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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Farley Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Daughter

A Farley man is accused of sexually abusing his own daughter. 24-year-old Jake Skahill was arrested Thursday evening by Dubuque County Sheriff’s Deputies. He’s been charged with 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse, a Class B felony. According to court documents, the mother of Skahill’s 7-year-old daughter became suspicious after the girl said she and her dad had a “secret” last month. The girl then told her mother that Skahill had touched what she called her “privates” and tried to get her to touch his “privates” as well. The incident reportedly happened sometime over a four-day period when the girl was staying with her father at his home in Farley. The girl again described the incident to a case worker at the St. Luke’s Hospital Child Protection Center in Hiawatha. Skahill has twice been questioned by investigators in the case, and has denied the allegations in both interviews. It’s not clear when Skahill will make an initial appearance. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

River Museum Successfully Breeds Endangered Newt

Laos Warty Newt (Courtesy: KCRG)

An endangered type of salamander has been reproduced at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. The facility announced on Thursday that it had successfully bred the Laos Warty Newt for the third time in its history. The newt was initially discovered about 20 years ago, and was almost immediately targeted by commercial traders. That dropped its worldwide population by about half, to the point of being declared endangered. River Museum Lead Keeper Abby Urban says the newt won’t initially be on display, but that could eventually change. In 2011, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium became the first facility to successfully breed the newt in captivity. It now has a total of ten of the Laos Warty Newts.

Dubuque Not Considering Split from Iowa League of Cities

Unlike Iowa’s largest city, Dubuque is not considering a split from the Iowa League of Cities over the Dix resignation scandal. The lobbyist that former Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix was seen kissing in a Des Moines bar had worked for the Iowa League of Cities as its Government Affairs Manager. She resigned that position this week. In the wake of that scandal, some Des Moines City Council members have been floating the idea of cutting ties with the League of Cities. They say they already had concerns that the League wasn’t acting in their best interest. But Dubuque city officials are not considering similar action. A spokesman for the city tells KDTH that there have been no such discussions amongst city staffers.

Jochum: Dix Resignation Sparks Chaotic Week in Senate


The State Senator who represents Dubuque says the past week was one of the most tumultuous she’s seen in her quarter-century in the Legislature. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix resigned after video surfaced of him kissing a lobbyist in a Des Moines bar. Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque says that forced Republicans in the Senate to change their leadership structure mid-session. Dix has been replaced by Jack Whitver of Knoxville, who had previously served as the President of the Senate, a role he took over from Jochum. Dix had already been under fire for his handling of a sexual harassment lawsuit that was brought against Senate Republicans. They lost that case last year, making Iowans responsible for the multi-million dollar settlement. This was a “funnel week” in the Legislature, meaning that bills which hadn’t met certain benchmarks by the end of the week would no longer be up for consideration. Jochum says the turmoil amongst Republicans slowed the momentum of some of those bills. A special election to fill Dix’s seat has been scheduled for April 10. That seat will again be up for a vote in this fall’s general election.

Police Urge Moderation on St. Patrick's Day

Dubuque area law enforcement is urging people not to rely on the “luck of the Irish” to make sure they get around safely this St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, which could lead to an increase in over-indulgence. Lt. Joe Messerich of the Dubuque Police Department says that officers will be on the lookout for certain types of behavior that often come with heavy drinking. Last year, authorities across Dubuque County made 14 alcohol-related arrests on St. Patrick’s Day. The last time the holiday fell on a Saturday – in 2012 – that number was 15. At least one downtown Dubuque establishment has been advertising that it will be open as early as 6:00 Saturday morning. Messerich’s advice echoes a fairly common phrase…”it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Dubuque Police don’t plan to bring on any extra patrols for the day, but will likely re-focus their efforts on the areas with high concentrations of bars. Beyond the Dubuque city limits, Dyersville also hosts a large St. Patrick’s Day celebration which will draw a police attention. Messerich advises anyone thinking of travelling between Dubuque and Dyersville to be sure to designate a driver or use a ride-sharing service, such as Uber.

Bivins Votes Against Gun Restrictions

The Illinois State Senate voted on several measures passed out of the House this week dealing with new gun restrictions. One would ban possession of rifles by anyone under 21. Another bans “bump stocks” and similar devices allowing semi-automatic rifles to mimic full-auto fire, while the last bill establishes a 72-hiour waiting period for semi-automatic weapons and .50 caliber rifles. State Senator Tim Bivins of Dixon voted against all three measures. He says there are flaws in the bills and they won’t accomplish what they are intended to do. Bivins says when the federal government removed prayer from schools nearly 60 years ago, the country gradually became more and more violent. Bivins, the former sheriff of Lee County says they need to adopt legislation that makes schools safer and more secure, rather than passing gun restriction laws. Two of the bills must return to the House for approval of Senate amendments, while the measure that establishes a 72-hour waiting period for semi-automatic weapons is headed to the Governor’s desk.

Dubuque Man Sentenced To Probation After Shooting Man In The Back

A Dubuque man, who originally faced a charge of attempted murder, was recently sentenced to probation for shooting another man in the back last summer. In November, a jury found 22 year old Deonte Massey-Beavers guilty of assault with intent to commit serious injury. Massey-Beavers was initially charged with attempted murder. Court documents say Massey-Beavers and another man were involved in a confrontation during the early morning hours of June 11th in an alley near the 17-hundred block of Central Avenue. The man told police he turned and ran away and was shot in the back by Massey-Beavers. Police found the man in the alley and he was transported to Finley Hospital where he was treated for his wound. The attempted murder charge carries a sentence of 25 years, while the assault charge could have put Massey-Beavers behind bars for up to two years. Because he had already spent about six months in the Dubuque County jail, the judge sentenced him to two years of probation.

Tin Moon Removes All Mention of Blum from Website


Congressman Rod Blum and the internet marketing firm he founded while in office continue to distance themselves from each other. Tin Moon recently removed any mention of the Iowa Republican from its website. The Associated Press reported last month that Blum was one of two directors of the company. Following that report, Tin Moon removed Blum’s Congressional photo, changed his title from CEO to majority shareholder, and took down a false promotional video featuring Blum’s top congressional aide posing as a satisfied customer. Now, Tin Moon’s gone even further and removed Blum’s biography completely. Blum belatedly disclosed his Tin Moon ties as required by House ethics rules following AP’s report, saying his failure to do so earlier was an oversight. Tin Moon continues to promise companies help burying Food and Drug Administration warning letters below positive search results.

Finkeanuer Leads 1st District Democrat Poll


A Dubuque lawmaker is well-positioned to win her party’s Congressional primary and advance to this fall’s general election. That’s the finding of a new poll from GBA Strategies, which finds State Representative Abby Finkenauer leading the three other Democrats running Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. But there is still work to be done. Finkenauer received 29% support in the survey, which is more than the other candidates combined. However, nearly half of respondents – 45% – said they were undecided. That means that any of the candidates could easily win a majority of support in the dozen weeks before the primary. Coming in second in the poll was Cedar Rapids veteran George Ramsey, with 10% support. Former Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth – widely considered to be Finkenauer’s main competition for the nomination – was next with 8%. Cedar Rapids engineer Courtney Rowe finished last among the announced candidates with 7% support.

Minnesota Man Arrested Twice for Huffing

Admitting he has a “bad habit,” a Minnesota man was arrested twice in just more than 24 hours for huffing spray cans at two Dubuque locations. 45-year-old Todd Appel’s first encounter with Dubuque Police happened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon. Officers were called to the Wal-Mart parking lot to check on a man who had been sitting in his pickup truck for a couple hours. Appel was inside the truck, with a spray can in his hand and another in his lap. According to an arrest report, Appel admitted to huffing from the cans and even huffed from one of them while talking to officers. He was arrested on a charge of Sniffing Glue or Other Substances to Cause Intoxication. At about 1:30 the following afternoon, Appel was arrested again, this time after police found his truck on North Crescent Ridge. The vehicle was facing the wrong direction, partly up on the curb, but with the back end hanging into traffic. Appel was found passed out in the driver’s seat, with the truck still running and in gear. Two spray cans were found in the passenger seat. When Appel came to, officers described him as “confused” and “lethargic.” He’s now facing a second huffing charge, as well as counts of Operating While Intoxicated and Interference with Official Acts.

Shaw Pushes for School Threat Assessment Policy


A Dubuque city leader is asking the local school district to turn a practice into a policy when it comes to determining the validity of threats made by students. Last summer, Brett Shaw requested that the school board look into adopting a “threat assessment policy.” The district already has a practice in place, but Shaw wants the board to adopt something a bit more permanent. Shaw, who sits on the Dubuque City Council, told the school board that he became concerned when another student threatened his daughter’s life last year. Based on recent events in the district, Shaw says it’s important that the board take a closer look at adopting a threat assessment policy. Superintendent Stan Rheingans says it’s often not easy to determine how viable a threat that comes from a student is. Rheingans would not be surprised if the board adopts the policy, but it would first have to be approved at the committee level.

