Area Tidbits

Local high school string quartet to join touring Beatles musical

Show Details
Hide Details

When the touring show "In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles" comes to the Grand Opera House on Friday, May 20, be on the lookout for two quartets – not just one.

The Dubuque Senior High School String Quartet has the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

"In My Life" is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, and the show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. 

Dubuque Senior High School students James Rettenmeier, Maalik Harris, Justin Blum and Samuel Day will join the band for the songs "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye," and "Hey Jude." In a special touch, "Yesterday" is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

In addition to performing with the DSHS Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, members belong to prestigious area orchestras, including the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Iowa All-State Orchestra, the Clarke University String Orchestra and the University of Wisconsin - Platteville Orchestra. Members play with a quartet called "The Foundation", which performs at community events, and each have consistently earned the highest ratings from Iowa High School Music Association Solo and Ensemble competitions. Rettenmeier and Day earned a perfect score as a duet in this year's state Solo and Ensemble Festival and the DSHS Chamber Orchestra has received superior ratings for the past two years.

The producers of "In My Life" approached the DSHS Orchestra Director Andrew Geyessens looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour. 

"The Foundation" performs at community events and may be contacted at james.rettenmeier@yahoo.com

The multi-media musical comes to the Grand Opera House on Friday, May 20 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $34-$49 and may be purchased online at www.thegrandoperahouse.com, by phone at 563.588.1305 or at the box office. The box office is open from Monday - Friday from noon to 4 pm.The Grand Opera House is located at135 8th Street in Dubuque 52001. The show is appropriate for all ages.

 

Public Info Meeting Next Week for Roundabout Project

 

Treating pets facing flea and tick infestations

Show Details
Hide Details

Pet owners love many things about having companion animals. But flea and tick infestations are probably not on the list of things pet owners love about their furry friends.
Few pets will go their lifetimes without experiencing fleas and/or ticks. Understanding common flea and tick behaviors can help pet owners better handle infestations.

Fleas and ticks do more than just create irritating skin ailments for dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks also can transmit diseases to pets and even people. There are more than 850 species of tick and 1,600 species of flea identified around the world. The main goal of these parasites is to suck the blood of their hosts in order to reproduce. Both fleas and ticks can survive months to even a year or more without feeding.

Fleas are especially prevalent in warm, humid areas. Ticks tend to be active in warmer weather as well. Fleas and ticks live outdoors and prefer grassy and forested areas. They need moisture and prefer to stay out of direct sunlight. Both seek warm, dark humid places. Fleas can wait out winter indoors.

Fleas and ticks are especially skilled at attaching themselves to companion animals. Fleas can leap quite far. Revival Animal Health says fleas can leap vertically up to 7 inches and horizontally as far as 13 inches. Fleas can easily hop onto dogs, cats or even humans passing by. While ticks cannot leap, they are excellent climbers. Many ticks will attach to a lower extremity on an animal and then climb slowly until they reach the preferred location for latching on.

Identifying symptoms of flea or tick infestations on dogs or cats is relatively easy. Scratching and biting of irritated areas is often the first indication of a flea problem. Pet owners usually notice ticks when petting their animal and feeling a strange bump. On occasion, ticks are discovered while crawling on the pet's fur, before they have latched on to the animal.

The Animal Health Institute advises combatting flea and tick populations with pesticides and repellents. Growth inhibitors also are included in the options for flea and tick control. Powders, spot-on liquids, collars, and pills may be used as well. Veterinarians can best assess which flea or tick product will be best for a specific animal. 

Keep in mind that formulations for treating flea and tick problems in cats may differ from those used to treat flea and tick problems for dogs, so they shouldn't be used interchangeably. Also, follow the instructions from the veterinarian or manufacturer carefully so as not to overmedicate the pet.

To catch fleas and ticks before they become problematic, and in conjunction with using medications, follow these additional tips.

• Wash pet bedding on high heat regularly.

• Clean your home thoroughly to remove any immature fleas and their food sources.

• Check pets regularly for pests and groom them frequently.

• Look for fleas and ticks after coming in from outdoors.

• Mow lawns each week and remove any lawn and garden debris.

Though flea and tick infestations can be unhealthy and uncomfortable for pets, pet owners can take steps to prevent such problems.

 

Walking Meditation Hike

Show Details
Hide Details

The Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor a Walking Meditation Hike at Pohlman Prairie (located adjacent to Highway 3 & 52 just south of Durango) on Sunday, May 22nd, starting at 1:00pm.

Walking meditation can help us maintain our awareness of the present moment throughout our entire day. Together we will explore methods of walking peacefully in nature at the beautiful Pohlman Prairie. As part of the meditative process, we will be painting mandala designs on rocks as we take in the view from the top of the preserve.

Materials will be provided. Call 563-556-6745 to register for this free event. 

Dubuque County Conservation Board
13606 Swiss Valley Road, Peosta, IA 52068
www.dubuquecounty.org

 

VINTAGE TORQUE FEST RETURNS TO DUBUQUE

Show Details
Hide Details

A different kind of car show rolls into Dubuque on April 29-30.

Why is this show different? It's not just a show – this is a festival. Artists, live bands, swap meet, vintage apparel and furniture dealers, classic pin-up girl contest, vintage motorcycles, hot rods, and custom cars will all join in one group at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds. And more importantly, ALL gate proceeds go to help children with congenital heart defects.

Cars and motorcycles are already registered from MI, OH, TX, MN, KS, MO, IN, and as far away as NY and Canada! Last year the total number of entries was over 900! This show strives to bring back a specific time in history, a period before muscle cars, and before old cars were brought up to date with digital technology. With the inclusion of the Friends parking area (an area designated for cars that were made after 1964) there could be 1000 entries rolling into the Fairgrounds!

International and national magazine coverage
In the past Ol Skool Rodz, Car Kulture Deluxe, Hot Rod Deluxe, Traditional Rod & Kulture, Hot Rod, Cycle Source, and Street Chopper have been on site to cover the event.

Vintage Motorcycle Display
Pre-1975 customs, choppers, and bobbers welcome. Along with the street rides, there will also be a vintage flat track motorcycle exhibition on the dirt track.

One of the unique aspects of the show will be the opportunity for those with qualifying cars to make laps on the track.

Live music from internationally known music acts will be playing at Vintage Torque Fest.
The emphasis is on rockabilly and honky tonk country at this event. Deke Dickerson, Phat Cat Swinger, The Dallas Moore Band, and many others will all be playing sets either on Friday and Saturday. Please see the website for the schedule.

A classic style pin-up contest will take place on Saturday morning at 10:30 am.
This is another period time piece that sees the girls dressing up in vintage attire and sporting the classy, not trashy, look. Winners of the pin-up contest will take home over $1000 in prize money and gifts from sponsors, including a photo shoot with a nationally known photographer. The details for this contest are on the Vintage Torque Fest Facebook site. There will also be a chance for ANYONE dressed in the appropriate attire to get onstage for a photo opportunity. So, even if you don't want to enter the contest, you can still get on stage and get a shot with all the other guys and dolls sporting the vintage look. There is no charge for this photo opportunity.

There are also vendors and artists from around the country coming to be in the buildings at the Vintage Torque Fest.
Max Grundy, internationally known artist from Los Angeles, will be heading to Dubuque as well as over 50 other vendors. In addition, there will be a swap meet for vintage car parts. This will not be a flea market – it is strictly enforced and if you are selling items other than car parts you will be asked to leave from this part of the show. This is all done in an attempt to keep this event period-correct and maintain the integrity of the show.

Overall this event promises to be a fun filled trip to the past, designed to welcome car aficionados as well as those that just want to people-watch and experience something a little different for a day. The pre-party starts on Thursday night in downtown Dubuque with a vintage car parade starting at the McGraw Hill building around 6pm and is open to the public as well. There will be a bonfire at the fairgrounds after the cruise downtown.

There is no extra fee to show your car and no extra fee for parking.

All proceeds from the gate go to www.helpinghannahsheart.org. This is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization designed to help families with children born with congenital heart defects.

All details are at www.vintagetorquefest.com

 

How to avoid caregiver burnout

Show Details
Hide Details

Caring for an aging or sick relative is not always so easy. In addition to the physical demands of caring for such loved ones, tending to sick people can take a mental toll, potentially contributing to a condition referred to as caregiver stress. 

Women are more likely than men to serve as caregivers to elderly or disabled adults. That increases their risk for caregiver stress, says the Office on Women's Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Mayo Clinic notes that caring for a loved one can strain even the most resilient person. It can be quite difficult to be a person's sole caregiver and witness a loved one's health deteriorate due to a debilitating illness. As the population ages, nearly 80 percent of the long-term care that takes place in the United States is overseen by people who are not healthcare professionals, including daughters, granddaughters, sisters, and aunts.

Caregiver stress can manifest itself in many different ways, including physical and emotional problems. The following are some ways to handle the stress of caring for a sick and/or elderly relative.

• Investigate available resources. Explore all of the opportunities in your area that may relieve some of the burden of caring for your loved one. These may include in-home visiting care services, meal delivery, adult activity programs, and more.

• Ask for help. Find out if responsibilities can be split among other family members, giving each person a chance to rest and recuperate.

• Get physical. Physical activity in any form can help reduce stress and improve feelings of well-being, offers the Alzheimer's Association. Go for a walk, take an exercise class or ride a bicycle. Expect to feel more relaxed and less stressed after physical activity.

• Speak with a therapist. Discuss your feelings with someone not directly related to your family or circle of friends. Caregivers may have feelings of anger, depression and anxiety, and may even be in denial about how much care this person really needs. Talking about your feelings with a professional can put them into perspective.

• Focus on things you can control. You may not be able to cure the illness or disability, but there are things in your control. Rather than dwelling on things beyond your control, try to improve the things you can control.

• Try to have fun. It's easy to make caregiving the only part of your life. However, you have to leave room for letting off steam. Don't feel guilty about going out with friends or a spouse. Make time for yourself.

Caregiver stress is a very real thing that negatively affects the health and well-being of caregivers. Some simple coping methods can relieve some of that stress.

 

Residents Encouraged to Treat Against Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

Show Details
Hide Details

National Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week isn't until May 22-28, but the City of Dubuque Park Division is urging residents to act now to protect healthy ash trees from infestation. The invasive pest was officially confirmed in Dubuque County and in the city of Dubuque last August.

