Area Tidbits

SLAUGHTER added to FAIR Line-Up

Art Nation – Rock City Stockholm Festival 2018

The Dubuque County Fair is announcing a line-up change for the rock concert on Friday, July 30, 2021 for the 68th Annual Dubuque County Fair.

Our special guest Skid Row has announced “Due to circumstances out of our control and continuing COVID restrictions, Skid Row must regretfully postpone their upcoming July tour dates. They apologize for any inconvenience, and the band can’t wait to get back on the road to play for the Skid Row faithful”, Skid Row Management.

The Dubuque County Fairboard is sad to announce this to all the Skid Row fans but are pleased to announce we have a new special guest to open for Queensryche!  To kick off the rock concert, with over 21 years of entertaining rock and roll fans around the world – SLAUGHTER will take the stage on Friday, July 30 at the Dubuque County Fair!

For more information go to www.dbqfair.com or FACEBOOK.

More information about SLAUGHTER…

1990 Slaughter hit radio, MTV and the U.S. touring circuit like a tornado- coming seemingly out of nowhere to roll through everything in its path and turn it upside down. Touring the world with bands that they loved, Kiss, Ozzy, and others meant the good times were just a song away , and their first hit single, “Up All Night” certainly fit into that mold, their second chart-topper, “Fly To The Angels” was more representative of the spirituality and awareness that goes into most of the band’s music and lyrics. But never were Slaughter more accurately represented that live onstage in front of their legions of devoted fans over the last ten years.

1991-during this time filmed what became a platinum home video “From the Beginning” depicting the bands rather different and humorous lifestyle. To showcase the live prowess the band had garnered during their first tour, the band released “Stick It Live” a five song EP collection which entered the billboard charts and went gold as quickly as it was released. This was certainly a shock to the non-believers in the world.

Slaughter was contacted by Orion pictures and Record Producer Jimmy Iovine to write and record what would become the theme song for “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” and later made a video featuring clips from the film as well. This CD was also Gold.

1992 -the band went on to record the “WildLife”, it’s second record after a consistent schedule of touring behind the multi- platinum debut, “Stick It To Ya.” During this time the band was awarded the prestigious American Music Award. The “WildLife” CD entered the billboard charts the first week of release in the top ten at # 8 and was shortly their after certified platinum. The band also filmed what became a second gold home video documenting the making of the “WildLife” CD. The band embarked on a tour that would take them through their first challenging obstacle to overcome.

During the Ozzy Osbourne Tour (June 1992), Singer Mark Slaughter was diagnosed with a nodule on his right vocal chord that required surgical attention that was later performed in August 1992. The band would not perform again until Halloween of 1992 on the Dick Clark’s Halloween Special from Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. The band continued to tour with the Damn Yankees bringing them midway through the 1993 season. After receiving the most media attention for a second CD effort, the band began to make plans to record their next Chrysalis release (Fear No Evil). The next series of challenges was soon to come. The writing of “Fear No Evil” in Las Vegas seemed to start out with a normal timber as all other records thus far. However midway into writing, guitarist Tim Kelly and then tour manager were arrested in Las Vegas by drug enforcement agents for a six plus year old charge involving narcotic trafficking. From this point through completion of the record, it was not known if Tim Kelly would ever tour with the band again. Soon to add gasoline to the fire was the small dirt bike accident within a half mile of Dana Strum’s house in Las Vegas, NV causing multiple broken bones including a left wrist and two fingers on the left hand (the hand he plays bass with). Once again the band was determined to continue on.

1994-The band played it’s first engagement on new years debuting material from the forthcoming CD at the Hurricane in Las Vegas at a meager price of $100 dollars per person (THIS DATE WAS A SELL OUT). “Fear No Evil” was completed in February 1994 with the band touring with Damn Yankees from February on . After flying to New York to debut the album for the record company at the mid year point, the group soon realized that no one involved in the promoting of their early records was any longer employed by Chrysalis(EMI) records. The band spent four months negotiating their release from the label. Within three months after negotiating the release the band signed a deal with then newcomer CMC International records with a vision of bringing Hard Rock and Metal Music to the people again. Slaughter also made a Pacific Rim record deal with JVC Victor Records of Japan, marking a new world release period for Slaughter.

1995-the band embarked on a tour that would take them AROUND THE WORLD. The group also released “Rain On”, a five song import EP featuring Slaughter’s first cover song, Elton John’s “Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting.” The band then embarked on their first tour of Japan. The tour was a long overdue overwhelming success. Slaughter had to perform with Vince Neil guitarist “Dave Marshall”, (Tim Kelly’s long time friend) in Japan due to Tim’s ongoing legal problems. Many seeing the band during these trying times felt as thought the group itself was beginning to perform better as a unit ironically. By this time Tim Kelly’s legal problems had ended and the band was now bound and determined to continue it’s pursuit of good time rock and roll.

1996-the band returned from a year long tour long tour, the band begun to make plans to record “Revolution”, the bands fourth full length 1997 effort and first enhanced CD. With musical climates changing the band embarked on a bit of a psychedelic approach still maintaining a good time spirit with often more challenging songs to be recorded. The record was released with an in store promotion campaign across major cities in America with the band signing copies of all of its catalog to date. Slaughter then embarked on it’s first of what would become many package tours, this time with “Motley Crue” singer Vince Neil who had performed with Tim, Mark and Blas at a Las Vegas charity engagement earlier that year. (Ironically the band had met a talented young sound man/guitarist from Orlando, Florida named Jeff Blando who would later become the fourth member of Slaughter after the tragic passing of Tim Kelly.) The band began to feel an upswing in audience attendance and peoples determination to let hard rock live.

1997-the band continued to tour with Alice Cooper, Dokken and Warrant on it’s second package tour showing even more promise and teaching the band that sticking to their guns was the right thing to do. After playing their last headlining date in Detroit, MI (November 1997) the band returned to their respective homes and planned a new live release to encompass performances of material spanning the years.

1998-“Eternal Live” was the band’s 6th record, and their first full-length live release is Slaughter at it’s best- live on stage. Recorded in- Mexico in front of more than 20,000 fans, and one in their hometown, Las Vegas, “Eternal Live” captures the excitement of a Slaughter performance and showcased 12 songs off their earlier albums. Sadly, this album must also serve as a tribute to original Slaughter guitarist Tim Kelly (1963-1998)-RIP, who was killed in a car accident. “Eternal Live” was Tim’s farewell performance, “explains bassist and producer of all Slaughter albums, Dana Strum.” And I think he’d be pleased that his last recordings were not just in the studio, but were with our fans there too.” Uncertain if the band would continue or tour after Tim’s passing, the only logical replacement was Jeff Blando who was described by late guitarist Tim Kelly as “One Hell of a player.”

The band rehearsed with Jeff Blando during the last week of May 1998 with no other goal in mind than to continue and make this work. The bands first performance with out Tim Kelly was in Salt Lake City in June 1998. The warmth and support of the audience was nothing short of overwhelming. The band several gigs later realized that the fans would rather feel and hear the music than see it fade away. This marked a noted positive change for all of the members, with Blando being received with open arms. Mark Slaughter, “It’s been the love and support of our fans that helped us carry on after Tim died. And we make this solemn promise to them that as long as they are there, so will Slaughter be there.”

The band continued touring on there self named “Rock Never Stops” Tour playing to as many as 16,000 fans the likes of which Slaughter had not seen in a great many years.

This would become a positive turning point for the group with nothing but promise ahead of them. All of the members reflect that

Slaughter has enjoyed plenty of “BIG TIME” success in their

15 year career. Five songs on their albums were #1 MTV videos. Seven of the songs were in rotation on AOR radio. Like any group who has known the thrill of selling millions of records around the world , filling large arenas and having their faces plastered on magazine covers, the members of Slaughter have felt the pressures of maintaining that success. “Seven years ago , it’s all we could think about,” says Dana, “but then losing Tim and seeing music come and go over

the past few years has taught us a lot about the music business and has allowed us to re-evaluate what we’re doing.”

1999-Las Vegas, Nevada – Slaughter had completed their seventh CD to date entitled “Back to Reality.”(CMC/BMG RECORDS) That marked the first joint writing effort involving all four band members and the most challenging recording schedule to date. (With Production of the CD beginning only in March of 1999) During this time the band also filmed for VH-1 “Where Are They Now”.

During the summer of 1999 it was interesting to note that while on it’s own (SELF-NAMED) “Rock Never Stops Tour” (which included : TED NUGENT and NIGHT RANGER) Slaughter did more press (including “Forbes” and “Various TV and Radio Shows”, but also had the “#1 Track” on the “VH-1” CD “Power Ballads” with “Fly To The Angles” and “Up All Night” became the “#1 Track” on Rhino Records “Hard Hitters” meaning that Slaughter had Never released more Product in any year of the GROUP’S history.

VH-!,MTV and Major Film Companies have gone to SLAUGHTER requesting that “Songs, Sounds and Images” be included in releases FROM 1991-2008.

2000-Slaughter took part in the hugely successful summer 2000 “Poison, Cinderella, Dokken and Slaughter” tour proving that rock is still alive and well.

2001 Slaughter was a proud part of a TWO MILLION selling CD “Monster Madness” (with – UP ALL NIGHT), the band was also out touring as a part of the “Voices of Metal” tour featuring Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Ratt, and Vixen

2003 Capital records re-released the first two Slaughter CD’s “Stick it to Ya” and the “Wildlife” featuring 24 bit digital re- mastering, additional photos, bonus tracks and liner notes written by Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum – Slaughter toured May-October with “WHITESNAKE” on the “ROCK NEVER STOPS TOUR”.

2004- Slaughter released a DVD-A entitled “Then and Now” that features 12 songs and 50 rare photos of the band over the years. …Slaughter toured – March – November Headlining Various Venues and playing to larger crowds then in recent years.

2005 – SLAUGHTER & VH-1 TEAM UP WITH “STRIPPED” A CD OF UNPLUGGED JAMS WHICH IS KICKED OFF WITH A SELL-OUT-PERFORMANCE IN HOLLYWOOD, CA—SLAUGHTER – TOURED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND BROKE NEW GROUND WITH CASINO PERFORMANCES AS WELL AS SRO SHOWS.

2006- SLAUGHTER released a DVD that features live performance footage and band camera footage shot over the years. The band will again be on the road touring doing High Energy Performances that feature all of the Slaughter hits as well as new material. The Vh-1 Stripped DVD hit the retail stores March 15th, 2006 as yet another Slaughter release.

2007- SLAUGHTER was featured on a pacific rim – compilation CD that was Platinum within it’s first week of release, Slaughter filmed many of it’s live performance shows for a DVD release in

2008, and performed in front of 38,000 people singing SLAUGHTER songs at the world famed “Rocklahoma Music Fest”, as well as participated in a full Summer tour with Vince Neil of Motley Crue. – Of interesting note – Slaughter’s music has been played more in 2007 on radio and the internet then in the 3 previous years combined.

Slaughter has shown that with perseverance and sheer talent, a band can survive and win over the support of fans , regardless of what others may say about the quality of their music. What’s most important is that their music is still here and the vast majority of critics who panned them in the past are not, and that’s as good as gold.

 


 

Dubuque Community Ice & Recreation Center, Inc. to Relinquish Leasehold Rights Effective July 31

The City of Dubuque received notice from Dubuque Community Ice & Recreation Center, Inc. (DICE) on June 17, 2021, of its intent to relinquish its leasehold rights effective July 31, 2021. The City is working with DICE President Marvin Heiderscheit to transition the day-to-day operations of the facility.

The Mystique Community Ice Center was designed, developed, and built under a Development Agreement between and among DICE, the City, the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA), and Battlefield Dubuque, LLC which later transferred and assigned its interest to Northern Lights Hockey, LLC. The Agreement commenced on October 30, 2009. Opened September 18, 2010, the building is owned by the City and has been leased in a 25-year lease agreement to DICE. DICE, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, raised all funds to build the Ice Center. DICE managed and operated the Ice Center on a day-to-day basis.

The Development Agreement outlines the steps to be taken in the event the lease is terminated. First, the City must provide written notice to the DRA and Northern Lights Hockey, LLC that the lease has been terminated. Then, the City must offer the DRA the right to enter into a new lease on the same terms and conditions as the current lease held by DICE, for the remainder of the term. The DRA has 30 days to accept the offer and enter into a new lease with the City.

If the DRA declines or fails to accept the offer, the City must then provide written notice to Northern Lights Hockey, LLC who has the right to enter into a new lease on the same terms as the current lease for the remainder of the term. Northern Lights Hockey, LLC has 30 days to accept the offer and enter into a new lease with the City.

The City will operate the facility during the transition so that all events and activities scheduled at the Mystique Community Ice Center may continue while the steps outlined in the agreement are completed.

 


 

YOUTH BASEBALL TEAMS REPRESENTING NEW YORK CITY AND CHICAGO TO PLAY IN SPECIAL GAME PRIOR TO “MLB AT FIELD OF DREAMS PRESENTED BY GEICO”

14u Teams from DREAM and the White Sox ACE Programs Will Compete in the “A Dream Fulfilled” Game on the Iconic Movie Set Field, Airing Nationally on FS1 on Wed., August 11th

Major League Baseball today announced that two 14u baseball teams representing New York City and Chicago will compete in a special exhibition game, titled “A Dream Fulfilled,” in Dyersville, Iowa in celebration of MLB at Field of Dreams Presented by GEICO. On Wednesday, August 11th at 6:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. CT, teams from DREAM (www.wearedream.org) and the White Sox ACE (Amateur City Elite) programs will compete on the iconic corn-stalk field at the fan-favorite tourist destination to a national television audience as the contest will air LIVE on FS1.

On the following day, the young players and their coaches will attend the MLB at Field of Dreams game featuring the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, the first Major League game ever held in the State of Iowa. MLB built a temporary ballpark adjacent to the movie site, with a potential capacity of up to 8,000 fans.

The Chicago White Sox created the Amateur City Elite youth baseball program in 2007 with the goal of providing high-quality baseball instruction, as well as leadership/mentorship opportunities on and off the field, to young athletes from Chicago’s underserved and inner-city communities. The ACE program features more than 150 participants annually at various age levels, young men and women who are often the first in their families to go to college, earn degrees and build successful careers through baseball or other professional avenues. Since its inception, 26 ACE participants have been drafted by Major League Baseball organizations, including two in the first round of the MLB Draft. 94 ACE alumni have played college baseball at the Division I level, including an NCAA National Champion at Vanderbilt, and more than 225 players have earned college scholarships. During the 2021 season, outfielder Corey Ray became the first ACE alum to reach the major leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Originally founded as Harlem RBI, DREAM traces its beginnings back to 1991 when a group of volunteers transformed an abandoned, garbage-strewn lot into two baseball diamonds for the youth in East Harlem, creating the organization’s very own “Field of Dreams.” Today, DREAM has grown to annually serve more than 2,500 youth across East Harlem and the South Bronx through a network of six PreK-12, extended-day, extended-year DREAM Charter Schools and community sports-based youth development programs, including the MLB Youth Academy at Roberto Clemente State Park. Through DREAM’s commitment to rigorous academics, social-emotional learning, deep family and community engagement, and health and wellness, the organization creates lifelong learners who are equipped to fulfill their vision of success in and out of the classroom.

Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones and Amy Madigan.  It was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Picture in 1990 and was selected to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2017.  The 1989 film tells the story of Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, a husband and father who is tending to his cornfield when he hears a mysterious voice intone, “If you build it, he will come.”  According to the American Film Institute (AFI), those words are the 39th top film quote of all-time.  The White Sox and the Yankees are the two favorite Clubs of Ray’s father, John Kinsella, at different points of his life.

MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO is proudly sponsored and supported by Doosan, John Deere, Musco Lighting and Budweiser. MLB at Field of Dreams follows other recent special events that have taken groundbreaking Major League games to non-traditional domestic locales, including the Fort Bragg Game in 2016, MLB In Omaha at the NCAA’s Men’s College World Series in 2019 and the annual Little League Classic in Williamsport (2017-19).  The events at Fort Bragg and in Omaha were the first Major League games ever in North Carolina and Nebraska, respectively.

Field of Dreams is now available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.

 


 

New “Helpful Place” for Peosta Coming Soon

New Steve’s Ace Hardware Store Scheduled to Open in Early 2022
Family business part of Tri-State Area since 1988

PEOSTA, Iowa – The “helpful place” will soon be part of your neighborhood.

Scheduled to open its doors in early 2022, Steve’s Ace, located at 456 Peosta St. in Peosta (at the corner of Burds Rd. and Peosta Street/Sundown Rd.), will be a curated combination of the two current Steve’s Ace locations featuring a full hardware store aimed to serve both the homeowners and the businesses in the area, a greenhouse & gift department showcasing the best sellers of Sprout and the Flower Shoppe, and outdoor lifestyle offering.

The new store will bring a “more personal kind of helpful” and best brands like EGO, Traeger, Weber, Benjamin Moore, and Scotts to local homeowners and DIYers. Steve’s Ace will provide solutions to everyday home maintenance needs through an extensive selection of products in categories such as paint, grilling, lawn and garden, and more.

This is the third Ace store opened by owners Sara & Jason Carpenter. The store will span 15,500 square feet and will feature a small outdoor garden center with annuals, perennials, and seasonal plants.

“Ace Hardware is committed to providing home maintenance solutions, neighborly advice, and resources to residents in Peosta,” said Sara Selchert Carpenter, owner of Steve’s Ace. “We’re excited to welcome Peosta to the Steve’s Ace family, and we look forward to making a positive impact for many years to come.”

 


 

Peosta Elementary Parent Group (PEP) raising funds to upgrade playground!

The Peosta Elementary Parent Group, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, wishes to upgrade Peosta Elementary’s playground to an accessible and inclusive playground.  Our current playground was built 15 years ago and at that time, they didn’t offer the accessible and inclusive equipment like they do now. By upgrading our playground to an accessible and inclusive playground we are removing barriers between kids, despite any differences and giving them a chance to play and grow together. Another large factor in our decision to upgrade was our playground surface.  Currently we have mulch, which is ineffective in moving medical equipment around the play yard..  We are wanting to put in the playground tiles for easier access, mobility and safety. The tiles have a little bounce, great durability and are shock absorbent, which helps keep kids safe at varying heights. We really want a play environment where everyone can feel included and do what all kids want to do, play and have fun.  We are reaching out to the community to help find sponsors to fund this project. To make this dream a reality our goal to fulfill this upgrade is $100,000.
 
We are accepting donations through venmo and via mail.
Venmo: @PoestaElementaryPEP
Mail: Peosta Elementary Parents
8522 Burds Road
Peosta, Iowa 52068

 


 

Free Riverview Center 2021 Character Strong Camps

PRE – K THROUGH 5th GRADE
June 21 – August 13, 2021
Join us for the return of our FREE summer character camps! While participating in crafts, games, sing-a-longs and more, children will be learning the traits of PurposeFull People – courage, respect, perseverance, gratitude, honesty, kindness, empathy, responsibility, cooperation and creativity.
·        Virtual Camps so everyone can participate
·        Free Art/Craft Supply Kits for each student for pickup or drop off
·        Some of the activities include: balloon breathing for mindfulness, mini-greenhouses, “honest sunglasses,” creating fish sun visors to remember to “just keep swimming,” letters to local heroes, perseverance portraits, daily mindfulness and meditation, Rube Goldberg machines, and more!
·        Camps are 5 days and children can attend both for their grade level (different topics)
·        Pre-K: June 21st-25th
·        Pre-K: June 28th-July 2nd
·        K-2nd: July 12th-16th
·        K-2nd: July 19th-23th
·        3rd-5th: August 2nd-6th
·        3rd-5th: August 9th-13th

 Riverview Center is honored to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their significant others through free and confidential services. Regardless of means, our clients receive high-quality, professional support, including a 24-hour crisis hotline; legal, medical, and general advocacy; arrangements for safe, temporary shelter and safety planning; one-on-one therapy/counseling and support groups; professional trainings; and violence prevention education initiatives.

 For the past twenty nine years, Riverview Center has proudly provided the healing and justice survivors of deserve, free of charge. We are a nonprofit agency committed to providing free, confidential, compassionate, client-centered care for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence in Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties in Illinois and for individuals affected by sexual violence in 14 counties in Northeast Iowa. Riverview Center is creating a community free of violence by empowering individuals, fostering empathy, and developing social skills that emphasize respect, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.

 ALL DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE SERVICES ARE FREE & CONFIDENTIAL
Jo Daviess 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 815.777.8155
Jo Daviess 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 815.777.3680
Carroll 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 815.244.7772
Carroll 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 815.244.1320
Iowa 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline: (888) 557.0310

 


 

2021 Back Waters Outdoor Concert Series

Q Casino is proud to announce 2 additional performances on the Back Waters Stage; Mitchell Tenpenny along with Walker Hayes will perform on Friday, July 9th.   On Saturday, August 14, Tesla along with Wayland will take the Stage.

