Area Tidbits

6th Annual Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, Aug. 3

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The Port of Dubuque Marina will hold its sixth annual lighted boat parade on Saturday, Aug. 3. Boaters are invited to participate in, and the public is invited to attend this free, family-friendly event which will include live music and other activities before the evening parade.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a free musical performance by the Mississippi Band from 6 - 9 p.m. on the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium's harborside plaza. The City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department's "Rec ‘n Roll" Trailer will be on site with a variety of activities for children. The Lunch Bus, a local food truck, will have food available for purchase and additional refreshments can be purchased from the marina's convenience store.

The theme for this year's parade is "Just Be Creative" so boaters wishing to participate in the parade can be as creative as they like. Boats of all makes, models, and sizes are encouraged to participate. Prizes will be awarded. Participating boats will receive multiple perks (including gas and dockage discounts) at the marina.

To register a boat for the parade, or for more information, please contact the Port of Dubuque Marina at 563.582.5524 or

Boat parade entries will be on display in the marina before the parade, which will begin at dusk (approximately 9 pm.). The parade will depart the Port of Dubuque Marina and light up the Mississippi River as it proceeds north along the Mississippi Riverwalk, from the Julien Dubuque Bridge to the railroad bridge near the Dubuque Star Brewery Complex. Spectators choosing to watch the parade from the Mississippi Riverwalk are welcome to bring chairs.

For more information on the Port of Dubuque Marina, visit or call 563.582.5524.


City of Dubuque Seeking Artists For Storm Drain Mural Pilot Project

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The City of Dubuque is seeking artists to create designs and paint murals on three storm drains for a Storm Drain Mural Pilot Project. The project is part of the City's education and outreach efforts to help community members understand that storm drains lead directly to our waterways.

When it rains, stormwater runs over pavement, picking up oil, litter, leaves, grass clippings, and other pollutants. The polluted stormwater then flows down storm drains and through stormwater pipes which empty directly into our local creeks, streams, and rivers. Storm drains can also become a hot spot for illicit dumping - trash, grease, pet waste, paint, cigarettes, and more. As a result, these pollutants make their way to the Catfish Creek and Bee Branch Creek and, ultimately, the Mississippi River, impairing the health of our waterways.

The storm drains selected for this project will be transformed from functional infrastructure into engaging works of art that will draw attention to water-quality protection and the positive impact Dubuque residents can have on their environment. The goal is to raise awareness of storm drains as a connection to our local waterways.

The Storm Drain Mural Pilot Project is open to all artists, including groups and students. Designs should be bold, original, and demonstrate artistic merit. When designing artwork, artists are encouraged to consider the themes of storm water pollution, environmental protection, and local ecosystems. Artists are welcome to submit more than one design.

Design concepts must be submitted by Aug. 16, through the City's website or at the City Clerk's office located on the first floor of City Hall, 50 West 13th St. Selected artists will be notified by Aug. 26. The murals must be painted between Sept. 9 - 30, 2019. Upon project completion, the artist will receive a $500 stipend for each mural painted.

The City was awarded eight gallons of Diamond Vogel paint for the Storm Drain Mural Pilot Project through Paint Iowa Beautiful, a program that provides free paint to a wide variety of public service projects throughout Iowa. During the 16-year partnership between Keep Iowa Beautiful and Diamond Vogel Paint, over 9,640 gallons of paint and hundreds of local volunteers have helped 786 community projects in Iowa.

The project is being funded with a combination of Arts and Culture Special Project funds and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater funds. If the pilot is successful, additional partnerships and funding opportunities will be explored to expand the project to include additional storm drains.

For more information, please visit or call 563.690.6068.


Building a More Flood Resilient Iowa

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Flood control and mitigation are expensive, but reacting to disasters after they occur is even more costly – in dollars, lost economic potential, and human suffering. Building a More Flood Resilient Iowa, to be held Sunday, July 28th starting at 1:00pm at Swiss Valley Nature Center, will put the significance of Iowa's flooding problem in perspective and raise awareness of the need to continue working together to improve our flood resilience.

Participants will learn about the IFC developed Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) online tool that provides real-time flood alerts and forecasts to more than 1,000 communities, supports a growing network of more than 250 stream sensors, and provides weather conditions for current and past rainfall accumulations. In addition, those in attendance will learn about the $97 million Iowa Watershed Approach program that is working to reduce flood risks, improve water quality, and build community flood resilience across the state.

Presented by the Iowa Flood Center.


Getting to know succulents

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Succulents can be just what indoor or outdoor gardens need. Even though succulents are becoming more popular, there are still some people who are unaware of their attributes. By learning more about succulents, people may become devotees of these unique plants. 

The word "succulent" brings to mind juicy, savory foods. But succulents aren't meant to be consumed. In fact, they get their mouth-watering name from their uncanny ability to store water in fleshy stems or leaves. That means they do not require frequent watering like other plants might. Succulents also may prove more durable in the face of drought and are a handy plant for forgetful gardeners or those who travel often and want something more hands-off in their gardens.

According to the succulents resource Succulents and Sunshine, most succulents prefer warm temperatures and are not very cold-tolerant. However, there are some varieties that can survive freezing temperatures. Still, for most succulents, it's best if they are kept in warm, moderately sunny conditions. The DIY Network says succulents grow best in bright light, but not always in full, hot sun.

Succulents also may attract gardeners thanks to their diverse looks. Better Homes & Gardens says that color variations of succulents are quite varied and include green, yellow, burgundy, white, blue-green, pink, red, and variegated combinations. Their shapes can be just as diverse, with many having pointy, rounded, spiky, or ruffled leaves.

People may be particularly familiar with one type of succulent: cacti. These traditional desert-dwellers are prized for their water-retention abilities, but some seem downright scary with their prickly exteriors. While all cacti are succulents, it's important to note that not all succulents are cacti. Less needle-like succulents include aloe, jade, snake plant, and agave. Hens and chicks (sempervivum) and wax plant (hoya) are other succulents to consider.

Searching for succulents online is another great way for gardeners to discover these wonderful plants.


Did you know?

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When feeling stressed, people may want to reach for a cup of tea. Research conducted by psychologists at the City University London found that a cup of tea reduces stress, not just by drinking it, but also because of the calming effect of putting the tea kettle on.

Furthermore, decaffeinated green tea also can calm a person and encourage sleep. In a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, participants were able to fall asleep much more easily when drinking decaffeinated green tea. Also, they reported feeling much less stressed out over the course of the one-week experiment.

Even black tea has been found to relieve stress by lowering cortisol levels when a person is faced with stressful situations. According to the herbal remedy site, chamomile tea is an age-old medicinal herb that has been used as a remedy for numerous conditions, including asthma, nervousness, sleep, and stomach ailments and as a treatment for colds. It, too, many help reduce stress.

Tea has many benefits for the body, and helping to tame stress may be one of them.


Iowa Public Television Presents Girls State Softball Championships

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Coverage of Iowa girls' high school championships continues, as teams from across the state take to the field for the 2019 IGHSAU Iowa Farm Bureau Girls State Softball Championships. Coverage of each class title game will take place at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. Each game will be broadcast on IPTV's primary channel and streamed LIVE on, YouTube and Facebook.

Live coverage will be as follows:

Thursday, July 25
6 p.m. Class 1A
8:15 p.m. Class 2A

Friday, July 26
3:30 p.m. Class 3A
5:45 p.m. Class 4A
8 p.m. Class 5A

Stay tuned to IPTV throughout the rest of the year for live coverage of the state championships for girls volleyball.

Programming support for the 2019 IGHSAU Iowa Farm Bureau Girls State Softball Championships is provided by Fareway Stores and Musco Lighting.

For more information about Iowa Public Television, please contact Susan Ramsey at 515.725.9703 or


20 Iowa Students Awarded Iowa Health Care Association Foundation Scholarships

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Twenty Iowa students have been awarded the 2019 Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA) Foundation scholarship. Scholarship winners will receive $1,500 to continue their health care education at an accredited school of nursing, long-term care or health administration program, or physical/occupational therapy program.

"The IHCA Foundation is committed to helping develop experienced professionals to meet the growing needs of Iowans for long-term care. This scholarship program provides an important opportunity for the scholarship recipients to advance their knowledge and skills in one of the fastest growing professions in the nation," said Lori Ristau, vice president of strategic communications and media at IHCA. "Receiving an IHCA Foundation scholarship is a significant accomplishment and demonstrates a strong commitment to providing quality long-term care for others."

Scholarship applicants are evaluated by the IHCA Foundation board of directors based upon the applicant's experience, recommendations and future educational and career goals in long-term care.

