Area Tidbits

Easy ways to clean up leaves

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Autumn is marked by colorful foliage and plummeting temperatures. Once those leaves reach peak color, they fall from the branches and collect on lawns, necessitating cleanup projects. For homeowners with big yards, such a project can be tiring and time-consuming. However, there are ways to make leaf cleanup easier.

One of the easiest ways to clean up leaves is to reach for a lawn mower rather than a rake. The mower will cut leaves down to smaller sizes, creating an effective mulch that can add nutrients back into the lawn. Davey, a lawn and landscape solutions service, says that mowed leaves also can be collected in a mower bag and added to garden beds or compost piles.

For those who prefer manual raking, select a rake with tines that will not skewer the leaves in the process. Big rakes also can make faster work of gathering leaves into piles.

The home improvement resource The Family Handyman advocates for the use of a lawn sweeper. This is a manual device that has a rotating sweeping brush that gathers up lawn debris and leaves into an attached hopper bag. Like mowed leaves, the bag can be emptied into a compost pile or distributed where needed.

Raking leaves onto a large tarp is another option. Once it's full, the tarp can be taken to the curb where many towns will collect the leaves seasonally. Otherwise, the tarp can be used as a funnel to put leaves into a gardening bag or another appropriate receptacle.

Leaf blowers remain a fast option for cleaning up yards, but they require electricity or gas and can be noisy. Still, they are a popular choice for large landscapes or when quick work needs to be made of leaf clean-up.

Leaves will fall in autumn, but luckily homeowners have various methods at their disposal to tame the mess.


How to make driving in inclement weather more safe

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Impaired visibility can be a safety hazard while driving. Everything from sun glare to hail can affect a driver's ability to see the road and navigate it effectively. Before drivers get behind the wheel, they should make note of their local forecast and make a plan for what to do if rain, snow or other conditions make it challenging to drive.

The International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences indicates that, based on an examination of crash test data conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the "likelihood of a crash increases during periods of low visibility, despite the tendency for less traffic and for lower speeds to prevail during these times."

Drivers can take several steps to improve their visibility when driving in poor weather conditions.

• Inspect and change windshield wiper blades. Wipers are instrumental in clearing precipitation away from the windshield. If they're not functioning properly, wipers cannot do their jobs. Drivers should replace their wipers at the first indication that they are no longer effective. In some conditions, wipers can freeze or stick. Drivers should then pull over and clean the wipers manually.

• Clear obstructions. Always make sure the windshield is clear before driving. This can include removing ice and snow in the winter and cleaning off mud or bug splatter in the spring and summer. Use the front and rear defrost if condensation fogs up windshields and windows.

• Slow down. Foul weather can reduce drivers' ability to see far into the distance. Drivers should always drive slower in inclement weather in order to improve reaction time.

• Top off fluids. Always keep the windshield washer reservoir full and keep extra fluid in the trunk. In addition, look for a fluid that does not freeze in very cold temperatures.

• Learn how to drive in fog. Each year, more than 38,700 vehicle crashes occur in fog, states the Federal Highway Administration. Travelers Insurance recommends slowing down, staying focused and using regular headlights and not high beams when driving in fog.

• Go out only if necessary. In snowy or icy conditions, drive only if it's absolutely necessary, as snow and ice can impair visibility and make roads slick, says AAA.

• Avoid driving at dusk and dawn. The human eye can have trouble adjusting to rapidly changing light and darkness conditions, which are common at dusk and dawn. If possible, drivers should make trips during the heart of the day, especially if poor lighting conditions typically make it difficult for them to drive.

Drivers can take steps to improve visibility when inclement weather makes roadways hard to navigate.


3 signs of sun-damaged skin

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The summer sun beckons many people outdoors. Soaking up some rays on a warm summer day can be a great way to unwind and get a little color. 

It's not always easy to recognize signs of sun damage when spending time outdoors in the summer, especially for people who lay out in the sun hoping to get a tan. Such damage may be overlooked or more evident in the fall, when people begin spending more time indoors. But sun-damaged skin should not be taken lightly. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that the vast majority of melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, are caused by the sun. The SCF even notes that one study from researchers in the United Kingdom found that 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to the ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from the sun.

Sun-damaged skin will not necessarily lead to skin cancer. However, the American Academy of Dermatology notes that sun damage can lead to skin cancer. Going outdoors without adequate protection makes skin vulnerable to sun-related damage. Learning to recognize three of the more common types of sun damage may compel people to visit their physicians and take potentially life-saving steps to prevent future damage.

1. Wrinkles
Wrinkles aren't always a byproduct of aging. While the Mayo Clinic notes that skin becomes less elastic and more fragile as it ages, increasing the likelihood that wrinkles will develop, wrinkles also can indicate sun-damaged skin.

2. Age spots
According to the AAD, age spots, which are flat brown, gray or black spots on the skin, appear on areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun, including the face and hands. The AAD notes that what looks like an age spot could actually be skin cancer. If any such spots are detected, men and women should see a board-certified dermatologist for a through skin exam.

3. Loose skin
Loose skin is sometimes a byproduct of aging, but it also can be indicative of sun damage. Various products claim to treat loose skin, but the AAD notes that facelift-like results likely won't come from any product sold in a jar. For example, the AAD says results from skin-firming creams will be subtle at best. Products that contain a retinoid like retinol, which can help the body make more collagen, might produce minor results.

Sun-related skin damage can affect peoples' appearance and even suggest the presence of something more serious, such as skin cancer. Learn more by visiting the American Academy of Dermatology at


How to protect wood floors from inclement weather

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Wood floors are a worthwhile investment that can improve the beauty and function of just about any room in a home. Even though wood floors are durable, and new protective treatments help seal out many of the things that may have damaged floors in the past, homeowners still need to prioritize protecting their hardwood floors. 

Certain seasons of the year can be more harsh on wood floors than others. For example, seasons characterized by moisture and precipitation, particularly the early spring, winter and fall, can be hard on wood floors. The experts at ServiceMaster Clean say that cold, snowy days can damage wood floors, and Lumber Liquidators agrees that winter weather can be harsh on flooring.

Homeowners need not give up on hardwood if they live in an area that sees all four seasons. They just need to take a few steps to keep floors looking beautiful.

• Clean up the salt. Salt that keeps sidewalks and streets clear of snow and ice inadvertently gets tracked inside a home. Hard chunks of salt can scratch wood floors, and, if left to sit, that salt can eventually cause white marks and other stains. Routinely vacuuming and sweeping up salt is necessary to protect wood floors.

• Invest in shoe storage. Wet or snowy boots can create puddles around the house. Have a special mat or tray by the front door where wet shoes can be kept. A nice bench in the entryway makes it easy for residents and guests to remove their shoes until it's time to go back outside.

• Use water-wicking mats. Homeowners will probably need a few extra mats around to tame errant drips and wipe shoes. Any entrance that might be used by people or pets should be protected. Try to avoid petroleum-based, rubber-backed mats, as they could discolor the wood floor.