EAB infestations were originally confirmed on the southern side of the city of Dubuque last year and infestations have since been found as far north as Garfield Avenue. EAB infestations have also been confirmed in East Dubuque, Ill., and Kieler, Wis. At present time, no infestations have been found on Dubuque's east or west end, but residents living within 15 miles of infected locations are encouraged to treat their ash trees now if they wish to preserve them.

In healthy ash trees, most recommended insecticide treatment options are highly effective. Some products require annual retreatment while others provide protection for up to three years. However, ash trees in poor condition are generally not candidates for preventative insecticide treatment.

"Not all ash trees are worth saving, nor should they be saved," said Steve Pregler, forester for City of Dubuque Park Division. "Ash trees that have been stressed in recent years have already become infested with bark beetles and several of the native borers. Many of these trees are already in a state of decline and most likely would not respond favorably to treatment."

Ash trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. There is currently no Federal, State or City funding available to assist homeowners with the removal or treatment of ash trees. As outlined by City of Dubuque's Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Plan, the City is proactively removing city-owned ash trees that have been found to be in poor condition and do not respond favorably to treatments. City-owned ash trees in good condition will be treated this spring.

Since EAB infestations have been confirmed in Dubuque, the City warns residents to beware of scammers claiming to be tree companies or offering tree services. For a list of established and insured businesses providing tree care services, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/EAB.

The City's park division plans to hold Emerald Ash Borer informational meetings this spring, with details forthcoming. Informational documents and an educational EAB video are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/EAB. For more information, contact the City of Dubuque Parks Division at 563-589-4263.

 

Stop weeds before they take over

Show Details
Hide Details

Few things can be as troublesome to gardeners and landscapers as weeds. Weeds seemingly spring up overnight and quickly can overrun lawns and/or garden beds. Landscaping enthusiasts may spend countless hours and weekends coping with weeds without truly getting to the root of the problem. However, preventing weed growth need not be so difficult.

According to the experts at "This Old House" and The Family Handyman, the secret to preventing weeds is to maintain a thick, healthy lawn. A vigorously growing lawn will crowd out weeds and block the sun weed seeds need to germinate and thrive. As a result, fewer herbicides may be needed and homeowners can spend less times on their hands and knees pulling out weeds.

Mow at the right height
Crabgrass is a notoriously virulent weed that can quickly snuff out blades of grass. Crabgrass likes hot, dry conditions, and it only takes one plant to spread the seeds that can overtake the lawn. Preventing these conditions can stop crabgrass from flourishing. Mowing at higher heights and leaving grass blades taller can shade the soil, helping to prevent the germination of crabgrass. Shady conditions also will help the soil retain moisture and prevent the arid conditions crabgrass likes so much.

Water deeply
Weeds are accustomed to growing in adverse conditions, including especially hot temperatures. When such conditions arise, weeds establish deep roots while the roots of the grass can easily die off. Instead, when watering, wet the soil to a depth of four to six inches. This helps grass to establish strong root systems that will help lawns overpower pesky weeds.

Time weed killers
Whether you manually remove weeds or apply weed killers, timing is key. Combat weeds in the early spring before they have a time to fully form and start proliferating through seed dispersement. Once seeds spread, their growth is difficult to control. Recognize that no single herbicide or weeding tactic will work for every type of weed. Broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, unwanted grasses, and sedges are the three most common types of weeds. Homeowners will have to adapt based on the type of weed that is most prevalent in their lawns.

Watch fertilizer amounts
Strike a balance with fertilizer, finding the right amount to deliver continuous nutrition to the lawn, but not overfeed it so that weeds can thrive. Many lawns only require fertilizer once or twice annually, in the autumn and spring.

By following these guidelines, lawn and garden enthusiasts can prevent the proliferation of unsightly and potentially harmful weeds.

 

How kids can help out around the house

Show Details
Hide Details

Dual-income households have become the norm, replacing households in which only one parent works. In an analysis of the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample files, the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of married couples with children under 18 lived in dual-income households in 2012. That's nearly double the amount of households where only fathers worked, and 10 times the number of households where only mothers worked.

While there are many financial benefits to dual-income households, managing a household in which both parents work full-time can be difficult. Parents who both work full-time have less time to maintain their homes, and few may have the energy to keep up with the chores and cook dinner each night. Involving the kids with helping out around the house can be a great way for parents to instill a sense of responsibility in their youngsters while also taking some of the burden off Mom and Dad.

How much kids can help out around the house depends on there ages. The following are a few age-specific chores kids can do to make life at home a little easier on their parents.

Toddlers
Toddlers and preschool-aged children might not be able to do too much to lighten their parents' loads, but simple chores like cleaning up their play areas can make things easier. Make kids responsible for putting their toys away after play time. Kids between the ages of two and three also can help set the table for dinner by laying out placemats, but make sure such youngsters steer clear of utensils.

4- to 5-year-olds
Children finishing up preschool and those currently enrolled in kindergarten can pitch in a little more around the house than they did as toddlers, setting the table for meals (prevent kids from accessing sharp utensils like steak knives) and even helping with some simple meal prep. Such youngsters can put their folded laundry away and clean their rooms as well.

6- to 9-year-olds
First, second, third and fourth graders are old enough to be given more significant chores than they had when they were younger. Kids between the ages of six and nine can be trusted to feed the pets, though parents should teach them the appropriate times to feed pets each day and the correct amount of food to place in bowls so pets don't overeat. Kids in this age group also can rake leaves and water plants around the house after being taught how to properly water each plant. Folding laundry, dusting furniture and bookshelves and taking out the garbage are a few more tasks kids between the ages of six and nine should be able to handle.

Children 10 and older
Kids who are 10 and older can help out in ways that can make parents' lives much easier. Such youngsters can clean bathrooms, do laundry, vacuum the floors, and load and unload the dishwasher. Such chores are time-consuming and complex, and parents may want to give older kids allowances or increase their allowances to show their appreciation.

Adolescents
Adolescents can be trusted to make simple meals and babysit their younger siblings, saving parents time and money. If adolescents babysit, consider paying them for their time even if they already receive an allowance.
When giving kids additional responsibilities around the house, parents should realize that kids won't always be perfect when doing their chores. Resist the temptation to do chores for them, and praise and encourage kids when they do things right.

 

The Grand Opera House Presents The Lettermen

Show Details
Hide Details

Performance scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10th

Multi-award winning vocal trio, Tony Butala, Donovan Tea and Bobby Poynton are best known for their trademark harmonies and staple pop singles. Their signature sound made romantic standards of songs such as "Smile, " Goin' Out Of My Head/Put Your Head On My Shoulder," "Shangri-La," "Love," "Traces/Memories" and many more.

The one change Tony Butala, original and founding member of The Lettermen, would have made in the 50 plus year career of one of the most popular vocal groups in history is a surprising one.

"We chose the wrong name!" he exclaims. "In the late 50's, when you started a vocal group and wanted to stand out from the crowd, all you had to do was use a novel new name that would give your group a unique look and image." In the late 50's, most vocal groups had school type names such as Danny & the Juniors, The Four Freshmen and The Four Preps. The Lettermen chose the name The Lettermen and wore letter sweaters. By the time those names became passé in the early sixties, The Lettermen had already had a few hit singles and albums, and were a tremendous success in colleges and nightclubs. Capitol Records, The Lettermen's record label, was reluctant to try to market a new name as The Lettermen wanted, due to the fact that it was already an established worldwide name.

They did pack away the sweaters in mothballs, and fortunately, their fans and the general public have gotten past the sweaters, and the name and image for the last five decades definitely means The Lettermen.

Ticket prices are $34-$49. Tickets may be purchased at the Grand Opera House box office noon-4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri, in person or by calling 563-588-1305, or by visiting www.thegrandoperahouse.com.

For information on other Grand Opera House events visit www.thegrandoperahouse.com or call the Business Office, 563-588-4356.

 

The Grand Opera House Presents Branson On The Road

Show Details
Hide Details

Two Performances: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14 & 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 15

Branson On The Road has over 20 years of experience of performing at the top theatres in Branson on the famous 76 Country Music Boulevard (known as "The Strip"), and is the first national touring show named for the famous city. The show delivers the Branson traditions of good, clean, family fun wherever they go...and they go all over the U.S. and beyond!

In the same tradition as the traveling road shows during the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry, the Louisiana Hayride and the first Branson music shows, Branson On The Road keeps you tapping, laughing and smiling. Those seeing a Branson On The Road show can not only expect great music but plenty of hilarious comedy every step of the way.

"We reside in the live music capital of the world, Branson, Missouri", said Debbie Horton, "and realized that there are many people who will never have a chance to visit Branson personally and with the economy the way it is today, we decided to bring our Branson stage show directly to them." Branson On The Road performers include Debbie Horton, Donnie Wright and Brian Capps.

Debbie Horton holds the distinction of being the only woman to have played lead guitar for the great Johnny Cash. She hosted her own show at the old Boxcar Willie Theater in Branson and has performed on the famous Louisiana Hayride and Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville.

Donnie Wright is an expert, sought after, respected musician, arranger and is versatile on many instruments including fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass and has been part of the Branson music scene for 40 years. Among his long list of credits are performances at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, The Presley's Show in Branson, The Pine Mountain Jamboree in Eureka Springs, and a long-standing run at The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.

Brian Capps plays upright bass and sings songs reminiscent of Marty Robbins and Hank Williams. Brian's latest recording reached the Top 10 on the Americana Charts and is part of the music rotation on XM Radio.

Branson On The Road is a regular featured act on the national television show, "Midwest Country" on the RFD-TV network seen in over 100 million homes.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for those under 18. Tickets may be purchased at the Grand Opera House box office noon-4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri, in person or by calling 563-588-1305, or by visiting www.thegrandoperahouse.com. For information on other Grand Opera House events visit www.thegrandoperahouse.com or call the Business Office, 563-588-4356.

 

Learn to fish responsibly

Show Details
Hide Details

Warm weather has arrived, and the welcoming temperatures are once again beckoning people to the great outdoors. Fishing is a popular warm weather pastime, and it's important to take an environmentally responsible approach when fishing.

According to "Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them," by Ted Danson, in just 55 years, humans have been able to eradicate about 90 percent of the ocean's top predators. These include animals like sharks, marlin, king mackerel, and bluefin tuna. Smaller species also are being wiped out at alarming rates because fishing nets capture far more than is intended, and today's fishing vessels can zero in on large schools of fish relatively easily. Thanks to global positioning technology and sonar capabilities, there's no longer too much surprise in the chase.

