Area Tidbits

The Grand Opera House Announces Auditions for Calendar Girls

Show Details
Hide Details

The Grand Opera House will present Calendar Girls by Tim Firth, Based on the Miramax motion picture By Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth and directed by Carole Sullivan. Performances are on February 22, 23 & March 1 & 2, 2019 at 7:30pm and February 24 & March 3, 2019 at 2:00pm. 

This is based on the true story of a women's church group who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. (A note on the show's nudity from the author - As in the best tradition of the vaudevillian fan dances, the art of the play's nudity lies in what is withheld. The choreography of the sequence is best described as "fabulous concealment".) When tragedy strikes Annie's husband she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money and manage to persuade fellow members to pose nude with them for an "alternative" calendar. The news of the women's charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small English village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie's friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.

7:00-9:00 PM Wednesday, November 28th
1:00-3:00 PM Saturday, December 1st

7:00 PM Monday, December 3rd

Actors wishing to audition but are unavailable to arrive at the start of the audition time should call the Grand Opera House business office at 563-588-4356 to make appropriate arrangements.

Auditions will be held at the Grand's Rehearsal space in the Arcade Building, 880 Locust St., Suites 222 and 228. Please enter through the alley entrance located between Locust and Main. When you enter go up just past the first hallway and take the stairs on the left to the second floor. The rooms are right at the top of the stairs.

There will be a read-through and two other rehearsals in December followed by a break for the holidays with rehearsals resuming January 16th. Those auditioning should be prepared to list all conflicts or potential conflicts between January 16 and February 21. For the three December rehearsals, the following dates are being considered. Please show your availability for Dec. 12, 13, 17, 18, 19. Availability for evening dress rehearsals February 17th - 21st and all performances is mandatory. Rehearsals may possibly run anytime from 6-10 pm Monday through Friday and various times on the weekend depending on necessity. NOTE: Rehearsal dates and times are NOT set in stone and will be determined by the availability of the cast!

Actors will be asked to read from the show. This is not a musical; however, the female characters do sing the traditional hymn Jerusalem as a choir. In addition to reading, women will be asked to sing a simple song or hymn of their choosing a cappella as part of the audition. Audition sides will be available from the Grand Opera House Business Office in advance and can be picked up between 9:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday they will also be available on the day of the audition at the rehearsal location or can be emailed in advance upon request by contacting Frank McClain at

For additional information please contact Frank McClain.


CHRIS - 50s. You want Chris at your party. She will talk to people she doesn't know, and things to say to all silences and generate laughter. Part of this is because Chris is at home in crowds, holding court, being the centre of attention. Without Chris in her life, Annie would be better behaved, her life less fun. The two of them are like naughty schoolgirls. Ideal car - who cares, as long as it's a cabriolet. Ideal holiday - Algarve.

ANNIE - 50s. Annie will join in mischief but is at heart more conformist and less confrontational than Chris. After Chris has put a waiter's back up in the restaurant, Annie will go in and pour calm. The mischievousness Chris elicits saves Annie from being a saint. She has enough edge to be interesting, and enough salt not to be too sweet. Ideal car - who cares, as long as it's reliable. Ideal holiday - walking in English countryside.

CORA - around 40-45. Cora's past is the most eclectic, her horizons broadened by having gone to college. This caused a tectonic shift with her more parochial parents. She came back to them pregnant and tail-between-legs, but Cora has too much native resilience to be downtrodden. She is the joker in the pack, but never plays the fool. Her wit is deadpan. It raises laughter in others, but rarely in herself. Her relationship with her daughter is more akin to that between Chris and Annie. Cora doesn't need to sing like a diva but must be able to sing well enough to start the show with Jerusalem and sing the snatches of other songs required. The piano keyboard can be marked up to enable her to play basic chords should she not be a player. Ideal car - who cares, as long as the sound system is loud. Ideal holiday - New York.

JESSIE - late 60s/70s. Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she'll be the teacher you remember for life. Get on the wrong side and you will regret every waking hour. A lover of life, Jessie doesn't bother with cosmetics - her elixir of life is bravery. Jessie goes on rollercoasters. Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions. Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe "s". Ideal car - strange-looking European thing which is no longer manufactured. Ideal holiday - walking in Switzerland or Angkor Wat.

CELIA - age anything 35-50. The fact that Celia is in the WI is the greatest justification of its existence. A woman more at home in a department store than a church hall, she may be slightly younger than Chris or the same age, but she always feels like she's drifted in from another world. Which she has. She is particularly enamored of Jessie, and despite the fact Jessie has very little time for most Celia's of this world, there is a rebelliousness in Celia to which Jessie responds. It's what sets Celia apart from the vapid materialism of her peer group and made her defect. Ideal car - Porsche, which she has. Ideal holiday - Maldives, where she often goes.

RUTH - 40s-50s. Ruth's journey is from the false self-confidence of the emotionally abused to the genuine self confidence of the woman happy in her own skin. Ruth is eager to please but not a rag doll, and despite being Marie's right-hand woman she is desperate to be the cartilage in the spine of the WI and keep everyone happy. She has spine herself - if she was too wet, no-one would want her around. But they do, and they feel protective of her because they sense there is something better in Ruth than her life is letting out. They are proved right. Ideal car - at the start, whatever Eddie wants; at the end, whatever she wants. Ideal holiday - at the start wherever Eddie is, at the end wherever he isn't. The Rabbit Costume: Ruth made this last night. It should be a cocktail of good intention and not enough time.

MARIE - 50s-60s. Marie has gradually built the current ‘Marie' around herself over the years as a defense mechanism. She went to her Oz, Cheshire, and found Oz didn't want her. She came back scorched. The WI is a trophy to her, which justifies her entire existence. There is a lingering part of Marie that would love to be on that calendar. Ideal car - something German and well-valeted. Ideal holiday - a quasi-academic tour of somewhere in Persia advertised in a Sunday Supplement which she could then interminably bang on about.

JOHN - 50s-60s. John is a human sunflower. Not a saint. Not a hero. Just the kind of man you'd want in your car when crossing America. When he dies it feels like someone somewhere turned a light off.

ROD - Chris's husband, 50s-60s. You have to be a certain kind of guy to stick with Chris and Rod loves it. He can give back what he gets, and has a deadpan humour which has always made Chris laugh. He drinks a lot but never so much as to have a problem. He would work every hour to make his shop a success. And John was his mate, even though the relationship was originally channeled through their wives.

