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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Grant Co Officer Impersonator

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

Does Mayor Have Authority To Issue Order?

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

ED Residents, Businesses Coping With Order

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

Dubuque Chamber Requests Delay for Five Flags Expansion Vote

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

DBQ County Long-Term Care COVID-19

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

Library Ends Curbside Service

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

 

 

Wisconsin Schools “On Line” Classes

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

 

 

NICC GDDC Partnership

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

COVID-19 Effects On Gas Prices

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

COVID-19-Trucking Industry

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

Parking Fees Suspended

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

Evening of Light Celebration Postponed

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

DBQ County COVID-19 Death

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

First Responders Appreciation Day

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

Dubuque County Crash

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

Clogged Sanitary Sewer

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

Defense Production Act of 1950

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

No “Stay At Home Order” For Iowa Yet

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

Flexsteel Shutting Down for 2 Weeks

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

Mask Production at Dubuque Mattress Factory

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

 

Mayor Buol-Stay Home

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

Virtual City Council Mtg

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

 

State Assistance For Small Businesses

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

Former Dubuque Teen Gets Probation

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

Archbishop Gives Dispensation For Fridays In Lent

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

DLC Inner Lobby Closed

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

DBQ County 4 Confirmed

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

River Drowning

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

Defense Production Act Of 1950

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

Iowa Reynolds Disaster Proclamation

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

Illinois Governor Orders Residents To Stay Home

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

 

Mayor Says Dubuque Prepared For COVID-19

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

Update on Coronavirus in Dubuque County and Iowa

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

Illinois Governor Orders Residents to Stay at Home

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

Jo Daviess Co Disaster Proclamation

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

Dubuque County Coalition COVID-19 Briefing

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

Clarke University COVID-19 Update

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

NICC COVID-19 Updated Plan

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

Dubuque Suspends Parking Meter Violations

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

Man Charged With Sex Assault

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

Alliant Energy Suspends Disconnections

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

Funding Allocated For COVID-19 Response

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

DMASWA Drop-off Suspended

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

 

Jo Daviess Accident

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

ED Voters Reject School Bond Issue

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

Man Arrested For Firing Shots

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

YMCA Closes

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

Five Flags Food Donation

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

Library Closing

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

Meals Available For Dubuque Kids

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

DC Courthouse To Close To the Public

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

DC Sheriff’s Office Making Changes

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

Iowa Public Health Emergency

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

UnityPoint Visitor Restrictions

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

Project Rooted No Cost Meals

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

City Emergency

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

Archbishop Responds To Coronavirus

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

Dubuque Closings

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

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

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

 

Dubuque Schools Closed

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

NICC and Loras College Classes

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

Large Neighborhood Grant Program

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

Dubuque County Declares Emergency Declaration

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

Dubuque Man Facing Prison Time For Neglect

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

Globetrotters Postponed

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

Dickeyville Community Event Postponed

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

BestFest Cancelled

Due to concerns with Coronavirus, BestFest 2020 scheduled for March 26th is cancelled. Ticket holders can either consider the ticket price a tax-deductable donation to Hospice of Dubuque or request a ticket refund. No ticket refunds will be issued at Dupaco Community Credit Union. For information, please visit hospiceofdubuque.org or the Hospice of Dubuque office at 1670 JFK Road.

MercyOne Visit Restrictions

As a result of cases of COVID-19 in the state and surrounding states, MercyOne Dubuque and MercyOne Dyersville have implemented new restrictions on visitation, effective immediately. These restrictions are in place for the protection of their patients and colleagues.

These visitor restrictions will remain in effect until further notice:
• Visitors shall be limited to 2 at a time per patient
• No visitors under 14 years old will be permitted
• Do not visit if you have any symptoms of a cold, influenza or COVID-19

All classes, meetings, and support groups held on MercyOne’s campus have been canceled, effective until at least April 15.

