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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Dubuque Shots Fired Calls Drop to Near Zero

Dalsing

Just three years after hitting a record high, reports of gunfire in Dubuque are on pace to stay in the low single digits for calendar year 2018. So far this year, there have been just four reports of shots being fired in the city. That’s down by three-quarters from just last year, and ranks well below the 33 reports police took back in 2015. Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing says his officers and investigators deserve much of the credit for bringing the number of reports down. According to Dalsing, shots fired reports present some unique challenges for law enforcement. In many cases, police will seek federal charges against those involved in gunfire incidents. Dalsing says that’s because those charges carry heavier penalties while requiring less proof. While Dalsing is pleased to see the gunfire reports down so significantly, he knows next year could bring another increase. Since hitting 33 in 2015, shots fired cases dropped to 26 in 2016, then to 20 last year, and are currently at four for this year.


BB Pistol Found in Jefferson Student's Locker

Jefferson Middle School (Courtesy: Dubuque Community Schools)

A BB gun was found in a student’s locker at one of Dubuque’s middle schools on Tuesday. In an email to parents, Jefferson Middle School administrators said the BB pistol was confiscated once school staff learned about it. The gun was never used or displayed in a threatening way. An investigation is underway, and the school says disciplinary action against any students involved is something being considered.


Federal Gun Crime Suspect from Clayton County Pleads Innocence

A Clayton County man accused of a federal gun crime says he’s innocent. 42-year-old John Kottman of Luana has pled not guilty to a single count of Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Prosecutors allege that Kottman had a 12-gauge shotgun in November of last year, despite being barred from possessing guns due to his criminal history, specifically a 2000 conviction for possessing heroin with intent to deliver. Kottman is also facing a similar state-level charge. Court documents connected with that case say he sold that shotgun to another man sometime last fall. Kottman’s trial on the federal charge is scheduled to begin in mid-January.


Domestic Assault Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

A Dubuque man accused of causing multiple fractures to his girlfriend’s skull has pled not guilty to a pair of charges. 27-year-old Cody Bauer faces one count each of Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury and Domestic Assault with Intent to Inflict Serious Injury. Those charges stem from a November 12 incident that led to his girlfriend’s hospitalization. According to police, a neighbor called and said they were concerned about the woman’s well-being. When officers responded to Bauer’s apartment, he initially blocked them from entering. They eventually got into the apartment, and found the woman with what are described as “obvious” injuries to her head and face. The woman was initially taken to Mercy Hospital here in Dubuque before being transferred to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Her injuries included multiple skull fractures, broken ribs, and a lacerated liver.


Second Arrest Made in Check Cashing Scheme

A Dubuque woman is facing a felony charge for her role in a check cashing scheme. Back in September, Dubuque Police were contacted by a Manchester man who said three of his personal checks had been forged and cashed in Dubuque. The checks had been written out for a total of $1,300 and were all deposited by 21-year-old Skylar Maanika at various financial institutions. The victim told police he did not know Maanika, and he believed his checks had been stolen while he was living at the Dubuque Rescue Mission over the summer. Surveillance images showed Maanika using an ATM to deposit one of the checks. In one case, Maanika was accompanied by 34-year-old Timothy Tuthill of Dubuque. In another instance, Tuthill used Maanika’s bank card to deposit one of the fraudulent checks. Maanika is now facing one count of Forgery. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison. Tuthill was arrested on a Forgery charge about three weeks ago.


Committee Assignments for Lundgren, McKean Announced

Lundgren, McKean

We now know all of the committees that a couple of local state representatives will sit on when the Iowa Legislature returns to session next month. Earlier this week, we told you that State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta would be chairing the House Human Resources committee. In addition, Lundgren will also be a part of the Commerce, Economic Growth, and Veterans Affairs committees. She’s also been chosen for the Health and Human Services budget subcommittee. Fellow state rep Andy McKean of Anamosa also has a chairmanship this term. He’ll lead the House Ethics Committee. Other committee assignments for McKean include Environmental Protection, Judiciary, Local Government, and State Government. Committee assignments for Senate Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have not yet been released.


Theft Suspect Faces New Charges After Wal-Mart Shoplifting

A Dubuque woman awaiting trial on charges she helped rob a Dubuque bar is now also accused of shoplifting more than $400 in merchandise from a local retailer. 33-year-old Elizabeth Hammer is one of two women arrested after an incident at Wal-Mart over the weekend. Store employees tell police that Hammer and 26-year-old April Johnson of Dubuque went to a self check-out lane on Sunday morning. But instead of swiping the items in their cart, they scanned barcodes for pieces of felt that cost less than a quarter. In reality, the items they had held a total value of $453 and change. When confronted by store security, the two reportedly ran into the parking lot and drove off in a pickup truck that was later stopped by police. Hammer and Johnson have each been charged with 4th Degree Theft. Hammer is scheduled to go on trial early next month on additional theft charges stemming from an incident earlier this fall. She was charged with 3rd Degree Theft, 5th Degree Theft, and Possession of Burglary Tools in October. In that case, managers at the Yardarm accused Hammer of taking several shirts from their merchandise stand and trying to steal a tackle box from a nearby boat.


911 Outage Impacting Landline Phones in Delaware County

Residents of Delaware County will need to use a mobile phone to call 911 for the time being. That’s due to an outage affecting landline calls to the emergency number. Local officials say the outage is a result of a fiber optic line being cut on Monday night. Anyone in the county who tries to call 911 from a landline won’t get through. But the service does still appear to be working for those who call from a cell phone. County emergency managers do not yet know when the problem might be fixed.


Wolbers Named New UnityPoint CEO

A Dubuque native will be returning to his hometown to take over leadership at one of the city’s hospitals. UnityPoint Health has named Chad Wolbers as the new CEO of their Dubuque operation, which includes Finley Hospital. Wolbers will begin his new role in mid-January. He comes to UnityPoint from the Studer Group, a Florida-based consulting firm. Wolbers has worked at Finley in the past, serving as UnityPoint’s local Chief Operations Officer from 2008 through 2015. He also spent some of that time as Finley’s interim President and CEO. Wolbers is a graduate of Senior High School.


Sheriff Wants Evidence Storage Building

Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy wants the Board of Supervisors to sign-off on a nearly half million dollar storage building that would house evidence that is seized during investigations. Kennedy recently addressed the supervisors about his proposal, which he plans to include in his budget request for fiscal year 2020. Right now the county and the city leased multiple storage units for evidence obtained during joint investigations. Kennedy says he envisions a 60-foot-by-120-foot building. Currently the county is paying around 15-thousand-500 a year to rent evidence storage space and that cost is spilt with the city and the county attorney’s office. Kennedy will deliver his budget proposal to the board early next year.

 


Cascade Man Convicted Of Document Fraud

A jury recently found a Cascade man guilty of using someone else’s social security number to obtain a job. The federal jury in Cedar Rapids found 45 year old Luis Gonzales Esparsa guilty of unlawful use of an identification document and misuse of a social security card. Gonzales-Esparsa used another person’s social security card and a fraudulent green card when he applied for a job in Peosta in June. Gonzales-Esparsa faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced, a half million dollars fine and three years of probation.


Gas Leak Affects Travel near NW Arterial

Construction crews working in the area of Dodge Street/Highway 20 and the N.W. Arterial ruptured a gas line late Thursday morning causing the emergency closure of both westbound lanes of Highway 20 at Northwest Arterial. The ruptured gas line was on the north side of Highway 20 across from Finnin Kia and was struck at around 11:50. There was only one eastbound lane of 20 that was accessible to traffic. Crews from Black Hills Energy worked for hours to cap off the leak.


Police ID JD Bridge Fatality

Police in East Dubuque have released the name of the passenger who was killed after a disabled car he and the driver were pushing across the Julien Dubuque Bridge was rear ended early Wednesday morning. The deceased has been identified as 30 year old Luke Billmeyer of Dubuque. At around 1:10 a.m. a car driven by 37 year old Nathan Scott of Dubuque broke down as it was traveling east on the Illinois side of the bridge. A car driven by 27 year old Whitaker Ingles of Dyersville was also traveling east and rear ended Scott’s car, pushing it into the bridges’ retaining wall. Billmeyer was pronounced dead at the scene. Ingles, his passenger, 27 year old Sara Wells of Dubuque and Scott were all transported to area hospitals. Their conditions have not been released. Scott was cited for driving with a revoked license. The crash closed the bridge for almost 8 hours.


UPDATE: Julien Dubuque Bridge Crash Kills One

 

East Dubuque police have released more information about a crash on the Julien Dubuque Bridge early this morning. Police now say one person was killed and three others injured in the two vehicle crash that happened on the Illinois side of the bridge at around 1:10 a.m. The name of the deceased has not yet been released. A press release from the police department says 37 year old Nathan Scott of Dubuque was driving his vehicle east across the bridge when it broke down. As he and his passenger were attempting to push the vehicle over the bridge, a vehicle driven by 27 year old Whitaker Ingles of Dyersville rear-ended it. The impact pushed Scott’s car into the bridges’ retaining wall. Scott’s passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. Ingles, his passenger, 27 year old Sara Wells of Dubuque and Scott were transported to area hospitals, where their condition is unknown. Scott has been cited for driving while his license was revoked. The bridge was closed for nearly 8 hours.


