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AAF Dubuque Public Service Campaign Recipient Announced

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American Advertising Federation of Dubuque (AAF Dubuque) is pleased to announce Dubuque County Early Childhood as its selection for the 2015 Public Service Campaign.

Annually, AAF Dubuque selects a local non-profit organization who will receive marketing assistance at no cost. Examples of services donated by the public service committee include logo development, design of print pieces and advertising, strategic planning, and copywriting. The AAF Dubuque Board of Directors extensively reviewed the applications and selected Dubuque County Early Childhood (DCEC) to receive this year's grant award.

Over the next few months, the AAF Dubuque public service committee will work with the organization's leaders to determine which marketing services are needed and begin the development of a plan that will raise awareness of DCEC within our community.

Those interested in becoming members of AAF Dubuque and/or participating in this public service campaign should contact Kristin Hill, Public Service Chair, by emailing khill@cityofdubuque.org.

About Dubuque County Early Childhood
Dubuque County Early Childhood (DCEC) supports healthy and successful children. Founded in 1999, the organization is a community leader supporting collaborative efforts to facilitate access to high-quality child care, education, health care, and family services for all children age birth to five. This is accomplished through partnerships with citizens, businesses, social service agencies, educational institutions, government, and more. DCEC sponsors programs that train and provide quality improvement for child care providers and supports Parents as Teachers, a parent education program, and several health programs.

About AAF Dubuque
AAF Dubuque, a member of the 9th District of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), is a non-profit organization of professionals dedicated to promoting, protecting and advancing the interest of advertising and public relations. AAF Dubuque is led by a volunteer board of directors and officers who dedicate time, talent and resources to making the club a valuable source of information and an excellent networking opportunity for members. Membership is open to anyone, including businesses, individuals, and students. To learn more about AAF Dubuque, visit www.aafdubuque.com.



Upcycled Bird Feeders

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor a workshop on how to make Upcycled Bird Feeders Friday, Feb. 6, at 1:00 pm at Swiss Valley Nature Center.

Join us on this non-school day for an afternoon of recycled crafts. We will upcycle everyday materials to create feeders for a variety of birds! Hang up your feeders and enjoy some bird watching while knowing the process of making those feeders was good for the planet.

Please call 563.556.6745 to register for this program.


Did you know?

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Much like their many of their human counterparts, pets do not always relish winter. Animals can experience arthritis pain or fatigue when the cold sets in. Shorter periods of daylight also may make them less active and likely to sleep for longer periods of time.

In an effort to stay warm, some pets get creative. Cats can unintentionally put themselves in danger just to chase a chill away. The American Animal Hospital Association says cats will curl up against almost anything, including car engines, to stay warm. Cats caught in moving engine parts can be seriously hurt or killed. Before you turn your engine on, check beneath the car or make a lot of noise by honking the horn or rapping on the hood.

Also, if you have exposed radiators in a home or apartment, construct a cover to prevent cats and dogs from climbing on the exposed coils. The hot water pumping through radiators can cause burns.

Cats and dogs also may get too close to fireplaces, so use a protective screen to keep them away from hot embers. Pets also can knock over portable heaters in an attempt to get warm. Look for models that automatically shut off if they fall over to reduce your risk of fire.


Hospice of Dubuque to sponsor bereavement support groups


Women of Achievement

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The Dubuque Women's Leadership Network is now accepting nominations for the annual Women of Achievement recognition banquet!

The Women's Leadership Network wants you to think of a woman who is deserving of special recognition - someone in your workplace, family or community who is an inspirational leader, amazing team member, rising success or tireless contributor - then please nominate her for a Women of Achievement Award! Your nominations are crucial in the success of this awards banquet!

Nominees DO NOT need to be a part of Women's Leadership Network to be recognized.

All nominated women and recipients will be recognized at our awards dinner and ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Grand River Center on April 16. All are welcome to attend this great event and anyone that is nominated will be admitted free of charge!

Please submit your nomination at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/woa2015

We are taking nominations until end of business March 20.

For more information about the event visit www.dubuquewln.org.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to nominate a deserving woman in your life!


Did you know?