Senior Students Walk Out of Class to Protest Gun Violence

Chanting “enough is enough” about one hundred students walked out of their classes at Dubuque Senior High School this morning, as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. The walk out comes on the one-month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed. Sophomore El Taverna helped organize the Senior walkout, and echoed that “enough is enough” sentiment. Taverna says students have disproportionately been victims of gun violence, so it’s appropriate that they be the ones to speak out. Junior LeRoy Busch was also one of the organizers. He says the walkout is a way to keep attention on the issue and garner support from non-students. Students organized today’s action, and Senior Principal Dan Johnson says they worked well within the bounds that the administration set. Students who participated in the walkout received a tardy or unexcused absence from their classes. There’s no word on how many participated in the walkout at Hempstead. Wahlert hosted a prayer service this morning. An even larger group participated in the walkout at Hempstead High School. Nearly 300 students lined Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the school, waving signs and chanting similar slogans to their counterparts at Senior. One of the Hempstead organizers, Casey Nichols, told our coverage partner KCRG that she wants conversations about the shooting in Florida to continue. Nichols wasn’t initially sure how many of her classmates would participate in the demonstration, but was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. She notes that many of those who walked out of their classes will soon be able to vote. In addition to Senior and Hempstead, students at Jefferson and Washington junior high schools participated in the walkout as well. Meanwhile, students and staff from Wahlert and Mazzuchelli came together for a prayer service at the same time as the walkout.

Charges Filed Against Man Who Sent Sex Video with Minor

Sending out video of himself engaged in a sex act with an underage girl landed a Dubuque man in jail this week. 18-year-old Thomas Hilkin was arrested a few minutes before 6:00 Tuesday morning. He’s now charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and 1st Degree Harassment. The charges stem from a report filed in late January by the mother of a teenage girl. The woman told police that Hilkin had posted a video of himself engaged in a sex act with her daughter using the SnapChat application. According to a police report, Hilkin admitted to recording the video and sending all or portions of it to four other people. If convicted on both counts, Hilkin could face up to seven years in prison.

Dubuque Man Admits Role in Meth Sales Scheme

A Clayton County man is facing charges after being accused of making methamphetamine in a concession stand. 32-year-old Eric Shafer of North Buena Vista is charged with 3rd Degree Burglary. Deputies from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department were called to the baseball field in North Buena Vista on a report of a suspicious person near the town ball field in late February. Investigators say Shafer had broken into the stand, and evidence of a meth lab was inside. Additional meth-related charges could still be filed against him, depending on the results of lab tests being done by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Man Accused of Breaking into Concession Stand to Make Meth

A Clayton County man is facing charges after being accused of making methamphetamine in a concession stand. 32-year-old Eric Shafer of North Buena Vista is charged with 3rd Degree Burglary. Deputies from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department were called to the baseball field in North Buena Vista on a report of a suspicious person near the town ball field in late February. Investigators say Shafer had broken into the stand, and evidence of a meth lab was inside. Additional meth-related charges could still be filed against him, depending on the results of lab tests being done by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Blanchardville Woman Dies in Motorcycle Crash

A motorcycle crash claimed the life of a southwest Wisconsin woman Tuesday afternoon. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, 38-year-old Jerica Peterson of Blanchardville died at a local hospital from the injuries suffered in the crash. Peterson had been riding her motorcycle west on English Hollow Road just north of the Yellowstone Wildlife Area. She lost control of the bike going around a curve, eventually crashing into a barbed wire fence and a power pole. Peterson was taken from the scene of the crash to Memorial Hospital in Darlington, where she was pronounced dead.

Buelow Claims Jury Bullying Led to Guilty Verdict

Defendant Fontae Buelow testifies in his murder trial in January (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Dubuque man convicted of stabbing his girlfriend to death is asking for a new trial, saying that jurors were bullied into finding him guilty. Fontae Buelow was found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder in the stabbing death of Samantha Link in January. Prosecutors said he stabbed Link to death during a fight, but Buelow claimed at trial Link stabbed herself. Buelow’s attorneys have asked for a new trial, claiming that two of the jurors bullied the rest into finding Buelow guilty. Two other jurors have signed documents saying they don’t believe the defense met their burden of proof. One of those jurors had been removed during deliberations after being accused of refusing to participate in discussions with the others on the panel. He, however, says the jury bullies made that story up to get him removed. The defense also blames a warning from the judge, who told jurors they could be held in contempt if they did not deliberate to reach a verdict. It’s not known when the judge might rule on the appeal.

Dalsing: USA Today Characterization of Dubuque Crime Rate Off Base


Dubuque Police are disputing how a recent USA Today article characterizes the level of crime in the city. Dubuque was listed at #6 on the publication’s list of “25 Cities Where Crime is Soaring.” USA Today arrived at their findings by comparing crime statistics in the years 2011 and 2016. According to those numbers, Dubuque saw a 56% increase in violent crime over those five years. But Police Chief Mark Dalsing says those numbers can be deceiving, based on changes made in how the department classifies and reports crimes, which created an artificially low number of crimes. Dalsing notes that smaller cities, like Dubuque, can see wide swings in the “crime rate” based on just a handful of incidents. That’s evidenced by comparing the homicide numbers in Dubuque in recent years. While statistics can be easily manipulated, Dalsing says he’s more concerned with how Dubuque residents feel about crime. Dubuque is one of three Iowa cities on the list, along with Waterloo and Des Moines. Dalsing says he wouldn’t want to trade places with the chiefs from either of those cities. The USA Today article does note that, despite the increase in reported crimes since 2011, that Dubuque is still – in their words – “one of the safest places in the country.”

Schools Solidify Responses to Anti-Gun Violence Walkouts

School administrators in the Tri-States have solidified their policies ahead of anticipated student protests over recent gun violence. On Wednesday morning, students from across the country are expected to leave their classes as a form of protest. When we asked several local school districts about their response to the potential walkouts last month, many were still in discussions. Dubuque Superintendent Stan Rheingans says students have met with their principals to ensure that the walkout is done in an orderly and respectful manner. The walkouts will treated like any other tardy or absence. That will also be the approach at the Western Dubuque district, which operates high schools in Epworth and Cascade. The district’s high school administrators have told Superintendent Rick Colpitts that students have been active participants in discussions about any potential protests. Colpitts wouldn’t speculate about how many students may participate in a walkout, but noted that about three dozen Western Dubuque students participated in a similar protest last month. Dubuque students who will be leaving class are expected to gather at Washington Park at 10:00 AM. They’ll rally there before going back to class about an hour later. At Wahlert High School, students have organized a prayers service that will be supervised by staff. Archbishop Michael Jackels will also be in attendance.

Apartment Fire Evacuee Arrested on Outstanding Warrant

One of the people who was evacuated from a Dubuque apartment building was arrested after it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. According to Dubuque Police, 35-year-old George Anderson lives in one of the Penn Place Apartments, which caught fire Monday morning. After he was safely out of the building, police ran his information and found he was wanted by authorities in Polk County. Anderson was taken into custody on that warrant. As police were searching him, a small bag of marijuana was found in his pants pocket. Anderson is now also facing a Dubuque County charge of Possession of Marijuana.

Woman Claims to be Sister During Drunk Driving Arrest

A rural Dubuque woman is facing multiple charges after trying to pass herself off as her sister while being arrested. Shortly after 4:00 Sunday morning, deputies from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department were sent to an area north of Sageville on a report of a car in the ditch. 20-year-old Samantha Kemp was standing near the vehicle when officers arrived. She reportedly told police her name was Kelsey Kemp and admitted to drinking and driving. She failed multiple field sobriety tests, and a breath test revealed her blood alcohol content to be .192, more than twice the legal limit. Kemp’s true identity was learned after her sister’s ID was found. Police say Kemp then admitted to using the ID to buy alcohol. Kemp has been charged with Operating while Intoxicated, Malicious Prosecution, Fraudulent Use of an ID, and Failure to Maintain Control.

Alta Vista Campus Expansion Moves Forward

The Dubuque school district is moving ahead with an expansion of the Alta Vista Campus. That’s the facility that currently houses the Alternative Learning Center, which administrators say could serve an additional 100 students if it were expanded. The additional students are currently being taught at either Hillcrest Family Services or Four Oaks, with the school district paying about a million dollars to those organizations. Shirley Horstman, the district’s Director of Student Services, says many of those students have issues that make traditional classroom learning difficult. Horstman says the new building would contain three levels to accommodate different ages of students. The expansion project would also include the addition of a gym and a bus lane to the Alta Vista Campus. The total cost is about $6 million, but school board member Jim Prochaska says the move makes sense in the long run. The school board voted on Monday to begin the design phase of the expansion.

