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Dubuque & Tri-State News

DWC Honors Deacons

Biver Hickson Lange

Three deacons of the Archdiocese of Dubuque were honored this week by Divine Word College in Dubuque for their work in jail and prison ministry. Deacons Bill Biver, Tom Lang and Bill Hickson received the DWC Matthew 25 Award for 2017 during a prayer service and banquet on Wednesday. In addition to their jail and prison ministry work, the deacons work with the courts, parole officers and residential facilities to help former prisoners become productive citizens. Biver, Lang and Hickson were nominated for the award by Len Uhal, vice-president for vocations and admissions at DWC. The Matthew 25 award was established in 2001 to honor those in or connected to the area who, minister in the spirit of the gospel message put forth in Matthew 25: verses 35 and 36.

More Burglary Scams In Dubuque County

 

More burglary scams are being reported in Dubuque County. A release from the Sheriff’s Department says deputies responded to an address on Siegert Lane Tuesday afternoon. A woman answering the door told deputies that two Hispanic men, claiming to be representatives of Maquoketa Valley Electric came to her door to talk about tree removal. While one of the men lured the woman outside, the second man went into the house and cause damage to the bathroom The release does not say if anything was stolen. Both men got into a silver SUV, possibly a jeep and fled the area before deputies arrived. Similar incidents have been reported in Dubuque and Sherrill this week.

Burglary Scam In Dubuque

Dubuque police are investigating what they call “a burglary scam” that recently happened in the city. On Tuesday, an elderly resident told police that a man came to her door and told her he was in the area doing concrete work repairs. He then told the woman that he noticed that the patio in her back yard had a crack in the concreate. As the man was discussing the cost for the repair, another person entered the home and stole cash. The man who distracted the woman while her money was stolen is Hispanic. Police say in some cases burglars will first knock on someone’s front door, and if there is no answer they will be break into the home. Police urged residents to be alert for any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and take precautions. If you do see something out of the ordinary, contact your local police department.

Council Previews Proposed Bee Branch Signage

The Dubuque City Council got its first look at some of the artwork that will be placed along the Bee Branch watershed when the project is completed this summer. Kristin Hill, the communication specialist working on the Bee Branch project, presented the council with several designs for light pole banners, interpretive signs, and utility cabinet wraps at the council’s meeting on Monday. According to Hill, the light pole banners will adorn half of the poles along the watershed. Two of the four designs will be specific to the Bee Branch itself. The other designs will highlight Dubuque’s North End neighborhood. Several interpretive signs will also be placed along the walking trail near the unearthed creek. These signs will showcase the area’s history, as well as the need for the project. The signs are being made to hold up to the elements, including sunshine, rain, and graffiti. Several utility cabinets that will house fiber optic equipment will also sit along the Bee Branch. The city has decided to wrap these cabinets with artwork. The cost of the banners and cabinet wraps totals about 85-hundred dollars. The cost of the signs was already built into the Bee Branch budget. The proposed designs for the banners and wraps are below.

Light Pole Signs:Fiber Optic Cabinet Wraps (Option 1):

Fiber Optic Cabinet Wraps (Option 2):

Dubuque Woman Accused in Apparent Stabbing

Hines

A Dubuque woman has been arrested after police say she stabbed a man in the leg. Officers were called to the 1900 block of Jackson Street at about 3:20 yesterday afternoon. That’s where they found a man who’d been stabbed in the leg. He was taken to Mercy Hospital with a non-life threatening injury. As police investigated the incident, they learned that the man had been involved in what’s being called “a disturbance” with 34-year-old Sara Hines. It was her address where the stabbing was initially reported. Police say the disturbance escalated until Hines apparently stabbed the man in the leg. Hines has been charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

Police Catch Accused Purse Thief at Local Grocery Store

Lear

Charges have been filed against a man who’s accused in two purse-snatching incidents at a Dubuque grocery store. 56-year-old Kenneth Lear was arrested Sunday night. He’s facing two theft charges, as well as one count each of Public Intoxication and Interference with Official Acts. Lear’s arrest stemmed from an incident at the Locust Street Hy-Vee at about 6:15 Sunday evening. A woman told police that Lear grabbed her purse and ran toward the store’s exit. But her boyfriend tackled Lear and restrained him until police arrived. Lear suffered a cut above his left eye, and was taken to Mercy Hospital for treatment before being taken into custody. His blood alcohol content at the time was also measured at 0.197, more than double the legal limit to drive. During their investigation, police learned that Lear had also stolen another woman’s purse at the same store earlier in the day.

Key West Murder Suspect Requests Change Of Venue

Minifee

One of the suspects accused of robbing and killing a Key West man has asked for his trial to be moved. 20-year-old Tacari Minifee stands accused of First-Degree Murder and First-Degree Robbery in the death of Collin Brown last April. Another suspect has said that it was Minifee who fired the shot that killed Brown as he tried to escape from his mobile home. Minifee’s attorney has filed a change of venue motion in Dubuque County District Court. It makes the claim that publicity surrounding the case will make it difficult – if not impossible – to find an impartial jury in Dubuque County. A hearing on that request is scheduled for tomorrow. Minifee is one of eight people who have been charged in connection with Brown’s death. 19-year-old Imere Hall was convicted on murder and robbery charges earlier this month.

Greater Dubuque to Launch North End Revitalization Effort

Dickinson

Greater Dubuque Development is set to launch a new five-year campaign, which will include a focus on improvements to Dubuque’s North End. The “Greater Dubuque 2020” campaign will be a continuation of many of the organization’s current efforts, with an additional focus on removing some of the blight and crime that’s taken hold in the northern part of the city. Greater Dubuque President and CEO Rick Dickinson says that area has been neglected for too long. The boundaries of the North End are not specifically defined, but for Greater Dubuque’s purposes, will include everything north of 10th Street between the bluff and the river. According to Dickinson, people who live and work in that part of town are proud of the area and want to see it cleaned up. One point of focus for the campaign will to convert many of the North End’s rental properties back to family-owned homes. Dickinson says they’ll also look to make the gateway to the city from the north look more like Dubuque’s other entry points, an effort that will be helped by Central Avenue becoming a city street, rather than a US highway. While the North End may currently be seen as the “rough part” of Dubuque, Dickinson doesn’t believe there has to be a bad part of town. Greater Dubuque plans to raise $10 million to fund their new campaign between now and when it officially launches in June.

Dubuque Police Looking Into Weekend Gunfire Report

Dubuque police are investigating a report of gunshots near two of the city’s colleges early Saturday morning. Officers were initially called to the 500 block of West Locust Street at around 6:15 AM. But they didn’t find any evidence of shots fired. Officers again searched the area later that morning, which is when they located several shell casings a couple blocks away, in the 21-hundred block of Foye Street. That area is just down the hill from Clarke University and not far from the Loras College campus. No injuries or property damage has been reported. This is the fourth confirmed case of shots fired in the city this year.

“Scouting for Food” This Weekend

A yearly food drive organized by local Boy Scout troops is coming up this weekend, and the need for donations is high. Earlier this month, we told you that St. Stephen’s Food Bank in Dubuque is having trouble keeping its shelves stocked. The annual “Scouting for Food” drive will provide donations for that food bank, as well as several others in the area. Boy Scouts Dubuque District leader Peter Supple says the food drive actually supports food banks across the region. Scouts have been placing door hangers on houses this week. They’ll then retrace their routes Saturday morning to collect donations. Donations must be place on doorsteps by 9:00 Saturday morning. If you miss that deadline, donations can be dropped off at the Asbury Hy-Vee. Scouts will also be accepting donations at the other Dubuque Hy-Vee locations as well. Supple says there are some items that food banks have said are in “high demand.” Those items include peanut butter, paper products, baby formula, and baby food. Items that should not be donated include perishable foods, anything frozen, or items in glass packages. This is the 100th year that the Boy Scouts have been active in the Dubuque district.

Second Suspect Charged in Maquoketa Bank Robbery

Stapleton

A second Dubuque man has been charged in connection with a bank robbery in Maquoketa earlier this month. 31-year-old Gregory Stapleton is facing one count of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery in Jackson County. He entered a not guilty plea last week. Prosecutors say Stapleton worked with 40-year-old Dante Rhodes of Dubuque prior to Rhodes’ alleged robbery of the Fidelity Bank branch in Maquoketa. Authorities have accused Rhodes holding up the bank on March 8, then leading officers from several law enforcement agencies on a high speed chase that ended in Key West. He has been charged with Eluding and Interference with Official Acts in Dubuque County. Charges related to the robbery are still pending.

