Dubuque & Tri-State News
Traffic Stop Turns to High Speed Chase
A routine traffic stop turned into a high speed chase Friday night in Dubuque.
At around 8:45pm Friday night, the Dubuque Police Department stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in downtown near 7th and Central. Once the officer made contact with the driver he recognized him as 23 year old Tremaine Walton. The officer was also aware that Walton had an outstanding arrest warrant out against him. When confronted, Walton refused commands from the officer and later fled the scene in his vehicle.
The Dubuque County Deputy then pursued the vehicle after it was relocated on Rockdale Road a short time later. The chase continued to Twin Valley Road and then south bound on Hwy 151 with speeds in excess of 100 mph. The pursuit then continued to the area of Fillmore, where Walton abandon the vehicle and took off on foot. Walton was taken into custody after authorities tracked him down on foot. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant for Escape from Custody back in 2016, and on a charge of eluding and traffic citations. Walton has a court appearance scheduled for this morning. His passenger 28 year old Angelica Flores was taken into custody at the scene on a warrant of interference with a $500 cash bond.
Car Fire Near Elementary School In Dubuque
Members of the Dubuque Fire Department extinguished a vehicle fire in the parking lot of St. Anthony’s Elementary School Friday morning. A release says fire crews responded to the parking lot at around 9 am. When they arrived they were able to put out the fire quickly. An unidentified woman who was driving the car told fire investigators that she noticed smoke coming from the vehicle as she was parking. She was able to get out of the car before flames were visible. No damage estimate is available and no injuries were reported.
Abortion And Religion In Illinois
In Illinois, religious-affiliated hospitals and clinics are required by law to provide information about abortion, even if the information violates religious beliefs. Ironically a proposal requiring abortion providers to make abortion alternatives available to patients will not become law anytime soon. State Senator Tim Bivins is the sponsor of the legislation. He says his bill would expand access to information about reproductive rights. April 28th was the deadline for Senate bills to be considered by the full Senate, which means Bivins’ legislation will remain locked away from public scrutiny. Bivins says it’s sad to see that partisan politics in Illinois and in other parts of the country are being used today to limit debate and squash points of view. According to Bivins that’s an assault on the first amendment freedom of speech. Bivins represents much of northwestern Illinois.
Dubuque Gang Leader Headed to Federal Prison
A man police have described as the leader of a Dubuque gang will be going to federal prison. 22-year-old Frank Washington, Junior was sentenced this week in US District Court in Cedar Rapids. He’ll spend two years and three months in prison after being convicted late last year on a charge of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver near a park. Back in June of 2016, investigators found a large amount of marijuana during a search of Washington’s Dubuque home. During an interview with authorities, he admitted that he was going to try to sell the marijuana. Dubuque Police have said that Washington is the leader of the Mulla Mafia Gang, and supplied investigators with social media posts showing Washington making the gang’s hand signals. In addition to his jail term, he’ll also be on probation for four years once he’s released from prison.
Mississippi River Museum Selects Strand as New President/CEO
A former Vice President at McGraw-Hill will take over as the new leader of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. The museum’s Board of Directors has hired Kurt Strand to be the new President and CEO. Strand spent more than twenty years at McGraw-Hill before being laid off last November. He’s been active in the Dubuque business community for many of those years, and currently serves as the chair of Greater Dubuque Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the boards of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. In addition to his duties at the River Museum, Strand will also assume the role of President and CEO of the Dubuque County Historical Society. Strand’s first day at the museum will be May 22. He replaces Dr. Robert Davis, who resigned in February to take a position in the Quad Cities.
Dubuque’s First Black Female Cop On The Beat
The Dubuque Police Department has been serving the citizens of Dubuque since 1837, and during the past 170 years there has never been an African American female officer on the force. But that changed nearly two years ago, when Police Chief Mark Dalsing hired Sade Pointer. The soon to be 24-year-old Pointer is a native of Chicago and attended the University of Dubuque, majoring in criminal justice and sociology. She says at first she had aspirations of becoming a lawyer, but one of her instructors at UD and a police officer in the St. Louis area changed her mind. Pointer interned with the department for two years before being hired. Prior to that, the reality of being the first and only African American female on the force never crossed her mind. Officer Pointer says when she’s on patrol or investigating a situation she hears both negative and positive comments from the black and white citizens of Dubuque. Pointer says her fellow officers and co-workers within the department have treated her as an equal and with respect from day one. While Pointer has broken new ground in Dubuque, she hopes that more minorities, especially black women, become interested in law enforcement.
Suspicious Electronic Device Found On SW Tech Campus
A suspicious-looking electronic device found on the campus of a southwest Wisconsin college was part of a class activity. Officers from the Fennimore police department responded to Southwest Technical College a few minutes before 10:30 this morning after a student reported finding a suspicious device under a hallway bench. The device was a wireless internet hot spot that was being used by students in a classroom lesson. Southwest Tech President Jason Wood says the school followed protocol and evacuated one of the nearby buildings. No one was injured, and school administrators credit police and emergency response teams for acting so quickly.
Aviles Reacts to Satellite Wagering at Clinton Casino
Earlier this month, the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton became the first casino in Iowa without live racing to offer off-track satellite wagering. Wild Rose is able to offer off-track satellite wagering on horse races around the country because of a recent change in Iowa gaming laws. The change also moved live dog racing out of casinos in Council Bluffs and to the Iowa Greyhound Association at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque. Q Casino General Manager Jesus Aviles says simulcast wagering on horse races will most likely have an impact on local greyhound racing, but it’s too early to tell what that impact might be.
Dubuque Businesses Fail Alcohol Compliance Checks
Five Dubuque businesses were cited for serving alcohol to minors as local police conducted compliance checks this week. On Tuesday night, compliance monitors were sent to several area locations that serve or sell alcohol, from bars and restaurants to convenience stores. Among the businesses caught selling to the monitors were:
– West Locust Mart
– Red Robin
– Ron’s Discount Smokes
– Fat Tuesday’s
– Vinny Vanucchi’s Little Italy
Failing a compliance check counts as a violation of each business’ liquor license. This appears to be the third violation for Ron’s Discount Smokes, located at the corner of Asbury and JFK Roads. It is the first violation for the four other businesses.
Woman Accused of Drunk Driving After Striking Two Parked Cars
A Dubuque woman was arrested for drunken driving after crashing her car into not one, but two parked cars. 28-year-old Brittany May was arrested a few minutes after 2:00 Wednesday morning near the intersection of Hillcrest Road and Lagen Street. She’s been charged with Operating While Intoxicated and four other traffic violations. According to police, May was headed north on Hillcrest when she struck a vehicle parked along the side of the road. She continued on, and hit another parked car in the next block. That impact pushed the car into a nearby mailbox. A police report estimates the damage to the two cars at about $8,500. Police say May failed field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer estimated her blood alcohol content at .273, which is more than three times the legal limit. This is May’s second drunken driving arrest. Her first came in June of 2010. She pled guilty to the charge the following January and received a suspended sentence.
Dolan’s Visit Brings in $43,000 for Divine Word
A visit to Dubuque by the Archbishop of New York generated more than $40,000 for a local college. Cardinal Timothy Dolan headlined a fundraising dinner for Divine Word College last Friday. According to the school, Dolan’s visit brought in a total of $43,000, which the school will use to fund scholarships. Attendance at the event is estimated at about six hundred.
Sewer Repairs to Impact Morning Traffic in Galena
An emergency sewer repair will impact traffic in Galena this morning. According to the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, crews will be working in the 100 block of Meeker Street starting at 8:00 this morning. That entire block will be closed to traffic, which means motorists will not be able to use it to get from North Main Street to Claude Street. Those that enter the city using West Stagecoach Trail will also be impacted. The sheriff’s office says a detour will be set up to help drivers navigate around the area. But motorists are encouraged to find a different route, if possible. It’s not known how long Meeker Street will be closed.
Five Years for Man Accused of Threatening Cabbie, Injuring Officer
A man accused of threatening a Dubuque cab driver and injuring a police officer while being arrested is headed to prison. 28-year-old Richard Bell, Junior, pled guilty to one count of Interference with Official Acts Causing Serious Injury. A judge has sentenced Bell to five years behind bars. According to prosecutors, a cab driver called police after Bell had charged at him with what the driver called “an ax.” Police investigated, but determined that Bell was only armed with a bicycle seat. As officers tried to take Bell into custody, he tried to run. Officer Jordan Waddick suffered a serious shoulder injury when he tackled Bell. A Public Intoxication charge was dismissed in exchange for Bell’s plea to the Interference charge. Bell was already looking at about a year in prison after being convicted of theft last year. That sentence came after he was convicted of stealing a donation jar from the counter at Beecher’s Ice Cream.
