG’s Kaj O’Mara says we won’t see significant melting until overnight lows stay above freezing, which could start happening in the middle of next week. Another factor that will limit the amount of melting is the density of the current snowpack. Stretching the snow melt out over a longer timeframe will help reduce the risk of flooding. That said, there are many small creeks and streams that are already swollen. There’s also a possibility for ice jams to form. O’Mara says if those happen, it will be in more shallow areas or where a river bottlenecks. The National Weather Service currently estimates Dubuque’s snow depth at seven inches.

Senior Boys Basketball Team Advances to State Championship Game

Dubuque Senior’s bench celebrates a basket during the Rams’ 57-55 overtime win over Waukee (Courtesy: IHSAA).

The Dubuque Senior boys basketball team will play for the State Championship tonight. The Rams defeated top seed Waukee 57-55 in overtime in the semifinals of the Class 4A State Tournament last night. Senior now advances to tonight’s 4A state final, where they’ll meet defending champion Cedar Falls. The Rams will be making their first championship game appearance since 1977. A win would secure the very first State title in school history. You’ll hear tonight’s game here on KDTH with coverage beginning at 8:20 PM.

Dubuque Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

Discussion of adding a new housing inspector dominated the Dubuque City Council’s final budget hearing last night. The meeting was the seventh the council has held over the past month, and presented the final opportunity for council members and citizens to provide input on the budget. City Manager Mike Van Milligen explained to the council that at the beginning of the process there did not appear to be enough money to add an inspector. But that changed as the process went along. Initially, the new inspector was not included in Van Milligen’s budget recommendation. But when asked by Councilman David Resnick, the city manager said he would have pushed for the addition if the funds had always been available. Resnick said he was initially skeptical about adding the inspector, but came around when he saw the level of organization outlined by the city housing department. The budget passed on a 6-1 vote. Councilman Luis Del Toro cast the only vote against, citing concerns about the city’s debt level. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes an overall decrease in property taxes of about 2.4%. Most of that drop will be seen in the rates for commercial, industrial, and multi-residential properties. The average homeowner will not see any change to their property tax rate.

Cascade Man Facing 30+ Charges Avoids Prison Time

A Cascade man who had faced three dozen charges isn’t expected to serve any time in prison. 36-year-old Justin Trumm was initially charged with a total of 36 counts in connection with domestic incidents in Delaware County last fall. Those included eighteen counts of Violating a No Contact Order, fifteen counts of Stalking, and two counts of Trespassing. According to online court records, Trumm has reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a handful of charges, while the rest will be dismissed. Trumm pled guilty to four of the Stalking counts and one count of Operating a Vehicle without the Owner’s Consent. Trumm will be required to spend a year in a residential correctional facility. He also received suspended prison sentences totaling 22 years. He’ll be required to be on probation for between two and five years. Charges of Domestic Abuse Assault and Operating a Vehicle Without the Owner’s Consent were split into a separate case, and Trumm was found guilty on both of those counts. He was sentenced to a total of seven days in jail, and given credit for time already served.

Accused Drug Dealer Arrested After Running Into Fence

Dubuque Police are crediting a fence with helping them catch a suspected drug dealer. A few minutes before 11:00 Thursday morning, officers pulled a car over near the intersection of University Avenue and Alta Vista Street. A police K-9 indicated that there were drugs in the car, and the passenger, 35-year-old Curnet Brewer, was asked to step out of the vehicle. As police were searching Brewer, he broke away and ran off down University. He then turned onto Wilson Street and tried to run through a back yard. But instead, he crashed into a fence and wasn’t able to climb over it. Police say he instead threw a plastic bag over the fence before surrendering. Inside the bag, officers found a dozen individually wrapped packages of crack cocaine. Police estimate the amount of crack found in the bag would have a street value of $3,000. Brewer also reportedly had more than $400 in small bills. Brewer’s been charged with Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Deliver and Interference with Official Acts.

Mt. Carroll Sets All-Time Illinois Cold Record

A Tri-State area community now owns the state record for coldest temperature. During the so-called “Polar Vortex” at the end of January, Mt. Carroll dropped to an overnight low of -38 degrees. The National Weather Service has now confirmed that is the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state of Illinois. The record was investigated by the State Climate Extremes Committee, which is made up of analysts from several branches of the weather service. The previous record had been -36 degrees. That’s how cold it got in Congerville in central Illinois in early January of 1999. Mt. Carroll is now the second Tri-State community to hold the state cold record. Elkader owns the Iowa mark, with the -47 reading measured there in early February of 1996.

Finkenauer Named to Congressional Leadership Position

Finkenauer

Just two months into her first term in Congress, Dubuque native Abby Finkenauer has already been selected for a leadership position. Congresswoman Finkenauer has been chosen to serve as one of the House’s Assistant Whips. Her appointment was announced this week by fellow Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina. In a release, he says he chose Finkenauer because she “knows how to…get things done” and “represents the common sense Midwestern position on a number of important issues.” Assistant Whips provide a connection between party leadership and lower-ranking legislators. They also help make sure party members are on the House floor when it’s time for them to cast votes.

Dubuque Native Principal Apologizes for Using Slur

A Dubuque native who’s the principal at a private school near Washington, DC, says she regrets using a racial slur during a Black History Month assembly. Joy Morrow is the principal at the New Hope Academy in Landover Hills, Maryland, which is less than three miles outside the DC city limits. A news release from the school acknowledges that Morrow, who is white, used the “n-word” during a speech to students last week. The scheduled speaker had cancelled, so Morrow decided to deliver a speech she had first used in the early 1990s to describe her upbringing in Dubuque, which she called an “all-white, racist community.” In the release, Morrow says she regrets using the slur, since it distracted from her intended message, which was a reflection on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. It’s unclear if Morrow will be disciplined by the school.

Marklein, Tranel Schedule Budget Listening Sessions

A pair of southwest Wisconsin legislators are inviting local residents to discuss Governor Tony Evers’ budget proposal next week. State Senator Howard Marklein and Representative Travis Tranel will hold a listening session on the budget in Lancaster on Monday. They’ll be at the Schreiner Memorial Library beginning at 10:30 that morning. The session is one of three that Marklein has scheduled this month. He and Travel will hold another one Monday afternoon in Linden. The following Monday, March 18th, Marklein and Tranel will be joined by Representative Tony Kurtz of Wonewoc for a listening session in Richland Center.