O’Mara: This Winter was 6th Warmest on Record

O’Mara

Now that we’re a couple of days into spring, we have a better idea of just how mild this past winter was. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara reports that this winter was the 6th warmest on record, though that didn’t translate to a drier winter, as is usually the case. The average temperature at the Dubuque airport from December through February was 26 degrees. So far, just more than 27 inches of snow has fallen since December 1. While that is below normal, O’Mara says it’s still more than what’s fallen in other parts of eastern Iowa. Dubuque received its first snowfall of the season the first weekend of December. The following couple weeks were about as close to typical winter conditions as we got. O’Mara says there was a pretty strong La Nina system creating those traditional winter conditions, but that system essentially disappeared after the first of the year. Average winter temperatures in Dubuque are typically closer to 21 or 22 degrees. Typical snowfall between December and February is about 31 inches.

Blum Comes Out Against AHCA

Blum

The Congressman who represents Dubuque County says he will vote against the current version of Republicans’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The new bill, called the “American Health Care Act,” has been met with opposition from many areas. Democrats say it will eliminate coverage for too many people, while some Republicans, including Dubuque’s Rod Blum, don’t believe the bill does enough to lower costs. Blum tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, he’ll vote against the bill on Thursday, when it’s expected to come before the House. Many political analysts believe the bill is unlikely to pass the House.

Boy Rescued By Officer From Burning Duplex In Dubuque

Dubuque firefighters work at the scene of a duplex fire Tuesday afternoon (Courtesy: KCRG).

A seven-year-old Dubuque boy is safe after jumping out of a second-story window to escape a fire yesterday afternoon. A Dubuque police officer caught the boy, who was then taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. It all happened in the 27-hundred block of Jackson Street at about 1:30 yesterday. Emergency responders were called to a duplex where the kitchen had started on fire. But the boy was trapped on the second floor of the building. Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines says that’s when officer Dane Cox was able to talk the boy into jumping. The boy’s name has not been released. A family dog was also rescued when it jumped into the arms of one of the officers as well. Steines says fire was contained to the kitchen area. The blaze caused heavy smoke damage to the entire second floor of the building. No cost damage estimate is available.

Schmitt Island Committee Making Some Progress

Kevin Lynch

A committee formed last year by the Dubuque Racing Association to study the development of Schmitt Island is making some progress. Committee member Kevin Lynch says they recently contracted the services of three local engineer consulting firms to help the committee determine what will work and what won’t at Schmitt Island. Over the next year or so the committee will be working with a number of government agencies as part of the overall process in developing the island. A few years ago a firm hired by the DRA came up with a masterplan for Schmitt Island based on input from the community, and Lynch says the committee will be looking at some of those original ideas. It’s hard to say what Schmitt Island will look like in the next five to ten years, but Lynch says funding will be a major factor. Lynch says the goal of the committee is to make Schmitt Island a destination for Dubuquers and all of the Tri-State area.

Boyd Gaming Moving to New Dubuque Location

The parent company of the Diamond Jo Casino will be bringing on additional staff as it moves its Dubuque offices. Dubuque will now serve as the main Midwest corporate support office for Boyd Gaming. Its local office houses the company’s creative, accounting, analytics, and IT departments. Boyd plans to hire additional staff in its creative department, which, along with all of the other local departments, will move into the McGraw Hill Building in the Port of Dubuque. Boyd’s Dubuque offices had previously been housed in a portion of the Star Brewery complex, just across the street from their new location. Boyd now operates two dozen casinos in the Midwest, Las Vegas, and along the Gulf Coast.

Former Malting and Brewing Headquarters Sold

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

A Cedar Rapids developer has bought a crumbling former brewery on Dubuque’s North End. Steve Emerson plans to invest several million dollars into rehabilitation the former headquarters of the Dubuque Malting and Brewing Company. The complex sits at the corner of 30th and Jackson Streets. Emerson has purchased a portion of the property from Jim Krueger for 40-thousand dollars. According to the realtor who oversaw the purchase, Emerson plans to invest between 15 and 20 million dollars to convert the former brewery into apartments. Court records and engineering reports show the building suffered several structure collapses last year and is in risk of further collapse.

Dubuque Council Initially Votes Down Housing Development, Then Reconsiders

Del Toro, Rios

The Dubuque City Council last night initially voted down, then advanced a proposal for a housing development on the city’s West End. The plan called for slightly more than 50 acres of land at the intersection of John F. Kennedy Road and Derby Grange Road to be annexed by the city, then rezoned to residential. The owners of several neighboring properties spoke out against the development, including Suzie Conlin-Kalb, who presented a petition signed by dozens of others. Councilman Ric Jones applauded the neighbors for creating a nice neighborhood outside the city limits, but said he didn’t see how the subdivision would detract from what they have. Because more than 20% of neighbors signed Conlin-Kalb’s petition, the council needed to pass the ordinance with a supermajority. However, council members Luis Del Toro and Jake Rios voted against the plan. A second vote was taken on an initial reading of the ordinance. The vote there was also 5-2. The council initially believed that vote was not subject to the supermajority requirement, but later in the meeting, City Attorney Crenna Brumwell advised that it was. A motion was made to reconsider, which Councilman David Resnick urged the council to pass, saying that the developer should not be penalized for the council’s mistake. That motion passed. The council then unanimously approved a first reading of the plan, with both Rios and Del Toro changing their votes. The ordinance needs to be approved twice more before the annexation and rezoning would go into effect.

School Board Approves Several Summer Projects

The Dubuque School Board has approved several projects at district buildings that will be done over the course of the summer. One of those is a roof replacement at Hoover Elementary School. Building and Grounds Supervisor Bill Burkhart says they’ll initially remove and replace half of the roof, which was constructed in 1992. The total cost of that project is 94-thousand dollars. The other half of the roof will be replaced next year. The board also approved the replacement of the air conditioning unit at Eisenhower which is 36 years old. That project will cost 124-thousand dollars. The Alta Vista Campus boiler will also be replaced at a cost of 232-thousand dollars.

Weather Spotters Training Seminar In Galena Tuesday

The severe weather season is just around the corner and to help you prepare for the unexpected the National Weather Service is teaming up with the Jo Daviess County Emergency Management Agency to host a Weather Spotters Seminar on Tuesday. Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Pedersen says weather spotters learn how to identify particular storm systems and report them to the NWS. There are currently around 30 weather spotters in Jo Daviess County but more are needed. Weather spotters are very helpful to meteorologists when they are predicting which direction a storm or tornado may be headed. The Weather Spotter Seminar will take place at the Galena Territory Owners’ Club tomorrow at 6:30 pm. The seminar is free and open to the public. Seminars will also be held in Stephenson and Carroll Counties in the coming weeks.

Woman Faces Meth Charges After Incident At Dubuque Hotel

 

A woman with no permanent address faces meth charges after police respond to a loud noise complaint at a local hotel over the weekend. Court documents say officers were called to the Holiday Inn on Main Street just before 3:30 Saturday afternoon to investigate a report of patrons out of control in one of the rooms. When they arrived they spoke with 32 year old Amber Sheppard who told officers she was in the room, but left through a rear exit when she saw them arrive. Officers then searched Sheppard’s purse where they found over 30 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, baggies and drug paraphernalia. At first Sheppard told police that the drugs belonged to her boyfriend, but later recanted her story and admitted they were hers. Sheppard is charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver and possessiojn of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at 20-thousand dollars.

Wisconsin Man Faces 8th OWI Charge

 

A Wisconsin man has been charged with his 8th Operating While Intoxicated charge. A release from the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy stopped a car late Sunday afternoon driven by 52 year old Keven Hughes of Arena on County Road YZ, just outside of Dodgeville after seeing him drive on the opposite side of the road several times. Hughes was arrested and transported to the Iowa County Jail. In addition to the OWI charge Hughes was cited for having an open container, driving left of the center-line and probation violation. In 2010 Hughes was sentenced to 4 years in prison after pleading no contest to felony OWI.

Electronics Shoplifters Sought By Dubuque Police

Dubuque police are asking the public to help them identify two people who shoplifted hundreds of dollars worth of electronics from the Walmart on Dodge Street last week. The theft took place last Thursday and the electronics are valued at around 800 dollars. The police department has posted an image of a white male and female who committed the theft on their ID4PD website. We’ve also posted an image on our site KDTH.com. They were traveling in a silver Chevy Impala or similar make and model.

Dubuque Man Accused of Stealing Ex-Roommate’s Bank Card

Sproule

A Dubuque man is accused of racking up nearly 12-hundred dollars in charges on a former roommate’s bank card. Police arrested 27-year-old Terry Sproule a few minutes after 7:30 Friday night. According to a criminal complaint against Sproule, a former roommate of his contacted police early last month to report the unauthorized use of a credit card. The roommate’s debit card had been taken from his apartment and used several times on February 1st and 2nd. The roommate suspected Sproule of taking and using the card, based on the fact that Sproule had abruptly moved out of the apartment they shared about the time the card was taken. Police obtained surveillance video from ATMs where the card was accessed and identified Sproule as the person using the card. Sproule has been charged with a felony count of Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card. He’s expected to make an initial court appearance tomorrow.

