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Dubuque & Tri-State News

Beckman's Westhoff Named KCRG's Student of the Month


A Dyersville high schooler who’s overcome some initial shyness to take on several school leadership positions is this month’s KCRG Student of the Month. Beckman senior Shelby Westhoff is our coverage partner’s first honoree of the new school year. Westhoff is described as “heavily involved” at Beckman, where she is active in campus ministry and is the president of the school’s Future Farmers of America chapter. She has also participated in state and national science competitions, which she says pairs well with her FFA involvement. Dawn Mausser, a Beckman teacher who advises the FFA program, says Westhoff is one of those students teachers wish they could clone. Westhoff says it was Mausser who helped her find the confidence to be more involved in school activities. While it’s still early in her senior year, Westhoff already has her college plans set. She’ll attend Iowa State University to study agriculture.

KCRG: Finkenauer Health Care Ad Gets a "C"

Courtesy: Abby Finkenauer for Congress

A new TV ad from the Dubuque Democrat running for Congress hits her opponent on health care issues, but doesn’t get all the details exactly right. That’s according to an analysis of the spot by our coverage partners at KCRG-TV. The ad from state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer criticizes her opponent, incumbent Congressman Rod Blum, for voting in favor of the 2017 American Health Care Act. That bill was supposed to be Republicans’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare.” While it passed the House, the bill died in the Senate. In the ad, Finkenauer makes two claims about what the legislation would have done. First, she says it would have allowed insurance companies to charge older customers higher premiums. But as KCRG’s Josh Scheinblum explains, that part of the AHCA would only have expanded on provisions that were already in place under ObamaCare. KCRG gives that claim by Finkenauer a “B” grade. More off-base is the assertion that the AHCA would have, as Finkenauer puts it, “gutted” protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Scheinblum found that the bill’s requirements were also very similar to those found in ObamaCare. That claim was graded as a “D.” Balancing those two grades, KCRG gave the ad an overall “C” rating.

Reynolds, Blum Rally Dubuque Republicans

Reynolds, Blum

Republicans whose names will be at the top of this fall’s ballot spent their Monday night trying to fire up local party members in Dubuque. Governor Kim Reynolds and Congressman Rod Blum headlined the fundraiser at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club. Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann emceed the event, and says Republicans can offer a clearer picture of their priorities than Democrats. Reynolds once again promoted the US News and World Report ranking that put Iowa at the top of the list of the states. There were several jabs reserved for Blum’s opponent, Democrat state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer. Blum and Reynolds both criticized Finkenauer for accepting campaign contributions from out-of-state donors. A recent New York Times poll showed Blum trailing Finkenauer by fifteen points. The two-term Congressman says his campaign might be easier had he voted differently on a couple of issues, but he stuck to his ideals. Among the event’s attendees was Steve Drahozal, the chair of the Dubuque County Democratic Party. He described some of what he heard from the Republican leaders as “scare tactics.” Close to one hundred people attended the fundraiser. In addition, a group of about twenty protestors greeted attendees at the entrance to the country club. They held signs promoting Democratic candidates and chanted anti-Republican slogans.

Former Dubuquer Sentenced on Federal Child Porn Charges

A former Dubuque resident will spend more than a dozen years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. 50-year-old Christopher Scruggs was given his sentence this week in US District Court. He had pled guilty to one count each of Receipt of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography back in April. Scruggs’ prison term will total 151 months, which comes out to a little more than twelve and a half years. In addition, he’ll have to pay more than $21,000 in restitution. The US Attorney’s office says most of that money will go back to the victims who were in the images that Scruggs had. Scruggs will also be placed on five years’ probation once he’s released from prison.

Increased Police Presence at Senior High After Handgun Found, Threat Made

Dubuque Police plan to have an increased presence at a Dubuque high school today after one student there was found with a handgun and another called in what’s being called a “non-credible” threat. Monday’s troubles at Senior High School began at about 10:45 AM when a student reported that another student had a handgun in his backpack. The school resource officer located and confiscated the handgun, which was not loaded. The student, 17-year-old Jason Gardner, has been charged as an adult with Carrying Weapons on School Grounds, which is a felony.

Shortly after Gardner’s arrest, Senior staff reported that a pair of juveniles were trespassing on school grounds. The two left the school before police could locate them. Towards the end of the school day, a suspicious vehicle believed to be connected to the two juveniles was seen in the parking lot. It left when officers approached. Police then ordered that the school be placed on an “external lockdown” until the car was found. It was located just before 2:00 in the 700 block of West Locust Street. The driver told police she had dropped the two juveniles off near the intersection of University Avenue and Asbury Road. They were found in that area, arrested, and have been charged with Trespassing.

Then in the early evening, dispatchers at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center received a call threatening violence against Senior High. According to an email from school administrators, police have identified the student who called in the threat. Police say the threat was not credible, and disciplinary action will be taken against the student after an investigation into the incident is complete. It’s unclear if the student will face any criminal charges.

Fire at Vacant Dubuque School Called "Suspicious"

A fire at a vacant Dubuque school building is being called “suspicious.” Dubuque firefighters were called to the old Holy Ghost Catholic School in the 2900 block of Central Avenue a few minutes after 6:30 last night. Upon entering the building, firefighters found smoke throughout all three of its stories. The fire was eventually found on the first floor, and put out. Crews had to stay on scene for several hours, locating and putting out hot spots. According to a release from the fire department, the fire is believed to be suspicious in nature. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Investigators have also not put a dollar figure on the amount of damage done.

Jo Daviess County Teen Seriously Injured in Rollover

A Jo Daviess County teenager was airlifted to a regional hospital after a rollover crash Sunday. Just after noon, 19-year-old Jaquez Ransom of Elizabeth was headed north on South Derinda Road, almost a mile from where it meets US Highway 20. As he tried to go around the curves in the road, Ransom started to veer off the road to the right. He over-corrected, went across the oncoming lane of traffic, and into the ditch. That’s where his car rolled several times, eventually stopping in the front yard of a nearby home. Ransom was airlifted from the scene to Mercy Hospital in Rockford to be treated for what the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department describes as “unknown injuries.”

FEMA: Fewer Dubuque Buildings at Flood Risk

New federal maps show that fewer buildings in Dubuque are in danger of flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently updated flood insurance maps for the area. The new maps remove more than 40 buildings from areas where flood insurance is required. The current flood insurance rate maps list nearly 240 structures in the 100-year flood plain. City officials say the new maps are based on more accurate information. They will be used to help guide development plans in the area. The maps had last been updated in 2011.

Dubuquer Hits Winning Scratch Ticket

Courtesy: Iowa Lottery

A Dubuque man is several thousand dollars richer after his scratch ticket revealed winning numbers. According to the Iowa Lottery, Russ Frommelt won $10,000 playing the Aces High scratch game. That’s a $20 ticket. The odds of hitting one of the jackpots, like Frommelt did, are 1 in more than 40,000, according to the lottery’s website. Frommelt bought the winning ticket at one of Dubuque’s Casey’s stores.

Mega Millions, Powerball Jackpots On the Rise

The jackpots in the Iowa Lottery’s top two games have climbed once again and are now approaching a combined half-billion dollars. No one won either the Mega Millions or Powerball top prizes over the weekend, meaning that the jackpots for both games have increased. The Mega Millions top prize for Tuesday’s drawing will be $303 million . That game hasn’t been won since early August, when a group of California coworkers cashed in a ticket worth more than 500 million. As for the Powerball, the top prize in that game has also gone more than a month without a winner. The jackpot is now up to $193 million ahead of Wednesday’s drawing.

Dubuque County Jail Named "Best of the Best"

The Dubuque County Jail is being recognized as one of Iowa’s best. The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association is honoring six county jails around the state for their performance during recent evaluations. The reviews were unannounced and conducted by Iowa Department of Corrections Staff and the state’s chief jail inspector. They judged jails on several criteria, including overall management and operation of the facility, cleanliness, staff professionalism, and treatment of offenders. Awards for being the “best of the best” will be presented at the sheriff and deputy association’s annual gathering in December. Dubuque County will share the award for large jails with Marshal County. Other counties being recognized include Madison, Shelby, Iowa, and Sioux.

Area Rivers Begin Receding After Flash Floods

River levels across the Tri-States are trending back down after flash flooding struck several areas in the northern part of our listening area yesterday. There are still Flood Warnings in effect for several rivers, including the Maquoketa at Manchester, the Pecatonica at Darlington, and the Turkey at both Elkader and Garber.
In Manchester, the Maquoketa reached the “minor flooding” level, topping out at 15.6 feet yesterday afternoon. It’s expected to fall back below flood stage early this afternoon.
The Turkey is still in the “minor flood” range in Elkader, as it sits just below 16 feet. It’s predicted to go back below flood stage sometime tomorrow afternoon. Down river in Garber, the Turkey topped out at 24.5 feet yesterday, reaching the “major flooding” category. It’s already fallen a couple feet from that crest, and is expected to be back below flood stage early tomorrow morning.
As for the Pecatonica at Darlington, it’s still on the way up, and is expected to crest in the “minor flood” range at 13.7 feet this afternoon. That’s only a couple inches above flood stage, and the river is predicted to go back below stage early tomorrow morning.
Our weather is expected to be dry through the weekend, which will help bring those river levels back down.

