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Dubuque & Tri-State News

UPDATE: Stabbing Arrest Made In Dubuque

Michael Sheckles

Dubuque police have made an arrest in connection with a stabbing in the city’s North End this morning. Police have charged 28 year old Michael Sheckles of Dubuque with assault with intent to inflict serious injury and possession of drug paraphernalia. The incident happened at Sheckles’ residence in the 900 block of Garfield Avenue. An officer responding to a 911 call at around 10:40 a.m., observed a truck leaving the scene. Inside was the victim, 52 year old Lynn Schmitz of Dubuque, who told the officer that he had just been stabbed several times by Sheckles inside the residence. The truck took Schmitz to Finely Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. Officers interviewed Sheckles at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center where he was placed under arrest. If convicted on both charges, Sheckles could be sentenced to up to two years in prison on the assault charge and 30 days in jail on the drug possession charge. Sheckles was being held in the Dubuque County Jail pending his initial court appearance.

UPDATE: Dubuque Police ID Stabbing Victim

 

Dubuque police have released the name of a man who was stabbed at a residence in the North End this morning. Police say the incident happened at around 10:40 at a home in the 900 block of Garfield Avenue. Officers say 52 year old Lynn Schmitz was stabbed multiple times by someone he’s acquainted with during a disturbance at the home. Before officers arrived Schmitz was taken by private vehicle to Finley Hospital to be treated for what police describe as non-life threatening injuries. Officers have located a person of interest and were interviewing that person at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center. Police don’t believe the general public is in any danger and hope to release more information about the incident later today.

Planters “NutMobile” Skids off Highway Near Dickeyville

Courtesy: Andrea Pickel

A sort of “mascot on wheels” for a national peanut company ended up in the weeds of southwestern Wisconsin on Monday morning. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Planters “NutMobile” skidded off of US Highway 151 near Dickeyville a few minutes after 11:00 AM. Road conditions at the time were being impacted by falling snow and high winds, which were apparently too much for the peanut-shaped vehicle. No one inside was injured, and Planters did not report any damage.

Rayovac Sold, Including Plant in Fennimore

One of the largest employers in the Grant County town of Fennimore has been sold. Rayovac is being bought by competitor Energizer in a deal worth about $2 billion . Energizer is buying the Rayovac brand from Middleton, Wisconsin, based Spectrum. That company had said earlier this month it was seeking a buyer for its battery and lighting division. Spectrum plans to shift its focus to other facets of its business, including hardware, auto care, and pet supplies. Spectrum’s battery division generated about $866 million in revenue last year. Rayovac employs just fewer than three hundred people at a plant in Fennimore. According to the Rayovac website, that facility produces about a billion batteries each year.

DLEC Drop Box Takes In 500+ Pounds of Meds in First Year

More than a quarter-ton of medications was turned in to an all-day drop box located at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center in its first year. The drop box was placed inside the main door of the center about a year ago. According to a posting on the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page, more than 500 pounds of medications have been dropped off at the box since then. Of the 544 pounds of materials that have been received, about two-thirds have been unwanted or expired prescriptions. The other third has been non-prescription items like over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.

Grand River Center Sees Drop in Money Generated, Guests from 2016

Dubuque’s riverfront convention center saw its impact on the local economy drop by more $2 million in 2017. That’s despite being busier than it was the previous year. Managers of the Grand River Center will present their annual report to the Dubuque City Council tonight. The Platinum Hospitality Group compiled the report, which estimates that the facility had an overall economic impact of about $7.6 million for Dubuque in 2017. That’s down from an estimated $9.7 million in 2016. The facility hosted events on 342 days of 2017, a 93% usage rate, which was up from 90% the previous year. But that’s about the only number where the center saw improvement over 2016. In addition to the overall economic impact, the Grand River Center is also reporting a drop in the numbers of groups, guests, and out-of-town guests it hosted last year.

Some East Dubuque Residents to Lose Water Service During Main Repairs

Residents in some parts of East Dubuque will have their water service interrupted over the next couple days. That’s because city crews will be repairing water main breaks in the Shore Acres and Knaeble Court areas. Residents of Shore Acres will be without water from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM Tuesday, while residents of Knaeble Court will have their water service shutoff from during the same hours on Wednesday. Frigid temperatures are being blamed for the breaks.

ImOn Communications Coming to Dubuque

A Cedar Rapids-based internet provider plans to offer service to Dubuque businesses, but won’t be hooking up residential customers in the area. ImOn Communications has announced that it will be expanding its fiber optic network to Dubuque, but will only be offering service to local business customers. Justin Stinson will head up the company’s Dubuque operation. He says businesses will be able to subscribe to their internet and phone services. ImOn worked with representatives from Greater Dubuque Development Corporation before finalizing their decision to expand to the Key City. ImOn offers cable, internet, and phone service to residents and businesses in the Cedar Rapids area. But Stinson says there are no plans to offer those services to Dubuque residents. ImOn is renovating the old AT&T Cable building on West 8th Street to house its central hub. ImOn plans to have their network up and running by mid-to-late spring. About a half-dozen employees will be hired initially, with plans to add more as the company expands.

Phoenix Theaters to Take Over Operation of Mall Theater

Another independently-owned movie theater operator will be taking over the theater at Kennedy Mall. Cafaro, the mall’s parent company, announced yesterday morning that Michigan-based Phoenix Theaters will be the new tenant at the six-screen theater located to the northwest of the mall’s main building. Phoenix owner Cory Jacobson says they plan to re-open the theater in March, following some renovations to the building. Among the planned upgrades are new seats for each theater that will recline and offer more than six feet of leg room. New heating and air conditioning systems will also be installed. The renovations will cost upwards of $2 million. Jacobson says expanding operations to Dubuque was a no-brainer. Cafaro’s Joe Bell says Jacobson and his team truly understand local theaters. Phoenix was formed in 2000 and now operates three theater complexes in Michigan. One of those is located at the Cafaro property in Monroe.

Blum: Tax Overhaul Already Working

Blum (Courtesy: KCRG)

The Congressman who represents Dubuque says changes to the federal tax code are already working. Republican Rod Blum spoke to members of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce on Friday. He’s one of the members of Congress who voted in favor of the Republican-backed tax overhaul late last year. Blum says the changes to the tax code will help strengthen the economy, which will then provide money to fund a variety of other efforts. Blum also pushed for welfare reform and a stronger immigration policy in his remarks to Chamber members.

UnityPoint Reaches New Agreement with Amerigroup

The parent company of one of Dubuque’s hospitals has reached an agreement with one of the private companies managing Iowa’s Medicaid program. UnityPoint Health, which operates Finley Hospital, has signed a deal with Amerigroup. Their previous contract had expired at the end of last year. The agreement means UnityPoint Health will continue to be a part of Amerigroup’s provider network. Any Medicaid patients with Amerigroup who use UnityPoint’s clinics or hospitals won’t have to make changes. In addition to Finley, Unity Point also operates hospitals in cities like Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

Council Meets on “Off Night” for Second Straight Time

For the second meeting in a row, the Dubuque City Council will be convening on an “off night.” The council’s meeting which ordinarily would have been tonight won’t happen until tomorrow due to the Martin Luther King, Junior Day holiday. This marks the second straight time that the council has not met on Monday night, which is their usual meeting night. The first meeting of the year was also pushed back due to New Year’s Day and city offices being closed on January 2. That meeting was instead held on January 3rd, a Wednesday. Among the items on the council’s agenda for tomorrow night is a pair of issues surrounding the current location of the Crescent Community Health Center. The council will hold a public hearing about giving up the city’s right of way on the alley behind the building. It will also consider allowing part of the complex to be converted to a bike trail.

Mall Theater Announcement Coming Today

We should know by lunchtime today who the new operator of the former Mindframe Theaters will be. The Cafaro Company, which owns the Kennedy Mall, has scheduled a news conference for 11:00 this morning to reveal what they’re describing as a “new entertainment experience” that will be coming to the theater at the mall complex. Earlier this month, a Cafaro spokesperson told us they planned to continue using the space as a movie theater. He speculated that the new theater would be open later this spring, following some renovation work to the building. Kennedy Mall had once operated their own movie theaters in the building. For the past ten years, the theaters have been operated by locally-owned Mindframe Theaters. Their last day of operation was January 1, after Cafaro chose to not renew their lease on the building.

Chicago Man ID Theft

Dubuque Police have accused a Chicago man of trying to buy a cell phone with another man’s identity. Shortly after 5:00 Wednesday evening, employees at the AT&T store on Wacker Drive called to police to let them know about a fraud suspect who’d come into the business. The workers said the man in the store matched the description of a suspect who had been accused of stealing another man’s identity last September. When police arrived, the suspect reportedly gave them a false name and a photo ID that had been altered. Police say the suspect had re-laminated the ID with his picture, but without changing any of the original owner’s information. In addition to the previous Identity Theft charge against him, the suspect, 38-year-old Steven Grant, is now also facing charges of Providing False Identification and Falsifying a Driver’s License.

