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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Chicago Man Charged With Assault

A Chicago man was arrested last month, after police say he broke into an apartment in Dubuque and assaulted his ex-girlfriend and her mother. Online court records say 30 year old Richard Walton was arrested April 30th and charged with two counts of first degree burglary, two counts of child endangerment and one count each of domestic assault with strangulation, domestic assault with injury and first degree harassment. Records say Walton went to the home of his ex-girlfriend in the one thousand block of Bluff Street on April 28th and broke in. Once inside, police say Walton began chocking his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. He then grabbed the woman by her hair and dragged her upstairs. Walton then assaulted the woman’s mother, breaking her nose and ankle. The ex-girlfriend was able to run to the Carnegie-Stout Public Library, where staff there called police. The woman’s mother was treated for her injuries at a local hospital. The ex-girlfriend’s one and two year old children were inside the apartment when the assaults took place.

Dubuque’s Climate Action Plan

Dubuque has big goals for reducing its’ impact on the environment. During its’ meeting last week, the city council gave the OK for staff to find a consultant to update its’ “climate action plan.” The city’s big goal is to cut its’ 2003 emissions in half by 2030. Sustainability Coordinator Gina Bell wants the action plan to act as a roadmap to that goal. The city budgeted 100-thousand dollars to pay a consultant to develop the plan. Bell says bringing in help is necessary to make change quickly. The council approved the plan on a 6-to-0 vote. Councilman Luis Del Toro was absent.

One Injured In East Dubuque Crash

One person was injured following a two vehicle crash in East Dubuque Monday evening. The accident happened at the intersection of North Frentress Lake Road and U.S. Highway 20 just before 6 pm. According to a release from the Jo Daviess County sheriff’s office a pickup truck driven by 21 year old Ty Cooley of Sulphur, Louisiana pulled from the intersection after stopping for the stop sign and collided with a car driven by 87 year old William Finnegan of Palos Park, Illinois. Finnegan was injured and transported to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque. Cooley and his passenger were not injured. Cooley was issued a citation for failure to yield at a stop intersection.

Hinson To Run For Congress

Democrat Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque now has a formal challenger in Iowa’s First Congressional District for the U.S. seat. Iowa Republican state representative Ashley Hinson filed paperwork this week to run for Congress. Hinson represents Iowa’s 67th House District, which covers parts of Marion, Hiawatha and Robins. She won her second term in the House last year.

East Dubuque Woman Takes Plea Deal

An East Dubuque woman has accepted a plea deal, after police say she stole her mother’s retirement payments. Court records from Dubuque County say 55 year old Lori Mejia recently plead guilty to dependent adult abuse-exploitation of more than 100 dollars. Documents say between April 26th and October 5h of last year, Mejia improperly spent retirement payments meant for her 92 year old mother. At the time Mejia’s mother was a resident at Stonehill Franciscan Services. After being there for four months Mejia’s mother had accumulated a bill that totaled over 27 thousand dollars, however only one payment of 15-hundred dollars had been made. Mejia claims she spent the money on her living expenses and entertainment while her mother lived with her. The county attorney’s office is recommending Mejia receive a deferred judgement and 2-to-5 years of probation. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 1st.

Iowa County Fatality

A Belmont woman was killed after she rolled her vehicle in Iowa County Sunday night. A press release from the sheriff’s office says 26 year old Heather Fishnick was pronounced dead at the scene. The sheriff’s office received a call at around 10 pm saying that Fishnick had rolled the car on Wisconsin 80, between Cobb and Highland. The release doesn’t provide details on what led to the crash. The investigation continues.

Crack Dealer Takes Plea Deal

A Dubuque man accused of selling crack cocaine to confidential informants on several occasions nearly two years ago is taking a plea deal. Online court records from Dubuque County say 28 year old Shelvin Naylor recently pled guilty to three counts of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver as a second or subsequent offense. In August and September of 2017, documents say Naylor sold crack cocaine to confidential informants working with the Dubuque Drug Task Force. Naylor was arrested last January while leaving his residence on Hill Street. At the time policer say he had 27 grams of crack and marijuana on him, which constitutes enough for distribution. The county attorney’s office is recommending a 20 years in prison for Naylor. He will be sentenced on July 1st.