 Mitchell TenPenny Performing, Friday, July 9,  Since the release of his debut single, “Drunk Me,” Riser House/Columbia Nashville artist, Mitchell Tenpenny has set new standards for breakout success in country music. The 2X Platinum-certified, No. 1 hit was taken from his introductory album, Telling All My Secrets, and earned him the best first week showing for any major label country debut LP in 2018. To date, “Drunk Me” has amassed nearly 490 million on-demand streams. In the year that followed, the “winning” singer (the New York Times) was nominated for New Male Artist of the Year at the ACM Awards and Breakthrough Video (“Drunk Me”) at the CMT Music Awards and saw his “Alcohol You Later” single certify gold. He also kicked off his first headlining concert series, the “Anything She Says Tour,” with labelmates and award-winning duo Seaforth who joined as support and were also featured on the gold-selling song, “Anything She Says.”

Joining him is Walker Hayes the Monument Records recording artist, is a singer/songwriter originally from Mobile, Alabama. His recently announced forthcoming EP Country Stuff, out in June, features collaborations with Jake Owen, Carly Pearce, and Lori McKenna, and displays the full range of Hayes’ creativity. “Country Stuff is a body of work that means a lot to me, because it shows all of who I am. I’m not in the same mood or headspace every day – some days it’s all about fun, some days are harder – but I think it’s ok to share all of that, and that’s what I hope Country Stuff does” says Hayes

Tesla, Performing on Saturday, August 14 – That they are still roaring and soaring should be no surprise. That’s just how they are built. TESLA may have been born in the mid 80s eruption of leather, spandex, and big hair, but this band has never been about those things. Hardly. Their bluesy, soulful sound is strongly embedded in the roots of organic, authentic, 1970s rock and roll. The same roots that produced bands like The Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Aerosmith.  2020 marks the 30th anniversary of one of TESLA’s most iconic albums, Five Man Acoustical Jam. The upcomingtour will feature performances of the most seminal tracks from this ground-breaking acoustic record. TESLA also visited the legendary London recording studio Abbey Road in June 2019 where they performed, recorded, and filmed a semi-acoustic set that will become their next live album, Five Man London Jam. The new record honors songs from the original live album combined with the wealth of hit songs they’ve crafted over their 30-year legacy.

Performing with Tesla is Wayland, whose first album debuted in 2010, since then the band has gone on to release more albums and Top 40 songs along the way.   The band is currently releasing new music independently writing, recording, and developing themselves in Los Angeles between tour dates

Tickets for these two shows go on sale Wednesday, June 9 at 10:00AM. Tickets can be purchased ONLINE ONLY at QCasinoAndHotel.com or through Ticketmaster.com. Event held rain or shine. Tickets are non refundable. Ticket prices and lineup subject to change.  For a complete line up follow Back Waters Stage on Facebook or check the website at www.QCasinoAndHotel.com for the most up to date information.

 


 

Dubuque Recycling Event Diverts 19,000 Pounds of Electronics from Landfill

On June 12, 2021, the City of Dubuque Public Works Department, in partnership with the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA), held an electronics drop-off recycling event at the Municipal Services Center in Dubuque. In total, 237 people participated, recycling over 340 televisions and other household electronics, resulting in 19,000 pounds of material diverted from the landfill.

“We are thrilled that so many took advantage of this opportunity to properly dispose of electronics safely and sustainably and want to remind residents that there are options to recycle these electronics year-round,” said DMASWA Solid Waste Agency Administrator Ken Miller.

The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (101 Airborne Rd., formerly 14501 HWY 20 West, now accessed by a frontage road) accepts unwanted electronics by drop-off appointment. For more information on this program or to schedule an appointment, visit www.dmaswa.org or call 563-557-8220.

The City of Dubuque also offers residential customers the option to schedule curbside collection for a variety of electronics through the large item pick-up service. For more information on this program or to schedule a pick-up, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/largeitempickup or call 563-589-4250.

 


 

City of Dubuque Launches Residential Broadband Survey

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The City of Dubuque has launched a Residential Broadband Survey to gather information from residents about their current internet and cell phone services. Residents are encouraged to participate and provide feedback that will guide efforts to increase access to affordable, fast, and reliable broadband in Dubuque.

Broadband Acceleration Initiative
With the goal of universal and affordable broadband access for Dubuque residents and businesses, the City of Dubuque introduced a Dubuque Broadband Acceleration Initiative in 2016. The initiative focuses on public/private collaborations and includes a comprehensive strategy to reduce the cost and time required for broadband expansions in Dubuque. A key challenge to that initiative is the issue of broadband affordability for residents currently.

Earlier this year, the Dubuque City Council adopted the Dubuque Equitable Poverty Reduction and Prevention Plan, which includes a recommended strategy to “subsidize internet access in low-income neighborhoods and develop a digital equity plan.” Lack of access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet services contributes to negative outcomes in safety and security, health/medical, communications, education, and jobs for low-income communities. Overcoming challenges and accomplishing these objectives will require a comprehensive effort and the leveraging of data along with multiple funding sources to implement a solution.

The Dubuque Residential Broadband survey will collect anonymous baseline data on the current use, speed, bandwidth, and need for broadband services for households in Dubuque to help inform this initiative. Broadband internet is generally defined as a service having a minimum of 25 Mbps (Megabits per second. The number of bits transferred per second over an internet connection) download and 3 Mbps upload speeds.

Residential Broadband Survey Open Through June 25
The anonymous data collected from the survey will be analyzed and mapped by type of service and location, as well as demographic data such as age, race, and income. Additional publicly available data will be aggregated and incorporated. Dubuque residents are encouraged to participate by visiting www.cityofdubuque.org/residentialbroadbandsurvey and completing the survey by June 25, 2021. No personally identifiable information will be recorded or gathered.

 


 

Common carcinogens everyone should know about

A carcinogen is any substance that can be cancer-causing. Carcinogens can be found in the air, the products a person uses or even in popular foods and beverages.

Scientists continually study exposures that can contribute to the formation of cancer. The National Cancer Institute reminds the public that, while carcinogens have the potential to be harmful, not all exposure will automatically result in cancer. Many factors are involved in whether carcinogenic exposure will lead to cancer, including genetic predispositions and the duration of exposure.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a list of occupational carcinogens. Recommended exposure limits and what constitutes a carcinogen is updated as needed. In addition, some health organizations, such as cancer groups, identify other carcinogens that exist beyond occupational hazards. These may include UV rays, tobacco and alcohol. The following are some common carcinogens.

• Arsenic: Inorganic arsenic may be naturally present at high levels in groundwater and the Earth’s crust in various areas. Arsenic also may be found in the air and in tobacco smoke, advises the World Health Organization.

• Asbestos: When products containing asbestos are disturbed, fibers can be released and trapped in the lungs, says the Environmental Protection Agency. Asbestos used to be a common material found in roof shingles, ceiling tiles and car parts, although many industries have long since ceased using asbestos.

• Crispy cooked foods: Charring food on the barbecue or elsewhere may taste delicious, but when certain foods are heated to high temperatures a chemical called acrylamide can be produced. WebMD says that rats that consumed acrylamide in drinking water developed cancer, so researchers suspect humans may be vulnerable as well.

• Formaldehyde: The EPA says this product is found in certain wood products, fabrics and other household items. That’s because it is a preservative, germicide and fungicide. Formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment, and is produced in cigarette smoke.

• Pollution: Outdoor air contains a mix of engine exhaust, metals and solvents that can lead to cancer. While this type of carcinogen is not easily avoided, people can stay indoors on days when air quality is poor or avoid industrial areas where pollution levels may be higher.

• Preserved meats: Salami, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, and preserved foods can increase risk for colon cancer, according to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Limiting how much salted, fermented, cured, and smoked foods a person eats can lower cancer risk.

• Radon: The NCI indicates that radon occurs naturally from the decay of uranium, thorium and radium in rocks and soil. It can be released into the air and drinking water, eventually infiltrating homes and businesses.

Carcinogens are all around. Identifying common ones can help people take precautions that limit their exposure and potentially reduce their cancer risk.

 


 

How to prepare for telehealth appointments

Change was a big part of life in 2020. As the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, changes had to be made to keep people safe and prevent the virus from spreading. Some of those changes will no doubt prove temporary, while others may have staying power.

An increased reliance on telemedicine is one notable change to take place during the pandemic that figures to stick around long after people have gotten rid of their masks. When in-person doctor visits became risky, many doctors increased their telemedicine offerings, allowing patients to call in and discuss issues or symptoms over the phone. In many instances, doctors can prescribe medications or recommend treatments without seeing patients in their offices, and patients may appreciate that convenience even after the pandemic has ended.

Some people may have been hesitant to embrace telemedicine, and reports during the pandemic’s early stages reflect that hesitation. Data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that screenings for breast cancer and colorectal cancer dropped by roughly 89 and 85 percent, respectively, in the first couple of months after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Though cancer screenings typically must be conducted in person, the decline in screenings suggests patients were not speaking with their physicians during the early months of the pandemic. Had patients been more willing to speak with their physicians over the phone or via video conferencing apps like Zoom, the decline in cancer screenings likely would not have been so significant, as doctors would have emphasized the importance of screenings, even during a pandemic.

Telehealth appointments can be valuable for anyone, and patients can take steps to ensure their telemedicine sessions with their physicians are as productive as possible.

• Write down questions. Prior to an appointment, patients can write down any questions they have for their physicians. This helps ensure nothing is forgotten during the appointment. Writing down questions is especially important for telehealth appointments, as it can be easy to be distracted when calling in from home.

• Keep a health diary. A health diary can help patients point to symptoms or other persistent issues they’ve faced in the weeks or months leading up to their telehealth appointments. Jot down everything from the severity and frequency of symptoms to fluctuations in weight to any reactions to medications. No detail is too minor, as the more informed patients are the more fruitful their discussions with physicians can be.

• Photograph any extraordinary symptoms. Physical examinations are vital components of preventive health regimens, but many people have delayed or skipped annual physicals during the pandemic. If any unusual symptoms or issues like rashes arise, document them by taking photos and measure the size of any lumps. Any symptoms should be reported to a physician immediately, but documentation like photographs can ensure nothing is lost in translation during telehealth appointments.

Telemedicine figures to play a bigger role in health care in the years to come. Embracing strategies to make telehealth appointments more successful can help patients adapt to the changing health care landscape.

 


 

The threat of sand cave-ins necessitates caution

Few things can top a day at the beach on a warm day. The sunshine is out in full force and crashing waves beckon when it is time to cool off.

While there is much fun to be had at the beach, some dangers lurk as well. Though rip tides or jellyfish may come to mind, the beach itself, namely the sand, also poses a threat.

Young children and even adults bring shovels and buckets to make sand castles and even to dig holes in the sand to cover friends and family members. Such holes can quickly cave in and trap unsuspecting people inside. That’s just what happened to 12-year-old Reno Ciotola in 2017 in Ocean City, Maryland. Ciotola dug a tunnel in the sand when it suddenly collapsed, trapping him underneath. Lifeguards were able to dig him free eventually, but Ciotola was unconscious with no vital signs. Luckily he was revived. It’s not the first nor the last case of beach sand cave-ins.

According to Stephen Van Ryswick, chief of the Coastal and Environmental Geology Program, holes dug in beach sand react differently than holes dug in fields. The “angle of repose” is much lower in sand. This is the maximum angle an object can rest on at an incline without sliding down. Beach sand has an angle of repose of approximately 30 degrees, according to Van Ryswick. By comparison, rock can maintain a 90-degree angle of repose.

Holes are typically dug where sand is moist. The water in the sand initially holds the sand together more firmly, but as it evaporates and the sand dries and gets disturbed, collapses can occur. Bradley Maron, a Harvard University researcher, says he’s tracked 72 sand hole collapses over the past decade. Of them, 60 have been fatal.

Lifeguards are increasingly recognizing sand digging safety as a concern. They are being trained in rescues and warning beachgoers about the risk of sand collapse. Experts warn that a good rule of thumb for digging sand holes is not to make them any deeper than the knees of the smallest person in the hole.

Danger lurks at the beach, and it isn’t always in the water. Sometimes the sand can be hazardous as well.

 


 

United States flag facts and handling etiquette

The United States flag was first imagined after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Continental Congress authorized creation of the first national flag on June 14, 1777. It was decided that the flag should have 13 stripes, alternating red and white, to represent the original 13 colonies, and that the new union be represented by 13 white stars in a blue field to signify a “new constellation.” Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, is most often credited with the original design.

Today there are 50 stars on the flag to represent the 50 states, while the 13 stripes still represent the 13 British colonies that became the first states. While this may be common knowledge, Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, may not be as widely known. The code dictates that the flag is to be treated with respect and proper etiquette. The code is extensive, but the following guidelines can help private individuals interested in displaying their flags do so in accordance with the law.

• Flags should only be displayed in public from sunrise to sunset, unless the flag can be properly illuminated during darkness. In this instance, it may be displayed at all times.

• When displayed with other flags, such as on a single staff or lanyard, the U.S. flag should be above all other flags. If flags are displayed in a row, the U.S. flag goes to the observer’s left.

• State and local flags are traditionally flown lower than the American flag.

• During marching ceremonies or parades with other flags, the U.S. flag should be to the observer’s left.

• The flag should be displayed at every public institution and at schools during school days.

• When displayed vertically and not on a staff, the union should be on the left when observed. It should be suspended so its folds fall freely as though the flag were staffed.

• The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

• The flag is often displayed at half-staff on days of mourning, including Memorial Day. The flag should first be hoisted to the peak for an instant, then lowered to half-staff position, which is half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.

• On a vehicle, the U.S. flag should be displayed from a staff firmly fixed to the chassis. It should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.

• The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. It also should never have anything placed on it.

• A flag in poor condition should be destroyed with dignity, preferably by burning. Most American Legion posts and local Boy Scouts troops will have the resources to retire flags accordingly. Many will host annual flag retirement ceremonies on Flag Day.

 


 

Make safety an important part of home cleaning

Safety may not be on the minds of people when they gather equipment and cleaning supplies to clean their homes, but even seemingly innocuous items can be dangerous. The National Safety Council warns that accidents and deaths often occur when least expected — including when doing chores around the house.

The online safety advocate SafeWise says that more than 160,000 Americans die as a result of an accident every year, and household injuries account for 75 percent of those deaths. It’s important to be careful when cleaning around the house, and part of that caution includes recognizing where hazards may be lurking. Here are ways to prevent cleaning and organizing accidents.

Never mix cleansers
Cleaning chemicals are often effective because they employ bases or acids to produce cleaning actions. By themselves, many of these products are generally safe to use provided users adhere to the usage instructions and precautions. However, when mixed together, certain cleaning products can be extremely hazardous. According to Velocity EHS, an environmental, health, safety, and sustainability advisement company, users should never mix products containing acids and bases. Common cleaning products containing acids include tub and tile cleaners, vinegar and mold removers. Products containing bases include, bleaches, glass cleaners, and drain cleaners. Mixing these products can produce toxic gases, intense heat or even explosions.

Avoid falls
Falls are a major contributor to home injuries. Be especially careful when climbing ladders, and do not lean too far to either side. If possible, have someone hold the ladder steady. Wear nonskid shoes and go slowly. Do not climb on furniture or stack items to reach high spots like top shelves, as this can create a precarious situation.

Lift with care
Moving furniture or rearranging storage boxes can strain the back and other muscles. Use proper lifting techniques, which include lifting with the legs while keeping the back straight. If the item is too heavy, wait and ask for help.

Wear masks and safety gear
Whether dusting off the ceiling fan, cleaning out the crawlspace or removing debris from gutters and downspouts, protect the eyes, hands and lungs by wearing the right gear. Safety goggles, durable gloves and a dust mask are must-have cleaning supplies.

Remove supplies promptly
The NSC says about 10 people die from drowning every day in the United States. Children between the ages of one and four are at greatest risk. Do not leave cleaning buckets filled with water unattended, and make sure to clean up any supplies used right after cleaning to prevent injuries.

Cleaning and maintenance keep homes looking great. Homeowners should always keep safety in mind when cleaning around the house.

 


 

9 signs your young child is having vision problems

As many a parent can attest, decoding a youngster’s needs can be challenging when that child is not yet able to fully communicate. Diagnosing health issues may require a little trial and error. So it’s no wonder many parents are not aware if their children are having issues with vision.

Routine wellness exams by your child’s physician can help to determine if a child is having problems with his or her vision. Doctors may detect subtleties that parents may not see, including signs that suggest kids are having trouble with their vision.

The American Optometric Association recommends vision exams at age six months, three years and before entering first grade, as well as every two years thereafter until age 18. Initial vision assessments typically take place in a pediatrician’s office. Parents can speak with their children’s pediatrician and ask if he or she can look for signs of vision trouble in their sons or daughters. Some pediatricians may recommend children visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

In addition to speaking with their children’s pediatricians, parents can keep an eye out for the following warning signs children may exhibit when they’re experiencing vision disorders.

• Squinting, which can be a sign of compensating for poor vision.

• Sitting too close to the television or holding a tablet screen close to the face.

• Covering or shutting one eye.

• Rubbing eyes due to visual fatigue and not general fatigue.

• Pulling toys or other objects closer.

• Head tilting, which could be a signal that vision may be better in one eye than the other.

• Inability to make steady eye contact or track an object in an infant older than three months of age.

• Crossed or misaligned eyes after age four months.

• Children who are easily distracted in learning situations or have difficulty paying attention may be losing interest due to trouble with their vision.

A proactive approach to eye health by parents when children are young can help correct problems early on and ensure children can see and function successfully through the years. Early treatment can lead to major, long-term improvements in vision.

 


 

Dubuque Mask Requirement Ends, Mayor Issues Revised Proclamation

Following a special meeting and vote late yesterday, the City of Dubuque face covering ordinance requiring all residents age 3 and older to wear masks in public has ended. Subsequently, Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol issued a proclamation this morning urging residents to follow the latest guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC updated its guidance last week on wearing face coverings, differentiating between those vaccinated and unvaccinated. The guidance states “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” The CDC also stated that face coverings and other precautions remain important for those who are unvaccinated.

Buol’s proclamation states, “Pursuant to Article III, Section 38A of the Iowa Constitution, the powers vested in me as Mayor under Section 372.14(2) of the Iowa Code, Section 7-3-1 of the City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances, I deem it essential that when present within the City of Dubuque all persons comply with the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal and state laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

“I hope this proclamation serves as a reminder that the CDC’s relaxed guidance is for fully vaccinated individuals,” said Buol. “I encourage all residents who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated so we can continue to safely open our community and economy and have the type of summer we all want to have.” Vaccine information is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/sleevesup or by calling the Dubuque County Sleeves Up! Call Center at 563-690-MAKE (6253).

The proclamation also states that a state of emergency or public danger in the City of Dubuque exists and continues and adopts additional detailed CDC guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, including travel guidance. The full proclamation is available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/covid19.

If you are unvaccinated and you wear a mask you are not only protecting yourself but also other unvaccinated people including those who, for health and religious reasons, cannot get vaccinated.

Although the citywide face covering ordinance is no longer in effect, face coverings will continue to be required in City of Dubuque facilities. Residents are reminded that businesses and other private property owners may require face coverings and are asked to respect those decisions.

 


 

Securing a trustworthy pet sitter

Welcoming a pet of any kind into a home can be a lesson in love as well as one in responsibility. Pet owners must take various steps to ensure the safety and well-being of a companion animal, and that includes providing for that animal while on vacation.

How long pets can remain at home alone depends on the pet, its age and its overall health. For example, an aquarium full of fish may be able to thrive for a week with the assistance of an automatic feeder. Dogs, however, will need daily bathroom breaks and feedings, says the Animal Humane Society. Adult dogs may be able to “hold it” for 10 to 12 hours, but young puppies and elderly dogs likely need more frequent breaks outside.

Feeding and cleaning up pet waste is not the only consideration. Some animals require much more socialization than others.

Pet sitters can address pets’ needs while their owners are away. But finding one that will care for a pet like he or she is a member of the family can take some time and effort. Hill’s Pet Nutrition suggests beginning the process of finding a pet sitter by making a list of needs. Considerations to include are whether the pet sitter should be in one’s home or if the pet is to be brought to a pet care facility or a private sitter’s residence. The pet may have particular health care requirements that also need to be addressed, such as a dog who requires insulin shots for diabetes.

While friends and family may be the first choices as pet sitters, there are benefits to using professional pet sitters. A professional sitter is properly trained in the care of many different animals, according to Pet Sitters International. He or she may have a local business license and be insured and bonded. Professional sitters are likely to make the pet a priority more than hobbyists or well-meaning acquaintances because caring for pets is how they earn their livings.

Personal recommendations can be an effective means to finding reliable pet sitters. Pet owners can interview candidates, asking questions about experience with this type of pet, how he or she handles the breed and temperament, and what the plan might be if the pet gets sick or injured while in the pet sitter’s care.

Pet sitters provide valuable services when pet owners are away from home. Vetting pet sitters takes a little time, but that effort is well worth it.