LAWRENCE - late 20s. Hesitant without being nerdy, Lawrence is a shy young man with enough wit to make a joke and enough spirit to turn up at the WI hall in the first place. When he arranges the shots he is close to female nudity but sees only the photo.

LADY CRAVENSHIRE - 60s. Lady Cravenshire really doesn't mean to be so patronizing. But the WI girls seem from another world. The world of her estate workers. Dress: when she makes an entrance, she must make an entrance. Largely white or cream to outplay the others, with a bigger hat than Marie. She is not a tweed-wearer. She must glide in like a galleon.

ELAINE - 20s. Elaine really doesn't mean to be so patronizing. But Jessie seems from another world. The world of her gran. Dress: her clinical whites slice through like a knife. You feel you could cut yourself on that dress.

LIAM - late 20s. Liam would like to be directing other things than photoshoots for washing powders. He's not so unprofessional as to let it show, but we can sense a slight weariness at having to deal with these women. There's a resigned patience to his actions and each smile he makes we feel is professional. For Liam, this photoshoot is a job. And not the job he wanted. Dress: Avoid wearing shades inside a building. If you've gone down that route, you've made the weary boy a wideboy.

BRENDA HULSE- 40s-60s. Brenda is a very dull speaker, who has bored the WI group in the past with a presentation on "The History of Tea Towels", and has prepared a presentation for the group on "The Fascinating World of Broccoli".


City Offers 50 Percent Reduction of Two Monthly Fees for Income-Qualified Customers

Show Details
Hide Details

The City of Dubuque offers a 50 percent reduction in monthly refuse and stormwater fees for income-qualified, residential customers.

To be considered for this fee reduction program, customers must submit an application and income verification.

Current income guidelines eligibility requirements are as follows:

Household Size Income Limit
1 $25,900
2 $29,600
3 $33,000
4 $37,000
5 $40,000
6 $42,950
7 $45,900
8 $48,850

Applications for this program must be renewed on an annual basis. This credit/discount does not apply to City water and sewer fees.

To apply, or for more information, visit or contact the City of Dubuque Utility Billing Department at 563-589-4144.


Safety measures for winter drivers

Show Details
Hide Details

Winter weather causes many people to retreat indoors until the spring thaw. However, for those who embrace the cooler temperatures or find that life must go on despite snow and ice, taking inventory of their vehicles is a must before the first snowflakes start to fall. 

Tire care is an especially important area of vehicle maintenance. The tire experts at Michelin say that regular tires may be ineffective for winter driving. Summer tires are made from materials that are optimized for warm conditions. When the mercury drops, these same materials can harden, reducing their ability to grip the road. That lack of traction can be compounded by the presence of snow or ice. Even all-season tires, which are designed to be driven year-round, can be insufficient in severe weather conditions. Winter tires can help drivers safely navigate winter roadways.

Bridgestone Tires says that having the right snow tires matters when driving in winter weather conditions. It's important to look for tires that can disperse water sufficiently and also grip the road. Snow tires are designed to remain softer and more flexible to conform to the road better in cold conditions. Some winter tires are even studded to provide better traction.

Unfortunately, even the best winter tires cannot provide perfect traction on slippery roadways. That is why it is essential - in conjunction with the use of winter tires or snow chains - to modify driving techniques to navigate safely.

• Drive slowly. Slow down on winter roads. Allow a greater distance for stopping than for dry conditions. Slippery conditions can make it more challenging to stop, and excessive speeds can make the situation worse.

• Shift into low gear. On hills, rely on low gears to maximize traction to travel up and down hills. This can minimize skids or sliding.

• Get the vehicle a tuneup. In addition to tires, be sure the braking system, battery and other major components of the vehicle are in good working order.

• Replace windshield wipers. Reduced visibility can compromise the safety of drivers and their passengers. Replace windshield wiper blades before winter arrives. Consider purchasing winter-rated windshield blades.

• Know how to recover from a skid. When skids occur on black ice or slush, drivers should take their feet off of the pedals and steer gently in the direction they want to go. As the vehicle regains traction, only then should the brakes or accelerator be applied.

Winter weather requires making some vehicle modifications, and drivers may want to alter the way they drive to be more safe on the road.


How puzzles promote health and wellness

Show Details
Hide Details

Puzzles are fun and entertaining, but their benefits go beyond simple recreation. In fact, playing and solving puzzles on a regular basis can benefit adults and children in various ways. 

Puzzles often stimulate problem-solving centers in the brain and can improve brain health. Researchers have found that, by completing crossword puzzles, playing challenging games or doing other puzzle-related activities, individuals may be less likely to develop brain plaques that have been tied to Alzheimer's disease.

Data published in the Archives of Neurology found a distinct connection between people who exercised their minds with stimulating activities in their early and middle years and brain health. This group had less Beta-amyloid protein uptake in their brains, which is linked to the onset of Alzheimer's, than those who didn't engage in puzzles during the same time frame.

Beyond their health benefits, puzzles offer some additional perks.

• Puzzles boost vocabulary. Puzzles such as crosswords or codewords/cryptograms introduce people to new words. This helps people expand their vocabulary and can help them improve their spelling.

• Puzzles teach patience. Puzzles can be challenging, and such challenges can promote patience in regard to approaching and realizing goals.

• Puzzles can reinforce lessons. Teaching through puzzle play is an effective way to tap into memory retention while making lessons fun.

• Puzzles may improve intelligence. Engaging in puzzles can force players to think and reason using general knowledge, memory, spatial imagery, and logic. These skills help to sharpen intellect over time. Researchers at the University of Michigan even found that adults could boost their IQs by four points after spending 25 minutes a day doing puzzles.

• Puzzles reinforce concentration. Concentration is required to find words hidden in a word search puzzle or to solve a brainteaser. According to data on, puzzles naturally induce a state of creative, focused meditation.

• Puzzles improve visual-spatial reasoning. When solving a jigsaw puzzle or working one's way through a maze, players have to look at different shapes and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. Better visual-spacial skills can help with packing, driving and using a map and can be valuable career tools in fields such as architecture.

Puzzles are a fun recreational activity that also can boost brain health.


How to build a holiday giving budget

Show Details
Hide Details

Spending time with loved ones and reflecting on all of the blessings the previous year has bestowed is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. But giving, entertaining and traveling are part of the season as well, and that can leave many people wondering how to finance their holiday season.

Many people admit to spending more than they initially intended to spend during the holiday season, leaving them with sizable bills to pay come January. This trend is dubbed the "holiday hangover," and MagnifyMoney found that Americans racked up an average of $1,054 of debt during the 2017 holiday season, a 5 percent increase over 2016.

Recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says consumer credit card debt stands at $808 billion. A portion of that ongoing debt is accumulated during the holidays - but it doesn't have to be. By establishing a budget and a plan to pay down their debt, consumers can gift without grief.

The first step to establishing a holiday shopping budget is to make a list of all the people with whom you intend to exchange gifts. Jot down charitable gifts and entertaining/social expenses as well. With paper in hand, it can be easier to visualize just how many people are on the gift list, making it easier to allot a certain amount to each person. Friends and coworkers may receive less than family members.

Next think about a total dollar amount to earmark for the holidays. This amount is something that you should be able to comfortably pay off in full at the end of the holiday season - no more than a month or two after New Year's Day.

Do not feel obligated to purchase more than one gift for each person on your list. Parents who want to have a few extra items under the tree for their children or who have to finance presents from Santa Claus can set aside more money to make such purchases. However, these gifts should also be factored into the overall budget.

It's important to keep track of spending even after the budget has been created. This way you can see if you are adhering to your budget. Record gifts as you would checks in a register. Take home receipts and tally your spending to see if it aligns. Make adjustments as necessary if you are on track to go over your budget.

When budgeting, keep in mind the potentially inflated costs of hot items for the year. It can be tempting to splurge on the latest video game console, but will it be obsolete in a few months? Budgeting and frugal buying go hand-in-hand.

Budgets do not need to remain fixed from year to year. If this year was a banner year in terms of finances, you may be able to afford more. If it wasn't, you may have to cut back. True friends and close family members should understand that the value of the gift is not based on its price tag.

Budgeting is important for holiday spending. With a budget in hand, consumers can avoid holiday hangover and potential financial ruin for months to come.


State Concludes Reaudit of Dubuque’s FY2016 Audit

Show Details
Hide Details

The Office of Auditor of the State of Iowa today released a reaudit report for the City of Dubuque for fiscal year (FY) 2016, the period of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. The reaudit was performed at the request of a citizens' petition submitted to the Auditor of State. The reaudit identified several procedural modifications and offered recommendations for the City to implement.

Each year, the City of Dubuque is audited by an independent, certified public accounting firm and the results of those audits are shared in a public meeting of the Dubuque City Council and are available for public review, as required by Iowa Code. In response to the petition request for reaudit, the Office of State Auditor reviewed the City's annual audit report and workpapers for FY2016 and a partial reaudit was conducted to look at specific issues identified in the petition request that were outside the independent auditor's work. Some prior and current fiscal year transactions were also reviewed as necessary.

Specifically, the petition submitted to the State requested the reaudit to review:

"Audit of Dubuque Initiatives and the money trail between the City and Dubuque Initiatives."

"For conflicts of interest, in particular between the City Manager and his wife's organization, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque."

"Conflicts of interest involving Gronen Restoration, aka John Gronen."

"The sale of the 18th Street Engine House for $1.00 to Dubuque Bank and Trust."

"The connection between Van Milligen and Dubuque Bank and Trust."

"The City's total indebtedness for general obligation bonds, tax increment financing bonds, parking fund bonds, sewer bonds, water bonds, storm water bonds and Roshek Building indebtedness."

"Movement of funds between departments without proper approval."

"Dubuque's vehicle expenditures as compared to cities of comparable size."

The reaudit by the Office of State Auditor focused on the first five concerns. The State determined items 6 and 7 were sufficiently reviewed by the City's independent auditors and item 8 was either outside the scope of the reaudit or was not considered to be an audit issue.

Payments to Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
The reaudit's detailed findings related to City agreements with and payments to the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque related to Inclusive Dubuque, Project HOPE, and Every Child Every Promise. The State Auditor recommended better documentation and reporting to ensure the activities are part of an economic development plan. In response to the findings, the City cited how those three initiatives support the City's economic development efforts, emphasizing that "Economic development means private or joint public and private investment involving the creation of new jobs and income or the retention of existing jobs and income that would otherwise be lost."

Although the City's partner agencies have been providing regular reports to City staff and presentations to City Council detailing the outcomes of their programs/activities, based on the reaudit, the City has created a financial reporting form that all its partner agencies are now using to submit written quarterly reports.

As requested by the Auditor of State, the City will consult with independent legal counsel to determine the appropriateness of the past disbursements referenced for an evaluation of whether any or all funds should be returned to the City.

Business Transactions
Regarding the concerns of a conflict of interest between City Manager Mike Van Milligen and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) because Van Milligen's spouse, Nancy Van Milligen, is president and CEO of the CFGD, the Auditor of State recommended the City consult independent legal counsel to review the potential conflict issue. In the future, the City should ensure all potential conflicts of interest transactions, contracts, or agreements are competitively bid in accordance with section 362.5(i) of the Code of Iowa and maintain adequate documentation to evidence bids and decisions. Also, the City should ensure there are no conflicts of interest when awarding grants, loans, guarantees, tax incentives, or other financial assistance in accordance with Iowa Code.

In response, the City asserted there is no conflict of interest and transactions complied with state code. The agreements between the CFGD and the City were approved by the City Council in public City Council meetings. Additionally, the City has always disclosed the relationship between the Van Milligens to its auditors, who also agreed that it does not meet the definition of related party or conflict of interest as defined by Iowa Code.

As requested by the Auditor of State, the City of Dubuque will consult with independent legal counsel to further evaluate conflicts of interest and will use competitive bidding where required. Future contracts with CFGD will be recommended to the City Council by the City Attorney and not the City Manager.

Sale of the 18th Street Engine House
In June 2011, after a public hearing, the City Council approved the sale of the former fire engine house #1 at 1805 Central Ave. to a non-profit organization (Engine House #1, LLC - Dubuque Initiatives). The sale, for $1, was part of a development agreement to redevelop the building for use by non-profit organizations to serve neighborhood residents. Subsequently, in August 2011, the non-profit then assigned the agreement to Dubuque Bank and Trust (DB&T) Community Development Corporation. The City Council approved the re-assignment of the development agreement to the DB&T Community Development Corporation. The Auditor of State concluded the City should have held another public hearing before the final resolution on the reassignment was approved.

As requested by the Auditor of the State, the City will consult with independent legal counsel to determine the legal propriety of the transaction disposing of the 18th Street Engine House. The City will ensure dispositions of real property follow the Iowa Code and subsequent revisions are documented in City Council meeting minutes.

