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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Lacoma Clubhouse Damaged by Fire

Courtesy: KCRG

A Thursday afternoon fire damaged an East Dubuque golf course clubhouse. The fire began at about 4:00 PM at Lacoma Golf Club, which sits just north of Timmerman’s Supper Club on the east side of East Dubuque. Three workers were inside the clubhouse when the fire began, but they were all able to make it out safely. Firefighters from five Tri-State departments helped put the fire out. There’s no word on how much damage the fire caused. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Donut Boy Working to Re-Open After Violations

A Dubuque donut shop owner says he will reopen today after the state shut him down for food and safety violations. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals found multiple violations in Donut Boy, located near the intersection of Asbury Road and University Avenue. Among the inspector’s findings were cockroaches, employees not wearing hair nets, and food sitting out next to chemicals. The report also said the floors and walls were dirty. Owner Edward Gau admits the store needed a deep cleaning. He said he used to have an employee that cleaned the store every night. But when that worker left, he never filled the position. The inspectors also found Gau wasn’t properly labeling allergens, like eggs and coconut. Gau is getting training on that and says he will teach his employees. He hopes to open again this morning to make the donuts for his nightly deliveries, and then open to the public Saturday morning.

Authorities: Dubuque Man Ordered Ecstasy Shipment Online

A Dubuque man was arrested this week after police say he purchased large amounts of ecstasy from overseas with plans to sell the drug. 29-year-old Brandon Ford was arrested Wednesday is charged with Possession of Ecstasy with Intent to Deliver. The Dubuque Drug Task Force began investigating Ford last April after they were notified by the Department of Homeland Security that a package containing more than a half pound of ecstasy was seized in New York. An investigator then delivered package to Ford, and he was arrested after accepting it. Police then searched his residence and found more than 25 hundred dollars in cash, packaging and mailing materials, and a money counter. Ford reportedly told investigators he had ordered the drugs online.

Police: Several Meth-Making Materials Found in Cascade Man's Truck

A Cascade man already on probation for meth possession is now facing as many as twenty years in prison after another arrest. Cascade Police stopped a truck 33-year-old Josh Koppes was driving last week. During the traffic stop, Koppes reportedly told the officer he had precursors, or materials used to make meth, in the vehicle. The officer reportedly found pseudoephedrine pills, engine starter fluid, and lithium batteries in the vehicle. Prosecutors say those items, as well as other items in the vehicle like empty plastic soda bottles, are consistent with the “shake and bake” method of mobile meth making. Koppes is facing four charges, all related to possessing meth precursors. Each charge carries a five-year prison term. Koppes had previously been arrested for meth possession in March of last year in Delaware County. He pled guilty to that charge, and had just been sentenced to a year of probation in December.

Tri-States' First Significant Winter Storm to Bring Snow, Wind, Cold

The Tri-State area is due to receive its first significant burst of winter weather this weekend. According to our coverage partners at KCRG-TV, snow will move into the area on Friday afternoon and stick around through Saturday morning. Snowfall amounts are currently predicted between four and eight inches over the course of the storm. Meteorologist Kaj O’Mara says to expect moderate snowfall to begin on Friday afternoon, with the heaviest doses coming Friday night through the overnight hours. The amount of snow that falls will largely be dictated by how heavy the snowfall ratio gets. Those 4-8 inch snow totals are predicted throughout our area. Some locally heavier amounts could also be possible, depending on where what’s known as the “pivot point” sets up. The snow will be accompanied by strong winds out of the northeast. O’Mara says blowing snow will be a possibility through the day on Saturday. Cold air will also fill in behind the snow system, with low temperatures both Saturday and Sunday night expected to drop into the single digits below zero. Sunday’s high will only reach the upper single digits above zero.

Tri-State Shopkos Avoid Closure As Company Files for Bankruptcy

A Wisconsin-based retailer is filing for bankruptcy, but none of its Tri-State area locations are among nearly 40 stores set for closure. Shopko announced Wednesday it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and would be closing 38 locations, most of them in Wisconsin. According to the filing, Shopko has less than $1 billion in assets against as much as $10 billion in liabilities. Shopko has four locations in the Tri-States. Its Dubuque store is located on John F. Kennedy Road in Wacker Plaza. Smaller “Shopko Hometown” stores are located in Dyersville, Lancaster, and Savanna.

Missing Clayton County Girl Found Safe

A Clayton County teenager who had been missing for nearly two weeks has been found safe. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office reports that 16-year-old Jody Palmer of Colesburg was located and is safe. No further details have been made available, and the sheriff’s office says an investigation is ongoing. Local authorities worked with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in their search for Palmer.

American Trust, MidWest One Merger Receives Shareholder Approval

The proposed buyout of a Dubuque-based bank has cleared another hurdle. Shareholders of both American Trust and Savings Bank and MidWest One Bank have approved MidWest One’s planned takeover of American Trust. The two institutions announced the merger late last summer. The move has already received regulatory approval and is now expected to be completed sometime this spring. A news release sent out this morning also notes that three American Trust executives will move into leadership roles at MidWest One. Kevin Raisbeck, the CEO of Cuba City-based American Bank and Trust, which is an American Trust subsidiary, will also move into the MidWest One leadership structure. The combined company will have a total of more than $4.7 billion in assets and will serve customers at more than sixty branches in five states.

Bustos Questions Company Officials Over Planned Galena Plant Closure


The Congresswoman who represents northwestern Illinois is asking company officials to reconsider their planned closure of a Galena plant, which is expected to cost 50 people their jobs. Democrat Cheri Bustos met with company leaders from Honeywell at her Washington office on Tuesday, and delivered them a letter outlining the concerns she has about the planned closure. Bustos also requests an explanation of Honeywell’s reasoning for closing the facility. She’s also asking the company to provide details of how it will support any workers who lose their jobs. The letter cites the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give workers at least two months’ notice prior to plant closings or mass layoffs. Honeywell has said that the Galena plant will likely shut down late this year, but that many of the site’s employees will be transferred to another Honeywell facility in Freeport.

Finkenauer Becomes First of New Congressional Class to Pass Legislation

While much has been made about all of the new members of Congress who took office earlier this month, the first of them to get a bill passed represents the Dubuque area. Dubuque Democrat Abby Finkenauer became the first of the new freshman class to have a bill approved by the House this week. The measure, called the “Stimulating Innovation through Procurement Act of 2019” aims to open up the government contract bidding process to businesses in rural communities. In a speech about the bill on the House floor, Finkenauer says it’s all too common for those contracts to go to businesses in urban, coastal areas. Finkenauer says the bill is aimed at creating a level competition between the companies vying for government contracts and research grants. Finkenauer believes that if more of these government deals go to rural communities, it will help keep and develop a talented workforce. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican Congressman John Curtis of Utah.

Charlotte's Owner Now Aiming for June Re-Opening

Cleaning equipment is seen inside Charlotte’s Coffee House days after a July fire (Courtesy: KCRG).

The owner of a downtown Dubuque coffee shop say they’re making progress on rebuilding the business, just not as much as they’d like. Charlotte’s Coffee House was destroyed by a fire late last July. Initially, owner Cheryl Rusk said she hoped to reopen in about a month. But nearly six months later, the building at the corner of 11th and White Streets still isn’t ready for customers. Rusk says that’s partly due to her insurance company, which wouldn’t allow any work in the first two months following the fire. In the meantime, Rusk has opened a small shop inside Medical Associates East Campus. She says seeing regular customers again has been encouraging. Rusk now hopes to have the original Charlotte’s back open by the beginning of June.

Two Arrested in Search for Jo Daviess County Fugitive

A wanted man from Jo Daviess County has been apprehended, and a woman is accused of helping him try to avoid arrest. Shortly before 1:00 Saturday morning, sheriff’s deputies searched the rural Stockton home of 41-year-old Andrea Preston. Authorities were looking for 31-year-old Dustin Thompson, who had two active warrants for his arrest. During the search, officers found that Preston had barricaded a doorway in the home to try to hide Thompson from authorities. The sheriff’s department also says Preston denied knowing where Thompson was several times when contacted by officers. Thompson was arrested on his outstanding warrants and has additionally been charged with Resisting Arrest. Preston is facing felony-level charges of Obstructing Justice and Aiding or Concealing a Fugitive.

Police: Intoxicated Bicyclist Had $4,000 in Drugs

Dubuque Police say they found several thousand dollars worth of drugs on a man riding his bike while intoxicated. 20-year-old Ryan Burns was arrested at about 5:00 Sunday evening near the intersection of Peru Road and Tanzanite Drive. Police say Burns’ mother had called dispatch because he was riding his bicycle while intoxicated. When officers located Burns, they searched him and reportedly found more than 160 grams of marijuana. Police say that amount of the drug could be sold for as much as $4,000. Burns has been charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Public Intoxication.