Alliant Energy Grants

The Alliant Energy Foundation has awarded more than 18-thousand dollars in community foundation grants to eight-area non-profit organizations. The biggest award of five thousand dollars went to the Dubuque County Historical Society for its’ Rivers to the Sea phase 2 expansion project. Four of the non-profits, including the Dubuque Rescue Mission and Opening Doors received 25-hundred dollar grants. The lowest amount of one-thousand dollars went to LaMotte Area Advancement to purchase some playground equipment. The grants are among 117 the foundation has awarded this grant cycle, totaling over 300-thousand dollars.

Walker Looking Ahead At 2018

Student success is a key priority for Wisconsin’s Governor in 2018. Governor Scott Walker says an additional 200 dollars will be invested in each student in every school in the state, and another 204 will be added on top of that next year. Walker says major investments have been made in the state’s technical college system and the University of Wisconsin system. Healthcare is another priority for the Walker administration this year. Walker says student achievement, healthy families, removing barriers to work and building a strong workforce are the top priorities in 2018.

Reynolds And Gregg Address Dubuque Chamber

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg addressed members of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as city, county and education leaders as part of their “Condition of the State Tour” at the Hotel Julien today. The Governor reiterated some of the points she made in her “Condition of the State” address earlier this week, like making education one of her top priorities this year. The Governor is proposing to spend 54 million on education this year. She says while she applauds the tax reform package passed at the federal level, an outdated provision in the state’s tax code means that Iowans will see an increase in their taxes if state lawmakers don’t pass a tax reform package. Reynolds acknowledges that the state’s private Medicaid program is not working exactly the way they hoped it would. Lt. Governor Adam Gregg says the Governor is leading the state in the right direction, and the numbers prove it. Gregg has been appointed by the Governor to lead the new Rural Iowa Initiative. Also in attendance was Congressman Rod Blum, who updated the group on what’s happening on the federal level.

Indivisible Dubuque Protest Governor’s Visit To Dubuque 

I
Prior to Governor Kim Reynolds’ arrival in Dubuque to address the Chamber of Commerce, members of Indivisible Dubuque, as well as the county and state chairs of the Democratic Party protested outside in front of Hotel Julien. State Chair Troy Price says while the Governor painted another picture of the state in her Condition of the State address this week, it is not the reality of what is actually happening. Price says while the Governor talks about how kids need to have a quality education to become productive citizens, she’s only proposing a small increase in education spending. Steve Drahozal, Chair of the Dubuque County Democratic Party likens the Governor’s policies to her predecessor, former Governor Terry Branstad. Price calls this year’s mid-term election one of the most important in our history. Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg are seeking a full term in office in the November election.

UPDATE: Suicidal Man Located By Police

 

A man threatening to harm himself in the Platteville area has ben located by authorities. Accoding to a post on the Platteville Police Department’s Facebook page the man was located early this afternoon and taken into protective custody. According to police, officers received a call at about 5:00 AM about a man threatening to harm himself while armed with a rifle. The man’s vehicle was later found unoccupied. Due to its location near a school, police and district leaders from the Platteville Schools chose to cancel classes for today. The rifle the man was carrying was later found by police in a local park. Belmont schools were placed on a “soft lockdown.” That means that classes ran as scheduled, but there was no outdoor recess.

UPDATE: Suicidal Man Prompts School Closure, Lockdown in Platteville Area

The whereabouts of a man threatening to harm himself are still unknown as law enforcement in the Platteville area have gone on alert this morning. According to the local police department, officers received a call at about 5:00 AM about a man threatening to harm himself while armed with a rifle. The man’s vehicle was later found unoccupied. Due to its location near a school, police and district leaders from the Platteville Schools chose to cancel classes for today. The rifle the man was carrying was later found by police in a local park, but his location is still unknown. Police believe he is on foot somewhere between Platteville and Belmont. Belmont schools have been placed on a “soft lockdown.” That means that classes are running as scheduled, but there is no outdoor recess. The man is a 27-year-old white male. He has short brown hair, brown eyes, stands about 5-8, and weighs 175 pounds. He was last known to be wearing a green puffy jacket and tan t-shirt. Anyone with information about the man’s location is asked to contact Platteville Police or a local law enforcement agency.

Jump in Flu Cases Forces Visitor Restrictions at Dubuque Hospitals

An increase in flu cases is forcing Dubuque’s hospitals to limit who can come to their facilities. Starting today, visitation restrictions are going into effect at both Mercy and Finley hospitals. Children under the age of 14 won’t be allowed to visit hospital patients. Anyone who has had respiratory problems or flu symptoms is also asked to stay away. Pat Lehmkuhl, the infection preventionist at Finley, says cases of Influenza have shot up in recent weeks. The flu is affecting people of all ages. According to Lehmkuhl, an increase in flu cases is not uncommon this time of year. The hospitals say the visitation restrictions are a precaution that will help them maintain a healthy environment for patients and employees.

Falling Temps, Wet Roads, Additional Precipitation to Create Treacherous Driving Conditions

Falling temperatures and the threat of a wintry mix could make for some treacherous driving conditions this afternoon and evening. Temperatures here in the Dubuque area have now fallen below freezing, and are expected to continue to fall into the middle teens by 5:00. In addition, there’s a chance that some form of precipitation could fall, with rain, snow, and a mixture all possible. City crews here in Dubuque are out trying to prepare streets for the changing weather situation. Public Works Director John Klostermann tells us that combination is what has his department concerned. Temperatures reached nearly 50 degrees in Dubuque early this morning, which meant that snow on the ground was melting. That made many of the city’s streets wet even before any new precipitation falls. Klostermann says that existing moisture prevented crews from using any liquid-based pre-treatment. There will be a continued threat of streets re-freezing through this afternoon and into the evening. Klostermann says city crews will be out for the duration of the storm. That includes a second shift that will come on at midnight. He fully expects crews will be working into the day tomorrow.

Grant Co. Sheriff Supports “Road Crew,” Despite Recent Driver Arrest

Dreckman

A southwest Wisconsin sheriff is still encouraging people to use a local ride-sharing service, despite one of its drivers being arrested for drunken driving. Early Christmas Eve morning, a driver for the Southern Grant County Road Crew was arrested after running a stop sign and crashing into an embankment. The Road Crew provides rides around southern Grant County and into Dubuque for people who know they’re going to be drinking. Despite the incident, Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman says that’s still a worthwhile service. Dreckman says by providing free rides to impaired people, the Road Crew is helping to reduce potential fatalities on the county’s roads. 47-year-old Brian Beer is the driver who was arrested last month. In addition to being charged with Operating While Intoxicated, he was also cited for Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign, driving on a suspended license, and Failure to Notify Police of an Accident.

Bowman, McKean Propose Tax Credit Change that Would Help Cascade, Dyersville

Bowman, McKean

Two legislators who represent parts of Dubuque County are trying to help towns like Cascade and Dyersville qualify for a state tax credit. The Workforce Housing Tax Credit provides tax breaks for developers who increase the amount of housing available in certain “small cities.” As it currently stands, projects in communities located in Iowa’s most populous counties – including Dubuque – are not eligible. But State Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa and State Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa have proposed a small change in the program’s language. Under their proposals, communities that are not “wholly” within one of those larger counties would be eligible for the credits. That would mean projects in towns like Cascade and Dyersville would qualify. Those towns are mainly in Dubuque County, but do partially extend into neighboring counties. Bowman and McKean introduced their legislation on Wednesday. The bills need to be approved in committee before they can advance.

Testimony Focuses on Evidence on Day 3 of Buelow Trial

Buelow

Testimony in a Dubuque murder trial focused on evidence collected at the scene on Wednesday. 25-year-old Fontae Buelow is on trial on a 1st Degree Murder charge in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Samantha Link. The prosecution continued to lay out its case against Buelow yesterday, focusing on the crime scene. One of the witnesses called was Cory Tuegel, an Asbury Police officer who was working for Dubuque Police at the time of the crime. When Tuegel arrived at the scene, he was tasked with guarding what’s believed to be the murder weapon, a large kitchen knife. Buelow’s lawyers are trying to make the case that Link actually committed suicide by stabbing herself. But under questioning by the prosecution, Dubuque Police Lt. Brad Shannon told the jurors that when he first arrived at the scene, he did not believe it looked like a suicide. That led to an exchange with one of the defense attorneys. In addition to Tuegel and Shannon, criminal investigator Dave Randall also testified on Wednesday. The trial continues today.

Temperatures Expected to Drop Significantly as Cold Front Moves Through Thursday

This chart from the National Weather Service show how temperatures will drop during the day on Thursday.

A deep drop in temperatures could cause some travel issues late tomorrow morning. A cold front will come through our area that will cause temperatures to fall by as many as twenty degrees, according to KCRG meteorologist Justin Gehrts. We’re expected to be around 40 degrees when the system moves in. It will cause temperatures to fall to between 20 and 25 by noontime. While the system is bringing significant snowfall to areas to our west, we aren’t expecting anything more than a dusting. But when temperatures drop, there’s likely to be a re-freeze on some roads. The low Thursday night will drop to six degrees, with the high Friday only expected to be around 19. We’re expected to have a handful of days of continued cold air after that, but Gehrts says it will be nothing like the deep freeze we just came out of.

