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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Dubuque Woman Facing Prostitution, Forgery Charges

McDougal

A Dubuque woman is facing prostitution and forgery charges after police say she tried to cash a check belonging to her “john.” 42-year-old Yolanda McDougal was arrested at her home on West 17th Street Friday afternoon. According to police, McDougal received several checks from a man and tried to cash them at a local credit union. She reportedly told police that the checks were payment for sex acts that she and a friend had performed for the man earlier this month. The checks totaled $700. She initially told officers that the man had written the checks out, but later changed her story to say she had written the checks out, and the man had only signed them. If convicted on both the prostitution and forgery charges, McDougal could face up to seven years in prison.

New York Man Convicted in Hopkinton Bank Robbery

A New York man could spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty of robbing a Delaware County bank. 27-year-old Daniel Jackson learned his fate in US District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday. A jury found him guilty on four counts, including Armed Bank Robbery. According to prosecutors, Jackson and Jason Centeno drove from their home in Muscatine to Hopkinton to rob the Citizens State Bank last October. Each man displayed a weapon as they demanded that bank employees hand over money. They also restrained two of the employees. The two made off with about $8,000 and returned to Muscatine. They were arrested in Florida a little more than a week after the robbery. Jackson’s sentencing date has not been set. He’s facing a minimum of seven years behind bars, with a possible maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

Dubuque Food Giveaway Saturday

Elderly and low income residents in Dubuque County are being reminded of another food giveaway this weekend. The food giveaway will be held between 7:30 and 9:30 Saturday morning at the Labor Harvest Building on West Locust Street. Food recipients should bring their identification card and a box or container for the food. The giveways are funded by grants from the Dubuque Racing Association and F.E.M.A.

Dubuque Community Engagement Award 

The city of Dubuque along with Teska Associates were recntly recognized for their Imagine Dubuque Community Engagement Plan. The award comes from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association and honors the city in its’ Public Outreach Category. The engagement plan was the public outreach campaign for Dubuque’s new comprehensive plan called “Imagine Dubuque 2037: A Call to Action.” Imagine Dubuque included broad community outreach and made extensive use of traditional methods and technology to expand public participation in planning. Over 12-thousand-500 ideas from over six thousand people from all sectors of the city came from Imagine Dubuque. The 2017 APA-Iowa Awards were announced during the Upper Midwest Planning Conference in Dubuque in early October.

Poll: Blum, Finkenauer in Statistical Tie

Blum, Finkenauer

Iowa Congressman Rod Blum may be in store for the toughest re-election fight of his young political career next year. That’s according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, which finds the two-term Dubuque Republican would be in a statistical tie with one of his challengers if the election were held now. In the poll, Democrat state legislator Abby Finkenauer actually bested Blum, 42% to 40$. But that is within the poll’s three percent margin for error. The survey found that Blum has an approval rating of just 33% in his district, with a majority of voters – 51% – saying they dislike the job he’s done. Just 6% of the district’s voters say they like the job that the new Congress has done since January. More than a thousand voters from the First District took part in the poll, which was conducted last weekend.

Plein Art Festival Brings Artists to Dubuque for Unique Challenges

Artist Kathleen Newman of Chicago works on a pastel painting of the Millwork District (Courtesy: KCRG).

Artists from across the country were in Dubuque this week, completing unique projects around the city. It’s all part of the annual Bluff Strokes: Fall Color Plein Art festival. The artists received several challenges through the week, including doing nighttime works and timed projects. Kathleen Newman of Chicago did a pastel perspective painting of the Historic Millwork District on Thursday. She says the artwork can give Dubuquers an idea of what people from outside the city see when they come here. All of the artwork created this week will be on display at Steeple Square Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Many of the pieces will be up for sale as well.

Dubuque Man Faces Drug Charges, Traffic Citations After Chase

Schumacher

A Dubuque man is facing a handful of charges and traffic citations after leading authorities on a high-speed chase yesterday afternoon. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to make a traffic stop in the Super 20 Mobile Home Park, which is located just off of US Highway 20 west of Dubuque. The driver of the vehicle sped away from the deputy on North Cascade Road. The suspect vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour as the driver headed toward the Key West area. The driver eventually turned northbound on Rockdale Road, but lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a shed. The driver was taken into custody after a short foot chase. He’s identified as 36-year-old Jason Schumacher of Dubuque. He’s been charged with two counts of Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute, as well as single counts of Eluding, Reckless Driving, and Interference.

Kind Votes For Whistleblower Protection Act 

Wisconsin U.S. Representative Ron Kind voted in favor of the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act this week. The bill ensures that no one is retaliated against for coming forward with concerns about waste, fraud and abuse at the VA. The bill offers a number of new protections for whistleblowers and will help ensure that supervisors found guilty of retaliation are held responsible for their actions. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support and is now headed to the President for his signature.

Boy Scouts Open Programs to Girls, But Local Girl Scout Chapter Says “No Thanks”        

For the first time in its 100-year history, the Boy Scouts of America will make all of its programs available to girls. The organization approved the decision to allow girls into the Cub Scout program earlier this week. Inclusion of girls is something some girls and their families had been requesting for years. But Katie Wiedemann, a member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, says their organization has no desire to cross over into the boys’ territory. Wiedemann cites research which shows girl scouts are much more comfortable in an all-girl environment, and are more likely to speak up on issues involving girls. While boy scout membership has declined in recent years, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois say they’ve seen a slight increase in membership this year. Allowing girls to participate in their Cub Scout program would eventually allow them to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout ranking. But Weidemann says girl scouts can earn what is called the “Gold Award.” The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has more than 16,000 members.

Farley Man Claims to Have Hit, Killed Kids During Drunk Driving Arrest

Fern

A Farley man being arrested for drunken driving reportedly claimed to have run over several children. 37-year-old Adam Fern was arrested just before 12:50 this morning near his home on the northwest side of Farley. A Dubuque County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled Fern’s vehicle over after seeing it swerve and run a stop sign. The car also had out of date license plates. During the stop, Fern reportedly admitted to drinking “too much” and knew he was going to jail. Fern was then taken to the Dubuque County Jail. According to the arresting officer, while on the way to jail, Fern made several comments about “being glad he ran over those kids and killed them.” Another officer was sent to the area and found no evidence that Fern’s claims were valid. The sheriff’s department did not receive any reports of pedestrian injuries in the area. When he arrived at the jail, Fern’s blood alcohol content was tested at .205, two-and-a-half times the legal limit. He’s been charged with Operating While Intoxicated and also received four traffic citations.

Betty Jane Helping to Raise Funds for American Red Cross

A Dubuque business is using candy to raise money for disaster relief. Betty Jane Candies is partnering with the American Red Cross this month to provide funding for the Red Cross’ efforts across the country. Betty Jane President Drew Siegert explains that a portion of the sales of certain items on the candy maker’s website will go to the Red Cross. The fundraiser runs through the end of October. Siegert notes that this is an important time for the Red Cross, which has been responding to three hurricanes as well as wildfires in California. Siegert says they chose to do the fundraiser online for technology purposes, but also so the effort could reach as many people as possible. Siegert hopes that with Halloween coming at the end of the month, the fundraiser will provide a significant treat for the Red Cross.

Candy Prohibited from 2017 Dubuque Halloween Parade

This year’s annual Dubuque Halloween parade will have one major difference from past years…there will be no candy handed or thrown to parade attendees. The change comes after several discussions between the city, the police department, and the local YMCA, which hosts the parade. According to police Lt. Scott Baxter, the presence of candy at the event has continually presented a safety issue. Baxter says the Halloween parade is unique in that it happens after dark. The decision to prohibit candy was something all parties involved agreed on. While the policy will only apply to the Halloween parade that this point, it could be implemented for all city parades. In past years, people in the parade were barred from throwing candy from vehicles and floats, but could hand out treats to spectators. But police say that policy was widely ignored. This year’s Halloween parade is scheduled for Monday, October 30 at 6:30 PM.

Dubuque Council to Consider Development Deals

Dubuque’s city council will hold a special meeting tonight to discuss three proposed development deals. If approved, the agreements would provide a total of more than $100,000 to three developers: MetX, Steeple Square, and Rouse and Dean. They’re each seeking $35,000 in grants. MetX would use the funding as part of a proposed $9 million revitalization of the former Lamar Advertising building in the 1600 block of Elm Street. That site would become a medical complex which would be the new home of Crescent Community Health Center. Steeple Square is seeking money to continue the renovation of the former St. Mary’s church campus. Their next project is the creation of an event space that will likely cost $10 million . Finally, Rouse and Dean is looking to renovate a building in the Historic Millwork District. They’re proposing a $1.8 million project to turn a vacant building across the street from Brazen into a marketable space. The council meeting begins at 5:30 this evening in the Historic Federal Building.