LIHEAP Ends Monday

Tomorrow marks the end of the Low Income home Energy Assistant program for the season. It prevents people who qualify for the program from having their heat turned off during the winter months, even if they can’t pay their bills in time. Normally this period extends from November 1st to April 30th, but this year it was extended to May 13th. The Iowa Utilities Board is reminding people to contact their heating utility to discuss payment options to avoid disconnection. Those disconnections could start as early as Tuesday.

Person Injured In Bluff Fall

A person was injured after falling from the bluff at the Julien Dubuque Monument Friday night. A release from the fire department says the person fell from the bluff just before 9 pm and suffered minor injuries. The person, who wasn’t identified in the press release refused to be transported to the hospital and was treated at the scene. Several agencies assisted, including the Dubuque sheriffs’ and police departments, Dubuque County Conservation and the Iowa DNR.

Jackels Released From Hospital 

After nearly a week of being hospitalized following a heart attack, Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels was released yesterday. Jackels made known of his release from the hospital on his website. Jackels suffered a heart attack last Friday and was rushed to MeryOne Dubuque, where doctors inserted a pair of stents in the 65 year old Archbishop. Jackels was installed as Dubuque Archbishop in May of 2013.

Great Give Day Results

The annual Great Give Day proved to be another huge success for local non-profit groups and organizations. Great Give Day is hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. It’s a 24 hour online only giving event, which kicked off at midnight Wednesday and rapped up at midnight last night. This year people in a 7-county Dubuque region raised a little over 243 thousand dollars. Over 23-hundred people donated over a 24 hour period. This year 170 non-profits participated in Great Give Day, up from 157 last year. Throughout the day participating non-profits competed for over 28-thousand in bonus prizes. Since 2014, Great Give Day has raised over 1.7 million for area non-profits.

Man Arrested After Threats To Blow Up Hospital And The White House

A man with no permanent address was arrested by Dubuque police this week after he reportedly threatened to blow up a local hospital and had plans on how to kill the President by blowing up the White House. Court documents say 25 year old Christian Delatorre the second was taken into custody Wednesday morning at MercyOne Dubuque and charged with two counts of felony threat explosives or incendiary device. A federal warrant charges Delatorre with the threats he made against President Trump and the White House. Following an initial court appearance Thursday morning in Dubuque County a judge set bail at 5-thousand dollars, but informed Delatorre that he could not be released because he would be detained the feds. Dubuque police say Delatorre threatened to blow up MercyOne, the White House and President Trump on May 3rd. He has since been interviewed by a secret service agent. The agent says Delatorre had detailed plans to carry out his plot, which included floor plans of the White House. If convicted on the state charges, Delatorre could face five years behind bars. Following the hearing Delatorre was turned over to federal authorities.

Fire Destroys Asbury Home

A vehicle that caught fire is being blamed for a destroying a house in Asbury Thursday afternoon. A press release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office says fire crews from Asbury and several surrounding communities responded to a residential fire in the 15-thousand block of Lore Mound Road at around 2:20. It took crews several hours to get the fire under control. The homeowner, 59 year old Arthur Wahlen Jr. told officials he was working on a car in his attached garage, when the vehicle caught fire and quickly spread to the home. Whalen was not injured. The fire caused an estimated 200-thousand dollars in damage. Authorities don’t consider the fire suspicious, but the investigation continues.

Gunfire Reported in Downtown Dubuque

Dubuque police are investigating a report of gunfire in the downtown area last week. A police report says officers responded to the area of west 15th and Central Avenue just before nine o’clock Friday night. When police arrived there was no one in the area, but officers did recovered a handgun and several shell casings. There was no damage and no one was injured. No arrests have been made. If you have any information contact the Dubuque law enforcement center.