Commercial fishing may do the brunt of the damage, but amateurs also can contribute to the contamination of waterways and decimation of fish species. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game says more than 500,000 bass die each year due to improper handling in Massachusetts alone. People of different cultures have fished sustainably for decades, and most anyone can follow their guidelines - and some others - to help keep ocean life healthy.

• Disturb wildlife as little as possible. When traveling into delicate ecosystems, such as those that primarily surround the water's edge, do so with care. Operating a boat in shallow regions can chop up underwater vegetation or harm fish that live in the shallows. Don't remove crustaceans or take plants or other wildlife out of the area.

• Keep track of gear. Discarded or lost fishing gear can prove harmful to wildlife. It's easy for fish or other marine animals to get tangled in fishing line and hooks that were left behind by fishermen. Sinkers and other weights may be mistaken for food and injure unsuspecting animals. Even animals like ducks and other birds can swallow fishing tackle, which can lead to illness or starvation. Don't just abandon gear.

• Fish specific species at different times. Fishing specific species helps maintain different stocks of fish at various times of the year. Plus, you'll help guarantee that one species will not be over-fished, potentially leading to underpopulation or extinction.

• Avoid the use of cast nets or dragnets. Cast nets or dragnets can capture too many fish, including ones that you did not intend to take in.

Responsible fishing can help maintain water ecosystems and protect the surrounding environment.

 

3 ways families can reduce everyday expenses

Show Details
Hide Details

The costs of raising a family can be considerable. In its 2014 "Expenditures on Children by Families" report, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that parents in middle-income households with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend $245,000 raising a child up to age 18. While estimates regarding the cost of raising children in Canada are widely varied depending on the source of the approximations, it's fair to assume that raising children in Canada can be costly as well.

Thanks to the costs of food, housing, childcare and education, many parents find themselves looking for ways to trim their everyday expenses and create more room in their budgets. Fortunately, such cost-cutting can be done without forcing parents to alter their lifestyles dramatically.

1. Consume less energy.
Reducing energy consumption does not mean parents and their children will spend their nights in darkened homes illuminated only by candlelight. Technology has made it easier than ever before to cut energy costs around the house.

If you don't already have one, install a programmable thermostat at home so you are not paying to heat or cool your home while no one is there.

Though their price tag might be higher than traditional light bulbs, energy-efficient lightbulbs also can cut costs, as they consume considerably less energy without reducing light output and last far longer than traditional bulbs.

Parents can also reduce the temperature on their water heaters. Manufacturers may set water heater temperatures as high as 140 F, and it requires considerable standby heat to keep waters at that temperature. Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 F won't make showers any less enjoyable, but you might notice considerable energy savings over the course of the year.

2. Conduct an entertainment audit.
Home entertainment options have expanded considerably in the 21st century. Many families still pay for cable or satellite packages, but they're now also paying for streaming subscriptions to services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Audit your entertainment consumption, determining whether your household relies more on cable/satellite service or streaming subscriptions. Consider reducing your cable/satellite package to the basic plan, if not cutting the cord entirely. If your family is less reliant on streaming subscriptions, cancel those subscriptions to save money. If you rely on both equally, consider cutting one for a month to see if you can live without it. With so many entertainment options available, chances are you won't even notice the missing service.

3. Become a smarter food shopper.
Frequent trips to the grocery store waste gas, add unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle and increase the chances you will make impulse purchases. Try to get all of your grocery shopping done in one weekly trip, using a list so you are less likely to make impulse purchases. Make the most of sales by buying sale items with longer shelf lives, such as cereals, in bulk.

Saving more money is a goal for many families. While saving more often means making sacrifices, those sacrifices do not always necessitate drastic lifestyle changes.

 

Garden-inspired decor brightens spaces and mood

Show Details
Hide Details

Many homeowners take up gardening to transform their homes with beautiful flowers and foliage, while others do so to yield fresh fruits and vegetables. But gardening can be more than just a weekend hobby. In fact, it may be especially beneficial for homeowners to surround themselves with more plants and natural decor, whether in the yard or in the home.

Studies have indicated that gardening can be good for the mind and body. In addition to improving mood and reducing stress, plant life and gardening also may help people have a more hopeful outlook on life. If reaping the benefit of a beautiful landscape is not reason enough to get into gardening, elevating your mood and coping with depression or illness may be even further motivation to start developing your green thumb.

Home-design trends seem to be following suit, offering individuals more opportunities to surround themselves with potentially therapeutic plants. Explore these emerging and established garden décor trends to try in and around your home.

• Living wall planters: A living wall planter can add greenery to any décor without taking up floor or table space. Ideal for outdoor structures, these planters also can be used indoors if you safeguard against leaks and dripping. A living wall planter is a framed device that houses plants in a manner that enables them to be vertically mounted to a wall surface. While there are commercially available models, you can create your own design and paint or stain it to match the existing décor. Use a soil-free potting substrate to avoid the mess that regular soil may create.

• Combining fish with gardening: Enjoy the best of two relaxing worlds by installing a water feature in your yard. Garden retailers offer ready-made kits that can make fast work of establishing a pond or other water feature in the backyard. Otherwise, there are plenty of water garden companies and installers who can suggest a design and put in your desired water features. Add fish suitable for outdoor life to your pond. These include koi and certain goldfish varieties. Game fish are discouraged because they can destroy pond plants. If an outdoor pond is more maintenance than you desire, consider an indoor aquarium with a combination of fish and live aquarium plants.

• Creative furniture designs: Maybe you're a person who appreciates the unique and whimsical? Tables, benches and chairs can be built with planting channels that enable you to have greenery and garden décor in one piece. Envision a picnic table with a cutout down the center for a thin row of plants or decorative grasses. This is a project the entire family can get behind, as the more creative ideas the better.

• Improved outdoor lighting: People who like to spend time in their gardens and yards may not want to be limited by sunrise and sunset. By incorporating different lighting sources, you can create a retreat that is welcoming at any hour. Although flood lights and overhead lights can illuminate a space, consider ambient and decorative lighting to create the desired ambiance.

• Functional fire pits and places: A blazing fire creates a cozy spot to gather on chilly evenings, but fire pits and fireplaces also can be used as impromptu cooking spots for s'mores or frankfurters on a stick. You can purchase a stand-alone fire pit from any number of retailers or build your own with patio pavers and fire bricks to line the interior of the fire pit. Outdoor fireplaces require more work, and you want to hire a mason to ensure proper installation.

• Enjoyable yard additions: While plants and seating may take center stage, some people still want to have fun in their yards. There's an increased demand for yard designs and décor that can put the fun in backyard living. Bocce courts, ring- or horseshoe-toss setups, as well as bean bag-toss boards, can be incorporated into landscape designs, giving you yet another reason to spend a few hours in the great outdoors, where you can experience a few healthy laughs in the process.

Gardening and spending time outdoors are great hobbies and may even boost your mood. Homeowners can explore the popular trends in garden décor and natural elements that they can enjoy inside and outside of their homes.

 

How to make spring projects more eco-friendly

Show Details
Hide Details

The arrival of warmer weather means different things to different people. Some anticipate opportunities for outdoor fun, while others may be considering redecorating or remodeling their homes. For the latter group, home improvement season provides a great opportunity to make homes more eco-friendly.

When planning home improvement projects, it's best to first choose a project and then look for ways to make the project more environmentally friendly. Such an approach may not only benefit the environment, but it also may benefit homeowners' bottom lines.

Interior decorating
Longer days and warmer temperatures often translate into wanting to freshen up the interior of a home. Heavy draperies and comforters are put away, and lighter fabrics are taken out of storage. Whenever possible, reuse or repurpose items you already have rather than purchasing new items. Longer drapes can be cut and hemmed to be used as window treatments in other rooms. Making a patchwork blanket out of old T-shirts is a crafty project that makes use of items that would otherwise be destined for landfills.

When laundering linens, skip the energy-using dryer and let items line dry in the sun and fresh air.

If you decide to purchase some new items, look for products made from sustainable or organic fabrics. Hemp and bamboo textiles have grown in popularity. Hemp and bamboo plants grow quickly, and their durability makes these materials smart choices.

When replacing items around the house, donate older items to a charitable organization.

Flowers and plants
Spring and summer call to mind beautiful blooming plants. Relying on native, sustainable plants is practical, environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, sustainable plants are native plants. Native plants sustain local wildlife more effectively than non-native alternatives, so include native plants in your sustainable garden. Native plants also are less reliant on pesticides and herbicides to keep them healthy and viable.

Don't forget to bring plants indoors as well. Even though you may be opening the windows more, indoor plants can filter and purify indoor air. The NASA Clean Air Study, led in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, found that certain common indoor plants naturally remove toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. Efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.

Proper disposal
Spring cleaning is another tradition for many families come the end of winter and dawn of spring. Many people use spring as a time to go through closets and garages to remove items they no longer use or need. In an effort to clean up fast, some people may dispose of chemical products, paints, treated lumber, and many other items in ways that can be damaging to the environment. Always learn local municipal guidelines for proper disposal of potentially harmful products. Area recycling centers may have drop-off areas for stains and paints, used motor oil and other potentially harmful products.

Before discarding something, see if it can be donated or sold. This will result in fewer items ending up in landfills.

Exercise caution outdoors as well. Runoff from cleaning products used on home siding or driveways can leach into the surrounding soil or find its way into sewage drains that ultimately direct fluids to public waterways. Choose environmentally responsible products whenever possible.

Springtime renovation and cleaning projects provide the perfect opportunity to adopt eco-friendly practices that pay dividends for years to come.

 

How families can cut screen time

Show Details
Hide Details

No matter where you look, screens are everywhere. The proliferation of easily portable tablets and smartphones means many people, adults and children alike, are never too far from the nearest screen. While that accessibility has dramatically changed the way many people live their lives, excessive exposure to screen time can produce a host of unwanted side effects.

Steven Gortmaker, a professor of the practice of health sociology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has studied the negative effects of excessive screen time on children since the 1980s. According to Gortmaker, such effects include higher rates of obesity among kids who watch too much television and difficulty sleeping among youngsters with access to small screens, such as the screens of smartphones. In addition, a 2012 study published in the journal Psychiatry Research linked screen time with impaired cognitive function in young males.