Asbury Library Closure to Continue into Mid-April

It will be at least another six weeks before the Asbury Library reopens. The library has been closed since February 1st. That’s when a frozen pipe burst, causing water damage inside the library building. Library administrators initially hoped to re-open about a month after the accident. But they now say it will be at least mid-April before they’re able to open back up. But they note that damage wasn’t quite as significant as feared. Of the library’s 25,000 books, only about 600 were damaged. Ten computers were also destroyed. Library Director Michael Wright says while they don’t have a firm estimate on the damage, it’s not clear whether insurance will completely cover the repairs. A ‘Friends of the Library’ group plans to host a fundraiser to benefit the library. That will be held on March 29th at the Meadows golf course.

Dubuque City Crews Continue Snow Removal Efforts

Dubuque city crews use heavy machinery to break up and remove snow and ice from Loras Boulevard on Tuesday (Courtesy: KCRG).

It’s now been ten days since Dubuque received any measurable snowfall, but crews are still working to remove some of the snow that’s built up on city streets. This week, the city’s Public Works Department posted temporary ‘no parking’ notices on several streets where they’ve been using machinery to break up the snow and ice, and then clear it from the streets. But the amount of ice that’s formed beneath the snow has made that a challenge, according to Public Works Director John Klostermann. He’s hoping to get some help from Mother Nature this weekend. Among the streets that crews have been working to clear this week are West Locust Street, Loras Boulevard, and University Avenue.

DNR Investigating Dead Animals Found Near Farley

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources has launched an investigation into possible poaching after the carcasses of several animals were found along the side of a road near Farley. According to a post on the Swiss Valley Nature Center’s Facebook page, one deer, one turkey, and four pheasant carcasses were found along Kramer Road north of Farley. Each of the animals looked to have been killed recently. The legal hunting seasons for all of the animals have been over for several weeks. Three of the pheasants were hens, which are illegal to hunt at any time in Iowa. Anyone with information about the animals is asked to contact the DNR.

Alliant Plans Rate Increases

Most Dubuque residents can expect their electric bills to go up in the coming months. Alliant Energy, which supplies electric power to most of the city, says the typical electric customer will see an eight-dollar increase to their monthly bill, starting next month. Another increase is expected later this year. That’s if the Iowa Utilities Board agrees to let the company boost rates again. If it does, the second increase would work out to about another $12 per month for the average customer. Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss says the money generated from those increases will go toward investments in renewable energy programs. In addition to their investments in wind turbines, Alliant is also putting money into solar energy. That includes the installation of Iowa’s largest solar array, which will be located just west of Dubuque.

Stray Bullet Strikes House Near Hazel Green

Authorities in southwestern Wisconsin are trying to figure out exactly how a bullet ended up lodged in the wall of a home. On Saturday evening, deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s office were called to a home outside of Hazel Green. The person who lives there told officers that they’d found a bullet inside the house. When deputies investigated, they found the bullet in one of the walls of the house’s living room. A bullet hole was also found in the home’s front window. An adult and children were home at the time. Investigators believe the round had been fired from a significant distance away, and was not fired into the home intentionally. They’re still asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the county sheriff’s office or the Grant County CrimeStoppers tipline.

Police: Darlington Man Accidentally Shot Himself

A southwest Wisconsin man is in serious condition after accidently shooting himself last weekend. According to police in Darlington, officers and paramedics were called to a home on West Mary Street at about 9:40 Sunday night. 27-year-old Coty Lange was found inside the house, suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was initially taken to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, but was later airlifted to UW Hospital in Madison. Police say it appears that Lange accidentally shot himself, and that alcohol was a factor in the incident. The shooting is still under investigation.

Monday Was Dubuque’s Coldest March 4

The National Weather Service has confirmed it…yesterday was the coldest March 4 in Dubuque’s history. The high temperature at the Dubuque Regional Airport only reached 5 degrees. That’s well below the previous daily record for the lowest high temperature. The old mark had been set in 1978, when Dubuque only got up to 14 degrees for a high. Yesterday’s low temperature also came close to setting a new record. The low of -10 fell just three degrees short of the all-time record, which was set in 2002. This is at least the second ‘lowest high temperature’ record set in Dubuque this winter. The other came on January 30, when the high temperature was -16 degrees. That made that day the coldest in recorded history in Dubuque. Highs are normally in the upper 30s this time of year, with lows typically in the low 20s.

Police: Dubuque Man Had Several Kinds of Drugs at Casino

Dubuque Police say a man was carrying multiple kinds of drugs during a recent trip to a local casino. 40-year-old Willie Randle was arrested at the Diamond Jo just before 7:00 Friday night. Police had been called to the casino to arrest a woman Randle was with after a package of methamphetamine fell out of a bag she was carrying. Court documents say police began to question Randle after smelling marijuana on him. Randle was searched, and police say they found cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin in an eye glass container Randle was carrying. The heroin was split into three similarly-sized containers, which police say indicates Randle was selling the drug. Randle is facing several charges, including Possession of Heroin with Intent to Deliver and possession of cocaine, marijuana, and meth. The arrest was the second in less than a week for Randle. He was also picked up on a theft charge at the Q Casino five days prior to the incident at the Diamond Jo.

Epworth Woman Accused of Sexual Abuse

Charges have been filed against a Dubuque County woman accused of sexually abusing a young girl. 35-year-old Gina Urbain was arrested at her home in Epworth on Sunday afternoon and has been charged with 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse. Investigators began looking into Urbain in November, when a woman contacted the Dubuque County Sheriff’s office to report that Urbain had abused her daughter. The girl told investigators that Urbain had sexually assaulted her earlier that month. Second Degree Sexual Abuse is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Former Dubuque Factory Manager Named John Deere President

A former manager of John Deere’s Dubuque operation has been chosen as the company’s new president. The Deere and Company Board of Directors elected John May to the role of Chief Operating Officer and President during a meeting last week. May has been with John Deere for 22 years, with the last six spent as part of the company’s senior management team. He currently serves as the president of the company’s worldwide agriculture and turf division. May previously held the title of Factory Manager for the John Deere Dubuque Works. He was in that role for a little more than two years between mid-2007 and late 2009. May will begin his new role with Deere on April 1.