• Control humidity indoors. Cold, dry air in a home can be problematic because the moisture in the wood can eventually evaporate into the air. The heat will suck that moisture from the flooring, causing it to shrink, creak and splinter and become more brittle. Think about investing in an in-line humidifier for the home's HVAC system that can keep a moderate amount of humidity in the home. Hardwood floorboards are installed to accommodate minor temperature and humidity fluctuations. This is typically a range of between 60 and 80 degrees F with a relative humidity range of 35 to 55 percent, advises ServiceMaster.

• Use the right cleaning products. Avoid excessive water to clean wood floors, and select soaps that are specially designed for wood flooring. Consult with the flooring manufacturer for a list of detergents that are safe to use.

With proper care, hardwood flooring can survive rain, snow and cold weather.


Tailgating party tips

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Tailgating involves hosting a gathering with friends or family from the back of a vehicle. This social gathering typically features an informal meal and refreshments. Tailgating usually occurs in the parking lot of a sports stadium, but it also is commonly seen preceding concerts or other large events. 

Tailgating gets its name from the fact that people set up chairs around the rear of the vehicle, or actually sit on the tailgate itself. For many people, tailgating is a lifestyle, and they've honed their skills to deliver parking lot parties that are tough to rival.

With some advanced planning and know-how, anyone can throw a successful and memorable tailgate party. Follow these tips to get started.

• Create a mobile tailgating kit. Turn a toolbox into an essentials collection for tailgating. Fill a metal toolbox with necessary gear, such as barbecue basics, bottle openers, condiments, trash bags, zip-baggies, and paper towels. Then simply grab the toolbox and set out for the tailgate party location.

• Prep the night before. You'll want to get the best spot in the lot, so do the bulk of the work the night before the event. Pre-chill beverages so they will stay at the right temperature in the cooler. Sort out recipe items and ensure that all the food staples are well secured and ready to put in the cooler. Pre-purchase ice so it's ready to go.

• Pack smart. Store plates and silverware in a plastic bin with a lid. Dirty dishes and other soiled cooking tools can be kept securely inside and toted home for washing.

• Choose menu items wisely. Keep in mind that foods that are portable and eaten out of hand are best at tailgates. This limits the trash and how many utensils will need to be discarded or washed. Burgers, hot dogs, kabobs, sliders/sandwiches, and the like are ideal tailgate foods.

• Label coolers. Make sure guests know where to find the items they need. Label coolers to differentiate between beverages and other supplies. Freeze water bottles to use in place of ice in the coolers so that the cold water can be consumed as the bottles thaw.

• Create a warming oven. Coolers insulate warm or cold items. Grilled foods or foods cooked at home can be kept warm until eaten.

• Establish a washing station. A clean, rinsed out, spigot-style laundry detergent container can be transformed into a washing station.

The most important tip is to make sure others can find your location. Tie balloons to the car so that guests can spot it in the crowd. Then have fun before the game or concert.


How to stay calm and collected in traffic

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Commuting long distances seems to be a fact of life for many professionals. The average American spends 50 minutes commuting to work, and the average worker in the United Kingdom spends roughly an hour, according to a study from the University of West England. 

Researchers in England found that adding an additional 20 minutes of commuting per day has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19 percent pay cut. Commuters can sometimes control their commutes to prevent such dissatisfaction, but other times factors beyond their control may be adversely affecting commuters' quality of life.

For example, researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute determined that rush-hour commuters in the United States lose an average of 42 hours per year to traffic delays. On the nation's 10 most gridlocked roads, that number doubles to 84 hours. That equates to three and a half days per year of sitting in traffic jams.

Spending time in traffic is no picnic, and it's easy to get frazzled when doing so day in and day out. Following a few tips can help commuters keep their stress in check when traffic slows down.

• Leave plenty of time. Traffic can seem especially troublesome when you're racing the clock to get somewhere on time. Feeling anxious about missing a meeting or arriving to work late only exacerbates commuting-related stress. Check traffic maps before heading out and leave ample time to get where you need to be.

• Keep audiobooks at the ready. Listening to an engaging story on the way to work can direct attention away from traffic. In fact, you may not mind traffic at all if you're at a climactic point in the story.

• Cue up your favorite music playlists. Get lost in jams you love, as music can help soothe the stress of traffic.

• Explore alternate routes. In your spare time, figure out if there are less-traveled roads that can make a commute more predictable and enjoyable. While they may be slightly longer in mileage, moving along instead of being in stop-and-go traffic can be a relief.

• Smile even if you don't feel like it. Psychology Today says that research suggests going through the motions of smiling may reduce the intensity of your body's stress response, even while sitting in traffic.

• Take deep breaths. Practice mindful breathing exercises that can reduce tension.

Commuters contend with traffic jams every day, but there are various coping mechanisms that can relieve stress when stuck in gridlock.


Dubuque Museum of Art Board Expands

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The museum welcomes five new directors to governing Board of Trustees

The Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) is pleased to announce the addition of five new directors to its governing Board of Trustees. Each director will serve at least one three-year term on the Board.

Dr. Stephanie M. Dalton, DDS joined Great River Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in 2018, after completing her residency at Gunderson Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin and obtaining her dental degree from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.

Michael Donohue is Regional President for Community Banking at U.S. Bank, headquartered in Dubuque, where he oversees a network of 26 banks serving the Northeast Iowa and Northern Illinois region. A current member and past-president of the Dubuque Community School Board, Donohue has served on the boards of more than a dozen community and professional organizations, including the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, Finley Hospital, and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.

Maureen A. Quann was named Assistant City Attorney for the City of Dubuque in 2011. Quann earned a JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology and a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry from Clarke University in Dubuque. Quann has served on the board of Riverview Center and the American Red Cross in Dubuque and the chaired the Dubuque Museum of Art's annual art auction.

Cheryl D. Syke is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans in Dubuque. In addition to her role helping found its' Women's Giving Circle initiative, Syke serves on the board and multiple committees of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and is Immediate Past-Chair of the Holy Family Schools Board, which she continues to serve through its HR and finance committees.

Renee Tyler was appointed Director of Transportation Services of the City of Dubuque in October 2018 following prior experience serving in state and local government, business and the financial services sector. Tyler earned a bachelor's degree in social welfare from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and is pursuing a master's degree in public service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Her volunteer experience includes the Junior Achievement of the Heartland in Dubuque middle schools, Art Porter Music Foundation, Our House Shelter, and Little Rock Junior League.

DuMA is located across from Washington Park in historic downtown Dubuque at 7th and Locust Streets. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., Saturday & Sunday 1:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M. The museum is closed on Mondays. Daily admission rates are: $6 Adults, $5 Seniors, and $3 College/University Students. The museum is free on Thursdays, and those 18 and younger receive free admission every day, thanks to Prudential Financial. Website:



Miller Riverview Park and Campground Open

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The City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department has announced that Miller Riverview Park and Campground is now open for camping.

Staff has worked diligently to get the park open for the remainder of the season, weather permitting. Please note that, due to the prolonged flooding damage to the park this season, most sites do not have grass.

"We appreciate the patience of the public while we have worked to get the park open," said City of Dubuque Park Division Manager Stephen Fehsal.

The park will remain open until the fourth Sunday in October (Oct. 27), weather permitting.