But adults are not immune to the effects of excessive screen time, either. Spending significant time being sedentary and staring at screens can increase adults' risk for cardiovascular disease. An Australian study published in the December 2012 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that, compared with persons who watch no television, those who spend a lifetime average of six hours per day watching television can expect to live 4.8 fewer years.

So what can families do to cut back on their screen time? While it likely won't be easy to put down smartphones and tablets and turn off laptops and televisions, the following are a handful of ways for families to spend less time staring at screens.

• Remove televisions from bedrooms. Parents may find it impossible to gauge, much less control, how much time their kids spend watching television when youngsters have TVs in their bedrooms. Though this will likely be met with considerable resistance, remove televisions from bedrooms in your home. Set a positive example for kids by removing your own bedroom television as well. Come kids' bedtimes, make sure all devices, including smartphones and tablets, are left in common areas of the home rather than bedrooms so kids are not tempted to watch videos instead of falling asleep.

• Institute a "no screens" rule during meals. Many parents grew up in households that did not allow televisions to be on during meals, and while the times might have changed with respect to the technology, similar rules can still prevail today. A "no screens" rule during meals gives parents and their kids time to catch up, bond and foster stronger relationships.

• Do not use the television for background noise. Turn the television off when it's serving as just background noise. If you need background noise, turn on some music instead.

• Log screen time. Logging screen time for each member of the family can provide an estimate of just how much time the whole family spends staring at screens.

Encourage each member of the family to spend as much time being physically active as he or she spends staring at screens. Set goals for each member of the family to reduce their screen time, even rewarding those who reach their goals.

Reducing screen time can improve overall health and help family members reconnect with one another.

 

The Grand Opera House Announces Auditions for La Cage aux Folles

Show Details
Hide Details

The Grand Opera House will present La Cage aux Folles on July 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30, 2016 at 7:30PM and July 24 and 31, 2016 at 2:00PM. Auditions will be held at The Grand Opera House, 135 West 8th St., at the following times:

1:00 PM Sunday, May 1, 2016
7:00 PM Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Call backs:
7:00 PM Thursday, May 5 2016

Actors, Singers and Dancers are Needed.
Principal Characters

Albin/ZaZa - a performer of star quality, mature, great powerhouse of Broadway voice; fine comic actor.

Georges - a star, mature and attractive, good singing voice; energetic, loving and caring, must move well.

Jean-Michel - must appear to be 20 years old; handsome, lyric baritone who acts, sings and moves well.

Jacob - butler/maid, a brilliant comedian who sings and moves well.

Anne - 18-21; lovely, spunky, a superb dancer who acts well.

Dindon - Anne's father, right-wing radical politician, pompous, must sing, move well and be a fine comedian.

Marie Dindon - Anne's mother, shy, retiring, good singer and actress who moves well.

Jacqueline - owns a chic restaurant, very theatrical, sings well.

Renaud - mature, owns a small café.

Francis - male stage manager, strong actor/dancer.

Cagelles: Chantal, Monique, Dermah, Nicole, Hanna, Mercedes, Bitelle, Lo Singh, Odette, Angelique, Phaedra, Clo-Clo - primarily men in drag, plus 2 women, must sing and dance well (musical theater dance and tap)

Actors wishing to audition but are unavailable to arrive at the start of the audition time should call the Grand Opera House business office at 563-588-4356 to give an approximate arrival time. Rehearsals will begin mid-June. Those auditioning should be prepared to list all conflict or potential conflicts between Saturday, June 11th and Sunday, July 16th. Availability for evening dress rehearsals July 17-21 and all performances is mandatory.

Actors should prepare 32 bars of a musical theatre selection in the style of the show that best shows their vocal range. Please bring sheet music; an accompanist will be provided. Actors may be asked to read from the script. All those auditioning should be prepared to participate in a dance/movement audition. Perusal copies of the script sides are available at the Grand Opera House business office 135 West 8th Street, Dubuque, between 9:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday and can be obtained by contacting Executive and Artistic Director, Frank McClain at director@thegrandoperahouse.com.

 

Dubuque County Fair Announces 2016 Main Stage Line-Up

Show Details
Hide Details

The Dubuque County Fair presented by 7G Distributing is continuing its success in bringing the nation's top music acts to the area.

On Saturday, July 30, the biggest party of the summer comes to the fair when KESHA headlines the mainstage show, with Xtreme 107.1 as the radio sponsor. Kesha has taken the world by storm since the release of her debut album Animal in 2010. That year, she was declared Billboard's Hot 100 Artist and her smash debut single "TiK ToK" was named Billboard's #1 Hot 100 Song, was the most played song of that year, and was the biggest-selling digital track in the world.

Kesha has had eight consecutive Top 10 hits including four #1 singles: "TiK ToK", "Your Love Is My Drug", "We R Who We R" and "Timber". "Timber," a collaboration with Pitbull, peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, Top 40 charts, UK charts, European singles charts, and Spotify, was nominated for a Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Song, an MTV Video Music Award for Best Collaboration, and won the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Award for Best Collaboration.

Tickets are $45 for the festival area, $35 for reserved grandstand seating and $25 for general admissions grandstand seating. Tickets for Kesha go on sale at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the fair office, online at www.dbqfair.com, or by calling 563/588-1999.

On Friday, July 29, the fair will return to its country roots with FREE COUNTRY FRIDAY featuring JERROD NIEMANN, presented by Dubuque Bank & Trust. Thanks to this generous sponsorship, reserved grandstand and general admission tickets will be included with fair gate admission. Fans 21 and older wanting the best seats in the house can purchase tickets to the Bud Light VIP Party Zone for $20, which includes two drink tickets. WJOD is the radio sponsor for the show.

Niemann exploded onto the country scene with his chart-topping major-label debut Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury, which included the #1 smash hit and Platinum digital single "Lover, Lover" and the follow-up Top 5 single "What Do You Want." His follow-up album High Noon features "Drink to That All Night," which went to #6 on the Billboard Country charts.

Bud Light VIP Party Zone tickets go on sale, and free grandstand tickets can be reserved for Jerrod Niemann, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the fair office, online at www.dbqfair.com, or by calling 563/588-1999.

"Musically and technically, Kesha's performance could very well be the biggest party we've ever had at the fair and it's definitely one not to miss," said Jamie Blum, general manager of the Dubuque County Fair. "Combined with country star Jerrod Niemann for free on Friday, this year's mainstage shows will be the best tickets in town."

The Dubuque County Fair is the largest and longest-running family entertainment event in the county. This year's 63rd annual event runs daily from July 26-31 with mainstage and grounds entertainment, one of the nation's top Midway carnival operators, the 4H barns and creative arts exhibits, fair food offerings (including the legendary lemonade) and more. To learn more about the fair, visit www.dbqfair.com.

 

Teresa Shelter Residents Displaced by Retaining Wall Collapse

Show Details
Hide Details

Staff working at the Teresa Shelter on March 9 were startled and sprang into action after hearing a very loud sound at the rear of the building. Staff said it sounded like a helicopter had dropped a bunch of boulders on the top of the building. Upon inspection, they discovered that the 10' high retaining wall behind the building on Bluff Street had given way, slamming large boulders, chunks of cement and earth into the side of the building.

Professional engineers inspected the property and determined that the wall would need to be rebuilt by pouring gravel eight feet high to stabilize the bluff. They were impressed that Opening Doors was proactive in addressing the issue. With a price tag of over $28,000, Opening Doors authorized the unbudgeted expense and work will begin, requiring that the residents be displaced for up to four days.

Maria House is at full capacity, so they couldn't accommodate the additional women and children from Teresa Shelter. Fortunately, Opening Doors' board member and Clarke University President Sr. Joanne Burrows generously volunteered to house the women and children on an empty floor in one of their resident halls until the work is completed. Opening Doors' staff will provide transportation to the residents as needed.

"Thanks to the quick action of our staff, contacts were made to city engineers and local fire department to insure that staff and residents weren't in any immediate danger," said Executive Director Michelle Brown.

A special fund has been established to financially support this unexpected expense. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Maria House, 1561 Jackson Street, Dubuque, IA 52001 (ATTN: Retaining Wall Fund) or online at www.openingdoorsdbq.org/ways-to-help/donate/.

Opening Doors is the nonprofit organization that operates Maria House and Teresa Shelter. Homeless women, alone or with children, come to us to help rebuild their lives. We provide goal setting and life skills training that will enable them to take care of themselves and achieve their full potential. Women are dependent when they come in...independent when they leave. Since 2000, Maria House has provided transitional housing, where residents can stay for as long as two years. In 2006, we opened Teresa Shelter. It offers extended stay housing, as well as short-term emergency shelter services.

For more information, please contact Michelle Brown at 563-582-7480.

 

O’Brien Named Water & Resource Recovery Center Manager

Show Details
Hide Details

City Manager Mike Van Milligen has named William O'Brien as the City's new Water and Resource Recovery Center manager, effective immediately. O'Brien has served as the acting manager of the facility since Feb. 29, 2016, following Jonathan Brown's retirement.

"Willie O'Brien has the educational background, experience, and leadership skills to continue to bring the Water and Resource Recovery Center into the 21st century," said Van Milligen. "Willie has gone through the arduous process to receive the Iowa Department of Natural Resources certifications required to operate a facility of this complexity."

As Water & Resource Recovery Center manager, O'Brien is responsible for the operation of Dubuque's wastewater treatment facility on Julien Dubuque Drive as well as its associated lift stations throughout the community and the facility's environmental monitoring laboratory. The position also proposes and enforces ordinances and regulations regarding the operation of the Water & Resource Recovery Center as well as the chemical, biological, and bacterial analysis and sampling services for other City, partner agencies, and private sector activities.

O'Brien began employment with the City of Dubuque in 2007, first as a contract laboratory technician at the then-named Water Pollution Control Plant and eventually as a wastewater operator at the facility, responsible for daily operations including observation and adjustment of plant processes. He was promoted to laboratory technician in 2009 and industrial pre-treatment coordinator in 2011 and was responsible for managing the industrial pretreatment program, maintaining sample collection equipment, revising laboratory operating procedures, maintaining laboratory certification, and analyzing wastewater and drinking water samples. In August 2014, he was named assistant plant manager, a position he held until assuming acting manager responsibilities in late February.

O'Brien holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from the University of Dubuque. He is licensed as a wastewater treatment operator by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. O'Brien is a member of the Water Environment Federation and the Iowa Water Environment Association.