Dubuque County Recorder Among State Board Appointees

Murphy

The Dubuque County Recorder is one of Iowa’s governor’s latest set of nominees for state boards. John Murphy has been selected to serve on the state Commission on Community Action Agencies. Murphy is now in his second term as the County Recorder. He’s the son of former state House Speaker Pat Murphy. Joining Murphy among those being considered for a state board spot is Dubuque labor leader Tom Townsend. He’s been nominated to join the state Economic Development Authority. Townsend currently serves as both the Business Manager for the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the President of the Dubuque Federation of Labor. In addition, Dubuque doctor Theresa Hughes has been tabbed for the Board of Podiatry. Hughes is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at the Medical Associates clinic on Dubuque’s West End. Meanwhile, Dewayne Rahe, a veterinarian at Tri-Vet, has been picked to serve on the state Board of Veterinary Medicine. Finally, Jack Hasken of Dubuque has been nominated for a spot on Iowa Workforce Development’s board. Hasken is the President and CEO of Dubuque-based Jackson Manufacturing. Each of the nominations must be approved by the Iowa Senate.

Dubuque Superintendent Questions Idea of Allowing Guns in School Parking Lots

Rheingans

A bill that would allow guns to be carried in school parking lots has made its way out of an Iowa Senate subcommittee. The legislation would allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapon in a school parking lot or pickup area. Dubuque Schools superintendent Stan Rheingans questions how the bill would work in practice. But he says until a final version is adopted, he’ll reserve his opinion. Licensed gun owners are currently allowed to bring their weapons onto school parking lots, but have to stop and unload them first. Rheingans believes the law would be too difficult to enforce. Under the legislation, entering a school with a gun would still be illegal regardless of whether it’s loaded or unloaded.

Hickenlooper’s Campaign Launch Tour Includes Dubuque Stop

Hickenlooper

The latest entrant into the 2020 presidential race will visit Dubuque during his first trip to Iowa. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper launched his presidential campaign Monday. The Democrat is expected to hold an official kickoff event in Denver on Thursday night, before launching a weekend swing through Iowa the following day. Hickenlooper is scheduled to appear at a house party in Dubuque on Saturday. The event is being held at a home near the intersection of Grandview Avenue and Dodge Street at 2:30 Saturday afternoon. Among Hickenlooper’s other Iowa stops are Des Moines, Charles City, Clinton, and Cedar Rapids. Hickenlooper served two terms as Colorado’s governor, leaving office earlier this year. Prior to that, he spent about 7.5 years as the mayor of Denver.

Flooding Concerns on the Rise in Tri-States

Concerns over possible spring flooding are on the rise in the Dubuque area. The region has received more snowfall than usual so far this winter. That follows a very wet fall. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says those factors are combining to increase the probability for flooding on the Mississippi River. How quickly all of the snow melts will be a significant factor in the chances for flooding. O’Mara says current models extend the risk for flooding into the latter part of May. Historical data also points to not just a higher risk of flooding…but a higher chance of major flooding on the Mississippi. The National Weather Service office in La Crosse last week issued a flood outlook that includes an above-normal flood risk along the Mississippi River and its tributaries through May.

Dubuque Schools Begin Later Dismissals

Today is the day that Dubuque schools will be dismissing later in an effort to make up time lost to weather-related cancellations. Schools throughout the district will dismiss 25 minutes later than usual beginning today. The later dismissals will be in place until further notice, and possibly through the remainder of the school year. Today’s two-hour delay for Dubuque Schools will not impact the later dismissal time. The school district announced the extension of the school day about three weeks ago. The Western Dubuque district will also be adding time to the end of the school day, but that change doesn’t go into effect until next Monday.

Boil Advisory Issued in New Vienna

Residents of one Dubuque County town are being urged to boil their water before using it. The city of New Vienna initially issued a boil order yesterday, but that has been downgraded to a boil advisory. City officials say there has been a water main break due to frozen pipes in the city. Some residents were without water service for part of the day yesterday. Their service has since been restored. But city leaders are keeping the boil advisory in place through the day today.

Earlville Man Charged with Killing His Wife

A Delaware County man has been arrested in connection with the death of his wife. 42-year-old Todd Mullis is charged with 1st Degree Murder. His wife, Amy, died on their farm outside of Earlville last November. Initially, Mullis reported that she had fallen and injured herself while working on the farm. She was taken to a Manchester hospital, where she was pronounced dead. But authorities found Amy Mullis’ wounds were not consistent with a fall. The State Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide in December. Their report found that she suffered multiple puncture wounds that were likely caused by a corn rake, which is a type of pitchfork. The wounds also came from multiple angles, suggesting that she was stabbed with the rake multiple times.

Loras Students Raise Money for New Planetarium Projector

Students at Loras College will be getting a better look at the night’s sky. The school’s planetarium now has a new projector, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of students. The new Emerald-Fixed projector was recently installed at the Heitkamp Planetarium. It cost $80,000, which students raised in about sixteen months. One of the students who helped bring in the money, Audrey Miller, says they plan to show the new projector off to community groups in addition to students. Among the things the projector can show are constellations, the effects of light pollution, and even the inside a cell.

O’Mara: Snowpack Limiting Tri-State Temperatures

O’Mara

The amount of snow on the ground in the Tri-States is keeping temperatures from reaching normal levels. Parts of the region have as much as ten inches of snow on the ground. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara tells us that even with days getting longer, the snow is limiting the amount of warming the sun can do. O’Mara estimates that temperatures could be at least 15 degrees warmer if there was no snow on the ground. Some minor snowfall is expected in the area on Friday night, but O’Mara says after that, we should expect to be dry through the end of next week. Normal high temperatures this time of year are in the mid-30s, with lows around 20 degrees.

