Area Tidbits

Behind the jokes of April Fools’ Day

Pranks, practical jokes and various goofs abound at the start of April, when celebrants around the world mark April Fools’ Day — a tradition that dates back several centuries.

Even though April Fools’ Day, also known as All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for centuries, no one is completely sure of its exact origins.
According to History.com, many historians speculate that April Fool’s Day traces its origins to the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one in 1582. At this point, the start of the new year had been moved to January 1 from the last week of March. Those who were slow to get the news still celebrated the new year from late March into April and became the object of pranks as a result. One of the more notable pranks included having a paper fish placed on the backs of unsuspecting individuals and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish). This symbolized a young, easily fooled, or hooked fish.

During the 1700s, April Fools’ Day spread northward throughout areas of Britain. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event. One feature was sending people on phony errands called “hunting the gowk.” Gowk refers to the cuckoo bird, which often has been used as a symbol for fools. Tallie Day followed, which included pranks like pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on unsuspecting people.

The earliest mass April Fools’ Day hoax on record occurred in 1698, according to Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes.

“People in London were told to go see the annual ceremony of the washing of the lions at the Tower of London,” said Boese. “They showed up at the Tower of London, but there was no annual lion-washing ceremony.”

Mass media later became a prime vehicle for some April tomfoolery. In 1957, the BBC told viewers there was a great spaghetti crop in Switzerland that year due to the disappearance of the spaghetti weevil, and people of Britain, who were largely unfamiliar with spaghetti at the time, believed it. Faux advertisements, broadcasts and interviews eventually crop up as well. National Public Radio did a piece on how Richard Nixon was going to run for president in the 1992 race and used the voice of a man who sounded like Nixon. People were outraged, and thousands believed it.

Many companies have gotten in on the foolishness in recent years. The popular dating app Tinder once announced they put an end to men lying about their height on the app with a “height verification feature.” And Lego purportedly introduced a “Find My Brick” app to make building more efficient. Even National Geographic got in on the fun when, in 2016, the media company announced via Twitter that it would no longer be publishing photos of naked animals, stating “the media group will no longer degrade animals by showing photos of them without clothes.” Those who clicked through were greeted with “April Fools” and photos of adorably dressed puppies and kittens.

April Fools’ Day is an opportunity to have some lighthearted fun, even if that fun comes at the expense of others.

 


 

Delay in Processing Payments for City of Dubuque Utility Bills

Due to a temporary work from home policy implemented for City of Dubuque employees, the Utility Billing Department has been unable to process utility bill payments since Tuesday, March 24. The City estimates an approximate two-week delay in posting payments to accounts.

During this time, utility bills will continue to be issued. As a result, any accounts that submitted payment online through WaterSmart, by mail, by phone, via the City Hall drop box, or through a bank or other third party vendor on or after Tuesday, March 24, will receive next month’s bill without the previous month’s payment deducted from the total amount due. The City estimates approximately 10,000 accounts will be impacted.

If your last payment is not reflected on your current utility bill, please pay only what you owe for the current month. Your payments will be processed and posted to your account as soon as possible, and the issue is expected to be resolved by the next billing cycle. No late fees will be applied. Also note, as of March 20, water shut offs and disconnection notices have been temporarily suspended.

For questions or more information, please contact the City of Dubuque Utility Billing Department at 563.589.4144 or utilityb@cityofdubuque.org.

 


 

City of Dubuque Playground Equipment and the Flora Skate Park Closed

The City of Dubuque is closing its playground areas and play structures as well as the Flora Skate Park to the public as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. City parks will remain open but the more than 50 playground areas containing over 250 play units within those parks as well as the Flora Skate Park will be closed.

City of Dubuque Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware said the playgrounds and equipment they contain, and the Flora Skate Park are extremely challenging to sanitize and keep sanitized following use that happens on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour basis. The decision is similar those made by several other Iowa communities.

“We want people to understand that the outdoors and our parks are still open but, for their own safety and the safety of the children, we are asking the public to stay off this equipment and help limit the spread of the virus,” said Ware. “We need parents and guardians to help children and teens understand this temporary closure.”

Ware said the number of areas/structures make it impractical to create physical barriers to prevent use but signage explaining the closures will be posted in all areas as soon as possible. The closures will remain in place until further notice.

Dubuque parks are not yet officially open for the 2020 season so restrooms, water fountains, and other amenities are not yet accessible to the public. Residents are welcome to visit parks but should practice physical/social distancing of at least six feet, as instructed by the Centers for Disease Control and wash their hands as soon as possible after use.

 


 

City’s Weekly Yard Waste Collections to Resume April 6

The City of Dubuque will resume its regular weekly curbside collection of yard waste and food scraps on Monday, April 6, 2020. Yard waste and food scraps will be collected on customers’ regular curbside collection days.

The City is temporarily suspending the need for customers to attach single-use yard waste stickers or annual yard waste decals to collections through April 12.

Yard waste and food scraps collections must be placed in paper yard waste bags, 35-gallon rigid solid waste containers, or in subscribed City wheeled carts. Brush and limbs being collected must be bundled with limbs no longer than 4 feet long and under 4 inches in diameter and set at the curb for collection.

For food scrap collection, City collection customers may either subscribe to use food scrap collection carts (13, 48, or 64 gallons) for a fee or place food scraps in with grass clippings, leaves, and other yard debris in their current yard waste cans, carts, and bags.

Yard waste and food scraps should not be placed in plastic bags and must be kept separate from other trash. Collections must be set out by 6 a.m. and not weigh over 40 pounds per container or bundle.

The City offers a free tool, “ReThink Waste Dubuque,” to make it easier for City curbside collection customers to remember to set out trash, recycling, and organics and to stay informed on collection schedule changes and what can and cannot be recycled. To access the ReThink Waste Dubuque tool, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/rethinkwaste. Links to download the app are provided on the page and available on the iTunes App Store and Android Play Store. For additional information, call the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at 563-589-4250.

 


 

Mississippi Moon Bar Postpones Entertainment Through May 13

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

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

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

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

 


 

PROJECT ROOTED SERVES OVER 700 LUNCHES IN DUBUQUE COUNTY IN TWO DAYS FOR ITS NO COST LUNCH PROGRAM

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

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

For those interested in donating toward this effort, monetary donations will be accepted through a GoFundMe page for Project Rooted at gofundme.com/f/projectrooted

 


 

Dubuque Suspends Parking Fees in City-Owned Ramps and Lots

The City of Dubuque is temporarily suspending all parking fees associated with City-owned parking lots and ramps through the month of April.

Monthly parking fees for City lots and ramps, as well as hourly and daily parking ramp and lot fees, are covered by this suspension. All monthly permit holders will retain their current parking spaces during the suspension but will not be billed. The City plans to reinstate monthly billing associated with permits on May 1, 2020.

This temporary change follows last week’s announcement of the City’s suspension of on-street metered parking enforcement through April 12, 2020.

For more information, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/Parking or call 563-589-4266.

 


 

New medications help with Parkinson’s treatment

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that primarily affects movement. In the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, an affected person’s face also may show little or no expression and speech may become soft and slurred.
According to Parkinson’s News Today, Parkinson’s is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Parkinson’s affects more people than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and ALS combined, and an estimated 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease.

