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Four Eastern Iowa American Red Cross Volunteers to Deploy to Texas

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CEDAR RAPIDS, IA, Sunday, May 24, 2015 - Four trained disaster workers with the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa traveled to Texas on Monday to assist the ongoing disaster response to flooding and tornados. The teams of two drove the emergency response vehicles (ERVs) to Dallas where they will receive their assignments.

Doug and Pat Nauman of Anamosa, and Ann and Ken Opatz of Lisbon drove the vehicles based in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. 

Rich and Carolyn Newkirk of Ankeny and Stewart Coulson of Charles City have been volunteering in Texas since May 13. All three are Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers.

Red Cross shelters are still open in Oklahoma and Texas. You can see how the Red Cross is helping. Red Cross workers have been providing shelter and food, cleaning supplies, health and mental health services, helping with damage assessment and meeting with families to help plan their next steps. Emergency response vehicles are traveling through the affected areas, bringing people food and relief supplies and Resource Centers are also open where people can come to be helped by multiple organizations. In the days and weeks ahead, the Red Cross will also provide health services and emotional support as residents begin to recover from the storms.

Several parts of the country, including Iowa, could still see bad storms this week and the Red Cross is monitoring the situation to respond if needed. People should download the new Red Cross Emergency app to receive safety alerts about storms in their area.

Nearly every second of every day, the Red Cross delivers help and hope. And we couldn't be there without the generous support of the American public. On June 2, join the American Red Cross for our inaugural Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign to support those in need in communities across the country. Together, let's go "all in" and make one day count. Schedule your donation today for Giving Day at redcross.org/givingday. You can also help build awareness by using the hashtag #allin1day on Twitter and Facebook.


Finley to Break Ground on New Clinic in Peosta

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Aiming to serve a growing population, UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital is moving forward with plans to open a new family medicine and walk-in clinic for the Peosta community. Plans for the new construction are complete and Finley is ready to break ground on the new facility. Members of the community are invited for a ground breaking ceremony on June 2, 2015 at noon at the Peosta Clinic site.

The clinic location is on Peosta Street, located on the roundabout to the North of Highway 20, conveniently positioned near the main entryway to the Peosta community. 

Finley is excited to bring a new family medicine clinic to the Peosta community. This new family medicine and walk-in clinic will offer convenience and improve access to high quality health care in Peosta and surrounding communities.


Simplify vacations and savor the fun

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Vacations are a great opportunity for families or individuals to recharge. But especially active vacationers often return from their trips in need of rest, as planning may have taken its toll or schedules loaded with too many activities might have left little time for R&R. Those willing to simplify their vacations may find their excursions provide the rest they need and the energizing boost they can make use of upon returning from their destinations.

Leave work behind
The United States is one of the few countries that does not guarantee paid days off. The Center for Economic and Policy Research says one in four working Americans do not get paid time off. The employment site Glassdoor notes that among those who do get paid vacations, 75 percent of employees chose not to use all of their time in 2013. By comparison, Canadians get an average of 19 days of vacation time per year. Stress about making up work or falling behind makes some professionals worry about using their vacation time, and those who do travel may stay connected to the office in some shape or form. Splitting time between leisure and work responsibilities on a vacation can be taxing and take away from the time you need to relax and recharge. Cut work ties and immerse yourself in the vacation experience.

Use a travel agent
Using a travel agent to plan your vacation can remove any stress and anxiety you may feel when planning a trip and juggling the responsibilities of everyday life. Many people choose to book their own trips as a cost-cutting measure. What they don't realize is that travel agents may be privy to special deals and perks they can pass on to customers. These agents also know the ins and outs of certain resorts and locales. Leaving the legwork in their accomplished hands means all you have to do is show up with your reservations instead of pouring over the minutiae of planning.

Consider an all-inclusive trip
All-inclusive resorts and cruise lines take the work out of having a good time. These types of vacations remove a lot of the problems associated with personal travel. Meals are provided, activities are coordinated, and you don't have to carry extra cash, as most costs generally are covered.

Keep your itinerary flexible
Scheduling right down to the minute can remove the fun of the trip. Leave opportunities to just sit and enjoy your surroundings. Perhaps other members of the family or traveling party have their own ideas for entertainment. A rigid timeline can make the vacation seem more like a commitment rather than an opportunity to let loose and stop watching the clock.

Rent a car
Find out if a rental car can be included in the price of your vacation. Having a car at the ready means vacationers can come and go as they please without worrying about hailing taxis or waiting for public transportation. Rental cars also provide access to areas outside of resort confines. Research possible destinations in advance and map out where you want to go to remain safe and prepared.

Vacations don't have to be taxing. Cut down on some of the stressful aspects of traveling by simplifying and delegating tasks.


Dubuque Racing Association announces 2015 Grant Recipients

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The Dubuque Racing Association, dba Mystique Casino, announced grant awards totaling $1,167,073 to 176 area charitable organizations at the Board of Directors meeting on May 19.

