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Bug Party!

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor the annual Bug Party Friday, July 17, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Swiss Valley Nature Center. In case of rain, the alternate date will be Sept. 18.

The Bugs are back and ready to party with us! This is the second annual Bug Party at Swiss Valley Nature Center. Bring the whole family to explore the invertebrates of the preserve and learn more about the magical world of BUGS! Dress for the weather and feel free to call 563.556.6745 with any questions.

Visit www.dubuquecounty.org for more.


The Grand Opera House presents “Cabaret”

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The Grand Opera House will present Cabaret on July 24, 25, 30, 31, and Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 26 and Aug 2 at 2:00 p.m.

"Wilkommen" to 1930s Berlin. The seedy Kit Kat Klub, where even the orchestra is beautiful, provides the backdrop for the story of Sally Bowles, an English cabaret singer who is living life like it's the end of the world, and Cliff Bradshaw, a struggling American writer newly arrived on the scene. They begin a troubled romance as the Nazi presence in Germany begins to grow. With music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, this entertaining and thought provoking musical is filled with song, dance and drama. 

Cabaret contains mature themes and language; parental discretions is advised.

Cabaret will be directed by Joe Klinebriel with music direction by Kristen Eby and choreography by Megan MacLeod.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for those younger than 18. Tickets can be purchased through the Grand Opera House box office, 135 W. Eighth St.; by calling 563-588-1305; or by visiting www.thegrandoperahouse.com.

For more information, visit www.thegrandoperahouse.com or call 563-588-1305.


Presentation on Red Shouldered Hawks & Cerulean Warbler in Northeast Iowa

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Jon Stravers will present an informative, energetic and educational program on his research and observations of the Red Shouldered Hawks & Cerulean Warblers in Northeast Iowa at Swiss Valley Nature Center, 13606 Swiss Valley Road in Peosta, on Saturday, July 11, starting at 1:00 p.m. He is charismatic, and exciting to listen to; birders and non-birders will enjoy this fantastic program!

Jon currently serves as the coordinator for Driftless Area Bird Conservation. For the past 34 years he has specialized in monitoring and inventory projects on Red Shouldered Hawks, Bald Eagles and other birds along the Mississippi River.

Jon is currently involved in Cerulean Warbler surveys in the Driftless Area. These surveys are sponsored by Iowa DNR Yellow River State Forest, the McGregor District of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Division, the Iowa Ornithologists Union, and various Audubon Chapters in the region. This work has highlighted some significant concentration of Cerulean Warblers (which is considered a species of conservation concern) in specific locations in the Bird Conservation Area of northeast Iowa, and this work has resulted in the study area being designated as "Globally Significant" by the National Audubon Society and Bird Life International.

Jon was originally a student of Gladys "The Bird Lady of Iowa" Black and Dean Roosa, the former State Ecologist for the Iowa DNR. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa. Jon has co-authored three books - Sylvan Runkel, Citizen of the Natural World, and Gladys Black, the Legacy of Iowa's Bird Lady with Larry Stone, and The Raptors of Iowa with James Landenburger, Dean Roosa, Bruce Ehresman and Rich Patterson, published by the University of Iowa Press in May of 2013.

In 2008, Jon received the Upper Mississippi River Stewardship Award from the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for contributions to expand the understanding of important bird habitats on the Upper Mississippi River National Fish & Wildlife Refuge. And, in 2009, Jon received the Effigy Mounds National Monument and Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity award for 25 years of outstanding contributions to raptor research at Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Visit www.bigblueskyproject.com.

For more information about this program or about DCCB programming, please phone 563.556.6745.


Audubon Butterfly Count

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The  Dubuque County Conservation Board will hold the Audubon Butterfly Count at Swiss Valley Nature Center and Mines of Span (EB Lyons) on Sunday, July 12, starting at 1:00 p.m.

This is great family fun. Join Audubon for a fun hike filled with excitement! We will be conducting citizen science to catch, identify, and release butterflies. Nets will be provided. Bring water, hat, and sun screen.

Families and individuals are invited to meet at either Swiss Valley Nature Center or EB Lyons Interpretive Center at 1:00 p.m. to begin butterfly count.

Tally results over your own picnic supper at EB Lyons Interpretive Center at 4:00 p.m. Meet in the picnic area adjacent to the parking lot.


City Of Dubuque Independence Day Holiday Schedule

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City of Dubuque offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, for the Independence Day holiday. This includes City Hall and other City offices throughout the city. However, there will be no change to the trash, yard debris, or curbside recycling collection schedule on Friday, July 3.

• The Jule Transit will not operate on Saturday, July 4.

• On Friday, July 3, Flora Pool will be open for water walking/lap swim from 7 to 9 a.m. and noon to 12:55 p.m, and for open swim from 1 to 5 p.m. No evening water walking/lap swim or swim lessons. On Saturday, July 4, Flora Pool will be open for water walking/lap swim from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and open swim from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be no evening water walking/lap swim.

• On Friday, July 3, Sutton Pool will be open for water walking/lap swim from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and noon to 12:55 p.m. FREE open swim is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. On Saturday, July 4, Sutton Pool will be open for water walking/lap swim from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and open swim from 1 to 5 p.m. No evening water walk/lap swim.

• Bunker Hill Golf Course will be open and operate its regular hours on both Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4.

• The Multicultural Family Center will be closed Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4.

• The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency Landfill will be closed on Saturday, July 4.

For non-emergency issues during City office closures, please call 589-4415. In the case of an emergency, call 911.


Red Cross Issues Top 4th of July Safety Steps

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"Everyone looks forward to having fun over the Fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday," said Leslie Schaffer, Regional Executive for the Iowa Region of the Red Cross.

HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

• Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.

• Do not drink and drive.

• Pay full attention to the road - don't use a cell phone to call or text.

• Use caution in work zones.

• Clean the vehicle's lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting legal fireworks off at home:

• Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

• Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

• Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.

• Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."

• Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

• Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.

• Never grill indoors - not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.

• Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.

• Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.

• Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

"The Red Cross wants everyone to have fun this Fourth of July weekend, and we have ten ways people can stay safe while enjoying the water," said Schaffer.

• Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

• Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

• Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.

• Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.

• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.

• For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

• Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.

• Know how and when to call 9-1-1.

• Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child's life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

FREE EMERGENCY APP People can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive severe weather watches and warnings in their local area, at travel destinations and where loved ones live. "Family Safe" is a unique feature that allows app users to notify family and friends who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. First Aid steps for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies and water safety information are also included. The content is available in English and Spanish. The app can be downloaded from app stores by searching for "American Red Cross" or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Since June 1, Iowa Region Red Cross volunteers have responded to 61 local disasters including flooding, tornadoes and home fires, and have assisted 70 Iowans with their immediate needs. If an individual or family has been displaced from their home due to fire, severe weather or another disaster, they can call their local Red Cross chapter:
Central Iowa: (515) 243-7681
Northeast Iowa: (563) 583-6451
North and Western Iowa (712) 252-4081
South and Eastern Iowa (319) 393-3500

For more updates, follow the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa on Twitter at @GreaterIA_ARC and on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericanRedCrossIowa.



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Shenandoah Riding Center: Huge Liberty Bell to be featured in show-opening extravaganza.

The Shenandoah Pro Rodeo is a July 4th tradition in the tri-state area with the 29th annual event on tap for July 3 and 4th at 7:30 p.m. Featuring top professional rodeo action, the best specialty entertainers, mutton bustin' and more, it's a fan favorite every year. But for 2015, Mother Liberty will truly Ring her Bell as a 16' tall custom built Liberty Bell will be featured in a truly memorable patriotic opening production. Known for unique patriotic pageantry, Three Hills came up with a special twist that makes the "Bell" a one of a kind.