The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that nearly one million people in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease in 2020. Age is a risk factor for Parkinson’s, but an estimated 4 percent of people with the disease are diagnosed before age 50.

Many people are familiar with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, like tremors in the limbs. Slowed movement, or bradykinesia, also occurs over time. Rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, and loss of automatic movements like blinking and swinging arms while walking also can occur, advises the Mayo Clinic.

Like other neurodegenerative conditions, Parkinson’s is linked to changes in cells in the brain, which may gradually break down or die. Environmental triggers or genetics may also contribute to Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s also may be caused by shifting levels of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain. When neurons break down, they produce less dopamine, and this causes abnormal brain activity.

Parkinson’s has no cure, and treatment of the disease is designed to slow progression and treat certain symptoms.

Parkinson’s patients and their families may be excited to learn that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a new medication known as Nourianz (istradefylline). It is recommended for “off” time, when symptoms return between other medication doses. Nourianz belongs to a class of medications known as adenosine A2A antagonists, which work differently from all currently available Parkinson’s drugs. This drug blocks the brain chemical adenosine, which boosts the signaling of dopamine, the brain chemical that decreases in Parkinson’s patients. The medication can be added to a regimen consisting of levodopa/carbidopa to decrease off times. Four placebo-controlled clinical trials, which included more than 1,000 participants, demonstrated a significant decrease in “off” time when Nourianz was added to levodopa/carbidopa. Levodopa is converted to dopamine in the brain. Carbidopa helps prevent the breakdown of levodopa before it can reach the brain and take effect.

Parkinson’s patients can work with their doctors to find a regimen of drugs, therapy and support that may lessen their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

 


 

Repair bare spots in the lawn

Caring for a lawn to keep it lush and green can require equal measures of patience and hard work. Various invaders can attack grass or contribute to its demise. One problem many homeowners face is bare spots.

Bare spots can occur for various reasons. Heavy foot traffic, grubs or other pests, fungi, pet urine, or too much or too little water can contribute to bare spots. The how-to resource The Spruce says that correcting the source of bare spots can prevent new issues, particularly if grubs or other pests are damaging the grass. Then homeowners can address existing bare areas.

It is unlikely that bare spots will just fill back in on their own. Reseeding spots or using sod to fill in bare areas can help lawns look lush.

• Begin by raking and removing any dead grass and other debris from the lawn. Check to make sure that grubs or insects are not attacking the lawn. If they are, use targeted treatment options for those pests.

• Break up and aerate any soil that is compacted in the bare spot.

• Amend the soil in the bare area with loamy soil or compost to improve on the nutritional makeup and texture so that it is amenable to grass-growing. If you notice that the entire lawn is looking a little sparse, top-dressing the rest of the lawn at this point also can help improve its vitality.

• Sprinkle seeds in the bare spot (disperse seeds over the rest of the lawn if you want to over-seed and improve the thickness of the lawn). If you prefer sod, cut a portion of the sod to fit the bare area and place on the amended soil.

• The Scotts company says to lightly water newly seeded or sodded areas daily for at least two weeks to keep the top inch of soil consistently moist but not soggy. Gradually water more as the seedlings develop and the grass begins to fill in. Deep water at least once or twice a week after the new grass reaches mowing height.

• The grass should grow slightly longer than the rest of the lawn, and wait until the color of the patched area begins to blend in with the rest of the lawn before mowing. This could take a few weeks, and the area should be avoided until then.

Eventually, and with treatment, bare spots can be remedied and become indistinguishable from other areas of the lawn.

 


 

How to recognize signs of child abuse or neglect

The majority of adults across the globe would no doubt insist that they cannot fathom ever harming a child. And while that may be true, child abuse is an issue across the globe, and it’s more prevalent than many people may know.

The World Health Organization notes that one in four adults across the globe were abused as children. Data from the WHO also indicates that about 41,000 children under the age of 15 are victims of homicide every year.

People may feel helpless in regard to preventing child abuse, as abuse is often perpetrated behind closed doors. In addition, some people may hesitate to report child abuse because they are unsure if what they see is abuse. In recognition of that, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families notes that the first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect.

Indications of abuse and neglect may be noticeable in both children and their parents, so people who suspect a child is being abused or neglected can keep an eye for the following signs.

Children

• Sudden changes in behavior or school performance

• Lack of medical attention for physical and medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

• Learning problems, including difficulty with concentration, that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

• The child is always watchful, as if preparing for something bad to happen

• Lacks adult supervision

• The child is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn

• Arrives at school or other activities early, stays late and does not want to go home

Parent(s)

• Shows little concern for the child

• Is in denial about the existence of the child’s problems at school or at home, or blames the child for such problems

• Requests harsh discipline be employed by teachers or other caregivers if the child misbehaves

• Views the child as entirely bad, worthless or burdensome

• Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

• Looks primarily to the child for care, attention and satisfaction of emotional needs

Child and parent(s)

• Rarely touch or look at each other

• Consider their relationship entirely negative

• State their dislike for each other

These are just some of the signs that may indicate children are being abused and/or neglected. It’s important to note that there are various forms of child abuse, and each may produce its own unique indicators. More information about child abuse and how to recognize it can be found at www.childwelfare.gov.

 


 

A guide to buying and setting up a bird bath

Warm weather means more opportunities to spend time outdoors while at home. Whether your favorite form of outdoor recreation includes sitting on the patio reading or digging in the garden, there’s a good chance that you will be sharing the space with local wildlife. Optimizing opportunities to view and interact with backyard wildlife can make the great outdoors even more enjoyable.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology indicates that there are around 2,059 bird species on the continent of North America. Red-winged blackbirds, yellow-rumped warblers, American robins, and chipping sparrows are among the most commonly seen birds in North America.

Making a backyard hospitable to birds can increase the chances for sightings and hearing their sweet songs. Installing a bird bath can be a step in the right direction.

Bird baths can make yards more attractive to birds. Birds require a supply of fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing. By setting up a bath, homeowners can attract not only seed-loving birds, but those that don’t eat seeds and wouldn’t normally congregate around feeders, indicates All About Birds. Experts surmise that birds may bathe to maintain their feathers.

Not all bird baths are constructed the in the same fashion. Many bird baths sold in stores are better suited for decoration than for serving as functional baths. There are four general types of bird bath: standing pedestal, hanging bath, deck-mounted, and ground-level. In general, the lower a bird bath is to the ground, the more likely birds are to use it. Most natural sources of water birds use are on or near the ground. Therefore, ground-level bird baths may be the best investments.

It is important to keep the water in a bird bath shallow (around two inches of water or less). This enables birds to splash around safely and wade in.

Birds do not want to slide around, so a material that is coated and slippery, like glazed ceramic or glass, may not be too popular. Rough stone or a bird bath modified with pea gravel or rocks can give birds steady footing.

Place the bird bath in the shade if possible to ensure the water is cool and fresh. Locate it by a tree so the birds can hop up to a branch and preen afterwards. All About Birds also says that a bird bath is more attractive if it has a dripping or moving water feature, as this is often irresistible to birds.