Blum Downplays New York Times Poll, Claiming Newspaper is "Biased"


The Congressman who represents Dubuque says he isn’t concerned about a new poll that shows him trailing his opponent by double figures. The New York Times this week polled voters in Iowa’s 1st Congressional district. According to the survey, Blum’s opponent, Democrat Abby Finkenauer, has a 15 point lead on him with just more than six weeks until Election Day. After an appearance at the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting Thursday afternoon, Blum said he isn’t putting much stock in the new numbers. Blum believes the New York Times to be biased, and says he could massage the numbers to show himself with a large lead. According to the Times’ website, the respondents to its 1st District poll included 36% registered Democrats, 34% registered Republicans, and 30% with no party affiliation. 92% of the Democrats are supporting Finkenauer, while only 74% of the Republicans surveyed say they’ll vote for Blum.

Schools Compete in UnityPoint's "Imagine the Amazing" Contest

Tri-State area schools are competing for a chance to win up to $25,000 from UnityPoint Health as they play the “Imagine the Amazing” online contest. Morgan Reilly, Marketing Communications Specialist at UnityPoint, says people can cast their votes for their favorite school online. People can vote as many times as they want for their favorite school. Voting is open through September 30th, and the winner will be announced on October 8th. Winning schools will be able to use their prize money for educational and wellness purposes. Reilly says the contest is open to K-12 schools within the 99 counties of Iowa and the primary counties served by UnityPoint Health in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Blum Addresses Dubuque Chamber Luncheon

The Congressman who represents Iowa’s 1st district was the featured speaker at the monthly membership meeting of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon. Republican Rod Blum of Dubuque delivered a legislative update and covered a number of topics, including the farm bill, immigration reform, term limits, the economy, and wages. Blum says during the second quarter American workers saw the largest increase in their take home pay in the past 10 years. According to Blum, middle class wages had been stagnant for the past 10-15 years, but that all changed when President Trump took office. Blum is the co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill called the “Clean Slate Act.” He says the legislation would make more workers available for businesses that desperately need them. Blum is seeking a third term in office. He is being challenged by Democratic State Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque in the November mid-term election.

Fett Launches First TV Ad

Democrat Nancy Fett (right) appears with her children in this image from the first TV ad of her Iowa House campaign.

Candidates running for Congress and Governor have been putting TV advertisements on the air for weeks, and now more local candidates are getting into the act as well. One of the first to launch an ad is the Democrat challenger in the Iowa House district that covers most of Dubuque County. Nancy Fett is hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Shannon Lundgren in District 57, which includes much of the county outside the Dubuque city limits. Fett’s first ad, which began airing on local stations this week, highlights her background as a teacher and working mom. Lundgren is running for re-election for the first time. She won the seat in 2016, after Democrat Nancy Dunkel chose not to run for what would have been a third term.

New York Times Poll Shows Finkenauer with Largest Lead on Blum

The Dubuque state lawmaker looking to make the jump to Congress is putting together her best showing to date in a head-to-head poll with the incumbent. The New York Times is currently polling voters in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District to gauge their preference between current Congressman Rod Blum and his challenger, Democrat Abby Finkenauer. The Times is posting live results of the survey on their website. At last check, Finkenauer leads Blum by a 14-point margin, 51% to 37%. That’s outside the 5% margin for error. Up to this point, polls had mostly shown Finkenauer with a single digit, within-the-margin lead on Blum. In addition, the poll shows a growing dissatisfaction with Blum’s performance in his two terms in office. 53% of respondents have rated Blum’s job performance unfavorably, compared to 34% who view it positively. While the poll is not yet complete, the Times has reached about 95% of its response goal.

Overnight Rains Cause Flash Flooding in Clayton, Grant Counties

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Heavy overnight rains have swelled rivers and streams across the Tri-States, and several area waterways are now forecast to flood. At least 2.5 inches of rain fell on many areas of Clayton, Grant, and Lafayette counties, with some places receiving upwards of four inches. Major flooding is now predicted on the Turkey River at Garber. The river level there has jumped up more than 12 feet since yesterday afternoon. It’s expected to crest at 27.5 feet tomorrow morning. That’s about 4.5 feet above flood stage. Upriver in Elkader, the Turkey will just miss reaching the “major flooding” level. The river is expected to climb to a depth of 19.5 feet either late tonight or early tomorrow morning. It will quickly recede as well, dropping back below flood stage by early Sunday. Maybe the most drastic change in river depth is in Burton, Wisconsin, where the Grant River went up by more than 12.5 feet in just ten hours. The river has already reached the “moderate flooding” category, and it’s not yet known how high it will crest. There are additional rain chances across the area overnight tonight and into tomorrow.

Lane Reduction, Road Closure in Millwork District Area

A three-block stretch of one of the streets in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District closed today, and will remain blocked for about two months. According to an email from the city of Dubuque’s Public Works Department, 11th Street has been closed between its intersections with White Street and Elm Street. The closure will allow city crews to resurface 11th and do some utility work in the area. Meanwhile, White Street is being reduced to a single lane in the area as well. The lane reduction is in place between White’s crossings at 9th and 11th Streets. The city says resurfacing and utility work is the reason for that change in the traffic pattern as well. Both blockages will be in place through mid-November.

Crescent Receives $175,000 to Support Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs

A clinic for low-income Dubuque residents will be able to provide better mental health and substance abuse treatment, thanks to a grant from the federal government. Crescent Community Health Center has received $175,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration. That’s an agency within the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Crescent administrators say the money will allow them to bring on permanent staff to provide mental health and substance abuse services. Crescent COO Brooke Gomez says the grant will create better access to those services for Crescent’s clients. One specific effort the grant will help pay for is an opioid treatment initiative. Crescent hopes to get about three dozen people enrolled in that program.

Flood Warnings Issued After Heavy Overnight Rains

Flash flooding is possible this morning in the northern portion of our listening area after heavy rains overnight. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for both Clayton and Grant counties, which will be in effect through mid-morning. According to our weather coverage partners at KCRG-TV, many locations in those counties have taken on at least 2.5 inches of rain since yesterday evening. The rain was the heaviest along a line that runs roughly from Guttenberg to Darlington. Some spots along that path received upwards of four inches of overnight rainfall. Local law enforcement in the warned counties has reported water and debris running across county roads. They say water is also going over bridges in low-lying areas. Rain is expected to come to an end by mid-morning today, though there are additional chances overnight tonight into tomorrow.

Additional Theft Charges Filed Against Knifepoint Robbery Suspect

A Dubuque man accused of trying to rob people at knifepoint had been accused in other thefts in the days leading to his arrest. That’s according to court documents filed along with new charges against 33-year-old Joseph Bogovich. He was arrested shortly before midnight last Friday on three counts of 1st Degree Robbery. According to police, Bogovich approached three women walking near the intersection of 11th and Jackson Streets. He reportedly held out a knife and demanded money. The women turned and ran away from Bogovich down an alley. Since his arrest, Bogovich has had additional charges of 3rd Degree Burglary and 5th Degree Theft added against him. According to police reports, those charges stem from incidents last Thursday. At about 1:40 that afternoon, a witness reported seeing Bogovich trying to steal a bag of tools from a truck parked in the 1200 block of White Street. The witness confronted Bogovich, who dropped the bag and left the scene. Then at about 8:20 that night, a clerk at a convenience store on Central Avenue reported that Bogovich left the store without paying for a bag of cigars and a scratch ticket. If convicted on all the charges against him, Bogovich could face up to 82 years in prison.

State Awards Hempstead, Senior Money for Apprenticeship Programs

Both of Dubuque’s public high schools will receive state funding to support apprenticeship programs. Hempstead and Senior are among a dozen entities around the state that will money from Iowa Workforce Development. According to a release, both schools will get $10,000. The money is intended to help the schools either create a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship programs or provide on-going support for a program that already exists. In Dubuque, the funding will be used to support apprenticeship opportunities in both carpentry and welding. In addition, the West Delaware school district in Manchester will get $15,000 for a High School Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Pilot Program to Test Out New, "Smart" Parking Meters

Courtesy: KCRG

The city of Dubuque will test out a new kind of “smart” parking meter in the hopes of finding a replacement for the current meters. Later this fall, the city will temporarily install about a dozen of the new meters as part of a pilot program. According to Transportation Services Director Candace Eudaley-Loebach, the city has been looking at options for phasing out the current parking meters, which she says are outdated and costly. Eudaley-Loebach says the smart meters, which will be supplied by Minnesota-based Municipal Parking Services, have several attractive features. In addition to having a much larger and more interactive screen, the meters are able to accept credit card payments on-site. The meters would also provide the city with a wealth of data about parking trends. The meters have sensors that can read a vehicle’s license plate. Eudaley-Loebach says that feature often makes for an increase in both revenue and parking compliance, since people know they’ll get a ticket if they don’t pay. City Council members seemed mostly impressed with the smart meters, with the exception of 1st Ward representative Brett Shaw. He doesn’t believe parking should be a major revenue source for the city. Shaw cast the only vote against approving the smart meter pilot project. The meters are expected to be placed in the 200 and 800 blocks of Main Street, and the 900 block of Jackson Street.

