Area Tidbits

Individuals to honor throughout Black History Month

America long has been described as a melting pot. People from all cultures, continents and walks of life have blended together to paint the canvas that is the United States.

African Americans have played a significant role in forming the fabric of the United States, and every February we recognize the accomplishments of African Americans and give thanks for their contributions to medicine, the arts, sports, business, law, and much more. The following is a small sampling of the myriad African American individuals past and present who have made their mark on American history.

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler is the director of what has been dubbed the “biggest, blackest superhero movie” in recent history — and perhaps all time. Marvel Studio’s “Black Panther” took in $1.3 billion worldwide and became a cultural touchstone. Coogler proved he is a director of note, and the public is bound to see much more of his work in the future, including a potential “Panther” sequel.

Robert Abbott
Giving voice to African Americans in a different way, Robert Abbot was a pioneer of the black press. He founded a weekly paper called The Chicago Defender, which would become one of the most important newspapers in history in the early 20th century. Abbott’s work would eventually pave the way for many other publications.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams is arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time. Serena Williams has more than 20 Grand Slam titles to her name and is a face and advocate for working women. One of her more notable recent accomplishments is her successful return to the court just one year after nearly dying from complications that arose during the birth of her daughter — once again proving her mettle.

Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was a modern dance choreographer and pioneer. He also was a civil rights activist. He founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which became one of the most successful dance companies in the world. His company was an amalgam of faces and cultures, making it unique for its time.

Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator, civil rights leader and adviser to five United States presidents. She turned to her faith and used her voice to be a pioneer for racial progress. Education long had been at the core of Bethune’s mission, and she founded two schools and later became one of few female college presidents.

Aretha Franklin
The world lost the “Queen of Soul” in 2018, but her influence and resounding voice live on. Her gospel-infused singing was born out of church choirs, and her famous No. 1 hit “Respect” helped become a soundtrack not only for women, but also the civil rights movement. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Franklin’s influence could be heard through singers like Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and more.



Climate Change Focus of Mayor’s Winter State of the City

Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol’s Winter 2020 “State of the City” focuses on the importance of preparing for and responding to climate change.

Citing information from NOAA, NASA, and others, Buol’s message includes examples of how climate change is already impacting Dubuque and the Midwest as well as predictions for the future.

“While we find ourselves in a time where our nation is divided on many significant issues, there is one issue for which we can take personal action and corporate social responsibility within our own communities and cities: continuing and enhancing our efforts and partnerships to prepare for and respond to climate change,” said Buol.

The text version of Buol’s quarterly State of the City appears in the March/April issue of City News, Dubuque’s utility bill newsletter. A video version is airing on CityChannel Dubuque (on Mediacom channels 8 and 117.2 and online at and will be shared on the City of Dubuque’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels. Both the text version and video version are available at



The different types of bird feeders

Birds are big business. That may come as a surprise to people who have never given much thought to the warm-blooded vertebrates who fly over their heads every day, but tens of millions of people have a passion for birds.

A 2016 survey from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found that more than 45 million people in the United States watch birds around their homes and away from home every year. While statistics aren’t as current in Canada as they are in the United States, past studies have indicated birding is wildly popular among Canadians, with roughly 30 percent going wildlife-viewing while on out-of-town trips of one or more nights. That positively affects the economy, contributing billions of dollars to the tourism industry in both the U.S. and Canada every year.

While birding trips can help birdwatching enthusiasts see birds they otherwise may never see in person, bird feeders can be a great way to bring more birds into your own backyard. Choice of bird feeder can affect just which birds come to your back yard, and the following are some bird feeder options for birding enthusiasts to consider.

• Window feeders: Small and easily attached to windows with suction cups, window feeders are easy to maintain and bring birds right to your window. Birds that visit window feeders stand in the seed while feeding, so they must be cleaned and refilled on a daily basis.

• Tray or platform feeders: The online birding resource All About Birds ( notes that tray feeders attract the widest variety of seed-eating feeder birds. That makes them ideal for birding enthusiasts who want to attract a variety of birds to their properties. Tray feeders are simply platforms that hold seed and provide a place for birds to stand while they eat. All About Birds recommends tray feeders with screened, rather than solid, bottoms, as these trays promote complete drainage. Frequent cleaning is necessary with tray feeders, as bird droppings can quickly soil seed.

• Hopper or house feeders: These feeders are enclosed and feed seed out through the bottom. Hopper feeders are great for people who don’t want to be bothered with daily maintenance, as they can hold several pounds of food at one time, greatly reducing the number of times homeowners will need to refill them. In addition, hopper feeders don’t need to be cleaned as often as other feeders. However, All About Birds notes that hopper feeders, which need to be thoroughly cleaned roughly once per month, are harder to clean than other feeders.

• Tube feeders: Tube feeders deliver seeds to birds through screens or ports. Small perches attract birds to tube feeders, making these ideal for small birds. Some tube feeders contain perches designed for birds that can feed upside down, potentially attracting a greater variety of birds to your backyard. But All About Birds notes that seed can collect on bottom-most feeding ports, providing a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. As a result, tube feeders should be inspected and cleaned regularly.

Bird feeders can draw an array of birds to your backyard.



Wernimont Named Dubuque Planning Services Manager

Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen has appointed Wally Wernimont to become the City of Dubuque’s next planning services manager.
Wernimont’s appointment follows a national search to replace Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens who is retiring in late April after serving in the position since 1989.

Wernimont has been a member of the City’s planning services department since 2001, serving as assistant planner from January 2001 to December 2019 and associate planner since January 2020. Wernimont also temporarily served as assistant director of housing and community development for the City from June-September of 2019. He holds a bachelor of science degree in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.

“Wally has proven himself to be a person who cares about improving the customer experience as a highly talented innovator in the field of city planning,” said Van Milligen.

Wernimont’s responsibilities as a member of the planning services department have included reviewing plans and preparing reports on development requests as part of the City’s development review process and presenting findings to commissions and boards for variances, exceptions, conditional use permits, and certificates of appropriateness. He has also assisted developers and residents with development approval requirements and planning and zoning issues. Wernimont also conducted field inspections, surveys, and special studies pertaining to land use, environment, economic development, growth projections, and annexations. He also maintained the City’s zoning and land use maps.

As planning services manager, he will lead the planning services department and programs, including long-range planning, special project planning, preparation and administration of land-use regulations, data base maintenance, and historic preservation activities. Wernimont will direct the provision of staff services in the development services, city planning, and historic preservation activities of the department, including zoning enforcement and floodplain management. The planning services manager also provides and directs the provision of staff services to Dubuque’s Long-Range Planning Advisory Commission, Zoning Advisory Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Historic Preservation Commission. The department also provides and directs the provision of staff services to the internal Development Review Team, the Port of Dubuque Design Review Committee, and the Chaplain Schmitt Island Design Review Committee.

Wernimont’s appointment effective date is upon the retirement of current Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens on April 30, 2020.



New Venture: Flatted Fifth at Dimensional Brewing Co.

Dimensional Brewing Company in Dubuque and Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill of Bellevue, are proud to announce a collaborative venture; Flatted Fifth at Dimensional Brewing. The BBQ and southern food restaurant will open their second location at the Dubuque brewery in the Spring of 2020.

The restaurant will be serving a limited version of their current menu at Potters Mill and a few new appetizer items at Dimensional Brewing during the brewery’s normal business hours. Flatted Fifth will continue operations at their Potter’s Mill location.

It is hoped that this collaboration of regional businesses will continue to develop the community culture of Lower Main Street in Dubuque, provide the customers of Dimensional Brewing integrated food and beverage options while increasing Flatted Fifth’s brand awareness in Dubuque.

Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill opened in August 2014 in Bellevue, Iowa and has grown into a regional destination for cajun and BBQ foodies and blues lovers. The internationally known blues venue, welcomes award-winning blues and jazz artists from around the world to their stage on a regular basis.

Dimensional Brewing Co. opened in November 2018 in Dubuque, Iowa, adding to the ever- popular craft beer scene. Known for its welcoming tap room and rotating selection of house made brews, the downtown brewery has quickly become a must-stop destination for beer enthusiasts.

For more information about Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ visit For more information about Dimensional Brewing Co. visit



Learn How to Care for Your Forest

First-Ever Family Forest Open House on March 5
Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Wild Turkey Federation, Dubuque County Conservation, Dubuque County Iowa State University Extension, Red Fern Farm and Trees Forever presents a new partner event called the Family Forest Open House.

The Family Forest Open House takes place at Swiss Valley Nature Center, 13606 Swiss Valley Road in Peosta, Iowa on Thursday, March 5, 2020, with registration starting at 5 p.m. Speaker presentations start at 5:30 p.m. and end around 8 p.m.

“Caring for and protecting our natural resources is an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of task where we need engagement from landowners of all ages. We hope this family friendly event make it easier for young families to fit educational and networking opportunities into their busy schedules and provides resources that support land stewardship activities that enhance the land for generations to come,” said Dave Bridges, Iowa DNR District Forester.

Landowners are invited to bring the whole family for this unique, kid-friendly event. The event includes kids’ activities, booths with experts and presentations on a range of topics about improving forest health, including “Turning Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) into a Positive: Oak Regeneration,” “Mushroom Growing and Log Selection,” “Tree Felling and Chainsaw Safety” and more.

Our speakers will start presenting at 5:30 p.m. with each presentation lasting 20 minutes. Check back at a later date for the list of speakers and times.

“Participants can inoculate a log with mushroom spores to take home and grow them this spring – as well as learn how to use their phone/apps to learn about and manage their land,” said Bridges.

Kids activities include rock painting and other art projects.

Chili will be served as a meal at no cost. Organizers invite attendees to come and go, but registration is encouraged to help organizers plan accordingly and to help gather valuable networking information. Register at



Proposed waterfowl rules available for public comment

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments on proposed waterfowl and coot hunting seasons and bag limits, which includes 2021-22 season dates, and the proposed restructuring of the hunting zones and seasons for 2021-2025.

A copy of the proposal is available online at by clicking on the Chapter 91, Waterfowl and Coot Hunting Seasons link.

The proposal modifies waterfowl hunting zone boundaries for 2021-2025 to expand the season dates of the current Missouri River zone across southern Iowa, create a central zone with the season dates of the current south zone, and move the southern boundary of the north zone. This modification expands later season dates across southern Iowa and part of central Iowa, but maintains the season dates of the current north and south zones across much of their former area. This proposal includes waterfowl and coot season dates for 2021-22 and extends the light goose conservation order from April 15 to May 1.

The proposal includes modifying the daily bag limit for scaup, effective for the 2020 season, to one bird daily bag limit for the first 15 days of the duck season in each zone, followed by 45 days with a two-bird daily bag limit.

The DNR is accepting comments through March 3, 2020. Comments may be submitted via email to or sent via mail to Orrin Jones, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 1203 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake, Iowa, 50428.

A public hearing is scheduled from 12-1 p.m., March 3, in the Wallace State Office Building Conference Room 5E, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. Persons who wish to make oral comments will be asked to state their names for the record and to confine their remarks to the subject of this proposed rulemaking.

Any person attending the public hearing and has special requirements such as those related to mobility or hearing impairments should contact the DNR or ADA Coordinator at 515-725-8200, Relay Iowa TTY Service 800-735-7942, or, and advise of specific needs.



Riverview Center proudly announces our 2020 Evening of Light Keynote Speaker

Michelle Knight, one of three women who escaped after 11 years of captivity in Cleveland, Ohio, will be featured

Riverview Center is pleased to announce that Michelle Knight will be our keynote speaker for Evenings of Light and Luncheon of Light events, which will be held on April 15th and April 16th in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

Michelle Knight is one of the women who escaped from the Ariel Castro’s Cleveland home after 11 years of captivity, torture and abuse. Join us to hear her incredible story of heroism, survival, and healing. Michelle speaks openly about her experiences to share her empowering story to reclaim her life. Knight is an international and New York Times best-selling author. Her first memoir of the Cleveland kidnappings, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed, shares with readers her captivity inside Ariel Castro’s home as well as her tumultuous childhood. Her new book about her life after escape, Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings, shares her inspiring journey to find friendship, healing, happiness and her life’s purpose of advocating for victims of trauma and abuse. Knight and her story have been featured on Dr. Phil, The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek and People, among others.

Please join us on April 15th for the 2020 Luncheon of Light at Bien Venu Event Center in Cedar Falls or for the 2020 Evening of Light at The Hotel Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids. The 2020 Evening of Light in Dubuque will be held the following day on April 16th at the Grand River Center. All three events will be empowering celebrations of the resiliency of child, teen, and adult survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The events begin with a showcase of auction items from local businesses, followed by dinner and an unforgettable story and inspiring message from Michelle Knight.

For twenty-eight years, Riverview Center has proudly provided the healing and justice survivors of sexual violence deserve, free of charge. We are a nonprofit agency committed to providing free, compassionate, client-centered care for individuals affected by sexual violence in 14 counties in Iowa, including Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek Counties; and for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence in Carroll and Jo Daviess Counties in Illinois. Regardless of means, our clients receive high-quality, professional services, including 24-hour crisis hotlines; legal, medical, and general advocacy; one-on-one counseling and support groups; professional training; and violence prevention initiatives.

For sponsorship or ticket information:
In Dubuque please contact Angie Herting: 563-564-0320 or
In Cedar Rapids and Waterloo contact Angie Purdy at 319-349-1945 or



There are many ways to say, “I love you,.” For Valentine’s Day celebrants, various sentiments may be expressed with candy — particularly candy hearts.

Candy hearts, also called Conversation Hearts® and Sweethearts® (similarly Love Hearts in the UK), are sweet, chalky confections that have been around for more than 100 years.

The conversation about candy hearts began back in 1847 when Oliver Chase, a Boston pharmacist, wanted to get in on the apothecary lozenge craze that was popular at the time. Lozenges were common remedies for sore throats and bad breath, and were growing in popularity as a convenient medical treatment. Chase invented a machine that could roll out lozenge dough and press it into perfect discs, a time-saving improvement on the manual process used until then. Chase eventually abandoned making lozenges and the pharmacy business, ultimately realizing his machine could be used to make candies. He formed the New England Confectionery Company and began producing what would eventually be known as NECCO wafers.

Wanting to get in on his brother’s candy empire, Daniel Chase saw an opportunity to build on the growing popularity of Valentine’s cards by printing words on candy with vegetable dye during the cutting process. In 1866, conversation candies began as round confections and were much bigger than today’s heart varieties. It wouldn’t be until 1902 that conversation candy hearts became available.

Through the years, the candies became smaller and the sentiments expressed on the hearts have been updated to stay current with the times. Phrases like “LOL,” “BFF” and “Text me” have replaced some less modern sentiments.

At the height of the candies’ popularity, NECCO estimated that it made nearly 100,000 pounds of the hearts each day throughout the year in preparation for Valentine’s Day.
In 2019, NECCO filed for bankruptcy and did not produce the iconic candy hearts while it was being purchased by an investment company called Round Hill Investments, LLC. Round Hill decided to sell NECCO to another candy company. Fortune magazine reported Spangler Candy Co., which took over rights to NECCO’s iconic brands, would manufacture candy hearts in 2020. Similar conversation hearts also are available through Brach’s candy company.

