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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Fatal ATV Accident

An ATV accident resulted in a fatality in Jo Daviess County Saturday morning. The Jo Daviess County Sherriff’s Department reports that 37-year old Andrew Paul Nesbitt of Apple River died in the accident. He was the operator and only occupant of the vehicle. Authorities were called to 2811 East White Haven Lane in Apple River shortly before 11 am. The preliminary report shows he was operating the ATV in a pasture when he lost control and crashed into a fence. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

 


Libertarian Gov. Candidate Battaglia

While most of the spotlight has been on the Republican and Democrat candidates for Iowa Governor, not much has been said about the Libertarians seeking the state’s top office. One of them is Marco Battaglia. He is a native of Des Moines and is a University of Northern Iowa graduate and says his decision to run for Governor was inspired by Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke. Battaglia’s running on a platform that addresses agriculture, economic freedom and the privatization of Medicaid. The other Libertarian candidate on the ballot is Jake Porter of Council Bluffs.


Kind Votes Against Farm Bill

A sweeping farm bill failed in the House on Friday in a blow to GOP leaders. The House leadership put the bill on the floor gambling it would pass despite unanimous Democratic opposition. But the gamble failed. The vote was 213 to 198, with 30 Republicans joining 183 Democrats in defeating the bill. Wisconsin 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind voted against the measure. He says family farmers need an updated farm bill that levels the playing field. Prior to the vote, Kind introduced amendments to the farm bill to create more transparency in the crop insurance and subsidy programs, protect the Conservation Stewardship Program within the farm bill conservation title, and avoid trade disputes with Brazil due to U.S. Cotton subsidies. The amendments were blocked by the House Committee on Rules.

 


Grant Co. Jo Daviess Click It Or Ticket Campaigns 

Law enforcement agencies in southwest Wisconsin will join hundreds of similar agencies throughout the state for the annual Click It or Ticket safety belt enforcement campaign next week. In Wisconsin, officers can stop and cite motorists for not wearing their seat belt. Wisconsin’s safety belt use rate of 89.4 percent is the highest ever, but still lags behind the national average. Last year there were nearly 59-thousand traffic convictions for failure to use a seat belt in Wisconsin. The Click It or Ticket campaign runs from May 21st through June 3rd. In Illinois, the Click It or Ticket campaign started today and runs through the 29th. Illinois has a 93.8 percent seat belt usage rate, but a disproportionate number of fatalities involve unbelted motorists and passengers. Of the over one thousand traffic deaths in Illinois last year, 54 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts.


Dubuque Man Charged With Murder

A Dubuque man was arrested this afternoon (Friday afternoon) and charged with murder for the death of a Bellevue man on Christmas day 2016. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says 23 year old Drew Mangler is charged with first degree murder. Bellevue police say they were called to a residence in the 600 block of Riverview Drive on December 25th 2016. When they arrived they found the door appeared to be forced open. Once inside, they found James Remakel dead. An autopsy done three days later showed multiple stab wounds to his torso, neck, face and head. His death was ruled a homicide. Mangler is being held in the Jackson County jail.


New Smoke Alarm Saves Key West Family

A new smoke detector from the American Red Cross is being credited with waking up a Key West family when their mobile home caught fire this morning. Shortly before 2:30 AM, Dubuque firefighters were called to the trailer in the Table Mound Mobile Home Park. The homeowner had woken up to smoke alarms going off, and then saw both flames and smoke inside the trailer. He was able to get his family of seven out safely and call the fire department. The fire was located underneath the home and put it out by firefighters. The cause of the fire is believed to be lint that sparked in a dryer exhaust duct. The home just had new smoke detectors installed by volunteers from the American Red Cross within the past month.


Carnegie-Stout Public Library Steps Undergoing Replacement

One of the entrances to the Carnegie-Stout Public Library is off limits for the next several weeks. Library officials have announced that the historic steps on the 11th Street side of the building are being replaced. That means that the doors the steps lead to are not available for those entering the library. The steps date to the library’s opening in 1902. They have not had any significant repairs or upgrades in more than 80 years. According to a news release from the library, the steps do not have footings and rest on the dirt below the library. After eight decades of weather exposure, the library has decided to increase their stability. Work on the steps is expected to take about three weeks. In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to use the library’s main entrance, which is just to the east of the steps.


Crescent Clinic Fined for Improper Prescription Refills

Dubuque’s non-profit health clinic has been hit with fines totalling more than $47,000 for improperly refilling prescriptions. The Crescent Community Health Center has been ordered to pay the penalties for violating the False Claims Act. According to the US Attorney’s Office, Crescent employees issued eight controlled substance refills during a five-month period in 2013. Those employees were not authorized to fill the prescriptions. Those violations have resulted in a $40,000 fine against the clinic. It has also been ordered to pay a little more than $7,500 for employees improperly filling non-controlled substance prescriptions over the same time period. Medicare or Medicaid were billed for all of the prescription refills.


Three Wisconsin Women Arrested on Drug Charges After Dubuque Traffic Stop

A suspected drug dealer from Wisconsin was arrested outside Dubuque early Wednesday morning. According to the county sheriff’s office, a vehicle was pulled over for speeding on US Highways 61/151 near the Dubuque Technology Park shortly before 4:00 AM. A K9 officer on scene indicated that there were drugs in the vehicle. During a search, officers located 30 grams of psychedelic mushrooms, several individually wrapped bags of marijuana, several containers of hash oil, and more than 700 dollars in cash. The driver of the vehicle, 20-year-old Shanyn Behrens of Madison, has been charged with a count each of drug possession and possession with intent to deliver. Two passengers in the car, 18-year-old Stacy Hernandez of Sturtevant and 19-year-old Natalie Latta of Kenosha, are each facing drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia charges. The three women’s Facebook pages all indicate that they’ve been in Colorado since earlier this month.


Drunk Driving Suspect Leads Chase from Illinois to Wisconsin

An Illinois man trying to avoid his sixth drunk driving charge was hospitalized after reportedly leading authorities from two states on a chase. 51-year-old Clarence Campbell, Junior, of Rockford is currently being treated at UW Hospital in Madison. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, Campbell was initially pulled over by Warren Police sometime before 2:00 yesterday afternoon. The Warren officer says that Campbell drove off during the traffic stop. He reportedly went northbound on State Highway 78, crossing into Wisconsin. In Gratiot, officers say Campbell turned westbound onto State Highway 11 and increased his speed to more than 80 miles per hour. About 2.5 miles west of Shullsburg, Campbell lost control of his vehicle, rolling it several times. He was taken from the scene by ambulance and later airlifted to Madison. Campbell is facing a 6th offense of Operating While Intoxicated. He’s also expected to face charges including Driving While Revoked, Fleeing an Officer, and several traffic citations.


City, County, School Administrators Consider Linking Camera Systems

Courtesy: KCRG

A plan to link up the security cameras owned by the city of Dubuque, Dubuque County, and Dubuque Community Schools is being considered. School district leaders first proposed the idea with the goal of helping first responders during emergencies. A new server could give emergency responders access to the cameras. Officials would be able to select which cameras are included in the system. City Information Services Manager Chris Kohlmann says the existing cameras and fiber optic lines would make the connections a possibility. It’s expected that administrators from across the three entities will test out the idea on certain cameras this summer. If those tests go well, a draft of an agreement would be considered by the City Council, county Board of Supervisors, and school board.


Men Trying to Get Into Bar Face Drug, Intoxication Charges

Two men were jailed in Dubuque on drug charges after trying to get into a locked downtown Dubuque bar early Wednesday morning. Officers were called to 1st and Main at about 1:00 AM. Witnesses told officers that two men were banging on the door, trying to get into the bar. 28-year-old Ricky Murphy and 20-year-old Kevonte Hale were arrested for Public Intoxication. As police were investigating, a K9 officer indicated that there were drugs in Murphy’s car. Officers found a bag containing marijuana, crack cocaine, 4.5 ecstasy pills, and about a half dozen other pills. Officers also located a small bag of marijuana on the floor of Hale’s cell after he was taken to jail. In addition to Public Intoxication, Hale has also been charged with Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Facility. Murphy faces three counts of Drug Possession with Intent to Deliver.


DNR: Source of Fish Kill Likely Won't Be Known

Whitewater Creek (Courtesy: KCRG)

The source of a recent fish kill in Dubuque County will likely never be known because investigators weren’t notified of the kill in time. On Saturday, officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources responded to Whitewater Creek south of Epworth. Investigators could immediately tell that the fish had been dead for several days. Many had already washed downstream or been eaten by wildlife. Test showed elevated levels of ammonia in the water, but the DNR’s Chris Gelner says they’ll probably never know exactly what caused the kill. The dead fish were found along a six-mile stretch of Whitewater Creek between Pilot Grove Road and North Cascade Road. The DNR has ruled out the wastewater treatment plants in Epworth and Peosta as possible sources of the kill.


