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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Nash Stepping Down This Month

Dubuque’s housing director is calling it a career at the end of the month. Earlier this year Housing and Community Development Director Alvin Nash informed City Manager Mike Van Milligan that he would be retiring at the end of June. Nash was hired by Van Milligan in 2012. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of Blue Ridge Housing Corporation in Roanoke, Virginia. During his tenure Nash was instrumental in implementing sweeping changes to Dubuque’s Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as “Section 8.” That followed an investigation by HUD that revealed that the program was unfair to blacks making it harder for them to apply. Nash also played a huge role in securing federal dollars to help fix up and renovate homes, mostly in the city’s north end that had lead and water problems from flooding.


Dubuque Man Pleads Not Guilty To Assault/Weapon Charges

A Dubuque man accused of assaulting his pregnant girlfriends and then throwing a knife at several people has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Online court records say 33 year old Aaron Weipert is charged with three counts of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon and one count each of domestic assault with injury, going armed with intent and public intoxication. Documents say that Weipert assaulted his pregnant girlfriend on the night of May 18th at her home. He then threw a steak knife at a man and two juveniles who were sitting on a couch outside the home. During his arraignment last week Weipert pled not guilty to the charges.


Not Guilty Plea By Dubuque Man Charged With Assault

A Dubuque man who was involved in a couple altercations with another man has pleaded not guilty to assault and other charges. Court documents from Dubuque County say 30 year old Paul Hargrove got into a fight with 26 year old Allen Herrion in late May after Hargrove blamed Herrion for the death of his dog. The two men were involved in a second altercation later that night and Hargrove drove his vehicle at Herrion, who in turn threw a tricycle at the window of the vehicle. During his arraignment, Hargrove pled not guilty to charges of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon and first degree harassment. He will go on trial August 6th. Herrion will be arraigned at a later date on charges of second degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.


Buol in DC to Push for Greater International Cooperation

Buol

Dubuque’s mayor is in the nation’s capital, urging lawmakers to help improve America’s relationships with international partners. Mayor Roy Buol is one of the members of an eight-person delegation from Iowa that is meeting with the state’s federal representatives. He says they’ll be asking Senators Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst and Congressman Rod Blum to ensure that international economic and political agreements stay strong. President Donald Trump’s recent imposition of tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese products, and China’s retaliation, has injected some uncertainty into international trade. The mayor says that could have a substantial impact on Iowa’s economy. Buol cites John Deere as an example of a local company that could be affected by an ongoing trade dispute with the Chinese. Buol will also be pushing for better diplomatic efforts between the US and foreign governments. Buol’s trip to Washington, DC, was arranged by the US Global Leadership Coalition.


Staff Sickness Forces Closure of Camp Courageous

A well-known Jones County camp for special needs children is closed this week after more than a dozen staff members fell ill. Management at Camp Courageous, near Monticello, made the decision to close on Sunday. A mass cleaning and sanitization effort will happen at the camp this week instead of previously scheduled activities. Among those were the “Just for You” week, when staffers set aside time to assist children with severe disabilities who need more individualized attention from staff. At least 16 staff members at the camp have become ill in the past week. It’s unclear exactly what kind of illness they all have, though symptoms have been described as “flu-like.”


Asbury Home "Total Loss" After Weekend Fire

An Asbury home is being called a “total loss” after a fire early Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the house in the 14000 block of Sagewood Drive a few minutes before 1:30 AM. The teenage son of the homeowners was the one in the house at the time of the fire. He heard smoke detectors going off and found the fire near the home’s furnace. He was able to get out of the house safely. No other injuries were reported. Firefighters from Asbury, Sherrill, Farley, and Peosta were on scene for about four hours.


Gas Leak Forces Evacuation of Six Dubuque Homes

A half dozen Dubuque homes were evacuated yesterday afternoon because of a natural gas leak. The leak was reported at about 1:40 PM in the 200 block of York Street. That’s about a block off of South Grandview Avenue, near its intersection with Dodge Street. A resident in the area called the fire department after smelling natural gas in their home. Firefighters then found elevated levels of gas when they arrived. Black Hills Energy and Alliant Energy disconnected gas and electric service to the house. Fire crews then ventilated the residence before the utilities were restored residents were allowed to return to their homes. No injuries have been reported.


Heat today, relief in sight

A Heat Advisory continues in the Tri-State area Sunday until 7:00 PM. We can expect afternoon heat index values of 100 to 105 degrees with an actual daytime high temperature around 93 degrees. Isolated thunderstorms are possible late Sunday along the Highway 20 corridor. Depending on the extent of cloud cover and shower coverage on Monday, hot and humid conditions will again be possible with daytime highs in the 90s and dew points in the 70s. This may result in heat index readings reaching 100 to 105 degrees again, and the possible need for the extension of the Heat Advisory. There will be a good chance for thunderstorms later Monday into Tuesday. The good news is the National Weather Service says we should expect to see lower temperatures on Tuesday for the rest of the week.


Public Cooling Centers Open This Weekend In Dubuque

Several organizations in Dubuque are providing some relief for people to escape the heat this weekend. Cooling centers have been established at the Carnegie Stout Public Library, the Dubuque Rescue Mission, the Mystique Community Ice Center, and the Multi-Cultural Family Center. Cooling center hours at the library are until 5:00 this evening, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday and from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM on Sunday. At the rescue mission the hours are from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM through Sunday. At the ice center the hours are until 7:30 tonight, and from 2:30 to 5:30 PM Sunday, while the hours at the MCFC are until 5:00 PM today and from 9:00 AM to noon Saturday.


Dubuque Woman Wins $10,000

A Dubuque woman’s bank account just increased by $10,000 after she won an Iowa lottery scratch-off game. Mary Moore won the 65th of 72 prizes available in the “250,000 Riches” scratch game. Moore bought her winning ticket at the Hy-Vee on the Northwest Arterial, and recently claimed her prize at the lottery’s regional office in Mason City. Riches is a $20 scratch game.


St. Joe's Restructures Student Tuition

A private school in southwestern Wisconsin won’t charge tuition this fall. Under a new plan, students attending St. Joseph Parochial School in Hazel Green will be able to attend the school for free. To offset the free tuition, the school’s operating costs will be covered by fundraising events and support from the parish. Steph Tranel is a member of the school’s Parent Education Commission. She says St. Joe’s does not want cost to prevent students from receiving a Catholic education. St. Joe’s currently has a student population of around 25. Students will still be charged a $100 technology fee. But that is capped at $200 per family.


Michigan Man Admits Arranging for Fatal Drug Shipment

A Michigan man has admitted to supplying the drugs used in a Dubuque overdose. 28-year-old Jay Rickert of Grand Rapids has pled guilty to a federal charge of Willfully Causing the Distribution of a Controlled Substance. According to prosecutors, Rickert arranged for a drug shipment from Canada to be sent to a female friend living in Dubuque in February of 2015. Rickert meant to order a hallucinogen, but the supplier instead shipped her fentanyl. Both substances come in the form of white powders and look nearly identical. The woman then used the fentanyl and died of an overdose. Rickert will face a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison when he’s sentenced.


Deputy Praised for Response to Gas Leak

Courtesy: Jenny Hollister

A Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputy is getting credited for providing a calming presence during a recent emergency. A Dubuque woman posted to Facebook on Thursday that Deputy J.R. Maas had been called to her neighborhood after a construction crew struck a gas line. The woman says Maas did more than just help evacuate her and the children she provides daycare for. She says he entertained several toddlers, answering a string a questions from a two-year-old. She also posted pictures of Maas cuddling and soothing a crying baby.


Son Accused of Stealing Money from Dementia-Suffering Father

A Wisconsin man has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his disabled father, who lives in Dubuque. 40-year-old Thomas Kurtz of Wisconsin Dells was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with felony Dependent Adult Abuse. According to court documents, the Iowa Department of Human Services received a complaint in January that Kurtz was stealing money from his father, who suffers from dementia. In April, Kurtz’ brother noticed that some of their father’s money was missing. Bank records showed that there were several checks were written out from the father’s name to Kurtz last July and August which totaled nearly 11-thousand dollars. Kurtz’s brother told him to return the money, but Kurtz only paid back about 29-hundred dollars.


Drug Possession Suspect Accused of Assaulting Officers

A man arrested for possessing methamphetamine is also accused of assaulting three southwest Wisconsin law enforcement officers. Back on April 5th, officers pulled over a car driven by 29-year-old Bryant Swiggum in Gays Mills. During the stop, police found methamphetamine inside the vehicle. While being taken into custody, Swiggum reportedly struck a Crawford County Lieutenant. He was eventually taken to the county jail in Prairie du Chien, where officers say he started “acting out” and assaulted a Lieutenant and a deputy as they tried to restrain him. Swiggum is charged with two counts of Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer, plus one count each of Obstructing an Officer and Possession of Meth. He has pleaded not guilty to all of those charges. His next scheduled court appearance is June 26th.