Dubuque Shut Out of Best Burger Nominees…Again

 

The one pound “Gunderburger,” sold at The Irish Shanti in Elgin.

For at least the 8th consecutive year, no Dubuque County restaurants are in the running for Iowa’s best burger. Each year, the Iowa Beef Council sponsors a contest to find the restaurant around the state that serves the best hamburger. And in each year this decade, all ten of the nominees have come from outside Dubuque County. Among this year’s nominees, the nearest to Dubuque is the Irish Shanti, located in the Fayette County town of Elgin. The majority of the nominees come from the central and western parts of the state, with eateries in Cedar Rapids and North Liberty joining the Irish Shanti among the finalists. PerXactly Bar and Grill, in Maquoketa, has been a finalist for the honor twice, last year and in 2012.

Dubuque’s JC Penney Store Avoids Closure

A Dubuque retailer has managed to avoid being shut down by its parent company. JC Penney announced last week that it will be closing nearly 140 stores nationwide, but not its Dubuque location. The company had said in February that it planned to shutter about 13% of its locations, but did not say at that time which stores would be impacted. That news instead came on Friday. Four Iowa locations are among those that are closing. The nearest of those to Dubuque is the store in Decorah. Company officials estimate that about 5,000 store employees will be out of a job because of the closures.

Fire Destroys Monticello Home

Courtesy: KCRG

A faulty chimney is being blamed for a fire that destroyed a home in Monticello over the weekend. According to our coverage partners at KCRG-TV, firefighters were called to a house in the 200 block of North Chestnut Street around 9:00 Saturday night. Crews from two additional fire departments were also called in and stayed on scene for more than six hours battling the blaze. But the home is being called a total loss. No injuries have been reported, and neighbors said that the person who lives in the house is rarely home. Flames from the fire were so large, it’s been reported that they were visible from US Highway 151, more than a mile away.

Dubuque Receives Funding for Second Roundabout

Dubuque’s first roundabout, at the intersection of Delhi Street, Grace Street, and Grandview Avenue.

Plans for a second traffic roundabout in Dubuque are moving ahead. The Iowa Department of Transportation last week awarded the city $265,000, which will be used to fund the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of University and Grandview Avenues. If the city approves the construction plan, work would begin next summer. Dubuque’s first roundabout opened at what had previously been a five-way intersection just up the street, where Grandview meets Grace and Delhi Streets. The city has also said it wants to place another roundabout at the intersection of University Avenue and Asbury Road, though plans for re-doing that intersection are still a ways off.

Speeding, OWI Most Common Over St. Patrick’s Weekend

Speeding and driving drunk were the most common offenses on Dubuque County’s roads over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. That’s according to the county sheriff’s office. Dubuque County deputies took part in a statewide traffic enforcement project that began last Wednesday and ran through Saturday. Eighteen drivers were citing for driving over the speed limit, with ten others receiving warnings for going too fast. Four drivers were arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. Deputies responded to just one crash, which involved just property damage and no injuries. Seat belt usage remains high in the county, as nearly 96 percent of the drivers that officers observed were properly buckled in.

Info Meeting For Contractors In Dubuque This Week

Nash

Contractors from the Dubuque area are being encouraged to attend a meeting this week about some of the work they could find themselves doing in the coming years. According to Alvin Nash, Dubuque’s Housing and Community Development Director, the city will be looking for contractors to perform rehabilitation work on hundreds of housing units in the coming years. He says that right now, there’s a shortage of people who can do the work. Among the programs the work will be done through are the Healthy Homes Resiliency Program and the Lead Hazard Control Program. City staff will provide information about those programs, as well as a primer on how to navigate some of the city’s processes. Nash estimates that more than $22 million will be invested into upwards of six hundred housing units over the coming five years. The meeting will be held Thursday evening at 5:30 at the Grand River Center. Contractors who plan to attend should RSVP to the Housing and Community Development office by the end of the day tomorrow.

NICC is a Top 50 Online College

Northeast Iowa Community College is being recognized as one of the country’s top 50 online colleges according to Affordable Colleges Online. ACO used a variety of scoring metrics, including in-state tuition and fees and student-to-faculty ratio in developing their ranking system. Out of thousands of colleges with online degree programs, NICC ranked 42. ACO is an organization that provides information about colleges, degree programs and scholarships that assist students in developing their academic plans.

Man Trapped After Accident

A two vehicle accident this week left one Tri-State man trapped until crews could extract him. At approximately 4pm Wednesday afternoon the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an accident with injuries at Highway 80 and 11 near Gulers Corner Bar and Grill in Hazel Green, WI. Once at the scene, officers determined that 80-year old Donald Peebles of East Dubuque was traveling north on Highway 80 when he failed to yield while turning into Guler’s Parking Lot. Peebles then struck 46-year old Robert Kruser of Hazel Green who was traveling South bound on HW 80. Both vehicles were excessively damaged with Kruser trapped inside his before crew arrived and extracted him. Kruser was then taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment, while Peebles was treated at the scene and taken to Unity Point Finley Hospital in Dubuque. Peebles was later cited for FAILUR TO YEILD. The Grant County Sheriff’s office was assisted by the Hazel Green Police, Fire & Rescue, The Wisconsin State Patrol and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office

Wisconsin Tourism Alive And Well

Scott Walker

Last year Wisconsin’s tourism industry had more than a 19 billion dollar impact on the state’s economy. That’s according to Governor Scott Walker, who says the tourism industry is also a major employer, supporting more than 190-thousand jobs throughout the state. Walker recently met with tourism representatives from all 72 counties at the 30th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Milwaukee. Walker says visitors come back to Wisconsin year-after-year for the natural beauty, fun attractions and because of the hospitality they receive from Wisconsinites. To learn more about the state’s tourism industry visit travelwisconsin.com.

St. Patrick’s Day Enforcement In Jo Daviess County This Weekend

 

St. Patrick’s Day has long celebrated the roots of millions of Americans with Irish ancestry, but all too often the celebration can turn deadly because of impaired driving. If you’ll be drinking alcohol this year, the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office has some advice for you: “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. Lt. Tim Wand with the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department says Illinois has had text messaging and cell phone laws on the books since 2015 and those laws will be enforced this weekend. He says they’ll also be on the lookout for drunk drivers and those who appear to be on drugs. The St. Patrick’s Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign starts Friday and runs through the weekend.

Ernst Ready For Protesters At Next Town Hall Meeting

Ernst

Last month Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst faced a firestorm of protest when she held a town hall meeting in Jackson County. The meeting was set up to hear concerns and answer questions from veterans about the VA. But most of those who attended were there to protest against President Donald Trump’s policies. On Friday Ernst will conduct town hall meetings in Linn and Polk counties. She says people have a right to exercise their right to free speech. Ernst says she looks forward to the town hall meetings. The Linn County town hall will be held at Coe College in Cedar Rapids beginning at noon tomorrow, while the Polk County meeting takes place at 5 pm. at Drake University in Des Moines.

AAA Brings Back “Tow to Go” for St. Patrick’s Weekend

The nation’s largest auto club is offering free rides home to anyone who gets a bit too festive this St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Triple-A is once again running its “Two to Go” program in Iowa this weekend. The initiative utilizes Triple-A member tow truck drivers to get impaired drivers and their vehicles home. “Tow to Go” is open to anyone, regardless of whether they’re a Triple-A member or not. Triple-A offers the program at various times of the year when people are likely to be drinking, but hopefully not driving. “Tow to Go” is new to Iowa, having been offered for the first time early last month on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s been in place in several southern states for about twenty years. Over that time, Triple-A estimates that it has taken about 25-thousand impaired drivers off the roads.

Dubuque Police Urge Caution, Responsibility for St. Patrick’s Day

Dubuque Police don’t plan to do any additional patrols over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but will be looking out for anyone who celebrates too much. Police Lt. Scott Baxter says even with the holiday falling on a Friday, police will not be bringing on any additional staffing. Baxter estimates that the amount of alcohol consumed in Dubuque on St. Patrick’s Day is equal or higher than any other holiday. The Tri-State’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration usually happens the weekend before the actual holiday, and there’s no large, single event in Dubuque on the day itself. That can create both advantages and disadvantages for police. Police urge those that will be traveling to their celebration to designate a driver. But Baxter says that even for those who won’t be on the road, it’s still a good idea to have a responsible person keeping an eye out for potential problems. Many Dubuque establishments plan to be open expanded hours on St. Patrick’s Day. Some of them will open as early as 6:00 AM.

