Area Tidbits

City Parking Division Moving Offices

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The City of Dubuque Parking Division's administrative and parking enforcement staff and offices are moving from the Locust Street Parking Ramp to the Intermodal Terminal at 950 Elm St. in the Millwork District. The move will occur on Friday, Feb. 24, requiring closure of the office that day.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 27, monthly ramp and surface lot parking requests, as well as residential and disabled parking requests, can be made in person at the Intermodal Center. (Forms for beginning these processes are also available on the City's website at www.cityofdubuque.org/parking.)

Parking tickets can continue to be paid at City Hall, 50 West 13th St., online at www.cityofdubuque.org/parkingtickets, and can also be paid at the Intermodal Center beginning Monday, Feb. 27.

The move will allow parking division administrative and parking enforcement staff to be co-located with The Jule public transit administrative staff and is expected to create operational efficiencies and improved customer service. The parking division phone number, 563-589-4267, will not change because of the location change.

The City's parking division is responsible for public parking enforcement, parking meters, parking ramps and lots, towed vehicles, and parking availability and locations.

For additional information, call the parking division at 563-589-4267 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/parking.

 

 

Wild Game Tasting

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Friends of Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor a Wild Game Tasting at Swiss Valley Nature Center on Sunday, February 26th starting at 4:00 PM.

Go wild! Taste wild game prepared by Dubuque County Conservation Park Rangers. Enjoy venison, turkey, pheasant, fish, rabbit and more! Park Rangers will share their tips and tricks for preparing their amazing dishes.

For more information contact Kaytlan Moeller, Naturalist, at (563) 556-6745 or visit our website at www.dubuquecounty.org

 

CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT SEEKING A DOG INVOLVED IN BITING INCIDENT

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The City of Dubuque Health Services Department is seeking information regarding a dog involved in a biting incident that occurred on February 17, 2017 at approximately 5:55 PM in the 2700 block of Windsor Ave.

The dog was unaccompanied and running at-large at the time of the incident. The dog had a medium build (similar to a Lab), approximately 40 pounds, with short and curly brown fur. The dog fled after biting the victim.

The Health Department needs the public's assistance in finding this dog to verify the dog's health status and vaccination history. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Health Services Department at 589-4185 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or the Law Enforcement Center at 589-4415 after hours or on the weekend.

 

OWLS (Older, Wiser, Livelier): Gardening Panel

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Dubuque County, Jackson, and Jones County Conservation OWL (Older, Wiser, Livelier) groups will host a Gardening Panel on Thursday, March 2, from noon to 3:00 pm at Hurstville Interpretive Center in Maquoketa, Iowa.

The public is welcome to attend and learn more about different gardening topics from naturalists, Master Gardeners, and other members of the community. Some of the topics being presented include: miniature gardening, how to grow blueberries, how to use rhubarb, planting a pollinator garden and a Q&A with experienced gardeners. 

The event begins with an optional lunch and social from Noon to 1:00 pm. Menu includes enchiladas, salads and dessert; cost is $7. The gardening panel will be from 1:00 to 3:00 and is free. Registration is required for lunch by Feb 27. No registration required to attend the panel.

For more information, call Dubuque County Conservation Board at 563.556.6745.

 

EASILY GET REPLACEMENT SOCIAL SECURITY TAX FORMS ONLINE

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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Tax time is fast approaching. Preparing your documents can seem overwhelming. Some forms and paperwork might be difficult to track down. Social Security has made it easy to track down your annual Benefit Statement.

An SSA-1099, or your annual Benefit Statement, is a tax form Social Security mails each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits received from Social Security in the previous year so people know how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on their tax return. You should receive your SSA-1099 by January 31, 2017.

For noncitizens who live outside of the United States and received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we'll send form SSA-1042S instead. The forms SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you currently live in the United States and need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, we have a way for you to get an instant replacement quickly and easily. Go online and request an instant replacement form with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. The online replacement form is now available. Every working person in the U.S. should create a my Social Security account. The secure and personalized features of my Social Security are invaluable in securing a comfortable retirement – for today and tomorrow.

 

SET A GOAL, MAKE A PLAN, AND SAVE AUTOMATICALLY: AMERICA SAVES WEEK

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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Saving for the future is a vital part of ensuring a secure retirement. American Savings Education Council and America Saves coordinate the annual America Saves Week. Started in 2007, the week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. 

For years, Social Security has collaborated with America Saves Week to promote our shared mission of helping millions of people save for their future. This year, America Saves Week begins on February 27, but people like you are striving to save every day.

The 2016 annual America Saves Week survey assessing national household savings revealed:

• Just two out of every five U.S. households report good or excellent progress in meeting their savings needs.

• About half (52 percent) are saving enough for a retirement with a desirable standard of living.

• Only 43 percent have automatic savings outside of work.

• More men (74 percent) report progress with saving than do women (67 percent).

• Those with a savings plan with specific goals (55 percent of the public) are making much more savings progress than those without a plan (23 percent).

Knowing this, it's never too early to start planning for your future. Set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically. Savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. Pledge to save for America Saves Week at www.americasaves.org. Share what you're saving for using the hashtag #ImSavingFor. 

You may also want to visit www.myRA.gov if you do not have retirement savings as part of your job. myRA is a retirement savings account from the Department of the Treasury designed to help you put aside money for your retirement. You can invest in the fund according to your budget, putting you in control of your financial prospects.

Social Security's "People Like Me" website has tailor-made information for preparing for your future. Our richly diverse country is made up of countless backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities, yet we all want the same thing – a secure future. You can see many of the diverse people we serve at www.socialsecurity.gov/people.

Younger people need to know, the earlier you start saving, the more your money can grow. Our website for young workers at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/youngpeople/saving.html has many resources that can help you secure today and tomorrow.

Veterans and wounded warriors, as well as their families, sometimes face unique obstacles when saving for their future. Our website has life-changing information at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/veterans.

After more than 80 years of success, we know that Social Security will always be there for you. Securing your today and tomorrow will always be our priority.

 

Corey Feldman Brings “Angelic 2 The Core” Tour to Mississippi Moon Bar March 24

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Actor and musician Corey Feldman will perform at Mississippi Moon Bar at the Diamond Jo Casino on 301 Bell St. at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24 in support of his new double album, "Angelic 2 The Core."

The high-energy performance will include an appearance by Feldman's wife and emerging EDM performer DJAC. Feldman will perform hits from his previous solo albums, his contributions to various film soundtracks, and cover some of his best-loved films' greatest hits.

Admission is free. 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; attendees must be 21 years or older.

 

Congratulations to the 2017 Everyday Heroes of Northeast Iowa

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Heroes to be honored at annual breakfast and Red Cross fundraiser

The American Red Cross of Northeast Iowa, along with corporate sponsors Dupaco Community Credit Union, Happee Smith Productions, Holiday Inn Dubuque, KWWL and Radio Dubuque stations (KAT-FM, KDTH, 97.3 The Rock and The River) congratulate 10 local heroes as the 2017 Everyday Heroes of Northeast Iowa.

These outstanding individuals have demonstrated courage, compassion and unselfish character, performing extraordinary acts of heroism in the eyes of their neighbors and community.

Lisa Bennett, Mike Callaghan, Josh Crowell, and Tim Lary: On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, during a morning break Crowell and Callaghan noticed a bright light at the top of Loras College's Visitation Hall. Simultaneously, they realized it was a fire and saw no one was exiting the building. Callaghan ran back into the station to dial 9-1-1 and alert the staff inside. Crowell ran toward Visitation Hall and was soon joined by Lary and Bennett. Lary beat on the lower level windows, Bennett entered the building through a side door someone opened and Crowell forced his way into the front. Crowell pulled the fire alarm and he and Bennett started banging on doors to get the students out while Lary remained outside to help direct the students over to the radio station. They cleared all four floors getting all 45 students out of the building. You can ask any one of them and they will tell you they were just doing what they knew had to be done.

Chris Kennedy and Jeremy Shireman: On Thursday, January 28, 2017, Shireman and Kennedy noticed something strange about a car stuck at a busy Dubuque intersection. As they drove by the car, they noticed John Ronek, slumped over. Ronek was suffering from an apparent heart attack while driving. Shireman and Kennedy broke into the driver-side window, stopped the vehicle from moving into traffic and pulled Ronek out. They laid him down onto a nearby median and began CPR. Both men demonstrate the importance of knowing community CPR.