Reservations can be made online

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


Regulations for Placement of Political Signs

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Election season is here with four Dubuque City Council positions on the Nov. 5 election ballot and two of those positions with primary elections on Oct. 8. As these campaigns get under way, the City of Dubuque is reminding candidates and residents of the regulations that govern placement of political signs.

The City of Dubuque's Unified Development Code (UDC) regulates all exterior signage, including political signage, within the community. The UDC specifically exempts political signage from government regulation except that political signs cannot be placed in any public right-of-way or in visibility triangles (10 feet in each direction of a street corner).

In Dubuque's residential districts, the property line is generally 10 feet back from the curb while the property line location in commercial districts varies. If a sign is inadvertently placed on the public right-of-way, the City's Public Works Department may move the sign back on to your property and attach a green slip noting the violation.

If the City receives a complaint about a sign, City staff will inspect the sign to determine the actual right-of-way location, which might be more than 10 feet from the edge of the street or curb.

Also, political signs cannot be placed on objects in the right-of-way such as trees, utility poles, and medians.

Complete details, including diagrams, are available online at

For more information or questions regarding the property line location for a specific address, please contact the City of Dubuque Planning Services Department at 563-589-4210 or


Q Sportsbook Now Open!

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Place your bets at Dubuque's first Sportsbook!

Q Sportsbook opened August 27. The Q Sportsbook is located in the newly renovated Q Sports Bar. The 4,200 square foot area features 47 TVs including a 165" video wall so you won't miss a second of the action. You won't miss a game either with the NFL Sunday Ticket package, MLB Network and more!

Indulge in your favorite game day specials from the Q Sports Bar including your favorite sports bar staples, hot wings, burgers and pizzas. Q Sports Bar also offers a selection of 20 beers on tap. The new bar gives you access to high speed internet and USB charging ports.

The Q Sportsbook will be open 7 days a week for betting. Primary hours are: Monday-Friday from noon-10pm, Saturday from 10am-10pm and Sunday from 11am-10pm. Hours of operation are subject to change to accommodate patron needs and prime sporting events. Bets can also be placed 24/7 from one of our 12 sportsbetting kiosks available throughout the casino.

Q Sportsbook will accept wagers on college and professional sports.

Q Casino offers free valet parking, outstanding customer service and all of the gaming excitement you can handle!

See for rules and additional information 

Q Casino is an entertainment and gaming complex located in Dubuque, Iowa. The casino is owned by the City of Dubuque, and operated by the non-profit Dubuque Racing Association, its license holder.


National Philanthropy Day® 2019 Award Recipients

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Each year, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Tri-State Chapter (AFPGTS) honors donors and volunteers whose gifts of time, expertise, and resources make a significant contribution to the success of the nonprofit agencies and institutions they serve.

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has inspired global change and supported efforts that generated over $1 trillion. AFP's nearly 30,000 individual and organizational members raise over $100 billion annually, equivalent to one-third of all charitable giving in North America and millions more around the world.

Since 1986, "National Philanthropy Day" has recognized the great contributions of philanthropy that enrich our world. This year the AFPGTS Chapter will honor those persons who demonstrate strong contributions to philanthropy in our community.

The National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon will be on Thursday, November 14, 2019. This luncheon provides a unique occasion to express publicly our appreciation to those who do so much to enhance philanthropic support in our community.

This year's award recipients will be:

Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
Don and Wilma Sanders

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
Mantea Schmid

Outstanding Philanthropic Organization
Premier Bank

Outstanding Professional Fundraiser
Dennis Rima

Judges' Award
ECIA (East Central Intergovernmental Association)

The National Philanthropy Day® Awards Luncheon will be held on Thursday, November 14, at the Grand River Center. Registration begins at 11:15 and the event runs from 11:45 AM - 1:30 PM. Tickets are $40 and information on National Philanthropy Day® may be found online at and under Philanthropy Day.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals-Greater Tri-State Chapter is located in Dubuque, IA, with members from northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin, and northwest Illinois. The Association of Fundraising Professionals represents 27,000 members in 172 chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs.


Senior Health Insurance Information Program Relocating Office

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The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), sponsored in Dubuque by UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital, is relocating to a new office. On Tuesday, September 3, the SHIIP volunteer counselors will begin seeing patients at 1500 Delhi Street, Suite 3200. The new office is located on the third floor of the Delhi Medical Center.

The purpose of SHIIP is to provide free, unbiased counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers about Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), Medicare supplement plans and other supplemental insurance, billing and claims issues, Medicare fraud and abuse.

This service is provided by highly trained volunteers whose goal is to serve Medicare beneficiaries by assisting them to make insurance decision-making easier, provide information to compare Medicare and insurance plans, assist with enrolling in Medicare prescription drug plans and assistance programs, and understanding the bills they receive for their health care. Counselors provide one-to-one assistance in a confidential setting. These counselors are not affiliated with any insurance, financial planning or pharmaceutical industries.

Individuals who may benefit from a meeting with a SHIIP volunteer include those who are:

• Going on Medicare or already on Medicare

• Age 65 and older

• On Medicare due to a disability, end stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Individuals who would like an appointment can call (563) 589-2673.


Did you know?

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Games of chance are popular attractions at carnivals, fairs and sporting events. One popular game is the 50-50 raffle.

With a 50-50, the raffle organizer splits the proceeds evenly with the winner. For example, if $200 in proceeds are collected, the winner of the raffle receives $100. These types of raffles are popular fundraisers and don't require any special skills for entry.

Few people expect to strike it rich when they enter a 50-50 chance. However, in July of 2014, Edmonton Eskimos fan Connor Croken won one of the largests jackpots in 50-50 sports raffle history, leaving an Eskimos game with $348,534 Canadian ($322,216 US) in his pocket. The remaining funds were earmarked to fund amateur football in the province of Alberta.


Steps to take before leaving recyclables at the curb

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Recycling will play a vital role in the future of the planet. As climate change continues to threaten the long-term health of the planet, the necessity to recycle and reuse only becomes more paramount. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, decomposing garbage, such as that which finds its way into landfills, generates methane. Methane is considerably more effective at trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide and contributes heavily to climate change. By recycling items rather than discarding them, people can play an active and effective role at combatting climate change. In addition, recycling helps cut back on the release of harmful greenhouse gases that are produced during the manufacturing process.

Community recycling programs have been around for decades in many communities, and these programs are only as effective as the people who recycle. Learning how to treat common recyclables before depositing them into designated recycling bins can help people ensure their efforts are having the impact they intended.

• Rinse jars, bottles and cans. Items that are not rinsed before they're placed in recycling cans run the risk of contaminating everything within. While each community program is different, recycling bins deemed contaminated may be redirected to landfills. Residential Waste Systems, a Connecticut-based trash and recycling removal firm, recommends rinsing all jars, bottles and cans that contain visible residue before depositing them in the recycling bin.

• Learn which items can be recycled. Contact your local recycling firm for a list of items that can and cannot be recycled. Many people unknowingly deposit items that cannot be recycled into their recycling bins, potentially contaminating their bins and rendering them more likely to end up in a landfill than a recycling center. By contacting your recycling center in advance, you can reduce the risk that all your hard recycling work will be for naught.