Candy hearts have long been a way to share sweet words of affection and a sugary treat with the ones you love.



Quitting vaping may be a life-saving resolution

Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices were once described as potentially “safer” and “healthier” methods of smoking, even by leading health organizations. Many former tobacco smokers even turned to e-cigarettes as a method to quitting traditional cigarettes. However, recent research into vaping and a rash of mysterious lung illnesses and deaths recently linked to vaping has led many to question if vaping is safe. Those who suspect it’s not may be wise to quit.

The illness toll rises
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, as of September 2019, there were 530 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses. Eight people also died in six states, with the first confirmed death occurring in April. The first known vaping-related illness in Canada was documented on September 18, 2019, when a youth from Ontario was put into intensive care for respiratory illness. While federal and state investigators are largely focusing their investigations on vape cartridges that likely contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component linked to marijuana, as a potential source of these illnesses, all electronic cigarette devices are now under scrutiny.

A school epidemic
Vaping has quickly become an epidemic in schools. More than 3.6 million American middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes, according to the latest National Youth Tobacco Study. Teen nicotine vaping rates in 2019 were double those of 2017, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says.

Despite the installation of vaping detectors, and some schools going so far as to remove doors from bathroom stalls, opportunities to vape still abound. Older students may leave campus to vape in their cars during lunch breaks. Laws restricting sales of e-cigarettes to youth in certain states have already been implemented. Lawmakers also plan to ban most flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods in an attempt to curtail their use among teenagers.

Mystery ingredients
Many adults look to e-cigarettes to reduce their dependence on tobacco products. However, Johns Hopkins Medical Center warns e-cigarettes are just as addictive. Also, many e-cigarette users get even more nicotine through extra-strength cartridges or by increasing the voltage to get a greater hit of the addictive substance. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved vaping as a smoking cessation method.

People never can be certain about the ingredients in vaping liquids. And as the popularity of e-cigarettes grows, newer, cheaper, and poorly regulated products are being imported from all over the world to meet the demand. According to the CDC, exposure to such products may cause a range of symptoms, including cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. There also have been cases of “popcorn lung,” which derived its name from a former chemical flavoring (diacetyl) used in microwave popcorn linked to scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs, resulting in suffocation. Popcorn lung also has been linked to vaping use.

More evidence continues to point to vaping as an unsafe practice. Quitting the habit now can have profound, potentially life-saving effects.



Beating the winter blues

Most areas in Europe and North America observe daylight saving time. Daylight saving time is often welcomed in spring, as it helps to extend daylight hours well into the evening. But few may welcome turning the clocks back in fall.

Coupled with the natural shortening of daylight hours as winter approaches, the end of DST facilitates a sudden shift in the ratio of sunlight to darkness. As autumn transforms into winter, the number of available hours of daylight slowly dwindles. Some areas of Alaska and Canada see only about three or four hours of daylight per day in the winter months. Conversely, those who live in Key West, Florida, the southernmost point of the contiguous United States, may enjoy around 10 hours of daylight.

Fewer daylight hours can adversely affect mood and productivity. Seasonal affective disorder, often referred to as “SAD” or “the winter blues,” has been recognized and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. Clinicians say that, as days become short and dark, a predictable set of symptoms of SAD may emerge. Individuals with SAD may experience a host of symptoms, including difficulty waking in the morning; diminished energy levels; a tendency to eat more; an inability to concentrate; and depression.

The Cleveland Clinic advises that approximately half a million people in the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from more mild forms of winter blues. The Canadian Mental Health Association states that between 2 and 3 percent of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime. Another 15 percent will experience a mild form of SAD that leaves them only slightly depressed. Similar symptoms can occur for those people who live in cloudy regions or high latitudes.

Evidence strongly suggests SAD is linked to sunlight. This lack of sunlight may trigger production of melatonin in some individuals. Melatonin is a hormone made in the pineal gland that regulates sleep onset and sleeping patterns.

A combination of self-care strategies as well as professional medical treatment may help those with winter blues or more severe SAD. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that these strategies can help people coping with SAD.

• Get out of the house into sunlight or brightly lit spaces early in the day when the sun is out.

• Increase time spent outdoors. Take a break midday and enjoy lunch outside or take a walk, even if it’s chilly.

• Try to spend time with other people and chat with friends and relatives.

• Avoid overloading on carbohydrates like cookies and candies.

• Talk to a doctor about using light therapy, which is the first line of SAD treatment, according to the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

• Consider cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy with a licensed mental health provider. He or she also can make recommendations about the use of medication to alleviate symptoms if other treatments do not provide results.

There are many ways to mitigate the symptoms of winter blues.



Wedding planning tips and tricks

Recently engaged couples are often so swept up in the excitement surrounding their engagements that they can be forgiven for initially overlooking all the wedding planning that awaits them. Planning a wedding is no small task, but many couples very much enjoy all the hard work that goes into making their special day a success.

It’s hard for newly engaged couples who have never before planned a wedding to know what awaits them. But the following tips can help make the wedding planning process go smoothly.

• Find your organization method. Organization is the key to pulling off the wedding of your dreams. Whether your organizational style is best served by jotting details like dates and deposit deadlines down in a notebook or utilizing an online spreadsheet or smartphone app, choose your method early on. Keeping information and reminders in one place can make it easier to manage all the tasks that lie ahead.

• Take your time. There’s no rush to the altar. Feel free to extend the engagement long enough to keep stress levels down and get the location and ceremony of your dreams. Many recently engaged couples feel pressured to get married right away. Stretching out the engagement to save money or give yourself more time to plan can make for a wonderful wedding day.

• Discuss the budget openly and honestly. Did you know a New York City wedding can cost $77,000, according to Money magazine? Wedding costs can vary widely, and couples should sit down together to decide what they can afford and are willing to pay for.

• Decide on a guest list. Planning decisions are often based around the projected number of guests. You’ll need to have a ballpark figure regarding guests before you can choose a venue and make other decisions, such as where guests will stay. And if the majority of guests are coming from a certain area, such as your hometown, you may want to bring the wedding to them instead of asking them to come to you.

• Create a priorities list. Make a list of at least three things that are most important for each of you. It may be the ceremony location, the food or another factor. Knowing what is important can help you negotiate prices and understand what to look for when planning.

These are some of the considerations couples should make while planning their weddings. While it’s important to consider these factors and others, it’s also important that couples have fun when planning their nuptials.



How did “XO” come to symbolize kisses and hugs?

Love letters are a great way for couples to express their affection and devotion to each other. The sentiments expressed in love letters are as unique as the couples who write them. However, love letters often contain one particular turn of phrase regardless of their authors.

When signing a love letter, it’s customary for writers to include at least one “XO” near their names. “XO” is widely recognized as symbolic of wishing “hugs and kisses” to a letter’s intended recipient. This tradition is such an ingrained part of romantic letter writing that few may stop to pause and wonder just how the letters “XO” came to symbolize hugs and kisses.

The origins of “XO” are not definitively known, though many historians note that signing letters with “X” dates back to the Middle Ages. Few people could read and write in the Middle Ages, but signing “X” did not require either of those abilities. Christianity played a big part in many people’s lives during the Middle Ages, and “X” was seen as a representation of the Christian cross. So when people signed “X” on legal documents, they were essentially stating the contents of the document were true in the name of Jesus Christ.

While Jesus Christ’s teachings are rooted in showing compassion for one’s fellow man, signing a letter with “X” did not symbolize love in the Middle Ages. In fact, that development did not come about until much later. The Oxford English Dictionary attributes the first use of “X” to symbolize love and/or kisses in a letter to English naturalist Gilbert White. However, some historians debate the accuracy of that attribution, saying White’s use of the letter “X” in his letter was likely meant to convey blessings on the letter’s recipient.

Researcher Stephen Goranson found many uses of the letter “X” to convey love and/or kisses in or after the 1880s, so it’s very likely that this was the first time that including the letter “X” at the end of a letter took on the meaning so many people give it now.

As for “O” symbolizing hugs, even less is known about how that came about. The late American writer Leo Rosten, whose writings included 1968’s “The Joys of Yiddish,” suggested that including “O” at the end of a letter might have a similar origin story to “X.” Rosten theorized that “O” was used by Jewish immigrants who did not want to sign a document with “X,” which they, like the people in the Middle Ages, interpreted as symbolic of the Christian cross.

Exactly when “O” was paired with “X” and came to symbolize hugs is unknown, though various historians suggest the two were not paired until the latter half of the 20th century.




Hillcrest Family Services “25th Annual Reflections in the Park,” the annual holiday festival of lights in Dubuque’s Louis Murphy Park, had yet another phenomenal year. The number of vehicles and people going through were record breaking with 13,225 vehicles and an estimate of 54,095 people going through its gates. This annual tradition helped to raise over $160,000 for Hillcrest’s many programs.

“Hillcrest is incredibly honored by the overwhelming support of those who attended the 25th anniversary event and wishes to thank everyone who made Reflections in the Park possible. The time, talent and dedication of our volunteers is outstanding. This fundraiser helps support our clients and brings awareness to the important topic of Brain Health all while lighting up the faces of those who enter our gates.” said Darlene Bolsinger, Hillcrest’s Reflections in the Park Event Coordinator.

The operation of the park is accomplished through thousands of hours from a dedicated legion of volunteers including maintenance and set-up/tear down crew, sales and marketing teams, ticket taker groups, media sponsors, in-kind donors and internal Hillcrest staff. All proceeds raised from sponsorships and tickets help provide health and education services throughout Iowa.



Dubuque Salvation Army Expanding Services – New Disaster Services Team

The Dubuque Salvation Army is expanding services to include an Emergency Disaster Services Team. During disasters The Salvation Army worldwide provides support for emergency personnel and survivors. These disasters could be many miles away or right here in Dubuque. The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900, including those in Dubuque.

In putting together the new Emergency Disaster Services Team, or EDS, The Salvation Army of Dubuque is offering a training – at no cost – for those interested in becoming a Salvation Army EDS volunteer. The training will be held on Saturday, February 22 from 8 am – 3 pm at the Dubuque Corps located at 1099 Iowa Street. Those attending will be given an introductory class that all Salvation Army EDS volunteers take, including skills training and what it takes to be a part of a team that brings disaster relief.

Captain Matt Phelps of the Dubuque Salvation Army says, ‘After the unspeakable happens – The Salvation Army is there to speak hope. It could be emotional and spiritual care or a warm meal served to a firefighter after a long night of working on a blaze. We want to be prepared when needed and this training is the first step.”

Those interested in registering or getting additional information can call Erin at 309-271-4530 or visit to register today.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has served Dubuque County for over 100 years. Established in London in 1865, its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. The Salvation Army of Dubuque currently serves the community with a food pantry year-round, The Pathway of Hope program, a Senior Activities Center, weekly church services and bible study and fine arts classes for children and adults. To learn more, give a monetary donation, or volunteer for The Salvation Army call (563) 556-1573.



Riverview Center moving to 1789 Elm St.

Riverview Center is pleased to announce that we are moving our Dubuque office to 1789 Elm Street to better serve sexual assault survivors in our community.

In the spring of 2020, Riverview Center’s Dubuque office will be moving to our new location at 1789 Elm Street, nearly doubling our square footage to enable us to better provide confidentiality and enhanced services for survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Our new location will enhance privacy while alleviating space constraints, transportation barriers and other obstacles survivors face when seeking our services. The new facility will allow us to better serve our community for years to come. To help us renovate and relocate to this much needed new space, please contact Angie Herting at

For twenty-eight years, Riverview Center has proudly provided the healing and justice survivors of sexual violence deserve, free of charge. We are a nonprofit agency committed to providing free, compassionate, client-centered care for individuals affected by sexual violence in 14 counties in Iowa, including Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek Counties; and for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence in Carroll and Jo Daviess Counties in Illinois. Regardless of means, our clients receive high-quality, professional services, including 24-hour crisis hotlines; legal, medical, and general advocacy; one-on-one counseling and support groups; professional training; and violence prevention initiatives.

Riverview Center 24-Hour Iowa Sexual Assault Hotline: 888-557-0310



The importance of updating operating systems

Anyone who owns a smartphone, tablet, computer, or another smart device is no doubt familiar with system updates. Users are often alerted to system updates on their devices via notifications, which can be easily forgotten if unintentionally ignored. But users who ignore system update notifications may be doing so at their own peril.

According to the, a United Kingdom-based initiative that aims to offer practical advice on online safety, there are many reasons why users should install operating system updates as soon as they’re notified that the updates are available. Regardless of whether users have Microsoft Windows, Apple or Android devices, installing system updates when they’re available can make users and their data less vulnerable to online criminals. In fact, system updates are sometimes issued in response to malware and other security flaws that online criminals found and exploited in previous versions.

System updates are not always issued with security in mind. Updates also can enhance device functionality, making for a more user-friendly and less frustrating experience. Devices that routinely crash or freeze or those that generally suffer from poor performance may benefit from system updates. In such instances, users can save hundreds of dollars, if not more, on replacement devices by first updating their systems. Devices that respond well to system updates likely don’t need to be replaced.

Failing to install system updates can compromise device performance, even when devices haven’t yet started to exhibit symptoms like freezing or crashing. In addition, without the latest security updates, devices continue to be vulnerable to cybercrime attacks like hacking and/or viruses, spyware and malware.

System update notifications can be easily forgotten or ignored. But such updates can improve device performance and protect users from online criminals.



Groundhog Day fun and facts

Groundhog Day, February 2,  offers a touch of whimsy during the often bleak midwinter chill. Across the country, eager celebrants await a rascally rodent to determine if there will be six more weeks of winter or if the nation will receive an early reprieve from the cold.

It is fun to guess if an early spring is coming, and even more so to rely on a large ground squirrel to play meteorologist. To further enhance the Groundhog Day experience, burrow into these interesting facts about the holiday and the animal itself.

• The world can thank the Germans for the Groundhog Day tradition. The see-his-shadow concept was adapted from a German Candlemas Day tradition in which clergymen would bless the candles they needed for the cold season. If the candles brought a sunny day, there would be six more weeks of winter. However, clouds and rain signified that winter would end soon. Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s brought the custom to America.

• Germans once used a hedgehog as their animal forecaster. When relocating to Pennsylvania, groundhogs were used because they were more common than hedgehogs.

• Punxsutawney Phil is perhaps most revered for his forecasting abilities. However, more than a dozen states have their own prognosticating groundhogs. These include Buckeye Chuck in Ohio, Birmingham Bill in Alabama and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia.

• Phil has been predicting the weather at Gobbler’s Knob for more than 130 years. This is quite a feat considering groundhogs typically live between six and eight years. Folklore indicates Phil sips a magical drink that will prolong his life for seven more years.

• Phil’s full name is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary.

• Groundhogs also are called woodchucks and are a species of rodent known as marmots. They typically weigh between 12 and 15 pounds. Woodchucks really have nothing to do with wood or chucking. The name stems from an Algonquian name wuchak.

• The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration says Phil has seen his shadow more times than not between 1887 and 2019. Statistically speaking, six more weeks of winter is often the norm.

