Area Tidbits

Jule Offers Free ‘Ride to Vote’ Service

The Jule, Dubuque’s public transportation system, is offering free bus rides for voters this election season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Jule has suspended fares until further notice, allowing voters to ride to the polls free of charge on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The Jule’s fixed-route service and on-demand service will provide free “Ride to Vote” rides during hours of operation from 6:15 a.m. until 6:45 p.m. Fixed-route buses will not deviate from regular routes but will provide rides to bus stops within reasonable walking distance of polling places in Dubuque.

Upon request, transportation services staff will provide information to participants to assist with their navigation from fixed-route stops to polling places. Details on polling places and the locations of the nearest fixed-route bus stops are available at Residents can find their polling place by visiting

Voters may also utilize The Jule for rides to early in-person voting or to drop off their absentee ballot prior to Election Day. For more information on these forms of voting and other election-related information, visit

Participants are reminded that face coverings are required while riding The Jule. Other public health measures are also in place.

For more information, please contact The Jule at 563.589.4266 or email



Halloween full moon

Many images associated with Halloween feature a cloud-draped full moon in the background. Whether a witch is stirring her cauldron, bats are flying through the air or zombies are rising from a cemetery, a full moon is prominent in Halloween imagery. But just how common is a full moon on All Hallow’s Eve anyway?

According to “The Farmer’s Almanac,” a Halloween full moon occurs only once every 18 to 19 years. Luckily for full moon lovers, they’ll get to witness two full moons in October 2020. The Full Harvest Moon takes place on October 1, 2020, and marks the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which occurs on September 22 this year. In addition, the Full Hunter’s Moon rises on Halloween night. The second full moon also is known as a blue moon. This is when two full moons appear in a single month, something that happens on average every 2.5. to 3 years. This unusual and rare event is the basis behind the phrase “once in a blue moon.” Those who peer out at the full moon on Halloween will not notice a blue tinge to the moon, but it will be something that’s very uncommon.

Try to catch the moon when it has first risen over the horizon, shortly after sunset, when something called the “moon illusion” is visible. When the moon is low and viewed in relation to trees and chimneys, the moon can seem more massive than when it is high in the sky. This can serve as the perfect backdrop for vivid Halloween photos.



Halloween fast facts and figures

Halloween is celebrated in various countries. Halloween can trace its origins to Ireland and is based on the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, during which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits. Halloween has since become a day to play pranks and don costumes while going door-to-door seeking treats from neighbors.

Each year, the National Retail Federation tracks Halloween trends. The figures and statistics shared by the NRF and other organizations paint a picture of just how popular Halloween can be.

• Consumers will spend an estimated $9 billion on Halloween. The average American will spend $86.79 on the festivities, according to the NRF.

• The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that there are 41.1 million potential trick-or-treaters aged 5 to 14.

• Ninety-five percent of people surveyed by the NRF planned to purchase candy for Halloween. The next most popular purchase is decorations (74 percent).

• Forty-five percent of respondents planned to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, says the NRF.

• The top-ranked costumes for children in 2018 were princess and superhero. Adults planning to dress up were more likely to go as a witch or a vampire.

• Data from domestic box office earnings of horror movies in 2018 totaled $752.2 million. This accounts for movie earnings in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam. “A Quiet Place” and “Halloween” were the top-grossing horror flicks of the year.

• The ubiquitous “pumpkin spice” starts to turn up in various products as soon as there are hints of autumn. Nielsen says $6.9 million was spent on pumpkin spice products in 2018.

• Candy corn is either loved or loathed. According to the National Confectioners Association, 42.7 percent of people who enjoy candy corn say they eat the narrow white part of the candy corn first.

• The NRF states that, when looking for their ideal costumes, 33 percent of consumers will check online first, followed closely by 29 percent in stores.

• Pet costumes remain incredibly popular. Prosper Insights, a marketing and analytics company, states that 31.2 million Americans plan to dress up their pets — with millennials being the largest demographic to do so.

• There are potentially 120 million stops for trick-or-treaters to visit in the United States, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Halloween is frighteningly popular, with scores of people taking part in the spending and antics of this entertaining day.



Riverview Center receives $5,586 grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity

Riverview Center received a $5,586 grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity to fund counseling and therapy services and supplies for child survivors of sexual abuse in Northeast Iowa. These supplies will help children and adolescents in Northeast Iowa to heal from the traumatic experience of sexual abuse by allowing our therapists and advocates to tailor sessions to children’s individual needs in ways best suited for their developmental levels.

For over 28 years, Riverview Center has proudly provided the healing and justice survivors of sexual abuse 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.

Through Variety – the Children’s Charity’s generosity, children can heal and move forward after experiencing the trauma of sexual abuse: Evan, now age 5, was sexually abused by a cousin. Since starting play therapy, he has fewer nightmares and feels better about his body. He has strong nuclear family support, and is doing well in school, has many friends, understands/accepts the family disruption, and feels safe. Through our prior grant from Variety, we were able to continue critically needed services for children during the current pandemic. Riverview Center therapists created and mailed sensory boxes to child sexual abuse survivors to strengthen remote services and facilitate healing between telephone and newly launched secure web-based, trauma-informed crisis mental health services. With the benefit of his sensory box and remote therapy services, Evan can continue his healing safely. Thanks to the incredible new grant from Variety, we are able to purchase critically needed art and play therapy supplies as we look to the future and prepare to welcome children back to our offices when it is safe to do so.

Variety – the Children’s Charity is dedicated to improving the lives of children who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill, or living with special needs. Funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children throughout Iowa. For more information on how you can be a part of Variety’s work, please visit

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



Host Halloween for less

Halloween marks the first stop on the holiday season highway. It is a time of great excitement and fun for young and old, with costumes, tricks and treats brightening up an autumn day. Hard core Halloween enthusiasts may spend hundreds of dollars each year on decor, costumes and other accessories. But what if there were a way to save on favorite Halloween items?

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy Halloween hijinks. With some innovative and cost-saving ideas, it’s possible to save money, which is always helpful with Thanksgiving and December festivities on the horizon.

• Use online resources. There’s a good chance you can find do-it-yourself project ideas for any number of tasks on your Halloween to-do list. Want to craft an authentic-looking witch’s broom? Need a free pumpkin-carving template? Want to create a haunted house tableau with items you already have in your shed or garage? Do a quick online search to find ways to achieve all of these ideas and more.

• Borrow what you need. Each year many parents purchase new costumes for their children that are easily outgrown by the time the next Halloween rolls around. That leads to a surplus of Halloween costumes with little wear and tear. Parents can set up a costume swap with other parents to find high-quality costumes for their children and often themselves. If a friend is doing a “Grease”-inspired 1950s party and you’re in possession of a “Pink Lady” jacket, offer to lend it out for the party.

• Rely on e-vites. Spread the word about your Halloween party or trunk-or-treat event via digital invitations. Many services offer free invitations that don’t require a subscription to their services. Another no-cost idea is to download an image from a copyright-free clip-art service and modify it using available phone applications to include party details. Then simply text out your invitation to friends.

• Buy in bulk. Pool your spending resources with other people and utilize wholesale or bulk-buying services to meet your Halloween needs. Consumers can save on the per-item cost when items are purchased in bulk. This can be applied to decorations, food, candy, and more.

• Shop candy sales. You already know when Halloween will arrive, so use the months prior to stock up on candy as it goes on sale. This way you need not pay a premium for favorite sweets to give out to trick-or-treaters.

These are just a few ways to save on Halloween supplies and still make the day a spooktacular success.



Lavish costumes are one of the hallmarks of Halloween. Some people plan their costumes months in advance, and each year inspiration comes from some of the popular memes, movies and conversations that have helped shape people’s lives.

New research from the National Retail Federation says social media has been the biggest influence on costume lists in recent years. Halloween purchases are increasingly inspired by celebrities, friends and neighbors and what these people are doing online. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in 2019 that 35 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they turned to the internet for Halloween inspiration.

Those considering Halloween costumes for 2020 can take a look back at some of the popular costumes of the last few years, based on Google Trends search data.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles experienced a resurgence of popularity in recent years, and numerous people were searching up turtle-powered costumes in 2016.

Popular television shows “Game of Thrones” and “Justice League” inspired many costumes in 2017. However, basic animal costumes like mice, horses, bears, deer, and dinosaurs also were in demand.

Disney released the live-action film version of “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017, but it took another year for the movie to inspire Halloween costumes. Many Belles and Beasts were seen in neighborhoods across the country.

Comic book characters reigned supreme in 2019. The popular “Avengers” comic book and movie franchise pushed superheroes to the forefront of costume wish-lists. Spider-Man, Thor, Loki, Captain America, and more were quite popular this year for kids and adults.

It’s no understatement that 2020 has been an unusual year. Chances are that many pop culture moments will pave the way for Halloween costumes. COVID-19-themed costumes are likely to be seen, including costumes that pay homage to prominent immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and other first-line medical heroes. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is another face people have seen a lot of in 2020, increasing the chances that he will make for a popular costume this year.

Thanks to the small-screen release of “Hamilton” on Disney Plus in the summer, Alexander Hamilton could be inspiration for theater and history lovers. Kids and adults may also gear Halloween costumes around characters from a galaxy far away thanks to “The Mandalorian.” Baby Yoda anyone?

Halloween costume inspiration comes from all sources, and many can’t wait to don their costumes this October.



Simple ways to maintain braces

Many adults recall having braces as children. While braces have evolved dramatically over the last few decades, modern braces benefit teeth in much the same ways as those adults recall from their youth.

Braces are often recommended to help straighten crooked teeth, correct misaligned bites and/or address overcrowded teeth. Maintenance is essential to ensure braces are effective and provide long-lasting benefits, and the American Association of Orthodontists offers these tips to protect braces and prevent patients from developing tooth decay.

• Avoid certain foods. Hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods should be avoided. Many candies and snacks fit that description, so parents of children with braces and adults with braces of their own should make sure these foods are not readily available around the house. The AAO specifically mentions foods such as caramel, gummies, licorice, jelly beans, and even soft drinks among the foods to avoid when wearing orthodontic braces.

• Be extra cautious around Halloween. The days surrounding Halloween can be an especially difficult time to maintain braces. Candy is everywhere come the end of October, but people with braces must be diligent in avoiding hard-shelled peanut candies and nut-filled candies.

• Brush twice per day, but be careful. The experts at Oral-B® note that careful cleaning is required when wearing braces. Plaque bacteria can be easily trapped inside and around braces, so it’s especially important that people with braces carefully brush each day. Removable parts, including elastics, should be removed prior to brushing. Clean each tooth individually in a circular motion, tilting the brush as necessary to reach small front teeth.

• Continue regular visits to your orthodontist as well as your dentist. Regular visits to the orthodontist are required when wearing braces. These visits are necessary so braces can be adjusted and orthodontists can make sure there are no signs of gum disease. But Oral-B® notes that it’s just as important to continue visiting the dentist while wearing braces. Dentists can perform routine services designed to protect tooth surfaces from decay while wearing braces, making dental visits a vital component of orthodontic maintenance.

Orthodontic braces help people have healthy, beautiful smiles. Maintenance while wearing braces is vital to avoid disease and produce a mouthful of pearly whites.



The connection between myocarditis, COVID-19 and sports

Life as the world knew it was put on hold in the winter of 2019-20. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 that began in China soon spread across the globe, forcing many governments to hit the proverbial pause button.

As the world paused in the hopes of preventing the potentially deadly virus from spreading, professional and amateur athletic events were canceled or postponed. In March, the organizing body behind the 2020 Summer Olympics postponed the global sports competition until July 2021, while professional sports leagues, including the English Premier League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, all postponed their seasons. Those seasons eventually resumed in the late spring or summer of 2020, but fears concerning the health of athletes persisted in spite of the return to action.

One of the more notable concerns about competing in athletics during the pandemic is the potential connection between COVID-19 and the heart condition myocarditis.
According to Hackensack Meridian Health, two studies published in the journal JAMA Cardiology revealed that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may show signs of heart damage. That damage may be present weeks or even months after recovery. Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who began the shortened MLB season on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19, ultimately decided to sit out the entire season after being diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can have long-term consequences.

Concern about myocarditis was behind some of the fear associated with playing the 2020 college football season. In mid-August, Brian Hainline, MD, the chief medical officer of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, acknowledged he was aware of a dozen cases of myocarditis among NCAA athletes. Concerns about myocarditis were a factor in the decision by the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences to postpone their 2020 seasons in August. (Editor’s Note: At press time, the Big 10 decided to begin its 2020 season in late October, while the Pac12 remained undecided.)

It’s important to note that many viral infections can cause myocarditis, and researchers point out that mild cases of heart inflammation can get better on their own. However, it’s vital that athletes and their families recognize the potential threat posed by myocarditis and other potential heart-related side effects of COVID-19. For example, Hackensack Meridian Health Notes that COVID-19 can make existing heart conditions worse. In addition, the Mayo Clinic notes that severe myocarditis can lead to heart failure, heart attack or stroke, rapid or abnormal heart rhythms, and even sudden cardiac death.

Athletes face difficult decisions regarding whether or not to return to competition during the pandemic. Understanding the potential dangers of doing so, including the risk for myocarditis, can help athletes make the most informed decisions possible.



Carbon monoxide remediation

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Because carbon monoxide is found in the fumes produced when fuel is burned, it is present in and around homes. As a result, homeowners should be aware of carbon monoxide and make every effort to detect its presence.

CO forms most readily when there is insufficient oxygen to complete combustion and produce carbon dioxide. Hot water closets, furnaces in crawlspaces, heating appliances in attics, and other contained areas are common areas where CO can form.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that thousands of people visit emergency rooms and are hospitalized because of CO poisoning every year. While CO is a risk for just about anyone, infants, the elderly, those with breathing problems or chronic heart disease, and people with anemia are most likely to get sick from CO.

CO has earned the moniker “the silent killer” because it cannot be identified without the presence of a carbon monoxide detector. If a person believes he or she is smelling carbon monoxide, that person is probably mistaking the odor for other combustion byproducts that the human nose can sense.

CO is a byproduct of vehicle exhaust, boat engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, furnaces, and fireplaces. CO is produced any time something is burning. That is why it is essential that products designed to be used outdoors are used exclusively outside, and that indoor appliances are properly vented to the outdoors. CO can build up indoors and poison people and pets who breathe it in.

Some people may not recognize that CO is problematic in a home until multiple residents start complaining of similar symptoms. Common CO poisoning symptoms include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, chest pain, confusion, headache, and other flu-like symptoms, advises the consumer advocacy group Carbon Monoxide Kills. Those with repeated exposure to high levels of CO may eventually develop cerebral edema, which is a swelling of the brain. CO can compress brain cells and destroy them, leading to neurological issues and death. CO poisoning is actually the result of the head and heart not receiving sufficient oxygen.

CO detectors can save lives and should be installed in all homes and apartments. The National Fire Protection Association says CO detectors “shall be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms.” Individuals should follow the manufacturer instructions regarding where on the wall or ceiling the CO detectors should be mounted. As an added safety precaution, CO detectors should be placed on every floor of the home.

Gas sensors in CO alarms have limited life spans, so they should be replaced generally every five to six years, because calibrating and testing for CO is more difficult than simply replacing the alarms.

Installing or replacing carbon monoxide detectors is an easy improvement that can help save lives.



The benefits of having a pet are innumerable. Pets can be companions, protectors, service animals, and even help produce products that can be sold, such as eggs from chickens. While there are many positive attributes to pets, one potential concern is the impact they have on the home.

Pet-related damage can occur when pets are angry or happy. Boisterous animals may scratch or claw at furniture and floors. Some animals may climb or chew. Woodwork and furniture can be damaged by pet paws and teeth, but that’s not where it ends. The following are some potential pet-damage problems and how to avoid them.

Many animals use scent markers to establish their territory and communicate with other animals. As a result, both male and female pets may spray urine in certain areas of the house. While it may not eliminate the problem immediately, making sure to neuter or spay cats and dogs can reduce the likelihood that they’ll mark indoors or attempt to seek out and mate with feral animals they smell canvassing the property.

In addition to marking, pets that have not been properly trained or were trained and are experiencing a behavioral or medical issue may begin soiling in improper areas, such as outside of the litter box or in the home. Obedience training can head off some issues, but if a medical condition is suspected, consult with a veterinarian promptly.

Dirt, fur and more
An investment in regular grooming can help keep certain damage at bay, states Home Advisor. Regularly brushing and trimming coats, keeping nails clipped and bathing will keep a home fresh and minimize damage. Other pets may not be groomed but require cleaning of cages or other habitats. Bird droppings and feathers can get on surfaces. Cleaning daily or very frequently can help keep a home tidy.

Provide toys and scratching posts
Pets need an outlet to tame anxiety and energy. If they don’t have suitable outlets, pets may cause damage to a home. Cats will take to furniture to stretch their paws if they don’t have scratching posts or special mats. Dogs, particularly puppies, can be orally fixated. When the urge to chew sets in, unless there are appropriate chew toys, furniture, moldings and other items around the house may become fair game.

It is important to note that declawing a cat to prevent damage should not be a consideration. It is a surgery that can cause ongoing health problems. Nail caps can be used as a safe alternative.

Escape artists
In some cases, pets may chew or scratch their way through doors and window screens. Others may dig under fencing or climb, leaving damage in their wake. Boredom, anxiety or lack of training may be behind these behaviors, according to Pets Weekly. However, the urge to roam also may be tied to pets not being fixed. Work with the vet or a trainer to help stop these issues.

Pets can cause damage around the house. But certain strategies can help decrease the likelihood that pets cause damage around the house.



Social distancing and Halloween

Halloween is a unique day each year when people gather together for parties, parades and of course, trick-or-treating. October 31 is a day that most children eagerly await each year because it means an opportunity to don a costume and come home with bags full of sweet treats.

This year Halloween figures to look different than it has in years past. Homes may have carved pumpkins on the doorstep and paper ghosts blowing on tree branches. And horror movies will no doubt dominate streaming service top 10 lists. But thanks to the COVID-19 virus, certain Halloween traditions may not be possible.

Depending on regulations in your city or town, parties, trick-or-treating and school functions (if school is in session) may be canceled or significantly modified. Since COVID-19 is so easily spread, health officials have long touted the need for social distancing. And while masks in public have long since become the norm, Halloween masks may not be sufficient.

The coronavirus already has scared off some Halloween attractions. Universal Orlando, Disney World and Disneyland have canceled mainstream Halloween events for this year. Plus, a recent Harris poll on Halloween found that, of the 1,970 adults polled, nearly three out of four people have no plans to take their children trick-or-treating.

So what is the public to do in the wake of the risks of going out for Halloween?

• Maintain social distancing if trick-or-treating is allowed. This could mean staggering times to go on the search for candy and avoiding homes where trick-or-treaters have already lined up.

• Consider small gatherings that enable youngsters to exchange candy with a limited group of friends or neighbors.

• Head to the mall or nearby stores in costume and get candy from retailers where it may be easier to maintain distance.

• Wear your mask or special face coverings when trick-or-treating. Consider building a costume around the masks so it fits with the Halloween theme.

• Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when water and soap is unavailable. Limit the number of houses you visit to reduce your risk of infection.

• Ask family or friends to send digital treats, such as gift cards or certificates. Many restaurants may offer voucher programs for coupons for free ice creams at their locations, and while these may not be traditional Halloween goodies, ice cream is still sure to please youngsters.

• Consider car parades instead of traditional trick-or-treating.

Despite the COVID-19 virus, Halloween enthusiasts can find ways to be safe and have fun this year.



Dubuque Offers Multiple Leaf Disposal Options

The City of Dubuque is reminding residents of their options for leaf and yard debris disposal this fall. The City encourages mulching, mowing, and backyard composting as economical and beneficial leaf management options but offers several other options for yard debris management.

As part of the City’s April-November collection service, leaves and other yard waste may be placed in: paper yard waste bags that display a single-use yard waste sticker; a rigid solid waste container with either a single-use yard waste sticker looped on the handle or a City 2020 annual yard waste decal; or in City yard debris tipper carts. Brush and limbs can be bundled with a City of Dubuque brush tie or twine and an attached single-use yard waste sticker.