Ichiban Burglary Suspect Arrested
An arrest has been made in connection with a break-in at a Dubuque restaurant last week. 35-year-old Thomas Thurston has been arrested on a charge of Third-Degree Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools. Police say he’s responsible for a break-in and the theft of nearly $1,500 in food, cigarettes, and cash from the Ichiban Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. Officers were initially called to the restaurant last Friday morning. Surveillance video showed a man wearing a baseball cap, facemask, and gloves pry open an outside cooler to get into the business. Among the items taken were three crates of lobster tails, a carton of cigarettes, and about $850 in cash. Police utilized traffic cameras to identify a suspect vehicle, which was registered to Thurston’s wife. Investigators executed a search warrant at Thurston’s home where they reportedly found the lobster tails and cigarettes matching the brand that was stolen. Police say Thurston admitted to the burglary.
Spirit Of Dubuque Sold, Moving to Cincinnati
The Spirit of Dubuque has been sold and will be moving to Ohio. That’s according to the group that owns the riverboat. Dubuque River Rides issued a statement yesterday, saying that new owners will be moving the paddle-wheeler to Cincinnati. Walt Webster was the most recent co-owner of the boat. He says they’ve been trying to sell it for the past five years. In addition, he and his wife will also be closing the Ice Harbor Gallery, a restaurant they opened in 2004. The Websters bought the Spirit of Dubuque from Bob and Ruth Kehl. Webster says owning the Spirit was a great experience for both he and his wife, but it has not always been rosy. Webster would not disclose the purchase price.
Construction Industry Career Expo
Hundreds of area high school students are getting the opportunity to see what it’s like to operate a crane, wire a circuit and weld virtually at the Construction Industry Career Expo at Portzen Construction in Dubuque tomorrow and Friday. Kelly Cooper, Director at the Dubuque Labor Management Council says there will be ten different booths from ten different trades set up for students to interact with. Cooper says they want students to be aware of what kinds of trades are available to them in the construction industry, as well as the union apprenticeship program. More than 350 students are expected to take part in the career expo over a two day period. Students will rotate through the various stations and perform different hands-on activities typically done on a construction job site.
Fox News Producer Explains Reason for Dubuque Visit
Fox News will be looking to hear the opinions of “ordinary” Americans when they visit Dubuque next week. That’s according to one of the staffers who helped line up the network’s visit. Fox’s morning show “Fox and Friends” will air several segments from the West Dubuque Tap next Thursday morning. Lauren Peikoff is a Line Producer for the network who spent two years working in Iowa at our coverage partner, KCRG-TV. She says she reached out to some local sources to help them settle on the West Dubuque Tap. “Fox and Friends” will send a correspondent who plans to talk with West Dubuque customers about the issues of the day. The segments featuring the West Dubuque Tap will air next Thursday morning between 5:00 and 8:00 on Fox News.
Lundgren: First Session Was “Baptism by Fire”
A first-time legislator from Dubuque County says that despite a “baptism by fire” she made it through her initial session unscathed. Republican Shannon Lundgren of Peosta was elected to represent Iowa House District 57 last fall. She says the session mostly shook out how she thought it would, with the exception of how quickly things came along. One of the most notable moves the Legislature made this year was restricting the collective bargaining rights of most public employees. Lundgren, who admits that issue was not on her radar heading into the session, broke with party leadership and voted against that measure. Lundgren says the collective bargaining bill was an issue where hearing from the people in her district really made a difference. Lundgren will be staying busy while the Legislature is adjourned. She has been appointed to several state boards and commissions which will be meeting during the summer and fall.
Trump Sign Added in “City of Presidents”
Wisconsin’s “City of Presidents” has unveiled the road sign saluting the newest Commander-in-Chief. Cuba City added a shield in honor of Donald Trump this week. The red, white, and blue road sign features a silhouette of the new president, along with his name, dates in office, and home state. The Trump sign joins 44 others that have been put up throughout the community since the United States’ bicentennial celebration in 1976.
Housing Development Planned for Nativity Property Called Off
Demolition work on the former Nativity Catholic school began yesterday and parishioners are also learning that a housing development planned for another part of the parish’s property has fallen through. The University Lofts development would have been located at the far south end of Nativity’s property, next to the Radio Dubuque studios. Nativity Parish priest Monsignor Jim Miller says the developer, the Miller Valentine Group, pulled out of the project due to concerns about tax breaks it would have received from the state. Miller says the developers looked for other funding sources. They also asked the parish to lower the asking price for the property. The parish is now weighing its options on what can be done with the property. Miller is confident something will materialize soon. Among some of the other ideas that have been presented to the parish are selling the property to another developer or leave it as a green space. The proposed University Lofts complex would have housed more than 40 units for senior citizens and their families.
Another Key West Murder Trial Moving
Another of the defendants accused of taking part in the murder of a Key West man will have their trial moved out of Dubuque County. A change of venue request made by 31-year-old Eric Campbell was approved this week. Campbell’s trial on First-Degree Murder and Robbery charges will now be held in Waterloo at the Black Hawk County courthouse. The date of the trial has been tentatively set for August 21. Campbell is one of eight people accused of taking part in the April 2016 murder of 21-year-old Collin Brown. Prosecutors say Campbell was one of the three people who broke into Brown’s mobile home with the intent of robbing him. But the situation deteriorated and Brown was shot and killed as he tried to escape to a neighboring trailer. Campbell’s trial is the second to be moved out of Dubuque County due to extensive media coverage. Tacari Minifee’s trial will be held in Scott County in August.
Dubuque Man Wins 30 Grand
A Dubuque pocketed 30 thousand dollars, after winning the money playing the Iowa Lottery’s “Bonus Crossword” scratch game. Randy Bettcher bought his winning ticket at the Hy Vee on Dodge Street and claimed his prize at the lottery’s regional office on Friday. Bettcher’s prize was the 24th of the 91 top prizes available in the Bonus Crossword scratch game which cost three dollars to play.
$150,000 Set Aside for Iowa Governor Transition, Despite Democrat Opposition
It’s still not known when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will move out of his current role and begin confirmation proceedings for his appointment as US Ambassador to China. But the Iowa Legislature has set aside some money for that transition, despite objections from minority Democrats. In the closing days of the legislative session, lawmakers approved 150-thousand dollars for the transition from Branstad to current Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. State Senator Tod Bowman, who represents Jackson and parts of Dubuque and Jones counties, questioned devoting that money to an office change. But Governor Branstad says Democrats have no room to talk on the issue. At his weekly news conference, he said that the money being devoted to the transition is less that the amount Democrats approved when former Governor Chet Culver took office ten years ago. Branstad says the overall budget for the governor’s office is also less than it was when he returned to office six years ago.
“Fox and Friends” to Broadcast from West Dubuque Tap
A highly-rated TV morning show will put Dubuque in its spotlight next week. Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” will broadcast live from The West Dubuque Tap next Thursday morning. That’s according to a post on the bar/restaurant’s Facebook page. The posting indicates that “Fox and Friends” will broadcast live from 5:00 to 8:00 that morning, which means the Tap will have to open an hour early. According to the business, the show is hoping to hear from average Dubuquers during their visit. We’ve reached out to Fox News, and expect to talk with one of their producers tomorrow.
‘Bachelor’ Soules Accused of Leaving Fatal Crash
The star of a reality TV show that was partially filmed in Dubuque has been accused of leaving the scene of a deadly crash. Former “Bachelor” contestant Chris Soules was booked into the Buchanan County Jail early this morning. He’s expected to face at least one criminal charge for his role in a crash that happened near the small town of Aurora last night. At around 8:30 PM, authorities were called after a pickup truck rear-ended a tractor. The collision sent both vehicles into opposite roadside ditches. The driver of the truck then continued on. Buchanan County authorities have not released the name of the driver that was killed, citing the need to contact family members. Soules appeared as “The Bachelor” in the 19th season of the ABC dating show. Scenes for the program were shot at a couple of downtown Dubuque locations, including the Hotel Julien. This is not the first time Soules has been arrested for leaving the scene of a crash. He was charged in a non-fatal incident in Cedar Falls in February of 2002. He’s also been arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. Soules pled guilty to that charge in Fayette County Court in early 2006.