"Dubuque and All That Jazz" Opens Tonight

One of Dubuque’s longest-running concert series kicks off this Friday evening under the Town Clock. “Dubuque and All That Jazz” opens its 26th season with a performance by Orquesta Alto Maiz – commonly known as The Salsa Band. But Dubuque Main Street’s Michaela Freiburger tells us they won’t be the only ones on stage on Friday. The band from Roosevelt Middle School will actually kick off the night’s entertainment at 4:00, before Orquesta Alto Maiz takes the stage at 5:00. New this year is a bit of a scavenger hunt that coincides with “All That Jazz.” Various downtown businesses have special cups that can be redeemed for a free beverage. Once again this year, Dubuque Main Street will be selling t-shirt and prints of the new “All That Jazz” logo, which was designed by a local artist. “Dubuque and All That Jazz” is free to attend. It runs from 4:00 to 9:00 on the 3rd Friday evening of the summer months, plus Labor Day weekend.


Shenanigans Motorcycle Ride For Vets This Saturday

On Saturday motorcyclists from throughout the Tri-State area will gather at Shenanigans in Dubuque for the 6th annual Ride and Benefit for the Veterans Freedom Center. Center Director Jim Wagner says participants can sign up for the bike ride beginning at 9 a.m. While the ride is going on there will be plenty of activities going on at Shenaigans, like a bouncy house for kids and a dunk tank designed especially for Wagner. There will also be a live and a silent auction. In addition there will be a hog roast contest, a wing cook-off, raffles, a small car show and live music.


Blum "Proud" to Lead Congress in Spending on Communications

Blum

Dubuque’s representative in Congress says he’s proud to have spent more than any other representative communicating with his constituents. Expense records for the 115th Congress show that Dubuque Republican Rod Blum spent 400-thousand dollars on mass mailings sent to his district from January of last year through the end of this March. That’s more than any of the other members of Congress. The communications include unsolicited mailings, calls, and emails distributed to 500 people or more. Blum’s three colleagues in the Iowa delegation combined to spend less than 20-thousand dollars on such communications during that time period. Asked for comment, Blum recently wrote on Twitter that he’s proud of that ranking. He says he’s also saved the most money in his office’s budget. Blum is seeking his 3rd term in Congress this fall. He’ll face Dubuque state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer in November.


90 Degree Temperatures Expected Through Upcoming Weekend

Three weeks after the last time the Tri-States saw temperatures soar into the 90s, another heat wave is expected this weekend. Highs are currently forecast to push into the 90s on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Sunday looks to be the hottest day of the stretch, with an anticipated high of 97. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says that much like Memorial Day weekend, temperatures could drift even higher within the city. The pattern bringing us the warm weather is also similar to what was happening three weeks ago. In both situations, a ridge of high pressure over the southwestern US was dominating the pattern. It’s still a bit unclear just how humid it will get this weekend, but O’Mara expects heat index readings to push into the triple digits either way. Should this cycle continue, any 90 degree weather will only be in place for a couple days before a return to normal. While Sunday is predicted to be the warmest day of the upcoming weekend, Saturday might be the best chance at a new record high. The forecasted temperature that day is 95 degrees, which would be just a single degree shy of the all-time mark of 96, set exactly 100 years ago.


Possible Signal Jochum Being Considered as Hubbell's Running Mate

Jochum

It’s speculative at best, but there appears to be a signal that Dubuque State Senator Pam Jochum is at least being considered as a possible running mate in Iowa’s upcoming race for governor. Last week, Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell won Iowa Democrat’s nomination to oppose incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds. Hubbell is expected to announce his pick for Lieutenant Governor at the party’s state convention on Saturday. But liberal-leaning blog Iowa Starting Line has uncovered some website names that may signal who Hubbell is considering. Sites featuring Hubbell’s name along the name of several potential running mates have been reserved. One of those sites is HubbellJochum.com. By that measure, Jochum is one of seven possible running mates being considered, along with fellow State Senators Liz Mathis of Cedar Rapids and Rita Hart of Wheatland, and state teachers union executive Tammy Wawro.


Platteville Man Killed in Crash Near Belmont

A Platteville man was killed in a single-vehicle crash outside of Belmont yesterday afternoon. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office, the crash happened just before 12:30 near the intersection of County Highway G and Mitchell Hollow Road. 23-year-old Brandon Zart had been driving westbound on Highway G. His SUV went off the road and skidded down a steep embankment. It struck a tree and several large rocks before rolling and hitting two more trees. Authorities say Zart was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.


St. Mark's Summer Academy Helps Kids Retain Knowledge, Prepare for Upcoming School Year

A Dubuque summer academy is going beyond ensuring that kids retain what they’ve learned in school during the summer months. St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s six week Summer Heroes Academy is working to prepare kids for the upcoming school year. Beth McGorry, Outreach Coordinator at St. Mark’s, says kids who are entering kindergarten through 5th grade are participating in numerous learning experiences that will help them prepare for their next grade level. Kids are placed in a class that reflects their upcoming school year. For example a child who just finished kindergarten is placed in a first grade room. McGorry says kids who don’t do anything over the summer can lose up to six months of learning. Kids attending the academy also receive breakfast and lunch. The cost of the program is $250 per child and is based on a family’s income. About 150 kids are enrolled in this summer’s academy.


Holy Cross Woman Accused of Letting Kids Ride on Car While Drunk

A Dubuque County woman is facing multiple charges after authorities say she let her kids ride on her car while she drove drunk. At about 8:30 Monday night, county sheriff’s deputies were called to a parking lot in Holy Cross, where witnesses said a woman was driving in and out of the lot while two children rode on the trunk of her car. 36-year-old Casey Keeley reportedly admitted to letting the kids ride on the trunk while she drove. She also told deputies that she’d been drinking a mixture of vodka and an orange-flavored drink. A breath test showed her blood alcohol content at 0.121, which is above the legal limit to drive. Keeley’s been charged with a 2nd offense of Operating While Intoxicated, Driving with a Suspended License, and two counts of Child Endangerment.


Cascade Man Accused of Forging, Cashing Woman's Tax Refund

A Cascade man is accused of cashing a woman’s tax refund check without her knowledge. 45-year-old Byron Jones has been charged with a felony count of Forgery in Dubuque County District Court. Police began investigating in late February after a Dubuque woman found that her state tax refund check had been cashed while she was in jail. She says the check was mailed to a previous address. From there, police say the check changed hands several times before Jones reportedly signed both his and the woman’s names to the check and deposited it in an ATM. If convicted on the Forgery charge, Jones could face up to five years in prison, as well as a fine.


High Gas Prices Cause Drop in Demand, Which Causes Prices to Drop

Higher gas prices have led to a drop in demand for fuel, which, in turn, has brought the price back down slightly. According to the national auto club AAA, gas prices across the country are down a few cents this week. Analysts say that’s largely due to a dip in the demand for gasoline. According to Triple-A spokesman Nick Jarmusz, demand is down because prices have been up. He says this is the first time that demand for gas has fallen in a while. AAA still doesn’t expect the high gas prices to prevent people from taking summer vacations. But the dip in demand shows that drivers are trying to find smaller ways to use less fuel. $3 per gallon seems to be the price point where people adjust their driving habits. The current average price for a gallon of gas here in the Tri-States is $2.89. That’s about a dime higher than the statewide average for Iowa.


Spokesperson Clarifies After Reynolds Appears to Signal Support for Marriage Amendment

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor appeared to signal support for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriage this week. During a news conference in Pella on Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds was asked about a proposed plank in the state Republican party’s platform calling for a repeal of any laws that allow marriage between same-sex couples. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in the state back in 2009, but Reynolds says she’d prefer the issue be put to a vote. The Republican Party of Iowa is expected to adopt the party platform, including that plank about outlawing same-sex marriage, at the state convention on Saturday.

UPDATE: In response to this story, a spokesperson for Governor Reynolds emailed the following statement:

The Governor believes that this issue is settled. She has said in the past that the question should have gone to a vote of the people and that the courts were not necessarily the best place to settle the debate, but she now considers it a settled matter.


School Board Sets Hearing on Alta Vista Campus Expansion

The Dubuque School Board has set the date for a public hearing date on the planned expansion of the Alta Vista Campus. That’s where some of the district’s alternative learning students study, though some of those students attend Hillcrest Family Services or Four Oaks. The district plans to expand the Alta Vista Campus to make room for those students. Superintendent Stan Rheingans says the expansion of the Alta Vista Campus will pay for itself. The expanded campus will have three levels to accommodate all of the students. A gymnasium would also be part of the project. The district budgeted six million dollars for the project, though Rheingans says the actual cost will depend on what bids are received. The public hearing for the project will be held on August 6th at The Forum on Chaney Road. The district currently plans to have the expansion complete in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.


Platteville Helicopter Pilot Killed in Crash Near Oshkosh

A Platteville helicopter pilot was killed after striking power lines and crashing into the Fox River near Oshkosh last weekend. Local authorities have identified the victim of the crash as 27-year-old Jonathan Bahr. He had been hired to transport photographers over Lake Winnebago during a power boat event. Bahr had just finished refueling his helicopter when the crash happened. He was the only person on board at the time.