Dubuque's Summer Festival Season Opens This Weekend with DubuqueFest

Dubuque’s summer festival season kicks off this weekend with an annual showcase of arts and music. DubuqueFest begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday afternoon. According to festival director Danielle Stowell, between live music, arts demonstrations, and other activities, the festival has something for just about everyone. Over its three days, the festival will feature nearly a full twenty-four hours of live music in both the Town Clock Plaza and Washington Park. New this year is what organizers are calling a “musical petting zoo,” where people can try their hand at various instruments. One of DubuqueFest’s features that continues to grow in popularity is the free yoga classes offered in Washington Park on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. For more information on DubuqueFest, visit its website.


Dubuque Holds at #14 on "Drunkest Cities" List

Dubuque has held its ranking among the “drunkest” cities in the United States. According to USA Today, the Key City is once again 14th on the list of the nation’s tipsiest towns. That’s the same spot Dubuque held a year ago. The rankings are based on the percentage of adult residents who say they drink to excess. 23 percent of Dubuquers answered ‘yes’ to that question, placing just behind Iowa City. Another statistic taken into consideration is the percentage of traffic deaths that involve alcohol. The survey found that 40% of traffic fatalities in Dubuque are booze-related. The “drunkest” city in the country, according to the study, is Green Bay. It’s one of ten Wisconsin cities to make the Top 20. The study also ranked the “driest” cities in the country. Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University, took top honors in those rankings.


Club Rise Shooter Pleads to Gun Charge, Could Face 10 Years in Prison

An Illinois music promoter who fired several shots at a downtown Dubuque nightclub faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a weapons charge. 32-year-old Ricardo Sanchez pled to a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Drug User in US District Court on Tuesday. According to prosecutors, Sanchez got into an argument with the owner of Club Rise during the early morning hours last November 27. Following the argument, Sanchez went to his vehicle, pulled out a 9 millimeter handgun, and fired at least nine shots at the building. Sanchez drove away from the scene, but was arrested later that morning outside the Wal-Mart in Galena. As part of his plea, he admitted to shooting at the nightclub, and that he had taken both cocaine and marijuana on the night of the shooting. Sanchez will face a possible maximum sentence of ten years in prison. His sentencing date has not been set.


Planned Parenthood, ACLU File Suit to Block Iowa's "Fetal Heartbeat" Law

Iowa’s new law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected is facing a challenge in court. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Board of Medicine challenging what they call the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country. Rita Bettis, Legal Director for ACLU of Iowa, is confident that the Iowa Supreme Court will rule in their favor. Suzanna de Baca, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, says since the Governor signed the “blatantly unconstitutional” abortion ban eyes have been on Iowa for all the wrong reasons. De Baca says Reynolds and the politicians who voted for the ban put their personal politics above health and common sense. The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1st. As part of the suit, a temporary injunction has been filed that would block the law from going into effect. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta, who floor managed the bill in the Iowa House, mocked the lawsuit in a tweet on Tuesday. The first-term Republican was surprised it took Planned Parenthood and the ACLU “so long” to file the suit, and said that she prefers to be a member of the “Unborn Civil Liberties Organization (UCLO).”


Aububon Student Hospitalized After Being Hit by Car

Audubon Elementary School

A student at one of Dubuque’s elementary schools was taken to the hospital after being struck by a car Monday afternoon. According to police, 28-year-old Tabetha Jentz of Dubuque was driving through the 500 block of Rhomberg Avenue near Audubon Elementary at around 3:15 PM. That’s when a student identified as Ethan Burkholder stepped out from behind a parked car and into the path of Jentz’s vehicle. Burkholder was taken to Finley Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. Jentz is not expected to face charges.


Possible Iowa Action on Legal Sports Betting Currently Unclear

Now that states can choose whether to allow sports betting, it’s unclear what kind of steps Iowa will take. The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that prohibited gambling on professional and college sports. It’s now up to individual states to allow and regulate and sports gaming. Iowa legislators did introduce a bill that would have legalized sports betting during this year’s legislative session. That bill was never brought up for a vote in either chamber. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds expects the state will take some action on sports betting during next year’s session. It’s unclear exactly how the state would regulate sports gaming if it were legalized. But Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that he hopes the state runs any sports gambling through existing casinos. Sports betting is currently legal in Nevada. Six other states passed laws legalizing sports betting in anticipation of the Court’s ruling.


May Rainfall Has Eliminated Moisture Deficit

O’Mara

Rainfall over the first two weeks of May have eliminated the moisture deficit the Tri-State area was facing. At the beginning of the month, our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV told us that Dubuque was about two inches below normal on precipitation for the year. But according to meteorologist Kaj O’Mara, the 3+ inches of rain we’ve gotten so far in May have made up that difference. About half of the month’s rainfall came overnight Sunday and into Monday morning, when the Dubuque Regional Airport registered a reading of 1.67 inches. That’s about an inch more than was received within the city of Dubuque, but less than some areas to our south received. Most of the rain we’ve gotten this month has come during the overnight hours, which O’Mara says is fairly typical for this time of year. According to O’Mara, we can expect a drier weather pattern over the next ten days. He says there’s a slight chance for some rainfall over the coming weekend, but won’t be another possibility until late next week.


Dubuque Council Hears Options for Improvements to Five Flags

Courtesy: KCRG

The Five Flags Center has outlived its initial purpose and is being outpaced by other facilities in the region. That’s the message that a consultant hired to study Five Flags delivered to the Dubuque City Council this week. Bill Krueger of the firm Convention, Sports, and Leisure presented the findings of a feasibility study to the council on Monday night. According to Krueger, the Five Flags Arena – which opened in 1979 – is becoming less viable each year. Krueger presented four possible scenarios for the future of the facility, ranging from making no improvements to building a brand new arena. He says that between the yearly $800,000 cost to keep the center open and the deferred maintenance, doing nothing with Five Flags will still cost the city millions of dollars. At the other end of the spectrum, Krueger estimated that expanding and updating Five Flags to meet industry standards would cost somewhere in the $70 million range. Councilman Luis Del Toro expressed concern that building a new facility would not eliminate the need to prop up the facility with taxpayer money. Krueger responded that the facility will likely always need some amount of taxpayer support, but argued the cost is worth it to have a venue that attracts people to the city. Mayor Roy Buol agreed, saying that an improved Five Flags could be the “hook” that brings new citizens or employers to Dubuque. Because Krueger’s presentation was a part of a work session, the council was not required to take any action on it.


Dubuque School Board Approves Contract for Hempstead Pool

Construction will begin on a new swimming pool at Hempstead High School next month. That’s after the Dubuque School Board approved a contract with Tricon Construction. Bids were taken on the project in March, but came in too high. The project was re-bid and Tricon submitted the lowest proposal, of $8.4 million. District Superintendent Stan Rheingans says the pool project was initially budgeted at around $7.2 million, but that was a few years ago. Rheingans says the current pool is costing the district money every day. As part of the project, the board approved an agreement with the Dubuque Area Swimmin’ Hurricanes, better known as DASH. The group is providing $1 million toward the cost of the pool. Construction on the pool will start in mid-June. Rheingans says the hope is that students will be swimming in the new pool during the 2019-2020 school year.


Dubuque Casey's Manager Gets Probation in Theft Case

A Dubuque convenience store manager who stole more than $15,000 from bank deposit bags has been given probation. 33-year-old Jennifer Villarreal also received a deferred judgment at her sentencing. That means her conviction can be removed from court records if she successfully completes the terms of her probation. Villarreal was also ordered to pay restitution to Casey’s General Store. Court documents say Casey’s corporate office discovered that three deposits were never made in September and October of last year. Surveillance video showed Villarreal leaving the store with the bank bags on each of the dates in question. Villarreal had been charged with theft.


Reynolds Signs Opioid Bill in Dubuque

Governor Kim Reynolds signs House File 2377 at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque (Courtesy: KCRG).

Iowa’s Governor signed a piece of legislation designed to address the state’s opioid epidemic in Dubuque yesterday. During a ceremony at Mercy Hospital, Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 2377, which, among other things, places limits on the amount of opioid prescriptions one person can obtain. Reynolds says the new law is a significant step in the state’s efforts to address the opioid crisis. Reynolds praised Mercy’s Turning Point Clinic for its efforts in combating opioid and other drug abuse. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta was the bill’s floor manager. She says the new law puts Iowa ahead of the curve in its battle with opioid abuse. The bill received unanimous support in both chambers of the Legislature. The bill also institutes a “Good Samaritan” policy for people who report opioid overdoses. Governor Reynolds says over the past decade, Iowa’s opioid-related deaths have more than doubled.


Flynn Receives 30-Year Prison Term

A Dubuque woman accused of beating her ex-husband to death with a baseball bat has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. 64-year-old Dolores Flynn was sentenced in Dubuque County Court yesterday after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors last month. Flynn pled guilty to three felonies: Voluntary Manslaughter, Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury, and Assault While Participating in a Felony. During the hearing, Flynn told the judge she regrets her actions. Flynn had originally charged with Second Degree Murder. Had she been convicted on that charge, she could have been sentenced to 50 years in prison. Flynn was charged after her ex-husband, 72-year-old Gary Breckenridge, was found dead in the home they shared in January of 2016.