Dubuque Winter Farmer's Market Moving

For the past 10 years, Dubuque’s Winter Farmers Market has been held in the former Colts Center on Central Avenue. But beginning February 2nd the market will open at its new location inside the Roshek Building . The market will host approximately 25 regional vendors. Farmers and vendors will offer seasonal produce, eggs, meats, cheeses, starter plants, baked goods, and more. Opening day at the new location will include a musical guest, a chance to enter a drawing for a giveaway, the Carnegie-Stout Bicycle Library, and free admission to the Dubuque Museum of Art. The SNAP-EBT access token program is available at the Winter Market info booth . Market tokens will also be on sale. The Winter Market is held from 9:00 AM until noon every Saturday through April 27th.

North End Boil Advisory Lifted

The boil advisory that had been issued for part of Dubuque’s North End has been called off. An email from the city says two sets of water tests have come back negative for bacteria. That means the water is confirmed to be safe to drink. The boil advisory had been issued on Sunday after a water main break at the Eagle Point Water Plant on Hawthorne Street. That break cut off water service to about 700 residents.

Jochum Predicts Support for Sports Betting Legalization


One issue expected to come up during this year’s Iowa legislative session is a possible legalization of sports betting. Last summer, the US Supreme Court struck down a law that effectively barred betting on professional and college sports in most of the country. The Court decided it should be up to the states to regulate sports gaming individually. Several states have since legalized sports betting, and there’s been a push for Iowa to join them. State Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque is a member of the State Government committee, where any gambling-related bills would originate. She believes there would be support for a measure to legalize sports betting in Iowa. It’s not yet known what kind of sports betting proposal might get introduced this session. But Jochum says past legalization efforts provide some insight into details that must be ironed out. One significant aspect to be decided is how sports betting operations would be managed. Another possible sticking point is where to set the rate that sports gaming revenues would be taxed. Iowa would become the first Midwestern state to legalize sports betting if a proposal is approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds.

Contested Statehouse Election Goes to House Committee

Democrats appointed to a committee to review the results of a contested northeast Iowa statehouse election are vowing to fight any attempt to rush to judgment on whether to count 29 absentee mail ballots. Kayla Koether officially trails Republican incumbent Michael Bergan by nine votes in Iowa House District 55, which includes a portion of Clayton County. The question the committee and eventually the full House must resolve is whether the ballots will be counted. Iowa law says absentee ballots mailed after Election Day must have a postmark to show they were mailed by the mandatory deadline. However, the postal service doesn’t typically postmark absentee ballot envelopes. An election contest hasn’t gone to the Iowa Legislature since a Senate dispute was settled in 1992.

Dubuque YMCA Chooses New CEO

Dubuque’s YMCA has selected its new leader. The Y announced Monday night that it has selected Tony Calabrese to be the organizations new CEO. Calabrese will begin his duties next month. He comes to Dubuque from the Quad Cities, where he had been the President and Chief Operating Officer at the Scott County Family Y. Calabrese worked for that organization for more than twenty years. He was also involved in several other community organizations and boards throughout the Quad Cities. Prior to that, Calabrese worked in various roles at YMCA facilities in Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. He’ll replace Sharon Covey, who stepped down as the Y’s director in September.

Special Olympics Winter Games Underway

Hundreds of physically and mentally challenged athletes are in Dubuque this week for the annual Special Olympics Winter Games. Athletes from across the state will compete in events ranging from cross country skiing to snowshoeing to speed skating. Competition runs through the day today. Dubuque City Councilman Ric Jones, a longtime supporter of the games, says awards ceremony can get very emotional for participants and their supporters. He says games also provide a shot in the arm for the local economy… This is the 33rd year Dubuque has hosted the Special Olympics Iowa Winter Games. Competition takes place all day Tuesday. Among the venues hosting events are Sundown Mountain, Camp Albrecht Acres, and the Mystique Community Ice Center.

Iowa DNR to Host Meeting About Chronic Wasting Disease in Peosta

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources will meet with Dubuque County hunters this week to discuss a fatal deer disease that was found in the county last week. Tissue samples from more than a dozen Iowa deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the DNR. One of those positive tests came from Dubuque County, marking the first time the disease has been seen here. DNR officials plan to discuss the discovery during a meeting in Peosta on Thursday evening. DNR Wildlife Biologist Terry Haindfield says the disease can be devastating to local deer populations. According to Haindfield, the disease can be spread animal-to-animal, but can also be picked up through an area’s soil. The meeting will be held Thursday at the Peosta Community Center beginning at 6:30. Haindfield says DNR officials will explain what the disease is, how it spreads, and how it can be slowed. The two main ways hunters can help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease is to submit samples from deer they’ve killed, and to be careful when moving deer from county to county. Chronic Wasting Disease had previously been found in Clayton County. Positive tests have also come from about a third of the counties in Wisconsin, including the Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties in the southwestern part of the state.

Authorities in Dubuque, Galena Investigating Possible School Threats

Investigations into possible threats prompted delays at schools in two Tri-State Area communities this morning. Authorities in both Dubuque and Galena now say the threats appear to have been non-credible.

In Galena, a juvenile suspect has been arrested after reportedly admitting to making the threat to schools there. Police say they began learning of the threats shortly before 9:00 last night. The threats had been sent to several high school students via social media. It’s not clear what kind of charges the suspect is facing. Galena Schools operated on a two-hour delay this morning.

Dubuque schools were also delayed two hours, a move intended to give administrators additional time to investigate potential threats. An email from the district says several students reported receiving a threat via social media last night as well. Threats mentioned both Jefferson Middle School and the district’s Alta Vista campus. School leaders worked with police to investigate the threats, which are believed to have been a copycat of the messages sent in Galena. While there doesn’t appear to have ever been any real danger to students or staff, there is an increased police presence at both Jefferson and the Alta Vista Campus today as a precaution.

Finkenauer Expects First Bill to Pass This Week


Dubuque’s representative in Congress may have only been in office for ten days, but she already expects her first bill to pass soon. Democrat Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque introduced what’s called the “Stimulating Innovation through Procurement Act of 2019” last week. The bill is a joint effort of Finkenauer and Republican Congressman John Curtis of Utah. Finkenauer says the bill will bring federal investment to small businesses in rural America. Specifically, it’ll help rural communities access the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. Finkenauer expects the bill to pass the House with bipartisan support sometime this week.

Search for Missing Clayton County Girl Continues

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office continues to ask for the public’s help as they search for a missing 16-year-old girl. Jody Palmer of rural Colesburg disappeared at around midnight on January 5. On Saturday, investigators announced they want to talk to anyone who may have been in contact with Jody in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. The search for Jody, which now includes the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, has turned up little information. Information collected indicates she may have traveled east out of the state of Iowa. However, they said she might be attempting to travel to California. If you have any information in the case, you are asked to call the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.

Boil Advisory Issued for Part of Dubuque's North End

Courtesy: City of Dubuque

Residents of Dubuque’s North End are being told to boil their water before using it, due to a water main break yesterday. City officials say a 12-inch main broke at the Eagle Point Water Plant on Hawthorne Street. The break cut water service to about 700 residents on the city’s North End. Customers in the impacted area are being told to either boil tap water before drinking or cooking with it or use an alternative source until authorities lift the advisory. Tests have been done to make sure the water is safe, but the results won’t be known until tomorrow. The city points out this is a boil advisory, not a boil order.

Snow Wrap-Up

Reports show 10 -12 inches of snow fell in spots in the southwestern corner of Iowa as snow traveled across the Midwest Saturday. The Tri-States escaped the heavy snow with the National Weather Service reporting that the Dubuque Regional Airport officially received 2.3 inches. In North Central Iowa, the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Clear Lake were blocked midmorning Saturday after a semitrailer jackknifed and tipped over amid the winter storm. A passenger bus then hit the overturned semi, leading to minor injuries for one bus passenger.

Meanwhile in Illinois, state troopers report they responded to close to 300 traffic crashes – one of which as fatal – and nearly 800 calls for assistance from motorists during the winter snow storm.

Jo Daviess Arrest

Jo Daviess County authorities arrested two people yesterday following an incident in rural Stockton. The sheriff’s department reports that shortly before 1 am Saturday morning, 41-year old Andrea Preston was charged with felony aiding and concealing a fugitive and felony obstructing justice and 31-year old Dustin Thompson was arrested on a warrants and resisting arrest. Deputies had received information that Thompson, who had two active arrest warrants, was located at Preston’s residence. Preston had stated to authorities several times that he was not at her residence. Deputies discovered she had barricaded a doorway in an attempt to conceal the location of Thompson. A search warrant was executed and Thompson was located and apprehended with the use of a K-9 team. He was taken to Freeport Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the K-9 apprehension. Both are in the Jo Daviess County Jail. A juvenile located at the residence was released to a family friend.