Sabula-Savanna Ferry Launches

A ferry launches from Sabula on its way to Savanna (Courtesy: KWQC-TV).

People are once again able to travel directly between Sabula, Iowa, and Savanna, Illinois. A ferry service that will take people and vehicles across the Mississippi River between the two cities opened on Tuesday. Vehicle traffic between the two communities has been closed since late February, when an overflow bridge into Sabula was deemed unsafe. Construction delays have forced commuters between the towns to take a 50-minute detour through Clinton. But now there’s another option. Sabula Mayor Paul Figie is happy there’s another option for people to get across the river. The ferry will run from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, seven days a week, until the bridge across the river re-opens. It is free to ride, and can carry up to fifteen vehicles and 80 people.


Dubuque County Sheriff's Department to Switch to "Take Home" Squad Cars

Kennedy

The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department has gotten the go-ahead to buy enough squad cars that each patrol deputy will be able to take a vehicle home with them. Currently, deputies have to drive their personal car to the Law Enforcement Center to get a department vehicle. With more than half of the patrol deputies living outside the Dubuque city limits, Sheriff Joe Kennedy predicts allowing them to take vehicles home will significantly reduce response times. Dubuque appears to be one of the only counties in Iowa that does not have a “squad car take home” program already in place. The department currently has eleven patrol vehicles. It would need to purchase another ten, at a cost of at least $750,000. But Kennedy expects the program will slow the vehicle replacement cycle, saving the department in the long run. The county Board of Supervisors voted in favor of moving forward with the plan on Monday night. Kennedy plans to begin taking bids for the vehicle purchases early next month.


Cascade Council Tables Proposed Main Street Lane Reduction

City leaders in Cascade have decided to hold off on reducing the town’s main road by a lane. The Cascade City Council on Monday night chose to table a proposal that would have shifted 1st Avenue from a four lane road down to three lanes. Under the plan, there would be one lane of traffic going in each direction, with a center turn lane. The change would allow the city to install bicycle lanes on each side of the street. It’s not yet known when the proposal would come back before the council. Its next meeting is currently scheduled for June 25.


Iowa DOT Approves Funding to Build All Four Lanes of Southwest Arterial

It’s now official: the Southwest Arterial will be fully built as a four-lane highway. The Iowa Department of Transportation Commission this morning approved its five-year budget plan, which includes enough money to fully build the roadway. Up to now, the DOT had approved funding to initially construct just two lanes of the Southwest Arterial, with the other two lanes to come later. But an additional $16 million in funding has become available, mostly due to the DOT’s $13 million savings from projects coming in under budget. The Southwest Arterial is still expected to be open to traffic by the end of next year.


Arrests Made in Manchester Car Burglaries

A trio of suspects have been arrested in connection with as many as 70 car break-ins in Manchester. According to the local police department, the burglaries happened back on Friday, May 11. The suspects went through several areas of the community, specifically targeting unlocked vehicles. Among the items they stole were cash, computers, and a shotgun. 18-year-old Tino Wilson of Manchester is facing ten counts of Burglary to an Automobile, as well as single counts of 4th Degree Theft, 5th Degree Theft, and 4th Degree Criminal Mischief. 18-year-old Seth Chapman of Manchester has been charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and 3rd Degree Theft. An unnamed juvenile also faces ten counts of Burglary to an Automobile and two counts of 5th Degree Theft. Police say many of the stolen items were recovered from Chapman’s home.


Dubuque Couple Accused of Stealing from Elderly Mother

A Dubuque man and his wife have been accused of stealing more than $200,000 from his 90-year-old mother. Court records say 64-year-old Howard Derby and 50-year-old Patti Derby are charged with felony Dependent Adult Abuse-Exploitation. Court documents say his disabled mother moved in with the couple and that he had been given power of attorney for her finances and medical needs. The Derbys are accused of taking money from her accounts and using it to buy cars and pay for vacations.


Iowa County Deer Herd Euthanized

Wisconsin state agriculture officials have put down an entire herd of whitetail deer in southwest Wisconsin due to an outbreak of chronic wasting disease. More than 100 deer in Iowa County were euthanized last month after about 20 tested positive for the disease. Veterinarians and animal health technicians from both the state and federal departments of agriculture sedated the animals before euthanizing them. The deer had been quarantined since October. Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disorder found in deer, elk, and moose. It’s caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. State and federal programs will compensate the deer farm, though an amount has yet to be determined.


NICC President Asks Dubuque School Board to Support Bond Issue Vote

Dr. Wee

The president of Northeast Iowa Community College tried to rally support for an upcoming bond issue vote at last night’s Dubuque school board meeting. In September, voters across NICC’s district will be asked to approve $39 million in new bonds, which would pay for things like an addition to the campus’ main building. NICC President Dr. Liang Chee Wee also explained that the money would support educational programming, which plays a vital role in their “Future Ready” initiative. There would be other physical upgrades included in the bonds. Dr. Wee says the campus’ buildings are beginning to show their age. Some of the revenue generated from the levy would be used to install new security features on campus, including a college wide camera and entry lock system. Technology priorities for the college include replacing network servers and cybersecurity systems. Ten years ago, voters approved a $35 million bond issue, which added about 29 cents per $1,000 valuation to property taxes. Dr. Wee says that tax rate would stay in place if the new bonds are approved. The bond issue vote is scheduled for September 11th. It must receive 60% support to pass.


Buol: Mayors Focus on Infrastructure at Annual Meeting

Buol

Infrastructure, school safety, and cybersecurity are just a few of the topics mayors from hundreds of American cities have discussed at a conference over the weekend. Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol is among those attending the US Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting, which wraps up today in Boston. On the topic of infrastructure, Buol says it’s becoming clear that something needs to be done soon. Estimates vary, but the cost of bringing America’s infrastructure up to modern standards is typically predicted to run past a trillion dollars. Buol acknowledges that all of that money and work won’t come overnight, but says bridges and dams may be the most critical needs. One of the conference’s final sessions featured youth speakers and advocates from across the country. Buol says the conference is looking at ways to help young people get more involved in their communities. The conference began on Friday. Mayors of more than 250 US cities were in attendance.


Cuba City Woman Hospitalized After Crashing into Creek

A southwest Wisconsin woman was seriously injured after crashing her car into a creek late last week. At about 8:15 last Friday morning, 36-year-old Sarah Young of Cuba City was found in her car in Kieler Creek, about a mile southeast of Kieler. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Young had been headed west on Jimtown Road when she suffered a medical emergency and lost control of her vehicle. The car crossed the center line, struck a bridge support, went airborne across Kieler Creek, crashed into another support, and landed in the creek. Water was up to the vehicle’s side mirrors. Officers believe Young had been the creek for up to 90 minutes before being found. She was taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque to be treated for injuries suffered in the crash and for exposure to the cold water.


Loss of Grant Funding Means Dubuque Police Doing Fewer Bar Checks

Dalsing

A loss of grant funding has cut the number of random bar checks that Dubuque Police can do, which has led to a significant decline in the number of liquor license violations in the city. In the past five years, Dubuque Police have prosecuted an average of 20 liquor license violations per year. But so far in 2018, no violations have been recorded. Police Chief Mark Dalsing explains that funding for alcohol compliance checks has been steadily declining, but completely went away this year. Alcohol license inspections are still happening, but Dalsing notes that they’re not as random as in the past. Dalsing estimates compliance has traditionally been around 90%. The penalties for violating or losing a liquor license are often enough to encourage establishments to act right. The last liquor license violations in Dubuque happened more than a full calendar year ago, on April 25 of 2017. On that night, both Fat Tuesday’s and the Friendly Locust Mart were cited for 2nd violations of their licenses. The Locust Mart chose to serve a 30-day suspension of its license and pay a $1,500 fine. Fat Tuesday’s paid a $7,500 fine in order to have its license suspended for only a week. The bar was also required to use ID scanners for all alcohol purchases.


America's River Festival Attendance Down 45% from Last Year

Attendance for the annual America’s River Festival dropped to its lowest point of the event’s second decade this year. About 8,200 people attended the festival on Friday and Saturday, marking the first time since 2014 that the event has failed to draw more than 10,000 people. Attendance fell by about 45% from last year, when 15,000 people made it one of the best-attended editions of the festival. Weather may have helped to dampen attendance at this year’s event. Rain threatened much of Friday night, though most of the precipitation held off until after the concerts had wrapped up for the night. That was not the case on Saturday, when lightning from an impending storm cut headliner Pat Benatar’s performance short.


Clarke Drive, Rockdale Road to Close This Week

A pair of well-traveled Dubuque streets will be closed this week. Beginning this morning, a small section of Clarke Drive is being closed for improvements to its intersections with West Locust and Ungs Streets. Motorists travelling in each direction will be detoured using Ungs and North Grandview Avenue. The closure is expected to last for a month.

