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Malone's three points sends series back to Dubuque for a decisive Game 5 Tuesday Night

MUSKEGON, MI-Veteran forwards Seamus Malone and Dylan Gambrell had no plans to end their Dubuque Fighting Saints careers on Saturday night. Gambrell notched a goal and an assist and Malone had three points to help lead the Fighting Saints to a 6-0 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. Jacob Nehama stopped all 26 shots, and the victory forced a decisive Game 5 of the series.

Game 5 will be played at the Mystique Community Ice Center on Tuesday, May 5, at 7:05 p.m. The evening will feature $2 concession stand specials and several amazing offers for Season Ticket Holders to help fill the building for this must-win game. Tickets are on sale at DubuqueFightingSaints.com and at the Fighting Saints Box Office, which will have extended hours on Sunday.

After stopping 46 shots in Game 3, Dubuque peppered Muskegon goaltender Eric Schierhorn with 15 shots in the opening period. It wasn't until Dubuque's final shot of the period that they were finally able to strike. Gambrell scored his second goal of the playoffs off a faceoff victory. Wyatt Ege launched a shot from the blueline that was deflected on net. Malone retrieved the rebound and fed Gambrell on the backdoor. The forward made no mistake, giving Dubuque a 1-0 lead with only 52 seconds left in the period.

Malone would again set up Dubuque's second goal early in the second period. The forward tracked down a loose puck on the left wing. He delayed along the boards, waiting for forward Jacob Benson joining the play. Malone fed Benson with a perfectly timed pass and the forward slide a shot five-hole on Schierhorn to make it 2-0 Dubuque at 6:36 of the second period.

The second half of the game's middle period was filled with penalties. Andrew Kerr was assessed a major penalty for elbowing, giving Muskegon five minutes of power play time. Dubuque's penalty kill was sensational, and Muskegon got into penalty trouble of its own later in the period, keeping them off the scoreboard.

Dubuque was awarded a five-on-three power play late in the period and Malone added a goal to his strong evening. After being robbed by Schierhorn on a backdoor pass seconds prior, Malone didn't miss on his second attempt. Gambrell fed a cross-ice pass to Malone and the forward roofed a shot over Schierhorn's glove to make it 3-0 Dubuque with only 10 seconds left in the second period.

Dubuque would add three more in the third period and chase Schierhorn from the game. Willie Knierim notched a goal on the power play at the 32 second mark to make it 4-0. He'd add a goal on a breakaway that would end Schierhorn's night at 7:05 of the third period.

Backup goaltender Michael Latorella was beat by Mitchell Smith's wrist shot at 15:27 to give Dubuque the 6-0 lead. Nehama stopped all 11 shots in the third period to earn his first career USHL playoff shutout.

Dubuque outshot Muskegon 51-26. Dubuque was 2-for-8 on the power play while Muskegon was 0-for-3.

With the series tied, 2-2, Tuesday's must-win Game 5 will feature many incredible offers for fans including a $2 Tuesday promotion which features $2 hot dogs, $2 small popcorns and $2 small sodas at the concession stands.
Full Season Ticket Holders who have signed up for "Pay as We Play" ticket packages will receive several amazing offers for Game 5 to help the Fighting Saints fill the Mystique Community Ice Center for this must-win game.

Full Season Ticket Holders are asked to check their emails for special exclusive offers only available for a limited time. They may also call 563.583.6880 for more details on this exceptional offer.

Additionally, Season Ticket Holders that purchase five or more additional tickets for Game 5 will receive $5 in Saints Bucks to use on concessions or merchandise for Game 5. For every five additional tickets purchased, they'll receive another $5 in Saints Bucks to spend on food, drinks or apparel.

Tickets for Game 5 may be purchased at the box office, by calling 563.583.6880 or online at DubuqueFightingSaints.com. The Fighting Saints Box Office will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, and open from 9 a.m. through puck drop on Tuesday. Tickets for Game 5 start at just $10.

Tuesday's game is only the second time since Dubuque's return to the USHL in 2010 that the club has played a Game 5. In 2013, Dubuque hosted a Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final at the Mystique Community Ice Center against the Youngstown Phantoms. In front of an electric crowd of 3,315, Evan Janssen scored a pair of goals and Arthur Brey stopped 23 shots to earn Dubuque a 4-0 win and a spot in the Clark Cup Final where they would sweep the Fargo Force for their second championship in three seasons.

About the Dubuque Fighting Saints
The Fighting Saints returned to USHL play in the brand new Mystique Community Ice Center during the 2010-11 Season, winning the Clark Cup in their first year back in the USHL. The Fighting Saints continued their success with a historic season in 2012-13, finishing with a franchise best 45-11-8 record. The team claimed the Anderson Cup as the USHL's regular season champions for the first time in 30 years, and also earned the Clark Cup for a second time in three seasons. In August 2013, the team took the Bronze Medal while representing the United States at the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia. The club has produced a number of players that moved on to NCAA Division I hockey and have been drafted by NHL teams, including Zemgus Girgensons and Johnny Gaudreau.

The original Fighting Saints competed in the USHL for 21 seasons (1980-2001). The Club won the Clark Cup as playoff champions on three occasions (1981, 1983, 1985) under head coach Jack Barzee. One of the most well-known alumni of the original Fighting Saints was Gary Suter, a 17-year NHL veteran, two time Olympian, Stanley Cup winner, and member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

About Northern Lights Hockey, LLC
Northern Lights Hockey, LLC is the company that owns and operates the USHL franchise in Dubuque, Iowa. The owners of Northern Lights Hockey, LLC collectively provide an extensive background in both business and hockey, and represent interests on a national and local level. Philip Falcone, Chief Investment Officer of Harbinger Capital Partners and former part owner of the NHL's Minnesota Wild is the company's principal owner. The ownership group also includes Peter Chiarelli, Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Mark Falcone and Brad Kwong, Managing Partner of Northern Lights Hockey, LLC. Philip Falcone, Chiarelli and Kwong all played hockey together at Harvard University in the mid-1980's. The group also includes local Iowan partners Mark Falb and David S. Field, M.D. Falb currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Westmark Enterprises, Inc and Kendall / Hunt Publishing Company. Dr. Field has practiced orthopedic surgery for 30 years and has been the driving force behind hockey in Dubuque. Dr. Field also owned the Dubuque Thunderbirds, the USA Hockey Tier III team that competed in the Central States Hockey League through the 2009-­-10 Season.


$20,000 Awarded in Finley Nursing Scholarships

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UnityPoint Health Finley Health Foundation and the Finley School of Nursing Alumni Association are pleased to announce that a total of $20,000 has been awarded to area students who are pursuing a nursing degree in higher education for the 2015-2016 academic school years.

Recipients are:

Jordan Albrecht, Dubuque, IA
Molly Blackbourn, Shullsburg, WI
Melanie Braun, Lancaster, WI
Emily Broadbent, Dubuque, IA
Hillary Burgmeier, East Dubuque, IA
Cassie Conatser, LaMotte, IA
Maloree Cummer, Farley, IA
Molly Denlinger, Dubuque, IA
Theron Denlinger, Cuba City, WI
Ashley Ernst, Dubuque, IA
Kim Irish, Dubuque, IA
Danielle Kaiser, Cuba City, WI
Amy Kluesner, Farley, IA
Madeline Kramer, Farley, IA
Molly McCullough, Bernard, IA
Lauren Palmer, Dubuque, IA
Gabrielle Recker, Dyersville, IA
Rebecca Reistroffer, Farley, IA
Rachel Schiess, Scales Mound, IL
Bridget Schmidt, Dubuque, IA
Chelsey Schroeder, Dubuque, IA
Katherine Soliday, Zwingle, IA
Paige Soppe, Manchester, IA
Teresa Tibbott, Delaware, IA
Hannah Theros, Dubuque, IA
Zoey Weber, Epworth, IA
Erica Weitz, Dubuque, IA

Scholarship funding is provided by the Finley School of Nursing Alumni Association, the Edith Kritz Scholarship Endowment, the Dr. Peter Kearney Scholarship Endowment, the Colonel Fred and Ellen Phelps Scholarship, the Trilk Scholarship and the Miller Scholarship in honor of the late Andrea Hayslett-Trilk and Carole Smith-Miller, both School of Nursing alumnae. In the past nine years $125,000 has been given in scholarships to area students.

For scholarship information contact the Finley Health Foundation at 563-589-2358.


Dubuque Achieves 4-STAR Community Rating

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Dubuque was awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for national excellence today. Dubuque is just the third Iowa community and the 25th in the nation to achieve certification under the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR).

The STAR Community Rating System is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties, which helps communities evaluate themselves across seven areas related to sustainability, such as built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. For instance, communities get credit for reductions in energy use, increased transportation access, or increased investment in locally owned and operated financial institutions. STAR provides support as localities benchmark progress, and a third-party review ensures accountability.

"This is truly a community achievement," said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. "Our sustainability efforts are focused on outcomes and this process was extremely valuable in defining what they mean to residents and businesses. We are very proud to receive a 4-STAR rating and look forward to using the information we have gathered to become a 5-STAR community."

The STAR framework is comprehensive, including everything from how safe residents feel, how successful schools are, and how fast emergency response times are, to things like workforce readiness, housing affordability, and civic engagement. Over 30 Sustainable Dubuque partners collaborated over the past year to collect data to measure the community's progress towards national sustainability standards. Dubuque scored highest in the "built environment" and "education, arts, and community" categories. Other notable achievements within the assessment include:

Built Environment: Dubuque far exceeded the national threshold for total acreage of and access to public space. Nearly 98 percent of housing units in Dubuque are within a half-mile of a park or public space. Dubuque holds 77.8 park acres per 1,000 residents. Parks promote active living lifestyles, provide environmental and health benefits, and also provide a venue for community programming.

Climate & Energy: Dubuque demonstrated a five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2003 and 2011. This progress is supported by innovative local actions such as a curbside food scrap collection program and an electronic waste recycling program.

Economy & Jobs: Since 2000, downtown rehabilitation has contributed to 3,000 net new jobs and over $329 million in public and private improvements. The Petal Project green business certification also offers an innovative framework to help businesses reach their sustainability goals.

Equity & Empowerment: Dubuque shows a commitment to civil and human rights through a robust Human Rights Code, a Human Rights Department within the local government, and an independent Human Rights Commission which provides independent oversight and convenes dialogues around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Health & Safety: Dubuque is a top performer in the state in terms of community health indicators, such as mortality, tobacco use, and diet and exercise. The City has also increased production of local foods through community garden plots, and the Dubuque School District has passed a School Wellness Policy to promote activity and healthy foods in schools.