O’Mara: Cool, Wet Weather Expected into Early May
With about a week left in April, this has already been a very wet month here in Dubuque. That trend is expected to continue as the month closes. Meteorologist Kaj O’Mara from our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, tells us that we’ve already received above normal rainfall this month, even though the past few days have provided a break from the wet weather. O’Mara says cooler temperatures at the end of April often go hand-in-hand with additional rainfall. This is the second straight year that Dubuque has seen a fairly mild winter followed by a spring season that was a bit slow to develop. O’Mara expects us to see cooler temperatures from this week through the first week of May.
Dubuque Man Facing Federal Gun Charge
A Dubuque man is one of more than a dozen people facing federal gun possession charges. Acting US Attorney Sean Berry announced the arrests during a news conference on Monday. Among those arrested is 26-year-old Gerraud Bruns of Dubuque. He’s been charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Drug User. Prosecutors say Bruns was in possession of both a .40 caliber pistol and ammunition in May of last year. That’s despite a previous conviction for Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug. Bruns made an initial appearance in federal court in Minnesota last November. He was set to make another appearance the following week, but didn’t show. He was eventually arrested in the Twin Cities about three weeks ago, and made a court appearance in Iowa last week.
UPDATE: Police ID Men Injured in Accidental Shooting
Dubuque Police have identified the two men injured in an accidental shooting on Saturday night. 28-year-old Kyle Chase and 29-year-old Travis Lemonovich each suffered leg injuries after Chase inadvertently fired his handgun while showing it to Lemonovich. The incident happened at about 10:30 Saturday night at Chase’s home in the 2100 block of Garfield Avenue. Both men were taken to Finley Hospital to be treated for their injuries. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing. It’s unclear whether any charges will be filed.
Summer Gas Prices Expected To Inch Up A Bit
Don’t expect to see much change in gas prices as we head into the summer traveling season. Gail Weinholzer with Triple A Iowa says they expect gas prices to peak out right around the 4th of July holiday at no more than two-dollars-70 cents nationwide and Iowa’s price will be in that range, give or take five or ten cents. As summer approaches there will be a switch-over from the winter to summer grade fuel at refineries, which means gas prices will increase a bit over the summer. According to Weinholzer gas prices in Iowa have been relatively stable with little fluctuation over the past few years. The average price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded in Dubuque is two-dollars-27 cents.
Grant County Man Accused of Pointing Gun at Another Driver
A Grant County man is accused of pointing a gun at another driver during a road rage incident over the weekend. According to the Iowa County Sheriff’s Department, deputies were called to an area along Wisconsin Highways 80 and 133 between Avoca and Muscoda Sunday afternoon. That’s where two vehicles were stopped along the side of the road. After interviewing the drivers of both cars, deputies recovered a firearm from the scene. 51-year-old Derrick Schuman of Blue River was later arrested and is now facing a charge of Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon.
Ichiban Steakhouse Robbed, Losses/Damage Estimated at $2,000
A popular Dubuque restaurant suffered nearly $2,000 in damage and losses following a burglary last week. The owner of Ichiban Steakhouse and Sushi Bar reported the break-in on Friday morning. Investigators believe the business was robbed either late the previous night or early that morning. According to police, robbers made off with cash, cigarettes, and food with a total value of about $1,500. In addition, damage to the business is estimated at $250. Police are investigating the robbery, but have not yet made any arrests or filed any charges.
Dubuque Woman Killed, Three Passengers Injured in Saturday Crash
A Dubuque woman was killed and three of her passengers were injured in a crash near the Illinois-Wisconsin border on Saturday evening. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, 39-year-old Hollie Kelley was driving north on Wisconsin Highway 80 near Hazel Green at about 5:45 PM. Her car veered off the road and went into the ditch on the passenger’s side, eventually striking a culvert. Kelley was killed, while two of her passengers suffered serious injuries. 42-year-old Tracie Anderson and 22-year-old Justice Anderson, both of Kansas, were transported to a Dubuque hospital for treatment. Their conditions are not known. A third passenger, 22-year-old Martika Spore of Dubuque, was also injured, but less seriously. A release from the State Patrol says a lack of seat belt usage was a factor in the crash.
Jochum: 2017 Session Most Partisan of Career
The State Senator who represents Dubuque is calling the 2017 legislative session the most partisan in her career. Lawmakers adjourned for the year early Saturday morning, following fifteen weeks of Republicans taking full advantage of being the party in control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s office. Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says Republicans focused on bills that suited their ideological stance, rather than ones that helped most Iowans. Among the changes implemented by this year’s session are cuts to public employees’ bargaining rights, funding decreases for family planning organizations, and a photo ID requirement for Iowa voters. Those are among the Republican “wish list,” according to Jochum. This session marked Jochum’s 25th as member of either the Iowa House or Senate. She says she’s never seen such a lack of cooperation between the two parties before. Even if Democrats would take back control of the Legislature in next year’s elections, Jochum admits it would be awhile before they could roll back some of the changes adopted by Republicans this session. Jochum began her Statehouse career in 1993, serving sixteen years in the Iowa House before moving to the Senate in 2009.
Dolan: US Catholics Must Remain Positive
One of the leading figures in the American Catholic Church is hopeful for the future of his faith, but knows there are challenges ahead. Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan spoke at a fundraiser for Divine Word College last week. Prior to the event, he spoke with KDTH about the state of the church. He hopes American Catholics are not getting bogged down by negative news. He says what they deal with is trivial compared to what Divine Word’s international students have to go through. As bright as the future may be, Dolan says the negativity of present can often lead to a loss of faith. But Dolan says Catholics cannot forget the major problems the church has faced, specifically the sex abuse scandals of the past twenty years. If they do, he says they run the risk of repeating the same mistakes. Dolan’s connection to Divine Word stems from the early 80s, when lived at a college-owned house in Washington, DC, while he was studying for his doctorate.
Dealer Who Sold Tainted Heroin Convicted
A man who sold the heroin that killed one person and put two others in the hospital is headed to federal prison. 23-year-old Antrell Lewis of Chicago has been convicted of one count each of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Fentanyl Resulting in Death and Serious Bodily Injury and Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl Resulting in Death and Serious Bodily Injury. Lewis faces a mandatory sentence of between 20 years and life in prison. Prosecutors say Lewis sold the heroin laced with fentanyl to four men in Dubuque in 2016. Two of those men overdosed in a car but emergency responders were able to revive them. A third man used the same heroin and was found dead in an apartment 18 hours later. Investigators seized the heroin from the car and apartment and found it laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is sometimes added to heroin to make it more potent. The combination often leads to more overdoses and deaths.
Facebook Post: “Graffiti Nights” Secures Dubuque Location
It appears that the “Gary’s Graffiti Nights” car shows are closer to moving out of their longtime home in downtown East Dubuque. Last week, we told you that organizer Gary Duster had asked for additional space along Sinsinawa Avenue for the car shows. But the East Dubuque City Council countered by offering to close a block of Wall Street instead. Duster said at the time that if the council didn’t meet his demands, he would look for a new location. And it seems that one has been found. According to a post on the “Gary’s Graffiti Nights” Facebook page, Duster has secured a location in Dubuque to host the event. The posting says that permits and other paperwork are still being finalized, and the announcement of the location will be made when those processes are complete. The first car show of this year is scheduled for May 18.
Road Closure Planned as Old Nativity School Comes Down
A street that runs behind the former Nativity School will be closed this week as the old school is demolished. Nevada Street will close at 8:00 this morning between its intersections with University Avenue and Martha Street. The closure is expected to last all week. That section of Nevada had previous been closed when a part of a brick wall gave way at the old school. That collapse was a main reason for the Nativity parish council voted to go ahead with demolition of the former school.
In addition to the closure on Nevada Street, North Booth Street will also be closed at its intersection with Martha Street today. The closure will run from there to the intersection with Loras Boulevard. That section of road is being closed for street repairs, which should be completed during the day today.
Niece Accused of Stealing from Elderly Aunt Found Guilty
A jury has found a Durango woman guilty of stealing more than $400,000 from an aunt who suffered from dementia. The jury took less than two hours to find 45-year-old Molly Bodish guilty of ongoing criminal conduct Friday. Dubuque police say they began investigating the possible abuse of an 80-year-old woman in May 2015, following her death. A search of the woman’s bank records show Bodish wrote checks to herself or for her personal use from her aunt’s account. Those checks totaled more than $365,000 over several years. Bodish is set to be sentenced on July 31.
