Area Tidbits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dubuque Launches Open Expenses Transparency Tool

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The City of Dubuque is committed to transparency and accountability in all its operations, especially when it comes to how city funds are spent. Public access to this information was greatly enhanced this week with the City's launch of an "Open Expenses" application.

The Open Expenses site, which can be accessed at http://expenses.cityofdubuque.org, provides a guided view of the City's expenses, allowing visitors to browse payments from a high-level summary to a detailed view. Information can be viewed and queried by department, vendor, or expense category.

The Open Expenses application provides an opportunity for the public to explore and visually interact with Dubuque's operating and capital expenditures. The application currently features data from the 2012 fiscal year through the current fiscal year (2016) and can display the exportable data in charts and graphs.

"This new tool gives our residents and stakeholders direct access to all City expenditures," said City of Dubuque Finance Director Jean Nachtman. "Open Expenses is updated weekly so it is very current information but it also offers year-to-year comparisons. People who access the site can take an organization-wide look at costs or ‘dig down' to the departmental or activity level."

The Open Expenses tool complements "Open Budget," an online tool launched by the City in October 2015 that provides unprecedented access to city budget information and is designed to help "make sense of the dollars and cents" of city government budgeting.

The Open Expenses and Open Budget applications support the City of Dubuque's five-year organizational goal of "a financially responsible city government and high-performance organization" and allows users with and without financial and accounting data experience to better understand expenditures in these categories. The goal is to provide data in a user-friendly way via charts, graphs, and images that are easy to understand.

The applications were purchased through Socrata, a privately-held cloud software company headquartered in Seattle.

 

Diamond Jo chef becomes three-time winner of Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance

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Diamond Jo Casino's Executive Chef Jon Nelson was named Chef Par Excellence for the third time at the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2016 Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance competition on Jan. 25 in Des Moines.

Nelson, who serves as executive chef for Diamond Jo Casino, took home the top prize in IPPA's 30th annual culinary contest at the Des Moines Marriott, and previously took home the honor in 2013 and 2012. Nelson earned a plaque and $1,000 for his latest pork creation: "Ad Porc de Trois." The win also earned Nelson a trip to the National Pork Summit in St. Helena, Calif., this spring.

Nelson's winning dish features cottage ham, glazed pepper shoulder bacon, smoked herb sausage, stone-ground cheese grits, braised leeks and roasted sweet corn. The pork medley is accompanied by fried Brussel sprouts, basil, and fresh arugula tossed in a sambal vinaigrette.

Ten chefs from around Iowa competed this year, with a requirement by the IPPA to use Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder in their entrée creations. The winning pork dishes were selected on the basis of taste, appearance and originality.

Judging this year's competition were Chef Brad Scott, culinary instructor and head chef at Scott Community College; Chef Jonathan Cook, executive sous chef of the Iowa Events Center; and Matt Unger, program manager with the Food Bank of Iowa. The evening reception was emceed by WHO Radio's Bob Quinn.

The event also served as a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Iowa's Backpack program. IPPA encouraged guests to make monetary donations with that total matched by the association, plus $1,500. The food bank program received a total donation of $2,826.

Nelson has not only competed in the event three times, but he has also been recognized all three occasions. He has worked at Diamond Jo since 2006 and has been working in the culinary industry for more than 30 years.

Diamond Jo Casino is owned and operated by Boyd Gaming Corporation, a leading diversified owner and operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey. Boyd Gaming press releases are available at www.prnewswire.com. Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at www.boydgaming.com.

 

Just Add Water campaign

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The "Just Add Water" campaign is a tri-state effort to collect 1,000 cases of water and for the residents of Flint, Michigan.

Flint, Michigan's water supply has been poisoned, affecting everyone in the community. Just Add Water, by Resources Unite, is a Tri-State community campaign to collect 1,000 cases of water as well as hygiene supplies including baby wipes and formula by February 28, 2016 for Flint, Michigan.

If everyone in our community donated even just one case of water we would really do something amazing for the women, men and children of Flint. You or your business can also buy pallets of water (60 cases) for $240 at Lowe's Home Improvement.

On March 5, 2016, a Hirschbach semi will then depart to Flint, Michigan where the collected cases of water and other supplies will be handed out to the community. Volunteers will also be needed to make the trip to Flint to aid in handing out supplies to the residents along with other volunteer opportunities.

The people of Flint need a lot of help right now. Together, we can work to provide them with the support and hope that they need. Cases of water can be dropped off at Resources Unite's office at 1900 John F. Kennedy Road, behind Dubuque Dental Associates or can be arranged to be picked up at your convenience.

Phone Josh at Resources Unite at 563-581-2850 or email josh@resourcesunite.com for more information.

About Resources Unite
The mission of Resources Unite is to strengthen our community by connecting individuals and businesses to volunteer opportunities and resources that lead to a happier and more engaged way of life. People want to get involved and make a difference, but sometimes are unsure of where to start. RU is that starting point for our community.

 

3rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party

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The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Dubuque County Division #2 is celebrating its 3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Party on March 12, hosted by the Knights of Columbus 510 and the Dubuque AOH. The event will take place inside the KC Hall at 8th and Locust in downtown Dubuque.

There will be Irish and American beverages, food, and entertainment provided. Admission to the party is $5.00 per person.

The celebration will kick off in the Washington Park Gazebo at 4:00 p.m. with a short presentation and a toast to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin, Ireland.

Continuing at the KC Hall at 4:30 p.m. the Dubuque Fire Pipes and Drum will perform, at 5:00 p.m. the McNulty School of Irish Dance, and at 6:00 p.m. by Dubuque's own Irish band - The Lads.

Parking is available in KC Parking Lots, with overflow metered parking available in the City of Dubuque Parking Ramp across the street from the venue and along downtown streets.

We hope to see you all there for another family friendly celebration of St. Patrick's Day and Irish Culture in Dubuque.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in the United States. AOH is a place to meet like-minded Irish Americans who share the same values and beliefs of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. The loyalty of the Irish are bound to the principles of their adopted land in America. In any case, AOH members are best described by the statement, "To be Irish is a Blessing, To be a Hibernian is an Honor."

 

Becoming an Iowa Outdoor Woman Workshop

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Pheasants Forever, Iowa DNR, and Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor a "Becoming an Iowa Outdoor Woman" Workshop (BOW) at Swiss Valley Nature Center in Peosta on Saturday, March 5, from 8am to 1pm.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) means becoming a more competent, more confident and aware individual. BOW is an outdoor skills program that offers women a chance to grow. 20,000+ women attend BOW events every year!

If you are at least 18 years old and are interested in becoming an Iowa outdoors woman, join us on March 5th for a fun filled day of outdoor activities and education at Swiss Valley Nature Center. Registration will begin at 8:00 am and activities will kick off at 8:30 am. Activities for the workshop include: firearm education, fly casting, fly tying, snowshoe or cross country hike, fire starting techniques and MORE.  

Participants need to pre-register. For more information or to register call Jenny Ammon at 563.556.6745.

 

Bluebird Workshop

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board and Dubuque County Conservation Society will present the Annual Bluebird Workshop at Swiss Valley Nature Center at 10:00 am Saturday, March 19.

Join us for the opportunity to learn about Bluebirds, their habitat, their lifecycle, their food sources, how to construct a nesting box to use on your property, and how to properly monitor the house. The materials are limited, so participants MUST preregister.

All ages are welcome, but be sure to bring a hammer and a cordless drill to construct the nest box.

For more information or to register, please call the office at 563.556.6745

Please feel free to stay following the bluebird program. Dubuque County Conservation Society is hosting a lunch at noon. There will be a Conservation Board Staff member giving a presentation about the nature center and the process of the updates and recapping updates of our areas. Lunch will include: chili, deer sausage, cookies and other snacks. Please call to confirm your spot for the lunch, 563.556.6745

 

Enjoy nights out on the town even when it’s cold

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As temperatures plummet, people look for ways to safeguard themselves from the chilly weather. But just because the mercury is falling does not mean it's time to hibernate.

Dine out
Al fresco dining may have to be put on hold for a few months, but restaurant dining can still be enjoyed when it is cold outside. In fact, a hearty, hot meal with friends may be just the thing to banish winter doldrums. Plenty of restaurants embellish the ambiance with twinkling lights or bubbling water features to create a serene and interesting atmosphere. 

Movie night
Climate-controlled movie theaters make going to the movies comfortable no matter the weather outside. Attending the cinema can be an enjoyable way for couples to socialize. Catch a new release and then visit a diner or cafe for coffee and pie to rehash your favorite moments from the film. Research theaters nearby, and you may find one that is showcasing a classic film that you have never experienced on the big screen.

If going out to the movies in bad weather is not tempting, host an at-home movie night with neighbors. Stream a movie from the comforts of home or order a recent release from your cable TV provider. Heat up a bag of microwave popcorn, and you are all set for an evening of enjoyment with close friends.

Dancing and/or live music
Many cities and urban centers boast some sort of nightly entertainment, particularly on weekends. One way to beat the chill is to heat up the dance floor at a club or nearby social center. Clubs cater to various musical tastes, and you're bound to find one that offers your preferred musical genre, whether it's country, rock, hip-hop, or Latin-infused.