Disbursement Approval
The reaudit noted that all City disbursements (payments) are not approved by City Council prior to disbursement and the City did not have a written disbursement policy allowing certain routine monthly bills and payroll items to be paid prior to City Council approval.

As a result of this reaudit finding, effective July 1, 2018, the City Council began approving accounts payable payments before checks are issued. Also, effective July 1, the City Council gave authorization to the City's finance director to issue checks in payment of select expenditures, itemized the City Council resolution, prior to City Council approval. Previously, even though disbursements were not required to have prior preapproval from City Council, the City has always provided City Council with a listing of monthly expenditures, which are also published monthly in the Telegraph Herald newspaper.

The reaudit report acknowledged the assistance provided by officials and personnel of the City of Dubuque during the course of the reaudit. A copy of the complete reaudit report is available for review on the Auditor of State's website at, in the Office of Auditor of State, and in the City of Dubuque City Clerk's Office at 50 West 13th Street.


Dubuque's Christopher Burke Named Teacher of the Year

Show Details
Hide Details

Christopher Burke, an 11-year teaching veteran who uses real-world examples to make his mathematics lessons come alive, is the Iowa Department of Education's 2019 Teacher of the Year, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today at Dubuque's Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School.

"Chris Burke exemplifies the great teaching that is taking place in Iowa schools," said Gov. Reynolds. "His passion for inspiring students to learn math in a real-world context and his enthusiasm for serving as a coach outside the school day underscore the extraordinary commitment of educators in communities across our state."

Burke, 35, who is also a teacher leader at the middle school, is one of many educators in his family, including his wife, mother and sister. His wife, Betsy, also teaches at Roosevelt.

In the program's 60-year history, this is the first time a Dubuque teacher has received the Teacher of the Year award.

"The Teacher of the Year award honors outstanding teachers who have made an indelible impact on their students and colleagues," Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. "The leadership of teachers like Chris Burke will help Iowa's education system grow and improve."

Burke says he educates students to discover for themselves the concepts behind math.

"Too often math is presented as clean, neat and tidy," he said. "How often do numbers in the world around us present themselves as clean, neat and tidy? The beauty of this unit is that students collect data that is far from perfect. Scatter plots and best-fit lines force my students to look for patterns and trends, to question the data, to have a plan and execute it precisely, and to have a logical response when the math is not quite so clean."

The hands-on, real-life classroom experience enables students to have a deeper understanding of how mathematics work in the world.

"I strive to cultivate a love of learning for each of my students and create an experience that allows them to connect the surrounding community into their learning in a meaningful manner," Burke said.

The school's climate is also an important component to a student's education.

"Much of our students' waking hours are spent in the care of their respective schools that must ensure there is climate, culture and a system that allows for all students to feel safe to learn and be themselves," he said.

Burke and his wife live in Dubuque with their 1-year-old son, Max.

The finalists for the 2019 Teacher of the Year are:

Leigh Ann Erickson, director of student support and an English literature and social justice teacher at Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon Community School District

Kristine Howes-Vonstein, a science teacher at Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School, Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District

Shelly Nash, a physics teacher at Sioux City West High School, Sioux City Community School District

The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Honorees serve as ambassadors to education and act as liaisons to schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.


New Pickleball Courts Open at Veterans Memorial Park

Show Details
Hide Details

Nine new pickleball courts are now open for public use at Veterans Memorial Park, located at 2700 Northview Dr. in Dubuque. The courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis for all ages to enjoy.

Four existing tennis courts at Veterans Memorial Park were converted into nine dedicated pickleball courts. The cost of this project was approximately $100,000 and was funded by the City of Dubuque's capital improvement program and a grant from the Grant Wood Loop Parks to People Initiative. A citizen group of pickleball enthusiasts were heavily involved in the process to gain funding for the project, design and now promotion of the courts and pickleball as a sport.

The water has been turned off in City of Dubuque parks (restrooms, drinking fountains, pavilions, etc.) but the parks are open and accessible to visitors year-round.

For more information, contact the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department at 563-589-4263.


High School Musicians Selected for District Honor Band

Show Details
Hide Details

Five students from the Dubuque Senior High School and Hempstead High School Bands have been selected to participate in the 53rd Annual Northeast Iowa Bandmasters' Association Honor Band Festival on Saturday, December 1, 2018. These students will perform in one of two 125-member select ensembles made up of high school instrumentalists from approximately 60 schools in Northeast Iowa.

The students will rehearse all day and present a concert at 7:00 PM in the Oelwein High School Gymnasium. Guest conductors for this year's festival will be Ms. Megan Cooney, from St. Ambrose University, and Mr. Steve Stickney, from the Mt. Mercy University.

The following instrumentalists from the Dubuque Senior High School Band were selected for this honor:
Joe Delaney on Trumpet, Matt Lemire on Tenor Sax, Kaylen Inagaki on Clarinet, Josh Blum on Baritone and Neil Butler on Tuba.

The following instrumentalists from the Hempstead Senior High School Band were selected for this honor:
Matt Alexander on Trumpet, Adam Gatto on Alto Sax, Brian Grimes on French Horn, Jack Morgan on Clarinet and Kate Muehring on Bassoon 


Did you know?

Show Details
Hide Details

The disclaimer "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" is featured on passenger-side mirrors of vehicles manufactured in the United States, Canada, India, Korea, and Australia.

These mirrors are convex, which means they distort the size of objects viewed in the mirror, and as such, distorts the perception of how close or far away objects are from the driver's car. However, this distortion allows for the reflection of a wider field of view on the side of the vehicle to help eliminate blind spots.

In the United States and Canada, driver's side mirrors are flat or "planar." Dual convex mirrors are not currently the norm on vehicles manufactured in North America based on requirements implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111 and the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111. Elsewhere, such as in Europe, dual convex mirrors are included on vehicles.

Many automotive companies support having two convex mirrors on the sides of cars to eliminate blind spots, as well as reduce the driver's need to twist his head to the left when turning or changing lanes.

However, flat mirrors have been required to avoid distortion and give drivers the most accurate assessment of traffic to their left for changing lanes, called "unit magnification." This may soon change, though. According to a 2013 statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "The agency intends to reevaluate existing side-mirror requirements (FMVSS No. 111) to determine whether convex mirrors should be harmonized with European requirements."

Currently, drivers can modify their driver's-side mirrors to include a convex mirror add-on, as long as the mirrors also have the required flat portion.


Crate training a good step for puppies

Show Details
Hide Details

Properly training a young dog can lead to many years of well-mannered companionship. Dogs who are behaved and respond appropriately to commands may experience less stress, know their place in the family pack and avoid injury by staying out of danger.