Finkenauer, Heckroth Boast 3Q Fundraising Totals

Finkenauer, Heckroth

Two of Congressman Rod Blum’s potential challengers each brought in upwards of $130,000 during the most recent fundraising period. Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Thomas Heckroth are both boasting about their fundraising performance in the third quarter, which closed at the end of September. Finkenauer’s campaign is reporting fundraising haul of $152,000. Combined with the money she raised in the second quarter, that gives the Dubuque state lawmaker more than $300,000 in contributions to this point. Of the money raised in the 3rd quarter, Finkenauer’s campaign says 3/4 of it came from gifts of less than $100. As for Heckroth, he raised more than $130,000 in his first full quarter in the race. That money came from more than 600 individual donors. After expenses, Heckroth has about $105,000 cash-on-hand. Blum’s office has not yet released his fundraising report from the third quarter.

Iowa DNR Investigating Fish Kill North of Dyersville

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources is looking into the cause of an apparent fish kill that happened near Dyersville earlier this week. The kill was reported on Monday, when a caller told DNR staff that they’d noticed dead fish in Hewitt Creek following a rainfall. Investigators located thousands of dead fish beginning at the Highway 136 Bridge north of Dyersville, and extending five miles upstream, where an unnamed stream flows into Hewitt Creek. The DNR says the likely source of the kill is manure that washed into that stream from a nearby animal feeding operation. Water sample tests are pending, and the DNR says it could seek penalties against the animal feeding operation.

Near-Record Number of Births at Finley in September

The month of September saw something of a “baby boom” at one of Dubuque’s hospitals. September brought the second-highest number of babies born in a single month in Finley Hospital’s history. A total of 84 children were brought into the world at Finley in September, an average of nearly three per day. That falls behind only May 1946, when 90 babies were born at Finley. 1946 was the first year of the post-World War II “baby boom” that saw the US population jump by more than 12 million people over the last half of that decade. Finley’s record for most births in a calendar year also came in 1946, though 2017 could approach the mark. 828 babies were born at Finley in 1946. The hospital is on pace for just more than 800 births this year, which would be an 18 percent jump from 2016.

Restaurant Owner: Construction Might Force Me to Close

Crews work on a new storm sewer near the intersection of 17th and Elm Streets in Dubuque (Courtesy: KCRG).

The owner of a Dubuque restaurant is concerned that construction outside his business may force him to close. Yanni Karavargoes opened the Corner Grill at the intersection of 17th and Elm Streets back in 2013. About two months ago, the streets on both sides of the business were closed due to construction. Karavargoes says that’s made it nearly impossible for customers to get to the restaurant. The construction is related to the Bee Branch Flood Mitigation System. The city is installing a new storm sewer which is expected to alleviate flash flooding in the area. The work is expected to last through November, and Karavargoes is clinging to hope that his business can survive that long. The city did put up a sign along the detour around the construction letting drivers know that the Corner Grill is still open. Workers also kept one of the sidewalks that leads to the restaurant open as long as they could.

Shaw, Pregler Claim Top Spots in 1st Ward Primary

A pair of political newcomers will face off to represent Dubuque’s 1st Ward on the City Council. Brett Shaw and John Pregler, who are both running for office for the first time, were the top vote-getters in yesterday’s primary election. The two advance to the general election on November 7. Shaw received the most votes, with 359. Pregler was next with 237. The third candidate in the race, Lou Oswald, received just 86 votes. Turnout for the election was just 6.3%. The 1st Ward includes much of the western and southern parts of Dubuque. It is currently represented by Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council.

Walker Promotes Sparsity Boost in Belmont

Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made a stop in the southwestern part of the state yesterday afternoon to promote legislation that would increase funding for rural school districts. The governor told students and faculty at Belmont High School about the proposed increase in sparsity aid. According to Walker, the legislation would boost that support from $300 to $400 per student for districts that qualify. The bill also creates a second tier of sparsity aid by providing $100 per pupil for mid-sized districts. State Senator Howard Marklein of Spring Green is a co-sponsor of the bill. He says if it passes, the funding increase will kick in next school year. Marklein expects broad support for the bill.

 

 

Police Looking for Comiskey Park Fire Suspects

Dubuque Police are looking for a group of young people responsible for setting a garbage container on fire in Comiskey Park over the summer. The fire was reported on August 20. The garbage container was a total loss. Police are more concerned about the fire’s close proximity to the Community Center, which is located in the park. The department has posted images of the suspects on its ID4PD website.

Senior’s Cowart Selected as Area’s Top Youth Leader

A Senior High school student was named the Dubuque area’s top young leader at a conference late last month. Olivia Cowart received the honor at the conclusion of this year’s Dubuque Area Youth Leadership Conference, or DAYLC (day-lack). Cowart was one of one hundred high school students from around the Tri-States selected for the conference, which aims to unlock the potential of students who have already demonstrated leadership abilities within their schools. Students are nominated by school personnel, then have to complete an application process. Those selected take part in a two-day workshop hosted by Clarke University and the University of Dubuque. At the conclusion of the conference, ten of the students are chosen to receive college scholarships of up to one thousand dollars. Due to her selection as the area’s top leader, Cowart will represent the Tri-States at the National Youth Leadership Conference in St. Louis later this month. Samuel Lange of East Dubuque was chosen to attend that conference as well. DAYLC students come from all three of Dubuque’s high schools, as well as Beckman, Cascade, Cuba City, East Dubuque, Bellevue Marquette, Southwestern, and Western Dubuque.

Scholarship Winners

Maeve Breslin, Wahlert

Abby Connolly, Senior

Olivia Cowart, Senior

Adam Goninen, Cuba City

Anna Herrig, Wahlert

Jalen Hildebrand, Senior

Caitlin Kennedy, Beckman

Samuel Lange, East Dubuque

Madeline Ludwig, Cascade

Emily Tigges, Senior

Man Injured in September Motorcycle Crash Passes Away

The man injured in a motorcycle crash south of Dubuque last month has died, more than two weeks after the crash. According to a release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department, 45-year-old Bobby Lyons died Monday. Lyons was seriously injured in the crash, which happened a few minutes after 11:00 PM on September 23. He was taken from the crash site to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It’s not clear if he was still in the hospital at the time of his death. The crash happened near the intersection of Olde Davenport Road and Scenic View Drive, which is a little more than a mile south of the Dubuque Technology Park.

First Ward Primary Election in Dubuque Today

People living in one section of Dubuque will narrow the field of City Council candidates tomorrow. A primary election will be held in the city’s First Ward, where three men are running to be the council representative. Lou Oswald, John Pregler, and Brett Shaw are each seeking to take over for Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM tomorrow. Voting locations include Rockdale United Methodist Church, Theisen’s, Area Residential Care, the Journey Church, and the Tri-State Blind Society. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on November 7th.

Betwell’s Trial to be Moved Out of Dubuque

Betwell

The trial for a Dubuque man accused of raping and murdering a woman a little more than two years ago will be moved out of Dubuque. A judge last week approved a change of venue motion filed by the attorneys for 21-year-old Helmon Betwell. He’s charged with First-Degree Murder and First-Degree Sexual Assault in the September 2015 death of 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl. The judge agreed with Betwell’s attorneys’ claim that media coverage of the incident has influenced potential jurors. According to police, Betwell attacked Krapfl while she was on her morning walk. She later died of her injuries at a Dubuque hospital. Betwell’s trial is currently scheduled to begin in February, though a new location has not yet been chosen.

Escaped Work Release Inmate Recaptured

Boyd

An inmate who failed to report to a Dubuque correctional facility last week has been re-captured. 33-year-old Danny Boyd was taken into custody a few minutes before 6:30 Monday night. Authorities had been looking for him since late last week, when did not return to the Dubuque Residential Facility on Elm Street following a work release. Boyd had served about seven years of a ten-year prison term before being moved to the Elm Street facility in February. His prison sentence stemmed from a robbery conviction in early 2010. Boyd is now facing an additional charge of Escape. That’s a serious misdemeanor. If convicted, Boyd could face an additional year in prison.