The grants awarded ranged from $985 to $25,000. The average grant award was $6,631.10 with 58 organizations receiving full funding for their projects. Forty-eight schools or school districts received $257,342 or 22% of the grant money. Over 36% of the funds supported organizations within the City of Dubuque and 77% of the funds supported organizations within Dubuque County.

The Dubuque Racing Association distributes funds from its operation annually. The annual disbursement resulted in the state of Iowa receiving $11,380,745, the City of Dubuque receiving $5,452,933 and Dubuque County receiving $276,260. During the 2014 fiscal year, the DRA also paid $16,120,548 in payroll and benefits to nearly 450 employees.

The Dubuque Racing Association is the sponsoring co-licensee for the Diamond Jo Casino.

A complete lising of all grant recipients is available at www.mystiquedbq.com/dra.


Gallery C announces Personal Spaces

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An exhibition of works by artists Paul and Lindsay McCormick, with guest artist Gary David

We pass through a multitude of spaces throughout our lifetime, while many hold little significance others rightfully stand out. Personal Space investigates the designation of these more intimate spaces through series of photographs presented by Paul and Lindsay McCormick. The exhibit expands into three dimensions with the functional art pieces presented by artist Gary David. The Opening Reception of Personal Space provides the ideal opportunity to kick back and relax with the Kipperton String Quartet, some of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra's finest musicians! This is a unique performance featuring an eclectic repertoire built to complement the art and is a perfect chance to enjoy classical music up close and broaden the art experience!

Multitasking and responsibility often blur the structure of work and play. The opportunity to shift the perspective of these entities from activity to state of mind creates balance; leisure renews and motivates, while work challenges and rewards. Lindsay McCormick's series Break Rooms is a survey of leisure in communal workspaces. The photo series examines how personalization of utilitarian space and a sense of community can enable momentary departure from work.

As a way to designate personal significance in public spaces Paul McCormick revisits locations, which have stood out, within his memory in This is Where. Through this ongoing series he revisits locations where significant moments have taken place throughout his life. While all of these locations have changed since the experiences he has had there he uses these spaces invite viewers to experience and interpret a visual representation of his recollections.

Exhibit will continue through July 5, 2015.

Gallery C is pleased to have the artists present for the Opening Reception on Friday, June 5, 5:30 - 8:30pm. All are invited and welcome to attend this exhibition, and to participate in the expanding art scene in the Millwork District. There is no charge and refreshments will be served.

Gallery C, Carolyn M, is located in the Schmid Innovation Center at 900 Jackson Street in Dubuque, IA. Main entrance doors are on Jackson St. near 10th Ave.


American Red Cross Offers First Aid and CPR/AED Courses in Dubuque

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Each year, more than 5 million people learn how to save a life in American Red Cross training classes and people in eastern Iowa can join the ranks of these everyday heroes by taking a class now. First Aid and CPR/AED courses teach people how to perform CPR and use an AED, what to do if someone is choking and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies until advanced medical help arrives. Course participants also learn how to control bleeding as well as how to care for seizures and other sudden illnesses. Most classes are held at the Red Cross office in Dubuque at 2400 Asbury Road.

The Red Cross is offering the following courses at Tri States office, 2400 Asbury Road in Dubuque:

Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547322
Saturday, 6/6/15, 8am-3pm

Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547311
Saturday, 6/6/15, 8am-noon

Offering ID # 3547349
Saturday, 6/13/15, 8am-11am

Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547407
Saturday, 6/13/15, 8am-noon

Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547422
Saturday, 6/13/15, 8am-3pm

BLENDED LEARNING CLASSES (online content/exam and in-class session)
There are two components to blended learning courses: online content/exam and an in-class skills session. June 15 is the date of the skills session. The online portion of this class must be completed before the skills session begins. For more information, call 1-800-REDCROSS, option 3 (1-800-733-2767 option 3).

Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547439
Monday, 6/15/15, 5pm-7pm

Adult First Aid/CPR/AED
Offering ID # 3547430
Monday, 6/15/15, 5pm-6:30pm

Red Cross training courses meet OSHA guidelines, feature hands-on skills practice and include 2 year certifications, free digital materials and skill refreshers. People can visit redcross.org/training or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for details and to register for a class.

A Pleasantville, Iowa man recently received the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit for using skills he learned in Red Cross training to save his granddaughter's life. The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given by the American Red Cross. It bears the signature of the President of the United States. It is a national-level award recognizing community members who save or sustain a life using skills learned in Red Cross training.

The Red Cross is the nation's leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 6.5 million Americans participate in Red Cross training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency.


South Grandview Bridge Repair Nighttime Work

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The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has started the rehabilitation project of the South Grandview Bridge over US 52/61/151 in Dubuque. The project will require road closures, detours and nighttime work in order to reduce the impact to highway traffic.

Project work began on Monday, May 11, and is expected to be completed by mid-June. Weather permitting, nighttime bridge beam removal and replacement work is planned for one night, May 21, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Informational notices will be mailed to nearby property owners, notifying them of the nighttime construction work. The City of Dubuque has issued a Noise Variance permit allowing the Iowa DOT to conduct nighttime work on May 21.