 


 

How to care for perennials

Perennials can add color and vibrancy to any garden. One of the more desirable components of perennials is that they come back year after year, meaning homeowners do not have to invest in a gardenful of new flowers every year. That can add up to considerable savings. Perennials often form the foundation of beautiful gardens.

Annuals only grow for one season, produce seeds and then die. However, perennials die back to the ground every autumn and their roots survive the winter. So the plants reemerge in the spring, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. Some perennials are short-lived, meaning they will come back a few consecutive years; others will last for decades.

Though planted perennials require less maintenance than annuals, they are not completely maintenance-free. Certain care is needed to help perennials thrive, and that starts with the soil. In fact, soil is the single most important factor for growing healthy plants. Penn State Extension says most perennials grow ideally in well drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. In addition, organic matter can improve soil texture and water-holding ability.

When including perennials in the garden, make sure you wait for the right time to plant them. The ideal time is during the spring or fall. Perennials come as container-grown perennials, which already have been established in the soil. Bare-root perennials are just roots that are often packed in peat moss. In order to plant bare-root perennials, soak the roots in water for several minutes before gently planting in the ground, indicates the how-to resource Tip Bulletin.

Perennials should be watered deeply, especially during the first growing season. However, the soil should never be overly dry or wet. Most perennials do not need to be fertilized heavily. A single application in the spring typically is all that’s needed.

Care along the way can include deadheading spent flowers so that plants can use their energy on seed production and reblooming. Perennials should be divided when they grow large, every three to four years when the plants are not in bloom. Perennials produce fewer flowers or may look sickly when the time has passed to divide them. Early spring often is a good time to divide perennials, advises The Farmer’s Almanac.

A thick layer of mulch can help perennials to overwinter successfully. Perennials planted in containers will need to be transplanted into the garden before it gets cold because most containers cannot thoroughly insulate perennial roots.

Apart from these strategies, perennials pretty much take care of themselves. As long as sunlight requirements match plant needs, the perennials should thrive.

 


 

Streamline packing with these tips

As summer approaches and people once again begin looking forward to vacations, it shouldn’t be surprising if people who have stayed home throughout the pandemic forget about some travel-related necessities. A refresher course may benefit travelers in regard to one of these tasks in particular: packing.

According to Trip Advisor, most major airlines charge between $30 and $35 for a first checked bag, and those costs go up by $10 to $20 for each additional bag. So it’s easy to see why it’s such a savvy move to find ways to pack more efficiently.

• Create a packing list. Just like shoppers know how much more effectively they shop for groceries with a list in hand, veteran travelers know using a list when packing ensures they’re less likely to forget must-have travel items. Think about the activities you’ve planned and each member of the family, and make a list of the items each person needs. Check off items as you pack.

• Invest in packing cubes. Specially designed packing cubes group similar items together in a suitcase. So shirts can go in one, pajamas in the other and so on. Then simply grab the cube needed when on vacation.

• Consider rolling clothes. Rather than folding clothes and placing them in a suitcase, roll them. It’s generally understood that rolling prevents creasing and clothing takes up less space. It also enables you to see items more readily in the suitcase.

• Pack heavy items first. Put the heaviest items on the bottom of the suitcase closest to the rolling wheels. This distributes the weight accordingly and makes the suitcase easier to roll. Another option is to wear your heaviest item on the flight, such as those bulky hiking boots. This can lighten the load on flights that charge overages for heavy luggage.

• Segregate carry-on belongings. Use plastic zip-top bags or small packing cubes to separate key items in the carry-on. This way you can easily reach your earbuds for the flight or grab those passports and other IDs without hassle.

• Bring a laundry bag. Whether it’s an actual laundry bag or a kitchen trash bag, have a way to corral your dirty clothes for the trip back. Stash a fresh dryer sheet in the bag to mask the smell of soiled clothes. Plastic bags also can store wet swimsuits for the trip home.

• Use every bit of space. Employ the Russian nesting doll concept when packing. Store socks inside of shoes, tuck underwear inside of bra cups, and use a belt to help keep a collar on a shirt in the right shape.

Packing for a trip takes finesse. With some handy hacks, all travelers can perfect their packing techniques.

 


 

Let caution reign when kids are in the kitchen

Parents go to great lengths to keep their kids safe. From the moment a woman first learns she’s pregnant to the day teenagers head off to college, parents make myriad decisions in the name of keeping their children safe.

Homes are safe havens for families, but dangers still lurk around every corner and inside every cabinet. That’s especially true in the kitchen. Real estate professionals often note the importance of kitchens. According to Realtor.com, kitchen remains the most mentioned room in home listings. Nearly 70 percent of listings on the home buying and selling website mentioned kitchens, while less than 50 percent mentioned bedrooms.

Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens, so it’s no surprise these gathering spaces routinely attract curious kids. Kitchen safety is essential in every home, but it’s especially important in homes with young children. The following are some areas of the kitchen where parents can direct their focus as they try to keep their children safe.

Beneath the sink
Many families store cleaning products beneath their kitchen sinks. But that can prove hazardous if parents cannot prevent kids from accessing this area. According to the National Capital Poison Center, a disproportionate percentage of the millions of poison exposures in the United States each year affect children younger than six. It might be convenient to store cleaning products beneath the kitchen sink, but such products should be kept higher up in cabinets kids cannot reach until they’re old enough to know it’s not safe to ingest these cleaners.

Stoves
Stoves pose a significant safety risk to youngsters, even when they’re not in use. When the stove is being used, make sure kids do not go near electric or gas burners, where curious hands may reach up and get burned. Kids also should be taught to steer clear when their parents are cooking on the stove top, as hot oil from pans can spray out and harm youngsters who aren’t paying attention. Parents also can install knob covers that prevent curious kids from turning burners on when no one is looking.

Dishwasher
Dishwashers may not seem threatening, but they can pose a safety risk to youngsters. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that children should not be allowed to load and unload dishwashers until they are between the ages of seven and nine. Knives and forks in dishwashers can be sharp, posing a safety risk to curious youngsters. When loading the dishwasher, make sure the blades and prongs of knives and forks are facing downward, and never preload detergent, which can be harmful to kids if ingested. Always make sure the dishwasher is securely closed when in use so kids cannot open the door and potentially suffer burns from hot water.

Countertops
Cutlery sets kept in blocks on countertops should be stored away from the edge of the counter, ideally along a back wall that kids cannot reach. In addition, countertop appliances like coffee machines, toasters, blenders, and slow cookers should be kept beyond the reach of young children.

Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens, where curious kids can easily find trouble. Parents can reduce kids’ risk for kitchen accidents and injuries with some simple safety strategies.

 


 

The City of Dubuque reopens City buildings to the public

After being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubuque City Hall, the City Hall Annex, and all other City facilities are now reopened to public access. Face coverings are required upon entry of all City facilities and social distancing and other safety protocols will be in place.

Residents wishing to conduct in-person business are encouraged to check hours of operations and in-person services being provided by the department they wish to visit. While appointments are not required, they are encouraged to make sure the staff residents you need to see are available and that appropriate social distancing can be practiced. For a list of departments’ contact information, please visit www.cityofdubuque.org/departments or call 563.589.4100.

Current hours of operations for City departments and facilities are as follows:

Utility Billing: 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 7 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday

Human Resources: In-person business will be conducted by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 563.589.4125.

All other City Hall departments: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Friday

City Hall Annex: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Intermodal Center: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday

Municipal Services Center: 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday – Friday

Leisure Services: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday – Friday

Housing & Community Development in the Historic Federal Building 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Wednesday, & Friday; 9:15 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday

Human Rights in the Ruby Sutton Building: In-person business will be conducted by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 563.589.4190.

Residents are still encouraged to conduct business online or over the phone and are asked to contact individual departments directly to do so.

For more information on current City operations, visit www.cityofdubuque.org.

 


 

ASSOCIATION OF FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONALS GREATER TRISTATE CHAPTER HONORED AS TEN STAR GOLD CHAPTER

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Tristate Chapter (AFP Greater Tristate Chapter) has been named a 2021 Ten Star GOLD Chapter.

Every year, AFP, the largest association of professional fundraisers in the world, honors chapters for achieving goals that align with key objectives in its long-range strategic plan. Chapters receive the Ten Star GOLD Award for performing specific activities designed to increase professionalism within fundraising and public awareness of the importance of philanthropy.

Less than 20 percent of AFP’s 200 professional chapters earn the Ten Star Gold Chapter recognition, making the AFP Greater Tristate Chapter one of the association’s leading chapters around the world.

Chapter president Wendy Knight, stated: “I am thrilled that the Greater TriState AFP chapter has been honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for our work this past year. While it was a challenging one for each of us, the fundraising professionals who volunteer and engage with our local chapter worked diligently to uphold the highest standards of fundraising and support one another during the most trying times. We are blessed to have amazing philanthropists.”

Ten Star Gold Chapters are recognized at the AFP International Conference on Fundraising (ICON). Chapters also earn the privilege of displaying the Ten Star Gold logo on their website, newsletters and stationery.

Criteria for the award are determined by AFP Global Headquarters. A list of several goals is published annually, and chapters must accomplish 15 of these goals during the year and submit a nomination form for verification to be honored.

For more information on the Ten Star Award process, please visit www.afpglobal.org.

Since 1960, AFP has inspired global change and supported efforts that generated over $1 trillion. AFP’s more than 31,000 individual and organizational members raise over $115 billion annually, equivalent to one-third of all charitable giving in North America and millions more around the world. For more information or to join the world’s largest association of fundraising professionals, visit www.afpglobal.org.

 


 

The benefits of audiobooks for book lovers

People who love to read often get lost in a good book. Reading is a beloved hobby across the globe. But even avid readers cannot be immersed in books all of the time … or can they?

Reading while driving or engaging in other tasks is challenging or even dangerous, but audiobooks provide a way to enjoy a good story even when you’re otherwise engaged. Though dedicated readers may feel like they’re “cheating” by turning to audiobooks, these alternatives to traditional books can be beneficial in various applications, particularly among learning-disabled individuals or second-language learners.

Audiobooks have grown in popularity. Data from the Audio Publishers Association indicates that audiobook sales reached $1.2 billion in 2019. That figure supports the notion that audiobooks can provide a host of benefits to people who can’t wait to begin their next page turner.

• Improve punctuation and fluency: Audiobooks tend to be read by professional narrators or even well known actors and actresses. Listening to audiobooks can help people learn proper pronunciation of words, how to read with punctuation in mind and also to take notice of speed, stresses and pauses that are important in developing reading fluency.

• Introduce new material: Reading Rockets, a resource for teaching reading, says audiobooks may introduce readers to books above their reading levels or to subjects they may not normally delve into.

• Expand vocabulary: Listening to audiobooks can introduce readers to new words and teach readers how to pronounce unfamiliar dialects or old literary styles.

• Experience vivid images: Audiobooks may evoke feelings of what it was to be read to as a child. According to Psychology Today, listeners can use the narrator’s words and form mental pictures of characters and the plot.

• Escapism: Rather than listening to music while commuting, exercising or doing work that doesn’t require much concentration, people can use audiobooks to stimulate their minds.

• Relax and relieve stress: Audiobooks can help people feel happy, thus improving their overall health. Relaxing voices and vivid scene descriptions can soothe a person and even help them get ready to sleep.

• Manage time more effectively: A notable benefit of audiobooks is that they can be utilized as people perform other tasks, helping to free up time throughout the rest of the day while still ensuring people get to enjoy a good story.

Audiobooks may be the answer for busy book lovers.

 


 

Campsite safety tips

The appeal of camping is undeniable. According to The Business Research Company, a market research and intelligence company, the global camping and caravanning market is expected to grow from just under $40 billion in 2020 to more than $45 billion in 2021. Estimates suggest the market will grow even more in the coming years, reaching $56.6 billion by 2025.

Camping has long been a popular pastime for outdoor enthusiasts, but it may have developed an entirely new group of devotees in 2020. Traditional vacations may not have been possible in 2020, when governments across the globe urged citizens to avoid conventional travel as the world found itself in the throes of a global pandemic. In an effort to overcome cabin fever, many people viewed camping as a safe way to get out of the house while still limiting contact with people from other households. That no doubt inspired new generations of camping fans, many of whom will continue to pitch their tents and sit around campfires long after the pandemic has ended.

The National Park Service recognizes the popularity of camping and urges people to stay safe. Veteran campers and novices alike can benefit from reviewing these safety tips, courtesy of the NPS.

• Plan ahead. Camping trips may not require hours of scouring travel websites in an effort to find the best deals on flights and hotels. But camping trips still require ample planning. When planning a trip, take into account who’s coming along. Assess their camping skills and physical fitness to determine the most appropriate place to camp. Campers with limited mobility may be best suited for accessible campsites. The NPS urges campers to consider if everyone in the group will be able to make a long hike from the parking lot to the campsite. If not, choose a site that you can pull right up to or is just a short, easy walk from the parking lot.

• Research the campsite and surrounding area. Know as much as possible about the campsite prior to embarking on your trip. Learn about everything from the local wildlife you may encounter while camping to the condition of surrounding areas, including the altitude, the difficulty of nearby hiking trails and where to go in case of emergency.

• Develop an emergency plan. The NPS urges campers to develop an emergency plan, noting that it’s always wise to expect the unexpected when camping. Bring a first aid kit along when leaving the campsite to engage in activities like hiking or fishing. Go over safety protocols before going on a hike, including the need to stay together and remain on the trail at all times. More information about what to do should anyone be injured during your trip is available at www.nps.gov.

• Bring the right gear. The NPS notes that each camping trip will have its own equipment needs, which will be dictated by the setting, the time of year of the trip, the difficulty of the terrain, and the duration of the trip. Navigational supplies, sun and insect protection, insulation (i.e., extra clothing and blankets), shelter, flashlights and headlamps, first aid kits, extra food and water, firestarters, repair kits and tools, and a communication device like a smartphone or satellite phone are the essential necessities that should be brought along on all camping trips.

Camping is a great way to get away. Campers of all skill and experience levels can make the most of their trips by emphasizing safety at all times.

 


 

The dos and don’ts of fire pits

Many homeowners relish any opportunity to retreat to their back yards, where they can put up their feet and relax in the great outdoors. That retreat-like escape is made even more relaxing when sitting around a fire pit.

Fire pits can be found in millions of suburban backyards across the globe. Fire pits have become so popular that a 2016 survey of landscape architects conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects revealed they were the most sought after outdoor design element. Fire pits remain wildly popular a half decade after that survey.

Homeowners who are only now joining the fire pit revolution can keep these dos and don’ts in mind as they plan their summer s’mores sessions.

DO keep the fire pit a safe distance away from the home. Fire pits should be located a safe distance from the home at all times, but especially when they’re in use. Home design experts recommend keeping fire pits a minimum of 10 to 20 feet away from a house or other structure, such as a shed or a detached garage. The further away the fire is from houses and other structures, the less likely those structures are to catch on fire.

DON’T place the fire pit beneath trees or next to shrubs. Though fire pits should be kept safe distances away from a house and other structures, it’s important that they’re not placed beneath trees or next to shrubs. Shrubs and low hanging branches can easily catch embers and be lit ablaze, so make sure fire pits are not placed in locations that increase that risk.

DO clean out seasonal debris. It can be tempting to let seasonal debris resting inside the fire pit burn away during the season’s first s’mores session. But burning debris poses a serious safety risk, as embers can easily be blown out of the fire pit and catch nearby trees or shrubs or even a home on fire. The National Fire Protection Association advises homeowners that embers blowing from a backyard fire pose the same threat to homes as if they are from a wildfire.

DON’T let fire pits burn near flammable materials. Store firewood piles a safe distance away from the fire pit while it’s in operation. It may be convenient to keep firewood right next to the fire pit while the fire is burning, but that increases the risk that embers will land on firewood and start a fire outside of the pit.

DO check the weather report prior to starting the fire. Windy weather increases the risk of embers blowing around and potentially landing on the house, other structures around the property or trees. If the weather report is calling for gusting winds, burn a fire on another night.

DON’T leave a fire pit fire burning. Unattended recreational fires are illegal and incredibly dangerous. Homeowners should never leave fire pit fires burning unattended or allow fires to slowly die out overnight. Always extinguish the fire before going inside and stop adding wood to the fire roughly one hour before you plan to go inside. Water or sand can be poured on ashes to extinguish the fire. Once homeowners are confident a fire has been extinguished, ashes can be spread around to ensure there are no hot spots still burning. If there are, start the extinguishing process over again.

A night around the fire pit is a summertime tradition in many households. Safety must be as much a part of such traditions as s’mores.

 


 

Creative Mother’s Day celebration and gift ideas

On Sunday, May 9, 2021, millions of people will celebrate the special women in their lives, particularly the mothers, grandmothers and stepmothers who often tirelessly care for those they love.

Created by Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century and designated an official United States holiday in 1914, Mother’s Day is a special day in many families. Apart from birthdays, primary female caregivers may not always get the recognition they deserve, nor be entitled to a day to kick back and relax and let others take the helm. Mother’s Day entitles them to something special.

Even though the way people have been living has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mother’s Day may be the first holiday on the calendar when the world can finally regain some sense of normalcy. But caution should still prevail during Mother’s Day celebrations. Thankfully, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate mothers and mother figures this year.

• Dine truly “al fresco.” Outdoor dining has become commonplace, and even before it was a safety measure, enjoying a meal on a sun-soaked patio or overlooking a body of water was popular. If you’re worried about limited restaurant space or crowds, plan a picnic at a scenic location, such as a botanical garden or county park. Include Mom’s favorite foods and enjoy the fresh air and delicious foods together.

• Create a photo slideshow. Digital photos have eclipsed prints in many people’s hearts. But too often digital photos never get seen after they’re initially taken. That can change when you compile a slideshow of favorite photos from childhood and even present-day photos that Mom is sure to appreciate. Use sentimental music or Mom’s favorite songs as the soundtrack, and include some inspirational quotations or personal voiceovers. This is one gift that can be shared in person or over group meeting apps.

• Get involved together. An especially meaningful way to honor a mother who is always giving her time and love is to become involved in a difference-making organization. Joint volunteerism is a great way to spend more time together working toward a worthy goal.

• Enjoy her hobbies and interests. Devote a day or more to trying Mom’s interests and hobbies, whether they include hitting the links, knitting, singing in the church choir, or digging in her garden.

• Send an edible gift. If you can’t be there to celebrate with Mom in person, have a special meal delivered to her door. Then enjoy the same foods with her via Google Meet, Facetime or Zoom. Don’t forget a tasty cocktail so you can toast the special woman in your life.

Mother’s Day celebrations can be unique, heartfelt and customized based on family needs.

 


 

Community Recovery Theme for Mayor’s Spring State of the City

Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol’s Spring 2021 “State of the City” focuses on the community’s recovery from the pandemic and its strong financial position.

“The quickest path to the recovery and reopening of our community lies in vaccinations and doing our part to create herd immunity,” said Buol. “Spring is our time for renewal. When we can gather again, and reflect on the unforgettable year behind us, it is incumbent upon us as a nation to remember lessons learned that require resolution.”

In addition to reflecting on the impact of the pandemic, Buol says Dubuque is on the right path and cites the City’s growing general fund reserve (nearly $18 million), decreasing debt, low property tax rate, and expected $27 million in American Rescue Plan funding.

The text version of the Spring 2021 State of the City appears in the March/April issue of the City News newsletter currently being mailed to utility customers. A video version is airing on CityChannel Dubuque and was also distributed through the City’s social media channels.

Buol’s quarterly State of the City columns appear in City News, Dubuque’s utility bill newsletter. They are also converted into videos that air on CityChannel Dubuque (on Mediacom channels 8 and 117.2 and online at www.cityofdubuque.org/media) and are shared on the City of Dubuque’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels. Both the text version and video are also available at www.cityofdubuque.org/sotc.

 


 

Hospice of Dubuque Virtual Tree of Life Memorial Service

Join us online as we honor and remember your loved ones

Hospice of Dubuque welcomes the entire community to the Virtual Tree of Life Memorial Service on Tuesday, May 25, at 7:30 pm. This annual service, which honors and remembers loved ones, will be hosted online this year. The Tree of Life Memorial Service will include a guest speaker, reflection, music, and lighting the tree. To view the virtual event, visit hospiceofdubuque.org. You can also search for Hospice of Dubuque on YouTube or Facebook. The event recording will be available at a later date on the Hospice of Dubuque website.

To recognize someone who has touched your life with a light on the Tree of Life, please send a tax-deductible gift to Hospice of Dubuque—1670 JFK Road, Dubuque, IA, 52002. Anyone may submit a donation in honor or memory of a loved one. Donations must reach the Hospice of Dubuque office by May 20 to be listed in the program. Your gift supports the Hospice of Dubuque mission of compassionate care and makes a difference in the lives of patients and families during a vulnerable stage of life.

The Hospice of Dubuque Tree of Life, located in Dubuque Washington Park, will remain lit through Memorial Day as a way to acknowledge and honor those we love. For more information, please call 563-582-1220 or email cr@hospiceofdubuque.org.