Authorities: Dubuque Man Was Defending Self, Gun Charge Dropped

Authorities have decided to drop a gun charge against a Dubuque man after determining that he was acting in self-defense. Last September, 23-year-old Shadeed Monroe was arrested on a charge of Reckless Use of a Firearm following a shooting outside a downtown Dubuque nightclub. Police were called to Club Rondavoo on Central Avenue. When officers arrived, they heard gunshots a couple blocks away. Officers found Monroe holding a gun on 19th Street. He said he was standing in the 18-hundred block of Jackson Street when a man charged at him and started shooting. Monroe said he fired back in self-defense. The charge against Monroe has now been dropped. The man who shot at him, 30-year-old Charles Layfield, faces multiple charges in relation to the incident, including Attempted Murder. He’s scheduled to make a court appearance on Monday.

Dealer Connected with Fatal Overdose Headed to Prison

Courtesy: Long Island Press

A Maquoketa man is headed to prison for his role in a deadly drug overdose. 22-year-old Joshua Manning was sentenced to 10.5 years in federal prison this week. He had pled guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin or Fentanyl Resulting in Death. Prosecutors claimed that Manning sold the drugs that led to one person’s deadly over dose in March of last year. Two other people were seriously injured after taking Manning’s product. Once he’s released from prison, Manning will be on probation for three years.

Beach Boys To Perform At Delaware County Fair VIP Night

Courtesy: Billboard

Legendary rock and roll icons and hall of fame inductees the Beach Boys will perform at the Delaware County Fair on VIP Night this summer. The Beach Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide and have released 36 top 40 hits in the US, including “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, “Good Vibrations,” and “God Only Knows” just to name a few. The $70 VIP tickets include all you can eat and drink. Tickets for the July 14th show go on sale April 1st.

Tranel Co-Sponsors Wisconsin Barn Bill

Tranel

The state lawmaker who represents much of southwest Wisconsin is pushing the state to preserve historic barns while making it easier for owners to host events in their barns. State Assemblyman Travis Tranel has introduced a so-called “barn bill” that would lift some of the fees and regulations currently in place for property owners who want to host weddings, fundraisers, and other events in their historic barns. Tranel says it’s unreasonable to ask the owners of barns that are more than fifty years old to upgrade them to meet current commercial standards. Tranel believes that forcing barn owners to make those upgrades would take away some historic significance. Historic barns are becoming an increasingly popular venue for wedding ceremonies around the state. While Tranel is pushing the “barn bill” in the State Assembly, Howard Marklein has introduced similar legislation in the State Senate.

Irish Hooley to Shift to Single-Day Event

Big changes are coming to Dubuque’s biggest annual celebration of Irish music and culture. The 2017 Irish Hooley will be a one-day event, rather than occupying both a Friday and a Saturday. Rob McCullough is the president of the Hooley’s Executive Board. He says they’ll use this year’s event to save on costs and re-evaluate. McCullough wouldn’t go so far as to say the change is a temporary one, but he’s hopeful that the Hooley would move back to two days in the coming years. Besides being a cost-saving move, McCullough says a single day format could help the Hooley secure entertainment. Another change for the Hooley this year is in its management. The local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians has long partnered with the Hooley board to organize the event. But this year, the AOH will be fully in charge. There are very few summer weekends where Dubuque is not hosting some kind of music event or festival. In fact, there is another event that typically falls on the same weekend as the Hooley. But McCullough doesn’t believe that competition is hurting the Hooley, which he says draws a different crowd. This year’s Hooley is scheduled for August 26. The event will again be held at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater behind the old Star Brewery.

Several Construction Projects Planned Near NW Arterial This Year

Dubuque drivers can expect to see a lot of activity on roadways that connect with the Northwest Arterial during the upcoming road construction season. The city is planning several projects on a handful of roads that connect to the Arterial, including Chavanelle Road, Pennsylvania Avenue, and John F. Kennedy Road. City Civil Engineer Jon Dienst says the Chavanelle Road project will include resurfacing and extension of a bike trail that runs along the Arterial. Dienst estimates that Chavanelle has not received any major improvements since the late 1970s. In addition to the work on Chavanelle, the city also plans to install new turning lanes at the Arterial’s intersections with JFK and Pennsylvania. After the work is complete, the bike trail that runs along the Arterial will stretch more than seven miles from the intersection of Chavanelle and Seippel Road to the trail’s connection with the Heritage Trail.

Inaugural “Mac and Cheese Fest” Coming to Dubuque

A new food festival coming to Dubuque this spring will celebrate a staple in the diets of young and old alike: macaroni and cheese. The inaugural Mac and Cheese Fest will be held the first week of May at the Grand River Center. The event is the brainchild of Tom Rauen of Envision Sports Designs, who believes the uniqueness of the event will set it apart. More than two dozen food vendors have committed to the event, where they will serve their take on the traditional dish. Vendors will be eligible to win prizes in a few categories, with trophies going to the top dishes. Rauen says he got the idea from a similar festival in Chicago. But he admits he kept his plans for the Dubuque event under wraps until he was sure it would go over. Tickets for the festival are currently on sale, but only one thousand will be sold. Proceeds from the event will go to Rauen’s own foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

Police ID Man Injured in JFK Road Rollover

Firefighters work to remove an injured passenger from an overturned van on JFK Road in Dubuque (Courtesy KCRG).

Police have released the name of the person who was injured in a rollover crash on John F. Kennedy Road in Dubuque yesterday afternoon. According to the Dubuque Police Department, 60-year-old Michelle Marolf was leaving a private driveway in the 1900 block of Kennedy Road. She pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle, which struck her van, knocking it onto its side in traffic. Paramedics called to the scene had to remove the roof of Marolf’s vehicle so they could remove her passenger, 64-year-old Gregg Marolf. He was taken to Finley Hospital to be treated for his injuries. Michelle Marolf was cited for Unsafe Entry to a Roadway.

Driver in Fatal Julien Dubuque Bridge Crash Sentenced to Three Years

Berry

The teenager who was behind the wheel when his passenger was killed during a crash on the Julien Dubuque Bridge will be going to prison for three years. Cody Berry of Durango, who is now 21, reached an agreement with prosecutors in Jo Daviess County to plead guilty to a drunk driving charge. In exchange, five additional charges against him were dropped. The charge Berry is pleading to, Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, carries a minimum penalty of three years in prison. Police say that Berry was driving across the bridge in the early morning hours of November 17, 2014. At about 2:30 AM, he veered across the center line and collided with a semi. Berry’s passenger, Gavin Gremmel of Dubuque, died as a result of the crash. Berry had been scheduled to go on trial on the six original charges in early April.

Southwest Arterial Work Begins with Blasting Near Highway 20

Explosive charges ignite along US Highway 20 West of Dubuque Tuesday morning (Courtesy: City of Dubuque).

Construction work on the Southwest Arterial got off to an explosive start yesterday morning. A crew from the Iowa Department of Transportation unleashed a series of explosions just off of US Highway 20 west of Dubuque. The DOT completely closed that roadway to traffic from Stone Valley Drive to the intersection with Menards at 9:30 yesterday morning. The closure was planned to take about 20 minutes, but in reality, it only took about eight minutes for crews to set up the charges, blow them up, and clear debris off of the road. Ben Hucker of the DOT told our coverage partner KCRG that for the work they were able to get done, it was a small disruption in traffic. The DOT used the blasting to clear out about eight feet of solid rock that sits just to the north of the highway along Mile Hill. That’s in the area where grading for the Southwest Arterial will start later this spring. The Southwest Arterial is expected to be opened to traffic in late 2019.

Roof Repairs in Store for Dubuque County Courthouse

Repairs to the roof of the Dubuque County Courthouse will have to come before work on the building’s top floor. The Dubuque County Supervisors have approved renovation work on the 5th floor of the courthouse, which will house the county’s Juvenile Court Services once that work is complete. But Supervisor Board Chari Jay Wickham says that the building’s roof needs to be repaired before work can begin on the 5th floor. Included in the roof repairs will be some re-shingling and new tuck-pointing. The renovations to the 5th floor are expected to take between six and nine months, but the roof repairs will push the project back a bit. The entire 5th floor project, including repairs to the roof is estimated to cost between $2.2 and 2.3 million. Wickham says they hope to have the project completed over the next two years.

Fire Destroys Farm Shed And Camper Near Platteville

 

A fire Sunday night destroyed a farm shed and a camper near Platteville. A report from the Platteville Fire Department says crews responded to the Eric Hottentein farm located along Wisconsin Highway 80 just before 10 pm. When they arrived a two-story farm shed and a 45-foot camper were fully engulfed in flames. Fire fighters remained on scene for over four hours to make sure the fire didn’t spread to the farm house and a secondary outbuilding. No injuries were reported. Total damage estimate is around 225-thousand dollars. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Dubuque Police “Saddened” By Forced Resignation of US Attorney

Techau

Dubuque Police are expressing disappointment with the forced resignation of the local US Attorney. Kevin Techau had been the United States Attorney for Iowa’s Northern District since 2014. But because the Iowa City native was appointed during former President Barack Obama’s administration, he and 45 other Obama appointees were asked to resign by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions late last week. Dubuque Police spokesman Lt. Scott Baxter says the news came as a bit of a shock. Baxter says Techau brought an aggressiveness and forward-thinking mentality to the job. If asked, Dubuque Police will be happy to provide Techau’s replacement with some advice on doing the job as well as possible. The Trump administration has not yet said who it will appoint to fill the role of Techau, or any of the other attorneys who were asked to step down. Baxter says the lack of a clear replacement is disconcerting. Techau’s office worked with Dubuque Police to pursue federal charges against several men accused of selling heroin in the community. He also set up multiple “town hall” discussions on topics ranging from prescription drug abuse to hate crimes.