Government Shutdown Affect Tax Returns?

Tax return season is nearly here and how will the partial government shutdown affect people expecting a refund this year? The Trump administration recently issued a statement saying the shutdown won’t have any effect on tax returns. Mel Graves is the office manager of the H&R Block location on Dodge Street in Dubuque. He says based on the information they have gotten from the Internal Revenue Service, the government shutdown should not delay your tax return. Depending on how you define “delay”, Graves says the manner in which you receive your tax refund shouldn’t be any different than it was last year. The current partial government shutdown is the longest in U.S. History, breaking the 21 day old record that was set from December 1995 to January 1996.

Jo Daviess County Drug Arrest

An East Dubuque man faces several charges after police busted him with over 14 pounds of marijuana. 19 year old Devin Keller-Schueler is charged with one count of unlawful cannabis trafficking, two counts of unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, all felonies and one misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm. Shortly before 7:30 Thursday night, the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department along with assistance from the Northwest Illinois Critical Incident response Team executed a search warrant at a residence in East Dubuque. Police recovered nearly 65-hundred grams of marijuana, a Ruger rifle numerous items of narcotic packaging and processing materials, drug paraphernalia and more than 17 thousand dollars in cash. Two other people were at the residence, but they were not charged or arrested.

Iowa Flags Lowered in Honor of Fallen Firefighter


Flags will be flying at half-staff beginning today across the state of Iowa, in honor of a fallen firefighter. Lt. Eric Hosette of the Clinton Fire Department died while fighting a fire following an explosion at the ADM plant in Clinton last Saturday. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags under the state’s control to be lowered through Sunday in Hosette’s honor. Hosette’s visitation is scheduled for this afternoon, with a public memorial planned for late tomorrow morning.

Tri-States Could See First Snow of 2019 Saturday

The Tri-States could see its first official snowfall of 2019 this weekend, but only a small amount of snow is expected. Just less than an inch of snow fell on the area on New Year’s Eve, but according to official readings from the National Weather Service, there has not been any snowfall yet in 2019. KCRG meteorologist Kaj O’Mara tells us the snow isn’t expected to begin falling until after midnight tonight, and should wrap up tomorrow afternoon. KCRG currently predicts anywhere between a dusting and two inches of snowfall for Dubuque County. But realistically, O’Mara says to count on about an inch or less. One factor that could diminish the amount of snow the area receives is a high pressure system currently situated over the Great Lakes. Those systems have a tendency to “chew up” the moisture that would otherwise produce snow. Whatever falls tomorrow isn’t expected to last long. High temperatures are expected to return to the mid-30s early next week.

Man Accused of Torturing Woman Expected to Plead Guilty

A Dubuque man accused of attacking and effectively torturing a woman over three days is expected to plead guilty to the charges against him. That’s according to our coverage partners at KCRG-TV. 44-year-old Lonnie Vandamme, Junior, is facing several charges including kidnapping, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse assault. Police say he beat a woman with a baseball bat and burned her with a torch last March. She suffered a broken rib, a fractured eye socket, and received burn marks in her groin area. Vandamme’s plea hearing is scheduled for 10:00 this morning.

Three Face Drug Charges After Bust at Mobile Home Near Platteville

Three Platteville residents are facing drug charges after a drug bust at a mobile home park just outside that community’s city limits. At about 6:30 yesterday morning, deputies from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office, along with officers from the local narcotics task force, executed a warrant at one of the homes in the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park. As a result of their search, 39-year-old James Cubit, 31-year-old Christopher Vinson, and 38-year-old Nicole Ruch were all arrested. Each of the three have been charged multiple counts of with Delivery of Methamphetamine and Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place. Cubit is facing four additional charges, including Possession of a Schedule II Narcotic. Vinson and Ruch have both been charged with Child Neglect. Two children were removed from the home and have been placed with family members.

One Killed in House Fire Near Sherrill

One person was killed and another seriously injured in a house fire in rural Dubuque County this week. According to the county sheriff’s office, the fire was reported at about 4:45 Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies were sent to a home on South Mound Road, about a mile and a half west of Sherrill. The home was already fully engulfed when crews arrived. Once the fire was put out, the body of 53-year-old Lisa Kloft was found inside. A resident of the home, 52-year-old John Ogelsby, was also injured in the fire. Janet Tekippe lives next door and says Ogelsby asked her to call 911 before running back into the house. Tekippe says she was rattled by what happened in what she describes as a typically quiet neighborhood. Ogelsby was initially taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, then airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. His condition there is not known. The state fire marshal is now investigating the cause of the fire. Damage to the home is estimated at $150,000.

Husband, Wife Facing Drug Charges Related to December Apartment Fire

A husband and wife are facing drug charges stemming from a fire at their downtown Dubuque apartment last month. That fire broke out during the evening hours of December 19th in the 300 block of West 17th Street. Neighbors reported hearing an explosion and the fire was deemed suspicious. The residents of the apartment were eventually identified as 27-year-old Jake and 26-year old Danielle Baraglia. After the fire was put out, investigators found marijuana, heroin, and a prescription painkiller in a box with Jake’s name on it. Several days later, on Christmas Eve afternoon, an officer pulled Jake and Danielle over as they were driving on Bluff Street. The officer smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, and Jake admitted having a small amount in the truck. Danielle had been hiding it in her shirt, took it out, and handed it to Jake. She’s facing a single count of Possession of Marijuana. Jake has been charged with Possession of Heroin, a 3rd offense of Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Police report that both Jake and Danielle have previous felony drug convictions.

ED Councilman to Stage Write-In Campaign for Mayor

A second East Dubuque City Councilman will seek to become the city’s next mayor. Ward 1 representative Kirk VanOstrand tells KDTH he’s running for mayor as a write-in candidate. VanOstrand did not meet the December 17th deadline to file for the election, and his name will not appear on the ballot. The only candidate who will be on the ballot is fellow councilman John Digman. VanOstran says having just one candidate in the race didn’t sit well with him. VanOstrand admits that he faces an uphill battle as a write-in candidate. He believes East Dubuque hasn’t been making the kind of progress it is capable of. The 55-year-old says he is the right person to lead East Dubuque in the immediate future. VanOstrand says he spoke with Digman, who welcomes the competition. Acting mayor Steve Robey announced last year that he will not seek another term. The election is scheduled for April 2nd.

Miracle League Wins CAT Grant, Hits Fundraising Goal

A Dubuque group pushing for an inclusive baseball complex has secured all of its needed funding. The Miracle League of Dubuque learned Wednesday it’s receiving a half-million dollar grant from Iowa’s Community Attraction and Tourism Committee. That grant will push the group’s overall fundraising to their goal of $3.6 million. The group now hopes to start construction this spring, with the park possibly opening by the fall. The park will be located at Veterans Memorial Park. It will include an inclusive playground, new restrooms and concession stands, a family plaza, and picnic area.

Mom, Son Both Facing Charges Over Attempted Grocery Store Theft

A Dubuque man has been arrested for trying to steal more than $700 from a local grocery store, and his mother is accused of lying to police to cover for him. Employees at the Dodge Street Hy-Vee reported an attempted shoplifting late Monday morning. Two people had filled a cart with more than $700 in items and left the store without paying for them. The suspects left the cart behind once into the store’s parking lot. One of them, a teenage girl, was taken in to custody by police later that day. The girl’s mother was contacted, and dropped her son off at Hy-Vee to pick up the vehicle the girl had been driving. But the son matched the description of the second suspect. Police used traffic cameras to track him from the store to a nearby parking lot, where the mother had picked him up. When questioned by police, the mom reportedly told officers her daughter had been with a man from the Quad Cities who she described as “bad person.” The son, 24-year-old Royal Broman, has been charged with 3rd Degree Theft, while the mom, 39-year-old Karen Flogel, is facing one count of Being an Accessory After the Fact.

Bridge Work to Cause Overnight Closures of US Highways 61/151

Bridge construction will cause some overnight closures on a busy highway south of Dubuque. Beginning on Monday night, crews from the Iowa Department of Transportation will be working on US Highways 61/151. They’ll be setting bridge beams over the highway as part of construction of the Southwest Arterial. The work will be done overnight, from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM, each night through Friday. The closure will begin at the highway’s intersection with Maquoketa Drive in Key West, and will run to where 61 and 151 split off from each other, just north of the Dubuque Regional Airport. Traffic coming towards Dubuque on Highway 151 won’t be able to exit onto the combined highway during the closures, as the northbound ramp will be closed.