Communities pursuing STAR certification accumulate points for their achievements across the seven goal areas, which are used to determine their rating. There are four STAR recognition levels: Reporting Community (50-199 points); 3-STAR Community (200-399 points); 4-STAR Community (400-599 points); or 5-STAR (600+ points). Dubuque received a score of 468, qualifying it as a 4-STAR Community, recognized for "national excellence" in sustainability. Only two cities have received a 5-STAR Community rating, the highest achievable. Other 4-STAR certified communities include Austin, Texas; Broward County, Fla.; Davenport, Iowa; Evanston, Ill.; Memphis, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; Tacoma, Wash.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.

"Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community," said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. "The data and information that Dubuque gathered through the process should help them continue to make improvements that benefit the whole community." According to Varnadore, nearly 100 communities are actively using the STAR Community Rating System, with more than 60 engaged in the certification process.

For more details on Dubuque's certification, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/STARcommunity. Visit www.sustainabledubuque.org for more information on Dubuque's sustainability efforts.

To view the full list of communities involved, visit www.STARcommunities.org/communities.

About STAR Communities
STAR Communities advances a national framework for sustainable communities through the delivery of standards and tools built by and for local governments and the communities they serve. The organization administers the STAR Community Rating System, the nation's first framework and certification program for local sustainability. For more information, visit www.STARcommunities.org.


Arboretum to Host Annual Children's Spring Party

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Children will have a chance to mingle with some of their favorite characters from books, movies, and TV during the annual Children's Spring Party at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on Sunday, May 17.

This year's event, sponsored by American Trust, is called "Just Clownin' Around" and will have a Circus theme. It will take place from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on the Arboretum grounds, 3800 Arboretum Drive, rain or shine. Admission is $1 per person, all ages, payable at the gate. No advance tickets are needed. Lunch, snacks, and beverages will be available for purchase in the Packard Pavilion. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to bring their cameras to take advantage of the many photo opportunities.

Volunteers from the Dubuque Senior High School cheerleading squad, costumed as popular characters such as Dora, Elmo, and Snow White, will assist children as they travel through the gardens enjoying a day at the circus! In addition, children will be able to do a make-and-take craft activity, pose for photos with the characters, play their favorite carnival games and choose a prize. Prizes are donated by Bryce Parks and Toys for Tots. The cheerleaders will also offer face painting and tattoos.

Earny the Eagle and volunteers from American Trust Bank will be on hand to pass out free balloons, and a Dubuque city fire truck, police car and Paramount ambulance will be open for tours in the Visitor Center parking lot.

For more information, contact the Arboretum office at 563-556-2100 or visit the Arboretum website at www.dubuquearboretum.net.


Reminders for Taking Pets to City Parks, Pet Park

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Spring is a time to get outdoors and enjoy City parks and trails with your pet. The City's Leisure Services Department issues the following reminders regarding pets in City parks and trails, which officially open May 2.

Per City Ordinance, leashed dogs and cats are allowed in certain locations. Visit www.cityofdubuque.org/petsinparks for a map of pet-friendly parks and/or trails where dogs and cats are allowed on a leash. Pet owners/keepers are responsible for their pets' actions and must pick up and dispose of or take away their pets' waste.

Dogs are allowed off leash year-round in Dubuque's 2.5-acre Pet Park on North Grandview Avenue adjacent to Bunker Hill Golf Course. The park provides a fenced space where dogs can exercise and socialize with other dogs and offers separate areas for large and small dogs. Amenities of the Pet Park include waste bags and disposal containers, people and pet drinking fountains, and benches.

Pet Park admission may be purchased on a day-to-day basis at the park or through annual passes purchased through the Leisure Services Department. Self-registration daily fee is $1, a resident annual pass is $25 per pet, and a non-resident annual pass is $35 per pet. Annual passes are valid from May 1 of the current year through April 30 of the following year. Annual pass tags must be worn on dog's collar. Visit www.cityofdubuque.org/petsinparks for a downloadable application form.

The City of Dubuque is not responsible for the actions of people or their pets. Individuals who do not abide by park rules may be issued a municipal infraction. For more information and rules, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/petsinparks or call 563-589-4263.


Dubuque Delegation Visiting China in May

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A Dubuque delegation will visit China next month to continue a dialogue with Handan, Dubuque's sister city, on educational exchanges and economic development opportunities.

Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol will lead the delegation to Handan, located in Hebei province in northeast China, from May 22-31. Handan delegations visited Dubuque twice in 2013 during the Iowa Governor's 30th anniversary sister city festivities. This will be Dubuque's first mayoral visit to Handan since Mayor Duggan went in 1995.

"Governor Branstad's relationship with leadership in China is helping to take our sister city relationship with Handan to a higher level," said Buol. "We believe there are opportunities for both Dubuque and Handan to benefit economically and culturally from our relationship."

The delegation will include Mayor Buol, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) President Dr. Liang Chee Wee, NICC Provost Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation President Rick Dickinson, President of Greater Dubuque Development, DDI Inc. President J.B. Priest, and Dubuque Sister City Relationships Advisory Commission Chairperson Dick Landis.

"A variety of Dubuque businesses have international connections, including several with strong ties to China. Greater Dubuque's mission includes supporting our existing businesses and attracting new businesses and we believe this exchange offers opportunities to do both," said Dickinson. "We hope this dialogue will convert Chinese consumers into Dubuque customers and introduce additional Chinese students to higher education opportunities in the Greater Dubuque area."


Can’t-miss grad gifts

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Graduation season is a time for celebration as students prepare to face the next phase of their lives. Graduation parties will soon be in full swing, and people may find themselves attending one or more of these festive occasions.

Party guests and graduation well-wishers may want to bring gifts for the guests of honor, and the following are a few ideas that newly minted grads may appreciate now or in the near future.

Graduates enter a time of transition between graduation and their pursuits of a career or additional schooling. The summer that follows graduation is filled with free time for many recent grads, making it a prime time to explore the world. If you know a new grad who harbors a sense of wanderlust, put together a travel-themed present complete with airline tickets, guide books, carry-on luggage, and some converted currency to use as spending money. You even can work with a travel agent to customize a trip you know your new grad will love.

Charitable giving
Philanthropic students may have spent their time as students helping others and supporting certain charities. If you are aware of a cause your graduate supports, think about making a donation to that organization. Couple that gift with an offering to volunteer. It's a great way to spend time with the graduate before he or she moves on to the next phase of life.

Professional wardrobe
Recent graduates may have interviews lined up or even a job awaiting them upon graduation, and such grads may need attire that is more befitting the business world. Suits, ties, collared shirts, briefcases, and the like will make thoughtful gifts for the budding professional. If you are unsure of sizes or style preferences, a gift card to a well-known retailer or specialty shop is a safe idea.

Automotive accessories
Many recent grads use the months immediately following graduation to take a road trip, making automotive accessories great gifts. Increase the enjoyment factor of a post-graduation road trip by treating the grad to a subscription to a streaming satellite music service. This way grads can enjoy their favorite tunes no matter where their roads lead them.

School is not easy, so a gift to a spa for a massage or facial session can be a way to help your favorite graduate unwind once final exam and term paper season has officially ended. Exercise is another way to unwind from the rigors of a school year, so consider a health club membership for new grads whose campus gym access is no longer available.

Financial favors
Cash is a graduation gift that will never go out of style. It may not be fancy, but cash certainly comes in handy for graduates facing repayment of student loans or the costs of secondary schooling. If giving cash at a party, write a check payable to the graduate rather than giving loose cash that can be easily lost. Some grads even may have a Go Fund Me or Paypal account to help offset schooling costs, and gift givers can deposit money directly into such accounts if they so desire.


No-bake desserts make the perfect end to a gathering

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It is the season for entertaining, when invitations for barbecues and parties abound. Common courtesy dictates guests offer a token of appreciation to their host or hostess for the invitation to socialize. Although wine or other beverages are a go-to gift, a tasty dessert also makes a great gift. And gifters can even consider a no-bake recipe so they don't have to turn on the oven when the weather warms up.

Need inspiration? Browse the Internet and you're likely to discover dozens of delicious no-bake recipes. Cooking shows on television and articles in newspapers and magazines also can inspire home chefs. Otherwise, you can try your hand at these simple dessert solutions.

• Ambrosia salad: Ambrosia is a variation on a traditional fruit salad. While the name references a food enjoyed by Greek deities, most believe the dessert traces its origins to the United States. Although ambrosia salad can have different variations, many recipes begin with a dairy base (pudding, sour cream or yogurt) and then include different canned or fresh fruits, shredded coconut and mini-marshmallows. Ambrosia salad is refreshing on a warm day and takes little time to prepare.

• Pudding trifle: Trifles are made by layering different ingredients to create a striated design. This dessert may include a variety of ingredients, from cake to cookie crumbs to fruit. Trifles also can be customized to fit a particular party theme. Patriotic parties may feature a trifle made with berries, whipped cream and cubes of vanilla pound cake. Match flavors to cocktails or other food being served.

• Easy ice cream cake: Packaged ice cream sandwiches can be turned into a tasty and simple dessert. First, purchase a box of ice cream sandwiches, then melt hot fudge and crumble cookies, like Oreos®, into the fudge. Spread the cookie and fudge layer on top of the sandwiches and then repeat the layers. Finish by sealing everything with a thin coating of frozen whipped topping. Wrap in aluminum foil and allow to set and harden in the freezer for a few hours.

• Fruit pizza: This is a refreshing and relatively healthy dessert to complement any occasion. Start by making a graham cracker crust, either by mixing graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and a bit of sugar and pressing into a pie dish or by simply buying one ready-made. (For a less healthy alternative, and one that requires baking, use a sugar cookie dough to make a cookie crust.) Mix whipped cream cheese with a bit of strawberry jam, marmalade or your favorite fruit flavor. Spread over the crust. Place slices of fruit on top of the cream cheese. Peaches, apples, grapes, sliced cherries, kiwi, and blueberries can be used. For a professional-looking finish, a glaze made from cornstarch, water and sugar will give the top of the fruit pizza an inviting sheen.