During the bridge beam removal and replacement work, South Grandview Avenue will be closed across the US 52/61/151 bridge each night from 9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. while US 52/61/151 mainline highway will be closed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. During the road closures, northbound and southbound highway traffic will be detoured onto the Grandview Avenue ramps. Grandview Avenue traffic will only be allowed to turn right onto the highway. Exiting highway traffic will be allowed to turn right onto Grandview Avenue.

The South Grandview Bridge has sustained damage over the years due to oversized vehicles hitting the bridge's support beams. Due to the US 52/61/151 improvements completed in recent years, the bridge now meets vertical clearance standards and the Iowa DOT can complete the necessary permanent repairs to the bridge. The project includes removal and replacement of the southernmost beam, bridge deck, sidewalk, and barrier rail.

For questions regarding the South Grandview Bridge Rehabilitation Project, contact Iowa DOT Resident Construction Engineer Hugh Holak, P.E., at 563-927-2397.


Workshop Planned

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Dubuque County Conservation will sponsor the "Becoming an Outdoor Woman" Workshop Saturday, June 6 at the Izaak Walton League in Peosta. The event runs from 9:00am to 2:30pm.

Calling all women of the outdoors! Join us for an day full of outdoor recreation. Hands-on activities include: gun safety, shotgun & rifle shooting, archery, fly-fishing, survival, fish cleaning, and more!

Must be 18 and must pre-register by calling 563.556.6745


Asphalt Overlay Projects Scheduled for 2015 Construction Season

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Starting Monday, May 18, the City of Dubuque's annual asphalt overlay program will repave city streets in most need of improvement. The Public Works Department will recycle old asphalt and repave approximately six miles of City streets this season for a safer and smoother ride.

Unlike street reconstruction projects, property owners are not assessed for costs associated with the asphalt overlay program. Instead, the program is funded with monies from Iowa's Road Use Tax Fund (gas and diesel fuel tax). The asphalt overlay program is part of the City's yearly street maintenance activity, which is budgeted at approximately $1.5 million for FY2016.

The following 41 street projects and one carry-over project are scheduled for partial or complete asphalt overlay this construction season:

Arabian Trail
Bradley Street
Broadlawn Road
Buckskin Circle
Churchill Drive
Clarke Crest
Clarke Drive - St. Ambrose to Asbury
Clydesdale Court
Dunning Street
Eden Lane
Edwards Road
Ethel Street
Farrell Court
Henderson Street
Hill Street - W. Third to W. Ninth streets (carryover project from 2014)
Horizon Court
Keokuk Court
Keokuk Street
Key Corners
Lea Lane
Lacey Court
Mineral Street - Devon Drive to cul-de-sac
Morningview Road
Mullin Road
National Street - off Keokuk
New Haven Street
Ogilby Road
Palomino Court
Perry Street
Prysi Drive
Ravenwood Court
Richie Drive
Ridge Road
Rider Street
Sharon Drive
St Anne Drive - Ridge Road to Avalon
Stevens Court
University Ave. - Gilliam to Ethel
Valley View Road - Avalon to Chaney
W 7th - Central to Iowa
W 9th - Iowa St. west to the alley between Iowa and Main

Residents will be notified by mail prior to the start of the project with contact information and parking instructions. Normally, projects can be completed in one week and streets can be driven on soon after paving takes place, as soon as traffic control devices have been removed.

The Public Works Department has repaved over 190 centerline miles, almost two-thirds of Dubuque's 310 miles of streets, over the past 20 years through the asphalt overlay program. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 563-589-4250.


How families can cut vacation costs

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Family vacations are the one time each year when all members of the family get to leave the daily grind behind to enjoy a little R&R together. Such excursions often strengthen family bonds and help to create lasting memories that parents and kids will cherish for years to come.

Families planning this summer's annual getaway may already know that the cost of travel is on the rise. While there are always deals to be had, budget-conscious parents may still find themselves looking for ways to cut their travel costs so more of their money can be spent on having fun instead of financing trips. The following are a handful of ways parents can trim their families' travel costs without sacrificing the quality of their vacations.

• Stay closer to home. It may sound simple, but vacationing closer to home is perhaps the best way for families to save a substantial amount of money on their vacations. Airline tickets can take up a sizable portion of a family vacation budget, and once the plane touches down families may need to add the additional expense of rental cars so they can get around their destination and enjoy all its sights and sounds. But families who choose to vacation closer to home can take their own vehicles, paying only for gas instead of airline tickets, car rentals (including rental insurance) and gas. Find a location close to home that still offers everyone an escape, but one that's not far enough away that car travel will prove burdensome and exhausting.

• Plan to make some of your own meals. Dining out is another considerable expense for families on vacation. Depending on the size of their families, parents may find that their dining budgets will approach or even exceed the cost of air travel by the end of a single week. But parents can drastically reduce those costs by planning to make some their own meals while away on vacation. Bring along a couple of cereal boxes so breakfast is simple and inexpensive, and try to book accommodations equipped with kitchens or outdoor areas where the family can fire up a grill a few times during the week to save on costly dinner tabs.