Dubuque County Legislators to Host Forum Saturday

Isenhart, McKean, Jochum

A trio of state legislators who represent portions of Dubuque County will host a public forum this weekend. State Representatives Chuck Isenhart and Andy McKean and State Senator Pam Jochum will greet voters at the EB Lyons Nature Center at the Mines of Spain Saturday morning. Isenhart and McKean are both members of State House committees dealing with environmental protection. They, along with Jochum, are hoping to hear voters’ thoughts about state parks, conservation, and outdoor recreation in northeast Iowa. Saturday’s event begins at 10:00 AM and runs until noon. Isenhart represents House District 100, which includes the downtown and northern portions of the city of Dubuque, plus Sageville and the rural area to its west. McKean’s district is mostly made up of Jackson and Jones counties, but does cover the southwestern corner of Dubuque County, including the town of Cascade. Jochum’s Senate district includes the entire city of Dubuque.

Woman Tries to Bite Dubuque Officer During Arrest

Police say a Dubuque woman tried to bite an officer while trying to avoid being arrested. According to a police report, officers were called to the Iowa Street Market just before 10:00 Monday night. Employees there said that a woman had been causing a disturbance, but left before officers arrived. A woman matching the suspect’s description was then seen trying to enter a boarding house in the 1200 block of Jackson Street. An officer tried to apprehend the woman, 31-year-old Manda Brimeyer, before she could get inside. But she refused to cooperate with the officer and was eventually taken to the ground. According to the report, that’s where she tried to bite the officer’s forearm. But because the officer was wearing multiple layers of winter clothes, the bite didn’t have much effect. Brimeyer was taken into custody and faces several charges, including Assault on a Peace Officer and Public Intoxication.

Sheriff: Driver Who Went Through Ice May Have Been Doing Donuts

Police markings show the hole where an SUV went through the ice on Lake Delhi (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Delaware County man who died after his vehicle fell through the ice on Lake Delhi may have been doing donuts on the ice prior to breaking through. That’s according to reports the local sheriff’s office has gotten from witnesses. As we told you yesterday, 23-year-old Alex Salow of Delhi was found dead inside an SUV around midday on Monday. Authorities believe the vehicle actually went through the ice sometime Sunday night. Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere tells our coverage partners at KCRG-TV it’s possible Salow’s the driver that was doing donuts on the ice earlier that evening. Warmer recent temperatures and a spring that feeds into the lake could have made the ice in that area thinner, according to LeClere. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says ice needs to be at least 8 inches thick to support a passenger car. A recent, unofficial measure of the ice on Lake Delhi put its thickness closer to 5 inches.

Testimony Begins in Buelow Murder Trial

Courtesy: KCRG

Testimony began yesterday in the trial of a Dubuque man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death. 25-year-old Fontae Buelow is charged with 1st Degree Murder and cocaine possession. But before the prosecution began calling witnesses, attorneys from both sides presented their opening arguments. They painted two very different pictures of what happened on the night of Samantha Link’s death. The prosecution says Buelow fatally stabbed Link two times: once in her chest and once in her lung. They say he also inflicted other nonfatal injuries on her. The defense argues Link was depressed and stabbed herself. They add that’s a story Buelow consistently told law enforcement. Among the initial witnesses called by the prosecution were the Dubuque Police officers who were first to respond to the scene, as well as the 911 operator who took Buelow’s call that morning. The trial continues today.

Cut Your Energy Cost Day

Wednesday is “National Cut Your Energy Cost’ Day, and to help cut cost natural gas service provider Black Hills Energy is offering energy-saving tips to its’ customers. Spokesperson Laura Roussell says the biggest thing is to make sure your furnace is inspected annually so it is safe to operate and you get maximum service. Roussell says you might want to place plastic over your windows to keep the cold air out. You can also weather-strip and caulk around windows and doors and change your furnace filter per instructions. Even turning off lights when no one is in a room saves energy and saves you some moneyFor a full list of ways to cut your energy cost, visit Black Hills Energy’s website.

Galena House Fire Claims Two Pets

A fire destroyed a house in Galena and claimed the lives of two family pets. According to a report from the Galena Fire Department, crews from Galena and several neighboring departments responded to the Mark Van Osdol residence in the 27-hundred block of South Blackjack Road at around 6:20 Monday night. When they arrived, the home was fully engulfed. The residents of the home were not injured, but the family dog and cat perished in the blaze. Donations are being accepted on behalf of the family at Illinois Bank and Trust in Galena. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Crews were on scene for over five hours before getting the fire under control.

Liquor Theft at South Locust Hy-Vee

Another liquor theft at a local grocery store has prompted authorities to seek the public’s help in identifying the thief. The incident happened last Saturday night at the Hy-Vee on South Locust Street in Dubuque. A man made off with alcohol valued at around $60. The suspect is described as an older white male, with mostly gray hair and glasses. He was wearing a dark coat and dark pants at the time of the theft. The Dubuque Police Department has posted the above images of the suspect on its ID4PD website.

‘Reflections in the Park” Brings in Record Money

It’s now official…the Dubuque area’s largest holiday light display raised a record amount of money in 2017. Last week, we told you that Hillcrest Family Services’ ‘Reflections in the Park’ set new records for the number of people and vehicles that viewed the lights in Murphy Park. Dollar amounts have now been tabulated, and Hillcrest’s Paula Paider-Licht says a new fundraising record has been set as well. ‘Reflections’ brought in nearly $140,000, which shatters the previous record of $129,000, set in 2014. This year, ‘Reflections’ added a new “Tunnel of Light” featuring state-of-the-art lights. Paider-Licht believes that was one of the attractions that brought people out. While there were some especially busy nights, it seems like the crowds were spread pretty evenly across the forty nights of the event. This was the 23rd year that Hillcrest has hosted ‘Reflections’ in Murphy Park.

Reynolds Tackles Tax, School Funding, Sexual Harassment in “Condition of the State” Address

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (center) waits to enter the House chamber prior to her “Condition of the State” address. To Reynolds’ right is State Rep. Shannon Lundgren of Peosta (Courtesy: Iowa Public Television).

Iowa’s governor laid out her priorities for the upcoming legislative session during a speech before both chambers of the Statehouse this morning. Kim Reynolds delivered her first “Condition of the State” address since taking office last May. In it, she highlighted things she wants to see from lawmakers this year, including legislation that will address things like water quality and education funding. As expected, Reynolds also pushed for reform to Iowa’s tax code, including eliminating a provision that allows Iowans to deduct their federal taxes from their state taxes. Reynolds also addressed the growing crisis surrounding Iowa’s Medicaid system. While acknowledging mistakes were made in its implementation, she reiterated her belief that a private system is best for the state. When it comes to funding for Iowa’s K-12 schools, Reynolds proposed investing an additional $54 million this year. That would work out to an increase of 1.6% from last year’s budget. Reynolds also spoke about the sexual harassment scandal that has plagued the Iowa Senat, which resulted in a former Republican party staffer won a $1.7 million judgement against the state last year. Reynolds urged lawmakers set an example for the rest of the state. Reynolds was escorted to the podium prior to her speech by a group that included State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta.

Delhi Man Dies After Vehicle Goes Through Ice

A Delaware County man has died after his vehicle went through the ice on Lake Delhi. According to a release from the local sheriff’s department, deputies were first alerted to the vehicle in the lake shortly before 12:30 yesterday afternoon. When paramedics arrived, they found a vehicle upside down in about eight feet of water. An underwater camera was used to examine the vehicle, and one person was seen inside. That person has been identified as 23-year-old Alex Salow of Delhi. It’s believed that the vehicle went through the ice sometime Sunday evening. The vehicle was eventually moved from the lake with the help of a construction crane. The sheriff’s department says it’s still investigating the incident, with help from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Legislators Unsure of Federal Tax Bill’s Impact on State Budget

Jochum, Finkenauer

Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are expected to spearhead an effort to reform the state’s tax system during their 2018 session, which began yesterday. But what’s not yet known is how the recently passed federal tax overhaul will impact Iowa. State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque asked the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau about it, and the answer wasn’t good. The bureau’s analysts predict that the changes to federal tax law will mean less money for Iowa, which could force legislators to make additional cuts to the current fiscal year budget. Jochum says she’ll be working to make sure there’s room in the budget for some additional funding for K-12 schools and job training programs. State Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque believes the federal tax bill wasn’t aimed at helping what she calls “working families.” She’s concerned that Republican proposals at the Statehouse will do the same. The new legislative session gaveled in yesterday. Governor Kim Reynolds will be delivering her “Condition of the State” address this morning.

Fan Upset Over Playoff Football Loss Knocks Over Parking Meter

A football fan upset over his team’s playoff loss is accused of causing $700 in damage to a parking meter in downtown Dubuque early Sunday morning. Police were called about a broken parking meter near the intersection of 3rd and Main Streets at about 12:30 AM Sunday. A check of traffic camera footage showed a man standing outside a nearby building kicking the meter. The man then rammed the meter with his body, knocking it over. After damaging the meter, the suspect ran into a nearby bar. Officers located 24-year-old Jesse Blus inside that bar and took him into custody. He’s been charged with Public Intoxication and 3rd Degree Criminal Mischief. According to Blus’ arrest report, he told officers he had “too much to drink” and was also upset about the Los Angeles Rams’ playoff loss earlier in the night. Blus appears to be wearing a Rams jersey in his mugshot.