Dubuque Police Investigate Gunfire Report

Dubuque Police are looking into a report of gunfire on the northern edge of the downtown area. Officers were called to the intersection of 19th and White Streets at about 4:00 Sunday morning. Multiple witnesses in the area had reported hearing gunshots. Officers weren’t able to find any spent shell casings, but did located broken glass from a vehicle parked on the street. Traffic camera footage also apparently shows several people in the area around the time the reports came in. No one has reported any injuries or damage related to the suspected gunfire.

Dozens of Cats Dropped Off At Dubuque Humane Society

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society received some unexpected guests over the weekend. Staff members found two U-Haul boxes containing more forty cats and kittens on Sunday morning. Melissa Palfrey from the Humane Society says they don’t know who left the animals, but they are being cared for. Humane Society staff set up a triage to care for the cats and kittens. Once the animals are spayed and neutered, they will be put up for adoption. To the best of Palfrey’s knowledge, this is the first time animals have been left at the Humane Society’s doorstep. It’s believed that the cats were dropped off sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. By the time staff arrived at the building, some of them had gotten out of the boxes and had to be tracked down around the Humane Society’s campus.

Dubuque Man Arrested In Fraud Scheme 

A Dubuque man is the latest to be arrested in a fraud scheme that targeted the elderly. 23-year-old Austin Bain was arrested shortly after 12:30 Sunday morning and has been charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct and Second-Degree Theft. According to prosecutors, those running the scam would call mostly elderly victims and tell them that a loved one had been arrested and needed bail money to be released. The victims would send the money via Money Gram or Western Union. Court documents say Bain was a “runner,” who would collect wire transfers and send them overseas to the people orchestrating the scam. 19 others with ties to the Dubuque area face state charges while 11 people face federal charges in the scam.

Former Police Officer Already on Probation Arrested on Theft Charge

Cross

A former Dubuque police officer appears to have violated his probation after an early morning arrest. 31-year-old Kyle Cross was arrested at about 5:00 this morning and has been charged with Second-Degree Theft. Cross’ current employer, Boost Mobile, claims he is responsible for taking more than $7,200 from the business this year. Cross is currently on probation following his conviction on a sexual abuse charge last year. In May of 2016, Cross reached an agreement to plead guilty to one count of Third-Degree Sexual Abuse. Cross had been accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl, though he claimed she had lied and said she was 19. As part of the deal, Cross was able to avoid jail time with a suspended ten-year prison sentence. He was also required to register as a sex offender and was placed on five years’ probation. According to County Attorney Ralph Potter, probations typically carry a requirement that the offender not commit any additional crimes. It’s not clear exactly what the details of Cross’ probation were, or what increased penalty he could face if his probation is revoked.

Dubuque Council Primary Set for Tuesday

Residents of Ward 1 (green area) will be able to vote in a council primary election on Tuesday.

People living in one section of Dubuque will narrow the field of City Council candidates tomorrow. A primary election will be held in the city’s First Ward, where three men are running to be the council representative. Lou Oswald, John Pregler, and Brett Shaw are each seeking to take over for Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council. But the primary election comes at a cost, according to county officials. That’s because the primary election requires just as much work as a general election, as County Election Commissioner Jenny Hillary explained to our coverage partner, KCRG-TV. Hillary estimates that holding the primary will cost the city between $6,000 and $8,000, but she won’t know the final total until after the general election. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM tomorrow. Voting locations include Rockdale United Methodist Church, Theisen’s, Area Residential Care, the Journey Church, and the Tri-State Blind Society. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on November 7th.

Reynolds to Visit Maquoketa

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor is set to visit Jackson County this week. Governor Kim Reynolds will be touring the YMCA in Maquoketa on Wednesday afternoon, according to the public schedule released by her office over the weekend. Reynolds’ visit to the facility is scheduled for 2:00 Wednesday afternoon. The stop is a part of a tour through east-central and southeast Iowa that will take the governor to seven communities on Wednesday and Thursday.

Southwest Wisconsin Counties Included in Federal Disaster Declaration

Four counties in the southwest corner of Wisconsin will received federal assistance in cleaning up from storms over the summer. Crawford, Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties have been included in a federal disaster declaration that was approved by President Donald Trump on Saturday. Those counties are among eleven in Wisconsin that will now have access to federal resources for storm clean up and recovery. The area was hit by heavy rains and high winds in late July, which caused flooding and mudslides in some places. The counties had already been included in a state disaster declaration. Damage to state-owned infrastructure – including roads and bridges – was estimated at more than $15 million.

Cyclists Finish Ride Across Iowa in Dubuque

A group of a little more than a dozen bicyclists rode into Dubuque early yesterday morning, less than 24 hours after they’d left Sioux City on the other side of the state. The riders were participating in what’s known as the Ride Across Iowa in a Day, or RAID. A group of 28 cyclists began the ride in Sioux City at about 4:00 Saturday morning. Seventeen of them finished the trek as they crossed into Dubuque almost a full day later. An Arizona man was the first to finish the ride, arriving in Dubuque in just more than 16 hours. That means he averaged more than 20 miles per hour on his ride.

New Ordinances For ATVs/UTVs

ATV and UTV owners in Lafayette County now have several new ordinances that they will have to abide by. The County Board of Supervisors recently approved and passed three new ordinances designed to make travel safer for operators. The first one establishes a countywide speed limit of 30 mph for ATVs and UTVs traveling on any trail or route within the county. Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill says the fine for violating the ordinance is 200-dollars and 50 cents. The second newly approve ordinance makes it unlawful for any occupant, whether it’s the driver or a passenger, to possess an open container of  alcohol. Gill says for the most part operators of ATV’s and UTV’s have adhered to the law, but the new ordinances will make travel safer for everyone.

 

Student In Possession Of Stun Gun At Hempstead

A student at Hempstead High School was cited after bringing a stun gun to school earlier this week. Dubuque police say a fellow student alerted school officials and the stun gun was immediately confiscated. The 15 year old boy, whose name has not been released, was given a civil citation for possession of a weapon. In an email to KDTH, Mike Cyze, spokesman for the district said “appropriate disciplinary action will be taken after an investigation into the incident is completed.

Delaware County Man Wins Big 

Wayne Weber

A Delaware County man is 50-thousand dollars richer after claiming a 50-thousand dollar lottery prize. Wayne Weber of Delhi won the 30th of 43 top prizes of fifty grand available in the Iowa Lottery’s “Super Crossword” scratch game. Weber bought his winning ticket at Gary’s Liquor and Wine in Delaware. Super Crossword is a five dollar scratch game. Weber claimed his prize at the lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Restaurant Home to the “Gunderburger” Up For Sale

A “Gunderburger” with cheese, tomato, onion, and pickles.

A Clayton County restaurant famous for its large burger is apparently for sale. The Irish Shanti, located just outside of Gunder, shared a sales posting on its Facebook page this week. The listing details the improvements made to the Shanti in the past decade, and shows a price of $165,000. The Irish Shanti has gained notoriety over the years for its “Gunderburger,” a massive cheeseburger weighing anywhere between 1 and 1.25 pounds. The sandwich can be eaten by itself, or topped with cheese and a range of other fixings. The Gunderburger was named one of the top ten burgers in Iowa by the state cattlemen association earlier this year. It has also been featured in various online and print publications. It does not appear that the restaurant’s sale is being managed by any realtor. Interested buyers are instead asked to contact the current owners directly.

New Divine Word President to be Inaugurated Today

Fr. Ascheman

A graduate of Divine Word College is set to be installed as the Epworth school’s next president. 1976 Divine Word alum Reverend Tim Ascheman will be inaugurated today. In an interview with KDTH, Ascheman says his inauguration will bring him full circle. Ascheman served in parishes in Mexico and the US and rose to leadership positions in a worldwide missionary order. He says there’s no doubt that Divine Word’s Board of Trustees took all of that into consideration before choosing him to become the next president. Returning to Divine Word is more than just a figurative homecoming for Ascheman. About a century ago, his great-grandfather farmed the land next door to where the school would be built. Years later, his mother was actually born on that same farm. Ascheman says the notion of what a “missionary” is has changed. In his inaugural speech, Ascheman will ask the question, “Can anything good come from Epworth?” Ascheman succeeds Rev. Timothy Lenchak, who served two terms as president of Divine Word. The inauguration ceremony starts at 5:00 PM.