Bags, containers, and bundles may not exceed 35 gallons in capacity or 40 pounds in weight. Plastic bags containing yard waste will not be collected. Paper yard waste bags, single-use yard waste stickers, and brush ties are available in most grocery, hardware, and discount stores throughout the city. Single-use yard waste stickers are available at area retailers on sheets of five for $6.50. Brush ties cost $1.30 each.

Seasonal, regular-route yard waste collection ends Monday, Nov. 30. From December through March, Thursday collections of yard waste may be scheduled by calling (563) 589-4250 or submitting a request at Food scraps will also be collected on Thursday only for subscribed customers.

The Public Works Department also offers, by appointment only, leaf rake-out collections in which large, curbside leaf piles are vacuumed into a collection vehicle. Collection appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling 563-589-4250 or submitting a request at Rake-out collections are offered from Monday, Oct. 12, through Wednesday, Nov. 25, this year. Appointments must be made before raking into a gutter area. Acceptable items in the leaf rake-out include loose leaves, pine needles, and pinecones. Grass, brush, plants, and rocks are not accepted.

Rake-out collection leaf piles should be placed in the street at the curb no sooner than the day before the scheduled appointment. Crews cannot enter private property or alleys to collect a leaf rake-out. Vehicles must not be parked on the street within 10 feet of the leaf pile. Utilities such as fire hydrants, utility boxes, or storm sewer catch basins should not be covered. A $20 minimum charge is added to a customer’s utility bill for a 40-bag equivalent rake-out pickup.

Residents are reminded that burning leaves and raking or blowing your leaves into the street are prohibited and subject to fines.

For more information, please contact the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at 563-589-4250 or visit



The secrets to cold weather entertaining

Upon the arrival of cold weather, people tend to move indoors and limit their time spent in the elements. For those who live in places where there are restrictions placed on indoor entertaining and gatherings, it may be challenging to find ways to spend time safely together as temperatures drop.

The COVID-19 virus as well as other respiratory viruses are spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air while coughing, talking or sneezing, states the Mayo Clinic. A person is more likely to inhale these droplets from an infected person while indoors, especially when they’re in close contact with that person. When outdoors, there is a lower risk of contraction.

Outdoor entertaining in winter may be challenging, especially in regard to keeping everyone warm. The following are some solutions that can help people stay warm and have fun outside.

Invest in fire pits
Fire pits are an affordable way to heat a patio or another outdoor area. They can be great places for friends and family to gather around and enjoy special occasions. They’re readily available from garden centers and home improvement retailers at a variety of price points. Permanent fire pits can be built by a homeowner or professionally built by masonry experts.

Install an outdoor fireplace
A step up from a fire pit, outdoor fireplaces not only add warmth, but also improve the ambiance and value of an outdoor entertaining area. Set up outdoor furniture right next to an outdoor fireplace and you have a cozy alternative living room where everyone can gather.

Explore outdoor heating systems
Few things are more effective at warming up outdoor entertaining areas than patio heaters and infrared heaters. These devices are far more effective than average fire pits or fireplaces. One or two heaters will be enough to keep a large entertaining area warm.

Keep cozy options available
Guests should dress warmly, but having a basket of throw blankets, scarves and parkas available for extra warmth while mingling is helpful. Use outdoor rugs to insulate from the cold from the ground up.

Serve hearty foods and beverages
Stews, chilis, soups, and other hot foods can help guests warm themselves up from the inside out. Warmed cider, hot chocolate and mulled wines also can be served to help people stay warm.

Get moving
Incorporate activities that encourage guests to move around and stay warm. Beanbag tosses, dancing and even sports like flag football can keep guests’ blood flowing.

Entertaining outdoors doesn’t have to stop when the weather cools. Find ways to stay comfortable and safe when entertaining outside in the cold.



Enjoy a homespun Halloween holiday

Halloween is a day many people, including adults and children, eagerly anticipate. Steeped in tradition, Halloween is a day that’s always good for a scare and, of course, some candy.

Many Halloween traditions are rooted in customs from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the cold winter. Celts believed that the boundary between the world of the living and the dead was permeable on the night before the new year, when it was possible for ghosts to return and wreak havoc.

Halloween 2020 will likely feel a little different than it’s been in years past, as a global pandemic has forced people to limit their interactions with those who live outside their homes. But even if trick-or-treating or other social gatherings are not possible, there are many ways to enjoy the Halloween festivities.

Build a Samhain bonfire
Gather the supplies for a bonfire — albeit on a smaller scale. Light a fire in a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. While ancient Celts burned crops and other things as sacrifices to Celtic deities, your bonfire can be what you make of it. If you want some dramatic effect, the science resource ScienceStruck notes the addition of metal salts can change the color of flames in the fire. For example, iron fillings produce gold sparks and copper sulfate will make green flames. Wear costumes and make s’mores while around the Samhain fire.

Make a witch’s brew
Images of witches stirring a bubbling cauldron are ubiquitous on Halloween. Families can create their own Halloween “spells” and mix up a batch of potion over a campfire or on the stove. It can be a favorite soup or stew recipe, or cocktails and mocktails for the kids.

Here’s a recipe for “Witch’s Brew,” courtesy of the Food Network® and Sandra Lee.
Pour one 6-ounce package of lime gelatin into a large bowl. Slowly stir in 2 cups boiling water. Stir for at least 2 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in 3 cups chilled pineapple juice. Let cool to room temperature.

Purchase a plastic cauldron from a party supply store and one block of dry ice. Break up the dry ice and place (using tongs or heavy-duty gloves) into the bottom of the cauldron. Pour a little water on top just to cover to get the ice to start “smoking.” Place a punch bowl that fits inside the cauldron on top of the dry ice.

Pour the drink mixture in the punch bowl. Slowly add a two-liter bottle of chilled lemon lime soda or ginger ale. If desired, add two cups chilled vodka. Stir gently to mix. Enjoy.

Organize a community jack-o’-lantern carving contest
Large turnips and potatoes were once reserved as canvases for Halloween jack-o’-lanterns, but pumpkins now are the gourd of choice. Ask neighbors if they would like to participate in the festivities and contribute toward supplies for a Halloween gift basket as a prize. Each household then carves a pumpkin and places it on their doorstep Halloween night. One person can serve as judge and choose the winner. Whoever is chosen gets the basket, which can be filled with treats and trinkets.

Everyone can enjoy some Halloween fun even if they have to stay closer to home this year.



How to prepare for a unique Election Day

Like many days that came before it in 2020, Election Day figures to be unique this year. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life as people know it, and it figures to change how they vote this fall as well.

The right to vote and participate in a representative government should never be taken for granted. Many people across the globe have no such right, so citizens of the United States should be grateful they can vote and express that gratitude by doing their part and voting each year on Election Day.

State and local governments may be approaching Election Day differently as they try to juggle their responsibilities to make voting accessible to all while simultaneously keeping voters safe during the pandemic. V

oters can do their part by taking the following steps prior to Election Day, which is November 3, 2020.

• Confirm you are registered to vote. Voter registration deadlines differ by state. According to, some states, including Colorado and Connecticut, allow eligible voters to register on Election Day and cast their ballots that very same day. But many states, such as Alaska, Hawaii and Louisiana, require voters to be registered 30 days prior to Election Day. A list of state-by-state voter registration requirements can be found at

• Learn the mail-in ballot policy in your state. Many voters may not vote via mail-in ballots on a typical Election Day, but 2020 is not a typical year. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. notes that all states offer some form of mail-in ballots. Many states are asking voters to vote via mail-in ballots in 2020 in an effort to reduce voters’ risk of getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. Confirm the mail-in ballot policy and procedure in your state as early as possible to make sure your vote is counted.

• Return your completed mail-in ballot as soon as possible. Many states are urging voters who plan to vote using mail-in ballots to return their ballots as early as possible. In a mailer sent to all registered voters, the Superintendent of Elections and the Board of Elections in New Jersey noted it is critical that voters return their mail-in ballots early in the upcoming election season. Mail-in ballots can be returned via the United States Postal Service (all ballots include postage paid return envelopes), and voters also may be able to return their ballots in person at their designated polling locations or by placing the ballots in secure ballot drop boxes. Confirm your mail-in ballot return options with your local County Clerk of Elections well before Election Day.

Election Day 2020 will be unique. Voters should not hesitate to take all necessary steps in advance of November 3 to ensure their votes are counted this fall.



The vital role of a cancer support network

The moment a person is diagnosed with cancer can elicit a variety of emotions. Fear of what’s to come is a common reaction to such a diagnosis, and some people may feel alone upon learning they have cancer. But no cancer patient should face their diagnosis and treatment alone. In fact, a strong support network can be vital to patients’ recoveries.

According to Weill Cornell Medicine, recent changes in the healthcare industry have shifted the burden of care from the hospital to the home. That underscores the importance of a strong support network. Many of the challenges cancer patients face in the months after diagnosis will be new, and patients can expect a range of emotions. According to Breast Cancer Now, a charitable organization that funds one-third of breast cancer research in the United Kingdom, women may experience emotions such as shock, anger, disbelief, anxiety, and sadness after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Having loved ones there to help them make sense of those emotions and stay positive as they navigate their way through the treatment process is essential.

In addition to providing emotional support, loved ones of breast cancer patients may need to take on additional roles as they help their friends or family members face the challenges that lay ahead. Because of the industry changes noted by Weill Cornell Medicine, cancer caregivers and support networks may need to prepare themselves to take on the following roles, each of which is vital to cancer patients’ survival.

• Monitor the disease: Support networks may need to keep track of how their loved ones’ disease is progressing and if there are any complications from treatment.

• Manage symptoms: notes that treatment causes severe side effects in many women. Such side effects may include nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pain, arm swelling, shortness of breath, and skin irritation. Thankfully, most of these side effects can be treated. In addition, notes that most side effects ease up after treatment is completed. In the meantime, support networks may need to help patients manage those symptoms, performing a host of tasks to make their loved ones’ lives easier. For example, patients experiencing shortness of breath may be incapable of performing chores around the house. In such instances, members of a support network can tackle those chores until their loved one bounces back.

• Administer medication: Breast cancer patients may be too overwhelmed to handle their own medications, so support networks can take over this important responsibility for them.

• Assist with personal care: Some patients may experience fatigue after treatment. In such instances, support networks can help patients maintain their personal hygiene.

Support networks can be vital to helping cancer patients overcome their disease and navigate their way through successful treatment regimens.



How to host a socially distant trunk-or-treat

Halloween in 2020 figures to be unlike any other. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 that began in the winter of 2019-20 forced governments across the globe to issue social distancing mandates designed to stop the spread of the virus. Such mandates included restrictions on the size of gatherings, and those restrictions remain in place in many places across the globe.

Halloween celebrations are social by nature, so celebrants will have to get creative if they want to show off their costumes and cash in on candy in 2020. While Halloween 2020 will likely include some type of foray into uncharted territory, one relatively recent Halloween tradition seems tailor-made for a socially distant Halloween.

Trunk-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition in suburbs and rural areas where homeowners’ nearest neighbors may be not be within comfortable walking distance. During trunk-or-treat celebrations, kids still get to walk around, show off their costumes and go home with candy, but they do so in a more controlled setting. That control makes trunk-or-treating ideal for a socially distant Halloween, and the following are some ways parents can pull off such an event in a way that’s safe and fun.

• Host the event in a big parking lot where it’s easy to stay socially distant. Trunk-or-treats can take place in suburban neighborhoods, but that might make it difficult for participating kids and their parents to stay six feet apart from other families. If possible, arrange to host the event in a large, empty parking lot so kids can walk from one car to the other without compromising social distancing regulations. Make sure cars are at least six feet apart, and ideally even further apart so families can comfortably maintain their distance from one another.

• Limit participants. Organizers should limit the number of participants so everyone involved can safely stay six feet apart. If the event is in your neighborhood, residents can organize separate events on a street-by-street basis so kids only visit trunks on their streets. If the event will be in a large parking lot, encourage parents to sign up early and let them know only a limited number of cars will be allowed to park in the lot and participate in the event.

• Create an age-specific schedule. An age-specific schedule can help participants have fun and reduce their exposure to other people. Halloween 2020 is on a Saturday, so trunk-or-treat organizers can stagger the times kids are out and about throughout the day. For example, kids between the ages of three and five can trunk-or-treat from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., while those between the ages of six and 10 can trunk-or-treat from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and so on.

• Encourage all participants to wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that masks can slow the spread of COVID-19 by protecting Halloween celebrants from people who have the virus but are asymptomatic. Masks also can reduce the likelihood that asymptomatic people unknowingly spread the virus to others. Traditional Halloween masks typically have holes for people’s noses, mouths and eyes, so they won’t be effective in the fight against COVID-19. Parents and youngsters participating in trunk-or-treat events should wear masks that cover their noses and their mouths and fit snugly against the sides of their faces.

Halloween 2020 may be different, but there are still safe, fun ways to celebrate this beloved holiday.



Virtual volunteering opportunities

Volunteerism is the life blood of charitable organizations. Many cannot function effectively without volunteers campaigning for their efforts, handling day-to-day activities and serving in many other essential capacities.

During the pandemic, nonprofit organizations have been affected by social distancing recommendations. It’s challenging to lend a helping hand when those hands may inadvertently be passing on a potentially dangerous illness.

Social distancing and other restrictions instituted in response to the global pandemic do not have to stifle volunteer efforts. The internet can be a gateway to volunteer opportunities — many of which can be handled virtually from the safety of home.
Organizations like Goodwill, the United Nations and even AARP offer online volunteering opportunities. Resources such as Volunteer Match also can connect interested parties with organizations that have virtual volunteer options.

The following are a few additional ways to become a virtual volunteer.

• Manage social media accounts. Charitable organizations recognize the importance of a social media presence, so prospective volunteers can offer to help nonprofits keep their social media accounts updated and viable.

• Assist those without sight. Volunteers with Be My Eyes can provide important assistance to blind or low-vision individuals. Virtual video calls enable volunteers to communicate with people directly and provide help.

• Offer tutoring or teaching. Virtual learning has become the new norm in many different school districts. Parents who may need assistance with children adapting to remote learning can benefit from quality educators willing to lend their time and skill sets.

• Design and build websites. Organizations may have trouble finding time to keep their websites updated with the latest information. Writers may be needed to keep blogs current, while coders can improve sites and make them more secure.

• Assist call centers. People may have various questions and needs in a time of crisis. Volunteers can be used in retail call centers, online therapy lifelines and even school offices. Remote technology enables calls to be parsed out and answered by volunteers working from home.

• Translate emails and phone calls. Translators are always in demand in an increasingly global society. Bilingual men and women can volunteer as translators so their favorite charitable organizations can effectively overcome any language barriers that may exist between their staffs and the people they’re trying to help.

Staying close to home has become the norm during the pandemic, paving the way for virtual volunteers to make a difference in their communities.



Get to know Jack of the lantern

The toothy grins of jack-o’-lanterns are as much a part of Halloween as candy corn and costumes. Even though these carved pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, the festive gourds weren’t always tied to the October holiday.

The history behind jack-o’-lanterns is not entirely known and there are multiple origin stories, but people may have been making these carvings for centuries.

One tale traces the origin back to Ireland and a popular Irish myth. According to, the tradition involves a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” As the story goes, Stingy Jack invited the devil to share a drink with him. Being the cheapskate his name implies, Jack didn’t want to pay for the drinks, and he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy the beverages. After the devil transformed, Stingy Jack instead pocketed the money and placed it next to a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing back into his original form. Jack made the devil promise that should Jack die, he wouldn’t claim his soul. Eventually Jack freed the devil, but not before he tricked him again with another con.

When Stingy Jack eventually died, legend states God would not allow such a trickster and unsavory character into heaven. The devil could not claim Jack’s soul as promised, but he was upset by the tricks Jack had played. In turn, the devil then sent Jack off to wander the dark night infinitely with only a burning coal to light the path. Stingy Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been traversing the planet ever since. Irish storytellers first began to refer to Jack’s specter as “Jack of the Lantern.” Eventually the name was shortened to “Jack O’Lantern.”

There are other origin stories regarding jack-o’-lanterns. Some say the term originated in 17th century Britain, where it was often customary to call men whose names were unknown a common moniker like “Jack.” Night watchmen who carried lanterns might have been called “Jack with the lantern.”

Other theories connect jack-o’-lanterns to the Celtic pagan practice of hallowing out root vegetables and carving them with grotesque faces. Illuminated by coal or candles, these items served to ward off evil spirits. When settlers came from Europe to America, where turnips and other root vegetables were scarce, they used native pumpkins instead.

Jack-o’-lanterns are often seen lighting up the Halloween night. There are various theories regarding the origins of the carved gourds. While the truth may never be fully known, it’s fun to learn about the various origin stories connected to this popular symbol of Halloween.



COVID-19 and breast cancer guidelines

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 first appeared in late 2019 and has changed life for the forseeable future. While many people are quick to focus on the ways COVID-19 has impacted their abilities to shop, visit with friends and relatives or travel, the virus has made life especially difficult for people with preexisting health conditions.

Medical News Today reports that the symptoms of COVID-19 may be more severe for breast cancer patients. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that undergoing cancer treatment can weaken the immune system, further increasing a person’s vulnerability to infection. Specifically, targeted therapies, chemotherapy and radiation can weaken the immune system and compromise its ability to fight off the coronavirus. Furthermore, these treatments also may cause lung problems that can exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms, particularly among breast cancer patients whose cancer has metastasized to the lungs.

In April 2020, new guidelines for the prioritization and treatment of breast cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic were released, compiled by a group of U.S. medical organizations, including the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, the American College of Radiology and the Comprehensive Cancer Network. At hospitals where resources and staff have become limited due to COVID-19 treatment efforts, doctors have had to define which breast cancer patients need urgent care and which can have delayed or alternative treatments. These measures can help balance maintaining positive survival outcomes as well as reducing risk of exposure to the virus, according to the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

Breast cancer patients have been broken down into priority levels of A, B and C for urgency of care.

• Priority A: A patient has conditions that are immediately life-threatening or require urgent treatment.

• Priority B: A patient has conditions that don’t require immediate treatment, but he or she should begin treatment before the end of the pandemic.

• Priority C: A patient has conditions for which treatment can be safely put on hold.

Breast cancer patients are further urged to take extra caution in their daily activities to help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. That means always wearing a mask or another face covering when interacting with other people. This advice may be applicable even if a six-foot distance can be maintained. Wash hands frequently, especially when coming in from public places. If possible, ask a friend or family member to do your shopping or run errands for you to limit exposure to other people and crowds.

Breast cancer patients may have to discuss the possibility of altering or delaying treatment for breast cancer with their oncologists because of increased risk factors presented by COVID-19. Together, patients and doctors can work to keep breast cancer patients as healthy as possible.



Interesting facts about nocturnal pets

While many animals like to soak up the sun and go about their business in daylight, there are plenty of others who seem to come alive after darkness falls. These night owls and more hunt and survive in the dark, which is called nocturnal and crepuscular behavior.

Nocturnal behavior is an adaptation to help animals survive in dark conditions and avoid predators. While some have excellent night vision, others have poor eyesight and rely on other senses to survive in the darkness, according to Animal Sake.

Nocturnal animals sleep all day and are active at night. Crepuscular animals are mostly active at night, but not entirely sedate during the day. While a number of wild animals, such as lemurs, coyotes and skunks, follow these patterns, certain animals that have been domesticated as pets also have nighttime predilections. People who take these animals into their homes should understand that they won’t see much action from the pets during the day when the animals are resting. But when nighttime arrives, there will be much more activity. Those who are hoping to sleep themselves may have to make accommodations if they plan to cohabitate effectively with nocturnal pets.

Those unsure whether their pets are nocturnal can explore this list.
• Mice and rats: Rats and mice are intelligent and social animals that are often kept as pets. They are most active at night when they can be heard squeaking, eating and chewing.

• Hamsters: Another small rodent, hamsters also are nocturnal. At night, hamsters can be seen running on their wheels, collecting foods and making nests in their bedding.

• African pygmy hedgehog: This is a species of hedgehog commonly kept as a pet. According to The Spruce: Pets, pet hedgehogs are quiet, active, entertaining, and require a lot of care. They make great companion animals. However, because they’re nocturnal, they will need to be fed and cared for in the evening hours.