Live performers offer their brand of entertainment at bars, clubs and any space that offers them a stage and spotlight. Take in a set from a local performer, and you just may witness the first moments of a future star's career. Live entertainment need not be costly. Many bars offer live music free or for a small cover charge.

Embrace the cold
Fashion activities around the colder temperatures with an "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality. Plan a family-friendly day out on the slopes or race down snow-covered hills aboard sleds and snowboards. Visit an ice rink and take a few laps around the frozen surface. Once everyone has had their fill, gather for hot chocolate or cappuccinos to warm up.

Cold weather does not have to mean the end of socializing. Keep in contact with friends and family throughout winter days to buoy your spirits.

 

Valentine’s Day flowers can go beyond roses

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Valentine's Day is a great day for florists. According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine's Day is the No. 1 holiday for florists, as 40 percent of the holiday's dollar volume goes toward the purchase of fresh flowers.

Red roses make for popular Valentine's gifts. Red is a symbol of love and passion, and red roses have become synonymous with Valentine's Day. Come February 14, more than half of men and women will shop for red roses, followed by roses of other colors, such as pink, white and mixed colored bouquets.

Roses are a fail-safe choice, and many men tend to feel comfortable purchasing roses. That isn't to say other flowers do not make great gifts. A bouquet or vase full of any of the following types of flowers can be unexpected and unique.

• Orchids: Orchids have traditionally been associated with love and beauty. Since orchids look exotic and come in various colors with bold scents, they make a romantic Valentine's Day gift. Delicate and alluring, orchids are pretty robust plants that grow all over the world. Cut orchids may even last longer than roses.

• French Tulips: French tulips are much larger than typical tulips, so they can look impressive in a floral arrangement. What's more, French tulip stems continue to grow in the water even after being cut, according to floral industry experts. The stems may twist together in vases, providing something new to see each day.

• Hydrangeas: These big, dense balls of flowers are the pom-poms of the floral world. Thanks to the wide array of colors and impressive number of blooms on each plant, they can result in more budget-friendly bouquets than roses and still provide some eye-catching colors.

• Gerbera Daisies: One can't help but smile at these large and vividly colored blooms. They quickly fill up a vase and can look so pristine a person may actually think they're silk. A bouquet of deep pinks can be a thoughtful Valentine's Day offering.

• Mixed bouquets: Mixed bouquets enable shoppers to put together several different flowers and get the most bang for their buck. For a cohesive look, ask the florist to stick to one specific color. Purple flowers look regal and may be even more impactful than red roses.

Flowers will always be popular on Valentine's Day, but celebrants need not feel tethered to roses when giving their significant others flowers.

 

Frugal ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

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A day set aside to shower a loved one with gifts and touching words of affection, Valentine's Day brightens the often gloomy month of February. Established centuries ago with origins shrouded in mystery, Valentine's Day has evolved into one of the most popular – and expensive – days of the year. Many couples celebrate Valentine's Day with cards, gifts and nights out on the town, and such celebrations can stretch budgets.

Coming on the heels of post-holiday bills, Valentine's Day can feel like a costly prospect. Yet, even those on a budget can enjoy a special day to remember without breaking the bank. The following are several frugal ways to enjoy Valentine's Day.

• Create your own greeting card. It can be challenging to find cards that offer just the right sentiments. Sometimes cards seem distant, too risqué or overly sentimental. Instead, create your own card. Find a decorative blank card or make one from card stock. Search through your digital photos and print one of the two of you together. Glue on a paper heart border, and then jot down some affectionate sentiments.

• Cleverly wrap favorite chocolate. Chocolate is synonymous with Valentine's Day, and it's easy to spend a lot on gourmet chocolates without even knowing if your valentine will like what's inside the box. Stick to what you know he or she likes, even if it's a simple chocolate bar from a convenience store. Buy a few and then wrap them in a fancy box with ribbon.

• Go out for a small bite to eat. If you're concerned about the cost of an expensive dinner out or anticipate being restricted to a certain menu, plan to dine at home. You can opt to go out for cocktails prior or head to a café for dessert and cappuccino afterward. This way you'll still get the experience of going out without being forced to overspend. If you've got your heart set on a full meal, watch for Valentine specials or coupons your area restaurants may be offering.

• Purchase a rosebush. Bouquets of roses are traditional gifts for Valentine's Day. However, thanks to the increased demand, the cost of roses tends to increase as Valentine's Day draws nearer. If you want to save money but still give roses, buy a plant that blooms each year. Buy a rosebush and plan to put it in the garden come spring when all danger of frost is gone. 

• Turn older jewelry new again. Diamonds and other jewelry can be costly. If a new piece simply isn't in the budget, consider repurposing an older piece of jewelry that isn't worn as often. It's amazing what a new setting on a ring can look like or how stones on a seldom-used necklace can be turned into fashionable stud earrings. If you have a good amount of mismatched gold jewelery lying around, you may be able to sell it or have it melted down and turned into a beautiful new creation.

 

Iowa’s Wild Beauty with Ty Smedes

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Dubuque County Conservation is sponsoring "Iowa's Wild Beauty" with Ty Smedes Sunday, Feb. 21, at 1:00 pm at Swiss Valley Nature Center.

Join Ty Smedes for a slide presentation and lecture about his new book, titled Iowa's Wild Beauty. Ty Smedes, renowned Urbandale writer and nature photographer, has created one of the most beautiful and diverse collections of Iowa nature images ever to appear in a single book. This visual treasure takes the reader on a photographic journey to every corner of the state. You will discover colorful prairies, beautiful streams, and forested wilderness areas which contain rare plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, and colorful butterflies. From a tiny crab spider hiding among the petals of a beautiful wildflower, to the bison mega-fauna that roam the prairie hilltops of western Iowa's Loess Hills, Iowa's wild beauty is on full display. These special images, along with descriptive text, provide an intimate look at Iowa's natural world. 

Ty's photos have been published by many major magazines and book publishers, including Outdoor Photographer, Sierra, The Nature Conservancy, Smithsonian, Ducks Unlimited, and many others. He specializes in wildlife, prairie wildflower, and landscape images. As a feature writer for the Iowa DNR's Iowa Outdoors Magazine, his goal is to educate the reader by writing about and photographing many of the lesser known birds, animals, and places.

Information regarding Ty's three books can be found on his website at www.smedesphoto.com.

This program will also serve as the opening of the "Moments in Nature" Photography opening. Winners from the Moments in Nature Photo Contest will be displayed in an upstairs exhibit.

 

Dubuque Wins Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting Award

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The City of Dubuque has received a Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting award from the Salt Institute for excellence in environmental consciousness and effective management in the storage of winter road salt.

Dubuque's Public Works Department is one of 90 transportation facilities across the United States and Canada to be recognized. This is the first time Dubuque received the award and Dubuque is one of just two Iowa communities honored this year.

Clear winter roads protect lives and commerce. Every winter, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 killed as a result of pavement that is snow, slush or ice covered, according to the federal government. But a study of highways in Snow Belt states showed that road salt reduces crashes by 88 percent.

When the direct and indirect impact of road shutdowns on the broader economy is factored in, road salt becomes even more valuable. A one-day major snowstorm can cost a state $300-$700 million in direct and indirect costs, lost commerce, and productivity. In fact, de-icing pays for itself within the first 25 minutes after the salt is spread – making proper salt storage and timely de-icing a smart investment.

"I'm pleased that the Salt Institute has recognized the efforts of the City and staff who plan and implement our snow and ice control program," said City of Dubuque Street and Sewer Maintenance Supervisor John Klostermann. "With the support of the mayor, city council and city manager, staff is able to provide an environmentally sustainable, high-level, snow and ice control service to our citizens."

The City of Dubuque Public Works Department provides a full level of snow and ice control services, from the anti-icing before the storm to snow removal after the storm. Fourteen operators are dispatched at the start of a winter storm event and 24-hour service is provided until all streets are plowed and de-iced. During major storm events, additional plows are dispatched to assist the plowing operation. The City uses, on average, 7,000 tons of salt each season, but has 12,000 tons available at the start of each season to assure adequate supplies during an above-average winter season.

"These facilities have cleared a high bar," said Salt Institute President Lori Roman. "For example, in minimizing salt runoff alone, 10 specific recommendations must be met."

About 17 million tons of deicing salt is applied to roadways in the U.S. each year and another six million tons are spread in Canada. Having enough road salt on hand before storms hit requires advance planning and facilities that provide safe and efficient storage. Winners must also display proper maintenance and good housekeeping practices.

"The familiar sight of trucks spreading salt on icy winter roads gives motorists reassurance, as it should," said Roman. "If that salt was stored in and spread by a facility honored with a Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting award, motorists have the added assurance of knowing the utmost care has been taken to protect public safety and the environment."

Only a handful of local agencies in the U.S. and Canada received this recognition. A complete list by state is available from the Salt Institute.

 

2016 Dubuque County Summer Camps Open for Registration

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2016 Dubuque County Summer Camps will open for registration February 2, 2016! We have found this is a very popular program that we offer and many people are interested in registering but not sure where to look.

Forms can be found on www.dubuquecounty.org conservation page, calendar of events page...the documents will be uploaded for your use February 2nd 2016.

