Area Tidbits

Heritage Trail Splash & Dash

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Friends of Dubuque County Conservation invites you to participate in the Heritage Trail Splash & Dash July 15 from 9 to 11 am.

Dubuque's first Splash & Dash will take place on the Heritage Trail. The scenic course will start with a dip in Heritage Pond and a run along the flat limestone Heritage Trail. The race will start and end at the Heritage Trail parking lot.

The Heritage Trail once was a bustling railroad that traveled through old mining and mill towns. This race is open to individuals and teams! Register today for the early bird discount!

Swim length .....................................400 yard
Run length ........................................3.1 miles

All proceeds from the run will benefit the Friends of Dubuque County Conservation who help support Dubuque County parks and environmental education. Sponsors for the race include: Premier Bank and Grand River Medical Group.

Race Info:

Register at:

For more information contact Kaytlan Moeller at Swiss Valley Nature Center. Call 563.556.6745.


7th Annual Colts Summer Premiere

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Inspired by life high above the Mississippi River, and marking their 50th anniversary, the Colt Cadets are proud to present their 2017 production, "The River's Edge."

This season, the Colt Cadets will bring audiences through various scenes along the river, soaring high above the valleys, sailing through the currents, and even enjoying life in a river town. Highlighted by Smetana's Vltava (Die Moldau), the Colt Cadets depict a great river traveling through woods, bluffs, meadows, and stunning landscapes.

The Colt Cadets will debut their 2017 production, along with the Colts, at the 7th Annual Colts Summer Premiere on Friday, June 23 at the Loras College Rock Bowl Stadium.

The competitive season begins on June 24 in Whitewater, Wisconsin, and concludes August 7 - 8 at the Drum Corps International Open Class Championships in Michigan City, Indiana.



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Celebration of Life After Cancer Diagnosis

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life Dubuque is proud to announce Carisa Baker as this year's Honorary Survivor Chair. Baker will be introduced as the survivor chair the evening of the relay, which is being held this year at the Town Clock Plaza. Baker will take part in the parade with other survivors that will honor all that they have overcome in their battles against cancer.

In 2011 Carisa and her husband, Kevin, had been married three years and were thinking about starting a family. During a routine appointment with her OBGYN, the doctor observed a disturbing mole on her thigh. The doctor immediately sent Carisa to another doctor. She was diagnosed with stage three Melanoma and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Within just a few days Carisa found herself undergoing surgery at St. Mary's in Madison. 
Following surgery, Carisa underwent unbearable treatments, with Kevin by her side the entire time.

Both belonged to Law Enforcement families that were right there with them all along the journey. Carisa's Iowa County Sherriff's Office co-workers placed ribbon magnets on their squad cars that read: "No One Fights Alone!" and wore t-shirts and bracelets to show their support. Three years later Carisa was cancer free and gave birth to twin sons, Jacob and Jase!

Carisa invites everyone to attend Dubuque's Relay For Life - An Evening of Celebration and Hope on June 2. Following the parade will be a celebration in the Town Clock Plaza with music, food, silent auction and games for all ages. At dusk, a luminaria ceremony will take place at which Carisa will share more of her battle and triumph over cancer.

We encourage anyone interested in forming a team to sign-up today, Contact Jodi Federspiel at, or (888)266.2071, with any questions.

Fundraising through Relay For Life event supports the American Cancer Society's mission to prevent cancer, save lives and diminish suffering from the disease.


Dubuque Pools Scheduled to Open This Saturday

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Weather permitting, Dubuque's Sutton and Flora swimming pools are scheduled to open on Saturday, May 27, with special hours of operation until June 3 when regular pool hours begin.

From Saturday, May 27, through Monday, May 29, adult water walking is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with open swim from 1 to 5 p.m. From Tuesday, May 30, through Friday, June 2, adult water walking will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. and again from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open swim will be from 4 to 8 p.m. from May 30-June 2.

Regular pool hours begin Saturday, June 3. Regular open swim hours for the Flora Park Swimming Pool are Sunday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Regular open swim hours for the Nicholas J. Sutton Swimming Pool are Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Adult lap swim and water walking hours vary for Flora and Sutton pools; please visit or call 563-589-4263 for information.

Swim passes are available for purchase at the Leisure Services office at 2200 Bunker Hill Rd. A household pass is $135 for residents and $162 for nonresidents; plus $6 per person above six persons. Youth passes are $50 for residents and $60 for nonresidents. Adult passes are $85 for residents and $102 for nonresidents. Season swim passes are now individual photo ID cards. New pass purchases require a photo taken and ID card printed by the Leisure Services Department. Renewals may be paid for online at, by mail, or in person. These passes will admit individuals during the period of May 27, 2017, through winter/spring season of 2018. Low-income passes are available; must present valid documents to obtain discount.

For additional pool information, visit or call 563-589-4263.


The Grand Opera House presents Shrek the Musical

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The Grand Opera House is excited to present Shrek the Musical, a show that is all about family- onstage, backstage, and in the audience. This fairytale story told from the perspective of an ogre, is sure to be fun for audience members young and old. This tale is told by a cast of talented local performers, many of them family themselves! Husband and wife team, Jeff and Christen Tebbe work together seamlessly as Director and Choreographer for the show. You may remember Jake Tebbe from Rising Star's successful production of Beauty and the Beast from last summer. This year he joins his brother Jeff at the Grand playing the title character of Shrek. Steven Hill brought his sons Jonathan and Nick in for auditions and they all landed parts as a Fairytale Characters - Steven as Papa Bear, Nicholas as Young Shrek and Baby Bear, and Jonathan as Peter Pan. Tara Brock joins the Fairytale Characters as the Fairy Godmother, while her daughter Mira will be playing Little Red Ridinghood. Lilian Schultheis is following in her big brother Aiden's shoes on the Grand stage, she is appearing as one of the Child Fairies while Aiden is playing the Ugly Duckling. Melissa and Tim got engaged, and married on the Grand Stage, now as they are about to welcome their first child they share the stage once again. Melissa is featured as Mama Bear, while Tim plays one of Lord Farquaad's guards as well as Grumpy Dwarf among other various roles. Angela Ruley brought her daughter Mia in to audition and they both got cast! Angela is playing the dragon and Mia will be Young Fiona. The Garret sisters, Amanda and Emily, lend their beautiful voices to the 3 Blind Mice trio and as Dragonettes.

In addition, some of the Grand's "family" is returning to the stage. Adam Wacker celebrates his homecoming to the Grand as the Big Bad Wolf after a 6 year hiatus following the Grand's 2011 production of Singin' In The Rain. Michaela Williams, last seen on the Grand stage in Cabaret, joins the cast as the unabashed Princess Fiona. Tom Taylor takes to the stage as Lord Farquaad after performing in The Nutcracker and Cinderella ballets this past year, and appearing in Carousel last summer. The Grand is also excited to welcome a new member to the "family", Steven Cortez makes his debut performance in the historic opera house as the Donkey.

Tickets for Shrek the Musical are $20 for Adults and $12 for children under 18 and can be purchased in person at the Box Office located at 135 W. 8th Street in Dubuque, or by calling (563) 588-1305. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from Noon until 4:00pm. Tickets can also be purchased on our website at

Dates and Times:
Friday, June 16th 7:30pm
Saturday, June 17th 7:30pm
Sunday, June 18th 2:00pm
Thursday, June 22nd 7:30pm
Friday, June 23rd 7:30pm
Saturday, June 24th 7:30pm
Sunday, June 25th 2:00pm

Ticket Prices: Adults $20, Under 18 $12


Housing Department Offering Home Ownership Workshop in June

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The City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department will host a "Home Ownership Made Easy" (HOME) workshop in June to provide information on City programs, credit and basic banking/insurance, and energy savings for those who rent or own a home. The workshop is comprised of four classes that span four consecutive Monday evenings from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The first workshop begins Monday, June 5.

Workshop courses will be held in Suite 312 on the third floor of the Historic Federal Building, 350 W. Sixth St. Cost is $25 per household for four classes, or free for those already participating in the City's Housing Choice Voucher Program. The HOME workshop is required for those who wish to qualify for City homebuyer incentives.

The four-week workshop classes are broken down as follows:

• Week One: City Programs and Useful Tips, presented by City staff

• Week Two: The Keys to Your Home-Spending Plans and Credit, presented by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Dubuque County

• Week Three: Basic Banking/Insurance, presented by lender/insurance agent

• Week Four: The Energy Wise Take a Closer Look, presented by City staff/GreenIowa Americorp

Pre-registration is required to attend. To register, please call 563-589-4239.

For more information, visit`


Alzheimer’s Community Education Offered in Dubuque

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The Alzheimer's Association is offering two free community education sessions on Healthy Living for Brain and Body and Benefits of Caring for a Person with Dementia, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Both classes will be at the Mercy Medical Center Education Room, 250 Mercy Drive in Dubuque.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research will be from 1pm to 2:30pm. It will focus on how to make lifestyle choices that may help you keep your brain and body healthy as you age. Join us to learn about research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging.

Benefits of Caring for a Person With Dementia is from 2:45pm to 4:15pm. This class is a compassionate exploration of the benefits possible to caregivers in a relationship with persons with dementia, and the goodness and joy that is possible for both.

Alzheimer's Association, Greater Iowa Chapter, Senior Program Specialist Jerry Schroeder will lead both classes.   
Both classes are free and open to the public.

Advance registration is required by calling 1-800-272-3900. Or, to register online visit, browse to Caregiver Center, Community Resource Finder, Alzheimer's Association Programs and Events.