• Inspect paper products. If various paper products are accepted by your local recycling center, you must still inspect them before placing them in your recycling bin. For example, a pizza box may be recyclable, but likely isn't if it's covered in grease. Inspect each potentially recyclable paper product to make sure there's nothing present that might lead to it being designated as contaminated.

Recycling is a simple step many people can take to promote the long-term health of the planet.


Todd Dalsing named next Dubuque Regional Airport Director


6 ways to keep an active puppy out of trouble

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It is hard to resist the beckoning big eyes, soft fur and lovable kisses of a puppy. When that tail begins wagging, it can be easy to forget how much attention and work puppies require.

Puppies love to learn about the world and are naturally curious and energetic. Puppies also can become easily bored and mischievous if not given chances to expend their energy.

Puppies do not know what is right and wrong in their new environments and have to learn such lessons through trial and error, often getting into trouble along the way.

However, puppy owners can take steps to curb potentially troublesome behaviors.

1. Provide a lot of exercise. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, offer many experts. The American Kennel Club says that puppy parents should speak with their vets and/or trainers about what is a reasonable amount of physical activity for their dogs. Activity to burn off excess energy is vital.

2. Offer mentally stimulating activities. Problem-solving toys and challenges can keep puppies focused on healthy skills that build cognition to exercise the brain. Hide-and-seek, fetch and food-reward games can be great ways to exercise puppies' brains.

3. Keep an eye out. Puppies like to explore the world around them, and that can mean chewing, digging, soiling, and other negative behaviors. The advice site Daily Puppy recommends that owners watch their puppies and keep them in their sight as much as possible. Crating is an effective way to keep puppies out of trouble when owners cannot offer constant supervision. Crates can be safe havens when treated in the right manner.

4. Puppy-proof the home. Look around the house for possible hazards. Move trash into hard-to-reach areas, erect gates to block restricted spaces, address cords and other electrical hazards, and clear counters or tables of easy-to-reach food scraps.

5. Use positive reinforcement. Rewarding dogs when they do the right thing rather than punishing them when they behave badly helps puppies learn manners and how to become good members of the family, offers the AKC. Teaching is also a way to offer exercise and stimulate dogs' minds.

6. Understand the breed. Some dogs are bred for their unique behaviors. For example, a bird dog like an English setter may seek out prey in the yard. Certain concessions may need to be made to keep puppies comfortable. Offering alternative activities that tie into this natural instinct also can work.

Keeping puppies out of trouble can take work, but as they become full-grown dogs, they will learn and negative behaviors will be abandoned.


The benefits of music instruction for young learners

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Many children are introduced to music instruction at school. After being introduced to band, chorus and various instruments, students may be eager to explore music.

Young students are often introduced to the recorder or ukulele in the early grades and then given the opportunity to join primary bands as they move through elementary school and into middle school. Some children also may want to supplement school music lessons with private music tutors, who can provide more in-depth instruction.

Parents considering making a commitment to music instruction may find that kids benefit from being involved with music in many ways, some of which may be surprising.

• The New England Board of Higher Education says several studies show that consistent music education improves vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Emerging evidence points to an area of the brain that controls both musical ability and language comprehension as being more closely related than previously thought.

• Music education may help young children learn words and how to pronounce them, as learning to play music enables them to process the many new sounds they hear from others.

• Researchers have discovered a strong relationship between participating in school arts and academic success as demonstrated by students' grade point averages, according to the National Association for Music Education.

• The relationship between music and academic performance has been studied for decades. As far back as 1988, studies have been conducted about the benefits of music education. An analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 demonstrated a significant correlation between participation in school music groups and achievement in math and English. And a 1996 study published in Nature found first graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study program saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically.

• Introducing music lessons to young children can have profound effects on their social development. Music fosters greater trust and cooperation, as well as a sense of community and belonging.

• Another benefit of music education is it allows children to harness their creativity and express it in a healthy way.

• The music instruction company Music U says children with developmental disorders and mental health issues might be able to unlock their potential with music. Music therapy has been shown to affect significant change in children with autism-spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, cerebral palsy, and more.

Music instruction both in and out of the classroom can be a benefit to young learners.


Prevent growth of mold/mildew in colder months

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Mold and mildew are not only unsightly, but unhealthy. These fungi grow readily in damp areas and are found in the air breathed both indoors and outside. If left unaddressed, mold and mildew can threaten the health of a home's inhabitants.

Mildew is a type of mold that remains relatively flush with the surface it grows on. Other molds can grow puffy in appearance. Molds serve the purpose of destroying organic materials, but in high amounts, these microorganisms can cause respiratory problems, sinus congestion, throat irritation, headaches, and other issues, particularly when mold grows unchecked indoors, says Better Homes and Gardens. As a result, it is essential to address mold before it becomes problematic.

According to Polygon, a drying technology and temporary climate solutions company, the wet season in winter is when molds often grow and expand. Mold can break down the integrity and strength of the surfaces where it grows.
Homeowners can employ the following strategies to prevent mold growth.

• Keep all surfaces clean, using proper cleaning products. Diluted bleach solutions are highly effective at killing microscopic fungi, viruses and bacteria.

• Reduce moisture and humidity by ensuring sufficient air circulation in rooms, particularly bathrooms and kitchens. An exhaust fan will help remove moisture quickly.

• Fabrics covered in mildew that can be laundered should be carefully removed and washed in chlorine bleach and hot water. An oxygen bleach product also can be effective.

• Invest in a dehumidifier that can reduce moisture in the home in problem areas, such as damp basements or garages.

• Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible.

• Remove damp leaves and snow from areas around the foundation of the home. Ensure that gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and can shuttle water away from the house effectively.

• Replace cracked or defective mortar in basements.

• Make sure all seals on windows and doors are not compromised and are in good working condition.

• Be sure an HVAC in-line humidifier is adjusted to the right setting and isn't pumping too much moisture into the heated air; otherwise, the added humidity can contribute to mold.

• If there is a flood or water infiltrates a home in other ways, hire a professional service to help clean and dry the home effectively.

Mold and mildew are problematic, but with diligence they can be kept at bay.


Kid-friendly weekend getaways in the great outdoors

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Weekend getaways in the great outdoors can be a great way for families to break from the norm and spend some quality time together while getting some fresh air. Such trips are popular, as the U.S. Travel Association notes that nearly three out of four domestic trips are taken for leisure purposes.

Families looking to get away from home on weekends often look for activities or locales that appeal to kids and parents alike while getting everyone out of the house. The following are a handful of outdoor getaway ideas the whole family can enjoy.

• Hiking: By 2015, the United States was home to nearly 240,000 miles of hiking trails on federal and state lands. Hiking opportunities also are abundant in Canada, where the 2016 General Social Survey found that 44 percent of Canadians go hiking in a given year, making it the country's most popular outdoor activity. Hiking is a rewarding, healthy hobby that also happens to be free, which can be especially appealing to budget-conscious parents. When exploring potential hiking destinations, parents should look for parks with kid-friendly trails. Many parks have paved trails on flat surfaces, which are ideal for families with small children.