When all of the registration forms and payment are received at the Swiss Valley Nature Center (13606 Swiss Valley Rd, Peosta Iowa 52068 or jenny.ammon@dubuquecounty.us) the child is fully registered for camp.

Please note the dates and deadlines on each summer camp.

We are very excited about this summer's line-up for programming!

 

City of Dubuque and ECIA Begin Second Year of Smarter Travel Study

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The City of Dubuque and East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA) are seeking volunteers to participate in a Smarter Travel Study that will gather data to improve travel options within Dubuque. Volunteers selected for the study who complete the requirements will be compensated with a $50 gift card.

The project is part of the Smarter Sustainable Dubuque initiative and will include the collection of anonymous data through smartphone technology on how, when, and where study participants travel within the community. The aggregate data will be analyzed and the findings used by the City of Dubuque and its transit partners to implement practices and policies that incorporate lower-cost and lower-impact travel options within Dubuque. The goal of the research is to identify and create travel options to save money, conserve resources, and improve the environment through better travel choices.

Participation in the Smarter Travel Study is open to anyone who lives in Dubuque or surrounding communities and commutes and travels in Dubuque by car, public transportation, biking, walking, or any other mode. Volunteers will be considered to be part of a research group that will provide necessary baseline information to guide the future transportation and travel policies and practices in Dubuque.

If you are interested in participating in the study or want to learn more, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/smartertravel to apply by completing a brief demographic survey. Volunteers who complete the survey will be eligible to participate in a seven-day study.

This study follows a Smarter Travel Pilot Study conducted in 2012. Using findings from that study and new technology on The Jule buses, significant changes were made to The Jule transit routes and implemented in January 2014. Transit ridership in Dubuque has seen a dramatic 47 percent increase over the past five years when ridership increased from 373,376 in fiscal year (FY) 2010 to 548,794 in FY2015. This increase of over 150,000 rides came in large jumps, with 50,000 of the rides between FY2011 and FY2012 during the Smarter Travel Pilot Study. More than 50,000 of the rides occurred between FY2013 and FY2015, after data collected in the pilot study was used to restructure The Jule's routes.

"Transportation decisions must be data-driven and the results of the changes made to The Jule's routes underscore the importance of local research to guide local policies," said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. "We are pleased to partner with ECIA and IBM Research to continue research on travel issues that affect everyone who lives and works in or visits our community."

The City, ECIA, and IBM Research are working together again to gather additional information about commuting and travel patterns in Dubuque. "Our goal is to make traveling and commuting in Dubuque even more efficient than it already is by using the data gathered in the Smarter Travel Study to provide detailed information on travel patterns. We want to build on past success, and unlike our first round of recruitment last year, the app only needs to stay on your phone for seven days as opposed to 14 days," said ECIA Executive Director Kelley Deutmeyer.

For more information on the Smarter Travel Study, call ECIA Director of Transportation Chandra Ravada or ECIA Executive Director Kelley Deutmeyer at 563-556-4166.

 

Snowshoeing & Birding

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Dubuque County Conservation is sponsoring Snowshoeing & Birding at Swiss Valley Nature Center on Saturday, February 20, starting at 10:00 am. 

Cold weather does not hinder our little feathered friends. We will hike the trails looking for winter resident birds and tracks of active animals. This will be a great way to get into the outdoors during the winter season.

Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair of ours. Call 563.556.6745 to reserve yours today.

 

Camp Liberty’s Inaugural Summer Registration for Camp Liberty is open!

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Following a $3 million renovation, Camp Liberty (formerly Camp Conestoga) in New Liberty, Iowa, will open for the 2016 summer camp season!

Campers will enjoy a new lodge with attached cabins and a state-of-the-art kitchen as well as an indoor riding arena and equestrian center so girls can ride rain or shine!

Another exciting addition will be a high ropes course that offers eight elements, a 300-foot zipline, and a self-belayed, 30-foot climbing wall.

"We want all girls to get outside and explore the outdoors, so we are offering additional camping options," says Diane Nelson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. "For girls who love to camp in tents, we have many rustic camping experiences available. But for girls who are new to camping, they can now come inside at night and feel more comfortable."

At camp, girls can be themselves and make lasting friendships with girls across eastern Iowa and western Illinois.

"I love being able to get away from the ‘real world' and experience things that I don't get a chance to do in my daily life, like hiking, building fires, and even having Jell-O fights!" says long-time camper Zoë Hopewell. "It's nice to have some time away from my everyday life in a place where I feel accepted and celebrated for who I am."

Camp Liberty offers overnight camp sessions for girls entering grades 2-12 as well as troop and family camping for girls as young as first grade. Register for summer camp at GirlScoutsToday.org. Don't wait, sessions will fill quickly!

 

How to remove snow from your roof

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The beauty of winter landscapes is not foremost on the minds of homeowners who have roofs full of heavy snow and ice. What may seem beautiful elsewhere can cause anxiety when one's home is under a precipitation onslaught.

Excessive snow loads on a roof can cause the roof to leak or even collapse. The weight, and not the depth, of the snow is what determines if it needs to be removed from the roof. Fluffy snow may not be problematic, as it can take around seven times as much dry snow to equal the weight of wet snow. After a snowstorm, go outside and lift a few shovelfuls of snow. If it's back-breaking work, then the snow on your roof may be dangerous.

Homes built to code can typically handle the snow and ice load that comes with the winter season. However, homes that have undergone unapproved renovations, or those where load-bearing walls have been removed from the interior may be susceptible to catastrophic roof collapses.

Another problem homeowners face this time of year is ice dams, which occur when snow on the roof melts slightly and then refreezes, forming thick portions of ice usually at the edges of the roof by the gutters. Ice dams can divert melting snow in and under roofing shingles instead of through gutters and downspouts. 

A common contributor to ice dams is inadequate ventilation and insulation in attics. Heat from the interior of the home that rises into the attic can cause the roof to warm up enough to melt the snow. This is easily remedied by having ample insulation and ensuring proper ventilation of the attic to maintain temperatures cool enough to prevent underside melting of snow.

Signs of a problem
If you experience any leaks from the ceiling or notice water coming down walls, a roof leak from excess snow or ice dams may be the culprit. Snow that is too heavy may create cracks in plaster and drywall and cause sagging that affects the framework of interior doorways. If you hear creaking or popping sounds, immediately exit the house, as these are strong indicators of an imminent collapse.

Clearing the roof
The Better Business Bureau warns against going up on the roof if you cannot safely remove the snow with an ice rake or similar tool. You should not jeopardize your health by trying to remove snow and ice.

Confirm that contractors who remove snow have current liability and worker's compensation insurance before hiring them. Contractors will charge anywhere from $60 to $300 per hour to remove snow from the roof. Always inquire in advance as to what a fee covers.

Even after snow is removed, there's no guarantee it will not accumulate again. Keep in mind that some snow and ice removal remedies can invalidate the warranty on recently installed roof shingles. This is something that must be weighed before proceeding with snow removal.
Home insurance policies may or may not cover the cost of snow removal and damage. Call your insurance company to find out what your policy covers. Keep good records for the cost of all repairs to see if you can be reimbursed.

 

22nd Annual Iowa Illinois Regional Auto Show

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The nation's largest auto show producer, Motor Trend Auto Shows, announces the 22nd annual Iowa Illinois Regional Auto Show is coming to the Davenport River Center Friday through Sunday, Feb. 12-14. The event, which showcases 2016 vehicles, is a joint effort of auto dealers of 18 counties in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Show times are 10 am to 9 pm Friday and Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday.

Proceeds from the Auto Show benefit the Iowa-Illinois Regional Auto Show Scholarship Fund. Over $330,000 has been given to college bound and trade school students to date. $30,000+ is expected to be given at this year's VIP Premier Event.

Highlights of the show include:

• 19 domestic and import manufacturers with over 150 vehicles

• New this year: "Exotic Car Showcase"

• Signups for Valentine Giveaway package, trips & concerts

• Sign up to receive a free subscription to Motor Trend Magazine

• Free opening day tickets and coupons at participating Hy-Vee locations (while supplies last, restrictions apply)

• Friday is Quad City Times Day with special promotions planned

• Saturday features face painting, balloon artists and clowns plus an appearance by Rascal, the Mascot of the River City Bandits

• Sunday is Family Day: kids 12 & under get in free with paid adult; kids will enjoy face painting and balloon artists, magic tricks, a jumpy house, and cookies & milk. From noon to 4 pm they can get their picture taken with Bubba the Alligator and other exotic animals

For more information, visit www.quadcityautoshow.com

 

Driftless Dinner

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Dubuque County Conservation will sponsor the Driftless Dinner Friday, Feb. 12, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Swiss Valley Nature Center.

Come discover the "Mysteries of the Driftless" land we live in. We will have a catered dinner by Mary Cavanaugh and view the documentary "Mysteries of the Driftless." This dinner will serve as a fundraiser for building new interactive displays at the nature center.

Tickets are $45/single or $75/couple. Buy your tickets at Swiss Valley Nature Center. A limited number is available, and tickets should be purchased before Friday, Feb. 5.

Call 563-556-6745 for more information.

 

Healthy habits that can have a lasting impact

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A long and healthy life is the ultimate goal for many people. While a host of factors beyond a person's control, such as genetics, impact how long that person lives and how susceptible to certain medical conditions he or she may be, there are many things men and women can do to improve their chances of living long, healthy lives.