Another way to ensure the bath will be used is to keep it clean and maintained. Change the water every day or two. Rinse off the bath to remove droppings, bugs and other debris.

Once birds learn there is a comfortable bath nearby, they may be more apt to visit a yard and may even become frequent guests.

 


 

The criteria for alcohol use disorder

Less than 10 percent of adults who struggled with alcoholism received professional help for their disease, according to a report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That’s a troubling statistic, especially given the high percentage of people who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, or AUD.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 14.4 million adults in the United States had AUD in 2018. The 11 criteria for AUD are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and people who meet any two of those criteria in a 12-month period are considered to have AUD.

People who are unsure if they meet the criteria for AUD can ask themselves the following questions:

• Have there been times when I ended up drinking more or longer than I intended?

• Have I, on more than one occasion, wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?

• Have I spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects of drinking?

• Have I experienced a strong need, or urge, to drink?

• Have I found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — has often interfered with my ability to take care of my home or family? Has drinking caused problems at work or at school?

• Have I continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with my family or friends?

• Have I given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to me, or gave me pleasure, in order to drink?

• Have I found myself in situations while or after drinking that increased my chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?

• Have I continued to drink even though it was making me feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?

• Have I had to drink much more than I once did to get the effect I want? Or have I found that my usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?

• Have I experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating, when the effects of alcohol were wearing off? Have I sensed things that were not there?

The NIAAA warns that people who have any of these symptoms may already have a problem with drinking. Those who suspect they have a problem can utilize the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator at https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/ to get started on their road to recovery.

 


 

Financial assistance for customers impacted by COVID-19

(IOWA CITY, IA) MidWestOne Bank today announced programs to aid clients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We recognize the immediate pain and anxiety our customers are experiencing. We are immediately implementing a number of programs designed to help those in need,” said President and CEO Charlie Funk. MidWestOne is committed to implementing programs that assist our customers, employees, and communities. We are here to help.

Taking care of our customers…

Through April 30 MidWestOne will offer the following assistance to our retail and business customers:

  • Work with each customer to help with their unique situation

  • One withdrawal from a certificate of deposit up to $20,000 and no early withdrawal penalty

  • Consumer hardship assistance loans ranging between $1,000 to $5,000 at low rates*

  • 30-day payment extensions on most retail loans and lines of credit

  • Consumer home equity lines of credit at low introductory rates*

  • Consumer credit cards with limited time benefits*

  • 90-day deferred principal payments for qualified business customers with identified need

  • Other business loan accommodations such as increasing borrowing capacity where warranted

    Taking care of our communities…

    MidWestOne is committed to supporting our communities. We are actively asking everyone to shop locally starting with our employees. We support our restaurant and bar businesses by ordering take out and using local businesses’ phone and mail order and online capabilities.

    MidWestOne Bank Foundation

    MidWestOne supports our communities. It is a core value and COVID-19 won’t change that.

    Taking care of our employees…

    MidWestOne is taking care of employees. Charlie Funk commented, “Our company is taking multiple actions to reduce the risk to our employees. Many will be working from home. We’ve changed our lobby availability in order to help flatten the COVID 19 spread curve. We are putting more physical distance between employees who need to come to the offices each day. Though the actions we are taking are many, we will continue to assure that we serve our customers and communities in their time of greatest need.”

    Visit https://www.midwestone.bank/news/covid19 for more information. *Subject to credit approval.

    Additional Information about MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc. MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa. MidWestOne Financial is the parent company of MidWestOne Bank, which operates 63 banking offices in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida. MidWestOne provides electronic delivery of financial services through its website, MidWestOne.bank. MidWestOne Financial trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MOFG.

 


 

City Suspending Enforcement of Parking Meter Expiration Violations

Effective immediately, the City of Dubuque is temporarily suspending enforcement of parking meter expiration violations through April 12, 2020. During this time parking customers are not required to feed/pay parking meters in Dubuque.

All other street parking regulations will continue to be enforced in accordance with City code, including but not limited to, street storage (vehicles parked on the street longer than 24 hours without moving), disabled parking spaces, fire zone compliance, and blocking of driveways. Monthly reserved parking in ramps and surface lots will still be enforced.

For more information on parking restrictions, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/Parking or contact Director of Transportation Services Renee Tyler at 563-589-4341 or rtyler@cityofdubuque.org.

 


 

Let kites soar: A Lenten tradition takes flight

The Christian season of Lent and the Easter holiday are laden with time-honored traditions that are both secular and religious. Many such traditions are universal, but people still find ways to celebrate their Christian faith in their own unique ways.

Each Good Friday, residents of Bermuda take to the beach to fly kites. The tradition began from a legend that says a local teacher was attempting to explain to Sunday school students about Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The students were not grasping the concept, so the teacher purportedly launched a kite in the shape of a cross into the air to explain the matter. The students followed the teacher to a hilltop, set the kite flying, and then the teacher cut the string and the students watched it sail. In Bermuda, kite-flying remains a much-anticipated Good Friday tradition.

Good Friday can be a solemn day, but it also is a day of joy in which the faithful give thanks for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for his people. Launching beautiful kites into the air toward heaven can transform the sky into an awe-inspiring mosaic of shapes and colors. Traditional Bermudian kites are crafted from colorful tissue paper and white pine wood, with rattan or bamboo used as the headstick bender. Great care and artistry is put into the crafting of these kites. Those who are short on time purchase pre-made kites for convenience.

The kite-flying extravaganza in Bermuda is followed by a meal of codfish cakes and hot cross buns.

Families looking for a special way to honor Christ during Lent may want to incorporate this vivid tradition of kite-flying into their celebrations.

 


 

Get involved with autism awareness efforts

Autism spectrum disorder has the potential to touch just about anyone. The World Health Organization estimates that one in 160 children across the globe has ASD, while some well-controlled studies have reported that figures are substantially higher than that.
ASD affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, meaning just about any family can be affected.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its biennial update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children. The update was based on analysis of medical records, and where available, educational records of eight-year-old children from 11 monitoring sites across the United States. In a two-year period, the new estimate indicated a 15 percent increase in ASD prevalence.

Understandably, anyone who has been affected by ASD wants to learn more about what individuals can do to advocate for high quality services for those with ASD. The autism information group Autism Speaks says more work is needed to understand the increased prevalence and the complex medical needs that often accompany ASD. There are many different and effective ways to become more involved in the autism community.

Educate children
Many schools have integrated classrooms where children who have ASD work alongside their peers. Others may have specialized programs for those who need one-on-one support. Either way, the goal is to introduce children to ASD when they are young, as many have friends or classmates with ASD. Helping to dispel myths about ASD and encouraging support and compassion can improve relationships during childhood.

Fundraise
Research into causation as well as treatment options and interventions for ASD can be expensive. That makes fundraising a necessary component. Individuals can participate in many organized fundraisers, such as walks, runs, rides, and other activities. However, enterprising people also can create their own fundraisers or ones unique to their own needs.