• Fresh strawberry yogurt pie: The benefits of eating yogurt abound. Yogurt is lower in fat and calories than ice cream, and yogurt boasts active, live cultures that keep your digestive system working correctly. Yogurt doesn't just have to be reserved for breakfast or a snack. Enjoy it in a delicious dessert, too. Purchase a ready-made chocolate cookie pie crust or make your own from ground chocolate sandwich cookies. Mix together eight to 10 ounces of strawberry Greek yogurt with a small container of thawed frozen whipped topping. Add in slices of fresh strawberries and chocolate shavings, if desired. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and freeze until firmly set. Thaw slightly to slice easily and enjoy.

No-bake treats make for easily prepared desserts. Experiment with different flavor combinations, and you just may discover a new crowd favorite.


Simple ways to cut prom costs

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The costs of attending the prom can start to pile up pretty fast. For cost-conscious parents and teens, a little relief from those mounting costs can go a long way toward ensuring the night is still magical but not a budget-buster.

Finding ways to save money come prom season can be simple, and the following are a handful of ways parents and teens can make such a memorable night more affordable.

• Rent your gown. Guys rent their tuxedos for the prom, and gals can follow suit by renting their gowns for the night. Many stores rent gowns, and since teens likely won't wear the gown ever again, renting is more practical than spending hundreds of dollars on a dress that's destined for the closet once prom night has come and gone.

• Borrow your accessories. Guys and gals can save money on accessories by borrowing certain items from Mom and Dad and other relatives. For the guys, in lieu of purchasing a fancy wristwatch or set of cuff links for the night, borrow Dad's items instead. Girls can borrow a necklace or earrings from their mother, grandmother or an older sibling. Buying accessories like jewelry for the night can be very expensive while borrowing such items is free. And none of your friends will ever know the difference.

• Split the cost of a limo or take Mom or Dad's car to the prom. Renting a limousine is considered a prom night tradition, so teens who must have a limo can split the cost with as many friends as possible to save some money. If a limo is beyond your budget, you can have just as much fun without the limo by borrowing Mom and Dad's car. You can still head to the prom with friends if you borrow a car instead of renting a limousine, especially if Mom or Dad happens to drive a minivan.

• Take your own photos. Many of today's teens have their own smartphones, which may come with a high definition camera built in. These cameras are capable of taking great photos, which can save teens and their parents money on the cost of potentially costly photography. You can still order a photography package if you want some professional quality photos, but choose a smaller package and leave the rest of the night's photography up to you and your friends.

• Attend an affordable after party. Some schools host their own prom after parties at the school itself, and such parties are free or cost very little money. Such after parties are a fun and safe way to end the night, and they won't break the bank like a costly hotel room, either. If your school does not host a post-prom gathering, head home at the end of the night or plan an after party with friends at one of your houses. You will still end the night with a few laughs, but you'll also end it with a few more bucks in your pocket.


Shop smart for Mother's Day

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Come spring, shoppers often ask, "What gift should I get Mom for Mother's Day?" How do people transform the sentiments they have for their mother into gifts that represent love and devotion? Buying a Mother's Day gift is no easy task, especially for those who wait until the last minute to do their shopping. 

Beginning early can ease the pressure of Mother's Day shopping. Research gift options at least a month prior so that you can read reviews on products and services to guarantee quality. You also want to make sure the gift will arrive on time if you will be ordering your gift online. Here are other ways to shop in a smart manner.

• Do some sleuthing. Play detective and take inventory of what Mom likes to do the most. If you ask your mother what she wants, she will likely brush off the question and tell you nothing. It is up to you to do the investigative work. Pay attention to conversations and see if there is anything she mentions wanting to try or something around the house that may need updating. Practical gifts are less likely to end up unopened in the basement or attic. 

• Check expiration dates. Gift certificates and cards for particular stores or services are popular come Mother's Day. But it is essential to check expiration dates on the certificates, as there is a good chance Mom will put off pampering herself and you would not want the gift to expire before she has a chance to use it. In compliance with the law, chain restaurant gift cards don't expire for at least five years from purchase. Those might be your safest bet.

• Verify a business. Although Mom may love a cute boutique that just opened, verify the business before buying a gift card from it. An unpredictable economy has made it even harder for new businesses to succeed, and you don't Mom to be stuck with a worthless gift card should the new business not thrive. If she really likes a particular new business, take her on a shopping spree at the store instead.

• Skip the chocolate overload. Flowers and chocolates are traditional Mother's Day gifts. However, calorie-conscious women may not want to be faced with the temptation of a warehouse-sized box of chocolate treats. If Mom truly loves chocolate, treat her to a gourmet piece or two, but don't make that your main gift.

• Avoid "final sale" items. It can be tempting to peruse the deep-discount rack at Mom's favorite store when retailers cut prices on items in anticipation of a new season. However, these sales may come with restrictions on returns or exchanges. Unless you know Mom will like what you pick out, avoid the "final sale" racks in favor of items that can be returned or exchanged.

• Ask for a price match. In an effort to keep a loyal customer base, many stores will price match against competitors' ads. Therefore, if you feel more comfortable at a certain store, print out the advertised price and bring it to your favorite store. There's a good chance they will give you the item for the same price. This works particularly well for tech gifts that typically go on sale in the days leading up to a holiday or special event.

There are different ways to make shopping for Mother's Day gifts a little easier and guarantee the best experience for Mom as well.


City Parks to Open for Season on May 2

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City of Dubuque parks will officially open for the season on Saturday, May 2. Park restroom facilities, water fountains, and other amenities will be available for public use at that time.

The City of Dubuque offers 50 parks covering 1209 acres and features camping, disc golf, fishing, in-line hockey, picnicking, playgrounds, tennis, trails, skateboarding, softball and baseball, and more. An online map of Dubuque's parks is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/parks.

Miller Riverview Park & Campground, located at 1851 Admiral Sheehy Dr., is already open for the 2015 season. This area offers camping, picnic, and recreation areas, walking and biking paths, and a great view of the Mississippi River traffic. Camping reservations may be made online at www.cityofdubuque.org/millerriverviewpark. Starting May 6, online reservations may be made for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day holidays. For campers without access to a computer, staff will be available at the Multicultural Family Center at 1157 Central Avenue starting at 6 p.m. on May 6 to assist with the holiday reservation process.

To ensure an enjoyable park experience for all, the Parks Division offers some general reminders about its parks, pavilion rentals, and pet policies.

Park Hours
Hours of operation vary from park to park. In general, most City parks open to the public at 7 a.m. daily. The Alliant Energy Amphitheater, American Trust River's Edge Plaza, and the Mississippi Riverwalk are open for public use 24 hours per day.

Pavilion Rental
Pavilions are available to rent in Eagle Point Park, Flora Park, Miller Riverview Park, Murphy Park, and the Port of Dubuque. The Washington Park Gazebo may also be rented. Reservations may be arranged any time by calling the Parks Division at 563-589-4263 or online at www.cityofdubuque.org/parks. Reservations may be made 23 months in advance and payment is required at the time the reservation is made.

Pets in City Parks/Trails
Per City Ordinance revised August 6, 2013, leashed dogs and cats are allowed in certain locations. Dogs are allowed off leash in the Pet Park on North Grandview Avenue, which is open from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. daily. Municipal citations may be issued to anyone with a pet in a park or on a trail where they are not permitted. Dogs and cats are allowed on a leash at the following parks/trails:

A.Y. McDonald Park
Granger Creek Nature Trail
Heritage Trail
Jaycee Trail
John G. Bergfeld Recreation Area
Medical Associates Greenbelt Park
Miller Riverview Park (including trail on Chaplain Schmitt Island)
Northwest Arterial Trail
Port of Dubuque Marina
Port of Dubuque Riverwalk Trail
Powerline Trail
Pyatigorsk Park
Southern Levy Trail

Pet owners/keepers are responsible for their pets' actions and must pick up and dispose of or take away their pets' waste.

For further information about City parks, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/parks or call 563-589-4263.


Dubuque Considers Closing Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List

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The Dubuque Housing Commission's April 28 meeting agenda will include consideration of a proposal to close Dubuque's waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's rental assistance voucher program.

City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Director Alvin Nash recommends closing the list because Dubuque currently has 1,500 applicants on the HCV wait list and the average wait time for a voucher is currently 388 days.

"We are recommending closing the HCV waiting list to prevent false hope among our applicants that rental assistance will be available in the near future," said Nash.

HUD regulations state, "If the PHA (public housing authority) determines that the existing waiting list contains an adequate pool for use of available program funding, the PHA may stop accepting new applications..." Nash said HUD has given approval of the recommendation to close the Dubuque waiting list. If the Dubuque Housing Commission approves the recommendation, Dubuque will close the list, effective May 1, 2015.

Nash also said that, because of a shortfall in funding of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) for the 2015 calendar year, the City does not plan to issue any new vouchers during calendar year 2015 to applicants currently on the waiting list. As a result, the City is projecting that current HCV applicants would likely be on the waiting list for two years before being offered a voucher. City staff are working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create and implement strategies to prevent termination of benefits for current HCV participants. Nash does not expect any changes for current voucher participants.

The HCV program is a federal program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As of March 1, 2015, vouchers were being used by 914 Dubuque households, 50 percent of which have an elderly or disabled head of household. Seventy-eight percent of the 914 households have a gross income of less than $15,000 per year.

Although the waiting list may be closed for the HCV program, the City will continue to accept applications for the Project-Based Voucher Program to assist with elderly and/or disabled households at The Rose of Dubuque assisted living facility and applicants interested in the Moderate Rehabilitation Program, a project-based rental assistance tied to specific units located within the city for low-income households.

For additional information on rental assistance programs offered by the City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department, call 563-589-4230 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/housing.


Finley Scores Four Stars on Hospital Star Rating Report

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UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital received a four-star rating on The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Star Rating report. The CMS Hospital Star Rating is based on patient-experience surveys, which measures patient satisfaction in areas such as how well doctors or nurses communicate with patients, responsiveness of hospital staff and cleanliness of the hospital.

Hospitals received an overall summary score as well as scores from one star up to five stars for each of the 11 categories for which patients were surveyed. According to CMS, the starred ratings will be updated quarterly.

"We are very pleased with Finley's four star rating," said David Brandon, President and CEO of Finley Hospital. "I think being a community hospital allows us to be friendlier with our patients, therefore having higher patient satisfaction."

Finley pays close attention to patient experience scores and is constantly looking for opportunities to improve the scores.

"We take feedback from patients very seriously at Finley," explained David Brandon. "From signage and parking to quality of care, we put patient experience as a high priority."

The report can help consumers make decisions about hospital care; however when hospitals receive a three, four or five star rating the differentiating factors may be harder to identify. In addition, the patient surveys are measuring only a select part of the population of Medicare patients and limited services.