• Keep working. While many working men and women dream of the day when they can leave the daily grind behind once and for all, they might want to think more about a second career than a long, carefree retirement. A study from British researchers published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that each extra year that men and women work was associated with a six-week delay in the onset of dementia. While men and women may want to retire from their professions, finding second careers or volunteering close to full-time hours may improve their long-term health and quality of life.

• Stay on your toes. A healthy diet is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, but diet alone is not enough to promote a long and healthy life. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, the risks associated with a physically inactive lifestyle are considerable. Such risks include a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary heart disease and even a greater risk for certain cancers. In addition, physical inactivity can add to feelings of anxiety and depression. Inactivity tends to increase with age, so men and women aiming for long and healthy lives should make physical activity a vital part of their daily lives.

• Get your whole grains. Whole grains may be another key ingredient to a long and healthy life. Numerous studies have shown that increasing whole grain consumption can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Researchers who conducted a systematic review of studies examining the link between whole grains and type 2 diabetes prevention in 2007 found that eating an extra two servings of whole grains per day decreased a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 21 percent. That's an important finding, as additional research has found that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative condition that can dramatically reduce quality of life.

• Visit your physician annually if not more frequently. While many people, especially those who feel healthy, are hesitant to visit their physicians, doing so may just save your life. Several diseases, including cancer and heart disease, are more effectively treated when detected early. Annual physicals and discussions with your physician may uncover a disease in its early stages when it is most treatable. Waiting until symptoms appear may not be too late to treat a condition or disease, but taking a proactive approach increases the likelihood of early detection, which increases your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Healthy habits improve peoples' quality of life while also increasing the likelihood that men and women live long, healthy and productive lives.

 

Say ‘so long' to high utility bills

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Utility bills are among the largest expenses homeowners have each month. Trimming utility bills can not only benefit homeowners' bottom lines, but also prove beneficial for the environment.

Unnecessary energy consumption can drive up utility bills, costing homeowners substantial amounts of money every year. Fortunately, homeowners can take several steps to reduce unnecessary energy consumption, saving themselves money and helping the planet along the way.

• Conduct nightly energy audits. Before going to bed at night, homeowners can spend a few minutes walking around their homes making sure all devices, appliances and lights are tuned off. Devices left on when not in use may not consume significant amounts of energy on their own, but when many are left on, the resulting energy consumption can be considerable.

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that unplugging cable boxes each night can save homeowners nearly $20 per box over the course of a year. Unplugging additional appliances each night when not in use can add to those savings while reducing excessive energy consumption.

• Lower the temperature on your water heater. Water heaters make it possible to take hot showers each morning, but when used improperly, such heaters can be very wasteful. Water heaters set at 120 F will not affect the quality of your daily showers and can help prevent scalding. But water heaters may be set at 140 F by manufacturers, and that can waste energy and pose a scalding hazard.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the cost of bringing fresh water up to 140 F can cost homeowners as much as $400 per year. Setting water heaters to 120 F and lowering that temperature when going on vacation can save homeowners money and reduce the standby heat losses necessary to keep water at 140 F or higher.

• Clean filters more frequently. It's easy to forget about filters on heating and air conditioning systems. But forgotten filters could be costing homeowners significant amounts of money. When neglected, HVAC filters accumulate dirt and dust, making systems work much less efficiently than they do when filters are clean. Clean filters once per month to make sure you aren't wasting money and energy when heating and cooling your home.

• Monitor your meter. If you are taking steps to reduce energy consumption but your utility bills are staying the same or even increasing, start monitoring your energy meter. Meter readers are not immune to mistakes, and the readings may be incorrect. Jot down the energy consumption figures reflected on your meter, and compare those figures to those on your utility bill, reporting any discrepancies to your utility company.

Many homeowners wish their utility bills were lower. Thankfully, homeowners can take steps to cut their energy bills and save them money while helping the environment at the same time.

 

How to register to vote

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Election Day occurs every November, and it's the duty of all eligible United States citizens to exercise their right to vote. Doing so is the easiest way Americans can actively participate in government.

Participating in federal, state and local government can be done in many ways, but few are as easy and important as voting. The following are a few voting guidelines to consider as Election Day approaches.

Eligibility

Only United States citizens can vote in federal, state and local elections. In many states, voters must be 18 years old to vote. However, some states do afford 17-year-olds the right to vote.

Voter eligibility may also depend on the voter's residency. Each state has its own residency requirements. To learn the requirements in your state, visit the United States Election Assistance Commission at www.eac.gov.

Registration
Voters must register to vote before they can vote in an election. The National Mail Voter Registration Form is accepted in most states, and this form can be found at www.eac.gov. In addition to helping voters register, this form can be used to update one's registration due to a change of name or make a change of address or register with a particular political party.

North Dakota, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not accept the National Mail Voter Registration Form, while New Hampshire only accepts it as a request for an absentee voter mail-in registration form. Residents of these states or territories should consult their local state election office to learn how they can register to vote.

Voters may also be able to register to vote in person at various public facilities. This varies from state to state, but such facilities may include the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office, the local election office, public assistance agencies, armed services recruitment centers or any public facility that has been designated as a voter registration agency by the state.

Some states allow voters to register to vote online. Contact your local state election office to learn if your state allows online voter registration.

The state registration deadlines vary from state to state as well. Voters who reside in the state of Connecticut, for instance, can register as few as 14 days before the election, while voters who live in Alaska must register at least 30 days before the election to be eligible to vote.

Contact the state election office no less than 45 days in advance of Election Day to learn the requirements in your state.

 

How to shorten the duration of a cold

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Few things can be as uncomfortable as the common cold. In their book "Common Cold," authors Olaf Weber and Ronald Eccles say the common cold has been around since ancient times. More than 200 virus strains can contribute to colds, but the rhinovirus is the most common. Colds produce a bevy of symptoms, including runny nose, congestion and sore throat, so it should come as no surprise that sufferers want to find relief fast.

Colds typically last for a week or more. While there's no cure for the common cold, according to The Mayo Clinic, there are some remedies that can help cold sufferers feel better more quickly.

• Rest: One of the best things to do when you have a cold is to get adequate rest. Your body's immune system is working overtime to combat the cold virus, and restricting activity can help it direct efforts where they're needed most. Keep away from strenuous activities, and spend more time relaxing or sleeping to let your body do its job.

• Hydration: Consuming plenty of clear fluids can reduce congestion and ensure that you do not get dehydrated. Plus, warm beverages can be soothing to an irritated throat. Avoid coffee, caffeinated sodas and alcohol, which can exacerbate dehydration.

• Saline rinses: Intra-nasal saline sprays, neti pots and similar products can help loosen mucus that is clogging the nose and sinus cavities, allowing it to flow out. This makes blowing your nose more effective and may help prevent post-nasal drip. Avoid prolonged use of medicated decongestant sprays. They may work well, but they can cause rebound congestion that's worse than the original stuffiness.

• Vitamin C: Vitamin C will not prevent colds, but it could help in other ways. Taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C also may provide benefits for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure, offers The Mayo Clinic.

• Soup and tea: Soup is an easy-to-digest meal that provides many of the necessary remedies for a cold, including warm broth to hydrate and soothe, antioxidant-rich vegetables and protein to help fuel the body's recovery process. In 2000, Dr. Stephen Rennard of the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha actually tested if chicken soup clinically makes people with colds feel better. He found that chicken soup inhibited neutrophils, immune cells that cause congestion. Decaffeinated tea also may help you stay hydrated and relieve many cold symptoms.

• Prevent Reinfection: Use cleaning products that are effective at killing viruses around the house to prevent reinfection and cold relapses. Also, avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth between hand-washings to keep germs at bay.

Colds can be a nuisance. Most medicines will help relieve symptoms but cannot make colds go away faster. Natural remedies can help the body's immune system work at its best and lessen the severity of a cold.

 

Muhammad Named Dubuque's Multicultural Family Center Director

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Dubuque Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware has announced that Farris Muhammad has been named the new director of the Multicultural Family Center located in The Ruby Sutton Building. Muhammad will begin in late February.

"Farris is passionate about diversity, student engagement, and community. He brings to Dubuque his education, research, and work experience which includes working with children and families in the areas of personal resiliency, reducing isolation, and giving voice and exposure to the marginalized. This background will serve him well as the Multicultural Family Center director," said Ware.

Muhammad will assume leadership of the center which has been led by acting director Sarah Petersen. Ware noted, "We appreciate her leadership and commitment to the high-quality programs that people enjoy as a part of the center's programming. Together Farris, Sarah, and the MFC staff will make a strong leadership team continuing to move the mission of the Center forward in Dubuque."

As Multicultural Family Center director, Muhammad will work closely with the over 70 community partnerships already established at the center. The center is a partnership between the City of Dubuque and the Multicultural Family Center Board, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Board chairperson John Stewart said, "I greatly respect how Farris has overcome poverty and other life challenges, his multicultural base, and his management education and experience. He's informed, passionate, and a good listener - an excellent fit for this position."

The Multicultural Family Center has, in its short history, built upon its mission to empower all families and community members of Dubuque to reach their potential and build unity out of diversity.