8 Year Old Alerts Tenants Of Fire, No One Hurt 

An 8-year-old boy is credited limiting the damage from a fire at an apartment complex in Dubuque yesterday morning. The Dubuque Fire Department says the child called 911 at around 7:35 after fire broke out at the Penn Place Apartments in the 37-hundred block of Pennsylvania Avenue. When firefighters arrived they helped five people out of the building safely. Fire Captain Dave Grass says it was the boy’s actions that enabled those people to escape unharmed. The boy’s father was trying to putting the fire out before crews arrived on scene. No injuries were reported. Damage to the building is estimated at $69,000.

Dubuque County Hires New Human Resources Administrator

Dubuque County has a new Human Resources Administrator. Dawn Sherman comes from Davenport where she has been the city’s Director of Human Resources for the past decade. Board of Supervisors Chair Jay Wickham says Sherman stood out head and shoulders above the other candidates, which made the selection easy. While the HR Administrator position has been filled, the search continues for a county budget director. Sherman replaces Mary Ann Specht who is retiring this year after 34 years of service. Sherman begins her new duties on March 26th.

Plane That Left Dubuque Crash Lands At Chicago-Rockford International 

A plane that took off from Dubuque this morning and crash-landed in Rockford is registered to a Zwingle man. Our coverage partners at KCRG TV tell us that Aircraft Rescue and fire crews responded to the Chicago-Rockford International Airport at around 9:30. The pilot was the only one in the Cessna 182 airplane and was not hurt. Investigators say the plane was landing at the airport when the crash happened. It’s not yet known what led up to the crash, and the Federal Aviation Administration is assisting in the investigation. The plane’s registry shows a Zwingle man bought the aircraft in 2006. It was built in 1979.

Lundgren, Chilton File for House Seats

Lundgren, Chilton

A pair of Republican women from Dubuque County have made their runs for the state legislature office. Both Shannon Lundgren and Pauline Chilton filed their nomination papers late last week. Lundgren is currently in her first term representing House District 57, which covers most of Dubuque County outside the Dubuque city limits. She won the seat two years ago and will be up for re-election for the first time this fall. The list of those seeking to defeat her is an extensive one. Two Democrats and a Libertarian have all filed to run against Lundgren. As for Chilton, she’ll be seeking public office for the first time as she runs in House District 99. That’s the seat currently held by Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who’s running for Congress. Chilton is the first Republican to file for the seat, and the only one who had previously announced an intention to run. Assuming no other Republicans enter the race, she’ll await the winner of a Democratic primary.

Maquoketa Caves State Park Closed Until August

For the third time in the past decade, a popular Jackson County park will be closed for most of the summer. Maquoketa Caves State Park has been closed and won’t reopen until late August, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The park’s campground is getting an electrical upgrade and the main road through the park is being repaired. Work began early last month, but is expected to last through much of August. The caves had also been closed back in 2010 and 2011 due to an illness impacting the bats that live in the caves.

Walker to Sign Rural School Aid Bill in Muscoda


Wisconsin’s Governor will visit a southwest Wisconsin school district this morning to sign a bill that will increase the aid to rural schools across the state. Republican Scott Walker will be in Muscoda to sign Assembly Bill 835, commonly known as the Sparsity Aid Law, at Riverdale High School. The bill, which was introduced by State Senator Howard Marklein of Spring Green, will increase the funding for rural school districts by one hundred dollars per student beginning this fall. That adds up to an additional six million dollars for those districts. The bill signing ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:30 this morning.

Elizabeth Smart to Headline Riverview Center Fundraiser


A kidnapping victim who made national headlines a decade and a half ago will be the featured speaker at a Dubuque fundraiser for victims of sexual assault later this spring. The Riverview Center has announced that Elizabeth Smart will headline this year’s “Evening of Light” event. It’s scheduled for May 31 at the Grand River Center. Smart was taken from her Utah bedroom at knifepoint back in 2002, when she was only 14 years old. She was held captive for about nine months until her rescue the following March. The incident drew nationwide attention, and was the subject of a made-for-TV movie. Since then, she’s become an advocate for child victims of violent crime.

Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Charges Against Four SW Wisconsin Men

Four southwestern Wisconsin men, all of them 20 years old or younger, are facing drug charges after cocaine and marijuana was found in their car Friday night. The Wisconsin State Patrol reports that the four were arrested following a traffic stop on US Highway 61 about three miles north of Boscobel. The driver, 19-year-old Landon Wedig of Boscobel, is facing four charges: Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Restricted Controlled Substance, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of THC, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. His passengers, 20-year-old Wyatt Roth of Gays Mills, 19-year-old Hunter Drake of Boscobel, and 18-year-old Jared Lathrop of Blue River, are each also facing drug possession charges.

Darlington Finishes Second in Polaris Contest

A southwest Wisconsin community will receive a set of ATVs for its runner-up finish in a nationwide contest. Darlington finished second of the five finalists in last year’s “Ranger Country USA” contest, sponsored by Polaris. Because of their finish, Polaris will be donating three Ranger side-by-sides to the town in a ceremony later today. An online vote was held to find the top “Ranger Country” community, with Darlington competing against four others. Pinedale, Wyoming, won the competition. In addition to several ATVs, it will also be getting an official naming ceremony, complete with an appearance by country music star Jake Owen.

Wisconsin's Voting System

The Congressman who represents Wisconsin’s 3rd District has sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to find out if the state was one of many that had their voting systems penetrated by the Russians during the 2016 Presidential election. Ron Kind wants the DHS to let Wisconsin officials know if the state was one of 21 states the Russians successfully penetrated during the election. With elections coming up this year, Kind says if the state’s election system was compromised, state and local officials need to know so they can take the necessary precautions. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that Russia successfully targeted the voting systems of 21 states during the 2016 election. But the DHS has not revealed what states were penetrated or the extent of the interference.

Dubuque PWD Looks To Diversify Workforce

The Dubuque Public Works Department is looking to develop a more diverse workforce with an apprenticeship program. The department asked for and received 22-thousand dollars from the city for the next fiscal year to develop the program. Public Works Director John Klostermann says his they will partner with Northeast Iowa Community College to recruit and teach students. The apprentice would take classes at NICC while getting on the job training with the city’s street departments. That includes concrete work, snow removal and more. Klostermann says he wants his staff to look more like the community, which means they’re looking to recruit specific people for the program. Klostermann says they also plan to eliminate four seasonal positions in order to pay for the program, which will cost about 60-thousand in total.

Gypsy Moth Treatment In Jackson Co.

An area in Jackson County will be treated for gypsy moth this spring. Gypsy moth team member Mike Kintner works for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. He says Iowa is one of several states participating in the National Slow the Spread program, which is designed to manage gypsy moth, by detecting and controlling isolated populations. The area to be treated is located just west of the town of Bellevue.

"NASCAR of Snowmobiling" Comes to Sundown

Courtesy: KCRG

There won’t be any skis or snowboards heading down the hills at Sundown Mountain today or tomorrow, but the resort will still be plenty busy as it hosts what’s known as the “NASCAR of snowmobiling.” The Theisen’s Snocross National, part of the International Series of Champions’ Snocross Series, is being contested at the mountain through Saturday. Sundown was closed yesterday, so the ski areas could be transformed into a race track suitable for snowmobilers. Sundown General Manager Mark Gordon says that required their snow machines to work overtime. As many as 6,000 spectators are expected to turn out for the races.

Police Looking For Shopko Thieves         

                  3-8-18                              Ed

Dubuque police need the public’s help to identify two people who stole merchandise from Shopko. The shoplifting incident happened just before 4:15 on the afternoon of January 22nd. One of the suspects is described as a white male with long shoulder length black hair and a thin mustache. The other appears to be a juvenile who was wearing glasses and a baseball type cap at the time of the theft. If you have any information, contact the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center. Images of the suspects are posted on the department’s ID4PD webpage. We have also posted those images along with this story on our website

Blum Cosponsors Bill To Stop Gun Violence

Iowa Congressman Rod Blum is a co-sponsor of the STOP School Violence Act. The bill was drafted in the wake of last month’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school. The legislation would provide funding for the Secure Our Schools program so that schools can develop FBI school threat assessment teams. There is also money in the program that provides training for people on what to do if they’re confronted with a violent situation on school grounds. Blum says he would also like the bill to include funding that would provide metal detectors which would be placed at the entrance of every high school building in the country, along with two armed guards. Blum says metal detectors and armed guards at schools would be very cost affective. There are 75 cosponsors of the STOP School Violence Act, and 25 are Democrats.

Savanna/Sabula Bridge Demolition Set For Friday Morning

The planned demolition of the main section of the old bridge between Sabula and Savanna will take place this morning. That’s according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, which indicates that the implosion will begin sometime between 9:00 and noon.  The blast will drop the bridge’s framework into the Mississippi River, where it will be dismantled and removed by a barge. The Illinois DOT and local law enforcement will establish a viewing area at least 1,500 feet from the bridge. Those on the Illinois side of the river are encouraged to watch from Marquette Park in Savanna. The span was originally built in 1932. An $80 million replacement opened last year, but isn’t currently being traveled on. That’s because structural problems forced the closure of a second bridge that connects to Sabula island. That bridge is expected to reopen in late May.