• Leopard geckos: These lizards sleep in safe and hidden spots during the day and become active when night falls. Leopard geckos do not have the same light requirements as other reptiles that are kept as pets.

• Cats: Cats are most active between dusk and dawn, and are content to snooze throughout much of the day. They seem keen on catching prey (whether real or imaginary) around the house at night and vocalizing when their owners are trying to get some shut-eye.

• Rabbits: These furry friends also enjoy frolicking at night. They may scratch around their cages and make various noises. They also visit the litter box at night (if trained), groom themselves and may be more receptive to petting from owners.

Many animals prefer to be out and about at night. Prospective pet owners should be aware of these tendencies so they know what to expect from such pets.



The risk factors for breast cancer

No two women are the same. But when it comes to breast cancer, women from all walks of life share various risk factors for a disease that the World Health Organization indicates is the most frequent cancer among women.

Risk factors are anything that affects the likelihood that individuals will get a certain disease. In regard to breast cancer, the American Breast Cancer Foundation notes that various factors, some that result from lifestyle choices and others that are not changeable, can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Recognizing these risk factors can help women make any necessary changes and even highlight the importance of routine cancer screenings that can detect the presence of the disease in its earliest, most treatable stages.

Lifestyle-related risk factors
The ABCF notes that certain habits or behaviors can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. But the good news is that women who understand the link between certain habits or behaviors and breast cancer can avoid those behaviors to decrease their risk of developing the disease. According to, the following are some habits, behaviors or lifestyle choices that can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer.

• Alcohol consumption: notes that researchers have uncovered links between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. One study found that women who consume three alcoholic beverages per week have a 15 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all. And while research into the connection is limited, a 2009 study found a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer recurrence.

• Sedentary lifestyle: Exercise consumes and controls blood sugar and limits blood levels of insulin growth factor. That’s an important connection, as insulin growth factor can affect how breast cells grow and behave. A sedentary lifestyle also can increase a woman’s risk of being obese, which the ABCF notes is a risk factor for breast cancer among postmenopausal women.

• Smoking: Smoking has long been linked to cancer, and notes that smoking has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women.

Unchangeable risk factors
Unfortunately, many risk factors for breast cancer are beyond women’s control. For example, the ABCF notes that roughly two out of three invasive breast cancers occur in women age 55 and older. Women cannot change their ages, but recognizing the link between age and breast cancer risk is important, as such a recognition may compel more women 55 and older to prioritize cancer screening.

Gender and family history are two additional unchangeable risk factors for breast cancer. Women are much more likely to get breast cancer than men. In addition, notes that between 5 and 10 percent of breast cancers are believed to be caused by abnormal genes that are passed from parent to child.

Women are not helpless in the fight against breast cancer. Knowledge of breast cancer, including its various risk factors, is a great weapon against it as women look to reduce their risk of developing the disease.



City of Dubuque Celebrates October as National Arts and Humanities Month

The City of Dubuque joins thousands of arts organizations and communities across the nation to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month throughout October. The Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and local arts and culture institutions, will carry this message to the people of Dubuque throughout the month with outreach that seeks to raise awareness of the impact local arts and culture offerings have on the quality of life throughout our community.

“Now more than ever, a thriving arts and culture community is critical to the overall quality of life in our community and in need of investment and support,” said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. “It’s an important part of our community’s well-being, for individuals’ brain health, and for our overall economic recovery — as well as a crucial part of our efforts to attract and retain the workforce our region needs to grow and prosper.”

During the October 5, 2020 regular meeting of the Dubuque City Council, a formal proclamation is anticipated recognizing October as Arts and Humanities Month in the City of Dubuque. The community at-large is encouraged to participate in what has become the country’s largest annual collective celebration of the arts and humanities by following the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Facebook page and sharing their own stories of how arts and culture experiences impact them and their family.

“The arts are the lifeblood of our communities, raising morale, creating community cohesion, and providing comfort during dark times, while also delivering a huge economic footprint. The sector continues to suffer devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is vital that we support our creative workers and fight for the sector in the months and years to come,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts and national coordinator of Arts and Humanities Month. “National Arts and Humanities Month gives us a chance to celebrate the values that the arts impart in our lives, and it is more important than ever that everyone take part to recognize the creative and cultural value of the arts and humanities in our communities.”

National Arts and Humanities Month is coordinated by Americans for the Arts, the national organization working to empower communities with the resources and support necessary to provide access to all of the arts for all of the people. This month-long celebration grew out of National Arts Week, which was started in 1985 by the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts.

More information about National Arts and Humanities Month is available at

For more information on City of Dubuque arts and culture programs, funding opportunities, and the Arts and Culture Master Plan visit or contact City of Dubuque Arts & Cultural Affairs Coordinator Jenni Petersen-Brant at or 563.690.6059.



Soup and grilled cheese make the perfect lunch

Grilled cheese may be a staple of many children’s diets, but with the substitution of different cheeses for the traditional cheddar or American and the inclusion of other ingredients, grilled cheese can enjoy a gourmet, adult makeover.

While it is certainly possible to enjoy grilled cheese on its own, the meal is made even better when paired with a favorite soup. Enjoy these two recipes for the perfect soup and sandwich combination, courtesy of “Real Simple: Dinner Tonight Done!” (Time Home Entertainment) by the Real Simple Kitchens.

Mini Grilled Cheese and Chutney Sandwiches
Serves 8

12 slices white sandwich bread
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, thinly sliced
1 cup fruit chutney (such as cranberry, fig or mango)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Form six sandwiches with the bread, fontina, and chutney.
In two batches, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sandwiches until the bread is golden and the fontina has melted, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut each sandwich into quarters before serving.

French Onion Soup
Serves 8

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 pounds onions (about 6 medium), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
8 1⁄2-inch thick slices country bread, halved crosswise if necessary to fit serving bowls
1⁄2 pound Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated (2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Heat the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1-1⁄4 teaspoons salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes.

Add the wine to the pot and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat broiler. Place the bread on a broilerproof baking sheet and broil until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with the Gruyère and broil until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Top the soup with the toasts and sprinkle with the thyme before serving.



Establish winter habitats for backyard animals

Preparing a property for winter involves putting away lawn furniture, raking leaves and removing any annual plants that have shriveled up and spent the last of their energy. It can be tempting to want to clean up completely and leave a blank slate in the yard. But by doing so, you may be robbing wildlife of the resources they need to overwinter.

The nature and conservation resource In Habitat says plants and animals depend on one another to survive. During the winter, animals may struggle to find adequate shelter and food, especially when there is a lack of sufficient plant matter available. In turn, these animals may actually take up home in people’s residences, turning into pests in the process. Bats, field mice and even opossums and raccoons may move indoors into attics or basements, leaving behind waste and damage if they can’t find adequate shelter outdoors.

Homeowners concerned about potential pest infestations can take steps to ensure animals have places to bed down and escape the cold in their yards this winter. These tips can help local wildlife when the temperatures dip.

• Leave parts of the yard wild. Animals can make a nest in leaves or piles of brushwood. Just make sure piles left out are away from the home so curious critters don’t try to get inside. Leave the task of tidying up shrubs and garden borders until spring, as shrubs can be dense areas to hide for both insects and animals.

• Consider planting animal food sources prior to winter. Plants like elderberry, holly, mulberry, sumac, and crabapple will grow in colder months and animals can enjoy them as a vital food staple.

• Don’t forget water sources. Provide access to fresh water and replace as needed if the water freezes. For homeowners with fish ponds in their backyards, use a hot pot to melt a hole in the top of the pond and allow gases that have accumulated underneath to escape. This allows oxygen to reach fish and frogs in the pond.

• Leave bird, squirrel or bat houses in the yard. This is a fun and crafty project that can ward off winter boredom while also providing a safe place for local wildlife to shelter in winter.

Animals and insects need some extra help staying comfortable when cool temperatures arrive. Leaving some clean-up tasks for the spring ensures that there are plenty of backyard habitats available to local wildlife.



How to maintain a car that’s rarely driven

Driving habits changed significantly in 2020. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forced many professionals to work from home full-time. In addition, stay-at-home measures greatly limited how much people could or would travel in their free time. The result was a lot of cars spending a lot of time sitting idly in driveways.

Just because a car is not being driven very much does not mean its owner can forgo vehicle maintenance. Drivers can take these steps to ensure their vehicles stay in shape even as they’re primarily staying in the driveway.

• Adhere to recommended maintenance schedules. Auto manufacturers typically recommend maintenance schedules based on the number of miles a car is driven or the length of time since its most recent maintenance appointment. “Whichever comes first” may be recommended for fluid changes and routine tuneups, and this rule of thumb should still be followed. Even if a car has barely hit the road in recent months, its fluids, such as oil, are still aging and still need to be replaced.

• Turn the car on every so often. Turning the car on, even if you only intend to let it sit idle in the driveway, keeps the vehicle components lubricated by allowing fluids to cycle their way through the engine. Turning the car on also ensures the battery stays fresh and doesn’t die, a lesson many drivers have learned the hard way during the COVID-19 outbreak.

• Disconnect the battery if necessary. Drivers who own two vehicles or families who have only been using the family car in recent months can disconnect the batteries from their unused vehicles to prevent corrosion. Corrosion decreases battery life and performance. If drivers notice a white, green or blue covering around the battery terminals, posts or cables, corrosion is likely the culprit and the battery will need to be replaced.

• Take the car for a spin. Of course, driving a vehicle every so often is a great way to keep it running strong. Multi-car families that tend to use the same car to shop for groceries or pick up takeout orders can periodically use their other car to run such errands.

Cars are sitting idly in driveways more than ever before. Vehicle maintenance must remain a priority even for cars that rarely hit the open road.



Steps for hanging holiday lights outdoors

It begins to look a lot like Christmas (or Halloween) when twinkling lights brighten up homes inside and out. Few things liven up the season more than holiday decorations, particularly clear and colored lights.
Prior to taking out the lights, ladder and thermos of coffee to get you through the job, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to hang holiday lights.

• Sketch out your plan. Start by taking a few photos of your home from various vantage points. Print out the photos on regular paper so that you can draw your lighting arrangement and decoration placement right on the photos to see how things will look.

• Measure the area. Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the width and height of eaves or other areas of the home where you plan to hang light strands. Calculate how much overall footage you will need so you can purchase all of the lights in one shopping trip.

• Test the lights first. Plug in the lights to be sure all strands are operational.

• Begin where the lights will be plugged in. Start where the lights will be plugged in and then work your way around the house.

• Add to shrubs and trees. Lights also can adorn shrubs and trees. Lowes Home Improvement says a good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 11⁄2-feet of tree or shrub to cover. A 6-foot evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.

• Exercise extreme caution. Accidents can happen when stringing lights. While many professionals use harnesses, homeowners are not always so cautious. Utilize a spotter to hold the ladder and make sure things are safe. Never set foot on a wet or icy roof. Do not attempt to string lights in inclement weather.

• Know the wattage. Each outlet can generally hold about 17 amps or 1,870 watts if the lights are not sharing a circuit with another outlet, says Parrish. Plan accordingly to ensure you have enough power to handle your lights.

• Use plastic clips. Plastic light clips hang strands along eaves and gables. They’re specially designed for hanging lights over the gutters. Some slip under the edges of roof shingles. Lights can be hung without staples or nails, which can damage exterior surfaces. Plastic zip-ties or deck clips also can attach lights along a handrail.

• Use only outdoor extension cords. Be sure the extension cords you use are designed specifically for outdoor use.

• Use a timer. Timers can make sure the lights turn on and off even if homeowners forget.

Once lights have been safely strung, sit back and enjoy the splendor of a well-decorated house.



Dubuque Fire Department Receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award

The Dubuque Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s 2020 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don’t receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training, and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

“The Dubuque Fire Department is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Dubuque EMS Supervisor Samuel Janecke. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline.”

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud the Dubuque Fire Department for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

The Dubuque Fire Department has proudly provided emergency and non-emergency ambulance service in the Dubuque community since 1914. For more information on Dubuque Fire Department EMS, visit or call 563.589.4160.



Integrated Cancer Center Now Open to Patients

Cancer is a challenging diagnosis for anyone to receive. The Integrated Cancer Center stands ready to provide coordinated cancer care to the Tri-State area. UnityPoint Health – Dubuque Wendt Regional Cancer Center and Grand River Medical Group have partnered together in one location that is now open to patients.

By working together in one location, the Integrated Cancer Center will enhance overall patient care, including expediated communication and coordination among providers for an unmatched patient care experience.

This partnership equips patients, caregivers and cancer survivors with support services, expert clinical staff and multi-disciplinary care including genetic counseling, nurse navigators, oncology rehabilitation and support groups to assist in their cancer treatment journey and beyond.

The medical oncology team at Grand River Medical Group are leaders in chemotherapy and Finley’s Wendt Regional Cancer Center are experts in radiation therapy and cancer support services. By combining these two storied cancer programs together, in one location, the Integrated Cancer Center will continue leading cancer care in the Tri-State area.

“The Integrated Cancer Center builds on the experience of two cancer care leaders. Bringing health care teams with decades of cancer care experience together under one roof will provide an unmatched care experience for patients in the Tri-State area.” said Chad Wolbers, President and CEO, UnityPoint Health – Dubuque. “The latest cancer treatment and technology paired with multidisciplinary support services in one location is the gold standard for anyone who needs to navigate through a cancer journey.”

“The medical oncology patient experience now available for patients at the Integrated Cancer Center surpasses what has been possible previously. A new day in cancer care is here to stay,” said Justin Hafner, CEO, Grand River Medical Group.



Update your résumé for job hunting during COVID-19

The economy has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people are concerned by what the future may bring, particularly regarding their careers. Some fields may continue to scale back while others may increase operations. There is much uncertainty for those looking for new work or considering changing jobs.

Even though the coronavirus may slow down the process of hiring and make it even more competitive, job seekers must avoid the notion that they should throw in the towel and try to wait out the lull. Many people have found new jobs during the pandemic, and these strategies can help men and women do just that.

Update your résumé
Many people may think that résumé writing is a “one and done” process, but that’s not the case. The Balance: Careers says a résumé should be updated and tweaked each time a person applies for a position. Keep a generalized outline for your résumé, but be sure to modify your skills and accomplishments as they pertain to the specific job for which you’re applying.

In many instances, a functional résumé format, which emphasizes skills over linear job experience, is a good choice because it can gloss over gaps in the résumé or frequent job changes. Remember to fill the résumé with the same verbiage used in the job posting. If scanning software is used to cull résumés for key words, yours will have the right words and phrases.

Update social media
If you use a social media application like LinkedIn, Plaxo or Jobster to network, be sure to keep your profile current. It also may be helpful to join industry networking groups and organizations at this time, as they may have an ongoing aggregator of job openings in particular fields.

Research the industry
While travel, hospitality and event planning have been hit hard due to COVID-19, other industries like online shopping, delivery, healthcare, grocery stores, cleaning services, and more, have experienced growth. Many industries also have revamped operations and may need a consultant or expert to help them change over their business formats. Do not assume that the pandemic has stalled all job prospects.

Prepare for remote interviews
Even after businesses have reopened, remote interviews will likely be the norm. Set up an interview spot in your home with good lighting, a neutral background, limited distractions, and a desirable camera angle. Practice being interviewed digitally. Master various meeting applications by downloading necessary software in advance so that technical difficulties will not derail the process. The interviewer sees only your background, so utilize a paper or whiteboard in front of you with notes or talking points.

A job search may be complicated by the coronavirus, but there are steps to make it easier to find a job. With patience and positivity, the odds can be in job-seekers’ favor.



Safety measures all hunters should take

Hunting draws millions of people into the great outdoors every year. Many avid hunters feel hunting is a great way to actively participate in nature while also taking responsibility for procuring one’s own food.

Hunting requires discipline, dedication, patience, and, perhaps most important, a commitment to safety. By prioritizing safety on each hunting trip, seasoned and novice hunters alike are acknowledging the potential dangers of this beloved outdoor activity while doing everything they can to ensure the trip is as safe as possible. Because safety plays such a vital role in successful hunting trips, hunters of all experience levels can benefit from a refresher course on the safety measures they should take each time they go on the hunt.

• Treat all firearms as if they’re loaded. Treating all firearms as if they’re loaded ensures hunters won’t be tempted to engage in the kind of fooling around that can contribute to tragic accidents. This approach can reduce the risk of firearm-related accidents or injuries, and can be an especially effective way to teach youngsters about the dangers of firearms and the correct ways to mitigate those dangers.

• Keep your finger off the trigger and only point at what you plan to shoot. Keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot ensures you won’t accidentally discharge your firearm. In addition, never point your firearm at anything other than what you plan to shoot.

• Know the forecast and dress appropriately. Firearms are not the only risk to hunters’ safety. Inclement weather can put hunters at the mercy of Mother Nature. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypothermia, which occurs when the human body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, can affect hunters who are unable to get out of wet clothes or move to warm, dry locations as their bodies lose heat. In addition, hunters may be at risk of hypothermia even if temperatures are hovering around 50 F. Before embarking on a hunting trip, hunters should read the forecast of the areas where they will be hunting and dress accordingly. Outer layers that repel water can help keep hunters dry, and hunters also should avoid wearing cotton, which retains moisture and can increase their risk for hypothermia. Clothing made with moisture-wicking fabrics is a great alternative to cotton.

• Share your plan with others. Returning home safe is the ultimate goal for hunters, and that’s more likely to happen when hunters share their hunting plans with others. Let someone, ideally a spouse, parent, roommate, or sibling, know when and where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Direct this loved one to call the local authorities if you do not call by a predetermined time. This can dramatically reduce the time it takes to find you if you become injured on your hunting trip and prove unable to get back to your vehicle safely.

Millions of people across the globe enjoy hunting. Avid hunters know that no hunting trip is successful if safety is not the utmost priority.



Handmade gifts are personalized and special

2020 has been a year unlike any other. A global pandemic affected communities in every corner of the globe, and many people found they had much more time on their hands due to stay-at-home restrictions. That extra free time may have opened up the opportunity to re-engage with old hobbies or start entirely new ones. Such endeavors may have resulted in items that can make ideal handmade holiday gifts.

Crafting or engaging in other creative pursuits is a great way to pass the time and alleviate anxiety related to self-quarantining. Katie Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist in Denver, said that crafting requires focused attention and forces a person to be completely immersed in the moment. For those who prefer to continue to avoid crowds until COVID-19 is in the world’s collective rearview mirror, producing handmade gifts also cuts down on trips to shopping malls and other retailers.

Those interested in making handmade gifts this holiday season can consider these ideas.

• Jewelry: Most craft stores now have entire aisles dedicated to making jewelry. From earring posts and loops to necklace brackets and all the essentials in between, jewelry crafters can create something fitting for the special people on their lists.

• Candles: Candles add light, warmth and aroma to help a home feel cozy. With some basic components, such as a wax source, wick, tint, and scent oils, it’s easy to make candles. Pour the wax into a favorite vessel, such as a mason jar or delicate teacup.

• Handmade soaps: Those who dabble in candles may want to parlay those skills into soapmaking as well. Soaps can be crafted relatively easily and packaged as part of the ultimate homemade spa package.

• Oven mitts or skillet handle covers: Gift that special home chef with custom oven mitts and a coordinating skillet holder for popular cast-iron cookery. An easy pattern, some durable fabric and some basic sewing skills are all that’s needed.

• Handmade blanket: Those who love to knit or crochet know the bounty that can be made with needle, hook and yarn. From homemade afghans to cozy slippers to scarf and hat sets, the options are endless.

• Food: Those whose talents lean more toward culinary than crafty can pour their holiday love into delicious desserts or tasty tidbits.

Handmade gifts provide an opportunity to offer personal and meaningful gifts that can make the holidays that much more special.



Enjoy whole grains, even on a gluten-free diet

People adhere to gluten-free diets for various reasons. Individuals with Celiac disease have to avoid gluten because they have a form of gluten intolerance that results in severe gastrointestinal distress if they consume it. However, others avoid gluten, which is a protein found in all kinds of wheat, including barley, rye, triticale, rye, and wheat hybrids, because they’re simply allergic to wheat. Some have intolerances that are not exactly allergies or Celiac disease, but can make it difficult to digest gluten.