 

Adapting to your new furry friend

Show Details
Hide Details

Adopting a dog is a wonderful way to bring joy into a home, and adoption may very well save a dog's life. According to the Humane Society of the United States, between six and eight million pets end up in shelters each year and half of those are unlikely to be adopted.

Adjusting to life with a dog is not always easy. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, the scope of which first-time dog owners may not fully grasp until their furry friends arrive at their new homes for the first time.

But there are ways to make the transition to dog ownership go smoothly, which should afford new dog owners more time to spend with the newest additions to their families.

• Prepare your home before Fido's arrival. While many dogs adjust quickly to their new homes, preparing the home before dogs arrive can make that adjustment even easier for the dog. Dogs might be nervous and under significant stress when entering a new home for the first time, so prepare the area where the dog will be spending most of its time. Remove items that curious pooches may break, and don't forget to move household cleaners from floor cabinets to high shelves so dogs won't ingest anything harmful. Have a crate ready for the dog if you plan to crate him or her so you don't have to introduce it after the pet has already grown acclimated to its new living arrangements.

• Prepare and stick to a schedule. Dogs benefit from routine, so before bringing your dog home figure out when you are going to feed and walk the dog, and which times of day you plan to play with him or her. Examine your own schedule and recognize that you might need to make some changes to accommodate your new housemate. Stick to the same daily feeding, walking and socializing schedule, which should acclimate the dog more quickly.

Another benefit to adhering to the same schedule is the dog will grow accustomed to relieving itself at the same time each day, reducing the likelihood of potentially messy accidents that no dog owner wants to clean up.

• Keep things calm. A hectic household might make it difficult for the dog to adjust, so remain calm and encourage other residents to do the same until the dog seems comfortable in its new surroundings. If necessary, limit visitors to your home and steer clear of the dog park or other places where the dog might become overexcited. As the dog grows more comfortable, you can then invite one or two friends over at a time and start taking the dog to the park as well.

• Take note of any irregularities. Some shelter dogs come from abusive situations, and the effects of those situations may still be lingering. While it's perfectly reasonable to use leashes when walking dogs, recognize that some dogs may associate leashes or other objects with past abuse. In such instances, speak with your veterinarian about the best ways to address these irregularities, and always exercise patience as your dog adjusts to his or her new surroundings.

Shelter dogs often make great companion animals, and owners should afford their new dogs ample time to adjust to their new home.

 

Freshen up your home for the spring season

Show Details
Hide Details

After a few months of chilly temperatures, come spring, many homeowners are eager to throw open their windows and doors and breathe new life into their homes. Simple changes made now - even before the weather begins to warm up - can improve interior spaces and brighten the atmosphere of a home.

• Go plant shopping. Research from NASA suggests adding at least one plant in your home per 100 square feet is efficient enough to clean air. Fresh foliage also makes a home feel warm and inviting. Watering and misting plants introduces moisture into indoor air, which can make rooms overcome with dry air from heating systems feel comfortable. Just be sure to avoid overwatering plants, which can lead to mold growth.

• Swap out throw pillows. Accent pillows on beds and sofas are quick and inexpensive ways to add new bursts of color to rooms. You may be able to make over a room's entire color scheme with new pillows. Invest in pillows that you can switch with each season so your decor will never look tired or dull.

• Clean existing light fixtures. Another way to brighten the mood in a home is to periodically clean light fixtures to make sure they are working effectively. Spend time dusting them and cleaning off any accumulated debris. If need be, switch out old lamp shades for newer ones that let more light shine through. If inadequate lighting is a problem no matter how many lamps you have, consult with an electrician about installing more overhead and accent lighting.

• Give rugs and floors a deep cleaning. Recirculated air may be full of dust and other microscopic particles that end up blowing throughout your home. Also, it's easy to track in dirt and other materials on your shoes that become imbedded in carpeting. At least once a year, rent or enlist the surfaces of carpet and upholstery cleaners to give floors a thorough cleaning. You may be surprised at how clean and fresh a home looks and smells once rugs and carpets are deep-cleaned. You also can make a dry carpet cleaner using baking soda, corn starch and desired fresh herbs for fragrance. Sprinkle and then vacuum up after a few hours.

• Simmer some homemade home deodorizer. In a large pot, boil water and some scented herbs, such as rosemary, citrus rinds, vanilla, or lavender. The aroma will waft through the home, creating a pleasing scent.

• Invest in new window treatments. Lightweight draperies or new blinds or shades can transform the look of a room. Be sure to keep curtains and blinds open during the day to maximize the hours of sunlight.

Homeowners can make some simple changes while they're stuck indoors and reap the benefits when the weather warms up again.

 

Applications Available for Arts and Cultural Special Projects Grants

Show Details
Hide Details

The City of Dubuque and the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission are now accepting competitive applications from all interested parties for special projects grants for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 grant cycle, which runs July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

Since 2005, the City of Dubuque has awarded over $2.7 million to area arts and culture organizations and other non-profits for programs that reach thousands of Dubuque adults and children each year. In addition, these funds have leveraged other community support for arts and culture events and programs, both in cash and in kind.

The special projects fund is designed to fund creative and artistic projects that a have a strong community engagement focus. These grants are intended to fund arts and cultural projects that are unique and innovative that offers new communities an opportunity to be inspired and participate in the quality programing that Dubuque has to offer.

"Each time we offer these grants, we challenge our innovative community to find the new and different ways to excite and delight us and to incorporate more arts and culture into the lives of Dubuque residents," says Debra Alleyne, arts and cultural affairs coordinator for the City of Dubuque. "This year is no different. With this grant, our goal is to promote arts and culture in new ways, in new places, and to include new people."

Information about how to apply, guidelines, tips and applications are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/grants.

Two workshops specific to the special projects grant will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, and 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 18, in the Aigler Auditorium, 3rd Floor, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11th Street. It is highly recommended that applicants attend one of these workshops as the format of the application has changed. Applications must be submitted through an online form at www.cityofdubuque.org/grants. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

All grants are reviewed by the arts and cultural affairs advisory commission and approved by the City Council. Current members of the commission include Marina O'Rourke (chairperson), Katherine Kluseman, Sue Riedel, Ellen Henkels, Gina Siegart, Jessica Teckemeyer, and Matthew Gregory. For additional information, please contact Debra Alleyne at dalleyne@cityofdubuque.org or 563-690-6059. Complete application materials are posted online at www.cityofdubuque.org/grants

For additional information, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/artsandculture or contact City of Dubuque Arts and Cultural Affairs Coordinator Debra Alleyne at 563-690-6059 or dalleyne@cityofdubuque.org.

 

Public Input Sought for City Council Goals and Priorities

Show Details
Hide Details

The City of Dubuque is inviting residents and stakeholders to "come to the table" and share what they would like considered for next year's City Council goals.

During the month of April, City staff will gather public input which will be provided to the City Council for consideration as part of their annual goal-setting sessions this summer. Participants will be asked to provide input and ideas on what they would like the City to accomplish over the next 12-18 months.

Residents and stakeholders are invited to share their ideas and priorities for city government for the coming year at any of the following opportunities:

• 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, in the Multicultural Family Center in the Ruby Sutton Building at 1157 Central Ave.;

• 6:30 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, or 8 - 11 a.m. on Monday, April 18, at the Community Booth at Kennedy Mall, 555 John F. Kennedy Rd.; 

• 9 - 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, in the Community Room at Hy-Vee, 3500 Dodge St.; or

• 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, in the Comiskey Park Building, 255 E. 24th St.

These sessions will be facilitated by City staff. Input can also be provided online by completing a survey available at www.cityofdubuque.org/cometothetable. For more information, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator Nikola Pavelic at 563-589-4182 or npavelic@cityofdubuque.org.

 

Be a Star in the War Against Homelessness!

Show Details
Hide Details

The 11th Annual "Opening Doors Dash" 5K run and walk is happening on Saturday, April 30. Now in its 11th year, the Dash features a new flatter and faster route on the scenic Jaycees Trail alongside the Mississippi River. Registration will be at the newly renovated Dubuque Marina & Yardarm. Plan to make tracks to help homeless women and children in your community.

The Opening Doors Dash is a fun-filled family event featuring a 5K race officiated by the MVRA (Mississippi Valley Running Association), a casual walk, and a half mile Kids Fun Run for children 12 and under. FREE CHILD CARE and activities are provided for registered participants from 8:30 to 10 AM supervised by staff from Grand View Child Development Center.

Medals will be given to the top three runners (male & female) with the fastest time in seven age divisions. The top three boys and girls in three age categories will be awarded a special medal for the Kids Fun Run. The fastest overall male and female runners will receive a trophy. Prizes will be presented to the Individual with the Most Pledges, the Team with the Most Participants, and for the best Star Wars costume (adult and child). Food and refreshments are provided.

Pick up a registration form at Big Apple Bagels or register online at www.openingdoorsdbq.org/events/dash. Register by April 15 and receive a free moisture-wicking T-shirt. Registration fees are $25 for adults (18 & over) or $35 for same-day registration, $15 for college students (with college ID), $10 for teens 13-17, and $5 for Kids Fun Run participants. Only adults who register before April 15 are eligible for the free T-shirt, although they'll be available for $10 for those who register after that date (while supplies last).

"This is one of two signature events for Opening Doors," comments Executive Director Michelle Brown. "This year we hope to see 300 participants and more teams. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to provide transitional housing and emergency shelter to homeless women and children."

Post-race activities include the "100 Yard Digger's Dollar Dash" and the awarding of medals and trophies.

For more information, contact Ann Lorenz, Development and Marketing Director at Opening Doors, at 563-582-7480.

Opening Doors is the nonprofit organization that operates Maria House and Teresa Shelter. Homeless women, alone or with children, come to us to help rebuild their lives. We provide goal setting and life skills training that will enable them to take care of themselves and achieve their full potential. Women are dependent when they come in...independent when they leave. A Wish List of shelter needs is located online at http://www.openingdoorsdbq.org/ways-to-help/wish-list/.

 

Making Homes Healthy Homes

Show Details
Hide Details

The City of Dubuque's Lead and Healthy Homes Program is designed to create healthy living environments and transform lives by addressing the physical conditions in homes as well as the health and quality of life of occupants.

The City's Housing and Community Development Department and the Health Services Department partner to improve living conditions in homes by removing lead hazards and improving health and safety conditions. Those efforts began in 1997 when the City of Dubuque received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and continued when grants were received again in 2003, 2008, and 2011.