 

Authorities Seeking Dubuque Work Release Inmate

Boyd

Dubuque authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating an inmate who failed to return to a correctional facility. The Iowa Department of Corrections says 33-year-old Danny Boyd failed to report back to the Dubuque Residential Facility on Elm Street yesterday. Back in 2010, Boyd reached a plea deal with prosecutors and had a charge of 1st Degree Robbery reduced to 2nd Degree in exchange for a guilty plea. A judge sentenced him to ten years in prison later that year. Boyd was moved to the work release facility this past February. Boyd is an African-American man who stands 6’1″ tall and weighs about 315 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Dubuque Police.

UPDATE: State Patrol IDs Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

We now know the name of the man killed in a motorcycle crash outside Dyersville yesterday morning. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 60-year-old David Jones of Palatka, Florida, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which happened about a mile south of Dyersville on Iowa Highway 136. A crash report from the State Patrol says Jones was southbound on 136 shortly after 11:00 AM when he came upon a tractor pulling a manure wagon. As the driver of the tractor tried to turn left onto a farm lane, Jones wasn’t able to stop and collided with the tractor.

UPDATE: Authorities Release Details Involving Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

The Iowa State Patrol has released more information on a motorcycle fatality that occurred near Dyersville this morning. At around ten minutes after 11, a tractor pulling a manure wagon was traveling south on Iowa 136, when it attempted to turn left into a farm lane. The manure wagon was struck by a motorcycle that was also headed south. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. That person’s name has not been released. A portion of Iowa 136, from Castle Road to Rockville Road was closed while the crash scene was being investigated. It has since re-opened.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Dyersville

Authorities are investigating a motorcycle fatality that happened this morning near Dyersville. Scanner traffic indicated the fatal accident involved a motorcyclist and a piece of farm machinery. The crash happened in the ten thousand block of Iowa 136 just south of Dyersville at around 11:10 a.m. That portion of Iowa 136, from Olde Castle Road to Rockville Road was closed as the crash scene was being investigated.  It has since re-opened. We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

O’Mara: Rain Starts This Evening, Could Last Until Saturday Morning

The rain that will move into the Tri-States this afternoon could stick around for a couple of days. Our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV tell us that rain is likely all day Friday, through the night, and into Saturday morning. Initially, it looked like the system bringing the rain would have gotten here by midday today, but meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says the timing has since shifted. Most of our listening area can expect to receive about two inches over the duration of the rain, with higher amounts where thunderstorms pop up. But O’Mara says the rain won’t fall steadily all the way through Saturday morning, but will come in several spurts. While it’s not uncommon to have showers into October, O’Mara says it is a bit unusual to have a rain event of this duration and volume this far into fall. Depending on the strength of some of the thunderstorms that come with the system, O’Mara says rainfall totals could approach four inches in some areas.

Police: Woman Had Barred Driver Cash Stolen Checks for Her

Zirtzman

A Dubuque woman is facing multiple charges after police say she wrote stolen checks to herself, then had a man without a driver’s license cash them for her. 34-year-old Amy Zirtzman was arrested at about 6:30 Tuesday night. According to court documents, a man identified as Bruce Churchwell cashed four checks made out to Zirtzman at the Dupaco in Key West over a week-long stretch in late August and early September. Churchwell used Zirtzman’s account to cash the checks, which totaled 440 dollars. Churchwell drove to the Dupaco branch in a Honda Civic registered to Zirtzman. That’s despite him being barred from obtaining an Iowa driver’s license. A total of nine charges have been filed against Zirtzman: four counts each of Forgery and Permitting an Unauthorized Person to Drive, along with one count of Fourth-Degree Theft.

18 Months in Prison for Dubuque Woman Who Stole From Employer

A Dubuque woman will spend a year and a half in federal prison as punishment for stealing from the business she worked for. 35-year-old Jennifer Shively was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison yesterday. That comes after she pleaded guilty to one count of Mail Fraud earlier this year. As part of her plea, Shively admitted to stealing more than $70,000 from her employer. Court documents don’t identify the business where Shively worked as a bookkeeper. She admitted to using that position to write herself unauthorized checks from the business account. She also opened a credit card in her employer’s name and used it to buy personal items between August of 2012 and March of 2014. In addition to her time in prison, Shively will have to pay back nearly $80,000 in restitution to the victim.

Grassley Talks Border Security 

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley says there needs to be changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But that might not be something the president campaigned on. Grassley made his comments during a Senate Judiciary hearing on the DACA program this week. President Trump has long said he wants a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. But the administration says it is willing to separate border wall and DACA discussions. DACA is a program that protects children brought to the U.S. illegally from deportation. DACA recipients have until tomorrow to renew their status.

Indecent Exposure Arrest at Mines of Spain

Kaiser

A Dubuque man has been accused of exposing himself to a woman at the Mines of Spain recreation area. 55-year-old Steven Kaiser was arrested by Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon on a charge of Indecent Exposure. Deputies had been called to the Mines of Spain earlier in the afternoon after a woman reported the incident. According to court documents, Kaiser was sitting in a car when he asked the woman if she would “like to party?” That’s when he reportedly exposed himself. Deputies stopped a vehicle matching the description the woman gave. Kaiser admitted to talking to the woman, but denied exposing himself.

School Official: Police Would Determine Credibility of Any Possible Threat

School districts in several parts of Iowa have gone on alert this week after vague threats about attacks have been sent to parents or posted online. The threats first popped up in the Des Moines suburb of Johnson Monday night. Classes were cancelled there Tuesday, and schools opened late Wednesday. Additional threats have also been reported in the northern Iowa town of Algona and the Quad Cities. There have not been any threats against Dubuque schools to this point, but district Community Relations Director Mike Cyze says they would work with local police to determine the credibility of any threat. The district has a range of steps it could take in the event of a threat, from adding security officers in specific buildings up to cancelling classes. Cyze says the first thing the district would do if a threat was received would be to turn it over the local police, and he hopes that parents would do the same. Johnston Police have determined the threats to schools there was not credible. In Algona, the local police department says it didn’t have enough time to evaluate the threat before school started on Wednesday.

Dubuque County’s Emergency Plan Covers Range of Possible Disasters

Berger

Agencies from across Dubuque County would come together in the event of a large-scale disaster similar to this week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. According to County Emergency Management Director Tom Berger, a plan is in place to respond to what’s known as a “mass casualty situation.” Berger says the plan is extensive, and involves several local departments and agencies. Much of the plan mirrors the procedures that federal and state agencies would follow. The county runs a full-scale emergency drill every three years, though some organizations test out more often. But Berger admits that there’s no level of planning that can truly prepare officials for a large-scale emergency. A copy of the county’s emergency plan can be downloaded from the county website.

Wisconsin Man Found with Meth in Dubuque County Jail

Eastlick

A Wisconsin man has been accused of having meth in the Dubuque County Jail. 36-year-old Derek Eastlick of Mount Hope has been charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Institution. According to court documents, jail staff found Eastlick with a ten-gram bag of meth on Sunday night. Eastlick was in jail after being arrested the previous morning on additional drug charges. Dubuque Police officers say he had marijuana, LSD, and drug paraphernalia in the parking lot of Q Casino. Both of the latest charges against Eastlick are felonies.

Intersection of University & Pennsylvania Closed

The intersection of two of Dubuque’s most traveled streets is expected to be closed much of this morning, impacting some morning commutes. According to a release from the city, a car struck what’s called a “major” utility pole at the intersection of University and Pennsylvania avenues last night. Alliant Energy has told the city that repairs to the pole could take until mid-morning today to complete. That intersection is now closed, and a detour around it has been set up. Even with that detour in place, the city is asking drivers to avoid the area if possible.

Rios To Stage Write-In Campaign For Dubuque Mayor 

Rios

A member of the Dubuque City Council will try to unseat Mayor Roy Buol as a write-in candidate. 4th Ward representative Jake Rios will challenge Buol for the mayor’s position next month. It was anticipated that Buol would be unopposed for a fourth term in office, but Rios says issues that he’s brought to the table since being elected two years ago are not being addressed. With only about five weeks before Election Day, Rios realizes he’ll have to campaign quickly and efficiently. Late last month, Rios and fellow councilman Luis Del Toro accused Buol’s wife of sending racially insensitive messages on social media. But Rios says that did not play into his decision to challenge Buol. City elections will be held November 7th.