Advocates Urge Women to Be, Feel Safe Despite Recent Attacks

Despite another random attack on a woman in Iowa, law enforcement and victim advocates say women shouldn’t be afraid to live their lives. Former Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena was killed while playing a practice round on Monday. Her death follows the July murder of college student Mollie Tibbetts, who was killed while out for a jog. Here in Dubuque, a local college student was attacked while jogging on Grandview Avenue in late July. Dubuque Police Lt. Joe Messerich tells our coverage partner, KCRG-TV, women should feel they’re able to exercise safely, but also be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Kristen Field is a Violence Prevention Educator at the Riverview Center. She says there’s still a stereotype that women are weaker, and therefore, make for easier targets. Field argues that instead of putting the onus on women to keep themselves safe, attitudes among men have to change. Avid runner Emily Bloome agrees. She says she’s tired of being questioned about what she wears or where she goes when she jogs. The men accused of killing Arozamena and Tibbetts are currently facing 1st Degree Murder charges. 22-year-old Thomas Langel of Dubuque has been charged with Assault in connection with the attack on the Grandview jogger. He’s scheduled to go on trial on October 1st.

Dubuque Robbery Suspect Facing Additional Charges

A Dubuque man accused of trying to rob people at knifepoint had been accused in other thefts in the days leading to his arrest. That’s according to court documents filed along with new charges against 33-year-old Joseph Bogovich. He was arrested shortly before midnight last Friday on three counts of 1st Degree Robbery. According to police, Bogovich approached three women walking near the intersection of 11th and Jackson Streets. He reportedly held out a knife and demanded money. The women turned and ran away from Bogovich down an alley. Since his arrest, Bogovich has had additional charges of 3rd Degree Burglary and 5th Degree Theft added against him. According to police reports, those charges stem from incidents last Thursday. At about 1:40 that afternoon, a witness reported seeing Bogovich trying to steal a bag of tools from a truck parked in the 1200 block of White Street. The witness confronted Bogovich, who dropped the bag and left the scene. Then at about 8:20 that night, a clerk at a convenience store on Central Avenue reported that Bogovich left the store without paying for a bag of cigars and a scratch ticket. If convicted on all the charges against him, Bogovich could face up to 82 years in prison.

Loras Receives Substantial Grant For Upgrades

A nearly 200-thousand dollar grant will be used for a number of upgrades at Loras College. The college was recently awarded a grant for 190-thousand dollars by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to upgrade science class rooms and labs, purchase laboratory equipment and install a new water purification system inside St. Joseph Hall of Science. Approximately 340 students study biology, biochemistry and neuroscience at St. Joseph Hall each year. Expansion of the DNA lab will provide a larger space for more students and more room for research projects. The building will also receive an upgraded distillation system that purifies water. Renovations and installation of new equipment will begin this fall, with an open house tentatively planned for spring.

Flood Damage To Be Assessed In Wisconsin

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will tour 17 counties in Wisconsin next week to conduct a preliminary assessment of the damaged caused by flooding and tornadoes in late August. The request was made by Governor Scott Walker. The 17 counties include Crawford and Richland in the southwestern part of the state. FEMA teams will assess damage to homes, but will not be going inside of those homes, but rather verify damage from the outside, so residents do not need to be at home during the assessments. Local damage assessments from those counties which has been finalized, shows more than 108 million dollars in damage to homes. 56 homes were totally destroyed. Flooding also caused more than 75 million in damage to public infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and dams. EMA officials will begin assessing damage to homes and infrastructure on September 24th.

Field Of Dreams Vandal Pleads Guilty

Images from the Field of Dreams Movie Site Facebook page shows damage down by a truck in January.

The suspect accused of damaging the Field of Dreams Movie Site last winter has pled guilty. 21-year-old Austin Pape entered his plea to a felony count of 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief this week. According to police, Pape drove a pickup truck over various parts of the field late last January. Recent warm weather at the field meant that Pape’s truck cut deep ruts across the field. An underground sprinkler system was also damaged. The total cost of the damage was estimated at the time to be at least $15,000. Pape had originally pled not guilty to charges of criminal mischief and reckless driving. It appears that second charge has been dropped in exchange for his guilty plea to the mischief charge. Pape could be sent to prison for as many as five years when he’s sentenced in November.

Report: Blum Getting No Help From National GOP, Being Heavily Out-Spent

Blum, Finkenauer

With fewer than fifty days until Election Day, national Republican groups may be backing away from Iowa Congressman Rod Blum. A report from the Des Moines Register shows Democrat-supporting groups are out-spending Blum nearly ten to one when it comes to buying air time for campaign advertisements. The Register found that groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC have spent more than $1.2 million to air ads either attacking Blum, or in support of his opponent, state lawmaker Abby Finkenauer. Meanwhile, no national Republican groups or political action committees have stepped up to help the Blum campaign, which has spent about $130,000 on TV ad space. Some analysts say that’s a sign national Republicans are wary about Blum’s chances to hold onto his seat. But Loras College Associate Professor of Politics Dr. Chris Budzisz says it’s too early for the Blum campaign to panic. To him, it’s not necessarily a surprise Blum is being out-spent. Budzisz notes that Blum has overcome similar financial disadvantages in the past. Budzisz estimates that the ad spending picture will be much clearer in a couple of weeks. Last week, an Emerson College poll showed Finkenauer with a five-point lead on Blum, though that spread was within the margin of error. Multiple reporting services have recently said that the race now leans toward Finkenauer, as opposed to the “toss up” rating they’d previously given it.

Teens Cited for Having Fake Gun Near School

A pair of Dubuque teenagers were cited for having a fake gun near school grounds yesterday afternoon. According to a posting on the Dubuque Police Department’s Facebook page, officers were called at about 12:30 PM after an adult saw two teenage boys drop a gun on Althauser Street. That’s near Jefferson Middle School. Officers responded, and confiscated the airsoft gun. Airsofts are gas or spring-powered gun replicas that shoot small pellets. They can sometimes very closely resemble actual firearms. Police say there’s no indication the airsoft gun was ever taken onto school grounds. The boys were each given a citation for Carrying Weapons. Their names have not been released.

Dubuque Council Gives Final Approval to Noise Ordinance Changes for Sporting Events

After more than a month of discussions, the Dubuque City Council approved changes to the city’s noise ordinance regarding games at local schools and colleges. Under the changes, games will be exempt from city noise rules between the hours of 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM on school nights, and until midnight on weekends. An exemption was also put in place for band or music practices, which can begin as early as 7:00 AM. But under the ordinance language, athletic practices will not have the same exemption. That continued to be a point of contention for Councilman Brett Shaw, even as he conceded that the new ordinance was likely to pass. Shaw did not feel that there had been enough complaints to justify the change. The ordinance change passed, 5-2. Shaw and Mayor Roy Buol cast the “no” votes.

Women Fight Over $25, Phone at Dubuque Taco Bell

A fight over $25 at a Dubuque fast food restaurant led to the arrests of three women over the weekend. Just before 3:00 Saturday afternoon, police were called to the Taco Bell on South Locust Street. Officers arriving at the scene say they saw three women fighting in the parking lot. One of the women, 18-year-old Torianne Maanika, told police she’d gone to the Taco Bell to confront 21-year-old Brianna Williams about money Williams owed her. When Williams told Maanika she didn’t have the money, Maanika grabbed her cell phone and ran out of the store. Williams chased after her, and the two came to blows in the parking lot. That’s where a 3rd woman, 21-year-old Tatiyona-Cammia Williams, joined the altercation. All three women have been charged with Disorderly Conduct. Police say they found about a gram of marijuana on Brianna Williams while she was being searched during her arrest. She’s facing an additional charge of Possession of Marijuana.

Bagley Man Faces Charges After Domestic Disturbance In Grant County

A Bagley man faces domestic disorderly conduct and other charges following an incident in the Township of Wyalusing last week. At around 6:20 p.m. last Wednesday, deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to a home in the 14-hundfrerd block of Horstman Lane to investigate a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, 60 year old Lance Lewandowski had left the residence in his vehicle. A short time later a deputy pulled over a car driven by Lewandowski and after a brief investigation, Lewandowski was taken into custody on two valid arrest warrants, and charged with domestic disorderly conduct and third offense operating while intoxicated.