Scholarship winners include:

* Algona: Joseph Bartolo, Good Samaritan Society-Algona
* Anita: Holleigh Jacobsen, Caring Acres Nursing and Rehab Center
* Asbury: Carrie Klein, Hawkeye Care Center-Dubuque
* Bancroft: Samantha Hagedorn, Accura Healthcare of Bancroft
* Cedar Rapids: JoAnn Weigel, West Ridge Care Center
* Charles City: Kaitlyn Schweiger, Chautauqua Guest Home #3
* Dallas Center: Carli Chapman, Spurgeon Manor
* Decorah: Laura Wiltgen, Wellington Place
* Des Moines: Lauren Gebauer, Scottish Rite Park
* Edgewood: Lindsey Swales, Edgewood Convalescent Home
* Lake City: Elyse Schroeder, Shady Oaks
* Madrid: Leanna Burke, Madrid Home
* Maquoketa: Sierrah Streeper, Clover Ridge Place Assisted Living and Memory Care
* Mechanicsville: Kaci Ginn, Mechanicsville Specialty Care
* Mechanicsville: Misty Van Fossen, Mechanicsville Specialty Care
* Milford: Makayla Gee, Home Instead Senior Care
* Osceola: Destiny Boeve, Southern Hills Specialty Care
* Osceola: Sucheta Rohilla, Southern Hills Specialty Care
* Urbandale: Mary Elangwe, Karen Acres Healthcare Center
* Webster City: Tyler Geopfert, Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation

The IHCA Foundation is an affiliate of the IHCA, which represents more than 750 Iowa long-term services and supports providers. IHCA Foundation scholarships are made possible by contributions from the John R. and Zelda Z. Grubb Charitable Foundation, Health Purchasing Services (HPSI), the Vetter Foundation, PCPMG Consulting, Access Institute, Inc., the Iowa Society of Post-Acute & Long-Term Care Medicine, Iowa Council of Nurse Leaders and IHCA Regional Chapters.

To learn more about the IHCA Foundation scholarship program, contact Lori Ristau, vice president of strategic communications and media at IHCA, at 800-422-3106.


Weed Control Spraying on Floodwall Scheduled

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As weather permits starting Monday, July 15, the City of Dubuque Public Works Department will spray weed control in various areas of rip-rap on the river side of Dubuque's flood control system (U.S. Senator John C. Culver Floodwall).

Sprayers will start south of E. 16th Street on Monday, July 15, and work will continue until all rip rap along the flood control system is treated.

The work is being done in accordance to the United States Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Technical Letter (110-2-583) which requires the removal of unacceptable growth within the "Vegetation-Free Zone." The requirement applies to all vegetation except grass along the flood control system.

Signs along the flood control system will identify the area being sprayed. With no weather delays, the project is expected to be completed by Friday, Aug. 2. The Public Works Department cautions people to keep their children and pets out of direct contact with the sprayed weeds for 24 hours after application.

For additional information, contact the Public Works Department at 563-589-4250.


New Skate Park Now Open

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Dubuque's long-awaited, new, outdoor skate park at Flora Park opened for use at noon on Monday, July 15.

"We appreciate everyone's patience with all the weather delays on this project and the extra time needed to finish construction and for the grass to grow," said City of Dubuque Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware.

The concrete skate park features security lighting, drinking fountain, ADA parking space, storm water management features, security cameras, and landscaping. The park may only be used for skateboards, in-line skates, bicycles, and non-motorized scooters. The park may be used 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The use of protective equipment including helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards is strongly recommended. This park is not supervised and the City does not assume any responsibility for injuries. A sign posted at the park lists additional rules for use.

A ribbon-cutting celebration is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29. The event is being planned in coordination with Kids in Dubuque Skate (KIDS) and will acknowledge the volunteers and donors who supported the project.

"This soft opening in advance of the August ribbon-cutting will give park users time to get accustomed to the park's features so they can better demonstrate their skills at the ribbon-cutting," said Ware.


Learn to downsize before a move

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Aging men and women often take inventory of their lives in an effort to focus on activities or lifestyle changes that can ensure happy retirements. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows there are some 76 million baby boomers - those people born between 1946 to 1964 - across the country. With the youngest of the boomers in their mid-50s and the majority having already reached retirement age, many boomers are trying to decide if it's time to move out of their family homes and into smaller, more manageable abodes. 

Many older adults find they do not need the same amount of space as they did when they had children living at home. Retirees and those on the cusp of retirement may find that downsizing is a smart financial move that frees up more time for recreation.

However, it can be challenging to cut down on living space and then deal with figuring out how to make furniture, belongings and stored items fit in more condensed areas. Moving can be stressful even without having to cut down on prized items. Taking an inventory of belongings can help the process go smoothly.

Before moving, men and women can go room by room, making piles of items that will be kept, donated, sold, or discarded. This can be a tedious task, but it is necessary to avoid clutter in a new home.

People downsizing can attempt to sell items they do not need via newspaper classified sections or online classified sites. Appliances and furniture in excellent shape may fetch good prices. Any extra cash can be put toward buying new items that are size-appropriate for the smaller home.
Another way to clear out clutter is to sort duplicates from the stock of items. A person may no longer need multiple sets of dishes or silverware. If the move involves switching from a king-sized to a queen-sized bed, donate or trash bed linens that will no longer fit. Pay close attention to kitchen and bathroom items, which tend to accumulate over time but might not be discarded when clearing a home of clutter.

People moving from a detached home to a condominium or a townhouse may learn that homeowner's association fees cover everything from snow removal to lawn maintenance to pool upkeep. If so, it's unnecessary to bring lawn and garden supplies.

Homeowners are advised to look at the floor plan of their new dwellings and pay attention to storage space. This can make it easier to plan ahead for what may fit, what will need to be purchased new and which storage solutions may be needed. Having a plan in place can make unpacking and settling in go smoothly. The organizing company Organize Me says that homeowners should consider how cabinets and closets will be used before moving in.

Downsizing can free up time and money. When done right, downsizing can make retirement easier and create more leisure time for retirees.


Prevent blisters while hiking

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Hiking is a popular sport that takes people into the great outdoors on a regular basis. Hiking over varied terrain and up inclines and down declines is a great way to push the cardiovascular system and build up muscles in the lower body.

There are many opportunities to have a wonderful time out on the open trails. However, there are also chances for injury if hikers are not cautious. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most prevalent hiking-related injuries also is one of the smallest. Blisters can sideline hikers and even lead to infection if allowed to fester.

The Victoria State Government's Better Health Channel states that a blister is a small pocket of fluid in the upper skin layers and is a common response to injury or friction. Blisters can be filled with serum, plasma, blood, or pus, depending on how and where they form, states Medical News Today. The purpose of a blister is to protect and cushion the layers of skin below the epidermis and to stop further damage to allow the tissue time to heal.

Despite the temptation to pop blisters, it is best to leave them intact to protect against infection in the underlying skin areas. Preventing blisters from forming allows hikers to enjoy comfortable hikes again and again.

According to Podiatry Today, high skin temperature and sweat exacerbate friction that can increase the chances of developing a blister. Therefore, choose socks that will wick away moisture, such as those made from wool or other breathable materials, rather than cotton. A study conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who wear all-cotton socks are more likely to form blisters. Foot powders can dry out moisture even further and prevent the wrinkled, pruned skin that will easily chafe.

Another way to prevent blisters is to reduce the chances for friction. Thicker, more cushioned socks can reduce friction, as can high-quality, well-fitting hiking boots. Shoes that are too large or too small will create friction and discomfort.

Pack along a breathable, sticky bandage tape that can cover up hot spots on toes and heels in a pinch. Several times on the trail, take a seat and allow the feet to rest and air out. Change socks as needed to remain comfortable.

Blisters can sideline seasoned hikers and amateurs alike. Preventive measures can help hikers stay out on the trails.


Did you know?

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The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the trail stretches across 14 states from Maine to Georgia. The total length of the trail is 2,192 miles.

Millions of visitors traverse all or a portion of the trail every year. Many thru-hikers attempt to hike the entirety of the trail in a single season, beginning either at the trail head at Springer Mountain, GA or Mount Katahdin, ME. Those who have hiked the trail estimate it typically takes five to seven months to do so in its entirety. Most hikers can average about three miles an hour and will travel between 12 to 24 miles a day.

The highest elevation of the trail can be found at Clingmans Dome on the Tennessee/North Carolina Border. The lowest point on the trail snakes through Bear Mountain State Park in New York.

Although the AP trail is a very long hiking trail, many day hikers do portions of it only and still can respectfully say they've hiked the AP trail.


Dubuque Adds Five More Pesticide-Free Parks

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The City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department has designated five more parks as pesticide-free, bringing Dubuque's total to 15 pesticide-free parks. No chemicals are used to manage the landscape in the entire footprint of these parks.

The new pesticide-free parks are Washington Park (700 Locust St.), Jackson Park (1500 Main St.), Granger Creek Nature Trail (Dubuque Technology Park), Grant Park (1500 Bluff St.) and the Pet Park (2501 N. Grandview Ave.). New signs have been installed in each of these parks showing their designation as pesticide-free parks.

The original nine pesticide-free parks are: Allison-Henderson Park (1500 Loras Blvd.), Cleveland Park (625 Cleveland Ave.), Falk Park (1701 Earl Dr.), Maus Park (599 Huff St.), Pinard Park (2819 Pinard St.), Riley Park (3356 Lunar Dr.), Southern Park (200 Southern Ave.), Teddy Bear Park (4900 Gabriel Dr.), Usha Park (3937 Pennsylvania Ave.), and Welu Park (3655 Welu Dr.). A map of the parks is available at

The 15 pesticide-free parks were chosen because they are located throughout the Dubuque community, giving all residents access to pesticide-free areas, and because they consist of landscapes that can be managed without the use of chemicals.

No chemicals are used to manage the landscape in the entire footprint of the pesticide-free parks. Instead, staff create maintenance-friendly landscapes that reduce the need for weed management and employ mechanical techniques such as mulching, mowing, string trimming or hand-weeding to manage weeds. Because techniques like weeding and mulching are more labor intensive, volunteers are encouraged and should call the leisure services department for more information.

If it becomes necessary to apply pesticides at a pesticide-free park due to a public health or safety threat, notification will be clearly posted at the site before, during, and after the application to inform users of the situation.