Supreme Court Strikes Law Barring Betting on Sports

Visitors to Dubuque’s casinos could soon be able to place bets on professional sporting events. The US Supreme Court today struck down a federal law that had prohibited betting on sports. It will now be up to individual states to allow sports betting, or to continue the ban. The bill barring gambling on sports was passed in the early 1990s, and made Nevada the only state where betting on games was legal. New Jersey had fought the law, and brought the suit that the court ruled on today. One research firm has estimated that if the law was struck down, as many as 32 states would be likely to offer sports betting. A bill to legalize sports gambling was introduced in the Iowa Legislature this year, but was never brought up for a vote in either chamber. Locally, Q Casino President and CEO Jesus Aviles has previously said he’s in favor of expanded sports betting. Boyd Gaming, the parent company of the Diamond Jo, has released the following statement:

“Boyd Gaming is excited by today’s Supreme Court decision, and views the expansion of sports betting as a growth opportunity for our Company.  We have more than 40 years of experience in sports betting, we operate one of the largest sports book networks in the state of Nevada, and by the end of the year we expect to have operations in 10 different states. As a result, Boyd Gaming is now in excellent position to become a leading player in the growth and expansion of sports betting across the country. Whether we ultimately offer sports betting in specific states will depend on the rules and tax rates set forth by each state.  It is still too early to say which specific opportunities we will pursue, but we are monitoring the situation very closely, and are prepared to act quickly as individual states move forward with legislation.”


Mississippi Expected Below Flood Stage by Mid-Week

Courtesy: National Weather Service

After two weeks under a Flood Warning, the Mississippi River at Dubuque is expected to finally fall back below flood stage by the middle of this week. As of this morning, the river was measured at 17.7 feet at the Railroad Bridge. That’s down nearly two feet from the crest of 19.4 feet the river hit about a week ago. According to projections from the National Weather Service, the river will drop to the flood stage of 17 feet sometime Wednesday morning. It’s forecast to then drop below the stage by that evening. It’s expected that the Weather Service would lift the Flood Warning in effect for the river at that point. By Saturday morning, the river is expected to be down to 15 feet, the “action stage” as defined by the Weather Service. It’s not yet clear how this morning’s rainfall will impact the river level.


Flynn Expected to Be Sentenced in Ex-Husband's Death

A Dubuque woman who had been accused of killing her ex-husband will receive her sentence today. 64-year-old Dolores Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced in Dubuque County court. Last month, Flynn reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to three felony charges, including Voluntary Manslaughter. She had initially been charged with 2nd Degree Murder in the January 2016 death of her ex-husband, Gary Breckenridge. Flynn is expected to receive a thirty-year prison sentence…ten years for each of the charges she pled guilty to.


Reynolds to Sign Opioid Bill in Dubuque

Reynolds

Iowa’s governor will sign a bill aimed at stemming the state’s opioid crisis in Dubuque today. Governor Kim Reynolds is scheduled to sign House File 2377 during a ceremony at Mercy Hospital at 3:00 this afternoon. The bill places limits on the amount of opioid prescriptions one person can obtain. It also requires Iowa doctors and pharmacists to begin filing prescriptions electronically within the next two years. And it institutes a “Good Samaritan” policy for people who report opioid overdoses. The bill received unanimous support in both chambers of the Legislature before its passage during the final days of this year’s session. State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta was the floor manager for the bill in the House.


Suspect Who Jumped from Julien Dubuque Bridge Identified, Charged

We now know the name of the Dubuque man police say jumped from the Julien Dubuque Bridge while trying to avoid officers late Friday night. 47-year-old Carl Klaeska is now facing a charge of Eluding, according to online arrest records. An incident report from the Dubuque Fire Department says Klaeska was being chased by police officers at about 10:30 Friday night. He drove onto the Julien Dubuque Bridge, stopped his car, got out, and jumped into the Mississippi River near the Iowa side of the bridge. Firefighters used boats to rescue him from the water after he was spotted hanging on to a buoy. Klaeska was then taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was eventually arrested.


Person Rescued From Mississippi River After Attempting To Flee Police

A person fleeing police in their vehicle Friday night jumped from the Julian Dubuque Bridge into the Mississippi River and had to be rescued. The incident happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. A press release from the Dubuque Fire Department says the person was trying to escape from police, when they stopped their vehicle on the bridge and jumped in the river close to the Iowa side. The person, whose name has not been released, swam to a pylon and clung onto it. Crews from the Dubuque and East Dubuque fire departments used a boat to rescue the person, who was taken to the East Dubuque boat ramp and then transported to the hospital.


Jackson County Schedules Jail Vote for August

Voters in Jackson County will be asked to approve nearly seven million dollars in bonds for a new jail this summer. The county’s Board of Supervisors voted this week to go along with the recommendation of a county jail committee. Under their proposal, county residents will vote on issuing $6.8 million in bonds on August 7. Those bonds would pay not only for construction of the new jail, but for the purchase of the site of the facility, a 4.4 acre parcel of green space near the Maquoketa Wal-Mart. That site was the least expensive option of the four that the jail committee considered. That option would see the new jail be able to house 28 prisoners, up from the eleven beds available in the current facility. Jackson County has been looking at replacing its jail since February of last year, when two inmates were able to pry open a gate and escape from the facility’s exercise yard. The bond issue will need 60% support from voters to pass.


Suspected "Golden State Killer" Charged in Dyersville Native's Death

Dr. Robert Offerman (Courtesy: FindAGrave.com)

A suspected serial killer has officially been charged in the 1979 murder of a Dyersville native. 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo, the former police officer believed to be the “Golden State Killer,” was captured last month. He was initially charged with eight counts of murder, but have four more added to his docket this week. One of the new charges against DeAngelo stems from the murder of Dr. Robert Offerman in December of 1979. Offerman was originally from Dyersville and a graduate of Loras College. Authorities say he was killed along with his girlfriend in his home near Santa Barbara in late December of 1979. In addition to the dozen murders, authorities also believe DeAngelo is responsible for about fifty rapes that happened across California in the 1970s and 1980s.


Dubuque County Officials Keeping Eye Out for Snake Fungal Disease

Environmentalists and conservationists in northeast Iowa are keeping an eye out for a disease impacting many species of snakes. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Snake Fungal Disease is a phenomenon typically seen on the eastern side of the country, but is now making its way into Iowa. The disease causes snakes’ skin to go dry and crusty. He also said it could impact snakes’ eyes. The disease can be fatal, because it makes snakes more vulnerable to other diseases and infections. So far, there have not been any reports of the disease in Dubuque County, but DNR officials are monitoring local snake populations. Dubuque County Conservation has also started to survey snakes in the area.


5th Annual 'Great Give Day' Brings in $230,000+ for Area Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations throughout northeast Iowa received nearly a quarter-million dollars during an online fundraising effort this year. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s annual “Great Give Day” netted a total of more than $230,000 for the 157 participating organizations. That came from just more than 2,500 gifts, for an average of about $92 per donation. The group that took in the most money was the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The BVMs topped $29,000 in donations. Camp Courageous received the most donations, with just more than three hundred gifts. This was the fifth year that the Community Foundation sponsored “Great Give Day.” The money pledged this year put the event over the $1.5 million mark in total money raised.


Marshall Kindergarten Teacher Named 'Teacher of the Year'

Moeggenberg

A kindergarten teacher from a school on the North End has been chosen as the Dubuque school district’s Teacher of the Year. Brandi Moeggenberg of Marshall Elementary School received the honor at the district’s annual Educators Recognition Dinner last night. Moeggenberg’s been teaching at Marshall since 2012. One of her nominators said that Moeggenberg has “high expectations” for her students, which they respond to “in amazing ways.” Moeggenberg was selected out of a group of ten finalists for the Teacher of the Year award. Among the other honors presented at the dinner was the TEAM Award, which stands for Together Educators and Administrators Make It Happen. That went to district Superintendent Stan Rheingans and Human Resources Director Phil Kramer for their support of teacher success. Former school board member Otto Krueger received the Friend of Education award.


Match Grant Received For Local Skate Park

There’s some more good news for a proposed skate park in Dubuque. The Wellmark Foundation has awarded a 65-thousand dollar Matching Assets to Community Health, or MATCH grant to Kids in Dubuque Skate which will be used towards the construction of a new skate park. Jennifer Tigges with Kids in Dubuque Skate says the grant has allowed them to meet and exceed their 200-thousand dollar fundraising challenge from the city. The city committed 600-thousand dollars towards the 800-thousand dollar project in 2014, provided the group could raise the remaining funds. The concrete outdoor skate park will be built inside of Flora Park this summer and be completed in the fall. Tigges says her group started raising money for the skate park 13 years ago. The skate park project funds are being managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.