Dubuque City Expo Happens Tuesday

Residents in Dubuque as well as newcomers to the area will have the opportunity to learn all about the various services and programs offered by the city at a city expo event tomorrow. Public Information Officer Randy Gehl says this year there will be over 50 displays. The city expo is billed as a “family friendly’ event” and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. Attendees can participate in the “Expo Passport” program, where they’ll have a chance to win door prizes. It’s call “passport” because it allows people to visit every booth on display. The city expo has been held off-and-on for over 20 years. The free event will happen from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Five Flags Center in downtown Dubuque on Tuesday.

UPDATE: UTV Operator Dies Nearly a Week After Lafayette Co. Crash

A southern Wisconsin man who was injured in a UTV crash earlier this month has died from the injuries he suffered. Last week, we reported that 41-year-old Cory Williams of Janesville was seriously injured the previous Sunday after crashing a UTV on the Cheese Country Trail in Lafayette County. According to local authorities, Williams had lost control of the UTV, which rolled several times. He was first taken to Memorial Hospital in Darlington, then airlifted to UW Hospital in Madison. According to an update from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office, Williams died on Saturday morning. A passenger on Williams’ UTV was also injured, but not seriously. At the time, the sheriff’s department said that alcohol and “careless operation” were factors in the crash.

Suspected Drunk Drivers Arrested After Crashing ATVs Near Darlington

A southwest Wisconsin man is facing charges after reportedly crashing an ATV into a buggy while under the influence. The crash happened at 6:45 Sunday evening on County Highway F west of Darlington. According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office, 50-year-old Michael Mathys of Darlington was operating an ATV that collided with the buggy. One underage person was injured in the crash, though it’s unclear which vehicle the child was in. Mathys was arrested on a charge of Operating an ATV While Intoxicated. He’s also facing a handful of violations, including one for operating the ATV without registration.

In an unrelated incident, another Darlington man was arrested on a similar charge later in the evening when he hit a deer with an ATV. That crash happened at about 8:00. 45-year-old Brain Lancaster was arrested on a charge of Operating an ATV While Intoxicated, Causing Injury. A passenger on his ATV suffered a minor injury.

Krapfl's Family "Shocked" by Betwell's Plea Change


Relatives of a murdered Dubuque woman say they were shocked to learn that her killer would be pleading guilty, just days before his trial was set to begin. Last Thursday, 22-year-old Helmon Betwell reversed course and pled guilty to a 1st Degree Murder charge in the September 2015 death of Nancy Krapfl. During the hearing, the judge went ahead and sentenced Betwell to life in prison without any chance of parole. Krapfl’s niece, Tami Lansing, told our coverage partners, KCRG-TV, that she was very surprised to learn of the plea change. According to prosecutors, Betwell attacked Krapfl while she was out for her morning walk. Lansing says she’s relieved Betwell won’t be able to hurt anyone else. Lansing was asked if she’d ever be able to forgive Betwell. She says maybe…but it will take some time. Betwell’s trial was set to begin today in Davenport. In exchange for his guilty plea to the murder charge, prosecutors dropped a count of 1st Degree Sexual Abuse that he had also been facing.

Dubuque Woman Helps Coordinate Shelter, Supplies in South Carolina

A Dubuque woman working with the Red Cross in hurricane-affected areas says their focus is now on housing and getting supplies to evacuees. Jolene Carpenter is managing a Red Cross district that is based in Florence, South Carolina. It’s about 100 miles from where Hurricane Florence made landfall late last week. While her location didn’t receive the brunt of the storm, Carpenter says they’re now housing people who were forced from their homes due to flooding. Carpenter says they’ve been utilizing local National Guard soldiers to help move supplies. Carpenter expects to be in South Carolina assisting with recovery efforts for at least the rest of the month.

New Restaurant Coming to Dubuque Airport

Travelers flying in and out of the Dubuque Regional Airport won’t have to do it on an empty stomach soon. The airport announced over the weekend that a new restaurant will be opening there soon. The eatery will be known as “Judy’s Runway Café and Catering,” though no other details were included in the announcement. It will be the third restaurant to occupy space in the airport since an expansion of the terminal in the summer of 2016. Both of the others were open for less than a year. The airport has been without a restaurant since The Hangar Bar and Grille closed this past June.

Avery Foundation Gala Raises $20,000 for Cancer Patients

A Dubuque-based cancer charity recently brought in more than $20,000 at its annual gala. The Avery Foundation, which raises money to support cancer patients and their families, held the event earlier this month. The group raised just more than $20,000 through the event. That money will be awarded to local cancer patients in the form of grants. Those grants can then be used to pay for gas, food, and hotel accommodations for patients who have to travel to receive treatment. The foundation awarded grants worth nearly four thousand dollars to two families during the gala.

Research for the Kids Poker Run Raises Nearly Quarter Million Dollars

In a video posted to Facebook, Research for the Kids organizers reveal their fundraising total.

An annual fundraiser for childhood health issues brought in a record amount this weekend. The group called Research for the Kids held their 10th annual poker run across the western portion of Dubuque County on Saturday. Proceeds raised this year totaled about $248,000, which is the most the group has brought in at one time. The money will be donated to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It will help pay for the facility’s research into childhood brain cancer and heart defects.

Alliant: Faulty Electrical Line to Blame for Early Morning Power Outage

A faulty piece of electrical line is being blamed for a power outage that affected more than one thousand Dubuquers this morning. The outage was reported at about 4:30 AM and nearly 1,300 Alliant Energy customers were without power. Service was restored shortly before 6:00 AM, after crews were able to locate – and then replace – the piece of line that had failed. The power was turned back on about an hour earlier than Alliant had been estimating. The outage was largely contained to the College/Grandview district of Dubuque, specifically the area between University Avenue and Dodge Street, but east of Grandview.

Senior's Hansen Named Top Leader by DAYLC

A student from Senior High School has been named the Dubuque area’s top young leader. Katie Hansen received that recognition from the Dubuque Area Youth Leadership Council, or DAYLC, during its awards ceremony on Wednesday. Hansen will now represent the Tri-States at the National Council on Youth Leadership’s annual Town Meeting on Tomorrow conference, which will be held in St. Louis next month. Belle Sander of Cuba City was chosen as Hansen’s runner-up and will also have the opportunity to attend that conference. The two both receive scholarships on top of their recognition, with Hansen receiving $1,000 and Sander getting $750. Each year, DAYLC selects the area’s top high school leaders from a group of one hundred who are nominated by their schools. The students come from ten Tri-State high schools, and must excel academically. They also typically participate in multiple extra-curricular activities.

The top ten leaders, as chosen by the DAYLC board:

Katie Hansen, Dubuque Senior

Belle Sander, Cuba City

Brady Booth, Dubuque Senior

Dani Goedken, Beckman

Myra Clasen, Western Dubuque

Brian Cochran, Dubuque Wahlert

Jack Doyle, Dubuque Wahlert

Cassie Murray, Cuba City

Maya Osterhaus, Beckman

Shelby Westhoff, Beckman

Alliant: Power Restored After Early Morning Outage in Dubuque

Power has now been restored to the several hundred Dubuquers who woke up without power this morning. According to Alliant Energy, nearly 1,300 customers were impacted by the outage. Most of the affected customers were located in an area bounded by University Avenue, Dodge Street, North Grandview Avenue, and the bluff. The outage was reported at about 4:30 this morning. The cause is still not known.

Dubuque Man Among Red Cross Volunteers Helping with Hurricane Relief

Marty Schiessl of Dubuque (center) poses outside the Dubuque Regional Airport before leaving for North Carolina on Tuesday (Courtesy: American Red Cross).

A Dubuque man is among the volunteers the American Red Cross has dispatched to help with hurricane recovery efforts. Marty Schiessl of Dubuque left for North Carolina on Tuesday. He’s one of about a dozen Red Cross volunteers from across Iowa that will be assisting with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Red Cross leaders say that having Iowans involved in the clean-up will not only help those in the path of the storm, but is a benefit to Iowa as well. This is Schiessl’s 14th deployment in just four years of volunteering with the Red Cross.

Betwell Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge, Sentenced to Life in Prison


Just more than three years after the crime, a Dubuque man has admitted that he killed a local woman. 22-year-old Helmon Betwell yesterday pled guilty to a 1st Degree Murder charge in connection with the September 2015 death of 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl. In exchange for the plea, a sexual assault charge against Betwell was dropped. According to prosecutors, Betwell attacked Krapfl while she was out for her morning walk on September 1, 2015. He sexually assaulted and beat her in a vacant home near the intersection of 17th and Heeb Streets, then left her for dead. Krapfl did die of her injuries later that day. Traffic camera footage tied Betwell to the crime, and he was arrested the following day. In the three years since then, Betwell’s competency has been argued multiple times, and he spent several months at a state psychiatric facility as attorneys sparred over whether he was fit for trial. He was scheduled to finally go on trial next week. 1st Degree Murder carries a mandatory life prison sentence, with no possibility for parole.