Dubuque first announced the decision to create pesticide-free parks in 2016 when nine parks were given the designation as part of the development of the City's integrated pest management (IPM) program to reduce chemical use in the City's outdoor spaces and facilities. Implementation of the IPM program is an ongoing process, and staff continue to explore the most effective and least toxic method for controlling pests.

The leisure services department continues to work to implement an IPM program in City parks. Employees have designated areas where pesticide use is restricted, improved park design to limit future need to use pesticides, and have identified best practices in park maintenance to minimize pesticide use.

As part of the department's review of its practices, it was decided that play structures with a defined boundary of the playground safety surfacing (mulch, sand, etc.) will also not be treated with chemicals. The City currently has 285 of these defined playground structure spaces. The only time these areas will receive chemical treatment is when there is a threat to public health and safety, such as a nest of bees or wasps in or on the play equipment. Notification of chemical use would be clearly posted before, during, and after chemical application.

Although pesticide use has been greatly reduced in Dubuque's 35 other parks, pesticides are used when necessary to manage noxious and invasive weeds, as well as pest infestations near higher-use areas. With over 1,000 acres of parks and open space to maintain, the leisure services department uses pesticides at times as a cost-effective method to steward public land. Since 2016, the City has offered a public notification system for when it will apply chemical treatments to weeds, insects, and other pests at other public parks and rights-of-way in the city. To receive these notifications, please visit and subscribe to the "Pesticide Application Notification" Notify Me option.


3 family-friendly card games

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Family game night is a great way for families to have fun and spend time together. Whether it's a rainy summer night or a designated device-free evening at home, game night can prove a bonding experience for both parents and children.

If board games have lost some of their luster, parents may want to break out a deck of cards. In such instances, these three family-friendly card games can make for a fun activity.

1. Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights requires between two and seven players, making it an ideal card game for families. The winner is the first player to discard all of his or her cards. A basic 52-card deck is used when playing with five or fewer players, while two 52-card decks are used when there are more than five players. When playing with more than two players, each player is initially dealt five cards, and the remaining cards are then placed face down at the center of the table. The game begins when the top card is turned face up. Players can discard their cards by matching the rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile. If they cannot match the rank or suit of the top card and are not holding an eight, players must draw a card from the stockpile. Players also may play an eight at any time, and when they do, they must declare the suit the next player must play. The next player can either play that suit or play an eight if they have one. The first player with no cards left is the winner.

2. Go Fish
Go Fish is a great game for young children. To begin, each player is dealt five cards from a 52-card deck (or seven cards if there are three players or less), and the remaining cards are then shared between the players. Players whose turn it is ask another player for his or her cards of a certain face value. For example, a player may ask "Dad, do you have any twos?" Players must ask for a face value they are already holding. Therefore, in the above example, the player who asks for the two must be holding a two. If the player has cards of that value, then he or she must hand them all over to the player who asked. If the player has no such cards, the player who asked must draw a card. If it's not the two the player asked for, the player must keep it and allow the next player to take his or her turn. If the card is a two, the player must show it to the other players and then select another card. Players who have all four cards of a face value are said to have a "book," and books must be placed face up in front of the player as they're accumulated. When all cards have been laid down in books, the player with the most books is the winner.

3. Old Maid
Old Maid can be played with a 52-card deck. In such instances, one card must be added or removed. That leaves one unmatchable card. At the beginning of the game, the designated dealer deals all of the cards, and some players can end up with more cards than others. Once the cards have been dealt, players look at their hands and discard all pairs, but not three of kind. Each player, beginning with the dealer, offers his or her hand, face-down, to the player to his or her left. The player offered must select a card without seeing which card it is and add it to his or her hand. If the card chosen matches a card the player is holding, then the pair can be discarded. The player who chose a card then offers his or her hand to the player to his or her left, and the game continues in this vein. Players can shuffle their hands before offering them to other players. The game ends when all pairs have been discarded and one player is left holding the unmatchable card, which is referred to as the "old maid."


The Dubuque Hotel and Motel General Manager’s Association Plan Toilet Paper Pyramid Drive Fundraiser for Four Local Non-profit Organizations

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The Dubuque Hotel and Motel General Manager's Association is hosting their first ever Toilet Paper Pyramid Donation Drive on Wednesday, August 14th at Honkamp Hall, located in Steeple Square (formally St. Mary's Catholic Church).

From 9 am-4 pm, both private and public business, as well as individuals can drop off toilet paper donations and help build a 20-foot high pyramid to be donated back to local non-profit organizations. This year's recipients are Opening Doors, Dubuque Food Pantry, Dubuque Rescue Mission and The Dubuque Dream Center. 

"Opening Doors is thrilled to be selected for this drive," said Carol Gebhart, Executive Director at Opening Doors. "Donations like this from our local businesses and community members help us stretch our operating budgets and are so important to us!"

The Dubuque Hotel and Motel General Manager's Association Toilet Paper Pyramid Donation Drive is a way for the association to say "Thank you" to the community that has supported tourism in the Dubuque and surrounding communities.

For additional information contact either Dwight Hopfauf at, Lynette Montes at, or Terry Drees at

About The Dubuque Hotel and Motel General Manager's Association
The Dubuque Hotel and Motel General Manager's Association was formed around 10 years ago to further establish Dubuque as a welcoming city for travelers in cooperation with the efforts of the local Travel Dubuque staff and leadership. The association meets around eight times a year with representation from bed and breakfasts to select service to full-service hotels from the regional area of Dubuque to Dyersville.


Medicare Recipients: Beware of Offers for “Free Genetic Testing”

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The following consumer tip comes from the Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition.

Medicare recipients across the country are reporting receiving telemarketing calls or personal pitches at health fairs or by door-to-door sellers offering "free genetic testing." The solicitor will offer to mail you a genetic testing kit and say that all costs are covered by Medicare. All you need to do is to give them your Medicare Card number! Don't fall for it!

The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warning Americans to beware that this is a scam. The scammers will use your Medicare number to make false Medicare claims or to otherwise commit identity theft against you.

The federal agency suggests Americans take the following steps to avoid falling victim to this scam:

• If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don't accept it unless it was ordered by your physician or by someone else you know and trust. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the items.

• Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.

• Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician's office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.

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


Dubuque Named a 2019 All-America City

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The National Civic League has named Dubuque a 2019 All-America City. The award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation to successfully address local issues. This is the fifth time Dubuque has received this distinction since 2007.

"This award recognizes communities that come together to improve their future," said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. "Being named an All-America City five times in just 12 years affirms that we are making progress and is a tribute to the work of so many people and groups. It also tells the world that Dubuque is a vibrant community that works together to address challenges."

The National Civic League said the 2019 All-America City Award celebrates examples of civic engagement practices that advance health equity in local communities. The competition sought projects that demonstrated inclusive decision-making processes to create healthy communities for all, and particularly for populations currently experiencing poorer health outcomes.

As part of the competition for the award, a delegation of Dubuque residents traveled to Denver to participate in presentations and workshops at the 70th All-America City Awards & Conference, June 21-24. The Dubuque team included representatives from the City of Dubuque, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Crescent Community Health Center, Dubuque Community Schools, the Dubuque Dream Center, Dubuque Main Street/Dubuque Eats Well, the Fountain of Youth, Inclusive Dubuque, and the Multicultural Family Center.

"It has been a wonderful experience to be part of sharing Dubuque's story at the All-America City competition," said North End Neighborhood resident Audrey Morey. "Perhaps other ciites can benefit from our success story, as we might benefit from theirs. Feeling blessed to be a Dubuquer!"

"This experience was amazing – hearing all the similar challenges that other communities face but yet we share one thing in common: we are active in trying to improve our community," said Caprice Jones, director and founder of the Dubuque Fountain of Youth Program. "I spoke with a woman from El Paso, Texas, and she shared how generational poverty affected her life and how she is a part of solutions! That was very inspiring! Denver has allowed my life to be exposed to many cultures and I'm grateful for the opportunity!"

Dubuque Dream Center Executive Director Robert Kimble was also part of the Dubuque delegation and said he enjoyed the experience.

"We were reminded that other communities are facing similar challenges all across the nation, we had opportunities to network and gain creative ideas on how other communities strategize to address difficult challenges, and we experienced fun moments of bonding with other Dubuque community leaders," said Kimble. 

"Going through the AAC process of learning and identifying the many organizations that are impacting lives in the Dubuque community provided perspective on the many caring organizations and people that exist in the Dubuque community," he added. "One of the most important results of this experience is the realization and reminder that community organizations who work together to authentically engage and empower their community will produce the most life changing results for their community – and Dubuque appears to be moving in the right direction."

"It is amazing to work with all the people on this trip," said Suzie Stroud, a social worker with the Pacific Islander Health Project at Dubuque's Crescent Community Health Center. "The partnerships and collaboration in this difficult work enables us to support each other. It is also amazing to see that our work is being recognized. It gives me renewed energy to get back to Dubuque and continue."

Dubuque's application focused on the civic infrastructure built on the Inclusive Dubuque network of over 60 partners working to advance justice and social equity, and Imagine Dubuque 2017: A Call to Action, the comprehensive planning process that collected input from 6,000 residents to identify a roadmap for Dubuque's future. The application and presentation also featured three projects demonstrating how partners are impacting health outcomes for all residents. "Health Care for All" highlights the progress Crescent Community Health Center has made, the impact of the Pacific Islander Health Project, and the recent work of the Brain Health Task Force. The Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project was the second project highlighted and the collaborative work happening by the Dubuque Eats Well coalition to increase access to healthy local foods is the third.

Finalist communities' presentations brought their written applications to life and demonstrate the positive effects of using equitable engagement strategies to address issues such as promoting mental health, addressing obesity and building stronger neighborhoods.