The late Bob Link, of Link Hydraulic in Dubuque, put in countless hours transforming Three Hills Rodeo's idea into reality. He did extensive research on the Liberty Bell to make sure all the details were correct and the end product was authentic in appearance. From the color to the inscription, Bob put his heart and soul into creating what he said was one of his most unusual projects. The fiberglass structure created around steel tube framing sets the stage, but the custom - built hydraulic lift platform inside the bell, capable of lifting about two tons, is the showstopper. Link enabled the top of the bell to remotely open as the platform lifts up and presents a horse and rider with an American flag... it's a patriotic tribute unlike anything you will ever see. Exceeding the expectations of our audience is the goal and this is truly one that is hard to top.

The free Preshow from 6 to 7 p.m. also provides more FUN and unique opportunities. Pony rides are featured for kids but all ages will enjoy meeting the rodeo entertainers for autographs, learn to rope, throw some "horseshoes" or sit on Midnight, the 2,000 lb. brahma bull in the bucking chutes.

The gates open at 6:00 p.m. rain or shine. Hillside seating surrounds the beautiful Shenandoah Riding Center Arena. Great food with many new food vendors and specialty vendors will be available. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and ends each performance with one of the tri-state's best fireworks displays to music. If that's not enough fun, head into the Shenandoah Riding Center after the rodeo for live music at Rodeo After Party... Whether you're 6 or 76... it's a "Buckin' Good Time".

For more information call Corey Morehead 563-343-4752.


Dos and don'ts of fireworks

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As the mercury rises, the parties and festivities that have come to signify summer excite revelers far and wide. Summer has become the season of pool parties, trips to the beach, barbecues, and, of course, fireworks.

Love it or hate it, warm weather seems to beckon neighbors out of hibernation and incites a desire to set things on fire. When cooking over an open flame doesn't satisfy that desire, many take to shooting off bottle rockers and whistlers. But fireworks can still be dangerous, and not everyone is equipped or legally allowed to ignite fireworks. Therefore, to avoid potentially dangerous injuries, fines or arrests, it pays to follow these fireworks dos and don'ts.

DO find out if fireworks are legal in your area. If you have to travel over state lines or into another country to purchase fireworks, there is a good chance you are not allowed to use fireworks in your community. There are many regulations regarding the sale, transport and use of fireworks, so be sure you're not breaking any laws before buying any fireworks.

DON'T buy fireworks from just anyone. You want to ensure you are purchasing them from a reputable retailer of legal fireworks.

DO check any safety guidelines and warnings on the wrapper of the fireworks before lighting them.

DON'T light fireworks near people, trees, homes, or any combustible materials.

DO keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby in the event of a fire. The National Fire Prevention Association notes that the Fourth of July features more reported fires than any other day of the year.

DON'T forget that sparklers and firecrackers are no safer than other types of fireworks. The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1200 F, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns and is hotter than the temperature it takes to melt glass.

DO leave fireworks to the professionals to avoid injury or fire.

DON'T light more than one firework at a time. 

DO wait 15 to 20 minutes after lighting a firework to see if it has ignited. If not, dump the firework in a bucket of water and move on to a fresh firework.

DON'T let small children handle and light fireworks.

DO make every attempt not to store fireworks. If you purchase them, use them all up. However, a cool, out-of-the-way place may suffice for a day or so.

DON'T have any part of your body over the firework when lighting it. Try to use a lit stick or butane lighter to keep as far away as possible.

DO say no to alcoholic beverages when lighting fireworks. Your perception and dexterity can be compromised by alcohol.

DON'T shoot fireworks off in windy conditions. Otherwise, make sure the prevailing wind is blowing away from the audience.

DO wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.

DON'T shoot fireworks off of uneven ground. To ensure stability, always light them on a hard, flat and level surface.

DO use common sense at all times when in the presence of fireworks.

DON'T assume pets and children will enjoy the loud noises. Make accommodations for a quiet respite.

DO make sure spectators keep their distance. They should be 25 to 40 feet away from ground-based items and even further for aerial products.

Fireworks can be beautiful to watch and often signify special moments and celebrations. Safety should always be on the minds of people spending time around fireworks.


Safeguard yourself from summertime ailments and accidents

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Summer is often marked by vacations, recreational events and relaxing moments spent by the pool or on the beach. But when the weather heats up, so can potential health hazards that can ruin all of the fun. The following are some of the more common summertime ailments and how to avoid them.

• Lawn and garden injuries 
Lawn and garden injuries may not be common, but men, women and children should exercise caution when using lawn and garden equipment. Wear protective shoes and gloves and safety goggles. Remember to turn off any motorized tools before attempting to repair or unclog the blades.

• Swimmer's ear
Water that remains in the ear canal after swimming can make the ear a breeding ground for swimmer's ear, which is a bacterial infection. If water remains in your ear for more than one night, visit an ear, nose and throat specialist.

• Insect bites and stings
Insects return when temperatures rise. Mosquitoes may be the biggest nuisance, but biting flies and wasps also make formidable foes. Use insect repellent to keep the bugs away. Wear long pants and check for ticks after hiking.

• Boating accidents
Many boating accidents can be attributed to inexperience with the vessel and failure to take proper safety precautions on the water. Make sure everyone on the boat wears a life jacket, and follow proper boating protocol throughout your trip.

• Dehydration
The body needs extra water on hot days, especially when spending ample time outdoors. Dehydration can cause dizziness and dry mouth and may make you feel faint. Always drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, which can contribute to dehydration when consumed in excess.


Movies in the Park

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Friends of Dubuque County Conservation and Mindframe Theatre present "Movies in the Park" Wednesday, July 29, starting at 8:45pm at Green Ash Pavilion in Swiss Valley Park.

Join us for a free nature-themed movie for the whole family! Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket. Concessions will be available through Mindframe Theatre.



Sparklers pose a safety risk, too

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Fireworks tend to be most prevalent during the summertime. Elaborate pyrotechnic displays may be part of Independence Day celebrations or other special events. Individuals also may set off fireworks to light up the night skies for private parties.

Although parents will warn children against going too close to fireworks, many do not share the same apprehension about sparklers. Sparklers are thin metal rods that have been dipped in a special, flammable pyrotechnic substance and allowed to dry. When lit, a sparkler will throw off, as the name implies, sparks of twinkling light until the sparkler is extinguished. Sparklers may seem safe for little hands, but like other fireworks, sparklers can be dangerous.

A sparkler can reach 3,662 F (2,000 C) when lit. That is 20 times the boiling point of water, a level of heat that is enough to melt steel. In fact, three sparklers burning together can generate the same amount of heat as a blow torch. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says roughly 240 people visit the emergency room every day in the month of July with fireworks-related injuries. 

Common sense should prevail whenever anyone is handling sparklers. If children are allowed to hold sparklers, it should only be under close adult supervision. Other safety tips can help ensure events where sparklers are being used remain injury-free.

• Sparklers should be stored in cool, dry places until they are used.

• Leather gloves can protect hands while sparklers are being lit and held.

• Do not light and hold more than one sparkler at a time.

• Sparklers can stay hot for a while after they have been extinguished. Put the hot end down into a bucket of water when finished.

• Sparklers may not be legal where you live. Know the laws before purchasing sparklers or other fireworks.

• Children under the age of five should never be given sparklers to hold, nor should adults hold a lit sparkler while holding a baby. Glow sticks are safer alternatives for young kids.

• Hold sparklers at arms' length to avoid burns.

• Do not bring sparklers to public events, as sparklers amid large crowds can pose a safety risk.

• Do not wave or run with lit sparklers.