"I am honored the City of Dubuque has chosen me for the director of the Multicultural Family Center position," said Muhammad. "I am eager to engage in the meaningful intercultural work that, collectively, the City of Dubuque, Multicultural Family Center staff, board of directors, and volunteers have proven to be dedicated to the improvement of. I believe all families, community members, and society at-large benefits when we increase our cultural competence."

Muhammad previously owned and operated Reciprocal Tutoring Service. He has a bachelor's degree in business management from Northwood University in Midland, Mich.; a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti; and a Ph.D. in philosophy with an area of specialization of education administration and policy as well as a certificate in interdisciplinary qualitative research from the University of Georgia in Athens.

 

Dubuque Selected for National Effort to Build Financial Inclusion for Families

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Dubuque is among a diverse group of eight cities competitively selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to participate in its Financial Inclusion Systems and City Leadership (FISCL) project.

Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol will join colleagues from the seven other selected cities for a Mayors' Institute on Financial Inclusion in April. The Mayors' Institute will give the mayors and their associates an opportunity to engage with national experts and peers to develop practical solutions to local challenges and take advantage of new and existing opportunities to help residents gain a solid financial foothold.

The Mayors' Institute is part of FISCL, a two-year project supported by MetLife Foundation and designed to help cities build sustainable city-wide systems that improve residents' financial health and stability. By participating in FISCL, mayors and other city leaders will increase their capacity to develop initiatives that help families expand access to safe and affordable financial services and financial education, accumulate savings, reduce debt and build assets.

"We are very pleased Dubuque was selected for this competitive program," said Buol. "Economic prosperity is one of the three pillars of our approach to sustainability and the FISCL project will enhance our existing efforts to assist residents in being more financially secure."

The City will work with Project HOPE and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque to convene key stakeholders who provide financial services and education in order to set community-wide goals that improve access to our financial system in Dubuque. Project HOPE supports cross-sector partnerships in Dubuque to create more equitable financial services through programs like Bank On Dubuque and matched savings initiatives. Inclusion in the FISCL project will allow the Dubuque partnership to learn from and with other communities to strengthen our efforts.

"While many cities across the country are experiencing economic recovery and growth, this prosperity has not reached residents across all rungs of the economic ladder," said NLC President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember and former mayor, Joplin, Mo. "This project will give mayors a unique opportunity to implement and strengthen innovative strategies to address the financial challenges many residents face on a daily basis."

In addition to the Mayors' Institute, NLC's FISCL initiative will support efforts in Dubuque to improve the financial stability of families through ongoing technical assistance, opportunities to apply for grant funds to support local financial inclusion efforts and numerous opportunities for peer learning and exchange. Dubuque will also have an opportunity to showcase its local strategies at NLC's National Summit on Financial Inclusion, a convening of cities across the country that will take place in early 2017.

This project builds upon NLC's successful partnership with MetLife Foundation. In 2014, with MetLife Foundation's support, NLC conducted in-depth research on financial inclusion programs in cities across the U.S., which informed the design of the project and which culminated in the comprehensive report "City Financial Inclusion Efforts: A National Overview." This report highlights the growing commitment of city leaders to address their residents' financial inclusion challenges.

 

Finley Nursing Scholarships Available

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UnityPoint Health® Finley Health Foundation and the Finley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association announce 2016 scholarship applications will be available on February 1, 2016 for individuals pursuing a degree in the nursing field. Annually, the Finley Health Foundation and Alumni Association award scholarships to qualified area students who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing through an accredited nursing program.

Additionally, scholarship opportunities are available for current health care professionals seeking an associate's degree in nursing, bachelor's degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing or nurse practitioner degree.

"The Finley Health Foundation is pleased to once again offer scholarships to individuals entering the nursing profession with the partnership of the Finley School of Nursing Alumni Association," said Barbara Potts, Finley Health Foundation Executive Director. "It is our honor and privilege to steward the scholarship program impacting future health care professionals right here in the Tri-State area."

The scholarship application and eligibility requirements can be found at unitypoint.org/dbqscholarships. Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2016 for consideration.

In 2015, Finley Health Foundation and the Alumni Association awarded $20,000 in scholarships. Scholarship award announcements for this year's recipients will be made by May 1, 2016.

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

 

The benefits of reading

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Many people are avid readers, feeling that a good book remains the most entertaining form of escapism. But reading provides more than just an opportunity to leave the daily grind behind. 

While many people may read to immerse themselves in something other than a movie or a television show, they may not know about all the additional benefits they are enjoying when cuddling up with a good book.

• Reading can improve brain function. A recent study from researchers at Emory University discovered that reading a novel can improve brain function in various ways. During the study, researchers found that reading fiction improves connectivity in the brain. In addition, reading fiction improved readers' ability to put themselves in other peoples' shoes, which might help them relate better to people in both the present and future.

• Reading can benefit long-term brain health. While readers engrossed in a great book might only be worried about what's coming on the next page, the benefits to reading are much more long-term than the next chapter. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that reading is one of a handful of mentally stimulating activities that can benefit brain health in old age.

In their Rush Memory and Aging Project, researchers examined nearly 300 elderly men and women, giving them tests of memory and thinking throughout the final years of their lives. When participants, who were surveyed as to how often they engaged in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, passed away, their brains were examined for signs of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Researchers discovered that the participants who engaged in mentally challenging activities most often had slower rates of memory decline. In addition, even those who had symptoms of brain damage that are commonly associated with Alzheimer's and dementia seemed to benefit from the stimulation that mentally challenging activities produced.

• Reading can help reduce stress. Another big benefit of reading is its relationship to stress. According to a 2009 study from researchers at the University of Sussex in England, reading can reduce stress by up to 68 percent. In addition, reading might help relieve that stress even faster than other forms of stress relief because it allows for a more immediate escape from the stress of daily life.

• Reading can help you get a more restful night's sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, engaging in a calming activity for an hour before going to bed can help your body wind down and ready itself for sleep. Some people may struggle to fall asleep after reading on an electronic device, such as a tablet or e-reader, as the light that emanates from such devices may be activating the brain. If need be, stick to reading traditional print books and magazines before going to bed.

Reading is not only a favorite activity for many people, but it's also something that can benefit the body in myriad ways.

 

Decrease mucus production and subsequent sore throats

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When allergies, colds or the flu strike, the resulting symptoms can be unpleasant. Watery eyes, sneezing, aches, pains, and lethargy are common. Two additional symptoms common to respiratory illnesses include excess mucus production and sore throat.

Mucus is a vital component of bodily health. The American Academy of Otolaryngology says glands in the nose and throat continually produce thin mucus to moisten and clean respiratory passageways. This mucus traps foreign matter and can help combat infection. When viruses or bacteria irritate parts of the nose and throat, excess mucus may be produced as the immune system attempts to retaliate. This mucus may thicken and become more acidic. Extra mucus can produce its own side effects, including further irritation. According to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, in many cases, excess mucus production can lead to post-nasal drip and subsequent sore throats.

People often mistake post-nasal drip and related sore throat as separate medical conditions. But each can be traced to whichever illness or irritant (such as dry air or chemical exposure) is triggering the body's mucus response.

Reducing the amount of mucus pooling in the back of the throat can help a person feel better more quickly and can be used in conjunction with medical advice.

• Limit foods that may increase mucus production. Dairy products, wheat, soy, bananas, sugar, and preservatives may contribute to mucus production, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center.

• Drink peppermint or regular mint tea. The natural menthol in these herbs can help thin mucus and loosen it up for more productive coughs.

• Increase consumption of mucus-fighting foods and beverages. Mustard, lemon, garlic, and anti-inflammatory oils found in many nuts may help reduce swelling in the throat and nose and tame mucus production.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Clear fluids, such as water, tea and broth, can also thin out mucus, making it flow more easily down the throat.

• Rely on salt solutions. Simple nasal saline rinses or gargling with salt water can alleviate irritation and help reduce some of the mucus, too. Remember to use cooled-down boiled tap water or distilled, sterile water for nasal rinses to prevent the chance of water contamination, which can lead to serious illness.

• Consider medication. When natural remedies are exhausted, prescription or over-the counter products may provide relief. Decongestants can dry up nasal secretions, while antibiotics may be needed if an infection is bacterial in nature.

Always consult with a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of mucus issues and sore throat causes. He or she may suggest one of the tips above or a combination of therapies.

 

Get a head-start on tax season

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The dawn of a new calendar year often marks the end of the sometimes hectic holiday season. This time of year marks a return to normalcy for many families, as the kids go back to school and parents return to work.

January also serves as a great time to start preparing for tax season. While the deadline to file returns may be several months away, getting a head-start allows men and women the chance to organize their tax documents so they aren't racing against a deadline come April. The following are a handful of ways to start preparing for your returns now.

• Find last year's return. You will need information from last year's return in order to file this year, so find last year's return and print it out if you plan to hire a professional to work on your return.

• Gather dependents' information. While you might know your own Social Security number by heart, if you have dependents, you're going to need their information as well. New parents or adults who started serving as their elderly parents' primary caretakers over the last year will need their kids' and their folks' social security numbers. If you do not have these numbers upon filing, your return will likely be delayed and you might even be denied potentially substantial tax credits.