• Groundhogs prefer to live in open country or at woodland edges. They are never far from a burrow made in well-drained soil. Most have summer and winter dens.

• Groundhogs are adept at predicting the arrival of spring, just not in the way people have come to know from Groundhog Day. Since they hibernate, when groundhogs emerge from their burrows, it’s a sure sign spring is on its way.

• The 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray helped solidify Punxsutawney Phil as a national hero and household name. Since then, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have made the pilgrimage to see Phil in person.

Groundhog Day brings some levity to an otherwise uneventful time of year.



The Origins of Black History Month

Every February people across the United States and Canada pay homage to prominent African American and black figures who have had impact on the world in various ways. Each year, athletes, doctors, film stars, writers, directors, and politicians are just some of the people highlighted as individuals of merit.

The official observance of Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African American History Month in certain areas, is relatively recent, though the contributions of black people have been celebrated for centuries.

Black History Month evolved from Negro History Week, which was created in 1926 in the United States by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson chose the second week in February because it coincided with both the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). The prominent civil rights group The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, was also founded on February 12 on the centennial anniversary of the birth of Lincoln. Each of these things makes February an ideal time to celebrate black history.

Negro History Week continued through the 1960s and ultimately evolved into an entire month of celebrating on some college campuses. However, Black History Month would not receive national recognition in the United States until 1976, when President Gerald Ford officially recognized it as an opportunity to honor the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history. Canada officially recognized Black History Month in 1995.



New Youth Art Classes – Scholarships Available

Kids can explore a variety of mediums and concepts from the traditional to the unexpected!
Visist to register for Winter and Spring classes (January – April 2020) and to join our family programs mailing list.

January & February Class Selections Include:

Drawing Basics II – Portraits
Thurs, Jan 30th, 4-4:50pm
Instructor: Hana Velde
Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members, $15 Guests
Materials included

Students will try out the techniques and tricks of portrait drawing, including the study of facial proportions and learn about the subtle shading needed to bring their portraits to life! Students have the option to create a self-portrait, study a classmate, or use a photograph as a portrait subject.

Old School Selfies
Friday, February 7
Instructor: Caitlin Donald
1-2:30 pm, Ages 6-9
2:30-4:00 pm, Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members, $15 Guests
Materials included
Students will examine the history of self-portraits and compare them to the “selfies” of today. A self-portrait will be created using a “selfie” students have taken.

Art Talk Tool Kit
Thursday, February 13
Instructor: Caitlin Donald
10:30-12:00, Ages 6-9
1:00-2:30 Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members, $15 Guests
Materials included

Using the current exhibitions for inspiration, students will learn the basics of looking at and how to speak to others about the amazing world of art. Students will be invited to share their knowledge as docents during the Museum’s Community Day in April!

PU! Smelly Art
Friday, February 21
Instructor: Caitlin Donald
10:30-12:00 p.m. Ages 6-9
1:00-2:30 pm Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members, $15 Guests
Materials included

Art can involve all of the senses. Explore how different artists use the sense of smell in their work. Then create your own smelly

Clang Clang! Noisy Art
Saturday, February 22
Instructor: Caitlin Donald
1:00-2:30 pm Ages 6-9
2:30-4:00 pm Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members, $15 Guests
Materials included

Did you ever listen to a painting? Explore how different artists use sound in their work. Then make your own noisy masterpiece.

Water is Life
Thurs, Feb 27th, 4-4:50pm
Instructor: Hana Velde
Ages 10-14
Cost: $10 Members and $15 Guests
Materials included

Inspired by the museum’s Water exhibit, students will use water to create droplet-themed artwork. Students will have a chance to play with watercolors, watercolor pencils, and blowing, misting, and splatter-painting techniques.



Dubuque Launching New Smart Parking Meter Pilot Program

The City of Dubuque will pilot new parking metering technology for three months across three downtown areas. The new technology, which will be installed by Feb. 1, is designed to provide additional conveniences for customers and will feature more payment options, license plate recognition, and the ability to select more precise time intervals.

Eleven single-space smart meters will be temporarily installed on the 700 block of Main St. and six pay station spaces will be managed by a kiosk and three single-space meters on the 800 block of Main St. Multi-space smart kiosks (pay stations which manage multiple nearby spaces) will be temporarily installed in the City-owned lot located at Third St. and Main St. (one kiosk will cover 16 parking spaces), and the City-owned lot located at 11th St. & Elm St. (one kiosk will cover 71 parking spaces).

The pilot is being conducted at no cost to the City and will provide valuable data for evaluating wider use of deployment of a smart parking platform in Dubuque’s metered districts. The “smart” meters and kiosks will display parking rates, hours, time limits, and other important information. The meters are easy to use, safe, secure, and reliable, with a large screen that makes it easy to see all information, such as remaining time and time limits. The new meters have more payment options and accept coins, VISA and MasterCard credit and debit cards. (The Passport parking app currently used by the City on existing meters will not work on the pilot meters and kiosks.)

The pilot meters and kiosks also accept quarters, dimes, nickels, and $1 coins. This payment method requires exact change and coins will not be refunded. If paying with credit or debit card, insert and remove the card when prompted. There is no additional charge for using credit or debit cards. If using a multi-space smart kiosk, either enter a plate number or insert a debit/credit card. The kiosk will prompt the remainder of the transaction. Users can go to to receive an emailed receipt of their transaction.

The 90-day pilot will run through April and will include full parking enforcement and utilization of data-gathering capabilities. All meter and ticket revenue collected during the pilot will belong to the City, not the technology vendor.

City staff hope these meters improve customer experience, while maintaining efficient on-street and off-street parking. The public can provide input on their experiences with the pilot meters by contacting the City of Dubuque Transportation Services Department at or 563-589-4266.



SERVPRO Provides Water Damage Restoration

Opening Doors is excited to share that SERVPRO of Dubuque, has stepped up to provide restorative services at Maria House.

Earlier this month, staff discovered that a refrigerator had been leaking, resulting in major damage to the floor and surrounding walls and cabinets. SERVPRO came in and graciously donated their time for cleanup and restoration. SERVPRO’s affiliate MB Mold & Air Quality Testing has also decided to donate their time to monitor air quality throughout the process. SERVPRO and MB’s donations of time and materials equate to around $4,500.

In the wake of the loss of a large state Shelter Assistance Fund (SAF) grant late last year, this assistance is a real blessing. Carol Gebhart, Executive Director, commented, “We are so grateful to SERVPRO and MB, as this unplanned expense could have been a real budget-breaker. We were already feeling the pinch after hearing the news about the SAF grant. While finding the damage was a surprise, what is not surprising is that our community businesses are so willing to go above and beyond with their support.”

Todd Wiedenman from SERVPRO of Dubuque and Bob Vohl, CIE, CMI from MB, both pointed out, “We are more than happy to come together and help Opening Doors in their time of need. This organization does so much for the community and as is the case with a lot of nonprofit organizations, they are dealing with dwindling funding.”

Opening Doors is a nonprofit organization who help women and children who are experiencing homelessness. We provide goal setting and life skills training that enable them to achieve their full potential. We offer a hand up in the world, not a handout. Since 2000, Opening Doors has served thousands women and children through a continuum of services. Teresa Shelter offers emergency and extended stay programs. Maria House offers transitional housing for up to two years. Francis Apartments offers an opportunity for income-based affordable housing with support services; a combination that has proven to be effective at ending the cycle of homelessness. Opening Doors offers much more than a place to sleep. We provide the opportunity for women to claim their own power and become self-sufficient.



How parents can get kids excited about brushing their teeth

Dental hygiene is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s an element youngsters rarely embrace with open arms. Parents know that getting kids, especially young children, to brush their teeth is not always so easy. In recognition of that, the American Dental Association suggests the following strategies to make brushing teeth something kids will look forward to.

• Make it fun. Brushing teeth may not be considered a fun activity, but who’s to say it can’t benefit from a little levity? The ADA recommends turning tooth brushing sessions into dance parties and/or sing-alongs. Youngsters might be so busy cutting a rug or listening to mom and dad belt out a few hits that they don’t even realize they’re cleaning their teeth at the same time. If singing and dancing aren’t cutting it, then incorporate another fun activity, like reading a child his or her favorite story, into daily brushing sessions. The ADA advises adults and children to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day, so activities need not be too advanced. But a fun activity that allows kids to do something other than brush their teeth can be a great way to help them meet the “two minutes, two times” guideline.

• Reward good behavior. Parents can reward youngsters who brush their teeth without incident by offering praise or allowing them to pick a bedtime book when brushing at night.

• Put kids’ favorite characters to work. The ADA notes that many popular children’s television shows and books have stories about brushing teeth. Watch these stories with your children, then reference the stories and characters if kids are reluctant to brush their teeth. Parents also can find toothbrushes and/or toothpaste that feature kids’ favorite characters to get youngsters more excited to brush.

• Become a storyteller. Parents also can make up their own stories, explaining to kids how they can be superheroes who brush away the bad guys that cause cavities.

• Brush alongside your children. Kids love to mimic their parents, so moms and dads can brush alongside their youngsters in the hopes they’ll follow suit.

Many children may never jump at the chance to brush their teeth. But parents can employ a few savvy strategies to make daily brushing sessions more fun for youngsters.



How victims can respond to being stalked

Stalking is a dangerous crime that can elicit feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and isolation in its victims. However, victims of stalking are not helpless against their stalkers.

The National Center for Victims of Crime advises people to take these steps if they feel they are victims of stalking.

• Call 9-1-1. People who suspect they are in immediate danger should not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

• Trust your instincts. It may be tempting to downplay the danger posed by a stalker, especially when victims have or have had personal relationships with their stalkers. However, the NCVC warns against downplaying the danger, noting that people who feel they are unsafe probably are. Threats should be taken seriously. Danger is generally higher when stalkers talk about suicide or murder and in situations when victims are trying to leave or end a relationship.

• Contact a crisis hotline. Crisis hotlines and domestic violence programs can help victims devise plans to safeguard themselves from stalkers. Such agencies also can provide insight regarding local laws, which vary depending on where victims live, and refer victims of stalking to other helpful services. Local programs or agencies can advise victims about contacting police and seeking court orders of protection.

• Develop a safety plan. Do not hesitate to develop a safety plan, which typically involves enlisting the help of trusted friends or relatives. Trusted loved ones can provide a respite from stalkers by offering a place to stay, and such friends and relatives also can accompany stalking victims to meetings with law enforcement authorities to provide support. Safety plans should include ways that victims will change their daily routines to make them less vulnerable to stalkers, as well as how they will respond if stalkers appear at their homes, schools, offices, or other places they frequent.

• Do not communicate with stalkers. Do not communicate with stalkers or respond to their attempts to contact you.

• Keep evidence that you’re being stalked. Do not delete emails, voicemails, text messages, letters, or other evidence that can prove you’re being stalked. In addition, take and save photos of anything stalkers damage, such as property, and any injuries they cause to you, a loved one or a pet.

Stalking is a serious crime, but victims do not have to suffer in silence. Learn more at



What is mindful snacking?

Many people give little thought to the snacks that take up space on their pantry shelves. But are the foods people eat between meals worthy of more careful attention? Those who subscribe to mindful snacking would suggest they are.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, mindful eating focuses on slowing down and tuning into the sensations of eating. One of the goals of mindful eating is to prevent unhealthy behaviors associated with food and eating. One such behavior is binge eating, which can have long-term negative consequences. The National Eating Disorders Association notes that as many as two-thirds of people diagnosed with binge eating disorder, or BED, are clinically obese.

Mindful eating can benefit anyone, including people who are maintaining healthy weights and not considered to be at risk of developing eating disorders. One of the questions people may have about mindful eating, and mindful snacking in particular, is how they can slow down and tune into the sensations of eating when they snack. Working professionals tend to snack at the office, where it’s not always so easy to slow down and tune in to the foods we eat. In addition, availability may dictate what people eat while away from home, which can lead to people eating unhealthy foods because that’s all that is available.

While there’s no denying mindful snacking can be difficult, the IFICF offers these tips to help people slow down and tune in during snack time.

• Assess your hunger. Learning to assess their hunger can help people distinguish hunger from boredom. The IFICF recommends using a hunger scale of one to 10, with one being very hungry and 10 representing feelings of being stuffed. If you determine your hunger is a four or below, then consider a snack. Anything higher than a four and you might just be bored. When snacking, periodically pause to reassess your hunger and determine if you’re satisfied. This reassessment can help you avoid overeating.

• Reduce distractions. Distractions can make it hard for people to recognize how much they have eaten. Avoid snacking while watching television or using your smartphone so you don’t accidentally overeat.

• Take small bites. Large bites also can make it easier to overeat. Small bites, such as one whole grain chip at a time instead of a handful with each bite, can reduce the likelihood of overeating.

• Let your senses savor your snacks. Using all of your senses when snacking can force you to slow down and notice flavors and aromas you might otherwise never recognize.

A more mindful approach to snacking can help people better appreciate their food and may help them avoid overeating. Learn more about mindful eating at



Principles of first aid everyone should know

Emergencies can strike at any time. When such situations arise, emergency care often must administered to someone who is sick or injured, and that care can mean the difference between life and death.

Being prepared for emergencies means understanding basic first aid procedures that can help a person navigate a crisis — or at least stabilize the situation until paramedics arrive. The following are some first aid principles that individuals should know and practice, courtesy of the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and CPR Certified Indigo Medical Training. They should not replace formal first aid training, but can assist a person when he or she is providing medical care to someone in need.

Bleeding can almost always be controlled until more help is available. Severe bleeding can lead to shock and death, so bleeding needs to be addressed immediately. Cloth should be used to cover the wound, and direct pressure should be applied to stop the blood flow. Do not remove the cloth; add more layers as needed. Tourniquets may do more damage to a limb than good, so they are generally no longer recommended. Nosebleeds can be treated by pinching the nostrils for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. Wounds to the head and mouth tend to bleed a lot even if they are superficial. So keep a level head when addressing these areas.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is one of the most important medical procedures to know. If the heart is no longer pumping blood, a person can die quickly. Immediately start chest compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest, allowing recoil between compressions. Many buildings also have automated external defibrillator devices that can help save lives. If you’re not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR, says the Mayo Clinic. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute (the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees) until paramedics arrive. People who are trained also may perform rescue breathing. The Red Cross and other medical groups offer first aid and CPR certification classes that train people on how to perform CPR and use an AED.

Someone suffering from shock or fainting needs blood to get back to his or her brain. Victims should lie on their backs with their feet elevated.

The Heimlich maneuver can be performed when someone is choking. Contrary to popular belief, people who are choking do not typically make any sounds. Stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around him. Place a fist between the person’s rib cage and belly button, and place your other hand over the fist. Deliver a quick thrust upward, and keep doing this until the foreign object is dislodged. Choking in children is handled differently depending on the child’s age. Parents can get training in child maneuvers.

Sprains and fractures
Sprains and fractures occur readily, especially among active adults and children. Immobilize the limb, apply a cold pack, elevate it, and offer anti-inflammatory drugs for discomfort and swelling. A doctor should be seen for further diagnosis and treatment.

Common first aid procedures can help save lives or reduce the severity of injuries when promptly offered.