 

 

Judge: “Violent History” Prompts Maximum Sentence for Dubuque Man

A Dubuque man who authorities describe as having a “violent history” will be going to federal prison after a recent conviction on a gun charge. 38-year-old Kenneth Sanders pled guilty to a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person in August. He was sentenced to ten years in prison this week. According to prosecutors, Sanders assaulted his girlfriend in February of last year. During the attack, he made a gesture that she says led her to believe he was armed. Police later found a handgun in the couch where Sanders had been sitting. The judge gave Sanders the maximum sentence for the charge against him, citing Sanders’ long criminal history. Sander has previous convictions on charges ranging from murder to assault to other gun crimes.

Finkenauer-Backed Gun Bill Passes House

Finkenauer

A bill put forward by a Dubuque lawmaker to expand background checks to most private gun sales was approved by the US House this week. The House on Wednesday passed what was known as HR-8. The bill extends the requirement that a background check be performed prior to a gun sale to purchases made outside of licensed gun dealers. Up to now, sales that happened between private citizens or at gun shows did not require a background check. Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque was a co-sponsor of the bill, which passed on a nearly party-line vote. The bill is unlikely to also pass the US Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

Jo Daviess County Business Owners Concerned About Minimum Wage Increase

Small business owners in Jo Daviess County are concerned about how a statewide increase to the minimum wage will impact them. Governor JB Pritzker recently signed a bill that will eventually boost the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour up to $15 per hour in 2025. Tim Althaus, the owner of Family Beer and Liquor in East Dubuque, says his employees are understandably excited about the increase, which will happen in phases. The first boost to the wage will come next January, when it goes up to $9.25 an hour. Then in July of 2020, it rises to $10. Every January after that, it will go up another dollar until reaching $15 per hour in January of 2025. Althaus says staggering the increase will help employers, but only so much. Illinois will be the fifth state to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining California, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.

Second Arrest Made in Timeshare Scam

Dubuque Police have arrested a second suspect connected to a timeshare scam. 43-year-old Matthew Wise of Branson, Missouri, was taken into custody on Tuesday morning and has been charged with 2nd Degree Theft. Authorities have accused Wise of being involved in a scam that took about $3,700 from a Hazel Green couple. According to court documents, Wise made contact with the couple in February of 2016 offering to help them get out of a timeshare contract. Wise asked the couple to meet another man at a Dubuque grocery store, where they signed paperwork and gave the man a check. But a few months later, the couple was contacted by the timeshare owner, asking for the yearly maintenance fees. Police in Branson investigated, and found that Wise had deposited their check into his personal bank account. He then paid the other man, 43-year-old Michael Horn, about half of what he received from the couple. Horn was arrested last week and is also charged with 2nd Degree Theft.

Illinois Chase Suspect Moved to Dubuque Custody

A Dubuque man is now in local custody after being accused of leading police on a chase in southern Illinois earlier this month. 28-year-old Joshua Begle was transferred to the Dubuque County Jail on Tuesday morning. He’s facing local charges of 2nd Degree Theft and Operating a Vehicle without the Owner’s Consent. According to court documents, Begle took a woman’s vehicle in early January, promising to get its brakes fixed. But he never came back and stopped taking the woman’s calls, so she reported the car stolen. About a week later, the sheriff’s department in Fayette County, Illinois, called Dubuque authorities to report they’d recovered the car after a chase with Begle. Earlier this month, he reached a plea deal with prosecutors there to plead to Possession of Methamphetamine, while several charges related to the chase were dropped. He’ll be sentenced on April 1. Meanwhile, a passenger in the car, 29-year-old Stacy Mootz of Dubuque, was also arrested after the chase. She’s facing charges of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Possession of Methamphetamine and Drug Paraphernalia, and Resisting an Officer.

Epworth Woman, Dyersville Man Win NCAA Basketball Tickets from Iowa Lottery

A pair of Dubuque County residents will get to take in NCAA basketball tournament games in Des Moines next month, thanks to the Iowa Lottery. Angela Kramer of Epworth and Barry Panton of Dyersville are among the nearly fifty winners in the lottery’s “Suite Seats” contest. They both win a prize package that includes tickets to the third-round NCAA Tournament games that will be played at Wells Fargo Arena on March 23. They’ll watch the game from an Iowa Lottery luxury box, plus get free food, beverages, and a complimentary parking pass.

Sandusky Victim to Speak at Riverview Center Fundraiser

One of the victims of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will headline a fundraiser for a Dubuque area sexual violence advocacy group. Matthew Sandusky, an adopted son of the disgraced coach, was one of the ten boys that Sandusky molested. The younger Sandusky says the abuse at the hands of his father happened from the time he was eight years old, until he was 17. Matthew Sandusky will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Evening of Light. That’s the main fundraiser for the Riverview Center. The Dubuque-based center offers counselling and other support for victims of sexual violence. The event will begin at 5:00 PM on Thursday, May 9. This is the second consecutive year the Riverview Center has brought in a high-profile guest for the event. Last year’s keynote was delivered by Elizabeth Smart, whose kidnapped and eventual rescue drew national attention.

Police Seek Girlfriend Assault Suspect

Dubuque Police are looking for a man accused of beating his girlfriend so badly she needed to be hospitalized. An arrest warrant has been filed against 30-year-old Pierre Springer charging him with Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury. That’s a felony. Police say the victim told officers Springer attacked her in an apartment in the 400 block of Locust Street last Thursday. The woman suffered severe facial injuries that required a trip to a local hospital. Springer is an African-American male who stands 5’9″ tall and weighs between 190 and 200 pounds. He has a tattoo of a cross in the middle of his forehead, with additional words tattooed on each side of the cross. Anyone with information on Springer’s whereabouts is asked to contact Dubuque Police.

Dubuque’s Burke Official Receives Teacher of the Year Honor

Roosevelt Middle School teacher Chris Burke (middle) accepts the 2019 Iowa Teacher of the Year award from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (right). Courtesy: KCRG.

A Dubuque educator was officially recognized as Iowa’s Teacher of the Year this week. Roosevelt Middle School math teacher Chris Burke was first announced as the winner of the honor last fall. But he officially received the award during a ceremony in Des Moines on Tuesday. Burke was one of four finalists considered for the award, and the other three were also recognized at Tuesday’s luncheon. During a speech to the other teachers, Burke emphasized that it’s OK to make mistakes. Burke is in his 12th year of teaching at Roosevelt. He’s the first Dubuque teacher to win the state honor.