Nancy Gourley: Three mornings a week, Gourley can be found in Rose Oswald's fifth-grade classroom at St. Anthony Elementary School in Dubuque. Gourley has been volunteering at the school for over 10 years, offering her time to help the students and teachers. She can be found working with students in small-group book discussion, aiding students with their reading comprehension or memorization and helping a child catch up after an absence. Students feel safe with Gourley and they receive the help they need from her.

Nathan Hall: On Monday, September 14, 2016 at 4:15 p.m. Hall was driving through an intersection when he saw a car had hit a bicyclist. He noticed the bicyclist was stuck under the car, so he ran to help. After seeing the bicyclist, Mike Larkin, breathe, he ran to his car to get a car jack. Hall worked to lift the car off Larkin when authorities arrived on the scene.

Kevin Morris: On Sunday, December 11, 2016, in Bennett, IA, Morris received a startling call from a longtime friend and neighbor: Richard Kreinbring was trapped under a tractor. The tractor had rolled over and caught fire. Morris went under the tractor to help lift and pull Kreinbring out.

Steven Nelson: In Decorah, IA Nelson has a goal to deliver warm clothes to those in need free of charge through "Giving Trees." The concept for the project, "NEED a scarf, TAKE a scarf. HAVE a scarf, LEAVE a scarf" has invited people to add mittens, gloves and hats to trees around the Water Street Area. Nelson repairs and launders the items, and removes them in the event of inclement weather. The project has been well received and in 2015 shared over 180 items.

Everyday Heroes are nominated by their peers to be recognized for going above and beyond in service to others. An Everyday Hero is someone who has made a difference in any of the following categories: Animal Rescue, Education, Fire & Rescue, Good Samaritan (youth), Good Samaritan (adult), Health Care, Law Enforcement, Military, Professional Responder, Volunteer Community Impact or Workplace Safety.

The Everyday Heroes of Northeast Iowa breakfast will be held at the Holiday Inn Dubuque on Thursday, March 16 at 7:00 a.m.; the program will begin at 8:00 a.m. The event is the area's major fundraiser for the Red Cross. Reserve your space by March 10. Those interested in attending should email Nicole Breitbach at nicole.breitbach@redcross.org or call (563) 564-4564.

 

2017 BRINGS CHANGES TO “FULL RETIREMENT AGE”

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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Every worker's dream is having a secure retirement to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Social Security is here to help you secure today and tomorrow. Part of that commitment is ensuring you have the most up-to-date information when you make your retirement decisions.

"Full retirement age" refers to the age when a person can claim their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part or full time. In other words, you don't actually need to retire from your work to claim your full benefits. Also note that waiting until you're 70, if you can, will bring you a higher monthly benefit. The choices you make will affect any benefit your spouse or children can receive on your record, too. If you claim benefits early, it will reduce their potential benefit as well as yours. 

As the bells rang in a new year, they also rang in changes in 2017 for people considering claiming Social Security retirement benefits. For people who attain age 62 in 2017 (i.e., those born between January 2, 1955 and January 1, 1956), full retirement age is 66 and two months.

Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

You can learn more about the full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html.

There are some things you should remember when you're thinking about retirement.

You may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start them any time before full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2017 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced permanently by about 26 percent.

On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefits will be permanently increased. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of one percent for each month – or eight percent for each year – that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70.

If you decide to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should also understand how continuing to work can affect your benefits. We may withhold or reduce your benefits if your annual earnings exceed a certain amount. However, every month we withhold or reduce increases your future benefits. That's because at your full retirement age we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months in which we reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings. In effect, it's as if you hadn't filed for those months. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html.

If you pass away, your retirement date can affect the benefit amount your surviving loved ones receive. If you started receiving retirement benefits before full retirement age, we cannot pay the full amount to your survivors. Their benefit amount will be based on your reduced benefits.

You can learn more by visiting our Retirement Planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire.

 

Frederick Douglass an inspirational figure in African-American history

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Influential and inspirational figures abound throughout African-American history. One of the more notable such figures is the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who was born into slavery but would grow up to become a noted intellectual and ardent supporter of causes ranging from the abolition of slavery to women's rights to Irish rule.

He was born in Talbot County, Maryland around 1818 (the exact year of Douglass' birth is unknown); Douglass' mother was a slave and his father likely a white plantation owner. Douglass was separated from his mother at a very young age, a practice that was not uncommon at the time, and sent to live with his maternal grandmother, Betty Bailey. That arrangement did not last long, as Douglass was soon living in the home of a white plantation owner, who may or may not have been Douglass' father.

Douglass eventually found himself living in Baltimore with Hugh and Sophia Auld, the latter of whom would begin to teach the young Frederick Douglass the alphabet, ignoring the ban on teaching slaves. Though Hugh Auld would object to his wife teaching a slave child and demand she stop, the limited exposure to reading and writing had been enough to stir Douglass, who would learn to read and write from white children in the neighborhood and by teaching himself.

Once Douglass learned to read, he became an avid reader, reading newspapers and political writings that would help shape his anti-slavery stance in the years to come. In addition, Douglass would use his literacy to help other slaves follow in his footsteps, teaching them to read and write at a weekly church service.

In 1833, Douglass was taken from Hugh Auld and returned to work for Thomas Auld, who would send the teenaged Douglass to notorious "slave-breaker" Edward Covey, who routinely and viciously abused Douglass until a physical confrontation between the two would force Covey to stop abusing Douglass once and for all.

In 1838, desperate to flee slavey, Douglass finally succeeded in doing so on his third attempt, when he escaped on a train using a false identification with the help of a woman named Anna Murray, who would soon become Douglass' wife.

The couple would eventually settle in Massachusetts, where Douglass would become heavily involved in the abolitionist movement, sharing his story. In 1845, Douglass' first autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," was published and became a bestseller. The book remains required reading for many of today's high school students.

Though the book was a success, Douglass' status as a runaway slave still put him in danger of being recaptured, a reality that forced Douglass to depart for Ireland, where he would spend two years speaking of the ills of slavery. Douglass also frequently spoke in England, where a group of his supporters collected funds to purchase his freedom. By 1847, Douglass was a free man and returned to the United States.

Upon his return to the United States, Douglass became even more heavily involved in the abolitionist movement, producing abolitionist newspapers and supporting women's rights.

By the arrival of the Civil War, Douglass had risen to a level of such prominence that he consulted with President Abraham Lincoln, who still did not earn the famed abolitionist's vote in 1864 election because of Lincoln's unwillingness to publicly endorse suffrage for freed black men.

Following the war, Douglass was appointed to numerous political positions, even becoming the first African-American nominated for the vice presidency of the United States in 1872, though Douglass had no knowledge of the nomination and did not campaign.

Douglass would pass away in 1895, leaving behind an enduring legacy that remains one of the more inspiring and influential tales in American history.

 

Helpful hints when planning floral arrangements

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When planning their weddings, couples may find themselves becoming experts on subjects they previously never gave much thought. Thanks to the cost of weddings, today's couples must make each decision carefully, and that may result in hours of research and discussion.

One of the big decisions couples must make when planning their weddings concerns their floral arrangements. The right floral arrangements won't break the bank but will add substantial aesthetic appeal to ceremonies and receptions. It can be difficult for couples to achieve that balance of cost and look on their own, so the following are a few helpful hints for couples when choosing their wedding day floral arrangements.

• Work with a florist you trust and like. All florists are not the same, so finding one you can trust and will enjoy working with can make all the difference. Many couples have little or no experience with floral arrangements prior to planning their weddings, so it can calm couples' nerves to work with someone they trust in such situations. Florists with significant wedding experience will no doubt make a host of recommendations based on couples' budgets and preferences, so couples might be more inclined to listen to that advice if they are working with someone they trust. Ask relatives, friends or coworkers if they can recommend any florists whose wedding work they are familiar with.

• Choose in-season or native flowers. Couples working with tight budgets may want to choose in-season flowers or those native to the area where they will be tying the knot. In-season and native flowers won't need to be ordered or shipped in from afar, which can be costly. In-season and native flowers tend to be more abundant as well, and the greater their availability the less couples are likely to pay for them.