Dubuque Area Businesses Featured in Iowa Gift Guide

A handful of Dubuque area businesses are featured in a gift guide spotlighting products produced in Iowa. The Iowa Tourism Office’s annual “Made in Iowa” gift guide includes three dozen items from stores and manufacturers across the Hawkeye State. Among the Dubuque area businesses featured in the guide are:

– Teeny Weeny Toys, which is located in Cable Car Square. The store’s wooden peg toys, including one based on the ‘Star Wars’ movies, are spotlighted in the “Babies and Kids” section.

– Shimlee Signs’ custom wood photo prints are included in the “Home Goods” section. Shimlee is based in Edgewood.

– In the “Food and Cooking” area, Garnavillo’s Great River Maple’s bourbon-aged maple syrup is one of the featured selections.

– Finally, the “Stocking Stuffers” section features the chocolate-covered caramels made at Monastery Candy, just outside of Dubuque.


UPDATE: Julien Dubuque Bridge Back Open

KCRG’s Dubuque CityCam shows vehicles moving again on the Julien Dubuque Bridge following a closure earlier this morning.

Traffic has resumed on the Julien Dubuque Bridge. The bridge was closed following a crash on the East Dubuque side at about 1:10 this morning. Police are describing the wreck as a “serious injury crash” but have not released any additional details.


Music Store Asks for Help Finding Stolen Guitar

Courtesy: Rondelli Music/Audio

A Dubuque retailer is hoping the public can help find the person who stole from their store. Rondelli Music and Audio posted to Facebook this week asking for help after a recent theft. According to the post, an ESP Evertune guitar was stolen during the day on Tuesday. That guitar typical retails for about 900 dollars. The store is asking that anyone who sees the guitar contact local police.


KCRG Investigates Concerns Over Dubuque Initiatives

In the second part of their investigation into a Dubuque non-profit, our coverage partners at KCRG-TV examined some of the concerns about Dubuque Initiatives. That’s the group which has been responsible for brokering several significant agreements between businesses and local government entities. But the organization meets completely in private and rarely discloses their work until projects are complete. That’s concerning to some citizens, especially with the Dubuque Initiatives board made up of a mixture of city officials and business leaders. But board president Doug Horstman says projects are more likely to be a success if discussions are kept private. Horstman notes that the group has a stringent policy against conflicts of interest. Luis Del Toro is not one of the members of the Dubuque City Council who sits on the Dubuque Initiatives board. He says there’s probably room for the group to be more transparent. But City Manager Mike Van Milligen, who is on the group’s board, says all the information the public needs is available on the Dubuque Initiatives website.

To view KCRG’s full reports, click here for Part 1 of their investigation, and here for Part 2.


ALERT: Julien Dubuque Bridge Closed Until Further Notice

The bridge connecting Dubuque and Illinois is going to be closed for several hours following a crash early this morning. Police have closed the Julien Dubuque Bridge between Dubuque and East Dubuque as they investigate what’s being called a “serious injury crash.” The wreck happened at about 1:10 AM on the East Dubuque side of the span. Traffic that usually crosses the bridge will be rerouted. Drivers can still get across the river using the Iowa-Wisconsin Bridge. That’s about a nine-mile detour, so those whose morning commute takes them across the river need to factor in that extra time.


KCRG Investigates Dubuque Initiatives

A non-profit organization based in Dubuque has helped facilitate and, in some cases, pay for several large projects including the redevelopment of the Roshek Building. But the group works entirely in secret, with city officials serving on its board. Our coverage partners at KCRG this week are investigating the group known as Dubuque Initiatives. The organization was started through a state grant in 1980, and has grown to a $40 million dollar outfit. Dubuque Initiatives President Doug Horstman says a recent agreement with Flexsteel is an example of how the group works. When the manufacturer announced it would be moving out of its current plant, Dubuque Initiatives stepped in to ensure the company stayed in Dubuque County. Flexsteel donated its former plant to Dubuque Initiatives, giving the company a tax write-off, which the company used to help pay for its new location. Dubuque Initiatives is then able to apply for grants to demolish or redevelop the facility. Horstman says Dubuque Initiatives serves as a go-between when city government and private businesses aren’t able to make a project come together. You can see part two of KCRG’s Dubuque Initiatives investigation during their newscast at 6:00 this evening.


Iowa Sees Nation's Largest Gas Price Drop

While gas prices have been falling across the country, drivers in Iowa have seen the biggest decrease. According to national auto club AAA, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Iowa is down by 41 cents in the past month. That’s a bigger drop than any other state, though several others have also seen decreases of a quarter per gallon or more. AAA spokesman Nick Jarmusz says the drop is the result of a combination of factors, including decreases in driver demand and the price of crude oil. Jarmusz believes the downward trend among gas prices will continue through the rest of the year. On average, Iowa drivers are saving six dollars each time they fill up their gas tanks. Jarmusz says that extra money is especially welcome this time of year. The current average price for a gallon of gas across Dubuque County is $2.41. That’s more than a dime higher than Iowa’s statewide average of $2.30.


Dubuque Woman Accused of Driving Drunk with Drugs in Vehicle

Dubuque County authorities have accused a woman of trying to run from them while driving drunk with drugs in her vehicle. 34-year-old Amber Sheppard of Dubuque was arrested a few minutes before 1:00 Monday morning about four miles east of Bernard. According to an arrest report, deputies had been told to be on the lookout for Sheppard’s vehicle. It was spotted driving on US Highway 151 near its intersection with Curoe Road…or just east of the Fillmore Fairways Golf Course. Deputies tried to pull the vehicle over, but Sheppard reportedly sped away. Officers caught up with her a few minutes later and took her into custody. Inside her vehicle, they located more than 24 grams of methamphetamine, as well as nearly two dozen syringes. Sheppard has been charged with Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Eluding, a 3rd Offense of Operating While Intoxicated, and Driving with a Revoked License.


Speeding Most Common Thanksgiving Traffic Violation

More than half of the traffic tickets handed out by the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office over Thanksgiving were for speeding. The department has released the results of its recent holiday enforcement project, which ran through the week surrounding Thanksgiving. During those eight days, deputies wrote up 50 drivers for exceeding the posted speed limit. That was far and away the most common violation. Among other infractions that were ticketed by deputies were driving without insurance, having window tint that was too dark, and travelling with an open container of alcohol. In addition to writing out tickets, deputies also assisted with five crashes and made a total of six arrests. Deputies also report that about 95% of the drivers they observed were wearing seat belts.


Iowa Corn, Soybean Harvest Nearly Complete

The vast majority of Iowa’s corn and soybean crops had been harvested before the snowstorm that blanketed parts of the state last weekend. The US Department of Agriculture reports that 96% of Iowa’s corn crop had been harvested by Sunday. That’s despite southwest Iowa lagging behind the rest of the state, with about 13% of its corn still in the ground. The statewide average is only about four days behind the five-year average. That’s not bad, considering how farmers were delayed by the wet fall most of the state experienced. As for soybeans, 98% of the harvest had been done by Sunday. That’s a full 12 days behind the five-year average.


Police: Man Tries to Steal $1,500 in Groceries

Dubuque Police say a man racked up more than $1,500 in charges at a local grocery store, then tried to pay for none of it. 34-year-old Robert Riddell was arrested at about 11:00 Sunday night. According to court documents, police had been called to the Hy-Vee on the Northwest Arterial on a report of shoplifting. Employees at the store told police that a man had left with a shopping cart full of items he hadn’t paid for. Those workers followed the man into the parking lot, where he reportedly grabbed a few of the items from the cart and ran off. Police caught up with Riddell in a nearby parking lot. He tried to escape through a cornfield, but was eventually taken into custody. Riddell has been charged with 2nd Degree Theft and Interference with Official Acts.


Tri-States Largely Dodge Significant Snowfall

While most of the Tri-State area was not impacted by yesterday’s snowstorm, some areas just beyond our region were hit harder. The system bringing the storm stayed well to the south of the Dubuque area, with no snowfall reported anywhere in Dubuque, Clayton, or Grant counties. But the area around Maquoketa saw some significant snowfall. Travel to the south and east of the community is still being discouraged this morning, with the Iowa Department of Transportation describing state Highway 136 between Delmar and Fulton as “impassable.” Among some of the more significant snowfall reports around the region, parts of the Quad Cities received as much as 13 inches of snow. 11 inches were reported in both Dewitt, Iowa, and Mount Carroll, Illinois. To our east, Freeport took on about five inches, while accumulation of more than a foot was reported in the Rockford area. Some slight additional precipitation chances are in our forecast later this week. But it’s still not clear whether that would be rain, snow, or a mixture.