Crate training is one component of acclimating a puppy to a new home and routine. Using a crate can simplify the process of housebreaking a puppy. The Humane Society of the United States says that crate training uses a dog's natural instincts as a den animal. The "den" serves as a place to sleep and hide from danger. In addition, because dogs do not like to soil their dens, the crate can be used in the initial stages of housebreaking.

PetMD, an animal health and wellness resource, says there are other good reasons to use a crate in the home. Crates provide a respite where a nervous pet can retreat if he or she needs some quiet time. A cozy crate can be an inviting den for sleeping through the night and prevent separation anxiety from forming in dogs that live in big homes.

The American Kennel Club says crate training is not cruel, provided that crates are used in a positive way. Many breeders and veterinarians recommend using crates for puppies. Rely on these guidelines when crating for the first time.

• Select a well-ventilated crate that is large enough for the puppy to stand up, lie down and turn around. Too much room inside may encourage soiling in one end of the crate, which is what you're trying to avoid.

• Make the crate a positive experience from the start. Line it with blankets, place toys inside and offer treats when the puppy goes inside willingly.

• Do not lock the puppy up and leave him alone the first time you use a crate. Gradually introduce the crate and stay nearby offering plenty of praise. Start with 10-minute intervals and build up.

• Practice taking the puppy immediately outside for a potty break after he or she exits the crate. Soon the dog will associate the two activities.

• The puppy should not be in the crate for the entire day. This can make him or her resent the crate and prevent the dog from getting the exercise it needs.

Keep practicing with the crate and have patience. After a few weeks, many dogs embrace their crates. When that happens, crates become a safe spot for well-behaved, well-loved dogs.


Explaining All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

Show Details
Hide Details

Mystery and the macabre are often center stage in autumn, especially around Halloween. However, the day of tricks and treats often overshadows two important days in the Christian Church. 

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are Christian religious observances, particularly among Roman Catholics.
All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation that requires individuals to attend services. The day commemorates and is dedicated to all of the saints of the Church, or those who have attained heavenly entry. All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1 each year in Western churches, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern churches.

All Souls' Day follows All Saints' Day on November 2 and is a solemn celebration in the Catholic Church that commemorates those who have died and are now waiting in Purgatory. All Souls' Day is sometimes referred to as the Feast of All Souls. The idea of All Souls' Day is not just to remember the dead, but to utilize prayer to help the sins of the deceased be forgiven so they can be released from Purgatory and eventually welcomed into God's presence in heaven.

The key distinction between All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day is one day is for commemorating known saints and the deceased who have reached heaven, and the other is for honoring those who have not yet reached heaven.

All Souls' Day also coincides with the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and to support their spiritual journey.

People choose to celebrate these important religious holidays in different ways, from visiting and praying at cemeteries to attending mass to reflecting on the lives of the deceased with friends.


How to prepare for an out-of-town breakdown

Show Details
Hide Details

Road trips make for excellent getaways. Whether you're embarking on a weekend excursion or a lengthy vacation, driving yourself to your destination is a great way to travel, especially for families looking to save money.

Though no one wants to think about the possibility of a vehicle breakdown while out of town, such things do happen. How prepared drivers are can go a long way toward determining how affected they and their passengers will be if this happens.

• Get a checkup before skipping town. It sounds simple, but many drivers may overlook the importance of vehicle checkups before departing on weekend getaways or longer trips. A full checkup (including an oil change if the recommended interval has passed or is approaching) can uncover any problems that might derail a trip.

• Examine your options in regard to emergency roadside assistance. Insurance providers typically offer emergency roadside assistance to policy holders for a nominal fee, and memberships in clubs such as AAA also are inexpensive. That's especially true when drivers compare the cost of extra coverage or AAA membership to the potential price tag of a tow truck and out-of-town repairs. Drivers should note that out-of-town repairs may require costly overnight shipping of parts so travelers can get back on the road as quickly as possible. Roadside assistance offered through an insurance company or motor club may include tow trucks free of charge up to a certain number of miles, allowing travelers to get their cars back home without breaking the bank.

• Inspect tires, including your spare. Many a road trip has been derailed or thrown off schedule due to a flat tire or tires. Before departing, check the condition of your existing tires, including the spare, as well as the air pressure in each one. Firestone notes that many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing tires at six years, regardless of tread wear. Tires that get heavy usage should be replaced even more frequently. To determine if tread wear is something to worry about, Firestone recommends the penny test, which involves placing a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If the top of Abraham Lincoln's head is always visible, then your tires are shallow and worn and need to be replaced. But if part of Lincoln's head is always covered, your tires can probably withstand the trip. Worn tire treads can make it hard for tires to safely navigate roads in inclement weather, so don't discount the importance of this simple step.

• Bring along some basic tools. Pack some basic tools, such as screw drivers, wrenches, pliers, a trolley jack, a battery charger, and, of course, duct tape, which may help you temporarily solve some issues on your own. This is especially important for drivers who intend to visit remote locations where mobile phone networks may be inaccessible and the nearest tow truck might be far away.

Hone your tire-changing skills before hitting the road and make sure tools are still capable of performing the kind of basic maintenance that might help your vehicle safely return to civilization.

Vehicle breakdowns happen, even while on vacation. Some advance preparation can help drivers avert out-of-town disasters.


Heritage Trail Closure

Show Details
Hide Details

Heritage Trail will be closed from Fish Pond Rd. to Boge Rd. effective Tuesday, October 23rd for the replacement of bridge 27 on the trail.

The project is beig completed by Jim Schroeder Construction and is expected to take between 3-4 weeks.

Please call 556-6745 with any questions or concerns.

Thank you!


Tyler Named Dubuque Director of Transportation Services

Show Details
Hide Details

Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen has appointed Renee Tyler to be the City's next director of transportation services. Tyler is currently the City's assistant public works director and will assume her new responsibilities on Nov. 5, 2018. She will replace Candace Eudaley-Loebach, whose resignation will be effective on Nov. 16, 2018.

As director of transportation services, Tyler will be responsible for the operation of The Jule, Dubuque's public transit system with fixed-route bus service and door-to-door paratransit mini-bus service, and management of the city's parking system, including public ramps, lots, and parking meters. She will serve as project manager for the department, coordinate vehicle and major equipment purchases, analyze ridership and route performance, manage and maintain all parking facilities/assets and enforcement activities, control and administer budgets for the transit and parking activities, and be responsible for departmental marketing programs and activities.