• Repurpose floral arrangements. Another way to save on floral arrangements is to repurpose flowers throughout the day. Once bridesmaids no longer need their bouquets, use them to decorate gift tables or cocktail areas. Floral arrangements on display during the ceremony can be removed once you have both said "I do" and moved into the reception area where they can be enjoyed through the night. Go over any repurposing you plan to do with your reception hall manager prior to your wedding day so he knows where and when to move the arrangements.

• Go big. Some flowers simply bloom larger than others, and choosing such flowers may help you save money since you won't need to buy as many flowers as you would if you were to go with smaller blooms. Once you find a florist to work with, discuss your options with regard to doing more with less. Many florists embrace the challenge to be creative within a budget, so you might just be surprised and impressed by what they come up with.

Floral arrangements can set the mood for a wedding ceremony and reception, and even couples with little or no experience choosing arrangements can end up with stunning displays.

 

Alzheimer's Community Education

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The Alzheimer's Association is offering two free community educational programs on Wednesday afternoon, March 1st, at Mercy Medical Center, 250 Mercy Drive, Dubuque, in Conference Room 1 A/B.

The first class, "Caring for People With Dementia", 1:00-2:30 pm, is an overview of the seven essential components caregivers need to address when caring for a person with dementia. The second class, "Communication and Behaviors", 2:45-4:15 pm, is an intensive look at effective communication techniques and ways to understand and respond to dementia related behaviors.

Alzheimer's Association spokesperson and class facilitator Jerry Schroeder, MSSW, said, "These classes give caregivers and those with an interest in Alzheimer's and related illnesses an excellent look at some of the fundamental challenges facing caregivers. But the classes also introduce caregivers to a community of others who are facing similar challenges. Caring for someone with dementia is very difficult. Becoming informed and making connections dramatically eases the burdens."

Advanced registration is required for each class separately by calling 1-800-272-3900. Or, to register online visit www.alz.org, browse to Caregiver Center, Community Resource Finder, Alzheimer's Association Programs and Events.

For more information contact Jerry Schroeder at 563-293-8056 or at jschroeder@alz.org.

About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research. The Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

 

Summer Camps

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The Friends of Dubuque County Conservation Board and staff are offering summer camps during June, July and Augusut to give youth an active and adventurous summer. These summer camps offer an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover different hobbies, and create memories.

There are summer camp opportunities available for ages 3 up to 17 years old. Camp formats include day camps, week-long camps, and overnight offsite camps.

A new camp opportunity this year is the Adventure Camp. Youth will experience an action-packed week of rock climbing, geocaching, kayaking, zip lining, and more!

Another new camp is the Driftless Adventurers. On this camp youth will backpack in the Yellow River State Forest. This camp is unique because youth from Clinton, Jackson, and Dubuque counties will be attending.

Other camp topics include: Art in Nature, Wet & Wild, Dino Camp, Superheroes & Fairies, Out of This World, and Wilderness Games.

Registration for summer camps is now open. Registrations can be processed online at http://getmeregistered.com/DCCSummerCamps or in person at the Swiss Valley Nature Center.

For more information contact Kaytlan Moeller at Swiss Valley Nature Center at 563.556.6745 or kaytlan.moeller@dubuquecounty.us.

 

Dubuque Museum of Art Presents Shiny, Sticky, Smooth: Pop Art and the Senses

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Dubuque Only Second City to Host Traveling Exhibition including More Than 50 Artworks by Celebrated Pop Artists

Visitors to the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) are in for a multi-sensory experience this spring, with more than 50 rarely seen works of Pop Art – all relating to the senses, including sight, smell, taste and touch – going on view this month.

Coming from Wichita, Kansas, where the exhibition was organized by the Wichita Art Museum, Shiny, Sticky, Smooth: Pop Art and the Senses, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation opens at DuMA on Saturday, February 18 and continues through May 14, 2017. A Members' Preview reception will be held on Friday, February 17 from 5-8 p.m.

Inspired by advertising, movies, television, and comic strips of the late 1950s and 1960s, the modern art movement commonly referred to as "Pop Art" embraced the visual language of popular culture, including its graphic imagery and bold colors, and left a lasting mark on American art and culture.

This exhibition includes 53 paintings, prints and sculptures – several spanning more than 7 feet – by such notable Pop artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, James Rosenquist, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg.

The exhibition will be on view in the Falb Family Gallery and on the Amuse Bouche Balcony Gallery, both located on the museum's second floor.

The exhibition and related educational and outreach programs were made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, based in Portland, Oregon, and the Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation in Dubuque. Additional support was provided by the Runde Auto Group in Dubuque and East Dubuque, Illinois. Media support has been provided by NPR station WVIK in the Quad Cities.

"We are excited to bring this remarkable collection of art to Dubuque and to share Pop Art with our community for the first time in our history", said DuMA Executive Director David Schmitz. "Pop Art is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s and 70s, when the power of television, media and advertising to shape our culture first became apparent. Pop Art and Pop artists drew our attention to that reality."

Numerous public programs and events will accompany the exhibitions. All events are held free of charge and at the Dubuque Museum of Art unless otherwise noted.

Members' Preview
: Friday, February 17, 5-8 pm
Free admission includes complementary appetizers for museum members. Guests $10.

Gallery Talk
Sunday, February 19, 1:30 p.m.

Art Talk: Alan Garfield
Sunday, March 5, 1:30 p.m.
University of Dubuque Professor Alan Garfield will share his personal insights into the Pop Art movement and the lives of some of its leading artists.

Through the Arts Trek program, offered annually in conjunction with Dubuque Community and Holy Family Schools, every second-grade student in Dubuque will receive a tour of the exhibition between February and April. Adult and group tours of the exhibition may also be arranged by contacting DuMA Education Director Margaret Buhr at (563) 557-1851.

Additional programs will be announced throughout the month. Details on all exhibitions and upcoming programs may be accessed at www.dbqart.com. Images of artworks in the exhibition are available upon request.

Also opening February 18 in the Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery, located on the museum's first floor, is an exhibition of works of Dubuque artist John Anderson-Bricker. Fire and Ice: Paintings of the Mississippi River by John Anderson Bricker represents the artist's first solo exhibition in a museum and follows his participation in many juried and group exhibitions. Anderson-Bricker's colorful and expressive paintings are inspired by more than two decades of observation of the Mississippi River over the summer and winter seasons. Fire and Ice: Paintings of the Mississippi River by John Anderson Bricker will be on view through May 14, 2017.

About the Dubuque Museum of Art
The Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA), founded in 1874 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is Iowa's oldest cultural institution. Named a national affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2016, DuMA's mission is to excite, engage and serve diverse communities within the Tri-State area through our collections, exhibitions and educational programs. We connect generations of people to their cultural heritage and exceptional art. DuMA is located across from Washington Park at 7th and Locust Streets in historic downtown Dubuque.

Museum 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/University Students, free for kids every day, and free to all on Thursdays thanks to Prudential Financial. Website: www.dbqart.com

 

 

Kotz Named New Dubuque County Fair Association Manager

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The Dubuque County Fair Association is pleased to announce that board member and longtime association volunteer Kevin Kotz has been named the association's new general manager.

Kotz joins the association after 32 years with Dan Kruse Nissan Pontiac BMW and 10 years with Dubuque Auto Plaza as parts manager, service manager, and manager of fixed operations, during which time he was a member of the National General Motors Advisory Council.

Kotz officially assumed this new role on Monday, Feb. 6. He will be the chief executive officer of the association and responsible for all day-to-day operations.

Kotz has been a member of the fair board since 2014 and has long volunteered at the fair and other association events. A member of the Tri-State Saddle Club Board since 1982, he organized the Horse Charity Show for nine years and raised over $50,000 for local non-profits. He is a former 4H Trailblazers Leader, has worked the 4H Food Stand at the fair and had worked with the Boy Scouts Auto Explorer program.

Kevin has been married to his wife Janell for 38 years. They have two children, Katie and Jacob, and a grandson, Wyatt.

"We are thrilled to have Kevin as our new manager," said Board President Ann Schuster. "We are confident that he has the experience and passion for the association's work to move us to the next level."

The association also named Melissa Kotz as office manager/events coordinator. Before joining the association, she was a manager at Rainbo Oil and has assisted with operations at Rhody's for 10 years. She and her husband Jacob have one son, Wyatt.

For more information, contact the Dubuque County Fair Association at 563-588-1406.

 

Sculpture Entries Sought for Art on the River Public Art Program

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The City of Dubuque, Iowa, is soliciting submissions from qualified artists for the 2017-2018 Art on the River public art program displaying works of sculpture throughout the Port of Dubuque.