Two Injured in Accidental Shooting
Dubuque Police are investigating a shooting that sent two people to the hospital Saturday night, but is believed to have been an accident. Officers were called to a home in the 2100 block of Garfield Avenue a few minutes after 10:30 that night. Police say that a man was showing his handgun to a friend when the weapon discharged. The bullet struck both men in the leg. They were both taken to Finley Hospital with injuries described as being “non-life-threatening.” The names of the two individuals have not been released.
Right To Life Dinner
The 25th annual LIFE Dinner is coming up next Friday at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. The event is fundraiser for Dubuque County Right To Life. Executive Director Hanna Brehm says proceeds go towards furthering their mission of educating people about the dangers of abortion. This year’s keynote speaker is Dan Kulp, who has a wide variety of experience in the pro-life movement. The event is underwritten and the dinner is free, but there are a limited number of seats available. To reserve a seat call the Dubuque County Right To Life Office. Last year’s event attracted nearly 800 pro-life supporters.
Controlled Burn Set For Detention Basin
The Dubuque Engineering Department will conduct a controlled burn for the West 32nd Street Detention Basin Monday. Civil Engineer Deron Muehring says the burn is done annually to maintain and monitor the wetland area, manage species invasion and stimulate native plants for the growing season. First a test fire will be lit to confirm that smoke dispersion will not limit visibility on any nearby roadways. If the wind shifts to an unfavorable direction or weather conditions change, the fire will be extinguished. If the smoke is to too thick at the time of the test fire, the burn will be cancelled. All throughout the test fire and controlled burn, crews from the fire department will be on stand-by. The West 32nd Basin has been providing flood protection by reducing peak runoff flows since 2009 and prevents sediment from flowing into the Bee Branch storm sewer, the Bee Branch Creek and the Mississippi River.
Cardinal Dolan Raises Funds For DWC
His Eminence Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Archbishop of New York was in Dubuque last night to raise money for scholarships for students at Divine Word Missionary College. Prior to the event the media had a chance to meet with Cardinal Dolan. He says Divine Word College is a snapshot of the future of the Catholic Church. Earlier in the day Cardinal Dolan had mass with the students at Divine Word and it was an experience he says he’ll not soon forget. Cardinal Dolan is hopeful for the future of Catholicism.Before being named Archbishop of New York, Dolan was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009. About 600 people attended the fundraiser which as held at the grand River Center.
Jewelry Stolen From A Rural Galena Home
The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s assistance in a burglary that took place at a home in rural Galena Thursday. A release from the department says someone broke into the house and stole a large amount of jewelry. Anyone with information about the crime is urged to contact the sheriff’s office or Dubuque/Jo Daviess Crime Stoppers. All leads and tips will be followed up on and anyone providing information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a one thousand dollar reward. Callers may remain anonymous.
Several Jail Staff Positions Moving to Full-Time in Cost-Saving Move
In a move that could save Dubuque County as much as a quarter-million dollars this year, several staff positions at the county jail will be shifted from part-time to full-time. The change was recently approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors. Ten jobs currently classified as part-time will be converted into full-time staff. Supervisor Board Chairman Jay Wickham says many of those part-time jobs go unfilled, which leads to full-time workers racking up overtime hours. So far this year, deputies working in the jail have accumulated about $74,000 in overtime pay. That’s already more than they had in all of calendar year 2016. Wickham says they’ve also seen quite a bit of turnover in the part-time jail staff. That turnover led to the county paying to train new staffers almost constantly. Wickham says that’s another issue that with change will resolve. Wickham believes that the current staffing level at the jail is sufficient for now, but could have to change if the number of inmates being housed goes up. The part-time to full-time switch was proposed by Sheriff Joe Kennedy. He had initially asked the supervisors to convert nine part-time positions into six full-time jobs.
Child Endangerment Charges Filed Against Parents, Uncle Who Forced Boy to Wear Chain Belt
The parents and uncle of a 13-year-old Dubuque County boy have been accused of having the repeat runaway wear a chain belt attached to a weight. Court records say Peosta residents Cynthia Kobusch, her husband, Michael, and her brother, Jeffrey Merfeld, have each been charged with child endangerment. The records say the boy was known for running away. He told investigators his parents were out of town last November when Merfeld padlocked a chain around the boy’s waist and attached a weight. When the boy ran away again in December he showed investigators blood blisters he’d gotten from the chain. The court documents also cite two witnesses who back up the boy’s claims. All three defendants made their initial court appearances last week. It’s not yet know when they’re due back in court.
Dubuque Man Accused of Stealing DVD, Punching Clerk
A Dubuque man is accused of stealing a DVD from a local pawn shop and punching a store employee who tried to stop him. Police were called to Allied Pawn on Central Avenue at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. An employee at the store told officers that a man had shoplifted a DVD. The clerk chased after the thief and caught up with him about a block from the store. That’s when the thief turned and punched the worker in the nose. Later that afternoon, police arrested 31-year-old Dwayne Brandel on a charge of aggravated theft. Police say traffic camera footage backs up the store employee’s version of events. The DVD that Brandel is accused of stealing is valued at just $1.49.
Dubuque Man Suffers Large Facial Cut
A Dubuque man was likely cut with a large edged weapon during a disturbance at an apartment in Dubuque this week. A police report says 31 year old Joshua Carter sought treatment for a facial laceration at Finley Hospital Tuesday morning. When police arrived to talk to Carter about what happened he was uncooperative and combative, providing officers with little information. The case is ongoing.
Betwell Ruled Competent To Stand Trial
A Dubuque man accused of raping and killing a woman in the fall of 2015 will be going on trial this summer. 21-year-old Helmon Betwell had his competency to stand trial affirmed by a Dubuque County judge earlier this week. Betwell is facing First-Degree Murder, First-Degree Sexual Abuse, and two burglary charges in connection with the killing of 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl. Betwell had initially been ruled mentally unfit for trial, but had his competency re-evaluated earlier this year. Judge Monica Ackley now says he can go on trial. She’s basing her ruling on what she calls “inconsistencies” in how Betwell interacted with physicians. The judge says that suggests Betwell is faking or exaggerating a mental illness. Betwell’s trial has been scheduled for July 25 in Dubuque County District Court.
NRHOF Podcast Launched Today
If you’re interested in knowing who shaped American history along our country’s rivers, you’re just a podcast away. The National Rivers Hall of Fame debuted a new weekly podcast today that highlights those stories. Each week, the Hall of Fame podcast will share stories of fascinating people that lived remarkable lives and shaped history along the banks of the nation’s rivers. The podcast can be streamed on rivermusem.com/podcast riverhistory.com and all other podcast platforms. A new episode will debut every Thursday. The National Rivers Hall of Fame was established in 1985.
Miller-Riverview Campground Closing Due to Flooding
A Dubuque campground is closing due to flooding. The city says Miller-Riverview Park and the park’s campground are being closed until further notice because of high waters on the Mississippi River. According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River level at Lock and Dam 11 has risen to 11.4 feet as of this morning. The waters are expected to rise to 13.2 feet by Saturday night before beginning a slow recede. It’s not yet known when the river would fall below its current level. The campground at Miller-Riverview just opened for the season last Saturday. Campers who had made reservations at the park will have their fees refunded.
Police Seeking Man Possibly Connected to Courthouse Fraud
Dubuque Police are seeking information about a man they believe is connected to fraudulent activity at the county courthouse. A photo of the man was released yesterday and posted to the department’s ID4PD website. The photo shows the man leaving the courthouse at about 10:50 AM on March 22. The suspect is an African-American male dressed in black suit and gray shirt, carrying a bag or briefcase. Police believe the man has information about – and may be involved in – some fraud that happened at the courthouse that day and led to the loss of two thousand dollars for an unidentified victim. Police have not released any other information about the activity out of worry it may hinder their investigation.