Dubuque Police Propose Adding Three SROs

Dubuque Police want to increase the number of officers who spend their time inside local schools. As part of its funding request for Fiscal Year 2020, the police department has proposed creating three new School Resource Officer positions. The department currently has five officers who split their time between the city’s nineteen public schools. Under the department’s proposal, there would be one officer added in each of the next three fiscal years. By the beginning of school in the fall of 2022, the department would have a total of eight school resource officers. There would be one for each of the district’s middle and high schools, with two other officers splitting the local elementary schools. A final officer would handle DARE classes and assist the other school resource officers as needed. The cost of each officer’s salary and training is estimated at just shy of $51,000. But that cost would be split evenly with the Dubuque Community Schools.

Clarke Names Chesney New President

Chesney (Courtesy: Clarke University)

Clarke University has a new president. The school introduced Thom Chesney as its new leader at a news conference late this morning. Chesney comes to Clarke from Brookhaven College. That’s a community college located in the Dallas, Texas, suburbs. The school has an enrollment of 11-thousand students, making it more than ten times as large as Clarke. Within the past year, Chesney has also been a finalist to become the leader of Oklahoma City University and the Nebraska state college system. Chesney has been Brookhaven’s president since 2011. His experience in higher education dates back to 1996, when he joined the faculty at Whitman College in Washington state. Chesney will begin his new role at Clarke in mid-July, when he takes over for the retiring Sister Joanne Burrows. She’s been Clarke’s president since 2006.

Holy Family Chief Administrator Stepping Down

Trueg

The head of Dubuque’s parochial school system is stepping down. Carol Trueg, the Chief Administrator at Holy Family Catholic Schools, will leave that position at the end of the current school year. An announcement from Holy Family says that Trueg is leaving because her husband has been transferred to a job in California. They plan to relocate there over the upcoming summer. Trueg has been Holy Family’s Chief Administrator for eight years. During her time, the system oversaw the campaign to raise $17 million for renovations at Wahlert High School. Those renovations were completed in the fall of 2017. Holy Family will begin the search for Trueg’s replacement in the coming days.

Snow Days Not Affecting Students Enrolled in Online Classes

Tri-State students who attend classes online haven’t been impacted by snow days nearly as much as their peers. One such student is Peosta 8th grader Samantha Spielbauer. She takes classes through the Iowa Virtual Academy, which is a K-12 online school that across the state kids can enroll in. She began the virtual school last year so she could commit more time to gymnastics. So far this winter, she’s had zero days of class called off due to bad weather. That’s compared to the dozen snow days that have been called in the Western Dubuque Community School District, where Spielbauer would otherwise attend classes. Some of those students who have been getting the day off are in the same house as Spielbauer. She has six siblings who go to public school. Spielbauer will finish up her school year on May 30. Her siblings who go to Western Dubuque schools won’t be done until more than a week later.

Dubuque City Manager Van Milligen Among State Board Nominees

Van Milligen

A Dubuque city leader will sit on the board of the organization that provides housing funds to Iowa communities. Governor Kim Reynolds has appointed City Manager Mike Van Milligen to a position on the Board of Directors of the Iowa Finance Authority. Since the mid-1970s, that organization has assisted Iowa cities with securing funding to provide housing for low and moderate income residents. The Iowa Finance Authority has been plagued by scandal in recent months, however. Former Director David Jamison was fired by Governor Reynolds last fall after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him. The organization eventually paid more than $4 million to two of Jamison’s accusers. In addition to Van Milligen, two other Dubuque County residents have also been nominated for positions on state boards. Christopher Kamm, an athletic trainer at Loras College, is one of three people who have been put forward for a spot on the state Board of Athletic Training. Meanwhile, Jason Wall of Dyersville has been nominated to serve on the state Board of Chiropractic. Wall and his wife have owned City Chiropractic in Dyersville for nearly six years. Each of the nominations must now be approved by the Iowa Senate.

Employee Charged with Stealing Thousands of Dollars in Makeup from Dubuque Store

A Dubuque woman has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of makeup from her job. 21-year-old Yara Lopez was arrested late Sunday night. She’s charged with 2nd Degree Theft. According to court documents, a manager at Dubuque’s JC Penney store first reported the makeup theft in late August. The manager told authorities that Lopez had worked at the store’s Sephora shop, and had taken more than $3,400 worth of items over several months. During an interview with police, Lopez reportedly admitted to taking makeup from the store beginning in June of last year. She said that she’d take a couple of Sephora items from the store about twice each week. She’d then give the makeup to friends. Court documents indicate that Lopez tried to return about $4,000 worth of makeup after admitting to the thefts. She could face up to five years in prison if she’s found guilty.

Police: Dubuque Woman Cut Ex-Boyfriend with Box Cutter

A Dubuque woman faces an assault charge after police say she slashed her ex-boyfriend with a box cutter. 38-year-old Melvina Harris was arrested at around 11:20 Friday morning near the intersection of 3rd and Locust Streets. As officers arrived in the area, they reportedly saw Harris walking away. She threw what appeared to be a box cutter on the ground and refused to obey officer commands to stop before being arrested. Harris’ ex-boyfriend told police the two had gotten into an argument. He says she then punched him and tried to cut him with the box cutter. He had two small cut marks on his wrist. Harris has been charged with Domestic Assault with a Weapon and Interference with Official Acts.

Nurse Accused of Stealing Drugs Takes Plea Deal

A nurse accused of stealing medicines from residents of a nursing home Dubuque will likely avoid jail time. 38-year-old Jenny Tjaden of Bellevue recently pled guilty to Unlawfully Obtaining Prescription Drugs and Tampering with Records. In exchange for her guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped a charge of Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug. Court documents say Tjaden was a nurse at Stonehill Franciscan Services in October of 2017. That’s when she stole painkillers and anxiety medications from some of the residents. She then falsified patient records to cover up the crime. Prosecutors are expected to recommend Tjaden receive a two-year suspended prison sentence and two years of probation. Tjaden’s sentencing is scheduled for late next week.