In addition, a portion of Rockdale Road will also be blocked off beginning tomorrow. Rockdale will be closed between Maquoketa Drive and South Pointe through the end of the week. That’s due to private utility installation. A posted detour will take motorists to US Highways 61/151 and Twin Valley Drive.


Cascade Considers Reducing Main Street to Three Lanes

City leaders in Cascade will consider reducing the town’s main street from four lanes to three. The community’s city council is expected to take up the issue at their meeting tonight. Currently, 1st Avenue is a four lane street – with two lanes going in each direction – for about a mile, between its intersections with Monroe and Cleveland streets. Under the proposal, the traffic pattern would be reduced to three lanes: one lane going in each direction, with a center turn lane. City leaders believe the change would increase pedestrian safety, especially near Cascade Elementary School. It would also allow the city to install bicycle lanes on each side of the street. The Cascade City Council meets at 6:00 tonight in the town’s City Hall.


Bellevue Stabbing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

A Dubuque man charged in a fatal stabbing has pleaded not guilty. 23-year-old Drew Mangler entered a written plea last week in Jackson County District Court. Mangler is charged with 1st Degree Murder in the death of 59-year-old James Remakel. Police found Remakel’s body after being called to a house in Bellevue on Christmas Day 2016. An autopsy showed Remakel had been stabbed 33 times in his upper body, neck, and head. He was believed to be dead for several days before police found him. Court documents say investigators identified Mangler as a suspect following witness accounts to police. Investigators also found a shoe with Remakel’s blood on it during a search of Mangler’s house.


Flood Warning Issued for Turkey River at Elkader

Courtesy: National Weather Service

This weekend’s rains have caused a Clayton County river to swell, prompting a Flood Warning from the National Weather Service. The warning for the Turkey River at Elkader will be in effect through at least tomorrow. The river there rose by about 6.5 feet over a 12 hour period from Saturday afternoon to early yesterday morning, when it crested just shy of 13.5 feet. That’s into the “minor flood” category. Since then, the Turkey has begun to fall back, and was measured at 12.4 feet early this morning. It’s expected to fall below the flood stage of 12 feet by this afternoon. The Mississippi River here in Dubuque has gone up about 1.5 feet since Saturday morning, and is expected to reach a depth of 12.5 feet this evening. But that’s still 4.5 feet below flood stage.


Teen Driver Collides with Cascade Bowling Alley

It was a very different kind of “strike” at a Dubuque County bowling alley yesterday morning, when a teen driver on her learner’s permit collided with the side of the building. The county sheriff’s department reports that the crash happened at about 10:30 AM in Cascade. 14-year-old Lilly Topping was driving with her mother when she pulled into the Cascade Lanes parking lot. She was trying to park when she mistakenly accelerated and hit the side of the building. A crash report says the bowling alley sustained about $10,000 in damage. Neither Topping nor her mother was injured.


Juveniles Injured in Chain-Reaction Crash Near Dyersville

A three-vehicle crash in Dyersville sent passengers to the hospital and caused an estimated $13,000 in damage yesterday afternoon. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened on Olde Hawkeye Road when 45-year-old Lisa Clemen of Dyersville failed to see traffic had stopped in front of her. Her vehicle rear-ended a car driven by 20-year-old Macey Morrow of Dyersville. That forced Morrow’s vehicle into the car driven by 33-year-old Jill Riniker of Farley. Riniker had stopped on Old Hawkeye Road so she could turn onto Prier Road. Some juvenile passengers in Riniker’s car were taken to Finley Hospital for head and neck pain. A juvenile in Clemen’s vehicle was taken to Mercy Hospital in Dyersville for airbag deployment related injuries.


DOT Hires Ferry to Transport Sabula, Savanna Commuters

Crews work on the Sabula overflow bridge in late April. (Courtesy: Iowa Dept. of Transportation)

Residents of a Jackson County island community will have a couple of new options for getting around a bridge closure. The overflow bridge that connects Sabula to Savanna, Illinois, has been closed since late February. Since then, people travelling between the two communities have been forced to use a detour through Clinton that takes them about 40 minutes out of their way. The Iowa Department of Transportation has now contracted a ferry service that will carry vehicles and people across the river. The free ferry will operate from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The ferry will be available until the new overflow bridge is complete this fall. A bus service is also being offered that will still use the detour through Clinton. The ferry is able to accommodate 15 passenger vehicles, and has room for passengers as well. The ferry service is scheduled to start on Monday.


Local Legislators Discuss Session at Chamber Luncheon

Lawmakers who represent the Dubuque area shared their thoughts on this year’s legislative session at a luncheon yesterday. A total of five state legislators were in attendance for the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Wrap-Up Luncheon at the Hotel Julien. State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque said addressing the state’s opioid crisis was a step in the right direction. Dubuque State Representative Chuck Isenhart graded the session what he described as a “generous D.” He points out that Governor Kim Reynolds said mistakes were made in the Medicaid privatization, but says none of them were addressed. According to Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa some good things included improving accessibility for people with mental health issues. Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta says aside from addressing mental health and the opioid epidemic, there were smaller accomplishments that didn’t get as much attention. Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa says like most sessions, 2018’s was a mixed bag. Outgoing State Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque was invited to participate in the panel, but couldn’t due to a scheduling conflict.


Citing First Amendment Concerns, Dubuque Council Does Away with Banner Policy

The Dubuque City Council narrowly avoided leaving the city open to a First Amendment violation by voting to revoke the city’s banner policy. The policy, which governs banners hung on city-owned light poles, was adopted in 2012. Three years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona that cities are not able to regulate the content of such banners. According to City Manager Mike Van Milligen, that put Dubuque’s policy on shaky legal ground. Effectively, if the city would choose to bar racist or other objectionable material from appearing on banners, it would be in violation of the First Amendment. Councilman David Resnick proposed that the current policy be revoked, saying that was a reasonable reaction to the change in law. An initial vote on Resnick’s motion failed, 4-3. City Attorney Crenna Brumwell then confirmed to Mayor Roy Buol that by leaving the policy in place, legal action could be brought against the city. A motion was made to reconsider, with a second vote to follow. Councilman Luis Del Toro, who opposed revoking the policy, said he thought there could be a way to amend the policy, rather than simply do away with it. But Councilman Ric Jones countered that dissolving the current policy doesn’t mean a new, amended policy couldn’t be developed. The council approved doing away with the current policy on a second vote, but only by a 4-3 margin. Council members Del Toro, Jake Rios, and Brett Shaw voted against.


Police Urge Caution Now That School's Out

Now that the school year has come to a close, local police are reminding people to be increasingly cautious. With students no longer in school for seven hours each day, there will likely be an increase in pedestrian traffic in many areas. As police department spokesman Lt. Joe Messerich says, drivers should remember what it felt like to be let out of school for the summer. He urges drivers to force themselves to slow down, especially when travelling near parks, pools, and other places where children are likely to congregate. Messerich says parents should take some time to review pedestrian safety rules with their kids. He also asks parents to know what their kids are up to during the summer. Studies show that pedestrian crashes are one of the leading causes of death for kids in the US. Dubuque Schools dismissed for the summer on Tuesday.


Miller-Riverview Park to Re-Open Friday

Courtesy: KCRG

After being closed for more than a month, a popular Dubuque park and campground is set to re-open. Miller-Riverview Park was closed back on April 30 when the Mississippi River level reached 15 feet. Floodwaters invaded the park before receding back below the flood stage a couple weeks later. Since then, the park has remained closed as city crews worked to clean flood debris and get the park’s campground ready for visitors. According to the city of Dubuque, that work is now complete, and the park will re-open on Friday.


Investigation: Finkenauer Campaign Responsible for Incorrect Polling Place Texts

A Dubuque lawmaker’s campaign was responsible for text messages that gave voters incorrect polling place information. But the campaign says the mistake was a result of a vendor error. The Iowa Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday announced that an investigation into the text messages revealed that they originated from Abby Finkenauer’s congressional campaign. But the messages were the result of an error in the campaign’s data management, and were not malicious. Dubuque County Auditor Denise Dolan says her office became aware of the text messages Tuesday morning after receiving a call from a confused voter. Her staff steered that person in the right direction. In a statement, Finkenauer Campaign Manager Joe Farrell says the campaign also took action once it became aware of the incorrect information being sent out. A second round of texts were sent, which directed voters to the polling place finder on the Secretary of State’s website.


Boy Injured in Farm Accident Near Mount Hope

An 8-year-old boy was injured in a farm accident in southwest Wisconsin this week. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, 42-year-old David High was working on a skid steer on a farm south of Mount Hope Monday afternoon. The vehicle slipped out of gear and hit the boy on the right side of his body. The child suffered leg and hip injuries. He was flown to UW Hospital in Madison, where his condition is not known. Authorities have not released the boy’s name.


Wisconsin Authorities Investigating Teen Girl's Death

Southwest Wisconsin authorities are investigating the death late last month of a teenage girl. A posting on the Iowa County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page says the 13-year-old died in Mineral Point on May 31…one week ago today. The posting does not include the girl’s name or any information on how she died. It does say that there is no ongoing threat to the public and that the death does not appear to be the result of human trafficking.