Thanksgiving Weekend Alcohol Arrests Flat

Courtesy: Torch Magazine

The number of alcohol-related arrests around Dubuque County was flat this year, but still shows a downward trend. According to online records, Dubuque Police and the county sheriff’s office made a total of 13 arrests for either Public Intoxication or Operating While Intoxicated from Wednesday night through Sunday. That’s the same number of arrests on those charges that were made a year ago. But those totals both represent a significant drop from 2016, which saw the highest number of such arrests over the past five years. Over that timeframe, there has been an average of about 16 alcohol-related arrests in the county over Thanksgiving weekend. Nearly half of those arrests happen on the night before Thanksgiving, which is generally considered one of the busiest bar nights of the year.


Four Teens Arrested in Connection with Galena Territory Burglaries

Authorities in Jo Daviess County believe four Tri-State area teenagers are behind a string of car break-ins in the Galena Territory. Officers from the county sheriff’s office arrested the four teens following a traffic stop early Saturday morning. A deputy had been called about a vehicle matching the description of one used in several of the burglaries. The car was stopped in rural Elizabeth. After a K-9 indicated there were drugs in the vehicle, the teens were arrested and the car searched. Deputies say they found several stolen items in the vehicle, including a gun. 19-year-old Theodore Forsberg of Apple River, 19-year-old Benjamin Gourley of Dubuque, a 16-year-old from Galena, and a 15-year-old from Dubuque have now each been charged with felony Burglary. The sheriff’s department has not released the names of the juveniles. 


Dubuquer Pleads to Federal Meth Charge

A Dubuque man has admitted his role in a meth dealing operation. 35-year-old Jeremy Kieffer recently pled guilty to a federal charge of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. In exchange for that plea, prosecutors agreed to drop three other counts against him. According to prosecutors, Kieffer worked with two other people to move more than 500 grams of a meth mixture in Dubuque between December of 2016 and this past March. That’s when authorities raided Kieffer’s home on Chaney Road. Agents reportedly found more than two pounds of meth and $11,000 in cash. It’s not clear when Kieffer will be sentenced, or what kind of a prison term he could be facing.


Sabula Woman Arrested with Several Drugs in Vehicle

A Jackson County woman is facing nearly a dozen charges, including seven felonies, after being stopped with several types of drugs in her vehicle. According to police in Fulton, Illinois, 22-year-old Patrisha O’Bryant of Sabula was pulled over at about 1:30 Saturday morning. A search of the vehicle turned up methamphetamine, heroin, three kinds of prescription drugs, and a gun. Six of the charges were related to the drugs in the vehicle. Among the others O’Bryant is facing are Child Endangerment, Possessing a Firearm as a Felon, and Driving While Suspended. O’Bryant was taken to the Whiteside County Jail to be held until she could make an initial court appearance.


Environmental Restoration Planned for Eagle Point Park

Courtesy: City of Dubuque

After decades of enduring weather and other problems caused by Mother Nature, Eagle Point Park is suffers the effects. That’s why the city of Dubuque is set to launch a plan to restore the park’s recreational and natural spaces. Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens says the park has been affected by severe soil erosion. The restoration plan is currently in the concept phase and may include a variety of practices. The city is hosting a public input meeting this week to discuss the restoration plan. That meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:00 PM at Carnegie Stout Public Library. The restoration of the park was originally supposed to take about 10 years. Dubuque has secured more than $925,000 from state and federal resources for the project.


Dubuque Proposes New Water Tower

Officials in Dubuque are beginning the process of building a new water tower to improve water pressure that has worsened due to residential growth. Officials have started an environmental review for a proposed 1.2 million gallon tower to replace a one currently located at Eagle Point Park. The new tower would be higher and bigger than the current one, which holds 500,000 gallons. The city is seeking state funding to help pay for the project. Officials hope to have the new tower completed in 2020.


UPDATE: Dubuque County Fatal Crash

The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department has released the names of the people involved in a fatal crash that happened Thanksgiving morning in a rural part of the county. A press release says the crash occurred at around 7:45 at the intersection of St. Joes Prairie and Skyline Road. A car driven by 81 year old Roger Emerson of Dubuque was traveling south on St. Joes Prairie Road, when he failed to yield to through traffic and collided with a westbound pickup truck driven by 49 year old Raymundo Pena-Gutierrez of Moline, Illinois. Emerson was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in his car, 66 year old Richard Horn of Dubuque was transported to a local hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Gutierrez was also taken to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. A passenger in the pickup, 61 year old Juanita Pena of Moline was transported to a local hospital, before being airlifted to U of I Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Her condition is not known. The crash remains under investigation.


Dubuque County Fatal Crash

A two vehicle crash in Dubuque County Thanksgiving morning has claimed the life of one person. The accident happened at around 7:45 a.m. at the intersection of St. Joes Prairie Road and Skyline Road. A release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Offices says a car traveling south on St. Joes Prairie Road failed to yield to through traffic and pulled in front of a westbound pickup truck. The two vehicles collided. The driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the car was transported to a local hospital suffering from non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the pickup was taken to an area hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. A passenger in the pickup was also transported to a local hospital, before being airlifted to U of I Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The names of those involved in the crash, including the deceased will be released later today.


UPDATE: Dubuque Police Make Three Arrests in Convenience Store Robbery

Dubuque Police have arrested three suspects in connection with a robbery at a downtown convenience store. Police were called to the FasMart in the 21-hundred block of Central Avenue just after 7:00 last night. According to court documents, the three suspects came out of the store’s bathroom and charged at the clerk working the cash register. One of them tackled the clerk, while another raided the register and the third kept a lookout. The three then ran from the store in different directions. About two hours later, three people matching the descriptions of the suspects were spotted near the intersection of 9th and Main Streets. 21-year-old Mathew Foxhood, 18-year-old Anthony Crary, and 17-year-old Derek Sanders were arrested and have each been charged with 2nd Degree Robbery. Police say Foxhood and Crary admitted to their roles in the hold-up, while Sanders refused to speak with officers.


Fire Forces Guests Out of Galena Hotel

Guests at a hotel in Galena had to find other accommodations on Tuesday night after a fire broke out. The fire began in the laundry room of the Ramada Inn at about 12:45 Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to that room. But other parts of the hotel sustained smoke and water damage. All of the guests were evacuated out of the hotel, and no one was allowed to stay there overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. A manager says they’re hoping to re-open sometime today. The Ramada Inn is located along US Highway 20 on Galena’s northwestern edge.


AAA Offering "Tow to Go" Program Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Tonight is often considered one of, if not the biggest bar night in Dubuque and the surrounding area. With that in mind, a national auto club will help make sure people get home safe. AAA will be offering its “Tow to Go” program beginning today. That’s a service that sends a AAA affiliated tow truck to pick people up and take them and their vehicle home. Nick Jarmusz of AAA tells us the program is open to both club members and non-members, and won’t count against a member’s service limit. The ride is free up to ten miles, and only a small fee is charged for trips beyond that. Jarmusz says “Tow to Go” is only meant to be used in emergencies or as a last resort. AAA first began offering the “Tow to Go” service in the southeastern US in the early 90s. It’s been available in Iowa and Wisconsin over the past couple of years, and Jarmusz says it’s starting to catch on in those states. “Tow to Go” will be available through Sunday.


Hillcrest Again Hosts Walking Preview of "Reflections in the Park"

Courtesy: Hillcrest Family Services

For the fourth year, an annual holiday light display will let visitors walk through the area before car traffic begins. Hillcrest Family Services’ “Reflections in the Park” officially opens on Thanksgiving night. But once again this year, people can walk through the light display the previous evening. Paula Paider-Licht from Hillcrest says the walk through has continued to grow in popularity since it was first offered in 2015. Paider-Licht says there are some definite differences that people pick up on when they walk through the park, rather than drive it. In the years that the walk through has been going on, visitors have begun to make it more of an event unto itself. Murphy Park will be open for the walk through between 6:00 and 8:00 Wednesday night. The cost is ten dollars per person, and children under the age of four get in for free.


UD's Smith Named 2018 Iowa Citizen Hero

Smith

A Dubuque basketball coach will be one of two heroes honored during Friday’s Iowa football game. Justin Smith, an assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Dubuque, has been chosen as the 2018 Iowa Citizen Hero, according to the American Red Cross. Smith and a hero from Nebraska, will be recognized during a ceremony prior to the Iowa-Nebraska game. Each year, the Red Cross and Hy-Vee select citizen heroes from each of the two states to honor as part of the game’s festivities. Last December, Smith helped avert disaster when the team bus driver suffered a medical issue on the way back from a tournament in Nashville. Smith grabbed the wheel of the bus and was able to maneuver it to the side of the road, avoiding a potentially serious crash.


Another Phony Bomb Threat at Dubuque Business

For the second time in a week, a phony bomb threat forced employees at a Dubuque business to evacuate. Dubuque Police were called to Rite-Hite in Industrial Center West shortly before 10:30 yesterday morning. An employee had found a written message that indicated there was a bomb in the building. Workers were moved out of the building, which was then searched by police. But no explosives were located. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s nearly exactly what happened at Rite-Hite a week earlier as well. Last Tuesday, another message about a bomb inside the building was found. The building was evacuated and searched in that instance as well, but nothing was found. Police are continuing to look into both incidents.