“Dine Out for Public Schools” at Participating Restaurants Today
Dubuquers will have a chance to support the local public school district simply by going out to eat today during the first ever “Dine Out for Public Schools” event. Jennifer Klinkhammer, Executive Director for the Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools, says the idea came from a similar event in Iowa City. According to Klinkhammer, the event is probably the easiest way for the community to participate in a fundraiser. All of the money raised will go towards different projects and programs within the schools. Proceeds from Dine Out will count toward the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce’s “Dancing with Stars-Dubuque Style.” Foundation for Public Schools board member Pauline Chilton is fundraising on the foundation’s behalf. Participating restaurants include:
1st & Main
Adobo’s Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Dairy Queen (Pennsylvania Avenue, 16th Street, Gateway Drive locations)
Falbo Bros Pizzeria
Fazoli’s (Both Dubuque locations)
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Both Dubuque locations)
McDonald’s (Holliday Drive only)
Molly’s Silver Screen Canteen
Subway (All five Dubuque locations)
Leader of Dubuque Seminary Picked as Davenport Bishop
The Vatican has selected the rector of St. Piux X Seminary in Dubuque as the next bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport. Monsignor Thomas Zinkula will be replacing Bishop Martin Amos, who is retiring. Zinkula received a law degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and worked for several years as a civil lawyer. He then entered the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington and later earned a degree in canon law from St. Paul University in Canada. Zinkula was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1990. The diocese covers 22 counties in southeast Iowa and has 78 parishes.
KDTH Staff Participates in “Use of Force” Training Session
A home invasion and stabbing…a fight in an alley behind a downtown bar…a teenager making suicidal threats at one of Dubuque’s schools…and an ambush attack. These are situations that Dubuque Police officers could encounter every day, and need to decide in a fraction of a second how they’ll approach each situation. Last night, KDTH was one of a handful of local media outlets invited to participate in “use of force” training sessions offered by the Dubuque Police Department. Police Chief Mark Dalsing says he was hoping to give reporters a glimpse at what officers could have to deal with each time they go on patrol. Dalsing held a similar training with members of the “Chief’s Forum” group earlier this year. He says all the participants seem to come away with a changed outlook. Dalsing says most people are surprised by how quickly situations can escalate, sometimes beyond their control. According to department statistics, 93 percent of arrests do not require officers to make a “use of force” decision.
UPDATE: Loras Gas Leak Capped Off
Dubuque firefighters spent about two hours on the Loras College campus yesterday after a gas line was ruptured. Crews were called to the parking lot between Binz and Beckmann Halls at around 10:40 yesterday morning. Captain Jim Abitz says the gas leak was accidently caused by an Alliant Energy employee. Binz Hall was evacuated as crews from Black Hills Energy capped off the gas line. Four units from the fire department remained on scene securing the location and checking gas level readings. No injuries were reported.
ED Could Lose Gary’s Graffiti Nights
A spat between the organizer of “Gary’s Graffiti Nights” and the City of East Dubuque could mean those car cruises will move. Gary Duster went before East Dubuque’s city council Monday and requested an additional block of space to operate this year’s events. That would give him three blocks of Sinsinawa Avenue, or essentially the entirety of where the street is not US Highway 20. The city countered by offering Duster the same two blocks he’s used in the past, plus one block of Wall Street, which runs along Sinsinawa. Duster is worried that won’t be enough room for the cruises. According to Duster, the “Graffiti Nights” attract as many as 300 cars. East Dubuque City Manager Geoff Barklow says they’ve offered Duster the same space he’s had for the past seven years, plus more. Duster says he’s hoping members of the city council change their minds before the first cruise next month. If not, he says he’ll be forced to pull out of downtown East Dubuque. The first “Graffiti Night” is scheduled for May 18.
Student Found With Airsoft Gun At Prescott
Administrators at Prescott Elementary School took a realistic-looking BB gun away from a student after the weapon was found in their backpack yesterday. According to an email sent to families, Principal Vicki Sullivan says the Airsoft gun was immediately confiscated after it was discovered. She says the student never took the gun out of the backpack and did not display it in a threatening manner. She reminds parents to remind their kids that possession of dangerous items are not allowed on school grounds.
Natural Gas Line Struck Near Loras College
Crews from the Dubuque Fire Department are currently on the scene at Loras College investigating a possible gas leak. A few minutes after 10:30 this morning, a worker from Alliant Energy was working in a parking lot near Beckmann when he struck a gas line. Black Hills Energy has been notified of the incident and is sending a crew to the scene. No college buildings have been evacuated and it’s not yet clear if any gas is leaking. Stay tuned to KDTH this afternoon, as we’ll have updates on the situation as they become available.
Police Survey: 95% of Dubuque Drivers Wear Seat Belts
Drivers in Dubuque are maintaining their high percentage of seat belt usage. Local police conducted a seat belt survey during the month of March, and found that better than 95% of drivers were properly buckled in. Officers surveyed a random sampling of one hundred vehicles at four locations across the city. The highest usage was found at the intersection of John F. Kennedy Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, where 97% of drivers were wearing their seat belt. The low end of the range was on US Highway 20 where it meets Wacker Drive. But even there, 94% of the drivers observed had their seat belts on. The totals of the survey are listed below.
The survey results are as follows:
Commercial Area: JFK Road and Pennsylvania Avenue 97%
Residential Area: Key Way Drive and Hillcrest Road 95%
Highway Area: US Highway 20 and Wacker Drive 94%
Industrial Area: 16th Street and Kerper Boulevard 96%
Overall Compliance: 95.5%
Dubuque Fire Dept. Unsure of Impact of Firework Legalization
Dubuque’s Fire Chief isn’t sure just what to expect from the possibility of commercial fireworks being legalized in Iowa. Lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow both the sale and use of some kinds of fireworks in Iowa on days around the 4th of July and New Year’s Day holidays. That bill is now awaiting Governor Terry Branstad’s approval or veto. Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines says his department is still reviewing the legislation, and isn’t sure what to make of it just yet. Fireworks are legal in Wisconsin, and many Iowans purchase the explosives there and light them off illegally in the Hawkeye State. The fire department typically receives a handful of fireworks-related calls each summer, most for injuries or potential fire hazards. Steines assumes the volume of those calls would go up. According to Steines, many people watch professional fireworks demonstrations and assume they can do something similar in their backyard. If Branstad signs the bill, it would likely take effect just before the 4th of July holiday. Steines says the upcoming summer could be something of a “trial run” to study the impact of legalization. The state estimates that legalizing fireworks would net Iowa about 1.5 million dollars in sales tax revenue.
Van Milligen: Decision on Asst. City Manager Position Later This Year
Dubuque’s City Manager hasn’t yet decided what will happen when one of his assistants leaves later this year. Late last month, Assistant City Manager Cindy Steinhauser announced that she’d be leaving her current post to become the City Manager in Frankfort, Kentucky. That will create an opening in the office, but City Manager Mike Van Milligen says he’ll decide what to do with Steinhauser’s job later this year. The city currently employs two Assistant City Managers: Steinhauser and Teri Goodman. Van Milligen says their roles in the office are very different. According to Van Milligen, there are several options being considered, including restructuring the City Manager’s office altogether. Steinhauser has been an Assistant City Manager since 2001. She’ll wrap up her time in Dubuque late next month.
City Buys Vacant Downtown Parking Lot
Dubuque’s City Council has approved the purchase of a downtown parking lot. The city will pay $135,000 to take control of a currently unused lot adjacent to the Historic Federal Building. The lot had been slated for a government auction later this month. But as a government entity, the city had a purchase priority. City councilman David Resnick says that will mean that the owner of the Red Stone Inn will not be able to bid on the lot, as he had planned. Resnick says the hotel owner was upset about the situation. Resnick adds that the situation is not ideal, but it’s not really anyone’s fault. The city has not specified whether it intends to keep the space as a parking lot, or do some additional development. If it continues to be a parking lot, it will provide about two dozen parking spaces.
Dubuque Colleges Team Up to “Take Back the Night”
Three of Dubuque’s institutes of higher learning will team up to fight domestic and sexual violence tonight. Students from Clarke University, Loras College, and the University of Dubuque have combined their efforts to host a “Take Back the Night” event. UD volleyball coach April Elsbernd serves as a staff advisor for the event. She says it became a tri-college effort three years ago, and this will be the first time UD will serve as the host. In addition to bringing sexual violence to people’s attention, the event provides a chance for survivors to tell the stories of what happened to them. That’s a part of the event that Elsbernd says can become very emotional, but also very powerful. According to Elsbernd, there are few places where survivors might feel comfortable sharing their experience. The event will wrap up with a candlelight vigil that will also provide a symbolic show of support for survivors. The “Take Back the Night” event begins tonight at 6:00 at Blades Chapel on the UD campus. It is open to the public.