Finley Hospital celebrates 125th Anniversary in 2015

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UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2015. The hospital is celebrating in a variety of ways and invites the Dubuque community to join in on the celebration.

In honor of the 125th anniversary, Finley Health Foundation's Miracles on the Mississippi will be a special event in partnership with the Diamond Jo Casino and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. The event features Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX and will take place on Saturday, May 16. Community members can purchase tickets by calling (563) 557-2700.

Special edition 125th onesies will be given to babies born at Finley this year. However, the hospital isn't just celebrating babies born during this special year –community members are invited to participate in the "I'm a Finley baby" Facebook contest. Photos of any baby who was born at Finley can be submitted to Finleymarketing@unitypoint.org. Contest details will be published at the time of the contest.

Community members can also join the social media campaigns #125WaysofCaring and #125FinleyFaces to recognize the ways in which Finley staff and volunteers have made an impact in the Dubuque community for the past 125 years.

"We are excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary with the community in so many different ways," said David Brandon, President and CEO of Finley. "We have a storied past and a bright future. We look forward to serving the Dubuque area community for several hundred years – especially with completion of the Grandview Expansion Project in 2016."

The Sunshine Circle, a volunteer group who supports Finley through its work managing the gift shop, gift cart and other events, is celebrating its 126th anniversary. Sunshine Circle was founded in 1889, one year prior to Finley's founding, but the hospital wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the efforts of the Sunshine Circle ladies in 1889. The Sunshine Circle members continue to impact the operations of Finley by volunteering over 15,000 hours in 2014. Lifetime giving of the volunteer organization is over $1 million to support patient needs at Finley Hospital.

Community members who would like to share historical photos or stories about Finley and the Sunshine Circle are invited to do so by contacting Finleymarketing@unitypoint.org.


How to create a rainwater harvesting system

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Rainwater collection is a way to conserve water that can be adopted by both private homeowners and businesses. Harvesting water during peak times of precipitation ensures water will be on hand during drought or when water restrictions are implemented. Making use of rainwater reduces reliance on underground wells or municipal water systems. Harvesting rainwater also can help prevent flooding and soil erosion.

The average homeowner can collect thousands of gallons of rainwater each year. To learn just how much water can be harvested, as well as how many natural resources can be produced from that rain, visit www.save-the-rain.com, where men and women can calculate their rain collection potential by geographic location and average rainfall. Afterward, homeowners may be inclined to establish their own rainwater harvesting systems. Here is how to get started.

• Determine your roofing material. Potable water can be harvested from homes with sheet metal or slate roofing. Clay or adobe tiles also may be acceptable. Asphalt, wood shingles and tar roofs may leach toxic chemicals into the water, making it unsafe for drinking. This rainwater may only be collected to use for irrigation methods or washing cars and outdoor items.

• Check gutter materials. Some gutters are made with lead soldering components. A commercial lead swab test can help you determine if there is lead present in your gutters. At a later time you can choose to replace the gutters if you desire a potable supply of water.

• Invest in a collection tank or barrel. A number of manufacturers offer prefabricated rain collection systems complete with collection barrels. Otherwise, you can use your own barrel or tank to house the collected water. Ensure it is large enough to handle the volume of water collected.

• Purchase and install leaf guards. If your home is surrounded by many trees, you probably accumulate leaf and tree debris in your home gutters and downspouts. Leaf guards will help keep the gutters clear and increase water flow through the water collection system.

• Create a water collection area. A portion of the gutter system should be removed so that it connects to the collection barrel or tank. As the rain falls, it will run down the roof and into the gutters before it streams into the downspouts. The downspout connected to the tank will deposit the water directly inside. Filters can be installed to help block the flow of debris.

• Outfit the tank for overflow and water usage. A spigot and hose connection makes it easy to use the collected water for outdoor purposes. Many rainwater collection systems are designed with an overflow safeguard that will prevent the water from backing up through the system. It will divert the rainwater back out of the downspout when the barrel or tank is full.

A rainwater collection system harnesses a natural source of water to be used for gardens and other outdoor purposes. This water doesn't contain chlorine or other additives, making it relatively clean and safe to use. Homeowners should check to see if a permit is necessary to install a rainwater collection system and then begin gathering water for various uses.


Tips for homeowners on their first renovation projects

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Home renovations are typically exciting, as homeowners get to see the visions of their dream homes come to light right before their very eyes. Turning an outdated bathroom into a modern oasis or an empty basement into the ultimate man cave strengthens the sense of attachment homeowners have with their homes.

But few home renovation projects go from start to finish without experiencing a few bumps in the road along the way. Such bumps can be difficult to handle for homeowners working on their first renovation projects, but there are many ways for novices to navigate the sometimes murky waters of home improvement projects and come out relatively unscathed on the other end, where a newly renovated home awaits.

• Plan well and know what to expect. When working with contractors, get all agreements in writing and spell out exactly what you desire in a home renovation. Photo references can help guide contractors and architects. Ask for the full picture of what can be expected with the work, from demolition to the punch list. Knowing what lies ahead can keep you grounded throughout the project.

• Discuss work each day and set payment schedules. Make payments contingent on work completed. This can help keep contractors on schedule. Paying for all work upfront leaves homeowners at a disadvantage, as it does not provide incentive for workers to be timely and efficient. Check in with workers to get daily progress reports. 

• Have reasonable expectations. A renovation project may exceed its budget and take longer than initially expected. Understanding that these potential setbacks might be part of the process will make it easier to handle them when the foreman speaks to you about any issues that arise.

• Accept the mess. Construction work is messy. There's no way to maintain a pristine house when contractors are entering and exiting all day. Dust is bound to be generated, and tools can fill up rooms. A home in disarray can be stressful, but continue to visualize the end result and the mess won't bother you so much.

• Establish a contingency plan. Bathrooms and kitchen renovations are typically the most disruptive home improvement projects. Going without a kitchen can make it difficult to enjoy meals at home, while a bathroom remodel may require you to navigate water shutoffs. If your project is scheduled to take several months, establish a contingency plan to deal with the consequences of your renovation project. Speak with family members about using some of their home amenities, and prepare and freeze meals in advance so you can reheat them later on when you don't have access to your stove.

• Plan your escape. Sometimes the constant work and mess of construction is too much to bear. Afford yourself time away by visiting relatives or staying at a hotel. Even a single night away can provide the relief you need.

A home that is undergoing a remodel can be a less than comfortable environment. But homeowners who have never before lived through a renovation project can take several steps to make the process go as smoothly as possible.


Easy way to clean up in a snap

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It's the season for spring cleaning, and homeowners no doubt have a slew of projects on tap in the weeks to come. Clothes will be sorted and donated and unnecessary items thrown in the trash. 

Sometimes, however, there's little time for a thorough cleaning, so a quick tidying up is done when guests are coming to visit. There are many ways to tackle the clutter and get a home presentable in no time at all. When you're short on time, consider these ways to give living spaces the appearance of cleanliness.


• Assess the kitchen sink and move all the dishes awaiting washing into the dishwasher. Wipe down the inside of the sink with a disinfecting wipe or a clean sponge.

• Wipe down the countertops quickly with a wipe or sponge. Wet a paper towel or rag and attack any errant spots on the stove and floor, which will become sticky and attract more dirt.

• Fold or hang dish towels in a way that camouflages any stains.

• Place a small pan of water on the stove with some nutmeg and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. This will disguise any smells lingering from last night's dinner.

• Take down magnets and notes stuck to the refrigerator and temporarily place them in a zipper-seal bag.

• Use a static-charged sweeper sheet to grab any hairs, dust or pet fur from the floor.

Living Room

• Go to the sofa and turn the pillows to the side that is not often facing outward. Consider this the "company side" that may not have any stains or mars in the fabric. Fluff the pillows to clear out dust.

• Use a handheld vacuum to clean up any crumbs or dirt on tables or in the sofa cushions.

• Wipe down coffee tables with a damp cloth to clear away dust and fingerprints.

• Wet the fingertips of rubber gloves and glide your hand over upholstery to rid furniture of pet hair.

• Keep a basket handy to neatly store newspaper, magazines or books.

• Gather and remove the most obvious clutter and relocate it elsewhere less noticeable.

• Dim the lights and light candles. It's harder to spot dirt in a dim room.


• A premoistened wipe can quickly clean the sink and counters from dried-on contact solution or toothpaste.

• The same wipe can be used to rid the mirror of errant spots of splatter.

• Use the same cloth to wipe down the toilet seat and the rim underneath. Use the toilet brush to scrub inside the bowl to remove any rings.

• Put new hand towels on racks or on the counter.

• Glide a lint roller over the bath mat to remove hair and fuzz.


• If the children's rooms are messes, close the doors and make those rooms off-limits.

• Make your bed and fluff the pillows.

• Take dirty clothes to the hamper and put away anything left out. If desperate, pile it into the closet to attend to later.

• Neaten the night stands next to the bed, removing personal effects or storing it in the drawers.


Treasured Memories: Tree of Life Memorial Service

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Hospice of Dubuque will host the annual Tree of Life Memorial Service and Lighting Ceremony Tuesday, May 19, in Washington Park at 7:30 pm. For the past 20 years Hospice of Dubuque has held this special service to honor treasured loved ones.

The night will include music, prayer, reflections and lighting of the display. Each light surrounding the Hospice of Dubuque Tree of Life stands in remembrance or honor of a family member, friend or loved one. These lights will remain illuminated through Memorial Day weekend.

Anyone may submit a donation, with the name of your loved one, to add a light to the Tree of Life display. Gifts of any amount are tax-deductible and should be sent to Hospice of Dubuque, 1670 JFK Road, Dubuque, IA 52002. Please send your gift by Friday, May 15, to be included in the Tree of Life program. All memorials, not only those served by Hospice of Dubuque, are welcome.

In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the Roshek Building, 700 Locust Street. Rain or shine, due to limited seating, please bring a lawn chair.

Your donation enables Hospice of Dubuque, your community's nonprofit hospice, to support patient care and bereavement programs. On behalf of all who benefit from your generosity, thank you for supporting Hospice of Dubuque. For more information, call 563.582.1220 or visit www.hospiceofdubuque.org.

Special thanks to Behr's Funeral Home, proud sponsor of this year's Tree of Life advertising.


Dubuque County Fair Announces 2015 Main Stage Line-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dubuque County Fair is the largest and longest-running family entertainment event in the county. This year's 62nd annual event runs daily from July 28 through August 2 with main-stage and grounds entertainment, one of the nation's top Midway carnival operators, the 4H barns and creative arts exhibits, fair food offerings (including the legendary lemonade) and more. To learn more about the fair, visit www.dbqfair.com.