Sunday Winds Cause Treacherous Travel Around Tri-States

Road conditions around the Tri-State area are expected to begin improving this morning after a treacherous day on Sunday. High winds created blowing snow in many parts of the region, especially the northern portions of our listening area. ‘Travel not advised’ warnings were issued in Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, and Grant counties. In Delaware County, a jack-knifed semi caused a portion of State Highway 13 to be closed for much of the day. A half dozen other vehicles were stranded due to that crash. Grant County authorities reported that the high winds were preventing road treatments from being effective. The high winds were also a factor in a power outage that cut off service in the southern part of Grant County. To our west, Interstate 35 remains closed from around Ames to the Minnesota border.

Additional Five Flags Study Funding Requested

Dubuque city leaders are being asked to pay for a look at additional options for a possible expansion of the Five Flags Center. Last fall, a feasibility study of the 40-year-old arena produced several scenarios. The most aggressive was called “Scenario Four” and included an 85-million dollar expansion of the arena. Dubuque’s Leisure Services Department has included in its Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal a request for an additional $100,000 to look more closely at Scenario Four. Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware says she wants to examine whether there are additional options that fall between the scenarios that were already outlined. The City Council is in the midst of holding public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Those meetings wrap up next week.

Massachusetts Senator Warren to Visit Dubuque, Elkader

Warren

One of the perceived front-runners for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination will visit the Tri-States this week. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will make stops in both Dubuque and Elkader on Friday. The Dubuque event will be held at Stone Cliff Winery in the Port of Dubuque a little before noon on Friday, though doors will open at 10:45. Later that afternoon, Warren is scheduled to meet with party activists in Elkader, though that event is not open to the public. Warren was first elected to the Senate in 2012. She won a second term last fall.

Cascade Co-Workers Honor Pact to Split Lottery Win

Smith (left) and Bussan (Courtesy: Iowa Lottery).

A pair of friends from Dubuque County will split a lottery prize won this week. Chris Smith of Cascade and Mark Bussan of Dubuque turned in a winning “Lucky for Life” ticket at the Iowa Lottery’s headquarters in Des Moines on Thursday. Their ticket won the game’s second prize: $25,000 each year for life. The two friends work together on the second shift at Webber Metals in Cascade. They made a pact that if either of them ever won a big prize, they would split it. The winning numbers are ones that Smith has been playing for nearly 18 years. Both men say they’ll use their winnings to pay off some debt and plan for retirement. Smith bought the winning ticket at McDermott Oil in Cascade. The store will receive a $500 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

 

Dubuque Being Asked to Pay for Part-time EB Lyons Center Staffer

Courtesy: KCRG

The City of Dubuque is being asked to provide money to help staff the EB Lyons Interpretive Center at the Mines of Spain. The center is owned by the city, but managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. But city Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that state budget cuts have meant the DNR can’t staff the center all the time. The DNR doesn’t staff the center at all during the winter. It is open for a few hours each afternoon between Friday and Monday thanks to volunteers from the Friends of the Mines of Spain group. In her budget request for the upcoming fiscal year, Ware has asked that the city provide $50,000 to pay for a part-time center employee. A portion of the money would also cover utility costs that come from having the center open additional hours. The Leisure Services Division is a part of Dubuque’s Parks Department. They’ll make their budget proposal to the City Council tonight.

Dubuque Jail Inmates Accused of Damaging Police Computer Equipment

A pair of Dubuque County Jail inmates poured water down a vent, damaging computer equipment in the Dubuque Police Department. That’s according to court documents charging the two men – 31-year-old Jay Martin and 34-year-old Jonathan Mueller – with one count each of 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief. Prosecutors say security camera footage from the jail shows the two pouring water down an air vent located in the jail’s housing unit, which sits directly above a Dubuque Police Department work space. On both January 14th and 18th, police officers found water leaking from the ceiling onto their work space. A laptop computer and several computer accessories worth a total of 18-hundred dollars were destroyed.

Iowa DOT Delays Lighting Work on Julien Dubuque Bridge

Construction work that will close one lane of the Julien Dubuque Bridge has been delayed. The Iowa Department of Transportation initially said it would be doing the work over a six-week period that would stretch from April into May. But the DOT now says work won’t begin until May 28, the day after Memorial Day. The change is the result of public input that the DOT received about the planned closures. The project includes repairing and upgrading the bridge’s lighting system. Eastbound lanes of the bridge will be closed and traffic will be detoured through Wisconsin. The closures will be in effect from roughly 7:00 each morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. The project is now expected to take between four and six weeks to complete.

Western Dubuque District Adding Time to School Day

A second Dubuque County school district will be extending the length of its school day in order to make up time lost to weather-related cancellations. The Western Dubuque district announced this morning that it will add 25 minutes on to the end of the school day beginning March 11. That’s the beginning of the district’s 3rd trimester. Following the snow day on Wednesday, Western Dubuque’s final day of classes had moved to Monday, June 10. But administrators there told us earlier this month they were committed to keeping the end of the school year within the first week of June. Adding 25 minutes to the school day will move the last day of school up to June 4. That also gives the district some leeway if there are any additional snow days. In addition to adding time to the end of each day, Western Dubuque has also made several other adjustments to its schedule, mostly in regard to teacher training days. The Dubuque Community School District had previously announced it would be adding time to the end of the school day as well. Their extended school days begin March 4.

Additional Western Dubuque Schedule Changes:

February 28th – This was the last day of Trimester 2 and a 2 hour early dismissal, but it will now be a full day of school. Trimester 2 will now end on March 8th and we will run a 2 hour early dismissal on that date.

March 1st – This was a teacher comp day and will now be a student attendance day. The teacher comp day will be moved to the end of the year.

March 4th – This was a Professional Development Day and it will now be a student attendance day. We will move this PD to the end of the year.

March 8th – This is now the last day of Trimester 2. We will have a 2 hour early release on this date.

March 11th – This will now be the first day of Trimester 3.

April 18th – This was part of spring break but was also a built in snow day. This will now be a full student attendance day.

April 22nd – This was part of spring break. This will now become a PD Day.