Nine sculptural works will be selected for the 12th year of Art on the River, to be displayed at the Port of Dubuque from June 2017 to June 2018. Applications are free, available exclusively online at www.cityofdubuque.org/AOTRapply, and are due by midnight CST on Monday, March 6.

Art on the River is part of the Dubuque City Council's arts and culture initiative. Working in conjunction with the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and a volunteer committee made up of artists, educators, and city staff, the City identified highly visible locations at the Port of Dubuque to display selected artwork. The Port of Dubuque is a 90-acre riverfront campus that features the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Grand River Center conference center, Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Diamond Jo Casino, historic Dubuque Star Brewery, Dubuque Shot Tower, and the Port of Dubuque Marina.

A panel of three credentialed jurors reviews the artist applications and makes a recommendation to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and the City Council upon the selection of the artwork.

The current 2016-2017 Art on the River exhibit, consisting of nine works of sculpture and featured selection, "Continuum," will remain open to public viewing through May 30, 2017. Descriptions of exhibited works and extras recorded by the artists are included in the mobile audio guide app, Otocast. This app is free and can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App store.

Residents and visitors can still vote for their favorite piece in the 2016-2017 exhibit by visiting www.cityofdubuque.org/AOTRvote and clicking on the River 2016 link.

All sculptures are for sale and can be installed in both indoor and outdoor areas. For additional information, please contact Debra Alleyne at artontheriver@cityofdubuque.org or 563-690-6059.

The exhibit is free, can be viewed sunrise to sunset year-round, and is accessible. More information is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/artontheriver.

 

Voyage to the Bottom of the World

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board will host "Voyage to the Bottom of the World" with Ty Smedes on Sunday, February 26th, at 1:00pm at Swiss Valley Nature Center.
 
In December of 2014, Ty Smedes spent almost a month exploring the southern reaches of the globe on the Expedition ship Ortelius. Ty will take us ashore to visit the huge Fur Seal Colonies and to witness the titanic struggle between bull Elephant Seals, each battling to become beach-master. We will visit King Penguin colonies numbering 335,000 pairs or more. Along the Antarctic Peninsula, we will visit dazzling blue icebergs in shapes that defy the imagination.

Ty's photos have been published by many major magazines and book publishers. For more information visit Ty's website, www.smedesphoto.com.

 

A LASTING WAY TO SHOW YOUR LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

There are traditional ways to show your love on Valentine's Day. You can buy a card that expresses your true feelings and give it to someone you care about. There are also heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates and bouquets of roses.

A powerful and lasting way to express your love is to show that you care about a family member or friend's future. Everyone you love probably wants to enjoy retirement once they decide to stop working. Preparing for that future takes planning and careful thought about when and how you want to do it.

Social Security is a safety net that keeps millions of elderly Americans out of poverty. At www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire we have valuable resources that you can access 24 hours a day from the comfort of your home. There, you can:

• Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year

• Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working

• Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them

• Manage your benefits: change your address; start or change your direct deposit; get a replacement Medicare card; and get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.

Showing your love might also take the form of letting a family member know when a realistic retirement date might be. Our online Estimator offers an instant and tailored estimate of your future Social Security benefits based on your earnings record. You can plug in different anticipated yearly earnings to discover different retirement options and learn how your benefits could increase if you work longer. Give the Retirement Estimator a try today at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

As you can see, love comes in many forms. Helping someone prepare for retirement will improve the overall quality of their life for years. Spread the love, and let everyone know that Social Security is available 24 hours a day at www.socialsecurity.gov.

 

The Grand Opera House And WJOD Welcome ETTA MAY!

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The Grand Opera House and WJOD are excited to welcome Etta May to the Grand Opera House on Wednesday, March 1st at 7:30pm.

You will laugh until you cry, you may even pee your pants a little, as this Queen of Comedy gives you the low down on raising teenagers, families, and growing older. In a routine that will feel like she follows you around day-to-day and writes from your life, Etta May is sure to have the whole audience laughing all night long.

Winner of the prestigious American Comedy Awards "Comic of the Year," this Kentucky woman is a comedy icon! Hailed as the "Polyester Princess," the reigning Queen of Southern Sass delivers a high-powered, take-no-prisoners performance full of truth, irony, humor and wisdom. This trailer park goddess has appeared on Oprah, Showtime, CMT, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC, Columbia Pictures, and NBC. She headlines the hugely successful Southern Fried Chicks Comedy Tour and touts a huge fan base on SiriusXM comedy channels. Etta May is a seasoned performer with national appeal!

Etta May tickets are $20 and can be purchased in person at our Box Office located at 135 W. 8th Street in Dubuque, or by calling (563) 588-1305. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from Noon until 4:00pm. Tickets can also be purchased on our website at www.thegrandoperahouse.com. All seats reserved. 

 

Depression common but treatable

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It's normal to experience feelings of sadness and grief from time to time. But when these feelings are prolonged or interfere with daily life, they may be symptomatic of depression. 

Depression can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or economic status. The National Institute of Mental Health says around 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Understanding depression can help those dealing with the disorder.

What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. The Mayo Clinic says depression can produce a variety of symptoms and affect the way a person thinks, acts and feels. Symptoms may include changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, unexplained aches and pains, and difficulty concentrating.

What causes depression?
Although the cause of depression remains a mystery, certain distinguishing factors are common among those who have the condition. People with clinical depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. In addition, naturally occurring brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters likely play a role in depression. The Mayo Clinic states changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.

In addition to biological factors in the brain, hormones can impact rates of depression or even trigger it. These hormone shifts may be a leading reason why women have higher incidence rates of depression than men. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have the condition. Therefore, those with a family history of depression may be more likely to get it than those without such a connection.

Different types of depression
There are different types of depression. A person may have a single bout of major depression or recurring episodes. Depression that lasts two or more years is called persistent depressive disorder. A less common type of depression is called manic-depressive illness. This involves cycles of depression that alternate with extreme highs, or manias.

Treating depression
Depression is a very treatable condition. Psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications or a combination thereof can be very effective in managing symptoms. Mental health professionals can work with individuals to find the right therapy based on symptoms and severity of the depression. Also, it may take some time to find the right medication or treatment; therefore, people are urged to remain patient and hopeful.

The National Institute of Mental Health says people who suspect they may be suffering from depression should make an appointment to see a doctor or health care provider. The sooner action is taken, the more quickly the condition can be addressed.

 

Influential figures throughout black history

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Since 1926, Americans have recognized the accomplishments and influences of various individuals during the celebration of Black History Month. With February upon us once again, we focus on many of the people across the globe who have helped to shape black history.

• Iman: Born Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid in Somali, this internationally recognized supermodel and actress is also a successful entrepreneur. After 20 years of modeling, Iman began her own cosmetics company, focusing on shades that were geared toward ethnic women. The business now reports annual profits of $25 million. Additionally, Iman is actively involved in a number of charitable works, including the Enough Project to end global trade conflicts over minerals and gems.

• Guion Bluford: Bluford is a retired NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Air Force colonel. He participated in four space shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992. Bluford is known as the first African-American in space and holds honorary doctorate degrees from 14 different colleges and universities.

• George Njoroge: Born in Kenya, Njoroge is a scientist who is now the director of medicinal chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories. Njoroge was at the center of the development of the drug Victrelis, which was approved in 2011 by the FDA to treat Hepatitis C. Njoroge was inducted into the scientific Hall of Fame as a 2012 Hero of Chemistry by the American Chemical Society.

• Amsale Aberra: Aberra is an Ethiopian-born fashion designer and entrepreneur. Her designs are known across the globe, and she has various couture shops, including one on Madison Avenue in New York, NY. Television producers often turn to Aberra when they need beautiful fashions for television and movies. Her designs have been featured on "Grey's Anatomy," "27 Dresses" and "American Wedding."

• Alek Wek: Wek is the first African model to appear on the cover of "Elle" magazine, a distinction she earned in 1997. Born in South Sudan, Wek has been a popular catwalk model and has also appeared in Tina Turner's music video for "Golden Eye." Wek is a member of the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council and educates others about the dire situation in Sudan and elsewhere in the world.

• Oprah Winfrey: This American entertainment mogul is best known for her long-running and award-winning talk show, which was the highest-rated program of its time during its airing. Winfrey also acts and produces and is a noted philanthropist. Winfrey has frequently ranked among the most powerful women in the world and the most influential black person of her generation. Winfrey is the only black billionaire in North America.