Field of Dreams Vandal Given Deferred Judgment, Avoiding Jail Time

The vandal who drove a truck over the Field of Dreams Movie Site was able to avoid jail time after striking a deal with prosecutors. 21-year-old Austin Pape of Dyersville was given a deferred judgement in Dubuque County Court on Monday. Pape had been charged with Reckless Driving and 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief after the incident in January. In September, he agreed to plead guilty to the criminal mischief charge in exchange for the Reckless Driving count being dropped. He could have still faced up to five years in prison. But the judge instead gave Pape two to five years of probation as part of the deferred judgement. If Pape is able to stay out of trouble during that timeframe, the charge could be dropped from his record. Pape’s attorney says he has already paid restitution to the movie site to cover the $5,000 in damage done. Pape has also completed about 50 hours of community service.


Van Milligen: No Conflict Between Community Foundation, City

Nancy Van Milligen

The head of a Dubuque nonprofit is disputing the claim there’s a conflict of interest between her group and the city. Earlier this month, Iowa’s state auditor completed a review of the city of Dubuque’s finances from fiscal year 2016. As part of that review, the auditor raised concerns about the relationship between the city and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. One of those concerns stemmed from the Community Foundation CEO being married to Dubuque’s city manager. But Nancy Van Milligen, who heads up the foundation, says just because she and her husband, Mike, have those jobs doesn’t mean there’s a conflict. Van Milligen says neither she nor her husband personally benefit from the foundation’s relationship with the city. Nancy Van Milligen also points out that she does not personally report to the city in a move aimed at further avoiding potential conflicts. The auditor’s review showed that the city paid the community foundation more than $230,000 for programs in fiscal year 2016.


Dyersville Man Faces Felony Charge for Punching Son

A felony charge has been filed against a Dyersville man accused of punching his son. 36-year-old Peter Triervieler is charged with Child Endangerment Causing Bodily Injury. According to court documents, Triervieler’s son and daughter had been at his home for visitation on November 11. Both children gave interviews to police indicating that Triervieler had punched the boy in the ribs with a closed fist. Police say the child had a red mark under his arm that was still tender. The boy also complained of pain while breathing. An emergency room doctor at the hospital in Dyersville concluded that the injury was the result of a physical assault. A warrant for Triervieler’s arrest was issued last Thursday, and he turned himself in to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning. His initial court appearance has not yet been scheduled. If convicted on the charge, Triervieler could face up to five years in prison.


Recount Ordered in Clayton County Legislative Race

House District 55

A legislative district that includes part of Clayton County is one of two in Iowa that will have its votes recounted. House District 55 covers the northwestern portion of Clayton County, as well as parts of Fayette and Winneshiek counties. After an initial canvas of votes, Republican incumbent Michael Bergan led Democrat Kayla Koether by just seven votes. Koether has requested that the votes from Clayton and Winneshiek counties be recounted. The recount will be conducted by a three-person board. Each candidate can appoint on member, with the third being agreed on by the two sides. The recount will be done next Tuesday morning at the Winneshiek County Courthouse in Decorah. The other recount will take place in House District 82 in the southeastern part of the state.


Iowa State Patrol Updates Likely Cause of Crash Involving Dyersville Semi Driver

An investigation into a fatal crash involving a driver from Dyersville has revealed that he was trying to avoid the crash. Back on November 9, a semi being driven by 34-year-old Adam Nurre of Dyersville collided with a pickup truck on US Highway 30 in a rural portion of Tama County. The driver of the pickup, 38-year-old Tamie Cockrell of Van Horne died as a result of the injuries she suffered in the crash. Initially, the Iowa State Patrol reported that Nurre had drifted into the oncoming lane of traffic. But after further investigation, the State Patrol now says it was Cockrell who was across the center line prior to the crash. A release from the agency says both drivers took “evasive action,” but were unable to avoid the crash. A spokesman for the State Patrol says that’s likely the reason that Nurre’s semi was in the oncoming lane.


Dubuque Salvation Army Chapter Launches Kettle Campaign

It may still be five entire weeks until Christmas, but the Dubuque chapter of the Salvation Army has already launched their annual kettle campaign. Bell ringers began staking out positions in front of various Dubuque businesses on Friday, and will be there through Christmas Eve. Between the kettle campaign and its mail appeal, the army is hoping to raise just shy of $230,000 this year, according to Captain Matt Phelps. The Christmas campaigns are the local Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the entire year. The army is always looking for volunteers to fill bell ringing shifts. With red kettles positioned at dozens of Dubuque-area businesses, Phelps says there’s always a spot for someone who wants to bell ring. This is the first Red Kettle Campaign for Phelps in Dubuque. He and his wife, Emily, took over leadership of the local Salvation Army chapter in August, following the retirement of Majors Tom and Kay Mason.


Big Opening Weekend at Sundown

Tri-State snow enthusiasts didn’t waste any time taking advantage of last weekend’s snow and chilly weather. A big crowd of skiers and snowboarders headed to Sundown Mountain for its opening weekend, which kicked off Friday afternoon. As we told you last week, this is the earliest Sundown has been able to open in several years. Sundown General Manager Mark Gordon says a lot of factors came together to allow the resort to open so early. The pre-Thanksgiving opening is a significant change from the past couple of years, when warmer temperatures didn’t allow Sundown to open until closer to Christmas. Greg Kubitz has been skiing recreationally for more than 50 years and was one of the first patrons at the mountain on Friday. The early opening gives him hope of breaking a personal record this season. It’s not yet known exactly how many people visited Sundown over the opening weekend. Gordon says those who did were able to get to more of the mountain than on past openers. About half of their territory was available.


Mobile Home, Grain Bin Destroyed in Weekend Fires

A grain bin and a mobile home were destroyed in separate fires across the Tri-States this weekend.
The first fire was reported a little after 6:30 Saturday morning at a mobile home in the Leisure Lake area southeast of Bernard. Firefighters from Bernard and LaMotte were called to the home, which is described as a “total loss.” The cause of that fire is still being investigated.
The second fire happened late Saturday night at a farm about a mile and a half north of Rickardsville. County sheriff’s deputies and firefighters from Holy Cross were dispatched to the area at about 10:15 PM on a report of a grain bin on fire. The bin and its contents were destroyed, causing a loss of about $50,000. The cause of that fire hasn’t yet been determined, though the Sheriff’s Department says it is not considered suspicious.


Four Dubuque Recruits Among Camp Dodge Evacuees

Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (Courtesy: KCCI-TV)

Four police academy students from the Dubuque area were among the nearly 60 people treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in suburban Des Moines yesterday. Firefighters were called to the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy at Camp Dodge after people began falling ill. A building within the academy was evacuated and those showing symptoms were taken to area hospitals. Among those hospitalized were three Dubuque Police Department recruits and one deputy candidate from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department. All four are expected to be OK.


Suspected Burglars Still Loose After Chase Through Three States

Suspected burglars are still on the loose after evading authorities from all three of the Tri-States yesterday. At about 1:00 PM, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department was called about an attempted burglary at a home on Bluff Road in the far southwestern part of the county. The homeowner had confronted the intruder, who then left. But the suspects are believed to have successfully broken into another nearby home. After the initial report, Dickeyville Police were called to try to find the suspect vehicle. It was spotted a few minutes later near Kieler, and a high speed chase began, with the suspects heading south on US Highway 151. They eventually crossed the bridge into Iowa, where Dubuque Police continued the chase until the vehicle crossed the Julien Dubuque Bridge into Illinois. Several other agencies picked up the chase there, but the vehicle was lost near Elizabeth. The vehicle is described as a grey Chevy Equinox with no front license plate. At least two people were inside. Anyone who sees the vehicle should contact Grant County Crimestoppers or a local law enforcement agency.


Zwingle Woman Arrested for Drunk Driving After Crash on Julien Dubuque Bridge

We’ve learned a few more details about a crash that closed the Julien Dubuque Bridge early this morning. According to East Dubuque Police, a pair of westbound vehicles collided on the approach to the bridge a few minutes before 1:30 AM. The lead car had to stop due to construction work being done on the bridge. The trailing vehicle, being driven by 25-year-old Christine Oberbroeckling of Zwingle, didn’t stop in time and rear-ended the first car. Oberbroeckling has been charged with Driving Under the Influence and Failing to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident. Two of the people in the other vehicle were taken to hospitals in Dubuque to be treated for unknown injuries. The crash closed the bridge for about an hour.


Second Chances Common Among Iowa Work Release Inmates

Kolthoff (Courtesy: CorrectionalNews.com)

Administrators in Iowa’s corrections system are taking time to explain some of their procedures after a Dubuque work release inmate escaped from the program for a second time. 25-year-old Tremaine Walton was taken back into custody following a traffic stop last week. He’d been on the run from the Elm Street Correctional Facility for about three months. This comes after Walton spent more than a year at large after previously escaping the work release program in 2016. Ken Kolthoff is the director of Iowa’s First Judicial District, which includes Dubuque. He says the work release program is designed to ease an inmate’s transition from prison to normal life. Kolthoff says that of the 8,000-9,000 inmates in Iowa’s prisons, the vast majority will eventually be released. According to Kolthoff, it’s not uncommon for those who violate their work release to end up back in the program later. Kolthoff says situations like Walton’s are incredibly rare. Walton had an Escape charge added to his rap sheet following his arrest last week. If convicted, he could have another five years added to his sentence.