April 23rd – This was a PD Day and it will now be a student attendance day. This PD day will be moved to April 22nd.

June 3-4 – These days are additional make-up days.  June 4 is currently the last day of school with a 2 hour early release.

Morning Snowfall Makes for Difficult Travel Across Tri-States

Snow falling over the Tri-State area is expected to come to an end this afternoon, though travel may still be difficult for many in the region. Snowfall between 1.5 and 5.4 inches has been reported across the area. The Dubuque Regional Airport’s official report was 3.1 inches of snow, though that was filed shortly after 6:00 AM. The highest snow amounts fell in the northern portions of Clayton and Grant Counties. Emergency managers in both of those counties are now advising against travel. In parts of Grant County, the snow has transitioned to freezing rain. Snowplows and salt trucks are out, but the local sheriff’s office is asking that any unnecessary travel be avoided. In Clayton County, emergency managers are putting it simply, saying “stay home if you can.” They report already responding to many calls for cars that had gone into road ditches.

Snowfall reports, as of 10:30 AM:

5.4 inches – Volga

5.2 – Prairie du Chien

4.1 – Lancaster

3.8 – Strawberry Point

3.2 – Manchester

3.1 – Dubuque Regional Airport

3 – Monticello

3 – Platteville

2.8 – Cuba City

2.7 – Cascade

2.1 – Elizabeth

2 – Galena

1.5 – Lock and Dam 12, Bellevue

1.5 – Stockton

 

Closing Date for Kennedy Mall Payless Store Unknown

A shoe store in Dubuque’s Kennedy Mall will be closing, though it’s unclear exactly when. The mall houses one of the locations of Payless ShoeSource, which has filed for bankruptcy. As part of that process, the company will close more than 23-hundred stores as it liquidates most of its North American operation. The store closures involve all Payless locations across the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Payless says it will honor gift cards and store credit through March 11. Returns and exchanges on products bought before this week will also be accepted through the end of February. Kennedy Mall officials tell KDTH that Payless has not set a specific closing date for the store at the mall. Payless also has outlets in the ShopKo stores located in Dubuque, Dyersville, and Lancaster.

Dubuque Police Issue Arrest Warrant for Mother Nature

Courtesy: Dubuque Police

The Dubuque Police Department appears to be keeping its sense of humor through this extended streak of winter weather. A post to the department’s Facebook page indicates that an arrest warrant has been filed for Mother Nature. Exact charges against her are not specified, though a wanted poster attached to the post accuses her of “general nastiness.” The poster also promises a million dollar reward for Mother Nature’s capture. That’s despite the department’s own admission that bringing her to justice will be difficult. It says “no law enforcement agency has yet been able to apprehend or slow down Mother Nature, or the equally elusive Father Time.” The post went on to remind residents to drive carefully, if at all, during today’s snow. It also included a reminder to dig out cars that have been snowbound since the last snowfall over the weekend.

Courtside to Close March 3

A Dubuque sports venue has finalized the date for its closure. Courtside Sports Bar and Grill announced back in October that it would be closing sometime after the beginning of the new year. Owners have now announced that they will officially close the doors at the end of business on the night of March 3rd. The property will then be converted to the newest location for Stuff, Etc., a franchise consignment store. Courtside opened in 2004. In addition to housing one of Dubuque’s largest sports bars, the location also had gymnasium space for basketball, volleyball, and various other sports. It served as the home of everything from roller derby to mixed martial arts fighting to a football tryout space.

Lundgren Disappointed, But Understanding, of Governor’s Decision

Lundgren

The Dubuque County legislator who managed Iowa’s fetal heartbeat bill is disappointed but understanding of the governor’s decision not to appeal a ruling overturning the law. Governor Kim Reynolds on Monday announced she would not pursue an appeal of a judge’s decision last month to declare the law unconstitutional. The law would have banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta was the floor manager of the house version of the bill. Abortion opponents had hoped that the legal challenge to the fetal heartbeat bill would reach the US Supreme Court, where it could have helped overturn the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision. With the fetal heartbeat bill now dead, Lundgren says the next step will be to pursue an amendment to the state constitution that declares Iowans have no right to an abortion. But that requires a lengthy process. Lundgren represents House District 57, which includes nearly all of Dubuque County outside of the Dubuque city limits.

Dubuque Council Asks for Meeting Postponement Guidelines

Buol, Del Toro

The Dubuque City Council this week went against objections from the mayor and directed city staff to come up with guidelines for postponing meetings in the event of bad weather or an emergency. The city currently has no procedure for delaying or postponing a meeting under any circumstance. Councilman Luis Del Toro had initially pushed for a policy after the January 22nd council meeting was held despite a Winter Storm Warning being in effect for Dubuque. He says instituting a policy would at least give the city an option. Several other council members expressed support for Del Toro’s suggestion, including David Resnick, who noted that the policy could apply to situations beyond weather. But Mayor Roy Buol and Councilman Ric Jones were vocal in their opposition. Jones pointed out that a large number of citizens still made it to the January 22nd meeting despite the weather. Mayor Buol didn’t envision many scenarios that would require a meeting to be postponed. The council voted 5-2 to have city staff develop postponement guidelines, which will come back before the council at a future meeting. Buol and Jones cast the votes against the proposal.

Plea Deal Reached in Attempted Truck Rundown Case

A Jackson County man who police say tried to run over another man before crashing into the steps of a downtown Dubuque church has reached a deal with prosecutors. 35-year-old Eric Schmidt of Bellevue pled guilty this week to 1st Degree Criminal Mischief and Going Armed with Intent. In exchange, an Attempted Murder charge was dropped. Schmidt now faces up to 10 years in prison. Court documents say Schmidt tried to run a Dubuque man over with his truck in the 11-hundred block of Main Street last May. The man was able to get out of the way, while Schmidt’s vehicle crashed into the concrete steps in front of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. That caused about $10,000 in damage to the church. Schmidt said at the time there was an ongoing feud between the he and the other man.