Construction Worker Killed in Fall Identified

Authorities have released the name of the construction worker who fell to his death earlier this week. 57-year-old Timothy Leibold of Dubuque was working at the site of a new hotel being built in the Historic Millwork District. According to first responders, he fell from the fourth floor of the construction site at around 1:15 Monday afternoon. Leibold was first taken to Mercy Hospital. While being transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Leibold was pronounced dead at a hospital in Anamosa. That’s according to the Jones County Medical Examiner’s office. Leibold’s fall is being investigated by Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


Former K-Mart Selected as Site of New VA Clinic

The former home of a big box retailer has been chosen as the location for a new clinic that will serve Dubuque-area veterans. Owners of the Plaza 20 shopping center have announced that the former K-Mart building has been selected as the site of the new Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outreach Clinic. Those owners were notified earlier this week that they’d been awarded the lease from the federal General Services Administration. Initial designs suggest the clinic will occupy 22,000 square feet of the former retailer. An estimated sixty full-time staffers will provide outpatient services for veterans from seven counties in the Tri-State area. The clinic is currently scheduled to open next spring.


UPDATE: EF-0 Tornado Damages Farm Buildings in Grant County

Courtesy: Grant County Emergency Management

It appears that it was a small tornado that caused storm damage in southwestern Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon. That’s the finding of an initial investigation by the National Weather Service, which says that an EF-0 tornado touched down northeast of Fennimore. A barn and machine shed were destroyed on Lance Lenzendorf’s farm about three miles north of that community. Several other buildings in the area were damaged, with debris scattered along a trail that stretched about a mile and a half.  Lenzendorf told Madison TV station WMTV that the entire storm lasted just a few seconds. No one was hurt. Emergency managers say radar didn’t indicate a tornado at the time and no one reported one. But photos of what might be a funnel cloud or small tornado were forwarded to the weather service.


Suspects Caught with 2+ Pounds of Meth Plead to Federal Charges

All three of the people caught with more than two pounds of methamphetamine in their vehicle have now pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. 30-year-old Kevin Heim and 45-year-old Stacy Weidenbacher both entered guilty pleas to single counts of Conspiracy to Distribute Meth. According to prosecutors, Heim and Weidenbacher were in a car that was pulled over near Cascade in late January. Officers found about two-and-a-quarter pounds of meth in the vehicle. At the time, Weidenbacher told authorities that Heim was a large scale meth dealer in Dubuque and that she sometimes sold for him. A third person in the car, 37-year-old Anthony Crosby, reportedly admitted that he had rode from Texas to Iowa with Heim to help collect a drug debt. Earlier this month, Crosby pled guilty to a federal charge of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.


Finley Names Interim CEO

Townsend

Finley Hospital has named the temporary replacement for its outgoing CEO. Earlier this week, we told you that Finley President and CEO David Brandon would be leaving that post at the end of the month. UnityPoint Health, Finley’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that Ted Townsend will serve as Finley’s interim CEO until a permanent replacement for Brandon is found. Townsend is currently the President and CEO of UnityPoint’s facilities in Cedar Rapids, including St. Luke’s Hospital. He will continue in that role, while also filling in for Brandon in Dubuque. Townsend will begin his dual role on June 1, the same day that Brandon steps down.


UPDATE: Student Arrested for Making Maquoketa School Bomb Threats

A Maquoketa high school student is facing a felony charge after being accused of making two bomb threats this week. 18-year-old Ira Johnson has been charged with Threat of Terrorism. According to police, school officials found the first of the bomb threats written on a bathroom wall shortly after school dismissed on Monday afternoon. The students and staff remaining in the building were evacuated, and a bomb-sniffing dog was brought in to investigate, but found nothing. School officials say that Johnson confessed to making the threat on Tuesday afternoon. Later that night, Maquoketa Police received an audio recording of Johnson making another bomb threat. That prompted another evacuation of the school on Wednesday morning. Threat of Terrorism is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.


Summer Meals For Kids And Teens In Dubuque 

The Dubuque Community School District is again offering breakfast and lunch at no cost this summer to kids between the ages of six and 18. The meals are provided through the USDA Summer Food Service Program and there is no enrollment. Meals will be served up at Prescott Elementary, with breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11 to 11:30 Monday through Friday beginning June 13th through July 27th. A number of other sites throughout the community will serve breakfast, lunch, snacks and supper courtesy of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dubuque, the United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States and the Dubuque Leisure Services Department. For a complete list of the locations and times, visit the Dubuque School District’s website.


Voting Law Changes For Dubuque County Residents In The Mail

Residents in Dubuque County should watch their mailboxes this week for information about recent voting law changes. The Dubuque County Election office is mailing voting information to all postal customers in the county, including registered voters. The postcard contains information people need to understand about the new voter ID requirements, along with information on how to register to vote and how to get an official Iowa identification.


Impacts of Mississippi Flooding Could Linger

Water from the Mississippi River pushes onto a road at Massey Marina (Courtesy: KCRG).

The Mississippi River may be on its way down, but the impacts of this spring’s flooding could have a lingering effect. That’s according to some of those who work on and near the river. The Mississippi at Dubuque crested Tuesday morning at 19.6 feet, more than two-and-a-half feet above flood stage. Among the immediate impacts of the high water has been the closure of several Dubuque County parks and campgrounds. Brian Preston, Executive Director of the Dubuque County Conservation Board, says the closures mean campground reservation fees have to be refunded. Miller-Riverview Park in Dubuque has been closed since late April. This week, the county announced that the campgrounds at Mud Lake Park, Massey Marina, and Finley’s Landing are all also closed. Boaters will also need to be aware of the dangers still lingering in the river. Gary Kilburg, Lockmaster for Dubuque’s Lock and Dam 11, says some of the things that have been swept up by the floodwaters can do serious damage to recreational boats. Kilburg adds that higher water levels also make for stronger currents, which can be harder for boat operators to manage. That could be part of the reason why several barges broke loose and collided with the dam last weekend.


150+ Dubuque Area Non-Profits to Participate in Great Give Day

Non-profit organizations from across northeast Iowa are hoping for a financial boost from an annual online fundraising day. Thursday is the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s annual “Great Give Day.” Throughout the day, donors can log on and make donations to a wide variety of non-profit organizations. Wendy Sweeney from the Community Foundation tells us that there are more than 150 organizations participating this year. Sweeney says the website set up for “Great Give Day” is searchable not only by organization name, but also by the type of work that they do.


Second Maquoketa HS Bomb Threat Reported After Initial Suspect Reportedly Confesses

A second bomb threat at the high school in Maquoketa comes hours after school district leaders announced the student behind an earlier threat had confessed. Just before 9:00 this morning, the Maquoketa Community Schools announced on social media that a threat of a bomb at the high school had been reported. Staff and students have been evacuated from the building as Maquoketa Police investigate the threat. On Monday, graffiti mentioning a bomb in a locker was found at the school just after classes dismissed. The building was evacuated, and a bomb-sniffing dog was brought in to do a sweep of the school. After nothing was found, the school was deemed safe and classes were held as usual on Tuesday, though with an elevated police presence. Late last night, another social media posting from the district indicated that the student behind Monday’s threat had confessed to initiating the hoax. The district says that student will face disciplinary action.


Small Fire at Fennimore Elementary Delays Classes

Courtesy: Fennimore Police Dept.

Classes ran late today at a southwest Wisconsin elementary school after a small fire on the school’s roof. Schools in Fennimore operated on a two-hour delay this morning after the fire was discovered at the local elementary school. According to the local police department, a resident living near the school spotted the fire on the roof overhang on the west side of the school building. That resident then called the local fire department, which responded to the school at about 6:15 AM. Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly and keep it from spreading to the school’s interior. At this point, firefighters believe a lightning strike sparked the fire.


Principal/Assistant Principal Moves In Dubuque School District

When the new school year starts, there will be a few new faces at several buildings in the Dubuque school district. Brian Howes, an assistant principal and registrar at Senior High will move over to Washington Middle School and assume the role as the new principal at that school. Howes will replace Mark Burns, who was recently named Director of Secondary Education for the district. Before coming to Senior, Howes was an assistant principal at Hempstead. Bobbie Jones will become the assistant principal at Roosevelt Middle School. Jones replaces Brenda Duvel, who is moving over to Kennedy to become that school’s principal. Trica Brokus will become the assistant principal at Hempstead. Eddie Santiago, who is currently an assistant principal at Hempstead, will become the school’s new registrar, replacing Sandi Beisker who is retiring. All of the reassignments are expected to be approved by the school board at its’ meeting next Monday.


Construction Worker's Death Investigation In Dubuque

Few details are being released by authorities who are investigating the apparent death of a worker who fell from a construction site in the Millwork District in Dubuque yesterday. According to Dubuque police, officers responded to the site in the 11-hundred block of Washington Street at around 1:15 Monday afternoon. That’s where a new hotel is being built. The worker reportedly fell about four stories, and was transported to Mercy Hospital. The hospital is not releasing any information at this time. A spokesperson with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says they are investigating a workplace related death in Dubuque and one of their investigators is at the site. More information is expected to be released sometime tomorrow.