Support others
Those who do not have someone with ASD in their immediate family but know a relative, friend or neighbor with ASD can be a listening ear, a person to rally at events or advocacy meetings, or just a touchstone when a little extra support is needed. People who own businesses can support adults with ASD in the community through programs like the Organization for Autism Research’s Hire Autism Initiative.

Autism spectrum disorder affects many different people. During the month of April and throughout the entire year, there are many ways for people to spread the word about ASD and support ASD research.

 


 

City of Dubuque Bill/Fee Payments During COVID-19 Closures

To reduce potential spread of COVID-19, the City of Dubuque is suspending all face to face and in-person payment transactions until further notice at the following City locations:
• City Hall
• City Hall Annex
• Leisure Services Department Office at Bunker Hill
• Housing and Community Development Department at Historic Federal Building* (*this building remains open to public access but there is no public access to the Housing and Community Development Department offices)
• Municipal Service Center
• Multicultural Family Center

For utility billing payment information and other Utility Billing Department provided services please see information below. For all other City department payment options please contact individual departments directly. For a list of departments contact information please visit the City of Dubuque website: www.cityofdubuque.org

Utility Billing payment options during this period include:
• ACH (Automated Clearing House) and e-check automatic bill payments will continue as regularly scheduled.
• Payments may be made online at www.cityofdubuque.org/payment. Payments can also be made by phone 24/7 by calling 563-589-4144 and then selecting option #1 for phone payments. E-check payments will have no fee. Credit cards will have an applicable transaction fee.
• Checks can be mailed to: Utility Billing, City Hall, 50 W. 13th St., Dubuque, IA 52001.
At drop boxes located outside City Hall at the 13th Street entrance (please do not put cash in the drop box).
• Cash payments will not be accepted.

In addition, the City of Dubuque will be suspending water shut-offs temporarily. This will not alleviate the bill as late fees will continue to be charged until the balances are addressed.

Individuals or contractors in need of water taps or water meters can contact the Water Department at 563-589-4291 for additional details.

Single use refuse and yard waste stickers will not be available to purchase at City Hall and instead will be available at area stores for purchase. Annual yard stickers can be purchased online or by telephone and will be sent out by mail.

Bus passes will not be available for purchase at City Hall until further notice and instead can be purchased at the City’s Intermodal Center located at 950 Elm St., Dubuque, Iowa.

Parking tickets can be paid online at www.cityofdubuque.org/payment, dropped off at the City Hall drop box, 50 West 13th St., or paid by credit card over the phone, or the City will also be accepting credit card or check (no cash) payments at the City’s Intermodal Center located at 950 Elm Street until further notice.

Customers seeking assistance with applying or discontinuing service, signing up for financial assistance, or other questions may call the City’s Utility Billing department at 563-589-4144 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or see the City’s website.

For more resources and information, please visit www.cityofdubuque.org/utilitybilling.

The City of Dubuque will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions that support public health and reduce spread of COVID-19. The public will be updated as needed.

 


 

Applications Open for City of Dubuque Large Neighborhood Grants

The City of Dubuque and the Dubuque Community Development Advisory Commission are now accepting competitive applications for the Large Neighborhood Grant Program. The deadline for applications is Monday, April 13, 2020.

The Large Neighborhood Grant Program is 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.

The maximum grant is $3,000. Information on applications, guidelines, and how to apply online are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/neighborhoods. Organizations that are interested in applying for funds are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming grant workshops to receive additional information on the grant program and the application process. The grant workshops will be held on Wednesday, March 18, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, March 25, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Lacey Board Room at Carnegie Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11 St.

In the past, this program has provided funding for a large array of neighborhood improvement projects such as bike racks, newsletters, publications, neighborhood beautification efforts, youth and family programs, neighborhood park improvements, community gardens, and streetscape improvements. Eligible activities include both public improvements and public service activities such as projects serving youth and families or seniors in the neighborhood. Food and entertainment expenses are not eligible under this program.

Complete application materials are posted online at www.cityofdubuque.org/neighborhoods. For additional information contact Neighborhood Development Specialist Jerelyn O’Connor at joconnor@cityofdubuque.org or 563-589-4326.

 


 

Mayor Declares State of Emergency in Dubuque

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol declared a state of emergency in Dubuque in response the coronavirus (COVID-19).

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dubuque County but the proclamation follows the Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) notification of community spread of the virus in Iowa and recommendation of the immediate implementation of mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus, as well as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ recommendation that all Iowa schools close for four weeks.

“One of the greatest responsibilities of an elected official is the protection of the electorate served and the protection of the greater public health and safety,” stated Boul. “I hereby determine that a state of emergency or public danger exists.”

Through the proclamation, Mayor Buol is prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people on public property and strongly suggests private gatherings of 50 or more people on private property should be avoided. The proclamation follows a statement last week encouraging social distancing.

In addition, the proclamation also orders the closure of some City buildings, for the protection of residents and city staff. Specifically, the City of Dubuque is closing the following City buildings to public access beginning Tuesday, March 17, through at least Sunday, April 12:

• City Hall, 50 W. 13th St.

• City Hall Annex, 1300 Main St.

• Housing & Community Development Department, Historic Federal Building, 350 W 6th St.

• Leisure Services Department Office and Bunker Hill Golf Course, 2200 Bunker Hill Rd.

• Municipal Services Center, 925 Kerper Ct.

• Multicultural Family Center, 1157 Central Ave

• Comiskey Park Building, 255 E. 24th St.

• Allison Henderson Park Building, 1500 Loras Blvd.

City staff in these buildings will continue to work and provide services to the public electronically, by phone, by mail, and when necessary, by appointment. Details on payment options for utility bills, parking tickets, and all permits and fees will be announced tomorrow.

Additionally, all City of Dubuque Leisure Services recreational programs and Multicultural Family Center (MFC) programs are cancelled through at least April 12. City staff will contact those registered and offer refunds and/or credits. Registration for summer programs will not begin until at least April 13. Please note, all meetings and other gatherings scheduled at the Comiskey Park building and the Allison Henderson building are cancelled. During the shutdown, City staff will be sanitizing all areas of each of these facilities.

City staff is currently working on a method that would allow the MFC’s Food Pantry scheduled for Friday, March 20, to continue – while keeping both the pantry participants, volunteers, and staff protected by following the protocols of the CDC and IDPH. City staff will be corresponding with Food Pantry participants to provide updates.

For information and questions related to City services and programs, please contact the appropriate City department or submit a request through the City’s Citizen Support Center at www.cityofdubuque.org.

For information about Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus. For Dubuque County specific information, call the Dubuque Visiting Nurses Association at 563.556.6200 (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), the Dubuque County Health Department at 563.557.7396 (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), or the City of Dubuque Health Services Department at 563.589.4181 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday).

 


 

PROJECT ROOTED OFFERS NO COST LUNCHES DURING SCHOOL CLOSURES

In partnership with Convivium Urban Farmstead, Project Rooted will be offering no-cost sack lunches to children (ages 0-18) in need during school closures.

Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 lunches will be available for pick up at the outdoor area in front of Convivium Urban Farmstead at 2811 Jackson Street in Dubuque. One per child please. These grab-and-go lunches will be offered Monday through Friday from 11am-2pm each day during school closures, while supplies last.