For more information phone Jerry Schroeder at 563-293-8056, or email


Becoming an Iowa Outdoor Woman Workshop

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Pheasants Forever and Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor a "Becoming an Iowa Outdoor Woman" Workshop (BOW) at the Izaak Walton League in Peosta on Saturday, June 17, from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm.

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

If you are at least 18 years old and are interested in becoming an Iowa outdoor woman, join us on for a fun filled day of outdoor activities and education at Izaak Walton League. Registration will begin at 7:30 am and activities will kick off at 8:00 am.

Activities for the workshop include: trap shooting, rifle, archery, fly casting, fly tying, and MORE.  

For more information or to register call 563.556.6745.


9 ideas for fast and easy entertaining

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Hosting friends or family is one of the little pleasures in life. Socializing enables people to remain close, talk away stressors and have some fun. 

Entertaining frequently involves sharing food or drink. For those who shy away from routinely inviting others over because of anxiety over meal preparation, these tips for easier entertaining can remove many barriers.

1. Quickly chill drinks. Unexpected guests may require chilling beverages down quickly. Wet some paper towels and wrap them around beverage bottles before placing in the freezer. In roughly 15 minutes, the bottle will be almost cold. Cool down many beverages at once by mixing water and salt with ice to form an ice bath in the sink or a beverage cooler.

2. Chill wine effectively and quickly. On a similar note, if wine is the beverage of choice, always keep grapes frozen in a bag in the freezer. Put a few grapes in a wine glass before pouring, and the wine will be chilled without becoming watered down by ice.

3. Heat up foods. Preparing meals in advance is a real time-saver. However, it may take a while for dense foods to reheat so they can be served. Space out a circle in the middle of the food so that it will heat up more quickly.

4. Get creative with serving dishes. Muffin tins can be put to use in different ways as handy serving dishes. Use them to keep several filled beverages upright and manageable when serving guests. Or try a tin for condiments at a barbecue. Place pickles, relish, ketchup, mustard, and onions in each section for easy burger fixings.

5. Keep dental floss handy. Unscented/unflavored dental floss can not only clean teeth, it can also be used to easily cut cakes, pastries and other soft foods. 

6. Save plastic bottle tops. Cut the tops off of plastic bottles and use them to seal plastic bags. Insert the bag through the bottom, fold over the top, and screw on the cap. Easily dispense dessert toppings, rice, chocolate chips, and more.

7. Make fast snacks. Grilled cheese is not only a delicious comfort food that can be transformed into gourmet fare depending on the cheese used, but it's also a relatively easy appetizer to make. Bake grilled cheese between two baking sheets in the oven. The bread will turn out crispy, the cheese perfectly melted, and you can make several at the same time. Cut into bite-sized pieces and serve.

8. Serve breakfast without breaking a sweat. Treat overnight guests to a hearty breakfast without breaking a sweat in the morning. Put pancake batter in a squeeze bottle (like a well-rinsed ketchup container) and use it to easily pour batter onto the griddle. Experiment with shapes if you want something even more special.

9. Freshly squeeze juice. Use a sturdy pair of tongs to squeeze all of the juice out of lemons, limes and oranges for fresh juice or lemonade.


Guide to shopping smart for prom

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Graduation and prom season can be an exciting time in a teenager's life. This time in a young person's life marks a rite of passage and a pivotal time bridging childhood and adulthood while giving students the opportunity to let loose and celebrate their academic successes. Prom also serves as a way to make memories with a group of friends who may go in different directions after graduation.

Many students are eager to begin planning their prom experiences as early as possible. Promgoers may want to begin browsing stores and shopping for prom apparel in the months leading up to the big night, but it's important to follow a few bits of advice before making any prom purchases.

• Pay attention to the rules implemented by the school or venue. It's time to follow one last directive before graduation, and that means heeding the requirements for prom attire and any other rules they may have. Some schools implement dress codes, so learn if your school has one so you do not spend money on clothing that will be inappropriate. School personnel have the right to refuse entry to the prom if dress guidelines are not met. Choose a private occasion, such as a graduation party, if you want to wear something less traditional.

• Shop early and shop sales. Waiting until the last minute to purchase prom dresses or tuxes is not ideal, as the pickings might be slim. Begin your search early so you have more options and more time to find attire that fits your budget.

• Shop further away from home, if necessary. Broaden your horizons to shops and retailers outside of your town, if necessary. This may guarantee that your attire isn't a carbon copy of what everyone else is wearing - or a complete duplicate of another student's outfit. Look for independent retailers, such as mom-and-pop boutiques, which may carry more unique and diverse offerings than big retailers. Such stores may offer more personalized service as well, such as alterations and tailoring.

• Fit clothing to your current size. Some students hope to lose a little weight prior to prom. But it's best to avoid purchasing a gown or suit in a size you hope to be, as it's easier to alter clothing to smaller sizes than make sizes bigger.

• Browse magazines for inspiration. Professional stylists are often behind the amazing looks of magazine spreads. Take inspiration from their ideas, but also make the looks your own with some modifications. It may be a different accessory or a different color pairing. Don't be afraid to take a magazine to a store and ask if they have similar pieces.

• Be open to new ideas. Sometimes the clothing you see on the pages of magazines may seem to be the ideal style for you, but keep yourself open to other cuts, colors and designs. An outfit you never imagined wearing may end up being the perfect fit.

• Know store return and exchange policies. Formalwear is frequently governed by different rules from casual clothing. All sales may be final, or there may be a small window of time for exchanges. Keep your receipts in a safe place and be aware of return policies, in case prom plans change.

• Consider renting or borrowing. Niche businesses have sprung up that enable customers to rent gowns or suits for a day or two. The costs may be less than purchasing new outfits. Otherwise, see if an older sibling or a friend may have promwear you can borrow.

Prom season involves shopping trips to find the perfect promwear. Start early and design a plan of action to guarantee you have the time to find affordable attire you will really love.


Grilling foods to be safe and healthy

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People rely on indoor and outdoor grills to prepare foods all year long. Not only can menu items made on the grill taste delicious, but they also may be healthier than foods cooked via other methods. When done correctly, grilling is a versatile way to cook tasty foods relatively quickly.

One of the challenges of cooking over high, open heat is the difficulty in determining just how long to keep foods over the flame. Take them off too soon and they may be undercooked. Wait too long and items may be dry and charred. Use these tips to make grilling easy and safe.

Preheat and prepare the grill
Be sure to preheat the grill to between 400 F and 500 F. Use a nonstick spray on the grates while the grill is heating. This way foods will not stick and create a mess that will ultimately require considerable cleaning.

Buy a meat thermometer
One of the easiest ways to take the guesswork out of grilling is to use a meat thermometer. By knowing internal temperatures in a few seconds, grillmasters can have juicy foods that are cooked to the correct temperature so foodborne illnesses do not become a problem. Cooking by sight is inaccurate, as the outside of the food may look well done even though the inside is still pink.

Thermometers allow cooks to avoid cutting open foods to check doneness, spilling out tasty juices in the process.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises on minimal internal temperatures for meats and poultry ( Keep in mind that food continues to cook when it is taken off the grill. Therefore, removing a few minutes before it has reached a certain temperature is ideal.

Fish is fast
Don't avoid grilling fish because of its delicacy. Using wood planks or any of the newer grilling gadgets available can keep flaky fish from falling through the grates. Plus, fish is an ideal go-to when one is really short on cooking time. If necessary, experiment with varieties of fish that are durable, such as salmon or tuna.

Leave an empty spot
Have an unheated area of the grill or one that is set to a low temperature so there is somewhere to move food if a flare-up occurs or if something is cooking too fast. This is also a good spot to finish foods that may need a little more time over indirect heat - such as burgers that require melted cheese.

Use sauce at the end
Avoid charring foods by using sugary sauces toward the end of cooking. Otherwise, the sauce can burn quickly and contribute to potentially carcinogenic char.

Grilling can be made easier with a few tricks of the trade. The results will be delicious, healthy and safe to enjoy.


Memorial Day BBQ tips

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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. For many, Memorial Day weekend also signifies their first chance to invite friends and family over for a backyard barbecue. While some never put their grills away for the winter, braving the cold so they can keep grilling year-round, many may need a refresher to ensure their Memorial Day BBQ starts summer off on the right foot.

• Stock up on supplies. Before hosting your first backyard barbecue, take inventory of your supplies, making sure you have a spatula, tongs, oven mitts, a sturdy grill brush, and other accessories you may need during grilling season. Check each item to make sure it's not worse for wear and do the same with the grill as well. Replace supplies that have too much wear and tear in advance of Memorial Day weekend so you have one less item on your to-do list come the day of the barbecue.

• Designate some time to do some cleaning. Even if you cleaned the grill and patio furniture before putting the items in storage for the winter, they likely will need to be cleaned again before you host your first soiree of the season. Remove any dust and check for spider webs or signs of other critters that might have made your furniture home over the cold winter. Droppings from rodents can be dangerous, and spiders can bite unsuspecting grillmasters. Clean patio furniture before putting it out as well.

• Find some new recipes. Hot dogs and hamburgers are perfectly acceptable backyard barbecue fare, but hosts who want to treat their guests to something new this summer can find a host of recipes online. Consider recipes for grilled vegetables so vegetarian guests can enjoy freshly grilled foods alongside your other guests. Just be sure to separate veggies from meat on the grill so vegetarian guests are not hesitant to eat. And while grilled meat tends to be popular at backyard barbecues, don't overlook recipes for grilled fish that can be both nutritious and delicious.