Q Casino CEO: Fantasy Sports Betting Not Good For Iowa
Legal fantasy sports wagering in Iowa will have to wait until at least next year. Legislation that would have legalized fantasy sports betting cleared the Iowa House earlier this year, but has not been taking up by the Senate as this year’s legislative session winds down. Q Casino President and CEO Jesus Aviles says fantasy sports wagering would hurt the entire gaming industry in Iowa. Aviles says they are already facing too much competition and allowing people to bet on sporting events would just add the problem. Aviles is almost certain that the fantasy sports bill will come up again next year, and if it does he will be in Des Moines to lobby against it.
Benton Man Injured In UTV Accident
A Benton, Wisconsin man was injured after rolling his utility vehicle late Monday night. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, 26 year old Dusty Weber was traveling south on County Highway O in Shullsburg Township, when he lost control while trying to make a turn. The UTV rolled several times. Weber was airlifted to a hospital suffering from what appeared to be pelvic injuries. Weber was cited with failure to keep his vehicle under control, expired registration, excessive speed and no display of registration. The accident happened at around 10:30.
Telephone Network Outage In Galena And Galena Territory
Some residents in northwest Illinois are experiencing a telephone network outage that may affect phone and 911 service. A release from the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department says the outage is currently affecting phone service in Galena and the Galena Territory, but that could change without notice. Network outages of this nature may prevent calls from reaching the 911 center in Galena. If you have an emergency the department urges you to use your landline, cell or internet base phone service to contact the Sheriff’s Office or your local police or fire department. It should be noted that not all facilities may be staffed during outages.
Dubuque Police Seek Younkers Shop Lifter
Dubuque police are looking for a person who stole more than four hundred dollars in merchandise from the Younkers store at Kennedy Mall. The theft happened at around 8:00 PM on March 31st. The suspect may be driving a newer sedan with Wisconsin license plates. Investigators are confident they know the woman’s identity, but they are hoping a member of the public can confirm their suspicions. The above image of the suspect has been posted to the department’s ID4PD website.
Jones County Sheriff: New Texting Bill Doesn’t Do Enough
Iowa’s law against texting while driving got tougher this week, but one area sheriff says it still doesn’t go far enough. Under current law, texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement officers can’t pull a driver over just for texting. But a measure signed by Governor Terry Branstad on Monday will remove that barrier, making the act a primary offense. But drivers are still able to make calls while behind the wheel, which Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver says will make the new law hard to enforce. Graver says even if they’re pulled over, drivers will be able to claim that they were dialing a phone number, rather than sending a text. He would prefer lawmakers require drivers to use a hands-free device. The new texting while driving law takes effect in July.
Dubuque Council Approves Changes to Jule Service
Dubuque’s Jule bus service will be reducing service on several lightly-used routes so that it can offer additional rides on weeknights and Saturdays. The Dubuque City Council approved the proposed route changes at its meeting last night. Currently, most Jule routes end service at 6:00 PM. But among the proposed changes is an extension of those routes to run until 9:00 PM each weeknight. According to Transit Manager Candice Eudaley, most riders have said they would prefer the longer hours. Two routes will be completely eliminated from the Jule system. Eudaley says the routes serving the Key West and Fremont Avenue areas have the lowest ridership and are costing the city more than double the average of all other routes. Among the additions to the system will be service on weeknights, Saturdays, and hourly rides to increasingly popular areas such as Plaza 20. When looking at which routes to eliminate or expand, Eudaley says he staff tried to strike a balance between serving those who depend on public transit and trying to attract new riders. The route changes will take effect in August.
Gorrell Remembered for Work with Special Olympics
A deceased bicyclist from Dubuque is being remembered for his work with the Special Olympics. 64-year-old Paul Gorrell was found dead on North Cascade Road just outside the Dubuque city limits Sunday morning. His family says he had heart problems and likely suffered a heart attack while riding his bicycle. Gorrell first became involved with Special Olympics thirty years ago. He then began directing the annual Iowa Winter Games here in Dubuque and eventually became the president of the Special Olympics Iowa Board of Directors. Gorrell’s friend and Dubuque City Councilman Ric Jones tells our coverage partner KCRG-TV that Gorrell was the driving force behind the games. Gorrell had initially been diagnosed with heart disease in 2010, but lost 160 pounds in an effort to combat the illness. His funeral will be held Thursday morning at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Key West.
Galena Man Accused of Trying to Drive Over Street Preacher
A Scales Mound man has been accused of trying to run down a street preacher with his truck. According to Galena Police, officers responded to a disturbance at the intersection of North Main and Diagonal Streets at about 2:40 Saturday afternoon. Police learned that an argument had taken place between the preacher and 44-year-old Andrew Steil. The preacher, Tony Miano of Davenport, showed officers a video recorded from his cell phone. The video, which has since been uploaded to YouTube, shows a man identified as Steil honking his horn, driving across the center line, and pulling up to Miano, who he questions about needing a permit. Steil then drives away, but returns on foot to confront Miano and begin shouting religious remarks of his own. Steil is charged with Aggravated Assault, Obstructing an Officer, and Driving on a Sidewalk. Miano is a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy. Earlier this month, we told you that he often travels to police departments around the area holding a sign that reads “Law Enforcement Lives Matter” as well as a Bible verse.
UPDATE: Deceased Bicyclist Identified
We now know the identity of the bicyclist found dead just outside Dubuque yesterday morning. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department, 64-year-old Paul Gorrell of Dubuque suffered a medical issue and died while riding his bicycle. Gorrell’s body was found shortly after 9:00 AM yesterday by a passerby, who called the sheriff’s office. Deputies and the county medical examiner responded to the location of Gorrell’s body, which was along North Cascade Road near its intersection with Miners Lane. After a short investigation, it was determined that Gorrell had died of natural causes and that there was nothing suspicious about the death.
Couple Arrested After Arguing in Traffic
An argument between a Dubuque couple spilled into traffic and nearly caused several accidents yesterday afternoon. According to Dubuque Police, 31-year-old Takayla Cowens and 29-year-old Correnthis Neal were headed west on US Highway 20 when they began arguing. Neal pulled the car over and Cowens got out of the vehicle. The two continued to argue, walking at times into the lanes of the highway. Drivers had to quickly change lanes to avoid the two, which led to several near-miss crashes. Traffic eventually came to a standstill until officers arrived. Both Cowens and Neal were arrested for Disorderly Conduct. Cowens has additionally been charged with Public Intoxication.
Man Arrested More Than a Year After Being Charged with Harassment
A Chicago man has been arrested more than a year after being accused of harassing a Dubuque parking meter attendant. 35-year-old Raymond Edwards was taken into custody a few minutes before 3:00 Sunday morning at the intersection of 2nd and Locust Streets. Edwards had been wanted on a charge of Harassment of a City Employee since March of last year. That’s when a parking attendant had called for a tow of Edwards’ car due to unpaid parking tickets. Before the tow truck arrived, Edwards ignored the attendant’s orders and drove the vehicle away from the area. At the time, Edwards has four outstanding tickets for a total of $65 in fines. The charge against him is a serious misdemeanor which could carry a one-year prison term or a fine up to $1,900. Edwards was arrested after a friend who had been stopped by police called him for a ride home. When Edwards arrived, police checked his driver’s license and discovered the outstanding warrant.
Boscobel Man Accused of Offering Money for Sex
A southwestern Wisconsin man is facing charges after being accused of sending a woman Facebook messages offering her money for sex. Police in Boscobel were contacted by the woman last Monday. She told officers that she had been receiving Facebook messages from a local man asking her to perform sexual favors for him. Police used the woman’s phone to reply to the messages. The man eventually set up a meeting with the woman, where he promised he would pay her for sex. Police provided the woman with a recording device and arrested the man after their meeting. 31-year-old Darren Wilson is now charged with two counts of Solicitation. He made an initial court appearance in Grant County Circuit Court last Thursday.
Sheriff’s Dept.: Bicyclist Died of Natural Causes
Dubuque County authorities have determined that a man found dead yesterday morning died of natural causes. Shortly after 9:00 yesterday morning, a witness contacted the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office after finding a body along North Cascade Road, near its intersection with Miners Lane, just outside the Dubuque city limits. Sheriff’s deputies responded, along with the county medical examiner. After a short investigation, it was determined that the 64-year-old man died of natural causes while riding his bicycle. A report from the sheriff’s department says there is nothing suspicious about the death. The man’s name is expected to be released later this morning.