Whole grains, which have all of the parts of the original kernel — bran, germ and endosperm — in the original proportions, help a person to feel full longer, can help keep digestion regular and also may help the body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol. They also may lower triglyceride levels, which are a major contributor to heart disease. Whole grains also can help people maintain healthy weights.

Just because a person is following a gluten-free diet does not mean he or she needs to avoid all grains, particularly whole grains that are so essential for good health. Most grains are gluten-free and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

• Amaranth: Amaranth is a tall plant and a few varieties are grown as a food source. It is considered a pseudocereal and is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, which is close to double the amount found in rice and corn.

• Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a good source of protein, fiber, phosphorous, and the B vitamin riboflavin. It also contains all of the nine essential amino acids that humans do not produce naturally and must consume through food.

• Corn: Corn products are gluten-free and can be consumed in many forms, whether whole kernel, ground into cornmeal or cornstarch, and formed into chips or tortillas. Corn is baked into breads as well. The Whole Grain Council says recent studies have found that corn has naturally high levels of resistant starch that may be especially good at making people feel full longer.

• Oats: Oats are inherently gluten-free, but quite often they are contaminated with wheat while growing or being processed. So it’s essential to find products that contain pure oats only.

• Quinoa: This grain is native to the Andean region of South America. Another complete protein, quinoa has high amounts of other nutrients, such as potassium, that helps control blood pressure. It also is rich in antioxidants.

• Rice: Rice provides about half the calories for nearly half of the world’s population, particularly in Asia and South America. Rice can be nutritious, particularly brown rice. Just one cup of cooked brown rice also provides 88 percent of daily need for manganese, a mineral that helps the body digest fats and get the most from proteins and carbohydrates.

Going gluten-free is a choice or a necessity. People can continue to enjoy many whole grains even if they are on a gluten-free diet.



Dental hygiene is about more than just your teeth

Individuals tend to learn about dental hygiene at an early age. On the recommendation of their children’s pediatricians, parents may begin brushing their youngsters’ teeth the moment the first tooth breaks through the gums. While proper dental hygiene is vital to oral health, it also can have a profound effect on the rest of the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions. Periodontitis is a severe yet preventable gum infection that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. But the threat of periodontitis doesn’t end in the mouth. The American Academy of Periodontology notes there’s a connection between periodontitis and several other diseases. While bacteria was long suspected to be the link between periodontitis and other diseases in the body, the AAP notes that recent research points to inflammation as the culprit that connects periodontitis with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The AAP notes that people with diabetes are at increased risk for periodontal disease, speculating that diabetes patients’ risk is higher because people with diabetes are more vulnerable to infections than those without diabetes. While that suggests periodontal disease is a byproduct of diabetes, the AAP notes that research points to the relationship being a two-way street. Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar, making dental hygiene an especially vital component of routine healthcare for people with diabetes.

Heart disease
The AAP notes that research indicates periodontal disease increases a person’s risk for heart disease, with the inflammation caused by the former leading to the latter. People with existing heart conditions also may find that periodontal disease exacerbates those conditions. The Mayo Clinic notes that the link between heart disease and periodontal disease is not fully understood, but enough studies have been conducted for scientists to support the notion that the two are connected.

Can periodontal disease be prevented?
Periodontal disease is preventable. A daily dental hygiene regimen that includes brushing after meals, flossing at least once per day and swishing with mouthwash are some simple, healthy habits that can prevent periodontal disease. In addition, the AAP recommends that people at increased risk for periodontal disease, including the elderly and smokers, should discuss their risk with their dental professionals.

Dental hygiene can do more for individuals than produce a mouthful of pearly white teeth. In fact, people who prioritize dental hygiene may lower their risks for various diseases.



Items to include in college students’ quarantine bags

Millions of parents dropped their children off on college campuses for the start of a new school year in August. While that might not stand out in a normal year, 2020 has proven to be anything but normal.
Many colleges and universities grappled with how to approach the 2020-21 academic year as the world continued to battle the COVID-19 outbreak. Some schools chose to offer only remote learning and keep kids off campus entirely, while others offered in person classes and welcomed students back to campus. Still others created hybrid learning plans that combined remote learning with in person sessions.

Regardless of which option schools ultimately chose, it’s fair to say that many recognized the potential that the pandemic could once again upset the academic apple cart after the semester began, forcing students and educators to adjust to fully remote learning in much the same way they did back in March. In addition to that potential outcome, students who returned to campus must be prepared to enter quarantine if they or a friend, classmate or roommate tests positive for COVID-19. In anticipation of that, it pays for students to prepare quarantine bags in case they need to isolate themselves at any point during the semester.

Few college students have exclusive access to washers and dryers in their dorm rooms or apartments. Shared laundry rooms will likely be off limits while students are under quarantine, so make sure to pack enough clothing to get through two weeks of isolation. Take inventory of your supply of pajamas, underwear and socks and purchase more if necessary.

Food and cooking supplies
College students accustomed to eating their meals at the dining hall may need to prepare their own meals while in quarantine. Stock up on nonperishable items, such as pasta, soup, rice, and cereal, that can be stored in your room for long periods of time without expiring. Bottled water can help you stay hydrated should you feel ill, while decaffeinated tea can help you stay warm should you feel chills. Bring along a mini refrigerator, a toaster or toaster oven, a tea kettle, some pots and pans, bowls and plates, and utensils as well.

Medical supplies
Extra masks are a must-have when returning to campus, and they can help students make it through quarantine as well. Masks can be worn when using restrooms or showers, even if students are attending schools that plan to isolate people who test positive in buildings that cannot be accessed by non-infected community members.

In addition to extra masks, make sure you have enough daily medical/hygiene supplies, such as toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion or soap, deodorant, tissues, and disinfectant, to last through quarantine, which is typically no less than two weeks.

While in quarantine, students will want to stay connected to the outside world and parents will no doubt want to check in as often as possible to see how their children are faring. A reliable laptop, desktop or tablet can ensure students can chat with family and friends and even stay up-to-date with their schoolwork via the Zoom conferencing app. A backup phone charger also can make sure students stay connected throughout their quarantine period.

Quarantine bags can help students returning to college campuses this fall safely navigate their time in isolation.



How to effectively and safely sanitize a car

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people live. One readily felt effect was spending more time at home. Vehicles sat idle in driveways and even some automotive insurance providers reduced rates because people were driving much less.

Even with stay-at-home measures in place, people still need to leave their homes to stock up on essentials, such as food or medicine. In other cases, people may have been essential workers who drive for a living, including delivery drivers or health care personnel who were incapable of working from home.

Any time a person goes out in public, he or she runs the risk of contracting viruses. Bacteria and germs may reside on various surfaces, including those inside vehicles.
People want to protect themselves and now are more aware of the importance of frequently cleaning and sanitizing their cars. Keeping a vehicle safe to drive without affecting its upholstery or electronic components is paramount.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes a distinction between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but can lower their numbers. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. The following are some ways to deeply clean and sanitize a car.

• Wash hands. First and foremost, it is crucial to wash your hands before and after using the car. This can reduce the likelihood of growing ill because of transferred viruses or bacteria.

• Use rubbing alcohol. Solutions that contain 70 percent alcohol are effective against many viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses, says the CDC. Furthermore, Jeff Stout, Executive Director of Global Innovation at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, says that, for the most part, nearly every interior surface of a vehicle can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. Plastic to painted chrome to imitation leather have been tested to ensure they don’t degrade when exposed to pure isopropyl alcohol.

• Avoid bleach or hydrogen peroxide. While bleach and peroxide are very effective cleaners and sanitizers, they are likely to damage a car’s upholstery, according to Consumer Reports.

• Use soap and water: Experts say that vigorous washing with a soap-and-water solution can be effective against many contaminants because it breaks down the protective envelope that surrounds coronaviruses and other germs to disarm them. Friction also can help to break down germ cells during cleaning.

“You want to do the best with what you have, so even soap and water can chip away at the risk,” says Stephen Thomas, M.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases and Director of Global Health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

• Address frequently touched surfaces. Pay attention to the steering wheel, door handles, buttons, touchscreen displays, shift lever, and more when sanitizing. Each of these items can harbor germs.

Deep-cleaning a vehicle has become a necessity since COVID-19 emerged. Frequently cleaning and sanitizing can help make vehicles safer to operate.



Memorialize a Loved One at the 2020 Reflections in the Park

Work on the 2020 Reflections in the Park is well underway with volunteers making adjustments to the lights and selling displays. After seeing over 14,000 cars and an estimated 54,000 visitors at the 2019 Reflections in the Park, Hillcrest Family Services is poised to continue setting records at its annual Louis Murphy Park lights display. In 2020, visitors will see many new displays, many holiday favorites including our one-of-a-kind “Memory Lane”.

“Memory Lane” is an opportunity for you to remember your loved one(s) in a special way during the Christmas Holidays at Reflections in the Park. It will feature an arch with “Memory Lane” in lights over the beginning and lined with star lit street lights that will represent your loved one’s presence. Those being remembered in “Memory Lane” will have their name printed in the 2020 Reflections in the Park booklet and on a banner next to the display. It’s a great way to memorialize your loved one during the holiday season and help Hillcrest help others.

Reflections in the Park, presented by Dubuque Bank and Trust, is a Hillcrest Family Services charitable event. It is planned, marketed, set up, operated, and deconstructed entirely by volunteers providing over 3,500 hours of their time. Volunteers and sponsors help make Reflections in the Park a significant form of funding for the 30+ programs and over 45,000 people served by Hillcrest Family Services.

For more information about “Memory Lane”, please contact Darlene Bolsinger at or call 563.599.4068. Submissions due by October 16, 2020.




The annual Fall Clean-up will begin on Monday, October 19, 2020, and run through Friday, October 23, 2020. Please remove all items and decorations you wish to save no later than Sunday, October 18, 2020. All items not removed will be discarded.

Cemetery Management requests that no decorations or plantings be placed on grave sites until Saturday, October 24, 2020. Please check cemetery policies before placing decorations to avoid losing items that do not conform.



Dental hygiene is about more than just your teeth

Individuals tend to learn about dental hygiene at an early age. On the recommendation of their children’s pediatricians, parents may begin brushing their youngsters’ teeth the moment the first tooth breaks through the gums. While proper dental hygiene is vital to oral health, it also can have a profound effect on the rest of the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions.

Periodontitis is a severe yet preventable gum infection that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. But the threat of periodontitis doesn’t end in the mouth. The American Academy of Periodontology notes there’s a connection between periodontitis and several other diseases. While bacteria was long suspected to be the link between periodontitis and other diseases in the body, the AAP notes that recent research points to inflammation as the culprit that connects periodontitis with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The AAP notes that people with diabetes are at increased risk for periodontal disease, speculating that diabetes patients’ risk is higher because people with diabetes are more vulnerable to infections than those without diabetes. While that suggests periodontal disease is a byproduct of diabetes, the AAP notes that research points to the relationship being a two-way street. Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar, making dental hygiene an especially vital component of routine healthcare for people with diabetes.

Heart disease
The AAP notes that research indicates periodontal disease increases a person’s risk for heart disease, with the inflammation caused by the former leading to the latter. People with existing heart conditions also may find that periodontal disease exacerbates those conditions. The Mayo Clinic notes that the link between heart disease and periodontal disease is not fully understood, but enough studies have been conducted for scientists to support the notion that the two are connected.

Can periodontal disease be prevented?
Periodontal disease is preventable. A daily dental hygiene regimen that includes brushing after meals, flossing at least once per day and swishing with mouthwash are some simple, healthy habits that can prevent periodontal disease. In addition, the AAP recommends that people at increased risk for periodontal disease, including the elderly and smokers, should discuss their risk with their dental professionals.

Dental hygiene can do more for individuals than produce a mouthful of pearly white teeth. In fact, people who prioritize dental hygiene may lower their risks for various diseases.



The warning signs of dyslexia

Obstacles are bound to challenge students at some point in their academic careers. Students can sometimes overcome obstacles by recommitting themselves to their studies, while others, including dyslexia, require help from parents and educators.

According to LD Online, an online resource that seeks to help children and adults with up-to-date information about learning disabilities and ADHD, as many as 43.5 million Americans from all economic and ethnic backgrounds have dyslexia. Dyslexia is also prevalent in Canada, where the learning disability resource The Reading Clinic estimates as much as 20 percent of the population has dyslexia.

Learning disabilities can be challenging at any time, but they may be especially so when in-person access to educators and academic resources is limited or unavailable. Such was the case for many students during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, when schools abruptly switched from in-person learning to remote learning in an effort to curb the spread of the potentially deadly virus. During the pandemic, millions of parents of school-aged children found themselves taking on the role of educators. That can be challenging for any parent, but especially so for parents of children with undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Dyslexia is a complex learning disability, but one that may produce noticeable symptoms, which can vary depending on a child’s age.

What is dyslexia?
The Reading Clinic notes that dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin and characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition.

What are some warning signs for dyslexia?
LD Online notes that it’s a myth that people with dyslexia read backwards. Students may have difficulty remembering letter symbols for sounds or forming memories for words, but they do not read backwards. In addition, LD Online notes that individuals with dyslexia may experience difficulty with:
• Learning to speak
• Learning letters and their sounds
• Organizing written and spoken language
• Memorizing number facts
• Reading quickly enough to comprehend
• Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
• Spelling
• Learning a foreign language
• Correctly doing math operations

Parents, especially those homeschooling their children during the COVID-19 outbreak, who notice any of these symptoms should report them to their children’s teachers immediately.

Dyslexia is more common than many people may think. While dyslexia is a lifelong condition, LD Online notes that, with treatment, many people learn to read and write well.

More information about dyslexia is available at and



Why the flu shot is so important in 2020

Millions of people across the globe get flu shots each year. Flu shots protect people against influenza, but they might provide even greater benefits in 2020.

As the world continues to confront the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, it’s imperative that people everywhere take every step necessary to protect themselves and others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a flu vaccine will not protect people against COVID-19. However, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of illness related to the flu. Those illnesses weaken people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to other viruses, including COVID-19.

Flu vaccines have also been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization. That’s a significant benefit of being vaccinated, as people who get their flu shots can indirectly help hospitals conserve potentially scarce resources. As the COVID-19 virus rapidly spread late in the winter of 2019-20, many hospitals across the country and even the globe were stretched incredibly thin. So anything ordinary citizens can do to alleviate such burdens can help save lives while also making hospital workers’ jobs easier and less stressful.

Many people may be concerned about going out and getting a flu shot in 2020. That’s especially likely for people who live in communities where the COVID-19 virus is spreading. However, the CDC notes that getting a flu shot in 2020 is an essential part of protecting your health and the health of your family. Many doctor’s offices are now insisting patients wait in their cars until doctors are ready to see them, and masks may be required when entering the doctor’s office. Such measures can reduce the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus when visiting a doctor’s office for a flu shot or another visit, so patients should not be hesitant to receive their vaccinations in 2020. Patients can follow such protocols even if their doctors are not insisting they do so. The same safety measures can be followed by people who intend to get their flu shots from neighborhood pharmacies.

Flu shots are vital to individual and public health every year, but the importance of being vaccinated against influenza in 2020 is heightened as the world continues to confront the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.



What teens should know about vaping and e-cigarettes

Teenagers confront a considerable amount of peer pressure as they navigate their way through adolescence. One of the more challenging situations teens confront is the pressure to smoke.

Thankfully, anti-smoking campaigns have made great strides in preventing the number of young people who smoke tobacco products. According to the American Lung Association, in 2015 9.3 percent of high school students reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days. That’s a remarkable 74 percent decline from 1997. That’s encouraging news, though there’s still a lot of work to do to help teens avoid smoking entirely.

Modern teens face challenges regarding tobacco that are entirely different from those faced by their parents decades ago. Back then, cigarettes were the primary, most readily available tobacco product. But teens now must also confront e-cigarettes and the mountain of misinformation about them.

The ALA highlights the following facts about e-cigarettes to help teens make healthy choices.
• E-cigarettes are not safer than traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes, an umbrella term that includes vapes, hookah pens or JUULS, have not been proven to be a safe alternative to cigarettes. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are inhaled and the products produce an aerosol cloud of nicotine or other substances.

• JUUL pods contain nicotine. The ALA notes that every JUUL pod contains nicotine, and some even claim to have as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, regularly smoking products that contain nicotine is considered a major preventable cause of premature death and disability.

• JUUL smoke may look different, but it’s very similar to regular cigarette smoke. The ALA notes that the aerosol cloud produced by JUUL smoke tends to look different from the smoke clouds produced by other e-cigarettes and even traditional cigarettes. However, JUUL smoke contains many of the same chemicals as traditional cigarettes. The American Cancer Society notes that some of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke include formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

• Even “nicotine-free” e-cigarettes likely contain nicotine. According to the ALA, there are no rules governing how e-cigarettes or e-juice are made, so there’s no way for consumers to know exactly what these products contain. But the ALA says virtually all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, even those that imply they don’t.

• The adolescent brain is sensitive to the effects of nicotine. A 2012 study published in Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine found that the adolescent brain is especially sensitive to the effects of nicotine. Studies of people who smoked during adolescence concluded that such people were at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders and cognitive impairment later in life.

Modern teens may not feel the same pressure to smoke traditional cigarettes as teens did in recent decades. But the pressure to try harmful e-cigarettes can be significant, and teens who learn about these dangerous products may be better equipped to resist them.



What contact lens wearers should know about keratitis

Contact lenses help millions of people across the globe see. People choose contact lenses over eyeglasses for a variety of reasons. Some don’t like wearing eyeglasses, while others find contact lenses more fashionable. Regardless of why a person wears contact lenses, he or she must recognize that contacts are not risk-free.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who wear contact lenses are at higher risk of developing keratitis than those who don’t. Understanding keratitis and how to prevent it can help contact lens wearers keep their eyes healthy.

What is keratitis?
Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear dome that covers the colored part of the eye. The risk for keratitis increases when contact lens wearers do not care for their lenses or supplies as directed.

Microbial keratitis is a serious eye infection that contact lens wearers must be mindful of. The CDC notes that a microbial keratitis infection can lead to blindness or the need for a corneal transplant.

What are the symptoms of keratitis?
There are many different types of keratitis, and symptoms may vary depending on which type a person is infected with. When a person is infected with keratitis, his or her cornea becomes inflamed or swollen. That affects people’s vision and can be intensely painful.

The CDC notes that some additional symptoms of keratitis include:
• redness in the affected eye
• worsening pain in or around the eyes that continues even after contact lenses have been removed
• sensitivity to light
• sudden blurry vision
• unusually watery eyes or discharge

People who have keratitis also may experience difficulty opening the affected eye or feel like something is in the eye.

Can keratitis be prevented?
The CDC touts the importance of healthy habits and proper maintenance of contact lenses and supplies as means to preventing keratitis infection. Taking care of contact lenses is vital to avoiding keratitis and other eye infections.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips to take proper care of contact lenses.
• Stick to the instructions. When prescribing contact lenses, doctors will provide patients with schedules that govern wearing and replacing lenses. Strictly adhere to this schedule, and follow all additional instructions noted by the manufacturer as well. If you only periodically wear contact lenses, read the instructions regarding how to maintain them, as there may be different protocols regarding daily use compared to periodic use.

• Remember that water and contacts don’t mix. The AAO notes that contacts should always be removed when showering, swimming, using a hot tub, or doing any activity that involves water.

• Wash and dry hands properly. Wash hands with soap and water and dry them with a lint-free towel before touching contact lenses. Additional instructions for how to put on and remove contact lenses are available at

• Care for the contact case. It’s important that contact lens cases be taken care of as well. When cleaning a case, which the AAO recommends replacing at least once every three months, rinse it with a sterile contact lens solution and then leave the case open to air dry.

Keratitis is a potentially serious threat to people who wear contact lenses. But keratitis can often be prevented with some simple maintenance and safety protocols.



How parents can pitch in to prevent bullying

Parents go to great lengths to protect their children. Keeping a watchful eye is a great way to protect kids when they’re around the house, but parents may need to look for more subtle signs to determine if their children are being mistreated when they leave home.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that roughly 20 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 experience bullying nationwide. Parents might once have written off bullying as part of growing up, but research has long since indicated that bullying can be very harmful to youngsters. The DHHS notes that research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or exacerbate feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair. Children who are persistently bullied also may experience new or worsening feelings of anxiety and depression.