New Voter ID Regulations in Effect for Primary Election

Dolan

Next month’s primary election will be Dubuque County’s first under some new rules adopted by the Iowa Legislature. The main difference from previous election years is voters are now required to show an approved form of identification. The most common form of ID is an Iowa driver’s license. But County Auditor Denise Dolan says there are other options, including a non-operator ID, a state-issued voter identification card, a valid passport, and a veteran’s or military ID. Since the regulations are going into effect for the first time, there will be some leeway. But Dolan says that won’t be the case next year. Dolan says election workers have been trained on the new policies and she doesn’t anticipate needing to bring on any additional help. Another change is the length of the early voting period, which was reduced from forty days to 29. In addition, the final day to request a ballot by mail is no longer the Friday prior to the election. It’s now the Friday before that, or ten days before the election.


Bomb Threat Causes Evacuation at Maquoketa High School

Classes are on as scheduled at Maquoketa High School today, despite the discovery of a bomb threat at the school yesterday afternoon. According to a posting on the school district Facebook page, police were called to the high school after graffiti containing a threat was found shortly after classes dismissed yesterday. Those still in the building were evacuated as a bomb-sniffing dog did a sweep of the school. No bomb was found and the district says they’ve deemed the school to be safe. As a precaution, there will be an increased police presence at the school until further notice.


Detours Begin at US Highway 20/Old Highway Road Intersection

Courtesy: KCRG

The construction of the Southwest Arterial will create some detours at the intersection of US Highway 20 and Old Highway Road on Dubuque’s western edge. Construction at that intersection began Monday night, and is expected to last through much of the summer. According to the city, all four lanes of traffic will remain on Highway 20 throughout the project. But the reconstruction of the intersection includes installation of a temporary median which block left turns onto and from Old Highway Road. That will also block access to businesses on the south side of the highway. Vehicles will still be able to get to the businesses, but will have to use the new frontage road that begins near Menards.


Tight Construction Schedule Boosts Cost of Dubuque's Second Roundabout

Schiesl

Construction of Dubuque’s second traffic roundabout will cost more than expected, but city leaders say that’s due to the tight construction schedule they’ve demanded for the project. The Dubuque City Council last night awarded the contract for construction of the roundabout at the intersection of University and Grandview avenues to Cascade-based Eastern Iowa Excavating and Concrete. They submitted the low bid of about $1.258 million. City Manager Mike Van Milligen explained to the council that Eastern Iowa’s bid was nearly $100,000 more than the estimated project cost. Some council members questioned the higher cost. Assistant City Engineer Bob Schiesl explained it’s largely due to the city’s demand that the project be completed in about ten weeks. Construction of the roundabout will begin after Dubuque’s schools let out in early June. The contract requires that the roundabout be open to traffic by the time schools open again in late August. The city has received nearly $965,000 in state and federal grants to help pay for the roundabout. The council also approved a contract with Midwest Concrete for improvements to the right turn lanes at the intersection of JFK Road and the Northwest Arterial. That project will cost about $129,000, which is eight percent below the city’s estimate.


Dubuque County Farmer Injured in Tractor-SUV Crash

Emergency responders work at the scene of tractor-SUV crash west of Epworth (Courtesy: KCRG).

A Dubuque County farmer is believed to have been seriously injured when an SUV collided with the tractor he was operating. According to the county sheriff’s office, the crash happened at about 11:40 yesterday morning on Old Highway Road west of Epworth. 19-year-old Kaylie Kamp was following an eastbound tractor on Old Highway Road. The driver of the tractor reportedly gave a hand signal indicating a left turn. But Kamp misunderstood the signal and tried to pass the tractor. Her vehicle collided with the tractor, causing it to roll over. The sheriff’s department identified the tractor’s operator as 64-year-old John Kress of Epworth. But a member of the Epworth Fire Department tells us his name is actually David Kress. He was initially taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, then transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. His condition is not known. Kamp was cited for Passing in a No Passing Zone.


Authorities Need Help Finding Missing Fennimore Woman

Authorities in southwestern Wisconsin are asking for help in their search for a missing woman. A statewide alert has been issued for 58-year-old Patricia Hartline of Fennimore. She was last seen on Wednesday in Mineral Point. She’s described as a white woman with blonde hair who stands 5 foot, 9 inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds. She drives a silver 2006 Ford Focus with Wisconsin license plate number 223 NXN. The alert also says Hartline has prescription medications that need to be refilled. Anyone with information about Hartline’s whereabouts is asked contact the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, or a local law enforcement agency.


Western End of Dubuque's Pennsylvania Avenue Closed Through Tuesday Evening

The western end of a well-traveled Dubuque street will be closed through the end of the day tomorrow. Street repairs have forced the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue between its intersections with Heacock and Radford roads. The closure went into effect this morning, and is expected to last until about 5:00 PM tomorrow. Eastbound traffic is being detoured around the closure using Asbury Road. Those travelling west will have a detour using Chavenelle and Seippel roads.


Parishioners Raising Money to Fix Petersburg Church

The interior of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Petersburg (Courtesy: KCRG).

Parishioners of a Delaware County church are trying to put together more than a million dollars to preserve some of their “holy history.” Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Petersburg opened back in 1906, and is showing its age. Church members are working to raise funds to cover everything from roof repairs to new paint to restoring some of the stained glass windows. Karen Domeyer has attended the church for more than four decades and wants to see it preserved for many years to come. Repairs to the roof and steeples would have to be done first and have an expected cost of about $350,000. From there, the work would move inside. Once it’s all finished, parish priest Father Dennis Quint expects people will be thrilled with what they see. The total cost of the repairs has been estimated at nearly $1.5 million. Fundraising began just last week, so there’s no timeline for when the work would begin or be completed.


Early Voting Opens Ahead of Next Month's Primary Election

Early voting for next month’s primary election begins today, and it’s likely that more Democrats than Republicans will be headed to the polls in Dubuque County. That’s because there are seven races on the Democratic side that have a contested primary, versus just one among local Republicans. Democrats will be deciding who will carry the party’s banner into this fall’s general elections for governor, Congress, and multiple Statehouse seats.

Four Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination to face incumbent Republican Rod Blum in the 1st Congressional district. Another six candidates are hoping to earn the right to face Governor Kim Reynolds as she seeks to win a full term in office.

Among the more local races, three candidates are looking to fill the Iowa Legislature seat of Abby Finkenauer, who has represented the 99th House District for the past four years. The winner among Brad Cavanaugh, Pat Cullen, and Lindsay James will advance to the general election to face Republican Pauline Chilton.

In the western part of the county, Nancy Fett and Leo Gansen are both seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent State Representative Shannon Lundgren this fall.

There’s also a contested primary in the County Supervisor race, where two candidates will be chosen from the field of Ann McDonough, Roger Oberbroecking, and incumbent Jay Wickham. And in the race for County Attorney, CJ May III and Ry Meyer are facing off to advance to the general election.

The only primary on the ballot for Dubuque County Republicans is in the race to be the next state Secretary of Agriculture. Five candidates are up for that nomination, including current Ag Secretary Mike Naig and Delaware County legislator Dan Zumbach.

Those wishing to vote early can do so between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM weekdays at either the County Elections Annex on Locust Street or the County Elections Office on the 4th floor of the county courthouse.


Legal Challenge to Iowa's "Fetal Heartbeat Law" Expected

A legal challenge is expected for the new abortion restrictions that were signed into Iowa law by Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday. The so-called “fetal heartbeat” bars physicians from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically happens about six weeks into a pregnancy. Veronica Fowler is a spokesperson for the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has announced plans to challenge the law’s constitutionality. Fowler notes federal appeals courts have struck down similar “heartbeat” bills approved by lawmakers in Arkansas and North Dakota. Backers of the bill, including State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta, have acknowledged that the legislation is an attempt to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to an abortion.


Mississippi Continues to Rise at Dubuque, Steadies Elsewhere

Courtesy: National Weather Service

The Mississippi River is now more than two feet above flood stage here in Dubuque, but the river’s level appears to be steadying. As of this morning, the river’s depth was measured at 19.6 feet at Dubuque’s Railroad Bridge. The river is expected to rise another half foot before topping out tomorrow night. It’s still unclear when the Mississippi would fall back below the flood stage of 17 feet. There’ still a Flood Warning in effect for the river at Dubuque.
There’s also still a Flood Warning in effect in Guttenberg, though the Mississippi appears to have leveled off there. The river’s depth was 16.9 feet there this morning, which is roughly the same depth it’s been at since yesterday morning. The National Weather Service does predict the river will rise a couple more inches to a depth of 17.1 feet later today. They’re also predicting that the Mississippi will fall back below the flood stage sometime on Sunday.
In Bellevue, the Mississippi has reached a depth of 17.3 feet, which is just a few inches above flood stage. The river there is currently expected to rise to 18 feet either late tomorrow night or early Wednesday morning. It will hold at that depth until Thursday night, when it begins to recede. The Mississippi should fall below flood stage in Bellevue by Sunday morning.