• Nelson Mandela: The world mourned the death of Nelson Mandela in late 2013. An anti-apartheid activist and philanthropist from South Africa, Mandela was the first black South African to hold the office of President and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after leading a campaign against the apartheid government.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Throughout the month of February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. African American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over a century.

Honoring our shared history and reflecting on the past is one way we can remember that in America, we believe in freedom and democracy for all. Another shared belief is that we all deserve a comfortable retirement, free of economic hardship. This is part of securing today and tomorrow.

Social Security has the tools to help you plan for your retirement and to apply for benefits online. We also provide disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they can also receive payments. 

If you or anyone you know is disabled, they may qualify for disability benefits. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age. You can see if you meet our strict definition of disabled and apply for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html.

Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.

Honoring each other begins with fair and equal treatment. Social Security guarantees that, if you pay into the system, you will have the same benefits as everyone else according to your earnings record. This Black History Month, we want to make sure our diverse nation is covered and that no one is left out of the benefits they deserve.

We are with you through life's journey. Get to know your Social Security. Visit us at https://www.ssa.gov/people/africanamericans/.

 

The evolution of Black History Month

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Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African American History Month, is a federally recognized month-long commemoration of the achievements of African Americans and the roles they have played in shaping United States history. Each February, Americans recognize notable African American individuals. Canada and the United Kingdom also observe Black History Month, with the UK celebrating in October rather than February.

Many deserving people are recognized during Black History Month, which no doubt serves to inspire African Americans and others who appreciate the role African Americans have played and continue to play.

One of the lesser known yet highly influential individuals to play a key role in the development of Black History Month was Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was a son of former slaves who spent his childhood working in coal mines and quarries. Self-taught in English and arithmetic, Woodson attended high school and completed the curriculum in two years. He eventually received a Masters degree in History from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard.

Woodson was disheartened that textbooks and American history largely ignored the achievements of Black Americans. Therefore, he began the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and founded a complementary journal. 

According to The Freeman Institute Foundation, Woodson decided to launch a Negro History Week in 1926. He picked the second week of February to have the recognition fall between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two pioneers of racial equality. 

Although the first Negro History Week met with mild responses, eventually the yearly tradition caught on and its popularity grew. It wasn't until 1969, however, that Negro History Week transformed into Black History Month, after a proposition by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University. In 1976, 26 years after Woodson's death, Black History Month was officially recognized by the U.S. government. 

Black History Month has grown considerably since Woodson first launched Negro History Week nearly a century ago. His words about why he felt African American history was so important still resonate today:

"What we need is not a history of selected races of nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice."

 

Steps to a more organized, functional garage

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Organization can help homeowners transform their homes into less cramped, more spacious oases without forcing them to finance potentially expensive expansion projects.

Homeowners who park in their driveways may find that their garages have become crowded, cluttered spaces in which searching for tools can feel like scouring a haystack in search of a needle. Organizing a garage can create extra room in a home while affording homeowners the chance to protect their vehicles from the elements.

Homeowners who want to turn their garages into something more than cluttered storage units can employ the following strategies to transform these largely overlooked areas into more valuable spaces.

• Choose the right day. Garages tend to be separate from the rest of the homes they're a part of, meaning the only way to organize a garage is to first remove all items from the garage and into the driveway. Because items removed from the garage will be exposed to the elements, homeowners should choose a day that's temperate and sunny to clean their garages. If possible, homeowners should opt to organize their garages in late spring, summer or early fall when there are additional hours of daylight. This protects homeowners from having to work in the dark should the job take longer than they initially anticipated.

• Discard or donate duplicate items. Duplicate items are some of the main culprits behind cluttered garages. As garages gradually become more cluttered, homeowners may buy tools they already have simply because they cannot find their original tools. When organizing the garage, create separate piles for duplicate tools, placing still-useful items in a pile that can be donated to neighbors, local charities or organizations and another pile for old tools that are no longer useful. 

• Host a garage sale. Homeowners who want to organize their garages and make a buck at the same time can host garage sales. Make only those items that are still functional available for purchase, and let neighbors and bargain hunters do the bulk of your organization work for you.

• Designate areas of the garage for certain items. Once the items that won't be going back into the garage have been sold, donated or discarded, organize the garage by designating areas for certain items, making sure to separate items that can pose safety risks. For example, store kids' bicycles and outdoor toys in a corner of the garage that is opposite the corner where potentially dangerous items such as power tools and gas cans will be stored. Keep the center of the garage open for vehicles. 

• Periodically park cars in the garage. Homeowners who are comfortable parking their vehicles in their driveways can improve their chances of maintaining organized garages over the long haul by periodically parking in the garage. Doing so not only prevents the gradual buildup of clutter that can slowly take over a garage, but also protects homeowners' automotive investments.

Maintaining an organized garage can help homeowners make more practical use of the space in their homes.

 

Test Your Wits at Trivia Night!

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Opening Doors is planning a festive night of trivia "fun"raising on Friday, March 4 at the Steeple Square event center (formerly St. Mary's Church) at 15th & White St. All proceeds from this event will go to fund life skills programming for the homeless women and children at Maria House and Teresa Shelter.

"The Steeple Square event center can accommodate 37 teams of eight and we'd love to fill up the place," comments Executive Director Michelle Brown." She adds, "All of the money raised that night helps to empower homeless women and their families. This is your opportunity to see this beautiful space that is being preserved for future events and generations!"

Trivia Night features 10 rounds of trivia, a 50/50 cash raffle, cash prizes for the top three teams, and door prizes. The entry fee is $15 per person ($124 for a
team of eight). Individual players are welcome.

Food, soda and beer will be available for sale from 5 to 9 PM. Menu includes turkey & dressing and ham & cheese sandwiches, walking tacos, chips, cookies and bars.

Trivia rounds begin at 7 PM. Tours of Steeple Square will be provided at 5:30 and 6 PM. Visit our web site at www.openingdoorsdbq.org to download a registration form, or to register your team online. Individual players will be placed on a team that evening.

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.

For more information, contact Ann Lorenz, Development and Marketing Director, at 563-582-7480, or email alorenz@openingdoorsdbq.org.

 

8 factors that can affect auto insurance premiums

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Auto insurance is a necessity for drivers in many localities. But while local laws may mandate drivers have insurance, no such laws mandate how much drivers must pay to insure their vehicles. Certain factors can influence just how much drivers will pay for their auto insurance policies.

1. Complacency: Doing nothing at all may find you spending too much on auto insurance. Many drivers fail to routinely shop around for coverage, and that can be costing them money. In its 2013 Insurance Shopping Study, the research firm J.D. Power found that only 23 percent of auto insurance customers shopped their policies in the past 12 months. Shopping around for a better rate can save drivers considerable amounts of money, and the Internet has made comparison shopping easier than ever before.

2. Coverage and deductibles: The type of coverage you choose, as well as the amount of your deductible, will affect the cost of your policy. Choosing a higher deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance will start to pay) usually leads to a lower monthly payment. Full coverage may not be necessary if you own your car or the car is old and not worth that much.

3. Location: Where you live can affect the cost of your insurance premiums. Since most traffic accidents occur close to home, the area where you live factors heavily in the cost of your policy. Densely populated neighborhoods with more cars mean you could be at a higher risk of accident, theft and injury. Plus, costs for repairs may be higher in these areas. Moving to a less populated area can reduce insurance costs.

4. Age/gender: A person cannot change his or her age, but it's wise to realize that age and gender can affect costs. Young men typically incur higher rates than young women. Understanding your potential insurance costs can help you when choosing a vehicle.

5. Vehicle type: According to State Farm, some insurance companies increase premiums for cars deemed more likely to be damaged or stolen. A vehicle that scores high in independent safety ratings may be cheaper to insure than vehicles that scored low on safety tests. 

6. Credit score: Raise your credit score and you may be able to lower your car insurance costs. According to the research firm Conning & Co., roughly 92 percent of insurers use your credit information as a factor to determine rates. Studies show that people with bad credit tend to file more and higher claims.

7. Marital status: Statistics show that people who have tied the knot are involved in fewer accidents and given fewer tickets than people who are single. Getting married can reduce insurance premiums, as can combining or bundling policies with your spouse.