Sparklers may seem like safe alternatives to more traditional fireworks. But it's important to exercise caution with sparklers, especially when young children are nearby.


Fourth of July barbecue essentials

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The 4th of July is fast approaching and revelers across the nation are preparing to toast their independence with family and friends. For many Americans, backyard barbecues are synonymous with the Fourth of July, a day that, in the United States of America, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. 

Precious few Americans can say they have not been present at a 4th of July barbecue or witnessed a fireworks display honoring America's official declaration of independence from Great Britain. Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing a summer soirée to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember to include the following backyard barbecue essentials this Independence Day.

No Fourth of July barbecue is complete without food, so hosts should be sure to stock up on popular barbecue fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Though such foods likely won't be mistaken for gourmet fare anytime soon, Fourth of July revelers often embrace the tradition of grilling up some hot dogs and hamburgers even if they tend to avoid such foods throughout the rest of the year. Hosts should not feel pressured to provide gourmet fare on July 4th, but it is a thoughtful gesture to ask guests in advance if they have any food allergies or need to avoid certain foods for other reasons.

It goes without saying that guests will need refreshing beverages at parties held in early July, but be sure to stock up on a variety of beverages so guests are not forced to consume drinks they don't want. Be sure to have plenty of water available to guests, and provide sodas, iced tea and lemonade as well. Offer alcoholic beverages to adult guests, but don't go overboard stocking up on alcohol, as that might encourage guests to overindulge.

Backyard barbecues are most fun when guests are entertained, so plan to have some games available for guests of all ages. Encourage guests to bring a change of clothes or swimsuits if games will involve water or something that might soil their clothing. If you have a pool, purchase some pool games so swimmers can do more than just wade in the water or take a few laps. Plan a Wiffle® ball game for kids and dig some horseshoe pits or buy a ring toss set so adults can engage in some friendly competition as well.

Though no one wants to think of a 4th of July celebration taking a turn for the worst, hosts must prepare for emergencies. Restock the first-aid kit if necessary and keep a constant eye on guests, especially children, to ensure everyone is having a safe and happy time. Program a list of local taxi companies into your phone so you can easily call for transportation should any guests have too much to drink during the festivities. Hosts should abstain from alcohol so they can serve as designated driver should the need arise at the end of the night.

Backyard barbecues are a staple of July 4th, and there's no reason your summer soirée can't be one to remember for years to come.


The American Red Cross Urges Iowans to Prepare Now for Severe Weather

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Download the Free Emergency App to Help Stay Safe

The American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens including tornadoes, high wind, hail and flash flooding. As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather by:

Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App:
The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.

Other features include:

• "Make a Plan" helps families figure out what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes

• Preloaded emergency preparedness content is available in English And Spanish and can be accessed without mobile connectivity

• "Family Safe" allows people to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster

• A real-time map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information

The app is available in app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Making an Emergency Plan:
Household members should designate a safe place for everyone to go in case of severe weather. Pick a location away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Plans should include protecting pets and having emergency supplies for them.

Creating an Emergency Preparedness Kit:
Pack a first aid kit, at least a three-day supply of water and foods that don't require cooking or refrigeration, a seven-day supply of essential medications, manual can opener, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items. Customize the kit for any household members with special needs.

Heeding Storm Warnings:
A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the designated area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

Preparing for High Winds:
If time permits, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.

For more information on what to do before, during and after severe weather, people can go to redcross.org/prepare/disaster/thunderstorm.

Iowans are encouraged to call their local chapter of the American Red Cross if they need assistance following a disaster.
Central Iowa: (515) 243-7681
Northeast Iowa: (563) 583-6451
North and Western Iowa (712) 252-4081
South and Eastern Iowa (319) 393-3500

For more updates, follow the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa on Twitter at @GreaterIA_ARC and on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericanRedCrossIowa.


American Red Cross Offers First Aid and CPR/AED Courses in Dubuque

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Each year, more than 5 million people learn how to save a life in American Red Cross training classes and people in northeast Iowa can join the ranks of these everyday heroes by taking a class now.

First Aid and CPR/AED courses teach people how to perform CPR and use an AED, what to do if someone is choking and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies until advanced medical help arrives. Course participants also learn how to control bleeding as well as how to care for seizures and other sudden illnesses. Most classes are held at the Red Cross office in Dubuque, located at 2400 Asbury Road.

The Red Cross is offering the following courses:

Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3618606
Saturday, 7/18/15
Dubuque Office

First Aid
Offering ID # 3618191
Saturday, 7/18/15
Dubuque Office

Adult First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3618312
Saturday, 7/18/15
Dubuque Office

BLENDED LEARNING CLASSES (online content/exam and in-class session)
There are two components to blended learning courses: online content/exam and an in-class skills session. The online portion of this class must be completed before the skills session begins. For more information, call 1-800-REDCROSS, option 3 (1-800-733-2767 option 3).

Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3612010
Monday, 7/13/15
Dubuque Office

Offering ID # 3611970
Monday, 7/13/15
Dubuque Office

Adult First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3611993
Monday, 7/13/15
Dubuque Office

Offering ID# 02074912
All course activities are completed on-line. No skills session scheduled.
4 hours (approx.)
Web Based Class

Red Cross training courses meet OSHA guidelines, feature hands-on skills practice and include 2 year certifications, free digital materials and skill refreshers. People can visit redcross.org/training or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for details and to register for a class.

The Red Cross is the nation's leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 6.5 million Americans participate in Red Cross training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency.


New Parking Rates and Fines Take Effect July 1

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The City of Dubuque 2016 fiscal year begins July 1, 2015, and includes several fees and rates changes including new parking rates and fines that will take effect at that time.

The following parking rate changes are effective July 1, 2015:

• Monthly space rentals will increase by $5 per month for City ramps and parking lots

• Rates for one- , two- , and four-hour parking meters will increase from $0.50 per hour to $0.75 per hour.

• Rates for 10-hour meters will increase from $0.35 to $0.50 per hour. Parking ticket fines for expired meters will increase from $7 to $10. (Meters are enforced Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., except for City holidays.)

• Residential Parking Permit District (RPPD) permits will increase by $5 per year

The City of Dubuque Parking Division is an enterprise fund within the City and, subsequently, all of the division's operating expenses, including repair and construction of parking facilities, must be covered by revenue generated from the parking system. The parking division manages five parking ramps located at 975 Central Ave., 100 W. Fourth St., 501 Iowa St., 701 Iowa St., and 830 Bluff St. Each offers hourly, daily, and monthly rates. The division also manages 13 parking lots in the downtown area and two in the Port of Dubuque. The lots operate on a combination of reserved monthly parking and parking meters.

In addition to coin and parking meter cash card payment options, each of the City's approximately 1,800 parking meters features pay-by-smartphone technology. Instructions to use the Passport Parking Mobile pay application are provided on all meters. Once securely registered, users have three phone-based options to pay for parking: using the mobile payment app, calling a phone number, or texting their zone and space information. Users also have the option to receive text message alerts and reminders 15 minutes prior to the expiration of their parking session and can also add up to 15 minutes beyond the time limit of the meter.

For more information or questions on parking, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/parking or contact the City of Dubuque Parking Division at 563-589-4267 or parking@cityofdubuque.org.


Host a student through an historic exchange

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Be part of the solution! World Heritage International is now looking for American families to host high school students from Eurasia. All these students have received scholarships through the US State Department-sponsored Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program and will spend an academic year in the U.S. This historic program seeks to foster democracy and values inherent in a free market economy. Your support of these students and this program reinforces the United States' commitment to education and opportunity.