Dubuque Co. officials: “Please practice social distancing”

Dubuque County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dave Baker and Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol are encouraging residents to closely monitor current reports related to the COVID-19 outbreak and to make responsible, personal decisions on how they can practice personal “social distancing” to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and minimize illness and death. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, activating the disaster response and recovery aspects of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan. The proclamation authorizes state agencies to utilize resources including personnel, equipment and facilities to perform activities necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus. Based on current information, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dubuque County.  Local public health officials continue to work with local healthcare providers and are in frequent communication with Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials as statewide, national, and international conditions evolve. Social distancing measures are taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures can include limiting large groups of people coming together, including canceling events.  Many local and regional educational institutions, special events, and businesses are announcing efforts to encourage social distancing and advise patrons on staying home when they are ill. “We’re encouraging all Dubuque County residents, especially our senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions, to think carefully about attending events and large gatherings,” said Dubuque County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dave Baker.  “This is a very serious situation and we all need to follow the advice of our public health officials and healthcare providers and practice common sense.” “The number one priority of local government is public safety and public health is public safety,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol.  “While government and healthcare have obvious roles in preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, so does the public. I encourage residents to think carefully about how they can make good decisions to help prevent the spread of the virus.” The Dubuque County Health Department and City of Dubuque Health Services Department encourage residents to rely on information regarding COVID-19 from the IDPH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.  They also recommend individual residents take these action steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact (at least 6 feet distance) with people who are sick or experiencing respiratory symptoms such as cough
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Take social distancing measures. Restrict where and when you gather with others.
For Dubuque County specific information, call the Dubuque Visiting Nurses Association at 563.556.6200 (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), the Dubuque County Health Department at 563.557.7396 (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), or the City of Dubuque Health Services Department at 563.589.4181(8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday).

Clarke To Suspend Face-To-Face Instruction

Clarke University in Dubuque is joining other colleges and universities across the state in their response to the coronavirus. In a message sent to students and employees yesterday. President Thom Chesney said for the safety of everyone on campus, they’ll be suspending on-campus-face-to-face instruction for two weeks following spring break. For that two-week period Clarke will move to virtual forms of instruction between March 23rd and April 5th. On-campus face-to-face instruction is scheduled to resume on April 6th. Students may remain on campus throughout the two week time period or return after spring break to resume class virtually. School officials say the decision to suspend face-to-face classes was made to prioritize health and safety and to lessen the spread of the virus. Students at the University of Dubuque are on spring break this week and school officials say classes will now resume on March 23rd. UD President Dr. Jeffery Bullock says the campus will remain open, even as classes are delayed and students who cannot stay at their homes next week will be allowed to come back to campus. Student meetings will be rescheduled. In-season student athletes are encouraged to come back to campus for practices and competitions. University international travel has also been suspended. Meantime,  officials at Northeast Iowa Community College are monitoring the Coronavirus situation and at this time have no plans to cease operations or make any changes. The academic affairs division at Loras College is developing plans to allow options for students to complete courses in the event that the spread of COVID-19 necessitates limiting in-person classroom contact.

Five Flags Postponements

Due to health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Five Flags Center has announced the performance of Baby Shark Live at Five Flags Center, scheduled for today (March 13) has been postponed.  Five Flags staff will work with the show’s management and promoters to find a new date. Customers who had purchased tickets to Baby Shark Live will have the option to either transfer their tickets to the future performance date or request a full refund at their original point of purchase. Saturday’s performance of In My Life: A Musical Theater Tribute to The Beatles has been postponed to May 21 and will now be Beatles vs. Stones. Saturday’s Midwest Spring Jam featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Twista, and Do or Die: has been postponed to October 10.

Dubuque Museum Of Art Is Open

The Dubuque Museum of Art is open for business amid coronavirus fears. Officials there say they are closely following government recommendations and advice from the Center for Disease Control, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Dubuque County and city health departments. The museum is staying open with regular business hours. While the DMA is operating as usual they are also working on a contingency plan and preparing for changing circumstances. If the museum decides to postpone or cancel any scheduled events it will notify the public through the media and other social outlets.

Business As Usual At NMMA

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque has no plans to shut down operations in the wake of the coronavirus. Wendy Scardino, director of marketing and communications says they have taken precautionary measures, are being diligent and following the recommendations of national, state and local health officials, but it is business as usual. Scardino says they’ll continue to update their practices and monitor the situation as it unfolds.