Dubuque is one of 10 communities to be designated a 2019 All-America City:
Battle Creek, Michigan
Cornelius, Oregon
Dubuque, Iowa
Gothenburg, Nebraska
Lancaster, Texas
Mission, Texas
Rancho Cordova, California
Rock Hill, South Carolina
West Hollywood, California
Wichita, Kansas

Dubuque was first named an All-America City in 2007 when its application described the America's River Project, Downtown Master Plan, and Crescent Community Health Center. Veteran-Oriented Programs, Workforce-Development Efforts, and the Historic Millwork District Revitalization were profiled in 2013 and 2012's successful application focused on the community's Plan to Improve Third-Grade Reading. In 2017, Dubuque's winning application featured the Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.


Getting outdoors really is good for you

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People who live in regions where winters are cold often note the feeling of rejuvenation they enjoy on the first warm day of late-winter or spring. The chance to get outside and soak up some sun while breathing some warm air is a feeling unlike any other for those who spend much of their winters bundled up in layers of clothing.

The value of spending time outdoors extends well beyond dusting off winter cabin fever, providing long-term benefits that might surprise even the most ardent outdoor enthusiast. A 2018 report from researchers at the University of East Anglia found that living close to nature and spending time outside has wide-ranging health benefits, including a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Authors of the report studied data from across the globe, gathering evidence from more than 140 studies involving more than 290 million people.

Researchers cannot pinpoint exactly why people who spend ample time in greenspaces enjoy better health. However, the benefits appear to be so wide-ranging as to suggest that people who currently do not spend much time in greenspaces should make a concerted effort to do so. The following are a handful of ways busy individuals can start spending more time outdoors.

• Dine al fresco. On nights when the weather is fair, take dinner into the great outdoors. People who live in private homes can dine on the patio or on the deck in the backyard, while apartment dwellers can make use of local parks for nighttime picnics or dine on balconies or rooftop recreational areas, which have become popular in crowded metropolitan areas. Rooftops and balconies may not pass the "Is it greenspace?" test, but dining in such areas can be more relaxing than an apartment dining nook.

• Get off the couch. Don't hesitate to get outside when night falls. Spend time in the backyard or go for nightly walks around the neighborhood or in a nearby park. Say so long to television binging sessions, making healthier and more beneficial use of nightly free time by utilizing nearby greenspaces.

• Go hiking on weekends. Even city dwellers no doubt live within driving distance of local hiking areas. Hiking provides a host of cardiovascular benefits and can make for a great, full-body workout. Researchers associated with the UEA report suggested that the practice of forest bathing, which is popular in Japan and promotes spending time sitting down or lying in nature, exposes people to a diverse array of bacteria present in natural areas that may benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation.

People who think that accessing nature is helping them to stay healthy aren't wrong. In fact, making time to include nature in your daily or weekly routine can have positive and wide-ranging effects on your overall health.


Did you know?

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The year 1893 was an important one in hot dog history. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, in 1893, the city of Chicago hosted the Chicago Columbian Exposition, a world's fair that celebrated the 400th anniversary of famed explorer Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Visitors to the exposition consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors.

Many immediately took a liking to this unique food because it was both easy to eat and inexpensive. The NHDSC notes that Germans are likely responsible for introducing sausages served on buns.

In addition to their popularity at the Columbian Exposition, hot dogs got another boost in 1893 when they first started appearing at ballparks. Many modern baseball fans now cannot imagine attending a ballgame without indulging in a hot dog or two, and some historians believe they have German immigrant Chris von der Ahe to thank for that. Chris von der Ahe owned the St. Louis Browns, and in 1893 his team became the first to sell hot dogs at baseball games, though some historians dispute this.


Enjoy a safe and happy Independence Day

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Independence Day is a celebration of the United States of America. The holiday is marked by fanfare and large parties, complete with barbecues, fireworks and parades. 

As fun as July 4th festivities typically are, injuries, particularly those involving fireworks, are a concern that celebrants should not take lightly. An estimated 11,000 people visited the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries in 2016, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, fireworks aren't the only danger this time of year. In order to remain safe, individuals can heed these tips.

• Do not drink and drive. Alcohol consumption may accompany Independence Day festivities. For those planning on using a car to get to and from parties, it is essential to designate a driver who will not imbibe. Otherwise, utilize any number of ridesharing services or available taxis.

• Swim smartly. Always swim with a buddy, and consider hiring a lifeguard if you'll be hosting a pool party and cannot keep a watchful eye on guests in the pool. Adults also should not swim intoxicated, as it can impede the ability to stay afloat and may lead to risky behaviors.

• Leave fireworks to the professionals. Watch a public fireworks display instead of lighting fireworks on the street or in the backyard.

• Exercise caution with sparklers. Kids running around with sparklers in hand could be a recipe for disaster, as sparklers burn extremely hot. Make sure children do not wave them around or others can get burned. Keep a bucket of water handy to properly extinguish the sparklers.

• Review safe boating practices. If July 4th festivities find you out on the water, be sure that life jackets are worn and set boating and water safety rules for the family.

• Check in with a vet. The Fourth of July can be traumatic for pets not accustomed to fireworks and other loud noises or crowds. Behavior therapy, medication and ensuring that pets do not run away from home and get lost may be necessary.

• Watch food temperatures. Do not leave food out in the hot sun for too long; otherwise, harmful bacteria can grow and potentially cause foodborne illnesses. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says to never leave food out of refrigeration for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90 F, food should not be left out for more than one hour.

These are some of the safety strategies that can keep Independence Day celebrations and other summer outdoor events both safe and enjoyable.


Smokey corn is a classic campfire dish

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Many different foods call to mind campfire cooking. Foods cooked over an open fire take on a unique, smokey and savory flavor that is hard to replicate. 

There's something special about collectively preparing, cooking and sharing a meal in the great outdoors that makes camping so appealing.

Although s'mores may be the first treat that comes to mind when considering classic campfire foods, everything from casseroles to soups to cobblers can suffice. Even vegetables and seafood can be cooked over a campfire with the right preparation.

Corn on the cob is a tasty side dish that is tailor-made for campsite cooking. The sweet flavor of corn complements just about any meal, and those kernels take on a robust flavor when touched with a little char. Enjoy this recipe for "Campfire Corn on the Cob," courtesy of Kampgrounds of America (KOA).

Campfire Corn on the Cob
Serves 4

4 ears of corn on the cob (do not husk)
Water to cover corn
1⁄2 to 1 cup sugar (optional)
Butter to taste
Salt to taste (optional)

Mix the water and sugar in a clean bucket, cooler or large pan (add enough water to cover corn). Add the corn to the water mixture and soak for 1 to 2 hours. Remove the corn from the water and place over the campfire or on the grill, turning often to avoid over-burning the husk. Cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until tender; remove corn from the fire. Peel back the husk and silk, spread with butter and/or salt. Enjoy steaming hot.


The effects of UV rays on the eyes

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The sun can be both friend and foe. A warm, sunny day can improve mood and increase levels of vitamin D in the body. Exposure to sunlight during the day also can help regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, known as the circadian rhythm. However, overexposure to the sun can be dangerous as well.

Many people recognize that exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn and long-standing skin damage, but they may not realize that the eyes also are susceptible to damage caused by the sun.

The eye health resource All About Vision warns that extended exposure to the sun's UV rays has been linked to significant eye problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, pterygia, and photokeratitis.

UV rays come in three types: A, B and C. The atmosphere's ozone layer blocks virtually all UVC rays, which are the most potent, but UVA and UVB can be dangerous when exposure to the sun is significant.

Exposure to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time can cause photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn of the eye that can cause pain and redness. Prolonged exposure to UV rays without adequate protection may cause lasting damage, says the American Optometric Association. UV rays come from both the sun itself and tanning beds. Here's a look at some of the common UV-induced eye conditions.

• Cataracts: A clouding of the eye's natural lens, or the part of the eye that focuses the light a person sees.

• Macular degeneration: UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss for older people. The macula is the center portion of the retina, essential for vision.

• Pterygium: This is a growth that begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. The growth can eventually impede vision, says the organization Prevent Blindness America.

Sunglasses and other protective lenses are essential to keeping the eyes healthy. AOA says that for sunglasses to be effective, they should:

• block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;

• screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light;

• have lenses that are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection; and

• have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition.

In addition, people can wear wide-brimmed hats to protect their eyes from the sun and harmful UV rays. This will shield the eyes and the delicate skin of the face.

Learn more about protecting the eyes at,, or


Key to keeping cool is AC maintenance

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Few things beat summer heat better than walking into a comfortably chilled air conditioned home. Air conditioning is often taken for granted, but sorely missed when it is not working. The key to keeping cool all summer long is to ensure that air conditioning systems are functioning properly.

Maintaining an AC unit can save money and protect homeowners' investments. Without regular attention, an AC unit will lose its efficiency, needlessly wasting both energy and money as a result. Poor maintenance also can lead to system failure just when it is needed most.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is about 15 to 20 years. Home Advisor says homeowners can pay between $500 and $4,000 for central air conditioning, with the final cost depending on the unit, additional installation items, such as ductwork, and installation charges. With regular maintenance, homeowners can keep their units humming properly and avoid premature replacement costs.

So what can homeowners expect as it pertains to air conditioner maintenance? The following are some oft-needed checks and fixes.