• Get guests home safe. Memorial Day gatherings tend to be festive, but keep an eye on guests to ensure that no one consumes an excessive amount of alcohol. Keep a list of local cab companies on hand or download a car service app to your smartphone so safe means of transportation are always within reach.


How to clean and prepare outdoor furniture for the season

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As temperatures rise, people increasingly venture outdoors to soak up the sun, enjoy the mild breezes and entertain under the open sky. Clean and comfortable furniture can make outdoor entertaining that much more enjoyable.

After months in storage or nestled under protective tarps, outdoor furniture likely needs a good cleaning before it's put to the test once again. Mildew may have formed, insects may be hiding out within cushions or other crevices and dirt may have accumulated - even if the furniture was cleaned before being stored away. Experts recommend cleaning outdoor furniture between three and four times per year to keep it in optimal condition.

Before cleaning, determine the material your furniture is made of, as some cleaning products may not be safe for all materials. When in doubt, read the care tags on cushions and other products or refer back to the original packaging for cleaning instructions. Always test a cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first.

The following are some additional general furniture cleaning guidelines.

Wood comes in many varieties, from hard and softwoods to wicker furniture. Mild oil-based soaps and products geared especially to cleaning wood can be handy. On wicker and painted woods, it may be best to dilute the solutions before use. Hardwood furniture and built-in decking structures may benefit from annual sanding and then reapplication of a protective finish to maintain the look of the wood for long periods of time.

Plastic resin
Commercial cleansers may be too harsh to use on plastic resin furniture. Before risking discoloration or scratching, try some ingredients that are may be lying around the house. For example, use a wet sponge dipped in baking soda as a mild abrasive to clean resin. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse off the powdery residue afterward.

Automatic dishwasher detergent mixed with a gallon of warm water also may do the trick. The detergent contains a mild bleaching agent that will not cause damage like straight bleach.

Dish detergent and general home cleaning solutions work well on glass surfaces. Remember to clean all sides, including bottom-facing areas. After cleaning, use vinegar or a glass cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth to produce a streak-free shine.

Outdoor cushions
Outdoor fabrics are derived from different materials. However, this general-purpose recipe, courtesy of the DIY Network, may help clean many outdoor fabrics. Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon borax together. Saturate a sponge and use it to wash the cushions. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then spray it off with a high-force hose. Stand the cushions on their edges to dry outdoors.

Remember, vinegar can help inhibit mildew growth. Therefore, keep a bottle of diluted vinegar around to spray on plastic mesh and furniture that gets wet from the rain or a pool. Store outdoor furniture away from inclement weather whenever possible to prolong its life.


Host a successful yard sale

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Instead of giving away unwanted items that have gathered dust around the house, many people turn to garage and yard sales to transform their clutter into some extra money. Yard sales may not be a "get rich quick" scheme, but they present an environmentally friendly way to clean up a home. What's more, they can be an ideal way to connect with neighbors and meet new people. Any money earned is an added bonus.

Statistics collecting resource Statistics Brain says that roughly 165,000 yard/garage sales take place in the United States each week. Nearly 700,000 people purchase something at those sales, leading to millions of dollars exchanging hands.

Yard sales may seem straightforward, but there are a few strategies to ensure such sales go boom rather than bust.

Choose the right date and time
Plan when to hold the sale by looking at the calendar and choosing an open weekend. Many people host their yard sales on Friday, Saturday or Sunday mornings, theorizing that this is when the most people will be free to browse their wares.

Begin early in the morning so that shoppers will not need to disrupt their schedules much to visit neighborhood sales. A 7 a.m. start time will attract the early birds and free up most of the day.

Advertise the sale
To reach the maximum number of shoppers, advertise your sale in various ways. Signage around the neighborhood announcing the sale is one method. Signs should be bold, simple and easily readable for passing motorists.

Place ads in local papers, online and on grocery store bulletin boards, and use social media to spread the word of the sale even further. Be sure to give ample notice of the sale so that shoppers can mark their calendars.

Make for easy browsing
Arrange goods for sale into categories and pay attention to presentation. You may generate more sales if items are easy to see and browsing is made easy. Put items you expect to draw the most attention near the end of the driveway to entice passers-by.

A neat and inviting appearance also may convey that you've taken care of your home and your belongings. Play some music and offer light refreshments to create a convivial atmosphere.

Price things reasonably
It's tempting to overprice items, but a good rule of thumb is to mark things for one-half to one-third of the original value. Be open to negotiation, but try to haggle with a "buy one get one" approach, rather than marking down the price considerably. After all, the goal is to get rid of as many items as possible, with financial gain a distant second.

Yard sales are popular ways to make money and clear homes of unwanted items. Hosts can make their sales even more successful by employing a few simple strategies.


Select among clever graduation gifts

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Graduation celebrations typically involve commencement ceremonies, family dinners and/or parties and plenty of gifts for newly minted grads. 

According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 3.5 million students are expected to be awarded high school diplomas at the end of the 2016-17 school year. That makes graduation season a season for shopping as well.

Graduation gifts can be as varied as the personalities of the graduates themselves. Here are some less typical gift ideas for shoppers who want to give the new grads in their lives something unique.

• Time capsule: Let the graduate pull together a series of items that exemplify some of the best days of their lives. These items can then be tucked away in the capsule and opened years from now.

• Monogrammed items: College students may arrive on campus with items that look very similar to their new classmates' belongings. Set your favorite grad's items apart with monogrammed pieces that are unique and easy to recognize.

• Individual coffee machine: If it's allowed in the dorm, a single-serve coffee machine can help students make it through finals week. A coffee machine also will help students save money on takeout coffee.

• Macro phone camera lens: Graduates can capture all of their memories from parties, vacations and more with a macro lens to fit their phones. 

• Survival kit: If the graduate is going to college or leaving college, customize a basket full of items he or she may need to make their transitions that much easier. Food can always serve as the centerpiece of such baskets, but don't hesitate to include decorative items to outfit that first apartment or dorm room.

• Commemorative coins: Purchase coins for the year the graduate was born or the year he or she is graduating. These coins can be saved or later turned into useable currency.

• Tailgating kit: Set up your graduate with a portable grill and the grilling accoutrements needed to throw a great tailgating party with friends.

• Restaurant gift cards: Grads need to eat but are often short on money. Research local eateries around the college campus and stock up on gift cards.

• Family vacation: For college graduates, a voucher for a fun, old-fashioned vacation can bring the family together one last time before jobs and mismatched schedules get in the way.

Graduations offer a chance to celebrate students who are moving on to the next chapter in their lives. Fun and thoughtful gifts can make the transition that much easier.


Shade-tolerant plants help to complete landscapes

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Plants need sunlight to thrive and grow, but some need less sunlight than others. People who find their landscapes are less supportive to sun-loving plants can choose from a variety of shade-tolerant plants, shrubs and trees.

Shade tolerance refers to a plant's ability to withstand low levels of light. Certain plants have adapted this feature to survive in the wild. Plants that grow at the base of forest floors, for example, will get less sunlight than others outside of the tree canopy. Such adaptations enable a wide variety of foliage to grow even though they are not exposed to much sunlight.

While sun-loving plants often have broad leaves and expend significant energy to capture sunlight for photosynthesis, shade-tolerant plants expend less energy and tend to be more efficient consumers of soil nutrients and sunlight. 

Penn State Extension's Plant and Pests division says the amount of shade a plant is growing under will directly affect the density of the foliage and the plant's flowering and fruiting characteristics. Blending shade-tolerant plants into the landscape can be an effective use of space. Before choosing plants for an existing landscape, it's important to assess the level of shade or sun the plants will receive.

• Heavy shade: Heavy shade is when no direct sunlight reaches a plant. This occurs at the base of northern-facing walls or beneath thick tree canopies.

• Full sun: Areas that receive full sun enjoy direct sunlight between six and eight hours per day.

• Moderate shade: These sites have reflected sunlight that may come off of water features.

• Light shade: Plants in these areas will get partially filtered or dappled sunlight.

Once homeowners understand which type of shade they are dealing with, they can then visit plant nurseries and select their plants. Most greenery comes with care instructions that include recommendations regarding the amount of shade/sunlight the plant will need to do well. If further assistance is needed, a knowledgeable employee can make suggestions based on landscape needs.

Those who are looking for some preliminary guidance when it comes to selecting shade-tolerant shrubs, plants or trees can consult the following list.

• Bleeding heart: Bleeding heart, or Dicentra spectabilis, is typically found in woodlands. It's a perennial in the poppy family that produces mounded foliage and arching vine-like stems of heart-shaped flowers in the spring.

• Amethyst flower: Browallia hybrids offer star-shaped blooms of blue and violet. These plants will billow out of hanging baskets or containers, and they prefer warm shade or filtered sunlight.

• Coleus: The coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides, is another perennial that can have a variety of different leaf colors and striations. 

• Witch hazels: These are a genus in the family Hamamelidacea, which has four different species in North America. This shrub or small tree features arching branches with dense, multi-stemmed clumps. Witch hazel produces flowers in the late autumn when most other plants are sparse.

• Bayberry: Myrica pensylvanica can grow in partial shade as a hedge or natural property divider. The leaves of this shrub are aromatic when crushed. The shrub will produce tiny, gray/white fruits in late summer.

• English Ivy: Also known as Hedera helix, this trailing plant is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. It will spread easily and can become invasive.

Those searching for shade-tolerant trees can choose among Sugar maple, Black alder, Flowering dogwood, and White spruce, among others.

Shade-tolerant plants can make welcome additions to the landscape, offering greenery and color in the darker areas of a property.