8. Driving history: A driving history full of accidents and tickets can affect your insurance rates. However, many tickets and accidents that do not involve injuries stop affecting insurance rates after three years. Driving safely and biding your time until your tickets and accidents no longer influence your rates can save you money.

Drivers have control over how much they spend on auto insurance. Safe driving habits, the right choice of vehicle and where drivers choose to live can influence the cost of their auto insurance policies.

 

Finley Nursing Scholarships Available

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UnityPoint Health® Finley Health Foundation and the Finley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association announce 2017 scholarship applications will be available on February 1, 2017 for individuals pursuing a degree in the nursing field.

Since 1986, Finley Hospital and the Alumni Association have been awarding scholarships annually to qualified students in the community who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing through an accredited nursing program, or who are health care professionals seeking an associates, bachelors, or master's degree in nursing, or nurse practitioner degree.

"The Finley Health Foundation is pleased to once again partner with the Finley School of Nursing Alumni Association to offer scholarships to local students," said Barbara Potts, Finley Health Foundation Executive Director. "It is our honor and privilege to make a positive impact on the education of future health care professionals right here in our community."

The scholarship application and eligibility requirements can be found at unitypoint.org/dbqscholarships. Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2017 for consideration.

In 2016, Finley Health Foundation and the Alumni Association awarded $20,500 in scholarships. Scholarship award announcements for this year's recipients will be made by May 1, 2017.

For questions regarding the scholarships, please contact the Finley Health Foundation at (563) 589-2358.

 

Bret Michaels brings signature hits back to Mississippi Moon Bar on March 16

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Former frontman of the rock band Poison and pop culture icon Bret Michaels will return to Mississippi Moon Bar on Friday, March 16.

Michaels rose to fame as part of the rock band Poison, contributing his lead vocals and leading man charisma to the band's best-loved hits, like the #1 hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." The band achieved significant success with the release of eight studio albums, four live albums, and more than 30 million records sold.

Michaels began his solo career in 1998 with the release of his album, "A Letter from Death Row." Since then, he's released several more solo efforts and singles, including the best-of album "Rock My World" in 2008, which included the music from his reality TV show, "Rock of Love." Michaels released "Custom Built," which hit at #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock charts, in 2010. Michaels has found additional success on TV, with appearances and performances on "America's Got Talent," "American Idol" and more.

Ticket prices start at $35 and go on-sale Jan.28 at 10 a.m. at www.MoonBarRocks.com, Diamond Jo Casino's Diamond Club, the 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; attendees must be 21 years or older.

 

Recommended City Budget Includes Property Tax Reduction

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Dubuque City Manager Michael Van Milligen will present the recommended budget for the 2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) to the City Council at their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.

The recommended fiscal year (FY) 2018 property tax rate for the city portion of Dubuque property taxes is $10.89 per thousand dollars assessed value. This represents a 2.47 percent reduction from the FY2017 rate of $11.07.

Among the four classes of property, the recommended rate translates into no change from FY2017 for residential properties, a 2.47 percent decrease for commercial and industrial properties, and a 6.71 percent decrease for multi-residential properties. If the recommended rate is adopted, the average residential property owner would see no change in the City portion of their property tax while the average commercial property owner would see an $83 dollar decrease, the average industrial property owner a $124 decrease, and the average multi-residential property owner a $145 decrease in the city portion of their property tax bill.

When the recommended FY2018 tax rate is compared to the FY2017 rates of the 11 other Iowa cities with populations over 50,000, Dubuque's rate is the second lowest. The highest rate (Council Bluffs, $17.75) is over 40 percent higher than Dubuque and the average of the other cities ($15.31) is 63 percent higher.

The total recommended budget for FY2018 is $169,635,288, which is an 8.4 percent reduction from the FY2017 total budget. The total recommended budget includes a recommended operating budget of $129,366,969 and a recommended capital improvement program budget of $40,268,319.

The recommended budget includes a City staff reduction of 6.85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions for FY2018. When combined with the 2.75 FTE positions eliminated in the current fiscal year, 9.6 FTE positions will be eliminated in two years. The FY2018 recommended budget also includes the continuation of a hiring freeze affecting 13.6 FTE vacant positions.

Van Milligen's recommended budget continues to reduce the City's outstanding debt, as directed by the City Council in August 2015. In FY2016, the City's debt was at 86 percent ($295.5 million) of the statutory debt limit and is currently at 72 percent. By the end of FY2018, it is projected to be reduced to 65 percent ($281 million), leaving the City with available debt capacity of more than $74 million. The debt reduction is projected to continue and be reduced to 24 percent of the statutory debt limit by FY2027.

Continued contributions to the City's general fund cash reserve are also included in the recommended budget. Following contributions of $1 million in FY2016 and $600,000 in FY2017, an additional $600,000 contribution is recommended for FY2018. Plans call for the City to continue to make annual contributions until the reserve is consistently 20 percent of the City's general fund operating revenues. The general fund is projected to reach that level ($9.93 million) in FY2021, one year sooner than originally projected. From FY2016 to FY2022, the general fund cash reserve is projected to increase by $3.8 million.

Utility rate adjustments in the FY2018 recommended budget include: a three percent increase to the water rate, a three percent increase to the sanitary sewer rate, a 2.3 percent increase to the solid waste collection rate, and a 6.75 percent increase to the stormwater utililty rate (as adopted in 2014).

Van Milligen's budget transmittal message is part of the Feb. 6 City Council meeting agenda and is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/FY2018budget. The complete recommended budget materials will be posted on the City website on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at www.cityofdubuque.org/FY2018budget and printed copies will be made available for viewing at the City Clerk's Office in City Hall and available for checkout from the Carnegie-Stout Public Library Reference Desk.

The public is invited to attend and provide input at a series of budget public meetings as City staff from each department and division present FY2018 budget information to the City Council. A final public hearing to adopt the FY2018 will be held on Tuesday, March 7. The meetings are also aired live on Dubuque's CityChannel (Mediacom cable channels 8 and 117.2) and streamed live and archived on the City's website at www.cityofdubuque.org/media. All meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and are held in the City Council Chambers on the second floor of the Historic Federal Building at 350 W. Sixth St.

FY2018 BUDGET PUBLIC MEETING SCHEDULE:

Thursday, Feb. 9: Information Services, City Attorney, City Manager's Office, City Council, City Clerk, and Cable TV

Monday, Feb. 13: Library, Planning Services, Finance, Human Rights, Airport, and Health Services

Thursday, Feb. 16: Housing and Community Development, Transit, Parking, and Economic Development

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Purchase of Services, Five Flags Civic Center, Grand River Center, Park, and Recreation

Thursday, Feb. 23: Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, Police, Fire, Building Services

Monday, Feb. 27: Water, Water & Resource Recovery Center, Public Works and Engineering

Tuesday, March 7: Public Hearing to adopt the Fiscal Year 2018 budget

For more information, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/budget or contact Budget Director Jennifer Larson at 563-589-4110 or jlarson@cityofdubuque.org.

 

Moments in Nature Photo Contest

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Dubuque County Conservation, Julien's Journal, and Everything Photography is happy to announce the opening of the 2017 "Moments in Nature" Photo Contest.

This contest is to encourage community members to get outside and capture all the beauty Dubuque County has to offer. Entry categories include: wildlife, plants, people in nature, and landscapes. We are offering two different divisions for each category to encourage participation no matter your age or skill level: amateur and youth. Photos must be taken in Dubuque County.

Winners will be showcased in a "Moments in Nature" exhibit at Swiss Valley Nature Center and in an issue of Julien's Journal. Winners will also receive additional prizes!

Entries MUST be in by Monday, April 3rd. All rules and entry forms can be found at www.dccbphotocontest.weebly.com or can picked up at Swiss Valley Nature Center.

 

How seniors can simplify everyday tasks

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The ability to perform everyday tasks is something many people take for granted. But as men and women approach or exceed retirement age, many may start to struggle with chores and tasks they have performed for decades.

Physical limitations are a common side effect of aging. But such limitations do not have to prove too big a hurdle for seniors to clear. In fact, there are many ways for seniors to simplify everyday tasks while maintaining their independence.