Fett, Gansen File to Run for Lundgren's Seat

Fett, Gansen

Two more challengers for a Dubuque County legislative seat have made their runs official. Democrats Nancy Fett and Leo Gansen both filed paperwork to be candidates for this year’s election this week. They’ll attempt to represent House District 57, which covers most of Dubuque County outside the Dubuque city limits. That seat is currently held by Republican Shannon Lundgren, who’s expected to seek re-election, but has not yet filed her paperwork. Fett is a professor in the social work department at Loras College. She’s also done volunteer work for several local organizations, including Catholic Charities, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, and the Dubuque chapter of the United Way. Gansen is a Senior Correctional Officer at the state prison in Anamosa, where he’s worked since the early 1990s. Fett and Gansen will meet in a primary election in June to determine who will face Lundgren in November’s general election. In addition, Dubuque teacher Lucas Link is also staging a third party campaign in the 57th District, running as a Libertarian.

Supervisors Schedule Budget Vote


The Dubuque County supervisors are expected to vote on the county’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019. One of the county’s largest expenditures each year is on its roads, bridges, and engineering division. Supervisor Board Chair Jay Wickham says around $15 million will be allocated to that department this year. They’ll use that money to repave about 20 miles of county roads. About half of the expenditures in the proposed $78 million budget will be spent on core services. Dubuque County’s property tax rate hasn’t changed in the last eight years. Wickham says the board will have look at ways to lower the rate before voting on the budget. The public hearing will be held Monday evening at 5:30 at the county courthouse.

Woman Facing Charge After Hitting Boyfriend with Deodorant During Breakup

A dispute between a couple going through a breakup led to charges after the woman hit the man with a stick of deodorant. According to police, 25-year-old Katie Thompson had gotten into an argument with her live-in boyfriend after he ended the relationship and started moving his things out of their apartment in the 1200 block of Jackson Street. According to the boyfriend, Thompson hit him in the face while holding a plastic deodorant stick. That caused a small cut below his eye. As he was leaving the apartment, he says Thompson grabbed him by his t-shirt so hard that the shirt ripped off of him. Officers found the shirt in a stairway with small blood droplets on it. Police arrested Thompson at the scene. She’s been charged with Domestic Assault Causing Injury.

Gin Rickey's Cited for Allowing Underage Patrons

The downtown Dubuque bar where more than two dozen underage drinking citations were issued last week has now been cited. Gin Rickey’s was issued a municipal infraction for allowing people under the age of 21 to be inside the bar after 9:00 PM, which is a violation of city code. That violation can carry a fine up to $750. In addition, police can require the bar to take additional steps to prevent underage drinking. Acting on a tip, Dubuque Police arrested or cited 26 people at Gin Rickey’s early last Friday morning. Most of the charges were for possessing alcohol under the legal age or being in the bar after 9:00 PM.

Dubuque Schools Warn of Fake Social Media Accounts

The official Dubuque Schools Twitter profile. Note the blue check mark signifying the account’s “Verified” status.

Administrators at the Dubuque Community School District are warning people to be wary of some fake social media accounts attempting to impersonate the district. Earlier this week, one such account posted a school cancellation notice that was seen by several district residents. School and Community Relations Director Mike Cyze says these impersonation attempts happen on occasion, and are usually easy to spot. The district has gotten its accounts verified by both Twitter and Facebook. Users will note a “check mark” next to the profile name that shows they’re looking at an official account. Even if an account looks legitimate, Cyze says it’s a good idea to cross-check one of the district’s other online sources. Administrators work with Twitter to try to shut down any accounts that try to impersonate the district. Cyze says the reach of Monday’s fake tweet was minimal and did not impact the district’s decision to cancel classes due on Tuesday.

Police-Related Scam Calls Reported in Cascade

Another scam involving local police is hitting one Tri-State community. Police in Cascade have issued a press release warning citizens about possible scam activity using the department’s name. According to police, people in the town have reported getting calls from someone claiming to be raising money for the police department. However, police are not currently doing any fundraising. A variation of the scam can have the caller claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service, and threaten a person’s arrest for an unpaid tax bill. Police say that is also not an activity they’re currently involved in. Police ask that anyone receiving one of these calls immediately report it to their local authorities.

"Rebrand" of Dubuque's Housing Voucher Program Continues


The Dubuque City Council received an update on the rebrand of the city’s Housing Choice Voucher Program this week. That program, which is run through the federal Housing and Urban Development department, provides housing assistance for low-income residents. A little more than a year ago, the council directed the city’s Housing Department to “rebrand” the program in an effort to remove a negative perception of participants and increase the number of landlords who accept the vouchers. Housing Director Alvin Nash says changes will go deeper than a new name. As it currently stands, Nash says HUD administers the program in a “one size fits all” style. Brett Shaw, who was not on the council when the rebrand was approved last year, told Nash that the council failed him by not setting specific benchmarks to meet. The city can issue about a thousand vouchers, though it’s estimated that as many as five times that many people may be eligible for the program. Given that disparity, Nash says tracking landlord participation will be difficult. Mayor Roy Buol agreed with Shaw that some concrete data is needed, but that the council needs to decide what date it wants tracked. The council last year chose to pursue a rebranding of the program, rather than add a “source of income” protection to city bylaws.

UPDATE: Jury Finds Campbell Guilty Of Manslaughter And Robbery

The third man who participated in a botched robbery that led to the death of a Key West man will be going to prison for his role in the crime. A Black Hawk County jury yesterday convicted 32-year-old Eric Campbell, Junior, of Voluntary Manslaughter and 1st Degree Robbery. Campbell had been charged with 1st Degree Murder, but jurors felt his involvement in Collin Brown’s death didn’t warrant a conviction on that charge, as they instead found him guilty of a lesser count. The jury deliberated for about eight hours over two days before reaching their conclusion. Campbell will face a maximum prison term of 35 years when he’s sentenced. The robbery charge carries at 25 year sentence, while Voluntary Manslaughter is punishable by up to ten years behind bars. The other two men who broke into Brown’s mobile home in April of 2016 have also been convicted for their roles in his death. Tacari Minifee and Imere Hall were both found guilty of 1st Degree Murder and Robbery last year.

ISP District 16 February Activity Increases 

February was a busy month for Illinois State Police. Over the course of 28 days, troopers issued over 530 citations and over 400 written warnings. Speeding violations accounted for over 200 citations. Nearly 60 were issued for occupant restraint violations and over 20 motorists received citations for distracted driving. Troopers investigated almost 40 traffic crashes last month and made 20 arrests for driving under the influence. District 16, which encompasses Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago and Boone Counties, had four traffic fatalities in February.

City to Review Five Flags Study in May

After months of delays, the Dubuque City Council has set a date to review the results of a feasibility study of the Five Flags Center. Last May, a consulting firm began looking into ways to improve Dubuque’s downtown arena. The findings of the study were originally scheduled to be presented to the council last fall. That was then pushed back to this month. At their meeting on Monday, the council set the date for a work session when the findings will be presented. That hearing has been scheduled for Monday, May 14. The city paid nearly $900,000 to cover Five Flags’ operating deficit in Fiscal Year 2017.

Bar Could Face Penalties After 20+ Underage Citations


The downtown Dubuque bar where more than two dozen underage drinkers were cited last week could be facing several penalties. That’s according to Dubuque’s Police Chief. Early Friday morning, police officers received a tip that there were numerous underage patrons inside Gin Rickey’s in the 1400 block of Central Avenue. Police cited or arrested a total of 26 people, most of them for underage possession of alcohol. Police Chief Mark Dalsing tells KDTH that the bar could be looking at a punishment as well. Authorities could pursue criminal charges against the bar, or could cite it for a municipal infraction. While a criminal charge would carry a fine, Dalsing says a municipal citation would allow police to require the bar to take additional compliance steps. Anytime an underage person is found inside a Dubuque bar, police will review the establishment’s policies to see if a penalty is warranted. Should police decide to cite Gin Rickey’s for violating its liquor license, it would be the bar’s first violation in the last three years. Under city code, a first offense is punishable by either a $500 fine or a two-week suspension of the bar’s liquor license.

Carnegie-Stout Library Considers Eliminating Late Fees

Late fees could soon be a thing of the past at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque. Library administrators are considering a plan that would eliminate fines for returning items after their due date. Right now, library users are assessed a fee of twenty cents for each day that their item is overdue. Administrators say they don’t want those fines to be a reason people don’t visit the library. So instead of charging a fine, they would prohibit anyone with a past due item from checking anything else out. Fines usually bring in about $36,000 for the library. But Hendricks says the time staff devotes to administering and collecting those fines outweighs that revenue. The fine elimination proposal wasn’t included in the budget that the library submitted to the city for the upcoming budget year, so any updated policy wouldn’t go into effect until at least July of 2019.