Women Accused of Passing Fake 100s at Grocery Store

A trio of women are accused of passing fake money at a Dubuque grocery store. The Dubuque Police Department has posted the images of all three women on their ID4PD website. According to police, the women each used phony $100 bills to make inexpensive purchases at the Hy-Vee on South Locust Street. Those purchases were made on February 23. Police are asking anyone with information about the women to come forward.

Dubuque Archbishop: Meat OK on St. Patrick’s Day

Jackels

Dubuque’s Catholic population doesn’t have to worry about breaking church practice if they have some Irish stew or corned beef this Saint Patrick’s Day. With the holiday falling on a Friday during the season of Lent, Catholics and some other Christians would have typically been barred from eating meat. But Dubuque archbishop Michael Jackels has issued a dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day. In a statement released through the archdiocese, he encourages those who take advantage of the dispensation to perform some other good work instead. Bishops in several other areas with large Irish-American populations are also issuing similar proclamations. Dispensations have also been offered in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

Jackels’ full statement:

To the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Dubuque,

Those of us who are 14 years of age and older are obliged by Church law to practice the penance of abstaining from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.

This tradition helps us to remember how Jesus loved us and gave himself up to death for our salvation, as well to inspire us to imitate Jesus’ loving gift of self by an act of penance or charity.

However, as St. Patrick’s Day this year falls on a Friday of Lent, and as celebrations often include serving meat, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque are dispensed from the obligation to abstain from meat on that day.

Those people who take advantage of this dispensation are encouraged to perform some other good work, for example, participating in Holy Mass that day, or abstaining from watching television, or donating to charity the same amount of money spent on food and beverage at the St. Patrick Day celebration.

Begging the intercession of St. Patrick, who brought the Gospel to people in Ireland, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who inspires and perfects our faith.

Board Approves Budget And Salary Increases

Klein

The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors has approved the 2018 fiscal year budget. The 63.2 million dollars budget is nearly 20 million dollars less than fiscal year 2017 and calls for no increase in property taxes. The board voted 2-to-1 in favor, with Supervisor Daryl Klein voting against the budget. He says it includes spending 2.3 million dollars on operations at Sunnycrest, which will come from the general fund’s end balance for FY 2018. Klein says there is almost zero dollars for maintenance upkeep for the county. Klein says its’ just a matter of time before they won’t be able to subsidize Sunnycrest without huge property tax increases. Klein says he wants to be in the front-end of trying to make sure that Sunnycrest is available to Dubuque County residents. The board did approve a pay hike for elected officials and sheriff’s deputies, but not to the tune of 7-and-a-half percent as recommended by the County Compensation Board. The raise instead is for 3.5 percent. In addition those employees will be paying five percent of their health care costs in the coming year. Klein as well as Supervisors Jay Wickham and Dave Baker voted for the salary increases.

Maquoketa Man Pleads Not Guilty To Escape And Theft Charges

Combs

One of the two men accused of breaking out of the Jackson County Jail and then stealing a truck late last month has pleaded not guilty. 19 year old Andrew Combs entered a written plea of not guilty to escaping from custody and first degree theft in Jackson County District Court last week. Combs along with fellow inmate 20 year old Brain Willey of Preston escaped from jail on February 28th by prying open a hydraulic gate and then stealing a truck to make their way out of town. The truck was found the next day in Clinton and Combs and Willey were arrested several days later in that city. Willey is set to be arraigned on March 24th. Combs will make his next court appearance on March 31st. Both men were serving time for burglary and robbery related convictions before the jailbreak.

ACLU’s Resistance Training At Loras

About 60 people gathered at Loras College this past weekend to join groups around the country for what the American Civil Liberties Union called “resistance training.” And as our coverage partners at KCRG TV report, discussions centered around finding ways to resist the Trump administration. Steve Drahozal was one of the organizers for the live streaming event. People had many different reasons for attending. Ellen Klein says an important issue to her is protecting the environment. And Kim Mangers says her number one concern is health care. Drahozal praised the speakers at the event who announced a new campaign that calls for “Freedom Cities”. The “Freedom Cities” campaign welcomes all immigrants to the U.S.

Nearly Thirty Snow-Related Crashes Reported

Courtesy: Drive-Safely.net

The transition back to winter weather driving proved to be difficult for a few Dubuque County drivers. Local law enforcement agencies responded to nearly thirty weather-related crashes after the snow started falling last night through this morning. Dubuque Police were called to a total of thirteen wrecks beginning just after 8:00 PM Sunday. All thirteen were just property damage collisions, with no injuries reported. During the same timeframe, Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to about fifteen crashes. Most of those involved vehicles sliding off of the road into the ditch. No serious injuries were reported.

Navy Concert Band Schedules Dubuque Performance

US Navy Concert Band

Dubuque will be one of two dozen cities that will play host to a performance by one the US Navy’s bands. The United States Navy Concert Band has announced that it will perform at Roosevelt Middle School on March 31. The performance will begin at 7:00 PM and is open to the public. The Navy Concert Band was formed in 1925, at about the same time as the Navy’s Ceremonial Band. The Concert Band is the Navy’s premier wind ensemble. In addition to the month-long tour it goes on each year, it also performs several concerts in the Washington, DC area.

Possible Arson Investigated Near Stockton

Courtesy: WTVQ

Authorities in Jo Daviess County are investigating what’s being called a “possible arson.” Back on March 4, deputies from the county sheriff’s office and the Stockton firefighters were called to a home on Massback Road southwest of Stockton. When they arrived, responders found multiple hay bales on fire not far from the road. Authorities now say evidence collected at the scene indicates those bales were set ablaze intentionally. The sheriff’s department is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the local Crime Stoppers hotline. Information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

“Waves” of Snow Both Help, Hurt Public Works Response

The man in charge of overseeing snow removal operations in Dubuque says he’s satisfied with their response to today’s snowfall. Public Works Director John Klostermann tells KDTH that the snow came in waves, which allowed crews to get into residential areas faster than with some other systems. One of those waves hit at about 5:00 this morning, when crews were focusing on residential streets. It put down enough snow that plows were sent back out to some of the city’s more primary streets. Predictions over the weekend had Dubuque looking at anywhere between five and eight inches of snow. But in reality, most areas of the city only received about three inches. Klostermann says it’s always a relief when the actual storm falls short of the prediction. With a few days of notice ahead of the snow, Klostermann and his staff were able to make some preparations as early as Friday. Road conditions were significantly worse in the rural areas of Dubuque County. The Iowa Department of Transportation was still listing US Highways 20, 52, 61, and 151 are all still listed as “completely covered.”

UPDATE: Late-Season Snow Drops 4+ Inches of Snow on Dubuque

A possible last blast of winter has moved into the Tri-States and is impacting schools and travel today. Snow began falling here in Dubuque at about 8:00 last night. Officially, the Dubuque Regional Airport has reported receiving 4.3 inches of snow. But snowfall totals have varied across our listening areas. Locations within the city of Dubuque likely received closer to three inches, while areas to our north and west have gotten as many as six inches. Meteorologist Kaj O’Mara from our coverage partner KCRG-TV says the snow is piling deeper in some areas because of ground and pavement temperatures. The new snow will hold temperatures down over the next couple days, with lows at least 15 degrees below normal tonight and approaching the zero mark tomorrow night. The northern half of our listening area is under a Winter Storm Warning, which goes through 1:00 this afternoon. Counties that are crossed by US Highway 20 and points to the south are in a Winter Weather Advisory, which extends to 7:00 tonight. A handful of local schools cancelled classes today, though not the Dubuque Schools, which are on Spring Break this week.

Dubuque Woman Cited After Chase, Crash

Dodds

A Dubuque woman has been accused of leading police on a chase before crashing into an embankment. Police officers say they saw 41-year-old Rebecca Dodds drive over a curb at the intersection of 17th and Washington Streets a few minutes after 6:30 Saturday night. Officers tried to pull Dodd over, but they say she would not stop. She instead led police on a pursuit that ended when Dodds crashing into an embankment three-quarters of a mile away, at 17th’s intersection with Cox Street on the Loras College campus. Dodds then reportedly tried to run from police, but officers were able to track her down. Dodds has been charged with Eluding, Driving with a Revoked License, and Interference with Official Acts. She was also issued seven traffic citations, including four for running stop lights and signs. Dodds’ vehicle sustained about $4,000 in damage. The crash also caused $500 in damages to the embankment.