• Embrace technology. Even the proudest Luddites cannot deny technology's potential to make seniors' lives easier. Seemingly simple tasks like shopping for groceries and vacuuming a home can be difficult for seniors with dwindling or limited mobility. But seniors with Internet access in their homes can order their groceries online and then pick them up in-store or have them delivered, saving them the trouble of walking around the store. With regard to vacuuming, autonomous vacuum cleaners have removed the need to use traditional vacuum cleaners. Certain autonomous vacuums employ sensors to detect dirty spots on the floor, and these vacuums can even be programmed to clean the home while residents are out of the house.

• Upgrade bathrooms. Tasks associated with personal hygiene also tend to be taken for granted until they become difficult. But a few simple bathroom alterations can help seniors safely navigate the bathrooms in their homes so they can maintain their personal hygiene without fear of injury. Grab bars can be installed on shower walls so seniors can safely get in and out of their showers and bathtubs. Such bars are both effective and inexpensive, and some do not even require any drilling to install. Specialty grab bars, tub grips and tub transfer benches are just a few additional products that can make bathing easier for seniors who have lost or are starting to lose some of their physical strength.

• Get "smart" on the road. Seniors who are experiencing mild difficulty driving can make getting about town that much easier by plugging their smartphones into their vehicles or making use of the various apps that have become standard in modern vehicles. For example, the maps app on a smartphone can be connected to a car and direct seniors to their destinations, saving them the trouble of remembering all the ins and outs of how to get to a particular destination. Seniors also can employ apps to help them find their vehicles should they forget exactly where they parked in crowded parking lots. Such apps can increase seniors' comfort levels on the road while helping them maintain their independence.

• Downsize. Whether downsizing to a smaller home or simply downsizing a lifestyle, seniors may find that living smaller is akin to living simpler. Empty nesters may find they no longer need several bedrooms in their homes, and moving into smaller homes can reduce their daily workloads while also clearing out clutter that can make performing everyday chores more difficult.

Men and women accustomed to hustle and bustle may also find that cutting back on professional and/or personal commitments gives them more energy for everyday activities while enriching the commitments they continue to maintain.

Aging men and women can employ various strategies to simplify their lives and maintain their independence well into their golden years.

 

How everyday people can cut energy consumption

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Curtailing energy consumption is a great way for people to protect the planet's natural resources and save money at the same time. 

Part of the difficulty with regard to reducing energy consumption is that energy plays such a big role in our lives. Smartphones and tablets have become must-have items, and these items, though not necessarily big consumers of energy, must be plugged in and charged.

But individuals won't have to unplug from their lives to reduce their energy consumption. In fact, there are several easy, non-invasive ways for everyday people to reduce their energy consumption.

• Start with your windows. The windows in a home can help homeowners and apartment dwellers reduce their heating and cooling costs. On cold days, pull back curtains so the natural sunlight can come in and warm the house, reducing the need to turn up the temperature on the thermostat. When the weather outside is especially warm, hang blackout curtains to prevent the hot sun from warming rooms and increasing the need for air conditioning. In addition, address any leaks around windows to ensure hot and cold air is not escaping and contributing to excessive energy consumption.

• Maintain appliances and replace older ones. While reducing reliance on energy-thirsty appliances is a great way to reduce energy consumption, no one needs to throw away their refrigerators. Instead, maintain appliances so they are not forced to work harder, and thereby consume more energy, to function. Routinely clean the filters on window air conditioners, replacing them if they're worn down. In addition, have HVAC units serviced annually to ensure they're operating at peak capacity. Replace older appliances, including refrigerators, that are no longer 
effective.

• Install a low-flow shower head. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that eco-conscious consumers looking to reduce their energy consumption install low-flow shower heads with flow rates less than 2.5 gallons per minute. This is especially important for people living in homes with dated fixtures. Water fixtures installed before 1992 might have flow rates as high as 5.5 gallons per minute, which is both wasteful and costly. Test the flow of a shower head by placing a one-gallon bucket beneath a shower head running at the pressure you normally use. If the bucket fills up in less than 20 seconds, install a low-flow shower head.

• Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can be installed to reduce energy consumption in both summer and winter. In summer, ceiling fans can make home interiors more comfortable by circulating air around a room. That circulation can make rooms feel cooler, providing the same benefit of an air conditioner while consuming considerably less energy. In winter, reverse the rotation of ceiling fans so they circulate warm air and reduce reliance on heating systems.

Reducing energy consumption does not require substantial sacrifice, but it can produce substantial savings and benefit the planet in myriad ways.

 

MARRIED IN A MONTH: LOCAL BUSINESSES TO AWARD $18,000 WEDDING PRIZE PACKAGE

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Longstanding wedding industry vendors in the Dubuque community have teamed up to create a unique competition that will award one couple with an all-expenses paid wedding. From the venue, food, and photography to the flowers, music, and attire, the grand prize will be a dream come true for a recently or soon-to-be engaged couple.

There is just one minor catch - the winning couple must tie the knot in just one short month following the competition.

Married In A Month sponsors (Hotel Julien Dubuque, Cheryl-Ann Bridals, Doland Jewelers, Riniker Rhythm, Candle Ready Cakes, Seeley Photography, Handpick'd Floral Designs, Potosa Spa, and Light Burst Photography) have teamed up to provide a prize package valued at more than $18,000.

"I think this will appeal to couples who are adventurous and spontaneous," said Sherrie Keating, owner of Cheryl-Ann Bridals & Tuxedos. "There are some couples who may not even be engaged that say, ‘Let's do it, and if we win, we can get married.'"

Interested couples have until the end of January to submit videos of themselves explaining why they think they deserve the grand prize. Videos can be shared at MarriedinaMonthDBQ.com/share-your-story. On Valentine's Day, sponsors will announce 25 couples who have been chosen to participate in a Married in a Month weekend event at Hotel Julien Dubuque. The event is set for Feb. 24 and 25.

The event itself will kick off with a cocktail reception and fashion show hosted by Cheryl Ann Bridals. The following day marks the start of the elimination rounds and will conclude with the awarding of the grand prize to the winning couple. By the time that the day is over, the winning couple will already have planned their entire wedding and they will then enjoy one month (free of stress!!) before tying the knot. The winning couple will get married on March 25 at Hotel Julien Dubuque.

All proceeds from Married in a Month will be given to Dancing with the Stars Dubuque Style, an event that targets a community-wide audience to highlight the importance of Dubuque area nonprofits which has raised over $990,999 for more than 50 local nonprofits since its inception in 2010.

For more information, visit marriedinamonthdbq.com.

 

Gallery C announces TIDY, Works by Matthew Mikulice January 20-March 19, 2017

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Opening Reception:
Friday, January 20, 2017, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

First Fridays Gallery Talk w/Matthew Mikulice
Friday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m.

First Fridays Live Art Installation w/Matthew Mikulice
Friday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m.

All events are free and open to all ages.

Gallery C is proud to announce the opening of "TIDY," new works by Iowa artist Matthew Mikulice. This new exhibit explores the aesthetic of order and organization through drawing, painting, installation, and deconstruction.

Matthew Mikulice is originally from Richland Center, Wisconsin. He holds a B.A. in studio art with an emphasis in drawing from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa and has exhibited throughout the Midwest including Madison, Freeport, Ames, and Dubuque. He currently lives and works in Dubuque, Iowa.

"My work is an extension of my personality," Mikulice states. "I am one who is most calm in a neat, tidy environment and my favorite work by other artists reflects the same."

Gallery C is pleased to host the artist at an Opening Reception on Friday, January 20, 2017, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The public is invited, encouraged to attend, and to participate in the Historic Millwork District's innovative art scene. All work is for sale. The reception is free and open to all ages featuring inspired catering by The Food Store with special musical curation by Aaron Hefel. Gallery hours throughout the exhibit are Wednesday-Sunday 1-4 p.m. The exhibit runs through March 19, 2017

Special events in conjunction with "TIDY" include a First Fridays gallery talk with Matthew Mikulice on Friday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m. and a special Live Art Installation with Matthew Mikulice on Friday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m.

For details visit galleryCM.com.

 

Limited Sledding at Bunker Hill Golf Course

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Sledding will be limited at Bunker Hill Golf Course for the remainder of the season due to a storm sewer repair project on part of the golf course.

All sledding areas along the N. Grandview Ave. side of Bunker Hill Golf Course are closed immediately and for the rest of the season due to the construction project. Other areas of Bunker Hill will remain available for sledding as conditions permit.

For additional information, call the Leisure Services Department at 563-589-4263.