Three Attorney Candidates Among First to File for 2018 County Elections

Four candidates – including three running for the same position – filed nomination paperwork for Dubuque County offices on the first day of the filing period. Those running for county offices could begin submitting their paperwork on Monday. Among those who filed is incumbent County Treasurer Eric Stierman, who is seeking another term. The other three candidates are all seeking to be the next County Attorney, following the impending retirement of Ralph Potter. Democrats Ry Meyer and CJ May III and Republican Scott Nelson all filed for the County Attorney position. Meyer has worked as an Assistant County Attorney for the past two years after previously serving a similar role in Clayton County. May has been practicing law in Dubuque for more than 30 years and is a past president of the Dubuque County Bar Association. Nelson has worked as a defense attorney in Dubuque for more than fifteen years. Candidates for county offices have until March 28 to file their nomination paperwork.

Campbell Trial Goes to Jury

Eric Campbell, Junior, (center) listens to testimony during his murder trial in Waterloo (Courtesy: Jeff Reinitz, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier).

The fate of a suspect in the murder of a Key West man is now in the hands of a Black Hawk County jury. Deliberations began yesterday in the trial of 30-year-old Eric Campbell, Junior. He’s facing 1st Degree Murder and Robbery charges in the April 2016 killing of Collin Brown. Prosecutors have said that it was Campbell who planned the botched robbery at Brown’s mobile home. During the incident, Brown was able to escape from his home, but was fatally shot trying to reach a neighboring trailer. While admitting that Campbell was not the one who shot Brown, prosecutors told the jury that Brown would still be alive had Campbell not planned and participated in the robbery. Campbell’s attorneys argue that there’s no evidence linking him to the crime scene, only the testimony of two women who have also faced charges in the case. Campbell is the third defendant to go on trial in Brown’s death. Tacari Minifee and Imere Hall were both convicted on murder and robbery charges last year.

Police Issue 30 Underage Drinking Tickets After Breaking Up Party

For the second time in less than a week, Dubuque Police issued a couple dozen underage drinking tickets when they broke up a party late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. A few minutes before midnight, police were called to a house near the intersection of West 3rd and Summit streets on a report of a loud party. At the scene, officers could hear loud music coming from the home and saw several people drinking inside. No one answered the door when the officers knocked, so they got a search warrant and entered the home 90 minutes later. About 30 underage people who admitted to drinking were inside the home. They were each cited for possession. The four residents of the home – 20-year-old Jonathon Doolin, 22-year-old Kyle Klatka, 20-year-old Joshua Merkel, and 19-year-old Christopher Rigby – were each arrested for Disorderly Conduct. Doolin and Klatka were also cited for violating the city’s Social Host Ordinance. The bust comes just a couple of days after police issued more than two dozen underage drinking tickets at a downtown bar.

Monday Precipitation Totals More Than Four Inches

The winter weather system that moved through the Tri-States yesterday brought more than four inches of precipitation in several forms, with more on the way today. According to the National Weather Service, Dubuque received 3.4 inches of snowfall yesterday, much of it coming in the evening and nighttime hours. That came after the city got nearly 3/4 of an inch of rain and ice during the rest of the day on Monday. There’s more snow and rain in our forecast for today. Up to another inch of snow could fall yet this morning. After noon, precipitation is expected to switch over to a rain/snow mix.

Power Outages In Dubuque And Delaware Counties 

Around 200 customers of Alliant Energy in Dubuque and Delaware Counties are without power at this hour. The company says 15 of its’ customers in Delaware County didn’t have power, while about 180 were without electricity in Dubuque County. The outages are being caused by ice on some powerlines. At one point over 700 Alliant customers were without power today. The company hopes to have everyone back online before six this evening.

Highway 20 Reopens After Semi Fire

A portion of Highway 20 in Dubuque has reopened after a semi caught fire this morning. Crews from the Dubuque Fire Department responded to an area just east of Menards at around 8:30. When fire fighters arrived the engine compartment of the semi was fully engulfed in flames. That prompted the police department to shut down the two eastbound lanes of traffic, while the blaze was being extinguished. The operator of the semi was not injured and the two lanes reopened at around 9:45. Authorities say the cause of the fire was a malfunction in the engine compartment. The trailer portion of the semi was not damaged, but the tractor part was a total loss.

River Museum Announces Da Vinci Exhibition as Summer Attraction

A legendary artist, inventor, and thinker will be the subject of the National Mississippi River Museum’s summer exhibit this year. The museum announced this morning that it will be bringing a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit to Dubuque. Museum CEO Kurt Strand says the exhibit has gotten extremely positive responses in the other cities where it’s been displayed. The exhibit will feature more than three dozen recreations of Da Vinci’s artwork and inventions, which will cover about five thousand square feet. One of the centerpieces is a large-scale replica of the “Last Supper” painting. Since this is the River Museum, a focus will also be put on Da Vinci’s work with water and innovations that could be used in rivers and other bodies of water. The exhibit will open on May 12 and run through early October. Several of the Saturdays it is on display will be dedicated to individual ideas that Da Vinci explored, including hydraulics and aviation. The Da Vinci exhibition is coming to Dubuque from Kansas City, which is the only other Midwestern city where it’s been displayed. Strand expects that will draw visitors from across the region. The cost to view the exhibit will be an extra $5 on top of a regular museum admission. The Da Vinci exhibition is produced by Imagine Exhibitions, the same company that brought the Titanic exhibit to the River Museum several years ago.

Possible State Backfill Changes Add Uncertainty to Dubuque Budget

Van Milligen

The city of Dubuque has approved its budget for Fiscal Year 2019, though there’s a chance the city council will have to revisit it later this year. That’s if the Iowa Legislature would decide to scale back or eliminate a property tax “backfill.” Several years ago, lawmakers adjusted Iowa’s property tax structure, dropping rates for commercial property owners. At the time, the “backfill” was instituted to cover the revenue cities, counties, and school districts were losing. But lawmakers are now considering changes to the “backfill”…changes that could cost the city significantly. Prior to the city council’s final budget hearing last week, Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen explained that the backfill issue won’t be decided before the city has to certify their budget. A bill to draw down the backfill was advanced by a Legislature subcommittee last week. State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque tells us that the elimination of the backfill would make entities within Dubuque would lose about $3.5 million each year. While she doesn’t support reducing the backfill, Jochum admits the proposal does seem to have support among Republicans in the Legislature.

Accused Nightclub Shooter Now Facing Federal Charge

A music promoter accused of firing several gunshots into a Dubuque nightclub last year is now facing a federal gun charge. 32-year-old Ricardo Sanchez has been charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Drug User in US District Court. Sanchez had facing a pair of felony charges in state court related to the shooting, but those have been tossed out now that he’s charged in federal court. According to police, he got into a disagreement over money with the owner of Club Rise on Central Avenue following a concert there in late November. After the argument, Sanchez reportedly went to his vehicle, pulled out a handgun, and fired several shots at the nightclub. He then drove off, but was arrested later that morning in Galena. Should Sanchez be convicted on the federal charge, he’d face up to ten years in prison.

Mixed Precipitation Turns to Snow Today

Portions of the Tri-States could see a mix of sleet and snow today and into tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of our listening area, including Dubuque County. The advisory goes into effect at noon today and runs until midnight. According to the Weather Service, precipitation will likely begin as rain this morning, but will change over to snow during the afternoon or evening. We can expect around three inches of snow here in Dubuque, with heavier amounts to the north, according to KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara. He says road conditions will begin to deteriorate as the system moves in…something they’re already seeing in places where it’s been raining so far this morning. The snow that falls today will be heavy and wet, which will make for some sloppy driving conditions on the evening commute. This system is part of a much larger storm that is impacting much of the northern Midwest. Blizzard Warnings are in effect for parts of the Dakotas, where they’re expecting around ten inches of snowfall.

Dubuque County Fire Destroys Home 

Fire destroyed a home in Dubuque County Friday night. Crews from the Asbury and Sherrill fire departments responded to the structure fire just after 10:30 in the 13-thousand block of Sherrill Road. When fire fighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but authorities say it does not appear suspicious. Damage is estimated at around 250-thousand dollars. The home’s owner Gloria Herbst was not injured.

Underage Drinking Citations Issued And Arrests Made At Dubuque Bar 

Dubuque police either issued citations or arrested more than two-dozen people for underage drinking at a bar in the downtown area early Friday morning. Acting on a tip that there were a number of underage people consuming alcohol at Gin Rickey’s on Central Avenue officers went to the establishment to complete a tavern inspection. Online court records say most of the people were cited and released, while six others were “custodially” arrested and taken to jail. Custodial arrest are often determined by the level of cooperation from a person and their level of intoxication. One of the patrons of the bar, 26 year old Chase Lynch was arrested for public intoxication. The investigation is ongoing and more charges and citation may be forthcoming.