Crews Fighting Barn Fire Near Darlington 

Multiple fire units were at the scene of a large barn fire near Darlington this afternoon. According to scanner traffic, crews responded to the 19-thousand block of Wisconsin 81 west of Darlington at around 12:15 this afternoon. The barn houses livestock and hay and it’s not known at this time if there was a lost of human life or if any of the animals parished in the blaze. Along with the Darlington Fire Department, mutuel aid was being provided by departments from Belmont, Cuba City, Gratiot and Mineral Point. We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

Alliant’s Dubuque Solar Projects Nearing Completion

A pair of solar energy projects being built in and around Dubuque are nearing completion. Alliant Energy is currently constructing so-called “solar gardens” west of Dubuque on Humke Road and in the industrial area just east of the Historic Millwork District. According to Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss, the company is now making the final checks on those projects. The array being built on Humke Road will be the largest solar farm in Iowa, with a capability of producing five megawatts of power. Alliant is looking to host some city leaders to show them the progress later this month. Completion of the downtown project will happen further into the winter, so Alliant won’t show off that site until next spring. Foss says Alliant will take the lessons it learns building the Dubuque solar gardens and apply them to future projects. Alliant has several wind and solar constructions underway in Iowa at the moment. When they all come online, the company expects to produce as much as one-third of its electricity from renewable sources.

Dubuque Chamber Makes Council Endorsements

Dubuque’s Chamber of Commerce wants to see some new faces on the City Council. The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements for the upcoming council elections, and it will be backing newcomers to the council in each of the contested races. In the 1st Ward, the Chamber has put its support behind John Pregler. He’s one of three candidates seeking that seat, along with Brett Shaw and Lou Oswald. Those three will face off in a primary next Tuesday, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general election. In the 3rd Ward, the Chamber is backing Damien Waid over Kate Larson. They’re both running to replace the outgoing Joyce Connors, who’s been on the council since 2002. The Chamber is also supporting a new face in for the At Large seat that’s on the ballot this year. That’s jeweler Jonathan McCoy, who is challenging incumbent Ric Jones. The Chamber has also endorsed Mayor Roy Buol, who is unopposed for a 4th term in office.

Dickinson: Retaining Flexsteel a “Twenty Year Overnight Success”

Dickinson

One of Dubuque’s economic development leaders says retaining Flexsteel would not have been possible without the city’s foresight to develop industrial parks on the outskirts of Dubuque. Rick Dickinson, Executive Director of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, delivered that body’s quarterly report to the Dubuque City Council last night. Dickinson called Flexsteel’s decision to stay in Dubuque an “overnight success” that was actually decades in the making. Dickinson also defended the incentive package that the city and county will be providing Flexsteel, which includes a ten-year period where the company will pay no property tax on their new facility. He says that property tax break the company will receive is no different that the tax-increment financing that other cities use to lure companies. Flexsteel is also using state economic development funds to help finance the construction of their new plant.

Flexsteel Breaks Ground on New Facility

Courtesy: KCRG

A Dubuque-based manufacturer officially began the process to keep about two hundred jobs in the Key City. Flexsteel broke ground on what will be a $25 million facility in Dubuque’s Industrial Center West yesterday morning. Company officials announced last fall that they were planning to leave their current plant on Jackson Street. From there, the company worked with local economic development leaders to come up with a way to stay in Dubuque. Flexsteel President Karel Czaderna says she’s happy they were able to make it work. Flexsteel will be receiving an incentives package from the city, county, and state. In exchange, they are donating their Jackson Street plant to Dubuque Initiatives in the hope that it can become the home of another business. Czaderna says Flexsteel is proud to be able to build on its decades-long history in Dubuque. Flexsteel will be keeping about two hundred jobs in Dubuque at the new plant.

Gas Leak Causes Evacuation On Dubuque’s West End

A gas leak forced the evacuation of several homes in the area of Sieppel Road and North Westbrook Drive on Dubuque’s West End this morning. Fire Chief Rick Steines says crews were dispatched to the area at around 10:45 a.m. He says contractors were installing a fence in the yard of a resident, when they struck a gas main. Sieppel Road has since been re-opened. According to Steines, it took crews from Black Hills Energy a little longer than normal to shut off gas to the area. The residents were allowed back into their homes once the leak was contained. No injuries were reported.

Sidewalks Vandalized Near Bee Branch

 

Dubuque Police are asking for help identifying a group of juveniles who vandalized a sidewalk near the Bee Branch Creek Greenway. The sidewalk is located between East 22nd Street and Rhomberg Avenue. Police say the juveniles threw large rocks onto the sidewalk, causing hundreds of dollars in damage. Several images of the kids involved have been posted to the police department’s ID4PD website. Additional image below:

Platteville Man, Grandson Escape Serious Injury as Truck Starts on Fire

A Platteville man and his young grandson were able to escape serious injury after their pickup truck collided with a piece of farm equipment and caught fire. At about 7:15 last Tuesday night, 65-year-old Kevin Zimmerman was driving west on County Road A south of Livingston. His pickup met a semi pulling a silage bagger, which was extending into Zimmerman’s lane. Because of the size of the semi, Zimmerman wasn’t able to see the bagger, which ripped up his front drivers-side tire. Zimmerman’s truck continued on for a few yards before bursting into flames. He and his four-year-old grandson were able to get out of the truck, suffering only minor injuries. Zimmerman’s truck has been deemed a total loss. The bagger sustained an unknown amount of damage as well.

Rural Dubuque Man Accused of Giving Runaway Girl a Ride, Place to Stay

Maker

A 19-year-old rural Dubuque man has been accused of helping a teenage girl run away from home. Brandon Maker was arrested a few minutes after 4:30 Sunday afternoon at his apartment on John Deere Road. Deputies from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department say they found a 14-year-old girl hiding in a closet in the apartment. That’s after Maker had denied knowing where the girl was. The girl’s parents had reported her missing on Thursday, and told officers it was possible she would be with Maker. After being found by the deputies, the girl reportedly told them that Maker had helped her run away by offering her a ride and a place to stay. Maker is now charged with Harboring a Runaway, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Are Changes Coming to Iowa’s Bottle Bill?

Bender

Changes to Iowa’s so-called “Bottle Bill” could be on the horizon. In the late 1970s, the state’s legislature enacted a law that placed a five-cent deposit on drink containers. Iowans can redeem that deposit at a variety of locations, including grocery stores. Those stores are now leading the push to either repeal or change the law. Jake Bender is the Vice President of Bellevue-based Bender’s Foods. He says it’s inconsistent to expect stores to maintain high levels of cleanliness while handling empty bottles and cans. Earlier this year, a proposal passed the Iowa House which would have taken that responsibility off of grocery stores and put a larger emphasis on local redemption centers. It would have also expanded the law to cover containers of non-carbonated beverages, such as bottled water and sports drinks. Bender would also be in favor of extending curbside recycling programs to rural parts of the state, as has been done with garbage collection. Changes to the “bottle bill” have been discussed for many years, and Bender sees next year’s legislative session as the best chance for lawmakers to get something done. Bender’s Foods operates grocery stores in Bellevue and Guttenberg in Iowa, plus Fennimore and Muscoda in Wisconsin.

Jackson County Celebrates “Manufacturing Week”

This week is “Manufacturing Week” in Jackson County. Businesses will be opening their doors to students, as part of an effort to help people understand the industry and the career opportunities it provides. Nick Hockenberry, Assistant Economic Alliance Director for the county, says one of the activities during the week will have high school students touring manufacturing facilities throughout the county. Manufacturing adds more than $31 billion to Iowa’s economy each year. The manufacturing payroll in Jackson County totals more than $35 million per year. A shortage of skilled manufacturing workers is expected in the next few years. Plastics Unlimited in Preston will hold an open house for the general public tomorrow and will be accepting applications for employment.

Teen Arrested After Late Saturday Night Chase

A Dubuque teenager is facing a handful of charges after leading sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase that started Saturday night and stretched into early Sunday morning. 19-year-old Levi Duve was arrested about a mile outside of the Sherrill city limits after officers used stop sticks to disable his vehicle. The chase had started just outside of Dubuque on Riverside Road just before midnight. Deputies had been called to the area on a report of a suspicious vehicle. As officers approached the car, it took off. Duve has been charged with Operating While Intoxicated, Eluding, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A juvenile passenger in the car was turned over to their parents.