• Travel light. Families who must travel by air can trim some of the cost of flying by traveling light. Many airlines now charge fees for bags that exceed preestablished weight limits and may charge for additional baggage as well. Leave hefty jackets and extra footwear behind when traveling during the warmer months, as everyone can likely get by with just some lighter summer attire and less formal footwear. If traveling to a ski resort in the winter, consider renting bulky skiing attire, including boots, so baggage limits are not exceeded.

• Work with a travel agency that specializes in your locale. Many families may feel they can now plan their own vacations and save money, but planning through a travel agency may still be a family's best bet. When booking trips via a travel agency, families can often negotiate with a representative, who can work to tailor a vacation that fits families' budgets. Such negotiation is much more difficult when going it alone or working through a travel website. In addition, many travel agencies include tours and other attractions in the price of their packages, and that can be a great way to earn discounts to local sights and activities.

Travel is expensive, especially for parents traveling with kids in tow. But cost-conscious moms and dads can still plan relaxing and enjoyable vacations without breaking the bank.


How to keep kids entertained all summer long

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Summer vacation often starts with high expectations. Children are excited about the prospect of fun days outdoors playing with friends, while parents anxiously await relaxing months without the responsibilities of school and extracurricular clubs. But once summer vacation arrives and the first few days have passed, parents often find that the litany of cheers and giggles transform into a chorus of "I'm bored."

Many parents pore over ideas that will keep their children busy throughout the summer. Many activities that come to mind tend to be expensive, so if cutting costs is a priority, parents might need to think outside the box to come up with entertaining ideas that won't break the bank.

Summer camp is a popular way for kids to spend their summers, but many camps are expensive.The American Camp Association has found that overnight camps can cost anywhere from $325 to $780 a week. Day camp fees may be $100 to $275 per week. Parents who send their children to camp for an entire season might pay anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 for the seven- to nine-week program.

Go Local
Parents looking for an alternative to costly camps should consider local programs that offer summer activities. Libraries, schools and childcare centers may have programs that run the length of summer and are considerably less expensive than more formal camps. A YMCA or even a swim club may also put together activities. Parents whose children attend afterschool sporting classes, such as karate or soccer, may find that the organizations offer a camp or summer program.

Day Trips
If a parent is off for the summer, then day trips may be a possibility. Schedule a few day trips to different locations that the kids are excited to see. Newspapers routinely print "Go See It" or "Just Go" listings that highlight local events. The family can gather around the table and decide which outings would be interesting and then mark them on the calendar. Some parents purchase season passes to amusement parks and take the kids several times over the summer. In either case, bring snacks and lunch from home when possible to keep costs in check.

Kid Swap
Chances are many of your neighbors are also facing the same difficulties as they try to find ways for kids to spend their summer afternoons. Parents can get together and set up a schedule for entertaining the kids. For example, one parent is responsible for the whole lot one day, while the next day another parent takes a turn. This gives parents the opportunity to take a break from parental responsibilities and enjoy some quiet time. And for the children, time spent in a pool, watching movies, playing video games, or riding bikes is often more enjoyable with friends in tow.

Fun Projects

• Children often want to feel useful, and may enjoy the responsibility of some easy tasks in and around the house – so long as the tasks are fun. Washing the car with a hose and a bucket of sudsy water is a fun way to cool off during the hot summer days and get a chore done. While parents should not expect a perfect job, they can rest assured that the kids will have at least an hour of fun in the sun and water.

• Set aside a patch of the yard that children can turn into their own personal gardens. Encourage digging in this area and provide seeds or seedling plants as well as kid-sized gardening tools. Each day the kids can check on the progress of their gardens.

• Some home-improvement and craft stores sponsor free learning activities for children. They can be held in the morning or afternoon and will teach interesting skills that can be put to use again at home.

Summer vacations are soon to arrive, and parents can be armed with a list of enjoyable – yet inexpensive – ways to keep kids busy.


Serve up these cool concoctions on summer afternoons

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Summer is all about idling away weekend afternoons and letting the world go by as you relax, ideally poolside or with ocean waves lapping in the background. Refreshing drinks add to the relaxing natures of such days and evenings, and the following concoctions courtesy of A.J. Rathbun's Good Spirits (Harvard Common Press) are tailor-made for sultry summer days.

Slow Poke

1-1/2 ounces sloe gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Chilled club soda
Orange slice for garnish
Maraschino cherry for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the sloe gin, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. Stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass up with club soda. Stir well, but at an even pace. Garnish with the orange slice around the rim and the cherry dropped in the glass.


1-1/2 ounces limoncello
5 or 6 fresh raspberries
Ice cubes
Chilled club soda

1. Fill a Collins glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the limoncello, humming any coronation march you choose.

2. Fill the glass to about 1/2 inch from the top with the club soda. Add the fresh raspberries. Stir slowly, but with purpose. Don't be afraid to bust up the raspberries a little. You want to stir until this is well combined. Serve with a stirrer, long-necked spoon.