Dubuque to Replace City Buses

Dubuque’s transportation department says it needs to replace buses with bad engines that are at risk of breaking down. The Jule has nine medium sized buses that are having engine problems. At its’ meeting on Monday the city council approved staff to send out proposals to potential bidders. The buses will cost around 1.8 million dollars, but a federal transit administration grant will cover 85 percent of the costs. Taxpayers will end up covering 270-thousand dollars. The city hopes to receive the buses by April of next year.

Ernst on Small Business Week 

This week is “National Small Business Week” and one of Iowa’s U.S. Senators is doing their part to strengthen those businesses. Senator Joni Ernst has reintroduced the “Prove It Act”, bipartisan legislation that she is co-sponsoring with one of her Democratic colleagues. Ernst says the bill will give small businesses a stronger voice in Washington’s complexed rule-making process. Ernst is a member of the Senate’s Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship Committee. She says small businesses made up nearly 99 percent of all businesses in Iowa.

Great Give Day

The annual Great Give Day in Dubuque is Thursday. It’s a 24-hour online only giving event that benefits non-profit groups and organizations in the Tri-State area. The event is hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Communications Manager Jeff Danna says their mission is to strengthen communities and inspire giving. Wendy Sweeney is the Non-Profit Partnership Coordinator for the foundation, she says their region covers numerous counties in the northeastern and eastern part of the state. Great Give Day kicks off at midnight Wednesday and will last through midnight Thursday. Over 170 non-profits will benefit from the event. Over the past five years, more than 1.2 million dollars has been raised.

New Jail Approved For Delaware County

Voters in Delaware County have approved a 5.9 million dollar bond referendum for a new jail and sheriff’s office. The bond issue required a 60 percent super-majority to pass. There were two-thousand-167 yes votes or 85.5 percent, while 367 people voted no. County leaders say the current jail, which was built in 1967, is in bad shape and would likely not pass state inspections. If the referendum failed again, the state could have come and shut down the jail. The current jail can only hold about a dozen inmates leading to sheriff’s deputies having to spend time transporting prisoners to other nearby jails when numbers got too high. The new jail will house 38 inmates. The jail will be built near the industrial park on the southwest side of Manchester.

Longtime Wahlert Assistant Principal To Retire

Cynthia Wagner

For more than four decades, Wahlert assistant principal Cynthia Wagner has been a pillar in the Catholic school community, but at the end of the current school year she will be calling it a career. Wagner began her teaching career at McDonell Central Catholic High School in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and just two years later in 1975 she returned to her alma-mater to teach chemistry and coach six-on-six basketball and track and field. In 1994 Wagner accepted a position to serve as a dean at the high school. She became assistant principal when Holy Family Catholic Schools was formed in 2001. Although she won’t be teaching anymore when school ends, Wagner will return to coach the women’s cross country team this year.

Grant County Cycle Fatality

A Cassville man has died from injuries he received after his motorcycle struck a car over the weekend in Grant County. According to a press release from the sheriff’s office 26 year old James Giesen died yesterday at UW Hospitals and Clinics in Madison. That’s where he was airlifted to following the crash Saturday morning. Authorities say Giesen was traveling south on Wisconsin 35/81 US/61 near Stage Road close to Lancaster, when he passed a truck and crashed into the second vehicle in line. That vehicle was driven by 66 year old Betty Ritter of Lancaster. Giesen was ejected from the motorcycle. He was first transported to Grant Regional Health Center before being flown to Madison. There have been three fatal crashes in Grant County this year. Four people died in those accidents.

Voting For New Jail in Delaware County

Voters in Delaware County are again being asked to approve a bond referendum for a new jail and sheriff’s office. The 5.9 million dollar bond issue would replace the old jail, which was built in 1967. County leaders say that is in bad shape, and if a new jail isn’t built soon, the state will shut the old one down, which could result in the loss of jobs. Right now the jail can only house about a dozen inmates. When overcrowding occurs some inmates have to be transported to other jails in nearby counties. The new jail would house nearly 40 inmates. If approved the project would be financed over a 12 year period and the supervisors would not have to increase the debt levy. Polls opened at 7 this morning and will close at 8 tonight.