Sundown Mountain to Open Friday

A snow machine sprays artificial flakes at Sundown Mountain earlier this month (Courtesy: Sundown).

A Dubuque area ski area will be able to open not just on time, but ahead of schedule this year. Sundown Mountain has announced that it will open for the season on Friday afternoon. Sundown managers typically say they aim to be open sometime in the days following Thanksgiving. But it’s been several years since they’ve been able to start the season before the calendar turns to December. Not only is the mountain opening earlier than in recent years, Gordon says a larger portion of their area will be available than during previous opening weekends. While most people dread the onset of winter, Gordon says his business aims to attract the exceptions. Beyond the ski areas, Sundown has also made some improvements to its lodges to bring in people who may never get out on the slopes. According to KDTH’s story archives, it’s been four years since the last time Sundown was able to open in the month of November.


Grassley Nominated for Senate President Pro Tempore

Grassley

One of Iowa’s US Senators will move to the third place in the presidential order of succession early next year. Charles Grassley will become the Senate’s President Pro Tempore when the new Congress convenes in January. Grassley’s fellow Republican Senators unanimously nominated him for that position this week. The position has historically been given to the most senior member of the Senate’s majority party. After assuming that position, Grassley will follow only the Vice President and the Speaker of the House in the line of succession to the presidency. Grassley was first elected to the Senate in 1980 after serving three terms in Congress. Between his time in Congress and the Iowa Legislature, Grassley has held public office for nearly 60 years.


ATV/UTV Committee Meets in Cascade Tonight

The first public meeting of a citizen committee that is looking into whether or not all-terrain vehicles will be allowed on Dubuque county roads will be held this evening. The committee is made up of people both for and against the idea, as well as several county officials. They are currently gathering information on the pros and cons of allowing ATVs and UTVs on county roads. A report by the committee is expected to be completed in January and submitted to the county supervisors. They will ultimately decide whether ATVs and UTVs can use county roads. The meeting will be held at 5:30 PM at Cascade City Hall. The committee has already had a meeting, but this is the first that the public can attend.


Theisen's Gives Out $350,000 Through Annual Grant Program

A Dubuque-based retailer has awarded $350,000 in grants to non-profit organizations across Iowa and Wisconsin. The annual Theisen’s “More for You” community grant program recently distributed awards to almost 270 different groups located in communities with a Theisen’s store. The grants are intended to help those groups serve the “basic needs” of those in their community. Those needs include shelter and education. The awards are expected to benefit more than 700,000 people in two dozen communities. The largest of the grants was a nearly $4,800 award given to Camp Albrecht Acres to help replace the roof of the Hawk Lodge. The “More for You” community grant program is managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.


Northern Iowa Men Face Drug Charges After Dyersville Traffic Stop

A pair of men from northern Iowa are facing drug charges after being stopped by police in Dyersville. Early Wednesday morning, police stopped a car just west of Dyersville for speeding and having a defective muffler. During the traffic stop, officers say they could see a marijuana cigarette inside the car. The driver and passenger were arrested and the vehicle was searched. Among the items found by police were another two pounds of marijuana, about two grams of a white powder that tested positive for methamphetamine, a meth pipe, and about $8,200 dollars in cash. The driver, 35-year-old Nicolas Bradley of Humboldt, and his passenger, 36-year-old Ian Stevenson of Goldfield, have each been charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, second offenses of Possession of Meth, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. They’re currently being held in the Delaware County Jail.


Downtown Dubuque Road Work Nearly Complete

Drivers should begin having an easier time getting around downtown Dubuque over the next week. That’s because some road closures that have been in place for the past several weeks will be coming to an end. Civil Engineer Jon Dienst tells us intersections involving Central Avenue, White Street, 17th Street, and 22nd Street will all be back open by Thanksgiving. As for 17th Street, it will also be opening back up between Elm Street and Central. Dienst says those projects are the last of what he calls the “major construction” within the city. The work happening on White Street and Central Avenue has been a joint project between the city and the Iowa Department of Transportation. The DOT is bringing the condition of those streets up before they become city property when the Southwest Arterial is finished. Dienst says city crews were largely able to work around or through this fall’s rainy weather. Some of the same repairs down on White Street this year will be performed on Central Avenue next spring and summer.


Kennedy Mall Owner's Search for Younkers Replacement Continues

More than six months after one of the Kennedy Mall’s anchor stores announced it was closing, the search for a replacement continues. Dubuque’s Younkers store was one of eight stores across Iowa that was shut down earlier this year. The closure was announced in mid-April, and the store closed its doors for the final time at the end of August. Since then, Cafaro, the mall’s parent company, has been looking for something to fill the former Younkers space. Cafaro spokesman Joe Bell says that process is still ongoing. Younkers had occupied two of the mall’s larger retail spaces. Bell says multiple possible replacements are being looked at, from a variety of sectors. Bell says there’s no timetable for securing or announcing what might move in to the space Younkers left behind. Younkers had been one of Kennedy Mall’s original stores in the when it opened in 1968.


Prairie Farms Fined Over Air Quality Violations at Clayton County Facility

A dairy company has been hit with a $100,000 fine over air quality violations at its facility in Clayton County. As part of an agreement with the Iowa Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources, Prairie Farms has agreed to that fine, and to install more than a million dollars in pollution control equipment at its plant in Luana. The state agencies had accused Prairie Farms of committing air quality violations over a 12 year period. According to the state, the company removed a pollution control device called a baghouse from the Luana facility in 2004. That change was made without the required state permit. After state inspectors noticed the baghouse’s removal, the dairy installed a dryer stack fan in 2016. They’ve stayed in compliance with air quality standards since then. As part of the agreement, Prairie Farms will re-install a baghouse, at a cost of about $1.4 million.


Jochum Tabbed for Senate Leadership Position

Jochum

The State Senator who represents the city of Dubuque will once again serve among her party’s leadership. Democrat Pam Jochum was chosen as one of the party’s six Assistant Leaders this week. Jochum is in the middle of her third term in the Senate. She previously served as the President of that chamber from 2013 until the beginning of the 2017 session. Prior to her time in the Senate, Jochum served eight terms in the Iowa House. The 2019 Iowa Legislative session is scheduled to begin January 14.


Police: Girlfriend Suffers Skull Fractures in Beating by Dubuque Man

Dubuque Police have accused a man of beating his girlfriend so severely that she suffered multiple skull fractures, in addition to several other injuries. 27-year-old Cody Bauer was arrested Monday afternoon after police conducted a welfare check on his girlfriend. According to court documents, Bauer met officers at the door of his home when they arrived. Officers say Bauer initially tried to block them from entering the house, saying that his girlfriend was in the shower. Police instead found her in an upstairs bedroom with obvious injuries to her face and head. Blood was also found in multiple locations around the home. The woman initially told police that she had been injured when she fell, but later admitted that Bauer had caused her injuries. She was initially taken to Mercy Hospital here in Dubuque before being transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. In addition to the skull fractures, she also suffered broken ribs and a lacerated liver. Bauer has been charged with Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury and Domestic Assault with the Intent to Inflict Serious Injury.


Bomb Threat Causes Dubuque Business Evacuation

Employees at a business in one of Dubuque’s industrial parks were evacuated yesterday morning after a bomb threat. At around 9:45, employees at Rite Hite in Industrial Center West reported the threat. They had found a message that indicated a bomb was in the building. Employees were moved out of the business while authorities conducted a sweep of the building. No bomb was found, and the workers were allowed back inside about an hour later. Police are continuing to investigate.


UPDATE: South Grandview Avenue Closure Postponed

A road closure impacting traffic near Dubuque’s Murphy Park has been pushed back by a day. The city of Dubuque had originally said that South Grandview Avenue would be closed between the intersections with Julien Dubuque Drive and Laurel Street starting this morning. An update from the city now says the closure has been postponed until tomorrow. The closure is still expected to last through the day on Thursday. Private sewer and water service installation is prompting the closure.


Work Release Escapee Caught After 3+ Months on the Run

An inmate from a Dubuque correctional facility was caught last week after more than three months on the run. 25-year-old Tremaine Walton was arrested following a traffic stop in Key West last Friday night. He had gone missing from the work release program at the Elm Street Correctional Facility in early August. That was only about two weeks after he was transferred to the facility. Walton is supposed to be serving a 15 year sentence on burglary and assault charges. He had previously escaped from a work release program in May of 2016. That time, he was able to avoid capture for nearly a full year before authorities caught up with him following a high speed chase. Walton’s now been charged with an additional count of Escape, as well as Providing False Identification Information. That’s because police say he gave officers a fake name prior to being arrested.


Delaware County Sheriff Investigating Farm Fall Death

Authorities in Delaware County are looking into a woman’s death there last weekend. According to the county sheriff’s office, 39-year-old Amy Mullis died following a fall on her farm four miles northwest of Earlville. Emergency crews were called to the farm at about noon on Saturday. Mullis was taken from the farm to the hospital in Manchester, which is where she died. The sheriff’s office has not released any other information about the incident, except to say that they are investigating.