Prescott’s Charter Status Voted Down

The Dubuque Community School Board meets Monday night (Courtesy: KCRG).

The state of Iowa’s only charter school will cease to exist later this year. The Dubuque Community School Board last night voted against extending the charter for Prescott Elementary School, going against the recommendations of two district committees and the local superintendent. The four board members who voted against the renewal cited the lack of progress toward student achievement goals that were set when Prescott first became a charter school. Board president Tami Ryan cast the deciding ‘no’ vote. She says taking away Prescott’s charter status won’t diminish the positive things teachers are doing at the school. Ryan says the lack of student achievement did play a role in her decision. Board member Nancy Bradley had made the motion to renew the charter status. Bradley retired last year as the district’s Director of Elementary Education. She says she’s had a different experience at Prescott than her colleagues on the board. As a charter school, Prescott students do what’s called “expeditionary learning”, which is more hands on. Amanda Bickal is the parent of a 2nd grader at Prescott. She says she knew the vote would be close. The other board members who voted against the renewal were Jim Prochaska, Lisa Wittman, and Mike Donohue. Those joining Bradley in voting in favor were Anderson Sainci and Tom Barton.

Authorities: Sherrill Man Kicked Stepson in Face

A Dubuque County man was arrested over the weekend after being accused of assaulting his stepson more than two years ago. 42-year-old Bradley Burd was taken into custody at his home in Sherrill on Sunday afternoon. He’s been charged with Child Endangerment Causing Serious Bodily Injury. According to court documents, Dubuque Police had spoken with the boy’s grandmother last October. That’s when she told officers that Burd had kicked the then 11-year-old in the face in December of 2015. The grandmother also provided officers with pictures of the boy’s facial injuries. Burd made an initial court appearance Monday morning.

Alliant Energy Hands Out Thousands In Grants

The Alliant Energy Foundation has awarded more than 18-thousand dollars in community foundation grants to eight-area non-profit organizations. The biggest award of five thousand dollars went to the Dubuque County Historical Society for its’ Rivers to the Sea phase 2 expansion project. Four of the non-profits, including the Dubuque Rescue Mission and Opening Doors received 25-hundred dollar grants. The lowest amount of one-thousand dollars went to LaMotte Area Advancement to purchase some playground equipment. The grants are among 117 the foundation has awarded this grant cycle, totaling over 300-thousand dollars.

Dubuque Salvation Army Makes Kettle Campaign Goal

Dubuque’s chapter of the Salvation Army received more than $40,000 in donations over the final week of bell ringing to blow past its Kettle Campaign goal for the year. According to Salvation Army Major Kay Mason, going into the final week of the campaign, the local chapter had raised about $122,000. But when the money was counted after the final day of bell ringing, the total pushed to $165,000, well past the goal of $152,000. Mason credits some of the groups who rang bells during that final week with helping make the goal. The army will continue to receive donations that count toward the kettle campaign through the end of this month, which could push the final total even higher. Mason and her husband will be retiring from the Salvation Army later this year. She says to reach their fundraising goal in their final Christmas campaign is very gratifying. In addition to the kettle campaign, the Salvation Army also bested the goal for its Christmas Mail Appeal.

Marquette Casino Fined for Contacting Person on “Self Ban” List

A Clayton County casino was hit with a fine after sending an advertisement to someone banned from visiting gaming facilities. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission handed down the $5,000 fine against the Casino Queen of Marquette last week. The commission found that the casino had sent a mailing to a person who had put themselves on the state’s list of people banned from casinos. During a hearing, Casino Queen management told commissioners that steps have been taken to avoid any similar mistakes in the future. Iowa law allows people who believe they are problem gamblers to put themselves on a so-called “self ban” list so they won’t be admitted to casinos. A recent change to state law allows those on the list to take themselves off after five years.

Medicaid Changes Possible in Iowa Legislative Session

The 2018 Iowa legislative session begins this morning, and one issue that’s likely to come up is the continued issues with Iowa’s Medicaid program. It’s been in the hands of private managed care organizations for more than two years, but the future of the program is cloudy at best. During the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce’s recent Legislative Kickoff Luncheon, several area legislators weighed in on the status of the program, which serves low-income and disabled Iowans. Representative Shannon Lundgren, a Republican from Peosta, says the system is broken and needs to be fixed. Republican Representative Andy McKean, who represents all of Jackson and Jones counties, plus a portion of Dubuque County, agrees with Lundgren. Democrat State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque says Republicans are finally realizing that the privatization of Medicaid is not working, especially for people with disabilities or who need nursing care. Jochum, who has a physically and mentally challenged adult daughter, says she plans to introduce a bill that would allow people with disabilities to again be covered by a publicly managed system.

Reynolds’ “Condition of the State” Tour Includes Stop in Dubuque

Reynolds

One of the main events of the Iowa Legislature’s first week in office will be the annual “Condition of the State” address, which will be delivered for the first time by Governor Kim Reynolds on Tuesday. Reynolds took over the governor’s office last May after Terry Branstad was confirmed as the US Ambassador to China. Reynolds will follow up her speech with a trip to Dubuque. On Friday, she’s scheduled to speak with members of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce. The appearance is part of a statewide tour Reynolds will use to promote some of the proposals in the “Condition of the State” address. She’ll make seven stops across the state between Wednesday and Friday. The Dubuque event is scheduled for noon Friday at the Hotel Julien. She’ll also be stopping in Maquoketa, with a visit to the Flapjack Family Restaurant scheduled for 10:00 that morning.

Buelow Trial Begins Today

Buelow

The trial of a Dubuque man accused of stabbing to death his girlfriend is scheduled to begin today. 25-year-old Fontae Buelow has pleaded not guilty to charges of cocaine possession and first-degree murder. He’s accused of killing 21-year-old Samantha Link last March at a home in Dubuque. Officers say Buelow told them he and Link had been arguing when Link became violent, assaulted him, and then stabbed herself in the stomach with a butcher knife. But police say Link had been stabbed twice in the chest and had bruises on her nose and forehead. Buelow was originally scheduled to go on trial last June, but the proceedings have been delayed several times.

Fire Causes Considerable Damage To Garage In Centralia

A fire in Centralia early Saturday morning caused considerable damage to a garage. At around 3:50 a.m. fire fighters from Centralia, Peosta, Asbury and Epworth responded to a home in the 21-hundred block of Jericho Road. When crews arrived the attached garage was fully engulfed in flames. The residents of the home were able to escape and no one was injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Damage to the garage and its’ contents is estimated at around 70-housand dollars.

St. Mark Asking Hockey Fans To Bring School Supplies To Game Saturday Night  

The Dubuque Fight Saints will take the ice Saturday night to play the Muskegon Lumberjacks, and St. Mark Youth Enrichment Center is asking the community to support its’ Markers for St. Mark School Supply Drive by bringing items for low-income kids to the game. Beth McGorry, Outreach Coordinator at St. Mark says with the help of the community, the center provides school supplies to kids in need prior to the start of the school year. This drive is to re-supply those kids so they’ll have what they need through the end of the school year. The Fighting Saints will host the Lumberjacks at the Mystique Ice Center at 7:05 Saturday night.

New Principal At Beckman For 2018-19 School Year

Marcel Kielkucki

When the 2018-19 school year begins Beckman Catholic High School will have a new principal. Last week, the Beckman Board of Education approved the hiring of Marcel Kielkucki. Kielkucki currently serves as the director of high school completion programs at Kirkwood Community College, where he is also an instructor coordinator for distance learning. Kielkucki earned his undergraduate degree in secondary education from Mount Mercy University. He completed his educational administration degree at the University of South Dakota and started his career as a social studies teacher at Starmont High School. Kielkucki takes over for Pat Meade who is retiring at the end of the current school year. Meade has been the principal at Beckman for the past 10 years.

Mom Charged with Child Endangerment Disputes Police Report of Home’s Condition

Martin (Courtesy: KCRG)

A Dubuque woman arrested this week on child endangerment charges says police lied about the condition of her home. 34-year-old Tiesha Martin and her boyfriend were both arrested on Tuesday night after police assisted with a welfare check at their home in the 400 block of Burch Street. According to officers, the home was “extremely dirty,” with garbage, rotten food, and feces seen throughout. That includes a room where seven children, including a days-old baby, were found. But Martin tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that police are making it up. The children were turned over to the Department of Human Services, who located a family member for them to stay with. Police spokesman Lt. Scott Baxter says he’s disappointed that the parents are already out of jail. Martin and her boyfriend have each been charged with several counts of child endangerment. The boyfriend, 33-year-old Jermaine Watson, is also facing four drug charges.

Finkenauer Brings In $300,000 in 4th Quarter, Now Over $600,000 in Total Fundraising

Finkenauer

A Dubuque lawmaker taking a run at Congress took in another big fundraising total in the final three months of 2017. Figures released by State Representative Abby Finkenauer’s campaign indicate that she raised just more than $300,000 in the final quarter of the year, doubling the amount she’s brought in since announcing her candidacy last spring. That brings Finkenauer’s total raised in 2017 to more than $600,000. That figure sets her up well not only for the Democratic primary this coming June, but also for a potential showdown with Republican Congressman Rod Blum next fall. Early polling shows Finkenauer with a legitimate shot to unseat Blum, who’ll be seeking his third term. He’s been described by one publication as one of the five most vulnerable 2018 incumbents, and an October survey from Public Policy Polling showed Finkenauer with a slight advantage in the race.