Summer Heroes Academy

Registration is now open for St. Mark’s Summer Heroes Academy which will be held at both the Dubuque and Dyersville campuses. Outreach Coordinator Beth McGorry says in the first year of the academy they brought in a number of local heroes to be role models for the kids. The seven week program allows students to participate in non-traditional academics that will be beneficial as they prepare for the new school year. Parents can register their child for the Summer Heroes Academy by calling St. Mark’s or visiting their website. The summer academy runs from June 19th through August 3rd. The program has room for around 150 kids.

 

Untested Sexual Assault Kits

There are more than 42-hundred untested rape kits that are stored in police departments and sheriff’s offices across Iowa. Of those 64 untested kits are stored at the Dubuque Police Department. The information is based on a year-long survey conducted by the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the first order of business is to get the kits tested. Iowa law requires law enforcement agencies to retain sexual assault kits for ten years for adult victims and ten years following a minor victim’s 18th birthday. As the kits are submitted, about 50 percent of them will produce the DNA that can be used to prosecute an offender.

 

Ernst On Health Care

House Republicans on Capitol Hill have introduced a bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare”, but many of them haven’t had a chance to sort out the details. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she not sure how the legislation will affect Iowans, but she does want to make sure that people have access to affordable coverage that meets their individual and family needs. Ernst stopped short of supporting the bill, saying she needs to review the details of the legislation. Ernst says she’ll continue to sort through the bill before it is sent over to the Senate.

 

St. Stephen’s Low on Food

A food bank that serves Dubuque and Jackson counties is putting out the call for donations. St. Stephen’s Food Bank, located off of Cedar Cross Road near Dubuque’s southwestern city limit, can barely keep donations on the shelves, according to Executive Director Kathy Hutton. The food bank has seen a nearly four percent increase in demand for meals in the first two months of this year. That percentage increase equates to about 73-hundred more meals that the food bank has provided this year. That extra demand has lowered their supply to a level Hutton has never seen before.

Certain items have proven to be especially popular at the food bank of late. They include meats, canned goods, and toiletries. The food bank also accepts cash donations. Hutton says they work with partner organizations to turn every dollar donated into five dollars worth of food.

Dubuque Police Report Rise in Vehicle Burglaries

Courtesy: KOLO

A recent rash of car break-ins has Dubuque Police reminding drivers of ways to keep their personal property safe. Over the past couple weeks, five people have reported having their vehicles burglarized while they were parked at the Dubuque Community YMCA on Booth Street. Several other incidents have been reported at Alpine Tennis Club on Cedar Cross Road. Police remind people to not leave items of value sitting in plain sight in their vehicle. Most of the recent break-ins have been “smash and grabs” where the suspect will see a purse or similar item on a car seat, break the vehicle’s window, and make off with the item. The burglaries have been happening at fitness centers, where people are more likely to leave personal items in their cars. Police recommend placing those items in the vehicle’s trunk, glove box, or a console compartment where they will be out of sight.

Meth Bust In Grant County

 

Using a search warrant, members from the Richland-Iowa-Grant Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at an address on Cooley Lane in Wyalusing this week to bust a meth operation. A release from the task force says officers located numerous items associate with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, including an 8 one pot meth labs in a trailer that is house on the property. Taken into custody was 41 year old Christopher Kivi of Bagley. He faces several charges related to the manufacturing of meth. Kivi is currently being held in the Grant County Jail, awaiting formal charges by the Grant County District Attorney’s Office.

No Confirmation Hearing For Ag Secretary Nominee Perdue Yet

Its’ been nearly two months since President Donald Trump tapped former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. The holdup appears to be with the FBI, which is conducting a comprehensive background check that’s customary for all Cabinet nominees. In addition, Perdue’s paperwork has yet to technically arrive in the Senate, which means lawmakers have been unable to officially vet Perdue. The delay has led to frustration and some uneasiness on the part of farm state lawmakers like US. Representative Pat Roberts, Chair of the Senate Ag Committee and Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. He says he doesn’t believe the delay in confirming Perdue will have any effect on the new farm bill. Perdue served two-terms as Georgia Governor from 2003 to 2011.

Man Flashes Knife At Sundown Security Officer

 

A man waved a knife at a security guard during last weekend’s Snocross event at Sundown Mountain Resort. A report from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the security officer, 22 year old Mubarak Balobaid told them that during the event he observed a man who appeared to be younger than 21 drinking alcohol. When he approached the man he took off running. The man then stopped and pulled out a pocketknife and flashed it at Balobaid. The man then turned around and fled the area. The investigation continues.

Dubuque School Board Meeting Pushed Back

 

Because of spring break next week, the Dubuque school board’s regularly scheduled meeting for Mondaty has been moved to Monday March 20th. The board will meet at 5:30 pm. at the Forum on Chaney Road. This is the first time in recent memory that the board has charged its’ meeting date because of spring break.

Heroin Dealer Sent to Federal Prison

Hitchcock

One of the members of a heroin ring that operated in Dubuque will be going to federal prison for selling drugs in the city. 23-year-old Jeffery Hitchcock was sentenced to three years behind bars in US District Court in Cedar Rapids this week. Hitchcock had been convicted on two counts of Distribution of Heroin or Fentanyl Within 1,000 Feet of a Protected Location. Prosecutors said he had sold the drugs near Jackson Park in April of last year. Following his prison term, Hitchcock will have to spend six more years on probation. Another member of the ring Hitchcock was involved with is expected to be sentenced next week. 24-year-old D’Anthony Moore has pled guilty to two counts of Distribution of Heroin in a Protected Location and one count of Possession of Heroin/Fentanyl Mix with Intent to Distribute in a Protected Location.

Dubuque Teens Shot With BB Guns


A couple of Dubuque teenagers suffered minor injuries after being shot with BB guns on the city’s north end Tuesday night. According to a police report, 13 year old Robert Powell-Moore and 14 year old Jamari Smith got into an argument with two people in the area of 15th Street and Central Avenue at around 7:45. The two then pulled out BB guns and began shooting at Powell-Moore, Smith and another unidentified teen. Powell-Moore and Smith sustained minor leg injuries but did not require hospitalization. Police are still looking for the culprits.

8 Year Old Girl Dies After Colliding With Van In Monticello

 

An eight year old Monticello girl was killed after her tricycle collided with a van Wednesday. According to a crash report from the Iowa State Patrol, Cassandra Rieken was riding her tricycle down South Cedar Street when she collided with a van driven by 27 year old April Covel of Monticello at the intersection of South Cedar and West Washington. Rieken was transported by ambulance to UnityPoint Health-Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa where she died. Covel and her passengers were not injured. The accident happened just before 4 Wednesday afternoon.

Archdiocese Approves Demolition of Old Nativity School

A former Dubuque school that has fallen into disrepair will be demolished. The Archdiocese of Dubuque has approved a request from the Nativity Parish Council to tear down the old Nativity school building. The building has sat empty since 2006. The parish had been weighing options for the building’s future until last month, when a piece of a brick wall gave way on the west side of the building. Parish Council member Perry Mason says that made the board’s decision for them. The bricks teetered above a gas line until crews were able to shut off the gas and stabilize the building. Mason says for the collapse to happen with no injuries or other problems felt like a sign. Paying to heat and insure the buildings had become a financial drain on the parish in recent years. Mason says those realities have gotten to the point where they cannot be ignored. The parish plans to recycle or reuse the vast majority of the building materials. Some memorabilia from the school will also be made available during a garage sale which has been scheduled for the weekend of March 25th. The Nativity school was first built in 1923. It was last used when it temporarily housed middle school students during the construction of Mazzuchelli Middle School.

 

Alliant’s Dubuque Generating Station to Close by End of May

Courtesy: PowerMag.com

Alliant Energy has set the date for the closure of its generating station in Dubuque. The facility, located on Kerper Boulevard just off of US Highways 151 and 61, will cease operations by the end of May, an Alliant spokesperson has confirmed to KDTH. That’s slightly earlier than the station had been slated for closure. Back in November of 2015, Alliant announced that the plant would close for good in the summer of this year. Alliant had first targeted the plant for closure in 2010, saying that it would be shut down by 2015. Then in 2011, the station switched from using coal to natural gas. At that time, the company said it would still be closing by the end of 2016. A dozen workers are currently employed at the plant. Alliant says they will all be offered retirement options, the chance to transfer to another facility, or assistance finding a job outside of the company.

Brief Closure Scheduled on US Highway 20 Near Dubuque

Area of Closure (Courtesy: Google)

A portion of US Highway 20 near Dubuque will be completely shut down for a few minutes next week. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, both east- and westbound traffic will be closed outside Dubuque’s city limits at 9:30 next Tuesday morning. The area of the closure runs from the highway’s intersection with Stone Valley Drive to where 20 meets the Dubuque Menard’s store. The DOT expects the closure to last only twenty minutes or so. The road is being closed so the DOT can excavate some nearby stone. That work is being done as part of the road grading process to make way for the Southwest Arterial. Because the closure is only expected to last a few minutes, the DOT will not be setting up any kind of detour around the area.