Note: Raspberries can be replaced with blueberries, but they need to be fresh and ripe so they burst a bit when they're stirred and add just a faint touch of juice to the mix.

Peach Nehi

3/4 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
3/4 ounce DeKuyper Pucker Cheri-Beri
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh pineapple juice
Chilled 7UP or Sprite
Ice cubes
Peach slice for garnish (optional)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, peach schnapps, Cheri-Beri, lime juice, and pineapple juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a highball glass halfway full with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass.

3. Top off with 7UP. Stir once in a rocking-chair motion. Garnish with the peach slice.

Note: DeKuyper's Pucker Cheri-Beri is a sweet cherry schnapps.


Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop Scheduled for June 11

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The Dubuque Circles® Initiative will host its annual "Bridges Out of Poverty" workshop, designed to provide insight into both the challenges and strengths of those who live in or have lived in poverty, on Thursday, June 11, at the Holiday Inn Clarion/Dubuque room, 450 Main St., Dubuque.

The workshop will be offered to social, health, legal, educational, and business professionals, as well as the general public, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Cost to participate in the workshop is $60 per person. Social work continuing education units (CEUs) are available through Loras College for an additional $5. Space is limited. Registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, beverages, and a book of your choice.

The workshop is based on the book Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities by Dr. Ruby Payne, founder of aha! Process, Inc., a company that provides workshops, publications, and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools, and higher education.

Topics to be covered in the workshop include:
• the hidden rules of socio-economic classes
• the social and political factors affecting poverty
• understanding communication patterns
• four causes of poverty/barriers to change
• identifying resources and building strengths

"Bridges Out of Poverty" will be facilitated by certified trainers Jim Ott, a school psychologist with the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, and Ermina Soler, Circles Coach for the City of Dubuque, who brings real-life experience to the team.

Registration is available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/bridgesoutofpoverty, or by contacting Ermina Soler at 563-690-6109.


Successfully plan your holiday escape

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Millions of travelers take to the roads, rails and sky in the days surrounding major holidays. While a large percentage of people travel miles and miles to visit with friends and family members these times of year, others use days off from school and work as prime times for vacations.

Holiday excursions can be exciting, but they may require some extra planning and patience. Larger crowds at airports and more cars on the roads can make holiday-timed travel challenging. Make these trips memorable by reducing travel-related stressors.

Research thoroughly
Study your travel options to determine the best way to get from point A to point B. Weigh the cost of your trip as well as the time involved in traveling. Driving may seem like a good idea if you don't want to stretch your budget, but it may eat up too much of your vacation time if you're traveling long distances.

If you will be flying, learn the airline baggage restrictions and the security measures in place at your departing airports. This makes navigating the airport that much easier.

Planning well in advance also enables you to get the best prices possible. A study by CheapAir.com found that those who booked tickets for domestic travel 49 days prior to departure saved the most money.

Develop a contingency plan
Even the best laid plans can go awry. Know what to do in the event a particular rest stop or scenic spot along the way is closed or if travel plans get delayed or rerouted. Certain travel apps provide real-time updates on delays or provide gate numbers prior to arriving at the airport. Other apps indicate which gas stations have the lowest prices or which rest stops offer the cleanest bathrooms.

Take your car in for a tune-up
Drivers should make sure their vehicles are in good working condition prior to departure. More cars are on the roads during holidays, and that means a greater potential for stop-and-go traffic, which can put added stress on the vehicle. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition to avoid flats or blowouts, which can delay your trip.

Pack light
Ship gifts or keepsakes ahead of time so you do not have much to lug through airport terminals or rail stations. If you must take gifts with you, wait until you arrive at your destination before wrapping them, as this makes items easier to inspect.

If you're going on vacation instead of just a weekend getaway, you will probably return home with more items than you brought because of gifts or souvenirs. Pack an extra tote bag or an empty carry-on suitcase where you can store extra items accumulated on the trip. Otherwise, see if these things can be shipped home. It may be cheaper to ship items than to pay airline baggage fees.

Travel off-peak
It's often quicker and less stressful to travel during off-peak hours when roads and airports are less crowded. Off-peak hours include overnight, early morning or late evening. Red-eye flights or off-peak travel times also may be less expensive.

Travelers looking to avoid crowded roadways or airports may also want to avoid especially popular travel days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Leave a few days before a major holiday or arrive a few days after to avoid the crowds.

Travel with your own snacks
Failure to eat or drink can do more than lead to hunger pangs and dehydration. It can make the body sluggish and may affect your ability to deal with minor (or major) irritations. Pack nutritious snacks and take breaks to refuel your body.

Remember your destination
If you find holiday travel stressful, focus on the comforting thought that once you get to your destination you can kick back and relax. Do not overbook your trip and leave yourself time to unwind and decompress.


Dubuque Prepares to Issue Revenue Bonds for Flood Mitigation Project

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Moody's Investors Service today released a credit report in advance of the City of Dubuque becoming the first community in Iowa to issue sales tax increment revenue bonds as part of the State of Iowa Flood Mitigation Program.