Chase Suspect Who Nearly Hit Officer Sentenced to Prison

A Dubuque man who nearly drove over a police officer during a high speed chase will be going to prison. 24-year-old Devonte Ellison has been given a seven-year prison sentence. Ellison had pled guilty to charges of Eluding and Assault on an Officer with a Dangerous Weapon. Those charges came as a result of a chase last July. That’s when officers tried to pull Ellison over near the intersection of 21st and White Streets in downtown Dubuque. But he refused to stop, leading officers south on Elm Street at about 50 miles per hour…double the posted speed limit in the area. Ellison eventually pulled into the Audubon Elementary School parking lot, and officers approached his vehicle with guns drawn. That’s when he backed into one of the squad cars, nearly hitting an officer before driving off again.

Council Approves Funding for Operation New View

The city of Dubuque will spend several thousand dollars to prop up a local organization that supports low-income residents. A recent audit found that Operation New View needs $220,000 to continue operating, according to Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen. As he explained, Operation New View facilitates several local programs, including heating assistance for low income residents and head start for preschoolers. At its meeting Monday night, the Dubuque City Council approved an agreement with three area counties to provide the funding Operation New View needs to continue operating. The city and Dubuque County will chip in the largest share of the money, with Delaware and Jackson County taking care of the rest. Both the city of Dubuque and Dubuque County will provide $77,000, while the other two counties will contribute $33,000 each. Councilman Brett Shaw is a member of Operation New View’s board. He says the organization is now headed in the right direction, and the infusion of funding will keep it on the right track. The money approved by the council on Monday will cover Operation New View’s needs for the current fiscal year. An additional funding request will come before the council next month during their Fiscal Year 2020 budgeting process.

Monday's Rainfall Set Daily Dubuque Record

Nearly an inch of rain fell on Dubuque on Monday, breaking an 80-year-old record. The National Weather Service reports that the Dubuque Regional Airport collected 0.95 inches of rain during the day on Monday. That shatters the previous record of 0.78 inches, which fell on January 7 of 1937. That new rainfall pushes Dubuque’s total for the first week of the year to 1.02 inches, which is about three-quarters of an inch above normal. Since the beginning of December, Dubuque has taken on just more than three inches of precipitation, which is a full inch more than usual. Most of that has come as rain, as the city’s snowfall total since December 1st is just 2.1 inches. That’s an entire foot below the normal reading.

Wahlert's Hocking Up for KCRG Student of the Month

Hocking (Courtesy: KCRG)

A Dubuque high schooler is in the running for an academic award from our coverage partners at KCRG-TV. Wahlert junior Jacob Hocking is one of the finalists for KCRG’s Student of the Month award for January. Hocking is currently carrying a 4.25 grade point average at Wahlert. He runs on the school’s track and cross country teams, in addition to performing show choir and community theater productions. He also recently overcame a rare eye condition that required multiple surgeries. Joining Hocking as the January Student of the Month finalists are North Cedar High School junior Hannah Clark and Preston McIntyre, who attends Heritage Christian School in North Liberty.

Troopers Salute Breitbach's Owner for Special Opening

Courtesy: Twitter

A Dubuque County restaurant owner is being saluted for his treatment of law enforcement. Iowa State Patrol trooper John Stickney posted a tweet Tuesday morning thanking Breitbach’s Country Dining for their service. According to Stickney’s message, a group of seven troopers were looking to eat at Breitbach’s on Tuesday. But the restaurant is typically closed that day. But when owner Mike Breitbach found out that one of the troopers is retiring this week, Stickney says he opened up the doors and cooked the group breakfast. Breitbach’s is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Iowa. It is often cited as one of the Tri-States’ “must visit” eateries.

Evers Sworn in as Wisconsin Governor


Wisconsin officially has a new governor. Former state schools superintendent Tony Evers was sworn in yesterday as the state’s 46th governor. He won the office by defeating incumbent Republican Scott Walker in last November’s election. During his inaugural address, Evers highlighted several of the issues he campaigned on, including providing full funding to every level of Wisconsin’s public school system. Evers stressed that in his administration, people will come before politics. Among the “Wisconsin values” Evers says he’ll focus on are respect, empathy, and civility. Before leaving office, Walker announced that he would be keeping his campaign bank account open and said that he hasn’t ruled out running for governor in 2022.

Rios Doesn't Intend to Run for Second Council Term


It appears one of the seats on the Dubuque City Council will be opening up ahead of this fall’s city elections. 4th Ward representative Jake Rios tells KDTH he does not intend to run for a second term on the council. Rios, who owns a Dubuque childcare center, says his professional responsibilities have grown since he came on the council. Rios estimates he is about 80% sure he won’t seek another term. The two other members of the council whose seats will be on the ballot this fall do intend to run for additional terms. 2nd Ward representative Luis Del Toro and at-large council member David Resnick both say they plan to seek re-election. Del Toro says he believe he still has the support of the people of his ward. As for Resnick, he says he enjoys being a member of the council. Del Toro was first elected to the council in 2015. Resnick has been a member of the council since 2008 and would be seeking a fourth term in office.


Trump Plans Speech on Shutdown...Kim Travels to China...Ghosn Claims He's Been Falsely Accused

WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump is set to make his first Oval Office speech as president, to argue in prime time that a “crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border requires the wall he’s demanding before ending the partial government shutdown. Trump’s Tuesday night speech will be followed Thursday by a visit to the southern border. His administration is at least talking about the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to move forward on the wall without Congress approving the $5.6 billion he wants.

BEIJING (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with China’s president at the start of a visit to Beijing believed to be an effort to coordinate with his only major ally ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Kim’s trip, announced earlier by both sides, comes after U.S. and North Korean officials are thought to have met in Vietnam to discuss the site of a second summit.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to depart Turkey without meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an apparent snub over disagreements about Kurdish fighters in Syria. A U.S. official had said over the weekend that the two were expected to have consultations on Tuesday about the fate of Kurds allied with the United States in Syria as part of discussions about President Donald Trump’s troop draw-down from the country.

TOKYO (AP) – The former chairman of Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. has told a Tokyo court that he was “wrongfully accused” of false financial reporting and other allegations. In his first public appearance since he was detained on Nov. 19, Ghosn denied any wrongdoing and proclaimed his loyalty to the company. Explaining Ghosn’s lengthy detention, the judge said he was considered a flight risk.

DALLAS (AP) – A sign of the widening effect of the partial government shutdown is becoming visible at the nation’s airports, where security checkpoints are experiencing longer lines and safety inspections are reduced. Security officers and air traffic controllers are working but not getting paid right away, and the Transportation Security Administration acknowledges an increase in absences. The shutdown is in its 18th day Tuesday, with some government buildings and national parks closed.

Dubuque Salvation Army Very Close to Fundraising Goal

With a few donations still to be counted, the Dubuque chapter of the Salvation Army is very close to its fundraising goal for their Christmas Campaign. The campaign began back in November, with a goal of raising about $229,000. Captain Matt Phelps from the Army tells us that they’re currently about $13,000 shy of that mark, though there are some donations left to be counted. In the final days before the end of the Red Kettle Campaign, the army was about $60,000 shy of their goal. But Phelps says they saw a great response in the final days before Christmas. Phelps is confident the remaining money will come in over the next week or so. Phelps says it took a lot of effort from a lot of people to come even this close to making the goal. If the Christmas Campaign goal is met, it will mark the second consecutive year that the Salvation Army has reached its fundraising goal.

Suspected Drug Dealer's Case Moved to Federal Court

Federal charges are expected to be filed against a man found with large amounts of drugs and cash in a Dubuque hotel. 40-year-old Brandon Seys of Delmar made an initial appearance in federal court last week on a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. But a formal charge won’t be filed until a grand jury brings an indictment against Seys. He was arrested early last week by officers from the Dubuque Drug Task Force. Court documents show Seys had nearly $11,000 in cash on him at the time of his arrest. Inside his hotel room, officers reportedly found nearly 100 grams of cocaine and more than 180 grams of methamphetamine. Additional drug packaging materials were also located in Seys’s vehicle. He had originally faced seven state-level charges, but they have all been dropped since the case moved to the federal level.