• Gather your year-end financial statements. If you spent the last year investing, then you will have to pay taxes on any interest earned. Interest earned on the majority of savings accounts is also taxable, so gather all of your year-end financial statements from your assorted accounts in one place. Doing so will make filing your return, whether you do it yourself or work with a professional, go more quickly.

• Speak with your mortgage lender. Homeowners should receive forms documenting their mortgage interest payments for the last year, as the money paid in interest on your home or homes is tax deductible. If these forms are not received in a timely manner, speak with your lender. You might even be able to download them from your lender's secure website.

• Make a list of your charitable contributions. Charitable contributions, no matter how small, are tax deductible. While it's easiest to maintain a list of all charitable donations you make as the year goes on, if you have not done that, then you can make one now. Look for receipts of all contributions, contacting any charities you donated to if you misplaced any receipts.

• Book an appointment with your tax preparation specialist now. As April 15 draws closer, tax preparers' schedules get busier and busier. The earlier you book your appointment, the more likely you are to get a favorable time for that meeting. In addition, if you have gathered all of the information you need by early February, then booking your appointment early means you can file earlier and receive any return you might be eligible for that much quicker.

Tax season might not be right around the corner, but it's never too early to start preparing your return.

 

City's FY2017 Budget Public Meetings Start Feb. 8

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The Dubuque City Council will hold a series of public meetings to review City department/division budget details as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 recommended budget review process. The City Council will then hold a final public hearing on Monday, March 14, to adopt the FY2017 Operating and Capital Budgets.

The public is invited to attend and provide input at these meetings as City staff from each department and division present FY2017 budget information to the City Council. Budget meetings are also aired live on Dubuque's CityChannel (digital channel 85.2, analog channel 8) on the Mediacom cable system and streamed live and archived on the City's website at www.cityofdubuque.org/media.

All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the City Council Chambers on the second floor of the Historic Federal Building at 350 W. Sixth St.

SCHEDULE:

February 8, 2016: Information Services, Legal Services, City Manager's Office, City Council, City Clerk and Cable TV

February 10, 2016: Library, Planning, Finance, Human Rights, Airport and Health Services

February 17, 2016: Housing, Parking, Transit and Economic Development

February 18, 2016: Purchase of Services, Park, Recreation, Five Flags Civic Center and Grand River Center

February 22, 2016: Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, Police, Fire, Building Services

February 24, 2016: Water, Water & Resource Recovery Center, Public Works and Engineering

March 12, 2016: Public Hearing to adopt the Fiscal Year 2017 budget

Dubuque City Manager Michael Van Milligen will present the FY2017 Recommended Budget document to the City Council at its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 1. The recommended budget materials will also be posted on the City of Dubuque website on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at www.cityofdubuque.org/FY2017budget and printed copies will be made available for viewing at the City Clerk's Office in City Hall, and available for checkout from the Carnegie-Stout Public Library Reference Desk.

For more information, contact Budget Director Jennifer Larson at 589-4110 or jlarson@cityofdubuque.org.

 

Burger Night Fundraiser for ARK Advocates

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Burger Night is a fundraiser for ARK Advocates. Not only can you get a great dinner at Asbury Eagles Club, but there will also be a bake sale and silent auction.

Mark your calendar for Thursday, Feb. 25 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids under 10. Get your tickets via email at info@arkadvocates.org, or phone 563-556-1785.

We are also looking for silent auction item donations! Please contact us at the above email and phone if you able to donate to this great cause.

 

Winter Adaptive Sports Open Gym

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We had an amazing response to our fall adaptive sports open gym. This initiative has helped give more exposure to people with physical disabilities to a variety of adaptive sports.

We will be kicking off our Winter open gym with Adaptive Skiing/Sledding at Sundown in January and February, and then with beep ball for the visually impaired at Roosevelt Middle School on February 10. This will be a fun, non-competitive environment that is open to everyone, whether you have a physical disability or not. Bring the whole family!

Adaptive Sledding @ Sundown is scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 pm and 3 to 5 pm. Registration is required.

Sled Hockey @ Mystique Community Ice Cener is scheduled for March 19 from noon to 2 pm.

Roosevelt Middle School will host Beep Ball (Visual) on Feb. 10 & 24 at 6 to 7:30 pm. It will also be the location for Power Soccer on March 9 & 16 and Archery on April 6 & 20, all from 6 to 7:30 pm.

For more information phone 563-495-1575 or email akrause@dbqschools.org.

 

Audubon Program: Animals of Africa

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The Dubuque Audubon Society sponsors Audubon Programs
on the second Thursday of the month starting at 7:00 pm at EB Lyons Interpretive Center. Any and all ages are welcome to attend these free programs.

on Feb, 11 Animals of Africa will be presented by Mark Wagner, Director of Education for the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque. He has been an environmental educator and conservationist for over 30 years, a natural resource manager, and living history demonstrator. 

Wagner graduated from Iowa State University in 1972 with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. He served a three year term in the Peace Corps, working in agricultural programs and in a 250,000 acre national park in West Africa. He has twice returned to Africa for special assignments.

Mark worked for 2 years with Grundy County Iowa Conservation Board and over 25 years with the Jasper County Iowa Conservation Board. While in Jasper County he was a naturalist, conservation peace officer, acting director, wildlife biologist, historian, and natural resource manager. Mark specializes in living history programs on the fur trade period along the Mississippi River, water power milling, pioneer lifestyles and crafts, and many other natural history and human history subject areas.

He will present a program on Africa, mainly focusing on wildlife in both East and West Africa and the work he did in the game park in the 70's as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  He will use a slide projector (retro technology) as he is working on copying his slides to digital media.

Call 563.556.6745 with any questions.

 

American Cancer Society honors Dr. Mark Hermann from Hospice of Dubuque with Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award Award honors individuals who provide excellent patient care

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The American Cancer Society honored Mark Hermann, MD with the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award during a ceremony in Atlanta, GA on January 13, 2016. Hermann was one of ten recipients to receive the award this year.

The Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award is a prestigious national honor that recognizes individuals who consistently exhibit excellence and compassion in providing care, going beyond their duties to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. This award also represents the concept of the "warm hand of service," which is an integral part of the Society's commitment to excellence in cancer care. Adams' definition of the warm hand of service was to "serve others and enrich the purpose of one's existence."

"Dr. Hermann is a tremendous asset to our tri-state community," said nominator Lavonne Noel, Hospice of Dubuque Executive Director. "He fosters quality of life for those dealing with cancer and terminal illness by consistently going above and beyond in the care of patients. He honors all patients with excellent, innovative patient-centered care. He provides not only his medical expertise, but he opens his heart and truly journeys with patients and families."

Hermann is an oncologist at Dubuque Internal Medicine and also serves as co-medical director for Hospice of Dubuque.

 

Make a Meal – Make a Difference!

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A brighter future is in store for the homeless women at Maria House and Teresa Shelter as they will soon participate in the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' By World. This curriculum offers step-by-step life planning lessons designed to teach families and individuals who are experiencing poverty how they can create the path to a stable and secure future for their family.

Opening Doors is grateful for funding from the R.W. Hoefer Foundation and financial literacy training from Dupaco Community Credit Union, that will allow us to provide a customized 16-week Getting Ahead curriculum for our current and former residents.

Opening Doors is currently seeking volunteers from the community to help prepare and/or serve meals for the program participants. As an alternative, contributors could choose to provide a gift card to help us purchase meals for the group.

The classes run on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7:30 PM from January 13 through April 20. To "adopt" one of these Wednesday dates for approximately 20 people, please contact Victoria at 563-582-7480, or email volunteer@openingdoorsdbq.org.

"Volunteers are the heart of Opening Doors," comments Executive Director Michelle Brown. She adds, "Our organization was started with volunteers 15 years ago and they are still vital to our success."

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

For more information on this volunteer need, please contact Jessica Bleile at 563-582-7480, or Heather LuGrain at 563-690-0086.

 

Nachtman Appointed Dubuque Finance Director

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Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen has named Assistant Finance Director Jean Nachtman the City's next finance director, effective Jan. 30, 2016. Nachtman will replace Finance Director Ken TeKippe, who will retire on Jan. 29, 2016, after having led the City's award-winning finance department for more than 15 years.

"Jean has the education, experience, and personality to perform at a very high level as finance director," said Van Milligen. "Our organization and the community will benefit from her many talents."

As finance director, Nachtman will be responsible for directing the activities of the finance department, including accounts payable, payroll, accounting, treasury, purchasing, utility billing and other receivables, and utility meter-reading and service. She will report to the city manager, represent the City on financial issues, and execute administrative and financial policies of the City. Nachtman will also manage the City's central accounting systems, including auditing claims, posting of receipts and expenditures, accounting controls, data processing reporting systems, investment policy and procedures and bonds and other indebtedness issuance, requirements and control. She will also supervise the preparation of statements and reports on financial affairs as needed and work closely with Budget Director Jennifer Larson.