Dubuque Main Street's Mini-Golf Fundraiser scheduled for May 8, 2015

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Sign up today for Dubuque Main Street's 14th Annual 18-hole miniature golf tournament! The 14th Annual Puttzin' Around Downtown mini-golf outing and fundraiser for Dubuque Main Street will be held Friday, May 8, 2015, from noon to 5 p.m. Puttzin' was created as an opportunity for mini-golfers to explore and enjoy 18 downtown businesses over the course of an afternoon, as well as raise funds for the downtown program.

Dubuque Main Street is a not-for profit organization working to improve and to promote our vibrant downtown. This year, Puttzin' is helping to celebrate our 30th Anniversary with a "throwback" theme: 1980's Blockbuster Movies! Get ready for everything from Star Wars to A Christmas Story... in May! Dubuque Main Street promotes downtown Dubuque as THE place in our community to live, work, and play through events like Architecture Days, the Dubuque... and All That Jazz! summer concert series, the Dubuque Farmers' Market, the Fall Into Art Gallery Tour, and more.

Registrations are currently being accepted to participate in the afternoon of themed mini-golf. Register and pay on or before April 24, 2015, for only $140 per group of four golfers. Space is limited to 54 foursomes. Download the registration form at www.dubuquemainstreet.org or contact Christie for more information at 563-588-4400.

18 downtown Dubuque businesses will be participating, and golfers will travel around the course both numerically and in reverse order for maximum socialization opportunities! Participating hole sponsors include: 1st & Main, American Trust & Savings Bank, Dubuque Bank & Trust, the Dubuque Convention & Visitor's Bureau Welcome Center, Eronel, Hotel Julien Dubuque, The Hot Spot, Inspire Café, Jubeck New World Brewing, Key City Vision Center, Matter Creative Center, McCoy Jewelers, Pinot's Palette, RF2 Furniture Warehouse, Selser Schaefer Architects, and WS Live!

Following an exciting afternoon of mini-golf, the "19th Hole" After Party will feature an awards celebration, silent auction, and raffle, all taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Riverboat Lounge inside Hotel Julien Dubuque. The lowest scoring Foursome will receive $400 cash. The public is invited to the 19th Hole After Party, even if you didn't golf! Everyone may bid on the silent auction and buy raffle tickets to support Dubuque Main Street.

For further information or to reserve a spot for your team, contact Dubuque Main Street at 563.588.4400 or visit www.dubuquemainstreet.org. Fore!


Asbury Road Pavement Project to Begin in May

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

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

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

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

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

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


The 2015 Manchester Garage Sale Is Open For Business!

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MANCHESTER, IOWA — The 39th annual Manchester Garage Sale for Camp Courageous is open for business. Just as Camp Courageous has grown from 211 campers served during the summer of 1974 to nearly 7,000 individuals served with special needs year-round today, so has the Manchester Garage Sale grown from the garage of a camper parent in 1976 to its present donated building located at 913 East Main St. in Manchester.

The sale opened Monday, April 13, and will remain open until about the second week in October. Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM and Saturday from 8:30 to noon.

Run by over 50 dedicated volunteers, the Manchester Garage Sale is the camp's largest fundraiser. During the six months the store is open, these volunteers are constantly busy accepting donations, sorting, pricing, and displaying items, along with making sales. They also collect items off the camp's needs list for the camp. For many, the Manchester Garage Sale goes year-round as they continue to collect items, along with washing and mending donations. They are also constantly making improvements to the building, like installing air conditioning and carpet.

The Manchester Garage Sale is a win-win situation. People who donate their personal items to the sale have the opportunity to clean house, and know their things will go for good use. The buyer has the opportunity to get needed items at a very reasonable price, and the camp obtains items it needs, along with much needed financial support.

In the past couple of weeks, hundreds of Leo Greco items and other antiques have been donated, going back many decades.

For more information conatct the camp or call the Manchester Garage Sale at 563-927-2120.


How to keep your bike in top form

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Bicycle riding is one of the best things a person can do for the environment and his or her personal health. Riding a bike requires only the power of the body and does not produce any noxious emissions. It's quiet, and bikes are able to gain access to places where cars are not permitted.

According to Glumac, a full-service engineering company specializing in sustainable design, using one gallon of gasoline in a car produces about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions directly, or 26 pounds if you account for processing the fuel. Opting for a bike instead of a car can have profound environmental benefits.

Bicycles are most useful and efficient when they are properly maintained. Failing to maintain a bike means it could be relegated to a dusty corner in the garage. To keep bikes in ideal working order, consider these bike maintenance tips.

• Keep the bike clean. A bicycle is a collection of moving parts. Over time mud and debris can get lodged in gears, tires and other components, impacting the performance of the bike. Regular washing ensures that the bike will operate at peak capacity whenever you decide to go for a ride. High-pressure hoses may damage sensitive bearing systems, so it's better to use a damp rag to carefully clean the bike. Brushing or buffing away debris can be handy as well. Consider how frequently you ride the bike and where you ride it when determining how often to clean the bike.

• Maintain proper tire pressure. Much like with car tires, air pressure in bicycle tires can impact the ride and likelihood of damage. According to the CARE Exchange, a group of riders involved in fundraising cycling events, too little air in tires can increase the likelihood of punctures to the inner tube. Low air pressure can put more pressure on bike components and accelerate wear and tear. Plus, it can make for an uncomfortable ride. Similarly, too much pressure can cause the tires to blow out or provide a less enjoyable ride. Always keep tires at the pressure rating listed on the tire's sidewall.

• Keep the chain well lubricated. One of the most crucial steps to maintaining a bicycle is to keep the bike chain and other moving parts lubricated. This reduces excessive wear caused by friction and can prevent gears from ceasing up. Lubricants also can help prevent rust and corrosion. Apply lubricant to the chain, brake and derailleur levers and cables. But too much lubricant can be a bad thing, attracting dirt and reducing performance. Use only as much as the bike needs and wipe away the excess.

• Get a tune-up. It's beneficial to periodically have an experienced bike mechanic look over your bicycle. Bearings may loosen slightly, and brake and gear cables can stretch. Take the bicycle into a bike shop so the staff can give it an overhaul, addressing any areas that may need a little fine-tuning. Bike shop employees typically are knowledgeable in bicycle maintenance, and they can provide a wealth of information on other cycling-related subjects.

Bike riding is a popular pastime and an activity that is beneficial to the environment. Maintaining a bicycle is a great way to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible.


Natural ways to beat seasonal allergies

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The arrival of warmer weather changes the landscape completely. Animals come out of hiding and hibernation while trees and flowers bloom anew. The spring season can be an exciting time for naturalists and lovers of the great outdoors because they can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. But for many people, spring also marks the start of allergy season and spending time outdoors can become downright uncomfortable for them.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says nasal allergies affect approximately 50 million people in the United States. Allergic diseases, including asthma, are the fifth most prevalent chronic diseases among people of all ages and the third most common in children. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can occur in spring, summer and/or early fall. People who experience hay fever often can attribute their symptoms to sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, or airborne mold spores.

No two allergy sufferers are alike, so medications that may work for one person may be only mildly effective for another. Many medications can cause side effects, which may be just as frustrating as the initial allergy symptoms. Treatments may target sneezing and itching but fail to clear up congestion. Drowsiness, dry mouth and nasal irritation may be side effects of common allergy drugs.

People who want to avoid allergy medication can look to natural remedies to alleviate their symptoms. Whether used alone or in concert with traditional medicine, these remedies may make spending time outdoors more pleasant.

• Try probiotics. Probiotics, those friendly bacteria that reside in the digestive system, can do more than just treat an upset stomach. Naturopathic doctors say that probiotics also can influence the immune system and may help strengthen its response to common allergens. Since probiotics are good for replenishing healthy bacteria in the body anyway, many people may want to keep taking them once their allergy symptoms have come and gone.

• Use neti pots or saline sprays. A small amount of saltwater can rinse away allergens, such as pollen, that get lodged in the nose. These rinses also can help clear up congestion and flush out any other irritants.

• Load up on omega-3s. A German study published in the journal Allergy found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn't regularly eat these foods. Omega-3s can help fight inflammation. Drinking more fluids and using spices in cooking can help flush out allergens as well.

• Don't forget vitamin C. Vitamin C is an immune-system booster and may help prevent the formation of histamine in the body, a substance responsible for many allergy symptoms.


The many uses for vinegar

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Check your kitchen pantry and you will probably find a bottle of vinegar. While this substance can add much-needed tang to favorite recipes and even improve the leavening function of some baking ingredients, its power extends far beyond the kitchen.

Many are surprised upon learning how much vinegar can do. A sour-tasting liquid that contains acetic acid, vinegar can be used as a cleaning product and an influential ingredient in many recipes. Vinegar also is relatively inexpensive, making it a cost-effective home staple.
If you are ready to get more from that versatile vinegar in your kitchen pantry, explore the following ways to put it to use.

Vinegar is an effective cleaning fluid, perhaps best known for producing streak-free windows. Vinegar also can dissolve dirt from painted walls and remove grime from woodwork.

By boiling 1⁄4 cup of white distilled vinegar in the microwave with a cup of water, you can loosen splattered-on food and deodorize the appliance. Vinegar also can be used to deodorize garbage disposals, coffee makers and kitchen drains. It's an effective means to removing pet odors from carpeting as well.

Around the bathroom, use vinegar to remove soap scum film from shower doors and tile surfaces. Remove stubborn toilet bowl stains as well. Corrosion and hard water can clog showerheads, and by soaking the shower nozzle in vinegar overnight, you can dislodge any material.

You can rely on vinegar when cleaning up around your home office as well. Vinegar can help clean sticky scissor blades or remove ballpoint-pen marks from surfaces. A vinegar-and-water solution can be used to clean keyboards and other electronic equipment. Apply with a damp cloth rather than spraying the solution directly onto the electronics.

Lawn and garden
Vinegar makes an effective weed deterrent and can kill grass that grows between the cracks on sidewalks and driveways.

Acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons or azaleas, can benefit from a little vinegar mixed in when watering.

If you want to keep ants at bay, use vinegar when cleaning outdoor patio furniture or spray it around areas that are susceptible to ant infestations. You may find the ants steer clear of the smell.

Health and beauty
Some people say that vinegar can be used as an appetite suppressant. Using it on prepared foods may help you to eat less.