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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

You are making America stronger through Social Security. Chances are, people you know and love benefit in some way from this social safety net. Retirees, Wounded Warriors, the disabled, and people who are chronically ill rely on Social Security for monthly benefits. The Social Security taxes you pay are helping millions of Americans - and financially securing your today and tomorrow.

By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from workers' paychecks. While usually referred to as "Social Security taxes" on an employee's pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as "FICA." This stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. In some cases, you will see "OASDI," which stands for Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance, the official name for the Social Security Insurance program.

The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection - for a comfortable retirement in your senior years or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well. 

Social Security is fully funded through 2033. At that point, we'll be able to fund retirement benefits at 79 percent unless changes are made to the law. Social Security has evolved to meet the needs of a changing population - and you can count on Social security in the future.

If you're a long way from retirement, you may have a tough time seeing the value of benefit payments that could be many decades in the future. But keep in mind that the Social Security taxes you're paying can provide valuable disability or survivors benefits in the event the unexpected happens. Studies show that of today's 20-year-olds, about one in four will become disabled, and about one in eight will die, before reaching retirement.

Check out our webinar, "Social Security 101: What's in it for me?" The webinar explains what you need to know about Social Security. You can find it at

If you'd like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you're earning for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at
You can also learn more at



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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

On Memorial Day, we honor the soldiers and service members who have given their lives for our nation. Social Security respects the heroism and courage of our military service members, and we remember those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. Part of how we honor service members is the way we provide Social Security benefits.

The unexpected loss of a family member is a difficult experience for anyone. Social Security helps by providing benefits to protect service members' dependents. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at

It's also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have been wounded. Just as they served us, we have the obligation to serve them. Social Security has benefits to assist veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty.

Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T). Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at

Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits at You may also want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at

Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the VA or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change, or end, when you become eligible for Medicare. Learn more about Medicare benefits at

In acknowledgment of those who died for our country, those who served, and those who serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you.


Protect natural bee habitats

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Honeybees are humble insects that benefit the environment in various ways. Unfortunately, many people lump bees in with wasps and other seemingly "harmful" insects and do whatever is necessary to remove them from their properties. But it's important to be mindful of the beneficial roles bees play and to take steps to maintain healthy habitats so they can thrive.

Bees are one of the most important pollinators of flowers, crops and fruit trees. These small insects can make or break entire food supplies. They also pollinate clover and alfalfa that provide feed for cattle. Some experts place the economic value of bees at roughly $15 billion per year.

A consortium of universities and research laboratories that reported to The White House in 2015 found that beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies between 2014 and 2015. Bee populations continue to decline. According to the conservation organization Save the Bees, recent surveys suggest close to a 99 percent loss in bees over the last 150 years, primarily due to increasing agricultural intensification.

To combat this sharp decline in bee populations, people from all walks of life can do their part to help bees thrive once again. And by helping bees, individuals also may indirectly help other beneficial pollinating insects, such as butterflies.

Be aware of the landscape
Not all bees build the wax or paper structures associated with traditional beehives. Those hives may not be readily visible even for bees that do build them. Wood-nesting bees can nest in twigs or dead trees. Bees may nest underground or use the burrows abandoned by small rodents. Before excavating or disturbing more remote areas of the yard, check to see if it is a habitat for bees. Leave some natural areas of the landscape untouched and do not remove twigs, mounds of dirt and native flowers to attract more bees.

Plant native flowers and flowering trees
Offer bees plenty of flowering choices so they'll be happy to come investigate. Native flowers are best because they will be most familiar. Try to plant an array that will flower at different times of the year. Simple flowers will offer more readily available access to pollen than hybrid or exotic varieties bred to produce mounding petals.

Leave swatches of natural lawn
Instead of properties featuring an entire manicured lawn, set aside an area that is encouraged to overgrow with dandelions and clovers, which are good nectar sources for many bees.

Support local beekeepers
If you find a honey bee swarm on your property, contact a local beekeeper who may be able to safely collect and relocate that swarm so it will produce honey and provide the additional benefits associated with healthy bees.

People can also support beekeepers' work by purchasing local honey. Not only does it keep jobs in the area, but some research also suggests that consuming local honey can help reduce seasonal allergies. WebMD says the practice is based on immunotherapy. Local honey contains traces of local pollen that may be responsible for seasonal allergies. Repeated exposure to small doses of this pollen might help bodies develop natural immunities.

Bees can be quite beneficial to have around, and it can be an enjoyable venture to customize landscapes to support the propagation of wild bees.



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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Social Security is one of the cornerstones of financial security for the nation. So are small businesses. Millions of Americans own and operate small businesses, making the "mom and pop" shop - from retailers to restaurants - one of the nation's most valuable resources. National Small Business Week started on April 30, making this a perfect time to tell you more about how Social Security helps this not-so-small industry.

Small businesses can take advantage of our Business Services Online suite of services. These services allow organizations, businesses, individuals, employers, attorneys, non-attorneys representing Social Security claimants, and third-parties to exchange information with Social Security securely over the internet. For small business owners, we've made it especially easy to file W-2s online to help ensure the privacy of their employees' personal information. You can register and create your own password to access Business Services Online at

Social Security's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was established in October 1979 pursuant to Public Law 95-507. The law assigned the office the task of fostering the use of small and disadvantaged businesses as federal contractors. To accomplish this, the OSDBU develops and implements appropriate outreach programs aimed at heightening the awareness of the small business community to the contracting opportunities available within Social Security.

Outreach efforts include activities such as sponsoring small business fairs and procurement conferences, as well as participating in trade group seminars, conventions, and other forums that promote the utilization of small and disadvantaged businesses as contractors.

The OSDBU encourages buyers and program officials to consider small businesses, and to support all the socio-economic contracting programs in place under the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

You can learn more about the OSDBU at

Business is booming in America, and you might be a part of the job-creating machine that we call small businesses. You're strengthening everybody's future, for today and tomorrow.


How to safely light and extinguish a campfire

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A roaring campfire is often a staple of the camping experience. A campfire to cook food or keep warm is an asset at any campground, and in the evening hours, a fire can provide a sense of security against inquisitive forest animals. A burning fire can also illuminate a campsite, which makes maneuvering around the site easier.

Although there are many benefits to having a campfire, it's important to note that fires, especially in very dry conditions, can be dangerous. It is essential to check a particular campsite or park's posting about drought conditions to avoid an accident. In the wrong conditions, a cozy fire for toasting marshmallows can grow into an out-of-control wildfire in a matter of seconds.

Starting a fire
When you are ready to start a fire it is important to keep safety in mind.

• Pick a safe spot to light the fire. Many campgrounds have fire rings for campers to use. If you are selecting a fire location on your own, choose an area away from brush or other easily ignitable material. Make a ring with large rocks to keep the fire from spreading. Keep the fire several feet away from your tent.

• Gather materials during the day so you will not be scrambling for them after dark. You will need both tinder and kindling to light a fire and keep it roaring. Tinder is any small, highly flammable material that can light and burn quickly. Fibrous plant material, small twigs and newspaper make good tinder. Kindling is small pieces of wood that will burn long enough to catch larger logs of wood on fire. Finally, you will need a few logs of thicker wood that will sustain the fire. Have plenty of material on hand to be able to continue the fire, or you may find yourself foraging in the darkness when the fire goes out.

• Create a teepee or X pattern for a well-burning fire. Layer your tinder as the first level of the fire. Stack a few pieces of kindling on top of the tinder in an X or teepee shape. Ensure there is enough air to move freely through the fire to make ignition easier. Light the tinder from four compass points to get it all to light. Slowly blow air into the fire to allow it to burn hot enough to catch the kindling. Continue to add small pieces of kindling until you have a nicely sized fire. Then you can add larger pieces of dry wood for a big blaze.

• Do not use accelerants when starting a fire or keeping it going. Avoid the use of chemicals, including lighter fluid and other accelerants in your campfire. Do not use chemically treated paper or plastic materials in kindling, as they can produce noxious fumes and smoke. Accelerants can cause the fire to burn out of control. Keep the fire contained to what you can manage, and always keep a watchful eye on the fire.

Maintaining the Fire
You may need to fiddle with the fire from time to time to vent it and allow for equal burning. Having an ample amount of wood on hand will enable you to feed the fire easily. It's much easier to keep a fire going than start from scratch once it has burned out, especially in the dark.

Be mindful of embers that drift in windy conditions. Also, do not put your face or body directly over a fire. If the wood pops, you could be burned. Children should be carefully supervised when around a campfire.

Extinguishing the Fire
After building your campfire, completely put it out when you are done. Thousands of acres of wilderness are burnt from carelessness with regard to campfires.

• Put out the fire a half hour to an hour before you plan to leave the campground. There should be mostly ash and a few chunks of coal left if you have planned accordingly and started to wind down the fire before extinguishing it.

• Use a stick to stir up the wood and ash and distribute the burning coals and embers. This is to extinguish any remaining flames as much as you can.

• Pour water over the hot ashes to drown all embers. It's not just the red embers you have to worry about. Pour water until all the hissing sounds stop. Avoid standing directly above the fire when you pour the water because it will generate a lot of steam and smoke. If you do not have water on hand, mix dirt or sand with the embers to smother the flames. Continue to do so until the material is cool.

• Stir the ashes again with a shovel or stick to further ensure the fire is not still burning. 

• Make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch before you leave the campsite. If the fire area is too hot to the touch, it's too hot to leave it because a fire may reignite.

• Once you feel that everything is cool, you can scoop the coals and ash into a bag and carry it out of the woods for disposal.