The report is a required step in preparation for the City to issue the sales tax increment revenue bonds. It focused on the City's fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014) audit and included a review of Dubuque's general obligations bond rating as well.

Sales Tax Increment Bond Rating
Moody's assigned Dubuque's sales tax increment bonds a rating of A3. According to Moody's, "issuers or issues rated A present above-average creditworthiness relative to other U.S. municipal or tax-exempt issuers or issues." The rating was announced in advance of the City issuing approximately $20 million in sales tax increment revenue bonds to provide funds for flood mitigation projects previously approved by the City Council as part of the $200 million Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project. More specifically, these bond sales will fund the construction of the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration phase of the project, which is scheduled to begin in 2015. The City plans to issue the bonds on May 18, 2015.

The State of Iowa Flood Mitigation Program was created in 2012. The Sales Tax Increment Fund consists of the increase in the state share of sales tax revenues from communities with qualifying applications. A community is only eligible to receive up to 70 percent of the incremental increase in state sales tax. To qualify for sales tax increment funding, federal financial assistance must have been secured for the project. A local match is also required and the state sales tax increment cannot exceed 50 percent of the total project cost.

On December 4, 2013, the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board approved Dubuque's application and use of $98.5 in state sales tax increment funds for the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project. In February of 2014, the City Council adopted Resolution 31-14 authorizing the execution of an agreement with the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board binding the City to the terms of the agreement as required for the City's receipt of up to $98.5 million in state sales tax increment funds for the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project.

The first debt issuance for the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project was issued as a Sales Tax Increment Revenue Bond backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Dubuque for $7.2 million in May 2014. The second Sales Tax Increment Revenue bond issuance for an estimated $20.4 million will be sold on May 18 and will be subject to annual appropriation by City Council and will not be backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Dubuque. In addition, a $29 million U.S. EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan will also be issued with the loan finalized on May 18.

General Obligation Bond Rating
The report issued today (May 11, 2015) also includes a downgrade of Dubuque's general obligation (GO) bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3, the fourth-highest rating available. According to Moody's, "Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk."

As publicly discussed by the mayor, city council, and city manager, and reported by the media, this downgrade was anticipated, based on the negative outlook assigned in Moody's last rating. According to Moody's, the downgrade to Aa3 "reflects the City's recent declines in fund balance and cash reserves, which are expected to stabilize at lower levels going forward, as well as the City's very high debt burden relative to other Aa-rated entities." The rating acknowledged Dubuque's "sizable tax base and role as a regional economic center, and moderate exposure to unfunded pension liabilities."

This decline in the general fund reserve was due to planned capital expenditures of $4.1 million in FY 2014. The expenditures included a variety of projects, such as: public safety enhancements (equipment/vehicle replacement, computer software, facility improvements); parks maintenance and improvements (pavilions, parking lots, trails, green spaces); public facility improvements and maintenance (Five Flags audio/visual equipment, City-wide computer replacements); street/infrastructure improvements (curb/catch basins, sidewalk program, street lights, traffic signals, security cameras, property acquisitions); riverfront maintenance (harbor dredging and maintenance); franchise fee litigation; and housing and community development programs (maintenance of vacant/abandoned properties, homeownership grants).

Dubuque's GO bond rating was most recently reviewed in November 2014, when Moody's affirmed Dubuque's Aa2 rating with a negative outlook. Today's rating report included the removal of the negative outlook, reflecting Moody's "expectation that the City's available general fund balance and liquidity will stabilize at a level consistent with Aa3-rated entities." Previously, Moody's downgraded Dubuque's general obligation bond rating one level in April 2014, from the second-highest rating available (Aa1) to the third-highest (Aa2). This change followed Moody's implementation of a new rating methodology. At that time, Dubuque was one of 256 U.S. local governments placed under review by Moody's as a result of the change in its rating methodology. The new methodology increased the weight in overall assessment on debt and pensions to 20 percent from 10 percent, decreases the weight on economic factors to 30 percent from 40 percent, and introduced a scorecard for U.S. local governments to enhance the transparency of key rating considerations. Moody's has upgraded the City of Dubuque's general obligation bond rating twice since 2002.

Moody's provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities. The purpose of Moody's ratings is to provide investors with a simple system to gauge future relative creditworthiness of securities. The firm uses nine rating classifications to designate least credit risk to greatest credit risk: Aaa, Aa, A, Baa, Ba, B, Caa, Ca, and C. Moody's appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each rating classification.

As reviewed in late 2014, the vast majority of Moody's public finance rating changes in recent years have been downgrades, accounting for 79 percent in 2013 and 82 percent in 2012. Seven other Iowa cities were downgraded in 2014, including Ames, Bettendorf, Davenport, Des Moines, Jefferson, Sioux City, and Waverly.


Chad Wagener Joins Premier Bank as Vice President, Commercial Lender

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Jeffrey Mozena, president and CEO of Premier Bank, is pleased to announce the hire of Chad Wagener as vice president, commercial lender.