World Heritage International is currently seeking host families for well-qualified, bright, motivated and well-screened students coming from Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. By living with local host families and attending local high schools, FLEX scholarship students acquire an understanding of American values and build on leadership skills. From the beginning of this program, FLEX scholarship students work together after returning home to share what they have learned while in America and are making a significant difference in their home countries!

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about our programs and how to become involved, please call 1 (800) 888-9040 or go online at www.whhosts.com.


Don't forget to protect skin when boating

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Few activities embody the spirit of summer like sailing. Smelling the ocean air while catching some fish or preparing the boat for a fun-filled day on a nearby lake are activities synonymous with summer relaxation.

As enjoyable as sailing can be, it's in the best interests of sailors and their passengers to take certain precautionary measures to ensure everyone makes it back to shore safely. One such measure is protecting skin from the sun. When sailing, men, women and children spend a significant amount of time soaking up the sun's rays, which can lead to chronic skin damage or even skin cancer for those who don't take steps to protect themselves. The following are a few ways boaters can ensure their next sailing trip is as safe as it is fun.

• Don protective clothing. When sailing, women might be tempted to wear a bikini while men might prefer to wear some swim trunks and nothing else. Such attire might be relaxing, but it's not very safe. Instead of beach gear, wear protective clothing, including long-sleeve t-shirts and wide-brimmed hats that protect both the top of your head, your neck and your face from sunburn. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from overexposure to the sun's rays.

• Be even more diligent when boating. When boating, it's important for sailors and their passengers to be especially diligent with regards to skin protection. Sand and water reflect the sun's rays, increasing a person's risk of sun damage. So be even more careful and protective of your skin on the water or at the beach than you would be if relaxing in the backyard. 

• Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a generous application of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of at least 30. Re-apply the sunscreen every two hours, and immediately after going into the water or if you find yourself sweating. Be sure to use a sunscreen that is "broad-spectrum," as this means it protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

• Spend some time in the shade. Even though you're on a boat, there are opportunities to escape the sun. Sit in a shaded area on the boat, especially during certain hours of the day when the sun's rays are at their strongest. The AAD notes that the sun's rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. One trick of the trade is to always seek shade when your shadow is shorter than you are.

• Be prepared. A boat carries a host of supplies so sailors don't end up stranded at sea. But don't forget to stock up on protective items just in case some sailors forget to bring along sunscreen or protective gear. In addition to packing extra bottles of sunscreen, store some extra long-sleeve t-shirts and wide-brimmed hats so friends and family don't fall victim to the sun or feel as thought they need to sit in the cabin or out of the sun for the duration of the trip.


5 signs your roof might be wearing down

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Replacing a roof is a costly venture few homeowners look forward to. According to a recent Remodeling magazine's "Cost vs. Value" report, the national average cost of a roof replacement is nearly $22,000, a costly endeavor considering the tenuous nature of the economy. What's more, homeowners who choose more upscale roofing materials can expect to spend almost $40,000 on their roofs.

Such costs make it no small wonder that many homeowners fear the dreaded diagnosis that their home needs a new roof. While there's little homeowners can do to reduce the cost of a roof replacement, there are warning signs homeowners can look for that might indicate a roof replacement is on the horizon. Recognition of these signs can help homeowners be more financially prepared should the day come when the roof needs to be replaced.

1. The presence of algae
If the roof has lots of dark streaks and stains clinging to it, that is likely algae, which can grow on the roof for quite awhile. Algae does not necessarily do any damage to a roof, but it does do some damage to a home's physical appearance, as algae on the roof is not very pleasing to the eye. Algae is most often found on the roofs of homes located in climates that have warm, humid summers. If algae is a problem on your roof, spray washing with a mixture of water and bleach can effectively remove it.

2. Buckling shingles
Like algae, buckling shingles are another unsightly problem on a roof. But buckling shingles are more than just an eyesore, they actually might indicate significant problems. When shingles buckle, that's typically because hot air from the attic is forcing the shingles away from the home. Buckling shingles also indicate that the roof is poorly ventilated, which can take years off the roof's life expectancy while driving up home cooling costs along the way.

3. Granule loss
Granule loss is typically a byproduct of normal shingle wear and tear that results from inclement weather, such as hail. Older roofs might experience granule loss, but granule loss can also occur on a new roof if a defective roofing product was used. Any granule loss, even if slight, should be addressed, as the side effects of granule loss include a weakened roof and leaking. If granule loss is not addressed, the consequences could be severe the next time a storm occurs.

4. Mold
Unlike the warning signs already discussed, mold is not visible on the outside of the home. Instead, homeowners should look in the attic of a home to see if there is any mold growth. If there is, the roof is likely leaking, and the health risks of mold growth in a home are substantial. Mold is not necessarily easy to detect, so a professional inspection might be in order if mold growth is suspected. If a professional determines mold is, in fact, present, then the mold will need to be removed and all options, including a roof replacement, must be considered to keep mold from coming back.

5. Roof rot
Perhaps the most discouraging sign a homeowner can see on his or her roof is roof rot. Roof rot appears when a roof is in considerable decay and, if not addressed, its consequences can stretch far beyond the roof, damaging other parts of the home thanks in large part to water getting through the roof. If roof rot is either not noticed or just ignored, it won't take long for water to get through the roof and blaze a destructive path through the rest of the home.

Homeowners might fear a full roof replacement because of the cost associated with such a project. But if ignored, problems with a roof could eventually prove far more costly than the price of replacing the roof.


City Launches 'MyDBQ' Mobile App

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New app offers mobile device option to submit requests for service or report concerns

The City of Dubuque is offering a new mobile device application that allows residents to connect more conveniently with City government to report issues and request non-emergency services.

The free app is now available for download and integrates with the City's current citizen response management system. The new app offers residents the option of using a mobile device to make these requests. Residents who have previously submitted requests for service through the City website can use their same login and password for the MyDBQ app.

Nearly 30 percent of the visitors to the City of Dubuque website (www.cityofdubuque.org) visit the site with a smartphone or tablet. From March through May of 2015, that translated into an average of almost 15,600 visitors to the site via mobile devices. In 2014, nearly 2,300 service requests were submitted by residents through the City website.

The app offers over two dozen different request types ranging from pothole repair, garbage complaints, improper vehicle storage, park maintenance requests, and some of the other most frequently submitted services requests made by residents. With the new app literally "in hand," residents can now report these issues in a few simple steps on their mobile device.

As an additional benefit, MyDBQ users are also able to take and submit photos with their request for service. For example, if a street sign is damaged or a parking meter is out of service, the user can simply snap a quick photo of the item of concern, and send it to City staff through the app.

MyDBQ also includes useful sub-features such as links to the City of Dubuque website, current City job openings, and the City's "Notify Me" email/text notification service. The app also offers quick links to pay utility bills and parking tickets, answers to FAQs, and events on the City calendar.

MyDBQ is available free of charge for users of Android and Apple devices and can be found on Google Play and the App Store by searching for "MyDBQ," or by scanning the QR code above. For more information, including a quick user guide, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/MyDBQ.


Is Your Rental Property Licensed?

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Non-licensed rental property owners have until Aug. 1, 2015 to avoid municipal infraction

The City of Dubuque's Department of Housing and Community Development is offering rental property owners who are currently renting property without a rental license the opportunity to register their property without paying a municipal infraction. The deadline to take advantage of this opportunity is Aug. 1, 2015.

According to the Dubuque Code of Ordinances, a "rental unit" or "rental property" is any dwelling unit intended for human habitation and requires a payment, in money or services, to the owner of the unit. All Dubuque rental property owners are required to have a current, unrevoked residential rental license, which requires the rental property to be inspected to ensure the unit meets the City's safety code. The intent of the City's rental license ordinance is to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the general public; to assure preservation of the existing housing supply; and maintain property values.