"Managing Dubuque's public transportation services and meeting the parking needs of our residents, businesses, and visitors, is a critical role," said Van Milligen. "I am confident that Renee's fleet management experience and leadership skills will enable her to continue the The Jule's increasing ridership trend and to ensure the City's parking services evolve to support customer convenience and economic growth."

Tyler joined the City of Dubuque staff as assistant public works director in December 2016. In this role, she assists with administrative responsibilities for the department along with operational activities for the City's street and sewer maintenance activities, traffic signals and street lighting maintenance, riverfront maintenance, snow and ice control operations, and flood control activities. She manages a staff of 40 and activity budgets of over $8.5 million.

Prior to coming to Dubuque, Tyler was employed by the City of Little Rock, Ark., from 2013 to 2016 as fleet acquisition, parts, and special projects manager. She served as a divisional manager and was responsible for vehicle procurement, acquisitions, parts, and inventory control for the city's 1,400 fleet assets. Tyler also implemented a performance measurement system, acted as legislative and state government liaison for fleet issues, ensured grant compliance, identified alternative energy and fueling projects, and managed the division's annual budget.

Tyler's previous experience includes serving as executive administrator to the CEO of RVM Enterprises, an eDiscovery and consulting services firm in New York, N.Y.; chief of staff to New Jersey Assemblyman Jerry Green in the New Jersey General Assembly in Plainfield, N.J.; and assistant to the CEO of the Promontory Financial Group in New York, N.Y.

Tyler earned a bachelor's degree in social welfare from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and is pursuing a master's degree in public service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. She recently participated in the International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Professional Fellows Program funded by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She is also a member of the American Public Works Association (APWA), a 2018 graduate of APWA's Emerging Leaders Academy, the APWA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Iowa APWA Legislative and Governance Committee, the Dubuque County Historic Preservation Commission, a 2016 graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Association of Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), and is past vice president of the Arkansas Public Fleet Professionals Association.

Her volunteer experience includes the Junior Achievement of the Heartland in Dubuque middle schools, Art Porter Music Foundation, Our House Shelter, and Little Rock Junior League.


The most haunted places in North America

Show Details
Hide Details

Mysteries and the macabre take center stage come Halloween. Many people feel that lingering spirits may cling to hotel rooms, hospitals and old buildings. The following are some sites, courtesy of Conde Nast, Reader's Digest and National Geographic, that may prove pleasing to those who like a taste of the paranormal each October.

• Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass.: The Salem Witch Trials were a shocking part of American history. Many different people were accused of witchcraft and sorcery and executed for their alleged crimes. Howard Street Cemetery, where Giles Corey, a convicted offender is buried, is said to host the paranormal.

• Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pa.: This once strict enforcer of solitary confinement was built in 1829 and housed prisoners until 1970. Peals of disembodied laughter, pacing footsteps and shadowy figures have been reported on the premises.

• Keg Mansion, Toronto, Ontario: The Keg Mansion was once the private residence of industrialist Hart Massey and his family. Legend states that, after the death of Massey's daughter Lillian, her maid was so overcome with grief that she took her own life. A ghostly image of a maid hanging by her neck has frequently been reported at the property.

• LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, La.: Marie Delphine LaLaurie was a Louisiana socialite who threw lavish parties. But she also had a dark and grisly side. When a fire broke out in the residence, police responded and discovered mutilated slaves in the attic. LaLaurie fled New Orleans, but it is believed the phantom screams of her victims can still be heard at night.

• Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff, Az.: This hotel is purportedly home to various spectors and paranormal guests. Room 210 was plagued by someone who hung raw meat from the chandelier. An infant's wretching cries have sent people scurrying. And two women who were thrown from the third floor now haunt and try to smother male guests in their sleep.

• Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta: This is the site of a number of terrifying ghost sitings, including an entire murdered family. Many believe a retired head bellman in uniform continues to haunt the hotel.

• San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas: This is the oldest church in Texas and is stunning to behold. But during the nighttime, visitors may feel the hair on their necks stand on end. During renovations, workers unearthed bones, nails and military uniforms. Visitors report orbs and shadowy figures in photographs, as well as figures in hooded clothing.

• RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, Calif.: This luxury ship carried Hollywood celebrities before being repurposed into a World War II ship that transported troops. Eventually, the ship was permanently docked in California, and is reportedly haunted by those who died aboard, such as a young sailor crushed in the engine room.

Haunted places dot the globe and can make interesting travel locations for those who wish to discover what goes bump in the night.


How to create an effective fire safety plan

Show Details
Hide Details

While fire can provide warmth and safety, it also can cause immediate and significant damage that can uproot lives and devastate homes. Because fire is such a formidable foe, it's imperative that people from all walks of life have a fire safety plan.

The threat of fire
The National Fire Protection Association says U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year between 2011 and 2015. On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services says 48 percent of fires that cause severe losses occur in residential properties.

Both the NFPA and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management in Ontario state that cooking-related fires are the most prevalent, followed by fires sparked by heating equipment.

How quickly fire can spread may surprise some people. The Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department says that in the average two-story home fire, fire ignites in 30 seconds, smoke pours into most rooms by 2.5 minutes, and roughly 4.5 minutes after the fire has ignited, flames can be visible from the exterior of a house. Temperatures inside can grow from 190 F to more than 1400 F in two minutes.

Planning is critical
When fires ignite, time is of the essence to make a fast evacuation. Unfortunately, panic may set in and people may not know how to act when under such acute stress. That's why planning for the event of fire can provide families with the information they need to evacuate safely.

Evacuation plans and drills should be established and practiced frequently so that getting out alive becomes second nature. However, only about one-quarter of households have actually developed and practiced a home-fire escape plan, according to the NFPA.

The following guidelines can help families customize their fire escape plans.

• Find two ways out. Look at your home's layout and identify two ways out of every room, if possible. Walk around the house in each room and practice what to do if a fire broke out in that space, offers Safe Kids Worldwide.

• Choose an outside meeting place. Establish a spot to meet a safe distance in front of the home where everyone can gather after they've gotten out safely.

• Assign help to those with mobility issues. Elderly adults, infants or young children may have difficulty escaping on their own. Plan a buddy system so that a key person in the household is responsible for rousing and helping another from the house.

• Check fire protection. Be sure that there is a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and on every level of the house.

• Drop it low. Heat and smoke rise and escaping on hands and knees is essential for survival.

• Practice several times a year. Conduct a fire drill a few times each year, and choose a different escape route each time. Invest in a UI-certified collapsible rescue ladder and attach it at least once, advises The Fire Department of New York, in case a second-story evacuation is necessary.