DRA Gives School District Big Check

An official with the Dubuque Racing Association recently hand delivered a big check to the Dubuque school board. The 154-thousand dollar grant to the district was announced in May and at its’ most recent school board meeting, Kathy Droessler, DRA director of grants turned the check over to board president Tami Ryan. Droessler says this year’s grant award to the district is 34-thousand more than it was last year. Superintendent Stan Rheingans says they’ll review every proposal from every school that requested funds and divide the money up. Over the past 20 years, the DRA has awarded over 3.6 million dollars to the district.

AAA: Gas Prices Trending Down, Further Declines Expected

Gas prices have declined slightly both nationwide and here in the Tri-States as the summer driving season has come to a close, and analysts expect the downward trend to continue. According to the national auto club AAA, gas prices nationwide fell by about a cent and a half this week, to $2.84 per gallon. AAA spokesperson Nick Jarmusz tells us that it’s typical to see a decline in prices after Labor Day. The relief at the pump comes after a summer where prices were as much as 40 cents per gallon higher than last year. While local prices continue to sit about a quarter per gallon above last year’s levels, Jarmusz says the past few years have shown there’s no such thing as a “normal” gas price. Due to the improving economy, it’s possible that demand for gas won’t drop off as much as it typically does this fall and winter. According to, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Dubuque County is currently about $2.78. It’s about the same across the river in Grant County, while the average price in Jo Daviess County is a few cents cheaper at $2.71.

"Iowa Wave" Shirt Sale Proceeds Donated by Dubuque Company

Connor Weitz (center) presents a ceremonial check to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, along with representatives of Dubuque’s Hy-Vee stores and former Hawkeye basketball player Peter Jok (left). Courtesy: Zoarc.

The owner of a Dubuque clothing company has donated a portion of the proceeds of some of his t-shirt sales to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Connor Weitz owns Zoarc, a lifestyle and fitness company. Last fall, he began selling t-shirts promoting the so-called “Iowa Wave.” That’s the new tradition where fans attending Hawkeye football games turn and wave to patients staying at the children’s hospital, which overlooks Kinnick Stadium. Weitz donated four thousand dollars from the shirt sales to the hospital this week. Weitz had previously donated another two thousand dollars. His “Iowa Wave” shirts are on sale at Dubuque’s three Hy-Vee stores.

AP: Reynolds Got OK to Take Free Flight on State Vendor's Plane


An Associated Press review has found that Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds received approval from a state regulator to fly to Iowa State’s bowl game for free on a jet owned by a company that is a longtime state vendor. That’s despite a law barring public officials and their relatives from accepting gifts. Reynolds flew to Tennessee to watch the Cyclones play in the Liberty Bowl on last December on a plane owned by Sedgwick, which administers workers’ compensation claims filed by injured state employees. Reynolds’ office received approval from the state ethics board director to accept the flight for herself and her family as a campaign donation from Sedgwick CEO Dave North, who lives in Bellevue. He says he reimbursed his company for the plane’s use. Records show Reynolds’ office said “bona fide campaign events” would take be happening during the half-day trip.

Camp Courageous Plans to Add More Solar Panels

Courtesy: KCRG

A Jones County camp for children with special needs has announced plans to add more solar panels to its campus. According to our coverage partners at KCRG-TV, Camp Courageous near Monticello will add the panels as part of a four-phase project. The camp has already completed the first two phases, which involved installing solar panels on the roofs of their Multi-Purpose Building and Indoor Pool. Phase three would see solar panels installed on the Maintenance Building, three Camper Cabins, and the Main Lodge. The final phase of the project will add solar panels to their main pavilion. Camp leaders expect the addition of the panels will save the camp thousands of dollars in the future. There’s no timetable for completion of the final two phases of the project.

Dubuquers Among Three Sentenced for Bringing Meth From Texas

A pair of Dubuque residents are among three people who will be headed to federal prison for bringing methamphetamine from Texas to the Dubuque area. Dubuque residents 31-year-old Kevin Heim and 45-year-old Stacy Weidenbacher both pled guilty to federal counts of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. Heim will spend more than 14 years in prison, while Weidenbacher was sentenced to just more than six years behind bars. Heim and Weidenbacher were two of the three people in a car pulled over near Cascade in late January. Officers located four packages totaling more than four pounds of meth in their vehicle. The three had purchased the drugs in Texas and were planning to sell them in the Dubuque area.

Dubuque Man Gets Nearly 12 Years on Drug, Gun Charges

A Dubuque man will be spending nearly a dozen years in federal prison after pleading guilty to drug and gun charges. 34-year-old Richard Hense was sentenced on Tuesday after earlier pleading to charges of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm by a Drug User. According to prosecutors, Hense sold about 10 pounds of ice methamphetamine throughout Dubuque between September 2016 and October of last year. That’s when Hense was stopped for a traffic violation. Officers found a half-ounce of ice methamphetamine, prescription pills, a digital scale, and a loaded .32 caliber revolver in the car.

Tour Bus Damaged After Rollover on a Dubuque County Road

A tour bus sustained tens of thousands of dollars in damage after its driver rolled it into a Dubuque County ditch yesterday afternoon. Deputies from the county sheriff’s office were called to the area near the county conservation office on Swiss Valley Road at about 2:30 PM. That’s where a tour bus had gone into the ditch and turned onto its side after its driver failed to make it around a curve in the road. The driver, 65-year-old Michael Ott of La Crosse, was the only person on board the bus at the time of the crash. He was treated for minor injuries at the scene and cited for Failure to Maintain Control. Damage to the bus is estimated at $100,000.

ATV/UTV Committee Being Formed In Dubuque County

The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors is putting together a committee to look at the pros and cons of ATV and UTV use on county roads. Over the past few months the board held several public meetings, inviting people for and against the use of the vehicles on county roads. Currently, ATV’s and UTV’s are not allowed on Dubuque county roads. Supervisors chair Jay Wickham says they want to study the issue a little bit more before making a final decision. Supervisors are now accepting applications from county residents to be part of a 9-to-15 member ad hoc committee. The committee will be comprised of people in favor and in opposition of ATV/UTV use and each side will have equal representation on the committee. Wickham would like to see the committee meet at least a half dozen times before the end of the year. Applications to become a member of the committee can be downloaded from the county’s website. They must be returned to the Human Resources Department by noon on October 4th.

Lucky Number Helps Dyersville Man Claim $10,000 Lottery Prize

A Dyersville man’s lucky number came up and earned him a 10-thousand dollar lottery prize. Anthony Botts won the money playing the Iowa Lottery’s “Double Match” scratch game at the Casey’s General Store in Dyersville. Botts says that his lucky number, 21, came up twice during his winning transaction. Persistence paid off for Botts, who says he buys a scratch ticket every morning after getting off work. The 21-year-old Botts plans to use his winnings to pay off debt. Some of it may also go towards a down payment on a new truck.

Rains Slow Southwest Arterial Progress, But Completion Still On Target

Construction work continues on the Southwest Arterial west of Dubuque (Courtesy: City of Dubuque).

Late summer rainfall has slowed progress on construction of the Southwest Arterial, but the overall completion date is still on target. That’s according to those overseeing the project, which will re-route traffic on the three federal highways that serve Dubuque around the city. Assistant City Engineer Bob Schiesl tells us that last month’s rainfall slowed progress on some of the project’s individual sections by a couple of weeks. While summer is typically thought of as “road construction season,” Schiesl says grading work will keep going this fall, and construction on the road’s bridges will continue through the upcoming winter. The bidding process on the arterial’s final two bridges will begin next month. When the Iowa Department of Transportation approved a full four-lane build of the roadway, Schiesl says it changed the scope of those bridge projects. Completion of the Southwest Arterial is still targeted for late next year, though any delays on those final bridges could push it to early 2020. Construction on the Southwest Arterial is now in its 3rd year. The total cost of the project is nearly $175 million.

Archdiocese of Dubuque to Host "Service of Lament" Over Priest Abuse Scandals

Archbishop Michael Jackels

The Archdiocese of Dubuque will hold a special service in light of recent clergy abuse reports. The archdiocese has announced that it will host a “Service of Lament” at 7:00 Friday night at St. Raphael’s Cathedral in downtown Dubuque. Archbishop Michael Jackels will lead the service. According to a news release, the service is being held to “acknowledge guilt for sin, say sorry, and even be so bold as to ask pardon from God and others.” Among a new batch of recent priest abuse reports is a grand jury finding that more than 300 Pennsylvania priests were credibly accused of sexual abuse, only to have church officials try to cover up the crimes. A group of American bishops and cardinals will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday to discuss that and other abuse scandals.

School Board Considers Pushing Back Start Time for High School, Middle School Classes


Middle and high school students in the Dubuque could see a later start time beginning next year. A school board committee is exploring the possibility of those students beginning their day at a later time as a cost-saving measure. Right now, high school students start classes at 7:35, while middle school classes begin at 7:45. Committee chair and school board member Nancy Bradley says research shows middle and high school students do better when they have a later start time. The idea of changing the start times is only in an initial stage. Bradley says it’s good for the community to know that they’re looking at the idea of tweaking the start and end times for the students. In other business at Monday’s school board meeting, Tami Ryan was re-elected as Board President, while Jim Prochaska was chosen to serve as vice president.