Iowa Medicaid Director Hears Issues with Managed Care in Dubuque

Randol

More than two years after Iowa switched most of its Medicaid enrollees to privately managed care, some providers say they are still having problems getting paid. Julie Heiderscheit, President and CEO at Dubuque’s Hillcrest Family Services, reports they have run into billing issues and late or inaccurate payments. She says one of the big problems they’ve been having is the high turnover rate of employees with the managed care organizations. Iowa Medicaid Enterprise Director Mike Randol held a roundtable discussion with Hillcrest employees on Wednesday. He says the problems they are facing are the same he’s been hearing about for the past year. The state has now set up an expedited escalation process to review some of the issues and claims from health care providers. Randol’s tour of Hillcrest was arranged by State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque, who has been a vocal critic of the switch to managed care.


Republican Race for Ag Secretary Appears Headed to Convention

It appears that the Republican nominee for Iowa Agriculture Secretary will have to be decided at the party’s convention later this month. That’s because incumbent Mike Naig is short of the 35% threshold required to be declared the winner of the primary election. Naig currently sits at 34.74% support, having won more than 30,000 votes statewide. His nearest competitor is Delaware County State Senator Dan Zumbach, who received 21% support with just shy of 19,000 votes. Former Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Lang is currently third among the five candidates. If Naig’s total remains below the 35% mark after the results are made official, the nominee will be chosen by party activists at the state convention. That’s scheduled to be held in Des Moines a week from Saturday. The eventual nominee will face Tim Gannon in November’s general election. Gannon was unopposed in the Democratic primary.


Hubbell Wins Democratic Primary for Governor

Hubbell

A wealthy businessman who has never been elected to public office will challenge Iowa’s Republican governor in November. Fred Hubbell, a retired insurance executive, secured the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primary by winning a crowded five-candidate contest. He far exceeded the 35% threshold needed to avoid a state convention where party activists would have picked the winner. Hubbell will face Gov. Kim Reynolds, who ran unopposed. The former lieutenant governor was sworn in last year to serve the remainder of former Governor Terry Branstad’s term after his appointment as US ambassador to China. She’s the first female governor in Iowa history and is seeking the distinction of being the first woman elected to the position.


Iowa House Primaries: James, Fett Advance to November's General Election

James, Fett

A local pastor will have the chance to fill the Iowa House District seat vacated by State Representative Abby Finkenauer. Lindsay James won the Democratic primary in House District 99, which covers the southern and western portions of Dubuque. James says she’s honored to be the nominee. James ran on a platform to create better paying jobs and rolling back the privatization of the state Medicaid program. James received just more than 2,200 votes, which was about 700 better than her nearest challenger, Loras College social work professor Brad Cavanaugh. Recent college graduate Pat Cullen finished in a distant 3rd. James will face Republican Pauline Chilton in November.

Meanwhile, in the western portion of Dubuque County, another Loras social work professor did win a spot on this fall’s general election ballot. Nancy Fett defeated Leo Gansen in the Democratic primary in House District 57, which includes most of Dubuque County outside the Dubuque city limits. Fett and Gansen were separated by only about 50 votes, but Gansen conceded in a post on his campaign’s Facebook page. Fett will look to unseat incumbent Republican Shannon Lundgren in November.


Dubuque County Races: McDonough, Wickham Advance in Supervisor Race, May Tops Meyer in Attorney Primary

The lone incumbent running for a seat on the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors has advanced to the general election. Jay Wickham, who’s been on the board since 2015, was one of the two Democrats to emerge from a three-candidate field. Wickham actually finished second in the race, falling 1,700 votes behind Asbury business owner Ann McDonough. Luxemburg Mayor Roger Oberbroeckling finished 3rd, about five hundred votes behind Wickham.  McDonough says her most important priority is making sure that the county’s budget is transparent. Aside from owning a small business, McDonough is known in the community as being the former managing attorney for Iowa Legal Aid. McDonough and Wickham will be among the three candidates on this fall’s ballot. Republican Curt Kiessling of Asbury was the only Republican running. Two of those three will be elected to the board.

Dubuque County Democrats also picked a nominee for County Attorney. Dubuque-based private practice lawyer CJ May won that race, defeating current Assistant County Attorney Ry Meyer with 54 percent of the vote. May received just better than 4,500 votes, while Meyer’s total was just shy of 3,900. May will face Republican Scott Nelson in the general election. Nelson was unopposed in the GOP primary.


Finkenauer Wins Primary, Will Face Blum

Democratic Congressional candidate Abby Finkenauer addresses supporters at The Smokestack.

It will once again be an all-Dubuque contest to represent the Key City in Congress. Dubuque State Representative Abby Finkenauer emerged from a field of four Democrats to win the party’s primary in the 1st Congressional District. She advances to the general election, where she’ll face incumbent Republican Rod Blum of Dubuque. Finkenauer addressed a group of about fifty supporters at The Smokestack in Dubuque, noting some of the differences between the candidates. Finkenauer reiterated a sentiment she’s made through the primary campaign…that the race will be less about party affiliation than values. In an interview with KDTH following her speech, Finkenauer said she’s confident in her ability to earn the support new voters and those who had grown weary of politics. Finkenauer expects Blum’s campaign won’t wait long before attacking her, since the district is key to which party takes control of the US House. If she were to win the general election, the 29-year-old Finkenauer would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and the first female to represent Dubuque in the House. Unofficial results showed her winning about 67% of the vote. Former Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls was the runner-up, with about 20% support. The two other candidates, George Ramsey and Courtney Rowe, were in the single digits.


Dyersville Council Approves Raise for Mayor, Denies Council Member Pay Increase

Dyersville’s next mayor will receive a pay bump, though members of the city council balked at raises for their own positions. The Dyersville council last night voted 5-0 to increase the mayor’s annual salary to $8,000 per year. That’s up from the $5,200 the mayor currently earns each year…a nearly 54% increase. The change will take effect on January 1, 2020, when the winner of next year’s mayoral election takes office. A separate item on the council’s agenda called for boosting council member pay to $50 for each meeting attended. But that proposal failed for lack of a second. Council members currently earn $40 for each meeting they’re present for.


Burglary Suspect: "Voices in Head" Told Him to Take Neighbor's Guns

A Dubuque man claims that “voices in his head” told him to take three guns from a neighbor’s home. 34-year-old Jesse Dolan was arrested on a 3rd Degree Burglary charge a few minutes after 7:00 Sunday evening. Police had been called to a home in the 2700 block of University Avenue, where a resident had returned home to find Dolan exiting his garage with several items in his hands. The resident confronted Dolan while police responded to the scene. While speaking with officers, Dolan reportedly said that the voices in his head told him someone inside the home was injured. He got into the house through an unlocked door, but didn’t find anyone inside. That’s when the voices told him to remove all the guns from the home and give them to a police commander. Among the items Dolan was carrying were two handguns and an AR-15 rifle owned by the resident. The resident told police he didn’t know Dolan and had not given him permission to enter the house.


Dubuque Woman Among Trio Arrested in Winneshiek County Drug Bust

A Dubuque woman is one of three people arrested following a drug bust in a small town in Iowa’s northeast corner. According to the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Department, 24-year-old Mersadie Rehorst was taken into custody at a home southeast of Ridgeway on Friday. She’s been charged with felony counts of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Marijuana. Rehorst is currently being held on a $30,000 bond.


Speeding Tickets Lead Citations During Sheriff's Office Memorial Day Project

Deputies from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department issued more than 150 citations – most of them for speeding – during a traffic enforcement project that spanned the Memorial Day holiday. The department participated in a statewide Special Traffic Enforcement Project, or STEP, during a two-week period around Memorial Day. Over those 14 days, deputies wrote out 154 tickets. Slightly more than half of those citations were for speeding, making it, by far, project’s the most common infraction. The next most common violation was driving with a suspended or revoked license. Deputies issued 11 of those tickets. Five drunk driving arrests were made, while nine other drivers were found to have been drinking, but were not beyond the legal limit and were given a warning. Deputies also tracked seat belt usage, finding that 96 percent of motorists were properly buckled in.


Bar Fight Leads to Four Arrests

A fight outside of a downtown Dubuque bar led to the arrests of four Dubuque residents early Monday morning. Dubuque Police officers were flagged down outside the Green Room in the 200 block of Main Street at about 12:30 AM. 50-year-old George Fox, Junior, was lying on the ground with a handful of other people around him. Traffic camera footage from the area showed Fox trying to start a fight with the other people by punching one of them in the head. That’s when 36-year-old Joseph Lewis punched Fox in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. Fox got back up and punched a woman with the group in the face. Lewis then knocked Fox to the ground again. This time, Lewis and 27-year-old Joshua Dupree stomped on Fox while he was on the ground. Dupree, Fox, Lewis, and 25-year-old Nickolas Sullivan were all charged with Disorderly Conduct. Fox is also facing single counts of Assault, Harassment of City Employees, and Public Intoxication. Dupree and Sullivan have been charged with Public Intoxication as well.