The City of Dubuque is requesting all non-licensed rental properties to be licensed before Aug. 1, 2015. Properties that are currently not licensed are subject to double licensing fees. Beginning Aug. 1, 2015, non-licensed properties will be subject to double license fees and a $750 municipal infraction.

Non-licensed rental property owners interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to avoid the municipal infraction should call 563-589-4231 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/rentalproperty for additional details.

Renters/tenants who would like to know if their landlord is licensed should call 563-589-4231 or email ternster@cityofdubuque.org.


Choosing the right bathing suit

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Bathing suit season is here and summer fun might drive some into a panic. However, there are bathing suit styles that enhance what you want to show off and conceal what you want to camouflage.

The first step in choosing a bathing suit is to make an accurate assessment of your body shape. Stand in front of the mirror without any clothes on and figure out which features define your physique. Perhaps your bust is large, or you have more curve in your hips. Maybe you are tall and lanky. Taking note of your body will help narrow down your swimsuit options.

Next, go through your current swimsuit collection and find out which bathing suit you've worn in the past has best suited your shape or earned you a few compliments. You may want to choose the style that is the most comfortable and supportive. When selecting a new suit, choose one that is similar in cut to your favorite.

Swimsuits are designed to fit snugly and are made from elasticized fabric. Chlorinated water or saltwater can either shrink fabric over time or allow it to wear out and sag. Be honest about your current clothing size and consider buying a swimsuit in one size larger so it won't cut off your circulation or make you appear uncomfortable.

You also want to be reasonable about which styles you can wear. That will be dictated by shape and also by the activities you plan to do in the swimsuit. For example, if you live an active lifestyle and surf or play water sports, a supportive, one-piece style swimsuit may be a smart choice. If you have a large bust or one that is extremely small, you may want to avoid revealing bikini tops, which may look overly filled or not filled out at all.

Here are some other tips based on body type.

• Plus size: Choose a one-piece style that features a single color that is the polar opposite of your skin tone. Fair-skinned people should look for darker colors, while dark-toned individuals should select brighter colors. Try to find a suit that is fitted at the waistline to slim you in this area.

• Short legs: High-cut leg openings on swimsuits help to elongate the legs and make you appear taller.

• Small bust: Select a bikini top that has triangular-shaped cups, ruffles or a tie-front to add a little bulk to the area.

• Large bust: Choose a top that comes with a supportive bra – those mesh bras in most bathing suits won't keep the breasts contained and supported. Many bathing suit manufacturers now offer swimsuits with more substantial bras inside.

• Pear shape: Emphasize the top of your body with a bold color or pattern and downplay the bottom with a dark shade.

• Short torso: Select a two-piece suit that draws attention to the chest and shoulders and a bottom that sits lower on the hips to elongate the torso.

There is no right shape when it comes to wearing a bathing suit. It's possible for anyone to look flattering when hitting the beach or lounging poolside.


Kids in Nature Series

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board will hold a "Kids in Nature" Series at the Swiss Valley Nature Center every third Thursday of the month during summer. Dates and times are listed here:

• June 18th – 2:00 pm

• July 16th – 2:00 pm

• August 20th – 9:00 am

Small children zero and up are welcome to attend these outdoor nature programs throughout the year. We hike, read books, and have plenty of hands-on activities. Each program features a different nature theme presented by a naturalist.

Pre-registration required. Call 563-556-6745 to register.


Picnic in the Park Series

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Dubuque County Conservation Board is sponsoring a Picnic in the Park Series at the Walnut Pavilion in Swiss Valley Park every other Wednesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm starting June 10.

Each Picnic in the Park features a nature theme presented by a naturalist. Themes for each Picnic in the Park are listed below:

• June 10th, - Geocaching

• June 24th - Outdoor Survival

• July 8th - Owls

• July 22nd - Skulls and Furs

• August 5th - Reptiles

All ages are welcome to attend this outdoor program. Programs incorporate hands-on activities, live animals, and wildlife speakers. Participants should pack a lunch to enjoy at the program.

Pre-registration required. Call 563-556-6745 to register.



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In the coming months numerous presidential candidates will visit Iowa to raise issues and their personal awareness, but Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque, Iowa plans to use those visits to raise awareness on mental health. Hillcrest is one of the state's leading providers of mental health services.

With Iowa's presidential caucuses slated in February, the time is approaching when presidential candidates will be visiting the state almost daily, and those visits, along with the pressure on the state's mental health service providers, brought an idea to Gary Gansemer, Hillcrest's President.

"We see this as an opportunity to use the presidential campaigning in Iowa to raise awareness and funding for mental health services," Gansemer said. He added, "When candidates are in Iowa it's vitally important that they speak to their position on mental health."

Hillcrest will track the number of times mental health issues are addressed in the media.

Hillcrest will accept pledges - from $1 to $100 - based on days officially declared presidential candidates visit Iowa. Pledges can be open-ended or have a maximum. Declared candidates are determined through The New York Times and visits are determined through the Des Moines Register.

Those who want to get involved can log onto http://hillcrest-fs.org/iowa-cares/.

Hillcrest is also blogging about mental health issues during the campaign.

"Right now there's inadequate federal and state funding to support mental health treatment. Mental health care is often neglected in campaigns. It generally only gets mentioned in reference to some terrible tragedy. We take pride in what Hillcrest has been able to do when it comes to mental health services, but it has really become difficult in Iowa. We think we can take a step in that direction with this campaign."

Gansemer believes Iowans care about mental health care, but Iowa ranks 47th and 48th respectively in the number of psychiatrists and psychiatric beds per capita (Treatment Advocacy Center of Arlington, Va).

"We want to bring mental health care to the forefront of the presidential campaign."


Garfield Avenue and Kniest Street Road Closures Begin Monday, June 8

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Due to construction of the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, road closures on Garfield Avenue and Kniest Street will go into effect on Monday, June 8, at 10 a.m.

The road closure on Garfield Avenue will begin at Pine Street and end north of Kniest Street near the Davis Place Apartments. Kniest Street will be closed between Garfield Avenue and Rhomberg Avenue. Motorists should follow the posted detour signs during this time. Rhomberg Avenue will be used as an alternative route. The road closures are expected to be in effect through October 2015.

For questions or for more information, contact Bee Branch Project communications specialist Kristin Hill at 563.690.6068 or khill@cityofdubuque.org.


Jule Proposed Route Change Information is Online

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The Jule is beginning the process of moving bus stops and aligning routes in coordination with the opening of the Intermodal Terminal, part of the Intermodal Transportation Center located in the Historic Millwork District, slated for August 2015.

A public hearing will be held during the June 15th City Council meeting to review proposed changes to the Jule's routes.

With the shift from 6th & Iowa St to 9th & Elm St, downtown routes will be realigned making the opening of the Intermodal Terminal an ideal time to make other adjustments to the transit system routes and bus stops.

All Jule routes were reviewed and analyzed for ridership, frequency, hours of service, trip length and times of day to limit negative impacts on passengers. The Orange Fremont, Red Key West, and Green Port/Schmitt have low ridership and are recommended for consolidation with other system routes.

Proposed route changes include:

• The downtown transfer location will be moved from 6th & Iowa Streets to 9th & Elm Streets. Some routes will continue to serve 6th & Iowa St as a bus stop location.

• Downtown bus stops will be moved to align with the new transfer location at 9th & Elm Streets.

• Service to Key West will be reduced to every other hour.

• Service to Fremont will be reduced to every other hour.

• Service to the Port of Dubuque will operate only during business shuttle hours and the Summer Trolley season.

• Service along Loras Boulevard will be reduced to once per hour, eastbound only.