Gourds, squashes and pumpkins, oh my!

Show Details
Hide Details

Halloween takes place during a time of year characterized by earthen-colored chrysanthemums, leaf-lined walkways and crisp autumn air. As colorful as the costumes children wear for trick-or-treating may be, nature's beauty is unsurpassed this time of year, and the scores of pumpkins, gourds and squashes on display only add to that colorful melange.

The Cucurbitaceae family may be best known for pumpkins, squash and gourds, but there actually are 800 species that belong to this family. While they share many of the same properties, these fruits each have their own unique attributes.

The main differences between squashes, gourds and pumpkins is their intended purposes - whether they're ornamental or edible.

Squashes come in summer and winter varieties. Winter ones do not actually grow in the winter; in fact, they're harvested in late summer and early fall, but the name references the hard shell casing that protects the tender pulp inside. Zucchini are summer squash because their outer flesh is tender, while butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and hubbard squashes are winter squashes because they feature a tough skin. Even though it takes some effort to crack that shell, the dense, nutrient-rich flesh inside is well worth the workout.

Gourds are essentially ornamental squashes; they aren't cultivated for eating. Instead they are bred to look beautiful and unique in autumn centerpieces. Types of gourds include autumn wing gourd, warted gourds, turban gourds, and bottle gourds. Each gourd is unique in its shape and color.

Pumpkins come in ornamental and edible varieties. Even though all pumpkins can be consumed, some taste better than others. Small pumpkins tend to be decorative because, according to Nutritious Life, they do not have enough meat inside to make them worthy of cooking. However, sugar pumpkins are best for baking and cooking favorite recipes, states the resource Pumpkin Nook.

The festive hues and flavors of squashes, gourds and pumpkins are one more thing that makes Halloween and autumn special.


Dubuque Offers Multiple Leaf Disposal Options

Show Details
Hide Details

Rakeout Appointments Begin October 15

The City of Dubuque is reminding residents of their options for leaf and yard debris disposal. The City encourages mulching, mowing, and backyard composting as economical and beneficial leaf management options but offers several other options for yard debris management.

As part of the City's April-November collection service, leaves and other yard waste may be placed in: paper yard waste bags that display a single-use yard waste sticker; a rigid solid waste container with either a single-use yard waste sticker looped on the handle or a City 2018 annual yard waste decal; or in City yard debris tipper carts.

Brush and limbs can be bundled with a City of Dubuque brush tie or twine and an attached single-use yard waste sticker.

Bags and containers may not exceed 35 gallons in capacity or 40 pounds in weight. Plastic bags containing yard waste will not be collected. Paper yard waste bags, single-use yard waste stickers, and brush ties are available in most grocery, hardware, and discount stores throughout the city. Single-use yard waste stickers are available at area retailers on sheets of five for $6.50. Brush ties cost $1.30 each.

Seasonal, regular-route yard waste collection ends Saturday, Nov. 24. From December through March, Thursday collections of yard waste may be scheduled by calling (563) 589-4250 or submitting a request at Food scraps will also be collected on Thursday only for subscribed customers.

The Public Works Department also offers, by appointment only, leaf rake-out collections in which large, curbside leaf piles are vacuumed into a collection vehicle. Collection appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling (563) 589-4250 or submitting a request at Rake-out collections are offered from Monday, Oct. 15, through Wednesday, Nov. 21, this year. Appointments must be made before raking into a gutter area. Acceptable items in the leaf rake-out include loose leaves, pine needles, and pine cones. Grass, brush, plants, and rocks are not accepted.

Rake-out collection leaf piles should be placed in the street at the curb no sooner than the day before the scheduled appointment. Crews cannot enter private property or alleys to collect a leaf rake-out. Vehicles must not be parked on the street within 10 feet of the leaf pile. Utilities such as fire hydrants, utility boxes, or storm sewer catch basins should not be covered. A $20 minimum charge is added to a customer's utility bill for a 40 bag equivalent rake-out pickup.

Residents are reminded that burning leaves and raking or blowing your leaves into the street are prohibited and subject to fines.

For more information, please contact the City of Dubuque Public Works Department at (563) 589-4250 or visit


Reduce cold-weather fire risk

Show Details
Hide Details

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

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

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

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

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

• Clean regularly to prevent grease buildup.

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

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

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

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

• Never use an oven to heat a home.

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

• Clean and inspect heating appliances regularly.

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

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

• Never force plugs into outlets.

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

• Use extension cords only on a temporary basis.

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

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

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

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


Scouting, faith, community, and education come together to help student soar on wings of eagles

Show Details
Hide Details

By Cameron Haugen

Living a life of service is not always easy, but the hard work leads to amazing rewards. Through my life, I have tried to enjoy myself while also making an impact on those around me. It was amazing to me to see what happened when scouting, community, education, and faith came together as I worked to execute my Eagle Scout project.

When I was in first grade at Resurrection, they had Scout leaders talk to the boys at school, and I got my little sticker and brought it home and said, "Mom, I want to try this." My dad volunteered to be our Scout leader, and has been by my side as I went through Cub Scouts. From day one, I knew I wanted to complete Cub Scouts, and then when I got into Boy Scouts, I thought, "I might as well finish this and become an Eagle Scout."

I wanted to do something at Wahlert; I wasn't sure what. I said, "What about a bench or a cross in front of campus?" Mr. Meyers said a cross would be cool, then he suggested the quote And they will soar on wings of Eagles. I thought this is perfect! As an Eagle Scout project and with an eagle as my school mascot, this would tie in perfectly with my faith, and allow me to leave my own mark on Wahlert, to become part of Wahlert's legacy.

In the course of completing my project, I faced a number of obstacles. I learned that organizing big events is way more challenging than actually carrying out the event. Setting up all of the paperwork and getting everything and everyone ready was a challenge, where completing the project wasn't easy but it wasn't as difficult as setting it up. I am thankful for all those in the community that guided me along the way.

The Eagle Scout Project is meant to teach you to give back to your community. The goal is to do service hours and give back to the community that made you who you are supposed to be. It is a phenomenal way to wrap up the scouting program, by using all the values scouting teaches you such as respect, determination, ingenuity, survival skills, and how to function as an adult, to complete the Eagle Scout Project, and later rank.

I was lucky to have so many people partake in my project with financial support as well as labor. For younger scouts, my project served as a chance for them to experience what an Eagle Scout Project entails, hopefully giving them motivation to complete their own. For older scouts, it is a chance to give back to the community and get service hours. To complete this projects, about 80 service hours were needed.