Central Wisconsin Man Survives Emergency Plane Landing in Lafayette County

A central Wisconsin man was able to walk away from an emergency plane landing in Lafayette County Friday night. The local sheriff’s department reports that 49-year old Thomas Buchberger was the pilot and lone occupant of the single engine, fixed wing aircraft. He was travelling from Oklahoma to Stevens Point when he notified the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office that the plane was experiencing mechanical failure and he would attempting to land at a small air strip near Apple Canyon Lake. Buchberger was unable to make it to the air strip and was forced to perform an emergency landing in a field near the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the scene of the crash Saturday morning, but have completed their investigation.


Four-Year-Old Dies After Falling from Truck

A southwest Wisconsin boy died after falling from a moving truck over the weekend. According to a release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, Jason Wachter of Woodman was driving east on County Highway C approaching State Highway 133 at about 5:30 Friday evening. 4-year-old Kage Wachter was sitting next to the passenger door when it unexpectedly opened and he fell from the truck. He was then struck by the truck’s rear tires. Jason and a passerby began CPR until emergency responders arrived. But their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and Kage was pronounced dead at the scene.


Commercial Traffic Resumes on Lock & Dam 11

Commercial traffic has resumed moving through Lock and Dam 11 on the Mississippi River near Dubuque. Officials spent part of the weekend removing a number of floating barge containers from the upstream side of the dam after they’d broken loose Friday. As of yesterday afternoon, it did appear that some submerged containers were still upstream of Lock and Dam 11. Yesterday afternoon, officials wouldn’t give details on if or when those containers would be removed, but managers said they might have more information today.


Jo Daviess County Drug Arrests

A traffic stop in Jo Daviess County led to two arrests Friday night. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department reports that shortly before 10:30 pm, deputies stopped a vehicle for an equipment violation in Hanover. During a vehicle search, deputies located a plastic bag containing cocaine. Drug paraphernalia and open alcohol containers were also located. The driver of the vehicle, 23 year old Adam Erwin and passenger 44-year old Clydene Olson were arrested on felony drug charges and illegal transportation of alcohol. Olson was given an additional charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. A juvenile passenger was released to a family member at the scene.


Budget Director Still Being Sought

The search continues for a budget director for Dubuque County. Supervisor Chair Jay Wickham says recently hired Human Resources Director Dawn Sherman has been tasked with finding a qualified person to help manage the county’s budget. Sherman is leading the search for a new budget director, while performing her current duties. The county has been looking for a budget director ever since former director Michelle Patzner resigned last November.


Jochum: Legislative Session Likely to End This Weekend

Jochum

After two-and-a-half weeks of overtime, the Iowa legislative session is likely to end sometime this weekend. Republicans who control both chambers of the legislature plan to approve a tax reform measure and the remaining budget bills in short order. Several other budget bills were already approved this week, which has made for a rushed few days, according to State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque. In fact, she goes so far as to call the final few days of the session “disastrous.” Jochum says an analysis by the state’s Department of Revenue found that the tax benefits that have been proposed would mainly help Iowa’s top income earners. The package also includes a series of sales tax increases on things like taxi rides, online sales, and subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix. According to Jochum, those increases will wipe out any benefit middle income Iowans would see. Republican leaders in the House have employed a procedural move known as “double barreling” to prevent amendments from being added to the tax bill. Jochum says that move almost ensure the bill’s passage, since Democrats won’t be able to make any changes to the proposal. Jochum expects the session to draw to a close sometime Saturday or early Sunday morning.


New Vienna to Pay Penalty for Causing Fish Kill

A fine of $24,000 has been leveled against a Dubuque County farmer deemed responsible for a fish kill last fall. Back in October, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was alerted to several thousand dead fish in Hewitt Creek near Dyersville. DNR investigators traced the source of the kill to manure runoff from the New Vienna dairy farm of John Hoefler. More than 60-thousand fish were killed, and the DNR determined they were worth slightly more than $19,000. Included in the $24,000 that Hoefler will have to pay the DNR is more than $22,000 to cover the agency’s investigation.


Police: Shoplifting Suspect Tried to Take $770 in Merchandise from Kohl's

A Dubuque man has been accused of trying to steal more than $700 in merchandise from a local department store. Police were called to the Kohl’s on the Northwest Arterial shortly before 1:00 Wednesday afternoon. A store employee had detained a man who was suspected of trying to walk off with clothes and drone parts. According to the employee, the man had been seen picking out items of clothing, then taking them to a dressing room. When the man came out of the dressing room, the employee says he “looked much heavier” and it was clear the man was wearing some of the clothes. The suspect, 41-year-old Daniel Teasdale, has been charged with 3rd Degree Theft. Police say the value of the items he tried to steal had a total of about $770.


In Dubuque, ABC's Dowd Predicts Strong Midterm Turnout for Democrats

ABC News Chief Political Analyst Matthew Dowd speaks at the Hotel Julien Tuesday (Courtesy: KCRG).

ABC News’ Chief Political Analyst predicts high turnout during the upcoming midterm elections will favor Democrats. Matthew Dowd was in Dubuque on Thursday to promote his new book, “A New Way.” Dowd spoke to a lunchtime crowd at the Hotel Julien and said that voters’ disillusionment with national politics will work against Republicans this cycle, after having benefited them in 2016. Dowd believes Democrats have a good chance at winning a majority in the US House and could even take over control of the Senate as well.


Loras College's Dance Marathon Team Raises Over 200 Grand For Children's Hospital

Every year, for the past 12 years, the Loras College Dance Marathon team has raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. This year’s team raised over 216 thousand dollars, which is an increase over last year. More than 250 dancers and 150 miracle family members, along with alumni, corporate sponsors and volunteers took part in the 12-hour daylong event to raise the money in late April. Back in March, the marathon team made a verbal promise to raise 500-thousand dollars over the next two years to support family-centered services at the children’s hospital in Iowa City. The Dance Marathon Team has raised more than 1.8 million dollars for the hospital and the network since it began in 2006.


Mental Health Dinner  In Dubuque Today

The 19th annual Mental Health Dinner and Silent Auction is being held in Dubuque today. The event is a fundraiser for Mental Health of America Dubuque County. President Sue Whitty says the dinner gives people a chance to address the many issues surrounding mental health. Money raised from the dinner supports Mental Health of American Dubuque County, which is a all volunteer organization. Tickets have already been sold online, but you can also buy a ticket at the door. The dinner will be held this afternoon from 4:30 to 7:30 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Take out order are also available.


Mississippi Reaches Flood Stage in Dubuque, Guttenberg

Courtesy: National Weather Service

As expected, the Mississippi River has gone above flood stage in a few spots around our listening area. Here in Dubuque at the Railroad Bridge, the river crossed the flood stage of 17 feet late last night. This morning, the river depth was measured at 17.4 feet, which is higher than where the National Weather Service had projected. The weather service expects the river to rise another foot between now and Sunday, moving into the “moderate flooding” range. The river is then predicted to hold at 18.4 feet for several days, eventually beginning to fall next Wednesday. A Flood Warning is in effect for the Mississippi at Dubuque until further notice.

There’s also a warning in place for the Mississippi in Guttenberg. The river there crossed the flood stage of 15 feet yesterday afternoon. The river also appears to be rising faster than expected there, as it was up to 15.4 feet this morning. It’s expected to go up another half-foot by Sunday. As in Dubuque, the river level will hold there for a couple of days, but will begin to fall about a day earlier than in Dubuque.

There’s no warning in effect in Bellevue, where the Mississippi is expected to come just a couple inches short of flood stage. As of this morning, the river had reached 15.3 feet. It’s expected to rise to 16.7 feet sometime on Monday. That’s just below the flood stage of 17 feet.


Dubuque County Burn Ban Lifted

Dubuque County is no longer under an open burn ban. County Emergency Management Director Tom Berger cancelled the ban shortly after 8:00 this morning. The ban had been in place since last Friday, when dry conditions and strong winds increased the odds that fires could get out of control. This week’s rains seem to have done enough to moisten the ground and allow the ban to be lifted. Burger reminds county residents that there is still a burn notification ordinance in effect. That requires anyone doing open burning to contact county dispatchers ahead of time.


Hein Cites Daughter's Case in Voting Against Fetal Heartbeat Bill

Hein

One of the half-dozen Republicans who voted against the so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill this week has a very personal reason for going against the party line. The bill, which has been called the most restrictive anti-abortion measure in the country, would effectively ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That happens about six weeks into a pregnancy. State Representative Lee Hein represents all of Delaware County and the northwestern part of Jones County. He told Des Moines TV station WOI he voted against the bill because of a situation involving his daughter. She became pregnant in January, but tests showed that the fetus had significant abnormalities, and was likely to be either miscarried or stillborn. Hein’s daughter was between 12 and 15 weeks pregnant at the time, beyond the point allowed by the bill. At the time, the measure did not have any exceptions for fetal abnormalities, though they have since been included in an amendment. Hein says he considers himself pro-life, but also believes that the government shouldn’t be involved in family decisions. Among the other House Republicans who voted against the bill was Representative Andy McKean of Anamosa. He represents the rest of Jones County, all of Jackson County, and the southwestern corner of Dubuque County. The bill was approved by both the Iowa House and Senate and now awaits Governor Kim Reynolds’ signature or veto.