• Rivers/lakes: Escaping to a nearby river or lake for a day on the water can make for a memorable, family-friendly getaway. Look for activities like fishing and bring your own rods or rent from nearby bait and tackle shops. If cruising is more your family's style, look for boat tours that offer a chance to explore local history while giving the whole family a chance to relax on a boat and soak up some sun.

• Zoo/aquarium: According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, there are more than 220 accredited zoos and aquariums in the United States and Canada. That makes it easy for families that live just about anywhere to plan day trips to local zoos, where they can spend the day soaking up some sun and marveling at exotic wildlife. Zoos and aquariums with outdoor exhibits make for wonderful, family-friendly weekend getaways.

• Theme parks: Theme parks make for a great weekend getaways for families. Many theme parks even offer rides and attractions for young children, but parents should call ahead to confirm this before planning their trips.

Weekend getaways are great ways for families to spend time in the great outdoors and take advantage of local attractions. With some simple investigation, families might find there are lots of local attractions within driving distance of their homes.


Prepare your deck for winter

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Homeowners often take steps to winterize the interior of their homes in the weeks before winter's arrival, but such efforts should extend to the outside of a home as well.

Decks make for great gathering places when the weather permits. Decks are where many people spend their free time and eat their meals come spring and summer, when the temperatures climb and the sun sets well into the evening. But as summer turns to fall, homeowners must take measures to protect their decks from potentially harsh winter weather.

• Inspect the deck for problems. Decks tend to be used more often in summer than any other time of year. That makes fall and early winter an ideal time to inspect for wear and tear and any additional issues that may have cropped up throughout the summer. Damaged boards and loose handrails should be fixed before winter arrives, especially for homeowners who plan to use their decks in winter. Fixing such issues in winter and even into spring may be difficult thanks to harsh conditions, so make good use of the relatively calm autumn weather to fix any issues on the deck.

• Clear the deck of potted plants. Even homeowners who intend to use their decks in winter should remove potted plants from the deck in the fall. The home improvement experts at HGTV note that moisture can get trapped between deck boards and plastic, wood or ceramic containers in cold weather, and that can contribute to mildew, discoloration or decay.

• Store unnecessary furniture. Homeowners who like to sit on their decks in winter will no doubt want to leave some furniture out over the winter. But those with lots of furniture for entertaining guests can likely move the majority of that furniture into a garage or shed for the winter. HGTV notes that doing so will prevent the potential formation of blemishes on the deck that can result from inconsistent weathering.

• Remove snow, but do so carefully. Prolonged contact with snow and ice can damage a deck. As a result, homeowners should clear snow from their decks when accumulation is significant. HGTV recommends using a snow blower on the deck to avoid scarring. If a shovel must be used, push snow with the planks to reduce the risk of damaging the deck.

Homeowners who take steps to protect their decks throughout the winter months can ensure these popular areas are ready once entertaining season returns in the spring.


Back-to-school ice breakers to ease first day fears

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Parents and educators can sometimes underestimate children's anxiety over the dawn of a new school year. Many students feel nervous when wondering if their teachers will be nice or if they will make new friends. These worries may be compounded by the return to routine and the end of an enjoyable period of rest and relaxation. 

In 2015, CNN polled campers at a summer day camp outside New York City. The campers were elementary school students who were asked about what they were most nervous about for the return to school. Homework, tests, competition, greater expectations, grades, and making new friends topped the list of fears.

To help students transition to the classroom with fewer worries, teachers and parents may want to initiate ice breakers and other stress-reducing interactions. Here are some ideas.

Buddy up
Many schools will give out classroom assignments a few days before the first day of school. Parents can investigate who is in their child's homeroom and initiate contact with the parents of one or more of those students. Collectively, parents can make a buddy plan for students to arrive to school together and enter the classroom as a team. Coordinate clothing colors or have students wear another unifying symbol. This may allay fears and make the first day of school more fun.

School selfie
Students can craft "school selfies" on a piece of paper using a smartphone image template. This selfie illustration will give the class key facts about each student and present an interesting, creative and enjoyable way for students to get to know one another.

Student word search
Word searches are entertaining and educational tools that can be put to use in the classroom. Parents or teachers can create word searches featuring the first names of all the students in the class. Children often enjoy searching for their own names, and then they can help others, opening up lines of communication.

Word searches also can be customized for any subject. Therefore, if student names aren't desired, the theme can be classroom items or school terms.

Personal introductions
Students may worry about teachers mispronouncing their names or using a full name instead of a nickname. Rather than a traditional roll call, teachers can encourage students to introduce themselves to classmates, using their preferential name and including a brief synopsis of their interests and what makes them unique.

Teachers also can initiate other ice-breakers by giving students a sheet with various questions, which students then have to complete by asking around among the other students. For example, "Who has a pet fish?" or "Find someone who has blue eyes."

The first day of school can be difficult for some children. Fun activities and some extra effort from parents and teachers can make the return to the classroom less stressful.


Beer enthusiasts’ guide to glassware

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The flourishing craft beer movement has made it chic to choose beer as the social drink of choice. And the rise of microbreweries in towns across the globe has led to an array of beers crafted with unique production techniques, resulting in beverages with unique aromas and nuanced flavors. 

To further enhance the beer-drinking experience, enthusiasts may give more thought to the glasses their beers are in. Much in the way that certain foods and beverages go together, choosing the right glassware in which to serve a favorite beer can affect its flavor.

According to Inverse, an American digital media company covering topics in culture, technology and science, there are many different glassware manufacturers touting that beer is better in the right glasses. In fact, Riedel, the Austrian glass manufacturer that pioneered the concept of wine-enhancing glasses, recently turned its attention to the beer market. The company's Spiegelau brand launched a special line of beer glasses, each custom built to enhance particular varieties of beer.

The concept behind beer glasses is that the dimensions of the vessel can impact how the beer is experienced via the senses. The right glassware can highlight the notable aspects of certain varieties of beer. For example, Henry Lau and Rik Sargent of's Cheers Physics explained that, with fizzy beers, a thin, pilsner-style glass can be ideal. Such a glass will cause less liquid to come in contact with the bottom of the glass, causing a smaller head.

In other instances, glasses with a tapered top will control how bubbles burst in the head of beer, concentrating the aroma and forcing the drinker's nose closer to the beer.
Spiegelau's IPA glass has a ridged base that helps agitate hops back into suspension. Its barrel-aged glass features a tulip bowl that focuses complex flavors similar to a wine glass.

Another glass innovator, the Rastal brand developed a universal beer glass called the TeKu that is inspired by wine glasses but features sharper contours and a flared lip. The style is designed to focus aromas, with the rim increasing turbidity as the beer flows to the lips and forces out the carbonation.

There are no rules governing which glasses to use when serving beer, but there's certainly a movement for speciality beer glassware. For those who are not ready to overhaul their beer glass collection just yet, these general recommendations can enhance the beer experience:

• Mug: Stouts and porters

• Pint glass: American lagers

• Tulip glass: Belgian Abbey-style beers, barrel-aged, fruited beers and high-ABV beers

• Cerveza Pilsner glass: Pilsners, helles and Vienna lagers

• Classic pilsner: Sour beers, pilsners

• Pub glass: Stouts, porters, ales, ambers, and moderate-ABV beers

• Revival beer glass: IPAs


Be safe when lightning strikes during peak storm season

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A change in seasons often brings about a change in the weather as well. Seasons marked by increased humidity in the air and warmer temperatures often usher in afternoon or evening thunderstorms. With those thunderstorms come potentially dangerous lightning.