Facts and figures about modern engagements

Getting engaged has and always will be a big deal. While marriage proposals are often steeped in tradition, some facts and figures about modern day engagements, courtesy of the 2018 Newlywed Report from WeddingWire, show just how much this special moment and all that surrounds it is changing.

• The pressure to make marriage proposals extraordinary appears to be on the rise, at least for Millennials. Of the nearly 18,000 respondents who shared their stories via WeddingWire’s 2017 Newlywed Survey, 72 percent of Millennials said they feel pressured to make their proposals highly unique, while only 45 percent of Gen X respondents indicated feeling such pressure.

• Proposals might be changing, but getting down on one knee appears to be an enduring tradition that Millennials plan to keep in style. Eighty-two percent of Millennials indicated they got down on one knee to propose. In addition, the tradition of asking for parents’ blessing also remains popular among Millennials, 72 percent of whom sought such blessings before proposing marriage.

• The average cost of an engagement ring was $5,000.

• The pressure to pick out the right engagement ring appears to be subsiding. That’s because 50 percent of survey respondents indicated they picked out the ring together.

• Married-couples-to-be also appear to like comparison shopping in regard to engagement rings. The majority of purchasers looked at between two and seven rings before making a purchase.

• While online shopping has changed consumer behavior in myriad ways, couples still prefer brick-and-mortar stores when buying engagement rings. Thirty-one percent of purchasers bought rings online, but 63 percent made their purchases in-person at brick-and-mortar stores.

• Christmas Day is the most popular day to pop the question, followed by Valentine’s Day. Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve round out the top five.

• How to spread the news of an engagement is perhaps the biggest change surrounding engagements. Engagement parties were once the go-to way to spread the good news, but just one in four couples now have engagement parties. Nowadays, 86 percent of couples spread the news via social media. In fact, 10 percent of parents find out about their children’s engagements via social media.

• The days of a short engagement seem to be a thing of the past. The average engagement now lasts 13 months, and 28 percent of couples are engaged for 16 months or longer.



The relationship between eating and exercise

Diet and exercise are each vital components of a healthy lifestyle. While these components tend to be looked at separately, diet and exercise are actually interconnected.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during and after exercise. Following that advice can help men and women maintain their blood glucose concentration during exercise, which allows them to maximize their performance and improves their recovery time.

Some people understandably may feel that eating before exercising seems counterintuitive, as food may contribute to feelings of sluggishness that would make it hard to maximize a workout. But what people eat, and drink, prior to working out is important, as the right foods can make a positive impact while the wrong foods can have the opposite effect.

The American Heart Association and the ACSM recommend hydrating with water prior to working out. The ACSM recommends drinking between two and three cups of water two to three hours before exercising. Adults accustomed to working out in the early morning can try to wake up earlier so they can give their bodies time to hydrate before they begin exercising. It’s also important to continue hydrating during a workout, as the ACSM recommends drinking between 1⁄2 and one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during a workout (amounts can be adjusted based on variables such as the weather and individuals’ body sizes). After a workout, the ACSM recommends drinking two to three cups of water for every pound lost during the exercise session.

Food also plays a vital role in maximizing a workout and improving recovery time. The AHA recommends fueling up on healthy carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat toast or low-fat or fat-free yogurt, two hours before exercising. Doing so might pose a problem for early morning exercise enthusiasts, and in such instances the AHA advises eating a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana five to 10 minutes before beginning a workout.

Avoid saturated fats and a lot of healthy protein prior to working out, as it takes longer for these fuels to digest in the stomach. Until foods are digested, muscles may not get all of the oxygen and energy-delivering blood they need during a workout, so it’s best to stick with foods that the body can digest more quickly.

The Mayo Clinic notes that it’s also important to make food a part of your post-workout routine. Eating a post-workout meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein can aid muscle recovery and replace glycogen stores that help increase energy levels after working out.

The most effective way to exercise involves healthy foods, which can improve performance and lead to quicker post-workout recovery.




2020 show takes place at the Grand River Center Feb. 28 through March 1

Returning for its 32nd year, the Annual Tri-State Home and Builders Show will feature home-improvement and remodeling experts along with seminars and information on the latest products and services. The event will take place Friday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 1 at the Grand River Center in Dubuque.

“We’ve enjoyed bringing these specialists in home remodeling and building to the Tri-State region for the last 32 years,” said Bill Jackson, producer of the show and president of West Des Moines-headquartered Jackson Expo Group. “Late February is a great time to start making plans for spring and summer updates on your home and yard.”

Featured products and services include remodeling materials, kitchen items, flooring, garage doors, windows, heating and cooling systems, water conditioning systems and more. All ages are welcome, and Papa Balloon will be onsite making special balloon creations for the kids.

Informative seminars are free with admission, with topics ranging from solar and geothermal energy to deck design and home security technology. Certified professionals will host the seminars, offering tips, tricks, demonstrations and advice. Attendees will also have the chance to register to win a gift basket valued at $500.

Show hours are Friday, Feb. 28 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, March 1 from noon to 5 p.m. The show is sponsored by the Dubuque Home Builders and Associates.

Friday’s seminars include Going Solar: A Homeowner’s Perspective by Energy Consultants Groupat 5pm and Making Your Home Smart and Secure by DBQ Tech Experts at 6pm.

Saturday’s seminars are Basics of Residential Solar Energy: Equipment, Incentives and Financials by Eagle Point Solar at 11am, Building & Remodeling Strategies by Spahn & Rose at noon, Geothermal – Energy We Can All Agree On by Schuster Heating at 1pm and Making Your Home Smart and Secure by DBQ Tech Experts at 2pm.

Sunday’s seminars start with Going Solar: A Homeowner’s Perspective by Energy Consultants Group at 1pm, followed by Discover What’s New for Your Low Maintenance Deck Project by Spahn & Rose at 2pm and Basics of Residential Solar Energy: Equipment, Incentives and Financials by Eagle Point Solar at 3pm.

Admission is just $5.00 to the show and daily seminars, and children under 12 get in free with an adult. For more information, visit



Tea is a healthy beverage. Black, green and oolong teas get their fair share of health-boosting attention, but a grouping of teas, which technically are not true teas at all, also can be a boon to the body.

Consumption of herbal tea predates consumption of Chinese black tea. Since they do not contain leaves of the camellia sinensis (tea) plant, herbal teas really aren’t tea, but have been given the tea moniker because they are often steeped in a manner similar to tea. Herbal teas are made from herbs as well as dried fruits, flowers and spices. The health and wellness information site Healthline says that certain herbal teas have health-promoting properties. Herbal teas have been used by various cultures for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.

Herbal tea can be used to boost the immune system, to relax and unwind, to alleviate pain, or just to warm you up on a chilly day. Even though herbal teas may seem all-natural, it is wise to check with a doctor before including them as part of a health-boosting regimen to confirm that they won’t produce any adverse reactions with medications. That’s especially important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Herbal teas come in various flavors. The following are some of the more popular herbal teas and their potential health benefits.

Chamomile tea
Chamomile is best known for its calming effects, and it is sometimes used as a mild sleep-inducer. A study of 34 patients with insomnia found marginal improvements in waking up during the night, falling asleep and daytime functioning after taking chamomile extract twice a day, as published by the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed Central. Some studies suggest that chamomile can reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and it may have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well.

Peppermint tea
Those who enjoy peppermint tea often do so to soothe an upset stomach. Nutritionist Dr. Simran Saini from Fortis Hospital in India says that peppermint tea also can promote weight loss and reduce heartburn and may help people relax.

Turmeric tea
Turmeric tea has anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for anyone who has an autoimmune disease like arthritis and fibromyalgia. The anti-inflammatory properties also can help with symptoms of migraines and other minor aches and pains.

Ginger tea
A 2012 study from researchers at Columbia University who examined 10 overweight men found that drinking hot ginger tea increased the men’s feelings of fullness and reduced hunger. Ginger also may improve blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes.

Herbal teas can be part of a health plan that involves all-natural remedies for common ailments.



The threat posed by ice dams

Cold, snowy weather can present various issues for homeowners to contend with. One such problem, ice dams, can cause damage to walls, ceilings and other areas.

The University of Minnesota Extension says that an ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow from draining properly. A complex combination of heat loss from a home, snow cover and outside temperatures can lead to the formation of ice dams. An ice dam will be fed by melting snow above it and cause a backup at the edge of the roof.

Dams can cause gutters to tear off and loosen shingles and may lead to water backing up and pouring into the home, advises This Old House. Ice dams also can contribute to soggy insulation, making the insulation lose its protective R-value and becoming a magnet for mold and mildew.

Homeowners can do a number of things to temporarily prevent the formation of ice dams. Heated cables clipped to the roof’s edge in a zigzag pattern can help prevent dams that lift shingles. Pushing snow off the roof can help. Laying an ice melt product in gutters to help melt the ice that forms also can prevent ice dams.

More permanent solutions involve keeping the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves by increasing ventilation, adding insulation and properly sealing air leaks that can warm the underside of the roof. This may involve calling in a professional contractor. Such an investment is well worth it, as it can prevent much more costly damage down the line.



The connection between radon and lung cancer

Products billed as “all-natural” or “organic” are increasingly popular among consumers. That’s understandable, as organic foods have been linked to a host of health benefits. For example, a 2014 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops contained more antioxidants and were less likely than conventionally grown crops to contain detectable levels of pesticides. But as beneficial as all natural can be, it’s important that people recognize that not all naturally occurring things are good for their health.

Radon is a radioactive gas found in the soil. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, radon forms when the radioactive metals uranium, thorium or radium break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. People are constantly exposed to radon because it comes naturally from the earth. However, when that exposure exceeds certain levels, the consequences can be severe.

How am I exposed to radon?
Many people are exposed to radon from breathing it in through the air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes. The CDC notes that, because it’s naturally occurring, radon is always present in the air. In many instances, radon is present at levels that are harmless. However, homeowners, building owners and business owners should have radon levels checked periodically to ensure that the levels present in the air are not posing a threat. Levels can change, and levels can vary from home to home. But the EPA notes that testing for radon is both inexpensive and easy.

Are radon and cancer connected?
According to the CDC, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. People who smoke and live in homes with high radon levels are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, estimates from the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office suggest that radon causes more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. As radon is breathed in, radioactive particles from the gas can get trapped in the lungs. Over time, these particles increase a person’s risk for lung cancer.

But it’s not just smokers who are vulnerable to lung cancer caused by radon. Estimates from the EPA indicate that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, causing about 2,900 deaths each year in the United States among people who have never smoked.

Radon is a significant threat that can increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. Testing for radon and taking action when exposure is high can reduce your risk for lung cancer.



Preventive care involves safeguarding mental health as well

Preventive care is often looked at through the needs people need to do to protect their physical well-being. For example, a healthy diet and routine exercise, while beneficial to mental health, are often viewed as lifestyle choices that can make people feel better physically. But taking steps to protect one’s mental health also is vital to a long, productive life.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that positive mental health and mental wellness can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s life. Positive mental health can help people realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

What can I do to protect my mental health? Learning to recognize the early warning signs of mental health problems can help prevent such problems from escalating and compel people to seek help. The DHHS advises anyone feeling these signs or recognizing these signs in others to seek help for themselves or their loved ones:

• Eating or sleeping too much or too little
• Pulling away from people and usual activities
• Having low or no energy
• Feeling numb or as if nothing matters
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Feeling helpless or hopeless
• Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
• Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
• Yelling or fighting with family and friends
• Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
• Persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
• Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
• Thinking of harming yourself or others
• An inability to perform daily tasks, such as taking care of your children or getting to work or school

Taking steps to protect one’s mental wellness is a vital component of preventive care. More information about mental health is available at



What to expect as you transition to a healthy diet

For many people, the road to a healthy lifestyle begins in the kitchen. People make changes to their diets of their own volition or at the recommendation of their doctors, and those changes can have a profound effect that might surprise even the most devoted of healthy eaters.

According to the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, 90 percent of all cancer cases can be prevented through environmental and lifestyle choices like deciding to eat a healthy diet. In addition, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, notes that a history of poor eating is one of the biggest contributors to the various nutrition- and physical activity-related health challenges that now face the U.S. population. By simply altering their diets to make them more nutritious, millions of people across the globe can significantly reduce their risk for various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

People who are committed to eating healthier should know that changing diets can produce some adverse, but typically temporary, side effects. The CACE notes that such side effects are predictable, as they are essentially just manifestations of the body’s adjustments as it responds to eating better. People adopting healthier diets should discuss the appearance of the following side effects with their physicians while recognizing that they are not necessarily a cause for concern.

Skin rashes
The CACE notes that people who have histories of recurring skin rashes or eruptions may experience such rashes as they adjust to healthy diets. That’s because the skin is becoming more active and alive due to the healthy diet and expelling toxins that could potentially prove hazardous down the road. Doctors unfamiliar with patients’ histories may mistake these rashes for food allergies, so it’s important that patients be open and honest about their medical histories and remind their doctors that they are in the process of changing their diets for the better.

Colds or fevers
Colds or fevers can be another way the body indicates it’s working hard to cleanse itself. Fevers should always be monitored closely, even while in the midst of changing one’s diet for the better. But the CACE notes that colds or fevers, while unpleasant, can serve as a natural form of housecleaning as the body adjusts to a healthy diet. Persistent colds and fevers should be brought to the attention of a physician.

Additional symptoms
Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability as they transition from unhealthy diets to healthy ones. Such symptoms may be more likely to occur among people who suddenly adopt extreme diets. A gradual transition may help mitigate these symptoms, as can choosing a less extreme, balanced diet as opposed to one that demands certain foods be avoided entirely right off the bat.

Choosing to eat a healthier diet is a smart move that can pay long-term dividends. But the transition may require people to confront potentially uncomfortable side effects as their bodies adjust.



Learn the ways to beat bad habits

The start of a new year can be a rejuvenating time when people take inventory of their lives and make positive changes. In a quest for personal growth, many people resolve to reduce or eliminate bad habits.

Habits are one of the ways in which the brain establishes patterns for neurons to follow. Habits help people work on autopilot some of the time, which can save time and energy, according to, an information site educating the public on a wide array of timely topics. Good habits, like showing up to work on time, are worth maintaining. But bad habits can be problematic and potentially unhealthy.

Strategies to break bad habits might work for some but not for others. Perseverance is essential to kicking bad habits, and the following are some additional tips that can help people as they try to ditch certain behaviors once and for all.

• Recognize the habit. No person is perfect, and each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing a bad habit is the first step toward breaking it.

• Break the pattern by offering a new one. As noted, when a habit is established, neurons form a pattern. Establishing a new, better habit, rather than just trying to quit the bad habit cold turkey, can be an effective way to help the brain adjust to a new pattern, advises neuroscientist Elliot Berkman. He says the brain finds it easier to do something new than to simply stop doing something it’s accustomed to. So if you’re a nail-biter, do something else with your hands, like play a musical instrument, to create a new pattern.

• Penalize yourself within reason. Making a habit painful in one way or another may make it easier to quit. Penalizing yourself by paying a dollar each time you say a curse word, or extending a workout for an extra 30 minutes for each one you miss are some examples of simple punishments.

• Reward yourself for beating habits. Rewards for kicking bad habits can be just as effective as penalizing bad behavior. Reward yourself with something unusual and meaningful after you kick a bad habit.