 


 

Shade trees that can make yards more comfortable

Various factors motivate the decisions homeowners make when designing their landscapes. Some may be motivated by the ways additions will affect the resale value of their homes, while others may be guided by a love for a particular type of plant. Comfort is yet another motivator, and shade trees can make yards more comfortable as the mercury rises.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the following are some popular shade trees that can add beauty to a landscape and make it more comfortable come the dog days of summer.

• Quaking aspen: The quaking aspen has the widest natural range of any tree in North America, spanning 47 degrees of latitude, 110 degrees of longitude (nine time zones) and elevations from sea level to timberline. That impressive range is no doubt why the United States Forest Service notes that the quaking aspen can grow in greatly diverse regions, environments and communities.

• Northern catalpa: The Arbor Day Foundation notes that the northern catalpa is easily identifiable thanks to its heart-shaped leaves and twisting trunks and branches. Nature enthusiasts, and particularly those who enjoy birdwatching, may be happy to learn that the flowers of the catalpa are frequently visited by hummingbirds.

• Red sunset maple: Its name alone makes many people think of lazy summer days spent lounging in the yard. The red sunset maple provides ample shade and comes with the added benefit of producing an awe-inspiring blend of red and orange leaves come the fall. Red sunset maples can survive in a range of habitats and their adaptable roots means they can thrive in various soil types.

• Northern red oak: The state tree of New Jersey, the northern red oak is, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, both beloved for its aesthetic appeal and valued for its adaptability and usefulness. Northern red oaks can tolerate urban conditions, but they do not do well in hot climates.

• Sawtooth oak: Another tree that produces some awe-inspiring color, the sawtooth oak is a durable, adaptable shade tree. Golden yellow leaves in the spring will give way to dark green in summer, only to turn yellow and golden brown in the fall. The Tree Center Plant Supply Co. notes that the sawtooth oak can thrive in warmer climates where shade trees that can coexist with high temperatures can be hard to find.

Shade trees can add beauty to a property and make a yard more comfortable. Homeowners are urged to discuss shade trees with a local lawn and garden professional prior to planting.

 


 

Make graduation day comfortable

Graduation day will arrive before many students have a chance to pause and reflect on their time as students. The pomp and circumstance are deeply rooted traditions passed down through academia. If only comfort was automatically built into the graduation equation.

Most graduation ceremonies occur at the end of the school year when temperatures tend to be rather warm. For schools with large student bodies, the distribution of diplomas might take place outdoors on a football field or under a tent. Some ceremonies may take place in poorly ventilated auditoriums. That can make conditions less than comfortable for graduates.

Attire also can make grads uncomfortable. Graduation caps and gowns can be cumbersome, especially the heavily robed and layered gowns that signify higher academia.

Finally, graduation ceremonies tend to be lengthy, which can only exacerbate any discomfort grads may feel.

Discomfort need not dominate come graduation day. In fact, students can take various steps to ensure graduation day is as comfortable as possible.

• Wear something lightweight. Layering a gown on top of heavy clothing can be a recipe for overheating. Dress accordingly for the weather that day and the venue. Remember, it’s always possible to add a layer.

• Stick to sensible shoes. That short trek across the stage to receive the diploma will be watched by hundreds in attendance and possibly recorded for posterity. Avoid slip-ups by wearing comfortable, flat shoes that are skid-resistant.

• Bring some tissues along. Reactions and emotions can run high on graduation day. This day is a milestone, and a few tears may be shed. Have tissues handy to catch stray tears.

• Leave ample time. Crowds will be descending on the school for the festivities. Traffic and parking issues are to be expected. Early birds will get the best parking spaces and will be around to hear their names called.

• Stay hydrated. Stuffy auditoriums or sun-baked bleachers can quickly make for an uncomfortable setting. While you shouldn’t bring along a bag, purse or too many accessories, tuck a small water bottle under your seat to help you stay refreshed throughout the ceremony.

Focus on comfort during a graduation ceremony, as the entire experience should be one to savor and enjoy.

 


 

How to reduce risk for Lyme disease

When the weather warms up and hours of daylight increase, few people can resist the allure of the great outdoors. Nature beckons each spring, and those answering that call must do so safely.

Lyme disease is a potential threat for people who live in certain regions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly every state, though residents in certain states are more vulnerable than others. For example, CDC data indicates that incidence rates were highest in several states in New England, including Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, while rates in Oklahoma, Missouri and Wyoming were especially low.

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. Playing, hiking, camping, or working in wooded or grassy places where instances of Lyme disease are high increases a person’s risk of being bitten. But that doesn’t mean those in areas like New England, the mid-Atlantic or the Upper Midwest must avoid such activities. However, they should take steps to prevent tick bites when going out into the great outdoors.

• Recognize where ticks live. The CDC reports that blacklegged ticks cause Lyme disease and that such ticks live in moist and humid environments. In addition, the Lyme Disease Association notes that ticks are most likely to be in certain areas, including woods, areas where woods meet lawns and where lawns meet fields. Ticks also may be living in tall brush/grass, under leaves, under ground cover, near stone walls or wood piles, or in shady areas. Ticks also may be drawn to areas around bird feeders or outdoor areas designated for pets.

• Wear insect repellent. The CDC recommends wearing insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Repellents should contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. The EPA even has a tool on its website that can help people choose the right repellent products for them. That tool can be found at https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you. The CDC advises people to treat clothing and gear, including socks and tents, with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin, which can remain protective even after several washings. Pre-treated clothing may be protective even longer.

• Check for ticks every day. Ticks can be found anywhere on the body, and the CDC recommends checking for ticks every day. Pay particular attention to underarms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, the back of the knees, in and around all head and body hair, between the legs, and around the waist.

Ticks pose a threat when spending time in the great outdoors. Various preventive measures can help people reduce their risk for Lyme disease.

 


 

Voices Productions + Travel Dubuque Announce 10 Year Mural Project

Voices Productions and Travel Dubuque are pleased to announce they have joined in  partnership to launch a rotating mural initiative in downtown Dubuque.

The wall that will host this ongoing mural exhibition is located at 105 Locust Street in downtown Dubuque. This large south facing wall acts as an exciting “artistic gateway” for travelers entering Dubuque.

Beginning this month, Voices Productions and Travel Dubuque will curate and art direct a new mural on this wall annually for the next ten years. Each year the mural will be repainted and renewed, showcasing new artists and exploring various themes and subjects which relate to life in Dubuque.

The first iteration of this new initiative commenced on April 21st, when Connecticut based muralist Ryan Christenson comes to Dubuque to interpret the theme of one of America’s favorite pastimes. Christenson, known as ARCY, had previously painted ‘Charging Bison’ at the105 Locust Street location.

 


 

Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

If you are worried that you may have a drinking problem, first know
that you are not alone. Whether you are exhibiting signs of binge drinking, alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, alcohol use disorder (AUD) may be more common than you think.

Nearly one-third of American adults are considered excessive drinkers, and 10 percent of them are considered alcoholics. This means that an estimated 15 million people cope with alcoholism across the country.

If you have family members with drinking problems or know anyone who struggles with substance use of any kind, you’re at a higher risk of developing a problem with alcohol. Similarly, if you or your family have a history of mental health disorders, you’re at a higher risk of developing a drinking problem.

It’s important to understand the difference between having a drinking problem, such as being a binge drinker or alcohol abuser, and suffering from alcoholism. While they are not the same, binge drinking can lead to alcohol abuse, which can ultimately lead to alcoholism. The sooner you recognize your drinking problem and take the steps to reduce your unhealthy habits or quit alcohol altogether, the easier it will be.

What is the Difference Between a Drinking Problem & Alcoholism?

Having a drinking problem could mean that you tend to binge drink. This means that you drink enough to raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 g/dL.

Generally, it takes women and men about four to five drinks to reach a 0.08 g/dL BAC level. However, what you eat, how much you weigh, any medications you take, your overall health, your hydration level, and other factors can all impact the effects of alcohol. For example, if you haven’t eaten much on a day that you drink alcohol, your BAC level may rise quicker than if you had eaten more.

While binge drinking is certainly not safe, heavy drinking every once in a while does not necessarily mean you abuse alcohol. Unlike heavy drinkers, those who struggle with alcohol misuse still continue to drink despite negative consequences, like the following:

  • Recurrent health problems from alcohol
  • Social penalization
  • Occupational issues
  • Legal complications

Still, alcohol abusers have an easier time breaking their bad drinking habits than alcoholics. People with alcoholism have become dependent on alcohol, even despite the consequences. This is because alcoholism is defined as an addiction to alcohol, and people who have gotten to this point may suffer from withdrawals when they’re not drinking. Of course, alcohol withdrawal symptoms make quitting difficult and sometimes dangerous, even if they’re ready and wanting to stop drinking.

Stages of Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction doesn’t just happen overnight. There are stages of alcoholism that turn someone with unhealthy habits into a problem drinker. And, eventually into someone with full-blown alcohol dependence.

Alcoholics may start out as binge drinkers who notice unwanted effects on their well-being when they drink too much. However, since they haven’t developed a noticeable drinking pattern yet, they aren’t too concerned. Maybe they’ve had blackouts here and there, but letting loose with their friends doesn’t seem like an issue. Until their drinking becomes an issue.

Again, binge drinking can lead to alcohol abuse, which starts to have consequences beyond some nasty hangovers. But if you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, those are warning signs that you may have crossed into alcoholism.

There are five stages of alcoholism:

  1. Pre-alcoholics consume standard drinks to feel better, dull pain, escape reality, alleviate anxiety, etc.
  2. Early alcoholics start blacking out from drinking excessively, thinking excessively about drinking, and lying about their drinking habits.
  3. Middle alcoholics are those who are facing the consequences of their actions. Socially, they may be missing work and falling short on family obligations. Physically and mentally, they may be experiencing changes in weight, sleep, energy, mood, and more.
  4. Late alcoholics are very clearly struggling. They continue to drink even at the expense of their deteriorating health and failing relationships. Any attempts to stop drinking typically result in unpleasant and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
  5. Recovering alcoholics are those who are actively on a journey of detoxing, getting treatment, and then maintaining sobriety. Recovering alcoholics have often sought professional help to quit drinking safely.

Consequences of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can take a toll on you in many ways, including physically, mentally, socially, and financially.

Excessive alcohol consumption can have physical consequences that include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Unhealthy weight gain or loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Liver damage
  • Heart complications
  • Low blood sugar
  • Low libido
  • Central nervous system issues
  • Weakened immune system
  • Some cancers
  • Accidents due to impaired judgement

Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to mental consequences that include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings
  • Compulsive behaviors

Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to social consequences that include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Detachment from family and friends
  • Skipping school or work (which can also lead to financial loss)
  • Dropping once-enjoyable activities

You may experience some or all of these consequences, as well as other consequences of excessive drinking.

What to Do If Someone You Know Has a Drinking Problem

If you, a loved one, or someone else you know has a drinking problem, reach out for professional help or call Addiction Group for more information on top rehabilitation and treatment resources.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Treatment for AUD is available. This includes outpatient and inpatient rehab centers, support groups, traditional talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), holistic healing programs, religious organizations, and more.

Find Help For Your Addiction

You don’t have to overcome your addiction alone. Professional guidance and support is available. Begin a life of recovery by reaching out to a specialist today. Addiction Group helps those struggling with Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD), Substance Use Disorders (SUD), and/or Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders find treatment for addiction. Phone (855) 217-2693 or visit www.addictiongroup.org.

 


 

How heartworm affects household pets

Pets are beloved members of many families. So it’s no surprise that so many pet owners place such a great emphasis on raising healthy pets, often going to great lengths to provide nutritious foods for their furry friends and protecting them from a host of dangers, including heartworm.

What is heartworm?
The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a parasite that primarily infects dogs, cats and ferrets. According to the American Heartworm Society, the heartworm is one foot in length and lives in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of affected pets.

What happens if a pet is infected with heartworms?
Heartworms can cause severe lung disease, heart failure and organ damage.

Where do heartworms pose a threat?
Geography is not a factor that affects heartworms. The AVMA says heartworms pose a threat to pets in every state in the United States and various countries across the globe.

Are all cats and dogs vulnerable to heartworms?
According to the AVMA, all dogs are susceptible to heartworm infection. Indoor and outdoor cats also are vulnerable to heartworm infection. The AVMA notes that heartworm is spread from animal to animal via mosquitoes, which can easily get into homes, potentially biting pets, including indoor house cats.

Do cats and dogs infected with heartworm react differently?
The AHS notes that heartworm manifests itself very differently in cats than it does in dogs. In fact, dogs with heartworms whose conditions have not yet been treated may have several worms in their bodies, while cats with heartworms typically have three or fewer worms and may not have any adult heartworms.

What are signs of heartworm in cats?
The AVMA notes that diagnosing heartworm in cats is more difficult than diagnosing it in dogs, perhaps due to the smaller number of worms in infected cats than in infected dogs. Various tests may be needed to determine the likelihood of heartworm infection in cats, but such tests are not always conclusive. But potential warning signs of heartworm in cats include coughing, respiratory distress and vomiting.

What are signs of heartworm in dogs?
The AVMA indicates that dogs may show no signs of illness if they were recently or mildly infected with heartworms. Signs may only develop when the worms reach adulthood. Dogs may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetites, or experience difficulty breathing. In addition, the AVMA indicates that dogs with heartworm infections may tire rapidly after only moderate exercise.

Is heartworm preventable?
The good news for pet owners and their pets is that heartworm is entirely preventable. Various preventive medicines are available, and pet owners can speak with their veterinarians to determine which product is best for their pets.

Heartworm is a serious yet preventable disease. Pet owners who suspect their pets are infected with heartworm should report those suspicions to their veterinarians immediately.

 


 

Exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Various studies have shown that people who find time to exercise regularly have a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease and also experience greater life satisfaction than people who do not exercise.

Though exercise should be a routine part of everyone’s life, it’s important that people who are physically active recognize the risk for injury that comes with such activity. Such recognition can encourage the kind of balance that can make active men and women less susceptible to injury. It’s also important for active adults to recognize that they may be susceptible to certain types of injuries based on a host of factors, including gender.

According to the Geisinger Health System, a regional health care provider servicing parts of the United States, the differences in body composition and hormone levels between men and women can make women more susceptible to certain injuries than men. For example, Harvard Medical School notes that women have higher estrogen levels and less muscle and fat than men, and these factors and others can contribute to higher incidences of certain injuries among female athletes than male athletes. Though that’s unfortunate, recognition of this gender gap has, according to Harvard Medical School, inspired some innovative efforts designed to prevent injuries in female athletes.

Female athletes and exercise enthusiasts can do their part by recognizing which injuries they may be more susceptible to. Once that recognition has been made, women can speak with their physicians about what they might be able to do to reduce their injury risk.

• Knee injuries: Harvard Medical School notes that knee injuries are especially common among women who play soccer and basketball. Geisinger notes that tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, are more common for active women than active men because women have wider pelvises than men, which places increased strain on their ACLs. In addition, the muscles in women’s hips are typically weaker than men’s, which results in reduced leg control when jumping or landing. That can put extra strain on the ACL, increasing the likelihood that it will tear when turning quickly or accidentally falling. Certain muscle strengthening exercises can greatly reduce risk for ACL injuries, and active women are urged to discuss such exercises with their physicians.

• Stress fractures: Women who participate in high-impact sports and activities may be especially vulnerable to stress fractures. That’s even more so for women suffering from what’s known as the “female athlete triad,” which the Harvard Medical School characterizes as a combination of inadequate calorie and nutrition intake, irregular menstrual periods and bone loss. Consuming a nutritious diet that includes adequate calcium and vitamin D can help reduce risk for stress fractures. Rest also reduces that risk, especially for female athletes who engage in high-impact sports.

• Plantar fasciitis: Sports fans are familiar with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation in the thick band of tissue that supports the arch on the bottom of the foot. Many a professional athlete has experienced plantar fasciitis, and women who engage in certain physical activities may be susceptible to it. Geisinger notes that women are not necessarily more susceptible to plantar fasciitis than men, though they might be more likely to engage in the kinds of activities, such as ballet and aerobic dance, that increase their risk.

Physical activity is important for people of all ages and backgrounds. Women who are physically active and recognize their susceptibility to certain injuries can take steps to reduce their risk for such issues.

 


 

Great gifts for today’s grads

By the time students reach graduation day, many have taken hundreds of tests, written scores of essays, worked through thousands of pencils, and made dozens of friends along the way. Such realities only underscore the notion that graduation is worthy of celebration.

Though not everyone may be able to gather this year for a blow-out graduation party, thoughtful gifts can show graduates their accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. The following are nine graduation gift ideas.

• Keepsake blanket: A blanket featuring school colors that’s woven with photos or data about the graduate and graduating class makes a great keepsake.

• Engraved compass: Finding one’s new direction will take time, and a symbolic compass with inspirational words can help guide graduates on their future quests.

• Jewelry: Gift-givers may want to offer to pay for a school ring or can opt for different jewelry. For example, a necklace with the infinity symbol can represent infinite possibilities ahead. Those who collect charms for bracelets or necklaces can be gifted a graduation-themed charm.

• Dorm room essentials: Graduates going on to college will need a starter pack of essentials. A personalized tote bag filled with toiletries, linens and more will help graduates outfit their dorm rooms in style.

• Inspirational art: Graduates may want to revamp their bedrooms or decorate new dorm rooms. Framed inspirational verses, sayings or images can make ideal gifts.

• Blue-blocking eyeglasses: Blue-blocking lenses protect eyes from the harsh effects of blue light emitted from screens, a big benefit in an era when students and professionals spend ample time with their devices.

• Meal subscription service: In addition to gifting a cooking appliance like a slow cooker or air fryer, giving grads a subscription to a meal delivery service may help them transition to life without mom’s cooking or the dining hall.

• Streaming service: Graduates can benefit from any number of streaming television and movie services to stay entertained while commuting or relaxing around the dorm with friends.

• Luggage: Whether students intend to take a gap year before college or enjoy a summer break before looking for their first job out of school, young adults will always get use out of a set of luggage or a carry-on bag.

Gifts for grads evolve throughout the years, but many gifts have withstood the test of time.

 


 

Local Scouts to Launch Food Drive

“Scouting for Food” Effort Feeds Growing Number of Food Insecure Iowans

In the spirit of the Scout promise to do a good turn daily and “to help other people at all times,” the Northeast Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America will be holding their annual “Scouting for Food” donation drive on Saturday, April 17, 2021. The Scouting for Food drive kicks off the Scouts Summer of Service.

Scouting for Food is the Boy Scouts of America’s nationwide service project to help stop hunger. It began as one Scout’s service project in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1985, and was adopted by the Boy Scout National Organization in 1988.

“There is no better way to show our Scout spirit than by participating in the Scouting for Food drive. It is a great way to provide cheerful service to our community through the Scouting values of being helpful and kind,” says Anna Hudak, Northeast Iowa Council Scout Executive.

In Dubuque, local Scouts will be collecting food donations at any of the three Hy-Vee Food Stores between 9 AM through 2 PM. Non-perishable food or monetary donations will be taken in a drive-through area in the parking lot, or at the doors.

In East Dubuque, residents are asked to place their donated items in a bag on your doorstep by 9 AM. Scouts will blanket the town to pick up donations. If your donated items have not been picked up by noon, please call Joe Kingsley at 563.590.3278. Donations can also be dropped off at the East Dubuque Food Pantry.

In Epworth, Scouts will be distributing door hangers and picking up donations from doorsteps. Donations may also be dropped at Silker’s Grocery on Saturday, April 17. In Farley, Scouts will be distributing door hangers and picking up donations from doorsteps. Donations may also be dropped at Greenwood’s Grocery on Saturday, April 17. In Peosta, Scouts will be distributing door hangers and picking up donations from doorsteps. Donations may also be dropped at Fareway Food Store.

According to Feeding America, 1 in 8 people may experience food insecurity in 2021. There are food insecure families in every community – even in seemingly affluent neighborhoods here in Northeast Iowa.

The Boy Scouts, Northeast Iowa Council serves 2,083 youth in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware and Dubuque counties in Iowa and parts of Jackson and Jo Daviess County in Illinois. The Council, supported by 1,048 volunteers, is headquartered in Dubuque, IA.

 


 

2021 TEAM OF DREAMS CANCELLED, BUT BEYOND THE GAME TO MOVE FORWARD

Dyersville, IA | Team of Dreams, held annually at the Field of Dreams Movie Site, will not be held in 2021 due to concerns over portions of the event that have been hampered by the COVID pandemic. Team of Dreams is anticipated to be held again in 2022 with dates to be announced next year.

“Understandably, many of the players, talent, and entertainment we bring in for Team of Dreams are holding off booking events like ours over concerns of the ongoing COVID pandemic,” stated Keith Rahe, President & CEO of Travel Dubuque. “However, there are things we can do safely and responsibly to allow people to enjoy the rich baseball traditions we have in the area. One of those is hosting Beyond the Game this August surrounding the excitement of the August 12, 2021 Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. We believe we can host a safe event that takes COVID policies and safety practices into account as we move ahead.”