Dubuque Dog Biting Incident Being Investigated

Dubuque’s Health Services Department is trying to locate a dog that bit someone in the city’s north end this week. The incident happened at around 4:30 Thursday afternoon in the 31-hundred block of Central Avenue. The dog is described as a large Shepherd-type animal. It has short, mostly black and brown fur, with some white mixed in. The dog also appeared to be overweight, and had a collar with tags when it bit the person. It was running loose at the time. The health department needs to find the dog to verify its’ health status and vaccination history. If you have any information, contact the health services department or the Dubuque law enforcement center.

Six Dubuquers Sentenced in Elder Fraud Scheme

A half dozen Dubuque residents will be going to federal prison for their roles in a fraud scheme that targeted elderly people across the country. The six all received their sentences, which range from eight months to nearly three years, on Thursday in US District Court. Each of the defendants pled guilty to a single count of wire fraud. They were all so-called “runners” in the scam, who would receive wire transfers from victims, then send them on to those running the scheme. Those sentenced are:

– 33-year-old Tobey Hines

– 33-year-old Tiffany Reynolds

– 21-year-old Joshua Willis

– 23-year-old Payton McCarville

– 21-year-old Morgan Cornell

– 34-year-old Paul Chase

Between them, the six were found to have been responsible for taking more than $200,000 from 100 victims.

Organizers Won't Hold DBQ Con in 2018

Dubuque’s version of ComicCon won’t be held this year, though organizers say it won’t be going away for good. DBQ Con had been held at the Five Flags Center the past three years. It celebrated things like comic books and cult films, and had hosted several celebrity guests. Aaron Rainey has been the driving force behind the event, but says his health will prevent him from putting it on this year. In a post to the event’s Facebook page, Rainey detailed his recent struggles with Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory disorder of the stomach and bowels. Rainey says he was hospitalized three times in 2017, including just a week prior to the most recent DBQ Con. Another recent flare-up has forced him to put plans for this year’s event on hold. Rainey does say he plans to bring the event back in 2019.

Cavanaugh, James, Link File for Legislature

Cavanaugh, James, Link

A trio of Dubuquers have officially filed to run for the Iowa Legislature. Candidates for federal and state offices in Iowa have been able to submit their nomination paperwork to the state Secretary of State’s office since Monday. In the first week of the filing period, three previously announced candidates have made their runs official. Two of the candidates are running in Iowa House District 99. Democrats Lindsay James and Brad Cavanaugh each filed their paperwork this week, setting up a primary between the two. District 99 covers the southern and western portions of the city of Dubuque. It’s currently represented by Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who is running for Congress. The other candidate that filed this week is Lucas Link, who is staging a 3rd party run in House District 57. That district includes most of Dubuque County outside the city of Dubuque. Republican Shannon Lundgren currently represents that district, and is expected to seek re-election. The candidate filing period runs through March 16.

Dubuque Man Sentenced To Prison For Possessing Gun

A Dubuque man will be spending four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a gun possession charge. Court documents say 32 year old Christopher Roundtree pleaded guilty last year in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Police say Roundtree was in the parking lot at Fashion Dry Cleaners last June, when his gun fell out of his pants, hit the pavement and discharged. Because of a previous felony conviction for delivery of a controlled substance, Roundtree was prohibited from carrying a gun. Because of the federal charge, a number of state charges including reckless use of a firearm and possession of marijuana were dismissed. After he serves his prison sentence, Roundtree will be on two years of probation.

Dubuque Man Charged With Bank Robbery In Wisconsin

A Dubuque man recently sentenced to prison for robbing a Dubuque Motel now faces bank robbery charges in Wisconsin. Online court records from Grant County say 53 year old David Canfield is charged with robbery of a financial institution. Police in Platteville say Canfield robbed American Bank and Trust on October 20th. No weapon was displayed during the holdup and no one was injured. Canfield got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. The next day, a robbery was reported at the Super 8 Motel on Dodge Street in Dubuque. The robber did not pull out a weapon and fled the scene with a little over 200 dollars. The getaway vehicle was registered in Canfield’s name. Canfield was arrested later that day for robbery and drug possession. He was sentence to ten years in prison for that robbery. Police in Platteville say they were able to tie Canfield to the bank robbery from evidence they received from Dubuque police. Canfield will make an inital court appearance on March 5th.

State Patrol Sees Increase in Speeders Going More Than 100 MPH

The number of people caught going more than 100 miles per hour in Iowa is on the rise. According to Sergeant Nathan Ludwig of the Iowa State Patrol, the number of citations officers have given for pushing the speedometer past 100 has doubled in just the last five years. Of the nearly 800 drivers caught with their speedometer in triple digits last year, 19 of them were going more than 130 miles per hour. The fastest driver the State Patrol ticketed was clocked at 151 miles per hour…more than double the state’s highest speed limit.

Amendments to Dubuque's FY19 Budget Drops Property Tax Rate Further

The Dubuque City Council passed an even lower property tax rate than expected after making slight adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2019 budget before its passage last night. Over the course of the six previous budget hearings, the council asked that several items be held over for additional discussion. Councilman Luis Del Toro put forward a series of amendments addressing those issues. Del Toro’s amendments would have created about $12,000 in unspent funds. Three amendments passed, creating about $22,000 in money that was not spent. But two others failed. One would have increased the Dubuque Regional Airport’s marketing budget from its current level of $90,000. Del Toro said the city should maximize the investments it’s already made in the airport. But Mayor Roy Buol disagreed, saying there’s been little benefit from the marketing money the airport is already spending. Another amendment to eliminate funding to help Dubuque apply for the All-American City award was also voted down. Councilman Brett Shaw called the award an honor that the city should continue to pursue. The unspent $22,000 was put back toward reducing property taxes. The budget had already called for dropping those rates by 2.71%. With the additional money, the rate now falls by 2.79%. The council passed the amended budget unanimously.

Dubuque's Private, Public Schools Working to Improve Safety

Many school districts around the country are putting a renewed focus on safety in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a school in Florida last month. That includes here in Dubuque. Administrators at Holy Family Catholic Schools have had safety on their minds since last December, when they scheduled a series of lockdown drills, which will be conducted next week. Chief Administrator Carol Trueg tells us Dubuque Police will play a role in those drills. Trueg says teachers and administrators must reach out to try to prevent potential problems with students. Dubuque Schools will also be increasing the number of trainings that its students and staff go through, according to Superintendent Stan Rheingans. Both Rheingans and Trueg agree that there is no one fix that would guarantee safety at all schools, but are willing to consider many preventative measures.

Cascade Man Who Crashed into Building Avoids Serious Jail Time

A vehicle driven by Cody Finzel sits among the rubble of a 120-year-old building after Finzel crashed into the structure in October 2017 (Courtesy: Eric DeSousa)

A Cascade man was able to avoid an extended jail term, but will have to pay for repairs to a building he crashed into while driving drunk. 27-year-old Cody Finzel was recently sentenced on charges of Operating While Intoxicated and Illegal Possession of a Prescription Drug in Dubuque County Court. Finzel pled guilty to those charges in early February. According to prosecutors, he was drunk when he lost control of his car on Cascade’s main street, crashing into a parked car, jumping the curb, and then plowing into a 120-year-old building. The judge in the case sentenced Finzel to a year in jail, but suspended all but two weeks of the term. Finzel will also have to pay more than $2,000 in fines and cover the nearly $3,200 in damage done to the building.

Holy Cross Felon Going to Federal Prison on Gun Charges

A convicted felon from rural Dubuque County will be going to federal prison for illegally possessing guns. 44-year-old Brett Schmerbach of Holy Cross was sentenced to one year in federal prison Tuesday. Schmerbach pled guilty to a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon last September. As part of that plea, he admitted that he had three guns – two shotguns and a .22 caliber rifle – despite having two felony convictions for Operating While Intoxicated. When officers searched his home in December of 2016, they also found ammunition and meth. After Schmerbach is released from prison, he’ll be on probation for three years.

Stockton Woman Facing Drug Charges After Traffic Stop

A Stockton woman was charged with drug possession following a traffic stop in Jo Daviess County Monday night. Authorities say 31-year-old Katherine Smith was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for an equipment violation on US Highway 20 between Woodbine and Stockton. A K9 unit indicated that there were drugs in the vehicle. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department says a search showed Smith to be holding methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. She was arrested at the scene and then transported to the county jail. The driver of the car was not arrested or charged.

Asbury Woman Arrested for Second OWI in Four Days

An Asbury woman was arrested for her second OWI in four days after she reportedly picked her grandson up from school while drunk. Dubuque Police were called to Irving Elementary School just before 3:30 Monday afternoon. Staff there told officers that 55-year-old Lori Ludescher was stumbling and smelled of alcohol when she picked her grandson up a few minutes earlier. Ludescher’s vehicle was then spotted at the intersection of the Northwest Arterial and Pennsylvania Avenue. An officer tried to pull her over, but she continued on to her home on Crown Point Road in Asbury. Ludescher was arrested there and taken to the Dubuque County Jail, where her blood alcohol content was tested at .253, more than three times the legal limit. Ludescher had also been arrested for drunken driving the previous Friday, when she reportedly caused a disturbance at the county courthouse.