Charges Dropped Against Accused Massage Parlor Workers

Two women accused of taking money for sex acts in Dubuque massage parlors have had the charges against them dropped. 27-year-old Yan Yan Zhao and 54-year-old Mingyan Li were both arrested in early May after law enforcement raids at two Dubuque massage parlors. They were initially charged with Prostitution and failing to have proper licenses. But according to online court records, those charges have now been dropped. The two women were both scheduled to go on trial in two weeks. The owner of the parlors where they were arrested, John Hart, is facing human trafficking and pimping charges, as is his wife. They’re scheduled to go on trial later this month.

Fire Destroys Machine Shed In Dubuque County

Authorities continue to investigate a fire that destroyed a machine shed and its’ contents in Dubuque County Friday night. A release from the Sheriff’s Office says fire crews from several departments responded to the Steve and Donna Kalb farm in the 19-thousand block of Pilot Grove Road at around 9:37 p.m. Upon arrival crews discovered a large machine shed that was fully engulfed in flames. The building and its’ contents, including a combine tractor and other farming equipment were a total loss. The exact cause of the fire is not known at this time, but authorities say it does not appear suspicious in nature.

Farley Bar Won’t Be Showing NFL Games Anytime Soon

It appears to be picking up momentum across the country, as more and more local watering holes and sports bars, including one in our listening area, have decided not to show NFL games as long as players continue to kneel during the national anthem. NFL players have long said that the purpose of kneeling is to protest police brutality and racial inequality in America, but many people view it as a sign of disrespect toward the country and the flag. Ann Casutt, co-owner and operator of the BrickHaus Bar and Grill in Farley has joined some of her fellow bar owners around the country who won’t be showing NFL games. She says when they first opened nine months ago, the community welcomed them with open arms, especially the veterans from American Legion Post 656. Casutt says while she supports anyone’s right to protest, she doesn’t believe kneeling during the national anthem and disrespecting the American flag is the way to do it. Casutt says they turned off the Bears/Packers game last night (Thursday night) in favor of college football. She says they realize by not showing NFL games, their bottom line could be affected over the long haul, but that’s a risk they’re willing to take. If the protest ended next week, Casutt says she and her partner would discuss if and when they would resume making NFL games available to their patrons.

Driver Trying to Escape Police Reaches 80 MPH in Residential Area

A Dubuque man is facing a litany of criminal charges and traffic citations after leading police on a high-speed chase through a residential area early this morning. A few minutes after 1:00 AM, police were notified of some suspicious activity near the intersection of West 3rd Street and North Grandview Avenue. A responding officer spotted a vehicle described by witnesses and began following it south on Grandview. That’s when the vehicle began to speed up, eventually running a stop light and turning west. The vehicle turned again onto Lombard Street and reached 80 miles per hour as it approached the intersection with South Algona Street. The driver took the turn too fast, and the car ended up in a grassy area. The driver got out and ran off. Police set up a perimeter around the area and used a PA system to call out to the driver, identified at that time as 18-year-old Isaiah Boyd. Boyd surrendered after a few minutes and has been charged with Eluding, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He’s also been cited for driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and running a red light.

Craft Beer Booming Across US, in Iowa

7 Hills Brewing Company’s Dubuque taproom (Courtesy: KCRG).

An industry that is booming across the country is also seeing an upswing here in Iowa. A recent report by the Brewers Association found that craft brewing contributed about $67 billion to the US economy last year. That includes more than $860 million worth of business here in Iowa. Dubuque has a long beer-making history, and several new start-ups are getting back to those roots. 7 Hills Brewing recently opened a taproom in the Historic Millwork District. Brewer Brian Zeimet says the entire idea behind craft brewing is making beer of the highest possible quality, not quantity. 7 Hills President Keith Gutierrez says the business is filling a demand that had largely gone untapped in Dubuque. 7 Hills is one of two locally-owned microbreweries now operating in Dubuque, along with Jubeck’s New World Brewing, which opened in 2014. The Dubuque Bier Company is based in Dubuque, but does their brewing in nearby Potosi. And Coralville-based Backpocket Brewing also has a taproom in the Millwork District, but company doesn’t do any brewing on-site.

Flexsteel to Break Ground on New Facility Monday

Flexsteel will officially break ground on their new facility next week. The company’s decision to build a new facility, rather than move out of Dubuque, will keep at least 200 jobs in the Key City. Flexsteel’s new plant will be located on Seippel Road in Dubuque’s Industrial Center South. The facility is expected to cost $25 million to build. Some of that money is coming from incentives approved by the city and state of Iowa. Employees at the new facility will work on product design and development, industrial engineering, trucking, and various other manufacturing roles. The groundbreaking for that new building will be held at 10:00 Monday morning.

Dubuque Man Faces Tampering Charge 

A Dubuque man has been accused of trying to intimidate a witness to a recent assault. 22-year-old Raymond Armour has been charged with Tampering with a Witness of Juror. According to police, he rode his bike past a neighboring home in the 3-thousand block of Jackson Street last Saturday afternoon. The woman who lives in the home had reportedly seen Armour assaulting another person a few days earlier. As the woman was on her front porch, Armour rode up on his bicycle and began shouting obscenities at the woman, her son, and her son’s father. Armour reportedly directed his threats at the woman, but turned them on the man when he tried to intervene. The woman went inside the home and armed herself with a Taser, but Armour rode off without any physical altercation taking place. He was arrested later that day. If found guilty on the tampering charge, Armour could be sent to prison for two years.

Key West Fire Damages Commercial Building

A fire caused considerable damage to a commercial building in Key West yesterday morning. Key West firefighters were called to the 10000 block of Key West Drive at around 11:00 AM. According to Fire Chief Brian Arnold, when crews arrived the front of the building was fully engulfed and there was heavy smoke coming from an apartment in that section of the structure. No humans were in the building at the time of the fire, and a dog was able to get out with some assistance. Arnold says they know where the fire originated in the apartment, but the cause is still being investigated. Damage to the building is estimated at about $110,000. The building is owned by Troy Budde, but was being used as rental property.

Dubuque Sees Slight Rise in Violent Crime Rate

Dalsing

Dubuque saw an increase in violent crime in 2016, but the local police chief says that doesn’t mean the city is less safe. According to FBI’s the newly released Uniform Crime Report, the number of violent crimes rose from about 186 per 100,000 residents last year to almost 243 this year. That includes crimes like homicides, rapes, and assaults. But Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing says those types of crimes account for just a small amount of the work the police department does. The increase in the FBI’s numbers is mostly due to a rise in aggravated assaults. Dalsing says the department’s internal numbers also showed the increase, so they’ve known about the change for months now. Dubuque’s violent crime rate was slightly higher than that of Cedar Rapids, but fell lower than both Iowa City and Waterloo. However, Dalsing doesn’t put much stock in those comparisons, based on differences in how departments track crime. Dalsing says officers can generate higher numbers simply by doing their jobs. Overall, the violent crime rate for the entire state of Iowa ticked up to about 290 crimes per every 100,000 residents.

First Ward Council Candidates Discuss Issues at Forum

The three candidates seeking to represent Dubuque’s 1st Ward on the City Council discussed their reasons for running and thoughts on city issues at a forum Wednesday night. Lou Oswald, John Pregler, and Brett Shaw will face off in a primary election on October 10, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general election. Issues discussed ranged from the Southwest Arterial to recycling to the minimum wage. On the topic of crime in the city, Pregler suggested looking into the shots fired calls that police respond to. Shaw says that while the First Ward might not see the same level of crime as other parts of the city, it’s still a pressing issue. Oswald would provide the police department with any tools they need to fight crime. The topic of a new fire station for the 1st Ward also came up. Oswald believes a new fire station is inevitable, though he’s not sure how it will be funded. Pregler suggested moving a current fire station to better serve the 1st Ward. Shaw says he’d rely on the Fire Department to say what their needs are. The 1st Ward is currently represented by Kevin Lynch, who is stepping down after three terms on the council.

Car Fire Leads to Citations, Charge for SW Wisconsin Man

A southwest Wisconsin man faces several citations and charges after his car started on fire. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, firefighters were called to a car on fire on State Highway 81 near Argyle shortly after 8:00 Wednesday night. Deputies were eventually also called to the scene, where they arrested 26-year-old Mack Stein of Argyle. He’s was cited for five traffic violations:

– Failure to Maintain Control of a Vehicle

– Failure to Notify Police of an Accident

– Possession of Marijuana

– Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

– Operating While Intoxicated.

Stein was arrested on a charge of Obstructing an Officer and taken to the county jail.