Sword Wielding Man Charged

A Dubuque man faces charges after police say he displayed a sword and a knife during a disturbance this week. 35 year old David Muntz Jr. faces charges of domestic assault with the use of a dangerous weapon and possession of marijuana in Dubuque County court. Documents say officers responded to a report of a disturbance shortly before 11:30 Saturday night in the 60 block of Burns Street. A woman met officers and told them she had gotten into an argument with Muntz, her live-in boy friend, who pulled out a knife and displayed it in a threatening manner. She says Muntz also picked up a sword that she tried to take from him. While trying to take the sword from Muntz, the woman says she fell to the ground and cut her thumb. After being placed under arrest Muntz told officers he was carrying a small amount of marijuana in his wallet.

Moped Accident Injures Two

An accident involving a moped sends two people to the hospital. The accident happened late Saturday afternoon on Loras Blvd. near its’ intersection with Cummings Street. A police report says 21 year old Merrick Purcell of Des Moines was driving a moped along the 800 block of Loras, when a car driven by 22 year old Claire Cahill of Evergreen Park, Illinois turned onto Loras from an alley and struck the moped. Purcell and his passenger 20 year old Adam Valdez of California were ejected from the moped. Purcell suffered a groin injury and was transported to MercyOne Dubuque. Valdez refused treatment at the scene. Cahill was not injured. She was cited for failure to yield upon entering a through highway. Purcell received citations for failure to provide proof of financial liability, failure to provide a safety flag and unlawfully carrying a passenger on a moped.

Man Escapes Injury In Lafayette County Crash

A southwest Wisconsin man escaped injury after he crashed his car into a ditch in Lafayette County over the weekend. A deputy was on routine patrol shortly after 3:30 Sunday morning, when he came upon a vehicle in a ditch. There was no one in the car when the deputy approached. Following a short investigation authorities located the driver 23 year old Johnathon Timmerman of Argyle. Police determined that Timmerman was driving on State Highway 78 in Blanchard Township, wen he lost control. The car left the road and struck a ditch. Timmerman was cited for failure to notify police of an accident, failure to keep his vehicle under control and driving without insurance.

Jackels Recovering From Heart Attack

Bishop Michael Jackels

Dubuque’s Archbishop suffered a heart attack over the weekend, but according to social media posts from Catholic parishes throughout the community, Archbishop Michael Jackels is resting and recovering at MercyOne Dubuque today. Jackels suffered a heart attack Friday evening and doctors installed a pair of stents. The posts report that the 65 year old Archbishop is feeling better and in good spirits. It goes on to say that Jackels is spending a few days in ICU.

Police Continue To Investigate East Dubuque Shooting Death

Police say someone shot a video of a shooting that killed a woman outside a bar in East Dubuque o April 21st. The person who died was 44 year old Jennifer Miller of Dubuque. Jo Daviess County Sheriff Kevin Turner is asking anyone who might have that video or other information to contact authorities. The sheriff’s office is taking the lead in the investigation due to the retirement of East Dubuque police chief Steve O’Connell.

Grant County Crash Closes Road

A two vehicle crash involving a truck pulling an anhydrous ammonia tank forced the closure of a highway in southwest Wisconsin last month. The accident happened on April 25th at the intersection of Highways 18 and 80 in Monfort. A release from the Grant county Sheriff’s Department says a car driven by 32 year old Tyler Colburn of Highland was traveling south on County Highway 1 when he stopped for a stop sign. As Colburn turned west onto Highway 18, the front driver’s side of his car collided with the front passenger’s side of a truck driven by 71 year old Bradley Bishop of Cobb. The weight from the anhydrous tank spun Bishop’s vehicle into the eastbound lane of 18. The highway was closed for about an hour, while crews removed the vehicles. The anhydrous tank remained intact and was towed from the scene. Colburn and Bishop were not injured. Colburn received a citation for failure to yield the right of way.