UPDATE: Sabula Bridge to Be Closed Until May

The only Mississippi River crossing between Dubuque and Clinton will be closed for at least three months. The Iowa Department of Transportation announced yesterday that the overflow bridge between Sabula and the Iowa side of the river will be closed due to structural issues. The bridge was initially closed on Monday night after the DOT received reports of “settling in the pavement.” Sam Shea of the DOT says the bridge that is closed is the one that takes traffic from Iowa into the island community of Sabula, and not the new, $80 million span that carries traffic from the island into Illinois. But the closure of that smaller bridge cuts off access to the Iowa side of the river for anyone looking to make the crossing. Traffic will be able to get from Sabula to Savanna, Illinois, but not from Sabula to the Iowa mainland. Traffic will be detoured down US Highway 67 to Clinton, where traffic will be able to cross the river. The DOT was already planning to replace the smaller bridge, and that project has been fast-tracked. Work is now expected to be complete by late May.

Juvenile Assault Suspect Charged as Adult

A 16-year-old Dubuque girl accused of assaulting another young woman is being charged as an adult. Legend Moore made an initial appearance in Dubuque County Court on a felony charge of Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury. According to police, Moore beat up a 15-year-old girl near the intersection of 5th and Delhi Streets last Wednesday afternoon. Cell phone video of the attack shows Moore punching or kicking the other girl in the head about eighteen times. The victim suffered a broken nose and bruising to her face. An arrest report says Moore told police the other girl had been picking on her for the past several weeks and had shoved her earlier on the afternoon of the incident. If convicted, Moore could face up to ten years in prison.

US News: Iowa Top State in Nation

Iowa is the best state in the country. That’s the finding of US News and World Report, which released its yearly rankings of the fifty states this morning. The publication ranks states in eight categories, then creates a composite ranking from those findings. Iowa made the top ten in five of those categories, including being rated first in infrastructure. Brian Kelly of US News told “CBS This Morning” that Iowa is a consistent performer across the board. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds joined Kelly on the CBS program, and spoke to her excitement at the new rankings. Despite the good news of the rankings, Reynolds was asked about the challenges facing Iowa. She cited workforce issues as the top concern for the state. Iowa moved to the top of the rankings from 6th last year. Minnesota came in 2nd, followed by Utah. Wisconsin landed just outside the top ten, at #11, while Illinois ranked 35th.

Cascade Students Raise Money for Para-Educator Whose Home Burned

Cascade Elementary School para-educator Jane Lamey (center) reacts to learning that local high school students raised $2,550 toward repairs for her home (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Cascade para-educator was surprised with more than $2,500 to go toward repairs to her home, which was recently destroyed by fire. Students from Cascade High School’s Leadership class organized the fund drive to help Jane Lamey, who works at Cascade Elementary School. The students presented the money to her at a student assembly yesterday afternoon. Lamey and her husband were forced from their Bernard home after a fire started in their kitchen nearly three weeks ago. Lamey tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that while she was surprised by the donation from the students, this kind of thing isn’t out of the ordinary in Cascade. The students initially hoped to raise $1,500 for Lamey, but easily surpassed that mark.

Investigators Gather More Evidence Against AAU Coach

Investigators have seized a trove of electronic devices from a Lake Delhi cabin owned by a prominent youth basketball coach under investigation for allegedly making videos of naked boys. Greg Stephen had been the co-director of the Iowa Barnstormers. He left the traveling youth organization last week after agents searched his Monticello home. Newly available documents show agents also searched a cabin owned by Stephen near Lake Delhi. Investigators say Stephen occasionally spent weekends there and used it for summertime group gatherings with players. Agents seized a range of devices and file storage equipment…everything from multiple smartphones and tablets to hard drives, thumb drives, and memory cards. The searches came after a source gave police a device from Stephen’s home that contained video clips of underage males disrobing in a hotel bathroom. Stephen has not yet been charged. Several Barnstormers players have gone on to play Division I college basketball, including players from Senior, Wahlert, and Western Dubuque.

Teenager Accused in Grant County Burglary Hoax

Charges are pending against a 14-year-old boy from southwest Wisconsin who made a prank call about an armed burglary that never happened. At around 1:45 last Friday afternoon, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department received a report of two men armed with guns and wearing black masks at a home on 5th Street in Bloomington. Deputies went to the home, but found nothing. They spoke with neighbors, but were told the residents of the home were out of town. The call was then traced to a location on the other side of town. That’s where deputies questioned 14-year-old, who eventually admitted to making the prank call. The sheriff’s department has turned the case over to the county attorney, who will decide whether to file charges against the boy.

Safety Training to Increase at Dubuque Schools           

Following a series of threats against its schools, including one that forced the cancellation of classes last Friday, the Dubuque school district will step up safety training efforts. Superintendent Stan Rheingans says the district developed a training for how students they should react to a dangerous situation several years ago. District leaders are also looking at what other people might need the training. Current safety training involves only students and staff. Schools across the Dubuque district were closed on Friday after a threat was made against Senior High School.

Dubuque Man Charged with Stabbing Woman, Dog

An argument over a backpack led a Dubuque man to slash a woman and her dog with a knife. That’s according to Dubuque Police, who arrested 38-year-old William Philpot on Saturday night. He’s now charged with Assault While Displaying a Weapon and Animal Abuse. Police say Philpot had been at an apartment in the 300 block of West 17th Street the previous Monday evening. According to an arrest report, Philpot began arguing with one of the residents over a backpack Philpot had let the man borrow. Philpot eventually took out a pocket knife and threatened to stab the man. As the resident was trying to push Philpot out of the apartment, a dog chased after Philpot. The dog’s owner left the apartment to retrieve the dog. When they returned, both were suffering from cuts. The woman’s wound required four stitches to close.

Girl Scouts Plan to Sell Portion of Camp Little Cloud

Dubuque area Girl Scout leaders are planning to sell part of a campground to reduce the organization’s property holdings. The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois intend to sell a portion of Camp Little Cloud, which is located north of Epworth. The camp sits on 154 acres, of which the group plans to sell between 50 and 90 acres. The portion being put up for sale is mostly sloping timberland, and is not frequently used by Girl Scouts who visit the camp. The owners of the properties that neighbor the camp will be given the first opportunity to purchase parcels of the land. The asking price has not yet been set.

Bowman Concerned About School Threats, But Opposed to Arming Teachers


A Tri-State area lawmaker who also spends his time as a high school teacher is growing increasingly concerned about the prospect of school violence. State Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa teaches in that community’s school district when he’s not at the Statehouse. Maquoketa was one of several area districts where a threat of violence was investigated last week. Bowman is also one of the legislators who voted in favor of a measure requiring Iowa schools to have a plan for an active shooter situation. According to Bowman, proper training should be a necessary component of the bill. Several politicians – including President Donald Trump – have suggested allowing teachers to carry guns in schools. But that’s an idea Bowman is strongly opposed to. The school shooter plan bill now being considered by the Iowa House.

Area Districts Formulating Plans for Possible Student Walkouts

Iowa City students walked out of class to protest gun violence last week (Courtesy: KCRG).

High school students across the country – including here in Iowa – walked out of classes last week to protest gun violence. More coordinated, national walkouts have been scheduled for dates later this spring. We reached out to several area school districts to see how they’re addressing the issue with their students. Dubuque Superintendent Stan Rheingans tells us that the district doesn’t have a concrete policy in place for student walk-outs. So they’re working with students to decide how to react. Rheingans doesn’t envision the district trying to prohibit any demonstrations, but rather manage whatever might happen. The two more national walkouts are scheduled for March 14th and April 20th. The March event asks students to leave class for seventeen minutes, one for each of the victims of this month’s school shooting in Florida. The April date falls on the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, and would potentially have students leaving class for the entire day. Most of the districts that responded to our questions are still formulating their responses to any kind of walkout. An exception is Bellevue, where Superintendent Tom Meyer tells us the administration is not planning to discipline students who would participate in a walkout, so long as the students have a distinct message behind their action. On the other end of the spectrum, East Dubuque Superintendent Tori Lindeman says the district hasn’t discussed, and doesn’t anticipate, any student walkouts.

Meals on Wheels Cuts

State budget cuts are limiting the number of senior citizens a Dubuque-based non-profit can serve. The Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging provides a “meals on wheels” service for people across eighteen area counties. But the number of meals they can serve each day has been slashed in recent years. The agency’s budget has been cut by about 15 percent in the past two years alone. Colleen Lawler, a Service Specialist for the agency, says that’s forced them to put a cap on the number of people they can serve. A crew of about fourteen volunteers delivers the daily meals for the agency. Lawler says additional volunteers are always needed.