Knowing how to safely light, maintain and extinguish a fire is an essential component of safe camping.


Celebrate all military this May

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Memorial Day is celebrated each May to commemorate the people who died in service of the United States of America. 

Even though barbecues and visions of the upcoming summer weather may command much of the attention come Memorial Day weekend, the holiday really serves as a remembrance for those military members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, as well as the personnel who continue to protect and serve today.

Memorial Day origins
Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day and was borne out of the Civil War. On May 30, 1868, General John Logan, a national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed General Order No. 11, which designated the day for the "purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land." May 30th was chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle.
It took several years for the first state to recognize the holiday, which New York adopted in 1873. By 1890, all northern states recognized Decoration Day. When the holiday changed from commemorating those who died fighting the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war after World War I, the South began to recognize it as well.

Honoring the military
Although Memorial Day pays homage to the brave people who perished fighting for their country, it also is an opportunity to recognize the military men and women and their families who continue to work to ensure the freedom of Americans.

The United States Armed Forces is renowned for its size and strength. Various sources suggest the size of the United States military is somewhere between 1.4 and 1.6 million active service people. The military is comprised of the Army, Army National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Each of these military branches also has its own reserves.

There are many ways to honor active, reserve and former veterans, as well as those who died in service of their country:

• Help Veterans of Foreign Wars distribute red poppies as a visual reminder of the military's efforts.

• Volunteer at a veterans' hospital or visit a wounded veteran at home.

• Offer financial, legal or career expertise through the Corporation for National & Community Service (

• Help to maintain the veteran area of a nearby cemetery. Place flags on all of the graves.

• Befriend military families who frequently relocate, making a concerted effort to welcome them into your community.

• Educate children about past wars and the services the military provides.

• Visit a military museum or historic site.

• Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm local time for one minute.

• Post a message to the troops at the USO website (



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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

Social Security is here for you when you're traveling, whether it's just a state away or when you're abroad. When you open a personal and secure my Social Security account, you can access it on your terms. We put you in control of your finances and your future.

With my Social Security, you can:

• Request a replacement Social Security or Medicare card if you meet certain requirements

• Check the status of your application or appeal

• See your lifetime earnings on your Social Security Statement

• Get a benefit verification letter stating that: 1) You receive retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare benefits; 2) you never received Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare; 3) you received benefits in the past, but do not currently receive them. (The letter will include the date your benefits stopped and how much you received that year); 4) you applied for benefits but haven't received an answer yet.

There's a lot more you can do with your my Social Security account. We're always adding new features and resources to make your life easier and give you greater control over your benefits. Placing the "Application Status" feature behind our my Social Security portal provides a secure service delivery channel that allows us to provide detailed status on your claim without requiring a confirmation number.

With the new Application Status, you can see:

• the Re-entry number for in-progress applications

• detailed information about the current status of the application or appeal

• the location where your claim is being processed

• scheduled hearing information for appeals

Visit my Social Security to see what other personalized features are available to you at


Red Cross helping over 40 victims of fires across Iowa

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(Des Moines, IA) - The American Red Cross Iowa Region is helping over 40 families who were affected by home fires that took place across the state this past weekend. Red Cross volunteers responded to fires in Belmond, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Spencer, and Waterloo. The Red Cross has responded to over 323 fires in Iowa this year.

A few of the fires impacted multiple families in apartment complexes, while others happened in a single family residence. After a disaster, the Red Cross works with individuals and families to make sure they have safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and healthcare.

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save numerous lives through the effort, as well as installing more than a half million smoke alarms in homes all across the country. This year, in Iowa the Red Cross has installed 2,999 smoke alarms.

The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke alarms. Other safety steps include:

• If someone doesn't have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.

• If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don't work, replace them.

• Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.

• Practice that plan. What's the household's escape time?

People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app - Monster Guard - designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

People can visit to find out more about how to protect themselves and their homes from fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer at They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 66,000 other disasters every year and most of these are home fires.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Dubuque Hosting Professional Fellows from Southeast Asia

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During the month of May, Dubuque is hosting three young professionals from Southeast Asia participating in the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Environmental Sustainability Professional Fellows Program, specifically the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program.

The goal of the program, funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is to create institutionalized long-term partnerships that support emerging leaders and their institutions in the ASEAN countries and the U.S. to inspire change in addressing the challenges of environmental sustainability.

The fellows include Ms. Mi Hoang of Vietnam, professor at Ho Chi Mihn City University of Economics and Finance; Mr. Hendri of Indonesia, director of fertilizer and pesticides for local government; and Ms. Astrid Soray Fitriani of Indonesia, environmentalist for Swisscontact. The fellows are visiting with Dubuque leaders to learn first-hand how environmental sustainability challenges are addressed in the United States, with all three fellows having a particular interest in the area of agriculture and the impact of climate change. Fellows learn practical skills focusing on climate change, sustainable energy, and environmental justice while fostering interaction with leaders from city and county organizations, private non-profits, education, state and federal government, as well as private sector.

Dubuque was one of the original pilot communities selected by ICMA to participate in the Professional Fellows Program in 2011 and has been the only community nationwide to participate in the program for six consecutive years. Dubuque has hosted Fellows from China (three times), Australia, New Zealand, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, and the Philippines. The program brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise and provide interaction between American and foreign participants. Participants spend up to six weeks in the U.S., during which they receive hands-on exposure to various levels of government through carefully designed full-time fellowships in national legislative offices, state legislatures, state or local government offices, advocacy groups, or other relevant organizations. At the conclusion of their fellowships, participants travel to Washington, DC, for a three-day Professional Fellows Congress. In total, 200 leaders from more than 45 countries and territories will participate in the Professional Fellows Program this May and June.



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Walking and Campsites will be part of this year's event

In response to community feedback, we will be including walking and campsites as part of this year's event on June 2. We are excited to share that in conjunction with our exciting plans for a Relay For Life Parade, we are also be including some of the traditional components that Relayers are telling us they loved and would greatly miss.

"As we gather at Town Clock Plaza, you'll find this year's Relay will not be like anything you've experienced in the past," said event co-chair Kristi Hendricks. "As our event has evolved we continue to listen to our volunteers and participants, and are happy to share that we will have a walking space and a limited number of campsites for teams who have asked for them! We want our teams and community members to know we hear them, and we are working hard to create an event that celebrates the new and honors the traditional."

For the past 20 years, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dubuque has traditionally been held at a school or other field type location. This year, the event will begin with a huge parade, that will start at Jackson Park, and will end in the Town Clock Plaza. From there, the Relay For Life program will commence. There will be a survivor's dinner, and a special survivor's float that will highlight the end of the parade.

Teams, sponsors, and participants, including caregivers, volunteers and supporters, will also be able to have colorful and decorative floats as well, or walk in the parade, although this is not required. There will also still be a silent auction, kids' games, entertainment, lots of food vendors and more.

"Relay will continue to hold true to its purpose," said co-event chair Kirsten Weidemann. "Our Relay is designed as an Evening of Celebration and Hope," she added. The event will highlight those who have lost their lives to cancer, those continuing to live through it and those who hope to never hear the words 'you have cancer.'"

Interested in forming a team? Sign-up today at, contact Jodi Federspiel at, or call (888)266.2071 with any questions. Fundraising through Relay For Life event supports the American Cancer Society's mission to prevent cancer, save lives and diminish suffering from the disease.

"We have a $157,000 goal, and with your help, we know we can meet it, and make a real difference in the fight against cancer in our community," said Weidemann.


Finley SHIIP Volunteers serve 2,461 clients in 2016

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UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital was the top site statewide for clients served by Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) volunteers in 2016, serving 2,461 clients. This is up from 2,155 clients in 2015.

Finley's nine counselors and 19 total SHIIP volunteers serve a population of 18,501. SHIIP volunteers offer confidential, one-on-one counseling for seniors choosing Medicare and related health care coverage.

"Finley's SHIIP volunteers provide an invaluable service to a growing number of people," said David Brandon, President and CEO of Finley Hospital. "Their hard work and dedication illustrate Finley Hospital's commitment to our community."

Statewide in 2016, SHIIP volunteers served 65,265 and saved Iowa residents $21,265,324.


Steinhauser Receives Women of Achievement Award

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Cindy Steinhauser, assistant city manager for the City of Dubuque, was awarded the Achievement in Her Field Award by the Women's Leadership Network of Dubuque as part of the 2017 Women of Achievement awards ceremony on April 20, 2017.

The Women of Achievement Awards ceremony is designed to recognize and honor women who have already, or aspire to, provide significant contributions in their professional or community roles. Awards are given to area women who have been nominated by their coworkers, peers, friends, or families for achievements at work, home, or as a volunteer. Awards are given out in the following categories:

• Achievements in Her Field

• Organizational Impact

• Service and Support of Non-Profit Work

• Growth and Accomplishments in Personal Life

• Unsung Champion

• Up and Coming Leader

Steinhauser, a Dubuque native and Loras College graduate, has been employed with the City of Dubuque since 1995 and has served as assistant city manager since 2001. Her main responsibilities in this role have included assisting in budget development, managing City responses to citizen issues, implementation of the City Council's annual goals and priorities, assisting with or managing grant applications and award applications, and providing technical assistance to City departments and managing process improvements.

Steinhauser was involved with numerous major city projects including: the America's River Project, the design and construction of the Grand River Center; the Downtown Master Plan, the Historic Millwork District Revitalization Strategy, Sustainable Dubuque, Smarter Sustainable Dubuque, the Arts Task Force, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, and Dubuque's All-America City awards.