2020 Everyday Heroes

Five northeast Iowa residents were honored yesterday as the 2020 “Everyday Heroes.” by the American Red Cross of Northeast Iowa during a breakfast at the  Holiday Inn in downtown Dubuque. They are Katie Gudenkauf and Erin Ludescher both of Dubuque, Al and JoAnn Roberts and Larry Hoefer, all of Peosta, and Michael Lockard of Cedar Falls. Katie was able to revive a man who had suddenly collapsed during a soccer tournament. Erin assisted a motorcyclist who had crashed and kept him alive by applying pressure to his laceration until emergency crews arrived. Al and JoAnn were honored for their many years of service to foster care. Larry administered life-saving CPR to a man who was in distress at a Knights of Columbus dinner and Michael who made two attempts to rescue his disabled brother from their burning home was able to direct fire crews to his brother’s location when they arrived.

Salvation Army Vacation Bible School Cancelled

The Dubuque Salvation Army has canceled its Vacation Bible School, scheduled for March 17th through March 21st. Captains Matthew and Emily Phelps had been out of the country for a Salvation Army trip, not in a Coronavirus hot spot. As a precautionary measure, since they have traveled internationally, they will self-quarantine away from the Salvation Army which will force the cancellation of the Vacation Bible School. The Vacation Bible School will be rescheduled at a date to be determined in the future. Both Captains are not sick and show no symptoms and neither has been to the Dubuque Salvation Army facility since they left the country. All other activities at the Dubuque Salvation Army will continue as scheduled.

DRHS Recommends Plan For Pets/COVID-19

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19   continues to spread across the country and national, state and local health experts have plenty of advice for people on how to avoid contracting the disease. But what about pets? The Dubuque Regional Humane Society suggests that pet owners include their furry companions in their preparedness plans for COVID-19. Humane Society Director Tonya Millard says they’ve joined the  Humane Society of the United States and the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement who suggest that you put together a plan that includes pets in the event Dubuque and surrounding counties are impacted by the virus. She says they have foster families that can take in and care for your pet if you are stricken with the virus. Millard says information has been provided to her staff to tell people what to do with their pets if COVID-19 reaches this area. Millard says people should stay diligent, but not overreact to COVID-19 concerns. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association says that there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected or spread the virus.

Weather Spotter Training Class Cancelled

The spotter training class put on by the National Weather Service has been cancelled amid concerns over the coronavirus. The NWS office in the Quad Cities has cancelled all spotter training classes in its’ coverage area which includes Dubuque County. Dubuque’s class was scheduled for March 24th at the Emergency Responder Training Center. Instead the weather service will conduct virtual spotter training sessions next week. Those dates will be announced soon.

Teen Arrested For Robbing Drug Dealer

A Dubuque teenager faces robbery and other charges after police say he robbed another teen and his sister of drugs and other items. According to a police report the incident happened a few minutes before 11:30 Tuesday night in the 1800 block of Central Avenue. A 20 year old woman told investigators that she drove her 13 year old brother to the area so that he could sell 17 year old Blake Ott a bag of marijuana. When they arrived, Ott approached the woman’s car and asked to smell the pot. He then tried to snatch the bag from the 13 year old, who resisted. Ott then pulled a hand gun and took the marijuana along with two i-phones and the woman’s purse, which she says contained prescription drugs. Ott was arrested about an hour-and-a-half later following a foot pursuit along Jackson Street. He faces charges ranging from first degree robbery to possession of marijuana to interference with official acts with a firearm.

Dubuque Man Gets Time In Federal Prison

A  Dubuque man who pointed a gun at someone and threatened to kill them has been sentenced to nearly a decade in federal prison. Documents from federal court in Cedar Rapids say 33 year old Devon Norman pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a fire arm as a felon and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison this week. Prosecutors say Norman pointed a gun at a person in a car and threatened to blow the person’s head off. He then physically forced his girlfriend back into a Dubuque residence while still holding the gun. In addition to his prison term, Norman will be placed on three years of probation when he is released.