Beyond the Game, an Iowa baseball experience presented by Travel Iowa & Midwest One Bank, is going forward with a line-up of events to take place August 11-12, 2021 in Dyersville, Iowa and throughout Dubuque County. A movie night, outdoor concert, and more is being planned with input from area health professionals and leaders to develop a COVID conscious environment. More details and information on these events will be announced as planning progresses at beyondthegameiowa.com.

Visitors and community members are also invited to explore the “If You Build It Exhibit” dedicated to the making of the movie that put Dyersville on a worldwide stage. The exhibit, located in Dyersville, will be opening for its second year starting May 1, 2021. More details can be found at ifyoubuilditexhibit.com.

 


 

How to celebrate grads despite unique circumstances

The end of a school year has traditionally been a time of celebration. Students may celebrate because summer vacation has arrived, and families typically gather to celebrate students who have earned their diplomas and degrees. But just as it’s compromised many other traditional celebrations, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing how families can safely celebrate graduation.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of medical researchers, a handful of COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed and approved since the end of 2020. As more and more people become vaccinated, the world is gradually emerging from the pandemic. However, members of the class of 2021 will likely have to celebrate in unique circumstances. Such celebrations may not be traditional, but they can still be fun. Families may even enjoy finding new and unique ways to celebrate graduation this spring.

• Create a school-themed “movie” where grads are the stars. Students’ academic careers are filled with milestones, and the emergence of various technologies over the past two decades has made it easier than ever for families to document those milestones. Parents can pore through the many photos and videos they’ve created through the years and create a “This Is Your Life” video montage documenting all the special school-related moments students have had on their way to earning their diplomas and degrees. Parents can share the video with relatives if they still can’t gather en masse come graduation season.

• Plan a special dinner. Graduation dinners are one tradition that need not fall by the wayside, even if meals might not resemble traditional meals. Families comfortable dining out can book a reservation at the grad’s favorite restaurant, while those who prefer to avoid dining out can order takeout from that establishment. But families also can gather and prepare a special meal together. Even if dining at home, everyone can get dressed up and go the extra mile by creating a restaurant-like atmosphere at home. Fête the guest of honor with a toast before the meal, and reserve a special surprise for the graduate that’s only revealed during the meal. For example, parents can uncork a special bottle of wine to commemorate college grads who can legally drink. Parents of newly minted high school graduates can present a special video with well wishes from all the relatives who would normally attend the dinner but cannot due to the pandemic.

• Organize a ceremony at home. A lighthearted graduation ceremony in the living room or the backyard can ensure graduates don’t miss out on their chance to stride across the stage and receive their diploma. Invite a favorite teacher over to give out the diploma or present it yourself while doing your best school principal/president impersonation. This can be a fun way to add some levity to celebrations and will be a fun memory for grads to look back on in the years to come.

Graduation celebrations will be different in 2021, but families can still make the most of their chances to honor grads in these unique circumstances.

 


 

How some famous comedians got their starts

Pranks and jokes are on full display come April 1st, when the world celebrates April Fool’s Day, a date on the calendar that began when certain countries, particularly France, switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

In the Julian calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1, according to History.com. However, upon the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the new year was celebrated on January 1. People who failed to recognize the change were the butt of hoaxes and called fools.
While people today recognize the start of the new year as January 1, the tradition to tell jokes and engage in sometimes elaborate hoaxes has continued. People often become comedians for the day. In fact, the weeks around April Fool’s Day can be an ideal time to reflect on some of the popular comics who have entertained throughout the years and how they got their starts in the industry.

• Roseanne Barr: Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Barr turned her experiences as a wife and mother into a stand-up comedy routine at local clubs. Bigger gigs and increased attention came in the mid-1980s, leading to a television series that earned Barr three Emmy Award nominations.

• Lenny Bruce: Lenny Bruce, born Leonard Alfred Schneider, was a stand-up comedian and satirist. He was a target for prosecutors due to his use of obscenities and controversial subject matter during performances and ultimately became an advocate for free speech. He began doing stand-up at age 22 before joining the Navy during WWII. After his discharge, he resumed his stand-up career and gave edgier performances until his untimely death at age 41.

• George Carlin: Born and raised in New York City, Carlin became known for his dark comedy and reflections on politics, language, taboo subjects, and much more. Carlin got his start as a disc jockey while in the United States Air Force. He met Jack Burns, a fellow DJ, in 1959 and they formed a comedy team. Eventually the duo parted ways, and Carlin went on to have a successful solo career in stand-up.

• Rodney Dangerfield: Dangerfield certainly earned respect in the comedy industry even though he often lamented about not getting any during his acts. Born Jacob Rodney Cohen, he began his career working as a comic in resorts around the Catskill Mountains region and later became a mainstay on late-night TV shows. He appeared in a few films in the 1970s before a breakout film role in the comedy “Caddyshack.”

• Ellen DeGeneres: Hailing from Metairie, Louisiana, DeGeneres dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but claimed she was “not book smart.” During one public speaking event, she used humor to get over her nerves and was a hit. Her successful stand-up work transformed into a sitcom deal and later a long-running talk show.

• Jerry Seinfeld: Jerome Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York, and harbored aspirations to be a comedian by the time he was eight years old. He made his stand-up debut in 1976. By the late 1980s, he was one of the highest profile comics in the United States, and developed a sitcom with fellow comic Larry David.

Comedy takes center stage in April, due to April Fool’s Day, making it a great month to watch a favorite comedian.

 


 

Some baseball fans can return

Sports fans have been anxiously awaiting a return to normalcy for professional athletics. In 2020, professional sporting events were played in largely empty stadiums and arenas. In instances when fans were allowed in stadiums, capacity was often limited to very small crowds.

As bleak as 2020 might have been for sports fans, good news is on the horizon. Spring heralds the return of many things, including Major League Baseball, which begins its season on April 1. But it may be May before many fans feel comfortable returning to the stands to cheer on their favorite teams.

State and local governments will continue to have major input in regard to determining how many fans will be able to attend live sporting events. In addition, the percentage of fans allowed inside stadiums is likely to change based on fluctuations in COVID-19 cases and regional vaccination rates.

As of early March 2021, a handful of the 30 MLB teams had yet to release their attendance plans. However, the number of fans who will be allowed to attend games is predicted to range from 10 percent to 30 percent capacity in various stadiums. For example, the state of New York is allowing stadiums to open at 10 percent capacity. That means the Yankees and Mets can seat 5,400 and 4,200 fans, respectively. The Kansas City Royals will start the season with 30 percent capacity and Kauffman Stadium has been reconfigured for pod-style seating. The Miami Marlins and Marlins Park are allowing 25 percent capacity to begin the season, or approximately 9,200 fans.

Baseball fans who find they are unable to get tickets to games or still want to wait a while before attending in person can indulge their love of baseball in other ways.

• Continue to watch games on television and create virtual game watches with fellow fans via Zoom.

• Support local minor league baseball. Check to see what restrictions, if any, local stadiums may have regarding attendance.

• Plan a road trip to a state that has a large stadium or high capacity volumes for fans.

• Make a pilgrimage to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Visits may be governed by certain restrictions, which can be found at www.baseballhall.org.

• Volunteer as a coach for a youth baseball team or attend a high school baseball game.

Baseball fans have reason to rejoice as the opportunity to enjoy their favorite sport in person is once again possible in many areas.

 


 

4 tips for backyard barbecue success

When the weather warms up, the opportunities to enjoy more time outdoors increase. For many people that means firing up the grill to cook dinners in the backyard and also to host friends and family for outdoor gatherings around the patio.

Barbecuing is enjoyed around the world and is especially popular in the United States, where even presidents have touted the virtues of cooking outside. Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and even Ronald Reagan hosted barbecues with tasty grilled or smoked food during their terms.

Barbecues are especially popular in spring and summer. Memorial Day often marks the unofficial kickoff to the summer barbecue season. After Memorial Day weekend, the smell of barbecue often can be detected on a nightly basis in suburban neighborhoods.

Follow these tips to make backyard barbecues even more successful this year.

1. Make food safety a priority. A successful barbecue is one in which everyone goes home sated and stuffed with delicious foods. However, ensuring people don’t fall ill also is vital. Keep in mind that the temperature outdoors impacts the rate of spoilage for raw and cooked foods. Always keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold (place items on ice or in coolers). The Food and Drug Administration advises moving leftovers indoors promptly and discarding any items that have been sitting outside for longer than two hours at room temperature. Items should be moved indoors or discarded even more quickly in especially hot conditions.

2. Learn how to smoke. Grilling is one skill, and smoking is another. As the popularity of food smokers has increased, prices have come down. Novices can visit barbecue competitions and talk to professionals about their tips for smoking foods, or learn more by watching tutorials online. Smoked foods take a lot of time to cook, allowing hosts an opportunity to mingle with guests.

3. Keep things simple. Serve only a handful of items to cut down on the amount of preparation required. Two main proteins and maybe three side dishes is adequate. Chips or other pre-made snacks can fit the bill. Condensing options also reduces how much you have to manage. Be sure to have options for those with food allergies or intolerances when planning the menu.

4. Set up clusters of seating. Grouping sets of chairs at tables around the yard encourages guests to mingle. Also, it helps space out people for social distancing and avoids a bottleneck around the food.

Make the most of barbecue season by embracing strategies to be successful hosts and hostesses.

 


 

New Rent, Utility Bill, and Mortgage Assistance Available for Iowans

The Iowa Finance Authority is now accepting applications for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program and the Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program to help Iowans facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program can help eligible renters impacted by COVID-19 receive rent assistance, utility bill assistance, or both rent and utility bill assistance. To be eligible, renters must:
•Meet income qualifications.
• Face the risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
• Have qualified for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic; or have experienced a reduction in household income, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program can assist eligible homeowners impacted by COVID-19 with mortgage assistance. To be eligible, homeowners must:
• Meet income qualifications.
• Face the risk of foreclosure due to a documented COVID-19-related loss of income.

To learn more about these programs and to apply, visit iowahousingrecovery.com. Iowans can also call 515-348-8813 or 855-300-5885 for application assistance. For a full list of support and recovery programs available to Dubuque residents, visit cityofdubuque.org/covid19support.

 


 

Cracking the tradition of hiding Easter eggs

Come Easter Sunday, eager children wake up to see if the Easter Bunny has visited their homes. For many families, Easter would not be the same without an annual egg hunt. From chocolate confections to money-filled plastic shells to colorful, hand-decorated hard-boiled eggs, the Easter Bunny (and his parental helpers) hide eggs all around.

As with many traditions, people may engage in the festivities without really understanding the origins behind the fun. It can be interesting to unearth just how such egg hunts were hatched.

As with many religious traditions, Easter egg coloring and hunts trace their origins to pre-Christian societies. These societies developed rituals surrounding nature, the seasons and more. Some traditions were adapted to link them to the Christian faith. Eggs held associations with new life and spring. However, early Christians turned the egg into a symbol of the Resurrection and the empty shell became a representation of Christ’s tomb. Eggs also were important components of the Easter holiday, as they were prohibited (like meat) during Lent. But on Easter, fasting ended and eggs were a part of Easter celebrations, particularly for the poor who couldn’t afford meat.

There are two widely known accounts of the origins of Easter egg hunts. The religious version has Protestant reformer Martin Luther organizing hunts for his congregation. The men would hide the eggs for women and children to find, which mirrors Resurrection accounts in the Bible in which women discovered Christ’s empty tomb. Another account traces the tradition to the Dutch tale of the “Oschter Haws” (“Osterhase” in German), which was a hare that laid eggs in the grass. Children would build and decorate nests for the eggs and wait to see if they would be populated, according to Discovery.com. This tradition became popular in America with the arrival of Dutch and German settlers in Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

By the 20th century, decorated Easter nests were replaced with baskets, and Osterhase was more affectionately known as the Easter Bunny, who chose to leave eggs as well as treats and candy. Easter celebrations continued to marry both the religious and secular to form many of the customs that are known widely today.

Easter egg hunts are enjoyed by the young and old on Easter. They’re a key part of celebrations. Just remember to find all those hard-boiled eggs in a timely fashion.

 


 

Easter centerpiece ideas to beautify the table

Easter is a springtime holiday that marks a prime opportunity to cast off the remnants of winter weather and dress a home in bright, colorful hues.

Come Easter, tulips and daffodils may be sprouting, lilies are on display in churches and many other spring touches are incorporated into home decor. Celebrants who will be hosting their families or more intimate Easter gatherings can extend the eye-catching improvements to the dining table. Easter centerpieces are a prime way to add color and ambiance to interior designs.

Here’s a look at various ways to decorate the table for Easter celebrations.

• Carrot-filled container: Embrace an Easter bunny theme by hanging a bundle of carrots inside a glass vase or bowl and topping with orange, yellow and other spring-themed flowers and greenery.

• Pussy willow basket: Weave pussy willow stems into a basket shape or braid them together to make a ring. Then fill with colored Easter eggs or flower petals.

• Nested flowers: Purchase a wooden or wicker basket and weave or glue small twigs onto it. This will give it the look of a natural bird’s nest, which is one of the markers of the spring season. The nest can cradle spring blooms, such as tulips, or hold Easter eggs.

• Easter bunny garden: Fill a shallow ceramic bowl with floral design moss or another green filler. Place a gold-foil chocolate bunny or a ceramic rabbit in the center and put small tealight candles and a small glass canister of pastel-colored candy eggs to complete the picture.

• Take a ‘peep’: Marshmallow Peeps® are an Easter staple and they can have a place outside of Easter baskets. Line a small vase with Peeps. Place cut flowers inside for a festive centerpiece.

• Rainy day decor: April showers bring May flowers. Put that sentiment on display by purchasing an inexpensive pair of brightly colored rubber rain boots. Place cut fresh tulips into narrow glass vases and then slip the vases inside of the boots for a festive and funny table conversation piece.

• Floating flowers: Poke the stem of a flower into a square of bubble wrap. Place into a small fishbowl filled with water and watch the flowers float on top. Tint the water a pastel hue if desired.

• Painted pinecone bouquet: If you have pine cones left over from Christmas decorations or a pile that the kids may have collected from the yard, paint them in bright colors for an Easter makeover. Place in the container of your choice and add some faux or real greenery to complete the bouquet picture.

Dining tables can be incorporated into Easter decor. There are many different creative options for crafting centerpieces guests will adore.

 


 

City of Dubuque Implementing New Pavilion Fees

The City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department is adjusting the rental fees for the department’s park pavilions. The changes will become effective on Monday, April 5, 2021.

The increase in rental fees was approved by the City Council as a part of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget process. Rental fees for pavilions were last increased in 2019 due to the standardization of fees based on seating capacity groupings.

Operating expenses to maintain these facilities have increased over time, requiring an increase in funding to maintain the infrastructure of Dubuque’s park system. The new fee structure was developed after a review of park pavilion rental fees and pavilion types and amenities in other Iowa cities.

Pavilions with a rental fee of over $100 will increase by 10 percent and pavilions with a rental fee under $100 will increase by 20 percent.

Park pavilions are available to rent from the first Saturday in May through the fourth Saturday in October. To reserve a park pavilion, please visit www.cityofdubuque.org/parks or call 563.589.4263 for more information.

 


 

Sod vs. seed: Which is your best option?

A pristine lawn can be the finishing touch to a landscape and add significant value to a home. According to a joint study by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington, homes with high curb appeal sell for an average of 7 percent more than similar houses without inviting exteriors.

When it comes to establishing a lawn, homeowners have two key options: starting from seed or installing sod. Each comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages. Which option makes the most sense for a given lawn will boil down to various factors, including homeowners’ budgets.

Seed
Seed is the first thing homeowners may think of when planning a lawn. Seed is an inexpensive, easily installed option. Plus, garden centers sell a variety of seeds specific to particular regions and climates. The home improvement resource Fixr says seed will cost an average of 24 cents per square foot installed compared to $1.29 for sod. That affordability compels many homeowners to turn to seed. However, seed can take up to two years to produce a lush lawn and it requires high maintenance in the initial months to establish the grass.

Seed also requires greater soil preparation, including tilling to loosen soil and keeping the lawn well watered until the grass is hardy. Weeds also may mix in with seed more readily, meaning weed prevention becomes an additional task.

Sod
One of the advantages to sod is that it can produce an instant lawn. When time is of the essence, sod will produce a complete lawn nearly as soon as the sod is laid. Sod can be used to mitigate soil erosion, as it works faster than seed, which needs to establish a root system to keep soil in check. Also, sod does not require as much soil preparation as seed.

The potential disadvantages to sod are its cost and the time it takes to install it, particularly on a large property. In addition, sod will require careful maintenance for at least the first two weeks until the sod takes stronger roots. It can be an expensive mistake if sod doesn’t thrive and new pieces need to be installed. The Family Handyman says sod tends to be sun-loving and may not work in shadier areas of a property.

Sod and seed are the two main options for lush lawns. Each has its perks, and homeowners can speak with a local lawn specialist to determine which option is best for their lawn.

 


 

Stay safe when working in the yard this spring and summer

A day spent working in the yard is an ideal way to pass the time on spring and summer afternoons. A pristine landscape can add value to a property and instill pride in homeowners who put a lot of thought and effort into their lawns and gardens.

A sun-soaked day can make it easy to overlook potential threats when working in a lawn or garden. But safety precautions are of the utmost necessity when working in the yard, where the risk for serious injury is considerable. For example, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that, in 2016, more than 90,000 patients, including nearly 5,000 children, were treated in hospital emergency rooms for lawn mower-related injuries.

Lawn- and garden-related injuries can be prevented without going to great lengths.

• Know your terrain before mowing. Knowing the terrain in your own yard can reduce the risk for accident or injury. This can be especially important when mowing the lawn with a riding mower. Adhere to manufacturers’ recommendations regarding inclines to reduce tip-over accidents that can pin riders beneath the mower. Study hilly areas of the yard prior to mowing so you know which areas are safe to mow with a riding mower and which areas are best mowed with a walk-behind mower. For greater control when using a walk-behind mower on an incline, mow parallel to the slope.

• Apply and reapply sunscreen. Sunburns may not require trips to the emergency room, but they can still be serious. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that sunburn is a leading cause in the majority of cases of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. The SCF recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside to allow the sunscreen to bond to your skin. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more often if you’re sweating excessively. The SCF recommends broad spectrum sunscreens, which protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Though a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is acceptable when walking the dog or driving to work, the SCF advises using a product with an SPF of 30 or higher when engaging in extended outdoor activities like gardening or mowing.

• Employ the buddy system. Use the buddy system when pruning tall trees or performing any tasks that require a ladder. The Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania reports that more than 164,000 people are injured each year falling off a ladder. Ask a significant other or neighbor to hold the ladder in place while you climb up to reduce your risk of falling. If cutting large branches, cut them piecemeal to reduce the risk of being injured by heavy falling branches.

• Inspect the property for insect hives. The OIP notes that the most common insect stings in spring come from bees, wasps and hornets. Homeowners who are not careful can inadvertently come across hives when doing spring cleanup, making them vulnerable to bites and stings. That can be very dangerous for anyone, and especially so for people with a history of allergic reactions to insect bites or stings. Inspect areas where you’ll be working to make sure insects haven’t put down roots in your property. If you discover any hives and are hesitant to remove them on your own, contact a local landscaping firm.

Lawn and garden accidents and injuries can be serious. Thankfully, accidents and injuries are easily prevented when homeowners take a few simple safety precautions while tending to their lawns and gardens.

 


 

Food Giveaway scheduled for March 27

Lord of Life Lutheran Church is hosting a Drive-thru Food Giveaway on Saturday, March 27, from 9:00 am to 11 am (or until food runs out) at 2899 Hales Mill Road.

Those interested in picking up groceries should line up on Springreen Drive. Stay in your vehicle while groceries are placed in your trunk. The operation will continue until groceries are gone.

 


 

Apply Now for City of Dubuque Neighborhood Grants

The City of Dubuque and the Dubuque Community Development Advisory Commission have announced that funding is still available for the Neighborhood Grant Program.

The online application must be submitted by the first business day of every month. Grant applications will be reviewed by the Community Development Advisory Commission at their meeting on the third Wednesday of the month. The maximum grant award is $3,000. Information on how to apply, guidelines, and applications are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/neighborhoods under the “Funding Resources for Neighborhood Groups” tab.

The Neighborhood Grant Programs are designed to support projects undertaken by neighborhood associations and other non-profit organizations to support the empowerment of residents to address needs and opportunities to make their neighborhoods more livable. It is intended to support neighborhood development and provide a direct benefit to low/moderate income individuals or neighborhoods. Funding priorities are for projects which identify and/or build on neighborhood strengths and assets, address needs of low-and-moderate income residents, support neighborhood development and improve quality of life and projects that support efforts to make Dubuque a more equitable and inclusive community.