Nachtman has served as the City's assistant finance director since October 2003. In that role, she was responsible for the preparation of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) and external reports including the State of Iowa Outstanding Debt Report, State of Iowa Street Financing Report, State of Iowa Annual Financial Report, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Financial Responsibility Report. She has also implemented new general accounting standards board (GASB) pronouncements, worked with external auditors, and coordinated preparations for the annual audit and fiscal year end. Nachtman also oversaw the implementation of new financial software and upgrades to existing software, directed the workload of accounting staff, and assisted other city departments with specialized reporting needs. Additionally, she managed the City's treasury, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll functions and conducted internal audits as required.

Before joining the City of Dubuque in 2002, Nachtman worked for Alliant Energy Corporation from 1998 to 2002. She was district auditor for Interstate Power Company from 1989 to 1998 and was an adjunct instructor of financial and managerial accounting for Northeast Iowa Community College from 2001 to 2004.

Nachtman holds an MBA from the University of Dubuque and a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration, also from the University of Dubuque. She is a certified public accountant, certified public financial officer, and advanced certified public funds investment manager.

 

Four Dubuque Historic Districts Added to National Register

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The City of Dubuque Historic Preservation Commission is pleased to announce the National Park Service has added four districts in the city of Dubuque to the National Register of Historic Places and expanded an existing Dubuque district. Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, now has 17 National Register districts containing over 1,300 buildings.

The Fenelon Place Residential Historic District, Washington Neighborhood Residential Historic District, Seminary Hill Residential Historic District, and the Upper Iowa Street Historic District were recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, Dubuque's Old Main Street district has been expanded and updated. A map of Dubuque's National Register Districts is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/historicpreservation.

"The Dubuque community is fortunate to have the number of cultural and historical resources we have. They contribute significantly to our community identity, sense of place, and pride," said Christy Monk, chairperson of Dubuque's Historic Preservation Commission. "Dubuque's cultural and architectural heritage also plays an important role in Dubuque's economy, cultural vibrancy, and environmental integrity."

The National Register is the federal government's official list of historic properties, districts, and sites significant in American history and worthy of preservation. National Register properties have significance to their community, state, or nation. More information on the National Register of Historic Places can be found at: iowahistory.org/historic-preservation/national-register-of-historic-places.

Listing on the National Register does not have regulatory implications. It does provide recognition to worthy historic properties as well as potential eligibility for rehabilitation incentives. In Dubuque and elsewhere in the state and nation, the National Register program provides important state and federal tax benefits and grants which help leverage private investment. These partnerships are essential for the rehabilitation and revitalization work that make our downtown and historic neighborhoods vibrant places to live, work and play.

For more information on the City of Dubuque's services and programs related to historic preservation, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/historicpreservation or call the planning services department at 563-589-4210.

 

Heart-healthy foods for the year ahead

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According to the National Center for Health Statistics, heart disease is the leading causing of death in both men and women. Certain factors beyond an individual's control, such as family history and age, affect his or her risk of developing heart disease, but men and women are not helpless against heart disease.

Diet can be a friend or foe with regard to heart disease. A bad diet may elevate a person's risk for high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke, while a diet rich in heart-healthy foods can lower that risk. The following are a handful of heart-healthy foods for men and women who want to begin the new year on a nourishing foot.

• Raisins: Researchers from the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center found that consuming raisins three times a day may significantly lower blood pressure among individuals with mild increases in blood pressure. Raisins can help combat the growth of a type of bacteria that causes gum disease, which few people may know is linked to heart disease. In lieu of reaching for cookies or potato chips come snack time, opt for heart-healthy raisins instead.

• Salmon: Though its label as a fatty fish may lead some to question its nutritional properties, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease a person's risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia), slightly lower blood pressure and slow the growth of atherosclerotic plaque, the buildup of which can contribute to heart attack, stroke or even death. Albacore tuna, herring and lake trout are additional examples of heart-healthy fatty fish.

• Whole grains: Whole grains help men and women maintain healthy weights while lowering their risk for heart disease, making them perfect dietary additions for anyone who resolves to lose weight and protect their heart in the year ahead. According to the American Heart Association, whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, and brown rice, are great sources of dietary fiber, while refined grains like white rice and enriched bread contain little fiber. That's an important distinction, as dietary fiber can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

• Tomatoes: Researchers at Boston's Tufts University analyzed more than a decade's worth of data in an effort to discover the effects of lycopene, which is the antioxidant responsible for giving tomatoes their familiar red color, on the cardiovascular system. They ultimately discovered that people who regularly consumed foods with lycopene over an 11-year period reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by 26 percent. The lycopene found in tomatoes may be even more accessible when they are cooked.

Aspiring to eat healthier is a goal for many people come the dawn of a new year. For more information about heart-healthy foods, visit www.heart.org.

 

Reduce unwanted charity requests

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Nonprofit organizations rely on the support of volunteers and other contributors to help achieve their goals. Financial contributions from donors help meet many of those goals, and soliciting donations is a large part of many organizations' fundraising efforts.

While many people recognize the role that solicitors play in raising money for charity, receiving call after call or mailing after mailing requesting donations can leave a sour taste in prospective donors' mouths, and that may make some people less likely to donate. But a little patience and leg work on the part of donors can reduce the number of unsolicited fundraising calls they receive.

• Sharing of information. Exercise extreme caution about sharing personal information. Some organizations will purchase contact lists from third parties that compile addresses, phone numbers and emails. When dealing with an organization, confirm that they do not sell or share your personal data with anyone else. If they do, politely refuse to do business with them.

• Screen your phone calls. Answer calls only from numbers you recognize, making note of numbers you don't recognize that phone you regularly. You may be able to block certain callers on a mobile phone immediately.

• Use a do-not-call registry. Many nonprofit organizations are exempt from abiding by a do-not-call list. However, placing your phone number on the registry may reduce the amount of phone solicitations you receive.

• Ask for email correspondence. Speak with your preferred charity and ask for digital correspondence that enables you to make donations via the organization's secure website. This is a more eco-friendly option that allows charities to reduce costs and waste from mailing out paper donation envelopes or progress reports.

• Politely ask to be removed. If you have no intention of donating to a particular organization, politely ask that the solicitors remove your name and number from their call lists. Remember, volunteers are on the other end of the line, and they are simply trying to raise money for a good cause. Treat them with respect.

• Separate scams from legitimate requests. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if a solicitor is representing a legitimate charity or a phony organization designed to defraud prospective donors. If the person on the other end of the phone demands you act now or denies a request for more information, hang up the phone. Stick to donating to groups whose legitimacy you can verify.

Assistance requests from charities are a vital component of such organizations' fundraising efforts. But there are ways for frustrated men and women to reduce unwanted solicitations.

 

Family-friendly winter activities

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Many people may run indoors when the temperatures outside approach or dip below freezing. But the truly adventurous see no reason why a little cold weather should keep them cooped up indoors for months at a time. 

Sports and other physical activities can provide the perfect respite from the cabin fever that can settle in during long winters. Families looking to get some quality time outdoors together this winter can enjoy a host of activities in the great outdoors, even if the temperatures are a tad on the chilly side.

• Sledding: Sledding may remind adults of their childhoods and turn kids' snow days into fun afternoons they will never forget. Kids can seemingly ride their sleds and toboggans down snowy hills all day long, but even parents get a kick out of racing kids downhill or sharing a sled with their youngsters. While older kids can typically handle sleds on their own, parents should ride along with toddlers to prevent falls and handle steering duties. When sledding, keep a close eye for any signs that suggest kids might be getting too cold, such as shivering or clothes that are soaked through.

• Snowshoeing: Parents may not know that many retailers sell snowshoes for children. While snowshoeing can be physically demanding, it's also a fun way for families that like family walks to continue those traditions even if there are a few inches of snow on the ground. Make sure kids are bundled up, paying extra attention to their footwear. Kids will enjoy snowshoeing more if their boots are both comfortable and capable of keeping their feet warm.

• Snowman building: Perhaps no outdoor winter activity is more conducive to family fun than building a snowman. The season's first substantial snowfall provides the perfect opportunity for parents and their children to start building some snowmen. While "snowman building" is unlikely to find its way onto any gym schedules, building a snowman provides a great workout. Lifting snow is great strength training, while pushing snow to form Frosty's body is a great way to get in some cardiovascular exercise.

• Skiing and snowboarding: The earlier youngsters start skiing and/or snowboarding, the more likely such activities will prove second nature. Many resorts offer skiing and snowboarding lessons to kids and adults, so parents can book weekend getaways for the family to nearby resorts and foster a love of winter sports in youngsters.

While it's tempting to huddle up indoors when winter hits full swing, families who embrace the great outdoors when the temperatures dip can avoid cabin fever and enjoy one another's company along the way.

 

How to tend to an indoor herb garden

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Fresh herbs and recently picked ingredients can add flavor to any meal. A home chef can even improve the flavor of store-bought or prepared foods with an herb garnish that can transform otherwise bland dishes into something you'll want to eat again and again.

Harvesting fresh herbs is easy for homeowners who have gardens right in their backyards. However, everyone does not have a backyard, and even those that do might find their gardens threatened by changing seasons or unwanted critters. When gardens are moved indoors, the bounty of fresh ingredients continues no matter the date on the calendar.

Herb gardens are perhaps some of the easiest gardens to cultivate indoors because they don't require large pots or much space. The plants themselves are relatively compact, and it only takes a pinch of herbs to give a meal some extra flavor.