Police: Bernard Man Raped Woman, Sent Video on Snapchat

A Bernard man stands accused of raping a woman and sending out a video of the incident. 21-year-old Robert Decker was arrested early Thursday morning. According to court documents, a woman woke up to Decker sexually assaulting her in his home in Bernard on Christmas Eve. According to the woman, she had been at a bar with friends earlier in the evening. She fell and hurt her arm and leg. Because she gets nauseous at the sight of blood, she passed out. She says that when she woke up, she was being assaulted by Decker. Court documents say Decker admitted to the assault while being questioned by investigators. He also reportedly admitted to taking a SnapChat video of the assault and sending it to a friend.

Chamber Legislative Priorities Highlighted At Kick-Off Luncheon

Every year, the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce makes its’ priorities known to lawmakers in Des Moines just before the start of the legislative session. This year is no different. During its’ annual Chamber Legislative Kick-Off Luncheon today, members of the board of directors and local business and health officials listed five priorities for 2018. Two of those priorities are education and healthcare. Chamber CEO Molly Grover says while she can’t speculate on what will happen to Medicaid or Medicare, she says businesses should not have to shoulder the burden of unfunded mandates, which affects their bottom line. Last year, lawmakers didn’t address supplemental state aid for school districts until late in the session which hampered the ability of school boards to set their budgets for the next school year. Grover says education has always been a top priority for the Chamber. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta says she expects allowable growth for school districts to be addressed early in this year’s session. State Senator Pam Juchum of Dubuque says the financial outlook does not look good for the state and there may not be any additional dollars appropriated for education. Other legislative priorities for the Chamber include business climate, economic development and workforce, transportation and infrastructure.

Man Arrested For OWI Following Crashes In Grant County 

A rural Lancaster man faces a list of charges and citations after he crashed his truck in Grant County on New Year’s Day. A release from the Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened at around 1 p.m. in South Lancaster Township. A deputy was called to the 61-hundred block of County Road A to investigate a report of a truck that drove through a lawn and struck a house. When they arrived the vehicle had fled the area. A short time later a deputy responded to another report, and learned that the same truck drove through another lawn and hit several mail boxes before driving away. While the deputy was searching the area for the truck, a Lancaster police officer located the vehicle which had damage to the front end. The driver of the truck, later identified as 29 year old Brian Oyen, was found at his residence. Oyen was arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated, third offense and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also cited for hit and run causing property damage to highway, failure to notify police of an accident and operating while suspended. Further investigation determined that Oyen did not hit a house, but struck several lawn ornaments, bird houses a mailbox and a bird bath.

Powerball, MegaMillions Combine for Historic Jackpots

Rich

Jackpots for the Iowa Lottery’s two premiere games have now climbed to a combined total of nearly a billion dollars. No one won either the MegaMillions or Powerball games this week, which has pushed the top prizes for the two games to near-historic levels. The MegaMillions jackpot now stands at $418 million, while Powerball is up to $550 million. Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich tells KDTH that those big prizes have ramped up demand for the two games. Rich reports that the lottery will sell about $150,000 for an average Powerball drawing. But that number jumped up six times – to $900,000 – on Wednesday. According to Rich, the size of the jackpot that inspires casual lottery players to buy a ticket has increased over the years. Last August, the jackpots for both games topped $300 million. But Rich says the current jackpots have the Iowa Lottery in uncharted territory. Iowans have been playing Powerball for nearly thirty years, but MegaMillions is a much newer game to the Hawkeye State, only becoming available about eight years ago. While Powerball still generates more sales than MegaMillions, Rich says the newer game is holding its own. It should be noted that the odds of winning either game are one in about 260 million.

Study: Iowa Drivers are Best in Nation

Iowa drivers can claim bragging rights over their counterparts from Wisconsin and Illinois, thanks to a new study. The website Car Insurance Comparison recently ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They based their rankings not only on the total number of fatal crashes in a state, but also on the number of fatal crashes where things like speeding, alcohol, and ignoring a traffic laws were involved. Iowa actually finished at the top of the rankings, helped along by high marks for obeying traffic signals, wearing seat belts, and maintaining a safe speed. Illinois and Wisconsin both landed in the lower half of the rankings, at 29th and 32nd, respectively. Illinois was rated as one of the ten worst states for speeders. Wisconsin’s grade was hurt by a high number of drunk driving deaths. Behind Iowa at the top of the rankings were Minnesota, Virginia, and New Jersey. The study found that the worst drivers are in Louisiana, Arizona, and Montana.

“Backfill” Program Could Face Changes in 2018 Iowa Legislature

City and county leaders are right to be concerned about the elimination of a state program that makes up for a loss in tax revenue. That’s according state lawmakers who represent the Dubuque area. Several years ago, the state legislature changed how property taxes are calculated. The result was a loss in revenue for many cities, counties, and school districts. But the state created a “backfill” that repaid the lost funding. With the state now facing a budget crunch, it’s possible that program could be scaled back, or eliminated altogether. State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque has heard from many local leaders worried about that loss of funding. Jochum believes the state owes it to local municipalities to keep the backfill in place. Republican State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta believes changes are coming to the backfill, though she’s not sure what those changes might be. Fellow Representative Abby Finkeanuer, a Democrat from Dubuque, says changes to the backfill would be another example of the current administration’s mismanagement of the state’s finances. The state legislature begins its 2018 session on Monday.

Dubuque’s First Baby of 2018 Waits Until January 2nd

Gwen and Scott Kalvelage with their new baby, Coraline (Courtesy: Finley Hospital).

New Year’s Day 2018 came and went without a single baby being born in a Dubuque hospital. Administrators at Finley Hospital tell us that the first birth of 2018 in their facility didn’t come until just before 9:00 Tuesday morning. That’s when little Coraline Jean Kalvelage came into the world. Coraline’s parents, Gwen and Scott, were not expecting to have a New Year’s baby, as Coraline’s due date was still about three weeks off. Nonetheless, they’re now the parents of a 7 pound, 10 ounce, 19 inch baby girl. According to Finley, this is the second year in a row that the first baby of the year didn’t come along until January 2. Over at Mercy Hospital, the first baby of the new year didn’t come along until about 7:30 Monday Tuesday night.

One Injured in Fire Just West of Dubuque

One person suffered a minor injury after fire broke out at a business just outside the Dubuque city limits yesterday afternoon. Firefighters from the Centralia-Peosta department were called to Addoco at about 1:00. The company’s facility is located off of Old Highway Road just to the west of Industrial Center West. The fire was mostly contained to a mulch pile, though the building may have sustained some damage as well. One employee had problems breathing because of the fire and was given oxygen at the scene. That person’s name has not been released. It’s believed that the fire began in a machine that grinds mulch, though the official cause isn’t yet known. The dollar amount of the damage done is still an unknown as well.

New Members Take Seats on Dubuque City Council

Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol (right) congratulates City Councilman Brett Shaw after swearing him in Wednesday night.

The two new members of the Dubuque City Council say they’re ready to get to work. 1st and 3rd Ward Representatives Brett Shaw and Kate Larson were sworn in prior to the council’s meeting last night. The two each won their seats last November and have been busy preparing to take their places at the council table. But now, according to Larson, the “fun” starts. Shaw says the preparation for taking over the 1st Ward seat has included dozens of meetings with city department heads. He isn’t coming onto the council with a long list of goals or expectations. Larson’s goal for her first year on the council is to take in as much information as possible. In addition to Larson and Shaw, three other members of the council took oaths of office last night. Mayor Roy Buol was sworn in for another term, his fourth. Councilman Ric Jones is also entering his fourth term on the council after winning re-election last fall. And Councilman David Resnick was sworn in as the new Mayor Pro Tem.

Parents Arrested After Seven Kids, Including Days-Old Baby, Found Living in Filth

Two Dubuque residents are facing multiple child endangerment charges after seven children, including a days-old baby, were found in extremely unsanitary conditions. Police were called to a home in the 400 block of Burch Street at about 7:45 last night. A social worker was at the home to do a welfare check on the children who live there, but hadn’t gotten a response from anyone inside. Officers entered the home, where they found garbage, rotten food, and feces throughout the residence. Seven children, all under the age of 14, were located in an upstairs bedroom that police describe as “extremely dirty.” All of the children – including a five-day-old baby – had been sleeping in one bed. The mother of the children, 34-year-old Tiesha Martin, and the father of the baby, 33-year-old Jermaine Watson, had been in an adjoining bedroom, where police found a burning marijuana blunt. Watson told police the marijuana was his. A small bag containing several prescription pills was also found in his pocket. Both Martin and Watson have been charged with seven counts each of Child Endangerment. Watson is also facing four drug charges. The children were initially taken by the state Department of Human Services, but have since been turned over to a family member.