• Keep it clean. Vacuum the fins and coils of the AC unit on the external compressor/condenser fan with a soft-bristled brush, advise the experts at Family Handyman. This may require unscrewing the metal box surrounding the unit to access the fins. Remove any accumulated debris that may be impeding air flow. Afterward, go inside and change the filter that is installed with the evaporator that's located in a central duct near the furnace. Inspect the filter periodically to see if it is soiled and needs replacement. Timing can vary depending on various factors, such as the time of year, the accumulation of dust and whether or not pets live in the home.

• Straighten coil fins. The fins on the condenser are easily bent and that can affect the flow of air through the coils. If you cannot easily straighten them, then consult with an HVAC professional to do so.

• Check the thermostat. Ensure that the thermostat is still working properly. You also may want to upgrade an old thermostat to a programmable or smart thermostat that enables you to remotely set and adjust the temperature.

• Consider an in-line duct booster. HVAC professionals can guide you through the advantages of an in-line duct booster for forced-air cooling. This can increase the flow of cool air into a room that always seems hotter than the rest. Another option is a vent or register booster fan that sits on top or replaces a traditional floor or wall register.

• Deal with condensation. Condensation from air conditioning coils can puddle around the furnace if the condensate drain tube is clogged. Clearing it out will help prevent puddling and the formation of bacteria-laden water in the system.

Periodic maintenance is necessary to ensure uninterrupted service on a home AC unit.


Why you need a hammock or hanging chair

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Sunny days and warm weather beckon us to the great outdoors. A day spent in the pool or lounging around the patio is a great way to embrace the relaxing spirit of summer. But those who want to go the extra relaxing miles should consider adding a hammock or swinging chair to their backyard oasis.

Hammocks and swinging chairs make great investments. Outdoor enthusiasts can take them on camping trips, and they're equally at home right in the backyard. People on the fence about these symbols of relaxation can consider these benefits of hammocks or swinging chairs.

Nap comfortably outdoors
Who needs an excuse to catch up on missing sleep? If the time presents itself, the sun and the fresh air can induce a deep sense of relaxation. Lying on a hammock or floating in a hanging chair provides that additional soothing rocking motion that can make a cat nap even more enticing.

Use it indoors or outdoors
Create a retreat in any corner of your yard or home. A hanging chair can be hung in the corner of a bedroom to provide a spot to curl up with a good book or rock a baby to sleep. The same chair can be brought to a covered deck or patio so people can swing with the breeze when the weather allows.

Super stargazing retreat
Hammocks and swinging chairs can make it easier and more comfortable to stargaze at night. With a double hammock or chair, bring a romantic partner along to snuggle and watch the cosmos. Or teach children about the constellations in the night sky.

Be inconspicuous among nature
Lying on the ground disturbs the lawn and other outdoor components. Being suspended several inches above the ground in a chair or a hammock can help a person blend in with the natural environment. Birds, small animals and insects may not even know you're there, and that can make them easier to observe.

Everyone can appreciate the opportunity to sit back and relax. Hammocks and swinging chairs can help a person feel lighter than air and recharge in the warm summer air.


5 benefits to spaying/neutering

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One of the most important aspects of welcoming a pet into a home is to be a responsible pet owner. Responsible pet ownership involves providing for the animal's physical and emotional needs, making sure to keep the pet out of danger and providing love, affection and training. 

Responsible pet ownership also includes a commitment to maintaining a reasonable pet population. Due to unchecked breeding, shelters are bursting at the seams with animals who have been found stray or were turned over by owners who are unable to care for them. The ASPCA says millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays every year. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters.

Neutering, also known as spaying and neutering, can help keep animal numbers in check. American Humane says spaying is a general term used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal. Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. Veterinarians perform these surgeries, which often result in the same-day release of pets if there have been no complications.

Many shelters require adoptable animals be neutered before they can be released to a new family. Pet owners can work with veterinarians to determine the best age for sterilization.

There are many great reasons to neuter pets that go beyond reducing overpopulation.

• Improves animal health: Spaying can help prevent uterine infections and breast cancer in female pets. Neutering males can prevent testicular cancer.

• Reduces unwanted marking/mating behavior: Female pets advertise that they are ready to reproduce by leaving scents (urinating), barking, meowing, and being more agitated during breeding season. Spaying can reduce these inclinations.

• Reduces the need to roam: Male animals will travel near or far to find a female. Once on the prowl, the animal runs the risks of injury from altercations with other animals as well as traffic. Such animals also may get lost.

• Responsible breeding: American Humane says 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebreds. Responsible purebred breeders have homes lined up before they breed. There's no need to mate purebreds simply for the sake of continuing the lineage.

• Improved behavior: The ASPCA says a male pet might be less likely to mount other pets, people and inanimate objects after he's neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering as well.

Neutering is a smart choice. After the surgery takes place, give the pet a quiet, safe place to recover and inhibit jumping or running for a few weeks. Also, try to keep him or her from licking the wounds. When the vet gives a clean bill of health, pets can resume living full, happy lives.


Did you know?

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Various ingredients in many popular sunscreens can enter the bloodstream after just one day of use, according to a recent study published in the medical journal JAMA.

The study conducted by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research examined 24 healthy volunteers who were randomly assigned to a spray or lotion sunscreen that contained avobenzone, oxybenzone or octocrylene or a cream sunscreen that contained the chemical ecamsule.

Volunteers applied their sunscreen to 75 percent of their bodies each day for four days. By the end of the first day, five of the six participants who applied the ecamsule cream had levels of ecamsule in their blood that are considered significant. Participants who applied the other sunscreen, especially those who used products that contained oxybenzone, also showed significant levels of the chemical in their bloodstreams by the end of the first day.

These findings are significant, as the chemical oxybenzone has been shown to be a common cause of contact allergies. Oxybenzone is also being studied for its potential connection to other conditions, including lower testosterone levels in adolescent boys and shorter pregnancies and disrupted birth weights in babies.

However, scientists who responded to the study warned that it should not prevent people from applying sunscreen, as the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined.


Maximize your summer vacation

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Summer can fly by. Because summer can sometimes seem to come and go in a flash, it's important for everyone to make the most of this relaxing time of year.

Vacations from work and school are great ways to make summer memories, and the following are some ways to get even more out of these relaxing breaks from the norm.

• Disconnect for a few days. Truly disconnect from electronic devices for a period of time to give yourself a mental break. Stop answering work emails, avoid social media and turn off reminders of things that do not need your attention while you are on vacation or taking a break.

• Book a trip. It's not the destination but the opportunity to step away from the norm that can help make a person feel like he or she has truly gotten a break. Get away from your surroundings, if only for a weekend. Nearby resorts and water parks are great for short jaunts with the kids.

• Take a week off just to relax. Sometimes a person needs to recharge after going on vacation, as planning a trip and then the trip itself can require a lot of work. Staycations or devoting another week to just lounging around or catching up on tasks around the house can ease pressure. Then it's possible to go back to work or school feeling even more recharged.

• Get out of the house or office. What's the good of sunny skies and hot temperatures if you do not get to enjoy them? Make it a point to spend time outdoors every day. Go for a midday walk, sit in the park after work lets out or throw the ball around with the kids in the backyard. Sunlight can be great for the mind and body. Doctors with the Heliotherapy, Light, and Skin Research Center at Boston University Medical Center say sunlight triggers the release of serotonin and other hormones associated with a good mood. Increased exposure to sunlight also can regulate circadian rhythms for better sleep. Sunlight can trigger the release of nitric oxide into blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure.

• Explore summer programs. Adults and children can try new skills and explore different talents this summer. Sign up for a camp or a class that runs several weeks. This will help stimulate the mind.

• Visit friends and family. Now that schedules have loosened up, take the opportunity to increase time spent with friends or family members, whether they live close by or far away. Make it a point to reconnect with someone who has been out of touch.

Summer is a great time of year to take vacations and reconnect with nature and loved ones.


Dubuque 2019 Water Quality Report Available

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The City of Dubuque Water Department has published the annual water quality reports for the Dubuque water supply. The drinking water met all state and federal water quality requirements and had no drinking water violations in 2018.

The complete report is available online at Printed copies of the Dubuque water quality report are available at several locations including City Hall (50 West 13th St.), the Carnegie-Stout Public Library (360 West 11th St.), and the Multicultural Family Center (1157 Central Ave.).

The City of Dubuque's Eagle Point Water Plant sources water from aquifers and produces an average 6.5 to 7.2 million gallons of treated water per day. The treated water is distributed through more than 320 miles of water mains, that can be controlled by over 8,000 control valves. The City's water supply is available to the over 2,900 fire hydrants and to more than 23,500 service connections.

"Providing high quality drinking water to our community is a tremendous responsibility. Our Water Department staff takes care in treating and distributing the City's water supply, and pride in delivering it to our customers at an affordable cost," said City of Dubuque Water Department Manager Denise Ihrig.

When compared to the other six large cities in Iowa that soften their drinking water, Dubuque has the second-lowest rate; that translates to $30.72 per month for the average household usage of 6,000 gallons, or simply stated, 51 cents per 100 gallons!

The water department welcomes visitors for scheduled tours of the Eagle Point Water Plant. For additional information, please call 563-589-4291 or visit


Upper Bee Branch Creek Project Receives Engineering Excellence Awards

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The City of Dubuque Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project was recently awarded state and national engineering excellence awards.

The project was awarded the 2019 Grand Prize Award in the Special Projects category along with the 2019 Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Iowa. The Grand Conceptor Award is presented to one project that stands out above all other entries, regardless of project category.

The project then went on to achieve a National Recognition Award in the ACEC 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards competition - the "Academy Awards of the engineering industry." The National Recognition Award is a prestigious distinction honoring projects that have achieved top awards for excellence in state competitions.