Parents can play a vital role in preventing bullying. Much of that role involves parents educating themselves about bullying, including what it is and what it’s not and what are some warning signs that a child is involved in bullying.

What is bullying?
The DHHS website defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. Bullying behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. The imbalance of power associated with bullying involves the children who bully using some semblance of power they have over the children they’re bullying to harm or control those youngsters. Their power may be physical strength, access to embarrassing information or popularity.

What isn’t bullying?
Various types of aggressive behavior have the potential to be harmful, but they do not fall under the umbrella of bullying. For example, notes that children between the ages of three and five are learning how to coexist with one another, including how to share and cooperate. Children in these age groups may be aggressive if they don’t get what they want, but their actions in such instances do not constitute bullying. More information about potentially harmful, non-bullying behaviors is available at

What are some signs a child is being bullied?
The DHHS notes that not all children who are being bullied exhibit warning signs. In addition, some signs might be more subtle than others. But some potential indicators that a child is being bullied include:
• Unexplainable injuries
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. For example, children who are being bullied may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
• Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

What are some signs a child is bullying other children?
Parents also should be on the lookout for signs their children are bullying other youngsters. Such signs include:
• Kids get into physical or verbal altercations
• Children have friends who bully others
• Increasingly aggressive behavior
• Frequent trips to the principal’s office or to detention
• Kids have extra money or new belongings but cannot explain how they got the cash or items
• Kids blame others for their problems
• An unwillingness to accept responsibility for their actions
• Kids are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Parents have a vital role to play in preventing bullying so all youngsters feel safe and sound inside and outside of school.



Guidelines when adopting a shelter dog

If there has been a silver lining to 2020 and the upheaval caused by COVID-19, it’s that more people have found they have more time on their hands to care for a new pet.

“Adopt don’t shop” is a mantra popular among many pet lovers. It calls to mind that there are thousands of dogs currently residing in shelters that are in need of good homes. Supporters of “adopt don’t shop” urge people in the market for new pets to adopt animals from local shelters rather than buy them from breeders.

The Humane Society of the United States says that there were approximately 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States in 2019. Prospective pet owners who want to do their part against animal cruelty can adopt a needy pet from an area shelter. Some shelters are filled with pets from the local area. Other shelters work with rescue groups that transport dogs from various parts of the country. When adopting a shelter dog, keep these tips in mind.

Understand the responsibility first
Dogs make wonderful, boisterous and loving additions to a home. Much like having a child, welcoming a puppy into a home means spending weeks or months training the animal. This may result in initial damage to belongings and time constraints on people’s schedules. Older dogs may be set in their ways and also require training, or they may have special medical needs. Be sure to weigh all of the requirements carefully before adopting the animal.

Get a behavioral and health assessment
The Humane Society of Ocean City indicates that an established shelter that prides itself on animal rescue will provide health and behavioral assessments for all dogs. Personality, energy level, shyness, and aggression levels will be determined before putting the dog up for adoption. This helps people find a dog that meshes with their expectations and lifestyles.

Match the household
Consider the household’s lifestyle and pace pre-pandemic to see if it is conducive to having a pet. While there may be plenty of time now when people are working remotely and children are not attending in-person classes, things may change in the months to come as life returns to normal. Can a dog still fit in when responsibilities change? Can you modify to accommodate the dog?

Look at the shelter itself
Make sure you adopt from a shelter that is clean, friendly and organized and has follow-up resources. Reliable shelters typically conduct interviews of prospective pet owners and will ask for references. Be leery of rescues or shelters that are dirty, do not ask pertinent questions and seem to have dogs that appear unwell.

Expect a fee
Shelters and rescue groups vary in regard to adoption costs. Anything from $150 to $400 may be collected. Keep in mind that 25 to 30 percent of dogs in shelters are purebreds, according to a report by CBS News. Adoption fees can be a small price to pay for a loving dog.

Adopting a shelter dog can be a great way to welcome a new pet into a home.



The Grand Opera House Returns with an Ambitious Schedule of Live and Virtual Events!

The Grand Opera House introduces Grand on Demand – a virtual hub for all of the digital content we are creating. Get all of the information about upcoming events, and catch up on past events all in one convenient place. From our Ghost Stories of the Grand Opera House to our weekly Project: Memory Lane – you can get the details on what we are doing, where you can find it, and what time it will be posted all in one convenient spot. Go to for all your digital content needs. There’s something for everyone on Grand on Demand! We are online, on your schedule!

The following events are included as a part of our Grand On Demand programming and represent a Hybrid event model, with a small live audience as well as access for a streaming audience.

135 Live! is a weekly concert series happening Friday nights live from the Grand’s stage.
Every Friday, we have invited local musicians and performers to give a 60-90 minute performance from our stage with our production team’s support. Performances will have a small, socially distanced audience in the theater, as well as a virtual audience through our streaming option. Tickets to be in the live audience are $10. To access the streaming concert you will need to register on our website for a free streaming ticket. There is a suggested $10 donation for streaming access.

Friday 9/18: Mia Ruley
Friday 9/25: TBA
Friday 10/2: Adam & Amber (featuring Adam Beck of Middle-Town, and Amber Dawn of Bella Cain)
Friday 10/16: Brion Bowman
Friday: 10/23: TBA

Easel Wars 2 Artists Enter – One Artist Leaves
Easel Wars is an “Iron Chef meets Bob Ross” style competition between two local artists raising money for the Grand Opera House. Jon Little and Emily Anderson are two acclaimed local artists – and both are regular volunteers at the Grand Opera House. They have spent countless hours working with our technical director to create new worlds on our stage out of paint and wood. Now they are going head to head to create original works of art for the entertainment of the masses. We will be selling tickets for a small live audience and streaming each painting performance so patrons can watch these works of art being created live. The paintings will be raffled off at the end of each night. For more details go to our website.

Wednesday, September 16th – Jon
Wednesday, September 23rd – Emily
Wednesday, October 14th – Finale with Both

In addition to our Grand On Demand programming the Grand Opera House will also be presenting the play Rounding Third this October. October 9th, 10th, & 11th will be our first hybrid theater show with both an in-person audience and a streaming audience. Rounding Third is the tumultuous journey of two Little League coaches through an entire season, from their first tentative meeting to the climactic championship game. This comedy, reminiscent of The Odd Couple, pits Coach Don  – a win-at-all-costs jock –  against his Assistant Coach, Michael – the non-athletic, fun loving business man. Celebrate the post-season of Major League Baseball, and a return to the theater with this one-of-a-kind comedy. TICKETS ON SALE SOON!

More information and tickets for all events can be purchased on our website at Find the link to sign up to receive weekly updates about all of our virtual and live events at the Grand at the top of our Events listing on our home page. Additional fees may apply on all tickets.



Safe and effective ways to clean up leaves

Removing leaves from the yard is a task that homeowners must perform each fall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not all leaves are shed at the same time, so several cleanup sessions may be necessary before the last leaf is banished from the yard.

Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup can be a taxing job if done by hand. For people unaccustomed to exercise, cleaning up leaves can turn into quite a workout. According to the Discovery Health Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoulders and arms will feel the burn. Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of breath should take a break, and these tips also make the job safer and easier.

• Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy to work up a sweat after raking for awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as not to get overheated or risk hypothermia from sweating in chilly temps.

• Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Medical School, recommends forming a wide base with the feet and holding the rake slightly toward the end of the handle with one hand three-quarters of the way down the handle from the other. Do not twist the spine; move your entire body. Avoid overuse of muscles on one side of the body by switching sides periodically.

• Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the task that much more difficult, which could lead to overworking oneself.

• Avoid overfilling bags. For those who plan to mulch and bag leaves, remember that compressed leaves can get heavy pretty quickly. Do not over-fill bags, as they can be hard to move or bring to a recycling center.

Using a leaf blower to push leaves into piles will reduce the strenuousness of the task, but leaf blowers can be heavy and noisy and gas-powered blowers can produce a considerable amount of exhaust.

Raking leaves can be quite a chore. It is important that homeowners take steps to prevent injury while cleaning up leaves in their yards.



Apple picking pointers

Apple picking is a beloved autumn tradition. While many traditions had to be put on the back burner as the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, apple picking seems like one activity that can endure in a world dominated by social distancing.

Apple picking season tends to begin in mid- to late-September and ends sometime in early October. That makes apple picking a perfect social distancing activity, as it’s both outdoors and at a time of year when the weather is generally pleasant no matter where you live.

Individuals interested in apple picking this fall can take heed of these tips to ensure their trip is fun, safe and successful.

• Contact the farm in advance. Apple picking is a wildly popular activity, so expect a crowd to be there on a typical autumn weekend. That can be tricky to navigate while social distancing, so call ahead to learn about new protocols and if the operating hours are the same. If the farm is open several days per week, ask which days are the least busy and schedule your trip when foot traffic figures to be minimal.

• Choose firm apples without bruises. According to, apples should be crisp and firm. Don’t worry about the color of the apple, as color is not an indicator of ripeness. Instead, advises people to ask the farmers which apples are ripe, which is determined by how long it’s been since the trees flowered.

• Gently place picked apples into your basket. recommends gently placing apples into your basket after picking them. Tossing them into the basket may cause bruising, which can lead to the apples spoiling prematurely. While it depends on the variety, many apples that are not bruised tend to last a long time, especially when stored in a cool place. So taking care of them when picking them can mean you get to enjoy apples for several weeks.

• Clean apples before eating them. The Food and Drug Administration notes that produce can be contaminated even after it’s been picked and brought home. The FDA advises consumers to wash their hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce. Produce should be rinsed before it’s peeled so any lingering dirt and bacteria are not transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable. If bruising has occurred, cut away the damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating it.

Apple picking is a beloved autumn tradition that can be even more fun when employing a few strategies designed to make it more safe and fruitful.



Take-out tips when dining at home

Although takeout has long been a convenience enjoyed by people around the world, in recent months takeout became a key way for many restaurants to stay afloat when the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forced many to close their facilities to customers.

Restaurants have been allowed to remain open, though they have been forced to change their business models. In a matter of weeks, establishments that were not accustomed to offering takeout quickly reimagined their operations to offer curbside pickup or delivery options. In turn, many communities promoted movements to help keep restaurants afloat, with some encouraging residents to participate in Takeout Thursdays to patronize struggling bars, restaurants and delis.

Takeout has always provided a respite from cooking meals at home, but it seems especially welcomed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, individuals and families could use a break from cooking three meals per day. When opting for takeout, consider these tasty tips.

• Support small businesses. Independent restaurants could have a tougher time bouncing back from reduced sales and income than large restaurant chains. When seeking out food- and beverage-related businesses, lean heavily on mom-and-pop restaurants, many of which are pillars in their communities. These are the businesses whose owners may have children in your local schools or those who sponsor local sports leagues.

• Investigate food safety. Inquire about the safety measures restaurants are taking to ensure food safety. Most restaurants and delivery services are enacting even more safety measures than are required by law. Keep in mind, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, “There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” Simple handwashing after touching food packaging and your food or face may be sufficient.

• Learn new protocol. Ask the business what their requirements are for ordering food. Some restaurants will bring the order directly to your car through curbside pickup. Others may enable you to enter the establishment if you are wearing a mask. Delivery only might be the policy at another establishment. Follow all rules, as they have been implemented to keep you and the business employees safe.

• Pay by credit card. When placing an order for takeout or curbside pickup, pay by credit card online or over the phone if that is an option. This limits how much you and restaurant employees have to handle cards or cash.

• Avoid direct handoffs. Ask the counter server or delivery person to put down your order and step away before you grab it. This is an extra step to combat the spread of the virus.

Even as stay-at-home restrictions are being relaxed, takeout figures to remain popular. Certain tips can keep everyone well fed and safe and help bars and restaurants stay afloat.



Patriot Day

Each September 11, communities across the United States commemorate the lives lost during the 2001 terrorist attacks that took place on American soil. On September 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes were hijacked and sent to various targets in the United States. Two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane crashed into the U.S. Pentagon Building near Washington, D.C., and a fourth plane was intercepted from the hijackers and crash-landed in rural Pennsylvania.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, President George W. Bush declared Friday, September 14, 2001 as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the terrorist attacks. But many people felt there should be an annual event dedicated to preserving the memory of the victims and the heroism of the first responders. A bill to make September 11 a national day of mourning was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 25, 2001. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

On September 11, 2002, the country recognized the first Patriot Day. On this day, the U.S. flag is flown at half-mast. In addition, a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. is observed to correspond with the attacks. While not a federal holiday — schools and businesses remain open — memorial ceremonies are held for the 2,977 victims, including an annual reading of names of the people who lost their lives.



How diners can prepare to go out as restaurants reopen

Many communities across the globe have begun to gradually reopen. That’s good news for the millions of small businesses that have struggled as the world responded with extreme caution to prevent the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus from spreading.

Estimates from the National Restaurant Association indicate that restaurant sales in the United States decreased by tens of billions of dollars in March and April, while forecasts predicted those numbers would be in the hundreds of billions by the end of the 2020. In recognition of the vital roles restaurants play in building and fostering strong communities, consumers are looking forward to returning to their favorite establishments as economies slowly reopen.

Diners can do their part to make reopening efforts successful and sustainable by staying home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Venturing out while symptomatic puts everyone, including restaurant workers and fellow diners, at risk, so it’s imperative that people pay attention to their bodies and avoid going out if they are experiencing even mild symptoms.

In addition to staying home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, diners can take these steps to work in partnership with local restaurants as these vital components of the community begin to reopen.

• Dine out in small groups. Phase 1 reopening guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people. But when dining out, consumers should keep their groups even smaller. An assortment of studies from the CDC have found that the virus is easily spread among groups of people in enclosed spaces. By limiting dinner parties to no more than the number of people in their households, consumers can help restaurants safely reopen.

• Wear masks. Wearing a mask to a restaurant may seem odd, but by keeping their mask on until their food arrives, diners can help prevent the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization notes that it’s believed the virus can spread through small respiratory droplets produced while talking or laughing. So diners can keep themselves and fellow customers and restaurant workers safe by wearing their masks until their food arrives.

• Remain patient. Life in the era of social distancing requires significant adjustments, and restaurants reopening will be adjusting right along with everyone else. Afford restaurant staff ample patience and go along with any protocols restaurant owners put in place. All measures are aimed at keeping customers and staff safe while getting people who have been out of work for months back on the job. Each of those goals is worth the patience it may take to help restaurants achieve them.

• Order takeout. If you’re uncomfortable visiting a local restaurant in person or frustrated by potentially long wait times for a table, order takeout instead. Restaurants need the business after a very rough stretch, and consumers can benefit greatly from a night off from cooking.

Local restaurants are reopening in communities across the globe. Supporting these businesses can be vital to local economies and help millions of people return to work.



How to prepare and cook pumpkin seeds

Nutrition and Halloween do not necessarily go hand in hand. While many parents may go to great lengths to ensure their youngsters’ Halloween treats offer at least a little nutritional value, the bulk of costumed kids’ hauls still tends to be candy.

Pumpkin seeds are one delicious yet often overlooked Halloween treat. According to Healthline, an online medical resource that aims to educate readers as they pursue their health and overall well-being, pumpkin seeds provide a host of health benefits. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that a single cup of pumpkin seeds can provide as much as 22 percent of a person’s daily recommended value of dietary fiber. In addition, pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting and bone metabolisms and helps to regulate blood calcium levels.

Pumpkin seeds tend to be easily accessible come Halloween, as they’re right inside the pumpkins many who celebrate this ghoulish holiday turn into jack-o’-lanterns. When carving pumpkins this Halloween, people can forgo relegating pumpkin seeds to the garbage can in favor of cooking them. The following are some tips, courtesy of Whole Foods, to help Halloween celebrants prepare and cook pumpkin seeds.

• Remove seeds from the inner cavity. Pumpkin seeds may sometimes be covered in excess pulp. Upon removing the seeds from the inner cavity, wipe off the pulp and then spread the seeds out evenly on a paper bag, allowing them to dry overnight.

• Place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once the seeds have dried, they can be placed in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast the seeds in the oven at a temperature between 160 and 170 F for 15 to 20 minutes. Whole Foods notes researchers found that roasting pumpkin seeds for more than 20 minutes can lead to unwanted changes in the fat structure of the seeds. To avoid such changes, make sure the seeds are not roasted for more than 20 minutes.

Once they have been roasted, pumpkin seeds can be served as-is as a delicious snack. Whole Foods notes that seeds also can be sprinkled into mixed green salads. Pumpkin seeds can even be ground with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves and then mixed with olive oil and lemon juice to create a delicious salad dressing. Chopped pumpkin seeds also can be added to cereals.

This Halloween, don’t forget to add a little nutrition to celebrations by roasting some pumpkin seeds.



City to Reinstate Parking Lot and Ramp Fees

The City of Dubuque will fully reinstate all parking fees associated with City-owned parking lots and ramps starting Sept. 1, 2020. This includes monthly parking fees for City lots and ramps, as well as hourly and daily parking ramp and lot fees. These fees had been suspended March through July, and reduced 50 percent in August.

All street parking regulations suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including residential parking permit districts, have been reinstated and are being enforced in accordance with City code. These street parking regulations include, but are not limited to, parking meter expiration violations, street storage (vehicles parked on the street longer than 24 hours without moving), disabled parking spaces, fire zone compliance, and blocking of driveways.

For more information, visit, or contact the City of Dubuque Transportation Services Department at 563-589-4266 or



Signs your pet may be in pain

Pet owners go to great lengths to treat their animals well. When a pet is ill, the animal may exhibit signs of anxiety and upset. However, sometimes it is not so easy to detect that something is awry with a pet, even if the animal is in pain.

Companion animals descend from wild animals and it is important for wild animals’ survival that they do not display signs of physical weakness. In a domestic setting, pets may hold onto some of these inherent traits, which can make it challenging for pet owners to know when the animal is feeling poorly.

Cats are very stoic and it can be easy for humans to miss signs of discomfort or pain, according to Pam Johnson-Bennet, a cat behavior expert and author of several books on cats. Even dogs may not exhibit signs of pain or illness.

By learning to pick up on some cues, pet owners can determine if it is time to make a vet appointment.

• Lack of appetite: A lack of appetite might be a sign of various medical conditions or that a pet is in pain. If the animal is normally a chowhound but suddenly he or she is skipping meals or turning up his or her nose at the bowl, be sure to alert the veterinarian, especially if this behavior continues for more than a few days, and especially if water is being refused as well.

• Irritability: Cats in pain may be uncharacteristically aggressive, even growling or hissing when other pets or people in the household approach. Dogs, too, may try to avoid contact or even become aggressive. Any noticeable changes in normal behavior can be a cause for concern.

• Increased sleep: Pets in pain may sleep more as they try to heal or find it difficult to move around. Shifting positions, hunching and disinterest in chasing toys are other indicators that pets are in pain.

• Vocalizations: Both dogs and cats in pain may make be more vocal, either meowing, yelping, growling, or howling to indicate something is not right.

• Excessive grooming: The animal resource VetsNow says that if grooming seems excessive or centralized to a spot on the body, it may be the pet’s attempt to soothe.

• Panting or altered breathing: A dog or cat who is breathing heavily while at rest may have an underlying illness and pain.

• Potty changes: Cats may miss the litter box or choose not to use it if they’re in pain. Dogs that are ill may have accidents indoors or need to go out more frequently, even if they are house trained.

Those who suspect their pets may be in pain can consult with a veterinarian and monitor symptoms carefully. Do not attempt to offer pain medication without first receiving professional advice.



How to protect outdoor gear before placing it in storage

The right gear makes all the difference when spending time in the great outdoors. Outdoorsmen spend billions of dollars every year on gear, and that spending reflects outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, fully engaged outdoors enthusiasts were expected to spend nearly $800 million on outdoor equipment in 2020, while even less engaged outdoor enthusiasts were projected to spend more than $140 million on equipment (Note: Projections were released prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.).

Quality outdoor gear can be expensive, and outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels can benefit from a refresher on how to protect seasonal gear before placing it in storage.