Cedar Cross Road Reopens After Crash Closes A Portion For Nearly 7 Hours

A well-traveled street in Dubuque is back open after a crash involving a truck closed the road for nearly 7 hours yesterday. According to a crash report a truck driven by 35 year old Matthew Ryan of Dubuque was traveling south on Cedar Cross Road when he claimed his hand slipped off the steering wheel. Ryan lost control and the truck struck a utility pole near Lake Ridge Drive. The impact snapped the pole, sending live electrical wires over the truck and the road. Ryan and his passenger were not injured but were told to stay inside the vehicle until crews from Alliant Energy could address the situation. Cedar Cross Road was closed from the 700 block to Nighingale. It took crews nearly 7 hours to clean up the scene and restore power to the affected area. The crash caused more than 37-thousand dollars in damage. Ryan was cited for failure to maintain control. Cedar Cross Road was reopened at around 4 pm.

Former Dubuque Man Charged With Sex Abuse

A former Dubuque man has been charged with sexually abusing a child. The alleged incident happened in Dubuque nearly five years ago. According to court records 51 year old Larry Halligan, who now lives in Waterloo, was arrested this week (last week) and charged with second degree sexual abuse, indecent contact with a child and lascivious acts with a child. In August of 2014, police were notified about a child younger than 13 who had been sexually abused. Documents say the assault happened in the summer or fall. At the time Halligan was living in Dubuque. He made an initial court appearance and the judge set his bond at 30-thousand dollars.

Acquisition Of American Trust Complete

MidWestOne Financial Group based in Iowa City says it has completed the acquisition of a bank holding company in Dubuque. MidWestOne is now the owner of ATBancorp, which is the parent company of American Trust and Savings Bank in Dubuque and American Bank and Trust Wisconsin. A press release from American Trust says “immediately following completion of the acquisition, those banks were merged into MidWestOne Financial Group, a subsidiary of MidWestOne Bank. Over 40 bank positions in Dubuque will be gradually eliminated. The company now has assets valued at over 4.7 billion and 62 branch offices in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and Florida.

Bellevue Threat Not Credible

Officials in the Bellevue school district have determined that a threat to the middle and high school this week wasn’t credible. According to our coverage partners at KCRG TV principal Jeff Recker made staff aware of a “vague” and “concerning” message inside the school at around 9:15 Wednesday morning. The building was evacuated so staff and law enforcement could do a sweep of the school. A few hours later superintendent Tom Meyer updated his Facebook page with status saying “We have worked with law enforcement and we have determined the threat to not be credible. We feel the students are safe. Recker says students and teachers handled the situation well.

Dubuque Kitchen Fire 

A fire that reportedly started in the kitchen of a Dubuque home Wednesday morning caused thousands of dollars in damage. A release from the fire department says crews responded to a house in the 12-hundfed block of Brown Street at around 8:45. A smoke detector in the home alerted a woman who was inside. The woman had taken in some smoke while trying to search for a dog that was inside. While she wasn’t able to locate the dog, emergency crews were. The dog was unharmed. The unknown woman was transported to the hospital as a precaution. Investigators say it appears the fire started near the stove. It caused an estimated 50-thousand dollars in smoke and fire damage to the home.

McGraw to Merge With Cengage

McGraw Hill Education says it will be merging with rival company Cengage Learning in an all stock merger. The New York Post is reporting that after the merger is complete the company will be called McGraw Hill and will hold about 3.16 billion in annual revenue. McGraw Hill says Cengage Learning CEO Michael Hansen will head the new firm. The merged companies, which could be valued at around 5 billion, would help both U.S. based educational publishers to compete better as the rise of digital books and course materials pressures their businesses. Once the merger is complete the new company would become the second largest providers of college textbooks and other higher education materials in the U.S. McGraw Hill has a location in Dubuque at 501 Bell Street in the Port of Dubuque. The report doesn’t say how the merger will affect employees at McGraw Hill or Cengage.

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

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

Biden Visits Eastern Iowa

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