The award was presented to Deron Muehring, Bee Branch project manager for the City of Dubuque, and Mike Jansen, CEO of IIW, an engineering, architecture and surveying firm headquartered in Dubuque. IIW served as one of the architectural and engineering consultants for the project.

The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. The overall goal of the awards program is to recognize outstanding engineering achievements to a national audience, and to provide an opportunity for recognition for engineering firms, their employees and their clients.

The Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration is one of several infrastructure improvements the City of Dubuque is making as part of the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project to address severe and frequent flash flooding in the Bee Branch Watershed. The project involved removing the buried Bee Branch storm sewer and replacing it with a 2,300-foot long creek and greenspace. It also included utility relocations and the construction of two vehicular bridges, a multi-use trail, a permeable parking lot, a stepped amphitheater, a play area with slides, and scenic overlooks.

Since its completion, the Bee Branch Creek has increased the area's capacity for stormwater by tenfold. What was once an 8' x 12' storm sewer is now an 8' x 120' waterway. During rain events, the creek and floodplain channels stormwater through Dubuque's North End neighborhood without flooding adjacent properties. Several sustainable practices were used including permeable pavement, bioswales, and native plants to promote the infiltration and filtration of stormwater and improve water quality. The area also serves as a linear park with several amenities.

Having been constructed as a natural area, the re-created creek and floodplain is expected to function for the next century and beyond. It is estimated Dubuque's Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project will prevent $582 million in damages over its 100-year design life. To learn more about the Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, visit


Spring and summer blues?

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The arrival of autumn and winter can herald a period of reduced feelings of vitality and happiness for some people. Known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this condition produces a range of symptoms from depression to anxiety to oversleeping when the cooler temps usher in. However, many may be surprised to know that a similar phenomenon can occur during the time when people are supposed to be recharged and ready to take on the world.

Data published in Psychology Today says that about one in 10 people suffer from something similar to SAD in the spring or summer. Dubbed reverse seasonal affective disorder or the "summer blues," this condition can lead to restlessness, poor appetite, irritability, and weight loss, among other symptoms. Some doctors think this form of depression can be a reaction to higher heat and humidity, noting that their patients have benefitted from traveling to a cooler locale when the condition sets in.

John Sharp, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of "The Emotional Calendar," has studied the seasons and mental health in detail. He says that, for those who suffer from depression, the expectations of spending time outdoors or resuming social calendars with people now that the weather has warmed can be challenging. For others, a specific event that occurred in the spring or summer, such as a death or traumatic injury, can trigger feelings of depression and anxiety that counter the expectations of the season.

A 2014 study conducted in Austria also found that seasonal variations in unemployment rates as well as the dearth of clinicians available due to summer vacation schedules can contribute to summertime sadness.

Understanding that reverse SAD is a real thing and recognized by those in the mental health profession can be a comfort to sufferers who realize it is not just their imaginations.

Individuals who notice a dramatic change in mood are encouraged to seek help. Talk therapy, medication or a combination of the two can be the right course of action.


Keep kids safe when mowing the lawn

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Warm weather beckons many people outdoors. Perhaps no group of people like being out in the warm sun more than children. 

Children should be encouraged to spend time outdoors when the weather allows, as physical activity is one of the hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle. But parents must exercise caution when kids are playing in the yard, especially when the grass is being mowed.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 9,000 children in the United States go to the emergency room for lawn mower-related injuries every year. Of the 800 children who are run over by mowers each year, 600 ultimately require amputations.

Many mower-related injuries occur when children who are too young and/or too weak to operate a mower are asked to do so. The AAP recommends that only children age 12 and older operate push mowers, while riding mowers should only be used by kids 16 and older. No child should use a mower without first being taught how to operate it, and kids should always wear eye protection and close-toed shoes when mowing. In addition, parents should never allow children to ride as passengers while mowing the lawn.

Mower-related injuries are preventable if parents emphasize safety. The following are some tips, courtesy of the AAP, that parents can follow to ensure their kids do not become one of the thousands of children who suffer mower-related injuries in a given year.

• Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.

• Keep children out of the yard while mowing. Mower blades can shoot rocks, sticks or other common yard debris out in all directions, and these trajectories put kids at risk of injuries to their eyes and other parts of their bodies.

• Scour the yard for toys before mowing. Toys left in the yard can become trajectories if not removed prior to mowing, and chipped toys with sharp edges can pose a threat to kids even after the grass has been cut.

• Exercise caution if going in reverse. The AAP advises against pulling a mower backward or shifting into reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you must do so, look behind you to make sure no kids are trailing you or are nearby.

• Only mow when there is adequate daylight.

• Periodically inspect your mower. Periodic inspections of your mower can help you make sure guards, shields, switches, and other safety devices are in proper working order.

When mowing their lawns, parents must make safety their utmost priority to ensure kids do not suffer mower-related injuries.


Myths about grilling and barbecuing, debunked

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Grillmasters and pitmasters work hard to produce mouth-watering fare. Many may develop secret recipes, rubs, sauces, and cooking techniques all in the name of flavorful food. 

Certain myths about grilling and barbecuing have prevailed through the years. Such misconceptions may discourage newcomers from picking up their tongs and spatulas. Setting the record straight about common grilling myths can be just what people need to embrace cooking foods over an open flame.

Myth #1: Hosting a barbecue is the same as cooking barbecue.

Fact: Barbecue is the process of cooking foods slowly with low heat, typically in a smoker. Having a barbecue is an informal backyard party where foods cooked over a grill are served.

Myth #2: You can tell the temperature of the grill by placing your hand over the grates.

Fact: Everyone reacts differently to heat, so the best way to gauge temperature is by using a thermometer.

Myth #3: Grilled chicken is done when the juices run clear.

Fact: Even well-done chicken can form juices that are pink-hued. It's from a protein called myoglobin, according to the book "Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling." Use a cooking thermometer to learn when poultry is safe to eat, typically at 160 to 165 F.

Myth #4: Marinating is best for grilling and tenderizing.

Fact: It seems that marinades really do not penetrate much beyond the surface of the meat and can keep the outer surface of the food wet, preventing searing and browning. Rubs and salts can be more effective at adding flavor. Serve a dipping sauce for additional flavor if people desire.

Myth #5: Light up the whole grill for best cooking.

Fact: Temperature control is a key component of effective grilling and barbecuing. Having two temperature zones - direct, radiant heat for searing, and an indirect zone for grilling meat evenly and preventing burning - can make food more tasty.

Myth #6: More smoke equals better food.

Fact: When cooking, faint wisps of blue smoke are better because blue smoke is made of tiny invisible particles and gases created by small, hot, fast-burning fires. White smoke generally comes from smoldering wood that is starved for oxygen, states the cooking site Food52. All of that white smoke can affect the flavor of the food.

Myth #7: Oil the grates to prevent food from sticking.

Fact: This may or may not work, depending on the temperature of the grates when the oil is applied. A better method is to oil the food, which will be cold so the oil will keep from burning and cracking.


Container gardening for beginners

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Gardening is a rewarding activity that gardening enthusiasts can't wait to get back to once the weather warms up. Many gardeners find getting their hands dirty while tending to a garden can be a great form of escapism. In addition, growing one's own fruits and vegetables can be great for the environment.

Though it's easy to assume gardening is an activity exclusive to homeowners with their own yards, that's not the case at all. Container gardening can make it possible for anyone to garden regardless of where they live.

The benefits of container gardening go beyond making gardening accessible to everyone. Many plants grown in containers are less susceptible to disease than plants grown in the soil, which can reduce reliance on potentially harmful pesticides. Container gardens also tend to be easier to maintain than traditional gardens, making gardening more doable for people with especially hectic schedules.

Container gardening can be simple, and novices can consider these tips when planning and ultimately tending to their first gardens.

• Conduct a light audit. Walk around your home to determine where your plant can be placed so it gets as much light as it needs to thrive. Some plants need a lot of light, while others can thrive with a lot less. By conducting a light audit before choosing plants, you can determine if your home is most conducive to plants that require a lot of a light or those that need little light to get by.

• Make sure containers have ample drainage. The gardening experts at Good Housekeeping note that drainage holes are essential when choosing containers. Waterlogged soil can be fatal for plants, so there must be ample drainage in the container. Don't focus too much on the size of the holes, just make sure that they allow excess water to drain out from the pot.

• Don't forget to feed your plants. Potting soil won't necessarily have nutrients that plants can access, so many container gardeners must fertilize the soil so plants can thrive. Good Housekeeping notes that watering with diluted fish emulsion, seaweed extract or compost tea can help plants thrive. Feed once every two weeks to start, adjusting the schedule thereafter depending on how the plants respond.

• Seek advice. Local gardening centers can be great resources for novice container gardeners. Such centers can recommend plants with a history of thriving in the area as well as plants that might be more compatible when containers are placed next to one another.

Container gardening can bring gardening to any home, whether it's a light-filled private home or an apartment where sunlight is sparse.


How to keep bugs off your food

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Outdoor entertaining has many advantages. Cooking on a grill can make it easier to feed a crowd, while fresh air can make any occasion more fun. 

One pesky obstacle when entertaining outdoors is bugs. Nothing can ruin outdoor meals quite like insects. Finding a gnat in your soft drink or ants coursing over your hot dog can quickly destroy your appetite.

It's challenging but not impossible to deter insects from outdoor entertaining areas. Here are some ways to do just that.