Summer gear
Before storing summer outdoors gear, make sure it’s been thoroughly cleaned. Mud, dirt or sand can accumulate on gear over the course of a typical summer, and if the gear is not cleaned off before placing it in storage this can lead to otherwise preventable corrosion. Carefully clean each item with an appropriate solution, and allow gear to dry before placing it in storage. It’s imperative that gear be completely dry before being placed in storage, as moisture can contribute to rust. Gear made from fabric, such as tents, also must be cleaned thoroughly and allowed to dry completely, as any lingering moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew over the winter. Mold and mildew can spoil gear and, if undetected, can even contribute to health problems.

Winter gear
Like summer gear, winter gear also must be thoroughly cleaned, and this might require a little more elbow grease than cleaning summer gear. Skis, sleds and snowboards may accumulate more pesky grime, such as salt, so outdoorsmen may need to apply a mild soap or product-specific cleaner to remove especially stubborn buildup. Dryness also is essential before storing winter gear, as moisture poses just as significant a threat to skis, sleds and snowboards as it does to summer gear. Snow sports equipment may benefit from a hot wax treatment prior to being stored away for the summer, but be careful to follow manufacturer instructions regarding application and removal of such products. Some manufacturers may recommend treatments be left on over the summer, while others may suggest otherwise.

Standard garages typically provide ample protection from the elements for winter and summer gear. However, some equipment, including skis and snowboards, may need to be stored in climate-controlled environments inside the home.

Outdoor enthusiasts spend a lot of money on their gear. Savvy athletes know that such investments require careful attention to how those items will be stored during the offseason.



How to manage low bandwidth during remote learning sessions

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many schools hastily transitioned from traditional in-person learning to remote learning. This transition posed new and unique challenges to educators as well as students and their parents.

One of the biggest challenges posed by remote learning was keeping students connected to their teachers and their classmates, not all of whom had readily available access to devices that could facilitate such connections. In recognition of that challenge, school systems worked to procure devices for students only to be confronted by another challenge: low bandwidth. According to Microsoft, bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over an internet connection per second.

Low bandwidth can compromise students’ ability to stay connected to their virtual classrooms. In an effort to help students overcome that challenge, Microsoft offers the following tips on how educators, students and parents can manage low bandwidth during remote learning sessions.

• Reduce reliance on video during class sessions. Turning video cameras off during live class sessions can help to overcome the challenges posed by low bandwidth, as live video is a key contributor to excessive use of bandwidth. If video must be used, encourage students to turn off their cameras when they are not speaking.

• Use pre-recorded content. Pre-recording content enables students to stream video over the internet, saving those with low bandwidth the hassle of downloading large video files to their computers. Microsoft recommends educators who pre-record content for their students to stream to instruct those students to use class time to complete assignments. Educators can make themselves available via chat to answer questions students may have about their assignments.

• Avoid video-based assignments. It can be difficult for students with low bandwidth to send very large files, such as videos. Educators can help students avoid that issue by not requiring them to submit videos as part of their assignments.

• Encourage students to sync files to their devices. Each device is different and each manufacturer has its own instructions on how to sync files to devices. But Microsoft notes that syncing files to a device allows students to read them offline, which is ideal for students with limited internet connectivity.

Low bandwidth poses a challenge for remote learners. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome low bandwidth so students can keep learning.



Home buying during the COVID-19 outbreak

Homeowners know that the process of buying a home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. The anxiety associated with buying a home has hit new heights during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Historically low interest rates and limited inventory has made 2020 an especially unique time to buy a home. It’s also a competitive and potentially expensive time to buy a home. While the economic consequences of COVID-19 have been severe, the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, forecasted a significant increase in median home prices in March 2020. City dwellers have scrambled to buy homes outside of cities, where social distancing is more difficult and the risk of getting COVID-19 appears greater than it is in suburban or rural settings. That’s led to a lot of competition among prospective buyers.

Prospective home buyers willing to enter the hectic fray and shop for a home during the COVID-19 outbreak may benefit from knowing what to expect as they search for their next home.

• Get ready for virtual tours. Buyers might once have scoffed at the notion of buying a home they’d only seen in videos, but virtual tours have become the new normal in the wake of the pandemic. An April survey from the National Association of Realtors® found that home tours had declined sharply. While 98 percent of realtors reported taking clients on home tours as recently as February, that number had declined to 63 percent by April. As many regions pause their reopening plans, prospective home buyers should ready themselves for virtual tours as opposed to in-person home tours.

• Expect limited inventory. While home prices are up, many people are holding onto their homes. The NAR reports that total housing inventory at the end of May 2020 was down nearly 19 percent from the end of May 2019. Buyers will have less inventory to choose from, so those intent on buying may need to prioritize what they need in a home and focus on finding properties that can fulfill those needs.

• Expect to move quickly. Realtors have seen homes sell within days of being listed, and that has put pressure on buyers to move quickly. It also highlights the importance of finding a home inspector before your search begins as well as a lender who can handle quick closings. Ask around for recommendations, but make sure you have these two important professionals lined up before beginning your search. Doing so will give you a better chance of buying in an unusual time.

• Make the best down payment you can afford. A high down payment makes buyers look better no matter the state of the economy. An offer with a high down payment looks like a stronger offer, and that can make the difference between winning and losing a potential bidding war.

Buying a home during the COVID-19 outbreak presents some unique challenges to prospective buyers.



How to create an on-the-go handwashing kit

Fall road trip season has arrived, and it promises to be unlike any other in recent memory. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has changed how people go about their daily lives, including how they travel.
Travel may involve some risk until a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, but day trips by car are among the safer ways to get out and about and experience the majesty of nature this fall. Fall foliage and moderate temperatures make autumn an ideal time to hit the open road, and drivers can do so without sacrificing their personal safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone who intends to travel take certain steps to protect themselves while away from home. The CDC advises travelers to wash their hands often while traveling, but fully operational restrooms may not be easy to find while on the road, as many communities have closed such facilities in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean drivers and their passengers can’t keep their hands clean as they take to the road this fall.

An on-the-go handwashing kit that includes the following items is easy to carry and makes for an effective way to wash your hands while on the road this fall.

• Water bottle(s) with cap: Pack enough water bottles with caps to accommodate your entire traveling party.

• Antibacterial soap/hand sanitizer: The CDC advises washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going out in public, touching surfaces frequently touched by others and/or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If you bring hand sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol.

• Paper towels/wash cloths: Pack paper towels or wash cloths so you can dry your hands after washing them.

• Garbage bag: If you’re visiting a park or trails, remember to bring a garbage bag along so you do not leave dirty towels or empty water bottles behind. A plastic bag from the grocery store can suffice if your traveling party is small.

The 2020 fall road trip season may differ from seasons past, but drivers can still take to the roads this autumn. Some simple safety measures, like packing an on-the-go handwashing kit, can help drivers reduce their risk of getting the COVID-19 virus without compromising the entertainment value of their trips.



Family-friendly outdoor activities

Children who spend a lot of time outdoors benefit from exposure to nature in myriad ways, some of which may surprise even the most devoted outdoorsmen.

According to a 2006 study published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife, fifth graders who attended school at a local prairie wetlands where lessons in science, math and writing were integrated in an experimental way had significantly stronger reading and writing skills than their peers who attended more traditional schools. Another study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that holding a class outdoors one day a week significantly improved the daily cortisol patterns of students, reducing their risk of stress and improving their ability to adapt to stress.

Parents who want their children to reap the rewards of being exposed to the great outdoors can encourage educators to incorporate nature into school curricula and also embrace these family-friendly outdoor activities.

• Nature treasure hunt: A treasure hunt in nature can keep kids engaged on family hiking excursions and provide an excellent opportunity for parents to teach children about the assortment of plants, birds and wildlife that live in the parks and along the trails near their home.

• Outdoor art class: Families don’t even need to leave their properties to spend quality time together outside. Pick a pleasant afternoon and set up an outdoor painting station, encouraging everyone to paint what they see. Fall is a great time to host an outdoor art session thanks to the assortment of vibrant colors that have become synonymous with autumn landscapes.

• Bonfire: Outdoor activities need not be limited to daylight hours. A post-dinner backyard bonfire can entice everyone outside, where families can tell scary stories as they make s’mores.

• Stargaze: Stargazing is another way families can spend time outdoors and learn a few things at the same time. Some blankets, a thermos of hot cocoa and a chart of constellations can provide the perfect complement to a sky full of bright stars. If visibility is compromised in the backyard, find a local spot where everyone can get a clear view of the night sky.

• Fruit picking: Apple picking is a popular autumn activity, but families need not wait for the autumn harvest to enjoy a day picking fruit or vegetables at a nearby farm. Visit a local farm during its harvest season, teaching children about how the foods they love are grown and eventually make it to the family dinner table.

Families looking to spend more time together in the great outdoors can look to a number of activities people of all ages can enjoy.



5 benefits of a defensive driving course

Millions of cars travel the roadways each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that nearly 1.5 million people are killed in road crashes each year and approximately 3,700 people die each day in accidents around the world. The World Health Organization points out that motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children and young people in various countries. Such deaths are preventable, and defensive driving strategies can greatly reduce the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

Defensive driving is driving in a way that utilizes safe driving strategies to enable motorists to address hazards in a predictable manner, according to These strategies go above and beyond following basic traffic laws and procedures. Defensive driving courses can help new or seasoned drivers improve their driving skills and reduce accident risk by teaching them to anticipate certain scenarios and make well-informed decisions.

Defensive driving strategies can help reduce the risk of being in an accident, and there are other benefits to these courses as well.

1. Reduce automotive insurance premiums
Depending on where they live, drivers’ insurance premiums can be reduced by as much as 10 percent for completing a defensive driving course. This can add up, particularly for those who have teenagers on the policy. It’s worth a call to the insurance agency to see which type of course they require.

2. Reduce fines
Traffic courts may reduce fines for those who are ticketed and agree to enroll in defensive driving courses. Drivers looking to reduce fines should confirm that a course is recognized in the state where they live before enrolling.

3. Remove fines or reduce points
Driving violations come with some consequences, namely tickets and sometimes points on a license. Too many points can lead to a suspended license. Completing a defensive driving course may remove points or tickets from your driving record. Be sure to verify the law with a court clerk or the local motor vehicle commission.

4. Relearn the rules of the road
It may have been some time since you contemplated the rules of the road. Defensive driving courses often review information on driving laws and regulations, helping to make for more confident, law-abiding drivers.

5. Learn preventative techniques
Of course the main goal of the course is to help drivers learn the common causes of accidents and how to avoid them. Courses may teach drivers that 40 percent of crashes occur at intersections, and that passing another vehicle within 100 feet of a bridge, tunnel or railroad crossing dramatically increases the chances of being involved in an accident, according to DriveSafe Online. There’s always room for improvement, and defensive driving courses can help drivers get better behind the wheel.

Investing in a defensive driving course can improve skills, potentially save lives and even save drivers money.




Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA Announces Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA is thrilled to announce their participation in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

CACFP helps the Y ensure that nutritious meals are provided at no separate charge to children enrolled in the following programs:
• Dubuque Y Early Learning Center – Finley and Booth locations
• Before and After School Care at 9 school sites (Bryant, Carver, Eisenhower, Epworth, Irving, Kennedy, Sageville, Table Mound, Hoover) and their School Day Out program.

Meals are provided without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA’s Child Care receives partial reimbursement based upon the income information provided by the children’s parent or legal guardian.
In addition to following these income eligibility guidelines, the Dubuque Y Early Learning Centers, Finley, and Booth locations are recognized as a level 4 on the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS) for Child Care Providers. QRS is a voluntary program that rates child care providers on quality indicators such as professional development, health and safety, environment, family and community partnerships, leadership, and administration.

“We believe that quality is an ongoing process and we continually strive towards maintaining and improving the quality of care we provide,” says Dubuque Y’s Executive Director of Child Care and Social Services Deb Gustafson. “This rating shows along with our participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program that we are committed to nurturing the whole child, and his or her family, all while making sure they have a healthy and safe environment to grow and learn in.”

In total, the Dubuque Y serves 187 children each year through their Early Learning Centers, Before and Afterschool Care, and School Day Out Care. The Dubuque Community Y’s Child Care programs are committed to maintaining federal and state standards, which meet the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social needs of children. All Dubuque Y child care programs are licensed by the State of Iowa and staff members are trained to meet initiatives, above and beyond licensing requirements.

The Dubuque Community Y is and will always be a place where the health and well-being of all comes first and foremost. We are dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected, and secure children, adults and families. Every day our impact is felt when a child in our early learning center reaches a new milestone, a women and her children move into their first apartment after staying at our Victim Services Shelter, and when the community comes together for the common good.




Tips for effective remote learning

An increased reliance on virtual home instruction has many students rethinking their organizational strategies and daily school schedules. Learning at home is different from being in a traditional classroom environment, but with some effective strategies, students can persevere without missing a beat.

Stick to a schedule
Many students are successful because they follow a schedule. The Center for Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning says that routines and schedules are important because they influence a child’s emotional and cognitive development. Children feel secure with schedules, which may help them recognize what’s expected of them.
When learning at home, students should strive to maintain as consistent a schedule as possible, including bedtimes, wake times, hours devoted to learning, and time to get outside or engage in downtime activities.

Connect live if possible
There are many free tools and resources available that enable teachers to provide live video lessons or to record them so students can watch them later. Similarly, social networking apps and virtual meeting programs enable students to connect digitally. This can be helpful for collaborative learning assignments or just to see a familiar face.

Stick to tools that work
Once students find apps or systems that work, they should stick with them, offers Khan Academy, an educational tutoring resource. There are many factors outside of one’s control during virtual instruction, but maintaining consistency with tools and schedules is one way to feel more confident and secure.

Check student accounts frequently
Just like students, teachers may be learning as they go in regard to remote learning strategies. Students should be sure to check school email accounts or other places where teachers post assignments a few times per day so that they stay on top of all assignments and are aware of due dates.

Reach out to instructors
Allegheny College suggests students contact their teachers if they are unsure of how to participate in remote learning environments. Ask questions about assignments, get clarification on key topics and be sure to tune into any remote chats or virtual “office hours.”

Stay in touch with guidance, if needed
Remote learning is a new experience for many students, and there may be certain struggles or road blocks. It can be easy to grow frustrated with equipment failures or lack of in-person interaction. Schools employ qualified therapists and guidance counselors who are just a click, call or email away if issues need to be talked through. Students should utilize all resources made available to them.

Virtual home instruction can be made even easier with some extra assistance and guidance.



Get on the water with the right kayaking gear

Kayaking is a wildly popular paddlesport. Paddlesports offer people unique ways to enjoy nature while getting up close and personal with expansive waterways. Kayaking is remarkably accessible for people of all skill levels and interests.
According to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2019 Special Report on Paddlesports and Safety, kayaking has seen a consistent upward trend in participation for the last five years. Today, recreational kayaking is the most popular paddlesport, with more than 11 million participants in the United States. And the activity is almost evenly split among men and women (51 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

Many kayakers can enter the water with relatively no instruction in kayaking and take to the sport like a duck to water. Of course, the right gear can make all the difference for both experienced and novice kayakers. Anyone who plans to be a consistent kayaker should probably invest in a kayak of his or her own. The right kayak depends on where kayakers plan to use it. Sea kayaks can sail easily through choppy conditions. Tandem kayaks carry two or more people and have more storage space. Touring kayaks are designed for long distance kayakers. Sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for beginners and casual paddlers.

Some additional supplies also can help kayakers get the most out of this rewarding activity.

• Paddle: Many kayaks are sold with compatible paddles. However, it is always a good idea to have a spare. Be sure to choose one made from sturdy materials, especially if it will be used in saltwater or brackish water.

• Life jacket: A life jacket is a must when on the water. While kayaks are relatively stable, should a tip-over occur a life jacket can keep you afloat and safe until you are able to reboard the kayak.

• Kayak racks and carriers: Kayaks can be transported to the water on roof racks that strap on to SUVs and cars. Kayak carts and trailers can help you comfortably move the kayak to the water’s edge or dock, as kayaks can be heavy and cumbersome to move on your own.

• Spray skirt: A kayak spray skirt keeps water from splashing up and onto your lap/legs while in the kayak. Staying dry can make kayaking more comfortable in all seasons.

• Dry storage: Dry bags and containers keep items like a phone, camera and GPS devices dry and secure. These containers are designed to be water-tight when splashed or submerged.

Other kayaking supplies include dry shirts, special shoes, hats, and gloves. Coordinated fishing gear can even be purchased for those who want to catch some fish while kayaking.

Kayaking makes for a great day on the water. The right gear helps enthusiasts sail with ease.



How to clean and sanitize a backpack

Backpacks are useful tools for students and adults alike. From hiking supplies to school books to sports equipment, backpacks can store just about anything. As veritable workhorses, they’re bound to get dirty and can benefit from periodic cleaning.

While it may be tempting to simply throw a backpack into the washing machine, it is important to check the care instructions first. Some canvas, nylon and fabric backpacks can go in the wash, but those made of leather or those with intricate details should not. Backpack manufacturers also advise against putting backpacks in a dryer.

Here are steps to cleaning a backpack.

1. To get started, begin by removing any items from the backpack, including all of the pockets. If necessary, use a vacuum to get crumbs out of the backpack.

2. Check the care label to see if there are washing instructions. This will determine if you should wash it by hand or if it can be put in the machine.

3. If the bag can be machine-washed, turn it inside out first or place it in a pillowcase so that the straps and zippers will not be caught. Then wash it on a gentle setting with a mild detergent and lukewarm water. If the bag should be hand-washed, use lukewarm water and a soft sponge or a gentle bristle brush. The outdoor retailer REI says you do not want to harm any protective coatings on the pack.

4. Zippers need occasional cleaning to remove dirt, sand or crumbs. Many zippers have water-resistant coatings so do not scrub them. Use a lubricant made for zippers to help them slide smoothly.

5. Hang the bag to air dry upside down. It likely will dry more quickly outdoors, but avoid direct sunlight, which can compromise the integrity of the fabric or discolor the backpack.

6. Do not store or use the backpack until it is completely dry.

7. Sometimes a backpack may need to be disinfected to prevent the growth of fungus or bacteria. Athlete’s foot fungus can easily transfer from socks and shoes to the backpack if gym clothes are left in the bag. The Spruce says to skip chlorine bleach and use a pine oil or phenolic disinfectant or a disinfectant wipe, such as Pine Sol or Spic-n-Span. Lysol brand disinfectant also can be used and is available in liquid formula or spray.

If a backpack is waterproof, only wash it once or twice per year; otherwise, you may reduce the pack’s ability to repel water. Use cleansing wipes to spot-clean when necessary.
Backpacks can get grimy quickly. Routine washing can freshen them right up.



How to hit the open road during a pandemic

Fall has traditionally been a great time of year to hit the open road. Fall foliage annually provides an idyllic backdrop for fall road trips. But 2020 is a year unlike any other, and veteran road trippers may wonder if it’s wise, or even legal, to take to the open road this fall.

The COVID-19 virus has forced local governments to implement various changes aimed at preventing the spread of the potentially deadly virus. While interstate travel during the outbreak is different, it’s not illegal. However, many states put specific policies in place that mandated out-of-state visitors self-quarantine for a certain period time, most often 14 days. Such measures compelled many would-be travelers to remain within the borders of their home states.

But traveling need not be a relic of the past because of a pandemic. In fact, travel enthusiasts can hit the open road this fall with their peace of mind intact, especially if they follow a few safety precautions while heading off for parts unknown.

• Determine how far you really need to go. Restrictions have been lifted in many areas, but it’s still most convenient for drivers to stay somewhat close to home, ideally within their own states. That makes it easy for them to buy food, gas, use a restroom, or visit a park or monument without violating the spirit of quarantine mandates. A trip need not cross borders to be fun.

• Plan for fewer pitstops. The fewer stops drivers make on their trips, the lower their risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. In lieu of dining out during your trip, pack your lunch at home and take it with you. In addition, fill up your car before embarking on your trip so you don’t have to visit the filling station while on the road. Bring enough water and snacks so you can stay hydrated and don’t become hungry while out and about.