Cafaro: Mindframe Replacement Secured, Will Open by April

A replacement for the recently closed Mindframe Theaters has been secured, according to the parent company of the Kennedy Mall. Ohio-based Cafaro tells KDTH that they’ve finalized the terms of an agreement with a new tenant for the six-screen theater located just to the northwest of the mall’s main building. Cafaro spokesman Joe Bell says further details about the new operator will be coming later this month. While Cafaro has used terms like “entertainment entity” in discussing potential replacements for Mindframe, Bell says the building will continue to be a movie theater. Bell expects the new operator to open for business by April 1st. Mindframe’s owners announced their closure about ten days ago, and Monday was their final day of operation. According to Bell, the decision to not renew Mindframe’s lease was made months ago, and Cafaro left it up to the theater’s owners to decide when they would make the change public. Cafaro owns a dozen malls in nine states. It also owns the Asbury Plaza retail area on Dubuque’s West End.

Larson, Shaw to Take Council Seats Tonight

Larson, Shaw

The newest members of the Dubuque City Council will take their seats during a rare Wednesday night council meeting tonight. Brett Shaw and Kate Larson were elected to represent the city’s 1st and 3rd wards last November. Tonight, both will be sworn in as council members and will take part in their first meeting. Mayor Roy Buol will also be sworn in for his fourth term in office, which sets a new city record. At Large Councilman Ric Jones will also be re-seated for a fourth term. With the council turnover, fellow At Large Councilman David Resnick will take over the Mayor Pro Tem duties. Kevin Lynch had been in that role during the latter portion of 2017, but is no longer a member of the council. Tonight’s meeting will be held at 6:00 in the Historic Federal Building. It’s being held on a Wednesday due to city offices being closed yesterday.

Cold Weather Sparks Increase in Home Fires

The recent extreme cold that’s gripped much of the Midwest has led to an increase in the number of home fires around the region. The American Red Cross reports that it assisted the victims of more than fifteen fires in Iowa alone last week. That’s significantly more than in a normal winter weekend. But fire officials say there are some simple things you can do to prevent a fire. Dubuque Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Ludescher tells our coverage partners at KCRG that one of the most important things to do is make sure you’re using space heaters correctly. Those devices should be plugged directly into an outlet, and not an extension cord. Candles are also a frequent reason home fires begin. Ludescher says to not leave them unattended. Lastly, if there’s still a real Christmas tree in your home, it can pose a fire hazard as well. Ludescher’s final piece of advice is to make sure there’s a working fire extinguisher in your home.

Jackson County Humane Society Closed After Water Pipe Burst

Frigid temperatures caused a water pipe to burst at the Jackson County Humane Society in Maquoketa today. That forced the animal shelter to close its’ doors at least for today. Shelter Coordinator Cora Sutton says as they arrived at the shelter this morning, they notice water coming from underneath the front door. It was around two inches of water on the floors. The busted pipe is located in the bathroom wall, and the water flooded that area as well as the office and the cat room. Nick Meyer, vice-president of the Humane Society’s Board of Directors says they are asking for donations to repair the damage. Meyer says they plan to reopen the shelter tomorrow. In addition to using donations to fix the water damage, Meyer says some of the money will be used to purchase cat food and kitty litter. None of the animals were impacted by the water.

Police Seek Hartig Alcohol Thief


Dubuque police are looking for a woman accused of stealing two bottles of liquor from a local drug store. The theft happened at Hartig’s Drug Store on JFK Road at around 1:00 PM on Christmas Eve Day. The bottles of alcohol are valued at just under $50. The police department has posted the above image of the suspect on its ID4PD webpage.

Rape Charge Filed Against Dubuque Man Just Days After Drunk Driving Arrest

A Dubuque man stands accused of rape after an incident early Sunday morning. 34-year-old Ronnie Griffin was arrested a few minutes before 5:00 AM and has been charged with 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse. According to police, a woman called 911 shortly after 4:00 AM saying that she had just been raped at her apartment. Police responded and found Griffin in the doorway to the apartment. The woman was inside the apartment with injuries and bruising to her neck and face. She told police that she’d asked Griffin to come over earlier that morning, but told him they wouldn’t be having sex. After the two began kissing on her couch, she tried to deny Griffin’s attempts at taking things further. That’s when she says he held her wrists together, carried her to her bedroom, and raped her. Griffin could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He had just been arrested on a drunken driving charge two days earlier. That arrest happened outside his home on University Avenue, just a few blocks from the woman’s apartment.

Woman Pepper Sprayed During Arrest at Downtown Dubuque Bar

One of the people arrested by Dubuque Police early New Year’s Day had to be pepper sprayed while inside a downtown bar. According to an arrest report, a police officer saw 36-year-old Cortney Newton outside The Lift. The officer says Newton was unsteady on her feet and he was concerned she would fall as she walked towards the bar. The officer caught up to Newton as she was in the bar’s entryway. At that point, he noticed she had slurred speech and poor balance. The officer repeatedly asked Newton to walk outside with him, but she refused. He tried to guide her out of the bar with his hand, but she pulled away and began yelling at him. That’s when he shot “a single burst” of pepper spray into Newton’s face. She eventually had to be carried to his squad car, and was taken to jail. While being searched, jail staff found marijuana and a smoking pipe in Newton’s pockets. She’s been charged with Public Intoxication, Interference with Official Acts, and possession of both marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Suspects Lie About Business, Make Off with $17,000 in Cell Phones

Dubuque Police are hoping members of the public can help them identify people who lied to get more than twenty cell phones. According to police, a woman went to Next Generation Wireless on the Northwest Arterial and opened up a business account. She used a Peosta address, but the name of a business located in Illinois. Before the error was noted, two other people came to the phone store and were given more than twenty phones. The suspects had charged the total cost of the phones – more than $17,000 – to the business. They paid the sales tax and were able to take the phones from the store. Police have posted images of the suspects on the department’s ID4PD website.

MegaMillions, Powerball Prizes Climb Again

There will once again be some big lottery prizes on the line during the first drawings of the new year. Both the MegaMillions and Powerball jackpots went unclaimed again over the weekend. Neither game has been won since October, which has caused the top prizes to climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The jackpot for MegaMillions is now $343 million. The drawing for that game will be tonight. As for tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing, the top prize has increased to $440 million.

UD Basketball Coach Credited with Saving the Day After Bus Driver Passes Out

Smith

The quick actions of a coach may have saved the lives of several University of Dubuque athletes over the weekend. The UD women’s basketball team was returning from a tournament in Tennessee on Sunday morning. Their bus driver passed out as the bus was travelling along Interstate 24 in Kentucky. The vehicle veered off the highway a struck a guard rail. That’s when assistant coach Justin Smith bolted to the driver’s seat, hitting the brakes and stopping the bus before anything worse could happen. Once the bus was moved out of harm’s way, paramedics were called, and the driver was taken to a hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. Smith is in his first season as an assistant at UD. He was the head coach of the Hempstead girls team the past five seasons.

New Year’s Cold Breaks Records in Dubuque

It was an historically cold start to the new year here in Dubuque, where a couple of temperature records were set yesterday. The first came in the early morning hours, when the low temperature at the Dubuque Regional Airport dropped to 21 degrees below zero. That set a new daily record for January 1. The previous mark was a full six degrees warmer, at -15, set in 1974. The temperature did climb during the day, but didn’t get out of negative numbers at the airport. It registered a high temperature yesterday of 4 below, which also broke a record that had been set in 1974. Temperatures were a bit less severe within the city limits. The KCRG StormNet weather station at Senior High School saw a high temperature of 2 degrees above zero, with a low of only 12 below.

Accused Club Rise Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

A music promoter accused of firing several gunshots at a downtown Dubuque bar says he’s innocent of the charges against him. 32-year-old Ricardo Sanchez of Chicago entered a not guilty plea in Dubuque County District Court last week. He’s charged with Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon, Going Armed with Intent, and Theft. Sanchez was arrested by police in Galena during the early morning hours of November 27. An act he represents had played at Club Rise on Central Avenue earlier that day. But after the show, Sanchez and the club’s management had a disagreement about payment. According to police, Sanchez then left the bar, pulled a handgun from his vehicle, and fired several shots into the front of the business. No one was injured. Sanchez is scheduled to go on trial next month.

Dubuque Police Make Ten Arrests Over New Year’s Eve

Courtesy: KCRG

2018 got off to a rough start for a handful of Dubuque residents who spent the first day of the New Year in jail. According to online records, Dubuque Police made a total of ten arrests from 6:00 PM Sunday to 6:00 AM Monday. Of those arrested, five were charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Four were booked on Interference with Official Acts charges. Three others are facing drug charges. The number of arrests made this New Year’s Eve is about the same as a year ago. It’s down significantly from New Year’s 2016, when seventeen people were arrested.

Merry Mulch

With the start of the new year, Christmas Tree’s will be coming down, and a reminder to Dubuque residents that those tree can be collected at the curbside through January 12. The ‘Merry Mulch Tree Collection and Composting Program’ will also include yard waste bags, bundles and containers along with Green Carts with food scrapes that will be collected on regular collection days for the next two weeks. Trees and other compostable items should be set out next to refuse on the normal collection day. Crews ask that very large trees be cut in half, with no pieces over five feet in length. The trees must have either one City Brush Tie or one yellow City Yard Waste Sticker attached. All ornaments, lights, tinsel, wire, nails, stands or plastic bags need to be removed. Also – a reminder for post-holiday trash collection, foil-lined envelopes, greeting cards, gift wrap, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, foam peanuts, plastic bags, or glass are not allowed in recycling bins.