Dubuque Man Robs Maquoketa Bank, Leads Authorities on High-Speed Chase

Rhodes

A Dubuque man is accused of robbing a bank in Maquoketa, then leading authorities on a high speed chase that ended just outside of Dubuque. 40-year-old Dante Rhodes was arrested early after the chase ended when he crashed into two other cars yesterday afternoon. The incident began at about 1:45 PM, when Maquoketa Police were called about a bank robbery at Fidelity Bank. The suspect handed a teller a note saying he had a gun. He was given an undisclosed amount of money, got into a silver SUV, and headed north on US Highway 61. The vehicle was spotted going more than 100 miles per hour after it entered Dubuque County. That’s where local sheriff’s deputies began pursuit. Deputies say Rhodes crashed into a vehicle at the intersection of Highway 61 and US Highway 52 in Key West. He tried to continue onto Bellevue Heights Road, but struck an unmarked police vehicle head-on. That’s when Rhodes reportedly tried to run from officers. He was tasered and taken into custody. Charges against Rhodes related to the robbery are still pending, though he’ll face charges of Eluding and Reckless Driving in Dubuque County.

Winds Lift Semi Trailer Into Pickup Truck Near Galena

 

The high gusty winds whipping through the Tri-State area today played a major role in a two vehicle crash near Galena. The accident happened just before 10 o’clock near the intersection of Highway 20 and Illinois 84, just west of Galena. A police report says a semi driven by 42 year old Jason Larson of Parma. Michigan was traveling east on 20, when strong winds lifted up the semi’s trailer and blew it into a westbound pickup truck driven by 64 year old William Davis of Galena. The pickup then struck a stop sign before coming to rest in a ditch. Davis was entrapped and had to be extricated by fire fighters. The semi rolled following the collision and was carrying empty plastic bottles for recycling. Larson was able to free himself from the semi before emergency crews arrived. Both men were transported to Midwest Medical Center in Galena for treatment.

Mild Winter Benefits Dubuque Public Works Department

With the exception of a couple major events, this winter has been relatively mild by Iowa standards. That means big savings for the Dubuque Public Works Department’s snow and ice control budget. Director John Klostermann says so far they’ve used a little over 35-hundred tons of salt, which is around 35-hundred tons less than they would normally go through. He says the amount of salt they use this year will affect what they do next winter. The goal for Public Works is to budget for around 12-thousand tons of salt every year. Klostermann says the five thousand tons of salt that they’re requesting for fiscal 2018 will be evaluated at the end of the winter. He says the 12-thousand tons of salt is based on what the average winter brings to Dubuque. Besides using the salt for de-icing, Public Works uses it to make salt brine, a liquid pre-treatment for the roads.

Police Seeking Man Who Tried to Solicit Sex from Teenager

Dubuque Police have release surveillance camera images of a man accused of soliciting sex from a teenager, in the hopes they’ll be able learn the man’s identity and arrest him. Police say the man propositioned a 17-year-old boy at Dubuque’s Best Buy store last month. The man offered the boy money in exchange for sex, but the boy declined. The man is described as a white male between 30 and 40 years old. He is about 6-feet, 2-inches tall. Additional photos of the man are below.


Jackson County Jail Making Changes Following Escape

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department will be making several procedural changes at its jail in the wake of an escape last week. Last Tuesday, two inmates were able to pry open a hydraulic gate off of the jail’s exercise yard. Those two men were on the loose for nearly a week before being caught this past Monday. Jail Administrator Mark Pape tells us that the jail will be increasing the supervision while inmates are in “the yard.” Pape says the jail will also be stricter about what inmates are able to wear while they’re in the exercise area. The gate that the escape was made through has been re-secured. Following the escape, jailers took a look around the facility to see if there were any other “weak spots” where inmates might try to make a break. The inmates who escaped, Andrew Combs and Brian Willey, will not be returning to the Jackson County facility. Pape says that due to the nature of their escape, they will be housed in different jails, and away from other inmates. Combs and Willey will be housed in the Cedar and Jones county jails. The Jackson County jail will undergo a state inspection later this month. But that is its regularly scheduled yearly evaluation, not a special review due to the escape.

Weather Service Confirms Tornado Hit Southern Dubuque County

This map shows the path the EF-0 tornado traveled (Courtesy: National Weather Service).

It turns out that it wasn’t just straight-line winds that caused structural damage around Dubuque County on Monday night. According to the National Weather Service, a tornado struck the southern part of the county, between Bernard and Zwingle. The weather service has confirmed that an EF-0 twister touched down at about 9:45 PM. The tornado produced winds of 95 miles per hour. It initially touched down just on the south side of the Dubuque-Jackson County line. The twister passed about a mile to the south of Bernard, then moved to the northeast for a little more than five-and-a-half miles. It dissipated near the intersection of Higginsport and Bennettville Roads, which is about two miles west of US Highway 61 and four miles south of the Dubuque Regional Airport. A damage report from the weather service says several trees and out buildings were damaged by the tornado. Roofs were torn off of two buildings: a hog confinement and a manufactured home.

Hall Found Guilty of Murder, Robbery Charges

Hall

A Dubuque County jury took less than three hours to reach a guilty verdict in the first trial stemming from a break-in and deadly shooting in Key West about a year ago. 19-year-old Imere Hall was found guilty Tuesday afternoon of First Degree Murder and First Degree Robbery charges for his role in the death of Collin Brown. Hall will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison on the murder charge. Prosecutors said Hall was one of several people who broke into Brown’s mobile home with the intent of robbing him last April. Brown was shot and killed as he tried to escape to a neighboring trailer. Seven other people are also facing charges in the case. Hall will be sentenced on April 3.

“Fireball Run” TV Series Coming to Dubuque

The Fireball Run is coming to Dubuque this year. The TV series features an adventure competition that sees contestants travel around the United States in an intense scavenger hunt-type race. Keith Rahe, President and CEO of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the series evolved from another reality television series from the early 2000s. The series doesn’t air on any traditional TV channel, but rather is distributed by Amazon’s online video service. Rahe says that doesn’t diminish the following the Fireball Run attracts. Fireball Run officials contacted several communities in Iowa. Dubuque was chosen out of the eight that applied to a destination. The teams will make their way to Dubuque on September 25th. They will wrap up the race at the Town Clock Plaza. Other Iowa cities that will be featured in the series are Burlington and Fort Dodge.

Council Debates Past Debt During Budget Approval

Dubuque City Council

The Dubuque City Council largely agreed that the city is getting everything it wanted in a new budget that will take effect later this year. But one council member says the blame for the negative aspects of the budget lies with decisions made by past councils. The current council unanimously approved the city’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget at a hearing last night. City staff was able to find funding for many city projects, while still keeping residential property taxes unchanged. Taxes will be dropping for all other property categories. That’s as the city retires more debt than it takes on. As Councilman Ric Jones put it, the council got everything it wanted. But the new budget is not without its drawbacks. Multiple city employees will have their positions either eliminated or reduced to part-time. Council member Luis Del Toro said debt taken on by past councils forced those cuts to be necessary. That drew the ire of Councilman Kevin Lynch, who says each budget process is different. The city did reach 90% of its allowable debt limit earlier this decade, but will be down to 64% of that limit in the new budget. Mayor Roy Buol says the debt that was taken on brought a lot of positives to the city. The city will have a total budget in Fiscal Year 2018 of nearly $170 million. That’s down by 8% from the current fiscal year.

Woman Cited After Hitting Motorcycle

 

A Dubuque woman was cited after the car she was driving struck a motorcycle along JFK Tuesday afternoon. According to a police report, 76 year old Mary Barton was driving south on JFK at around 12:15, when she attempted to turn left onto Foothill Road. Her vehicle collided with a motorcycle driven by 31 year old Baldemar Roa-Baerga of Dubuque. Baerga was transported to Mercy Hospital by the Dubuque Fire Department and treated for minor injuries. Barton was not injured and was cited for failure to yield upon making a left turn and not having proof of insurance.

Senior High Improvements Continue

The first phase of the reconstruction of Senior High School started last summer with the replacement of the bus drive. Once school started in August work began on the new administrative active commons and student services area. District Building and Grounds Supervisor Bill Burkhart says Nora Gym will also undergo a facelift. Following the completion of the new library and cafeteria the construction of new class rooms begins on the southwest side of the building with the new competition gym being built on the eastside of the structure. Burkhart says the reconstruction project has not impeding the learning process at the school. The Senior project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018. The total estimated cost is around 30 million dollars.