• Get a tuneup before your trip. No one wants to confront car trouble during a road trip, and that’s especially so when traveling during a pandemic. A breakdown during a pandemic may force drivers to visit roadside body shops or arrange for tow trucks, potentially putting them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. Drivers should take their cars in for a tuneup before taking a road trip to lower that risk.

• Avoid densely populated areas if you intend to get out of your vehicle. If you intend to get out of your vehicle during a road trip, avoid visiting areas that tend to draw large crowds. Popular lookout points may provide some beautiful fall views, but such points also draw crowds that may exceed the limits on group gatherings recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health agencies.

It’s possible to travel during a pandemic. But drivers must take extra precautions to reduce their risk of being exposed to potentially deadly viruses like COVID-19.




Keychella is an inclusive community event hosted by Key City Pride and various community partners September 4 – 6, 2020. 2020 was to be the inaugural Pride Celebration for Key City Pride. Unfortunately, due to the effects of Covid-19, many efforts were cut short and original Pride plans were cancelled.

Multiple events are planned throughout the community including a Lunch and Learn, Drag Brunch, and live entertainment throughout the weekend including performances from Elektra Supernova (Miss Gay Dubuque), Montell Infinit Ross (Mr. Gay Iowa USofA 2014), Lyric (hip-hop recording artist), St. Oshun (R&B and Funk recording artist formerly known as The Charles Walker Band), and more. Naysha Lopez, Season 8 ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ contestant, will also be the celebrity host for the weekend.

“We are excited to bring Dubuque and surrounding areas the unifying event we need at a time as this. This holiday weekend we invite everyone to join us for this historic event,” said Corey Young, co-founder of Key City Pride.

Precautions around the concern for Covid-19 are in place and include social distancing and temperature checks while also encouraging frequent hand washing and mask wearing when not eating or drinking.

“We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our guests. Not only will we have a mask mandate but will even provide them for our guests,” stated Young.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at



Illuminating the history of lighthouses

Lighthouses have long been beacons for vessels on the open water. Lighthouses help warn sailors of dangerous shoals and other obstacles, and also serve as navigational guides to help keep ships and boaters safe.

As individuals and families consider taking to the water, they may want to plan visits to some of the nation’s more impressive lighthouses. Learning more about lighthouse history can make these trips even more fun and educational.

Historians believe that beach bonfires were the earliest ways people on shore helped guide their sailors at sea. Eventually bonfires were replaced by structures that would ultimately be called lighthouses. The earliest known lighthouse was built in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago, according to Project Archaeology. In addition, archaeologists have found remnants of more than 30 lighthouses built by ancient Romans.

Boston Light, a lighthouse located on Little Brewster Island in outer Boston Harbor, was the first lighthouse to be built in what is now the United States. The original structure was constructed in 1716, and the current lighthouse dates back to 1783. It is the second oldest working lighthouse in the United States, after the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey.

The first lighthouse in what was to become Canada, and the second on the entire coast of North America following Boston Light, went into service at the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island in 1734. Louisbourg Lighthouse was destroyed by British troops in 1758, but rebuilt in 1842. It also was rebuilt in 1923. Canada also lays claim to the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in North America. The Sambro Island Light in Halifax Harbor predates Sandy Hook Lighthouse by four years.

The United States Lighthouse Society says lighthouse lanterns have been illuminated by various means through the years. Original lighthouses were lit by open fires from braziers to candles. Oil lamps, acetylene lamps, oil vapor lamps, and eventually electric incandescent bulbs paved the way for modern lighthouse illumination.

One innovation that revolutionized lighthouses was the Fresnel lens, a compact lens made of many prisms originally developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel. These lightweight lenses provide ideal light-gathering capabilities and magnification. A Fresnel lens can capture more oblique light from a light source, allowing the light from a lighthouse to be visible across greater distances.

Even though lighthouses are well-known for being used at night, daymarks make every lighthouse unique and also visible during the day. The daymark is the paint color and pattern on a lighthouse. This pattern also helps sailors know where their vessels are located along the coast.

Visiting lighthouses and learning about their rich histories can make for a fun-filled day trip.



Fun facts about lefties

Left-handed, lefty, southpaw — these are all terms used to describe people who favor their left hands for writing, throwing a ball and myriad other activities. It is estimated that between 10 and 12 percent of all people are left-handed. Although that makes southpaws an undeniable minority, the number of left-handed people is creeping up.

Left-handers are worthy of notice and recognition. As such, explore these interesting facts and figures about left-handers.

Sports proclivity
Being left-handed may confer an advantage for athletes. Wayne Gretzky, Sandy Koufax and Martina Navratilova are just a few of the many accomplished left-handed sports legends. Sports scientist Florian Loffing with the Institute of Sport Science, University of Oldenburg in Germany found that in sports where there is a short time constraint, lefties appeared to excel. That could be why he found 26 percent of the top male players in table tennis are lefties. And sports like baseball and cricket are dominated by left-handed players.

Health risks and benefits
Lefties should take notice that there may be some side effects to being left-handed. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found those who were left-handed had an increased risk for dyslexia, ADHD and certain mood disorders. It could be tied to the hemispheres of the brain and how 30 percent of left-handed people are partial to the right hemisphere or have no dominant hemisphere for language functioning.

Conversely, lefties can bounce back from stroke or other brain-related injuries more readily than righties, according to data published in 2015 in Scientific Reports. Also, a study published in Laterality found that left-handed people are less likely to suffer arthritis and ulcers.

More creative
Lefties are more likely to be artistic or innovative. Research published in the American Journal of Psychology found there is some evidence that left-handed people are better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions. The Left-Handers Club, a pro-lefty advocacy group, also found that left-handed individuals tend to be drawn to careers in the arts, music, sports, and information-technology fields.

Ambidextrous inclinations
The world is geared towards being right-handed, with buttons on jackets, doorknobs, desks in school, and more designed with right-handed people in mind. Therefore, many lefties become ambidextrous simply because they have to, according to data published in Reader’s Digest.

Presidential possibilities?
Many notable people have been left-handed, including U.S. Presidents. James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all are or were left-handed.

Even though the world may not have been designed for left-handed people, lefties certainly thrive.



The benefits of a new approach to learning for students

The validity of the adage “necessity is the mother of invention” was on full display during the COVID-19 outbreak. People quickly had to learn to adapt to a new way of life, including an educational system that was transformed dramatically by social distancing guidelines.

More than 76 million students are enrolled in United States schools, per the latest Census Bureau information. In 2018, 2.12 million students were in Canadian postsecondary institutions alone. In a matter of days, millions of students who once attended classes in-person were forced to transition to virtual learning instruction. The process showed just how flexible learning systems can be, and how virtual instruction may become more than an emergency protocol in the future.

Schools utilized systems like Google Classroom, Canvas and virtual meeting apps to connect and learn. While in-class lessons provide the socialization and one-on-one interaction that can be vital for students’ academic success, there are many different reasons why virtual instruction can be a key component of learning models as well. When virtual learning is used in conjunction with traditional teaching, students may have a more well-rounded experience. Here are some potential benefits that may unfold as more data is collected.

• Pace: Virtual learning affords students the chance to work on lessons at a pace that fits their individual needs. Students can go back and re-read or re-work problems until they’re satisfied they have learned their lesson. Lessons can be slowed down or sped up depending on proficiency, creating a customized educational experience.

• No more weather days. Many school districts include snow or extreme weather days into their calendars, adding on extra days at the end of school year to meet the specified number of educational days. Remote learning can take over in these times and keep school districts from having to pad calendars.

• Convenience: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later to provide students the best chance to get the amount of sleep they need. Still, most adolescents currently start school before 8:30 a.m. Remote learning enables students to complete their assignments when it works best for them. This may help them get more sleep, too.

• Apps: Learning apps are a new wave of educational tools that have helped buoy virtual instruction. Primary school students or those with individual education plans may benefit the most from reinforced app skills that match their learning pace in fun ways.

Virtual home instruction may become a large part of the educational landscape even after it’s no longer a social distancing necessity.



Get the most out of restaurant leftovers

Local restaurants have taken an especially hard financial hit during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. A recent appeal for economic relief from the National Restaurant Association on behalf of struggling restaurants estimated that the industry could suffer hundreds of billions of dollars in losses due to the outbreak.

In recognition of the vital roles restaurants play in fostering strong communities, many local governments have urged residents to order takeout or delivery if they can afford to do so. Millions of consumers have heeded that call, helping restaurants stay afloat in a time marked by economic uncertainty while appreciating a night or two off from preparing meals at home.

It’s easy for home cooks to practice portion control when making meals at home. But restaurants tend to offer hearty portions, leaving consumers with leftovers at a time when more and more refrigerators are full of containers with previous nights’ meals. So what to do with restaurant leftovers? A little creativity might be in order.

• Reimagine restaurant leftovers. The Mayo Clinic advises against keeping restaurant leftovers for more than four days, noting that the risk of food poisoning increases after that. If you don’t want to eat the same meal twice in four days, try to turn leftovers into something new. Add fresh vegetables to leftover rice to create a rice bowl that makes a great midday meal. Then use leftover meat and potatoes to create a stew or soup for dinner. Add some sauteed seafood to leftover pasta to give the meal a whole new taste. Reimagining restaurant leftovers into wholly new dishes is a great way to get even more out of meals that might be too big to polish off in one sitting.

• “Trade” leftovers. When ordering meals for the whole family, make a game of trading restaurant leftovers for the next day’s lunch. If Dad orders chicken parmigiana he can trade it for Mom’s beef bolognese. Families can have even more fun by offering side dishes for desserts or sweeten offers with homemade treats or promises to do the dishes. This is a fun way to ensure no one has to eat the same meal on consecutive days.

• Turn leftovers into appetizers or snacks. If leftovers aren’t abundant enough to provide for two full meals, or if you simply want to make something new out of what you didn’t eat last night, turn leftovers into appetizers or snacks to enjoy while watching a movie. Open a bag of tortilla chips and turn last night’s entrée into a tasty dip, or place leftovers out shortly before your homecooked meal is ready to be served. Extra flavor at the dinner table is always welcome, and this approach gives everyone a chance to try each dish.

Restaurant portions can be large, and in this time of takeout that can make it hard to determine what to do with leftovers. Thankfully, there are many creative ways to approach restaurant leftovers so no one has to eat the same meal two days in a row.



What is herd immunity?

Infectious diseases can strike at any time. Some of them cause relatively minor interruptions to daily life and often can resolve of their own accord when the body’s immune system mounts a successful defense. Other diseases can cause serious, even life-threatening symptoms or spread rapidly, which makes it essential for medical professionals to help slow down or stop the transmission.

What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is a term that often arises in relation to infectious diseases. Herd immunity has taken on renewed significance as the world has been battling COVID-19, the novel coronavirus introduced in late 2019. Herd immunity, which is sometimes called “community immunity,” “population immunity” or “social immunity,” refers to the indirect protection from infectious diseases that occurs when a large percentage of the population has become immune to that disease. If enough people are resistant to the cause of a disease, whether it is a bacteria or virus, that disease has nowhere to go and the spread stalls, according to WebMD.

How does herd immunity occur?
There are two ways that herd immunity can occur. The first is when resistance develops naturally when the body is exposed to the virus or bacteria. At this point, the immune system will produce antibodies to fight off the infection. After recovery, these antibodies are still circulating, and should exposure to the same disease occur again, the body can defend against another infection.

Another way that herd immunity occurs is through vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that when the majority of people are vaccinated, it creates the same disease lockdown — fewer people get sick and fewer germs are able to spread from person to person. What’s more, even those who are not vaccinated, such as newborn babies or those who may not be able to get vaccinated due to chronic illnesses, will get some level of protection because the disease will not be spreading as readily within their communities.

When is herd immunity reached?
When enough of a population is immune to a pathogen it prevents further spread and herd immunity is apparent. Diseases are different and herd immunity is reached based on the pathogen’s reproduction number, or R0. Essentially this boils down to how contagious the pathogen in question is. WebMD says the R0 tells the average number of people that a single person with the virus can infect if those people aren’t already immune. The higher the R0, the greater number of people will need to be resistant to reach herd immunity. Measles, which is very contagious at an R0 of 12 to 18, requires 93 to 95 percent of the population to be immune for herd immunity to be reached. The World Health Organization estimates the R0 for COVID-19 to be between 2 and 3. This means between 40 and 70 percent of the population will need to be immune to halt the spread.

In the case of COVID-19, it’s still unclear whether anyone can get reinfected, and whether antibodies produced for one strain can fend off another strain of this novel coronavirus. This reinfection mystery is what makes herd immunity — both through a vaccine or through natural exposure — challenging for epidemiologists in relation to COVID-19.

Herd immunity is an important factor in disease prevention. Getting the facts about this phenomenon is important.



Eye exam recommendation schedules

Routine eye exams should be a vital component of everyone’s healthcare routine. Such examinations can help people learn if they need prescription eyeglasses and if their existing prescriptions need to be updated, and they also can uncover other serious health issues.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology®, a comprehensive eye exam can uncover such problems as aneurysms, brain tumors, diabetes, high blood pressure, and assorted cancers, including those of the blood, tissue or skin. That means routine eye exams can be as effective at safeguarding your overall health as they can at protecting your vision.

The recommended frequency with which people should receive eye exams is based largely on age, though no one should hesitate to schedule an exam if their eyes are bothering them or if they are experiencing any abnormalities with their eyes. In addition, some people may need more frequent eye exams depending on their medical histories, which should be discussed at length with a physician.

Children and adults without preexisting conditions and those not experiencing any abnormal vision problems can adhere to this eye examination schedule, courtesy of the American Optometric Association.

• Birth to two years: Children in this age group should receive eye exams between six to 12 months of age.

• Age three to five: Children in this age group should receive at least one eye exam between their third and fifth birthdays.

• Age six to 17 years: Children in this age group should receive one eye exam prior to beginning first grade and then an annual exam thereafter.

• Age 18 to 64: Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should receive an eye exam at least once every two years.

• Age 65 and older: Annual eye exams are recommended for men and women age 65 and older.

Eye examinations help people preserve and improve their vision while also promoting long-term overall health. These vital components of healthy lifestyles should not be overlooked.



How college students can confront returning to campus

The world’s response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus left no aspect of life untouched. People from all walks of life had to make sacrifices to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus, and college students were no exception.

Many colleges and universities abruptly canceled in-person classes in mid-March 2020, forcing students to finish their coursework via remote learning. That response had a significant impact on the 2019-20 school year, and the virus figures to affect the upcoming school year just as much. In fact, many colleges and universities are beginning the coming school year early in the hopes that students can continue their educations on campus but be safely back home by late November, when many scientists are anticipating a second wave of COVID-19 infections will arrive.

Schools that are reopening this summer insist that it is safe to do so, and have even indicated their intentions to implement new practices to ensure their campuses are safe and healthy environments in which to learn. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is reconfiguring in-person course instruction to include physical distancing provisions. Small classes will meet in larger spaces, while lectures may be delivered remotely.

Despite such measures, some students may still be hesitant to return to campus at a time when so much about the COVID-19 virus remains a mystery. The following are some ways students can confront any nervous feelings they may have about returning to campus for a new school year.

• Determine your options. While many colleges and universities are returning to campus, some may be allowing students to learn remotely. For instance, students with preexisting conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 may be allowed to continue learning from home. Many schools’ roadmaps to returning are fluid, so students concerned about returning to campus likely have options that do not require them to sit out the semester.

• Learn about residential life. Many college students live in dorms that feature double or even triple occupancy rooms. Such an environment will compromise students’ ability to practice social distancing. Some schools, including Binghamton University in New York, are converting triple occupancy rooms into double occupancy. Both Binghamton and UNC Chapel Hill also are designating one residential hall as temporary housing for students who test positive for COVID-19. In addition, some schools may be designating certain residential facilities for at-risk students. Students who want to avoid the dorms should inquire about off-campus, single-person housing.

• Ask about testing. Students have a right to know about COVID-19 testing protocols and should not hesitate to ask what those protocols will be. Due to the fluid nature of schools’ roadmaps to return, testing policies may not yet be set in stone, and are likely to evolve as the school year progresses. Students should look into the testing policy specifics and ask if they have any recourse if they feel the testing policy is inadequate.

Students who are hesitant to return to campus this summer or fall can do their due diligence to determine if they’re comfortable going back to campus.



Find your brew: Explore different beer styles

Beer has been produced by humans for longer than many people may know. Barley beer researchers have traced beer production to present-day Iran in the fifth millennium BC. The making and drinking of beer also is noted in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages available today and it is an important sector of the beverage industry. Business Insider says an estimated $661 billion worth of beer was sold around the world in 2017. In the United States alone, more than 7,000 new breweries opened in 2018, according to the Brewers Association. An additional 1,000 breweries were expected to open in 2019.

All beers are either lagers or ales, which are distinguished by the type of yeast used during the fermentation process (bottom- or top-fermenting, respectively). These beers are further labeled to describe the brew’s overall character, and oftentimes its place of origin, states BeerAdvocate.

The following are some of the most popular types of beers on the market.

• Bocks: BeerAdvocate says a German Bock is a lager that is stronger than your typical lager, with a more robust malt character. The hue of these beers ranges from dark amber to brown. Bocks were once brewed by Bavarian monks and were consumed at the end of Lent.

• Brown ales: These beers feature toasty flavors with malty overtones. They have a mid-range alcohol content and boast a hoppy bitterness. Brown ales are full-bodied beers that pair well with heavier foods, like red meats and stews.

• Dark lagers: Many dark lagers have malty, smooth, caramel flavors. They tend to have a mid-range alcohol level and relatively low bitterness profiles.

• India pale ales: IPAs boast strong hop bitterness and piney, floral flavors. They are especially popular among craft beer enthusiasts and brewers. IPAs tend to have a higher alcohol content than other pale ales. Imperial or double IPAs have even more pronounced flavors and higher ABVs.

• Pale ales: These beers are hoppy, but generally light, drinkable beers. Many easily pair with fish, poultry and cheeses.

• Pilsners and pale lagers: These similar, golden-colored beers are light in flavor and lower in alcohol content than other styles of beer. This style of beer was made popular in Germany, but many American brands like Coors and Budweiser have made pale lagers a favorite of the masses.

• Porters: Porters were developed in London in the early 18th century. These beers are well-hopped and dark in appearance due to the use of brown malt. The name grew from the popularity of the beer among street and river porters.

• Stouts: Stouts tend to be dark in color and are often mistaken as being heavy and strong. This isn’t always the case. Many stouts are complex and low in alcohol, according to All About Beer magazine. Dry stouts are well-known in Ireland. A distinguishing characteristic of a dry stout is its black, essentially opaque appearance.

Beer is a complex beverage that comes in many unique styles.



Dubuque’s Jule Transit Requiring Passengers to Wear Face Coverings

To limit the spread of COVID-19 and to increase passenger safety, the City of Dubuque’s Jule public transportation system will require all passengers to wear a face covering beginning on Monday.

Effective 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, every passenger over the age of two years old must properly wear a face covering when entering and while inside a Jule bus or paratransit vehicle.

For this policy, “face covering” is defined as a uniform piece of material that snugly and securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands. Acceptable cloth face coverings include, but are not limited to:
• Homemade masks
• Scarves
• Bandanas
• Handkerchiefs

While cloth face coverings will be required starting Monday, Aug. 3, the City recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a cloth face covering may not be feasible, such as when doing so may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. In these instances, adaptations and alternatives should be considered to increase the feasibility of wearing a protective face covering or another accommodation to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Riders who may be unable to wear a cloth face covering should contact The Jule in advance of using the Jule’s services to identify an acceptable adaptation or alternative.

“There’s evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population served by The Jule place passengers at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19,” said City of Dubuque Transportation Services Manager Renee Tyler. “The safety of our passengers is our first priority and this policy makes our service safer for them.”

The Jule reserves the right to deny service to individuals without a properly worn cloth face covering or an approved adaptation or alternative. The Jule will have masks available for passengers who do not have a mask. This policy shall remain in effect until further notice.