Miller-Riverview Park Re-Opens Today

A Dubuque park that had been closed for flooding is re-opening today, ahead of the schedule expected by city staff. A news release from the city of Dubuque says that Miller-Riverview Park is re-opening this morning. Earlier this week, parks staff told us that they were planning to have the park open by late this week. Miller-Riverview was closed last week due to high waters on the Mississippi River. It was the third time this year that flooding forced the park to close. The most recent closure was the shortest of the three. Staffers are hoping the park will now remain open through the end of October, when it closes for the season.

Business Group to Take Over Halloween Parade

It appears that Dubuque’s annual Halloween parade will live on. We told you last week that the Dubuque Community Y was discontinuing their sponsorship of the event, leaving its status in jeopardy. But yesterday, the Y announced that a group of local businesses, led by the McGrath Family of auto dealerships and Pinnacle Cellular and Satellite, had stepped forward to take over the event. The group is currently working to secure the necessary permits from the city, but is planning to host the Halloween parade on Monday, October 29. It’s not clear whether a ban on throwing candy during the parade, which was instituted by the Y last year, will carry on with the new sponsors.

NICC Levy Extension, Monticello Bond Pass While Bellevue Measure Fails

Voters in Northeast Iowa Community College’s thirteen-county district overwhelmingly supported an extension of the school’s tax levy, while two area school districts saw mixed results in bond issue votes. 84% of those who voted on the NICC issue backed providing $39 million to the college. NICC plans to use that money for a variety of physical upgrades, with about half of the funding to be spent at the Peosta campus. Only about 4% of registered voters across NICC’s district turned out for the election.

Voters in Bellevue once again turned down a bond issue that would have provided funding for the local public school district. A $16 millon bond issue would have paid for a new elementary school to replace the current building, which is about 170 years old. 56% of the voters who cast ballots were against the bond issue.

Monticello’s school district will be getting the $15 million it asked for to build a new middle school. 71% of the voters in that district were in favor of the bond issue, giving it well past the 60% support needed for passage. Monticello’s current middle school building is about 95 years old. It will be replaced by an addition to the current high school complex.

Iowa's Survey On Aging Available Now

What are the biggest challenges facing people as they age in Iowa? That’s a question that a group of organizations want to know as they prepare for the next legislative session. The Iowa Department on Aging, AARP and the Older Iowans Legislature are working together asking residents all of ages for their thoughts on what Iowa legislators can do to improve the quality of life for the state’s older population. O.I.L. chair Helene Magee of Dubuque says a brief online survey has been posted on all three organization’s websites and focuses on issues impacting older Iowans and their caregivers. O.I.L. will hold its’ annual meeting on September 24th and the 25th in Des Moines, and leaders intend to use the results of the survey to form their legislative agenda for next year. This year a number of notable political figures are being invited to address the conference. Iowa has a rapidly growing aging population, and by the year 2050, elderly people will make up roughly 25 percent of the state’s population. The online survey will be available through September 21st.

Additional Upgrades Boost Cost of New Cascade Pool

Courtesy: KCRG

Added improvements to the swimming pool in Cascade have increased the cost of the project, and city leaders are looking at ways to raise the additional funds. In May, Cascade voters authorized the city to sell $2 million in bonds to make improvements to the city’s pool, which is more than fifty years old. Due to the community’s response, city leaders revisited the project and decided to add upgrades to the bathhouse. City Administrator Deanna McCusker says that has bumped up the price tag for the improvements. The total cost of the project is now estimated at $3.5 million. McCusker says it makes sense to make the improvements to the bathhouse at the same time as the other upgrades. Cascade’s city council on Monday approved putting about $500,000 toward the project, on top of the $2 million in bonds. McCusker says the rest of the money could come from several sources. A committee has been formed to launch a capital campaign to help raise money for the pool project. The group has set an initial goal of raising $1.7 million. The capital campaign will launch next Monday with a meeting at the Cascade Memorial Hall gymnasium. Iowa Hawkeyes broadcaster Gary Dolphin and longtime Cascade drama and cross country coach Bob Davidshofer are honorary co-chairs of the campaign.

Flexsteel CEO Retires Abruptly

The head of a Dubuque-based manufacturing company has stepped down. Flexsteel announced this morning that Chief Executive Officer Karel Czanderna has retired, effective this past Sunday. A statement from Flexsteel says, in part “this decision was not the result of any dispute or disagreement with the company or…related to the company’s operations, policies, practices, management or Board of Directors.” Czanderna had been Flexsteel’s CEO for just more than six years, since July of 2012. Jeff Bertsch, who sits on Flexsteel’s board and is a former senior vice president, has been chosen as the company’s interim president. The company has already started its search for a full-time replacement for Czanderna. Flexsteel is currently in the process of building a new factory in Dubuque’s Industrial Center South. That facility is expected to be completed next month.

Reynolds, Hubbell Campaigns Reach Agreement on Debates


The two major candidates for Iowa governor have agreed to debate each other three times over a 12-day stretch next month. The deal was jointly announced by the campaigns of incumbent Republican Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell early this week. The first debate between the two will be held on Wednesday, October 10, in Des Moines. It’s being co-hosted by the Des Moines Register and Des Moines TV station KCCI. A second debate will come one week later, on the 17th. It will be held in Sioux City and will be televised locally by KWWL-TV in Waterloo. The third and final debate between Hubbell and Reynolds is set for Sunday, October 21st. It will be held in Davenport and is being co-hosted by our coverage partners at KCRG-TV, their Davenport sister station KWQC, and the Quad City Times.

Remains of Clayton County Native Killed at Pearl Harbor Identified

The remains of a Clayton County native killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, a division of the Department of Defense, announced this week it positively identified remains found at Pearl Harbor as those of Navy Fireman 3rd Class Robert J. Bennett. Bennett was originally from the Clayton County town of Monona. According to the agency, the 18-year-old was on board the USS Oklahoma when Japanese aircraft attacked it in December of 1941. The remains of many of those killed at Pearl Harbor eventually ended up at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Agency personnel began removing those remains from the cemetery in 2015, and attempted to identify them through several methods, including DNA testing.

Grant County Deputy Injured by Suspected Drunk Driver

Rear-end damage is shown on the Grant County Sheriff’s Department vehicle which was struck last week (Courtesy: Grant County Sheriff).

The Grant County Sheriff’s Department has identified the deputy who narrowly avoided serious injury when a suspected drunk driver crashed into his squad car last week. A few minutes before 3:00 last Friday morning, Deputy Duane Jacobson responded to an area along US Highways 61/151 in the Sandy Hook area for a large amount of hay in the road. While Jacobson investigated, he parked his squad car on the road, with all of its lights on. A car being driven by 28-year-old Paige Rice of Platteville then smashed into the rear of Jacobson’s vehicle. Her car then veered into the median, where Jacobson was walking. He had to dive out of the car’s path to avoid being hit. Rice was arrested and charged with Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury. Jacobson was taken to Southwest Health in Platteville and treated for minor injuries.

School Elections in Several Communities Tuesday

Voters in several Tri-State area school districts and will decide on bond issues Tuesday. Northeast Iowa Community College is asking voters extend of the school’s bond levy for another ten years. The levy would provide NICC with about $39 million dollars, which would be used for various improvements. If approved, the current tax rate of roughly 29 cents per thousand dollars valuation would be kept in place. Voters in most of Dubuque, Clayton, Delaware, Jackson, and Jones counties are eligible to vote on the NICC bond issue.
Meanwhile in Bellevue, voters are being asked to approve a bond issue that would give the local public school district up to $16 million dollars to build a new elementary school. The current building is 170 years old.
There’s also a bond issue election in Monticello, where voters will decide whether to invest $15 million dollars into their schools. The money would pay for several things, most notably a new middle school to replace the current building, which was built in 1923.
Polls open at 7:00 this morning in Jones County and at noon in Dubuque, Clayton, and Delaware counties. Polls close at 8:00 PM across the area.

Poll: Finkenauer Has Five Point Lead on Blum

Blum, Finkenauer

Polling data continues to suggest that the Congressman currently representing Dubuque will have a difficult time earning a third term. Boston-based Emerson College released the results of a poll that focused on this fall’s races in Iowa this week. According to their data, Democrat State Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque has a five-point edge on incumbent Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican. Finkenauer received 43% support in the survey, while Blum got 38%. Twelve percent of those contacted say they’re still undecided between the two. The poll also shows a tight race for Iowa Governor. Democrat Fred Hubbell leads incumbent Republican Kim Reynolds, 36-31. But a full 26% of respondents said they’re still undecided in that race. The poll was conducted late last week. Researchers contacted one thousand registered voters and weighted the data based on party affiliation and congressional district. The poll has a margin of error of about three points.