Man Accused in Church Crash Charged with Attempted Murder

A driver who crashed into a downtown Dubuque church while trying to run over another man is now charged with Attempted Murder. That’s one of a pair of new charges filed against 34-year-old Eric Schmidt of Bellevue. Prosecutors have also upgraded a 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief charge to 1st Degree. According to Dubuque Police, Schmidt drove a pickup truck at a man who was walking on Main Street, near its intersection with 12th Street. Schmidt initially struck the man on the sidewalk, then continued until he crashed into the concrete steps in front of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The impact caused as much as 10-thousand dollars in damage. Interviews with Schmidt and the victim indicate that the two had been in an ongoing feud. Schmidt reportedly admitted that he drove at the other man to try to “scare” him. In addition to his new charges, Schmidt is also facing single counts of Assault While Displaying a Dangerous Weapon and Possession of Marijuana.


New Charges Filed Against Man Who Jumped from Julien Dubuque Bridge

Some additional charges have been filed against an Asbury man who jumped from the Julien Dubuque Bridge last month. On May 11, Asbury Police say 47-year-old Carl Klaeska led authorities on a high-speed chase while intoxicated. He’s accused of speeding into oncoming traffic on Dodge Street, blowing through several stop sticks, and eventually stopping his car on the Julien Dubuque Bridge, where he jumped into the water. Dubuque firefighters were able to rescue him from a buoy. At the time, Klaeska was arrested on a charge of Eluding. Court records filed this week have elevated that charge to a felony. In addition, Klaeska’s also been charged with Operating While Intoxicated and two counts of 2nd Degree Harassment.


Iowa Primary Elections Today

The number of candidates seeking state and county office will be cut down significantly today, as primary elections in Iowa determine who will advance to this fall’s general election.

Likely the highest-profile race being contested is among five Democrats looking to challenge incumbent governor Kim Reynolds. She’ll be seeking a full term of her own, after taking over for former governor Terry Branstad last year.

Democrats will also be choosing an opponent for Republican Congressman Rod Blum. Dubuque state legislator Abby Finkenauer appears to be the front-runner among the four Democrats running in the 1st Congressional District. Opposing her are former Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth, retired police officer George Ramsey, and aerospace engineer Courtney Rowe.

Three Democrats are seeking the chance to take over Finkenauer’s seat in the Iowa House. The winner between Brad Cavanaugh, Pat Cullen, and Lindsay James will be the party’s nominee in the 99th Iowa House District, and will face Republican Pauline Chilton in November.

There’s another contested Iowa House primary in the 57th district, which covers most of Dubuque County outside the Dubuque city limits. That’s where Loras College social work professor Nancy Fett and correctional officer Leo Gansen are competing for the Democratic nomination. The winner between them will look to unseat Republican Shannon Lundgren in the fall.

Dubuque County Democrats will also be picking nominees for a couple of county offices. Assistant County Attorney Ry Meyer and longtime local lawyer CJ May are both seeking to become the next County Attorney. In the Board of Supervisors race, two candidates will move on from a three-person field that includes incumbent Jay Wickham, Ann McDonough, and Roger Oberbroeckling.

As for Republicans, the most notable primary is in the race to be Iowa’s next Secretary of Agriculture. Five candidates are competing in that primary, including current Ag Secretary Mike Naig and Delaware County state legislator Dan Zumbach.

Polls opened at 7:00 this morning and will be open until 9:00 tonight.


Dubuque Council Approves Up to $2.5 Million in Incentives for Malting and Brewing Redevelopment

The Dubuque Malting and Brewing building (Courtesy: KCRG).

The Dubuque City Council has pledged its support for the redevelopment of a crumbling former brewery on the city’s North End. The council last night signed off on a development agreement to convert the former Dubuque Malting and Brewing Building on Jackson Street into a mixed-use development. City Manager Mike Van Milligen outlined how the building had fallen into disrepair under a previous owner. Last year, developer Steve Emerson purchased the building and announced plans for a $30 million redevelopment. Among his intentions for the complex are more than 100 apartments. Some neighbors expressed concern about the density of those apartments. Councilwoman Kate Larson, who represents the North End, also questioned why the vast majority of the units would be one bedroom or efficiency apartments. Emerson explained that the plans presented to the council are not set in stone and he will build to what the community needs. The council was being asked to approve up to $2.5 million in incentives for Emerson’s development. Councilman Ric Jones said he’d gladly support the project, believing it could be a major boost to the North End. Councilman David Resnick agreed, saying he’d rather the city’s money go to turning the building into something useable, rather than propping up a crumbling structure. The council voted 6-0 to approve the development agreement. Councilman Jake Rios was travelling and joined the meeting by phone after the vote.


Dubuque Area Non-Profits Receive Grants from Alliant Foundation

Seven Dubuque County non-profit organizations will be receiving a total of more than $20,000 from a utility company. The Alliant Energy Foundation announced grants last week. The seven being awarded to local groups are just a few of the nearly 200 grants that Alliant is awarding this year. Among the recipients are:

– the Dubuque Community School District Foundation, which will get $5,000 to help with a middle school energy science program,

– Dubuque-based Junior Achievement of the Heartland, which is also picking up $5,000,

– the Four Mounds Foundation will receive $2,300 to help with ecological restoration,

– the Two-by-Two Character Development Program will get $1,500,

– Hills and Dales, which has been awarded $1,000 in assistance for its Summer Respite Inclusion Project,

– Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders, who are getting $5,000 for their Interstate Power Forest Preserve Project,

– and the City of Worthington, which will receive $500 to pay for new library books.


Finkenauer Lands Biden Endorsement on Primary Eve

Finkenauer, Biden

A Dubuque state lawmaker hoping to make the jump to Congress has received her highest-profile endorsement to date on the eve of the primary election. State Representative Abby Finkenauer’s campaign announced Sunday that she’s been endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden. In a statement, Biden says “we need Abby to bring her grit and determination to the halls of the Capitol where I know from experience she won’t back down.” One of Finkenauer’s first forays into politics was working as a Volunteer Coordinator for Biden’s unsuccessful 2008 bid for President. Finkenauer is seen as the front-runner among the four Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. Whoever wins tomorrow’s primary would move on to face incumbent Republican Rod Blum in November’s general election.


Fact Check: Heckroth's Minimum Wage Attack Not True

One of Dubuque State Representative Abby Finkenauer’s opponents in the Democratic Congressional primary has attacked her for not supporting an increase to the federal minimum wage. That’s a claim made by former Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth’s campaign in a recent TV ad. But our coverage partners at KCRG fact-checked the claim, and say it’s off the mark. A recent ad from Heckroth says that he’s the “only major candidate” in the race who supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. It goes on to say that Finkenauer opposes such a move. But KCRG’s Josh Scheinblum explains that Finkenauer hasn’t said ‘no’ to a $15 per hour wage, but prefers to tie increases to the cost of living. KCRG also notes that during her time in the Iowa House, Finkenauer voted against a bill that rolled back Linn and Johnson counties’ efforts to raise the minimum wage.


Forecasters Unsure What to Expect from Summer 2018

O’Mara

The La Nina weather pattern that had been impacting the Tri-States since last year has broken, and it’s not entirely clear what that might mean for our weather this summer. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara tells us that we’ll be in a bit more a “neutral” weather pattern for at least the next few months. While those are a bit harder to predict, there’s some evidence to suggest our temperatures this summer will be mostly seasonal. As far as precipitation expectations, it appears that it could be a very active Atlantic hurricane season. O’Mara says that would usually mean the Midwest would take on less than usual precipitation. That’s a bit of a concern, as drought conditions are already shaping up in some parts of southern Iowa. O’Mara says that the summer following a La Nina winter will usually have more severe weather than usual. But there are some early indications that go against that trend. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is anticipating that June will be warmer and wetter than usual.


Warm May Follows Coldest April

One of the warmest Mays on record has followed the coldest April Dubuque ever had. That’s according to data compiled by the National Weather Service. As we told you last month, this April was Dubuque’s coldest on record, with the temperature averaging just 38.8 degrees. In May, the average temperature jumped to 66.2 degrees, which is about 7.5 degrees above normal. That makes May of 2018 the 7th warmest May ever for Dubuque. One record high temperature was set in Dubuque in May. That was last Sunday, when the high climbed all the way up to 95 degrees. In addition to being far warmer than usual, May was also wetter than normal. Dubuque received just under 5.5 inches of rainfall in the month, which is about an inch and a quarter more than usual.


Hubbell Making Last Minute Stops

Hubbell

The front-runner in the Democratic primary for Iowa Governor is crisscrossing the state in hopes of getting undecided voters to jump on his bandwagon. Businessman Fred Hubbell of Des Moines was in Dubuque on Saturday. He has a comfortable lead over his fellow challengers, according to recent polls. If elected, Hubbell says there are a lot of things that need to be improved and fixed, such as rolling back the privatization of Medicaid. Hubbell says Iowa also needs to focus on attracting workers by improving and prioritizing education. Hubbell will wrap up his 14-city, 35-stop tour in Des Moines on Monday night.