Betting Bills at the Iowa Statehouse

A pair of bills subject to an anticipated Supreme Court ruling are currently being debated in the Iowa Legislature. The court is expected to rule this spring on a lawsuit filed by the state of New Jersey challenging the federal law that allows sports betting in only four states. Iowa is one of more than twenty states that have introduced sports betting bills in the event that the court rules in New Jersey’s favor. Q Casino CEO Jesus Aviles says he’s always been in favor of expanding sports betting. Iowa’s sports betting bill has passed through two legislative committees.

Cascade Fire Injures Homeowner

One person was injured after a fire broke out at his Cascade home on Saturday morning. Fire crews were called to River Bend Drive on the northern edge of Cascade at about 12:20 AM. A fire was located inside the home and quickly put out by firefighters. The owner of the home, 30-year-old Anthony Arensdorf, was taken to Finley Hospital in Dubuque to be treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation. Damage to the house is estimated at about 50-thousand dollars. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Grassley Faces Gun Questions at Manchester Town Hall

A man asks US Senator Charles Grassley a question during a town hall meeting in Manchester Friday (Courtesy: KCRG).

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley faced numerous questions about guns and gun control at a town hall meeting in Manchester yesterday afternoon. Grassley spoke to a standing room only crowd at the Delaware County Courthouse as part of his effort to visit all 99 of Iowa’s counties each year. When asked about bringing back a federal assault weapons ban, which was in place from the mid-1990s through 2004, Grassley said studies have shown the ban wasn’t effective. Grassley did express support for upgrading the FBI’s database, as well as a ban on so-called “bump stocks,” which allow semi-automatic weapons to operate as if they were automatics.

Dubuque School Officials Explain Threat Examination Process


Dubuque school officials are revealing a little bit of how they determine whether a threat against a school is credible. Classes were cancelled across the Dubuque district on Friday after district leaders and police weren’t able to determine the severity of a threat against Senior High School. By mid-morning, they decided there was no danger, but that was only after the decision to call off school. Superintendent Stan Rheingans explains some of their process when a threat is received. “We contacted our “team,” our Communications Director, our behavioral folks, the principal of the building involved, as well as law enforcement. We then started to work through what the threat was, how specific was it, was there a plan, what is this student’s background, have they had other issues or concerns.” One complicating factor in Friday’s situation was how quickly misinformation was spreading on social media, according to Dubuque Police. School activities, such as substate basketball games at both Senior and Hempstead, went on as planned last night, although with some additional police presence.

School Activities To Proceed This Weekend

After determining that an apparent threat to schools was not credible, officials in the Dubuque School District will proceed with high school activities scheduled for this weekend. In an email sent to district families and staff today there will be extra security and police presence at those events as a precaution. District officials ask that anyone who believes there is a concern should report it immediately to an adult for follow-up, and refrain from posting or reposting unconfirmed information on social media. Counselors will be available at schools next week and beyond for students needing additional support. Later today, the district will post additional resources on its’ website how parents can talk to their kids about violence.

Blum Defends Himself Amid Ethics Rules Violations

Iowa Congressman Rod Blum is defending himself, amid reports that he violated House ethic rules by not disclosing his position with a company he help start in 2016. A story from the Associated Press says that the Dubuque Republican did not list his role as CEO of Tin Moon Corporation on disclosure forms when the company was launched in May of 2016. House rules say that members of Congress must list all corporate positions, even if their unpaid. After the story was reported, Blum amended his disclosure forms. Three months after the company was started, its’ online advertising “boasted” thousands of satisfied customers. Blum says he will soon disclose the experts who were interviewed in the Associated Press’ investigative report. Blum is now listed as a majority shareholder with Tin Moon, which is based in Dubuque.

Gun Violence Protest At  Washington Park

A mid-morning gathering at Washington Park brought out several teachers and students Friday (Courtesy: KCRG).

Some of the teachers and students who suddenly found themselves with the day off school yesterday used the opportunity to speak out against gun violence. A group of several dozen people, including many students and teachers, gather at downtown Dubuque’s Washington Park during the mid-morning. One of those who came out was Senior student Gabe VanderBroek, who admitted he would have been scared to go to classes, but says there are things that can be done to prevent further violence. The day of classes that were lost yesterday will be made up at the end of the school year. The same goes for Holy Family Catholic Schools, which also cancelled classes due to the purported threat at Senior.

Superintendent: School Closings Precautionary, Threats Not Credible


Leaders at the Dubuque Community School District say the decision to close all of their schools today was purely precautionary. Schools across the district were closed today due to the threat of a shooting at Senior High School. Superintendent Stan Rheingans tells us that there have been several threats made since the school shooting in Florida last week. In previous cases, the district was able to identify the student involved and take proper precautions. That was not the case today. The district initially only closed Senior. But the response to that move led to the eventual closure of all schools. Rheingans says the district is now confident that the threat that prompted today’s closures was not legitimate. Rheingans says that the district views social media as a useful tool for getting information out, in this case, it likely did more harm than good. After the district decided to close all of its schools, the Holy Family catholic school system followed suit. East Dubuque Schools are also operating on a “soft lockdown” today.

Hopkinton Bank Robbers Each Receive 10+ Years in Prison

The two New York men who robbed a Delaware County bank in the fall of 2016 will each be spending at least a decade in federal prison. According to prosecutors, 28-year-old Daniel Jackson and 22-year-old Jason Centeno held up the Citizens State Bank branch in Hopkinton in October of 2016 while armed with a knife and a handgun, respectively. The two were later arrested in Florida and brought back to Iowa to face charges. Last September, Centeno pled guilty to charges of Armed Bank Robbery and Using a Firearm During a Crime. The following month, a jury found Jackson guilty of four charges, including Armed Bank Robbery. Jackson has been given the tougher sentence of the two. He’s been ordered to spend 15 years in federal prison. Centeno will go to prison for just under eleven years. They will split the responsibility for paying back more than $16,000 to the bank. That’s about twice as much as what they stole during the robbery.

UPDATE: Classes Cancelled at All Dubuque Schools Due to Shooting Threat

Classes were cancelled at all Dubuque public and parochial schools today due to an apparent shooting threat at Senior High School. According to alerts from the Dubuque Community School District, several social media reports of a possible threat prompted district leaders to initially call off classes at Senior High School. The district later chose to cancel classes at all of its buildings, citing parent concerns and “significant disruption” caused by the initial closure. District officials don’t believe the Senior threat was credible, but weren’t able to completely rule it out. The district has been in contact with Dubuque Police, who are helping to investigate. In addition to Dubuque’s public schools, the Holy Family school system also decided to cancel classes in all of its buildings today. East Dubuque Schools have announced that they are operating under a “soft lockdown” today as well.

Here’s the full statement from the district:

There will be NO SCHOOL in the Dubuque Community School District TODAY, Friday, Feb. 23.

This decision comes following a threat late last evening to Dubuque Senior High School, which we have been unable to confirm the credibility of. Following the decision to close Senior for the day, the student/parental concern and significant disruption created throughout the district has led to a decision to close ALL SCHOOLS today.

This day will be made up at the end of the school year, as we believe students will benefit more from a normal school day at that time as opposed a day filled with distractions today.

Arrest Made in Apparent Student Assault

Dubuque Police have made an arrest in an apparent assault by a local high school student that’s garnered a lot of attention on social media. Video of the incident appears to show a juvenile female ambushing another young woman, knocking her to the ground, and repeatedly kicking and punching her in the head. Police issued a statement about the incident at about 9:00 last night, indicating they were aware of it and were investigating. An arrest has since been made, and one of the suspects has been charged with Willful Injury, which is a felony. The suspect’s name was not released. The severity of the victim’s injuries are not yet known either. The Dubuque Community School District confirmed this morning that the students involved go to Senior High School, but say the incident did not happen on school property. The assault is not related to the supposed threat made against Senior High last night.

Dubuque Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Charges

A Dubuque man could spend up to sixty years in prison after pleading guilty to drug possession charges. 31 year old Gregory Anderson Jr. pled guilty to possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids this week. At his plea hearing last November Anderson was stopped by Dubuque police as he was walking down the street. He agreed to let officers search him. During the search officers found multiple packages of heroin and cocaine on Anderson. He told police he was going to sell the drugs. The arrest was made near Orange Park. When he is sentenced, Anderson faces between one and sixty years in federal prison and a fine of four million dollars. He will also have to serve at least six years of supervised release once he is out of prison. Anderson is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Student Hit by Car at Washington Middle School

Washington Middle School (Courtesy: Dubuque Community Schools)

A Dubuque middle school student appears to have suffered only minor injuries after being hit by a car this morning. According to an email sent to parents, the student was hit in front of Washington Middle School. School staff and others in the area helped the child until emergency personnel arrived. The Dubuque Police Department has told the school that the child suffered just minor injuries. The school encourages parents to use the incident as an opportunity to reinforce pedestrian safety guidelines with students.