Saturday’s Rainfall Sets New Record
Despite falling for fewer than four hours, enough rain came down in Dubuque on Saturday to set a new daily record. The Dubuque Regional Airport recorded a rainfall total of 2.25 inches on Saturday, setting a new high mark for April 15. The previous record – 2.08 inches – had been set back in 1930. Most of that rainfall didn’t come until some nearly-severe storms made their way across Dubuque County after 8:00 PM. Saturday’s rain has only added to what’s already been an unusually wet month here in Dubuque. Since April 1, the airport has received a total of 3.65 inches of rain. That’s nearly two full inches more than normal.
Governor Walker Visits Fennimore On Monday
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will make a stop in the southwestern part of the state tomorrow. The Republican Governor will speak with students, teachers and administrators at Fennimore Elementary School about K-12 investments and his budget proposal. The scheduled time for the event is 8:45 tomorrow morning inside the school’s gymnasium. State Assemblyman Travis Tranel of Cuba City will accompany the Governor during his visit.
Walker: “We Should Not Raise Taxes”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says with the investments that have been made in the state’s Reform Dividend, now is not the time to raise taxes. The Governor says the state ended the 2016 fiscal year with a positive general fund balance of 331 million dollars and that surplus is expected to grow to nearly a half billion dollars by the end of the current fiscal year. According to Walker, more jobs, higher wages and historically high employment are spurring increased revenues.
The Republican Governor says his budget calls for investing more than 24 billion dollars into the state’s transportation system over the next eight years. Walker adds that the state has invested more money in the technical college system than ever before and has added more than 100 million dollars to the University of Wisconsin system.
Governor Signs Autism Bill
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has signed a bill that requires some health insurance policies to cover the costs of Applied Behavior Analysis for kids and young adults with autism. Hills and Dales provides ABA services in school districts in Dubuque, Western Dubuque, Maquoketa and Waterloo. Marilyn Althoff, CEO at Hills and Dales, says they have board certified therapists who provide ABA services at Hills and Dales. Althoff says they continue to expand services for children and adults with autism and the new law will assist them in their efforts. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 96-to-zero, while the Senate gave its’ stamp of approval with a 48-to-nothing vote.
Dubuque Dog Biting Incident
The Dubuque Health Services Department needs your help in locating a dog that bit someone late Thursday afternoon near Loras College. The incident happened at around 5:30 in the intersection of Pickett and Henion Streets. The dog was running loose when it bit its’ victim. After biting the person, the animal ran up Henion towards the Loras College campus. The dog is described as a black and tan Rottweiler and was dragging a black nylon leash. The Health Department needs to locate the animal to check on its’ vaccination history and verify its’ health status.
False Reports of Gun Thefts Increasing in Dubuque
Police in Dubuque are seeing an increase in reports of stolen guns. According to the Police Department, 42 people reported having their gun stolen last year. But upon further investigation, police found that most of those guns were never actually taken. Investigator Nick Schlosser tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that most false reports come after a legal gun owner sells their weapon to someone they shouldn’t have. In many cases, the recipient of an illegal gun sale is someone who wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy a weapon. Schlosser says that should be a red flag. Among legitimate stolen gun reports, they most often happen when a gun is taken from a car. Schlosser says that’s a bad place to store a firearm. Nationwide, the number of gun thefts climbed by about 80% last year. But here in Iowa, data showed the opposite trend. Gun thefts dropped by about 55% in the Hawkeye State from 2015 to 2016.
Iowa Graduation Rate Reaches Record High
The graduation rate for Iowa high school students has reached a record high, though several area schools are out-pacing the state average. According to the Iowa Department of Education, the high school graduation rate for the Class of 2016 was 91.3%. And while state officials are excited about that number, administrators in seven Dubuque-area districts have to be pleased that their rate is even higher. Maquoketa Valley tops the area for graduation rate, with a full 100%. The Western Dubuque district, which operates high schools in Epworth and Cascade, is just behind at 99.1%. Dubuque Schools had an 89.7%graduation rate in 2016, just a point and a half lower than the state average. A full list of graduation rates for area schools is below:
- Bellevue: 98.04%
- Central: 94.74%
- Dubuque: 89.76%
- Edgewood-Colesburg: 97.67%
- Clayton Ridge: 83.87%
- Maquoketa: 89.92%
- Maquoketa Valley: 100%
- Monticello: 91.86%
- Western Dubuque: 99.1%
- West Delaware: 98.37%
State Budget Reductions Could Mean Cuts for Dubuque Courts
Iowa lawmakers this week released revised budget guidelines for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1st, and cuts to several state agencies appear to be in the works. The state’s judicial branch may be in line for some of the most severe cuts. The state court administrator estimates that between the current fiscal year and the upcoming one, the judicial system has been underfunded by about $14 million. Dubuque County Clerk of Court Clay Gavin says that could mean his office will be forced to cut services. The effect of those cuts may not be immediately clear, but Gavin says that won’t decrease their impact. By the state’s formula, Dubuque County’s clerk’s office should be staffed by 21 employees. But currently, there are just sixteen. Gavin says continued funding shortfalls will make it tougher to provide adequate and competent staffing. If the judicial system’s budget gets reduced to a critical level, Gavin says it will take time to get services back to where they should be. The Legislature approved a $3 million cut to the judicial branch’s budget in January. The current funding proposal would leaving a $5.5 million shortfall in Fiscal Year 2018. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Clerk of Court Clay Gavin is the uncle of KDTH News Director Jesse Gavin.
BREAKING: Wisconsin Manhunt Subject Captured
A Wisconsin man wanted by authorities after robbing a gun store and threatening attacks on schools and churches has been captured. Joseph Jakubowski was taken into custody this morning near Readstown, Wisconsin. Jakubowski had been the subject of a statewide manhunt since early last week, when he stole more than a dozen guns from a Janesville store. Days later, it was discovered that Jakubowski had sent a 161-page manifesto to the White House. Authorities received several hundred tips over the course of the manhunt. An unconfirmed sighting of Jakubowski was reported to police in Darlington last weekend. That prompted several area schools to increase security earlier this week. Authorities plan to release additional details about Jakubowski’s capture and the charges he will face during a news conference this afternoon.
Firefighters Using Old Nativity School for Training
Dubuque firefighters are using an old school building that’s slated for demolition as a training ground this week. Fire crews have been running training exercises at the old Nativity school the past couple days. Assistant Fire Chief Greg Harris tells us the building’s size allows them to work through scenarios they typically aren’t able to train for. A building as large as Nativity forces firefighters to use much longer sections of hose than usual. Firefighters are also using the training to work on keeping their bearings in what could be a large-scale fire. Harris says it can be pretty easy to lose track of where you are in a big building that’s quickly filling with fire and smoke. Harris told us the department will continue to use Nativity for training as long as the parish allows them to. The old school is scheduled to be torn down on April 24th.
East Dubuque Man Pleads to Sex Abuse, Receives Prison Sentence
An East Dubuque man admitted to a sex crime and was sent to prison in one fell swoop Thursday. 26-year-old Christopher Rhodes pled guilty to Criminal Sexual Abuse in Jo Daviess Circuit Court. After his plea was submitted, the judge in the case decided to sentence Rhodes on the spot, sending him to prison for three years. After his time behind bars, Rhodes will have register as a sex offender and spend three years on supervised release. According to court documents, Rhodes sexually abused an underage girl last fall. The abuse is said to have taken place between October 1st and November 10th, and included Rhodes forcing himself on the girl.
Dubuque Woman Charged For Pointing Gun At Wife
A Dubuque woman has been accused of pointing a gun at her soon-to-be ex-wife. According to police, the incident happened following an argument between the two in the parking lot of the place where they both work. 29-year-old Myia Long has been charged with Assault While Displaying a Weapon and Carrying Weapons. Police say she and her wife drove separately to their shifts at Georgia Pacific back on April 4th. Long’s wife had recently filed for divorce, which sparked the argument between the two. During the incident, Long reportedly pointed a 9 millimeter handgun at her wife, who ran into the office. Officers responded and found the gun in Long’s vehicle. Police say Long does not have a permit to carry the weapon.