VNA Gets Grant to Fight Bed Bugs

A local health organization is receiving some help to assist their clients fight bed bugs. The Finley Health Foundation has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Dubuque Racing Association that will go to the Visiting Nurse Association. The group plans to purchase mattress encasements and other supplies to fight the spread of bed bugs in Dubuque. A spokesperson for the VNA says supplying their clients with mattress encasements and other cleaning supplies helps members of the community maintain their health and safety, and prevent the spread of bed bugs. The VNA provides more than 12,000 services to their clients each year.

 


BREAKING: Judge Blocks Iowa's "Fetal Heartbeat" Law

An Iowa judge will temporarily block the most restrictive abortion law in the country from taking effect next month under an agreement between lawyers for the state and abortion rights groups. Attorneys for the state and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds have agreed to prevent the law from taking effect on July 1 after discussions with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, the Planned Parenthood Federation of American, and the Emma Goldman Clinic. The advocacy groups sued the state to block the law, which bans most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That typically occurs in the sixth week of pregnancy. An attorney for the state says the goal is to quickly get the case before a judge to argue the law it’s constitutional. Judge Michael Huppert said during a court hearing Friday that he’ll issue a temporary injunction later in the day. Reynolds signed the law May 2, two days after lawmakers approved it.


DCSD: Early Dismissals Due to Heat, Not "Bank" of Usable Hours

Cyze (Courtesy: Dubuque United Way)

Even though high temperatures have fallen back to the low 80s today, leaders in the Dubuque Community School District say some of their buildings can still get uncomfortably hot. That’s why they decided to release students early the past two days. Dubuque Schools will dismiss two hours early both yesterday and today. District Community Relations Director Mike Cyze says the decision to let students out early was entirely weather-related. Cyze says some of the district’s more aged buildings can get especially warm, even on days when outdoor temperatures stay relatively mild. Some have speculated that the district chose to release students early because it had “extra” hours to use without have to incur a make-up day. While there is a “bank” of hours that the district factors in for weather days, Cyze says that didn’t play a role in today’s decision. According to Cyze, the district doesn’t consider the banked hours as something they have to use or lose. The last day of school for Dubuque students is still scheduled for Tuesday.


WD Administrator: Impact of "Summer Slide" Overstated

Simon

Schoolchildren may not be losing as much knowledge over the summer as previously thought. That’s according to Dubuque County school administrator, who says the so-called “summer slide” may be overstated. It’s been estimated that kids who don’t read or study over the summer can lose as much as two months worth of instruction. But Western Dubuque Curriculum Director Kelly Simon says that data doesn’t take into account how quickly students get back into their school routines. Simon estimates that most students will regain anything they lost over the summer within a couple of weeks. Simon encourages students to think of their brain as a muscle that they need to keep in shape over the summer break. As far as how much time kids should spend reading or studying over the summer, Simon says it’s difficult to say. She says it’s also important for kids to have a chance to be kids for a couple of months. Prior to becoming WD’s curriculum director, Simon spent ten years in the classroom as a middle school English teacher.


Repeat Drug Dealer Sentenced to Federal Prison

A Dubuque meth dealer caught with more than $50,000 worth of the drug has been sentenced to more than 23 years in federal prison. That’s the sentence handed down to 42-year-old Scott Harry this week. Harry was found guilty last December of Possessing More Than Fifty Grams of Meth with Intent to Distribute by a federal jury. According to prosecutors, Harry had been pulled over while driving on US Highway 151 between Dubuque and Cascade in February of last year. During the traffic stop, officers found a PVC pipe that had been filled with more than 660 grams of pure methamphetamine. Harry’s sentence was enhanced because he has a previous drug dealing conviction. In 1998, he was convicted on a state charge of Delivery of Cocaine.


Maquoketa Bomb Threat Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

A teenager accused of making a bomb threat says he’s not guilty. That’s the plea that 18-year-old Ira Johnson of Maquoketa entered this week on a charge of Threat of Terrorism. That’s a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Back on May 7, Maquoketa Police were called about a bomb threat that had been written on a bathroom wall of the local high school. The building was evacuated and searched, but nothing was found. Two days later, the school was evacuated again after an audio recording of Johnson making a threat was obtained by police. Johnson was arrested that day, and police say he admitted to making the threat.


Meth Transporter Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison

A Dubuque man who brought methamphetamine to the Key City will spend the next 30 years in federal prison. 37-year-old Jason Schumacher received that sentence in US District Court in Cedar Rapids this week. Back in February, Schumacher had pled guilty to a charge of Conspiracy to Distribute Meth. He admitted that between July and November of last year, he made at least 13 trips to Omaha to purchase pounds of “ice methamphetamine, before bringing the drugs back to Dubuque and selling them. Schumacher was arrested last October after leading Dubuque Police on a high speed chase before crashing his vehicle into a utility shed on Rockdale Road. At the time, Schumacher was in possession of a large amount of cash, meth, and marijuana.


Dyersville Woman Wanted By Feds Arrested After Supposed Fight

A report of a fight in southwest Wisconsin led law enforcement to a Dyersville woman who was wanted by federal authorities. Shortly before 12:30 last Friday afternoon, Grant County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Bluff Road in the Sandy Hook area. 41-year-old Dawn Richey was taken to the hospital in Platteville to be treated for injuries she received in the fight. While at the hospital, Richey was arrested on outstanding warrants from the US Marshal Service. Those warrants stem from a 2012 charge of Aiding and Abetting the Attempted Manufacture of Methamphetamine. Deputies continued to investigate Richey’s case, and found that her injuries had not come from a fight, but from an unreported drug overdose. She’s still being held in the Grant County Jail, awaiting transfer to federal authorities.


Missing Fennimore Woman Found Dead

A southwest Wisconsin woman who’d been missing for nearly a month has been found dead. 58-year-old Patricia Hartline of Fennimore was last seen on May 2nd. On Wednesday, a farmer contacted the Grant County Sheriff’s Office after finding a vehicle that matched the description of Hartline’s near Millville. Deputies were sent to the scene, where they found Hartline dead in the driver’s seat. An exact cause of death has not been determined, but authorities do not suspect foul play. An autopsy will be performed to find out exactly what caused Hartline’s death. At the time of her disappearance, she had been taking prescription medications that need to be refilled.


Early Voting Up in Dubuque County, Across Iowa

Early voting for next Tuesday’s primary election is up both across Iowa and here in Dubuque County as compared the last midterm primary four years ago. According to the county elections office, 2,856 people have either voted early or requested an absentee ballot so far. That represents a 29% increase over 2014. It should be noted that there weren’t any Statehouse primaries in Dubuque County four years ago, compared to the two this year. However, 2014 did see contested primaries among both Democrats and Republicans for the 1st District Congressional seat. Republicans also chose a nominee for the US Senate position eventually won by Joni Ernst. Across Iowa, early voting is up by about 35.5% over four years ago. That’s despite less time to cast an early ballot. Back then, the early voting period was 40 days. It’s now 29.


Dyersville Store Selling T-Shirts to Benefit Injured Boy

Courtesy: Just For You

A Dyersville retailer is selling a new t-shirt to raise money for a local boy who was hurt in a farm accident. 10-year-old Carter Hillers was seriously injured about two weeks ago in a tractor accident on a farm in Clayton County. He’s still being treated at UW Hospital in Madison. Now, the boutique store where Carter’s mom works is offering “Carter Strong” t-shirts to benefit the family. About 500 shirts have already been sold. Robyn Maiers, the manager of the store, called Just For You, says people have been dropping off donations as they place their orders. Becca Deutmeyer is a Just For You employee who’s been handling the store’s screenprinting since Hillers has been away. She says the response has been overwhelming. There are two styles of “Carter Strong” shirts being sold. One is $18, and the other is $22. The shirts come in both youth and adult sizes. Just For You is located in Dyersville’s Stone Creek Shopping Center.


Finkenauer Confident in Primary's Final Days, But Not Taking Anything for Granted

Finkenauer

Despite her status as the perceived front-runner for her party’s Congressional nomination, Dubuque State Representative Abby Finkenauer says she’s not taking anything for granted in the final days before the primary. Polls have shown Finkenauer with a significant lead on the three other Democrats in the race, and also point to her being very competitive with incumbent Republican Rod Blum in the general election. Finkenauer completed a tour that took her to all twenty of the counties in the district this week, and says she’s confident in her chances because of the enthusiasm among voters. But Finkenauer, who was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, says one of the lessons of that race is to avoid becoming overconfident. Assuming she wins the primary, Finkenauer expects that she’ll receive the support of those who are backing the other Democrats in the race. She also predicts that she’ll pull more than a few independents and Republicans into the fold, too. The other Democrats seeking the 1st District nomination are former Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, retired police officer and Army veteran George Ramsey of Cedar Rapids, and aerospace engineer Courtney Rowe, who’s also from Cedar Rapids.