For those interested in donating toward this effort, monetary donations will be accepted through a GoFundMe page for Project Rooted at gofundme.com/f/projectrooted

Project Rooted is a local non-profit (501(C)(3) pending) whose mission is to connect kids to real food from the ground up.

 


 

Keep tech in good working order

The modern world is driven by technology. People rely on tech for both business and pleasure, rarely letting a day pass without using a device or the internet. But technology is only as effective as its functionality. Failure to clean and maintain tech can compromise its effectiveness.

Cleaning and maintenance may not sound like exciting tasks, but they’re essential for keeping devices running smoothly. Even if one thinks their home or office environment is squeaky clean, dust can accumulate. According to TechRepublic, which empowers decision-makers to identify technologies and strategies to streamline business processes, dust is a fearsome foe in the tech environment. Cleaning dust, among other tasks, is necessary for continued operations.

Physical cleaning
Take time to assess the cleanliness of all hardware and other equipment. Gather supplies for proper cleaning, including canned air, tech-safe cleansing wipes, dusters, and a good measure of elbow grease. Target the exterior of the device, cooling vents, ports, the device’s display, keyboard, and mouse. All it takes is one small foreign particle to derail components.

DVD and CD-ROM drives (if your computer has them) can be cleaned with special kits and disks.

Don’t forget to inspect outlets and surge protectors. Electric current tends to attract dust bunnies and other debris, which can cause a fire if allowed to accumulate.

Data cleaning
Routinely install updates to keep devices running efficiently and safely. Many updates contain security patches that protect the integrity of your data and maintain the operating system.

The tech resource IT Freedom advises conducting an internal cleaning of any devices. This involves deleting any unnecessary files to free up space, or to remove apps that are not needed. In addition, cut down on the number of tasks running in the background, which can affect speed and efficiency.

If speed is a concern or if the battery is being drained on mobile devices, try turning off WiFi or Bluetooth when it is not being used.

Backups and security
Data breaches have made headlines, and many people have had the displeasure of losing data when a computer or other device fails. Keep personal logins and passwords secret, update virus protection software as needed, don’t transmit vital information over unsecured connections, and routinely back up information to a cloud or external storage device.

Keeping computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices clean is essential to ensuring they continue to work effectively.

 


 

Early-blooming spring flowers

The arrival of spring is a welcome occurrence for many people. Budding flowers are among the harbingers of spring. Spring flowers can revitalize winter-weary people just when they need it most — and provide reassurance that brighter, warmer and longer hours of sunlight are just around the corner.

Cold-tolerant flowers are hardy enough to start blooming before the last frosts have dissipated. Other flowers will begin to fill in as days warm a little bit more, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Home gardeners looking to warm up their gardens with early blooms can use these flowers in their early-season containers, window boxes and planting beds.

• Pansy: Pansies prefer cool weather, which can make them one of the best flowers to plant in early spring and late fall. Pansies come in a variety of colors, so there’s bound to be an offering that will blend with any homeowners’ landscape design.

• Creeping phlox: Also known “moss phlox,” creeping phlox is a short ground-cover that is a herbaceous perennial. Phlox produces small, fragrant flowers in dense clusters, which can attract wildlife, such as butterflies, to their mats across the soil surface.

• Snowdrops: Snowdrops can peek out even when there is snow still on the ground — sometimes as early as January and February. But their name is actually a reference to their appearance, as snowdrops have three white petals that hang down like drops dripping off the stem.

• Violets: These flowers are closely related to pansies and, as a result, prefer cool seasons. Violets are generally slightly smaller than pansy blooms, but they can be just as beautiful. But as with pansies, violets will start to fade when the heat arrives.

• Crocus: Crocus plants are relatively small, only reaching three to six inches in height. However, their grass-like leaves are some of the first sprouts that can be seen among bulb and corm plantings. Preferring full to partial sun, these gold, purple, lavender, white, or yellow flowers can be enjoyed during the earliest days of spring.

• Daffodil: Daffodil bulbs produce cheerful, yellow flowers in early spring. They’re one of the most recognizable flowers thanks to their familiar shape and fragrant aroma.

• Lenten rose: Hellebores, also called the Lenten rose or Christmas rose, can tolerate light frosts. These blooms get their name from the time of year when they bloom, which is typically around the Christian Lenten season. Despite their name, these delicate flowers are not actually related to roses, however.

Early-blooming flowers give winter-weary gardeners hope that spring has arrived.

 


 

Side effects of snoring include higher risk for Alzheimer’s

Snoring may seem like a pesky yet minor problem, but it can be much more serious than some people know. Although snoring is a common problem among all ages and genders, the National Sleep Foundation says that men are twice as likely to snore as women, and snoring can worsen with age.

The aging process can lead to a relaxation of the throat muscles, resulting in snoring. Furthermore, the NSF says anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, illness and other factors may also contribute to snoring. Drinking alcohol, which can have an effect similar to muscle relaxants, in the evening can make snoring worse.

While many people may think snoring is a mere nuisance, it actually may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Over time, apnea can be associated with high blood pressure and increased risks of heart attack, stroke or death, advises WebMD.

Now there is new evidence that those with obstructive sleep apnea may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well. A new study published in the journal Neurology found that people with sleep apnea tended to develop memory problems and other signs of cognitive impairment earlier than people without such sleep disorders. Richard Osorio, MD, a research assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Center for Brain Health, found that, among 2,000 people studied, those who reported having sleep apnea or snoring tended to develop signs of mild cognitive impairment, including memory lapses and slower speed on cognitive skills, about 12 years earlier on average than those who didn’t report any sleep-related breathing issues. Mild cognitive impairment often precedes dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Some researchers believe snoring and sleep apnea may contribute to a buildup of the toxic protein in the brain called beta-amyloid, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

If snoring has become problematic, men and women are urged to visit a doctor or sleep specialist to see which therapies can be instituted to help improve sleep and overall health.

 


 

How to extend the life of your smartphone

Smartphones have become an essential part of everyday life for millions of people across the globe, and the cost of these devices reflects just how integral they have become. Consumer survey data from the market research and consulting firm Parks Associates found that, between 2014 and 2018, the average price paid by United States broadband households for their most recently purchased smartphone more than doubled, increasing from $258 in 2014 to $528 in 2018.

As smartphones have become more expensive, it’s understandable that their owners have become more concerned with extending the life expectancies of their phones. Extending the life of a smartphone can be tricky, as routine operating system updates can affect device performance. Avoiding software updates can help users overcome that problem, and there are many additional strategies to extend the life of a smartphone.

• Remove unused apps. Many smartphones come with built-in apps, some of which users may never open. These apps, even if they are not being used, still take up valuable storage space on a phone. As storage space dwindles, phones may experience lag times that compromise performance and frustrate users. By removing apps they don’t use, users can reduce the likelihood of lag times and keep their phones running more effectively for longer periods of time. In addition, users can improve performance by removing apps they use sparingly and simply reinstalling them when the need arises.

• Protect the phone’s exterior. Damage is another factor that can shorten the life expectancy of a phone. Broken screens can render phones useless or very difficult to use, and few users want to pay the cost of replacing a screen, especially when their phones are more than a year old. Tempered glass protectors can reduce the likelihood of cracked or damaged screens, and such items are inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of a new phone or new screen.