When growing herbs indoors, your indoor growing area must have adequate light to simulate the longer days of summer; otherwise, the plants may go dormant. It's ideal to have a southern exposure on the herbs, with at least eight hours of sunlight per day. If you do not live in a particularly sunny locale, consider supplementing the plants with grow lights, which will provide the full spectrum of light the plants need to thrive.

Indoor air can become too dry for herbs, so you will need to compensate by providing humidity. While there may be added humidity in a kitchen greenhouse window, it still may not be enough to keep the plants healthy. Think about misting the plants daily to create some extra humidity, or place herb pots on top of a water-filled tray with pebbles so the evaporating water will add moisture without making the roots soggy.

Insects are another threat to indoor gardens because there is no cold weather to inhibit the hatching of insect eggs. Soil from outdoors may be more susceptible to insects that are already living in the dirt. Instead of soil from outside, use packaged soil or a nonsoil alternative that will hold moisture without the added risk of bugs. If small insects appear, use a mist of soapy water to kill the bugs without harming the plants or making the herbs unfit for eating.

Group herbs together according to their watering needs to make maintenance that much easier. New sprouts generally need more water than established plants.

Prune the herbs as needed for recipes. If the herbs experience a growth spurt, trim some of the plants and freeze the herbs for later use.

Many indoor herb gardeners begin by growing parsley, chives, oregano, and basil, but you can experiment with just about any herb.

 

Treat yourself to some much-needed pampering

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The daily grind sometimes is exhausting. In fact, a poll from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 49 percent of Americans reported having a major stressful event or experience in the past year, and 26 percent of people said they had a "great deal" of stress.

In small amounts, stress can push a person to act and grow. But constant stress can become debilitating and has been linked to a compromised immune system and other unhealthy side effects. This is why a number of people resolve to reduce stress.

In addition to taking on fewer responsibilities, engaging in some activities to promote a relaxed mind and body can help alleviate stress and tension. Though the term "pampering" may not appeal to everyone, a day of pampering might be just what you need to relieve stress and unwind.

• Get a full-body massage. Licensed massage therapists have the training and knowledge to work the kinks out of your muscles and ease aches and pains. Massage therapy works tension out of the body and can help release feel-good endorphins. A massage can improve circulation and help reduce blood pressure. It's difficult to walk out of a spa without feeling relaxed.

• Schedule a manicure and pedicure appointment. If you do not have time for a full massage, having your hands and feet pampered can be a good substitute. Manicures and pedicures are not just for ladies, either. Men can indulge and opt for no nail polish. Many salons offer different types of manicures and pedicures, depending on personal preference. Spa treatments may include warm paraffin wax or hot stones to further ease pain and enhance the pleasure of the experience.

• Take a retreat. Schedule a trip to a resort or even a small hotel that is away from the hustle and bustle of where you live. Such a respite can provide a welcome change. New scenery and a chance to escape the daily grind can effectively relieve stress. Consider low-tech accommodations and turn your phone or tablet off for a few days.

• Try relaxing aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils to elicit mental and physical responses. Lavender is a relaxing scent that can be used during a massage or in baths to induce a sense of calm. Experiment with other scents and oils to achieve the desired result.

• Laugh with friends. Plan a friends' night where you can go out for drinks and conversation or huddle around the television and watch your favorite comedy. Laughter is often a great medicine for stress, as is the company of other people who can provide some comic relief.

 

Fill snow days with activities and fun

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Snow days may be coveted by kids (and teachers), but they may not be as beloved by parents who are unaccustomed to having kids home during the week. Working parents whose businesses are open do not have the same luxury as their children to roll over in bed and avoid trekking through the white stuff.

But just because snow days are unexpected, that does not mean parents can't plan for them.

• Establish a snow day plan. Parents who cannot take days off from work will need a contingency plan for snow days. Organize a snow day club, wherein school parents rotate taking children for the day. Working parents can reciprocate by taking the school kids on a weekend and letting the other parents have a "date night."

• Create a snow day entertainment bin. Rather than having kids spend the day watching television or playing on their tablets, parents can establish a snow day entertainment bin to encourage their kids to make the most of the day off. The bin can include board games, books, building block sets, paints, and other crafts.

• Plan for an indoor picnic. Kids will probably want to spend a portion of the day playing out in the snow. After all of that physical activity, they're bound to be famished. Spread a blanket out on the living room floor and enjoy a picnic of sandwiches, snacks and hot chocolate. Kids will enjoy the novelty of eating this way.

• Get cooking. Another way to fill the day is to have children participate in making meals. A snowy day is a great time to prepare meals for the rest of the week, as well as tinker with hearty, belly-filling recipes. Older children can help with cutting vegetables and meats, while younger kids can add seasonings to pots and mix ingredients. Involve the kids in choosing which meals to cook. Baking bread is another fun activity and enables kids to sculpt dough and then eat the fruits of their labors.

• Go to the movies. If roads are passable, consider a trip to the movie theater, where you can enjoy a matinee. Bring a few friends along and make it a fun-filled outing.

• Create snow art. Fill squeeze or squirt bottles with some water and food coloring. Allow kids to go out in the yard and create some pictures with the snow as their canvas.

• Catch up on cleaning. Cleaning may not be the most exciting snow day activity, but it might be the most productive. Children can spend time sorting through toys and belongings in their rooms.

• Take a nature walk. Grab those boots and insulated pants and head outdoors. A walk in the brisk, cold air can boost spirits and introduce kids to the beauty of winter landscapes. Take the camera along and encourage kids to snap pictures of their favorite vistas.

 

City to Offer Intercultural Competency Training Sessions

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The City of Dubuque Intercultural Competency Training Team is partnering with Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) to provide its annual "Developing Intercultural Skills for Diversity and Inclusion Work" workshop.

The workshop will be held on the following Fridays:
March 4, March 11, April 1, and April 8.

Participants are encouraged to attend each of the four sessions, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the NICC Town Clock Center, 680 Main St., in Dubuque.

The City's comprehensive intercultural competency program is designed for groups of people involved in diversity and/or inclusion work within their organization. The four-day learning intensive program features face-to-face workshops and innovative, yet practical diversity and training models. In addition to these models and theories, participants receive individualized feedback through various personal assessment tools and a private coaching session. The program culminates with opportunities for participants to practice their use of the tools they have received.

Through peer feedback and coaching from the trainers, participants will also develop action items along with organizational dilemma projects comprised of analysis and strategies for addressing unresolved organizational issues. The program is best suited for those working in teams and is not designed for individual enrichment.

Those interested in participating in these training sessions must complete an application. All applications will be reviewed by the trainers and up to 30 applicants will be selected to participate. Cost of participation is $75, which includes meals and training materials.

Applications are available on the City of Dubuque's Human Rights website at www.cityofdubuque.org/trainthetrainerapp. Applications can also be requested by contacting Carol Spinoso in the Human Rights Department at 563-589-4190 or humanrgt@cityofdubuque.org. Registrations are due Friday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the City of Dubuque Human Rights Department at 589-4190 or e-mail humanrgt@cityofdubuque.org.

 

Interactive Map Allows Dubuquers to Track Snow and Ice Control Plowing Progress

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With a few months of potential winter weather remaining, the City of Dubuque Public Works Department reminds residents that they can track live progress of snow and ice control plowing operations on Dubuque streets on an online interactive map by visiting www.cityofdubuque.org/snow.

Over the past years, the Public Works Department tested and subsequently equipped its 18 plow/deicer trucks and six heavy equipment plows with Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) equipment for internal tracking of vehicle location and speed, spreader settings, and plow usage. This GPS technology is now being used to provide the public with real-time information regarding street plowing progress during and after a winter storm.

The public is able to see which city streets have or have not been plowed in the last four or eight hours, and, as a result, can make informed choices regarding whether to travel and which routes to use.

For more information on snow and ice control, contact the Public Works Department at (563) 589- 4250.

 

The Grand Opera House Presents Shows for the Whole Family

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Jack & Kitty Family Folk
4:00 p.m. Saturday, January 16
Adult $15/Under 18 $10
Great entertainment for the little ones! Jack and Kitty are the co-creators and co-stars of the Emmy Award winning children's television series "The Zinghoppers Show". The perfect show for that most discriminating of audiences, early elementary and preschoolers, with songs developed by a team of Early Childhood Educators from the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic. The group was named "Nashville's Best Kids Entertainers" for an unprecedented four years in a row by the readers of Parent Magazine.

Ole and Lena Win a Cruise
2:00 p.m. Sunday, January 17
All Tickets $20
The loveable couple from the Great North is back with a brand new show about family, love, marriage, growing old together and GETTING OUT OF THE SNOW. Side splitting fun for the whole family!

Tristan Crist Illusion Show
4:00pm Saturday, March 5
$20 Adult/Under 18 $12
Witness some of the most modern and entertaining magic illusions presented on stage today and laugh out loud when you experience Tristan's signature comedy. The Tristan Crist Illusion Show is the perfect entertainment for young and old alike.

Tickets may be purchased at the Grand Opera House Box Office, 135 W. 8th Street in Dubuque or by calling 563-588-1305, noon-4pm Monday through Friday. The Box Office is also open an hour before each performance. Tickets are also available online by visiting the Grand Opera House website at www.thegrandoperahouse.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.