Vaping Meetings Begin Tonight at Western Dubuque, Cascade High Schools

This is the week that administrators at two Dubuque County high schools will provide parents with additional information on what’s known as “vaping.” We initially told you last month that informational sessions were being scheduled at both Cascade and Western Dubuque high schools, to coincide with parent-teacher conferences. The first round of those sessions will be held this afternoon at Western Dubuque High School in Epworth, beginning at 4:30. Additional sessions will begin at 5:30 and 6:30. The first set of sessions at Cascade High School will be held on Wednesday evening, with another edition coming next week. “Vaping” is a slang term for using an electronic cigarette. Federal health officials say it’s become the second most popular form of substance use among teenagers.

Local Democrats Cite Concerns at Listening Session

Legislators and citizens watch a presentation at a “legislative listening session” at Loras College on Sunday (Courtesy: KCRG).

A trio of Democrat state lawmakers from Dubuque were among the elected officials on hand for what was called a “listening session” at Loras College on Sunday. State Representatives Lindsay James and Chuck Isenhart and State Senator Pam Jochum were each in attendance, as were several county officials. Democrats will once again be completely out of power in the upcoming Iowa legislative session, as Republicans control the House, Senate, and the Governor’s office. Isenhart says that means Democrats will have to work hard to show Republican policies aren’t working. Senator Jochum expects a combative session, with tensions from the national political climate spilling over to the Statehouse. Jochum says lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need citizens to tell them what is and isn’t working. Republican legislators Shannon Lundgren, Andy McKean, and Carrie Koelker were invited to participate in the forum, but weren’t able to make it.

Iowa Sees First Death of Flu Season as Cases Rise

Flu cases in Iowa appear to be on the rise, and the state has now seen its first death from the flu this season. The Iowa Department of Public Health hasn’t released much information about the death, but does say that the person was a middle-aged man from eastern Iowa who had an underlying medical condition. His death comes as flu cases in Iowa are now being rated as “regional,” which is the second most severe classification. Gail Gates is the Infection Preventionist at Mercy Hospital here in Dubuque. She says the two best ways to fight the flu are to get a vaccine and practice good hygiene. In Dubuque County, only about one percent of flu tests are coming back positive.

Del Toro Appears to Indicate Re-Election Bid

One of the Dubuque City Council members who will be up for re-election this fall has indicated that he’ll be running for another term. In a Facebook post on Friday evening, 2nd Ward Councilman Luis Del Toro noted that this year marks his fourth on the council. He says he’s looking forward to November, and “hopefully…another four more years serving.” Del Toro won his seat by defeating incumbent Councilwoman Carla Braig in the fall of 2015. He’ll be one of three council members up for re-election this fall, along with 4th Ward representative Jake Rios and At-Large council member David Resnick.

Finkenauer Unsure on Committee Assignments

In an image from TV network C-SPAN, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (second from right) is flanked by her parents as she is sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (far left).

The Tri-State area’s newest Congressional representative is eager to get to work, but isn’t sure exactly what she’ll be working on just yet. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque was sworn in as the new representative of Iowa’s 1st District yesterday. She says it’s still not clear exactly which Congressional committees she’ll be assigned to. Finkenauer acknowledged that there are some committees she has her eye on, but wouldn’t say which ones. During her time in the Iowa Legislature, Finkenauer served on the Commerce, Economic Growth, Government Oversight, and Transportation committees.

Local Legislators, County Officials to Host Listening Session

A group of Dubuque County legislators want to hear from citizens before the beginning of this year’s legislative session. State Senator Pam Jochum, State Representative Chuck Isenhart, and Representative-Elect Lindsay James are among the hosts for what’s being called a “Legislative Listening Session.” James explains that the lawmakers are hoping the session provides an opportunity for citizens to lay out some of their legislative priorities. In addition to allowing public comments, the event will also feature presentations on issues expected to be significant in this year’s session. All three of Dubuque County’s supervisors are also expected to attend, as is new County Attorney CJ May. The listening session will be held at the Loras College Alumni Campus Center Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

Dubuque Man Gets 17+ Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing Child

A Dubuque man has been ordered to spend more than a decade in prison for sexually abusing a child. 48-year-old Scott Skahill was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison in Jo Daviess County Circuit Court on Thursday. The sentence was handed down after Skahill pled guilty to a felony charge of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault. That guilty plea came as part of a plea agreement that saw seven other charges against Skahill dismissed. Those charges were all related to Skahill’s abuse of the same victim between October of 2017 and February of last year. Court documents say Skahill admitted to sexually abusing a child under 13 years old. Skahill will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence, meaning the earliest he’d be eligible for release would be late 2033.

Grassley Becomes Senate President Pro Tem


Iowa’s senior US Senator is now third in line to the presidency. Senator Charles Grassley yesterday was sworn in as the Senate President Pro Tempore after receiving unanimous approval from his colleagues. According to the Constitution, the Senate President Pro Tem sits behind only the Vice President and the Speaker of the House in the line of presidential succession. Historically, President Pro Tem is a position given to the longest-serving member of the Senate’s majority party. Grassley has been serving in the Senate since 1981. He takes over the President Pro Tem position from former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who did not seek re-election last year.

Wisconsin's Kind Among Democrats Voting Against Pelosi


The Congressman who represents southwestern Wisconsin was one of a handful of Democrats who did not support Nancy Pelosi retaking the office of House Speaker. Representative Ron Kind was among the fifteen Democrats who voted for someone other than Pelosi, who was eventually elected as the Speaker of the House, a position she also held from 2011 to 2015. Kind instead voted for Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement who’s been in office for more than 30 years. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who represents the Illinois portion of our listening area, did support Pelosi, but also won a couple of votes in the Speaker election. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Jared Golden of Maine, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia all voted for Bustos, who is chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Dubuquer Facing 20 Charges Over Credit Card Spending Spree

A Dubuque man is facing twenty separate charges after being accused of using a woman’s credit card to go on a month-long spending spree. 28-year-old Nathan Lantz was arrested on Wednesday morning. He’s been charged with two counts of Identity Theft and eighteen counts of Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card. According to court documents, police began investigating Lantz in early November, after a woman reported several unusual purchases had been made on her credit card. She suspected that Lantz was the one making the purchases. Through the month of October, Lantz reportedly used the card at thirteen different Dubuque retailers, racking up more than $460 in charges. If convicted on all of the charges against him, Lantz could face up to forty years in jail.

Dubuque's First 2019 Baby Comes Along Just Minutes into New Year

Courtesy: UnityPoint Finley Hospital

The first baby born in Dubuque of 2019 didn’t wait very long into the new year to make his appearance. Frederick Hugo Schau IV was born just nine minutes into 2019 at Finley Hospital. Frederick weighed in at eight pounds, five ounces and had a full head of dark hair. He was welcomed by parents Frederick III and Erica Schau, as well as big sister Audrey. As for Mercy Hospital, a little girl named Lakynn Roselynne was first baby of the new year born there. She came along at 2:23 AM on New Year’s morning.

Finkenauer Set to Become One of Iowa's First Female Congressional Representatives


Today is the day that a Dubuque woman makes history, becoming one of the first females to represent Iowa in Congress. Abby Finkenauer will be sworn in today as the new representative of the state’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the entire Iowa portion of our listening area. Finkenauer tells KDTH there won’t be a lot of time for ceremony, as she and the other members of the new Democratic House majority plan to get right to work. One of the first issues the House will take up will be ending the partial government shutdown that began last month. Finkenauer says the shutdown measure being considered is the same language that has already passed the Senate. Finkenauer isn’t focusing on the fact that she and Cindy Axne of the 3rd District will be the first women to represent Iowa in the House. Finkenauer says most of her time since Election Day has been spent in orientation for new Congressional members, and hiring staff for her offices both in Washington and in the 1st District. Along with being one of Iowa’s first female Congressional representatives, Finkenauer – at 30 years of age – is also one of the youngest women ever elected to federal office.

Dubuque's "State of the City" Moves to Quarterly Update Format

Courtesy: City of Dubuque

The city of Dubuque is changing the way it updates citizens on progress in the city. In the past, the mayor had delivered a yearly “State of the City” address. But beginning this year, Mayor Roy Buol is choosing to present quarterly updates that will cover much of the same material as they annual address had in the past. The first of the new updates was released earlier this week. In it, Buol explained the reason for the change in format. Buol’s first update then focused on the city’s budget procedure. That process will come to a head next month, when the City Council begins hosting public hearings on proposed departmental budgets. In addition to those meetings, there are several other opportunities for citizens to weigh in on the budget during the process. Buol says the city is committed to having the process be driven by citizens. The mayor’s “State of the City” updates will air periodically on City Channel Dubuque, and can also be viewed on the city’s website.