Dubuque Girl Named Hawkeye “Kid Captain”

Camdyn Reisner

The University of Iowa is highlighting a Dubuque girl’s story of survival this week. 11-year-old Camdyn Reisner is the “Kid Captain” for this Saturday’s Iowa Hawkeye football game against Michigan State. Camdyn’s mom, Mandy Reisner, says she was a perfectly healthy baby for the first three weeks of her life, when she suddenly stopped breathing. Doctors at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital ran dozens of tests on Camdyn, but had a hard time finding out what was wrong. After several weeks in the hospital, Camdyn was sent home with a heart monitor. Shortly after getting home, the monitor went off, as Camdyn had a heart rate nearly three times faster than normal. That’s when she was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT. The condition causes an irregular heartbeat and means that Camdyn would have to make frequent hospital visits. Mandy says the UI Children’s Hospital worked with local providers to develop a plan for when Camdyn had to visit the emergency room. The loss of oxygen Camdyn suffered as a baby has limited some of her physical development. She goes to physical and speech therapy multiple times each week, but her mom says she’s doing things never thought possible. The “Kid Captain” program recognizes one child for each of the Hawkeyes’ games. Camdyn and the other “Kid Captains” each received a special Hawkeye football jersey, and got a behind-the-scenes tour of Kinnick Stadium during Iowa’s “Kids Day” scrimmage in August.

Farm Fire Near Epworth Destroys Combine

No one was injured but a combine was destroyed by a fire on a farm near Epworth yesterday afternoon. Epworth firefighters were called to the farm in the 7500 block of Hartbecke Road at around 1:00 PM. The combine’s engine compartment was already engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived. The fire was quickly put out and crews were only on scene for about 40 minutes. Damage to the combine is estimated at about $10,000.

Regulator Who Targeted Dubuque Company Has Suit Reinstated

The Iowa Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a state regulator who claimed he was fired for investigating a Dubuque-based gas station chain’s pricing practices. The court ruled Wednesday that Michael Manahl “deserves a chance” to have jurors decide whether he was fired for investigating Molo Petroleum. The court said “fair inferences exist” that Manahl’s boss at the Iowa Department of Agriculture wasn’t happy with his inquiry into Molo, which operates Big 10 Mart Convenience Stores. Manahl objected to Molo’s practice of selling the same octane fuel at different prices. Molo denied wrongdoing, complaining to Manahl’s bosses he was unfairly hurting the company’s reputation. Manahl was hired in 2012 as the department’s weights and measures bureau chief. He was fired when his six-month probationary period expired. State lawyers say Manahl was fired for poor performance.

Hillcrest Hosts “Stand Down” to Help Homeless Vets Receive Care

An event with roots in the Vietnam era will aim to provide various services for homeless veterans in the Dubuque area. Hillcrest Family Services will be hosting a “Stand Down for Veterans” event at the Dubuque Masonic Temple tomorrow morning. Ginger Schoop, a program coordinator for Hillcrest’s Operation Home, outlines the services that will be available. According to Schoop, “Stand Downs” were originally held to provide basic care for those fighting in the Vietnam War. After the war ended, the VA began hosting similar events for homeless veterans. The “Stand Downs” have now spread all across the country. In addition to medical care, veterans will also get help finding a job. The “Stand Down” will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM tomorrow. While the event is geared toward veterans, Schoop says it’s open to anyone without secure housing.

Reynolds Using NFL Player Criticism in Fundraising Pitch

Reynolds

Iowa’s Governor is trying to use her criticism of pro football players to raise money for her re-election campaign. While some NFL players have been kneeling during the National Anthem since last fall, dozens more did so over the weekend in response to President Donald Trump calling for them to be fired. Governor Kim Reynolds was asked about the protests during her weekly news conference, and accused the players of disrespecting the American flag. Now, Reynolds’ campaign has used her remarks in an email to supporters asking them for contributions to her re-election effort. The email was sent on Tuesday, and includes a link to Reynolds’ campaign website. Reynolds became Iowa’s governor in May when her predecessor, Terry Branstad, stepped down to become US Ambassador to China. Reynolds will be up for re-election next fall.

Bullets Strike North End Home After Overnight Shooting

Dubuque Police say an overnight shooting that damaged a home in the city’s North End was not a random act. At about 12:40 this morning, were sent to the 2100 block of Jackson Street on a report of gunfire. At about the same time, a resident of a home in the 2200 block of Washington Street called police to report that the apartment she lives in had shot at several times. Officers located several spent shell casings near the woman’s home, as well as intact bullets inside the apartment. Bullet damage was found on one of the walls of the building, as well as on fences outside two neighboring homes. No one was injured, and police are continuing to investigate the shooting. Police have not elaborated on why they don’t believe the shooting was random. They don’t plan to release any additional information about the shooting today.

Middle School Boys Accused of Touching Clarke Student

Dubuque police are working with a local college to identify three middle school-aged boys suspected of inappropriately touching a student this week. According to our coverage partner, KCRG, Clarke University administrators sent an email to all students yesterday morning. It says that three boys inappropriately touched a Clarke student on Monday. The incident happened in the school’s atrium and library. Campus security officers tried to confront the boys, but they got onto a city bus and left the area. Word of the incident spread, and other students reported similar harassment. The school is asking any additional victims to come forward, and is working with Dubuque police to identify the boys, who could face criminal charges.

Platteville Teen Accused In Stabbing 

A man suffered non-life threatening injuries after being repeatedly stabbed by a Platteville teenager this week. 17 year old Mitchell Floerke is charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. A police report says the incident happened Monday night at a residence on Lancaster Street at around 7:40 p.m. The 31 year old man, who police have not identified, was treated for stab wounds to his back, chest and arms at Southwest Health Center. Floerke fled the scene following the stabbing, but was taken into custody about an hour and a half later outside a home on East Madison Street. At this time, police don’t know why Floerke stabbed the man, and the incident remains under investigation.

Dubuque Man Arrested On Pot Charge 

A Dubuque man received several citations, following a traffic stop in Grant County last week. A release says that a deputy stopped a car for speeding last Friday afternoon, along Wisconsin 11, just west of Hill Road in Hazel Green. As he was talking to the driver, identified as 22 year old Daniel Williams, the deputy smelled the odor of marijuana in the car. A search of the vehicle was conducted and the deputy found a small bag of marijuana and a glass pipe used to smoke the pot. The deputy also learned that Williams’ driving status was revoked in Iowa. Williams was cited for possession of THC and drug paraphernalia, speeding and driving without a valid license. He also received a written warning for operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

Residential Gas Leak In Dubuque

Crews from the Dubuque fire Department spent some time today assisting with a gas leak. At around 10 this morning, fire fighters responded to a report of a gas odor in an area near Klingenberg Terrace and North Main Street. Lt. Chuck Blasen with the fire department says while doing curb and gutter work, workers from the city of Dubuque accidently struck a one inch residential gas line. Crews from Black Hills Energy were able to capped off the leak just before 2:30 this afternoon. No injuries were reported. Dubuque police block off traffic flow to both Klingenberg Terrace and North Main while the leak was being fixed.

Ex-Wahlert Teacher Accused of Seeking “Inappropriate Relationships” with Students

A former Dubuque Wahlert teacher has been accused of pursuing an inappropriate relationship with female students. Michael Mahoney was a social studies and religion teacher at Wahlert at the time of the incidents, according to a charge statement filed by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. They received a complaint about Mahoney in June of this year. The board has charged Mahoney with “soliciting a romantic or otherwise inappropriate relationship” with students. The complaint alleges that Mahoney communicated with female students via social media during the 2016-17 school year, gave them inappropriate gifts, and fostered inappropriate relationships with the students. Mahoney can choose to surrender his teaching license, or accept a lesser penalty that is not defined by the statement. Mahoney resigned his teaching job at Wahlert over the summer. In addition to his teaching duties, he had been Wahlert’s head football coach from 2009-2012. Mahoney was working as a volunteer assistant football coach at Senior this fall. But in light of the accusations against him, the Dubuque School District says he’s no longer serving in a volunteer capacity.

Forester: Leaf Change on Usual Schedule

Courtesy: Travel Dubuque

Despite some concern that dry weather would quicken the change, foresters in the Tri-States expect leaves in our area the change colors on their usual schedule. Dave Ashe is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ District Forester for northeast Iowa. He says some tree varieties have started to turn, but last week’s unusually warm temperatures slowed the change. Moisture and temperature are the environmental factors most likely to influence when leaves change. Ashe expects fall color to hit its peak in a couple of weeks, but notes that above-average temperatures could push it back. Different tree species will show different colors when their leaves change. But Ashe says sugar maples can always be counted on for very vibrant colors. The DNR says the leaf color peak should be hitting far northern Iowa starting this weekend. The peak then travels south through the state as we move through October.