The National Weather Service says lightning strikes the United States roughly 25 million times a year, killing an average of 47 people each year. Worldwide, lighting kills as many as 2,000 people every year, states National Geographic. Even though the odds of being struck by lightning are low, certain factors put people at greater risk.

Florida is considered the "lightning capital" of the United States, so residents of the Sunshine State should always exercise extreme caution upon seeing lightning. Residents of Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas also must be extra cautious when lightning strikes.

To stay safe, remember the mantra, "When thunder roars, go indoors." In addition, the following precautionary measures can help people stay safe when lightning strikes.

• Postpone outdoor activities if the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms. You also can use the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder, offers the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Avoid open areas outside. Do not be the tallest object in a field or area. Also, stay away from isolated tall trees, utility poles and towers.

• If no shelter is available, crouch low with as little of your body touching the ground as possible.

• Lightning can travel through indoor plumbing, so avoid using water during a thunderstorm. Similarly, lightning can travel through electrical systems, like phones, radios and television reception systems.

• A car can be a safe place to stay if no other non-concrete shelter is available.

• Recognize that all thunderstorms produce lightning. Just because you can't see lightning doesn't mean it's not there.

• Get out of pools or other bodies of water. Water is an excellent conductor of lightning.

• The human body does not store electricity, says the Insurance Information Institute. Therefore, if a person is struck, you can safely offer first aid.

Lightning is no joke and never something to take lightly. Exercise caution whenever thunderstorms roll in or when they are forecasted.


Safety suggestions for wilderness enthusiasts

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The wilderness is awe-inspiring. The great outdoors is a wonder to behold, and each year millions of people experience the great outdoors firsthand, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

The popularity of outdoor activities is perhaps the greatest testament to the beauty of nature. According to the Outdoor Industry Association®, roughly half of the United States population ages six and over participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2017. Statistics Canada notes that the great outdoors is perhaps even more popular just north of the U.S., where nearly seven in 10 Canadians participated in outdoor or wilderness activities in 2016.

As breathtaking as the wilderness can be, it also can be dangerous. Safety is of paramount importance when spending time in the wilderness. Whether you're a seasoned outdoorsman or a novice experiencing the wilderness for the first time, accidents can happen.

Preparation can help people avoid potentially life-threatening situations in the wilderness. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service notes that the most effective way to prevent mishaps in the wilderness is to adequately prepare for a trip into the wild.

The following tips, courtesy of the USFS, can help make trips into the wilderness safer.

• Never go it alone. The USFS advises against going it alone in the wilderness. Without a travel companion, outdoor enthusiasts may find themselves without any help in the case of emergencies like injuries or accident. The USFS recommends traveling in groups no smaller than four people when visiting remote areas. In such instances, one person can stay behind with an injured friend while the others leave to seek help. In addition, never travel to a remote area without being accompanied by someone who's familiar with that area.

• Share your itinerary. Leave a detailed copy of your itinerary with someone who won't be joining you. Include details like the make, year and license plate number of your vehicle as well as the equipment you're bringing. List the weather you're anticipating on your itinerary and where you're planning to go, including trail names, if possible. If unexpected and dangerous weather rolls in, the person holding your itinerary can alert local forestry professionals.

• Be in good physical condition. The wilderness is a challenging place, so only those with the skills and the physical ability to negotiate it should attempt to do so. When planning a trip, design it with the weakest member of your group in mind. People with medical conditions should discuss their plans with their physicians prior to entering the wilderness.

• Stick to developed trails. Footing near cliffs can be difficult, and nearby trees and shrubs might not be reliable sources of support. So stick to developed trails or dry, solid rock areas that provide adequate footing.

• Study the forecast. Study the forecast and any predictions that might affect conditions on the day(s) of your trip. Weather can change quickly in the wilderness, so make sure to pack the appropriate attire for any potential weather suggested in the forecast.

• Learn basic first aid. Basic first aid can save lives. Learn how to identify and treat injuries and illness. Contact a local parks department to learn the basics.

The wilderness is an awe-inspiring yet sometimes dangerous place. For more tips on wilderness safety, visit the U.S. Forest Service at


Can tea be too hot?

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A piping hot cup of tea is a morning staple for millions of people across the globe. But can tea be so hot as to adversely affect tea drinkers' overall health?

A 2019 study from researchers with the American Cancer Society found a link between drinking hot tea and esophageal cancer. The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, examined more than 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 75 in the Iranian province of Golestan for an average of 10 years. Researchers determined that tea drinkers who consumed their tea at temperatures higher than 140 F (60 C) and consumed about two large cups per day had a 90 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer compared to people who consumed less tea at cooler temperatures.

The authors of the study acknowledged more research is necessary to determine exactly why hot tea is linked with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. But scientists responding to the study suspect it's the temperature and not the tea that's causing the elevated risk for cancer.

"This is valuable research but not a ground-breaking discovery," Dr. James Doidge, Senior Research Associate, University College London, told the Science Media Centre. "Hot drinks are an established risk factor for oesophageal cancer and it doesn't take a scientist to appreciate that repeated irritation of any body surface increases your risk of cancer."

So should hot tea be avoided? It seems the answer is yes if the tea is 140 F or higher. But that same rule should be applied to any hot beverage, not just tea.

"Tea is the only drink consumed in the area (where the study was conducted), so the data relate to this beverage," Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told the Science Media Centre. "It is also true that in this area of Iran, that tea is frequently drunk at high temperatures. They did not study any other drink, but other studies have, and it seems that it is the heat that is the issue rather than the actual beverage."

Simply waiting until the tea cools down or adding a cooling agent like milk to make the tea cool down instantly can help people indulge their love of tea without necessarily increasing their risk for esophageal cancer.


Things to consider before warming up next to your first fire this winter


Dubuque Museum of Art to Present New Works by Popular Children's Book Illustrator

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Get the facts on measles to remain protected

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A disease once thought to have been eradicated in developed countries has become a newsmaker once again, with reported cases affecting various areas of North America. 

The American Red Cross says the United States is presently experiencing the highest number of measles cases since the disease was considered eliminated in the country back in 2000. Seventy-five new cases were reported in one week in May 2019, bringing the total confirmed cases to 839 across 23 states at that point. Canada reported six confirmed cases at the same time.

In recent months, measles has been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Even though all 50 states require measles vaccinations prior to children entering school, there are some medical exemptions, and exemptions for religious and philosophical reasons, according to the Red Cross.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that measles outbreaks are linked to travelers who bring measles back from other countries. Measles outbreaks have been documented in Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines.

In New York, state senators and other politicians have pushed to end non-medical exemptions, including religious waivers from vaccinations. Roughly 530 cases of measles were confirmed in an area of Brooklyn, New York, between October 2018 and May 2019, leading Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a public health emergency and ordering mandatory vaccinations under the threat of $1,000 fines.
Schools in Lakewood, New Jersey, were shuttered for many days due to measles cases. Some schools sent the message that children will not be able to attend without proof of vaccination.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the mucus of infected people. It is spread through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of those close to that individual who are not immune will be infected, says the CDC.