• Use cloud storage. Many smartphones and/or phone plans now include cloud storage as part of the package users pay for. Cloud storage can be useful for users who take lots of photos, allowing them to save their photos onto the cloud and remove them from the phone’s memory, thereby making the phone run more smoothly and efficiently, regardless of its age. If a plan does not include cloud storage, users can purchase their own for as little as a couple of dollars per month.

• Protect the charging port. Dust in phone charging ports is a common problem for many smartphone users. A dust-filled charging port can make it hard to charge the phone, essentially rendering it useless. Compressed air can be used to clean ports of dust. Users can be proactive and clean the ports routinely with compressed air, or even cover charging ports with small pieces of tape when the phones aren’t being charged.

Smartphones are significant investments. A few simple strategies can help users protect their smartphone investments so the devices last longer.

 


 

3 tips to prepare to sell your home

According to Realtor.com, spring is the busiest and best season to sell a home. While a good home can find a buyer any time of year, homeowners might find the buyers’ pool is strongest in spring and into summer. The reasons for that are many, ranging from parents wanting to move when their children are not in school to buyers wanting to move when the weather is most accommodating.

Because spring is such a popular time to sell a home, homeowners who want to put their homes on the market should use winter as an opportunity to prepare their homes for the prying eyes of prospective buyers. The following tips can help homeowners during the pre-selling preparation process.

1. Address the exterior of the home.
Winter can be harsh on a home’s exterior, so as winter winds down, homeowners who want to sell their homes should make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect their homes’ curb appeal. A study of homes in Greenville, S.C., from researchers at Clemson University found that the value of homes with landscapes that were upgraded from “good” to “excellent” increased by 6 to 7 percent. If it’s in the budget, hire professional landscapers to fix any problematic landscaping or address any issues that arose during the winter. Homeowners with green thumbs can tackle such projects on their own, but hiring professionals is akin to staging inside the home.

2. Conquer interior clutter.
Clutter has a way of accumulating over the winter, when people tend to spend more time indoors than they do throughout the rest of the year. Homeowners who want to put their homes on the market in spring won’t have the luxury of waiting until spring to do their “spring” cleaning, so start clearing any clutter out in winter, even resolving to make an effort to prevent its accumulation throughout winter. Just like buyers are impressed by curb appeal, they are turned off by clutter. The Appraisal Institute suggests homeowners clear clutter out of their homes before appraisers visit, and the same approach can be applied to open houses. Buyers, like appraisers, see cluttered homes as less valuable. In addition, a home full of clutter might give buyers the impression, true or not, that the home was not well maintained.

3. Eliminate odors.
A home’s inhabitants grow accustomed to odors that might be circulating throughout the house. Pet odor, for instance, might not be as strong to a home’s residents as it is to guests and prospective buyers. Because windows tend to stay closed throughout the winter, interior odors can be even stronger come late-winter than they are during the rest of the year. A thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair that accumulated over the winter, can help to remove odor. In the weeks leading up to the open house, bathe pets more frequently, using a shampoo that promotes healthy skin so pet dander is not as prevalent. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home.

Spring is a popular and potentially lucrative time to sell a home, and homeowners who spend winter preparing their homes for the market may reap even greater rewards.

 


 

Common home emergencies, and how to prevent them

Dorothy Gale said “there’s no place like home” in “The Wizard of Oz.” But what about when homes are no longer safe?
Household emergencies can occur at any time. When disaster strikes, knowing how to proceed effectively can make a world of difference and potentially save lives.

Fortunately it’s easy to prevent or reduce a wide range of household dangers by embracing some simple safety measures.

• Accidental falls: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that accidental falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury among nearly every age group. Roughly three million adults age 65 and older experience falls that result in emergency room visits each year in the United States. Falls can be prevented by removing tripping hazards, installing steady handrails and other supports and adding lighting in and around a home. If a fall should occur, stabilize the limb or injured area of the body and seek medical assistance.

• Kitchen fires: The potential for danger exists whenever cooking with heat or over open flames. Kitchen fires may occur, but they don’t have to spread or cause serious issues if fast action is taken. Never use water to put out a grease fire — it will only spread it and make it worse. Cover the fire with a lid to suffocate the flames, or use baking soda to douse the fire. Always have an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it.

• Burst pipes: Burst pipes or leaking plumbing can quickly cause major damage in a home. Dwell Residential Group says to locate the water main, which is usually in the basement or garage on the “street side” near the water meter. Turn off the main to save the home and your wallet. Make the water main visible, mark which way is off, and instruct others in the house on how to use it.

• Tipping furniture: Tip-over incidents send thousands of people (especially young children) to emergency rooms each year, says the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Top-heavy items, like dressers, TV stands and televisions, bureaus, and bookcases should be anchored to the wall.

• Unintentional poisoning: People may inadvertently consume household poisons. State Farm advises calling 9-1-1 if the victim is unconscious or not breathing. If the person is alert, consult with the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 (or the Ontario Poison Centre at 1-800-268-9017) and await instructions. Keep the bottle or packaging of the assumed poison on hand and be prepared to discuss symptoms and personal information about the victim.

• Fire or other danger: No one ever thinks an emergency situation necessitating escape from the home will take place. But to play it safe, residents should designate emergency exits that are the quickest and safest ways out of every room in the house. Practice this plan and pick a specific meeting spot outside.

Safety at home involves knowing how to act fast in an emergency and how to reduce your risk of being in potentially dangerous situations.

 


 

Get ready: Early spring landscaping tips

During the cold months of winter, many people stare longingly out of the window dreaming of spring and time spent outdoors. For those with green thumbs, images of tending to the garden and other aspects of their landscapes no doubt dominate such daydreams.

Draw inspiration from those budding crocuses and daffodils pushing through the last remnants of snow and employ these tips to prepare for the upcoming gardening season.

• One of the first steps is to apply a preemergent weed killer to get a head start knocking out weeds that can plague the lawn during the growing season. Killing weeds at the roots early on can mean far fewer hassles in spring and summer, and may prevent new generations of weeds from cropping up each year.

• While it may be tempting to take a prematurely warm day as a sign that spring is in full force and purchase a bunch of annuals, it’s better to know the last of the possible frost dates (check “The Farmer’s Almanac”); otherwise, you may waste time and money planting flowers or vegetables only to have them zapped by another frosty day.

• Amend the soil so that it is the right consistency — just crumbling when lifting it. Soil that is too muddy after spring thaw can harden, making it difficult for plants to flourish later on. Speak with representatives at a local lawn and garden center about which types of amendments you can add to the soil in your particular area to enrich it.

• Lawn and garden experts at The Home Depot suggest filling in bare patches of lawn now by mixing a few shovelfuls of soil with grass seed. Then apply this patch to the bare areas, water, and continue to care for the area until the spot fills in.

• Spend a day in the garage or shed tending to the lawn mower and other gardening equipment. Clean all tools and ensure that everything works, repairing parts as needed.
• Give outdoor entertaining spaces a good scrubbing, clearing away dirt and grime that may have accumulated over the winter. Use a leaf blower to blow away any leftover leaves.