Man Accused of Lying About Drugs Charged with Felonies

Lying about having drugs got a Dubuque man charged with two felonies following his arrest last weekend. Shortly before 3:30 Sunday morning, police stopped a car with an expired registration in the 1400 block of White Street. Officers noticed a strong marijuana smell coming from the car and searched it. A small bag of marijuana was found in the backseat, where 24-year-old Robert Ware-Moore was sitting. The officer took Ware-Moore under arrest, and continued to smell marijuana on him. The officer warned Ware-Moore that he’d face additional charges if found with drugs at the jail. According to a police report, Ware-Moore continued to deny having anything else on him. At the jail, Ware-Moore was searched. Officers found a marijuana cigarette and a bag with about 35 grams of the drug in his underwear. Ware-Moore has been charged with Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Institution and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, which are both felonies.


WD Board Approves Bernard Elementary Sale

The Western Dubuque Community School Board meets Monday night.

The saga of the Bernard Elementary School is over…at least as far as the Western Dubuque Community School District is concerned. The WD school board voted last night to accept a $41,200 bid from a Texas-based trust for the former school building. No one from the trust attended the meeting, and no comments were given during a public hearing the district was required to hold prior to approving the sale. WD Superintendent Rick Colpitts wasn’t surprised that no one wanted to offer additional thoughts. Colpitts believes the building’s sale is a positive on multiple fronts. From the district’s perspective, it was able to get some money out of the sale and will no longer have to pay to maintain a building it’s not using. From a community standpoint, the building could now potentially be used in a way that will serve the Bernard community better than an empty school. Bernard Elementary has sat vacant for nearly a year and a half. Students were dismissed from the building for the final time in May of 2017, about three months after the school board voted to close the school due to declining enrollment. It’s still unclear what the KSSB Trust plans to do with the former school building. No one from the trust attended the school board meeting.


Finkenauer "Ready to Get to Work"

Finkenauer

Nearly a week removed from her Election Night victory, Dubuque’s next representative in Congress is ready to get to work. Democrat Abby Finkenauer was elected to Congress in Iowa’s 1st District last week. The district covers most of north-eastern Iowa, including all of KDTH’s listening area in Iowa. Finkenauer, who served two terms in the Iowa Legislature before making the jump to federal office, says that while she enjoyed the thrill of winning her race, she’s eager to begin her duties in Washington. When asked what issues she’ll tackle first, Finkenauer pointed to health care and workforce. Finkenauer is one of two Iowa women who were elected to Congress last week, along with new 3rd District representative Cindy Axne. The two of them, along with Senator Joni Ernst, bring a 50/50 gender balance to Iowa’s delegation to Washington. With Finkenauer and Axne’s election, Iowa becomes the sixth US state with at least half of its seats in Congress occupied by women.


Police: Person Responsible for Fennimore School Threat "Identified"

Authorities in southwest Wisconsin say they’ve located the person who made a threat against a local school. Police in Fennimore posted to Facebook this morning that they have identified the person responsible for a threat at the local middle and high school last week. On Wednesday, a bomb threat was found written on the wall of a bathroom at the school building. Authorities said at the time, and have reiterated, that they don’t believe the threat was credible. The posting from the police department says the person responsible has been referred to juvenile authorities “to be held accountable.” It’s not clear if that means the person has been arrested or is yet facing any charges. We contacted Fennimore Police for clarification, but have yet to hear back.


State Patrol: Dyersville Man Involved in Fatal Semi Crash

A semi driver from Dyersville was involved in a weekend crash that left one person dead. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 34-year-old Adam Nurre was driving his semi east on US Highway 30 in rural Tama County at around 10:30 Friday night. Authorities say Nurre’s truck veered over the center line for an unknown reason. That’s where it collided with a pickup being driven by 38-year-old Tamie Cockrell of Van Horne. She died as a result of the crash. A crash report doesn’t say whether Nurre was injured, or if he was charged or cited with any traffic violations. The State Patrol is still investigating.


Arrangements Set, Memorial Proposed for Field of Dreams Owner

Stillman (Courtesy: Field of Dreams Movie Site)

Funeral arrangements have been finalized and a memorial has been proposed for the owner of the Field of Dreams Movie Site who died last week. 46-year-old Denise Stillman passed away on Wednesday due to complications from a rare form of cancer. According to an online obituary, a celebration of Stillman’s life will be held at the movie site on Saturday, December 1. All “friends of the Field” are welcome, according to the obituary. A more private family service will be held the following week. In addition, Stillman’s colleagues at Go the Distance Baseball, the movie site’s parent company, have announced plans to permanently honor her at the field. The company has launched an online fundraising campaign to collect $10,000 for the creation of a memorial for Stillman at the movie site. As of Monday morning, they were already about one-third of the way toward that goal.


Bernard Elementary Sale Could Be Finalized Tonight

Bernard Elementary School

Nearly a year and a half after dismissing students for the final time, a former Dubuque County school building could have a new owner. The Western Dubuque school board is scheduled to discuss, and potentially approve, a bid for the former Bernard Elementary School at its meeting tonight. The board voted to close the school due to declining enrollment in February of 2017, and the final day of classes was held that May. The nearly 15-thousand square foot building has sat empty since then. This past September, the WD board voted to begin the process of selling the building. Four bids were received. Last month, the board voted to move forward with the highest bid, a $41,000 proposal from a trust based in Texas. The board is legally required to hold a public hearing before approving that bid. That hearing will be held at the board’s meeting in Farley tonight.


May Discusses Plans for County Attorney Role

May

Dubuque County’s new top prosecutor expects his office to have less of a “top-down” operation once he takes over. CJ May III was elected to be the next County Attorney earlier this week, outpacing opponent Scott Nelson by about 7-thousand votes. May has more than 30 years’ experience in private practice and has also previously served as a county magistrate. He tells KDTH he wants to see more collaboration in the attorney’s office. May will replace Ralph Potter, who announced last year that he would retire, rather than seek another term as County Attorney. May says Potter provided many years of great service to the county. May will be sworn in after the 1st of the year.


UPDATE: Water Service to Be Restored in East Dubuque, Boil Order Issued

Water service is expected to be restored in the city of East Dubuque this afternoon, but the city is urging residents to boil their water before use. A water main break this morning forced the water to be shut off to the entire city while emergency repairs were being made. An update from the city now says that those repairs have advanced enough that the water will be turned back on, but a boil order will be in effect until further notice. Residents are urged to boil water before using it to drink, cook, or brush their teeth.


O'Mara: Cold Temps Could Be Good Sign for Thanksgiving

O’Mara

The colder than normal temperatures that have gripped the Tri-States this week could actually be good sign. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara tells us that colder conditions leading into the Thanksgiving holiday usually mean that there won’t be any significant storms to impact travel that weekend. That’s because cold conditions usually don’t allow much moisture to develop. O’Mara says outlooks currently point toward a drier and warmer weather pattern moving into the Tri-States for the latter part of November. There’s more evidence to suggest that an El Nino system will dominate the upcoming winter. We’re currently forecast to have high temperatures in the 30s or upper 20s through the middle of next week. Normal highs this time of the year are closer to 50 degrees.


Reynolds, Finkenauer Among Women Pushed by "Pink Wave"

Reynolds, Finkenauer

Some of the Iowa women vaulted into office by the so-called “pink wave” are encouraged by the success of female politicians across the country. Female candidates fared very well in elections nationwide on Tuesday, and nowhere moreso than here in Iowa. Among the notable wins by women are Governor Kim Reynolds winning a full term, Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne picking up Congressional seats, and a total of 46 women being elected to the Iowa Legislature. Reynolds says she hopes the trend continues. As for Dubuque’s Finkenauer, she’s still soaking in her win over incumbent Republican Rod Blum. She was blown away by the group of more than 300 supporters who turned out to her victory party. But now Finkenauer’s focus will shift from campaigning to preparing to take office. That includes putting together a staff. While Senator Joni Ernst became the first Iowa woman elected to Congress in 2014, Finkenauer and Axne are the first females elected to serve Iowa in the House of Representatives.


East Dubuque Without Water Service Due to Main Break

A water main break will keep residents of East Dubuque without water service for much of the day today. According to an email from the city offices, emergency repairs began at about 8:00 this morning. As the repairs are being performed, water service has been shut off to the entire city. It’s expected that the city will be without water for most of the day today, until the repairs are complete.


Vote Could Impact Greyhound Racing In Dubuque

It’s still a bit too early to say how a vote down south will impact greyhound racing in Dubuque. On Tuesday, voters in Florida approved a measure that would phase out greyhound racing in that state by 2020. Florida is home to 11 of the 17 greyhound tracks across the country. Iowa Greyhound Park general manager Brian Carpenter says while the Dubuque operation will surely be impacted, it’s too early to say to what extent. Even when greyhound racing goes away in Florida, residents there will still have a way of betting on the races in Dubuque by going online. The Iowa Greyhound Park operates from May through the beginning of November and Carpenter says during the winter months trainers have to go to tracks in states like Alabama, Texas and West Virginia to run their dogs. The Dubuque park runs on a subsidy from Q Casino, but that only last for another three years. After that the track has to be self-sustaining. Carpenter says this season the track brought in more than two million dollars, based mostly on their live simulcasting.