For additional information, contact Assistant City Manager Cori Burbach at cburbach@cityofdubuque.org, Sustainable Community Coordinator Gina Bell at gbell@cityofdubuque.org, or call 563.589.4110.

 


 

How to respond to pesticide poisoning

Tending to a lawn and garden can be a great way to spend time in the great outdoors. It’s also an enjoyable way to improve a home’s curb appeal.

Though many homeowners prefer a wholly organic approach to lawn care and gardening, sometimes pests and other problems force people to apply pesticides around their properties. The application of pesticides can make homeowners, and anyone who spends time on their properties, including children, vulnerable to pesticide poisoning.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people exposed to pesticides may exhibit a host of symptoms. External irritants that come into contact with the skin can cause redness, itching or pimples, and such substances also may contribute to allergic reactions marked by redness, swelling or blistering. Stinging and swelling in the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat also may occur after being exposed to pesticides.

Pesticides also can cause internal injuries to a person’s organs, potentially leading to significant issues. The EPA notes that the lungs, stomach and nervous system all can be affected when pesticides are swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. People experiencing lung injuries after exposure to pesticides may experience shortness of breath, heavy salivation (drooling) or rapid breathing. Injuries to the stomach may lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea. If the nervous system is affected by pesticide exposure, people may experience excessive fatigue, sleepiness, headache, muscle twitching, and numbness.

If pesticide poisoning is suspected, it’s imperative that someone, be it the person who was poisoned, the parent of a child who may have been exposed or a medical professional treating the affected person, identify the type of poisoning that has occurred. That’s because the EPA notes that the appropriate treatment will depend on the kind of poisoning that has occurred.

• Chemical burn on skin: If treating a chemical burn on the skin, the EPA advises drenching the skin with water for at least 15 minutes. All contaminated clothing should be removed and then skin and hair should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water.

• Inhaled poison: The response to an inhaled poison will depend on where the person is at the time of exposure. If outside, move the person away from any area recently treated with pesticide. If inside, move the person to fresh air immediately (doors and windows should ultimately be opened to reduce the risk of others being exposed). Contact the local fire department if you think you need a respirator prior to helping the victim. If the victim is wearing tight clothing, loosen that clothing. Give artificial respiration to a victim whose skin is blue or if the victim has stopped breathing.

• Substance in the eye: If a poison has entered the eye, wash the eye quickly and gently with cool running water for 15 minutes or more. Use only water and do not use eye drops, chemicals or drugs. It’s imperative that people act quickly if a substance has gotten into the eye, as membranes in the eyes act faster than in any other external part of the body, and eye damage can occur within minutes of exposure.

• Substance on the skin: Drench the skin with water for at least 15 minutes and then wash skin and hair thoroughly. Discard contaminated clothing or thoroughly wash it separate from other laundry.

• Swallowed pesticide: If a pesticide has been swallowed and the victim is still conscious, he or she should drink a small amount of water to dilute the pesticide. Only induce vomiting on the advice of a poison control center or physician.

Pesticide exposure can be very dangerous. It’s imperative that people who plan to apply pesticides in their lawns and gardens learn how to respond if they or someone on their property is exposed to pesticides.

 


 

Recognizing and reporting child abuse

No one wants to imagine a scenario in which a child is threatened or unsafe. Unfortunately, children find themselves confronting abusive situations every day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines child abuse as any emotional, physical mistreatment, neglect or sexual abuse perpetrated by an adult in a role of responsibility on someone who is under the age of 18. Everyone, whether they have children of their own or work with children or even those people who do not routinely interact with children, can do their part to protect children by learning to recognize the warning signs of child abuse.

For the last year-plus, people all over the world have been told to stay close to home to curb the spread of COVID-19. But home may not be the safest place for children who suffer at the hands of their guardians. Furthermore, job loss, grief and unprecedented stress resulting from the pandemic may exacerbate abusive situations or even precipitate them in homes where violence has never been an issue.

According to Josie Serrata, Ph.D., a co-owner of Prickly Pear Therapy and Training, stress and social isolation can increase the risk of domestic violence. Dr. Jamye Coffman, who serves as medical director of the Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, fears growing numbers of abuse cases as the nation continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic and the stresses brought on by illness, unemployment and even food insecurity.

There is an additional component in the mix as well. In many instances, school officials and teachers are some of the first people to recognize potentially abusive situations in children’s homes. But with many school districts opting for all-virtual instruction, school staff may not be in position to spot signs of abuse. Plus, children who may normally go to their teachers or principals for help no longer have that secure option away from home.

These factors make it even more important for the general public to educate themselves about possible signs of child abuse; they may be a hurting child’s only advocates. Here are some signs of potential physical and emotional abuse.

• Unexplained injuries, such as bruises.
• Depression or excessive crying.
• Sudden changes in the child’s behavior or demeanor.
• Poor hygiene and unsuitable clothing.
• Lack of energy or constant hunger.
• Increase in attention-seeking behaviors.
• Increased absences from school.
• Witnessing an adult excessively pinching, slapping or tripping a child.
• Knowledge of an adult withholding sleep, food or medication from a child.
• Seeing a child flinch when touched.
• A child wearing inappropriate clothing for the season to cover up injuries.

Individuals are urged to take action if they suspect a child is being abused. People should contact their local child protective services agency and file a report. Those unsure of how to proceed can contact law enforcement or a school guidance counselor as well.

 


 

How ergonomic tools can help gardeners

)Gardening is a rewarding activity that has been found to provide a host of benefits beyond ensuring readily available access to fresh fruits, vegetables and awe-inspiring blooms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says many gardening tasks qualify as light to moderate exercise, which means raking the leaves and cutting the grass can be just as beneficial as cardiovascular activities like brisk walking or jogging. In addition, a 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that gardening can help aging men and women offset age-related weight gain. And the health benefits of gardening go beyond the physical. In 2014, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine concluded that horticultural therapy may be an effective treatment for people with dementia.

Gardeners have a host of tools at their disposal to help turn their lawns and gardens into awe-inspiring landscapes. Among those options are ergonomic tools. Ergonomic tools can benefit gardeners of all ages, but they may prove especially valuable for aging men and women.

How ergonomic tools differ from traditional gardening tools
Ergonomic gardening tools are designed to ensure that using them has as little effect on the body as possible. Ergonomic tools align with how a person naturally moves his or her body, which can reduce the likelihood that gardeners will suffer any strains or sprains while gardening or experience any aches and pains after a day spent tending to their landscapes.

Choosing the right tools
The West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVUCED) notes that gardeners will know they have chosen the right ergonomic gardening tool for the job when they do not have to adapt the tool. Ergonomic tools should match gardeners’ heights, fit their grip and feel comfortable when in use.

Specific benefits of ergonomic tools
Ergonomic gardening tools are designed in a way that can reduce stress on the body while performing various tasks. Gardeners know that aches and pains can add up after a day spent kneeling in the garden, raking soil and carrying supplies from a shed or garage around the property. But the WVUCED notes that ergonomic tools do more than just reduce gardeners’ risk of injury.

• Ergonomic tools increase efficiency. Wasted motions are less likely when using ergonomic tools. That can improve efficiency in the garden, allowing gardeners to get more done in the same amount of time. And because ergonomic tools are designed to work with the body, gardeners likely won’t need to take breaks due to aches and pains, which also makes it easier to be more efficient when working in the garden.

• Ergonomic tools increase gardeners’ capabilities. The WVUCED notes that principles behind ergonomics keep gardeners using the tools in natural positions. That means gardeners won’t lose power to bending and twisting, enabling them to do more in the garden than they might be able to do when using non-ergonomic tools.

Gardening is a rewarding and beneficial activity. The right ergonomic tools for the job can enhance those benefits and make gardening even more enjoyable.

 


 

Eggs are eggceptional

Eggs are a topic of conversation each spring, largely because of their relationship to the Christian celebration of Easter. Brightly colored Easter eggs are on display, chocolate eggs line store shelves and egg-lined birds nests in trees and bushes dot spring landscapes.

Eggs take center stage in early spring, but they’re more than just novelties to include in Easter celebrations.

• Eggs are nutritious. Eggs are loaded with vitamins A, D and B12 and the nutrient choline. They’re also an excellent protein source in a small package. At 72 calories and packing six grams of protein, eggs can make for a great, filling meal at any time of day.

• Eggs boost brain health. The choline in eggs is a crucial nutrient for memory, mood and muscle control, according to the University of Missouri Health Care system. Choline also is essential in fetal brain development and can help prevent birth defects.

• Eggs don’t always have to be refrigerated. In countries outside of the United States and Canada, eggs may not be refrigerated and do not have to be chilled. Also, outside of North America eggs are not washed prior to commercial production. However, according to the food resource TheKichn, power-washing eggs removes a protective coating and makes the eggs porous and vulnerable to contamination. A synthetic coating is put on washed eggs.

• Shell color does not matter. The color of the eggshell doesn’t indicate taste, nutritional value or even egg quality. The color of the eggshell reflects the breed of hen that laid the egg. Red-feathered hens tend to lay brown eggs, while hens with white features lay white eggs. Similarly, the shade of yolk is representative of what the chicken is eating. A dark, yellow yolk means the hen was probably fed green vegetables. Lighter yolks coordinate to corn and grain diets.

• All eggs are “hormone-free.” The term “hormone-free” on egg cartons does not signify anything special. It’s like advertising that snow is cold. The United States Food & Drug Administration banned the use of hormones in all poultry production in the 1950s. All eggs are hormone-free.

• Size and eggshell thickness indicates the age of the hen. Eggs come in different sizes, such as medium, large and jumbo. The age of the chicken determines the size, with older hens producing larger eggs. Age also affects shell thickness, with younger hens laying thicker-shelled eggs, says Eat This, Not That!

• Eggs won’t hatch. Eggs sold for consumption are not fertilized. Hens that have laid them haven’t mated.

• Many birds lay eggs. Kiwis lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. However, the ostrich, emu and cassowary lay the biggest eggs.

• The sink or swim test can say a lot about an egg. Eggs become more porous as they age. You can tell if an egg is old by putting it in a glass of water. If it sinks, it is fresh. If it floats, it is an older egg.

Eggs get a lot of fanfare around Easter, and there’s more than meets the eye to that carton of eggs in the refrigerator.

 


 

Many St. Patrick’s Day traditions are not from Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day is made special by various traditions. Everything from dyeing major cities’ rivers green to parades to enjoying green foods has become part of the pageantry of St. Patrick’s Day.

The next time you raise a green beer to your lips, you may wonder which traditions are authentically Irish and which ones were created by regions with an abundance of Irish emigrants. Surprisingly, many seemingly Irish traditions likely began elsewhere.

First parade
It would be accurate to assume that various elements associated with St. Patrick’s Day began where St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, once resided, including the first St. Patrick’s Day parade. However, some of the first parades held in St. Patrick’s honor took place in two North American cities, New York and Boston, that had high numbers of Irish immigrants. But historians say the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually held in St. Augustine, Florida in 1601, a year after gunfire blasts were used to honor the saint. The parade may have been at the request of an Irish priest living there at the time.

Corned beef and cabbage
What would St. Patrick’s Day be without an authentic meal of corned beef and cabbage? This dish is not so authentic after all, and actually is an American innovation. Ham and cabbage was widely eaten in Ireland, but corned beef was a cheaper alternative found in America by immigrants. Therefore, corned beef became a staple of poor Irish immigrants living in lower Manhattan. The salted meat was boiled three times to remove some of the brine and make it palatable.

Green beer
Green beer is not an Irish custom, but an American one. The most common beer consumed in Ireland is Guinness, which is dark brown to black in color, making green dye useless in Irish pubs since it would be largely invisible in the stout.

Golf tournaments
One would not associate golf with St. Patrick’s Day unless they reside in Nome, Alaska. Golf is a popular Irish pastime, and each year the Bering Sea Ice Classic Golf Tournament takes place right around St. Patrick’s Day. Bright green golf balls are used, and breaks are factored in between holes to warm up at local bars.

Wearing green
According to The Christian Science Monitor, individuals in the United States started wearing green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the early 1700s. They believed it “made one invisible to leprechauns.” The official color for the holiday used to be a sky blue known as “St. Patrick’s Day Blue,” established during the reign of King George III.

In addition to these traditions, specialty items, such as coffees and shakes, also are very popular. However, most of these do not have origins on the Emerald Isle, either. Yet, no matter where traditions began, there’s no denying St. Patrick’s Day has long inspired celebration.

 


 

Irish beers to try when visiting the Emerald Isle

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are steeped in tradition. From parades to green clothing to corned beef and cabbage dinners, St. Patrick’s Day is not short on tradition.

A pint of Guinness is another tradition many celebrants can simply not go without on St. Patrick’s Day. Many fans of the beloved stout may insist that Guinness is among Ireland’s greatest exports, but visitors to the Emerald Isle may want to expand their horizons and try a local beer or stop in for a pint at any of the many breweries and brew pubs on the tiny island in western Europe.

• Dungarvan Brewery: Located in southeastern Ireland, Dungarvan Brewery opened in 2010. All Dungarvan beers are brewed in small batches, and each beer is guaranteed to be produced on-site in the Dungarvan Brewery, County Waterford.

• Black’s Brewery: Located along the idyllic Wild Atlantic Way, Black’s Brewery in Kinsale has something for both beer lovers and whiskey drinkers. The brewery was opened by a husband-and-wife team in 2013 and the distillery, which produces gin and rum in addition to whiskey, followed two years later.

• Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company: Established in 2014, Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company has an on-site brewhouse situated just south of Dublin in Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow. Beer lovers interested in the brewing process may be interested to learn that Wicklow Wolf has its very own 10-acre hop farm in Roundwood, County Wicklow.

• Franciscan Well Brewery: Franciscan Well is among the oldest craft breweries in Ireland, having been established in 1998 in Cork City, County Cork. A covered and heated beer garden in the Brew Pub of Franciscan Well, which is based on the site of an ancient Franciscan monastery, makes for an ideal place to sample some beers.

• The White Hag Irish Brewing Company: Located in County Sligo along the Wild Atlantic Way, the White Hag Irish Brewing Company offers a range of beers that should appeal to beer lovers regardless of what their favorite style is. Visitors to Ireland may also be interested in the White Hag’s Hagstravaganza, an annual international brewery festival that features beer brewed all over the globe. Though the event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists may want to take note of the event for future reference.

Ireland is home to many tourist attractions, not the least of which are its many craft breweries that are guaranteed to make any trip to the Emerald Isle that much more enjoyable.

 


 

Invisibility, leprechauns and national pride tied to wearing green

Part of what makes celebrating St. Patrick’s Day so enjoyable is the scores of traditions surrounding the holiday. The month of March ushers in parades, festive foods, lively music, and as much green attire as a person can handle.

As ubiquitous as it is each March, green attire has not always been symbolic of St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland. In fact, earlier depictions of St. Patrick had him royally clothed in a rich shade of blue. Some ancient Irish flags even sported the color blue. According to National Geographic, the color green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day in the 18th century, when the shamrock became a national symbol of Ireland. The color of the shamrock and Ireland’s natural landscape forever linked green to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the Emerald Isle.

There are reasons for donning green clothing on St. Patrick’s Day. If a person isn’t in green, he or she just may get pinched. According to Irish folklore, leprechauns wore green, and if anyone else wore the color that individual would be invisible to leprechauns. Leprechauns are ornery sorts who like to pinch anyone they can see. Therefore, by wearing green clothing, a person is sure to avoid a painful tweak. It’s not only the leprechauns who might do the pinching. Celebrants are inclined to pinch people who don’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns might sneak up on them at any time.

Beyond shamrocks and leprechauns, other people are inclined to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as a symbol of good luck and to honor their Irish ancestry. According to Brian Witt, the cultural exhibits coordinator for Milwaukee Irish fest, Irish Americans would wear green as a reminder that they are nationalists first and foremost. The Irish flag colors are green, white and orange. The green symbolizes Irish nationalism, the orange represents the “Orangemen” of Northern Ireland, which is an Irish Protestant political society, and the white symbolizes peace.

Green is an integral color during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and it is tied to many different traditions.

 


 

Lesser known Irish foods

Chances are many people have heard of Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage, both of which are especially popular on St. Patrick’s Day (although the latter isn’t entirely authentic Irish cuisine). But there are many different traditional Irish dishes that may not be as well-known and enjoyed outside of Ireland. Irish cuisine is loaded with rich meat and potatoes dishes, and there are some delicious delicacies to be discovered along the way.

Boxty
Many different cultures have boxty-like dishes in their culinary repertoires. Boxty is similar to latkes or German kartoffelpuffer. It is made from both grated raw potatoes and mashed potatoes. Historians believe it originated during the potato famine of the mid-19th century.

Coddle
Being frugal with leftovers means finding delicious ways to reimagine ingredients into new meals. Coddle is a byproduct of that line of thinking. A coddle is a one-pot meal made from leftover sausage, potatoes, onions, and even bacon. The name comes from “coddling” or simmering the stew.

Shellfish
Individuals outside of Ireland may not immediately associate shellfish with the Emerald Isle, but shellfish are plentiful in the waters around Ireland. Dublin Bay prawns, cockles, mussels, and clams all can be scooped out of the waters. Galway even has an Oyster festival each year in September.

Irish stew
Irish stew is a dish made with potatoes, onions and mutton. Mutton is meat from a sheep that is more than 1 year old and ideally 3 years old, according to The Spruce: Eats. The flavor is very strong and it contains a considerable amount of fat. Mutton is more popular in Europe and the Middle East due to its gamey flavor. It is best for slow-cooking methods, which is why it is the perfect addition in a stew that should be simmered for hours.

Champ
Fans of mashed potatoes are likely to take to champ, a very similar dish. It is made with potatoes, milk, butter, and scallions. It is customary to make a well of melted butter in the center of a serving.

Colcannon
Mashed potatoes shine once again in this dish that also includes cabbage. Colcannon is typically served with boiled ham in Ireland.

Pudding
Irish pudding is not a dessert but a savory sausage dish. The “black” variety includes pork, fat and blood and is mixed with barley, oatmeal and suet. White pudding is similar, but it doesn’t include the pork blood. A slice of both black and white pudding is traditionally served in a complete Irish breakfast

Barmbrack
Usually shortened to “brack,” this dish is an Irish fruitcake that features fruit, raisins and spices. Most people soak it in tea and whiskey overnight.

Traditional Irish cooking will include one of the delicious foods mentioned above.

 


 

City Life Citizen Academy Welcoming Applicants for Next Session

The City of Dubuque is welcoming applications from residents for the next session of City Life, Dubuque’s free “citizen academy” program designed to provide residents a hands-on connection with their local government.

This session will be held virtually and offers residents the opportunity to interact with City staff, learn more about City services and programs, and learn about different opportunities to be involved in city government all from the comfort of their home. There is no cost to participate. Space is limited to 35 participants. Applications are due by Friday, March 19.

The City Life program consists of six virtual sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (April 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29) with each session running from 6-8 p.m. The program will be offered again in the fall for those interested but unable to attend.

For more information and to apply for City Life, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/citylife or contact City of Dubuque Community Engagement Coordinator Temwa Phiri at 563-589-4180 or tphiri@cityofdubuque.org.

 


 

The effects of caffeine on the body

Indulging in a morning cup of coffee is a beloved ritual for millions of people across the globe. The rich, bold flavor of coffee has created devotees in all corners of the world, all the while laying the foundation for a lucrative market.

In its recent “Global Coffee Market – By Product: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast 2020-2026” report, Zion Market Research estimated that the global coffee market is expected to reach $155.64 billion in annual revenue by 2026. Though the flavor of coffee is what compels many people to pour that morning cup o’ Joe, others crave coffee in the mornings because of the jolt it can provide at the dawn of a new day. Caffeine is responsible for that jolt, and devoted coffee drinkers, and individuals who prefer other caffeinated beverages, may have come to rely on the boost caffeine provides to kickstart their day.

Researchers have studied the effects of caffeine on the human body to great extent. Many studies have concluded that modest consumption of caffeine is safe for healthy adults. In fact, the Mayo Clinic notes that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is just about the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, appears to be safe. But adults may want to learn more about the effects of caffeine on their bodies as they try to determine just how much they should consume each day.

• Caffeine and the heart: According to the Heart Foundation NZ, most studies that examined the potential correlation between heart disease and coffee intake found no association between the two. In fact, the Heart Foundation NZ points out that plant sources of caffeine like coffee provide a host of other compounds and nutrients, including antioxidants, that can positively affect heart health. However, the online medical resource Verywell Mind notes that the stimulant effect of caffeine speeds up the heart rate. Healthy adults who drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages in moderation likely won’t have to worry about their heart rates after consuming caffeine, but people who are prone to anxiety may be vulnerable to panic reactions if they consume caffeine.

• Caffeine and sleep: Caffeine consumed during certain times of day may interfere with a person’s ability to get a good night’s rest. The Mayo Clinic notes that even small amounts of sleep loss can disturb daytime alertness and performance.