Hopefully the solid stone structure will serve as a symbol to remind students they need to work hard, live a life of service and faith, and continue to persevere so that they too can soar on wings of eagles.


A guide to safely removing fallen leaves

Show Details
Hide Details

Raking leaves is a chore many people immediately associate with autumn. Even though raking seems like a simple activity, it's still possible to be injured while removing leaves from the yard. 

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center advises that pain from outdoor leaf chores can range from strained back muscles to twisted knees. Blisters on the hands and sunburn are other potential side effects. Many people do not realize that raking is a thorough cardiovascular workout. Individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease or those who have recovered from surgery may not be well enough to rake leaves.

Here's how to make autumn leaf removal more of a breeze when the job is done safely.

• Pay attention when using a leaf blower. Be cautious not to point an operational blower in the direction of people or pets, as debris can be blown about and cause injury.

• Stretch out before raking leaves. Warm up muscles beforehand so they are less likely to cramp. UPMC experts suggest taking a short walk prior to raking to stimulate circulation.

• Use proper raking form. Much like snow shoveling, one should emphasize proper posture when raking, with legs slightly bent and weight distributed evenly. Hold the rake handle close to the body and keep one hand near the top of the rake for better leverage.

• Use the proper gear. A leaf rake fans out like a triangle and comes in various widths. Choose a lightweight material that can be easily maneuvered. A metal rake is for stones and dirt and shouldn't be used for leaves. To get between bushes, a smaller version of a leaf rake, called a shrub rake, should be used.

• Wear protective gear. When raking or leaf blowing, protect your eyes against debris. You also may want to use a mask to prevent inhalation of leaf mold and other particulates. Gloves can protect hands from blisters.

• Follow manufacturers' directions. Read the instructions for powered leaf blowers, and never modify the device in an unauthorized way.

• Use a tarp and lift wisely. Rake leaves onto a tarp that can be dragged to a garbage pail or to the curb for municipal pick up. For those who must lift bags of leaves, do so by bending at the knees, not from the waist.

• Wear sunscreen. Protect skin from the sun. Even though temperatures are cooler in the fall, this does not mean the sun's rays are any less harmful. Also, take breaks to rehydrate frequently.

• Use a secure ladder. When removing leaves from gutters, be sure the ladder is sturdy and secure. Consider having a friend serve as a spotter, holding on to the ladder to offer greater security. Do not overextend to stretch for leaves.

If at any time during leaf clean-up you feel sharp or dull, incessant pains, stop working. Listen to your body's signals and start the task anew the next day or when you feel better.


BRYAN ANTHONY’S CELEBRATING SINATRA with the Hunter Fuerste Orchestra is coming to the Grand Opera House

Show Details
Hide Details

The Dubuque Arts Council kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration with famed big band vocalist Bryan Anthony's Celebrating Sinatra - His Life in Music at The Grand Opera House in Dubuque on New Year's Eve, December 31 from 8pm-10pm. Bryan will perform in concert with the Hunter Fuerste Orchestra.

Tickets are $35 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at the Grand Opera House box office,, or charged at 563-588-1305.

Bryan Anthony and Hunter Fuerste bring the legacy of the one and only Frank Sinatra alive with this immensely satisfying and sweetly nostalgic performance. Bryan is a veteran vocalist of ensembles like the Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Nelson Riddle Orchestras, with Hunter Fuerste having played with Guy Lombardo-Mr. New Year's Eve, himself-while watching the ball drop in Times Square. This collective homage to Old Blue Eyes takes contemporary audiences back to the Swing Era in style.
After launching his career as a vocalist with extensive touring across the globe with various big band orchestras, Bryan was featured in the off-Broadway production of Our Sinatra, a celebration of the legendary Frank Sinatra. Bryan's fondness and respect for the Great Gentlemen of Song has led to this development of extensive repertoire that provides stunning homages without resorting to impressions.

The Celebrating Sinatra concert is the first of several special events planned to celebrate the Dubuque Arts Council's 50th Anniversary in 2019. The Dubuque Arts Council's "Educating and Entertaining" mission is to provide diverse, multi-disciplinary, artistic and educational opportunities to expand cultural horizons and improve the quality of life. In addition to the Artist-in-Residence program, which brings live performance residences to the tri-state area schools, every summer the Dubuque Arts Council, along with the support of corporate sponsors, presents "Music in the Gardens," a series of seven free summer concerts held at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.


3 Memorial Day weekend travel tips

Show Details
Hide Details

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. In 2017, the automotive group AAA estimated that 40 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more on Memorial Day weekend. Those estimates also projected that 34.6 million vehicles would be used to make those trips.

Often referred to as "the unofficial beginning of summer," Memorial Day and the weekend that precedes it has become synonymous with beach trips and backyard barbecues. Travelers who want to avoid traffic jams and ensure their weekends get off on the right foot can benefit from employing these three travel-savvy strategies.

1. Start the weekend early.
In its "State of American Vacation 2017" survey, Project: Time Off found that 662 million vacation days were unused in 2016. People traveling for Memorial Day who typically leave some vacation days on the table can start their weekends early this year. Many offices close early the Friday before Memorial Day, and workers who aren't so lucky may just leave work early, meaning Friday afternoon traffic figures to be heavy. By leaving Thursday afternoon or evening, travelers can avoid the Friday rush to the beach.

2. Take public transportation.
Travelers who can't take an extra day off or leave work early the Friday before Memorial Day may want to consider taking public transportation to their beach destinations instead of driving themselves. In 2016, the U.S.-based data firm Inrix noted that a traffic-free Friday jaunt from New York City to Long Island's East end would take 90 minutes, while the same trip would take three hours and 40 minutes on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Travelers who can't leave early can save themselves from the stress of holiday traffic jams by letting someone else do the navigating.

3. Be patient and depart on Saturday morning.
Travelers who can be patient may find that waiting to depart for their destinations until Saturday can save them from dealing with much of the stress of traveling on Memorial Day weekend. The benefits of being patient may depend on where travelers live, as the Inrix study noted that Friday was the busiest day to leave Los Angeles on Memorial Day weekend, while San Diego residents tended to deal with the most traffic on Saturday. An added benefit of waiting until Saturday is the likelihood that such travelers will not return home until Tuesday, avoiding traffic on Monday, which tends to be the busiest return travel day of the weekend.

Memorial Day weekend travel tends to be hectic. But savvy travelers with some flexibility can take steps to make their trips less stressful.