• Learn your triggers and avoid them. The self-improvement blog Pick the Brain indicates that every bad habit has a cue that can trigger it. Triggers fall into these categories: location, time, emotional state, other people, and an immediately preceding action. By learning your triggers, you can work to avoid them. If eating junk food comes on the tails of a stressful commute, try a different way home. If you smoke when you’re around a particular person who eggs you on, take a break from hanging out with this person.

Breaking bad habits is challenging, but it can happen with focus and dedication.



Dubuque Awarded Million-Dollar Grant for Next-Gen Traffic Management

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration announced today it has awarded a $998,200 grant to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) for a Dubuque project to develop an innovative, next-generation, traffic management and control system.

This Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration Grant was awarded for Dubuque’s Smart Traffic Routing with Efficient and Effective Traffic Signals (STREETS) project, a collaboration between the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA), City of Dubuque, and Iowa DOT. The AID Demonstration grant provides funding as an incentive for eligible entities to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovation in highway transportation.

The goal of Dubuque’s STREETS project is to develop an automatic system that will use traffic-control strategies to enable dynamic traffic routing on 10 Dubuque traffic corridors to maximize existing roadway capacities in the Dubuque metro area. The total project cost is estimated at $5 million and will be funded through a combination of funds from various agencies.

“We are grateful for this federal support of local innovation and collaboration,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. “The City of Dubuque is excited to pursue this project with our partners, ECIA and the Iowa DOT, to develop new traffic management technologies and practices that can become best practices for other communities.”

Buol added that Dubuque’s grant application received significant support from U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, U.S. Representative Abby Finkenauer, and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.

The STREETS project intends to allow City of Dubuque staff to monitor traffic operations and intervene as necessary but does not require constant or significant manual operations. The project is expected to reduce equipment costs at individual intersections by providing signal timings through a centralized Adaptive (Dynamic) Traffic Control System.

The STREETS project will use Dubuque’s existing system to reduce congestion and improve safety in the metro area by dynamically rerouting traffic on roads with extra capacities. This system, the first of its kind in the nation, will the give the City’s operators the ability to help drivers to reduce their commuting time by better utilizing existing road capacity. This project will also help identify future projects that will improve safety and reduce congestion in the Dubuque metro area.

The STREETS project is a pilot project in the state of Iowa. Once implemented and tested, it is expected to be implemented in other parts of the state and could be used as a best practice for similar-sized communities across the country.



Get the most out of bridal shows and wedding events

Recently engaged couples may be excited to get a jump on wedding planning. Bridal shows can be a great way for couples to meet and familiarize themselves with local wedding professionals, all the while introducing themselves to the terminology of wedding planning.

Though they’re a great source of information, contacts and samples, bridal shows also can be a bit overwhelming. Learning how to maximize time spent at shows can help couples plan their weddings as efficiently as possible.

• Start small. If the idea of large crowds is unappealing, attend the more intimate, boutique shows that are often held at local reception halls and restaurants instead of the larger installations at convention centers and hotels.

• Scout out vendors. Check the bridal show’s website for lists of exhibitors and see if your desired vendors are on the list. But even if they’re not, keep an open mind and use the show as a chance to compare offerings. If an event map is available, marking off must-visit booths can help save time.

• Pre-register. Pre-registering for bridal events saves time at check-in, and doing so may make you eligible for discounted tickets.

• Come prepared. Chances are each vendor is going to ask couples for information so that they can follow up with a phone call or email with more detailed offerings and estimates. Couples attending the show can expedite the process by coming equipped with labels that feature their names, contact information and wedding date. They can then stick the labels on sign-in sheets or use them like business cards.

• Dress comfortably. Bridal expos involve a lot of walking and roaming around. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Consider a backpack or hands-free bag so you are not weighed down when collecting the swag and other handouts throughout the day.

• Ask questions. When face-to-face with vendors, rely on their expertise but don’t hesitate to ask questions concerning themes, colors, recommendations for honeymoon locations, invitation paper suggestions, and much more.

• Stay for the fashion show. Many shows will offer a runway experience to present the latest gown and tuxedo offerings. This can be an entertaining way for couples to formulate their wedding styles.

Wedding shows introduce couples to vendors and set them on the path to making decisions regarding the planning of their weddings.



When to hire a dog trainer

People welcome dogs into their lives for many reasons. Some want to selflessly rescue dogs from poor situations and provide a forever home in which the animal can be loved and grow, while others may want to provide a companion for their kids and to teach lessons of devotion and responsibility.

Sixty-seven percent of households in the United States own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. Ipsos says approximately 35 percent of Canadian households have a dog.

While most dogs are inherently affable, affectionate creatures, not every puppy is obedient right out of the gate. Many dogs exhibit behaviors that may seem cute when dogs are young, but become problematic as the animal ages. Thanks to a wealth of readily available information, both online and in print, many dog owners can address minor issues on their own. However, when certain behaviors persist, a professional trainer may need to be brought in.

Certified dog trainers have been taught how to recognize and interpret the unique language of dogs and educate others so owners can recognize how to interact with their pets more effectively. Dogs are committed to pleasing their owners, but they may not always realize what their owners are asking. Trainers can help bridge this gap more quickly.

Trainers also are more likely than owners to see problem behaviors from an unbiased perspective. A pet owner may think their dog is acting out or being spiteful, while a trainer can explain that isn’t the case and that boredom or another factor may be behind the behavior. Putting problems in an objective light can make it easier to find solutions.

According to the California-based Break It Down Dog Training, if more pet owners were proactive about seeking professional training from the start of the pet-owner relationship, that could preempt many of the problem behaviors that tend to spring up.

Trainers may specialize in treating certain behaviors, so it’s a good idea to seek a recommendation from a veterinarian or speak with a rescue or humane society group. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends who have had success also is a smart idea.

A number of behavioral problems may indicate a trainer is needed. These behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Resource guarding of food or toys
• Separation anxiety
• Pulling on the leash
• Door-dashing
• Pica, or eating inappropriate items
• Jumping up on people
• Nipping and growling
• Severe fears and shyness

Many trainers can resolve common problems in a few sessions and give dog owners innovative techniques to try.



It’s okay if walkers miss the 10,000-step standard

Over the last several years, many people have embraced the notion that 10,000 daily steps are the way to being physically fit. Health experts espouse that notion and trainers endorse it, but is there scientific proof behind the recommendation?

The 10,000-step standard — which equates to roughly five miles, depending on a person’s stride length and speed — has some surprising origins that are not necessarily rooted in medical science. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the lead author of a new study published in May 2019 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, wanted to explore the origins of the 10,000-step recommendation. She discovered the guideline evolved from a marketing strategy devised by a Japanese company called Yamasa Toki. That firm introduced its new step-counter in 1965, naming it Manpo-Kei, which translated into “10,000 steps meter.” They marketed the meter using the Japanese character for “10,000,” which resembles a man walking. The character and round number proved memorable and the slogan, “Let’s walk 10,000 steps a day” was catchy. As a result, many people adopted the 10,000-step approach, even though its medical benefits might not have been proven.

But this isn’t to suggest that taking 10,000 steps per day cannot be part of a healthy living plan. In fact, such a goal promotes physical activity, which is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. However, simply taking 10,000 steps per day might not be enough to achieve long-term health.

Lee conducted her own research to test if the Japanese were on to something by inadvertently setting the 10,000-step standard. She found that an increase in walking correlated to lower mortality rates among more than 16,000 elderly American women. However, when these women reached about 7,500 steps the mortality rates leveled out, suggesting that those extra 2,500 steps might not be necessary.

Even the manufacturer of one of the most popular fitness trackers, Fitbit, says that users’ step goals can vary depending on need, and that goals may even shift over time. People who are looking to lose weight and maintain their existing health will need to modify their step count accordingly. Working with a qualified trainer or using a medically sanctioned training program can help people exercise safely and effectively.

Taking 10,000 steps per day may help people achieve their health-related goals. But 10,000 steps alone likely won’t be enough to achieve optimal health.



Tips and tricks for savory slow-cooked meals

Kitchen gadgets come and go, but one mainstay continues to deliver tasty meals with ease.

The Crock-Pot®, dubbed the original slow cooker, was invented in 1940 by Irving Nachumsohn. This slow cooker was created to cook a traditional stew eaten on the Jewish sabbath. Because faithful Jews are forbidden from cooking on the sabbath, Nachumsohn found the stew could easily be prepared prior and allowed to cook unattended, then carried to dinner, meeting the sabbath requirements.

It was another 30 years before the slow cooker garnered widespread acclaim. That newfound popularity developed when more women entered the workforce and needed convenient ways to prepare meals at home without affecting their work schedules.

While slow cookers can make for successful meals, knowing how to use them to their fullest potential can increase the propensity for delicious, easy dishes. Here are some tips and tricks.

• Prepare ingredients the night before. By handling the mise en place for recipes the evening prior, you’ll have everything you need ready to put in the slow cooker and set to cook for the day.

• Preheat the cooker. Add ingredients to a slow cooker that is already warmed up for best results.

• Arrange for easy cleanup. Specially designed slow cooker liners can cut washing time dramatically and help prolong the surface of the internal crock.

• Don’t add dairy until the meal is almost finished cooking. Cooking dairy products for long periods of time can cause them to curdle. Save them for the last steps when using a slow cooker.

• Exercise caution with tender veggies. The same wait-until-later approach should also apply to vegetables, beans and pastas, which can lose their integrity and become mushy if cooked for hours. Leave them for last.

• Inexpensive cuts of meat are fine. Inexpensive cuts are often high in fat or connective tissue, which will break down during long, moist cooking. Consider browning meat before putting it in the cooker for even more flavor.

• Layer ingredients appropriately. Place hard ingredients like potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables at the bottom of the cooker where they will cook more readily.

• Stick to the low setting. As much as possible, cook using the low setting to allow for slow, gentle heat to bring out the flavors. Ginny Thomas, a training manager for Crock-Pot®, says she has been sticking with this advice for over a decade as a key tip.

Many traditionally prepared meals can be converted to slow cooker recipes. Utilize cookbooks and online resources to make delicious, slow-cooked meals.



How to help the homeless this winter

The problem posed by homelessness is considerable. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says that, on any given night in the United States, more than half a million people are experiencing homelessness. And the problem is not exclusive to the U.S., as the Homelessness Partnering Secretariat (HPS) estimates that between 150,000 and 300,000 individuals experience homelessness in Canada each year.
Many homeless people are single adults who have nowhere else to turn. Veterans make up approximately 9 percent of all homeless singletons.

While homelessness is challenging at any time of the year, winter is especially brutal for homeless individuals. Those who have no indoor places to sleep (shelters fill up quickly in the cold or are avoided for other reasons) typically must confront harsh winter weather, which can increase their risk for hypothermia. Art from the Streets, a nonprofit organization that strives to help the homeless, says winter weather can prove fatal for homeless communities, which is perhaps one reason why the average age of death for a homeless person is 47.

People who have the comfort of warm clothing and shelter may not realize the plight of the homeless this time of year. But with some generosity and volunteerism, anyone can help the homeless community this winter.

• Alert professionals. Many different charities help place homeless people in temporary shelters or get them a warm bed or meal. Do a quick search of homeless organizations in your area and give a call to find out if they can assist someone you may have spotted on the street.

• Donate coats, scarves and gloves. In 2017, residents of Bristol, England, tied scarves to the city’s lampposts for homeless to use. Similar concepts can be implemented in towns and cities across the globe. In addition, look for organizations that collect warm clothing for the homeless and the needy.

• Volunteer with a soup kitchen. Soup kitchens routinely provide hot meals for homeless visitors, and such facilities are often in need of volunteers.

• Partner up with an organization. The Blessing Bag Brigade is a New Jersey-based nonprofit that is dedicated to providing various items of comfort to homeless individuals. The organization routinely collects toiletries, snack foods, socks, razors, and breakfast bars and packages them up in bags to deliver to the homeless. Learn more at

• Provide hot meals or beverages to a homeless individual. Many times someone who is homeless may benefit significantly from a small token of compassion. If you do not want to give cash to panhandlers, then instead buy a hot sandwich and deliver it to someone who is homeless.

Helping homeless individuals and organizations that aim to help the homeless takes on urgency when the winter arrives. It may not require much to provide comfort and safety to someone in need.



How to care for wild birds this winter

The arrival of winter forces everyone to confront the changes synonymous with the season, and local wildlife is no exception. Low temperatures, harsh winter storms and a scarcity of food can make it challenging for wildlife, including birds, to thrive throughout the winter.

Even though several species of birds are migratory and travel to warmer climates to wait out winter, many others stay put. The Audubon Society says that keeping close to home helps some species of birds maintain their territories.

Some birds will puff up to retain heat; others will seek shelter in dense foliage or cavities to avoid the elements. Many birds will huddle together to share warmth.

Another way of keeping warm is building up fat as an insulator and energy source. The Audubon Society says more than 10 percent of some birds’ winter body weight may be fat. That can be challenging to maintain when common sources of food, such as insects and berries, disappear as winter wears on. This is when some human intervention can prove handy, advise ornithologists. A few simple efforts may benefit birds and other wildlife that may not hibernate winter away or escape to the tropics.

• Have a supply of food, bird feeders, houses, and any other bird-related gear at the ready before the storms really rev up.

• Invest in nutritious food, such as black oil sunflower seeds or blends that are high in black oil sunflower seeds. You also can make available more foods that are high in fat, such as suet, peanut butter or even whole peanuts. Mother Nature Network also suggests adding meal worms if they can be found.

• Choose feeders that will keep seed dry; otherwise, it will be prone to bacterial and fungal growth.

• Don’t discard fallen leaves or any downed twigs or pruned boughs from trees. This will give birds material for creating shelter or hiding away when the weather gets especially brutal. When the Christmas tree is finished for the season, place it in the yard as a windbreak for birds.

• Put shallow water sources around so birds can drink. Replace them frequently if water freezes.

Wild birds can benefit from some help when the temperatures start to drop in winter.



VFW Installs Flag Disposal Box

The Dubuque VFW 9663 has installed a new flag disposal box at the New Dubuque VA Clinic at Plaza 20, 2600 Dodge St, Dubuque, Iowa, effective immediately.

This flag disposal box offers 24-hour access to drop older, faded, torn, or damaged American Flags for proper honorable disposal by military veterans.

A planned flag disposal box will be added to the Dubuque Freedom Center on Kerper Blvd in early 2020.

The Dubuque VFW 9663 meets monthly on the third Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. in the American Legion Post #6 Clubhouse, 1306 Delhi St, Dubuque, Iowa.

Social pages include Facebook @vfw9663dubuque

For more information, please contact VFW 9663 Commander Wayne Brown. Mail may be sent to 1306 Delhi St, Dubuque, IA 52001.



Midwest Freeriders Meets Fundraising Goal for BigAirBag®

Midwest Freeriders has reached their fundraising goal for a new BigAirBag with donations from local supporters and Eagle Point Solar.

The landing bag is designed to greatly increase safety for freestyle landing for our community youth located at the Sundown Mountain south terrain park. Slopes are open this weekend and a kickoff event for the BigAirBag will be scheduled in January.