She began employment with the City as the neighborhood development specialist in 1995 and was named the City's parking system supervisor in 1999. Before joining the City of Dubuque, she served as executive director of Dubuque Main Street from 1992 to 1994 and program manager for Main Street Clinton in Clinton, Iowa, from 1990 to 1992.

She is a current member of the Dubuque Main Street Board of Directors, Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board, America's River Corporation, Rising Star Theater and Julien Dubuque International Film Festival Executive Board. She also serves on the STAR Technical Advisory committee, the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) International Committee, and chairs the ICMA Sustainable Community Advisory Committee. Her past involvement with civic groups includes: Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) Dubuque Steering Committee, Matter Creative Center, the Loras College Community Task Force, ICMA Awards Committee member, Iowa Municipal Management Institute Professional Development Committee, Women in Management, Neighborhood Reinvestment Institute, and the Dubuque Area Youth Leadership Council.


Relay For Life Ceremony to Honor Cancer Survivors and Remember Those Lost

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A special Luminaria Ceremony will be held during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dubuque to remember those lost to cancer and honor those who have survived. Luminaria will be lit at the Town Clock Plaza on Friday, June 2nd at approximately 9:30 PM, to represent these individuals.

Anyone desiring to make a luminaria donation may do so by visiting the Dubuque Relay For Life website: Each luminaria is a $10 donation on-line, or $5 if printed and mailed in advance of the event, or purchased day of event.

"Each luminaria represents the life of someone who has battled cancer. It will be a beautiful sight when all the bags are illuminated around the Town Clock Plaza," said Sally Frick, volunteer luminaria chair. "The Luminaria Ceremony is a moving way to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to pay tribute to cancer survivors."

Relay For Life celebrates people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and provides participants with an opportunity to fight back against the disease - all aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society's vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Prior to the Luminaria Ceremony, cancer survivors are invited to attend the Survivor Dinner and Celebration, beginning at 4:00 PM, followed by the Relay For Life Parade at 6:00 PM, in which survivors will be honored by friends, family, and caregivers who will be cheering them on along the parade route (8th & Main- 16th & Main).

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit


Curb appeal pays off big time

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How attractive a home looks from the outside is often a good indication that a homeowner also takes pride in the interior. You can improve your home's curb appeal with a few minor landscaping upgrades.

Clean and repair - Weed gardens, flower beds and edging, cut back overgrown plants and shrubs that block windows or spill over walkways, trim trees and power-wash paths, sidewalks and porches.

Focus on the front porch - Place potted evergreens or other plants at the base of front steps, hang flowering baskets and replace worn welcome mats.

Block what's ugly - Hide unsightly air conditioning units, meter boxes, propane tanks, rusty sheds and more with plants or accessories.

Add Color - Edge sidewalks and tree bases and add brightly colored flowering annuals.

Rethink walkways - Carve a path to your front entry or seating area near your yard's most attractive spots, using gravel, wood chips or landscape blocks.

Refine foundations - Design landscaping beds closest to the front of your home to look interesting year-round. Combine various types of plants, rocks, mulch and shrubs with flowering annuals when perennials aren't blooming.

Plant a tree - Trees can add much value to your home. They can help prevent erosion, improve air quality and even reduce utility bills with the shade they provide.

Add a structure - Fences, pergolas, arbors and landscape blocks can define and complement different areas and promote year-round curb appeal.

Have a seat - Create a spot that invites people to sit out front. Place an attractive bench beneath a large tree or tuck a bistro table and chairs on a porch or amidst a densely flowered garden.

Light the way - Low-voltage outdoor lights can be used to define a walkway, spotlight a tree, highlight landscaping, showcase shrubs or accent an entry way.

Information courtesy of Menards


The green, green grass of home

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With the outdoor season upon us, there are a few simple ways to help your lawn stay lush and green and become the pride and joy of your neighborhood. You can start by giving your lawn a good raking to create a de-thatching effect and "wake up" the lawn for the season.

Regular cutting of the lawn is important because it thickens the grass. Cutting it little and often is better than all in one go. Switch directions and patterns so the grass blades aren't pressed in the same direction each time. In the middle of summer, you might want to keep the grass a little longer so it withstands periods of drought.

Cutting the grass removes nutrients that need to be replaced to achieve healthy growth. From the beginning of spring, you should fertilize the lawn every four or five weeks. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous are important ingredients for a healthy lawn. Application amounts and instructions are available on most fertilizer packaging.

If you want a lawn that is lush and green all summer, watering is important. How often you need to water your lawn depends on temperature and humidity. When a lawn needs water, the grass will begin to take on a blue-gray tint, and the older grass blades will begin to curl up and wilt. New lawns should be watered once a day so seeds can germinate and a solid root system can form. You can water your lawn by hand or select from a variety of sprinkler options or automated irrigation systems.

With persistence, you can win the battle against weeds using the right tools, herbicides or weed-n-feed products. Also, the grass roots need air in order to grow, therefore it is important to occasionally aerate your lawn to clear away dead roots and thatch to create more breathing space for the lower parts of the grass plus help stems grow better.

Information courtesy of Menards



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By Pamela Shaw
Social Security District Manager in Dubuque IA

One of the greatest gifts you can give a grandchild is the gift of financial literacy. Helping them save money early in life and showing them how to make wise spending decisions goes a long way toward a bright financial future. As they get older, they may want to save for special purchases or their college education. You can encourage them when they get their first job to begin saving for the future, including their retirement.

Planning for the Future with my Social Security
When you celebrate their graduation from high school, you can also remind them to set up a my Social Security account. They need to be age 18 or older, have a U. S. mailing address and a valid email address, and have a Social Security number. And while their retirement is many years away, you can explain the importance of reviewing their earnings record each year since Social Security uses the record of earnings to compute their future benefits. As they start their first major job and begin saving, they'll be able to monitor the growth of the estimates of benefits available to them. You can access my Social Security at

Saving For Retirement with myRA
The U. S. Treasury recently introduced a retirement savings account for a simple, safe, and affordable way to save for retirement. It's perfect for people whose employer doesn't offer a savings plan. There are no costs or fees to open and maintain a myRA account. The account won't lose money and is backed by the U. S. Treasury. The individual chooses the amount to save. The account is portable and moves with them from job to job. The account owner can withdraw the money they put in without tax or penalty. You can learn more about myRA at

Share How Social Security Works
You can share your knowledge about Social Security with your young savers by explaining how the program works and how it has worked for you. About 96 percent of all Americans are covered by Social Security. Social Security is financed through workers' contributions, which are matched by their employers. We use the contributions to pay current benefits. Any unused money goes into a trust fund. Nearly all working people pay Social Security taxes and about 61 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. About 42 million of those beneficiaries are retirees and their families. Encourage them to watch our Social Security 101 video at

Share Your Retirement Stories
Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average worker's income, but financial planners suggest that most retirees need about 70 percent to live comfortably in retirement. Americans need more than Social Security to achieve that comfortable retirement. They need private pensions, savings, and investments. That means starting to save early and monitoring your Social Security record for accuracy. You can share lessons from your own life about saving and planning for retirement. Remember, the best place anyone of any age can visit for quick, easy information about Social Security is

Your personal stories about how you prepared for retirement and what role Social Security plays can help them see what is needed for a secure financial future. Give them the gift of financial literacy today.


Mulch can help your plants thrive

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As you begin to plan your spring landscaping, mulch can help your plants thrive so don't forget to consider your options.

Benefits of mulch

• Completes the look of your yard or flower bed

• Acts as a natural weed control

• Maintains moisture levels in your soil, protecting from over and under watering

• Acts as a barrier to fluctuating temperatures that can damage your plants

• Plant-based mulch adds nutrients back into the soil as it decomposes

Types of mulch

• Leaves or grass clippings decompose quickly and enrich the soil

• Bark is decorative, decomposes slowly and adds nutrients to the soil

• Wood chips are decorative, decompose quickly and add nutrients to the soil

• Stones or pebbles are decorative but not beneficial to the soil like plant-based mulch, but won't have to be replaced every year

Having success with mulch

• Protect the yard around your planting bed with edging

• For new plants, shrubs or trees, install them in the soil before you add mulch and allow plenty of room to grow. Adding mulch retains water.

• When adding new mulch to a perennial planting bed, remove the old layer so you don't cause rot, starve of nutrients or kill them.

• Mulch should never be more than three inches thick in a planting bed

• For mature plants, shrubs or trees, clear mulch away from a four-inch area around each plant base to prevent too much water and rot.

Information courtesy of Menards


Dubuque Museum of Art Opens Two New Exhibitions in May

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Visitors to the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) will enjoy two major exhibitions for the price of one this summer.

Opening May 27 and continuing through August 20, the 2017 DuMA Biennial returns with an invigorating survey of new works created by regional contemporary artists.
The Dubuque Museum of Art organizes this popular and highly-competitive exhibition every two years to highlight the artistic talent that enriches the quality of life of our region. The DuMA Biennial is recognized as a premier juried exhibition opportunity and brings together emerging and established artists who are actively producing and presenting new work.

A Call for Entries went out in December 2016 and resulted in a record 508 submissions representing 208 artists from Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. This year's Biennial juror was Amanda C. Burdan, associate curator at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Burdan's most recent exhibition Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City, which included Grant Wood's iconic painting Appraisal, opened at the Brandywine in October 2016 and traveled to the High Museum of Art in early 2017.