• Check if the front porch, railings or decking need painting and/or staining. Tackle these projects when the weather is cooler so everything will be ready for those peak spring days.

• Think about any annuals you might want to plant in the landscape this year that will complement any existing shrubbery or perennials. Come up with a theme so that the entire yard is cohesive.

Before homeowners know it, winter is gone and it is time to once again enjoy long days spent outdoors. Get a jump start on spring lawn prep as soon as you can.

 


 

City Life Citizen Academy Welcoming Applicants for Spring Session

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

City Life offers residents the opportunity to interact with City staff, learn more about City services and programs, participate in tours of City facilities, and learn about different opportunities to be involved in city government. There is no cost to participate. Space is limited to 25 participants. Applications are due by Friday, April 10.

The City Life program consists of six sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (April 21, 23, 28, 30, and May 5, 7) with each session running from 6-9 p.m. Dinner is provided each evening and staff will strive to make accommodations for participants related to transportation, childcare, and/or language needs. 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, contact City of Dubuque Community Engagement Coordinator Temwa Phiri at 563-589-4180 or tphiri@cityofdubuque.org, or stop by the Human Rights Department office at 1300 Main Street.

 


 

7 things to consider when buying a shed

Backyard sheds can be useful assets. Sheds can create storage space in the garage, basement or other areas of the house that have become gathering spots for gear typically used outdoors. Sheds are ideal for housing mowers, tools and even pool-care equipment. But they can be put to other uses as well, such as being key spots to engage in hobbies or even as a child’s clubhouse.

Various factors should be considered before building or buying a shed. A storage shed can be a significant investment. Once placed, sheds may remain in their dedicated spots for years to come. That means careful thought should go into the planning process.

1. Check your local building codes first. Before you accumulate building materials or order a shed, be sure to know the ins and outs of shed codes. The codes may impact the shed’s placement, construction, the materials used, size, and numerous other factors. It’s much easier to amend plans beforehand than to face the hassle and expense after learning you did things incorrectly.

2. Choose placement wisely. Spend several days assessing the yard and thinking about the uses for the shed. If you plan to store pool floats and chemicals inside of the shed, it should be located close enough to the pool to be convenient. Look at the lay of the land. If there is a soggy patch of land that can turn swampy under the shed’s foundation, that is a poor location choice. If you need access to electricity, placing it far away from the house could necessitate running expensive wiring.

3. Consider the design. Just because a shed is for storage doesn’t mean aesthetics should be overlooked. Choose a shed style that complements your home. You may also want to match certain architectural features, like arched doorways or dormers. Design also may relate to practicality. For instance, storing a riding mower inside may necessitate dual doors that open widely.

4. Invest in quality materials. Spending a little more and using quality materials can ensure it lasts long enough to be cost-effective. The right materials will be resistant to splitting, cracking, decay, and insect damage.

5. Prepare the site well. A proper foundation for the shed is almost as important as the shed itself. You cannot just drop the shed on the lawn and leave it, as the shed can sink or structural issues may arise if it is placed on a weak base.

6. Blend into the environment. Surround the shed with shrubs or plants so that it blends into the yard and complements the space.

7. Deck out the interior. Use every storage tool at your disposal to maximize floor, wall and even rafter space for storage. Plan where items will be kept and customize the storage options around those locations.

Sheds can be an asset and improve storage capability in the backyard.

 


 

How mattresses affect sleep quality

People make many renovations around their homes to improve their quality of life. When attention turns to the bedroom, some changes can greatly affect quality of sleep.

The temperature of the bedroom, its configuration and lighting can impact a person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. However, the item that may bear the most influence is the mattress.

The Better Sleep Council says whether one wakes up feeling rested and healthy depends largely on the age of a mattress and its condition. A good mattress should alleviate pressure on joints while providing bodily support. It should not be a contributor to aches and pains. Mattresses that are seven years or older may need to be replaced.

A century or two ago, mattresses were constructed of whatever people had on hand — from feathers to pine needles to straw. That’s all changed today. But even though there are many options, it’s key for people to discover which material is right for them.

Innerspring
Innerspring (also called coil) mattresses have been around for some time. These metal springs provide internal support. The number of coils, types of coils and distribution pattern throughout the mattress impacts how well the bed will conform to the body. These mattresses may be best for back or stomach sleepers due to their level of support. Keep in mind that innerspring mattresses may have limited durability and may start to sag after just a few years.

Memory foam
Memory foam mattresses are relatively recent additions to the market. According to the mattress shopping resource The Sleep Judge, memory foam mattresses may eventually replace innerspring mattresses. Famous for its ability to contour to the shape of the user’s body, memory foam envelops a person and absorbs energy. This means there’s less motion transfer. That’s a big plus when sleeping with a partner who moves around in bed. Memory foam provides a high level of pressure point relief and promotes proper spine alignment.

Gel foam
Gel foam mattresses bounce back to their original form when pressure is released. Hollow columns in the mattress allow for increased air flow that improves this pressure release and enables people to sleep coolly and comfortably. Sometimes gel is paired with memory foam for a hybrid mattress.

Latex
Latex mattresses are coveted due to their durability and comfort. Latex also conforms to the body, but more generally than memory foam, so it bounces back quickly. One of the biggest draws to latex mattresses is how natural they are. Latex is made from natural rubber. Cost can be prohibitive, however, as latex mattresses tend to be expensive.

Purchasing a new mattress can lead to better sleep. This is a bedroom renovation worth pursuing.

 


 

Custom-built decks can expand usable outdoor entertaining spaces. Decks can surround pools and create outdoor patio areas that make it easy to establish multitiered living spaces, improving the functionality of outdoor areas.

Certain deck trends have emerged as industry experts’ top picks for the upcoming remodeling and renovation season. For those thinking of revamping an existing deck, or building an entirely new one, these trends are on point.

• Established perimeters: “Picture framing” is not a new trend, but one that has taken greater hold in recent years. The term refers to aesthetically appealing designs that conceal the ends of deck boards for a clean finish. Some designs feature contrasting material colors on the ends for even more impact. This helps create refined perimeters for a polished look.

• Roof-top decking: Urban areas also can benefit from decking to create usable outdoor spaces. In fact, many new condominium and townhouse communities are incorporating roof-top decks into their designs, particularly in communities with water views or other impressive vistas. HGTV experts suggest roof-top decks feature light-colored materials and fixtures to help keep the area cool even in direct sunlight.

• Distressed hardwood: Builder and Developer, a management resource for professional homebuilders, says that the trend for using distressed hardwoods at home has migrated outside. Some decking manufacturers have recently introduced low-maintenance composite deck boards that mimic the look and feel of distressed, rustic hardwood flooring. This weathered appearance gives the look of age without the upkeep of real aged wood.

• Wooden walkways: Decking can be the more traditional design people envision with a patio table or outdoor furniture. But it also can consist of wooden walkways or a low-laying patio to accentuate the yard.

• Mixed materials: Homeowners may be inspired by commercial eateries, breweries and urban markets in their exterior design choices. Decks featuring composite materials and aluminum railings blend sophistication, urban appeal and comfort.