 

America’s River Corporation Announces 2017 America’s River Festival Lineup

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America's River Corporation is excited to announce the 2017 entertainment for America's River Festival presented by American Trust & Savings Bank, held in the Port of Dubuque June 8-10, 2017.

Kicking off the festival will be Thank You Thursday (June 8, 2017) sponsored by Runde Auto Group. This night will be FREE for all attendees and will feature country favorite Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("Fishin' in the Dark," "Mr. Bojangles," & "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"). The band was originally set to perform at the 2016 event but inclement weather delayed and prevented their performance.

"We were as disappointed as attendees that Nitty Gritty Dirt Band didn't have a chance to perform in 2016 due to weather conditions," stated Keith Rahe, Event Coordinator for America's River Festival. "However, we are so thrilled that they will be able to perform in 2017 and that Runde Auto Group is supporting this night so that we are able to provide the entertainment for no cost for our attendees."

Special guest and up and coming country artist Brandon Lay will also perform Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Friday night (June 9, 2017) features Old Dominion ("Break Up With Him," "Snapback" & "Song For Another Time") with special up and coming guests Tucker Beathard ("Rock On") and William Michael Morgan ("I Met A Girl").

Also on tap for the 2017 festival is the Tappening, A Beer Event. This event draws over 700 attendees to take in an afternoon of craft beer and music. This year's event will take place from noon to 4pm at the America's River Festival event site on June 10, 2017.

Saturday night features classic rock favorites. Headlining the evening will be Styx ("Come Sail Away," "Renegade," "Blue Collar Man," & "Lorelei") with special guests Guess Who ("American Woman," "No Sugar Tonight," & "Share the Land") and Little River Band ("Cool Change," "Reminiscing," & "Lonesome Loser").

Regional Stage entertainment throughout the festival will include Ryan McGrath Band, Zero 2 Sixty, and Main Street Jazz Band.

America's River Festival is held at the McGraw Hill Parking Lot at 501 Bell Street in Dubuque, Iowa. Tickets go on sale February 1, 2017. Please check americasriverfestival.com for more information.

 

9 things you might not know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Well respected, honored and appreciated for his civil rights activism, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rightfully earned his place as one of the most influential figures in American and world history. Through his religious teachings and social activism, Dr. King played a key role in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. 

While Dr. King lived a good portion of his life in the public eye, many facts of his life are not widely known. In honor of his birthday and Black History Month, the following are some interesting and less publicized facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth name was not "Martin," but "Michael." Dr. King's father traveled to Germany and became inspired by Protestant reformer Martin Luther and thus changed his name while also changing the name of his then 5-year-old-son.

2. Dr. King was a prodigious student. Not only did he skip two grades and start college before formally graduating high school, but Dr. King also earned a bachelor's degree at age 19, graduating from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in sociology.

3. Though not a singer, Dr. King earned a posthumous Grammy Award nonetheless. In 1971, Dr. King was awarded Best Spoken Word album for "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam." 

4. Although people cannot readily find photographs of Dr. King smoking, he was a regular smoker and even hid the habit from the public and from his children so they wouldn't take up smoking. It was believed Dr. King was smoking a cigarette when he was fatally shot.

5. While Dr. King is remembered as an enthralling public speaker, he actually scored poorly in public speaking during his first year at seminary. He received a "C" in the class but earned straight "As" by his final year.

6. Dr. King was a "Star Trek" fan. He convinced actress Nichelle Nichols, who played the role of "Uhura" on the show, to continue working with the series. Nichols was considering leaving, but Dr. King told her she was breaking boundaries by playing a character who didn't conform to black stereotypes.

7. Dr. King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on September 20, 1958. On that day, Dr. King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, "Stride Toward Freedom," when he was approached by a woman who stabbed him with a letter opener. He barely survived. 

8. Dr. King's speech in Memphis in April 1968 may have prophesied his death. Speaking to an audience at Mason Temple Church, King said, "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now ... I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

9. Dr. King's birthday is now observed as a national holiday in the United States. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill in 1983. The only other American to earn this honor is George Washington.

 

Safely avoid potential winter hazards

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Winter can be a beautiful time of year, particularly when freshly fallen snow blankets the landscape. However, winter is also a time fraught with potential peril. The same winter weather that makes landscapes so pristine can make roads and walkways - and even being outside - dangerous.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says weather-related vehicle crashes killed 6,253 people last year and injure more than 480,000 per year. These accidents most often occur when roadways are wet, snowy or icy. Yet, winter driving is not the only seasonal hazard. Here are some common winter activities and how to avoid getting hurt when engaging in them.

Driving
Exercise extra caution when driving on roadways during the winter, as they may contain ice or snow. All it takes is a small coating of precipitation on roadways to make driving treacherous. Wet-looking roadways may be wet, or they may be covered by ice, and it's difficult to tell the difference with the naked eye. Always slow down and assume you are driving on ice. Make every effort to improve visibility. This includes checking windshield washer fluid levels and ensuring windshield blades are in good working order.

Snow removal
Shoveling or removing snow by various methods can be strenuous work, taking even those who feel they are in good shape by surprise. A 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that an average of 11,500 snow-shoveling-related injuries and medical emergencies were treated in U.S. emergency departments each year from 1990 to 2006.
Lower back injuries, falls, injuries to the arms and hands and cardiac-related injuries account for many of the incidents sustained while removing snow. There's also the risk of injury from collisions with pedestrians and snow plows. Plows and bobcat-type devices can cause serious injury. Exercise caution when operating such machines.

Roof snow removal
Removing snow from a roof can be a dangerous prospect. Always use the appropriate equipment, which includes telescoping poles, rather than climbing on slippery roofs. This may be a job best left for a professional, who will have fall-arrest systems and nonslip safety boots.

Dressing for conditions
Venturing outdoors for winter fun may be enticing, but never put your health at risk for the sake of fun. The Mayo Clinic says hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Wear appropriate clothing to prevent hypothermia, which may not produce any initial symptoms. If shivering stops or confusion and slurred speech set in, severe hypothermia is in effect and a person should be moved indoors and gently warmed. Mild hypothermia is also possible indoors, typically when the elderly spend several hours in poorly heated homes.

Winter may be beautiful, but it also can be hazardous. Taking precautions and using common sense help avoid dangerous situations.

 

NWTF Iowa Introducing the Outdoor Lifestyle to New Audiences

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Des Moines, Iowa - The Iowa State Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation recently created and implemented a program called Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors to reverse the decline in hunting participation across the state. The yearlong program is designed to create a community and support group where individuals, ages 18-45, can engage with and learn from experienced hunting mentors in a low-stress environment.

February 19, 2017, kicks off the 1st annual Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors Program with partner Dubuque County Conservation. The partners are currently recruiting 15-20 participants to join the community of individuals that have a passion for the outdoors. Skill-building clinics, range days and hunts will be held in and around the Dubuque County area.

The outline of the program begins in February with an introduction to hunter education, firearm safety, introduction to wildlife and habitats, scouting tips, what to do when a participant harvests an animal and wild-game cooking. By mid-spring, participants are ready for their first turkey hunt. As the program continues, participants are exposed to a wider variety of outdoor activities - fly fishing, outdoor survival skills, wild game food preparation, and upland, small game and waterfowl hunting. The program also provides an insight into the essential hunting gear and clothing items participants need on introductory hunts.  

Each participant will be paired with a certified mentor to provide support during these activities. A 2016 participant from Polk County, Derek, stated, "getting to know the different mentors and learn from them and what they do, was good."

Participants applying for this program will need to complete online hunter education and be committed to attending clinics and outdoor activities for three to four hours a month for 10 consecutive months. There will be a small registration fee of $135.00 that will cover required licenses and a membership to the NWTF.

We are also seeking mentors, both male and female, that are willing to help teach and guide participants through the program. Mentors should be a minimum age of 21 and free of any criminal record. Background checks will be conducted for all mentors.

"To ensure the future of hunting and outdoor sports, we need to educate future generations about what it means to be a hunter and a conservationist," said Stacey Sipe Smith, NWTF Save the Hunt Coordinator for Iowa.

Applications for participants and mentors and a tentative class schedule are available on the NWTF-Iowa Facebook page and the Dubuque County Conservation website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org

Submit applications (no later than February 25, 2017) and/or to learn more about the program, contact Mike Hagen, NWTF Save the Hunt Coordinator for Dubuque County at mvhagen@prodigy.net or 319-551-8265.

 

New Cookie for a Big Anniversary

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