“Lucky for Life” Winning Ticket Sold in Cascade

McDermott Oil

A Dubuque County lottery player appears to be set pretty well for life. A winning ticket in the Iowa Lottery’s “Lucky for Life” game was sold prior to Monday’s drawing. The winner will receive $25,000 each year for the rest of their life. That’s the game’s second-largest prize. The winning ticket was sold at the McDermott Oil gas station in Cascade. This is the second significant winning lottery ticket sold in Cascade in the past seven months. Last July, a Powerball ticket sold at the Casey’s in that community won 200-thousand dollars. That prize was claimed by Gene Herrig of Bellevue.

Fourteen Dubuque Firefighters Receive Commendations for Dangerous Rescue

More than a dozen Dubuque firefighters received official commendations from the department this week, in recognition of their efforts at a unique rescue scene in early December. The commendations were presented at Monday’s Dubuque City Council meeting. Fire Chief Rick Steines says crews reported to what initially sounded like a routine call, but soon took a turn. A construction worker had been pinned when the foundation of the building he was working at unexpectedly shifted. At one point, the building shifted again, and crews were ordered to leave the building. When allowed back in Steines, says the crews on scene worked quickly and professionally, despite the danger to themselves. A total of fourteen firefighters from six different fire department units received the commendations.

Another Round of Snow Expected in Tri-States Overnight

Here we go again…the Tri-States appear due for another round of snowfall tonight and into the day tomorrow. According to our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV, the snow is expected to arrive late tonight and last through the midday hours tomorrow. In fact, meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says there are some parts of the Dubuque area that won’t begin to see snowfall until after midnight. KCRG is predicting between three and six inches of accumulation from the system, while the National Weather Service has forecast a four inch snow for Dubuque. Heavier snowfall amounts are expected to our west. In fact, the counties just beyond our listening area in that direction will be under a Winter Storm Warning.

Reynolds Won’t Appeal Fetal Heartbeat Decision

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor has decided not to appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” abortion law, which would have been the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation. The law banned an abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Governor Kim Reynolds says it was “an extremely difficult decision,” but the right one for the state. Abortion opponents hoped the legal challenge could get to the US Supreme Court and overturn the longstanding case that legalized abortion nationwide. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa challenged the law. Judge Michael Huppert in his ruling last month said the bill violated due process and equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution based on previous Iowa Supreme Court rulings.

Dubuque Among Cities Becoming Concerned About Snow Budgets

The city of Dubuque has already used up more than 70 percent of the money it set aside for dealing with winter weather. The city began this winter with $1.5 million to spend on snow and ice removal. That includes paying city crews and the money the city uses for salt and de-icing solution. But only about $400,000 of that budget is now left. Public Works Director John Klostermann says the ice storm that struck Dubuque earlier this month was an especially costly event. Klostermann estimates that crews put down about 700 tons of salt during that ice storm. That’s about an eighth of the total amount of ice the city budgets for an entire year. If the city exceeds its winter budget, the money will likely be taken out of the street maintenance fund. That means there could be fewer roads that are repaved this summer. Dubuque is not alone in being concerned about the remaining winter budgets. Iowa City has already spent most of the money it reserves for yearly winter operations. In Waterloo, the city has used 4,000 of the 4,800 tons of salt it bought for this winter.

Iowa Governor, Education Director Can’t Forgive Snow Days

Iowa state officials don’t have the legal authority to follow through on a petition asking for some of this winter’s snow days to be forgiven. The online petition asks Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to forgive or pardon the three days during last month’s “polar vortex,” which brought dangerously cold temperatures to much of Iowa. Most of the state’s schools cancelled classes for several days that week, including both the Dubuque and Western Dubuque districts. The petition has received more than 11-thousand digital signatures. But a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Education tells KDTH that neither Governor Kim Reynolds nor department director Ryan Wise have any legal authority to forgive or pardon snow days. Dubuque’s schools will add time to the end of each school day beginning next month to make up for the lost time.

Finkenauer Visits Veterans Freedom Center

Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (top left) chats with veterans at Dubuque’s Veterans Freedom Center Monday morning (Courtesy: Congresswoman Finkenauer).

Dubuque’s representative in Congress heard the concerns of area veterans Monday morning. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer stopped by the Veterans Freedom Center and spoke with local veterans for close to an hour. Congress is currently on a week-long break, and Finkenauer says it was a welcome change to be back in the district and talking with local people. Finkenauer says she and her staff are available to help veterans with all types of issues, from problems with the Veterans Administration to retrieving lost medals. While Finkenauer is not a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, she says that won’t stop her from being a champion for veterans’ issues. Finkenauer just took office as the representative for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District last month.

Reynolds On Late Term Abortion Policies

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she will never stop fighting for the unborn. During a taping last week of the IPTV Program Iowa Press, which aired Sunday, the Republican Governor said she fully supports lawmakers who want to add an abortion amendment to the Iowa constitution. The amendment would say the constitution does not protect the right to abortion or require funding of abortion. Reynolds went on to say she is disappointed in states that are allowing late-term abortions. Last month a Polk County judge struck down an Iowa law that would ban a woman from getting an abortion once a doctor detected a fetal heartbeat.

Board Waives Diamond Jo Fine

The Diamond Jo Casino won’t have to pay a fine for making a late property tax payment. The Dubuque County Supervisors recently voted to waive a more than 14-thousand dollar fine. The board’s decision came after Diamond Jo mangers met with board members to explain why the payment was late. They indicated that a mistake was made in the corporate office of Boyd Gaming, the Diamond Jo’s parent company. The original check that was issued to pay the casino’s taxes was written out for more than the taxes that were owed. A new check had to be issued, and it did not arrive in Dubuque until two days after the payment deadline. That triggered a 1.5 percent fine, as dictated by state law.

Grand Harbor Property Tax Appeal

A request to have the property tax valuation of a Dubuque riverfront attraction cut by more than half has been denied. On January 1, Platinum Holdings, owners of the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark were informed that the assessed value of the property was being set at 13.5-million dollars. The company claimed that the facility’s value was closer to 7.4-million, less than half of the original accessed value. They protested the valuation to the local Board of Review, who rejected the company’s claim. Platinum then appeal to Dubuque County District Court, but has since withdrawn that appeal. At the 13.5-million dollar valuation, Platinum will be charged about 441-thousand dollars in property taxes this year.