DBQ County Health Spring Break Advice

As Spring Break nears, many Iowans are making travel preparations, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Dubuque County Public Health are reminding vacationers to learn and prepare for health concerns. Across the country, the greatest health risk to Dubuque County residents is from influenza, however, it’s appropriate to take precautions against the COVID-19 virus. Dubuque County Health Department Executive Director Patrice Lambert says the prevention for COVID-19 is similar to how you protect yourself from a variety of viruses, like influenza. Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, and stay home from work or vacation when ill.  When home or travelling, it’s important to avoid being near people who are visibly ill.

 

https://idph.iowa.gov/

Burns Sentencing Date

The sentencing date is set for the man convicted of killing a Cedar Rapids teen more than 40 years ago. A judge will sentence 66-year old Jerry Burns of Manchester on April 17th at the Linn County Courthouse. Last month, a jury convicted Burns of stabbing and killing 18-year-old Michelle Martinko in the Westdale Mall parking lot in December 1979. The defense argued investigators mishandled the evidence used to convict Burns. A DNA match from a straw Burns used at a restaurant led to his arrest in 2018.

Dubuque Man Sentenced For Pimping

A Dubuque man will be spending the next five years in prison, after entering an Alford plea to a charge of pimping. 68 year old John Hart and his 56 year old wife Meirong Li were both arrested in May of 2017 and charged with one felony count each of human trafficking and pimping. With the plea agreement the county attorney’s office agreed to dismiss the human trafficking charge. Prosecutors alleged that from January of 2016 to May of 2017 Hart and his wife solicited women from China to have sex for money at two massage parlors they own. A police investigation revealed that two undercover Dubuque police officers were offered sexual favors in exchange for payment towards the end of their massages. Hart’s wife has pleaded not guilty and will next appear in court on June 8th.

Teen To Be Tried As Adult In Sex Abuse Case

A Dubuque teenager, who faces sexual abuse charges, will have his case moved to adult court. That’s the ruling made by a judge recently in the case of 19 year old Joshua Blackburn. He is charged with second degree sexual abuse of a girl who prosecutors say he knew. The abuse allegedly took place in May of 2015 and the victim was younger than 10 years old at the time. The abuse wasn’t reported to police until January of 2018.

Finley Pediatric Expansion

UnityPoint Finely hospital in Dubuque is expanding its’ pediatric therapy unit. This week kids and staff had a chance to swing a celebratory hammer to mark the start of construction. Amy Brooner manager of therapy services at  Finley says the unit will be expanded by 4,300 feet, making it 7,000 square feet when the project is done. She calls it a “large indoor playground area”. There will be a treatment room dedicated to the pediatric feeding program. Brooner says the expanded facility will have more room for services they provide to the kids. Over 18 years ago the pediatric therapy unit at Finley had only one therapist working out of one small room. Construction on the expansion starts on Monday. The 1.4 million dollar project is fully funded through the Finley Health Foundation.

SW Wisconsin Drug Arrests

Two residents of southwest Wisconsin were arrested on drug charges this week after a months- long investigation into the distribution of narcotics in the area. On Monday officers with the Richland Iowa Grant drug task force and Platteville police searched a car and a home in Platteville. Officers found a substantial amount of methamphetamine, heroin and drug paraphernalia. Taken into custody were 30 year old Brandon Loken and 35 year old Melissa Carroll both of Platteville. They face charges ranging from delivery of meth to possession with intent to deliver heroin.

Campus Coronavirus Plans

The University of Dubuque, Clarke University, and Loras College have all put plans in place should the novel coronavirus arrive on campuses. Loras is offering informational sessions on campus as well as prepping professors for the chance of all online classes. Dr. Art Sunleaf, vice president of student development at Loras, tells KCRG TV it’s important to be ready for the next step. Both Loras and Clarke have asked students, faculty, and staff to self-quarantine for 14 days should they travel out of the country.