• Caffeine and medications: Adults currently taking certain medications or supplements should speak with their physicians about any potential interactions between those substances and caffeine. For example, the Mayo Clinic notes that mixing caffeine with the herbal supplement echinacea can increase the concentration of caffeine in the blood, potentially exacerbating the unpleasant effects of caffeine intake.

Adults who consume caffeine should always do so in moderation and only after giving due consideration to the many ways that caffeine can affect their bodies.

 


 

The connection between music and learning

Parents often go to great lengths to help youngsters do their best in school. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to help kids realize their academic potential, incorporating music education into school curricula can benefit students in myriad ways.

According to the New England Board of Higher Education, music can benefit students of all ages. Young children who listen to music may have an improved ability to learn words and speak them correctly, helping them to develop larger vocabularies that can pay significant dividends when kids enter the classroom. In addition, a 2011 study published in the journal Neuropsychologia found that musicians performed better in auditory, visual and memory tests than non-musicians.

Students may even benefit in ways that surprise the most devoted music fans. For example, the NEBHE notes that playing a musical instrument, even one as simple as the triangle, has been proven to enhance dexterity and hand-eye coordination. That can help young children develop their motor skills more quickly than they otherwise might if they are not encouraged to play a musical instrument.

 


 

How to prepare for tax season

April is synonymous with many things. Many people get their first glimpse of spring blooms in April, while families of faith look forward to gathering for Passover and Easter. Sports fans may welcome the return of professional baseball in April, while scholastic athletes may associate April with the return of spring sports. Though each of those things tends to be welcomed with open arms, one day in mid-April may not be greeted so warmly.

Each year in the United States, April 15 marks the official deadline for taxpayers to file their tax returns. Taxpayers in the United States must file their returns by this day or face penalties. Though the filing deadline may be in mid-April, it’s wise for taxpayers to begin preparing to submit their returns much earlier than that. For those who have not done so in the first two months of the year, March is a great time to begin preparations to ensure returns are accurate and filed on time.

The Internal Revenue Service offers the following advice to taxpayers who want to get a head start on their returns so they make sure they file on time in 2021.

• Gather and organize your records. Many people rely on a professional to work on their returns, and April is such professionals’ busiest time of year. As a result, it’s imperative that taxpayers have all their necessary documents ready prior to their appointments. Any delays could force appointments to be rescheduled, and there’s no guarantee tax professionals will have any open dates on their calendar as the filing deadline draws closer. The IRS notes taxpayers will need their W-2s from employers, forms 1099 from banks and other payers and other income documents and records of virtual currency transactions. In addition, people who received an Economic Impact Payment in 2020 should make sure they have Notice 1444, which includes the amount of the payment and how it was received, as they will need that to file their returns. It’s also important that people who received unemployment income recognize that such income is taxable, so they will need a record of that income, especially if they did not pay taxes on it when it was received.

• Where applicable, confirm your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number has not expired. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration. The IRS notes that all ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years expired on December 31, 2020. In addition, all ITINs issued prior to 2013 with middle digits of 88 expired at the end of 2020. ITINs with middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 that were assigned before 2013 and have not already been renewed also expired at the end of 2020. Visit www.irs.gov to learn more about ITINs.

• Contact your tax professional. 2020 was a complicated year, and that figures to create some unique challenges as people file their 2020 tax returns. So it pays to contact your tax preparation professional with any questions you have well in advance of April 15. That’s true for all taxpayers, but especially so for anyone who filed for unemployment, received an Economic Impact Payment or dealt with any other abnormal circumstances in 2020 that could affect their tax returns.

Taxpayers may face unique challenges as they begin to work on their 2020 tax returns. More information is available at www.irs.gov.

 


 

Clever and quirky crafts to try today

Being forced to spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has led enterprising individuals to seek ways to pass the time. Is it any wonder that creative pursuits have become so popular over the last year?

Crafting can help people fill their time, reduce stress, inspire new relationships, and serve as a source of pride when an item is handmade from start to finish.

In an online study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy that surveyed 3,500 knitters, respondents felt there was a relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm. Experts surmise that the rhythmic, repetitive movements and focused attention of certain crafts might produce a calming effect not unlike meditation. Crafting helps exercise several areas of the brain, including those responsible for problem solving, creativity and concentration, states Craft Courses, an online crafting course company.

The following are some unique crafts for those looking for something new.

• Quilling: This craft also goes by the name paper filigree. It involves twisting, rolling or looping thin strips of paper and then gluing them together to make designs. They can adorn the outside of homemade cards, or be attached to stock and then framed.

• Decoupage: Another paper craft, this one involves sticking small pieces of paper of any kind to another item and then coating the object with varnish. Just about anything can be improved and customized with decoupage.

• Marquetry: Marquetry involves applying pieces of wood veneer to a structure to form a decorative pattern or picture. Think of it as paint-by-number but with wood veneer. The technique often is applied to small objects or furniture.

• Bead crochet: Crochet artists may want to take their crafting up a notch with bead crochet, which incorporates beaded string or yarn into a crocheted item.

• Water marbling: Water marbling is a unique craft that produces a different result each time it is done. The crafter fills a tub roughly two-thirds full of water, adds a special chemical to allow oils to float on the water’s surface, then drops different colors of oil-based paint onto the water. The colors can be swirled and manipulated. A paper or piece of canvas is then placed on the surface of the water so that the design can transfer onto the material.

• Pyrography: Pyrography involves using a heating source and burning designs into a piece of wood. The term literally means “writing with fire.”

These lesser-known crafts can be good diversions and help individuals learn new skills.

 


 

DIY strategies to deep-clean carpeting

What’s underfoot in a home can go a long way toward making residences comfortable and aesthetically appealing.

A study of home buyer preferences using data from the National Association of Realtors® found that 54 percent of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring. But that doesn’t mean that carpeting doesn’t still have its devotees. In 2019, the real estate firm Opendoor installed nearly one million yards of carpeting in its homes. Houzz reports that, in 2018, 17 percent of renovating homeowners purchased carpets and 50 percent purchased indoor rugs.

Carpeting and rugs can offset some of the shortcomings of hardwood, providing a softer texture that makes for a better landing spot for active young children. However, carpets will require more maintenance than hardwood floors. Learning how to deep clean carpets can help homeowners, as vacuuming is not enough to keep carpets in top form.

Spot clean stains
Stores sell a bevy of carpet cleaning solutions. When applying such solutions, do so in an inconspicuous area of the room to ensure colorfastness of the carpet and that the solution does not adversely affect the fibers. If the spot is clean and the carpet is not adversely affected, you can then apply the solution to more visible areas.

Homeowners who prefer all-natural cleaning solutions rather than chemicals can use a solution of white vinegar, baking soda and salt to make a safe cleanser, according to The Spruce. Soak the stain, use a scrub brush to work in the cleanser and then blot up the liquid with a clean cloth. According to the lifestyle resource First for Women, club soda also works as a cleanser when it is sprayed on a stain.

Deep cleaning
Carpets periodically need to be revitalized, and that can be accomplished with a specialized cleaning machine. Many are available for purchase (a good investment for homeowners with kids and/or pets), while others can be rented as needed.

Remove all of the furniture from a room and vacuum to clean dust, dander and any other debris. Address any darker stains first by pretreating with a cleaning solution. Let sit for around 20 minutes. While waiting, learn how to operate the machine, fill it and clean out the soiled water. Never allow the machine to oversaturate the carpet with water, as it can get into the padding and subfloor, causing problems like mold or wood damage. Spray the water-detergent solutions, and then pass the carpet cleaner over spots repeatedly until the carpet feels only slightly damp. DoItYourself.com advises running the machine at the pace of one foot per second.

Removing shoes when entering the home can keep carpets clean and reduce wear and tear.

With frequent deep cleaning, carpets can maintain a like-new appearance for years.

 


 

How to help aging adults adapt to technology

Children, adolescents and young adults likely cannot imagine a life without modern technology. Technology may have pervaded every part of life in the 21st century, but it wasn’t so long ago that phones were still attached to walls and people had to watch their favorite shows and films exclusively on televisions instead of having the option to watch them on devices like smartphones and tablets.

The transition to life in the age of technology went smoothly for most segments of the population, but some aging adults have had a more difficult time making the adjustment. That difficulty was apparent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when public health agencies like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged aging adults to limit interactions with people outside their homes. Such recommendations forced many seniors to communicate with their families exclusively over the phone or via video conferencing apps like Zoom.

If seniors have had a hard time adapting to technology, their families can try these strategies to make that transition go more smoothly.

• Go over product manuals with seniors. The senior caregiving experts at Home Care Assistance note that older adults are less likely to learn through experimentation than they are by reading instructions in the manual. When helping seniors learn to use new devices, go over the owner’s manual with them as you set up the device. Mark important pages in the manual so seniors know where to go for quick answers if they experience any issues logging in or using certain apps.

• Look for senior-specific devices and guidebooks. Seniors make up an enormous segment of the population, and tech companies have long since recognized that there’s a market for products designed specifically for aging men and women. When shopping for devices for seniors, look for those that have been designed to help them overcome issues that have proven problematic for aging adults in the past. Devices that feature touchscreens with large menus, easily accessible navigation tools and simplified features can help seniors as they learn to use new technology.

• Be patient. Some seniors are excited by the prospect of learning to use new technology, while others may be hesitant. Patience is essential when working with an aging loved one who’s intimidated by technology. Take the time to explain apps and features and don’t take it for granted that seniors will know how to use a device or recognize what a device can do.

Today’s seniors may not have grown up with technology at their fingertips, but they can still learn to use devices to their advantage.

 


 

On National 211 Day, 211 Iowa recognizes record-breaking year

In 2020, 211 usage in Dubuque jumped a staggering 131%

With Feb. 11 as National 211 Day, 211 Iowa has much to be proud of. Within the
last year, 211 Iowa has connected more individuals with help and resources than ever before. During the second quarter, when COVID shutdowns began, 211 usage in Dubuque County skyrocketed, going up 307% compared to the previous year. Almost 50% of the total 3,375 contacts (both calls and texts) made in 2020 were COVID-19 related (1,178 COVID-related in total). Those figures do not include users who accessed information using the 211 Iowa app or website. The end of year total usage in Dubuque was up 131% from last year.

National 211 Day was created to recognize the free, multilingual, user-friendly phone number that serves about 95% of America’s population, including the complete state of Iowa. 211 Iowa covers all 99 counties with 24/7 coverage. The United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States funds coverage of Dubuque, Delaware, and Jackson counties. 211 can also be accessed by text, app, or website.

The specialists who answer the phone are highly trained. Once they take the call and discern the needs, they connect callers with the best local community resources from a continually updated, extensive database. They also explain how to access the services to the caller.

One of the misconceptions about 211, according to Danielle Peterson, President/CEO of United of Dubuque Area Tri-States, is that some people believe the hotline is reserved for people in dire need.

“We want people to know that 211 is for everyone,” said Peterson. “If you have a question about any kind of resources, whether the question is related to housing, disaster relief, utilities assistance or if you need information about COVID, dial 211. Sometimes people are ashamed to ask for the assistance. They feel like there’s someone out there who needs more help than they do. We want everyone to know that we are a resource and are here to help.”

Peterson notes that 211 serves a purpose beyond connecting people with needed resources.

“211 also helps us keep a pulse on the needs in our community.” she said. “We are able to closely track the calls to see the highest needs in specific areas and share that information with community leaders and policymakers. We’re able to let these partners know which needs are most pressing so they can determine if they have the resources to meet them for their constituents. It’s a valuable tool for planning.”

Research shows that without 211, callers can make an average of eight phone calls to different numbers before finding the services they need. 211 cuts through the red tape to save providers time and money, while helping Iowans connect with the resources they need.

 


 

What’s behind slow computers

Few things can derail a productive workday more quickly than a slow computer. Many a professional has encountered the dreaded slowdown or spinning color wheel, only to sit in frustration as deadlines draw closer and tasks pile up.

Computers can perform slowly due to a variety of factors, many of which can be addressed rather easily.

• Too much multitasking: Successful professionals pride themselves on their ability to multitask, but computers can only handle so much. Running many programs simultaneously or having too many browser tabs open at one time is a recipe for a slow computer. Keeping various programs open at once slows down processing speed, leading to lags when switching from one program to another. This is easily overcome by closing programs at the end of each workday and opening them only when you need to. Leaving multiple browser windows open at one time also slows down a computer, especially if the windows are open to pages that auto-refresh. Close windows when you’re done reading an article or no longer need to access information on a particular website.

• Software updates: Automatic software updates can be convenient, but they also take up space on computer hard drives. According to TechAdvisory.org, computers run smoothly when at least 15 percent of their total hard drive space is free. Turn off automatic updates and periodically check for updates on your own. If updates are available, install them during non-working hours so you don’t have to wait for the update to install during the workday.

• Inadequate hard drive space: Though it’s best to keep at least 15 percent of your hard drive space free, TechAdvisory.org notes that professionals who routinely work on multiple files at one time can very quickly use up more than 85 percent of their hard drive space, especially if they need to store those files on their computers. In such instances, purchasing additional hard drive space can improve performance. Adding more RAM, which temporarily stores data that is currently being worked on, also can help users overcome storage-related slowdowns.

• Viruses: Computer viruses are most often linked to corrupted files and frozen screens, but they also can cause computers to operate more slowly. Conduct a virus scan on the computer to see if that’s what’s behind the spinning color wheel or frozen screens.

Many things can cause a computer to slow down. Thankfully, there are just as many solutions to fix slow computers as there are problems that can adversely affect their performance.

 


 

Foods that can positively affect mood

No one is immune to the occasional bad mood. Whether it’s the weather, waking up on the wrong side of the bed or another variable, various factors can have an adverse affect on a person’s mood.

Food is one factor that can have a positive effect on mood. Certain foods have been found to positively affect mood, so incorporating them into your diet may help you stay positive even on those days when you get up on the wrong side of the bed.

• Fatty fish: A study from British researchers published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that a daily dose of an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, helped patients with depression significantly reduce their feelings of sadness and pessimism. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, trout, and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

• Nuts and seeds: The minerals selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc have all been linked to mental health, and nuts are rich in each of those minerals. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and peanuts are particularly good sources of the immune system-boosting minerals zinc and magnesium.

• Dark, leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and collards are rich in iron and magnesium, both of which can increase serotonin levels and help reduce feelings of anxiety. Dark, leafy greens also help the body fight inflammation, which can have a positive effect on mood. A 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that brain inflammation contributed to certain behaviors, including low mood, that appear during major depressive episodes.

• Dark chocolate: Chocolate lovers may be happy to learn that dark chocolate can improve mood. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that dark chocolate helped to reduce levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been linked to stress. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that, when consumed in moderation, dark chocolate made of at least 70 percent cocoa can help people relax.

Various foods can have a beneficial effect on mood, potentially helping people to stay positive when doing so proves challenging.

 


 

Applications Available for Property Tax Exemptions in Urban Revitalization Areas

The City of Dubuque is currently accepting applications from property owners who may qualify for tax cuts based on improvements made to qualified properties in Dubuque’s urban revitalization areas as a part of the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Program.

The Dubuque Urban Revitalization Program, based on Chapter 404 of the Code of Iowa, focuses on the revitalization of properties in Dubuque’s older neighborhoods and offers a property tax exemption for new improvements made to qualified residential properties and limited commercial properties. Qualified residential properties include single-family homes, duplexes, and apartment buildings located within urban revitalization areas designated by the City Council. A building containing office or retail space may be eligible if the primary building use is 75 percent residential. A map of Dubuque’s urban revitalization areas can be found at www.cityofdubuque.org/urbanrevitalization.

New improvements must have been completed in 2020 and increase the assessed value of the building by at least 10 percent for residential and 15 percent for multi-residential or commercial properties. The Dubuque City Assessor makes a distinction between improvements that add to property value and home maintenance. For information on types of taxable improvements, contact the Dubuque City Assessor’s office at 563.589.4416.

Improvements to qualified properties may receive a total or partial exemption from property taxes for a specified number of years. These tax breaks are intended to encourage private investment by offsetting the property tax increases that usually accompany property improvements and increased property values. These investments and property improvements provide a long-term increase or stabilization in the area’s tax base, enhances the visibility of revitalization areas, and supports important City objectives such as historic preservation, economic development, and affordable housing development.

Applications for the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Program are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/urbanrevitalization. Completed applications must be returned to the City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department, 350 W. Sixth St., Suite 312, Dubuque, IA 52001 by 5 p.m. by Feb. 1, 2021.

For more information about the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Program or the tax exemption application, contact the City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department at 563.589.4230 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/urbanrevitalization.

 


 

Tips when choosing your 401(k) investments

Saving for retirement is an essential component of financial planning. Adults can save for retirement in various ways, and one of the simplest, most popular ways to do so is to enroll in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan.

Enrolling in a 401(k) plan can be a wise decision. According to a recent report from Fidelity Investments, the average 401(k) balance rose 8 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Investors seem to be taking notice of such returns, as Fidelity also noted that the average 401(k) employee contribution reached $2,370 in the first quarter of 2019, marking a 15 a percent increase from the year prior.

When enrolling in a 401(k) plan, professionals may wonder how to choose their investments. Such plans typically include an assortment of funds. There are a host of factors to consider when choosing 401(k) investments, and the following are some strategies that can help investors make decisions they’re comfortable with.

• Read the enrollment brochure. Brochures might not be the most exciting reads, but 401(k) brochures, which should be provided when employees enroll in a plan, typically include a detailed rundown of the investment options within a given plan. As valuable as these rundowns can be, a recent survey from Prudential Investments found that 42 percent of investors don’t know how their retirement assets are being allocated. Investors who know how their 401(k) contributions are being allocated are in better position to address market fluctuations, giving them more control over their money.

• Involve a financial planner in your 401(k). Financial planners can be an invaluable resource that can help investors in myriad ways. Some investors may be surprised to learn that outside planners can even help them with their employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. Provide a planner with detailed information about your 401(k), including a rundown of the plan’s investment options, and share your retirement goals. A financial planner can then help you choose the funds from your plan that best align with your goals and your comfort levels in regard to risk.

• Monitor your investments. While investors need to recognize that markets fluctuate, they still need to keep an eye on how their 401(k) investments are performing. Keep an eye out for funds that consistently lose money or provide little to no return, as they’re likely not worthy of your investment dollars. Investors should not overreact and immediately move money around when typically strong funds take a dip, but they also should not accept poorly performing funds as part of the risk of investing. It’s a balancing act, and savvy investors know to keep their eyes peeled and to make changes when necessary.

Choosing 401(k) funds is a decision to take seriously, and one that can be made simpler by enlisting the help of a financial planner.

 


 

Dubuque’s ‘Merry Mulch’ Collection Runs Jan. 4-15

The City of Dubuque is again sponsoring its “Merry Mulch” Christmas Tree Collection and Composting Program, which provides solid waste collection customers a convenient, curbside, Christmas tree collection service, while also beneficially recycling natural trees into compost.

Yard waste bags, bundles and containers, as well as GreenCarts with food scraps, will also be collected on regular collection days for two weeks beginning on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, and ending Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Residents should set out their trees (maximum of eight feet high) and other compostables next to their refuse on their normal collection day.

Crews appreciate very large trees cut in half, with no pieces over five feet in length.
The tree must have either one City Brush Tie or one yellow City Yard Waste Sticker attached and visible from the street or alley. Please remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, wire, nails, stands or plastic bags.

Yard waste bags and containers with attached yellow City Yard Waste Stickers will also be collected. City Brush Ties cost $1.30 each and yellow City Yard Waste Stickers cost $6.50 for a sheet of five. Both are sold at most grocery, discount and hardware stores throughout Dubuque. Annual 2021 decals are also acceptable on containers.

Wreaths and garland contain too much wire to compost. Flocked trees are not compostable. Consider reusing/repurposing these items before disposing of them with your regular garbage. You must attach a green City Garbage Sticker on each of these items, along with every additional bundle, item, bag, or can in excess of your household’s first refuse container and any additional subscribed containers.

As a reminder for post-holiday trash collection, please do not place foil-lined envelopes, greeting cards, gift wrap, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, foam peanuts, plastic bags, or glass in recycling bins – those items are not recyclable. Consider reusing/repurposing these items before disposing of them with your regular garbage.

For additional information, please call the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at 563-589-4250 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/yardwaste.http://www.cityofdubuque.org/yardwaste

 


 

Must-haves to achieve a holiday wonderland

The end of the year marks a period of heightened festivity. Come the holiday season, homes and businesses are decorated and everyone seems to have an extra spring in their step.

The sight of snowflakes, candy canes, evergreen wreaths, and Christmas trees can elicit nostalgia for happy holidays of the past, as well as excitement for what is yet to come. When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there are certain items that set the scene.

• Christmas trees: Germany is credited with starting the modern Christmas tree tradition. It dates back to the 16th century when devout Christians brought trees into their homes and decorated them. German settlers brought Christmas tree traditions to America upon their arrival in Pennsylvania in the 19th century.