Platteville Authorities Investigate Accidental Siren Activation

City leaders in Platteville are trying to figure out what cause the city’s tornado warning siren to activate this week. The siren sounded at about 6:00 Tuesday, even though there was no warning in effect for the area at the time. According to a post on the Platteville Police Department’s Facebook page, they have ruled out human error as the cause of the accidental activation. It is suspected that a radio frequency from an outside source tripped the siren. But the department says other paging tones that had been sent out just before the siren sounded could have played a role as well. The warning system was tested Wednesday afternoon and operated as it should, according to the post.


Texas Man Caught with Meth Near Cascade Pleads to Federal Charge

A Texas man caught with more than two pounds of methamphetamine near Cascade has pled guilty to a federal charge. 37-year-old Anthony Crosby was one of three people inside a car that was pulled over outside Cascade in late January. Officers found meth inside the vehicle. According to police, Crosby told them he had traveled to Iowa with one of the other people in the car to collect a drug debt. On Wednesday, Crosby pled guilty to Possession of Meth with Intent to Distribute. In exchange for his plea, a conspiracy charge against him was dropped. Crosby will face a minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison. The two other people in the vehicle, 30-year-old Kevin Heim of Epworth and 45-year-old Stacy Weidenbacher of Dubuque, have both pled not guilty to federal charges.


Five Flags GM Wants to Build New Arena

Cook

While the city of Dubuque won’t decide what to do with the Five Flags Center for a while, the facility’s manager knows what he’d like to see happen. The consulting firm hired by the city to study Five Flags’ feasibility presented their findings at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. Among the options they explored were renovating the current arena, expanding the facility, or building a new arena altogether. Five Flags General Manager HR Cook prefers that last option. According to Cook, building a new arena would allow Five Flags to not just keep up, but in some cases, jump ahead of other arenas in the region. The consultant estimates that building a new arena could cost the city as much as $70 million. But they note that doing nothing to upgrade Five Flags will be costly as well. The facility currently operates at a loss of about $900,000 each year and needs nearly $9 million in deferred maintenance. The consultant’s findings will also be presented to the Dubuque City Council during a work session on May 14.


Dubuque Men Face Charges After Fighting Over $40

A pair of Dubuque men are both facing charges after getting into a fight over $40 this week. According to police, the fight happened shortly after midnight on Tuesday in the parking lot of the US Bank branch on White Street. 47-year-old Michael Beard told officers he saw two other men outside the bank when he went there that morning. Beard claims that one of them had taken $40 from him the previous week, and he confronted the man about it. Beard says he eventually began arguing – and then fighting – with the other man, 53-year-old Dennis Runde. Runde told police he had been using the bank’s ATM when Beard began harassing him. Runde told Beard he was acting like a “little boy.” That’s when Beard reportedly shoved and punched Runde. A witness also told officers that Beard started the fight. Both Beard and Runde were arrested and have been charged with Disorderly Conduct.


Gehrts: Dubuque's April Was Coldest Ever

Gehrts

Now that the numbers have been tallied up, this April turned out to be the coldest on record in Dubuque. KCRG meteorologist Justin Gehrts tells us that the average temperature for the month didn’t even make it to 40 degrees. The average temperature for April was just 38.8 degrees, nearly 2.5 degrees colder than the previous record. Gehrts says most of the colder air can be blamed on a low pressure system that stalled out in eastern Canada and kept filtering cold air our way. Since the cold weather broke, it’s been a quick transition into almost summer-like weather, with an 80 degree high temperature in Dubuque on Monday. Gehrts says to expect the weather to be a bit more seasonal headed toward next week. During the month of April, the Dubuque Regional Airport saw five daily records for cold temperatures either tied or broken.


"Fetal Heartbeat" Bill, Managed by Lundgren, Heads to Governor's Desk

Lundgren, Finkenauer

Iowa lawmakers have passed what could be the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country. Republican lawmakers with control of the statehouse passed the so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill early this morning, with back-to-back chamber votes along party lines. The legislation would effectively ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with exemptions for cases of rape and incest. The bill was floor managed in the Iowa House by Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta. In her opening remarks on the bill, Lundgren suggested that a heartbeat is a common measure of life. Critics have called the bill “unconstitutional” and threatened to challenge it in court. Lundgren welcomes that challenge, noting that much has changed since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. But Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque railed against the bill, calling it “dangerous” to women’s health. Finkenauer noted that she’s one of the only members of the Legislature who is a female of child-bearing age, and accused her colleagues of stripping her of one of her rights. The bill passed the House by a narrow 51-46 margin. Among the six Republicans who voted against it was Andy McKean, who represents all of Jackson and portions of Dubuque and Jones counties. Following passage in the House, the measure was immediately taken up by the Iowa Senate, which also passed it at about 2:30 AM. It now goes to Governor Kim Reynolds, who has not said whether she plans to sign or veto it.


Great American Cookie Company Closes Kennedy Mall Location

Just a couple of weeks after learning that one of its anchor stores will close, the Kennedy Mall has lost another longtime tenant. Our coverage partners at KCRG-TV report that the Great American Cookie Company has closed. The bakery had been operating near the mall’s food court for the last twenty years. A mall spokesperson says it’s believed that the cookie company’s owner had run into financial difficulties in recent years. He says the mall has already been in contact with other operators who could fill the space left vacant by the closure. Great American Cookie Company’s closing comes just two weeks after it was learned that Younkers’ new parent company will be closing its Dubuque location as well.


Cascade Voters Approved Pool Bond Issue

The community of Cascade will be getting a new swimming pool. That’s after voters there gave near-unanimous support to a $2 million bond issue yesterday. 364 votes were cast in favor of the measure, with just thirty against. According to city leaders, the new pool will be reshaped compared to the existing facility. It will also get a new deck and plumbing, as well as a zero-depth entry. Work on the new pool isn’t expected to begin until the fall of next year, with completion expected by the summer of 2020. The money to pay back the bonds will come from the city’s existing local option sales tax. The results of the vote are currently unofficial. The county Board of Supervisors plans to perform an official canvassing of the ballots next Tuesday.


Mississippi River Continues to Rise

Flood Warnings continue at several points along the Mississippi River, with the river levels expected to continue to rise for another couple of days. At Dubuque’s Railroad Bridge, the river’s depth was measured at about 16.5 feet this morning. It’s expected to reach the flood stage of 17 feet late today. The river is currently expected to top out at 18.4 feet on Friday evening. That would put the river level into the “moderate flooding” range, according to the National Weather Service. While the river will begin falling from there, it’s not expected to go below flood stage for at least a week.
There’s also a Flood Warning in effect for the Mississippi in Guttenberg. The river will likely cross the flood stage of 15 feet there sometime today. It’s now expected to rise to 15.8 feet by Friday evening, with a gradual decline from there. At that level, floodwaters will be over Marina Road, which runs to the east of the Shannon Athletic Complex.
There’s no warning in effect in Bellevue, where the river will reach what the Weather Service calls the “action stage,” but will fall a few inches shy of flood stage. The Mississippi was measured at 14.6 feet in Bellevue this morning. It will climb to 16.7 feet over the next several days, topping out on Saturday evening.


Regional EMTs Help Paramount After Colleague's Death

Werner

Paramedics and EMTs from across the Tri-States converged on Dubuque Tuesday, so local first responders could say goodbye to one of their co-workers. Paramount Ambulance Service EMT Steven Werner was killed in a crash on the Julien Dubuque Bridge early Friday morning, when an ambulance he was riding in rear-ended a semi. Werner’s memorial service was Tuesday, and emergency responders from as far away as Des Moines came to Dubuque to cover for Paramount employees who wanted to attend Werner’s memorial. Paramount’s Andy Ney says even though Werner only worked for the service for a few months, he made a big impression. Quad Cities-based Medic EMS was one of the ambulance services that sent employees to help Paramount. Executive Director Linda Frederiksen says it was the least they could do. Werner was originally from the Twin Cities. Prior to joining Paramount, he served eight years in the US Army. He’s survived by a wife and four children.


Oil Spill Causes Crash In Lafayette County 

Authorities in Lafayette County are trying to find out who is responsible for an oil spill that led to a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon. Officers, fire and EMS personnel from Darlington responded to a motorcycle wreck at the intersection of Highways 81 and 23 at around 2:40 p.m. A motorcycle driven by 73 year old William Miller of Platteville entered the intersection where he lost control of his cycle after it hit an oil spill. Approximately 50 gallons of oil had spilled onto the roadway. Miller was transported to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. The highway was closed for about 45 minutes while crews cleaned up the spill. If you have any information about the oil spill contact the Lafayette County Sheriff Department.