Dubuque County Jail Study Gets OK

The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department has gotten the go-ahead to begin studying improvements at the county jail. The county Board of Supervisors approved the department’s request to begin seeking proposals for an architectural study on the jail. Sheriff Joe Kennedy says that study will detail options for future improvements. But he already knows some of the things that need to be addressed. One of the most pressing concerns is that the cells still have barred doors, which aren’t up to code anymore. Beyond that, Kennedy says they’re a danger to both jail officers and inmates. The sheriff’s office has set aside up to $50,000 to spend on the study.

Former 'Bachelor' Soules' Sentencing Delayed


A former reality TV star from eastern Iowa will have to wait to find out if he’ll avoid jail time. Former ‘Bachelor’ contestant Chris Soules pled guilty last year to Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Injury. He could face up to two years in prison, or be fined up to 6-thousand dollars. Soules was scheduled to be sentenced next week, but his hearing has now been pushed back. It’ll instead be held on February 12 in Buchanan County court. The delay came at the request of Soules’ attorney, who says another trial has prevented him from completing some paperwork related to Soules’ case. Soules was originally charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death after a crash in rural Buchanan County in April of 2017.

Warren Schedules Iowa Events


The first candidate in the race who’s considered a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination will visit Iowa this weekend. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has scheduled a handful of events for Saturday, mostly in the western part of the state. She will hold organizing events in Sioux City and Des Moines, and is scheduled to host a roundtable in Storm Lake. Warren announced that she was forming an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run on New Year’s Eve. The Des Moines Register reports that Warren has also hired four staffers who will be based in Iowa during the run up to the state’s presidential caucuses in February of next year. Among them is Kane Miller, who served as campaign manager for Abby Finkenauer’s successful bid for Congress last fall.

Iowa Traffic Fatalities Hit 70 Year Low

Fewer people died on Iowa’s roadways in 2018 than in any year since World War II. That’s according to data released by the state Department of Transportation. The agency’s preliminary numbers show there were 315 traffic fatalities in Iowa in 2018. That’s the lowest number of deaths since at least 1944. It’s also down by about 4% from 2017. But the number can still go even lower. The DOT says about one-third of the people who died in 2018 weren’t wearing seat belts. Local law enforcement agencies still have a few days to report fatal crashes that happened in 2018’s final days, so the number of traffic fatalities could rise slightly.

Dr. King Birthday Celebration Coming Soon

The annual celebration honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King is just weeks away and this year’s keynote address will be delivered by a theology professor from a Midwestern college. Vincent Bacote is an author and theologian at Wheaton College. A released on the Dubuque Community Schools’ website credits Bacote as being the author of “The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life.” Some of Bacote’s articles have appeared in nationally published magazines such as Christianity Today and Books and Culture. A celebration breakfast will be held at the Grand River Center at 7 am. on January 21st. Right now the cost is 25 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for kids 12 and under until January 14th. After that the cost is 30 dollars per ticket if space allows. After breakfast Bacote will deliver his keynote address titled “An Antidote for America’s Agitation.”

Clayton Co Man Pleads Guilty To Gun Charge

A Clayton County man will most likely be spending some time behind bars after pleading guilty to a federal firearm charge. 42 year old John Kottman of Luana was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Court documents say Kottman was in possession of a Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun in November of 2017. Kottman was barred from possessing a firearm because of his conviction of possessing heroin with intent to deliver in Clayton County in 2000. A sentencing hearing date has not been set. Kottman also faces a state charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His trial on that charge is set to begin February 13th.

Lafayette Co. Drug Arrest

A Belmont woman was arrested over the weekend on drug and other charges. A release from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office say 23 year old Tiffany Chandler was taken into custody at around 1:45 pm. Sunday afternoon. She is charged with possession of  methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and child neglect. Chandler was taken to the county jail. The release does not provide the details that led to Chandler’s arrest.


Merry Mulch Collection

Now that Christmas is over some of us may be wondering what to do with that Christmas tree. Dubuque’s public works department is again sponsoring its’ Merry Mulch Christmas tree collection and composting program. Solid waste bags, bundles and containers, as well as Green Carts with food scraps will also be collected on regular collection days for two weeks beginning January 7th and ending January 18th. Residents should set out their trees next to their garbage on their normal collection day. Trees should be no taller than 8 feet. The tree should also be free of ornaments, lights, tinsel, wire, nails, stands or plastic bags. The trees must have either one city brush tie or one yellow yard waste sticker and visible from the street or alley.

KDTH's Top Ten Tri-State News Stories of 2018

10. Field Of Dreams Movie Site Vandalized

9. Manchester Man Convicted of Leaving Fatal Lake Delhi Ice Crash

8. Sabula Overflow Bridge Deemed Unsafe, Closed for Several Months

7. Work Continues on Southwest Arterial…Completion Expected Late Next Year

6. Consultant, Committee Recommend $64 Million Dollar Renovation, Expansion of Five Flags

5. Finkenauer Unseats Blum, Becoming First Iowa Woman Elected to US House

4. East Dubuque City Manager, Asst. Police Chief Removed From Office in Sexual Harassment Scandal

3. UD Assistant Basketball Coach Averts Disaster by Taking Wheel of Team Bus After Driver Experiences Medical Issue

2. World War II Era Ship Draws Thousands to Port of Dubuque

1. President Trump Visits NICC

Dubuque County Fatal Accident

Dubuque County authorities have released the names of those involved in a fatal crash Friday afternoon on Sundown Road. The sheriff’s department reports that 17-year old Jaycee M. Payne of Marion died in that accident. Payne was the passenger of a vehicle driven by 17-year old Oliver Clanin of Cedar Rapids. Clanin was traveling south when he lost control of his vehicle on an ice covered area on the roadway. The vehicle slid sideways across the center line and into the northbound lane of Sundown Road into the path of a vehicle driven by 46-year old Michael McArthur of Asbury. McArthur was unable to avoid the collision with the Clanin vehicle and struck the Clanin vehicle on the passenger’s side. Clanin was transported to Finley Hospital in Dubuque and was later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City for treatment of serious injuries. McArthur was taken to Finley Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Sundown Road was closed for approximately 2 1/2 hours due to the collision. The accident remains under investigation.


Top Baby Names

Babies born at hospitals around the Tri-States were largely given more traditional names in 2018. That’s according to the lists of top baby names from Mercy Medical Center and the Unity Point health system, which operates Dubuque’s Finley Hospital. At Unity Point’s 19 hospitals across Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Oliver was the most common boy’s name. Liam came in second, followed by William, Owen, and Theodore. As for girls, there were more Harpers born at Unity Point hospitals than any other name. Evelyn was the second-most popular name, followed by Charlotte, Emma, and Ava. At Mercy, Leo topped the list of boy names. Owen was among the most popular there, as well, coming in second. Other common names included Henry, William, and Maverick. Nora was the most popular girl’s name at Mercy, followed by Charlotte, Emma, Elizabeth, and Grace.

Former Senator John Culver, Namesake of Dubuque's Floodwall, Dies at 86


The namesake of Dubuque’s floodwall has died. Former Senator John Culver passed away late Wednesday at the age of 86. Culver was Dubuque’s representative in Congress beginning in 1965, the same year that a devastating flood struck the city. The following year, Culver backed city officials as they made the push for a more permanent flood control system, which eventually became the floodwall that now bears Culver’s name. Culver spent a decade representing eastern Iowa in Congress before being elected to the US Senate in 1974. He served one term before being unseated by current Senator Charles Grassley in 1980. Culver is survived by five children, including his eldest son Chet, who served as Iowa’s Governor from 2007 to 2011.

Police: Man Used Stolen Info to Try to Pay Utility Bill

A Dubuque man’s been accused of trying to use another man’s financial information to pay his utility bill. 31-year-old Ryan Davis was arrested on Wednesday afternoon. According to police, they had spoken with Davis last month about an outstanding warrant for his arrest. When they searched Davis, officers reportedly found another man’s driver’s license, passport, credit cards, and personal checks. Davis claimed that he found the items in a dumpster. In reality, they had been reported stolen about two weeks earlier. During their investigation, police found that Davis had tried to use the victim’s bank information to make a payment to Black Hills Energy, but the payment was declined. Davis has been charged with 5th Degree Theft and Identity Theft.

Another Counterfeit Bill Arrest

Dubuque Police investigating counterfeit money being passed around the city have arrested a second suspect. 55-year-old Kevin Reynolds was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon and has been charged with Forgery. According to police, Reynolds was with a woman who tried to pass a fake 100 dollar bill at a local fast food restaurant last week. That woman, 37-year-old Amanda Jones, is also facing a Forgery charge. She reportedly told police that Reynolds gave her the phony bill and asked her to try to break it into smaller, legitimate bills. If convicted on the Forgery charge, Reynolds could face up to five years in prison.