Reynolds: Changes Will Help Fix Medicaid Privatization Issues

Reynolds

Despite complaints of ongoing problems, Iowa’ governor says the state has made changes to smooth the now-privatized Medicaid system. Iowa transitioned its Medicaid system from being state-run to privately managed two years ago this summer. Since then, providers and patients have noted ongoing problems with the switch. But during an exclusive interview with KDTH this week, Governor Kim Reynolds says adjustments to the program are helping. She cites the new leaders of the departments that oversee the program among those changes. Reynolds says her goal is to make sure the program is sustainable. That includes ensuring that the managed care organizations that are now in charge of the program are paying providers back in a timely manner. Reynolds assumed the governor’s office a little over a year ago, after then-Governor Terry Branstad became US Ambassador to China. She’s seeking a full term of her own in this fall’s election.


Dubuque County Elections Office, Annex Schedule Additional Hours

Dubuque County’s elections office plans to be open a few extra hours this weekend to accommodate those wanting to cast their primary ballot early. Both the elections office, which is located on the 4th floor of the county courthouse, and the Election Annex on Locust Street will be open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM this Saturday. The two offices will also be staying open later than usual…until 5:00 PM, this Friday and next Monday. Both locations typically close at 4:30 PM.


McGrath Buys Bird Chevrolet

One of the longest-running car dealerships in Dubuque has been sold. Bird Chevrolet announced Wednesday that they’ve been purchased by the McGrath Family of Dealerships, which is based in Cedar Rapids. Bird Chevrolet has been owned and operated in Dubuque since 1927. The new store will be named McGrath Chevrolet of Dubuque. The McGraths will take over ownership of the business on June 22. The purchase expands the McGrath family’s footprint in Dubuque, where they already own a Volkswagen dealership, located on the Northwest Arterial.


11 Dubuque Residents Among Those Now Facing Federal Gun Charges

Nearly a dozen Dubuque residents are among the 31 people now facing federal gun charges filed by the US Attorney’s Office on Wednesday. They’re each being charged with some form of unlawful gun possession. The cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. That’s a program involving all levels of law enforcement working together with a hope of reducing violent crime. The Dubuque residents who are facing charges are:

– 38-year-old Ian Bonnette,

– 32-year-old Jevonne Coleman,

– 41-year-old Michael Dennison,

– 35-year-old Montecarlos Gant,

– 22-year-old Javontae Grisson,

– 21-year-old Patrick Lugrain,

– 38-year-old Kenneth Sanders,

– 38-year-old Marliesha Scott,

– 60-year-old Gerald Straka,

– 18-year-old Davion Trawick,

– and 24-year-old William Wesley.

All but Trawick are already in custody. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the local CrimeStoppers tipline.


Cavanaugh, Heckroth Spar Over Image in Campaign Ad

A pair of Democratic candidates running for different offices are sparring over one’s use of the other in a campaign ad. In a Facebook post published Tuesday evening, Iowa House candidate Brad Cavanaugh slammed the Congressional campaign of Thomas Heckroth, one of the four Democrats running in Iowa’s 1st District. Cavanaugh says Heckroth used a picture of him in a TV commercial without permission. Cavanaugh goes on to say that he asked Heckroth’s campaign to remove the image two weeks ago, but they have not. Cavanaugh also expressed support for one of Heckroth’s opponents, current State Representative Abby Finkenauer. She has represented the district Cavanaugh is running in for the past four years. A spokesperson for Heckroth’s campaign disputes Cavanaugh’s claims. Sam Roecker, Heckroth’s Campaign Manager, says that after Cavanaugh brought the image to the campaign’s attention, he emailed back to say they would change the ad. Roecker says the version that included Cavanaugh’s picture hasn’t aired in “a couple weeks.”


UPDATE: Local Spellers Eliminated from National Bee

2018’s national spelling bee champion will not be coming from the Tri-States. Both of the Dubuque County students competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee were eliminated this morning after misspelling their 3rd round words. Mazzuchelli Middle School 7th grader Oscar Patel was the first to fall. His word was “roguery.” Just two contestants later, Paula Braun from Peosta was also eliminated. The Seton Catholic 8th grader’s word was “jejune.” Patel and Braun were among just more than 500 students who qualified for the spelling bee. They were the only participants from the state of Iowa.


Dubuque's Relay for Life Moves to Washington Park

An annual celebration of Dubuque’s cancer survivors moves to a new location this year. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life will be held at Washington Park in downtown Dubuque on Friday evening. The event will officially begin at 6:00 with an opening ceremony, according to Relay co-chair Kristi Hendricks. The recognition of cancer survivors will begin even before the official start to the event. Fellow co-chair Kirsten Weidemann says they are invited to a free dinner beginning at 4:00 in the Roshek Building. Among the activities happening during the Relay will be a wing eating challenge, a dunk tank, and bounce houses for the kids. New this year is a “Relay’s Got Talent” competition. Organizers have set a goal of raising $126,000 for the American Cancer Society through this year’s Relay for Life.


Shullsburg Man Accused of Stealing County Truck, Trying to Set It on Fire

Authorities in southwest Wisconsin say a man stole a county-owned vehicle, used it in a crime, and then tried to set it on fire. On Monday, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department was notified that one of the county’s trucks had been used in a crime in Dubuque. The truck had been stolen from a patrolman’s home early that morning. The truck was found a few hours later in a ditch just to the south of Shullsburg. Deputies say someone had tried to start a fire in the truck after leaving it there. 21-year-old Kevin Niemeyer of Shullsburg was arrested the following morning. He’s facing at least five criminal charges, including two felonies: Theft of a Motor Vehicle and Attempted Arson. The case has been turned over to the Lafayette County District Attorney, who could file additional charges against him. Niemeyer was already on parole for a previous vehicle theft conviction.


Local Spellers Advance at National Spelling Bee

The two Dubuque County students competing in this week’s Scripps National Spelling Bee got their first words correct and are still alive entering today’s 3rd round. Paula Braun is an 8th grader at Seton Catholic Elementary School in Farley. Her word on Tuesday was “andante,” which is a musical direction for a moderately slow tempo.  Oscar Patel is a 7th grader at Mazzuchelli Middle School in Dubuque. He correctly spelled “ponerology,” a branch of theology that deals with the doctrine of evil. The 3rd round of the spelling bee is today. The finals will be held tomorrow. Braun and Patel are the only students from Iowa in this year’s competition.


School Supporters Urged to "Dine Out" Thursday

Dubuque residents are encouraged to take some time away from their kitchens to help support local public schools this week. The Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools is hosting its annual “Dine Out for Public Schools” event tomorrow. Participating restaurants will be donating a share of their sales to the foundation. Executive Director Jennifer Klinkhammer says the money will then be used for school nutrition initiatives. People can help spread the word by sharing pictures of themselves eating at one of the participating restaurants on social media. Diners should be sure to tell their servers and cashiers that they are “dining out for public schools.”


Finkenauer Outraises Blum

One of the Democrat candidates seeking to unseat Iowa Congressman Rod Blum has again outraised him by more than $35,000 in the pre-primary reporting period. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque raised more than $163,000, while Blum took in better than $127,000. Finkenauer must first survive next week’s Democratic primary for a chance to challenge the two-term Republican Congressman in the November general election. The other Democrats in the primary are Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, George Ramsey of Cedar Rapids and Courtney Rowe also of Cedar Rapids.


UPDATE: Julien Dubuque Bridge Reopens

East Dubuque police have reopened the westbound lane of traffic on the Julien Dubuque Bridge. The bridge was closed from about 8:30 until around 10:30 this morning, while authorities continue to investigate a fatal crash on the bridge last month. The crash killed 34 year old Steven Werner of Dubuque, who was an employee and passenger in a Paramount Ambulance that struck the rear of a semi-truck in the early morning hours of April 27th. The driver of the ambulance, 19 year old Jack Dillman was taken to Finley Hospital for treatment of his injuries following the accident. Investigators are trying to determine how fast the ambulance was traveling before it smashed into the semi. So far, no charges have been filed.


Police: Suspect Choked, Shoved Pregnant Girlfriend

A Dubuque man is facing multiple domestic abuse charges after police say he choked and shoved a woman he knew was pregnant. 36-year-old Keithen Martin was arrested at the Dubuque Wal-Mart at about 4:00 Monday afternoon. According to police, officers had met with Martin’s live-in girlfriend at the nearby Lowe’s earlier in the afternoon. She told police that Martin had assaulted her earlier that day after they’d gotten into an argument about her becoming pregnant with his child. She says Martin choked her, took away her cell phone, and shoved her into their bed several times. When police went to the Wal-Mart to arrest Martin, he reportedly ran from them, trying to escape through a rear fire exit. He was eventually surrounded and surrendered. Martin’s been charged with two counts of Domestic Assault, False Imprisonment, and Interference with Official Acts.