CEO of Field of Dreams Movie Site Parent Company Dies 

The leader of the Field of Dreams Movie Site has died. Denise Stillman passed away on Wednesday due to complications from a rare form of cancer, according to a posting on the movie site’s Facebook page. Stillman was a part of the group that purchased the field from its original owners, the Lansing family, in 2011. From there, she helped to found Go The Distance Baseball, the company that now oversees the operation of the movie site. During Stillman’s time at the field, she helped to increase access to the filming location, opening up the farmhouse to tours. Stillman also helped create the “Team of Dreams” event that brings baseball Hall of Famers and thousands of visitors to the field each Labor Day weekend. According to the posting, Stillman left succession plans in place in the event of her death. Go the Distance’s new leaders say they will continue to work toward Stillman’s vision of a state of the art baseball/softball tournament complex at the Field of Dreams site.


Colesburg Man Charged in October Hit-and-Run

An arrest has been made in a Clayton County hit-and-run crash from last month. 25-year-old Travis Fangmann of Colesburg has been charged with a 3rd offense of Operating While Intoxicated, Leaving the Scene of a Serious Injury Accident, and three traffic citations. According to the Clayton County Sheriff’s office, deputies were called after a two-vehicle crash just north of Colesburg on October 20. The sheriff’s office now says that Fangmann rear-ended another vehicle, sending into the ditch, where it rolled over. The driver of that car was initially taken to the hospital in Guttenberg, then airlifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City. Deputies found Fangmann lying in a ditch almost two miles north of the crash scene. He claimed that he had hit a deer, which disabled his vehicle.


Tri-States Could Get First Snow Tonight

It’s entirely possible that the Tri-States will see their first dusting of snow tonight or tomorrow. Our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV are currently showing a 60 percent chance of light snow during the overnight hours. Meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says whatever falls will likely begin late tonight and continue through much of tomorrow morning. It’s not a guarantee that the snow will be measurable. There’s also a chance of snow in the forecast for Monday, though O’Mara is less confident about whether it will become a reality. High temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s for another week. Those readings are significantly below normal for this time of year. Current outlooks have the weather in the Tri-States warmer and drier towards Thanksgiving and late November.


Weather Service to Begin Issuing Snow Squall Warnings

There is a new kind of winter warning that will alert people to small, but strong, snow systems. Beginning this winter, the National Weather Service will begin issuing Snow Squall Warnings. A “snow squall” is a very narrow band of moderate to heavy snow that can significantly reduce visibility and make driving dangerous. The systems are similar to fast-moving thunderstorms, except they bring snow rather than rain. The weather service’s Snow Squall Warnings will last for less than an hour, a much shorter time period than other winter warnings or advisories. The warning will cover only the snow squall and the area it’s moving into, rather than entire counties. During Snow Squall Warnings, travel should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.


Walker Concedes to Evers

It’s now official: Wisconsin will be getting a new governor. Scott Walker conceded to challenger Tony Evers yesterday afternoon. The Republican incumbent had held off on conceding because the race was decided by only about 31-thousand votes. But his campaign decided on Wednesday that there were not enough votes in play to change the outcome. The Walker camp had previously expressed concern about two thousand absentee ballots in Milwaukee that had been reconstructed due to errors or damage. In a statement, Walker says he has offered the full support of his staff and Cabinet to Evers as he begins the transition. Evers is slated to be sworn into office January 7.


Election 2018: Finkenauer Wins in 1st District, Highlighting Big Night for Female Candidates

Dubuque State Representative Abby Finkenauer greets supporters after winning election to Congress.

If the Election Night results from the state of Iowa are any indication, the future is indeed female. Women won races for governor, Congress, and numerous statehouse seats in midterm balloting. Incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds became the first woman elected to that position, narrowly winning a full term over Democrat challenger Fred Hubbell. And for the first time in the state’s history it will be sending a woman to the US House of Representatives. But not just one woman…two of them. Democrats Abby Finkenauer of the 1st District and Cindy Axne of the 3rd District each defeated Republican incumbents to claim seats in Congress. Finkenauer and her supporters celebrated at Seven Hills Brewing in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District. Finkenauer totaled about 51% of the votes cast, compared to 46 percent for her opponent, incumbent Rod Blum. Blum did not appear at a Peosta event thrown by his campaign, but did send out a statement calling serving in Congress a “uniquely American opportunity” and an “honor.”


Election 2018: Reynolds Retains, Walker and Rauner Ousted

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds greets supporters and reporters in Des Moines late Tuesday night.

As for Reynolds, she was able to eek out victory over a closing Hubbell, 50% to 48%. With the victory, Reynolds becomes the first woman ever elected as governor of Iowa. She took the position after her predecessor, then-Governor Terry Branstad, stepped down to become the US Ambassador to China in May of last year.

In Wisconsin, the Scott Walker era appears to be over, though the results of the election are not settled just yet. Democrat challenger Tony Evers has been declared the winner of the race, but only by about 29,000 votes, which is just more than one percent of the ballots cast. Walker has not conceded the race, with a spokesman for his campaign saying they’ll wait for military ballots to be counted and an official canvass before making a decision. Walker will only be able to ask for a recount if the difference narrows to less than one percent of the votes cast.

In Illinois, voters rejected Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner, instead choosing billionaire businessman JB Pritzker. Rauner’s time in office was marred by a record-long budget standoff with the Democrat-controlled state legislature. Pritzker has a net worth of around $3.5 billion, and he’s estimated to be the second-wealthiest person ever elected to major office in America, behind former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


Election 2018: Democrats Re-Take Control of Dubuque County Offices

Democrats have won back control of all Dubuque County offices. Incumbent Jay Wickham was re-elected to another term on the county’s Board of Supervisors. He’s expected to be joined there by fellow Democrat Ann McDonough. Republican incumbent Daryl Klein finished third in the balloting, less than 1,000 votes and just a single percentage point behind McDonough.

Democrat CJ May III will be the next Dubuque County Attorney. He won about 58% of the vote, and bested Republican Scott Nelson by nearly 7,000 ballots.

County Recorder John Murphy was re-elected with about 57% of the vote.

County Treasurer Eric Stierman was unopposed, and County Auditor Denise Dolan was not up for re-election, meaning Democrats will retain those two offices as well.


Election 2018: Incumbents Largely Retain Tri-State Legislature Seats

Only one of the state legislature seats that represent Dubuque County changed control in last night’s election. In State Senate District 29, Dyersville Republican Carrie Koelker upended two-term incumbent Democrat Tod Bowman of Maquoketa. Koelker won by just more than 2,000 votes to flip the district, which covers all of Jackson County and portions of Dubuque and Jones counties, to Republican control.

Among state House races, incumbents Chuck Isenhart, Shannon Lundgren, and Andy McKean all won re-election. Isenhart, who represents the northern half of the city of Dubuque, won a sixth term in the Legislature. Republicans Lundgren and McKean represent portions of the western part of Dubuque County. Lundgren emerged from a close race with fellow Peosta resident Nancy Fett, winning again by about 2,000 votes. McKean easily defeated political newcomer Joe Oclon of Bellevue, receiving nearly 70% of the vote.

In House District 99, the one vacated by Abby Finkenauer, fellow Democrat Lindsay James earned 60% of the vote to defeat Republican Pauline Chilton in what was the first run for office for either woman.

In Wisconsin, Republican incumbents Travis Tranel and Todd Novak were re-elected to the State Assembly. Tranel won easily over Mike Mooney of Platteville, picking up 59% of the vote. Novak won a much closer race, topping 2016 opponent Jeff Wright by just 300 votes. In Senate District 17, fellow Republican Howard Marklein also won another term, defeating Lafayette County Supervisor Kriss Marion 54% to 45.

As for Illinois, Republicans appear to have retained the seats that represent Jo Daviess County. Current State Representative Brian Stewart easily defeated Democrat David Simpson to move into the Senate District 45 seat. Stewart won by more than 11,000 votes. In the race to represent Stewart’s old district, Andrew Chesney of Freeport defeated Nick Hyde of Galena by about 8,000 votes.


Election 2018: 1st District Race Between Blum, Finkenauer Likely to Draw National Attention

Today is Election Day, and while there are dozens of races on the ballots across the Tri-States, likely the one that will draw the most attention is in the Congressional district that includes Dubuque. That’s where incumbent Republican Rod Blum is facing a stiff challenge from state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer in his bid for a third term. Both parties have identified the seat as a “must win” in the larger competition for control of the US House. Blum has been called the most vulnerable incumbent, but he says he’s familiar and comfortable in the underdog role. Blum believes that an improving economy will be what voters have in mind when they cast their ballots. As for Finkenauer, she’s asking voters to consider what – not just who – they’re voting for. Finkenauer believes the race will come down to which campaign does the better job of getting voters to the polls. The 1st District race is essentially the only competitive Congressional race in the Tri-State area. Democrats Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Ron Kind of Wisconsin are both expected to handily win their races. Each state does have a competitive governor’s race, as Republican incumbents look to hold off challenges from the left. In Iowa, Republican Kim Reynolds is seeking a full term against businessman Fred Hubbell. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is seeking a third term, but state schools supervisor Tony Evers is giving he a strong challenge. In Illinois, Bruce Rauner is hoping to become the first multi-term Republican governor in 25 years. He faces businessman JB Pritzker.