Grassley Warns Of A Democratic Midterm Wave  During Stop In Dubuque

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is warning Republicans that a Democratic wave in this year’s midterm elections could spell an end to Donald Trump’s presidency. Iowa Democrats are pushing hard to connect with voters in the state, especially in rural areas, to win back majorities at the state and federal levels. Grassley says the enthusiasm among Republicans isn’t as great as it ought to be heading into the midterm elections. Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be questioning President Trump as part of an investigation into Russian election interference and whether the President obstructed justice. Grassley says it would be wise on the President’s part to not speak at all about firing Mueller before he is questioned. Grassley made his comments following a town hall meeting at Dubuque Golf and Country Club Tuesday afternoon. The meeting and luncheon was hosted by the Dubuque Rotary Club.


Results of Five Flags Study to Be Presented

Courtesy: KCRG

The results of a feasibility study for Dubuque’s downtown arena will be made public this week. A consultant hired by the city will present their findings during a meeting of the Five Flags Civic Center Commission Wednesday afternoon. That meeting is scheduled for 3:30 PM in the Majestic Room of the Five Flags Center. The same presentation will also be made to Dubuque’s City Council during a work session on May 14. The consulting firm Convention, Sports, and Leisure International began studying Five Flags and its role in the community last summer. The possible outcomes they were asked to look into included demolition of the Five Flags Arena, renovation of the facility with possible expansion, and relocation of the civic center. A public input session on the consultant’s findings is scheduled for May 16.


Trailer Park Owner Given Probation Over Stolen Water

A Dubuque mobile home park owner accused of bypassing water meters has been sentenced to probation. Michael Friederick also paid the city a portion of the money he’s accused of stealing.  Friederick entered an Alford plea to a charge of theft. In an Alford plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. Friederick was given a suspended jail sentence of 180 days on top of his two years of probation. He’s also paid the city $110,000 in restitution. Court records say Friederick opened a valve that let water bypass meters into lines for his Table Mound Mobile Home Park. The officials estimate more than 21.5 million gallons were taken. Friederick had initially faced one count each of 1st Degree Theft and Ongoing Criminal Conduct. If found guilty on both counts, he would have been looking at up to 35 years in prison.


West 3rd Street Homes Evacuated for Gas Leak

A handful of Dubuque residents were forced to leave their homes because of a gas leak Monday night. The Dubuque Fire Department tells us that shortly after 6:00, an underground drilling company working near Finley Hospital struck a natural gas line. Four nearby houses were evacuated, and the fire department closed off a block of West 3rd Street while the line was capped by crews from Black Hills Energy. No injuries were reported as a result of the leak.


Park Manager: Miller-Riverview Closure Could Last Months

Courtesy: KCRG

Dubuque’s Miller-Riverview Park could be closed for months due to early season flooding on the Mississippi River. City officials closed the park on Sunday, forcing about 30 people to vacate the park’s campground. The Mississippi at Dubuque is currently under a Flood Warning until further notice. City Parks Division Manager Steve Fehsal says they’re required to close Miller-Riverview any time the river level rises above 14 feet. He’s not sure when the park might re-open. As of this morning, the river level at the Railroad Bridge was just below 16 feet. The river is expected to reach the flood stage of 17 feet tomorrow afternoon, then top out at 17.9 feet late Friday. There’s now indication yet of when the river might fall back below flood stage.


Campbell Sentenced to 35 Years for Role in Deadly Robbery

The third man convicted for his role in a deadly botched robbery will be going to prison for 35 years. 32-year-old Eric Campbell of Dubuque received that sentence on Monday. A jury found Campbell guilty of 1st Degree Robbery and Voluntary Manslaughter last month. According to prosecutors, Campbell planned the April 2016 robbery of Collin Brown at his Key West mobile home. Campbell, Tacari Minifee, and Imere Hall broke into Brown’s trailer demanding drugs and money. Brown was able to get away, but was fatally shot as he tried to reach a neighboring trailer. Campbell had initially been charged with 1st Degree Murder. But jurors found him guilty of a lesser charge because he did not intend for Brown to die. Campbell was given 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and 25 years for the robbery conviction. He’ll serve those sentences back-to-back. Minifee and Hall were each previously convicted on 1st Degree Robbery and Murder charges. They will both spend the rest of their lives in prison.


East Dubuque Man Dies in Dubuque County Crash

We’ve learned the identities of the two men involved in a Sunday morning car crash that claimed one of their lives. 51-year-old Alan Van Ostrand of East Dubuque died as a result of injuries he suffered in the crash about two miles north of Luxemburg. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, Van Ostrand was driving on Spoden Road about a half-mile west of its intersection with US Highway 52. He lost control of his vehicle going around a curve, and the car rolled several times. Van Ostrand was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger, 41-year-old Robert Carroll of Dubuque, was initially taken to a local hospital, then transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. There’s no word on his condition.


Dubuque Photographer Accused of Giving Underage Girl Meth, Taking Pictures While They Had Sex

A Dubuque photographer is accused of giving a teenage girl methamphetamine, then taking pictures of her while they had sex. 42-year-old Christopher Frommelt was arrested last Thursday evening and has been charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and distributing drugs to an underage person. According to an arrest report, authorities were contacted by a 17-year-old girl in late January. The girl told investigators she had been at Frommelt’s home with her brother about a week earlier, while she was still 16. She says Frommelt provided her with meth, which she both snorted and smoked. She later had sex with Frommelt, who took pictures of the two of them engaged in several sex acts. The girl says that Frommelt later sent some of the pictures to her via social media, even though she did not want them. Frommelt is scheduled to make a court appearance next week. He’s been ordered not to contact the girl. If convicted on the two charges, he could face up to 35 years in prison.


Farmers Urge Caution on Roads During Planting

Farmer Joe Heinrich operates a tractor on his farm near Maquoketa (Courtesy: KWQC).

Now that we’ve had a few sustained days of spring weather here in the Tri-States, area motorists are likely to begin seeing more farm equipment on rural roads. Those farmers are asking other drivers to be cautious during these first few weeks of the planting season. Maquoketa farmer Joe Heinrich tells Quad Cities TV station KWQC that the late start to this spring could make for a busy spring for farmers. While Heinrich has never been in a crash while driving his tractor, he has had a few close calls. He says those seem to be most common when equipment operators are trying to make left turns. But Heinrich admits it’s not just drivers who have to be on the lookout. He says the farmers driving the machinery have to do their part too. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, there’s an average of about 220 crashes involving farm equipment on the state’s roads each year.


Drug Take Back Event Yields Nearly 750 Pounds of Old Meds

A prescription drug collection event on Saturday brought in nearly twice as many old drugs as a similar event a year ago. The Dubuque County Drug Task Force participated in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, setting up a collection site at Dubuque’s Sam’s Club. The total weight of the expired or unwanted medications turned over fell just shy of 750 pounds. That’s nearly double the 385 pounds worth of drugs the Task Force collected during a similar event a year ago. In addition to the medications, authorities say about 125 pounds of needles and other “sharps” were also collected. Over the last two years, prescription drug take back events in Dubuque County have netted more than a quarter-ton of old medications.


Flood Warning Issued for Mississippi at Dubuque

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Dubuque has been placed under its first Flood Warning of the year, due to rising waters on the Mississippi River. The National Weather Service put the warning into effect early this morning, after the river reached the “action stage” of 15 feet at the Railroad Bridge. The river level is expected to reach the flood stage of 17 feet sometime late Wednesday, before topping out at just shy of 18 feet two days later. The river level is expected to hold at that depth for a couple more days, before beginning to slowly fall early Sunday. That flood warning is in effect until further notice. Because of the flood warning, the city of Dubuque has closed Miller-Riverview Park and its campground. That closure will last until further notice as well.


Driver Killed, Passenger Seriously Injured in Crash Near Luxemburg

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a crash in rural Dubuque County late yesterday morning. According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened shortly after 11:30 AM about two miles north of Luxemburg. A driver travelling on Spoden Road failed to make it around a curve, rolling their vehicle several times. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which was about a half-mile west of US Highway 52. A passenger was initially taken to a local hospital, then transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The names of those involved have not been released, though the sheriff’s department expects to make them public later today.


Fatal Bridge Crash Victim Identified

We now know the name of the man who was killed in a crash on the Julien Dubuque Bridge early Friday morning. According to East Dubuque Police, 34-year-old Steven Werner of Dubuque was a passenger in an ambulance that rear ended a semi on the bridge shortly after 2:00 AM. A semi had stopped for construction crews working in the westbound lane of the bridge. The driver of the ambulance, 19-year-old Jack Dillman of Dubuque failed to stop for the semi, crashing into the back of it. Werner was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Dillman was taken to Finley Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and later released. The driver of the semi was not injured.