• Fixed-route buses will no longer enter residential parking lots (St. Mary's Apartments, Windsor Apartments) or business parking lots with narrow travel lanes (HyVee South Locust, Medical Associates East). Due to the limited widths of these areas, it is not safe for buses, pedestrians, and parked vehicles to use at the same time. All lots with removed stops will be served with streetside bus stops.

If approved, the proposed fixed-route changes will take effect on or after August 1, 2015, pending the opening and full operation of the Intermodal Transportation Center.

For more information on the proposed route changes, visit The Jule's website: www.cityofdubuque.org/2214.


Update: Asbury Road Pavement Project to Begin June 8

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The City of Dubuque will be conducting a pavement rehabilitation project on the section of Asbury Road between Matthew John Drive and J.F. Kennedy Road. The contractor, Iowa Erosion Control, Inc., plans to begin work on Monday, June 8.

Over the past few years, the condition of this section of Asbury Road has degraded due to deterioration of pavement joints. Full-depth pavement patching and dowel bar reinforcement repairs will be made to transverse joints as part of the rehab project. Once pavement repairs are made, the concrete pavement will be resurfaced using a grinding method to provide a smoother ride.

The project is anticipated to be completed by August 7, 2015, weather dependent. No road closures or detours will occur for the majority of this time period, as one lane of eastbound traffic and one lane of westbound will flow at all times. However, near the end of the project, road closures and detours are anticipated for a short duration and the City will provide updates and notifications accordingly.

City staff and Iowa Erosion Control, Inc. will work with businesses and residents on accessibility to their respective properties during construction. Any thru traffic is encouraged to use an alternate route during this time as delays will occur.

For more information, questions, or concerns, please contact the City of Dubuque Engineering Department at 563-589-4270.


Common mistakes made on home renovation projects

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ome improvement projects can turn a house into a home. Homeowners plan scores of renovations to transform living spaces into rooms that reflect their personal tastes and comforts. 

Homeowners going it alone may find things do not always go as planned. In fact, a Harris Interactive study found that 85 percent of homeowners say remodeling is a more stressful undertaking than buying a home. But homeowners about to embark on home improvement projects can make the process go more smoothly by avoiding these common pitfalls.

Failing to understand the scope of the project
Some homeowners don't realize just how big a commitment they have made until they get their hands dirty. But understanding the scope of the project, including how much demolition and reconstruction is involved and how much time a project will take can help homeowners avoid some of the stress that comes with renovation projects. For example, a bathroom renovation may require the removal of drywall, reinforcement of flooring to accommodate a new bathtub or shower enclosure and the installation of new plumbing and wiring behind walls. So such a renovation is far more detailed than simply replacing faucets.

Not establishing a budget
Homeowners must develop a project budget to ensure their projects do not drain their finances. If your budget is so inflexible that you can't afford the materials you prefer, you may want to postpone the project and save more money so you can eventually afford to do it right.
Without a budget in place, it is easy to overspend, and that can put you in financial peril down the line. Worrying about coming up with money to pay for materials and labor also can induce stress. Avoid the anxiety by setting a firm budget.

Making trendy or overpersonal improvements
Homeowners who plan to stay in their homes for the long run have more free reign when it comes to renovating their homes. Such homeowners can create a billiards room or paint a room hot pink if they so prefer. However, if the goal is to make improvements in order to sell a property, overly personal touches may make a property less appealing to prospective buyers. Trends come and go, and improvements can be expensive. If your ultimate goal is to sell your home, opt for renovations that will look beautiful through the ages and avoid bold choices that may only appeal to a select few buyers.

Forgetting to properly vet all workers
It is important to vet your contractor, but don't forget to vet potential subcontractors as well. Failing to do so can prove a costly mistake. Contractors often look to subcontractors to perform certain parts of a job, and it is the responsibility of homeowners to vet these workers.

Expecting everything to go as planned
Optimism is great, but you also should be a realist. Knowing what potentially could go wrong puts you in a better position to handle any problems should they arise. The project might go off without a hitch, but plan for a few hiccups along the way.

Overestimating DIY abilities
Overzealous homeowners may see a renovation project in a magazine or on television and immediately think they can do the work themselves. Unless you have the tools and the skills necessary to do the work, tackling too much can be problematic. In the long run, leaving the work to a professional may save you money.

Home improvements can be stressful, but homeowners can lessen that stress by avoiding common renovation mistakes.


Coast through summer with thrills and chills

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Summer has arrived, and scores of thrill seekers have begun to visit their favorite amusement parks as they test their mettle on looping, free-falling roller coasters.

Many historians credit Russians with inventing the first roller coasters, which may have been inspired by Russian ice slides. However, others suggest it was the French who first added wheels to slides and therefore created something that resembles the modern-day roller coaster.

LaMarcus Adna Thompson, an American inventor widely considered the father of gravity rides, obtained a patent for roller coasters on January 20, 1885. Thompson worked on Switchback Railway, which opened at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in 1884. Coney Island would one day become home to another historical roller coaster when, in June of 1927, the Cyclone opened. Still functional to this day, the Cyclone has been declared a New York City landmark.

Today roller coasters are found all over the world, and North America plays home to several top-rated roller coasters. Thrill seekers can make summer pilgrimages to amusement parks to determine if the following coasters live up to their reputations.

• Leviathan: The Leviathan coaster is located at Canada's Wonderland in Ontario. It makes top roller coaster lists because of its size and speed. Leviathan can travel 92 mph (140 km/h).

• Millenium Force: This thrilling coaster in Ohio's Cedar Point Park reaches a maximum height of 310 feet and can top speeds of 93 mph. Amusement Today magazine routinely ranks this coaster as one of the best in the world.

• The Desperado: Riders can plummet 225 feet at 80 mph on this coaster located at Buffalo Bill's Casino in Nevada. Expect some free-floating air time and amazing views of the desert.

• Nitro and Kingda Ka: These two coasters are located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Nitro is a steel coaster with 5,394 feet of track. A series of large drops and various curves keep thrill seekers happy. Kingda Ka is the tallest and second fastest coaster in the United States. The train is launched by a hydraulic mechanism that takes riders from 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and climbs to the top of the main tower, a height of 456 feet.

• Apollo's Chariot: Opened in 1998, this coaster in Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia features eight air-time hills.

• New Texas Giant: For many years, visitors to Six Flags Over Texas enjoyed the famed wooden roller coaster "Texas Giant." But over the years the ride became rough and uncomfortable so, in 2011, the park unveiled the New Texas Giant after an 18-month refurbishment to replace the track with steel.

These are just a few of the coasters that dot North America's amusement park landscape. Thrill seekers unable to make it to any of these legendary rides can no doubt get their thrills on coasters closer to home.


Easy and budget-friendly ways to add curb appeal

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Curb appeal can help a home get noticed in a bustling real estate market. Curb appeal also can contribute to the aesthetics of a neighborhood for residents who plan to stay put, and many homeowners feel an attractive exterior is just as important as a comfortable interior.

Homeowners do not have to spend a fortune to improve the curb appeal of their homes. With these strategies, anyone's home can take on a more appealing look.

Clean up
A messy, untamed front yard can detract from a perfectly acceptable home. Cleaning up your yard and home's exterior is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to give the place a makeover. Cut back overgrown shrubs, plants and trees. Make sure the front door is clearly visible and that any walkways are edged and accessible. Store garbage pails behind a barrier and keep trash out of sight. Store children's toys in the backyard rather than strewn across the front lawn. These simple steps can improve curb appeal instantly.

Spruce up the lawn
A well-manicured lawn can go a long way to making a home more appealing. If your thumb is anything but green, hire a professional lawn and garden service to help you establish a lush, green lawn.