Illinois 17th Congressional Art Competition

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is inviting high school students from across Illinois’ 17th Congressional District to submit their original artwork for the annual Congressional Art Competition. Submissions will be accepted through April 9th. To enter, students must submit a digital form through Congresswoman Bustos’ website, bustos.house.gov, and also send a digital version of their art to Artwork.Bustos@mail.house.gov. All entries will be posted online for the public to vote for the eventual winner. The 17th Congressional District covers much of western Illinois and includes Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. The Congressional Art Competition is a nationwide high school arts competition sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives. One winning piece of artwork from each House district will be selected to be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington for the next year. The winner of the competition will also win two airline tickets to Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

District Addresses Coronavirus

As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, the Dubuque Community School District is doing its’ part in keeping parents and staff updated on what it’s doing to combat the virus as well as other respiratory illnesses. Superintendent Stan Rheingans says he is meeting with staff daily to keep them informed about how the district will handle any potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the community. Rheingans say they are also monitoring schools in other states where the virus has spread. The district has plans to address COVID-19 and Rheingans says those plans change everyday. Current state law does not allow for school districts to hold classes remotely, but that could change. The district is using a hospital grade disinfectant to clean their buildings and surfaces. Rheingans says they have added more hand sanitizers at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

City Council Coronavirus Update

The Health Services Department delivered an update to the Dubuque City Council Monday on what they’re doing to be ready for potential coronavirus cases. Officials were there to inform the council, as well as the public at large to give reassurance that the city will be ready if cases arrive. Public health specialist, Mary Rose Corrigan, says it’s safe to hold local events as planned. Dubuque County has a plan in place to screen people who are coming from countries or states that have had many cases diagnosed. Fire Chief Rick Steines says people now have to answer additional screening questions to track the virus should it show up. Emergency services are also ready to limit the amount of first responders to patients with potential symptoms to control exposure. Health officials are encouraging people to stay home if you have flu-like symptoms, wash your hands, keep clean spaces, and cover your cough.

Seven People Face Meth Related Charges

At least seven people from Jo Daviess County have been charged with the distribution of methamphetamine. The charges range from unlawful delivery of meth to unlawful methamphetamine conspiracy. Records from Jo Daviess County Circuit say all of the suspects conspired to deliver between 100 and 400 pounds of meth over a period of time. Facing charges are 33 year old Devon Bradshaw, 28 year old Shawn Mernack, 46 year old Kevin Mezera, 26 year old Morgan Stevenson-Dunham, 35 year old Adrianne Zito and 33 year old Anthony Zito all of Hanover. 35 year old Gabrielle Seymour of Savanna is also charged in the case.

Darlington Sex Offender

The Darlington Police Department is notifying the community of a convicted sex offender who is moving to town. Police Chief Jason King says 36 year old Alan Liphart will be residing in an upstairs apartment at 209 Main Street beginning today. Liphart is a white male, who stands 5 foot nine inches tall and weighs 175 pounds. He will be on GPS monitoring. Liphart is to have no unsupervised contact with minors or his victim and he is not allowed to consume drugs. He must comply with standard sex offender rules and have face-to-face contact with law enforcement at their request. Liphart is registered with the lifetime sex offender registry.

Driver charged after hitting 13-year-old

The Dubuque Police Department reports a 13-year-old boy went to the hospital Monday morning after being hit by a car near George Washington Middle School. It happened around 7:10 a.m. on Grandview Avenue. A 13-year-old was entering the crosswalk when 69-year old Charles Jacobs of Dubuque, failed to stop. The boy went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Jacobs also went to the hospital. He was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian. School officials confirmed the 13-year-old is a student at the school.

Loras Student Named Newman Civic Fellow

A student at Loras College has been selected as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston non-profit working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Halley Schultz, a native of Dubuque is one of 290 students nationwide who will make up the organization’s 2020-2021 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The students selected are leaders on their campuses, who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing their communities. As a Newman Fellow, Schultz will lead a project to build on existing data about housing needs in Dubuque by researching how other communities are addressing these needs through housing co-operatives and land trusts. Schultz was nominated for a Newman Fellow by Naomi Clark, associate professor of English at Loras.