Dubuque City Council Meeting

The Dubuque City Council will kick off 2018 with its first meeting of the new year on Wednesday, January 3rd . While the agenda is short, some important housekeeping items will take place. Mayor Roy Buol, and council members Ric Jones, Kate Larson and Brett Shaw will be sworn in during the meeting. At Large Councilman, David Resnick will also be sworn in as mayor pro-tem. With Larson stepping into the role of a council member, that will leave her position on the city Parks and Recreation Commission open. The council will review applications for that open seat at Wednesday’s meeting. The council will also decide on mayor and city council representations and appointments to several boards and commissions. The council meeting is scheduled for 6 pm Wednesday at the Historic Federal Building.

Cold Start to the New Year

The new year started out cold across much of the nation, breaking low temperature records, icing some New Year’s celebrations and leading to at least two deaths attributed to exposure to the elements across the country. The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and warnings for Monday covering a vast area from South Texas all the way to Canada and from Montana and Wyoming in the west through New England in the east. In Dubuque, we are under a wind chill warning until noon on Tuesday. The city officially rang in the new year with a temperature of 14 below zero at the Dubuque Regional Airport at midnight, with that temperature dipping down to 20 below shortly below 5 am.  That shattered the previous record of -15 set in 1974. Incidentally the all-time high for January 1 in Dubuque is 63 degrees, which was set in 1897.

Project To Affect Endangered Frog

The rebuilding of an electrical transmission powerline in southwestern Wisconsin may result in the “incidental taking” of a rare frog. The Wisconsin DNR has issued a permit to Dairlyland Power Cooperative to rebuild nearly 29 miles of transmission line. The transmission line begins at the Lancaster substation and traverses generally south-southeast to the  Menominee Distribution Station in Jo Daviess County. Stacy Rowe with the DNR says the presence of the endangered Blanchard’s cricket frog has been detected in the vicinity of the project site, and it may result in the “incidental taking” of some of the frogs. The Blanchard’s cricket frog once covered the entire southern part of Wisconsin, but they are now mostly found in the southwestern part of the state and a few counties in west central Wisconsin. A majority of the project will be done under frozen ground conditions, which will minimize the impact on the environment as a whole. The transmission line project will get started in the winter of 2018 and take about a year-and-a-half to complete.

Red Cross 2017 Disasters

2017 was marked with record-breaking disasters, and the American Red Cross mobilized quickly to deliver more food, relief supplies and shelter stays than all of the last four years combined. Nicole Breitbach, Executive Director of the Dubuque Chapter says in just 45 days, the Red Cross responded to six of this year’s largest and most complex disasters in years. Breitbach joined volunteers in the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Breitbach and the other Red Cross volunteers from Dubuque spent nearly three weeks in the Virgin Islands providing displaced victims with food, shelter and companionship.

Man Involved In Attempted Robbery at Dubuque Bar Dies In Prison 

A man who shot and wounded a Dubuque police officer following an attempted robbery at a local bar nine years ago has died in prison. A press release says 79 year old Eddie Chest died Thursday morning of natural causes at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. Chest was suffering from a chronic illness and had been housed in a hospice room at the center. In December of 2009, Chest and his son Eddie Adams entered Knicker’s Saloon armed with sawed-off shot guns and robbed the business. As the two left, a foot chase ensued and Chest shot Lt. Scott Baxter. Baxter returned gun fire, striking Chest twice, which incapacitated him. Baxter eventually recovered from his wounds. Chest was charged with attempted murder and first degree robbery. He was sentenced and was serving two consecutive 25 year prison terms before his death. Adams is serving a 35 year prison sentence for his part in the robbery.

Cell Phones Theft At Dubuque Business


Dubuque police are looking for the people who fraudulently obtained cell phones from a a local business. According to a police report, a female came into Next Generation Wireless on the N.W. West Arterial earlier this week and set up a business account using a legitimate company name and address. However, it was later determined that both the company and the address did not coincide. The address is in Peosta, while the company is in Illinois. Before this was discovered, two people people came into the store, as previously agreed during the initial account set-up, and acquired over 20 cell phones valued at over 17-thousand dollars. The suspects paid the sales tax on the phones and were allowed to take them. The suspects were captured on surveillance and those images have posted on the Dubuque Police Department’s ID4PD webpage. We have also posted an image of a suspect on our website, KDTH.com.

Cold Weather Tips To Assist Garbage Collection Crews 

Over the next week few days, temperatures in Dubuque and the Tri-State area will be below zero for daytime highs, and well below zero overnight. The Public Works Department is asking customers to make it easy as possible for curbside collection crews in the freezing weather. You can help by using dark-colored garbage bags, not white ones. Place your containers, bags, bins and bundles at the corner of your driveway, and not on the sidewalk or behind a pile of snow or window. For more tips on how to assist curbside collection crews, visit the City of Dubuque website, and click on the Public Works Department link.

Stormwater Grant for Eagle Point Park

The city of Dubuque is receiving a state grant to help control stormwater at Eagle Point Park. The 320-thousand dollar grant was awarded to the city by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be used for additional implementation at the 164-acre park which opened in 1909 on Dubuque’s northeast side. The project is part of an ongoing environmental restoration effort for Eagle Point that contributes to the city’s mission of creating a sustainable future. Adopted by the city council earlier this year, the management plan addresses the park’s recreational and natural spaces that suffer the effects of severe erosion, invasive vegetation, and degraded natural habitats on the rolling rugged terrain. Dubuque’s grant comes from the State Revolving Fund.

Crash Leads To OWI Arrest In Grant County

A one vehicle crash in Grant County on Christmas Eve landed a Hazel Green man in jail on drunk driving and other charges. According to the Sheriff’s Department, 47 year old Brain Beer was driving a vehicle for Southern Grant County Road Crew when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of State Road 80 and Kirkwood Road in Hazel Green and crashed into an embankment. Beer fled the scene in the van, before abandoning it in Hazel Green. Beer then called a fellow employee, who picked him up and drove him back to their headquarters in Kieler. At around 12:30 a.m. that morning, a deputy noticed that the van had been involved in a crash. Beer was later located, and after questioning was arrested for suspicion of OWI. Beer was also cited for failure to stop at a stop sign, operating after suspension and failure to notify police of an accident.

Man Tries to Pass Counterfeit Bill In Dubuque


Dubuque police are seeking the identity of a man who attempted to pass a counterfeit bill at a local convenience store earlier this month. The incident happened at around 10:20 p.m. the night of December 15th at the AWN Shop Part in the 14-hundred block of Central Avenue. The suspect is described as a skinny white male with brown median length hair. He was wearing a Green Bay Packers shirt and black shorts when he tried unsuccessfully to pass the fake 10 dollar bill at the store. The Dubuque Police Department has posted an image of the suspect on its’ ID4PD webpage. We have also posted an image on our website KDTH.com.

Fire Fighters Union Endorse Finkenauer

Iowa State Representative Abby Finkenauer’s campaign for U.S. Congress has received the endorsement of a local union. The Dubuque Professional Firefighters Association Local 25 is throwing its’ support behind Finkenauer for Congress in Iowa’s First Congressional District. This is the tenth labor endorsement for Finkenauer. She must first however, win next year’s primary before having a chance to face incumbent Republican Rod Blum of Dubuque in the November 2018 mid-term election.

Fire Damages Garage In Dubuque, One Fire Fighter Injured

A Dubuque fire fighter was injured while battling a garage fire last night. Crews responded to the rear of an apartment building at 816 Rose Street at around 6:08 p.m. When they arrived the detached garage was burning. The fire was quickly brought under control. One fire fighter was injured and treated at Mercy ER. Electrical power was out to the apartment building for a short time and has since been restored. No one was displaced.

Ex-Farm Bureau Head Lang Running for Ag Secretary

Republican Craig Lang announces his bid for Iowa Agriculture Secretary (Courtesy: KCRG).

There’s now an official candidate to be Iowa’s next Secretary of Agriculture. Former Iowa Farm Bureau leader Craig Lang announced his bid for the post at his farm near the central Iowa town of Brooklyn this week. Lang has several priorities he’ll be campaigning on, including maintaining agriculture’s share in Iowa’s economy. Lang also wants to shrink the divide between Iowa’s rural citizens and those who live in cities. Lang is running for the Ag Secretary post as a Republican. He’s seeking to replace Bill Northey, who’s held the job for nearly a dozen years. Northey has been nominated for a job in the federal agriculture department, but is still awaiting confirmation.

Police: Counterfeit Bills Now Being Used in Private Sales

Counterfeit money has been showing up in a new place around Dubuque, according to local law enforcement. Dubuque Police say they’ve received an increasing number of reports that people have been using fake bills to make private purchases, often set up over social media sites. In a news release about the issue, police specifically mention the Facebook marketplace, which allows individuals to set up sales of a variety of items. Police are encouraging sellers to pay special attention to the security features included in dollar bills. In some cases, forgers have taken small bills and washed or bleached them to the point that a larger denomination of money can be reprinted on the bill. If you believe you’ve been given a counterfeit bill, contact local police.