Cars Parked Outside Christmas Eve Church Service Targeted by Burglars

Dubuque Police are reaching out to the public for information on who broke into cars parked outside a local church during its Christmas Eve service. Police tell KDTH they began receiving reports of the break-ins at about 7:45 that night. Several vehicles parked outside of St. Columbkille Catholic Church on Rush Street were targeted. The cars had all been parked in lots near the church. In each case, the burglars broke passenger-side windows and took a purse from inside the vehicles. No arrests have been made, though police continue to investigate. Anyone with information about who was behind the break-ins is asked to contact Dubuque Police or the local CrimeStoppers tip line.

Domestic Assault Suspect Ordered to Wear GPS Monitor

A Dubuque man accused of throwing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs will be monitored by GPS as part of his pretrial release. 27-year-old Cody Bauer has pleaded not guilty to Domestic Assault and Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury charges. A criminal complaint states officers with the Dubuque Police Department responded to Bauer’s Elm Street home on the night of November 12 after an incident between he and his girlfriend. Court documents say Bauer initially tried to block officers from entering the home.  Police were able to get in and found the victim in an upstairs bedroom with injuries to her head and face. They also noticed blood on the stairs, in the bedroom and a bathroom. The victim was taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque with injuries including multiple skull fractures, a lacerated liver, and broken ribs. She was later transported to Iowa City for further treatment. Bauer posted a 10-thousand dollar bond earlier this month. Documents filed last week say he will need to wear a GPS monitoring system and abide by a daily curfew.

Cascade Man Who Smoked Pot in Front of Daughter Gets Probation

A Cascade man accused of smoking marijuana while his infant daughter was in his car will spend two years on probation. According to court documents, 30-year-old Danny Mitchell, Junior was pulled over by Dyersville police in February. During the traffic stop, the officer smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle. Mitchell admitted to smoking pot just before the stop. His 9-month-old daughter was in a car seat, though it was not secured with a seat belt. Methamphetamine was also found inside the vehicle. Mitchell recently pled guilty to charges including Child Endangerment, Possession of Meth, and Operating While Intoxicated. As part of his plea deal, prosecutors dropped three other charges. If Mitchell would violate his probation, he’ll go to prison for three years.

Manchester Woman Wins $50,000 Lottery Prize

Courtesy: Iowa Lottery

A Manchester woman had some extra spending money for the holidays, thanks to a winning lottery ticket. Christianna Browning of Manchester won $50,000 in the Iowa Lottery’s “Holiday Cash” scratch game. Her jackpot is the fifth of the eight available in that game. Browning bought her winning ticket last week at the Kwik Star in Manchester.

Mega Millions, Powerball Jackpots on the Rise Again

For the fifth time this year, the top prize in one of the Iowa Lottery’s marquee games has climbed above $300 million. No one won the Christmas night Mega Millions drawing, bumping the jackpot in that game up to $348 million. The Mega Millions jackpot hasn’t been won since October, when a record $1.6 billion prize was won.
As for the Powerball, the jackpot there is just shy of the 300 million dollar mark. A winning ticket sold in tonight’s drawing would win an estimated $294 million.

Police: Use of Counterfeit Money Increasing

A phony $100 bill recently seized by Dubuque Police.

Police in Dubuque are warning anyone who handles cash to be on the lookout for fake money. The department says the use of counterfeit bills is on the rise, not only locally, but across the country. In the most recent case for the Dubuque Police Department, a fake $100 bill being circulated has foreign language characters printed on the back. They say it also doesn’t feel like real US currency. According to the department, Dubuque police have worked more than 120 cases involving counterfeit bills this year. They have collected bills ranging from 5 to 100 dollars. Police urge anyone who handles cash, whether at a retail store or for selling items on an online marketplace, to take the time to examine large bills. Be especially cautious of people using large bills to pay for inexpensive items.

Woman Accused of Using Fake Money to Pay for Food, Rent

The actions of a fast food manager helped stop a counterfeit bill from continuing to move through Dubuque. According to police, a manager at the McDonald’s on Iowa Street noticed that a customer was trying to use a fake $100 bill at the restaurant’s drive-up window last week. According to a police report, the bill was obviously phony, as it had a different look and feel than a normal bill, and had Chinese characters on the back. The manager reported the incident to police, who followed up and gathered additional information about the woman who tried to use the bill. Investigators spoke with her landlord, who said she had recently tried to pay her rent with counterfeit money similar to the bill that was used at McDonald’s. The woman, 37-year-old Amanda Jones, was arrested and is now facing a felony Forgery charge. If convicted, she’d spend up to five years in prison.

Barn Fire Causes $200,000 in Damage Near Sherrill

A Christmas Day barn fire north of Dubuque is believed to have caused several hundred dollars in damage. A little after 1:30 yesterday afternoon, firefighters from the Sherrill and Asbury departments were called to a farm on Bumpster Road, about a mile east of Sherrill. A release from the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the fire was contained to a barn on the property. But the barn, as well as some equipment and livestock that were inside, is considered a total loss. Investigators have estimated the damage at about $200,000. The cause of the fire is unknown, though the sheriff’s department does not consider it suspicious.

Dubuque City Offices to Close for Holidays

As you might expect, Dubuque city offices will operate on an irregular schedule during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays. City offices will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. The Carnegie-Stout Public Library will be closed on each of those days, as well. The Jule transit service will not operate on any of those days. As for city garbage collection, workers will do regular Monday pickups on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Tuesday collections that would happen on Christmas and New Year’s Day are being pushed ahead to the previous Saturdays: December 22 and 29.

City, Landfill Offer Holiday Recycling Tips

The city of Dubuque and the local landfill are reminding residents that there are ways to have a more environmentally-friendly Christmas. Both the city and the Dubuque Metro Area Solid Waste Agency have sent out holiday recycling tips in recent days. Both agencies stress that wrapping paper cannot be recycled, and suggest using newspaper or another, more sustainable method of gift wrap. Old holiday lights are also not allowed in city recycle bins. But the landfill will accept them at their electronics recycling drop-off site. Landfill administrators also suggest using washable tableware for holiday meals, rather than paper or plastic items that will be thrown away. Dubuque’s landfill will be closed on both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Landfill to Sell Natural Gas

Dubuque’s landfill has reached an agreement to sell the natural gas it produces. It’s a move expected to reduce damage to the environment and create local jobs. The Dubuque Metro Area Solid Waste Agency’s board of directors has approved selling the rights to the gas to Trillium, a natural gas company out of Texas. Landfills naturally emit methane and carbon dioxide. The gas from the Dubuque landfill is currently being burned off. But Trillium plans to capture the gas and use it to power homes and cars. Landfill administrator John Foster says the move will create additional revenue while also providing a boost in local jobs. The sale of the natural gas rights could bring in up to $700,000.

Jo Daviess Drug Bust

A Chicago man, who had two passengers from Dubuque in his car when he was stopped for speeding in Jo Daviess County late Friday night, faces numerous drug charges. At around 11:15 p.m. a deputy stopped a vehicle in the area of Main Street and Catlin Street in Elizabeth for several speeding violations. The driver, later identified as 24 year old James Gardner of Chicago, gave the deputy a fake name. Gardner had several outstanding warrants out for his arrest. The deputy smelled the odor of cannabis coming from the car. A search was conducted and the deputy found four ounces of packaged marijuana, 4 grams of cocaine and a small amount of oxycodone pills. Gardner was arrested and charged with unlawful delivery of cocaine and cannabis, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, obstruction identification, speeding, no valid driver’s license and two outstanding arrest warrants for no valid license and burglary. 21 year old Jordon Shireman of Dubuque was cited for failure to properly secure a child in a child restraint.

State Board: Dubuque Doctor Gave Drugs to Coworker He Was Having Sex With

A Dubuque doctor provided prescription drugs to a coworker he was having sex with. That’s the finding of the Iowa Board of Medicine, which has cited and fined Dr. Barry Waack. He practices emergency medicine at Finley Hospital, according to the hospital’s website. The state board released their findings late last week. Investigators say Waack gave multiple medications, including an antidepressant, to a female coworker he was having a sexual relationship with. In doing so, the board says Waack failed to establish an appropriate patient-physician relationship, perform examinations, or maintain records. Waack’s violations happened over a five-month stretch beginning in October of 2015. Waack has been cited for violating professional boundaries, as well as for improper prescribing. He’s been placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. He’ll also have to reimburse the board for a monitoring system, something that could cost up to $2,400.