“As a Solar Energy Consultant for Eagle Point Solar, avid skier, and board member of Midwest Freeriders, I’m proud to present this check to the organization. The BigAirBag is the first of its kind in North America and it’s right here in Dubuque, Iowa at Sundown Mountain Resort. Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising efforts to make this a reality.” stated Tyler Billmeyer.

“We’re excited to watch our local youth use this exciting training tool. This is a great addition to the community and will greatly benefit our young snowboarders and skiers as they advance their skills with Midwest Freeriders,” stated Mark Gordon, General Manager of Sundown Mountain Resort.

“It’s has been a dream of mine to develop the Midwest Freeriders into a club where kids in the community have access to the tools they need to be successful and help them build confidence by learning to snowboard and/or ski. These skills will filter through into other aspects of their life. Thank you to Eagle Point Solar and everyone who believes in our vision and has donated to our fundraiser to achieve this goal,” stated Ben White, President of Midwest Freeriders.



Stop eye strain before it starts

It’s that time of the year when many areas of the country are under the cold cloak of winter. Unforgiving temperatures can translate into an increase in hours spent indoors, whether at work or at home, and more time relying on devices to pass the hours.

Spending more time watching television, playing video games, texting friends, or browsing the internet can lead to a condition known as “computer vision eye strain.” Eye strain also may be caused through intense eye use, such as while driving long distances or engaging in activities that require close attention, such as crafting or reading.
The American Optometric Association says digital eye strain can result in various forms of discomfort, which increase with the amount of screen use.

The most common symptoms include:
• headaches;
• blurred vision;
• dry, watery or burning eyes;
• increased sensitivity to light; and
• neck and shoulder pain.

The AOA says viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes have to work harder. The AOA notes this is different from reading a printed page. The letters are not as precise or sharply defined, and areas of contrast can be muted. Also, the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic says people tend to blink less while using digital devices, and view them at less than ideal distances or angles.

Alleviating eye strain from digital sources involves making changes in daily habits or the environment. Taking regular eye breaks, and looking at objects from different distances can help them focus. These tips may help as well.
• Adjust the lighting to reduce glare on screens or your task.
• Limit screen time as much as possible and engage in other activities.
• Consider the use of artificial tears products to lubricate dry eyes.
• Choose the right eyewear, and work with an eye professional to find products that can assist you. Specialized glasses or contact lenses are designed for computer work. Investigate tintings and coatings that also may help.
• Blink often to refresh the eyes.
• Talk to a doctor if eye strain persists or changes in severity.

When the weather gets cold, people may rely on digital devices for recreation more than they otherwise would. Avoiding eye strain in such situations can help people avoid discomfort.



Weekly Yard Waste and Food Scraps Collections Ending for Season on Saturday, Nov. 30

The City of Dubuque’s weekly, curbside collection of yard debris and food scraps will end for the 2019 season on Saturday, Nov. 30. The City will begin its winter collection schedule for those materials on Thursday, Dec. 5.

The winter yard debris and food scrap schedule will run on Thursdays only starting on Dec. 5 until regular, weekly yard waste and food scraps collection resumes on April 6, 2020.

Current food scraps collection subscribers will automatically have their collections made every Thursday and will be charged $1 per month for this winter service. All other curbside collection customers who would like to have yard debris and/or food scraps collected must schedule an appointment for a Thursday collection by either calling the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at (563) 589-4250 or submitting a request through the City’s website at Yellow yard waste stickers and/or annual yard waste decals are required for winter collections.

To receive automatic reminders about curbside collection schedule changes, recycling reminders, and other alerts, customers are encouraged to visit the ReThink Waste Dubuque site at to download the app or register their contact information to:
• sign up for curbside collection reminders by email, automated telephone call, and
text message;
• download their collection schedule into iCal, Google calendar, or Microsoft Outlook calendar; and
• print their collection schedule.

The ReThink Waste Dubuque tool also offers a “Waste Wizard” feature, which allows users to type in any keywords and get disposal and recycling tips specific to Dubuque. For more information, call the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at (563) 589-4250.



Deer Rut Welcomes Hunters with Disabilities

A blanket of snow and the deer rut welcomed hunters with disabilities to the Lost Mound Unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savanna, Illinois. Quadriplegics, paraplegics, amputees and other physically challenged hunters participated in this special deer hunt held on November 15-16.

The deer rut was in full swing with plenty of deer activity on the first day that resulted in 13 deer being harvested. However, it was followed by a warm front and rain that bedded deer down and only 1 deer was taken the second day. Thirty-one hunters and their attendants harvested the 14 deer that included 10 does and 4 bucks. Scot Meneguin from Galena harvested the largest buck, a 9 pointer with field dressed weight of 155 pounds.

This special hunt has gained national attention with hunters representing eight states. It provides a boost to the local economy with most hunters being non-residents or residents that traveled from central and southern Illinois. Other states represented were Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Each year, the Refuge partners with outdoors and sporting organizations to make this hunt a success. The non-profit organization Unlimited Outdoors Experience (formerly Midwest Experience) sponsored Mark Schaefer from Chatham, Illinois, an Air Force disabled veteran that fought in Afghanistan. It’s the third year this organization has sponsored a disabled veteran, who often are new to deer hunting or are being re-activated to hunting.

Down Deer Recovery, a certified United Blood Trackers provider, assisted hunters in recovering wounded deer, also for a third year. Co-owner/handler Seth Nelson with his bloodhound Kimber and German shepherd Maverick, successfully tracked several wounded deer with the help of assistant handler Teddy Robbins. The dogs tracked the scent of a stress pheromone that is released from the deer’s hooves and is present along the escape path of the injured deer. Maverick is also a sled dog that drags deer out of the woods on a sled.

Ninety-three year old William Brown celebrated his 73rd year of deer hunting. He has hunted deer every year since 1957, when Illinois began deer hunting. Anna Lenz harvested her first deer and is the first female to harvest a deer during this special hunt that began in 2007.

This special hunt is conducted in areas that are closed to public access due to ongoing environmental clean-up at this former military installation, the Savanna Army Depot. Over 1,000 youth and adult hunters have participated.

Lost Mound Site Manager Alan Anderson was excited about the continued success of this program and stated “It is a unique hunting experience by a special group of hunters. Their daily challenges of life were dwarfed by the enthusiasm and determination for deer hunting. They provided both inspiration and encouragement to the Refuge staff and volunteers that administered the hunt.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge was established in 1924 and contains 240,000 acres that extends along 261 miles of the Upper Mississippi River.



Happy Veterans Day

Honor our serving and retired armed forces today!



The Salvation Army of Dubuque Kettle Campaign Kick-Off

The Salvation Army of Dubuque is inviting Dubuque area residents to a kick-off of the annual bell-ringing season on Wednesday, November 13 with a special event at 6:15 pm at the Dubuque Kennedy Mall. The event will take place at Center Court and include the announcement of the 2019 goal for the Kettle Campaign, a new promotion with the Kennedy Mall and an additional way to donate at the kettle this season.

As a reminder, The Salvation Army of Dubuque will have its Christmas toy and food sign-up for low-income households November 12th – 15th, and the 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 1099 Iowa Street for Dubuque area residents. Those signing-up will need to bring a picture ID for adults registering and ONE of the following for each child: social security card, birth certificate, or school record. The toy distribution will be December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Because of the annual Christmas campaign – many families receive aid over a period of months after the Christmas season, including those struggling with family, emotional, or employment problems. The Kettle Campaign is also important for new programs such as children’s music and ballet, community garden and the Pathway of Hope.

About The Salvation Army

 The Salvation Army has served Dubuque County for over 100 years. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. The Salvation Army of Dubuque currently serves the community with a food pantry year-round, The Pathway of Hope program, a Senior Activities Center, weekly church services and bible study and a children’s music and ballet program. To learn more, give a monetary donation, or volunteer for The Salvation Army call (563) 556-1573.



Iowa Public Television announces new series The Life Autistic

Iowa Public Television announced today the launch of its newest online series, The Life Autistic. The series will premiere Monday, November 18 on, Facebook and YouTube.

The Life Autistic will explore the challenges and successes of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder at different stages in life and ranges on the spectrum. Featuring various age groups ranging from the very young to the elderly, the series will include personal profiles and interviews exploring topics relevant to each age group.

“Working on The Life Autistic series has been a profound experience. People with autism and members of their families have graciously shared their deepest struggles and greatest successes in order to raise awareness and acceptance for those with disabilities,” said series producer/director Judy Blank. “I find it both humbling and inspirational that every person we were privileged to meet works tirelessly for gains towards increased quality of life and independence for those with autism.”

The Life Autistic will include an estimated 12 episodes. After the November 18 premiere, new episodes will be released bi-weekly on Mondays through April 2020.

Learn more at



Public Invited to Share Input on Next City Budget

Dubuque residents and stakeholders are invited to share their input on the next City budget as City of Dubuque staff prepare the City’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which runs July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

The public will have the opportunity to provide input at a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 13, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Historic Federal Building, 350 W. Sixth Street. City staff will provide general information on the budget process at this meeting and then meeting attendees will be asked to share their thoughts on what they would like to see funded in their neighborhoods and the community at-large.

Those unable to attend the meeting are invited to provide input on the budget by submitting comments in the “Balancing Act” simulation tool available at

Input will be reviewed by staff and will assist in the development of a recommended FY 2021 budget to be submitted to the City Council in February 2020. The City Council will then consider the recommended budget and the public will have additional opportunities to offer input during seven public meetings in February and March. A final budget must be adopted by March 31. The City’s operating budget (day-to-day costs of providing city services) is around $134 million and the capital budget, which includes major projects and improvements, is approximately $57 million.

Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to explore two online tools, available at, that provide an opportunity to visually interact with the City’s budget:
The “Open Budget” tool provides unprecedented access to City budget information and is designed to help make sense of the dollars and cents of city government budgeting.

The “Balancing Act” simulation tool allows users to learn how property tax is budgeted and tax revenues are spent and illustrates how the City’s FY2020 budget will be developed. The simulator challenges residents and stakeholders to actively balance their own version of the City’s budget, subject to the same constraints City Council members face annually when considering the City’s recommended operating and capital budgets. In addition, residents and stakeholders can provide comments in the simulator.

For additional information on the City’s budget process, visit or call 563-589-4110.



501(c)(3) NONPROFIT

Dubuque, Iowa – The Red Basket Project has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Established in 2016, the organization strives to ensure each woman’s period is met with products, despite personal or financial need.

“Because no one ever asks, we assume there is no need,” said Beth Gilbreath, co-founder of The Red Basket Project. “What we have found in our work is that the need is in fact tremendous. We were shocked to learn that we have those in our community who miss school and work when they have their period, simply because their families lack the financial means to purchase. When you are forced to choose between food and period supplies, food wins.”

Since inception, The Red Basket Project has distributed over 20,540 period packs, each consisting of period supplies for one month.

Board members include: Gilbreath, Realtor at Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors, President; Amanda Munger, of Runde Auto Group, Vice President; Gabe Less, of MediRevv, Inc., Treasurer; Lynne Hemmer, of Sedgwick, Secretary; Kelley Donovan, of LPL Financial; and Lidia Bertolini, of Mario’s Italian Restaurant.

For more information, or to donate, visit



City Expo to Celebrate All-America City Award

The City of Dubuque’s City Expo 2019 event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4-7 p.m. at the Five Flags Center, 405 Main St. This event is free and open to the public.

Every day, hundreds of city staff members proudly serve the residents of Dubuque, working hard to deliver excellent customer service and create a vibrant and sustainable city. City Expo is an opportunity for residents to visit with city staff and learn about programs, services, and community resources. Information and equipment from City departments and partner organizations will be on display.

Earlier in 2019, Dubuque was named an All-America City. This year’s theme was “Creating Healthy Communities.” In celebration of the award, there will be a special All-America City exhibit showcasing the many City departments and community partners whose work was featured in the winning application

Expo attendees can win door prizes by participating in an “Expo Passport” activity. Passport forms will be provided at the event and must be completed and submitted before leaving the event. Participants need not be present to win.

The following door prizes will be available to win at City Expo this year:
• Family summer swimming pool pass
• $50 credit for leisure services programs
• Foursome of golf, plus two carts, at Bunker Hill Golf Course
• Annual yard waste decals
• Yard waste stickers
• $50 gift cards to local grocery stores
• Youth and adult Jule bus passes

Informational materials and complimentary food will be available. For additional information on City Expo, visit or call 563-589-4151.



The safest place for kids in the car

Riding in a vehicle can be an exciting prospect for children. Such rides provide a chance to see the world outside of the house, and the speed with which scenery is flying by can be exhilarating for young minds.

Children are first introduced to riding in cars as babies, when child safety seats will keep them secure. Although laws vary depending on where people are driving, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children remain in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 or older.

As they get older and gain weight, children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their seats should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer, says the AAP.

When children are old enough to graduate from car seat to booster seat to sitting in the car with only a seat belt, parents may wonder about where their youngsters can sit when riding in a vehicle. One area of the car tends to be safer than others for children. Researchers from the University of Buffalo who studied crash-related fatalities in relation to seat location discovered that the backseat is 59 to 86 percent safer than the front seat. What’s more, the middle seat in the back of the car is 25 percent safer than the window seats.

The science behind the study is that the middle seat offers the most distance from impact during a collision, or what the industry calls “the crumple zone.” The outer seats will be more affected, while the middle seat remains more insulated. However, the middle seat is only the safest when used with a full seat belt, rather than just a lap harness; otherwise, children should sit in the back where a full three-point seat belt is available, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition, it can be tempting to cave under pressure and allow tweens to ride in the front of the car when they ask to do so or say that it is embarrassing to ride in back – since all of their friends are riding up front. The organization Safe Ride 4 Kids says studies show the safest place in the car for tweens is the back, until they are at least 13 years of age.

Riding in the middle seat in the back of the car is the safest place for passengers, including children. Parents and caregivers should keep safety in mind when kids are in the car.



5 ways to protect against hearing loss

A certain degree of hearing loss can be a normal part of the aging process. However, people who take steps to protect their hearing long before Father Time takes his toll can prevent the extreme hearing loss suffered by millions of seniors across the globe.

John’s Hopkins Medicine states that approximately 15 percent of adults aged 18 years and older report some difficulty hearing and up to 39 percent of adults in their sixties have hearing problems. Lost hearing cannot be restored, though hearing aids and other devices can help people with hearing loss hear better.

Hearing aids are not always an accessory people look forward to needing, so it’s good to know that a few simple strategies can protect people’s hearing over the long haul.

1. Get a baseline hearing exam. Speak with an audiologist, who can test your hearing and establish a baseline level against which future tests will be measured. This way it is easier to see if hearing loss is increasing over time.

2. Turn down the volume. Audio devices can contribute to hearing loss. Earbuds are particularly dangerous because they fit directly next to the eardrum. The World Health Organization says that 1.1 billion teens and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of audio devices. Set the maximum volume on audio devices below 60 percent and wear headphones for no more than an hour a day. Keeping music low on other devices is also adviseable.