The new policy is consistent with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that all people two years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people in public and other settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

The mask requirement is the latest example of The Jule’s commitment to service and safety during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Other precautions already in place include:
• Buses are boarding from the rear entrance, when possible
• Buses are disinfected between route runs (hourly)
• Bus shelters are sanitized twice an hour
• Temperatures are taken for all operators at the beginning and end of each shift
• All buses are equipped with disinfectant sprays, sanitizing wipes, and gloves
• All operators are required to wear face coverings and have been provided masks and shields

For more information, please contact The Jule at 563.589.4266 or email



Unique ways to support workers who have been laid off or furloughed

Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. According to a survey of more than 500 small businesses conducted by the Small and Medium Business Group in late March, companies with fewer than 20 employees were the most adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey also found that businesses within the personal service, hospitality and retail industries were most affected by the economic fallout of the outbreak.

Small businesses do not have the financial might of their larger competitors, making it especially difficult for such companies to weather economic storms. As a result, when the economy suffers, many small businesses don’t have the financial cushion necessary to safeguard their employees from layoffs or furloughs.

When social distancing guidelines were implemented, forcing non-essential businesses to close their facilities to customers, millions of small business employees were suddenly out of work. Those men and women are friends and neighbors, so it’s understandable that people want to find ways to help them make it through such difficult times. The following are some ways to do just that.

• Support local fundraising efforts. In response to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak, many small business owners urged community members to support their staff. For example, in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all restaurant dining rooms in mid-March, local restaurant owners organized The Great Jersey Shore Take-out, an effort in which the proceeds of all food and beverage sales on a designated day were given to participating restaurants’ employees, including waitresses, managers, bartenders, chefs, and kitchen staff. Participating in such efforts is a great way to support local workers who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the outbreak.

• Offer discounted services to laid off or furloughed workers. Local professionals can help laid off or furloughed workers by offering certain services at discounted rates. For example, tax filing deadlines have now been extended in many areas. Accountants can pitch in and help laid off or furloughed workers by discounting their tax preparation services. Local financial planners can offer free or discounted consultations to such workers who may need financial advice, including how to spend or invest their financial stimulus money.

• Patronize small businesses. One of the most effective ways to help laid off or furloughed workers is to continue to support their employers. Many areas have begun to discuss reopening strategies, and businesses that can withstand the economic challenges of social distancing are more likely to bring laid off and furloughed workers back when they reopen. Continuing to support local businesses, even those that have scaled back their offerings, is vital to ensuring the jobs those businesses provide return when the economy reopens.

Laid off and furloughed workers are facing financial challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Communities can join together in unique ways to support these workers until the economy reopens.



When to use soap and water, and when to use hand sanitizer

In the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, millions of people across the globe found themselves scrambling for hand sanitizer. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that cleaning hands at key times is one of the most important steps people can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs, there are differences between washing with soap and water and washing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

The CDC notes that preventing the spread of sickness through handwashing is most effective when people know which method to use when cleaning their hands.

When to use soap and water
The following are common situations when the CDC advises using soap and water to clean hands.
• Before, during and after preparing food
• Before eating food
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After using the bathroom, changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
• After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
• After touching an animal, animal food or treats, animal cages, or animal waste
• After touching garbage
• If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy

When washing with soap and water, the CDC advises people to wet their hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and applying soap. Lather the hands by rubbing them together with the soap, making sure to scrub all surfaces of the hands, including palms, backs, fingers, between fingers, and under the nails. Scrub for 20 seconds before rinsing hands clean under running water and drying your hands, be it with a clean towel or air drying.

When to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer should not be applied to hands that are dirty or greasy. Hands that become dirty or greasy after activities such as gardening or fishing should be cleaned with soap and water. The CDC advises using alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
• Before and after visiting a friend or a loved one in a hospital or nursing home, unless the person is sick with Clostridium difficile (if so, use soap and water to wash hands).
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, and wash with soap and water as soon as you can.

Children should always be supervised when applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, the CDC recommends covering all surfaces of the hands with the product before rubbing hands together until they feel dry, which should happen after roughly 20 seconds.

Clean hands can prevent the spread of disease. Knowing which hand cleaner to use in certain situations can be an especially important preventative measure.



Did you know?

Frozen desserts can be a great and delicious way to stay cool on a sultry day. When at the dessert counter, people may be met with different options of frosty treats. Two of the more common offerings at ice cream shops are custard and traditional ice cream.

Generally speaking, ice cream is a product that contains more than 10% milk fat. Custard is ice cream with the addition of pasteurized egg yolks, which tends to make its texture creamy. The amount of air pumped into the mixture also can affect taste and texture. The less air, the more dense and creamy the product can be, as is often the case with frozen custards.



Hillcrest Appoints New President/CEO

Hillcrest Family Services’ history is deeply rooted in the principles of acceptance, compassion and care. For over 124 years, we have been a leading human services provider for children, adults, and families in need, delivering innovative, collaborative, and resourceful care.

Following a nationwide search, the Hillcrest Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Michael Fidgeon has been appointed President/CEO of Hillcrest Family Services effective July 13, 2020. Mike, and his wife Stephanie, will be moving to Dubuque from Virginia. They look forward to making the Midwest their home and being active in the community. A graduate of Duke University, Mike is an experienced CEO and senior executive bringing over two decades of health and human service experience to the role. He has a strong record of strategic leadership and management as well as a genuine concern for people that will be a huge benefit to Hillcrest and the broader Dubuque community. We look forward to him joining the Hillcrest family and hope you will join us in welcoming him to the community.

Hillcrest is a non-profit, human services organization that assists children, adults, and families in need. With compassion, they support individuals in both their physical and brain health care embracing the diversity that is the human experience.



Regulations Governing Political Signs within the City of Dubuque

The City of Dubuque is reminding campaigns and residents of the regulations that govern the placement of political signs. The City’s Unified Development Code (UDC) regulates all exterior signage on private property, including political signage, within the community.

Section 15-5 of the UDC defines political signs as:
A sign that identifies and urges support for a particular election issue, political party or candidate for public office or expresses the personal noncommercial views of the property owner or tenant.

First Amendment free speech is protected; the City of Dubuque cannot regulate the content of political signs. However, the City can legally regulate the time, manner, place, and duration of political signs. Legal regulations include, but are not limited to, limitations on the size of signs or the placement of signs for safety and visibility.

The City of Dubuque has the following regulations on political signs:
• Political signs cannot exceed 32 square feet in area.
• Political signs cannot be placed in any public right-of-way or visibility triangle.
• Political signs cannot be placed on objects in the right-of-way such as trees, utility poles, and in medians.

If a sign is inadvertently placed on the public right-of-way, the City’s Public Works Department may move the sign back on to its property and attach a green slip noting the violation. The City may follow with a notice of violation letter specifying a time frame to correct any violations. The right-of-way area varies throughout the community.

Complete details, including diagrams, are available online at For more information or questions regarding the regulations or property line locations, please contact the City of Dubuque Planning Services Department at 563-589-4210 or



Dubuque Senior’s 50th Reunion to be held Aug. 21-23

The Dubuque Senior High School Class of 1970 set a few benchmarks. It was Dubuque Senior’s one hundredth graduating class and the largest class ever. And now it was fifty years ago.

The Class is happy to announce that there will be a golden reunion this August 21-23 in Dubuque. Planned events include a social gathering at Happy’s Place on Friday; a tour of the school and dinner with entertainment at the Dubuque Best Western Inn on Saturday; and a picnic at Murphy Park on Sunday.

Reservations are required for the events. Learn more by checking the “Dubuque Senior High School Class of 1970” Facebook Page or call Lynne Lippert @ 563 583 2136.



How to protect dogs from Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a potentially dangerous condition transmitted by the passing of bacteria from deer ticks to their unsuspecting hosts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease also is a cause for concern in Canada, parts of Europe and Asia.

Tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. But Lyme disease also affects animals, including popular house pets like dogs. Tufts University says that the Lyme bacterium can cause serious illness in some dogs. Lyme disease can be difficult to detect and cause serious and recurring health problems. That is why it is essential for pet parents to make concerted efforts to reduce the risk that their dogs become infected.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says the best way to protect pets against Lyme disease is to emphasize prevention.

• Speak with your veterinarian about a tick preventive product that is right for your dog. These can include repellant collars, topical treatments and ingestible medications.

• Vets may recommend vaccination against Lyme disease if you live in an area that is home to high tick populations. Recommendations also may be based on your pet’s lifestyle and overall health, among other factors.

• Address conditions in the yard that are conducive to ticks. Mowing the lawn regularly is one way to make the backyard less attractive to ticks, as is removing leaf litter.

• Keep a clean home and landscape. Rodents and other wildlife can carry deer ticks. Securing trash cans, picking up food scraps, removing hiding spots and potential dens, and other strategies can keep these carriers away.

• Conduct a daily tick check if your dog spends time outside. Pay attention to bumps on the skin and part the fur so you can see where the coat meets the skin. Don’t forget to look in the ears.

• When possible, avoid areas where ticks may be found, such as tall grasses, wooded areas and marshes. Stick to trails when spending time in wooded areas.

Dogs with Lyme disease may exhibit various symptoms. These include loss of appetite, fever, joint swelling, decreased activity, and lameness. Visit the vet promptly if symptoms occur and do not abate, or are causing considerable distress for your pet.

Lyme disease is a concern for pets. Avoidance, preventive measures and outdoor maintenance can help reduce the likelihood that pets will contract Lyme disease.



How to approach diet after a diabetes diagnosis

Diabetes affects hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and more and more people are being diagnosed with this often preventable disease every year.
According to the World Health Organization, 108 million people across the globe were living with diabetes in 1980. In 2019, the International Diabetes Foundation estimated that 463 million adults between the ages of 20 and 79 were living with diabetes. Perhaps even more troubling is that the IDF estimates that, by 2045, 700 million people will be living with diabetes.

A diabetes diagnosis can be scary. The IDF reports that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing an assortment of serious health problems, including diseases that affect the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and teeth.

Poor diet is a common contributor to diabetes. So it’s natural that newly diagnosed diabetes patients typically want to know how they can alter their diets so they can begin to overcome their disease. That’s a good place to start, as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that eating well and being physically active can help people prevent or delay problems associated with diabetes.

The NIDDK notes that eating a variety of healthy foods from all food groups is essential for people with diabetes.

• Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes are examples of nonstarchy vegetables that make great additions to everyone’s diet. These vegetables can be especially beneficial for people diagnosed with diabetes, as can starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and green peas.

• Fruits: Diabetes patients can include oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes in their daily diets.

• Grains: Whole grains should make up no less than 50 percent of diabetics’ daily grain intake. Opt for whole-grain breads, pastas, cereals, and tortillas.

• Protein: Lean cuts of meat, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, and eggs are some examples of healthy protein sources that diabetes patients can include in their diets. Nuts and peanuts; dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas; and meat substitutes like tofu can make for healthy protein sources as well.

• Dairy: When purchasing dairy products, stick to nonfat or low-fat milks, yogurts and cheeses.

A diabetes diagnosis can be scary. If poor diet contributed to such a diagnosis, committing to eating healthier can help people effectively manage their disease and possibly avoid some of its more negative consequences.



How to reduce food waste

Perhaps nothing can spoil an appetite more than a crisper drawer full of fresh vegetables that have taken a turn for the worse. Spoiled food is not just unsafe to eat, but it is also very costly.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate that the average family of four throws out nearly $1,500 worth of food and beverages each year. That means that, within seven years, the average family has spent more than $10,000 on food they did not eat.

In recognition of the problems posed by food waste, the National Grange, the oldest farm and food advocacy organization in the United States, aims to create a cultural shift that reduces food waste. Individual consumers can do their part in supporting that shift by taking various steps to reduce food waste in their homes.

• Take inventory before going to the grocery store. An inventory of the refrigerator and pantry can help shoppers avoid buying items they already have. This is especially valuable at reducing food waste in regard to perishable items that can spoil before shoppers have a chance to eat them.

• Make a meal plan and grocery list. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that meal plans and accompanying grocery lists help consumers reduce food waste and save money by decreasing the likelihood that they will buy items they won’t need for the meals they plan to eat in the week ahead.

• Purchase frozen foods. Organic, fresh vegetables eaten when they are most ripe may be the healthiest way to eat vegetables. However, frozen vegetables still have ample nutritional value, and may even boast a higher nutritional value than off-season, fresh vegetables sold at the grocery store. That’s because frozen fruits and vegetables are picked when they’re ripe and then immersed in boiling water to kill bacteria and prevent enzyme activity that can spoil food. They’re then immediately flash frozen, a process that typically preserves nutrients. The long shelf life of frozen fruits and vegetables reduces the likelihood that shoppers will throw them out before eating them. That’s not the case with fresh vegetables, which the ANDF and the USDA note account for more than 30 percent of food waste each year.

• Wash berries only as you eat them. When eating fresh berries, wait to wash them until you eat them. The risk of mold forming increases when washing an entire container all at once, whereas only washing the berries as they’re eaten increases the likelihood that they won’t spoil before they’re all eaten.

Food waste is a global problem that can be fixed. And that solution can start in the kitchens of consumers willing to do their part.



How Earth Day and environmental conciousness have evolved

Reduce, reuse, recycle is a mantra for many people. It’s difficult to imagine that just 50 years ago awareness of the state of the environment was not part of the collective consciousness.

An emerging public consciousness about the planet began amid environmental issues like increased air pollution and massive consumption of fossil fuels in the 1960s. The bestselling book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson also raised public concern for living organisms and the links between pollution and public health.

The push for environmental reform gained even more momentum on April 22, 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated. Then-Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin put Earth Day on the national stage following a large oil spill that struck off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. Before this disaster, recycling was not a word in the popular lexicon. But when the disaster struck, people began to reason that changes would have to be made to save the planet.

Since the first Earth Day 50 years ago, many strides have been made in the environmental movement. This grassroots initiative gave rise to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Environmental awareness has become much more mainstream and is a less polarizing issue than it was in the 1970s, although there are still debates about the reality of climate change and other risk factors.

Public demand for environmental safeguards grew in the second half of the twentieth century, and those demands have grown stronger in recent years. Legislation is continually evolving to protect the air, land and water. Sustainability has joined the buzzwords of the movement, and most industries now have a vested interest in changes that can minimize risk to human health and the environment.

Mitigating or avoiding environmental effects, proper waste disposal, reduction in water discharge, and emphasis on reducing, reusing and recycling have become important components of environmental wellness. And people are being educated at earlier stages on the importance of environmental mindfulness. For example, core subjects of the environmental movement are increasingly covered in elementary schools.

Twenty million people turned out for the first Earth Day in the United States. Today, more than 190 countries are engaged and more than one billion individuals are mobilized for action every Earth Day, advises the Earth Day Network. To mark the 50th anniversary, the most pressing topic for the year is climate change. Climate Action is the 2020 Earth Day theme to engage the global public. There is still work to be done, but great progress has been made since 1970.



3 risk factors for oral cancer

The ill effects of smoking are widely documented. Perhaps no such side effect is more widely known than the link between smoking and cancer, particularly lung cancer. And while the Lung Cancer Foundation of America notes that smoking is thought to be responsible for 80 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses, smoking also has been linked to oral cancer.

Oral cancer is not as prevalent as lung cancer. However, the Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that, in 2020, tens of thousands of people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States. Recognizing the risk factors of oral cancer can help people reduce their chance of receiving such a diagnosis.

1. Tobacco
The OCF notes that one study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that more than eight out of 10 oral cancer patients were smokers. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, increase a person’s risk for oral cancer. The CCS even notes that exposure to secondhand smoke may increase a person’s risk for oral cancer.

2. Alcohol
Alcohol abuse is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer. The OCF notes people who smoke and also abuse alcohol are at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer. The OCF theorizes that this link may be a result of what alcohol consumption does to the mouth and how that makes it easier for tobacco carcinogens to attack. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the cell walls within the mouth, and that may make it easier for tobacco carcinogens to permeate tissues within the mouth.

Heavy alcohol consumption also has been linked with nutritional deficiencies, including lower antioxidant levels. Diets rich in antioxidants boost the immune system and make the body more capable of fighting cancer cells.

3. HPV
The human papilloma virus, or HPV, infects the epithelial cells of skin and mucosa. Moist epithelial surfaces are found in the interior of the mouth, throat, tongue, and tonsils, among other areas. The HPV virus is transmitted when these areas come into contact with a virus, which is then transferred through epithelial cells. The HPV virus can be transferred through both conventional and oral sexual contact, though it’s important to note that many HPV infections go unnoticed and are cleared without consequence. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that up to 80 percent of Americans will have an HPV infection in their lifetimes without experiencing any adverse effects. However, one strain of the virus, known as HPV16, is strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancer.

Oral cancer poses a threat. But people can greatly reduce their risk for oral cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices. More information is available at



Mississippi Moon Bar Postpones Entertainment Through May 13

In taking additional precautions recommended by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque has made the decision to postpone our upcoming entertainment at Mississippi Moon Bar through May 13. These shows include the following:

All Wednesday night Laughing Moon Comedy April 3: Wheelhouse
April 4: David Victor, Formerly of Boston
April 10: Black Stone Cherry
April 11: ABBA Revisited
April 17: Rob Schneider
April 18: Dueling Pianos
April 24: Morgan Evans
April 25: Time Machine
May 1: Bob Saget Special Engagement

New performance dates will be released at a later time, and all previously purchased tickets will be honored on the new show date.

If you are no longer able to attend the show, refunds are available by calling 563-663-6462 or email Please provide your name, show name, phone number, and order number.




In partnership with Convivium Urban Farmstead, Project Rooted has served 730 no-cost lunches since the start of the Program on March 23, 2020. Lunches are available for pickup daily at the following locations: Convivium Urban Farmstead, Resources Unite, Peosta Elementary, West Dubuque High School, and Drexler Middle School. Due to high demand, Project Rooted will be increasing the number of lunches prepared in order to meet community needs.

Lunches include healthy, nutritious options and include a handmade card created by kids, for kids.

For those interested in donating toward this effort, monetary donations will be accepted through a GoFundMe page for Project Rooted at



How parents can approach raising gamers

Gaming is a popular activity across the globe. Studies have shown that more than one billion people across the globe play some type of video game every day, and the number of gamers is growing every day. In fact, the market and consumer data provider Statista estimates there will be 2.7 billion gamers by 2021.

Such prevalence can make it hard for parents to govern their youngsters’ gaming habits. As difficult as it can be to get kids to put their controllers down, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that time spent gaming can take away from the time kids spend on other pursuits, including healthy activities like exercising and reading. That’s part of the reason why the AAP recommends limiting the time kids spend gaming to no more than one hour per day.

In addition to limiting how much time kids spend gaming, parents can take these steps to make sure kids’ gaming experiences are as positive as possible.

• Familiarize yourself with a game’s content before allowing kids to play it. Parents should be concerned by how long their youngsters play video games, and also by the content of those games. First-person shooter games remain incredibly popular, but such games can have an adverse effect on young players. The AAP notes that studies have shown that children exposed to virtual violence, such as that depicted in first-person shooter games, and violent media have shown that they may become numb to violence and even imitate the violence. Parents should always vet a game before allowing their children to play it. Make sure its content is not too mature and/or violent for children.

• Confirm ESRB ratings. Parents of young children likely don’t allow their youngsters to watch R-rated films, but they might not know that a similar rating system exists for video games. ESRB ratings help parents make informed decisions about the video games and the apps their children play. The ratings, which are broken down at, are included on game packaging labels and let parents know how appropriate or inappropriate a game may be for children. Founded by the Interactive Digital Software Association in 1994, the ESRB notes that 61 percent of its ratings for physical and console downloadable video games in 208 were rated either E (Everyone) or E10+ (Everyone 10+). That means parents of children under 10 have many age-appropriate game options when buying games for their kids.

• Keep consoles in common areas. By limiting gaming to common areas in the home, parents can more closely monitor how much time their youngsters are spending playing games. The AAP recommends parents designate handheld games as “family property” as opposed to items each child “owns.” This can help parents make sure such devices are kept in common areas at all times.

• Play with children. Another way parents can monitor what their kids are playing and how long they’re playing for is to play with them. Multiple player games are very popular, and parents can use that popularity to more effectively manage their kids’ gaming habits.

Parents may face some challenges as they try to govern their kids’ gaming habits. But various strategies can help moms and dads keep tabs on those habits.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.