Vinegar is handy for relieving the pains associated with sunburns and jellyfish stings. Dot irritated areas with vinegar to relieve pain and itching.

Because vinegar can act as an antibacterial, gargling it can alleviate some throat ailments. Even if it can't prevent illness, a vinegar gargle can soothe throat soreness.

Apple cider vinegar also may help soothe an upset stomach. Use two teaspoons of the vinegar to one cup of water.

Some people have used vinegar to soften skin and remove corns from feet. It also may dissolve warts. Be sure to check with a doctor before using vinegar to verify its safety with regard to your particular situation.

In addition to each of these uses, vinegar is handy in the laundry room, helping to remove stains and rinse detergents from fabrics more easily.


Treating weather-related joint pain

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The dos and don’ts of backyard fire pits

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Once a rarity, fire pits have grown increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more homeowners turn their homes into private oases. Fire pits run the gamut from the very simple to the more elaborate, and the fire pits homeowners choose often depend on the space they have available as well as their budgets.

But even homeowners without any space or budget constraints should give careful consideration to which fire pit they ultimately install, especially if they plan to make that installation themselves. The following are some dos and don'ts of fire pits for those homeowners about to add this relaxing and popular accessory to their backyards.

DO confirm you can legally build a fire pit in your yard. Fire pits have become so commonplace that homeowners may think there are no regulations governing their construction. However, it's still best to confirm with your local government planning or zoning offices if you can build a fire pit and if any restrictions apply.

DON'T proceed with the project until you have been granted official approval. Assuming you have the go-ahead to build a fire pit is not the same thing as knowing you have been approved. Starting early could result in fines if it turns out you aren't allowed to have a fire pit. But you may also begin building a bigger fire pit than the local government allows, and that could be money down the drain later. Wait until you get official word before you proceed with the project.

DO build on flat ground. The fire pit should be built on flat ground to reduce risk of accident and/or injury. A fire pit built on flat ground also means everyone can enjoy it comfortably and equally once the project is finished. If the ground around the pit is not flat, some people may be forced to sit crooked or lean forward just to enjoy the pit.

DON'T build near flammable structures. Build the fire pit far enough away from existing structures, such as your home, garage or shed, so flickering flames do not catch some wind and lead to disaster. Before building in a given spot, monitor the wind patterns for a few days by sitting in a lawn chair at the spot you ultimately want the fire pit to be. If you notice the wind is blowing toward your house, you will want to choose another area for the pit so smoke from the fire will not be blowing into your home every night.

DO choose the right size. The size of your fire pit will depend on the space you have available, but even if you have a vast swath of space, keep in mind that professional contractors typically recommend building a fire pit no bigger than 44 inches wide. Anything larger can be unsightly and may not appeal to prospective buyers down the road. In addition, an especially large fire pit may result in potentially unruly flames that can present a fire hazard.

DON'T go it alone if your DIY skills are suspect. Installing a fire pit is a relatively inexpensive DIY job, but that does not mean anyone can do it. Ground needs to be excavated and the slope of the yard must be measured so the fire pit is safe and functional for years to come. If your DIY skills are not up to snuff, hire a professional contractor so your backyard oasis does not become a costly headache.

A fire pit can turn a boring backyard into a relaxing retreat. But homeowners must adhere to the dos and don'ts of fire pits to ensure their retreat is something they can enjoy for years to come.


Simple defensive driving techniques anyone can employ

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Driving defensively is a great way for motorists to reduce their risks of accident, maintain their vehicles over the long haul and save money on their auto insurance. But driving can be habit-forming, and over time many drivers develop habits that can compromise their safety on the road.

No driver wants to make roads less safe, and many may just need to reacquaint themselves with the following defensive driving techniques they learned way back when they first started driving as teenagers.

• Avoid distractions. Older drivers didn't have too many things to distract them from the road, but nowadays it's easy to be distracted whether you're driving alone on an empty road or sitting in rush hour traffic with dozens of your fellow commuters. That's because today's vehicles may be equipped with televisions, smartphone hookups and high-quality sound systems that can take drivers' attention away from the road. Drivers may even be bringing additional distractions with them into their vehicles. When getting behind the wheel, keep your stereo speakers low and turn off all of your devices so you aren't tempted to check emails or text messages while driving.

• Don't be in such a hurry. Perhaps the most effective defensive driving technique is to slow down when on the road. That's easier said than done, especially for commuters who are running late and trying to get to the office on time. But making a conscious effort to slow down, even if you are a few minutes late for work or running late for an appointment, can mean the difference between getting into an accident or staying safe on the road. If you know you are running late, don't try to compensate by driving fast. Instead, call ahead to let whoever might be waiting for you know that you will be a few minutes late.

• Don't lane hop. Frequent switching between lanes can make other drivers nervous, increasing the risk of an accident. In addition, sudden or frequent lane changes can make it difficult for drivers to maintain their focus on the road and see more than a few cars ahead of them. Drivers who have been on the road for a long time may feel confident in their abilities to quickly switch between lanes, but fellow motorists may find such shifting distracting and begin to drive erratically as a result. Stay in one lane as long as possible, and only pass cars on the left.

• Don't respond to aggressive drivers. If a fellow driver is driving aggressively, slow down and let them pass or pull over and let them get far away from you before you return to the roadway. Studies have indicated that road rage incidents escalate when drivers make eye contact with one another. Even if you are not at fault, it's up to you to avoid a potentially dangerous situation and protect yourself and your passengers.

Defensive driving techniques reduce the risk of accidents and help to keep cars running strong over the long haul. Drivers can benefit from periodically revisiting such techniques and practicing them on roadways.


Emerging trends in crafting

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Seeding and fertilizing schedule

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Restoring lawns and gardens back to their pre-winter glory is high on many a homeowner's landscaping to-do list. In much of the country, the best times to tackle lawn projects are when temperatures are moderate, like in spring and fall. These seasons also mark the best time to seed and fertilize.

Planting and fertilizing new grass seed should be done when frost is no longer a concern and before frost arrives if you are planting in autumn. According to Roger Cook, a landscape contractor and contributor to This Old House magazine, sowing lawn seed should be done when the soil is warm, the daytime temperatures are moderate and you can keep the new seeds quite moist at all times.

While grass seed can be applied in the summer, it is more challenging to get the seeds to take root and thrive at this time, as water is more likely to evaporate under the hot sun. Also, many weeds germinate in the heat of summer. As a result, the weeds can infiltrate areas of the lawn where you planted, compromising the look of your lawn.

The process of reseeding and fertilizing your lawn is relatively similar if you decide to do so in late spring or early fall.

• Rake the parts of the lawn you plan to seed and remove any debris or rocks.

• Apply fertilizer to the cleared planting area. Use a rake or tiller to break up the soil and distribute the fertilizer to a depth of roughly two to four inches. Speak with a landscaper about which type of fertilizer you will need depending on where you live. Many fertilizers contain extra phosphorous to stimulate root growth in the lawn.

• Moisten the prepared area and let the soil settle. You want the soil damp but not so wet that it causes the newly applied fertilizer to run off.

• Begin to sow the grass seed according to the rate indicated on the seed bag for the type of grass you will be growing. Choose a grass seed that will thrive in your climate. Certain seeds are more tolerant of drought and sunlight, while other species are better for shady areas or damper climates. Again, if you have any questions, consult with a lawn and garden center.

• Spread the seed with a broadcast spreader. Some lawn experts recommend spreading the seed in parallel rows and then repeating the process again in rows set at a right angle to the first series of rows for the best chances of seed coverage. The seeds then can be raked into the soil, covered with a little more soil and patted down.

• Water to keep the seeds damp. This may require watering twice or more per day until the seeds begin to germinate. Covering the seeds with about 1⁄4 inch of straw also can help keep the seeds moist, deter seed scavengers and prevent soil erosion. Remove the straw once the grass begins to grow.

• Roughly four weeks after the seeds have started to grow, apply another round of fertilizer to replenish the top layer of soil with nutrients that may have washed away from the constant watering.

Homeowners can employ a similar process to overseed a lawn in the hopes of producing a thicker, more attractive landscape.

Any thatch and debris should be raked away, and the top layer of the lawn surface can be gently aerated. Top dress the lawn with a very thin layer of new soil and compost. 
Broadcast the seed over the prepared lawn and lightly rake the new seeds to help them settle into the soil. Apply fertilizer and water the lawn frequently to keep the new seeds moist.

Once the seed has established itself, you can water the lawn for longer periods and less frequently to help develop strong roots. Wait for the lawn to reach a height of three to four inches before the first cut of the season.

Many homeowners like to take on the challenge of seeding and preparing their lawns. But some may find the task is best left to the professionals.


The right car seat makes for a safer ride for children

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No matter what is stored in the trunk, a driver's most precious cargo is his or her passengers. Never is that more apparent than when children are on board. 

Finding the right car seat can be challenging. When used correctly, such seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent, according the Safe Kids Worldwide organization. Whether you are buying a car seat for the first time or upgrading an existing seat as your child grows, being informed can help with the decision-making process.

Access professional reviews
A number of organizations rate available car seats on the market. Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are just two of the groups that provide ratings that can take the guesswork out of selecting the best car seats. Regulations change frequently, and car seat engineers continually modify designs to keep kids as safe as possible. Frequently revisit car seat reviews to check whether your seat is still receiving high marks or if it's time to invest in a new car seat.

Rear-facing, longer
Many experts now advise keeping children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible - even up to age two. These seats are being manufacturered to meet higher weight limits in the rear-facing position. However, always verify the exact height and weight limit for the seat by reading the information booklet or the safety data that is printed directly on the seat.

In addition, know how to safely use the seat, including which tethers should be used in which seating positions. Children should sit in the back of the vehicle away from airbags.

Learn proper installation
Consumer Reports notes that about 80 percent of parents and caregivers misuse car seats in one way or another. Follow the directions for safe seat placement and positioning of tethers and safety belts. You can watch videos online on how to install safety seats properly, and many seat brands may direct you to an informational video. Some First Aid and police squads offer complimentary seat checks to reassure parents that seats are installed correctly.

Older children in booster seats, which are designed to position passengers correctly to make use of the vehicle's seat belts, should have a proper fit. The lap belt should lie flat and on top of the thighs. The shoulder belt should rest directly in the middle of the shoulder and not too close to the neck.