Stolen Truck Thieves Sought By Dubuque Police

Dubuque police are asking for the public’s help in their search for two women who stole a truck in the downtown area last December. The theft happened a little before 2:00 in the morning on December 3rd. The truck was parked near the intersection of 3rd and Main Streets when it was stolen by two white females. Using GPS, police were able to track the vehicle to another part of the downtown area, where it had been abandoned. That’s where the truck was recovered and returned to its owner. Police have released a picture of the women suspected of stealing the truck.

Bellevue’s Beidermann Finalist for KCRG’s “Student of the Month”

Beidermann (Courtesy: KCRG)

A senior at Bellevue High School is up for an academic award from our coverage partners at KCRG-TV. 17-year-old Kylee Beidermann is one of three finalists to be KCRG’s March “Student of the Month.” Beidermann has received Academic All-State recognition in several of the sports she plays for Bellevue. She carries a high grade point average and has begun taking college credit courses toward a nursing degree. In addition, she launched the “Bellevue Big Buddies” program. That initiative matches elementary school students with high school mentors in the community. Each month, KCRG recognizes one student from their viewing area as the “Student of the Month.” Nominees can come from any grade level at any school in the KCRG viewing area.

Late Night Storm Brings High Winds, Hail, Power Outages

Wind gusts that reached near hurricane-strength whipped around the Tri-State area last night, though any damage was mostly found outside of Dubuque County. A line of thunderstorms that produced those high winds, along with lightning, thunder, and pouring rain, moved through the area late last night. According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts of 73 miles per hour were recorded in Edgewood and outside of Elkader. Those winds knocked down some trees and caused power lines to fall in some areas. About two hundred Alliant Energy customers in Clayton County were without power after the storm went through. Service was restored to those areas by this morning. Wind gusts reached up to about 60 miles per hour in the area around the Dubuque city limits. Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies report removing more than 20 fallen trees from county roads. Hail fell in Hazel Green and Colesburg.

Dubuque Man Accused of Pointing Gun at Girlfriend, Granddaughter

Johnson

A Dubuque man is facing a domestic assault charge after being accused of pointing a gun at his girlfriend and her granddaughter. 59-year-old Edward Johnson was arrested early Sunday morning after police had to be called to his apartment twice. Johnson’s girlfriend told officers that she and Johnson had been arguing, and he went to his bedroom. A few minutes later, he came back out, holding a handgun, which he’s accused of pointing at the woman and her six-year-old granddaughter. A police report says Johnson threatened to shoot his girlfriend while holding the gun. A witness backed up the girlfriend’s account of the events. Police report finding a .38 caliber handgun on Johnson’s bed when they searched the apartment. Johnson is now facing Domestic Abuse Assault and Child Endangerment charges.

No Final Decision Yet, But Buol “Expects” to Run Again

Buol

Dubuque’s mayor says he’s leaning toward running for another term in office, though he has not made a firm decision yet. Roy Buol has been Dubuque’s mayor since 2006. His current term expires later this year, and he says that, as of now, he’s planning to seek fourth term. Buol says there are several factors he’ll consider when making his decision. Chief among them is whether he believes he still has the support of a majority of Dubuque’s citizens. Once he believes he’s lost that citizen support, Buol says he would step aside. Buol is now 67 years old, and says he also has to consider whether he’s willing to put in the time needed to serve. Should Buol seek and win another term, he would become the longest-serving mayor in Dubuque history.

Branstad Wants Public Input On Settlement

Branstad

Iowa’s Governor wants to hear from Iowans about how money from a multi-million dollar settlement with Volkswagen should be spent. Over the next ten years, Iowa is expected to receive about 21 million dollars in environmental mitigation trust funds. The state has a new website that provides information about the settlement and allows Iowans to give their input on how the state should plan for using the mitigation funds. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says the settlement provides for an array of eligible projects that could benefit Iowa. Governor Branstad says the settlement is complicated and he urges people to visit the new website to learn more. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen violated the Clean Water Act by selling over half a billion model year 2009 to 2016 diesel fueled motor vehicles equipped with devices designed to cheat on federal emission tests.

6th OWI Arrest For Fennimore Man

A southwest Wisconsin man has been accused of driving drunk for the 6th time. According to a report from the Fennimore Police Department, an officer spotted 36-year-old Chad Gerue of Fennimore speeding and weaving over the center line just before midnight Saturday night. Gerue has been charged with a 6th offense of Operating While Intoxicated, as well as several traffic violations. A passenger in the vehicle, 34-year-old Abby Betwell of Milton, faces a charge of Possession of Marijuana.

 

BREAKING: Escaped Jackson County Inmates Apprehended

Combs, Willey

The two inmates who broke out of the Jackson County Jail last week have been apprehended and are back in custody. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, 19-year-old Andrew Combs and 20-year-old Brian Willey were taken back into custody this morning in Clinton. A team consisting of officers from Clinton’s police department, Camanche Police, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa State Patrol made the arrests. Combs and Willey are currently being held in Clinton County’s detention center and will be returned to Jackson County. In addition to the crimes they were already in jail for, both men will be charged with Escape and Criminal Mischief for breaking out of jail. Jackson County authorities say Combs and Willey were able to pry open a hydraulic gate at about 2:30 last Tuesday afternoon. About an hour later, they are believed to have stolen a pickup truck, which was found in Clinton two days after their escape.

Sentencing Set for Man Who Stole from Dubuque Father

A central Iowa man who stole more than $40,000 from his Dubuque-based father will be sentenced next month. 40-year-old Jeffrey Kass has pled guilty to a charge of Dependent Adult Abuse. His sentencing has been set for April 24. According to court documents, Kass had served as the conservator for his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Kass admitted to taking nearly $20,000 from a joint account to pay off a loan and credit card debt. He then took an additional $21,000 to pay what he owed his parents following a civil judgment. Dependent Adult Abuse is a Class D felony charge in Iowa. Kass could be sentenced to as many as five years in prison.

Illinois Man Accused of Using Old Check to Make $2,100 Purchase at Theisen’s

Jones

An Illinois man is accused of using a check from a closed account to purchase more than two thousand dollars in merchandise from a Dubuque store. 40-year-old Daniel Jones of Albany, Illinois, was arrested by Dubuque County Sheriff’s deputies on Sunday. He’s been charged with Second-Degree Theft, a felony. According to court documents, Jones used a check from Farmers National Bank in Prophetstown, Illinois, to buy a generator and a pair of boots from the Theisen’s on Dodge Street. But the bank closed Jones’ account in 2013. Jones claimed that he had written the check on accident and would make arrangements to pay Theisen’s. A collection agency told authorities that Jones had contacted them, but had not started a repayment plan.

Dubuque Airport to Make Push for More Flights

Dubuque’s airport could be making a play for some additional flights. For the first time in about a decade, United Airlines has said that it will begin considering adding flights to smaller, regional airports. On Tuesday, the Dubuque City Council will consider a funding request from the airport to help make a pitch to the airline to include Dubuque in their plans. Airport Manager Robert Grierson says they’re always looking for ways to expand the facility’s offerings, whether with United or their current carrier, American Airlines. According to Grierson, Dubuque will have to beat out a multitude of other airports to get new flights through United. Last year, the Dubuque Regional Airport completed $40 million in renovations to its terminal. But Grierson says the airlines won’t take those upgrades into consideration. The council will decide on a $25,000 funding request from the airport during its final budget hearing Tuesday night.

Iowa Senate Honors Zwingle Cowboy

O’Connell, Bowman

A cowboy from the Tri-State area has been honored by Iowa legislators with a day dedicated to his accomplishments. Tim O’Connell of Zwingle won a world bareback bronc riding championship last December in Las Vegas. Last week, he was in Des Moines…not to ride, but to accept a proclamation from the Iowa Senate. They have deemed December 10 of this year as Tim O’Connell Day in the state of Iowa. That day will mark the one-year anniversary of O’Connell’s world championship win. The proclamation was put forward by State Senator Tod Bowman of Maquoketa, one of O’Connell’s high school teachers.

Jochum: Voter ID Law Unnecessary

Jochum

Iowa lawmakers will hold a public hearing today on a measure that would add a step to the voting process. The bill would require Iowans to show a photo ID at the polling place where they want to cast a ballot Republicans who support the bill say it will help ensure the integrity of Iowa’s elections, while Democrats argue that the measure is unnecessary. State Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says potential voters are already required to prove their identity when they register. Backers of the legislation say it will help reduce the amount of voter fraud that happens in Iowa. But according to Jochum, the kinds of election irregularities seen in the state are typically the result of an honest mistake. Last fall, when then-candidate Donald Trump was making claims that the voting system was “rigged,” Iowa’s Secretary of State said voter fraud was not a widespread problem in Iowa. Jochum says it’s interesting that he’s now changed his tune. Jochum believes lawmakers should be making it easier for people to vote, rather than more difficult. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for 7:00 tonight at the State Capitol in Des Moines.