In 1997, nearly 11 percent of Dubuque children ages 1-6 had elevated blood lead level. In 2014, that percentage had decreased to under 2 percent and was equal to the national average. While more than 1,150 Dubuque homes have been made lead-safe over the last 15 years, rental property inspections have shown that many Dubuque homes still lack property maintenance. Common issues detected include problems with water intrusion (mold), pest infestations, indoor air quality (sewer, radon, carbon monoxide), as well as safety hazards (smoke detectors and guard/hand rails) and energy inefficiencies (lack of weatherization).

The City's Lead and Healthy Homes Program was awarded $2.9 million in Lead Hazard Control HUD Grant funds in November 2015 to support efforts through November 2018. In addition, $325,000 in HUD supplement funds were awarded to address health and safety deficiencies. Match funding has also been secured from the Iowa Department of Public Health and federal Community Development Block Grant funds. The program will continue to be a participating site of the National Green and Healthy Homes Initiative which will align and coordinate multiple resources from agencies such as Operation: New View Community Action Agency, Visiting Nurses Association, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, etc. to provide additional benefits to the properties as well as the occupants. This household-centric approach complements the continuation of the lead hazard control activities in conjunction with a comprehensive, healthy homes focus.

The program provides financial assistance, in the form of a three-year forgivable loan, to single-family and rental residential property within the Dubuque city limits built before 1978. Home occupants must meet income guidelines (below 80 percent area median income) and have children under the age of six residing in the home or visiting. The funds may be used to address all lead hazards and limited additional environmental health and safety hazards which may include moisture/mold, allergens, contaminants, pests, carbon monoxide, and radon.

The goals of the Lead and Healthy Homes Program are to reduce the number of Dubuque children exposed to lead, provide professional lead training and certification, increase public awareness/knowledge of environmental health, and collaborate with partners through the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

The negative effects of lead poisoning are well-documented. High blood lead levels are associated with lower IQs and declines in reading and math scores. Lead can also cause learning disabilities, hearing loss, attention-deficit disorder, and behavioral problems. Studies have shown that children poisoned by lead are seven times more likely to drop out of school and six times more likely to enter the juvenile justice system.

To apply for assistance through this program, or for additional information, call 563-589-1724 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/healthyhomes.

 

Dr. Ronald Iverson Presented with Dr. John Finley Award

Show Details
Hide Details

On March 29, in celebration of Doctors' Day, David Brandon, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital, presented Ronald Iverson, M.D. with the Dr. John Finley Excellence in Medicine Award. The excellence in medicine award was created to recognize overall excellence in medical care by a physician who embodies the mission, vision and values of Finley Hospital as selected by their physician, board and hospital colleagues.

Dr. Iverson specializes in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at Dubuque Internal Medicine and has a long history with Finley, serving as the medical director for the Kehl Diabetes Center for 20 years.

"We have an exceptional care team at Finley, which makes it a difficult task to select just one individual to receive this award," said Brandon. "Here at Finley, we pride ourselves on the impressive number of physicians who personify our mission, vision, and values on a daily basis - again, making the task of selecting only one award recipient very difficult year after year. However, the nomination for Dr. Iverson provides explicit examples of how he truly embodies Finley's mission, vision and values."

During the award presentation, Michele Malone, manager of Finley's Babka Wellness Center and Kehl Diabetes Center, spoke to Dr. Iverson's dedication to the Kehl Diabetes Center staff and most importantly his patients.

"Although Dr. Iverson stays busy researching evidenced based practices and sharing his expertise with the Dubuque community, he always takes the time to remember details about his patients and colleagues to make them feel comfortable in subsequent meetings," explained Malone.

Other members of the Kehl Diabetes Center staff spoke to Dr. Iverson's patience, leadership, knowledge and community involvement.

Brandon added, "Dr. Iverson continuously raises the level of care provided in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism, making it a priority to provide the best coordinated care for every patient, every time. He respectfully interacts with the team, gives his patients the best experience, and is a truly exceptional doctor. Dr. Iverson is more than just committed - he's continuously at the forefront of clinical excellence."

The Dr. John Finley Excellence in Medicine Award was started in 2014 with the first recipient being Dr. John Viner. Last year's winner was Dr. Ronald Schope. All winners are highlighted on a plaque at the main entrance of Finley.

 

Riverview Center receives $5,308 grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity to fund Counseling & Therapy Supplies for Children

Show Details
Hide Details

Riverview Center has received a $5,308 grant from Variety - the Children's Charity to fund counseling and therapy supplies for child survivors of sexual abuse in Northeast Iowa. These supplies help children cope and heal from the traumatic experience of sexual abuse by allowing our therapists and advocates to tailor sessions to the child's individual needs in ways best suited for their developmental level.

For over twenty 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 Linn, 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 trainings; and violence prevention initiatives.

Through Variety - the Children's Charity's generosity, children are able to heal and move forward after this traumatic crime: An 8 year old female survivor of sexual abuse with a learning disability had a very narrow vocabulary of emotions and did not know what was happening to her. After disclosing the abuse to her teacher, she has been using art therapy and play therapy at Riverview Center to assist with communication of thoughts and feelings that she has not been able to express in words. She has been able to use painting to express and process her emotions, as well as increase her knowledgebase of emotions. She often "teaches" the therapist during her sessions, helping her to reestablish her sense of power and control as well as develop healthy boundaries. According to Riverview Center Executive Director, Carrie Melton, "This funding opportunity has positively impacted the therapy services Riverview Center is able to provide to children affected by sexual violence in our community. Without these supplies, therapy resources are limited. Riverview Center is very appreciative of the support Variety provides for children in our service area."

Variety - the Children's Charity is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and special needs children throughout Iowa. Grant funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children. For more information on Variety grants and programs please visit varietyiowa.com.

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

 

Houseplants can clean indoor air

Show Details
Hide Details

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can pay a host of dividends, both for the planet and the people doing the gardening. Healthy plant life can help clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and various air pollutants, while the act of gardening can help gardeners combat stress.

Published in 2011 in the Journal of Health Psychology, a study from researchers in the Netherlands found that gardening promotes relief from acute stress. In the study, two groups of participants were asked to complete a stressful task and then instructed to either read indoors or garden outdoors for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the latter group had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and even reported being in a better mood than the group instructed to read indoors.

But gardening does more than just provide gardeners with a reason to spend some time relaxing outdoors in an effort to relieve stress. Gardeners who raise certain plants may be able to bring those benefits with them when going inside as well. According to an article published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in October 2011, houseplants can work wonders when it comes to improving overall health, removing toxins from air, soil and water by metabolizing some toxic chemicals and releasing harmless byproducts while sequestering such toxins by incorporating them into plant tissues.

Clean indoor air is important for everyone, but especially so for those people who suffer from respiratory ailments like asthma. In fact, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology considers indoor air filtration an essential part of any strategy to improve respiratory health. But filtration systems and air purifiers are often not enough, and those who want the air in their homes to be as clean as possible may benefit from introducing certain houseplants into their homes.

The following are a handful of plants that can help to improve indoor air quality.

• Aloe vera: Aloe vera might be most often associated with hand creams and hand soaps, but the aloe vera plant, a succulent that even novice gardeners should have no problem growing, can clear indoor air of formaldehyde and benzene, two common byproducts of chemical-based cleaners many people use in their homes.

• Spider plant: Spider plants are resilient, and that makes them great houseplants for busy men and women who tend to be forgetful when caring for their plants. In addition, spider plants are pet-friendly and can be used to combat benzene, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and xylene.

• English ivy: NASA researchers exploring the possibilities of long-term space habitation found that certain houseplants were more effective at cleaning air inside energy-efficient, nonventilated buildings than others. One such plant was English ivy, which can effectively combat the formaldehyde found in certain household cleaning products.

• Bamboo palm: Bamboo palms also found their way onto NASA's list. Bamboo palm plants thrive indoors, where they are especially effective at filtering out the chemicals benzene and trichloroethylene.

Gardening has been proven to be a soothing hobby that can help gardeners reduce stress. But the health benefits of gardening can extend indoors as well.

 

Making new friends after a move or other life event

Show Details
Hide Details

Downsizing and other life changes often find seniors leaving their comfort zones to move to new neighborhoods or regions of the country. It can be difficult to leave those comfort zones behind, especially when it means saying goodbye to close friends or family members. Establishing new social circles as a senior can be challenging. But with a little effort and the right attitude, seniors can meet new people and enjoy the excitement that comes with new friendships.

• Join a club. If you have a particular hobby or interest, rekindle it in your new location. Find a local gardening club, church-sponsored organization or fitness center where you can meet like-minded men and women. Ask the real estate agent who helped you relocate to make suggestions on where to find community information and read community notices in the local newspaper.

• Get a dog. Dogs make great companions inside of the house and also serve as an ice breaker when you are outdoors. Take plenty of walks and take advantage of opportunities for conversation when people come up to you to inquire about your dog. Explain your situation and you may make some new friends along the way.

• Volunteer your time. Many people make new friends through volunteering. Volunteer and you're likely to meet people who share the same interests as you. Sign up with a favorite charity or volunteer at nonprofit events and look for familiar faces. Start talking to those people you meet again and again.

• Participate in church events. Places of religious worship are often cornerstones of a community, and they frequently host different events to get parishioners or members together. Read the bulletin and get involved in pot lucks, retreats, movie nights, and other church-sponsored events.

• Work at a school. Schools also serve as hubs of community activity. Volunteer or work for a local school and you will soon find yourself immersed in your community's weekday hustle and bustle. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about your new neighborhood in the process.

• Host your own party. Go out on a limb and plan a "new to the neighborhood" party. Put invitations in neighbors' mailboxes and invite everyone over for snacks and cocktails. Remember, neighbors may be just as nervous about new faces as you are, and a party is a great way to break the ice.

Change can be hard for seniors starting out in new communities. With some gumption and a few strategies to get started, anyone can expand their circle of friends.

 

Create a budget-friendly home landscape

Show Details
Hide Details

Homeowners understandably envy the award-worthy photo spreads in lawn and garden magazines, wanting to emulate those same looks on their own properties. Scores of designers and landscape architects are involved in the process of creating those amazing lush lawns and perfectly placed plantings. Although not every homeowner has the budget to create lavish landscape designs, it's still possible for homeowners to create lawns they can be proud of.