3. Wear protective gear. Protective gear includes ear plugs and protective earphones. This gear should be worn whenever you expect to encounter loud noises, such as when you mow the lawn, go hunting or shooting, attend rock concerts, or visit construction sites.

4. Limit use of cotton swabs. Ear wax is beneficial to the ears and can stop dust and other particles from entering the ear. Furthermore, using a cotton swab can potentially cause damage to sensitive organs in the ear if they are inserted too far or too roughly, advises the hearing testing service Ear-Q.

5. Avoid loud noises. Steer clear of fireworks, noisy city centers, loud performances, and other situations if you do not have hearing protection.

Remember, hearing loss often doesn’t produce immediate symptoms or pain. However, over time, hearing loss can become noticeable. A proactive approach can help people avoid significant hearing loss as they age.



Gluten intolerance is a very real issue with measurable symptoms

Gluten is not for everyone. In fact, people who have celiac disease shouldn’t eat gluten at all. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the digestive process of the small intestine by launching an immune system attack against gluten, mistakenly damaging healthy cells lining the small intestine.

Even people who do not have celiac disease may find that consumption of gluten results in similar symptoms. These individuals may want to avoid gluten as well. Also known as non-celiac gluten intolerance or sensitivity, this condition is not currently well-defined within the medical community. The Celiac Disease Foundation says some people experience symptoms found in celiac disease, like foggy mind, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, bone or joint pain, or chronic fatigue when they have gluten in their diets – despite not testing positive for celiac disease.

In July 2016, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center published a study confirming that wheat exposure to those sensitive to wheat and gluten triggered a systemic immune reaction and intestinal cell damage. Researchers previously thought that a sensitivity to wheat or gluten would not result in cell damage. But research now confirms that even without a positive celiac disease diagnosis, people can experience symptoms that mimic those of celiac disease, even in terms of severity.

Doctors are not sure if gluten triggers the immune reaction in non-celiac cases, so more research is needed. That said, removing gluten and wheat products from one’s diet provides relief for many people.

According to Schär, a company that manufacturers gluten-free foods, anyone who experiences negative symptoms after eating foods that contain gluten should speak with a doctor. A doctor will order blood tests that will look for the presence of immunoglobulin E antibodies that are indicative of an autoimmune response to gluten. An endoscopy also may check for damage to the lining of the small intestines, as can a biopsy of the intestines. Other tests, such as a radioallergosorbent test, or RAST, or skin prick test can test for a wheat allergy to see if symptoms are stemming from that alone.

Treatment for gluten intolerance or celiac disease involves avoiding products that contain gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley.

A growing body of literature suggests that people who do not have celiac disease can still experience non-celiac gluten sensitivity and many of the same symptoms felt by those with the disease.



Make the most of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when festivities commenced on October 12 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. While the Crown Prince and his bride have long since passed away, Oktoberfest celebrations continue, and the standard-bearing party in Munich is annually among the world’s most anticipated events.

Those who can’t make it to Germany this October can rest assured that there is likely an Oktoberfest celebration in close proximity to their homes. Making the most of these celebrations can help revelers feel as if they’re in Munich after all.

• Celebrate with a group. Oktoberfest celebrations are social gatherings where the notion of “the more, the merrier” certainly applies. Many Oktoberfest celebrations are held outdoors, where celebrants sit at communal picnic tables when they aren’t hoisting steins filled with German beer or dancing up a storm as live music plays.

Celebrating with a group is not just fun, but also a lot safer than partying alone. Some traditional German beers generally contain more alcohol than other beers – making intoxication occur more quickly. Groups can resolve to look out for one another to ensure no one overdoes it with regard to alcohol.

• Resolve to try new cuisine. While beer might garner the bulk of the attention at Oktoberfest celebrations, food is just as big a part of the festivities. Celebrants who want to get a true Oktoberfest experience outside of Munich can try dishes such as Weisswurst, a type of sausage that is typically made from minced veal and pork back bacon. Schweinshaxe, a roasted ham hock sometimes referred to as “pork knuckle,” is a popular Bavarian dish that can make any Oktoberfest celebration more authentic.

• Get up and dance. Even celebrants who are unlikely to be mistaken for Fred and Ginger anytime soon recognize the important role music plays in Oktoberfest celebrations. While some may mistake it for polka, the music played at Oktoberfest celebrations is actually German oompah. Those skittish about stepping in may want to wait until they (and their friends and family also in attendance) have finished a stein before taking to the dance floor.

• Get home safe. Arrange transportation home before attending an Oktoberfest celebration. Such celebrations tend to be rowdy, and the lively spirit of the festival can make it easy for revelers to lose track of how many steins they have hoisted throughout the day. To ensure everyone arrives home safely, revelers can assign a designated driver from their group or arrange for a taxi or ridesharing service to take them to and from the festival so no one feels the need to get behind the wheel.

Oktoberfest is annually one of the world’s biggest parties, but celebrants need not go all the way to Munich to enjoy a raucous celebration.



Learn How to Establish Pollinator Habitat

Tour of Pollinator Habitat Sites

Trees Forever and partners are “creating a buzz” this fall through a series of field days and tours teaching the public about the needs of pollinators and establishing high quality pollinator habitat.

Online registration:

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (registration at 3:30)
2015 100th St., Belmond IA 50421

Saturday, October 26, 2019, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (registration at 2:30)
Walker Homestead Farm and Winery
3867 James Avenue Southwest, Iowa City

“It takes years to establish high quality pollinator habitat,” said Tree Forever Field Coordinator Emily Swihart. “If you plant it and forget about it, you’ll have a patch of weeds and invasive plants. We set this series up to show people what to expect every year of the process, so you can enjoy colorful and healthy pollinator habitat in a few years.”

“During each tour, we’ll show multiple plantings.” said Field Coordinator Jeff Jensen with Trees Forever. “The sites we’ve selected are a great representation of what a farmer, homeowner, or concerned citizen could expect with their own planting. We always like to have some time for native plant identification so this will be a chance to hone your skills looking at the wide variety of native plants, and a few weeds.”

For more information, contact Jeff Jensen at or via phone at 515-320-6756.



Reduce cold-weather fire risk

Plenty of things heat up when the temperature drops, including the risk for fire hazards. Fireplaces, stoves, heating systems, candles, and even electric lights are used more often during the winter than any other time of year, so it makes sense that the risk of home fires increases when the mercury drops.

The U.S. Fire Administration says 905 people die in winter home fires each year. Cooking is the leading cause of all home fires and contributes to around $2 billion in property loss each year. Understanding potential risks and exercising caution can help homeowners protect themselves, their families and their homes from fire.

Home heating fires peak between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., when many people are home preparing dinner. The following steps, courtesy of the American Red Cross, can improve safety in the kitchen and reduce the likelihood of a home fire.

• Never leave cooking food unattended, as it can take just seconds for fires to ignite.

• Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove or other appliances that generate heat.

• Clean regularly to prevent grease buildup.

• Make sure appliances are turned off before leaving the room or going to bed.

The National Fire Protection Association warns that heating is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the United States. The NFPA offers these safety guidelines.

• Install heating appliances according to manufacturers’ instructions or have a professional do the installation.

• Fuel-burning equipment needs to vent to the outside.

• Never use an oven to heat a home.

• Keep anything that can burn away from heating equipment, including portable space heaters.

• Clean and inspect heating appliances regularly.

• Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

The National Safety Council estimates that between 600 and 1,000 people die each year from electrocution. Electricity also can contribute to home fires. The Energy Education Council offers these safety suggestions.

• Never force plugs into outlets.

• Check that cords are not frayed or cracked. Do not run cords under carpets or place them in high-traffic areas.

• Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.

• Make sure light bulbs are the proper wattage for fixtures.

• Install ground fault circuit interrupters in kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, and elsewhere, making sure to test them regularly.

• Check periodically for loose wall receptacles and loose wires. Listen for popping or sizzling sounds behind walls.

Home fires are no joke and can be prevented with simple safety checks.



5 ways to show grandparents and other seniors how much they’re appreciated

Grandparents and seniors can share wisdom and a lifetime of experience with the young people in their lives. Expressing gratitude for such lessons is a great way to show the seniors in your life, whether it’s a grandparent, mentor or family friend, how much they’re appreciated.

Some seniors live alone, while others may be living with their adult children and grandchildren, offering care and support to help make the household function.

Whether grandparents, aunts and uncles or older friends live close by or elsewhere, there are many ways for their loved ones to show them how much they’re appreciated.

1. Become pen pals. Seniors may have limited mobility or opportunities to get out of the house. Receiving mail is one way to connect with the outside world. Regularly send letters to a grandparent or other senior, sharing tales of daily life and key moments that will bring them joy. Chances are they’ll return the favor with a letter of their own.

2. Explore technology together. Younger generations can introduce seniors to available technology that can bring them closer. This may include digital assistants that enable them to share videos, tablets to send email or access social media, mobile phones for calling and texting, and anything else families can customize to their needs.

3. Offer companionship. Spending time with younger generations can motivate seniors to stay active and engaged. Have games and activities at the ready or simply provide a listening ear.

4. Shop and run errands. Help aging loved ones perform the tasks that they may not be able to tackle on their own. This can include picking up groceries or prescriptions or taking them to appointments. Simple work around the house, like doing laundry or light clean-up, also can be a big help.

5. Start a hobby together. Develop a hobby that seniors and young people can enjoy together. Watching classic movies, painting ceramics, going to sporting events, or gardening are just a few of the many hobbies that seniors can enjoy with their young loved ones.

There are many ways to bridge the generation gap and spend meaningful time with aging loved ones.




With Fall here it’s time to take a photo of your favorite place in Iowa and enter Keep Iowa Beautiful’s 10th Photography Contest aimed at raising awareness of Iowa’s rural and urban beauty. This photo contest offers both amateur and experienced photographers an opportunity to tell Iowa’s story in a fun, engaging way during your favorite season.

“This is a great way for Iowans to share what they admire about Iowa’s beauty,” said Kevin Techau, KIB Executive Director. “First place will receive $50, second place $40 and third $30. All three will receive a one-year subscription to Our Iowa magazine.”

The deadline is December 13, 2019 and entries must be submitted as high resolution JPEG electronically to $5 entry fee, contest rules and payment can be made at

Keep Iowa Beautiful empowers Iowans to bring cultural and economic vitality into communities through improvement and enhancement programs. By working directly with Iowa communities, corporations and private citizens, KIB is building new citizen pride in caring for Iowa. KIB wants to learn what resonates with Iowans based on the photographs they share through this photography contest. Photos and winner’s names will be posted on the KIB website, Facebook and featured in the KIB Newsletter.

About Keep Iowa Beautiful
Keep Iowa Beautiful was established in 2000 by Co-Founders Robert D. Ray and Donald F. Lamberti becoming the 23rd State Affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. It is a 501c3 charitable organization working with Iowa citizens, neighborhoods and communities in improving the vitality and cultural health of the state of Iowa. KIB is building stronger communities to develop sustainable futures. For additional information, visit



Phase One of Eagle Point Park Environmental Restoration Plan Begins

Phase one of the environmental restoration planned at Eagle Point Park will begin this month. The project involves implementation of the park’s 2017 Environmental Restoration Management Plan to address the park’s recreational and natural spaces that suffer the effects of severe erosion, invasive vegetation, and degraded natural habitats on the rolling, rugged terrain.

Phase one of the park’s environmental restoration work involves soil quality restoration and conversion of turf to native vegetation. In combination, these green infrastructure best management practices provide an effective strategy for reducing overall runoff and erosion and improving water quality downstream in the watersheds of Bee Branch Creek and the Mississippi River. They also will provide new nature-based recreation opportunities for park visitors, create habitat for wildlife, and foster sustainability.

This phase of the project will involve about 67 acres of the park and may include some vegetation clearing, invasive species removal, scrub brush removal, and tree removal. Most park facilities will remain open to public use throughout the project. Work is scheduled for completion next fall.

Phase one of the plan will be completed by Applied Ecological Services of Dubuque using state and federal funds under the guidance of the City’s consulting team led by Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. All this environmental work must be done within the context of the park’s rich cultural history. State funding for the project is provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) and State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs. Federal funding is provided by the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Eagle Point Park is a 164-acre community park that opened in 1909 on Dubuque’s northeast side. The park is owned by the City of Dubuque and managed by the park division of the City’s leisure services department. The park overlooks the Mississippi River, providing a spectacular view of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.



Interesting facts about fall

Weather is often the first indicator that the seasons are changing. For many people across the globe, the hot days of summer will soon be giving way to the more crisp days of fall.

For those who live in regions where summer only subtly gives way to fall or is seemingly gone before the end of August, the 2019 autumnal equinox occurs on September 23. That marks the official beginning of fall, also known as autumn.

In fact, that the season the follows summer seemingly goes by two different names is just one of many interesting facts about fall.

• A season by any other name … Fall is the term most often used to reference the season succeeding summer in the United States. But the season is referred to as “autumn” in other parts of the world, including Great Britain. Fall was once even known as “harvest” because of the harvest moon, which appears close to the autumnal equinox.

• The colors of fall foliage are actually present year-round. Fall is known for its colorful foliage. But the pigments responsible for those colors are actually present year-round. According to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, green, yellow and orange pigments are present year-round. However, during spring and summer, the leaves serve as factories where many foods necessary to help the tree grow are manufactured. That process takes place in the leaf in cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green color. This process ceases as hours of daylight decrease and temperatures drop. As a result, chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears and the vivid colors of fall foliage begin to appear.

• Squirrels have a (sophisticated) plan out there. Squirrels hiding food in autumn for the upcoming winter is a familiar sight. And squirrels are more organized than many people may know. Groundbreaking research released in 1991 found that, even when squirrels bury that stash of nuts closely to one another, they will each return to the precise location of their personal cache. Recent research also has shown that squirrels bury their stash based on certain traits, such as the type of nut being buried.

• Babies born in fall are more likely to see the century mark. Researchers at the University of Chicago studied more than 1,500 centenarians born in the United States between 1880 and 1895. They then compared birth and death information with those centenarians’ siblings and spouses so they could compare their early environment and genetic background and their adult environment. Their research found that most centenarians were born between September and November.



Avoid medication errors with these tips

Prescription medications are a necessity for many people. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that, each week, four out of five adults in the United States will use prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and/or various supplements. Approximately one-third of adults take five or more medications at the same time.

The potential for adverse drug events is elevated when people are taking multiple medications at one time. For example, mixing pills has the potential to cause serious injury or even death.

Doctors, patients and pharmacies must work together to ensure that medication is taken safely. One of the best ways to prevent errors with medications is for patients to take an active role in their health care management.

• Know your dose. Children are at an especially high risk for medication errors because they require different doses than adults, offers the Mayo Clinic. Adults of different weights who share medications can run into trouble as well. It is key to follow the dosing instructions, as even a minor error in regard to dosage can potentially cause a big problem.

• Follow up with your doctor. Certain medications can cause side effects that only can be noticed by lab testing, such as an impact to the liver. Doctors also may be under an obligation to follow up with patients taking psychological drugs to ensure the efficacy of treatment. Make sure you keep all follow-up appointments.

• Maintain a current list of meds. It is up to patients to share information with prescribing doctors regarding any and all products being taken to avoid harmful interactions. Using the same pharmacy for all prescriptions also is helpful.