Downtown Dubuque Apartment Fire Investigated as Suspicious

A fire at a downtown Dubuque apartment complex is being investigated as ‘suspicious.’ That’s after neighbors said they heard an explosion as the fire was breaking out. Firefighters were called to the building in the 300 block of West 17th Street shortly before 6:00 Wednesday evening. Flames were already coming out of a second story window when they arrived. No one was inside at the time, and the damage was limited to one second floor apartment. But Fire Marshal Mark Burkle tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, that neighbor accounts of the incident have investigators taking a closer look at what happened. Burkle says Dubuque Police will be involved in the investigation, which will include reviewing evidence from inside the apartment and interviews with residents and neighbors.

With Only Days Left, Salvation Army $60,000 Short of Goal

Dubuque’s chapter of the Salvation Army is going to need a big weekend to make its goal for this year’s Christmas Campaign. The army is trying to raise $229,000 between its Red Kettle Campaign and its mail appeal. Captain Matt Phelps tells us they’re just shy of three-quarters of the way to that goal. Phelps says fundraising has slowed a bit over the past week or so. The Red Kettle campaign runs through Christmas Eve, which is Monday.

Flexsteel Hires Dittmer as New President, CEO

The search is over for a new leader of Dubuque-based Flexsteel Industries. The furniture making company has hired Jerald Dittmer as its new President and CEO. He replaces Karel Czanderna, who abruptly retired in September. Dittmer has 25 years of experience in the furniture industry. He was most recently head of HON Company, an office furniture designer and manufacturer. Dittmer is originally from the Clinton County town of Wheatland. He then graduated from Iowa State University. Flexsteel is currently putting the finishing touches on a new 25-million dollar facility in Dubuque’s Industrial Center South. That facility is expected to be complete by the end of January.

Parents Give Dubuque Schools an "F" for Equity

Courtesy: KCRG

A group of Dubuque parents gathered early yesterday morning to deliver a report card of sorts to the local school district. They say the district gets an “F” when it comes to student equity. The parents protested outside the district offices on Chaney Road. Their action came a day after a review showed ten Dubuque schools are not meeting requirements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Derrick Clark has two kids who attend Prescott Elementary School, one of those ten. He says something has to change. Dubuque Schools Superintendent Stan Rheingans says he understands the parents’ concerns, and notes that the district has made improvements at some schools, such as Audubon Elementary. But he says the state could help by changing the way school funding is doled out. Rheingans says he’s open to exploring the possibility of redistricting, but worries that it might have the unintended consequence of pulling students away from the resources they need.

Cascade, Western Dubuque to Host Parent Meetings on Vaping

Courtesy: Lindsay Fox

As new reports highlight the dangers of what’s known as “vaping,” two Dubuque County high schools plan to share information about the issue with parents. Both Cascade and Western Dubuque high schools will host informational meetings on the topic in early January. “Vaping” is the slang term for using an electronic cigarette. A survey released this week shows vaping is now the second-most common form of substance abuse among teens, with nearly 40 percent of high school seniors having tried it. Cascade Assistant Principal Adam Kedley explains there are several reasons it has caught on among teens. They’re drawn to the various available flavors, the smokeless nature of vaping, and the significant dose of nicotine it delivers. According to Kedley, vaping is such a new trend that most parents have little to no knowledge of it. A recent poll conducted by Cascade administrators asked students about the perceived popularity of vaping. Results show Cascade students believe a quarter of their classmates use electronic cigarettes on a daily basis. The school has scheduled information meetings for parents to coincide with their next round of parent-teacher conferences. Kedley says those sessions may be the first some parents have heard of vaping. The Cascade meetings will be held on January 9th and 16th beginning at 4:30 PM. At Western Dubuque High School, similar meetings are scheduled on January 7th, also beginning at 4:30.

ACA Enrollments Climb in Dubuque, Going Against National Trend

Dubuque has bucked the nationwide trend for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace. This year’s ACA enrollment period ended on Saturday with a decline in the number of nationwide sign-ups. But here in Dubuque, enrollment was up from last year. Administrators at the Crescent Community Health Center say they helped 260 people sign up for coverage. That’s an increase over last year of about 100. Crescent’s Angela Petsche chalks up the increase to more people being eligible, and some learning they could get a better plan through the ACA. Across the country, enrollments dropped by about 300,000 this year.

Dubuque Native Chosen to Lead Quad City School District

A Quad Cities school district has gone ahead and hired a Dubuque native to be their new superintendent. Earlier this week, we told you that Dr. Rachel Savage was one of three finalists to take the top job at the Moline-Coal Valley school district. The school board there wasn’t expected to announce their choice until next month. But board members defied those expectations and unanimously approved a three-year contract for Savage at a meeting this week. Savage is currently the principal at a middle school in Waterloo, a job she’s held since 2015. Before that, she was the superintendent at the school district in Williams, Arizona. Savage graduated from Senior High School in 1991, then earned a degree in Spanish from Loras College. She taught world languages at Western Dubuque and Hempstead High Schools until 2009, when she moved to Arizona.

Iowa Traffic Fatalities Could Hit Low Mark in 2018

2018 is shaping up to be one of the safest years on record on Iowa’s roads…at least by one measure. The state has seen at least 300 traffic fatalities in virtually every year since World War II. Over that time, the year with the lowest fatalities was 2013, when 317 people died on Iowa’s roads. The state just recorded its 300th fatality of this year on Tuesday. With less than two weeks left in the year, law enforcement leaders are hoping the fatality count can fall below than 2013 mark. Sergeant Darin Snedden of the Iowa State Patrol says there are many reasons why fatalities have been down this year. But he says one of the biggest factors is that cars are safer than ever. This year’s low fatality rate comes just two years after one of the deadliest years on Iowa’s roads. The state saw a little more than 400 traffic fatalities in 2016.

Victim of Fatal Grant County Crash Identified

Authorities have released the names of those involved in a fatal crash in Grant County last weekend. The crash happened shortly after 9:30 Saturday night south of Dickeyville. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol 32-year-old Justin Fox was driving south on US Highways 61/151 when he crossed the center line and collided nearly head-on with an oncoming car. Fox was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle, 40-year-old Patrick Pennekamp, and a passenger, 34-year-old Hannah Pennekamp, were both taken to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque to be treated for injuries the patrol describes as “non-life threatening.”

UPDATE: Gym Teacher Had Cans of Alcohol at School, BAC Nearly Three Times Legal Limit

A Dubuque gym teacher is out of a job after being found with a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit during the school day. 38-year-old Erin Ellerbach had been a physical education teacher at Jefferson Middle School until her arrest yesterday afternoon. School administrators called police at about 2:15 yesterday afternoon – a few minutes before students were dismissed – and said there was an intoxicated person on school grounds. An officer reports that Ellerbach showed several signs of intoxication, and a breath test registered her blood alcohol content at .224, almost three times the legal limit to drive. The report says school officials searched Ellerbach’s office and found one open can of what’s called “hard lemonade.” Two other unopened cans were also found. Ellerbach has been charged with Public Intoxication. A district spokesperson had initially said Ellerbach was placed on leave. They’re now saying Ellerbach is no longer employed by the district.

Report: Blum "Likely" Broke Several Ethics Rules


Soon to be former Congressman Rod Blum likely violated several ethics rules in his private business dealings, according to a report released on Monday. The Office of Congressional Ethics began reviewing Blum earlier this year after the Associated Press revealed details of an internet marketing business he owned called Tin Moon Corporation. The company boasted “reputation management” services that could help companies bury damaging information in internet searches. The report found Blum failed to list Tin Moon as an asset and his role as director of the company on a financial disclosure form. Investigators also found that Blum undervalued his stake in the company in an amendment to form that Blum submitted later. The report also found that Blum may have misused House resources by allowing the company to use his official Congressional photo on its website and by posting a fake video testimonial from one of Blum’s Congressional staffers. The report was released Monday by the House Committee on Ethics. Committee leaders aren’t expected to take any further action against Blum, who is leaving Congress after losing to Democrat Abby Finkenauer last month.

Gehrts: Chances of a White Christmas Dwindling


The chances of the Tri-States having a white Christmas this year are dwindling. That’s according to our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV. They tell us that not only is there little precipitation in the forecast between now and Christmas Day, but temperatures are expected to be warm enough that anything that would fall would be rain, rather than snow. Meteorologist Justin Gehrts says the main chances of precipitation come overnight Wednesday into Thursday, and possibly on Christmas Day. Of those two systems, the one later this week brings the stronger chance of precipitation, but will likely be more of a rain event. Gehrts does not expect much to come from the system that would arrive on Christmas Day. Over the past thirty years, Dubuque has about a 50/50 chance of having a white Christmas. Dubuque averages a high temperature of 28 degrees and a low of 13 on Christmas Day. The record high is 58 degrees, set in 1936. The record low of -19 dates all the way back to 1879.