"In the nearly 600 works submitted to the biennial some very distinct themes came to the fore", said Burdan. "Some are universal humanistic issues: the environment, the life cycle, and other fears. From an artistic standpoint, there are convergences as well. Several of the works cause the viewer to look twice and to question exactly what we're looking at in terms of media and technique."

"The continued growth of the Biennial underscores the importance of this type of regionalized, open-call exhibition opportunity," remarked Stacy Peterson, Associate Curator and Registrar of the Dubuque Museum of Art. "The Biennial offers emerging and established artists a chance to exhibit together and brings special attention to the talent in our own backyard."

Peterson added, "With its geographical focus, the DuMA Biennial presents a visual representation of life in this region through distinctive styles, themes, and materials."

Opening May 14, 2017 is the exhibition, The Artist Revealed: Two Centuries of Portraits from Cezanne to Dylan.

Organized by the DuMA in conjunction with a traveling exhibition from Syracuse University, The Artist Revealed includes more than 60 self-portraits and portraits, made by and depicting leading 19th, 20th and 21st century artists. The exhibition traces the history of artist portraits, beginning with the earliest work, a small wood engraving by American Winslow Homer, dating to 1857; continuing to Paul Cezanne, a French Post-Impressionist artist; and extending to contemporary images by artists as diverse as Norman Rockwell, Alex Katz, Dieter Roth, and Rose Frantzen.

Lenders to the exhibition include: the Des Moines Art Center, the Figge Art Museum, Grinnell College Falconer Gallery, the National Portrait Galleries in Washington D.C., Syracuse University Art Galleries, Dan Weiss, Rose Frantzen, Diego Lasansky, Larry Gerber, and Jessie Rebik.

The Artist Revealed: Two Centuries of Portraits from Cezanne to Dylan continues through August 6, 2017.

Numerous public programs and events will accompany the exhibitions. All events are held free of charge and at the museum unless otherwise noted:

Members' Preview
Friday June 2, 5-8 pm*
*Free admission includes complementary appetizers for museum members. Guests $10

Amanda Burdan Gallery Talk
Saturday, June 3, 1:30 p.m.
Ms. Burdan will speak in depth about her curation background and her process as a juror to select the participants of the 2017 biennial exhibition.

Lunch and Learn: Politics and Portraiture
Wednesday, June 28, 12:15 - 1 pm
Bryan Zygmont, Associate Professor of Art History, Clarke University

In celebration of The Artist Revealed, and the central role that portraiture continues to play in American art, DuMA has undertaken a unique art-commissioning project called "Not Just Another Pretty Face" (NJAPF). Founded by the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago and now replicated by museums across the U.S., NJAPF brings together artists and patrons in an accessible process that builds lasting relationships among museums, artists, and collectors.

Commissioned works will be on view at the museum during The Artist Revealed. Participating artists include: John Bissell, Heidi Draley-McFall, Adam Eikamp, and Rose Frantzen.

Additional programs will be announced throughout the course of the exhibition. Details on all exhibitions and upcoming programs may be accessed at

About the Dubuque Museum of Art
The Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA), founded in 1874 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2004, is Iowa's oldest cultural institution. Named a national affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2016, DuMA's mission is to excite, engage and serve diverse communities within the Tri-State area through our collections, exhibitions and educational programs. We connect generations of people to their cultural heritage and exceptional art.

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


Annual Asphalt Overlay Projects Announced

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The City of Dubuque's annual asphalt overlay program is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 8, and will improve seven and half miles of city streets during the 2017 construction season. The first of 42 projects will be on Roosevelt St., from Sky Blue Dr. to Peru Rd.

The program targets streets that would benefit from an asphalt overlay to extend the life of the existing pavement. The public works department manages the program which includes milling/grinding the existing pavement surface, recycling old asphalt, and repaving streets for a safer and smoother ride. The City has repaved over 200 centerline miles, almost two-thirds of Dubuque's 310 miles of streets, over the past 22 years through this annual program.

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 $3.4 million for FY2017.

The following 42 street projects are scheduled for partial or complete asphalt overlay this construction season:

• Alpha Avenue - Van Buren to Indiana
• Apple Street
• Born Avenue
• Burns Street
• Clinton Street
• Cushing Place
• E .13th Street - Pine to Central
• E. 22nd - Windsor to Johnson
• Edwards Street
• Florence Street
• Francis Street
• Harold Street
• Henry Street
• Hickory Hill Court
• Hickory Hill Street
• Hickson Avenue
• Holly Street
• Indiana Avenue
• lsborn Avenue
• Klingenberg Terrace
• Loretto Court
• Lowell Street - North Main to Hempstead
• Mountain Lane
• Mt. Loretta
• Oak Court
• Oak Street
• Pfotzer Street
• Paul Street
• Pear Street
• Plum Street
• Rising Street
• Roosevelt - Sky Blue to Peru
• Sutter Street
• Queen Street - 22nd to Windsor
• Rhomberg Avenue - Marshall to Windsor
• Rosaline Street
• Schroeder Street
• Union Street
• Valeria Street
• Villa Street - 560 to Rush
• W. 23rd Street
• Windsor Avenue - Garfield to E. 24th

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.

For more information, contact the public works department at 563-589-4250 or visit


Common asthma triggers and potential causes

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Asthma, a chronic lung disease that results in inflamed and narrowed air passages, affects millions of people around the world. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute notes that more than 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Asthma is also prevalent in Canada, where the Asthma Society of Canada says more than three million people currently have asthma.

When airways narrow and swell, they can produce extra mucus. Breathing becomes quite difficult when asthma is present. The Mayo Clinic says that asthma is just a minor nuisance for some people, while others may experience life-threatening attacks. Recognizing potential triggers and avoiding them can help control symptoms.

The changing of seasons can be a tricky time for asthma sufferers because of the increase in air irritants. Pollen and mold spores are known asthma triggers. Spring cleaning around the house also may trigger an attack if dust, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste are stirred up.

People who are allergic to certain substances also may discover these same allergens can trigger asthma attacks. Irritants in the environment also can bring on such attacks. The Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America indicates that, while people may not be allergic to certain irritants, irritants can bother inflamed and sensitive airways.

Cigarette smoke, wood fires, charcoal grills, smog, strong fumes, and chemicals also may trigger asthma attacks.
People with asthma also must take care when exercising or when they develop respiratory illnesses. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can appear after several minutes of sustained exercise. The AAFA also notes that colds, flu and sinus infections are among the most common asthma triggers in children.

Although many asthma triggers are known, researchers continue to explore what causes asthma. The NHLBI says that people may be more likely to develop asthma if:

• They have atopy, an inherited tendency to develop allergies. 

• Their parents have asthma.

• They were exposed to certain respiratory infections during their childhood.

• They had contact with allergens while their immune systems were developing.

A theory known as the "hygiene hypothesis" suggests another potential cause for asthma. Researchers say that growing concerns with hygiene and sanitation have removed many of the types of environmental exposures that once helped children develop strong immune systems. As a result, an increased risk for atopy and asthma has surfaced.

Asthma sufferers can try to avoid common triggers and may find that medication and other lifestyle changes can help control their symptoms.


2017 Art on the River Sculptures Chosen, Opening Announced

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The City of Dubuque announces the selection of 11 works of outdoor sculpture for the 2017 Art on the River Exhibition. In its twelfth year, there were 56 entries from 33 artists.

The works will be installed in June in and around the Grand River Center and along the Mississippi Riverwalk at the Port of Dubuque. The opening reception for the exhibit is scheduled for Thursday, June 29, from 5-7 p.m. at the Grand River Center. There will also be a youth reception and tour from 3:30- 4:30. The event is free, family friendly, and open to the public.

The following sculptures were chosen for this highly competitive exhibit through a blind judging process. Selections are in no particular order:

1. Kevin Casey, "JuiceBox"
2. Gail Chavenelle, "Diversity Love"
3. Tim Adams, "Fowl Play"
4. Greg Mueller, "Pod Stop"
5. Judd Nelson, "Letting Go"
6. Hilde DeBruyne, "Wings Of Change"
7. Sam Spiczka, "Orion" standing knife edge
8. Nicole Beck, "Foxgloves and Fistacuffs"
9. Christina Murphy, "Bronze Sculpture
10. Nathan Pierce, "Long Shot"
11. Jeremy Rudd, "Harbinger- White Guide"

Art on the River is part of the Dubuque City Council's Arts and Culture initiative and to date has exhibited over 100 pieces on the Riverwalk. A panel of three credentialed jurors reviewed the artist applications and made a recommendation to the commission and the city council on the selection of artwork. Jurors for the 2017-2018 exhibit were:

Jill Sebastian earned her MFA in sculpture and film studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1985, she received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Sebastian's early solo exhibition at Berth Urdang Gallery blended unraveled narratives with cinematic ideas made physical in text-clad sculpture. Subtle questions of place, perception and movement continue to permeate her installations, drawings and interdisciplinary collaborations shown in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities in the USA. The first installation in the Milwaukee Art Museum's new Calatrava-designed addition was her site-specific collaboration with Wild Space Dance Company (2005). Sebastian's public works include a playable musical fence in New Orleans; literary portals for the Midwest Airline Convention Center and a streetscape for Madison, Wis. Her current commission for the New South Campus Union at UW-Madison will integrate environmental questions into the fabric of a building meant to last 100 years. Currently, Jill Sebastian is a professor of sculpture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Karin Wolf has experience in arts project management, research, writing, and educational programs. She is the arts program administrator for the City of Madison Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development and the Madison Arts Commission. She manages the City's arts grants, runs the gallery spaces, and handles public art for the City. Previously, she served as the special programs coordinator in the Community Outreach Department at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, where she created award-winning programs for educators and K-16 students in art, design and technology. She has worked as an educational assistant at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, teaching, docenting, and assisting the curator of education. She has a M.S. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undergraduate degrees in history, history of cultures, and Afro-American history. She is a long-time supporter of the arts and arts education and is involved with many community organizations in establishing exhibitions, film programs, temporary art, permanent public sculpture projects, and placemaking.