• Be honest about height and weight. Medication labeling and package inserts typically use metric units to correlate dose to a person’s physical attributes. Individuals should know their information in metric measurements and be honest with themselves about what they weigh.

• Use medications correctly. It is important not to chew nonchewable pills or cut pills unless the pharmacist or doctor has said it is safe to do so. Accurate dosing also requires using the right spoon or syringe, not silverware. Store certain types of medications, such as eye drops and ear drops, separately so they’re not mistaken for one another.

These are just some of the ways to prevent medication errors. People can consult with their doctors and pharmacists for more assistance in staying safe.



Easy ways to clean up leaves

Autumn is marked by colorful foliage and plummeting temperatures. Once those leaves reach peak color, they fall from the branches and collect on lawns, necessitating cleanup projects. For homeowners with big yards, such a project can be tiring and time-consuming. However, there are ways to make leaf cleanup easier.

One of the easiest ways to clean up leaves is to reach for a lawn mower rather than a rake. The mower will cut leaves down to smaller sizes, creating an effective mulch that can add nutrients back into the lawn. Davey, a lawn and landscape solutions service, says that mowed leaves also can be collected in a mower bag and added to garden beds or compost piles.

For those who prefer manual raking, select a rake with tines that will not skewer the leaves in the process. Big rakes also can make faster work of gathering leaves into piles.

The home improvement resource The Family Handyman advocates for the use of a lawn sweeper. This is a manual device that has a rotating sweeping brush that gathers up lawn debris and leaves into an attached hopper bag. Like mowed leaves, the bag can be emptied into a compost pile or distributed where needed.

Raking leaves onto a large tarp is another option. Once it’s full, the tarp can be taken to the curb where many towns will collect the leaves seasonally. Otherwise, the tarp can be used as a funnel to put leaves into a gardening bag or another appropriate receptacle.

Leaf blowers remain a fast option for cleaning up yards, but they require electricity or gas and can be noisy. Still, they are a popular choice for large landscapes or when quick work needs to be made of leaf clean-up.

Leaves will fall in autumn, but luckily homeowners have various methods at their disposal to tame the mess.



How to stay calm and collected in traffic

Commuting long distances seems to be a fact of life for many professionals. The average American spends 50 minutes commuting to work, and the average worker in the United Kingdom spends roughly an hour, according to a study from the University of West England.

Researchers in England found that adding an additional 20 minutes of commuting per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19 percent pay cut. Commuters can sometimes control their commutes to prevent such dissatisfaction, but other times factors beyond their control may be adversely affecting commuters’ quality of life.

For example, researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute determined that rush-hour commuters in the United States lose an average of 42 hours per year to traffic delays. On the nation’s 10 most gridlocked roads, that number doubles to 84 hours. That equates to three and a half days per year of sitting in traffic jams.

Spending time in traffic is no picnic, and it’s easy to get frazzled when doing so day in and day out. Following a few tips can help commuters keep their stress in check when traffic slows down.

• Leave plenty of time. Traffic can seem especially troublesome when you’re racing the clock to get somewhere on time. Feeling anxious about missing a meeting or arriving to work late only exacerbates commuting-related stress. Check traffic maps before heading out and leave ample time to get where you need to be.

• Keep audiobooks at the ready. Listening to an engaging story on the way to work can direct attention away from traffic. In fact, you may not mind traffic at all if you’re at a climactic point in the story.

• Cue up your favorite music playlists. Get lost in jams you love, as music can help soothe the stress of traffic.

• Explore alternate routes. In your spare time, figure out if there are less-traveled roads that can make a commute more predictable and enjoyable. While they may be slightly longer in mileage, moving along instead of being in stop-and-go traffic can be a relief.

• Smile even if you don’t feel like it. Psychology Today says that research suggests going through the motions of smiling may reduce the intensity of your body’s stress response, even while sitting in traffic.

• Take deep breaths. Practice mindful breathing exercises that can reduce tension.

Commuters contend with traffic jams every day, but there are various coping mechanisms that can relieve stress when stuck in gridlock.



Steps to take before leaving recyclables at the curb

Recycling will play a vital role in the future of the planet. As climate change continues to threaten the long-term health of the planet, the necessity to recycle and reuse only becomes more paramount.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, decomposing garbage, such as that which finds its way into landfills, generates methane. Methane is considerably more effective at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide and contributes heavily to climate change. By recycling items rather than discarding them, people can play an active and effective role at combatting climate change. In addition, recycling helps cut back on the release of harmful greenhouse gases that are produced during the manufacturing process.

Community recycling programs have been around for decades in many communities, and these programs are only as effective as the people who recycle. Learning how to treat common recyclables before depositing them into designated recycling bins can help people ensure their efforts are having the impact they intended.

• Rinse jars, bottles and cans. Items that are not rinsed before they’re placed in recycling cans run the risk of contaminating everything within. While each community program is different, recycling bins deemed contaminated may be redirected to landfills. Residential Waste Systems, a Connecticut-based trash and recycling removal firm, recommends rinsing all jars, bottles and cans that contain visible residue before depositing them in the recycling bin.

• Learn which items can be recycled. Contact your local recycling firm for a list of items that can and cannot be recycled. Many people unknowingly deposit items that cannot be recycled into their recycling bins, potentially contaminating their bins and rendering them more likely to end up in a landfill than a recycling center. By contacting your recycling center in advance, you can reduce the risk that all your hard recycling work will be for naught.

• Inspect paper products. If various paper products are accepted by your local recycling center, you must still inspect them before placing them in your recycling bin. For example, a pizza box may be recyclable, but likely isn’t if it’s covered in grease. Inspect each potentially recyclable paper product to make sure there’s nothing present that might lead to it being designated as contaminated.

Recycling is a simple step many people can take to promote the long-term health of the planet.



Exhibit explores the creative process of best-selling author and artist Arthur Geisert; Features new book set in Elkader, Iowa

The Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) will present two new exhibits this fall, highlighting the boundless imagination of celebrated children’s book author and artist Arthur Geisert and the paintings of artist Alec Egan.

Opening September 21, 2019 in the Falb Family Gallery on the museum’s second floor, Arthur Geisert: Tall and Not-So-Tall Tales will feature the original illustrations from Geisert’s latest work of fiction, “Pumpkin Island”, published by Enchanted Lion Books, along with illustrations from his 2013 book “Thunderstorm”.

The exhibit will bring the wondrous worlds of Geisert’s books to life with more than 60 hand-colored etchings – including one measuring more than 30 feet long- displayed alongside the artist’s drawings, videos, and hands-on activities for children and families. The exhibit continues through January 5, 2020.

Arthur Geisert is the author of more than two dozen books, three of which have been awarded The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award. Born in Texas and raised in Los Angeles, Geisert relocated to Bernard, Iowa in 2007 and today makes his home and studio in Elkader.

Through the generosity of several local families and the artist, DuMA acquired all of the artist’s prints, books and etching plates more than a decade ago-an archive that expands with each new publication.

The exhibit and related programs are sponsored by Dupaco Community Credit Union. Additional support comes from the James B. and Melita McDonough Foundation, Mosaic Lodge #125, and the Schoen Family Charitable Trust.

A variety of public programs and events are planned in conjunction with the exhibition; details about each event will be shared via the Museum’s Facebook and Instagram pages and at

Alec Egan: The Living Room opened August 10, 2019 in the Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery. A reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Friday, September 6 from 5-8 pm in conjunction with the community-wide First Fridays series. The exhibit continues through October 20.

In addition, Egan will present a gallery talk on Saturday, September 7 at 1:30 pm. Admission to the talk is free.

California-based artist Alec Egan explores nostalgia and memory in his latest series of contemporary oil paintings. Motifs including books, flowers, architectural elements, and wallpaper designs-similar to those found in his grandparents’ home-repeat throughout the group of paintings in this exhibition.

Egan completed a Millwork Residency in Dubuque in 2015 and has participated in solo and group exhibits across the U.S. His work is represented in Los Angeles by Anat Ebgi Gallery.

The exhibition is sponsored by Trappist Caskets and Cottingham & Butler.

DuMA is located across from Washington Park in historic downtown Dubuque at 7th and Locust Streets. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., Saturday & Sunday 1:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. The museum is closed on Mondays. Daily admission rates are: $7 Adults, $6 seniors, and $3 College/University Students. The museum is free on Thursdays, and those 18 and younger receive free admission every day, thanks to Prudential Financial. Website:



The benefits of music instruction for young learners

Many children are introduced to music instruction at school. After being introduced to band, chorus and various instruments, students may be eager to explore music.

Young students are often introduced to the recorder or ukulele in the early grades and then given the opportunity to join primary bands as they move through elementary school and into middle school. Some children also may want to supplement school music lessons with private music tutors, who can provide more in-depth instruction.

Parents considering making a commitment to music instruction may find that kids benefit from being involved with music in many ways, some of which may be surprising.

• The New England Board of Higher Education says several studies show that consistent music education improves vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Emerging evidence points to an area of the brain that controls both musical ability and language comprehension as being more closely related than previously thought.

• Music education may help young children learn words and how to pronounce them, as learning to play music enables them to process the many new sounds they hear from others.

• Researchers have discovered a strong relationship between participating in school arts and academic success as demonstrated by students’ grade point averages, according to the National Association for Music Education.

• The relationship between music and academic performance has been studied for decades. As far back as 1988, studies have been conducted about the benefits of music education. An analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 demonstrated a significant correlation between participation in school music groups and achievement in math and English. And a 1996 study published in Nature found first graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study program saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically.

• Introducing music lessons to young children can have profound effects on their social development. Music fosters greater trust and cooperation, as well as a sense of community and belonging.

• Another benefit of music education is it allows children to harness their creativity and express it in a healthy way.

• The music instruction company Music U says children with developmental disorders and mental health issues might be able to unlock their potential with music. Music therapy has been shown to affect significant change in children with autism-spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, cerebral palsy, and more.

Music instruction both in and out of the classroom can be a benefit to young learners.



Q Sportsbook Now Open!

Place your bets at Dubuque’s first Sportsbook!

Q Sportsbook opened August 27. The Q Sportsbook is located in the newly renovated Q Sports Bar. The 4,200 square foot area features 47 TVs including a 165″ video wall so you won’t miss a second of the action. You won’t miss a game either with the NFL Sunday Ticket package, MLB Network and more!

Indulge in your favorite game day specials from the Q Sports Bar including your favorite sports bar staples, hot wings, burgers and pizzas. Q Sports Bar also offers a selection of 20 beers on tap. The new bar gives you access to high speed internet and USB charging ports.

The Q Sportsbook will be open 7 days a week for betting. Primary hours are: Monday-Friday from noon-10pm, Saturday from 10am-10pm and Sunday from 11am-10pm. Hours of operation are subject to change to accommodate patron needs and prime sporting events. Bets can also be placed 24/7 from one of our 12 sportsbetting kiosks available throughout the casino.

Q Sportsbook will accept wagers on college and professional sports.

Q Casino offers free valet parking, outstanding customer service and all of the gaming excitement you can handle!

See for rules and additional information

Q Casino is an entertainment and gaming complex located in Dubuque, Iowa. The casino is owned by the City of Dubuque, and operated by the non-profit Dubuque Racing Association, its license holder.



Why immunizations are important

Measles is not something that garnered much attention outside the medical community in recent decades. However, in 2019 a series of measles outbreaks put the spotlight back on this highly contagious infectious disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, 981 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 26 states in the United States. That marked the greatest numbers of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992. And the U.S. is not the only country in North America facing a measles problem, as the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that, as of mid-May, 54 cases of measles had been reported in the country in 2019. Perhaps most surprising, measles was declared eliminated in 2001, leading many to wonder what’s behind the sudden outbreaks so long after the disease had seemingly vanished.

The CDC reports that the majority of people who got measles in 2019 were unvaccinated. While measles was declared eliminated nearly 20 years ago in the United States, the CDC notes it’s still common in many parts of the world. When unvaccinated travelers visit countries where measles is still common, they can bring the disease with them, ultimately allowing it to spread in communities where large groups of people are unvaccinated.

Regardless of why people choose to avoid vaccinations, it’s important to note some of the reasons why health organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization urge all children and adults to be immunized.

• Immunizations save lives. The CDC notes that advancements in medical science have made it possible for humans to protect themselves against more diseases than ever before. Once-fatal diseases have now been eliminated thanks to safe and effective vaccines.

• Immunizations protect loved ones. Some people cannot receive certain immunizations due to allergies, illness, weakened immune systems, or other factors. Such individuals are vulnerable to disease, and especially vulnerable if their loved ones who can be vaccinated do not receive their recommended immunizations.

• Immunizations save money. The human toll of failing to be immunized can be fatal, and the financial toll can be heavy, too. Children with vaccine-preventable diseases may not be allowed to enroll in certain schools or daycare facilities, forcing parents to make decisions that can affect their ability to earn a living. In addition, medical bills that result from long-term illnesses can be substantial. The majority of health insurance plans cover vaccines for adults and children at little or no cost, and even uninsured families can receive free or inexpensive vaccines through certain government programs.

Immunizations take only a few seconds to receive but can have a positive effect that lasts a lifetime.



Establish a child/parent prom night agreement

Prom can be one of the most exciting evenings in an adolescent’s life. A gathering with friends that soon may part for different areas of the country or even the world, prom night offers the chance to let loose and have fun before the “real world” beckons.

Attending prom might be a thrilling way for high-schoolers to spend an evening, but prom night can be dangerous as well. Many parents approach their kids’ prom nights with trepidation. To understand why parents can be so apprehensive about prom night, consider these statistics:

• According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 300 teens have died in alcohol-related car accidents on prom weekends over the past several years.

• A 2014 survey of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 by the driving group AAA found that 41 percent of prom-goers would likely use drugs or alcohol on prom night.

• A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national survey reported 30 percent of male high school seniors considered it acceptable to force sexual activity on a girl who is intoxicated or high.

• According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five female high school students is the victim of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a date.

• NHTSA also says that, by age 18, more than 70 percent of teens have had one drink without adult supervision. When teens drink they tend to binge – consuming at least five drinks on a single occasion.

Through open communication, parents and students can work together to make prom night fun and safe. One way to facilitate this is to enter into a prom agreement. This written contract will spell out acceptable behavior and what to do in the event of an emergency. Items to include in the agreement can include:

• A curfew for returning home.

• An outline of expected festivities and when/where a child will be when not at the dance.

• A list of emergency contacts programmed into cell phones, including taxi services.

• Name of the prom date as well as all friends who will be traveling together.

• The limousine company’s name and the driver’s contact information.

• An acknowledgment that parents can peruse kids’ belongings for illegal substances or alcohol.

• Acceptance on the part of the parent that he or she will pick up the student at any time or place if the teen is intoxicated or thinks he or she is in danger.

• An open discussion on sexual activity and experience and if intimacy is planned for the evening. Parents also should discuss contraception with their children in advance of prom night.

• Teens agreeing to be financially or legally responsible should poor prom behavior result in damage or charges.

Prom night can be an enjoyable experience when students, parents and administrators work together to help ensure a safe, fun evening.



Weekly Ads

Click here to view ads as a list.