• Mistletoe: Mistletoe is known as the “kissing plant” and it is customary for couples to kiss while standing beneath the plant, typically hung in doorways and arches. Mistletoe was once hung to drive off evil spirits and ensure fertility. Kissing under the mistletoe was first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites.

• Lights: Lights are commonly seen during the holiday season. The custom of having holiday lights dates back to when Christmas trees were decorated with candles, which symbolized Christ being the light of the world. These traditions evolved from pagan rituals that would celebrate the return of light of the sun as the days grow longer after the winter solstice.

• Yule log: Many families burn a yule log in the fireplace and watch it burn while listening to Christmas carols. The familiar custom of burning the log dates back to solstice celebrations and the tradition of bonfires. The Christmas tradition called for burning a portion of the log each evening until Twelfth Night, also known as the Epiphany, which takes place on January 6.

• Poinsettias: Poinsettias are a tropical plant that originated in Mexico. Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first Ambassador from the United States to Mexico. He became enamored with the plants, and brought them back to his native South Carolina. An old Mexican legend suggests a poor girl had nothing to offer baby Jesus at Christmas Eve services, so she picked a handful of weeds and put them at the bottom of the nativity scene. These weeds burst into bright red flowers and became known as “Flores de Noche Buena,” or “Flowers of the Holy Night.”

Holiday decorations borrow traditions from all over the world to help establish a festive wonderland.

 


 

How to involve kids with holiday baking

The holiday season is steeped in tradition. Many holiday traditions are centered around food, with much of the focus on all of the decadent treats and desserts taking center stage at many family gatherings.
Many parents hope to involve their children in as many family holiday traditions as they can.

Holiday baking is one kid-friendly tradition, and parents can make it even more so by taking a few simple steps before they get started.

• Purchase kid-friendly baking equipment. Bakers rely on lots of tools to make cookies, cakes and other delicacies. That equipment is even available in kids’ sizes. Kids may be more excited about baking if they have their own equipment, and such gear also can make it easier for them to lend a hand. A spatula made for youngsters can make it easier for kids to move cookies from a baking sheet to a platter, while colorful measuring cups and their own whisk can excite youngsters about baking.

• Plan ahead. Seasoned bakers know that it’s imperative to have the right supplies, including ingredients, on hand before beginning a baking session. That’s even more necessary when baking with kids, who might not be as patient as moms and dads hope if a baking session has to be paused to run to the store for a missing ingredient or to dig out some tools from the back of the pantry. Plan ahead by setting everything out and assembling all the necessary ingredients the night before you plan to bake.

• Delegate wisely. Young kids may want to do everything mom and dad do, but baking is a delicate science that requires careful attention to detail and a strict adherence to recipes. So it’s important that parents delegate wisely when involving children in holiday baking. Whisking, stirring and topping off cookies with frosting and sprinkles are fun, kid-friendly tasks.

• Add some fun foods to the menu. If you plan to bake holiday cookies, purchase kid-friendly holiday cookie cutters before your baking session so youngsters have as much fun as possible. Kids may have more fun if they get to make Santa Claus, Frosty or Rudolph cookies.

• Make a mess. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy when baking with children. Moms and dads may love a clean kitchen, but kids tend to have more fun in the kitchen when things get a little messy. Douse each other with a little flour and make a joke of things if some ingredients find their way onto the counter or the floor instead of into your mixing bowl.

Parents can make the holiday baking that much more fun by letting their kids pitch in this year.

 


 

Temporary Closure of Plaza 20 East Frontage Road at Devon Drive Intersection

The City of Dubuque will temporarily close the Plaza 20 East Frontage Road at the Devon Drive intersection on Monday, Dec. 14. This temporary closure is related to the opening of the Sonic restaurant on the East Frontage Road and traffic congestion/safety concerns at the intersection.

During the temporary closure of the East Frontage Road, access to and from the East Frontage Road businesses will be via a detour through the Plaza 20 property to the Devon Drive intersection and US 20/Dodge Street traffic signals. The existing US 20/Dodge Street right-in/right out access point near the Harbor Freight store will remain open and no changes are planned for this intersection. Access to existing driveways will be maintained during the temporary closure. A map of the project extents is available at https://www.cityofdubuque.org/DocumentCenter/View/47388/Plaza-20-Frontage-Road-Closure-Map.

The temporary closure of the East Frontage Road will continue until permanent measures to restrict turning movements onto the East Frontage Road from the Devon Drive and US 20/Dodge Street intersection are implemented. These permanent measures are estimated to be completed by April of 2021.

If you have questions regarding the closure/detour, please contact the City of Dubuque Engineering Department at 563.589.4270. Please note: closure dates/times are estimates and are subject to change without notification based on weather and contractor schedules.

 


 

4 factors to consider to maintain winter safety

Many changes are to be expected as fall gives way to winter. Temperatures drop for much of the country, and depending on where one lives, snow, wind and ice are to be expected.

As beautiful as snow-covered landscapes can be, winter presents unique hazards, notably slippery roads and surfaces. Chilly temperatures also can put people at risk if they spend prolonged periods outdoors unprotected.
According to the insurance company Carsurance, more than 156,000 crashes occur annually due to icy roads. Roughly 17 percent of all vehicle crashes happen in winter conditions. Winter hazards are not exclusive to driving, however. That means winter safety involves a consideration of a host of factors.

1. Changing visibility
While slippery surfaces may contribute to some accidents, visibility can quickly change with winter weather. Blowing snow can contribute to whiteout conditions. In addition, fog can be hazardous to drivers, aviators and mariners and contributes to thousands of travel accidents every year, advises the National Weather Service. It’s important to slow down, leave plenty of distance, use your low-beam headlights, and recognize when it may be safest to pull over, such as when visibility is significantly compromised.

2. Snow removal
Shoveling snow or using a snowblower are common wintertime activities. Yet strenuous levels of activity in cold temperatures could put people at risk of heart attack, particularly if they are not acclimated to physical activity. Always warm up prior to shoveling snow to prepare the body for exercise. Go slowly and take frequent breaks. Avoid twisting and tossing snow over your shoulder, which can contribute to back injuries.

3. Carbon monoxide poisoning
Winter weather means turning up the heat or doing more indoor cooking. Carbon monoxide is produced through the burning of fuel in various forms, including stoves, engines, gas ranges, portable generators, and grills. The National Safety Council says carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can go undetected as it builds up in enclosed spaces. Never warm up the car inside of a contained garage. Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors, and have furnaces, water heaters and other fuel-burning appliances checked and serviced by a qualified technician annually. Be sure that carbon monoxide alarms are on every floor of the home, and take it seriously if the alarm goes off.

4. Black ice
Black ice is a common winter foe. Black ice forms when temperatures rise above freezing during the day, melting any snow on the ground and causing surfaces to become wet. If the temperature drops once more while the ground is wet, a thin, transparent sheet of ice can form. Black ice also may occur if moisture in the air condenses and forms dew or fog, and then the temperature drops below freezing, says the National Weather Service. Black ice gets its name because it looks black on asphalt roads. However, it also can form on sidewalks and overpasses, or spots shaded by trees or other objects. Slowing down and exercising extreme caution are essential.

Winter is a beautiful season. But it can be just as hazardous as it is awe-inspiring. Taking steps to stay safe in unpredictable conditions is a necessity each winter.

 


 

Pointers before preparing chicken

Chicken is a versatile food that can be found on menus at restaurants across the globe. Whether it’s stuffed chicken on the menu at an Italian restaurant or a spicy chicken dish from a local Indian eatery, chicken can be served in an assortment of ways.

As a global pandemic took hold in the winter of 2019-20, many people found themselves cooking at home more than ever before, and the versatility of chicken made it a go-to on home menus. People thrust into cooking duties despite little or no previous culinary experience should know that chicken can be cooked in a variety of ways and goes well with myriad side dishes. That makes chicken an ideal item to consider when planning meals for yourself and/or your family.

Millions of people across the globe eat chicken without incident every day. However, the threat of food poisoning is there when cooking chicken, so it’s wise for home cooks to take a few precautionary measures when making meals with chicken.

• Thaw frozen chicken correctly. It can be tempting to take chicken out of the freezer and leave it on the counter to thaw in the hours before dinnertime. But that’s potentially very dangerous. The United States Department of Agriculture notes that strains of bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can be found on raw chicken. These bacteria thrive at room temperature, leaving you and others vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. When thawing frozen chicken, place the chicken in the refrigerator in a sealable plastic bag. Chicken also can be thawed in a microwave, but the online medical resource Healthline notes that chicken that has thawed in a microwave must be cooked immediately afterward to kill any bacteria.

• Be careful when rinsing chicken with water. The Australian Chicken Meat Federation notes that rinsing uncooked chicken with water can lead to contamination if chicken juices and any accompanying bacteria are splashed into the sink or onto surrounding surfaces, such as countertops. If you rinse chicken with water, make sure the water is running low to reduce splashing, and clean any areas that may have been contaminated, including the sink, immediately afterward.

• Clean all surfaces that have come into contact with raw chicken. Even if you don’t rinse chicken with water, all surfaces that have come into contact with raw chicken should be cleaned immediately. WebMD advises using hot, soapy water to clean surfaces that have or may have come into contact with raw chicken or chicken juices.

• Confirm chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving. WebMD notes that chicken can be checked for doneness by cutting a slit into the thickest part of the chicken piece to see if it is cooked through. Juices from cooked chicken run clear, not pink. If the juice or meat is pink, the chicken needs further cooking.

• Don’t baste with your marinade. If you’re marinating chicken prior to cooking it, discard the marinade once you remove the raw chicken from it. Raw chicken marinade may contain bacteria that can make people sick, so never baste cooking chicken with the same marinade you used when the chicken was raw.

Chicken is a versatile food that can be served in myriad ways. Safety should always be a priority when thawing, preparing, cooking, and serving chicken.

 


 

Eggnog is a classic for holiday celebrations

No beverage is more associated with holiday cocktail parties than eggnog, which is a beloved beverage come the holiday season.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase store-bought eggnog in the dairy case and dress it up with a favorite spirit, most eggnog recipes only feature a handful of ingredients and are quite easy to make at home.

Rum, whiskey and brandy are customary liquors to use in eggnog recipes. However, The Spruce: Eats has taste-tested them all and believes brandy tops the others for the perfect finished product. Enjoy their version of “Quick Brandy Eggnog” below.

Quick Brandy Eggnog
1 cocktail

1 ounce brandy
1-1⁄4 ounces milk
1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
1 egg yolk
Grated nutmeg or cinnamon for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the brandy, milk, simple syrup, and egg yolk. Dry shake without ice.

Fill shaker with ice, then shake vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure the egg is well mixed. Strain into an old-fashioned or cocktail glass. Add a dash of grated nutmeg or cinnamon as a garnish.

Note: Only use a fresh egg. Test the egg’s freshness by placing it in a glass of water. If the egg floats, discard it, as this indicates the egg is too old. Only use eggs that rest on the bottom of the glass. This will ensure the most flavorful drink and helps to reduce the risk of salmonella.

 


 

Cranberry-infused cocktail for autumn entertaining

Besides the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice,” nothing says “autumn” more than tart cranberries. Cranberries are a major component of Thanksgiving feasts, turning up alongside and atop turkey as well as in quick breads and desserts.

Cranberries are loaded with health benefits, which include reducing the risk for ulcers and preventing gum disease. Also, just eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail contains 137 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C.

Cranberries can even be used to craft great cocktails. Move over mulled ciders, this crisp “Cranberry Margarita” from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association makes a great autumn-inspired beverage.

Cranberry Margarita
Serves 1

1-1⁄2 shots of tequila
1 shot of cranberry juice cocktail
1⁄4 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce
1⁄2 shot of triple sec
10 ice cubes
Sweetened dried cranberries, for garnish
Lime, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and frosty. Serve in a margarita glass. Garnish with dried cranberries and a lime wheel.

 


 

The benefits of crossword puzzles

Crossword puzzles are one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Crosswords are square grids made up of white- and black-shaded squares. The goal is to fill in all of the letters to form words and phrases that work both vertically and horizontally. The grid varies based on the country of origin. Certain grids also have 180-degree rotational symmetry so that the pattern appears the same if the paper is turned upside down.

Historians are uncertain about who created the world’s first crossword puzzle, although it is believed to be something that originated in the 19th or early 20th century. Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, England, published a word-cross puzzle in the New York World that had many of the features of the modern game, and the crossword is frequently attributed to Wynne.

Even though crossword puzzles have been entertaining and helping people pass the time for more than 100 years, the benefits of crosswords go beyond boredom-busting. Various studies have shown the positive effects crossword puzzles can have on a person’s brain and capacity to learn.

• Improve vocabulary: Crossword puzzles introduce players to new words. And players may learn some interesting facts about various subjects simply by filling in crosswords correctly.

• Strengthens memory: The more frequently participants engage with word puzzles, the better they can perform tasks that measure attention, reasoning and memory, according to a study from the University of Exeter Medical School and Kings College London. The study found people who play crosswords have brain function equivalent to those 10 years younger than their actual age.

• Improve socialization: Crossword puzzles can help you connect socially with others who also play crossword puzzles. Solving a puzzle together as a group is a fine way to connect and meet new people.

• Help relieve stress: Crossword puzzles can engage the brain and mind, helping direct attention away from stressful situations. Crosswords also provide a way to relax and unwind.

• May help prevent brain diseases: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research indicates keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build reserves of brain cells and connections. In addition, those who keep their minds active may have lower amounts of a protein that forms beta amyloid plaques attributed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Crossword puzzles can fill empty hours with an entertaining and educational activity. However, there are many other benefits to doing crossword puzzles that may surprise even the most ardent puzzle enthusiasts.

 


 

Deer Rut Welcomes Hunters with Disabilities

The deer rut welcomed hunters with disabilities to the Lost Mound Unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Savanna, Illinois on November 14-15. Mother Nature reminded the hunters that it is November in the Midwest and provided sporadic downpours, hail and 60 mile per hour winds that ripped hunting tents from their ground staking.

Paraplegics, amputees and other physically challenged hunters participated in this special deer hunt. Thirty-three hunters and their attendants harvested 16 deer that included 9 bucks and 7 does. Ninety-four-year-old William Brown celebrated his 74th year of deer hunting. He has hunted deer every year since 1957, when Illinois began deer hunting. Double-leg amputees Cam Tribolet and Scott Hansen harvested 12 point and 9 point bucks, respectively.

Each year, the Refuge partners with outdoors and sporting organizations to make this hunt a success. The non-profit organization Ultimate Experience Outdoors, Inc. sponsored Brien Canty from Cross Roads, Alabama. It is the fourth year this organization has sponsored a disabled veteran, who often are new to deer hunting or are being re-activated to hunting.

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

Down Deer Recovery, a certified United Blood Trackers provider, assisted hunters in recovering wounded deer. Owner/handler Seth Nelson with his bloodhound Kimber and German shepherd Maverick, successfully tracked several wounded deer. The dogs track the scent of a stress pheromone that is released from the deer’s hooves and is present along the escape path of the injured deer.

This special hunt is conducted in areas that are closed to public access due to ongoing environmental clean-up at this former military installation, the Savanna Army Depot. Over 1,000 youth and adult hunters have participated in this hunt since its beginning 15 years ago.

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

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

 


 

Signs dogs are having vision problems

Dog owners take their furry friends’ health very seriously. Like their human companions, dogs can experience health problems that seemingly come out of nowhere. But unlike the men and women who take care of them, dogs cannot call the doctor when something is bothering them. That responsibility rests on the shoulders of their owners.

A dog’s eyes can be a window into the animal’s overall health. According to the pet care professionals at Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency, serious conditions such as liver disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases can all present indicators in a dog’s eyes.

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation® says that dogs can experience physical and/or behavioral problems when they’re experiencing eye trouble.

A host of factors can contribute to vision problems in dogs. Age is one such factor, but diseases such as diabetes and hereditary conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy, also can lead to visual impairment. Before dog owners can work with veterinarians to determine the cause of their furry friends’ vision loss, they must first learn to recognize signs of impairment. The AKC notes that some of these signs may be obvious while others are more subtle.

• Bumping into walls or furniture: This is a clear indicator that a dog is experiencing vision problems. Dog owners who notice this is happening even when there’s nothing to obstruct their dogs’ path should book a vet appointment immediately.

• Trouble locating food or toys: Most dogs love to eat and drink and play with their toys. So a sudden inability to find food or water bowls or a favorite toy could indicate the dog is having vision problems.

• Reluctance to jump on or off a couch: This symptom can be less noticeable than bumping into furniture or having trouble finding food. Dogs that once loved to jump on or off a couch but now stick to the floor may be doing so due to impaired vision and the fear of not being able to see where they’re jumping.

• Clinginess: The AKC notes that some dogs cling to their owners as they experience vision loss.

• Aggressiveness: Dogs may begin to show aggression as they experience vision loss. That’s because the loss of their eyesight can make them feel vulnerable, leading some to act offensively as a defense mechanism.

• Physical indicators/behaviors: Dog owners should be on the lookout for red, puffy or swollen eyes. In addition, Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency notes that some dogs may paw at their face in response to vision loss.

Vision loss in dogs can be caused by many things. The first step to helping dogs overcome diminished vision is recognizing its symptoms.

 


 

Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity joining Riverview Center

Riverview Center is Pleased to Announce Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity is joining us in our new space at 1789 Elm Street, Dubuque.

To help our agencies better meet the needs of victims/survivors of gender-based violence, Riverview Center welcomes Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity to our Dubuque Sexual Assault/Abuse Survivor Services Center at 1789 Elm Street. Through this partnership, our agencies are working together to make it easier for survivors to access the advocacy and counseling they seek in their journey to get justice and to heal.

For twenty-eight years, Riverview Center has proudly provided the healing and justice survivors of sexual violence deserve, free of charge. We are a nonprofit agency committed to providing free, compassionate, client-centered care for individuals affected by sexual violence in 14 counties in Iowa, including Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek Counties; and for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence in Carroll and Jo Daviess Counties in Illinois.

Regardless of means, our clients receive high-quality, professional services, including 24-hour crisis hotlines; legal, medical, and general advocacy; one-on-one counseling and support groups; professional training; and violence prevention initiatives. If you or someone you know needs survivor services, please contact Riverview Center 24-Hour Iowa Sexual Assault Hotline: 888-557-0310.

Monsoon Asians and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and gender-related homicide in Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa. The culturally specific nonprofit organization, which serves all 99 counties in Iowa, has offices in Des Moines (main), Iowa City and now in Dubuque.

Aiyuko Maun is a Monsoon advocate and community outreach worker based in Dubuque. Aiyuko is from the Marshall Islands and you can reach her at 319-538-5207 or at aiyuko@monsooniowa.org. For more information, contact Lata D’Mello at 515-537-9475 or at lata@monsooniowa.org.

For more information, please contact:

 Riverview Center
Joey Taylor, Executive Director
563-557-0310 • joey@riverviewcenter.org

Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity
Lata D’Mello, Director of Programs, Iowa City
515-537-9475 • lata@monsooniowa.org

 


 

Warm up with a rich, chocolate beverage

Nothing beats sipping a hot, soothing beverage after a day of choosing the perfect Christmas tree or lobbing snowballs in the backyard. Teas, hot toddies, coffees, and mulled ciders certainly can fit the bill, but a mug of rich hot chocolate is a holiday season staple.

Hot chocolate can be whipped up quickly from premade packets, but many such packets are loaded with sugar. Chocolate lovers should have a reliable hot chocolate recipe to lean on when the moment is right. This recipe for “Real Hot Chocolate” from “Chocolate” (Parragon) by the editors of Love Food is sure to please.

Real Hot Chocolate
Serves 1 to 2

1-1⁄2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1-1⁄4 cups milk
Chocolate curls to decorate

Place the chocolate in a large, heatproof pitcher. Place the milk in a heavy-bottom saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour about one-quarter of the milk onto the chocolate and leave until the chocolate has softened.

Whisk the milk and chocolate mixture until smooth. Return the remaining milk to the heat and return to a boil, then pour onto the chocolate, whisking constantly.

Pour into warmed mugs or cups and top with the chocolate curls. Serve immediately.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 www.cityofdubuque.org/yardwaste. 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 www.cityofdubuque.org/yardwaste. 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 www.cityofdubuque.org/publicworks.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 darlene.bolsinger@hillcrest-fs.org or call 563.599.4068. Submissions due by October 16, 2020.

 


 

FALL CLEAN-UP FOR MT. CALVARY AND MT. OLIVET CEMETERIES

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 www.cityofdubuque.org/parking, or contact the City of Dubuque Transportation Services Department at 563-589-4266 or parking@cityofdubuque.org.

 


 

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 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.

 


 

INCLUSIVE AND UNIFYING FESTIVAL, KEYCHELLA, TO BE HELD IN DUBUQUE SEPTEMBER 2020

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 keycitypride.org/keychellafestival.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.