Stormy Mochal was born and raised in Independence, Iowa. She received a degree in painting and art history from Loras College in Dubuque in 1999. Since her graduation, she has continued to foster her love for making, promoting, and teaching art. Stormy has taught art classes at Northeast Iowa Community College and at her home studio, has had numerous exhibits around the tri-state area, and is also a children's book illustrator. Stormy lives in Dubuque, where she has co-owned the retail gallery Outside the Lines for over 13 years. In April of 2014, Outside the Lines opened a second location on Main Street in Galena, Ill.

The current 2016-2017 Art on the River Exhibit, consisting of nine works of sculpture, will remain exhibited until the opening of the new exhibition on June 29. All the sculptures are for sale and can be installed in both indoor and outdoor areas. The exhibit is free, can be viewed sunrise to sunset year-round, and is accessible. To vote for your favorite, go to For additional information, please contact Arts and Cultural Affairs Coordinator Debra Alleyne at or call 563-690-6059.


Heritage Trail Sprint Triathlon

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Friends of Dubuque County Conservation invites you to participate in the Heritage Trail Sprint Triathlon. Dubuque's first Sprint Triathlon will take place on the Heritage Trail. The scenic course will start with a dip in Heritage Pond, bike the windy, rolling hills along county paved roads, and run along the flat limestone Heritage Trail. The race will start and end at the Heritage Trail parking lot. The Heritage Trail once was a bustling railroad that traveled through old mining and mill towns. This race is open to individuals and teams! Register today for the early bird discount!

Swim length .....................................400 yard
Bike length .......................................14 miles
Run length ........................................3.1 miles

All proceeds from the run will benefit the Friends of Dubuque County Conservation who help support Dubuque County parks and environmental education! Sponsors for the race include: Premier Bank and Grand River Medical Group!

Race Info:
Register at:

For more information contact Kaytlan Moeller at Swiss Valley Nature Center. Call 563.556.6745.


Jule Proposed Saturday and Weeknight Service Information is Online

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As part of the FY2018 budget process, additional evening bus service was approved to begin in August 2017. Part of the proposal which allowed for a reduced cost evening service included combination of low-ridership Saturday service routes and elimination of two low-ridership weekday service routes, the Orange Key West and Orange Fremont.

The Jule is beginning the process of public input on the proposed changes. A public hearing will be held during the April 17th City Council meeting to review the proposed service reductions.

Proposed Saturday and evening service routes are available online for review and comment at through May 1, 2017.

All Jule routes were reviewed and analyzed for ridership, frequency, hours of service, trip length and times of day to limit negative impacts on passengers while providing substantial cost savings that allows for the evening service expansion.

Proposed route changes include:

1. The Monday through Saturday Key West fixed-route service will be eliminated.

2. The Monday through Saturday Fremont fixed-route service will be eliminated.

3. No Saturday service along Windsor Ave from Davis Street to Mount Saint Francis.

4. No Saturday Service along Hillcrest Rd between Asbury Rd and JFK Rd.

5. No Saturday service along JFK between Asbury Rd and Sunset Park Circle.

6. No Saturday service along Jackson St between 22nd and 32nd Streets. Service is available on Central Ave between 22nd and 32nd Streets.

7. Saturday service along Jackson St and Central Ave will be reduced to once per hour.

8. No Saturday service to current Yellow Line stops including Dubuque Industrial Center West and Medical Associates West.

If approved, the proposed fixed-route changes will take effect on August 14, 2017 in conjunction with the start of expanded evening service.

For more information on the proposed route changes, visit The Jule's website:


The Grand Opera House Announces Auditions for Gypsy

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The Grand Opera House will present Gypsy, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents, suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. Performances are on July 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 2017 at 7:30PM and July 23 and 30, 2017 at 2:00PM. 

Loosely based on the memoirs of the queen of burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy is the ultimate story about an aggressive stage mother. Hits include Let Me Entertain You, If Momma was Married, All I Need Is the Girl, Everything's Coming up Roses, You Gotta Have a Gimmick and Together Wherever We Go.

Director is Joe Klinebriel, Music Director is Kristen Eby, and Choreographer is Megan MacLeod.

1:00 PM Saturday, April 22, 2017
1:00 PM Sunday, April 23, 2017

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

Seeking Actors, Singers and Dancers.

Actors wishing to audition but are unavailable to arrive at the start of the audition time should call the Grand Opera House business office at 563-588-4356 to give an approximate arrival time. Rehearsals will begin approximately June 1st. Those auditioning should be prepared to list all conflicts or potential conflicts between June 1 and July 30. Availability for evening dress rehearsals July 17-20 and all performances is mandatory. Rehearsals will typically run from 6:30-9:30.

Adult actors should prepare 32 bars of a musical theatre selection in the style of the show that best shows their vocal range. Young actors (ages 7-12) should be prepared to sing any song of their choice. Please bring sheet music; an accompanist will be provided. Actors will be asked to read non character specific scenes from the script. All auditioning should be prepared to participate in a dance/movement audition.


The Grand Opera House Announces Auditions for Shrek the Musical

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The Grand Opera House will present Shrek the Musical June 16, 17, 22, 23, and 24 2017 at 7:30 PM and June 18 and 25, 2017 at 2:00 PM.

Let your freak-flag fly with this wonderfully zany musical for the whole family. Full of all-new songs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, SHREK: THE MUSICAL is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and all irreverent fun!
Director is Jeff Tebbe, Music Director is David Resnick, and Choreographer is Christen Tebbe.

Auditions will be held at 1:00 PM Saturday, April 1, 2017 and 6:00 PM Sunday, April 2, 2017. A separate call for children auditioning for Young Shrek, Young Fiona
and Teen Fiona will be held at 3:00 PM Saturday, April 1, 2017. Auditions will be held at the Grand's Rehearsal space in the Arcade Building, 880 Locust St., Suites 222 and 228. Please enter though the alley entrance located between Locust and Main. When you enter go up just past the first hallway and take the stairs on the left to the second floor. The rooms are right at the top of the stairs.

Video recorded auditions will be accepted BEFORE the scheduled audition dates and times - contact the Grand for more details!

Actors, Singers and Dancers Needed - Adults and teens, ages 14 on up (parts for one girl and one boy ages 10-11 who are very strong singers). Actors, singers, and movers.

??Actors wishing to audition but are unavailable to arrive at the start of the audition time should call the Grand Opera House business office at 563-588-4356 to give an approximate arrival time. Rehearsals will begin Monday, April 24th..

Those auditioning should be prepared to list all conflict or potential conflicts between Monday, April 24th and Sunday, June 25th. Availability for evening dress rehearsals June 12-15 and all performances is mandatory. Rehearsals will typically run from 7-9 pm Monday through Thursday with possible Saturday morning rehearsals.

Actors should prepare 32 bars of a musical theatre selection in the style of the show that best shows their vocal range. Please bring sheet music, an accompanist will be provided. Actors will be asked to read non character specific scenes from the script. All auditioning should be prepared to participate in a dance/movement audition. Perusal copies of the script sides are available at the Grand Opera House business office 135 West 8th Street, Dubuque, between 9:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday and can be obtained by contacting Executive and Artistic Director, Frank McClain at


America’s River Corporation Announces 2017 America’s River Festival Lineup

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America's River Corporation is excited to announce the 2017 entertainment for America's River Festival presented by American Trust & Savings Bank, held in the Port of Dubuque June 8-10, 2017.

Kicking off the festival will be Thank You Thursday (June 8, 2017) sponsored by Runde Auto Group. This night will be FREE for all attendees and will feature country favorite Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("Fishin' in the Dark," "Mr. Bojangles," & "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"). The band was originally set to perform at the 2016 event but inclement weather delayed and prevented their performance.

"We were as disappointed as attendees that Nitty Gritty Dirt Band didn't have a chance to perform in 2016 due to weather conditions," stated Keith Rahe, Event Coordinator for America's River Festival. "However, we are so thrilled that they will be able to perform in 2017 and that Runde Auto Group is supporting this night so that we are able to provide the entertainment for no cost for our attendees."

Special guest and up and coming country artist Brandon Lay will also perform Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Friday night (June 9, 2017) features Old Dominion ("Break Up With Him," "Snapback" & "Song For Another Time") with special up and coming guests Tucker Beathard ("Rock On") and William Michael Morgan ("I Met A Girl").

Also on tap for the 2017 festival is the Tappening, A Beer Event. This event draws over 700 attendees to take in an afternoon of craft beer and music. This year's event will take place from noon to 4pm at the America's River Festival event site on June 10, 2017.

Saturday night features classic rock favorites. Headlining the evening will be Styx ("Come Sail Away," "Renegade," "Blue Collar Man," & "Lorelei") with special guests Guess Who ("American Woman," "No Sugar Tonight," & "Share the Land") and Little River Band ("Cool Change," "Reminiscing," & "Lonesome Loser").

Regional Stage entertainment throughout the festival will include Ryan McGrath Band, Zero 2 Sixty, and Main Street Jazz Band.

America's River Festival is held at the McGraw Hill Parking Lot at 501 Bell Street in Dubuque, Iowa. Tickets go on sale February 1, 2017. Please check for more information.