Election 2018: Contested Legislative Races Throughout Tri-States

Here in the city of Dubuque, both Iowa House seats are contested. Republican Pauline Chilton and Democrat Lindsay James are running to take over the 99th District seat that Abby Finkenauer gave up to run for Congress. In the 100th District, Democrat Chuck Isenhart seeks his 6th term in office. He’s opposed by Republican Hank Linden, a former member of the Dubuque Community School Board.

Further into Dubuque County, incumbent Republican Shannon Lundgren is seeking to maintain her seat in House District 57, which covers most of the county outside the Dubuque city limits. Lundgren is opposed by Democrat Nancy Fett, a Loras College social work professor. The far southwestern corner of the county – as well as all of Jackson and half of Jones County – is a part of House District 58, currently represented by Republican Andy McKean of Anamosa. McKean faces Democrat Joe Oclon of Bellevue, who’s making his first run for office.

Those two districts combine to form Iowa Senate District 29. Democrat Tod Bowman of Maquoketa is the incumbent there, and is facing a strong challenge from Dyersville Republican Carrie Koelker.

In Wisconsin, Assemblyman Travis Tranel is seeking his 5th term representing the 49th District, which covers all of Grant County and a small part of Lafayette County. Tranel is up against Democrat Mike Mooney of Platteville. Assembly District 51 covers western Iowa County and most of Lafayette County. That’s where Republican incumbent Todd Novak has a rematch with his 2016 opponent, Democrat Jeff Wright. Those two districts make up Senate District 17, which has been represented by Republican Howard Marklein since 2015. Democrat Kriss Marion, a Lafayette County Supervisor, stands in the way of Marklein’s bid for a 3rd term.

Turning to Illinois, current State Representative Brian Stewart of Freeport is looking to change chambers, as he’s running for the state Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Tim Bivins. Stewart faces first-time candidate Democrat David Simpson. Vying for Stewart’s seat in the House are Republican Andrew Chesney of Freeport and Democrat Nick Hyde of Galena.


Election 2018: Crowded Supervisors Competition Highlights Dubuque County Races

In Dubuque County races, there are four candidates running for two seats on the Board of Supervisors: incumbents Daryl Klein and Jay Wickham, and challengers Curt Kiessling and Ann McDonough.

Democrat CJ May and Republican Scott Nelson are seeking to take over the County Attorney position from the retiring Ralph Potter.

Democrat John Murphy is looking for a second term as the County Recorder, with Republican Tim Schultz opposing him.

County Treasurer Eric Stierman is unopposed.


Police: 63-Year-Old Dubuque Woman Busted with Nearly $1,400 of Weed

Police say officers found more than $1,300 worth of marijuana when they searched a retiree’s home over the weekend. At about 5:20 Friday evening, police were called to the 1200 block of Vernon Street on a report of a disturbance. An officer smelled a strong marijuana odor in the area, and applied for a warrant to search one of the nearby homes. According to court documents, the officer found several bags of marijuana in an upstairs bedroom. The total weight of all of the marijuana was just less than 100 grams. Based on estimated street prices, that amount of marijuana could sell for nearly $1,400. One of the home’s residents, 63-year-old Anna Murphy, has now been charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.


Election Preview: Lundgren, Fett Ask Voters to See Past Negative Ads

Fett, Lundgren

One of the Dubuque area’s most watched local races this Election Day will likely be the contest to represent the western portion of Dubuque County in the Iowa Legislature. Republican Shannon Lundgren currently holds the House District 57 seat, and is facing a challenge from Democrat Nancy Fett. Democrats have targeted the district in their bid to take back the Iowa House. But Lundgren is standing on her record, pointing out several accomplishments from her first two years in office. Fett counters that the State Legislature has become more extreme in the time that Lundgren has served. Lundgren drew statewide attention earlier this year when she floor managed what was known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill in the Iowa House. The bill, which passed, outlaws abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which usually happens in about the seventh week of pregnancy. Lundgren says she was one of many people – including some Democrats – involved in crafting that legislation. Advertisements in the race have veered toward the negative in recent weeks, with attacks coming from both sides. But what Fett says sets her claims apart is they can be verified by public record. The 57th district covers most of Dubuque County, with the exceptions of the city of Dubuque and the far southwestern corner of the county.

 


State Auditor: Possible Conflict of Interest in City's Relationship with Community Foundation

Van Milligen

A state auditor says the city of Dubuque needs to address potential conflicts of interest that may violate the state constitution. The auditor recently completed a reaudit of the city’s finances from fiscal year 2016. In part, it looked into the relationship between the city and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. City Manager Mike Van Milligen is married to that organization’s CEO. In fiscal year 2016, the city gave the Community Foundation more than $232,000 for programs. Van Milligen says a previous look at the issue showed no conflict. The State Auditor also claims the city did not make the grants open to competitive bids with other groups and the programs that received funding weren’t giving required monthly reports to the city. Van Milligen says the city has already put in measures to fix some of those issues. The audit had two other complaints. First, that the city issued payments before the city council had formally approved them. Second, that the city approved selling a vacant fire house to a nonprofit, then sold it to a different nonprofit without an additional public hearing.


Hy-Vee: Facebook Coupons are a "Scam"

A grocery store chain with three Dubuque locations is warning customers of a social media scam. Hy-Vee posted about the alert on its corporate Facebook page, as well as many individual store pages, on Sunday afternoon. The supposed coupon also originated on Facebook, and promised customers 80 dollars off of their groceries in celebration of the chain’s 80th anniversary. The offer actually links to a survey that asks respondents three questions about their shopping habits and satisfaction with Hy-Vee stores. But the company says the coupons are not real, going so far as to call them a “scam” and reiterating that stores will not honor the offer. It’s unclear who created the fake coupon site and what its true purpose is.


New Jo Daviess County K-9 Begins Duty

Courtesy: Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Dept.

A new K-9 officer is now on duty in Jo Daviess County. According to a posting on the county sheriff’s department Facebook page, K-9 “Sam” and trainer Deputy Furlong recently completed Illinois State Police’s Canine Academy. That’s a 10-week program which trains police dogs. Among the topics covered are obedience, narcotics detection, and suspect apprehension. The posting says that Deputy Furlong and “Sam” began their patrols last weekend.


UD Named Best For Vets

The University of Dubuque is again being recognized for its’ commitment to providing quality opportunities to veterans and military-connected students. Military Times has named UD to its’ Best for Vets: College rankings. Best for Vets Colleges is an editorially independent objective and rigorous news project. It evaluates factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military vets and their families. About 500 4-year, 2-year, online and nontraditional and career and technical colleges took part in the survey. UD was the highest ranked Iowa institution, placing 22nd on a list of 137 four year universities.

 


Reynolds, Prominent Iowa Republicans Rally in Dubuque

Reynolds

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds brought her “Keep Iowa Moving” tour to Dubuque Thursday to try to encourage voters to give her a full term in office. Reynolds took over as governor in May of last year, after her predecessor, Terry Branstad, was picked as US Ambassador to China. She spoke to about 75 supporters at Giese Roofing yesterday morning, asking them to tell friends, family members…basically everyone they know to cast a ballot this year. Reynolds says her opponent, Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell, has been spreading lies and scare tactics about the future of Iowa’s public employee pension fund. Reynolds was also joined by US Senator Joni Ernst, Congressman Rod Blum, State Senate candidate Carrie Koelker of Dyersville, and Republican candidates for several state offices.


Natural Gas Leak Forces Evacuations, Road Closure

A natural gas leak has caused the evacuation of a handful of homes and a road closure in Dubuque’s downtown area. A little after 9:30 this morning, Dubuque fire crews were called after workers doing directional drilling in the 600 block of West Locust Street struck a gas line. The fire department reports that a three-inch gas main appears to have been damaged and is leaking. Air monitoring us underway, and no additional hazards outside of the immediate area have been found. Three homes in the area have been evacuated as a precaution. In addition, West Locust Street has been closed near its intersection with Foye Street. The closure will be in effect until a crew from Black Hills Energy can repair the leak. A release from the fire department estimates that the area could be blocked off for several hours.


Senior High Gun Suspect Has Case Moved to Juvenile Court

The student accused of bringing a handgun to Senior High School earlier this fall will not be tried as an adult. A Dubuque County Court judge ordered this week that the case of 17-year-old Jason Gardner be moved to juvenile court. Gardner’s attorney had filed a motion to transfer the matter out of adult court a day after his arrest. According to prosecutors, a school resource officer at Senior found an unloaded handgun in Gardner’s backpack on September 24. Gardner was arrested and charged with Carrying Weapons on School Grounds, which is a felony. Had the case stayed in adult court, Gardner would have gone on trial in early December.