"As we continue to grow, we sought to add a commercial lender to our team who could provide the unparalleled customer service our clients deserve, while gaining the capacity to welcome additional commercial clients and projects," added Mozena. Wagener's responsibilities will include creating and sustaining relations with commercial banking clients, providing commercial loans and deposit solutions with services tailored to meet each client's needs.

Wagener joins Premier with an extensive 15-year background in commercial lending experience-most recently serving as a vice president, business banking at Dubuque Bank & Trust. Wagener is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Tippie School of Management (University of Iowa).

As an active member of his community, Wagener currently serves as vice president of the Dubuque Main Street board of directors, and recently served as past president of the Dubuque Jaycees. Wagener has also served on the All The Way Home Tri-State Veterans conference board, and has been active with the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information please contact Jeffrey Mozena at (563) 588-1000.

Premier is a community bank committed to providing attractive account options with cutting-edge technology while supporting Dubuque and the surrounding area's civic, educational and charitable organizations. Premier Bank has $271 million in assets and three locations in Dubuque.


Public Meeting on Brownfields Project on May 28

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The City of Dubuque will host an open house on Thursday, May 28, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Neighborhood Resource Center at Prescott Elementary School at 1151 White St. The purpose of this meeting is to inform residents and stakeholders of the City's brownfields redevelopment project.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded the City of Dubuque two Brownfields Assessment Grants totaling $400,000 that allow the City to inventory, characterize, assess, and plan the revitalization and reuse of underutilized properties within the community. Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

The City is concentrating its efforts within the Historic Millwork District, South Port area of the Port of Dubuque, and the Washington Neighborhood. City staff and its environmental consultant, HR Green, Inc., will cover the following topics during the meeting:

• Definition of a brownfields site and the purpose of the brownfields program

• Importance and benefits of redeveloping brownfield sites

• Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) processes

• Areas of the community targeted for assessment activities

• Benefits of participating in the brownfields program

• Redevelopment visioning

The City of Dubuque invites all interested residents to attend the meeting. City staff will consider all feedback received. For more information, please contact City of Dubuque Economic Development Director Maurice Jones (563-589-4393 or mjones@cityofdubuque.org) or HR Green Project Director Scott Mattes (515-657-5277 or smattes@hrgreen.com).


South Grandview Bridge Repair to Begin Next Week


Make your graduation party a success

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It's the season for celebrating. Thousands of graduates will be marching down school auditorium aisles soon to receive their diplomas. Tassels will be flipped, and caps will be tossed in the air in celebration. After the ceremony, parties all across the country will ensue.

Some of the planning that should take place early on includes:

• party venue reservation
• setting up catering
• determining a guest list
• establishing a budget

Money-saving tips
Cost is a big factor when it comes to social occasions. Saving money with respect to graduation parties can be as simple as joining resources.

Chances are you know several families who are having graduation parties at the same time as yours. Consider having a joint party with a few families so graduates can celebrate together. A joint party can also save you money. Each can be responsible for a certain aspect of the party experience, and cutting the costs two or three ways helps everyone meet their budgets.

Another way to keep costs down is to have the party on a weeknight or a day other than the graduation. Weekends will be the most expensive, especially weekend evenings. Altering the time or day of the party can save you money. In addition, limit the menu to finger foods or snacks to keep the price in check.

Consider an open-house policy
Hosting a graduation party open house means that people can drop by between a specific time frame and mingle. It takes the pressure off of having a party start and end at a firm time. Graduates often find this is a good option so that they can hop from party to party and celebrate with friends who are having their own events.

Keep it safe
Serving alcohol at a high school graduation party is unadvisable, as many of the guests may be underage. In many instances, the party host is responsible for the well-being of party guests. Should guests leave intoxicated and get injured or cause an accident, you may be liable.

At college graduation parties, alcohol may be served, but as a party host it is your responsibility to ensure guests are able to make it home safely and to take charge if a guest is intoxicated.

Having a plan established and securing the supplies, food and venue for your party in advance will make the party much easier to pull off. That means you will be able to enjoy the festivities in full the actual day of the celebration.


The many benefits of hiring a professional landscaper

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The flowers are blooming, and the grass has begun to grow anew, making spring a great time for homeowners to once again turn their attention to landscaping. Those who aren't looking forward to dusting off their lawnmowers and rethreading their string trimmers may want to hire professional landscapers to tend to their lawns and gardens.

A recent joint study by the National Gardening Association, Residential Lawn and Landscape Services and the Value of Landscaping found that homeowners spend roughly $45 billion per year on professional lawn and landscape services, as nearly 30 percent of all households across the United States use at least one type of lawn or landscape service. The rising use of lawn care services is indicative of homeowners' appreciation of the convenience and craftsmanship professional services can provide. While the impact professional landscapers can have on a property's aesthetic appeal is considerable, homeowners also benefit from working with professional landscapers in various other ways.

• Time savings: One of the biggest benefits of leaving lawn care to the professionals is the amount of time it will save for the average homeowner. Lawns generally need to be mowed once per week during the spring and summer seasons and, depending on the size of the property, that can take an hour or more. Add the time it takes to clean up clippings, mulch landscaping beds and edge the property, and homeowners can expect to devote a significant chunk of their weekends to caring for their lawns. Lawn services employ a few workers who make fast work of the job, leaving homeowners time to enjoy their weekends however they see fit.