WD Board to Consider Selling Former Bernard Elementary Building

Bernard Elementary School

A former Dubuque County elementary school could soon be up for sale. The Western Dubuque school board will vote tonight on whether to begin the process of selling the Bernard Elementary School building. The board voted to close the school in February of last year, and the building has not been in use since students were dismissed the following May. Superintendent Rick Colpitts says studies of the WD’s enrollment and facilities have shown the district won’t have much use for the building in the future. Possible continued use of the building was something the district considered prior to Bernard Elementary’s closure. Colpitts isn’t sure what kind of interest the building will draw. That’s partly due to the fact that potential buyers would have to take on some significant maintenance costs. The Bernard Elementary building is still less than sixty years old. It first began housing students in 1962.

Miller-Riverview Park Expected to Re-Open Late This Week

Courtesy: KCRG

City staffers in Dubuque are hoping to have a riverside park and campground back open later this week. For the third time this year, high water levels on the Mississippi River forced the closure of Miller-Riverview Park last week. The park is typically closed when the river reaches a depth of 15 feet. Unlike other flood events earlier this year, the river did not go very far above that level this time. Parks Division Manager Steve Fehsal says that will help minimize the length of the closure. Once the river reaches 14 feet, water will state encroaching on the road that leads through Miller-Riverview Park. Additional damage continues as the river climbs from there. Fehsal says the most recent flooding likely stayed in the area around the park road, and did not reach any of the campsites. Miller-Riverview Park opened for the season on April 8th. It was forced to close about three weeks later, and didn’t reopen until early June. The park then closed again less than two weeks later. It opened a little more than a month after that, and had been open for a full six weeks prior to the current closure.

Bernard Woman Killed in Early Morning ATV Crash

A Dubuque County woman died when the all-terrain vehicle she was riding crashed early Sunday morning. According to the Iowa State Patrol, 27-year-old Sarah Bennett of Bernard was a passenger on an ATV that collided with a tree in the Leisure Lake area at about 1:15 AM Sunday. Both Bennett and the driver were thrown from the ATV after the collision. She died at the scene of the crash. It’s not clear how serious the injuries were to the man driving who was driving the ATV.

Dubuque County Inmate Sentenced for Assaulting Fellow Prisoner

An inmate at the Dubuque County Jail has been sentenced for an assault that gave another prisoner a broken neck. Back in late June, 23-year-old Johnathan Williams was charged with Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury after jail staffers said that he attacked a fellow inmate. Williams reportedly picked the other man up from behind and slammed him onto a concrete floor. The other man landed headfirst and was knocked unconscious. He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a neck fracture. Williams recently pled guilty to a lesser charge of Assault Causing Injury. A Dubuque County judge has sentenced him to 90 days in jail. But with credit for time already served and an order that the sentence be served at the same time as Williams’ previous jail term, he won’t spend any additional time behind bars.

After Several Dry Days, Area River Levels Begin to Drop

Several days without any rain appear to have allowed previously swollen rivers around the Tri-States to return closer to normal levels. The National Weather Service reports that only a handful of local rivers are still above or near flood stage. The Mississippi River at Dubuque is nearly a foot below the “action stage” of 15 feet, and continues to trend downward. The weather service expects the Mississippi to drop another three feet in the coming week. The only remaining flood warning in our area is for the Pecatonica River near where it crosses from Wisconsin into Illinois. The river is just slightly above the flood stage of 13 feet at Freeport, and the warning is expected to expire tomorrow morning. The Wisconsin River at Muscoda is currently measuring at 7.4 feet, which is just above its “action stage.” It’s expected to fall below that stage late tomorrow. Those river should all continue to fall, as our weather coverage partners at KCRG have no precipitation chances in our forecast for the coming week.

Revenues Increase at Dubuque's Pools

Flora Park Pool (Courtesy: KCRG)

Dubuque’s swimming pools are costing the city less than ever before. According to city staff, the pools generated more than $335,000 in revenue between their opening in May and the closures at the end of August. That’s an increase of more than $20,000 over last summer. Beyond that, the amount of money the city pays to operate the pools has fallen significantly. Last year, the city subsidy to the pools was about $130,000. This year, it dropped below $40,000, a decline of more than 60%. City Recreation Division Manager Dan Kroger says some of that decrease did come down to good luck. More than 77,000 people visited the pools during the months they were open.

Potosi Man Facing 10th Drunk Driving Charge

A southwestern Wisconsin man is facing his tenth drunken driving charge, on top of several other charges stemming from a domestic incident last week. 51-year-old Scott Wilker of Potosi was arrested early last week. He’s charged with a 10th or Greater Offense of Operating While Intoxicated, as well as Substantial Battery, which is also a felony. Grant County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Wilker’s home after his girlfriend’s daughter had run next door and called 911. The girl said that Wilker was assaulting her mother. Deputies say Wilker left the house before they arrived, but late came back to assault the woman again. That’s when he was arrested and taken to the county jail.

Bellevue School Bond Issue

The Bellevue School District is asking voters to approve a bond referendum that would give the district up to 16 million to build a new elementary school. The bond vote is September 11th. Superintendent Tom Meyer says the current building is outdated, at capacity and lacking in educational needs. Meyer says the school lacks rooms that could be used for collaborative learning. Meyer says renovating and adding space onto the existing building would cost up to 13 million dollars. The current building is 170 years old .


RTA Offers Dubuque To Peosta Bus Route

A transportation service in Dubuque is piloting a bus route between Dubuque and Peosta to help local businesses and students at Northeast Iowa Community College. Regional Transit Authority started the pilot service in early August. Three round trips are offered in the morning and two. The cost to ride the bus is 6-dollars-75 cents for a round trip or 45 dollars for one month. The RTA will try out the route through November 9th, and hopes to have enough riders to make it permanent.

10th OWI For Potosi Man

A Potosi man has been slapped with his 10th operating while intoxicated charged as well as assault, after police say he beat up his live-in girlfriend because the woman and her daughter went to see puppies. A release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office says 51 year old Scott Wilker was arrested Monday night and charged with two felony counts of OWI-10th offense and substantial battery. Wilker was also charged with disorderly conduct. At around 5:20 p.m. deputies responded to a 911 call from a home on North Main Street in Potosi. The woman’s daughter had ran to a neighbor’s house when Wilker reportedly started assaulting her mother. Wilker drove away from the residence before deputies arrived. He came back later and started assaulting the woman again. This time deputies were able to arrest Wilker and transport him to the county jail.

DRA Fly-In Drive-In Breakfast This Weekend 

Hundreds of aircraft enthusiast will converge on the Dubuque Regional Airport this weekend for the annual open house, fly-in, drive-in breakfast. The event is co-hosted by the Experimental Aviation Administration Chapter 327. EAA spokesman Chuck Weber says there will be a variety of aircraft on display, including the University of Iowa helicopter. Airport spokesperson Karen Spezack says they’re expecting well over one-thousand people at the open house. You can also learn about a career in aviation at this year’s open house. Pilots are in demand all across the country. The breakfast and open house will be held from 8 a.m. to noon tomorrow (Sunday) at the old airport terminal building. The cost is 7 dollars for adults and 3 dollars for kids ages 5-to-12. Kids under 5 eat free.

No Halloween Parade For Dubuque This Year......But Hold Your Breath 

It appears there won’t be a Halloween Parade in Dubuque this year. The long time tradition is hosted by the Dubuque Community Y, but organizers have decided that because the Y is growing in other areas, they want to focus their attention on other programs offered by the Y as well as their capital initiatives. Abigail Degenhardt, director of marketing and fund development at the Y. says they did reach out to more than 100 other organizations in hopes that one of them might be able to take over organizing the parade. There is a lot of work involved in putting together the parade, such as meeting with police, fire and parking division officials and coordinating teams of volunteers to help with the parade, and Degenhardt says they are more than willing to help any organization or individual who is interested in hosting the parade. Since the news came out, Degenhardt says she has already received some inquires about taking over the parade. If you would like to, or know of anyone who might be interested in taking over the Halloween Parade, they need to apply for a special-events permit from the city. Booklets with applications can be picked up at city hall.

Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival Moving

Because of flooding on the Mississippi River, organizers of the annual Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival have been forced to move the event to a new location. It’s typically held at Miller Riverview Park, but the park is closed due to flooding until further notice. The festival will now be held at A.Y. McDonald Park this Friday Saturday and Sunday.

Miller Riverview Park Closed Again

High waters levels on the Mississippi River have once again forced the closure of a popular park and campground area in Dubuque. Yesterday city officials announced the closure of Miller Riverview Park until further notice. The river was at around 14 feet at the railroad bridge as of 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. A release from the city says refunds will be issued to campers with reservations until the campground reopens. The online camping reservation system is disabled until the park reopens.