Dress to impress
The entryway to a home is the first thing visitors will see. Be sure the front door and entryway are in good repair. A pop of color can't hurt, either. If you do not like the idea of painting the door a vivid hue, dress it up with a colorful wreath or another decorative accent. Carry your interior design style to the outdoors as well. Welcoming accents, such as cushioned chairs or potted plants, also add curb appeal. Consider painting house numbers on a terra-cotta pot and filling it with plants. The pot will be decorative and functional.

Rely on symmetry
Symmetry is pleasing to the eye and easy to arrange. Use it to frame your entryway and throughout your property. Symmetrical use of lighting fixtures, plants, trees, and decorative items really can have an impact.

Don't forget lighting
Outdoor lighting adds appeal and safety to a property. Use lighting to accent a special landscaping feature or to illuminate a walkway. Few people enjoy approaching a dark home, and outdoor lighting can ensure your property always is well-lit. Remember, curb appeal is applicable both day and night.

Improving on curb appeal can make a difference in how others view your home.


OWL Maquoketa River Paddle

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the Dubuque, Jackson, and Jones County Conservation Boards will host the OWL (Older Wiser Livelier) Maquoketa River Paddle on Wednesday, August 12, from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm, meeting at Mon Maq Dam in Monticello.

OWL programs are for adults who are looking to get out of the house, make new friends, and learn about the exciting world of NATURE! Join Dubuque, Jackson, and Jones County naturalists on a river exploration paddle. We'll paddle from just downriver of the Mon Maq Dam to Pictured Rocks Park.

Sit back and enjoy the cave-ridden, heavily wooded scenic bluffs and hills making up the Maquoketa River valley which was once prime habitat for the black bear and is still home to deer, bobcat, grey fox, and a wide variety of other wildlife and plant species. Come and see what you can discover!

Participants may bring their own canoes/kayaks or reserve one through Jackson and Jones County. There's a limited supply, so they'll be reserved on a first-come first-serve basis.

There is no cost for the trip, but please bring a sack lunch. Call 563.556.6745 to register.


Gallery C announces Personal Spaces

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An exhibition of works by artists Paul and Lindsay McCormick, with guest artist Gary David

We pass through a multitude of spaces throughout our lifetime, while many hold little significance others rightfully stand out. Personal Space investigates the designation of these more intimate spaces through series of photographs presented by Paul and Lindsay McCormick. The exhibit expands into three dimensions with the functional art pieces presented by artist Gary David. The Opening Reception of Personal Space provides the ideal opportunity to kick back and relax with the Kipperton String Quartet, some of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra's finest musicians! This is a unique performance featuring an eclectic repertoire built to complement the art and is a perfect chance to enjoy classical music up close and broaden the art experience!

Multitasking and responsibility often blur the structure of work and play. The opportunity to shift the perspective of these entities from activity to state of mind creates balance; leisure renews and motivates, while work challenges and rewards. Lindsay McCormick's series Break Rooms is a survey of leisure in communal workspaces. The photo series examines how personalization of utilitarian space and a sense of community can enable momentary departure from work.

As a way to designate personal significance in public spaces Paul McCormick revisits locations, which have stood out, within his memory in This is Where. Through this ongoing series he revisits locations where significant moments have taken place throughout his life. While all of these locations have changed since the experiences he has had there he uses these spaces invite viewers to experience and interpret a visual representation of his recollections.

Exhibit will continue through July 5, 2015.

Gallery C is pleased to have the artists present for the Opening Reception on Friday, June 5, 5:30 - 8:30pm. All are invited and welcome to attend this exhibition, and to participate in the expanding art scene in the Millwork District. There is no charge and refreshments will be served.

Gallery C, Carolyn M, is located in the Schmid Innovation Center at 900 Jackson Street in Dubuque, IA. Main entrance doors are on Jackson St. near 10th Ave.


How to keep kids entertained all summer long

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Summer vacation often starts with high expectations. Children are excited about the prospect of fun days outdoors playing with friends, while parents anxiously await relaxing months without the responsibilities of school and extracurricular clubs. But once summer vacation arrives and the first few days have passed, parents often find that the litany of cheers and giggles transform into a chorus of "I'm bored."

Many parents pore over ideas that will keep their children busy throughout the summer. Many activities that come to mind tend to be expensive, so if cutting costs is a priority, parents might need to think outside the box to come up with entertaining ideas that won't break the bank.

Summer camp is a popular way for kids to spend their summers, but many camps are expensive.The American Camp Association has found that overnight camps can cost anywhere from $325 to $780 a week. Day camp fees may be $100 to $275 per week. Parents who send their children to camp for an entire season might pay anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 for the seven- to nine-week program.

Go Local
Parents looking for an alternative to costly camps should consider local programs that offer summer activities. Libraries, schools and childcare centers may have programs that run the length of summer and are considerably less expensive than more formal camps. A YMCA or even a swim club may also put together activities. Parents whose children attend afterschool sporting classes, such as karate or soccer, may find that the organizations offer a camp or summer program.

Day Trips
If a parent is off for the summer, then day trips may be a possibility. Schedule a few day trips to different locations that the kids are excited to see. Newspapers routinely print "Go See It" or "Just Go" listings that highlight local events. The family can gather around the table and decide which outings would be interesting and then mark them on the calendar. Some parents purchase season passes to amusement parks and take the kids several times over the summer. In either case, bring snacks and lunch from home when possible to keep costs in check.

Kid Swap
Chances are many of your neighbors are also facing the same difficulties as they try to find ways for kids to spend their summer afternoons. Parents can get together and set up a schedule for entertaining the kids. For example, one parent is responsible for the whole lot one day, while the next day another parent takes a turn. This gives parents the opportunity to take a break from parental responsibilities and enjoy some quiet time. And for the children, time spent in a pool, watching movies, playing video games, or riding bikes is often more enjoyable with friends in tow.

Fun Projects

• Children often want to feel useful, and may enjoy the responsibility of some easy tasks in and around the house – so long as the tasks are fun. Washing the car with a hose and a bucket of sudsy water is a fun way to cool off during the hot summer days and get a chore done. While parents should not expect a perfect job, they can rest assured that the kids will have at least an hour of fun in the sun and water.

• Set aside a patch of the yard that children can turn into their own personal gardens. Encourage digging in this area and provide seeds or seedling plants as well as kid-sized gardening tools. Each day the kids can check on the progress of their gardens.

• Some home-improvement and craft stores sponsor free learning activities for children. They can be held in the morning or afternoon and will teach interesting skills that can be put to use again at home.

Summer vacations are soon to arrive, and parents can be armed with a list of enjoyable – yet inexpensive – ways to keep kids busy.


Serve up these cool concoctions on summer afternoons

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Summer is all about idling away weekend afternoons and letting the world go by as you relax, ideally poolside or with ocean waves lapping in the background. Refreshing drinks add to the relaxing natures of such days and evenings, and the following concoctions courtesy of A.J. Rathbun's Good Spirits (Harvard Common Press) are tailor-made for sultry summer days.

Slow Poke

1-1/2 ounces sloe gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Chilled club soda
Orange slice for garnish
Maraschino cherry for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the sloe gin, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass up with club soda. Stir well, but at an even pace. Garnish with the orange slice around the rim and the cherry dropped in the glass.


1-1/2 ounces limoncello
5 or 6 fresh raspberries
Ice cubes
Chilled club soda

1. Fill a Collins glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the limoncello, humming any coronation march you choose.

2. Fill the glass to about 1/2 inch from the top with the club soda. Add the fresh raspberries. Stir slowly, but with purpose. Don't be afraid to bust up the raspberries a little. You want to stir until this is well combined. Serve with a stirrer, long-necked spoon.