River Lights Featuring Banned Books

A Dubuque bookstore is putting the spotlight on some other books that have been challenged, or outright banned, by schools this week. River Lights Bookstore is celebrating its 3rd Annual Banned Books Week. Through Saturday, store owner Sue Davis is inviting customers and community members to come in to the store and read from a book that has been banned at one time or another. Davis says that participation in the week-long readings has grown by leaps and bounds this year. She’s not sure exactly why, but thinks that the recent challenge of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in the Dubuque schools may have something to do with it. Davis says many people are surprised by how often books are still being challenged and banned. There are some people who have chosen to read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” during their hour at River Lights. Other popular selections include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Outsiders,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Kelchen’s Appointment Fills Cascade Council

The town of Cascade is back to having a full city council. For nearly two months, the council had been short a member after the resignation of Pat Kearney, who stepped down nearly halfway through his two-year term. A special election will be held to fill the rest of Kearney’s term in November, but the remaining members of the council wanted to have someone in place in the interim. Andy Kelchen, who is running unopposed to fill Kearney’s seat, was appointed to be the short-term replacement at the council meeting on Monday. His appointment had initially come before the council at their September 11 meeting. But it was voted down, with some council members saying they needed more time to make their decision. Kelchen is a 27-year-old Loras College graduate who works at Custom Precast Company in Cascade. This is his first time holding public office.

McGregor Man Dies After Being Trapped in Grain Bin

An elderly Clayton County man died after being trapped in a grain bin yesterday afternoon. A release from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department says 88-year-old Duane Walter of McGregor was pronounced dead at a hospital in Elkader. First responders were called to a farm east of Gunder in the northwestern part of the county at about 1:40 PM. According to the release, that’s where Walter had gotten into the grain bin to loosen up some corn. But he became completely submerged in the corn. Rescue crews from four area fire departments worked for about an hour to locate Walter and remove him from the bin. From there, he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Parents Will Be Able to Review Dubuque High School Reading Materials

Parents of Dubuque high school students will soon be able to view books being offered in English courses. This comes after parents had challenged the novel “The Perks of Being a Wall Flower” last year. Those parents requested that the book be reviewed, but later withdrew that request because most people wanted the novel retained. David Olson, the district’s Director of Secondary Education, says parents will be able to go to the district’s website and view every English course that’s offered, as well as which novels will be used in each course. Olson says the district decided to put the information on its website after people began discussing the novel last year. In December, a district committee made up of students, parents, and teachers unanimously voted against removing “The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.”

State Patrol: Be Safe When Helping Crash Victims

The Iowa State Patrol is urging anyone who might try to help out following a car crash to be sure they’re doing so safely. An Illinois man was killed along Interstate 80 near Iowa City over the weekend after stopping to help the driver of an overturned semi. As that man returned to his own car to call 9-1-1, he was hit by a passing car and killed. Trooper Bob Conrad of the Iowa State Patrol says the best thing you can do if you come up on a crash is to call 9-1-1 from your own car. Trooper Conrad says that while your instinct may be to provide as much help as you can, you’re risking making the situation even worse if you put yourself in danger. That crash on I-80 early Sunday morning blocked the eastbound lanes of the interstate for several hours.

Teen Girl Hit By Car in Rural East Dubuque

A teenage girl was hospitalized after being hit by a car in rural East Dubuque Sunday evening. According to the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a subdivision northeast of East Dubuque, near the Wisconsin border, at about 6:30 PM. Deputies determined that the 15-year-old had run out in front of a car that was headed north on North Badger Road. The car then hit the girl, who was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. There’s no word on her condition. The driver of the car, 41-year-old Ami Guler of Hazel Green, has not been cited or charged.

Minifee Receives Life Sentence in Key West Murder

One of the men accused of killing a Key West man during a robbery gone wrong will be spending the rest of his life in prison. 21-year-old Tacari Minifee of Dubuque received his sentence yesterday. Minifee had been found guilty of First-Degree Murder and First-Degree Robbery in Scott County last month. In Iowa, First-Degree Murder carries a mandatory life sentence without any possibility for parole. Prosecutors said Minifee was one of three men who broke into the mobile home of 21-year-old Collin Brown of Key West in April of last year. They were there to rob Brown, but in the process, he was able to escape the trailer. He was shot as he tried to make it to another trailer to get help. Brown later died from the gunshot wound. Another person involved in the incident testified that it was Minifee who fired the fatal shot.

Iowa Guard Soldiers to Help in Puerto Rico

A group of Iowa National Guard soldiers will assist with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. According to the Guard, they’ll relieve some of that island’s law enforcement personnel, who have been working around the clock since Hurricane Maria devastated much of the US territory earlier this month. Most of the soldiers being deployed are military police who will be serving on their first humanitarian mission. They’re expected to be in Puerto Rico for a week or two, though that could change depending on conditions on the ground. Puerto Rico’s governor says the island is on the brink of a “humanitarian crisis” as electricity and water systems have been destroyed. It’s been estimated that the island could be without electricity for several months.

New Ram Statue Installed at Senior

Workers from Conlon Construction guide a ram statue into place outside Senior High School Monday morning (Courtesy: Joe Specht).

There’s a new Ram at Senior High School, but it’s not a student, teacher, or staff member. A large bronze ram statue was installed outside the school yesterday morning. The statue is a gift from the Dubuque Senior Alumni Association, and will be officially unveiled during a ceremony at the school next month. Until then, the statue will be covered up. The installation of the statue is just one of many changes happening at Senior. The school is in the midst of a $30 million renovation project.

Police ID Motorcycle Accident Victim 

Authorities have identified the man who was seriously injured after he crashed his motorcycle just outside Dubuque Saturday night. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says 45-year-old Bobby Lyons lost control of his motorcycle shortly after 10:00 PM and crashed along Olde Davenport Road near its intersection with Scenic View Drive. Lyons was transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. His condition is not being released.

Improvements to Loras/Grandview Intersection on Schedule

Upgrades that have forced the partial closure of a busy Dubuque intersection are running on schedule, according to the city. But improvements have come far enough to more traffic is able to go through the intersection than at the beginning of the closure. Traffic has been blocked on Loras Boulevard at its crossing with North Grandview Avenue for a little more than a month. The closure is allowing city crews to install new traffic signals that are expected be more visible and help improve traffic flow. Traffic is now back open on both lanes of Grandview through the intersection. Previously, the northbound lanes had been closed. Initially, the city planned for the work to take eight weeks to complete. They seem to be sticking to that timetable, with the full re-opening of the intersection still scheduled for Friday, October 13.

Reynolds: Revenues Growing, Tax Reform Still Possible

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor says the state’s economic forecast is not as gloomy as some would suggest. Kim Reynolds last week announced that she would be moving nearly $15 million out of an emergency fund to cover a budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended last June. That’s on top of other significant spending cuts that the state legislature made this year to help ease budgetary pressures. During her weekly news conference, Reynolds reiterated that the money the state takes in from taxes continues to grow, which is good news for Iowa’s economic health. Reynolds expects the legislature will take a look at reforming the state’s tax system next year, though she admits that what happens at the federal level may impact what lawmakers are able to do. Sunday marked four months since Reynolds became Iowa’s governor, taking over for Terry Branstad after he was confirmed as US Ambassador to China. Reynolds will seek a term of her own next fall.

Progress Continues on Southwest Arterial

With one full construction season in the books, progress on the Southwest Arterial is advancing, with the dollar amount of work completed now stretching into eight figures. A ceremonial “ground-breaking” for the project was held last fall, and Assistant City Engineer Bob Schiesl tells us that crews have now finished more than $10 million worth of work. Schiesl says there’s another $38 million of work currently underway, with contracts totaling 47 million set to go out for bid in December. All told, the total cost of the project will be about $160 million. According to Schiesl, much of the work done this year has involved moving dirt and grading what will eventually become the roadway. But he notes that much of that work is being done in areas not easily seen by drivers. There is also work being done near two of the US Highways that lead into Dubuque…areas that will be completely transformed by the time the project is finished. Schiesl says the project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2019.