• Personal touches: Homeowners can customize their decks with personal touches. It’s not unheard of to wrap columns in stone or glass tiles for more impact. And a vast array of decking colors now enables fun interpretations for outdoor areas.

• Fire pit conversation area: Many decks can incorporate water or fire elements for visual appeal. Gas-fueled fire elements can expand the functionality of decks beyond the warm seasons, or make enjoying them practical on nights when the temperature plummets.

Emerging deck trendsDecks are reimagined in many different ways with continually evolving trends.

 


 

Preparing for Lent and Easter

The Christian tradition of Lent is celebrated across the globe by many different denominations of the faith. Lent is a 40-day period of sacrifice that begins on Ash Wednesday and culminates with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Lent is designed to help Christians prepare for Easter through prayer, repentance of sins, almsgiving, denying the ego, and putting and end to sinful practices. Fasting is a component of Lent, as is abstinence from certain behaviors. In fact, in some Western countries, Catholics have been encouraged to adopt forms of abstinence that do not involve food and drink during Lent. All actions serve as forms of self-denial to mirror the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for his people.

Abstaining from alcohol is not mandatory during Lent. That might be traced to ancient times, when wine and other forms of alcohol were safer to drink than pathogen-filled water sources. But many people now choose to give up alcohol for Lent.

Today, fasting is primarily reserved for Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, including Good Friday. Adherents may opt to fully fast, but most only eschew meat and poultry as a nod to self-denial, opting for seafood and vegetarian fare instead.

While much focus is placed on what is denied during Lent, it can be an ideal time to reflect on what is gained by living a life in which God is first and foremost. Spending more time in prayer and away from trivial distractions can be a way to live a more faithful life during Lent and beyond. In addition, aspiring to be more Christ-like during Lent can make this special season even more powerful. During Lent, Christians can make a concerted effort to help the poor, work with a charity or volunteer at their church.

Lent is a solemn time, but one that can bolster one’s faith.

 


 

Make a statement with your wedding cake

Brides and grooms may pour over every detail of their weddings, but few components of the festivities may be as fun, especially for foodies, as deciding what the wedding cake will look like. Couples who want to deliver show-stopping visuals often express some measure of their creativity and personalities through statement wedding cakes.

Many couples now eschew the classic three-tiered white cake in favor of a dessert that garners instant attention. Whether the cake is brightly colored or hand-painted, a towering architectural marvel or shimmering in metallics, couples are opting to make a statement with their confections.

Apart from clever cake-toppers, here are ways to stand apart when dessert is served.

• According to the Perfect Wedding Guide, a rising trend in cakes is to cover a white or naked cake with translucent glaze tinted in the couple’s wedding colors. This artistic expression can be especially stunning in boho-chic weddings.

• Statement tiers also are popular. The cake may be traditional in nearly every way, but couples then set the cake apart by featuring an elaborate design or a different hue in one tier.

• Martha Stewart Weddings advises that more than just color can be used to make a statement. Lifelike sugar flowers can really set cakes apart. Guests may not be sure if they can consume all aspects of some cakes. But delicate sugar flowers taste as good as they look.

• Hand-painted tiles on a cake are another way to add panache. A bride and groom may be inspired by a European vacation or the stained-glass effects of religious windows and want to add that feel to the tiers of the cake.

• Sometimes a statement comes by way of texture. Even an all-white cake can be dressed up with interesting textural effects. Ruffles, lace, embossing, and 3-D rosettes are different textural components that can be incorporated in cake designs.

• Couples also may want to tell their unique stories with cake. Individual tiers designed to reflect various milestone moments from the couple’s relationship can be quite engaging.

• Capitalizing on the trend of edgier weddings, couples may opt for darker hues on their cakes — even a black tier — or nontraditional geometric shapes to the cake itself or its design elements.

Statement cakes can really say something about the couple getting married. Much like other wedding elements, cakes provide a window into the minds of happy couples.

 


 

How parents can approach raising gamers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

New Venture: Flatted Fifth at Dimensional Brewing Co.

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ visit pottersmill.net. For more information about Dimensional Brewing Co. visit dimensionalbrewing.com.

 


 

Proposed waterfowl rules available for public comment

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

A copy of the proposal is available online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds by clicking on the Chapter 91, Waterfowl and Coot Hunting Seasons link.

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Riverview Center proudly announces our 2020 Evening of Light Keynote Speaker

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FROM APRIL 16 TO JUNE 25 AT 5:00 P.M. AT THE GRAND RIVER CENTER DUE TO COVID-19.

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

Riverview Center is pleased to announce that Michelle Knight will be our keynote speaker for Evening of Light event, which will now be held on June 15 in  Dubuque.

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

The 2020 Evening of Light in Dubuque will be held June 25 at the Grand River Center. All three events will be empowering celebrations of the resiliency of child, teen, and adult survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The events begin with a showcase of auction items from local businesses, followed by dinner and an unforgettable story and inspiring message from Michelle Knight.

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

For sponsorship or ticket information please contact Angie Herting: 563-564-0320 or angieh@riverviewcenter.org

 


 

Wedding planning tips and tricks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Dubuque Launching New Smart Parking Meter Pilot Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Facts and figures about modern engagements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

How to help the homeless this winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

VFW Installs Flag Disposal Box

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

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

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

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

Social pages include Facebook @vfw9663dubuque

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

 


 

Iowa Public Television announces new series The Life Autistic

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

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

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

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

Learn more at Iptv.org.

 


 

RED BASKET PROJECT APPROVED AS 
501(c)(3) NONPROFIT

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, or to donate, visit RedBasketProject.com.

 


 

City Expo to Celebrate All-America City Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

The safest place for kids in the car

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

5 ways to protect against hearing loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Gluten intolerance is a very real issue with measurable symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Make the most of Oktoberfest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Learn How to Establish Pollinator Habitat

Tour of Pollinator Habitat Sites

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

Online registration:
http://www.treesforever.org/CreatingaBuzzBelmond

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Reduce cold-weather fire risk

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

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

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

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

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

• Clean regularly to prevent grease buildup.

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

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

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

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

• Never use an oven to heat a home.

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

• Clean and inspect heating appliances regularly.

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

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

• Never force plugs into outlets.

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

• Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

KEEP IOWA BEAUTIFUL ANNUAL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

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

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

The deadline is December 13, 2019 and entries must be submitted as high resolution JPEG electronically to bjackson@keepiowabeautiful.com. $5 entry fee, contest rules and payment can be made at https://www.keepiowabeautiful.com/photography-contest-entry/

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

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

 


 

Phase One of Eagle Point Park Environmental Restoration Plan Begins

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Interesting facts about fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Avoid medication errors with these tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Easy ways to clean up leaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

How to stay calm and collected in traffic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Steps to take before leaving recyclables at the curb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

The benefits of music instruction for young learners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Q Sportsbook Now Open!

Place your bets at Dubuque’s first Sportsbook!

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

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

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

Q Sportsbook will accept wagers on college and professional sports.

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

See QCasinoAndHotel.com/sportsbook for rules and additional information

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

 


 

Why immunizations are important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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