• Reduced risk for injury: Maintaining a landscape is hard work, and those unaccustomed to this type of activity may find themselves winded or at risk of injury. Improper use of lawn equipment also is a safety hazard. Leaving the work to professionals can help homeowners avoid strained backs, lacerations, pulled muscles, sunburns, and any other dangers that can result when tackling landscaping projects.

• Financial savings: On the surface, hiring a landscaping service may seem like a costly venture. However, after crunching some numbers, many homeowners realize that doing the work themselves may cost more in the long run than hiring a professional landscaping service.

Homeowners who decide to go it alone must purchase expensive equipment, and those lawn tools will require routine maintenance, which costs additional money. Inexperienced homeowners may incur extra fees to "fix" mistakes that occur during the learning process. Each year, new seed, fertilizer, mulch, pesticides, and other supplies also must be purchased. But professional lawn care services typically charge a set fee per month, and that fee covers the maintenance of both your property and the equipment needed to keep that property looking great.

• Know-how: Many professional landscapers know how to address lawn care issues that may arise throughout the year. They will know how to deal with dry patches of lawn or poorly draining areas, and they also can make recommendations on plants that will thrive under certain conditions.

• One-stop shopping: Certain landscaping services provide many different options for prospective customers. Basic lawn cuts may be one package, but there also may be services for seasonal seeding, weeding, leaf clean-up, and winterizing.

• Consistent maintenance: Homeowners who frequently travel or spend much of their summers away from home often find that lawn care companies are a wise investment. Established weekly schedules ensure the landscape always will look its best whether homeowners are home or out of town.

Spring is a great time for homeowners to decide if hiring professional landscaping services is in their best interests. The time and money saved, as well as impact professional landscapers can have on a property, makes landscaping services a great investment for many homeowners.


Swimming Pool Passes Now Available

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The City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department is now selling 2015 season pool passes. Flora and Sutton swimming pools are tentatively scheduled to open for the season on Saturday, May 23.

Pool passes may be purchased at the Leisure Services Office at 2200 Bunker Hill Rd. or applications may be downloaded from www.cityofdubuque.org/pools and mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to Leisure Services. Swim passes are valid during open swim, lap swim, and waterwalking times at Flora and Sutton pools.

Pool schedules are listed in the Leisure Services Summer Activities Brochure, available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/recreation.

Resident season pool pass prices for 2015 are $120 per household, $76 per adult pass, and $44 per youth pass. Non-resident season pool pass prices are $144 per household, $91 per adult pass, and $52 per youth pass.

Daily admission fees for Flora and Sutton pools are $4 per adult (age 18 and older), $2 per senior (age 62 and retired), $2 per youth (age 4-17), and free for toddlers (infant-age 3).

Flora and Sutton pools are available to rent for employee outings, youth group activities, or private parties. Flora Pool is available for rental on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. for $275. Sutton Pool is available for rental on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. for $200. The Flora and/or Sutton Water Playground is available for rental on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $80.

For further information, please contact the Leisure Services Department at 563-589-4263 or email parkrec@cityofdubuque.org.


$20,000 Awarded in Finley Nursing Scholarships

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

Recipients are:

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

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

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


Dubuque Achieves 4-STAR Community Rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reminders for Taking Pets to City Parks, Pet Park

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

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

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

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

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


Dubuque Delegation Visiting China in May

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

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

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

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

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


Can’t-miss grad gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


No-bake desserts make the perfect end to a gathering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Simple ways to cut prom costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


City Parks to Open for Season on May 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dubuque Considers Closing Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Finley Scores Four Stars on Hospital Star Rating Report

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

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

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

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

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

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


Finley Hospital celebrates 125th Anniversary in 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How to create a rainwater harvesting system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tips for homeowners on their first renovation projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Easy way to clean up in a snap

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Living Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

• Make your bed and fluff the pillows.

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

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


Dubuque County Fair Announces 2015 Main Stage Line-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Asbury Road Pavement Project to Begin in May

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

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

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

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

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

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


The 2015 Manchester Garage Sale Is Open For Business!

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

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

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

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

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

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


How to keep your bike in top form

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Natural ways to beat seasonal allergies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The many uses for vinegar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The dos and don’ts of backyard fire pits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Simple defensive driving techniques anyone can employ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Emerging trends in crafting

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Simple ways to save at the pump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How to get a cleaner, healthier home this spring

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

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

Get rid of mold and mildew

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

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

Protect against allergens, viruses and bacteria

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

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

Say 'Au Revoir' to Odor

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

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

Outdoor equipment

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

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

Patio Furniture

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

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


Coloring the wedding: Choosing a hue for the bridesmaid gowns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


Dubuque County Conservation Board Summer Camp Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Exhibit at Dubuque Museum of Art

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

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

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

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

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

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


CityChannel Dubuque to Air ‘From the Archives’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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