Know the types of seats
Children may go through three or more safety seats before they're allowed to safely ride using the vehicle's own passenger restraint system. In addition to infant car seats, manufacturers offer convertible seats, harnessed seats, belt-positioning booster seats, and built-in safety seats. Many children are ready to bid farewell to car seats when they reach about 4-feet-9-inches tall.

Avoid used seats
Unless you can verify the full crash history of a car seat, it is best to buy it new rather than from a thrift store or on the Internet from a third party. Although car seats do not "expire" in the traditional sense, they are stamped with a use-by date. Materials in car seats can degrade over time, and harnesses may stretch. It's wise to replace car seats after several years and treat a new baby in the family to his or her own car seat instead of using a hand-me-down.

Car seats can prevent injuries and death. They're one of the best safety investments parents can make, as long as they're researched and used properly.


Simple ways to save at the pump

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The cost of fuel dipped in 2014, but drivers are still looking for ways to spend less at the pump. For many drivers, that means driving less. Driving less will save money, and doing so also reduces fuel consumption and contributes to fewer emissions entering the air, both of which can benefit the environment.

But many drivers are unable to drive less, as commitments to work and family require them to get behind the wheel more often than they might prefer. Such drivers may be looking for ways to reduce their fuel costs, and fortunately there are several ways to do just that.

• Reconsider your choice of fuel. Many of today's auto manufacturers now design their vehicles so they can run smoothly on regular unleaded gas, which is typically listed as "87 octane" at filling stations. That's important to know, as regular gas is often considerably less expensive than alternatives that are higher octanes. Many drivers may even choose regular unleaded, but opt for premium gas every third or fourth trip, feeling that the higher octane fuel every so often will increase performance of older engines. But many engines are designed to run smoothly and efficiently on low-octane fuel, meaning it's unnecessary to choose premium gas, even if you only do so once in a blue moon. Read your vehicle's owner's manual to determine the best fuel for your car.

• Buy when the time is right. Prices at filling stations fluctuate on a daily basis, so unless your car is running on empty, avoid filling up when the prices seem especially high. Some patience may pay off with several dollars in savings, and those savings can add up to a significant amount of money over time.

• Become a less aggressive driver. Drivers with hectic schedules tend to be more aggressive when behind the wheel. But driving aggressively is unsafe and potentially costly. When driven at speeds that exceed 55 miles per hour, vehicles lose fuel economy. According to the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center, driving 55 miles per hour instead of 75 miles per hour can reduce fuel costs by as much as 75 percent.

• Remove unnecessary weight. A car trunk might seem like a great place to keep your golf clubs, and it may be tempting to leave that roof rack on top of your car after a recent camping trip, but such unnecessary cargo in or on your car makes it harder for the car to get from point A to point B. That forces the car to consume more fuel. Unless your immediate plans include hitting the links or hunkering down at a nearby campsite, remove unnecessary weight from the car so your next trip to the gas station is less expensive.

The cost of fuel can make trips to the filling station costly excursions. But drivers willing to reconsider conventional wisdom and change their driving habits can save substantial amounts of money over time.


How to get a cleaner, healthier home this spring

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Springtime is the best time to get your home and outdoor equipment ready for the approaching warm weather, and the sooner you start the sooner you will be ready to enjoy the spring and summer months. 

Here are some suggestions to make your home as healthy and as clean as possible.

Get rid of mold and mildew

When the house is closed up tight for the winter, it's easy for mold and mildew to take hold and grow, and such growths can adversely affect your respiratory system while potentially causing sinus congestion and eye irritation. Mold and mildew growth also creates unsightly stains, damaging paint and wall finishes as a result. Spray Nine(R) Cleaner/Disinfectant is very effective at controlling mold and mildew, addressing not only existing mold and mildew around the house, but also preventing any future problems.

Further prevent mildew by venting bathrooms or opening a window to dry out the room after showering. Also check for and remedy any leaks that can contribute to mold and mildew growth. In attics, basements and utility rooms, consider the use of a desiccant, which will remove moisture from the air.

Protect against allergens, viruses and bacteria

Effectively cleaning a home can involve several preventive measures to keep everyone free from viruses and bacteria. Spray Nine(R) Cleaner/Disinfectant takes just 45 seconds to disinfect a surface of harmful bacteria, including those associated with food poisoning, whooping cough and even infections such as MRSA. Registered as a hospital grade disinfectant by the Environmental Protection Agency, the spray takes even less time to disinfect a surface against viruses, doing so in just 30 seconds while protecting a home's inhabitants from viruses including Influenza A2, Poliovirus Type I, a type of polio, and others that can cause the common cold and respiratory illnesses.

Another way to redue the spread of illness is to make sure everyone in the household washes their hands when coming in from school, work or from shopping.

Say 'Au Revoir' to Odor

Readying a home for fresh, spring days also entails ridding its interior of odor. Spray Nine(R) Brand Odor Eliminator neutralizes offensive odors on contact by "caging" their molecules so they are no longer detectable to the nose. Homeowners can eliminate odors in their kitchens, carpets and even their musty basements, ensuring the home is odor-free for the long winter months ahead. In lieu of smoke and pet odors, Odor Eliminator provides a fresh floral scent and can even be added to compatible cleaning solutions to freshen the home as you clean.

Think about adding houseplants as well. Plants are natural air filters and can go a long way toward cleaning the air of contaminants and odors.

Outdoor equipment

The warm-weather season is also barbecue season. Spray Nine(R) Brand BBQ Grill Cleaner does double duty as a heavy-duty cleaner and a hard surface disinfectant. It easily dissolves grease, fat and burned-on food for quick cleanup with less effort. The cleaner also kills foodborne germs that contaminate food preparation surfaces, including Salmonella and E.coli in just 45 seconds. It can also be used on propane tanks, countertops, stainless steel, painted surfaces, BBQ covers, and ceramic and tempered glass. 

Remember, when cooking food on the grill, do not reuse marinade after it has touched raw meat or poultry. Promptly scrape down the grill surface while the barbecue is still warm to remove most of the drippings and scraps of food for easier clean-up.

Patio Furniture

The warm weather enables people to venture outdoors and commune with nature. Prepping the patio furniture for a new season of use often involved a lot of elbow grease and time. But Spray Nine(R) Brand Patio Furniture Cleaner cleans, kills germs, helps control mold and mildew and destroys bacterial odors in a matter of minutes while digging out grease, grime, fingerprints, bird droppings, suntan lotion, and other tough stains from outdoor and poolside furniture. The key benefit is its ability to kill harmful germs like Salmonella enterica, E. coli and Athlete's Foot Fungus.

Tackle spring cleaning projects with ease. More information is available at www.spraynine.com


Coloring the wedding: Choosing a hue for the bridesmaid gowns

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Bridesmaids are an important part of the wedding party, and most brides opt to have a handful of close friends and family members play a special role in the wedding. Choosing a gown and a color that will flatter all of the bridesmaids typically takes a little work.

An overwhelming majority of couples choose to have a formal wedding. The average number of bridesmaids for these formal weddings is four. Considering around two million weddings take place in North America every year, that's a lot of bridesmaids for whom gowns and other attire must be planned.

Many bridesmaids worry about the gowns they will wear come the big day. Horrible bridesmaid dresses have been the butt of jokes for years, and many people have their own stories of garish gowns they've been asked to don for a wedding. Some have said that brides intentionally choose ugly gowns for their bridesmaids to ensure they're not outshined come the wedding day. Although this may be the case for some, most brides aspire to select gowns that will be flattering for all. And color scheme is integral in the choice of gown.

Every well-planned wedding carries a color scheme throughout. This includes the color a bride selects for her bridesmaids to wear. But not every color accentuates everyone's features. Therefore, some experimentation might be necessary to find a color that is flattering to all and fits with the color scheme.

Depending on hair color and skin shade, there are many flattering hues available for gowns. When making this decision, consider bridesmaids' ethnicity and skin tone.

African-American: Women with dark skin and hair may really shine in jewel-colored gowns, including silver, gold, purple and salmon. Very pale colors may be daring and conspicuous.

Asian and olive-skinned women: Those with a slight yellow tone to their skin will look good in many colors, including red, navy, peach, and fuchsia. However, avoid colors in light yellow, aqua, gray, taupe, or mint, which may make the bridesmaid look washed out.

Fair skin: Ladies with pale skin will benefit from richly colored gowns in jewel tones. Pastels may work, but be careful about those depending on hair color. Pink or red-hued gowns may clash with someone with auburn hair. Yellow and green may not work with a fair brunette. Gray and silver may wash out someone who is pale and blonde.

Once a color is chosen, brides also need to consider the season. Certain colors may look out of place depending on the season. For example, an evergreen or deep blue may seem wintry during a summer wedding. Similarly, russet or brown may work for the autumn but not for a spring wedding. Many brides gravitate toward mid-level blues, greens, pinks and purples for their weddings, simply because those colors transcend the seasons.

After colors are worked out, the style of the gown deserves consideration. Because not every bridesmaid has the same physical attributes, many brides are now open to selecting a color and length and allowing the bridesmaid herself to choose the exact style. This way someone who is busty won't feel uncomfortable in strapless, and someone who is thin won't be overwhelmed by a lot of ruffles. The intent is to have bridesmaids feel beautiful and comfortable, and different styles can help achieve this.

Making the effort to choose a gown color and style that is flattering to all in the bridal party will help the ladies feel they are truly a special part of the wedding.


Operation ReLeaf will be held in Dubuque County this Spring!

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Operation ReLeaf Applications are now available!

Operation ReLeaf is a program to help Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and create windbreaks during the winter.

For maximum energy efficiency, large-growing shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the west and east of your home. Low growing trees should be planted within 20 feet of your home, and can be used to shade air conditioners. Evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west side of your home. Before ordering, we highly recommend you use the iTree design tools, which uses google earth to show you where the best placement for your tree is to reduce energy usage.

Even if you don't live in Dubuque County, you are welcome to purchase a tree at this event as long as you are an Alliant customer.

To order, just fill out the order form (found at www.dubuquecounty.org - click on "Conservation" and "Calendar of Events" and a pdf named "Operation Releaf" is the order form), print, and mail it in with a check to the address listed on the form. If you have questions about the species, just click on the species name on the order form, and you will be taken to a picture and information about the tree. Be sure to look at the mature height of the tree when selecting the tree for your site.

The local partner will then mail out a confirmation card, which you can bring to the distribution day. You should bring a truck, trailer, or van to pick up your trees, as they can be up to 9 feet tall.