• Invest in shower caps. Yes, those plastic caps that can be purchased at the pharmacy or even acquired free at your next hotel stay can serve as inexpensive food covers. The elastic band holds them securely in place, and they can fit around everything from salad bowls to watermelon.

• Make a wasp repellent. Work with nature by finding those things in nature that the offensive insect fears. In the case of wasps, it can be even larger stinging insects like hornets. Try filling a brown paper lunch bag with plastic bags and hang it near sitting and eating areas. The wasps may think the filled sack is a hornet's nest, keeping them away.

• Rely on citrus. Surround entertaining areas with orange and lemon peels. The smells of the citrus oils will naturally repel certain insects. Mint is another aroma and flavor that insects tend to avoid. Spray mouthwash around eating areas as well.

• Disperse smells. Use fans to break up those appealing aromas from people and the food. Flying insects will be less likely to investigate.

• Use dryer sheets for more than just static cling. Dryer sheets can be placed under table legs or rubbed on clothing. The chemicals in them repel ants and mosquitoes, according to the Untrained Housewife, a lifestyle resource.

• Drain stagnant water. One way to minimize insects is to keep them from taking up residence in the yard. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. When they fill with water, empty flower pots, kiddie pools, overturned garden items, and bird baths.

• Keep fresh basil on hand. Top that salad with some basil, or tuck a few sprigs on the picnic table. Basil may naturally repel flies and mosquitos.

A few simple strategies can make it possible to enjoy foods and beverages outdoors with few insect invaders.


Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins Soars at the Grand this July

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One of the most popular Disney movies of all time captures the heart in a whole new way: as a practically perfect musical!

This July, take a trip to number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, where Mary Poppins is flying over the Grand Opera House stage. She is taking the Banks family and the audience on magical adventures, dispensing sage advice, and teaching us all to find the silver lining in any situation.

This musical, based on the popular Disney movie, features unforgettable songs audiences already know and love like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "A Spoonful of Sugar", and "Step In Time". With characters flying across the stage and dancing across rooftops this show is sure to have you mesmerized.

The Grand Opera House is excited to present Disney and Cameron Macintosh's Mary Poppins in all the soaring splendor you expect from the beloved movie turned musical. Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, this special 2019 Summer Event is sure to be fun for the whole family. This enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stagecraft will run for 3 high-flying and magical weekends in July.

The Grand is excited to bring in Director and Choreographer Alex Acevedo from New York City to stage and choreograph this production. He is known for a joyous energy matched with a rigorous work ethic and calm professionalism. His imaginative staging has been seen at The Lynn Redgrave Theater, The Cherry Lane Theater, The 13th Street Rep, Narrows Community Theater, The Hudson Guild Theater, The Times Square Arts Center and various regional theaters in California, New Jersey and Wisconsin. He enjoys staging dynamic, physically driven theater that is rooted in human connection. Producers, cast members and fellow artistic staff are often impressed by his ability to create an environment of community and collaboration where every voice is valued.
Flying effects will be provided by ZFX, Inc. one of the top rated flying effects companies in the world. ZFX, Inc. is the complete service provider for Flying Effects. From High Schools to Broadway, Churches to Special Events, ZFX zealously pursues its goal of worldwide domination of the performer flying industry with unparalleled skill and enthusiasm. Flying Effects are funded in part through a Mediacom Arts and Culture Grant.

Performances are July 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 2019 at 7:30pm and July 14, 21, 28, 2019 at 2:00pm. Tickets for Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins are $23 for Adults and $15 for children under 18 (group pricing is available for groups over 12 people) and can be purchased in person at the Box Office located at 135 W. 8th Street in Dubuque, or by calling (563) 588-1305. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from Noon until 4:00pm. Tickets can also be purchased on our website at

Mary Poppins is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials also supplied by MTI. Sponsored by American Trust, Van's Liquor Store, The Telegraph Herald, Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., Fuerste Eye Clinic, Premier Bank, Kane, Norby and Reddick PC, Klauer Manufacturing, Platinum Supplemental Insurance, and Cottingham & Butler.

Original Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman Book by Julian Fellowes. New Songs and Additional Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Co-Created by Cameron Mackintosh


What is forest bathing?

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The mood-boosting feeling of rejuvenation many people experience while spending time in nature is not in their heads. In fact, researchers in parts of Asia have long since studied and documented the benefits of spending time in nature.

Developed in Japan in the 1980s, the practice of Shinrin-yoku, often referred to as "forest bathing," has become a part of Japanese medicine. According to, the premise behind forest bathing is that spending time in nature via a relaxing walk can prove calming, rejuvenating and restorative.

The benefits of spending time in nature have long been suspected, but only recently has scientific research begun to indicate just how beneficial such time can be. In 2018, researchers from the University of East Anglia released a report indicating some eye-opening benefits of living close to nature and spending time outside.

In the report, researchers linked exposure to greenspace with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. In addition to those benefits, notes that research indicates forest bathing can improve mood; increase one's ability to focus, even among children diagnosed with ADHD; accelerate recovery from injury or illness; and improve sleep.

The approach to forest bathing promoted by combines leisurely walks on paths under a forest canopy with guided activities. Such activities are designed to open the senses, help people hone their intuition and experience the forest as they never had before. Mindfulness meditation practices also may be included in a forest bathing session.

Men and women interested in learning more about the benefits of forest bathing can contact their physicians to discuss the role nature can play in improving their overall health. More information is available at


Do a digital detox

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"Cleanse" diets are designed to help people clear their bodies of foods that might have an adverse effect on their health. Many people find such diets effective, prompting others to wonder if a digital cleanse, particularly while on vacation, might produce equally beneficial results. 

Advances in technology make it possible for people to essentially be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Free Wi-Fi is available at restaurants, rest stops and hotels and beckoning people to stay connected. In fact, according to information from, free hotel Wi-Fi has become the most sought after amenity at resorts and places to stay.

But is there a price to pay by remaining so available to work and other outside influences while traveling for recreation?

Studies have shown that unplugging while on vacation - or at other times - can boost meaningful conversations and more. The study, "Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality," indicates devices can negatively impact closeness, connection and conversation quality, essentially interfering with human relationships.

Phones and other digital devices also force people to multitask. Evidence suggests that multitasking isn't all it's cracked up to be, leading to preventable errors and actually delaying the completion of tasks. A 2010 study from researchers in France found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks relatively easily because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase mistakes. Trying to multitask on vacation can lead to stressful feelings and not being fully immersed in the experience.

Being connected while on vacation may leave a person dealing with stresses they normally would avoid until returning home. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life indicates that stress accrued on vacation can cause people to feel like they had lower energy at work after returning from a relaxing vacation.
Taking a step back from their phones, tablets and laptops while vacationing can help people make the most of their getaways. Such a break can promote mindfulness, encourage people to try new things and lead to more meaningful conversations with travel companions.


Make campfires safe and enjoyable

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Who doesn't look forward to sitting around a crackling campfire in the evening with family or friends? Such an experience attracts people to try camping, ultimately converting many of them into lifelong camping enthusiasts. 

Campfires serve various purposes, from heating up simple foods to keeping wildlife at bay. Campfires also light up camps where people dine and sleep while providing much-needed warmth.

Campers must always exercise caution with their campfires. The University of Vermont Medical Center says 80 percent of pediatric campfire burns resulted from day-old campfires. The National Interagency Fire Center advises that, in 2017, 88 percent of wildfires were caused by humans.

When building campfires, the following precautionary measures can ensure a safe time is had by all.

• Learn if it's safe. Campground and other areas will post if the conditions are safe for a fire. Heed all signs and do not ignite a campfire if posted warnings say it is too dry and unsafe to do so.

• Choose the right location. Look around and up to make sure that the fire will be in a safe location away from low-hanging branches or brush. Keep a radius of at least eight to 10 feet around the fire clear of tents, food, chairs, and other items, states the health and fitness resource Active.

• Prepare your site. Dig a small pit in which the fire can be housed, offers Smokey Bear. Place a ring of stones around the pit.

• Add fuel only as needed. Keep the fire at a manageable size and height. Do not let it grow just to impress fellow campers, as it can spread and become a problem.

• Beware of the "duff." The rangers at Modoc National Forest in California say duff is a layer of decomposing wood material that lies between pine needles and dirt on the forest floor. It is highly flammable, and some mistake it for dirt. Be aware of duff near the campsite and extinguish any embers promptly.

• Maintain a close watch. Make sure at least one person is always tending to the campfire.

• Keep kids and pets away. Set a proper distance for pets and young children who may not understand the dangers of fire.

• Extinguish the fire properly. Keep a shovel and water nearby to drown the fire and embers. Mix the ashes and water again to catch anything that may be smoldering. Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stirring with a shovel until all material is cool. Never leave a former campfire hot. Check a decent perimeter around the campfire to ensure that no stray embers escaped.

Campfires are an enjoyable part of the overall camping or outdoor wilderness experience. Safety is essential to help prevent forest fires and/or injuries.


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.


Strategies to reduce young athletes’ injury risk

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Sports can make a profound impact on the life of a young person. Stanford Children's Health, a Bay Area-based pediatric and obstetric health care system that offers comprehensive clinical services, notes that children who participate in sports experience a range of physical, emotional and interpersonal benefits.

Improved vision, a reduced risk of obesity, the development of motor skills, and the development of social skills are just a handful of the many ways kids can benefit from sports. Athletes' parents typically recognize such benefits, but that likely doesn't prevent them from being concerned about the children's risk of suffering sports-related physical injuries, particularly for young athletes who compete in contact sports.

While it's impossible to eliminate the risk of injury entirely, regardless of which sports kids play, there are some strategies athletes and their parents can take to reduce that risk.