Early symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Within two or three days of such symptoms surfacing, small white spots may appear in the mouth before a red measles rash on the face and body develops.

The best protection against measles is a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which provides long-lasting protection. Children typically receive two doses of MMR - one as an infant and one between the ages of four and six.

Those concerned about measles can speak with their doctors about a measles booster and the various risk factors for the virus.


Amazing facts about honey

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Honey is perhaps best known for its sweet taste. But beneath that sweetness is a complex, healthy food.

Bees produce honey from the pollen of plants through a complex enzymatic process, turning it into the beloved golden nectar.

Many properties make honey a unique food that is not just tasty, but also quite healthy. Here are some facts about honey that might get you buzzing.

• When stored in an airtight container, honey can last indefinitely. The substance is naturally acidic and low in moisture, which means it is an inhospitable environment for bacteria. There are small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in honey as well, inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. (Source: Tin Roof Teas)

• Honey has antibacterial properties, so it has been relied on as a health food and topical treatment. Burns, cuts, infections, stomach ailments, and more have been treated with honey. (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)

• Honey is the only food source produced by an insect that humans eat. (Source: Peace Bee Farmer)

• Mead is a fermented beverage that is made from honey. It has a storied history as a beverage of choice in many different cultures. (Source: Hidden Legend Winery)

• Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life. This includes enzymes, vitamins and minerals. It also contains pinocembrin, a unique antioxidant associated with improved brain function. (Source: Sirhowy Valley Honey)

• A honey bee produces roughly 1⁄12 of a teaspoon of honey over the course of its life. Bees are not the only insect to make honey, however. The honey wasp, native to Mexico, also can produce honey. (Sources: Golden Blossom Honey and Inverse)

• Honey will take on the flavor of the nectar from which it was made. This nectar also will affect the color and the consistency of the honey. (Source: National Honey Board)

Honey has a sweet and rich history. At times honey has been referred to as "the nectar of the gods," and it is still enjoyed for pleasure and medicinal reasons today.


Add a pop of color to your garden this winter

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Winter weather comes on the heels of a vibrant, colorful autumn season. Shortly after fall foliage falls to the ground, nature tends to greet us with a considerably less colorful palette. What's more, much of the wildlife and plants that make spring, summer and fall so awe-inspiring tend to hibernate in winter, making it more difficult to find bright spots on drab days.

If you think that winter means the end of beautiful garden colors, think again. There are plenty of cool-season flowers and other plants that can add a pop of color to brighten your day. These flowers provide color right when most people need it most.

In areas where winter is not marked by a deep freeze, homeowners can plant pansies, snapdragons, English daisies, calendula, and other blooms from early fall through late winter. These plants will survive the cold, keeping containers, borders and gardens full of color.
Camellias are a type of flower that bloom in fall and winter in hues of red, pink, coral, white, and more. The plants are evergreen and will grow from shrubs or small trees when fully established.

Homeowners who live in climates marked by cold winters can opt for plants that offer color but without flowers. According to HGTV, these include cabbages and kales, which can survive most cold winters and lend an interesting texture to a winter landscape bed.

Of course, no list of winter's colorful plants would be complete without holly, which offers an eye-catching display of evergreen leaves and bright red berries, though sometimes the berries are golden. Either way, they can be a sight for sore eyes on gray winter days.

For more ideas, visit a local garden center to learn about plants that can add vibrant color to a landscape, even as autumn transitions to winter.


What is ABV?

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Read a bottle or can of beer and you will likely come across a percentage rating. That percentage is the alcohol by volume, or ABV. This number tells just how much alcohol is in the beer.

ABV will coordinate to exactly how many ounces of alcohol are in the beverage. If a standard size bottle of beer (12 ounces) has a 5.0 ABV, that means the bottle has 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. A standard drink is typically measured at 0.6 ounces of alcohol. That is why spirits like wine and liquor that have a higher "proof" or ABV despite their much smaller serving sizes.

A beer's ABV can affect the flavor of the beer and the overall body and mouth-feel, offers VinePair, a beverage information site. Session beers have relatively low ABVs at around 4.5 percent. Many pale ales have moderate alcohol content. IPAs and some new craft beers can have ABVs of 6 percent and up.

Some breweries today are even pushing the limits of beer ABV into double-digits, producing brews that pack a powerful punch. The thinking may be to offer more bang for the buck on higher-priced glasses and pints.


Dangers associated with atrial fibrillation

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Atrial fibrillation, commonly known as AFib, is a heart condition characterized by a quivering or irregular heartbeat, called arrhythmia, says the American Heart Association. Millions of people across the globe currently live with AFib.

When a person has AFib, the heart's two upper chambers, known as the atria, beat chaotically and do not coordinate with the two lower chambers, states the Mayo Clinic. AFib can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. AFib is not often life-threatening, and symptoms may come and go. However, side effects of the condition can be dangerous.

AFib often results in poor blood flow, which can cause pooling of blood in the atria. The AHA notes that the risks of clotting increase as blood pool. If a clots forms in the atria, it can be pumped out of the heart and reach the brain, potentially blocking off the blood supply to an artery in the brain. This is known as an embolic stroke.

AFib also can reduce the heart's pumping capacity. An otherwise healthy heart may be able to compensate for this reduction in efficiency. But those with damaged heart muscle or valves cannot. AFib can trigger breathlessness and exercise intolerance and potentially coronary artery disease, offers Harvard Medical School. Other problems from poor pumping can cause blood to back up into the pulmonary veins, the vessels that return oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the heart. This can cause fluid in the lungs. Fluid also can build up in the feet, ankles and legs.

There are various potential causes for AFib, including the following conditions:

• high blood pressure
• abnormal heart valves
• previous heart attack
• congenital heart defects
• overactive thyroid
• exposure to stimulants
• previous heart surgery
• lung disease

Some people with AFib do not have any heart defects or damage, and the cause is unclear.

The Mayo Clinic says treatment goals for AFib include resetting the rhythm or controlling the rate of the atrial valves, known as cardioversion. This can be done electrically or through the use of drugs. Sometimes, other therapies to control atrial fibrillation do not work. In these cases, a doctor may recommend a procedure to destroy the area of heart tissue that's causing the erratic electrical signals and restore the heart to a normal rhythm. Medication to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk for stroke often are prescribed.

Atrial fibrillation can be scary, but it's manageable and the life-threatening side effects that may accompany it oftentimes can be mitigated.


Be Careful When Disposing of Old Computers, Laptops, Smartphones, and Tablets

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If you have an old couch you want to replace, you might call your local trash pickup service to find out how to dispose of it the right way. They may tell you to place it on the curb with a sticker. However, if you try to do the same thing with your old computer or laptop without doing more, you're asking for trouble!

Identity thieves love to get hold of discarded electronics that might contain valuable personal information. Folks who religiously shred old bank statements may not consider doing the equivalent when disposing of their electronic devices.

Think about all the personal information your computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet may contain! It may have passwords, account numbers, medical information, tax returns, and other personal information. E-mails and your past social media posts or photos may contain personal information you wouldn't want to share with the world. In the wrong hands, this information may make you susceptible to identity theft.