• Establish your budget. The first step in any project is to determine how much money you can devote to the job. Once you have established the budget, all other factors can be built around it.

• Find an inspiration piece. Great landscapes are inspired by many things, whether it's a memorable piece of art or a landscape layout in a lawn and gardening magazine. Use photos of other gardens or neighbors' yards as inspiration and build off of them. As long as the theme is cohesive, it will look pleasing to the eye.

• Consider the space and how you want to use it. Understanding the space will help you better allocate your budget. If your yard is more of a retreat, look for ways to create privacy and a vacation feel. If you have kids and entertaining friends is a main priority, focus on recreational aspects, such as a pool, playset and some durable plants. Understanding how to allocate your budget will help you to avoid spending money frivolously.

• Think about reclaimed or repurposed materials. Brand new items can quickly eat up a budget. However, repurposing salvaged or inexpensive items can stretch that budget while adding some unique flair to a landscape. See if you can find an outdoor patio set that someone is giving away or selling for a lower price. All it takes is a coat of paint and some new cushions to make it look like new. Discarded bricks or stones can be worked into a patio space or used to create raised garden beds. Purchase inexpensive flower pots and then paint them to make them look like stone or another desired material.

• Buy native plants. Native plants, shrubs, trees, and flowers will fare better than non-native, exotic plants. That means you'll have to spend less time and money nurturing them into health, and less money having to replace plants that cannot withstand your climate.

• Consider perennial plants. Perennials may cost more at the outset, but the savings will be realized in the years to come.

• Hire a professional. It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a landscaping professional when you've established a strict budget, but that's one way to save money. Landscape artists or garden designers have the experience to guide you in the right direction and help you avoid potentially costly mistakes. 

• Use gravel in spots where plants don't thrive. Gravel is an inexpensive landscaping material that can fill in voids where plants or ground cover simply do not flourish. Those working on limited budgets may be happy to learn gravel is typically less expensive than concrete or pavers.

• Ask friends or family for clippings. Don't be shy about admiring the plantings of those you know. Flatter their good taste and ask if you can have some clippings to propagate yourself. These clippings can turn into lush plants in no time - with no additional spending required.

With some frugal spending, planning and budgeting, anyone can create a beautiful landscape.

 

Popular Irish baby names

Show Details
Hide Details

It has been said that everyone becomes Irish on St. Patrick's Day, when scores of people celebrate St. Patrick in parades and pubs while decked out in their best ensembles of Kelly green. 

But Irish culture and pride extends beyond St. Patrick. Whether people actually can trace their lineage back to the Emerald Isle or not, Irish names are popular when naming newborns. According to BabyCenter.com, a trusted online parenting resource, the Irish male names Liam, Logan, Aidan, and Ryan all made the list of the top 25 baby names of 2015. Irish girl names were not as popular.

Expectant parents who are inspired by the whimsy and magic of Irish namesakes can consider these ever-popular Irish boy and girl names as they await their new arrivals, courtesy of Irish Central.

Boys
• Ryan: Derived from the Irish surname Ó Ríain and meaning "descendant of the little king."

• Logan: Often mistranslated fRom O'Loughan to mean "duck."

• Connor (Conor): A modern form of Conchobhar, meaning "dog lover."

• Aidan: A name said to mean "little fire."

• Sean: An Irish form of John, which means "gift from God."

• Kevin: Anglicization of the Irish name Caoimhín to mean "beautiful birth."

• Brandon: Possible derivative of Bréanainn; this name may mean "sword."

• Colin: This name may be an Irish short form of Nicholas.

• Patrick: A popular name based on Ireland's patron saint.

Girls
• Brianna: A modern and feminine form of Brian, meaning "noble."

• Caitlin: An Irish version of Catherine.

• Riley: An Anglicization of the Irish surname O'Reilly.

• Molly: A derivative of Mary or Mallaidh, which means "star of the sea."

• Alana: A feminine form of Alan, which means "handsome."

• Cara (Kara): The Irish word for "friend."

• Fiona: An Irish name actually pronounced as Feena, which means "vine."

• Tara: Anglicization of the old Irish name Teamhair, which means "eminence" or "distinction."

 

Inexpensive ways to boost a home’s curb appeal

Show Details
Hide Details

Curb appeal can go a long way toward making a home more attractive to its inhabitants as well as prospective buyers once the house is put on the market. Improving curb appeal is a goal for many homeowners, and while many projects aimed at making homes more aesthetically appealing can be costly, there are ways for cost-conscious homeowners to improve their properties without breaking the bank.

• Put your green thumb to use. A well-maintained landscape can dramatically improve a home's curb appeal. Pay attention to the plants, shrubs and trees throughout your property, watering them during periods of little rainfall and trimming them when necessary so your lawn does not look like an overgrown, neglected suburban jungle.

Professional landscaping services can help you maintain your property, but even if your budget does not allow for such an expense, you can still make sure your landscape adds to your home's appeal by keeping a watchful eye on the property and addressing any issues that arise.

Maintain your lawn through the colder months of the year as well, making sure no one walks on the grass when frost has settled, as doing so can produce dead spots throughout the lawn.

• Redo your front door. While their eyes may initially be drawn to a well-manicured lawn, prospective buyers will eventually find their way to the front door. If your door is especially old, consider replacing it. If your budget does not allow for such an expense, you can still give your home's front entrance an entirely new look by installing some inexpensive molding around the door before giving the door a fresh coat of paint. Molding around the front door can make an entrance more impressive, while a new coat of paint can make a home feel warmer and more vibrant.

• Plant flowers. Another inexpensive way to make a home more appealing is to plant some colorful flowers around the property. Line walkways with flowers native to your region, as such plants will last longer than exotic alternatives that may not be capable of adapting to the local climate.

In addition to lining walkways, hang window boxes filled with colorful flowers or plants outside naked windows. Doing so can make windows seem larger and add some color to your home's exterior.

Another creative way to make use of colorful flowers is to place a few planters at the foot of your driveway and painting the numbers of your address on the planters. This can be both effortless and inexpensive, but it can instantly make a home more inviting to prospective buyers.

• Spotlight certain parts of your property. Many homeowners focus on improving the curb appeal of their property during the daytime hours, but you can take steps to make a home more appealing at night as well.

Solar spotlights placed around trees and other attractive features in your yard can shed light on those areas of your property you're most proud of, even after the sun has gone down. Solar spotlights won't add to your energy bill, as they are powered by the sun, and they can make certain accents on your property stand out at night. 

Improving curb appeal may sound like a significant undertaking, but there are many ways budget-conscious homeowners can make their home's exterior more appealing without going broke.

 

Stay on schedule when mailing wedding invitations

Show Details
Hide Details

Invitations are a vital component of wedding planning. In addition to informing guests about the details of the ceremony and reception, wedding invitations convey the tone and style of the day.

While there are no rules governing wedding invitations, there are some ways for couples to ensure they stay on schedule when mailing invitations.

• Order invitations early. Couples can start to consider their invitation options once the wedding date and venue have been chosen. The wedding stationery industry has changed a lot over the years. Couples can now order invitations from local retailers, use online printers, or design and print their own invitations from home. Invitations should be worded carefully and proofed several times before printing, so expect the process to take a couple of weeks from start to finish. Plan for this time so you will have the invitations ready for mailing roughly three months before your wedding day. Always remember to order extra invitations so you have spares in case you make a mistake or make last-minute additions to your guest list.

• Get organized before mailing. Start preparing invitations about a month before you plan to ship them, as this gives you ample time to write envelopes so you do not have to write them all on the same day. Keep the guest list handy and double-check the spelling of names and the addresses. Traditional etiquette suggests addresses should be handwritten, but computer-produced calligraphy on envelopes is now just as acceptable. Avoid printed labels. Be sure to have the complete invitation weighed at the post office so you will know exactly how much postage is required. Purchase stamps for both the invitation and the response cards.

• Coordinate mailing time and RSVP deadlines. Mail invitations roughly eight weeks before the wedding. This gives guests time to make room in their schedules and arrange for travel, if necessary. Set the response date for three weeks before the wedding date so guests will have the time to make a decision and mail back the response. Many caterers require a final head count one week before the wedding, so make sure your RSVP date is at least two weeks before the big day so you can account for late responders.

• Don't let responses linger. Check off who is coming and who cannot make it as you receive each response. This way you'll know just how many responses are still outstanding and you can follow up if necessary.

 

10 rainy weather facts

Show Details
Hide Details

Rainy seasons vary across the globe. In much of North America, spring is when rainfall peaks. 

Cherrapunji, in the Indian state of Meghalaya, is credited with being the wettest place on Earth. While many people will never experience the rainfall residents of Cherrapunji have grown accustomed to, they still can expect to see their fair share of precipitation.

The next time you reach for your trusty umbrella, give pause and think about these fascinating facts about rain.

1. Many people surmise that the world's deserts receive the least amount of rain. However, this is not the case. Despite being covered mostly with ice, Antarctica only gets 6.5 inches of rain or snow per year, making it the continent with the lowest annual rainfall.

2. Scientists say that raindrops look more like chocolate chips than teardrops. Larger drops may resemble parachutes. Raindrops also come in many different sizes. The largest drops ever recorded fell in Brazil, where some drops measured as large as 10 mm.

3. It is possible for rain to fall at a velocity of up to 22 miles per hour, according to Explaining Science.

4. Rain has fallen on other planets, but such rain does not have the same chemical composition as the rain that falls on Earth. For example, rain on Venus is made of sulfuric acid. Because of Venus' proximity to the sun, the rain evaporates even before it reaches the surface of the planet.

5. Acid rain is a type of precipitation that has sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides mixed in. These chemicals are created by factories and power stations.

6. Cloud shapes can help a person predict if rain is likely to fall. Nimbostratus clouds, which are the flat, low-level gray clouds, produce rain. Also, cumulonimbus, the tall, puffy clouds that look flat on top, can be indicators that rain is soon to fall.

7. Rain can take on the hue of particles in the environment. For example, dust or sand particles can mix in, tinting the rain. 

8. There is such a thing as phantom rain, and you may not need an umbrella when it's falling. With phantom rain, the droplets evaporate before they can reach the ground, and it can be difficult to tell if it is raining or not. Phantom rain is common in dessert climates.

9. Due to dissolved nitrogen from the air contained in raindrops, grass and other plants may look greener after a heavy rainfall.