Brehm Reacts To Abortion Bill Passing In The House
Earlier this month the Iowa House passed a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Current law prohibits abortions after the end of the second trimester. The bill also requires women to undergo a three-day waiting period before obtaining an abortion. The House also voted to include a provision that would require women to submit to an ultrasound before an abortion takes place. Hanna Brehm, Executive Director of Dubuque County Right To Life says it’s a baby step, but it will save lives and that’s what their movement is all about. Like most states that have adopted similar abortion bans, a woman in Iowa would still be able to access a pregnancy-ending procedure if her life or health were in danger. The measure does not allow a woman to end a pregnancy if the fetus shows signs of genetic problems. Iowa Republicans did however scrap an amendment to the bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The heartbeat language would have prohibited most abortions six weeks into pregnancy. The Senate must reconsider some of the new amendments to the 20 week pregnancy bill before it can be sent to the Governor.
One Year Later, Still No Charges in Dubuque Cross Burning
One year after a cross was burnt in a Dubuque neighborhood, police say they are still actively investigating the incident, but there have been no recent developments. On the morning of April 13th last year, police discovered what have been described as two crudely-constructed crosses that had been set on fire during the overnight hours. Police immediately began investigating the incident, and Lt. Scott Baxter says there is still an investigator assigned to the case. But there have been few recent developments. Despite no arrests or charges being filed in the case, police believe they have a good idea of who is responsible. But Baxter says they’re still working to build a case against those perpetrators. Baxter admits that the more time passes from the incident, the odds of the case being solved decrease. In the wake of the cross burning, police brought together representatives from many community groups to form a sort of council that has ongoing conversations with Chief Mark Dalsing. One positive of the incident, according to Baxter, is it served to strengthen those bonds. Police continue to urge anyone with information that might lead to an arrest related to that cross burning to come forward.
State Patrol Favors Toughening of Iowa’s Texting Law
Iowa’s governor is expected to sign a bill that will toughen the state’s ban on texting while driving, a move that has the support of the state’s top law enforcement agency. Both chambers of the Iowa Legislature have passed the measure, and Governor Terry Branstad has expressed support for it in the past. The Iowa State Patrol is also in favor of the change, which they hope will cut down on the amount of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving. Sergeant Scott Bright estimates that those crashes make up at least half of all the fatalities on Iowa’s roads. The bill makes texting while driving a primary offense, rather than a secondary one. That means an officer can pull a driver over specifically for texting. As it stands now, drivers have to commit another offense to be cited, something that has frustrated Patrol officers. While you might assume that younger drivers are more likely to be texting while behind the wheel, Bright says that’s not the case. Bright predicts it will be a tough habit for some people to break. The current law establishing texting while driving as a secondary offense was passed in 2010. If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect on July 1.
Potter Won’t Seek Another Term as County Attorney
Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter will not be seeking another term. Potter was scheduled to be up for re-election again next year. The Democrat has been Dubuque’s County Attorney since 2006. He says he knew he would retire after he was elected to a third term in 2014. With more than forty years as an attorney, Potter has prosecuted hundreds of cases, and a few stand out in his memory. Those include the Sean Rhomberg case in 1991. Rhomberg was sentenced to life in prison. Potter says he doesn’t plan to make any other runs for public office. Ry Meyer, one of Potter’s assistants, has already indicated that’s he’ll be running for Potter’s position.
Downtown Dubuque House Fire Believed to Be an Accident
A Wednesday afternoon house fire in Dubuque’s downtown area was likely started by kids playing with matches. That’s according to Dubuque Police. The fire in the 14-hundred block of Washington Street was initially deemed “suspicious,” but police now say it was more likely an accident. Fire crews were called to the house at about 4:40 PM after flames were seen coming from a back porch. All four of the people inside the home at the time were able to get out safely. It’s believed that the fire was contained to the porch.
Blum Schedules Town Halls In First District
Iowa Congressman Rod Blum has scheduled a handful of town hall meetings across his district, including one here in Dubuque. The meetings will be held during the second week of May, when Congress is in recess. In addition to Dubuque, meetings will be held in Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, and one of the communities in the so-called “Cedar Valley,” which includes Cedar Falls, Waterloo, and Waverly. Exact times and locations for the events have not yet been set. Blum has been widely criticized for not holding any public events in the district this year. Several groups have demonstrated outside his offices in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Cedar Falls, urging him to hold town hall meetings.
“MonsterFish” Exhibit Coming to Dubuque
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will demonstrate that monster fish are anything but a myth this summer. The museum yesterday announced its marquee exhibit for this year, called “Monster Fish: In Search of the Lost River Giants.” Erin Dragotto, Vice President of Development at the museum, says the exhibit highlights the depletion of fresh water mega fish over hundreds of years. The exhibit features life-sized sculptures of monster fish, hands-on interactive exhibits, and videos depicting more than twenty species. The exhibit is a product of National Geographic, which made it a lot easier for the museum to bring it to Dubuque. The Monster Fish exhibit runs from May 13th through October 9th.
Volunteers Still Needed for Annual “Days of Caring”
Volunteers are still needed to help with projects for a few dozen Dubuque-area non-profit organizations later this month. The annual Dubuque Days of Caring are coming up on Friday, April 28, and organizers are still looking for volunteers. According to Event Chair Jessica Ehrlich, this year’s edition of the Days of Caring is expected to benefit more than forty agencies. Projects that volunteers will help with range from garden work to interacting with senior citizens. Those that will be working outdoors don’t need to worry about supplying tools…those will be provided. Erhlich stresses that volunteers don’t have to put in a full day’s work, but whatever hours they’re able to contribute. Volunteer opportunities are listed on the Days of Caring website.
“Taken,” “Lost” Actress to Attend Julien Dubuque International Film Festival
The star of one of the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival’s more anticipated features will be coming to Dubuque for a special screening. Maggie Grace, who has previously appeared in the “Taken” movies and the TV show “Lost,” will be on hand for both the festival’s awards ceremony and an screening of her latest movie “The Scent of Rain and Lightning.” Festival Executive Director Susan Gorrell made that announcement during the festival’s kickoff party last night. In the past, actors and actresses with some name value the chance to be an honorary chair of the festival. As the event is grown, they’ve moved away from that. According to Gorrell, the number of films submitted to the festival has climbed to nearly seven hundred. The schedule of screenings is now available on the festival’s website, which is also where tickets can be purchased. Each screening costs $10, or an all-access pass is available for $250. Gorrell says that pass also allows festival-goes to watch films they missed online. The festival aims to have something for all audiences, from animated shorts to full-length features. The festival opens next Thursday and runs through the following Sunday.
Free Lunch at Texas Roadhouse to Benefit Special Olympics
Fans of barbeque food can get a free meal for a good cause tomorrow. Officers from Dubuque’s law enforcement community are teaming up with the local Texas Roadhouse restaurant to offer a free lunch that serves as a benefit for the Special Olympics of Iowa. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be staffing the restaurant during the lunch, serving up food and bussing tables. Captain Dale Snyder of the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the law enforcement community continues to be one of the biggest supporters of the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics Winter Games are held in Dubuque each January. But Snyder says the money raised will go beyond that event alone. Officers will be serving food from 11:00 tomorrow morning through 2:00 in the afternoon. The meal includes a pulled pork sandwich, a side dish, Texas Roadhouse’s famous honey cinnamon rolls, and a drink.
Flynn Deemed Unfit for Murder Trial
A Dubuque woman has been ruled mentally unfit to stand trial for the murder of her ex-husband. That’s the ruling handed down by a judge in the case of 53-year-old Delores Flynn. She had initially been deemed competent for trial last December, but her attorney asked for a second evaluation. The results of that test prompted her attorney to request another competency hearing. Flynn has pled not guilty to a charge of Second-Degree Murder in the January 2016 death of her ex-husband, 72-year-old Gary Breckenridge. Police found his body in the home the two shared. Investigators determined that Flynn had beaten Breckenridge with a baseball bat, causing his death. She has now been committed to a psychiatric center in Coralville for further treatment.
Dubuque’s Save-A-Lot Will Close Next Month
Dubuque grocery shoppers will have one less option by the end of next month. That’s because the local Save-A-Lot store will be closing in mid-May. The closure was announced yesterday by the store’s parent company, Coborn’s, Incorporated. The closing date has been set for May 20, though the company says they could shutter the store earlier if inventory sells out. Coborn’s operates Save-A-Lots in three other states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In a statement, the company says the Dubuque store is closing because the lease on its building is coming to an end. The store has four full-time employees and eight part-time workers. They will be offered opportunities within the company, or severance packages if they aren’t able to relocate. The Dubuque Save-A-Lot is located in Plaza 20, near the former home of K-Mart, which also closed earlier this month.