Local Labor Leaders Inducted

For their work as union leaders, activists and contributors to the collective bargaining process, the United Labor Participation Committee inducted three new members into the Dubuque Area Labor Hall of Fame this weekend. They are Ed Crawford, with Operating Engineers Local 234, Dave George with IBEW Local 204 and Terry Stewart with International Association of Firefighters Local 25. In addition, State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque was inducted into the Friends of the Labor Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Saturday at the Diamond Jo Casino

City Council COVID-19 Update

The Dubuque City Council will host Public Health Specialist Mary Rose Corrigan and Emergency Management Director Tom Berger Monday as the Council conducts a work session on COVID-19 preparation and response activities along with a current situation report. The session starts at 6 pm and is open to the public.

DBQ-Jimmy Johns lawsuit

A Dubuque woman is suing Jimmy John’s over an E. coli outbreak that she says made her sick. Kahler Folkedahl says she bought and ate a sandwich from a Jimmy John’s on JFK Road in Dubuque last November. She went to the hospital about a week later after experiencing symptoms of E. coli. The CDC says Iowa is one of five states involved in the E. coli outbreak last year. Fourteen people in those states got sick after eating clover sprouts. Jimmy John’s says it no longer serves them. Last week, the FDA sent a warning letter to the company, blaming it for several outbreaks in recent years.

City Council Dream Center and Fountain of Youth Funding

The Dubuque City Council this week voted to designate more than 270-thousand dollars to the Dream Center. A total of $176,000 was approved for fiscal year 2020 and an additional $100,000 was already budgeted to the Dream Center for 2021. The center provides child care for nearly 200 families in the city. As of now, the center is not eligible for child care state funds because the facility needs updates. The Dream Center said the city funds should be enough to meet state standards. It estimates it will get up to $800,000 a year in state funding with the improvements made to their space. The City Council also approved just over $13,000 in fiscal year 2020 to Fountain of Youth that was already budgeted to the United Way for grant matching purposes to benefit the nonprofit.

Research Awareness Event

In an effort to bring families of children with autism up to speed on the latest research, Hills and Dales in Dubuque along with Simons Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, or SPARK is hosting an event on Saturday at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Hills and Dales CEO Marilyn Althoff says it’s an awareness event and will offer families an opportunity to participate in the research. Families will have a chance to speak with members from the SPARK team and find out more about how to participate in the autism research study. SPARK is the nation’s largest autism research study and the University of Iowa is one of more than 30 participating hospitals and clinics across the country. Saturday’s event is free, but only open to families and people with autism. If you plan to attend Althoff ask that you call 319-335-8882 or Hills and Dales at 563-556-7878. The event will run from 5 to 8 pm.

Manchester Man Pleads Not Guilty

A Manchester man will appear in court for a hearing next month after pleading not guilty to two charges of attempted murder. Last month police say 33 year old Kenneth Noble shot at his landlord, nearly striking him in the head and then took a shot at the police captain who had accompanied the landlord to Noble’s residence. The officer returned fire but no one was injured. The landlord had called police to assist him in gaining access to Noble’s apartment after Noble wouldn’t answer the door. The landlord wanted to make some repairs inside the apartment.  Noble’s hearing is scheduled for April 21st in Delaware County court.

Mullis Files Second Motion For New Trial

An Earlville man convicted of killing his wife with a corn rake has filed a second motion for a new trial. In September a jury found 43 year old Todd Mullis guilty of first degree murder in the death of his wife Amy in November of 2018. Todd Mullis claimed his wife died as the result of a farm accident.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17th in Delaware County. A first degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. In his latest filing, Mullis’ attorneys say he deserves a new trial because his attorney at the time “blatantly disregarded his specific guidance” to not acknowledge that Amy Mullis’ death was due to homicide. His attorneys further state that Mullis’ previous attorney failed to inform him that he could refuse to testify during his trial.

SW Wisconsin Towns Receive Transportation Grants

A half dozen villages and towns in southwest Wisconsin have been awarded grants to be used for transportation projects. The grants come from the Wisconsin Multimodal Local Supplement program. The Town of Beetown in Grant County will use nearly $459,000 for a road project, the Village of Cassville is receiving over $635,000 for  bike/pedestrian improvements while Hazel Green gets more than $230,000 for road and bridge projects. Platteville will use more than $665,000 for bike/pedestrian and road improvements, White Oaks Spring in Lafayette County gets almost $52,000 and for a bridge project and Wyoming in Iowa County will use nearly $66,000 for a road project.