10. "Petrichor" is a term coined in 1964 to describe the pleasant, earthy aroma that occurs following rainfall.

 

Lou Gramm (The Voice of ForeignerTM) Performs at Mississippi Moon Bar May 20

Show Details
Hide Details

Lou Gramm, the original lead singer of the hit group Foreigner, will perform at Mississippi Moon Bar on May 20.
Gramm is an American rock vocalist and songwriter best known as the original lead singer for the British-American rock band Foreigner.

Foreigner's first eight singles all cracked the Billboard Top 20, making them the first group since The Beatles to accomplish such a feat. Gramm performed vocals on all of Foreigner's hits. He also co-wrote most of the band's songs, including two of its biggest hits "Waiting for a Girl Like You," which spent 10 weeks at #2 on the 1981-82 American Hot 100, and "I Want to Know What Love Is," which was a #1 hit internationally (US & UK) in 1985.

Showtime is at 8 p.m. with ticket prices starting at $30. Tickets go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m. at www.moonbarrocks.com; the Diamond Jo Casino's Diamond Club, Mississippi Moon Bar Box Office or by calling 563- 690-4800. Visit www.moonbarrocks.com to view all upcoming concerts, comedy, Club 84 and other special events at Mississippi Moon Bar. Mississippi Moon Bar is age-restricted and attendees must be at least 21 years old.

 

Make your engagement photoshoot a success

Show Details
Hide Details

Engagement photos vary depending on the couple. Often reserved for save-the-date cards and now commonly used to spruce up wedding websites, engagement photos can range from formal shoots in which couples are dressed to the nines to more laid back shots featuring couples in more everyday attire.

When planning an engagement shoot, couples should give themselves carte blanche with regard to style, as the photoshoot need not follow many of the more accepted rules that the wedding itself will ultimately adhere to. Once couples have settled on a style for their photoshoot, there are additional ways to ensure the session is a success.

• Find a photographer who shares your sensibilities. Photographers can vary greatly in style, and an engagement photoshoot will be most successful when couples find a photographer whose style matches the theme they are looking for with their photoshoot. You likely would not hire a nature photographer to photograph a basketball game, so don't hire someone who specializes in posed shots if you want your photos to be more lively and spontaneous. Before you hire anyone, ask for samples of each photographer's work to be certain you're getting someone who has experience shooting the type of photos you want to take.

• Solicit ideas from the photographer. Some couples already know exactly where they want their engagement photos to be shot and which poses they want to be arranged. However, many couples have little or no experience with professional photoshoots, and such couples should solicit ideas from each photographer they are considering hiring. A skilled and/or seasoned photographer should propose several ideas. Be wary of photographers who offer little input, as you may ultimately be dissatisfied with their work once the shoot has come and gone. 

• Avoid studio shots. Many couples prefer their engagement photos be taken somewhere they have a personal connection to, such as the sight of their first date or a park they frequently visit. Studio photoshoots might provide the best lighting, but couples have no connection to such spaces, and down the road they may regret not taking the photos in someplace that's a little more meaningful. In addition, a photoshoot outside the studio affords couples and their photographer more opportunities to experiment and improvise, which can produce a wider array of shots than a studio photoshoot is likely to deliver.

• Don't forget candid shots. Candid shots make the photoshoot more fun and loosen couples up a little bit. Many engagement photos will never be seen by anyone other than the photographer and the couple he or she is shooting, so don't be bashful during candid shots for fear of being embarrassed down the road. Have fun with the candid shots, and your other photos are likely to come out better as a result.

An engagement photoshoot should be fun and reflect the personalities of the couple. A few simple strategies can ensure couples' shoots accomplish both of those things.

 

The Dubuque Museum of Art opens a new exhibition

Show Details
Hide Details

The Dubuque Museum of Art opens a new exhibition, "Experimental Strata: A Search for Meaning: Mixed Media Paintings by Wendy Romero" this Friday, Feb. 19 in the Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery.

Artist Wendy Romero works in a limited and often muted color palette, creating textural paintings suggestive of earth and sky. Romero is a Professor of Art at Loras College in Dubuque, a position she has held since 2004. Before coming to Iowa, Romero was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Georgia Southern University.

A closing reception for the exhibition will take place on Friday, May 6 from 5-8 pm. The exhibition and related programs are sponsored by Cottingham & Butler.

The Dubuque Museum of Art is located across from Washington Park in historic downtown Dubuque at 7th and Locust Streets. Hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., Saturday & Sunday 1:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. Daily Admission: $6 Adults, $5 Seniors, $3 College and University Students, free for kids every day, and free to all on Thursdays thanks to Prudential Financial. Visit www.dbqart.com

 

America’s River Corporation Announces 2016 America’s River Festival Lineup

Show Details
Hide Details

America's River Corporation is excited to announce this year's entertainment for America's River Festival presented by American Trust & Savings Bank, held in the Port of Dubuque June 10-11, 2016.

Friday night features Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("Fishin' In The Dark" & "Mr. Bojangles") with special up and coming guests Jon Pardi ("Up All Night" & "Head Over Boots"), and Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys ("Standard American" & "Pedal to the Floor").

Saturday night will rock the crowd with co-headliners REO SpeedWagon ("I Can't Fight This Feeling" & "Keep On Loving You") and Cheap Tick ("Surrender" & "I Want You to Want Me") and with special guest Pablo Cruise ("Love Will Find A Way" & "Whatcha Gonna Do").

Now in its second year, America's River Festival (ARF) Brewfest, presented by Diamond Jo Casino, is a celebration of premier craft beers and their Masters from around the State of Iowa and the Tri-State area. Take in a day of live music, terrific beer vendors, and plenty of fun. Located in the Port of Dubuque and on the banks of the Mississippi River, ARF Brewfest serves as the kickoff party for Saturday night's activities at ARF. We are excited to be partnering with some of the following breweries: Big Grove Brewery, Potosi Brewery, Franklin Street Brewing Co, FireTrucker Brewing, Confluence Brewing, and many more. (Must be at least 21 years of age to attend.)

Tickets are available now at www.americasriverfestival.com or the Dubuque, Iowa Welcome Center at 280 Main S. or by calling 563.845.7698 or 800.798.8844.

Friday, June 10
Bud Light VIP Zone $45* [$50* at the gate] Includes: Friday festival/concert admission, concert area closest to stage, catered food from 5:30pm-9pm, 3 drink tickets for beer/pop/water
General Admission $15* [$20* at the gate] Includes: Friday festival/concert admission

Saturday, June 11
Reserved Seating $40* [$45* at the gate] Includes: Saturday festival/concert admission, reserved seat General Admission $20* [$25* at the gate] Saturday festival/concert admission
Weekend Package
Festival Weekend General Admission $30* [$35* at the gate] Includes: Friday festival/concert admission & Saturday festival/concert admission
*Tickets are subject to a convenience fee.
Brewfest Admission Tickets Saturday, June 11
Brewfest VIP $40* Includes: Brewfest Admission at 12 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
Brewfest General Admission $30* Includes: Brewfest Admission at 1 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass *Tickets are subject to a convenience fee.
Festival + Brewfest Admission Tickets
Saturday, June 11
Festival Saturday Reserved Seating + Brewfest VIP $60* Includes: Saturday festival/concert admission, and Brewfest Admission at 12 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
Festival Saturday Reserved Seating + Brewfest General Admission $55* Includes: Saturday festival/concert admission, and Brewfest Admission at 1 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
Festival Saturday General Admission + Brewfest VIP $45* Includes: Saturday festival/concert admission and Brewfest Admission at 12 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
Festival Saturday General Admission + Brewfest General Admission $35* Includes: Saturday festival/concert admission and Brewfest Admission at 1 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
Festival Weekend General Admission + Brewfest General Admission $45* Includes: Friday festival/concert admission & Saturday festival/concert admission and Brewfest Admission at 1 pm and (1) Brewfest Glass
*Tickets are subject to a convenience fee.
Camping
RV Campsite $70* Includes: 1 - 20'x50' site and 1 vehicle pass for campground Tent Campsite $25* Includes: 1 - 15'x20' site and 1 vehicle pass for campground *Tickets are subject to a convenience fee.
Sponsors of the 2016 America's River Festival include:
Presenting Sponsor: American Trust & Savings Bank
Title Sponsors: TH Media, KCRG TV-9, Mystique Casino & Andersen Eagle Window & Door
Title Media Sponsor: Townsqaure Media Group
Bud Light VIP Zone: 7G Distributing
BrewFest Presenting Sponsor: Diamond Jo Casino
Contributing Sponsors: Couler Valley RV, Mound View RV, Union-Hoermann Press, and A-1 Storage

For a complete schedule of events, visit www.americasriverfestival.com

 

CityChannel Dubuque to Air ‘From the Archives’

Show Details
Hide Details

The City of Dubuque Cable TV Division is tapping into its media vault to unveil a new showcase on CityChannel Dubuque titled "From the Archives." This new showcase features old programs and video footage recorded by Cable TV personnel since the mid-1980s and often shows a Dubuque that looks much different than the city we know today.

"From the Archives" programs include the placing of the bell tower on City Hall in 1990, an interview with noted Iowa artist and one-time Dubuque resident Francesco Licciardi in 1989, architect Alfred Caldwell's 1991 return to Eagle Point Park to see the buildings he built there in the 1930s, music from the Iowa Sesquicentennial celebration in Eagle Point Park in 1996, and footage from the Grand Excursion in 2004.

"From the Archives" presents one program per week airing at four different times on CityChannel Dubuque: Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., Fridays at 2 a.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. Following each airing will be a promotional announcement for the next week's program. "From the Archives" will premiere on Tuesday, June 10, at 9 a.m. with the 1988 Field of Dreams press conference at Carnegie-Stout Public Library featuring stars James Earl Jones and Kevin Costner.

For the past six years, Cable TV Coordinator Craig Nowack and Video Producer Erich Moeller have been gradually digitizing old videotapes stored in the basement of City Hall Annex. "‘From the Archives' is a fun way to look back at some of Dubuque's recent history, and a great way to see what Dubuque used to look like," said Nowack.

CityChannel Dubuque is the City's government access cable channel found on channel 8 or digital 85.2 on Mediacom's cable system in Dubuque.

The channel is also streamed live on the City's website at www.cityofdubuque.org/media.

Viewers can access the channel's program guide at www.cityofdubuque.org/cabletv.

"From the Archives" programs will eventually be available for on-demand playback on the City's website.