Dubuque County Event Location
Dubuque County Conservation, located at Swiss Valley Park, 13606 Swiss Valley Road, Peosta, IA, will partner this event on Saturday, May 9, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with a Workshop at 10:00 am. Because research shows that most trees are planted improperly, even by professionals, we are holding a short tree planting and care workshop. This workshop will take 30 minutes and cover the basic mistakes most people make. To register, just reply to this e-mail to let me know you would like to attend, and please specify which county.

Species available:
Shade Trees
(will be in #7 containers and will be between 5' - and 8' tall)
• Hackberry (Large shade tree native to Iowa, very tolerant of tough urban environments, salt tolerant - Grows 60' X 60')
• Swamp White Oak (Native, highly storm resistant shade tree - very tolerant of wet sites grows 60' X 60')
• Black Oak (Native oak, often confused with red oak. Attractive gloosy leaves that turn red or reddish brown in autumn. Mature height 60')
• Gingko - Presidential Gold - A seedless variety with bright yellow fall color. 50' tall by 40' wide at maturity

Flowering Ornamentals and low-growing trees (will be in #5 or #7 containers and will be between 4' and 7' tall
• American Hornbeam (Also called Blue Beech, a midsize tree which grows to 20' - 30' tall and wide. A great tree for a small spot)
• Serviceberry (Native white flowering tree - attracts songbirds; red fall color - Highly Storm Resistant)

Edible Landscape trees - #5 containers
These trees will bear fruit, so only order them if you are interested and willing to grow fruit trees in your yard. For best fruiting, order one of each variety.
• Edible Apple- Liberty or Freedom (Needs another crabapple or apple tree nearby for best fruit production; grows 15' tall and wide)
• Edible Cherry - Mesabi - grows 12 - 15' tall and wide

Conifers (will be in #5 or #7 containers and will be between 2' and 4' tall
• Eastern White Pine (Native to Iowa, Fast Growing Pine Tree, Grows to 50' to 80' with 20' to 40' spread)

Due to of the spread of Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa, we recommend planting a replacement tree within 30 feet of any existing ash trees which you do not intend to treat. Be sure to plant a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood to reduce the possibility of losing a large number of trees due to forest health threats.

If you have any questions about tree planting and care, go to the Iowa Grove Resources page for videos, brochures, planting guides, and other urban tree information.  On The Grove, we post events such as this one, as well as current forest health information, training, grant opportunities, and research. Join the Iowa Grove today!


Applications Now Available for City of Dubuque Arts and Cultural Grants for FY 2016

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The City of Dubuque and the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission are soliciting competitive applications from all interested parties for two distinct arts and culture funding programs for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 grant cycle, which runs July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

Since 2005, the City of Dubuque has awarded over $2.3 million to area arts and culture organizations and other non-profits for programs that reach thousands of Dubuque adults and children each year. In addition, these funds have leveraged about $968,000 in other community support for arts and culture events and programs.

Guidelines and applications forms for both the special projects grants program and operating support grants program are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/grants.

Over the past two years, the arts and cultural affairs advisory commission and City staff worked to better align the special project arts grant program with the City Council's goals and priorities, best practices in community art funding, and the art needs of the Dubuque community. "We have examined how we can use arts and culture to engage all community members, make our residents more participatory, and ensure that arts, culture, preservation and heritage programs and events are welcoming and inclusive to those outside of a traditional audience," said Ellen Henkels, secretary of the arts and cultural affairs advisory commission.

The City of Dubuque seeks to fund artistic, creative projects that utilize community engagement at their core. Engagement features an active, two-way process in which one party motivates another to get involved or take action-and both parties experience change and growth. It promotes consistent community interaction that is a step beyond the conventional.

Eligibility for the special projects grant includes not only established, 501(C)(3) organizations, but non-profits that operate under an umbrella organization or groups that are acting as a non-profit. "The accessibility of the grants to a wide array of dynamic thinkers and groups in the community was important. We want to fund great art ideas," said Henkels. "Any non-profit group may apply for an art project through this grant, even if its primary mission is not dedicated to the arts."

The minimum grant awarded through the program will be $1,500 and the maximum will be $8,500. City staff is offering two grant workshops specific to the special project funding on April 14, 2015, at noon or at 5 p.m., in the Lacy Board Room, 3rd Floor, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11th St. The deadline for applications is May 15, 2015.

The operating support fund is designed to assist 501(C) (3) arts and cultural organizations located in the city of Dubuque that primarily serve Dubuque residents with year-round arts and culture events, programs, and services and can demonstrate a record of programmatic and administrative stability. A workshop specific to operating support grants will be held at noon on March 18, 2015, in the Aigler Auditorium, 3rd Floor, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, 360 W. 11th Street. The deadline for applications is April 10, 2015.

All grants are reviewed by the arts and cultural affairs advisory commission and approved by the City Council. Current members of the commission include Sue Riedel (chairperson), Katherine Kluseman, Marina O'Rourke, Ellen Henkels, Gina Siegert, Julie Steffen, and Jessica Teckemeyer.

For additional information, please contact Megan Starr at econdev@cityofdubuque.org or 563-589-4393. Complete application materials are posted online at www.cityofdubuque.org/grants.




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The fifth Dubuque Museum of Art Biennial Juried Exhibition opens Saturday, March 14, 2015, generously sponsored by Premier Bank and Marella fine gift shop.

The Dubuque Museum of Art organizes this popular and competitive exhibition every two years to highlight the quality and variety of artwork currently being produced by regional artists. To enter the competition artists must live within a 200 mile radius of Dubuque, and only artwork created in the last two years qualifies.

Special thanks to this year's juror, Mrs. Jane Milosh, Director of the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative, Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. Mrs. Milosch will present a gallery talk on May 31st and will announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards for the Biennial at that time.

The 2015 Biennial was the most competitive call for entries yet with 176 artists submitting 508 works of art. Of those, 59 works by 48 artists were selected by the juror for the exhibition.

A Member Reception will be held Friday, March 13, 2015 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. The reception will also celebrate the new exhibitions Finding Beauty: Photography by Robert Rivoire and a salon style installation of works from the DUMA permanent collection.

The Dubuque Museum of Art is located at 701 Locust Street. Phone (563)557-1851 or visit www.dbqart.com.


Dubuque County Conservation Board Summer Camp Schedule

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The following camps will be offered the summer of 2015 at the Swiss Valley Nature Center. Please pay close attention to the details of the camps' ages, fees and quantity limits.

Toddling into Nature - Age 3 - "Turtles" ($4 per camper)
Session 1: Thursday & Friday, June 18 & 19, 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Session 2: Thursday & Friday, June 25 & 26, 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Toddlers will enjoy learning about the famous reptile known as the TURTLE. They will learn about their adaptations, native turtles and where to find turtles. Your child will explore the outdoors through games, books, and hands-on activities. This camp will be limited to 12 participants and registration is required by June 5, 2015.

Sapling Camp - Ages 4-6 - "Growing Wild" ($5 per camper)
Session 1: Monday & Tuesday, June 15 & 16, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Session 2: Monday & Tuesday, June 22 & 23, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
This camp is designed for preschool age and first year school students. The two-day schedule will include activities involving outdoor recreation, reading, snacks, songs, crafts, games, and hiking, all associated with growing plants. Nature is full of wonder and our 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds will have no problem embracing the awesome world of photosynthesis! Parents are encouraged to stay during camp but are not required. A snack is provided during this camp, but pack a lunch for your child as one will not be provided. This camp will be limited to 15 participants at each session and requires registration by June 5, 2015.

Maple Camp - Ages 7-9 - "Explorer Camp" ($7 per camper)
Session 1: Tuesday-Thursday, July 7-9, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Session 2: Tuesday-Thursday, July 14-16, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
This camp is made for those children who cannot get enough of the outdoors. Children ages 7 to 9 will love the hands-on activities focused on the environment and how they fit into it. Explorer camp will have the kids learning about the magic that exists every day in our many habitats! We will hike, read, explore and more! A snack is provided during this camp, but pack a lunch for your child as one will not be provided. This camp will be limited to 20 participants at each session and requires registration by June 26, 2015.

Oak Camp - Ages 10-12 - "Watersheds" ($15 per camper)
Tuesday-Friday, July 21-24, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
This camp is taking the next step into the outdoors. Participants will discover watersheds! We will explore different water habitats and get a chance to travel to streams, rivers and ponds. This camp will be limited to 20 participants and requires registration by July 10, 2015.

T.E.A. (Teen Extreme Adventures) - Ages 13-16 ($25 per camper)
Monday-Tuesday, July 28-29 (Overnight)
This camp will be an opportunity for participants to practice team building, learn about outdoor skills, camping, fire starting, and water recreation. Participants will canoe, picnic, hike, and learn about Aldo Leopold. This camp will be limited and requires registration by Wednesday, July 17, 2015.

Day Camps - Ages 5-12 - "Adventures at Swiss" ($4 per camper)
Tuesday, August 4, 9-11 am
Thursday, August 6, 9-11 am
These two day camps will allow children to hike and learn about the treasures of NE Iowa through hands-on activities. Preregistration by July 21, 2015.

To register supply the name of the camper and his/her parent or guardian, your address, email address, and phone numbers where you can be reached. Indicate which camp and how many campers you want to register in each. After this information plus the registration packet (found on www.dubuquecounty.org/conservation) and the program fee are received at Swiss Valley Nature Center, Summer Camps, 13606 Swiss Valley Rd., Peosta, IA 52068, your child will be registered.

Camps will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any questions please call the office at 563.556.6745 or email jammon@dbqco.org


Photo Exhibit at Dubuque Museum of Art

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Finding Beauty: Photographs by Robert Rivoire
February 20 - May 31, 2015
Sponsored by Cottingham & Butler

Beauty is the focus in the Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery at the Dubuque Museum of Art February 20 - May 31, 2015. Experience 15 images captured by Galena, Illinois photographer Robert Rivoire exquisitely presented in this solo exhibition.

Robert Rivoire was born and raised in Connecticut. He studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He worked in business and management for most of his career but always pursued his photographic practice. After retiring and moving to Galena with his wife in 2007, he was able to take up photography again full time.

A member reception for new exhibitions will be Friday, March 13th from 5 to 7 PM.

The Dubuque Museum of Art is located at 701 Locust Street and open Tuesday-Friday 10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. and Saturday & Sunday 1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M. with daily Admission of $6 for Adults, $5 for Seniors, $3 for Students, free for kids every day, and free to all on Thursdays thanks to Prudential Financial. 

Phone (563) 557-1851 or visit www.dbqart.com


CityChannel Dubuque to Air ‘From the Archives’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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