Note: Raspberries can be replaced with blueberries, but they need to be fresh and ripe so they burst a bit when they're stirred and add just a faint touch of juice to the mix.

Peach Nehi

3/4 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
3/4 ounce DeKuyper Pucker Cheri-Beri
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh pineapple juice
Chilled 7UP or Sprite
Ice cubes
Peach slice for garnish (optional)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, peach schnapps, Cheri-Beri, lime juice, and pineapple juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass.

3. Top off with 7UP. Stir once in a rocking-chair motion. Garnish with the peach slice.

Note: DeKuyper's Pucker Cheri-Beri is a sweet cherry schnapps.


Successfully plan your holiday escape

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Millions of travelers take to the roads, rails and sky in the days surrounding major holidays. While a large percentage of people travel miles and miles to visit with friends and family members these times of year, others use days off from school and work as prime times for vacations.

Holiday excursions can be exciting, but they may require some extra planning and patience. Larger crowds at airports and more cars on the roads can make holiday-timed travel challenging. Make these trips memorable by reducing travel-related stressors.

Research thoroughly
Study your travel options to determine the best way to get from point A to point B. Weigh the cost of your trip as well as the time involved in traveling. Driving may seem like a good idea if you don't want to stretch your budget, but it may eat up too much of your vacation time if you're traveling long distances.

If you will be flying, learn the airline baggage restrictions and the security measures in place at your departing airports. This makes navigating the airport that much easier.

Planning well in advance also enables you to get the best prices possible. A study by CheapAir.com found that those who booked tickets for domestic travel 49 days prior to departure saved the most money.

Develop a contingency plan
Even the best laid plans can go awry. Know what to do in the event a particular rest stop or scenic spot along the way is closed or if travel plans get delayed or rerouted. Certain travel apps provide real-time updates on delays or provide gate numbers prior to arriving at the airport. Other apps indicate which gas stations have the lowest prices or which rest stops offer the cleanest bathrooms.

Take your car in for a tune-up
Drivers should make sure their vehicles are in good working condition prior to departure. More cars are on the roads during holidays, and that means a greater potential for stop-and-go traffic, which can put added stress on the vehicle. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition to avoid flats or blowouts, which can delay your trip.

Pack light
Ship gifts or keepsakes ahead of time so you do not have much to lug through airport terminals or rail stations. If you must take gifts with you, wait until you arrive at your destination before wrapping them, as this makes items easier to inspect.

If you're going on vacation instead of just a weekend getaway, you will probably return home with more items than you brought because of gifts or souvenirs. Pack an extra tote bag or an empty carry-on suitcase where you can store extra items accumulated on the trip. Otherwise, see if these things can be shipped home. It may be cheaper to ship items than to pay airline baggage fees.

Travel off-peak
It's often quicker and less stressful to travel during off-peak hours when roads and airports are less crowded. Off-peak hours include overnight, early morning or late evening. Red-eye flights or off-peak travel times also may be less expensive.

Travelers looking to avoid crowded roadways or airports may also want to avoid especially popular travel days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Leave a few days before a major holiday or arrive a few days after to avoid the crowds.

Travel with your own snacks
Failure to eat or drink can do more than lead to hunger pangs and dehydration. It can make the body sluggish and may affect your ability to deal with minor (or major) irritations. Pack nutritious snacks and take breaks to refuel your body.

Remember your destination
If you find holiday travel stressful, focus on the comforting thought that once you get to your destination you can kick back and relax. Do not overbook your trip and leave yourself time to unwind and decompress.


Music on the March

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Dubuque's Summer Tradition returns to beautiful Dalzell Field at Dubuque Senior High School for Music On The March. The "home" show on Tuesday, July 7, is sure to draw a tremendous crowd of knowledgeable fans with over 50 years of local tradition.

Starting at 7:00 p.m., the show features performances by the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps and the Colt Cadets among others from across the country.

Tickets are on sale now at store-colts-org.3dcartstores.com or by calling the Colts office at 563-582-4872. They will be available at the stadium box office beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m.


Dubuque County Fair Announces 2015 Main Stage Line-Up

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The Dubuque County Fair presented by 7G Distributing is continuing its success in featuring rock and Top 40 acts for the 2015 fair. Tickets for both shows go on sale at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the fair office or online at www.dbqfair.com.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, MULTI-PLATINUM SINGER, SONGWRITER AND DANCER JASON DERULO will take the stage, presented by Dubuque Bank & Trust with Y105 as the radio sponsor. One of today's hottest artists, Derulo has sold over 45 million singles worldwide and racked up over 1.7 billion views on YouTube and 1 billion plays on Spotify. He has had 10 career-defining platinum singles, including "Whatcha Say," "In My Head," "Ridin' Solo," "Don't Wanna Go Home" and "It Girl." His current single "Want To Want Me" was the most added Top 40 song in history, making it the largest radio launch for a single ever.

Tickets are $45 for the festival area, $35 for reserved grandstand seating and $25 for general admissions grandstand seating.

On Friday, July 31, the Main Stage will host the SUMMERLAND TOUR, a 90s alternative rock tour featuring EVERCLEAR, FUEL, TOADIES and AMERICAN HI-FI. This is the fourth summer of the tour, which was previously heralded by Rolling Stone as one of the "10 Hottest Summer Tour Packages." This high-energy show is alternative guitar rock at its finest. The radio sponsor for the show is 97.3 The Rock.

Tickets are $20 for the festival area, $15 for reserved grandstand seating, and $10 for general admission grandstand seating.

"We think this is one of the most current, high-caliber and exciting entertainment line-ups we've ever had," said Jamie Blum, general manager of the Dubuque County Fair. "There aren't many artists as popular and radio-dominating as Jason Derulo. He is definitely the biggest Top 40 act to play the Dubuque area in many years. On Friday night, the Summerland tour will be filled with non-stop alternative hits. It is definitely going to be a fair weekend to remember."

The Dubuque County Fair is the largest and longest-running family entertainment event in the county. This year's 62nd annual event runs daily from July 28 through August 2 with main-stage 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.


Asbury Road Pavement Project to Begin in May

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The City of Dubuque will be conducting a pavement rehabilitation project on the section of Asbury Road between Matthew John Drive and J.F. Kennedy Road. The contractor, Iowa Erosion Control, Inc., plans to begin work on Monday, May 4.

Over the past few years, the condition of this section of Asbury Road has degraded due to deterioration of pavement joints. Full-depth pavement patching and dowel bar reinforcement repairs will be made to transverse joints as part of the rehab project. Once pavement repairs are made, the concrete pavement will be resurfaced using a grinding method to provide a smoother ride.

The project is anticipated to be completed by July 3, 2015, weather dependent. No road closures or detours are anticipated, as one lane of eastbound traffic and one lane of westbound will flow at all times. City staff and Iowa Erosion Control, Inc. will work with businesses and residents on accessibility to their respective properties during construction.

On Tuesday, April 21, the City will host an informational meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Tri-State Independent Blind Society, 3333 Asbury Rd. All general public, businesses, and residents along the project corridor are invited to attend to learn additional details and to ask questions.

Beginning Monday, May 18, and occurring every two weeks thereafter throughout the project, the City will hold construction progress update meetings for the general public, businesses, and residents. These meetings will be held at Tri-State Independent Blind Society during the lunch hour, noon to 1 p.m. Meeting dates include May 18, June 1, June 15, and June 29.

For more information, questions, or concerns, please contact the City of Dubuque Engineering Department at 563-589-4270.


CityChannel Dubuque to Air ‘From the Archives’

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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.