Rheingans Talks About Felon Volunteers In The District

Under state law, school district officials in Iowa are not allowed to inform parents about the criminal records of felons who volunteer in their schools. Convicted felons are volunteering, or have signed up to volunteer in at least three of the state’s largest school districts in Des Moines, Dubuque and Davenport. Dubuque Superintendent Stan Rheingans says out of the five thousand people who have signed up to do volunteer work in their schools, only two are convicted felons. Both were convicted on drunk driving charges. Rheingans says it’s a practice that they always screen potential volunteers, despite state law not requiring background checks. Rheingans says following the background checks on the two felons, he and the Human Resources Department felt very good about them doing volunteer work around kids.

Storms Cause Damage In Dubuque

Heavy rains and strong winds caused tree damage in the northeast part of Dubuque over the holiday weekend. On Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported that a “down burst” or straight line winds hit the eastern edge of the city near the Mississippi River. Tree limbs were down in a large portion of the north end, from Lincoln, Garfield and Rhomberg Avenues to Queen Street. One home in the area and several vehicles were damaged. There was a power outage reported at Miller Riverview Park and some customers of Alliant Energy were without power for a while Sunday afternoon.

Fire Heavily Damages Dubuque County Home

A smoker is being blamed for starting a fire that caused considerable damage to a home in Dubuque County last night. At around 7:20, fire fighters and EMS personnel responded to the Dean Steffen residence in the 6-thousand block of Farley Road. Part of the home, along with the property inside sustained approximately 165-thousand dollars in damage. Fire investigators say a smoker in the attached garage caught on fire and ignited some nearby materials, which spread to the house. No injuries were reported.

Joseph Cut By Bears

Former University of Dubuque standout defensive back Michael Joseph has been cut by the Chicago Bears. Joseph was among several players who were notified that they were going to be released following the team’s 28-27 loss to Buffalo in the final pre-season game of the year Thursday night. Joseph, who went undrafted, signed as a free agent with Chicago right after this year’s draft.

Dubuque Fire Crews Battle Structure Fire

Dubuque fire fighters were busy putting out a fire that was reported at a residence on Jackson Street early this morning. (early Sunday morning) Crews responded to the structure fire in the 22-hundred block of Jackson at around 4:20 a.m. When they arrived, smoke was coming from the top floor of the building. Two people were found inside and brought out safely by fire crews. The fire was quickly located and extinguished. No one was injured. Fire Fighters Answer

Senator Jochum's Daughter Passes Away

The daughter of a local State Senator has passed away. Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque says her daughter Sarah, who dealt with physical and mental disabilities all her life died last night (Thursday night) from a brain injury she sustained after falling at her home. She was 41 years old. Sarah is also the daughter of former state Representative Tom Jochum. A release from Senator Jochum says in part, “as we mourn Sarah’s passing, our family is also celebrating the impact that Sarah had for 41 years on our lives and the lives of so many Iowans.” In goes on to say that “people who met Sarah were moved to help their fellow Iowans through such careers as nursing, social work and special education.” Sarah’s organs are being donated to recipients all across the country.

Sabula Bridge To Reopen

It’s something people in the Sabula, Iowa and Savanna, Illinois areas have been eagerly awaiting for months. A bridge near Sabula that connects the two communities will reopen to traffic by the end of the day today. (reopened to traffic last night. A ferry service that has been taking people across the Mississippi River will stay in operation through Sunday. In late February, crews from the Iowa DOT discovered that the old bridge was settling at one of its’ pier locations, making it unsafe for traffic. It was immediately closed. Travelers were force to take a 36-mile detour to get from one side to another. In July, officials said because of some construction and weather related delays, the bridge would likely be closed until after Labor Day, but now motorists will be able to cross the river in time for the holiday weekend.

Mega Millions Ticket Sold in Maquoketa Worth $10,000

If you bought a ticket for Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing in Maquoketa, you might want to double-check to see if you’re a winner. The Iowa Lottery reports that there was a ticket that matched four white balls and the Mega ball sold at the Kwik Trip in Maquoketa ahead of Tuesday’s drawing. That ticket is worth $10,000. The next Mega Millions drawing is tonight, with the jackpot currently sitting at $152 million.

Immigrant Living in Dubuque Sentenced for Illegally Re-Entering US

A Guatemalan man who was living in Dubuque after illegally re-entering the United States is headed to federal prison. 24-year-old Diego Brito-Garcia was sentenced to two months in prison this week. The sentence follows his July guilty plea to a charge of Illegal Re-entry into the US. Brito-Garcia had previously been deported in 2014. He re-entered the country the following year, eventually finding his way to Dubuque. Federal authorities say he used fake documents, including a Social Security card and “green card,” when applying for work at a Dubuque business in March of 2016. Immigration agents found Brito-Garcia while he was being held in the Dubuque County Jail following his arrest for Domestic Assault in May. He’ll be turned over to immigration officials following his time in prison.

Corn Boil, Car Show in East Dubuque This Weekend 

If you like nibbling on Fincel’s sweet corn and watching cars cruise the strip, then you want to be in East Dubuque this Labor Day weekend for the “Sunday Funday”. The event, sponsored by the Edge Foundation starts with a free corn boil at 4:30 p.m, according to spokesperson Casey Klein. For the past couple years, the foundation has held a car show every Thursday in East Dubuque in the downtown area. Dan Dalberg is the car show organizer. He says all years, makes and models are welcome to participate. There will be plenty of games and activities for kids as well as live music for everyone to enjoy. Volunteers are also needed earlier in the day on Sunday to help shuck corn. They should meet in the grass lot next to Salon 150 downtown.

Dubuque County Mother, Son Win $300,000 Lottery Prize

A Dubuque County mother and son will be splitting a $300,000 jackpot after winning the top prize in the Iowa Lottery’s “Colossal Crossword” scratch game. Pam Fern and her son Adam, who live in Farley, used their winnings from another scratch game to purchase their winning ticket at the Casey’s in Farley. Adam says he predicted their good fortunes before his mom scratched the ticket. Pam says she had to self-check the ticket several times before she could believe what had happened. Pam she plans to use her share of the winnings to do some home improvements. Adam is in the market for a reliable vehicle, and might take a fishing trip later this year.

Dish Network Drops KWWL Amid Carriage Dispute

Some satellite TV customers in the Dubuque area are now without one of their local channels due to a carriage dispute. Dish Network removed Waterloo-based KWWL from its channel lineup on Wednesday evening. KWWL is the local NBC affiliate for the TV market that includes Dubuque and several surrounding counties. According to a statement on the KWWL website, the station’s parent company, Quincy Media, has been trying to negotiate a new agreement with Dish for several months. Quincy claims that it offered Dish several extensions to their current agreement to allow more time for the negotiations, but Dish rejected each of those offers. KWWL is still available through its over-the-air signal, though that is difficult for many Dubuquers to pull in. Subscribers to other cable and satellite services are not impacted by the blackout. It’s unclear how long Dish will keep KWWL off of their lineup.

Calendar Forces Final 'Jazz' Past Labor Day


Whatever your plans are for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, they likely don’t include live music under downtown Dubuque’s Town Clock. The final ‘Dubuque and All That Jazz’ of the summer has typically been held on the Friday leading in to Labor Day Weekend in the past. But because of the way the calendar falls this year, the September installment won’t happen until after Labor Day. Michaela Freiburger of Dubuque Main Street, which puts on ‘All That Jazz,’ says with so many other local events happening over Labor Day Weekend, she’s hopeful that a later ‘Jazz’ will draw a larger crowd. Despite some weather concerns during each of the ‘Jazz’ events so far this summer, Freiburger says attendance has been in line with past years. The Lonely Goats will be the headlining act for the September 7th edition of ‘Jazz.’ Also that evening, attendees will be able to play Human Foosball, with tournaments beginning at both 3:30 and 5:00.

August 2018 One of Dubuque's Wettest


This month has been one of the wettest Augusts on record in Dubuque. So far this month, just more than 7.8 inches of rain have fallen at the Dubuque Regional Airport. That’s about 3.8 inches more than normal, and according to meteorologist Kaj O’Mara from KCRG, has put this month among the ten wettest in Dubuque history. This month’s moisture has been coming at us from both the southwest and the southeast. Residual monsoon moisture from the southwest and systems moving up from the Gulf of Mexico have both contributed to this month’s rainfall. The rain in August has only added to what had already been a wetter-than-usual summer. O’Mara doesn’t expect the pattern to change any time soon. In fact, he says our weather could stay relatively the same until mid-September. O’Mara has at least a chance of rain in his forecast for Dubuque each day of the Labor Day weekend.

Dubuque Public Transit Director Resigning

The director of Dubuque’s transportation for will be leaving her position at the end of the year. Candace Eudaley-Loebach was named Dubuque’s Transit Manager in 2013. She is stepping away to become a full-time parent, but plans to become active in part-time or project-based work. Eudaley-Loebach was named Transit Manager of The Year by the Iowa Department of Transportation in July. The search for her replacement is already underway.