• Make sure young athletes get their physicals. Recreational and scholastic sports leagues typically require athletes to get physicals before they're allowed to compete. Kids who participate in more loosely organized leagues should get a physical before each season even if the league does not require them to do so. These examinations can uncover problems such as irregular heartbeat that may make kids vulnerable to injury or illness. When these issues are discovered, athletes, their parents, their physicians, and their coaches can then work together to develop a plan to protect kids without preventing them from participating in their favorite sports.

• Open and maintain a dialogue with coaches before and throughout the season. Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that works to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries, recommends parents meet with coaches before the first practice of the season to inform them of a child's medical history with asthma or other medical conditions that require special attention. If kids develop nagging injuries during a season, whether it's during competition or not, parents should report them to the coach directly, as kids may be hesitant to do so on their own.

• Warm up and stretch before games. Many coaches are fully aware of the importance of warming up and stretching before games. But parents can still keep an eye out to make sure kids do this prior to competition, as Safe Kids Worldwide notes warming up and stretching helps to prevent sports-related injuries by releasing muscle tension before kids begin physical activity.

• Encourage young athletes to hydrate and stay hydrated throughout competition. The NCAA notes that the consequences of dehydration are severe and can include increased core temperature and heart rate, decreased blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, general fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. Hydrating before competition and staying hydrated throughout a game can help athletes maximize their performance and minimize their risk of injury and muscle cramps.

Young athletes benefit greatly from participating in sports. Parents and coaches can help kids capitalize on those benefits by encouraging them to employ various strategies designed to reduce their risk of injury.


Create a safe, tick-free zone in your yard

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Despite their diminutive stature, ticks are a big concern for people, particularly those with pets. 

As the weather warms, ticks are out looking for a host to climb on and get a blood meal. Ticks are a significant concern because they can be infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and babesiosis are just a few of the many tick-borne diseases. These pathogens can be passed to humans and pets via the bite of infected ticks.

In 2018, at least one variety of disease-transmitting tick had been found in all of the lower 48 states, according to the CDC. In addition, researchers at Cornell University identified 26 species of ticks along the East Coast alone. Preventing tick bites has never been more important. The process starts right in one's own backyard.

According to Consumer Reports and the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, controlling wildlife that enters one's yard can help keep tick numbers down. Open access means animals can enter and so can ticks. Fencing and pest management solutions may help.

Other ideas include landscaping techniques that can reduce tick populations:

• Remove leaf litter from the yard.

• Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edges of the lawn. Mow regularly to keep the lawn short.

• Create a barrier between wooded areas and the yard if it abuts a forested area. According to Consumer Reports, a three-foot-wide path of wood chips or gravel can prevent tick migration by creating a physical barrier that's dry and sometimes too hot for ticks to tolerate. Such a barrier also serves as a visual reminder to anyone in your household to be especially careful if they step beyond the perimeter.

• Bag grass clippings, which can serve as habitats for ticks.

• Remove old furniture, trash and other debris that can give ticks places to hide.

• Remember to use a tick-repellent product when venturing into wooded areas. Flea and tick products also are available for pets; consult with a vet.

Ticks are problematic, but various measures can help control tick populations in a yard.


Make the most of your stadium visit

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Attending a sporting event or concert at an area stadium is a chance to have the time of one's life. For those who have never before enjoyed such an experience or haven't done so in awhile, the modern stadium might be something of a surprise. Fortunately, by being prepared and learning the ropes, your next day at the ballpark can be that much more enjoyable.

One of the first things that any event attendee should know is the reservation and ticketing process. Some stadiums may sell directly from their own box offices, while others may only sell through third-party vendors. Be sure to secure the tickets well in advance and keep them in a safe place if you choose paper tickets. In today's digital age, many tickets can be scanned and stored on a smartphone. Read the terms of use and be sure that you have the tickets downloaded and readily available when it comes time to enter the stadium. In addition, make sure the stadium accepts digital tickets. Many stadiums do, but there are still some holdouts that do not.

Expect certain measures of security that can involve anything from bag searches to walking through metal detectors when entering the stadium. You may need to leave large bags, like backpacks, at home. Don't be caught off guard and risk not being able to watch your game or show because of an avoidable error. And leave yourself ample time to get through security so you don't miss a minute of the action.

Next up it is important to know what can and cannot be brought into the stadium. What about outside food and beverages? The rules vary depending on the stadium. If you're not a fan of stadium prices, be sure to fuel up before the event.

Weather is always a consideration when attending events outdoors. Check the weather well in advance and make preparations if the game or concert will go on rain or shine. Spending several hours under the hot sun can be brutal, so hats, sunglasses, sunblock, and plenty of water will be needed to stay safe and comfortable. Consider packing a rain poncho if showers are in the forecast.

If you are able to ride share or take public transportation to the event, then do so. Parking lots fill up quickly, and the closer you are to the stadium, the more you will likely pay. If you drive, look for lots that allow easy egress in the direction of your destination after the event.

Stadium survival is about getting the facts and planning ahead.


How to show good sportsmanship

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Children and adults learn many valuable lessons while competing in sports. Participating in sports helps solidify lessons in following directions, and can teach athletes the value of dedicating themselves to goals. Sports also provide physical exercise and an opportunity to exhibit good sportsmanship. 

A 2014 national survey of 2,000 youth sports parents and coaches by Liberty Mutual Insurance revealed that even though they believe sportsmanship is one of the most important lessons of youth sports, 50 percent of respondents feel that sportsmanship has worsened in youth sports since responding adults were children themselves.

Some startling findings included 60 percent of respondents reporting either witnessing or participating in negative or abusive sideline behavior, and 55 percent of coaches have experienced parents yelling negatively at officials or their own children.

Good sportsmanship occurs when people who are participating and those observing the sport treat one another with respect. This includes all players, parents, coaches, and officials.

While there's much that coaches can do to instill good sportsmanship among their teammates, it is up to the parents and the players to help develop these skills. Here are some ways to encourage good sportsmanship.

• Parents can set an example. Parents watching from the sidelines should refrain from yelling at refs or negatively commenting on their kid's performance - or the performance of any other player, for that matter. Offer high praise for the effort, win or lose.

• Maintain a positive attitude. Positivity can go a long way. Encourage others to do their best, and always put forth your best effort throughout game play.

• Support teammates. Never criticize a teammate for trying his or her best. Always commend the effort.

• Accept the officials' decisions. Rules are in place to make the game fair and consistent. Follow the rules and accept when a ref, umpire or other official makes a call. Do not argue the call.

• Play fair. Never cheat or bend the rules to get ahead.

• Be a team player. Do your best to involve the whole team, even those players who may need a little extra help. Showboating or hogging the ball to show off your skills is discouraged.

• Win or lose with class. Always congratulate the winning team on a job well done if you are on the losing side. Accept the loss and own up to trying better next time. If you are on the winning team, shake hands with the losing team and wish them well. Do not gloat.

Sportsmanship is an important lesson that athletes can apply to other facets of their life.


Pool safety starts with prevention

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Pools make some backyards the places to be in late spring and throughout summer. Lazy summer afternoons are a lot more enjoyable when they're spent in or alongside a pool, and kids tend to say "I'm bored" with considerably less frequency when a pool is within arm's reach.

Pools are certainly fun, but they're only as fun as they are safe. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2018, at least 148 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas. While those figures represented a 9 percent decline from the year prior, 148 deaths is still 148 lives lost too early.

Pool safety need not come at the expense of summer fun. In fact, homeowners can employ various preventive measures to reduce the risk of pool-related accidents on their properties.

• Inspect gates around your pool. The International Code Council®, a member-focused association dedicated to the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable, and resilient structures, advises homeowners to inspect all pedestrian gates in the barrier fences around their pools. Such gates should be self-closing and self-latching, as both features ensure gates are always closed. In addition, the ICC recommends padlocking other gates around the property.

• Remove objects around pedestrian gates. Kids can climb up on chairs, tables, large toys, and other objects left around pool gates to gain access to pools even when their parents aren't looking or even home. Such items should be removed.

• Install a pool alarm. Pool alarms can alert homeowners to accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. The ICC recommends installing such alarms while noting that they should not be considered a substitute for barrier fences or safety covers.

• Install automatic or manually operated pool covers. Pool covers can effectively prevent access to pools, spas or hot tubs. At the end of each pool session, cover the pool, even during the height of summer when pools are used daily. The minor task of covering the pool is worth the considerably lower risk of accident or injury if pools remain uncovered.

Summer afternoons at the pool can be made much safer by adhering to a few safety tips.


2019 Friday Concert Line-Up Announced

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The Dubuque County Fair, presented by 7G Distributing, has announced this year's Friday concert, sponsored by Dubuque Bank & Trust and WJOD!

Following last year's success with Jake Owen and Jay Allen, the Dubuque County fair has booked country music superstar Chris Young, with special guest Carlton Anderson.

Tickets are $55 for the festival area, $45 for reserved grandstand, $35 for grandstand, and $20 for hillside (fair admission is not included with concert tickets). Ticket descriptions (and other frequently asked questions) are available on our website.

Tickets are on sale now at, at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds & Event Center Office or at

Saturday's act will be announced at a later time.

The Dubuque County Fair is the largest and longest-running family entertainment event in the county. The year's 66th annual event runs daily from July 23-28 with main stage and grounds entertainment, one of the nation's top midway carnival operators, barns, 4H and creative arts exhibits, fair food offerings (including the legendary lemonade) and more. To learn more about the fair, visit


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.

Learn more at