To avoid becoming the victim of identity theft when discarding or recycling old PCs, laptops, Smartphones, and tablets, do the following:

For PC's and laptops

• Save the files you'll need. Copy them to a USB drive, a CD Rom, or an external hard drive, or transfer them to your new computer or laptop.

• Remove the hard drive from the computer or laptop or use trustworthy online or over-the-counter software to wipe the hard drive of your data.

• If you remove the hard drive, you may wish to safely physically destroy it.

For Smartphones and tablets

• Check the manufacturers' recommendations for wiping data. Depending on the device, it may require resetting the system.

• But first, make sure to back up your important documents, photos, and other items to a hard drive or to trustworthy Internet "cloud" storage.

Recycling, donating, or simply replacing outdated electronics can be beneficial. To do it the right way and avoid identity theft, make sure to clear out your personal information beforehand.

For more information about all forms of identity theft, visit the website of the Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition:


Why immunizations are important

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Measles is not something that garnered much attention outside the medical community in recent decades. However, in 2019 a series of measles outbreaks put the spotlight back on this highly contagious infectious disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, 981 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 26 states in the United States. That marked the greatest numbers of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992. And the U.S. is not the only country in North America facing a measles problem, as the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that, as of mid-May, 54 cases of measles had been reported in the country in 2019. Perhaps most surprising, measles was declared eliminated in 2001, leading many to wonder what's behind the sudden outbreaks so long after the disease had seemingly vanished.

The CDC reports that the majority of people who got measles in 2019 were unvaccinated. While measles was declared eliminated nearly 20 years ago in the United States, the CDC notes it's still common in many parts of the world. When unvaccinated travelers visit countries where measles is still common, they can bring the disease with them, ultimately allowing it to spread in communities where large groups of people are unvaccinated.

Regardless of why people choose to avoid vaccinations, it's important to note some of the reasons why health organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization urge all children and adults to be immunized.

• Immunizations save lives. The CDC notes that advancements in medical science have made it possible for humans to protect themselves against more diseases than ever before. Once-fatal diseases have now been eliminated thanks to safe and effective vaccines.

• Immunizations protect loved ones. Some people cannot receive certain immunizations due to allergies, illness, weakened immune systems, or other factors. Such individuals are vulnerable to disease, and especially vulnerable if their loved ones who can be vaccinated do not receive their recommended immunizations.

• Immunizations save money. The human toll of failing to be immunized can be fatal, and the financial toll can be heavy, too. Children with vaccine-preventable diseases may not be allowed to enroll in certain schools or daycare facilities, forcing parents to make decisions that can affect their ability to earn a living. In addition, medical bills that result from long-term illnesses can be substantial. The majority of health insurance plans cover vaccines for adults and children at little or no cost, and even uninsured families can receive free or inexpensive vaccines through certain government programs.

Immunizations take only a few seconds to receive but can have a positive effect that lasts a lifetime.


Country Music Trailblazer Charley Pride Coming to Five Flags This Fall

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The Five Flags Center, Dubuque's entertainment destination, today announced that country music legend Charley Pride will bring his more than two dozen chart-topping hits to the Five Flags Center this fall. Pride will perform in the Five Flags Arena on Friday, October 18 in what is the only Iowa performance scheduled on his current tour.

Tickets will go on sale this Friday, June 7, at 10:00 AM through both the Five Flags box office and online at Pricing levels have yet to be announced. Mr. Pride's performance is presented by Dubuque-based Music N More.

Pride was country music's first African-American superstar. He began pursuing music as a career later than most, releasing his first album at 32 years old. Before turning to music, Pride had tried to make it as a professional baseball player. He played in the Negro Leagues, then had stints in the farm systems of the Yankees, Reds, Angels, and Mets. He eventually settled in Montana, playing for a local semipro team. The squad's manager learned of Pride's singing ability, and paid him to perform prior to the team's games.

Pride's music career launched in the mid-1960s with the release of his album "The Pride of Country Music." His first 13 singles all reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country chart, including a string of six consecutive #1s. He achieved crossover success in 1971 with is signature hit "Kiss an Angel Good Morning," which reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.

The industry quickly moved to acknowledge Pride's success, with the Country Music Association awarding him both its Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year awards in 1971. Pride was the first black artist to win either honor. His success continued through the rest of the 1970s, when he recorded another 15 #1 singles. Six of the albums he released during the decade were certified gold for selling more than 100,000 copies.

Pride's impact on country music began to be recognized in the 1990s. He became one of just three African-Americans to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993. The following year, the Academy of Country Music honored him with its prestigious Pioneer Award. The honors continued into this century, with Pride's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Pride was among the country legends involved in the recording of "Forever Country," released to mark the 50th Country Music Association Awards. The song topped the Billboard Country chart and rose to #21 on the Hot 100. Mr. Pride could put on a nearly 90-minute long concert performing only his #1 hits.

Pride continues to entertain fans across the country, playing between 30 and 40 concerts each year, including frequent appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. His latest release, the album "Music in My Heart" continues his partnership with songwriter Billy Yates. The album has been called "unapologetically traditional country" and "a return to form" for Pride.


MLK Day: How Far Have We Come?

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The Fountain of Youth Program, Multicultural Family Center, Wartburg Seminary, Sustainable Dubuque, and United Way of Dubuque Present: "How Far Have We Come?", a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with inspiring performances, cultural integration, and networking.

The celebration, featuring keynote speaker Renee Tyler, will take place January 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Multicultural Family Center, 1101 Central Ave., in Dubuque. Additional performances are planned by Jasmine Barnes, Joseph Coleman, Kennedy Wright, Mark Norton, and Marcus Moore.

No RSVP is necessary for this family-friendly FREE event. Light food will be served and activities will be available for children.


What is Giving Tuesday?

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While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the more widely known retail holidays, Giving Tuesday is becoming pretty popular in its own right.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday helps raise awareness that charity is an important component of the holiday season. The nonprofit services company Neon says nearly one-third of all annual giving occurs in December, with 12 percent happening over the final three days of the year. Giving Tuesday is positioned right in the midst of the most popular time for charitable giving.

What makes Giving Tuesday unique is that it is largely fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. The day was actually created by the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City that has been instrumental in bringing diverse groups of people together with the goals of giving back through service. The 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in 2012 to help form a day that was focused on the generosity of giving during the holiday season. Thus, Giving Tuesday was born.

Technology and social media play a large role in uniting people for Giving Tuesday. Founding partners included Mashable, a technology website, Skype and Cisco. But the success of Giving Tuesday is thanks in large part to the general public, who have both spread the word and made their own contributions to charity.

In 2017, Giving Tuesday soared to new heights when technology mogul Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, announced their foundation would match up to $2 million in donations to Giving Tuesday fundraisers started on Facebook. Facebook similarly waived its 5 percent fee for U.S.-based nonprofits all day long.

The global Giving Tuesday movement helped raise more than $300 million online across more than 150 countries in 2017 alone. This year, the Giving Tuesday organization is poised to top their numbers and continue to improve upon the more than 46,000 participating organizations involved in their charitable efforts.

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