Woman Trades Fake Bill for Change

Dubuque Police are asking the public for help identifying a woman who used a counterfeit bill in a private transaction. According to a posting on the department’s ID4PD website, the suspect approached a man near the intersection of 8th Street and Central Avenue last Friday. The suspect told the man she was trying to plug a parking meter and needed change for a 20-dollar bill. If was only after the transaction that the man realized he had been given a counterfeit bill. A traffic camera photo of the suspect is included with the posting on the ID4PD site.

Ex-Delhi Clerk Sentenced to 15 Months in Federal Prison

A former city official who stole more than $100,000 in public funds will spend more than a year in federal prison. Angela Billings was sentenced to 15 months behind bars by a judge in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. Billings had been the City Clerk in the Delaware County town of Delhi. Between March of 2007 and January of 2015, she racked up more than $100,000 in unauthorized charges on a city credit card, using for everything from weight loss supplements to satellite TV service to calls to a psychic hotline. A state audit also found that Billings had fraudulently reduced her own utility bills. In June, she pled guilty to one count of Theft from a Program Receiving Federal Funds. She could have faced up to ten years in federal prison, but will still have to repay more than $130,000 in restitution.

Wintry Weather Expected Today

Today marks the first day of winter, and we can expect a burst of winter weather here in the Tri-States. According to our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV, a wintry mix will move into our area during the afternoon hours today. That precipitation will likely begin as a rain/snow mix before changing over to just snow into the evening. Snow showers will continue until about noon tomorrow, though only minor accumulations are expected. Much colder weather is expected to follow this system, with highs over the weekend only in the middle 20s. There is an additional chance of light snow Sunday into Christmas morning.

Congress Shifts to Preventing Shutdown…Tax Bill Impacts Largely Unknown…Driver Rams Pedestrians in Australia

WASHINGTON (AP) – The GOP-led Congress is hoping to approve a must-pass spending bill as the clock ticks toward potential government shutdown this weekend. House Republican leaders, however, are struggling to unite the GOP rank and file behind legislation that would punt most of their remaining work into next year.

WASHINGTON (AP) – One key GOP lawmaker says there’s no path forward yet on a temporary funding measure to keep the government from grinding to a halt at midnight Friday. Some Republicans who left a private meeting on Wednesday say there are wide differences. There is said to be division on defense spending. Other lawmakers want to nail down an $81 billion disaster aid bill before heading home for the holidays. Democrats charge that their input is being ignored.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand how the new tax bill will affect you. Chances are, your accountant doesn’t yet either. From New York to Kentucky to Florida, accountants and tax lawyers are rapidly scanning the 1,000 page measure, fielding a swirl of questions from clients and swapping tips via email in their efforts to fully grasp the bill’s far-reaching changes.

UKHIA, Bangladesh (AP) – It started out as a quiet Sunday morning in northwestern Myanmar. It spiraled into an incomprehensible hell – an army massacre that would become one of the bloodiest reported in the Southeast Asian nation since government forces launched a vicious campaign to drive out the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in late August. The AP has reconstructed the carnage in one Myanmar village for the first time.

SYDNEY (AP) – Police say the driver of a vehicle that rammed into pedestrians in Melbourne is an Australian citizen of Afghan decent who has a known history of drug use and mental health issues. Police said in news conference late Thursday that there was no evidence or intelligence to indicate that the incident was connected to terrorism, but they believe the act was deliberate. They said counter-terror officials would remain involved in the investigation to be sure there was no connection.

Dyersville Man Collects Bowling Equipment After Des Moines Fire

Russell Bolibaugh shows off the carload of bowling equipment he’s transporting to Des Moines (Courtesy: Facebook).

A Dyersville man is on his way to Des Moines this morning with a strange load of cargo: several dozen bowling balls. A fire earlier this week destroyed the Plaza Lanes bowling alley in Des Moines. The 60-year-old business was the home of the state high school bowling championships. It also served as the home lanes for two Des Moines public school teams, which lost all of their equipment in the fire. That inspired Russell Bolibaugh to generate donations of as much bowling equipment as possible. In addition to balls, Bolibaugh is also taking several sets of bags and shoes with him to Des Moines.

Wisconsin Manhunt Suspect Sentenced to 14 Years

Jakubowski

A southern Wisconsin man who stole more than a dozen guns and sent an anti-government manifesto to President Trump has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. Joseph Jakubowski of Janesville was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Conley Wednesday. Jakubowski asked the judge to either free him or execute him, saying in a profanity-laced back and forth that he rejected rules and the law. Jakubowski also said if he were let out, he would do it again. Jakubowski was convicted in September of two weapons charges stemming from the April theft. The incident set off a 10-day manhunt. Jakubowski was eventually captured near Readstown. Jakubowski does still face state charges. He’s scheduled to go on trial for those next month.

Trump Commutes Sentence of Former AgriProcessors Executive

President Donald Trump has shortened the prison term of a former executive of a northeast Iowa meatpacking plant that was the site of one of the nation’s largest immigration raids. Trump has commuted the sentence of former AgriProcessors executive Sholom Rubashkin. He was convicted on financial fraud charges in 2009, the year after the raid on AgriProcessors’ facility in Postville. Investigators found that Rubashkin had been submitting fake invoices to make the company’s finances appear to be in better shape than they actually were. He was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison, and has served more than eight years of that sentence to date. This is the first time Trump has commuted a prisoner’s term since taking office. He made the move following encouragement from several members of Congress who argued Rubashkin’s sentence was too harsh.

Complaint About Squad Car Headlights Leads to Arrest of Washington Woman

A complaint about the brightness of a Dubuque Police Department vehicle’s lights led to the arrest of a Seattle-area woman on Tuesday evening. Just before 6:30 PM, an officer was responding to an assault report at the Dubuque Wal-Mart. While interviewing witnesses, a woman later identified as 68-year-old Judy Haynes of Federal Way, Washington, began yelling at the officer, complaining that the squad car’s headlights were shining into her vehicle. The officer told Haynes she was busy, and asked her to return to her car. Haynes did, but cursed at the officer under her breath as she was walking away. According to the officer, Haynes continually interrupted her interview with a witness, despite being asked to return to her vehicle as many as a dozen times. When Haynes again refused to comply with the officer, she was arrested for Interference with Official Acts.

Dubuque Salvation Army at 70% of Red Kettle Goal

Courtesy: KCRG

With only a handful of days remaining in its annual Red Kettle Campaign, the Dubuque chapter of the Salvation Army still needs about $30,000 to reach its goal. The last day of bell-ringing is Saturday, and the organization is a little more than 70% of the way to its goal of $108,000. But Major Kay Mason of the Salvation Army says they typically see an increase in donations toward the end of the campaign. Even though the bell-ringing will stop after this week, Mason says the Salvation Army allows them to continue taking contributions through the end of January. Dubuque is one of several cities in Iowa where the local Salvation Army chapter has had trouble meeting its Red Kettle Campaign goal. Mason believes that’s largely due to how expensive the Christmas season has become. Mason and her husband, Tom, are retiring next August, which makes this their last Christmas leading the local Salvation Army chapter. She’d really like to go out on a high note. While the Red Kettle Campaign is lagging, Mason notes that the Salvation Army is within about ten percent of reaching the goal in its mail appeal. She adds that there are bell-ringing shifts still available for this weekend.

Funds Coming Up Short for Cascade Museum Expansion

The Tri-County Historical Society’s museum campus in Cascade. The new expansion is at the far left. Courtesy: KCRG.

The expansion of a Cascade museum has cost more than originally thought, and organizers say they’re about $50,000 short on funds. A little more than three years ago, the Tri-County Historical Society began raising money to pay for an addition to its museum in Cascade. A donor kicked in $100,000, and the community matched that gift. But as construction on the new building move along, Historical Society staff learned they had underestimated the costs. They now say they’re about $50,000 short of the final price tag. Society Vice President and Cascade City Council member Steve Knepper tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that the new museum will be a place where future generations can learn about Cascade’s past. Board member Tom Boyle says the historical society has worked to obtain as many pictures and videos as possible, so younger people can see the town’s history, and not just read about it. The current museum is typically open Sundays in the summer and fall, and by appointment the rest of the year.

Driver Involved in Bus Stop Crash Cited

The driver that clipped a child near a Dubuque County bus stop last week could face jail time or a suspension of her driver’s license. Last Friday morning, sheriff’s deputies were called to a bus stop along US Highway 52 just east of Rickardsville. That’s where a 7-year-old had been hit by a passing car. According to the sheriff’s department, the boy was crossing the highway to get to a school bus when he was hit by the side mirror of an eastbound vehicle. The driver of the car, 26-year-old Kelly Klein of Holy Cross has been given a ticket for Unlawfully Passing a School Bus. If convicted on the charge, she could have to spend a month in jail and might also lose her license for up to three months. Klein is also looking at a fine of at least $250. The boy was taken to Finley Hospital, where he was treated and released.