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People frequently take human hair for granted, especially if they have it in abundance. While hair can help keep your head warm, there's more to hair than what meets the eye.

For a healthy individual with no hair diseases, hair is very strong with enormous tensile strength. In fact, human hair is about as strong as copper wire of the same diameter. That means one strand of hair can support up to 100 grams in weight. Considering the average head of hair contains about 100,000 to 150,000 strands of hair in all, the combined strength of human hair could feasibly support up to 12 tons, or the equivalent of two African elephants.


New Homeschooling Program will Begin in Dubuque this Fall.

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Parents in Eastern Iowa have a new schooling option for their children this fall - homeschooling as a team.

Several studies have been released in recent years highlighting home schooling as a valid option for students, but many parents avoid home education for their families, citing isolation and insecurity over curriculum as reasons not to pursue home schooling. Classical Conversations, opening its first community in Dubuque this fall, aims to empower parents to offer an academically stout home-centered education to their children.

Home schooling is a powerful trend for families as public school leaders frantically revamp their offerings; the controversial Common Core curriculum is one response to falling academic scores on national and international scales. The US Department of Education reported that more than 1.7 million students, approximately 3.4% of all school-aged children, are being homeschooled nationwide in 2013 as parents opt out of the mass schooling model and bring their children home.

But simply moving children from the classroom to the living room is not a recipe for academic success. Parents still need the support system and guidance offered by those who have been there, done that.

Classical Conversations steps in the educational gap.

Almost one-third of all those home schooled children are now participating in Classical Conversations, a nationwide, Christian, classical model company that began with a handful of students in the North Carolina basement of one woman, Leigh Bortins, in 1997.

Bortins was a home schooling mom, previously an engineer working for Boeing, who was frustrated when her peers began sending their previously home educated children to public schools in the high school years. She believed if families realized they had the knowledge, accountability, and support of other families through those crucial college preparatory years they would pursue home education through every phase of their child's elementary, middle, and high school years.

She began with a simple weekly meeting of students to discuss English, Science, Mathematics, History, and Latin in the true classical method of education: focusing first on memorization (grammar), then assimilation (dialectic), and finally mastery (rhetoric) of the subjects. Her first year 11 students signed up. There was a 300-student waiting list the following year.

Now, just 18 years later, Classical Conversations reported an enrollment of more than 82,000 students ages 4-18 in the United States and other countries.

The timeline song is a series of 161 significant events in human history from the creation of the world to the attack on the twin towers September 11, 2001.

Many of the facts memorized in the Foundations program (ages 4-11) are set to music. So if you ask your fifth-grader to tell you about the Crusades, chances are they will begin singing you a tune: "Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, Richard the Lionhearted, fought the Turks for Jerusalem. During the time, of the Crusades, which occurred from 1099-1291."

The Essentials program (ages 9-11) utilizes English grammar curriculum designed by Classical Conversations and the Institute for Excellence in Writing to teach students the building blocks of the English language - and that every single sentence in the English language can be parsed into one of 112 structures!

The Challenge program (12+ years) is designed to encourage students to take ownership of their own education, explore the world around them through the lens of respecting God's creation, and prepare them for any post-graduation pursuit they choose. According to a 2013 survey of Challenge program graduates, every student was accepted into every college for which they applied... with an average SAT test score of 1876 (378 points higher than the national average) and average ACT test score of 26 (4.9 points higher than the national average).

Classical Conversations company, with the motto of "To Know God and to Make Him Known," has an admittedly Protestant world view, although the curriculum and weekly meetings do not promote any specific theology.

CC is a proven model for parents of all education levels, from barely finishing high school to completion of doctoral degrees. Students with advanced learning capabilities and students with learning disabilities find themselves able to participate in the CC communities with success.

Anyone interested in learning more about Classical Conversations can attend an information meeting or visit the company website http://www.classicalconversations.com to find a nearby community and information meeting events.


Mentalist Brian Imbus to perform

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The Grand Opera House announces that mentalist Brian Imbus will perform at the Grand Opera House, 135 W. 8th Street, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31.

Imbus is one of the most recognized authorities in mindreading entertainment. In his theatrical performance, Imbus will read the thoughts of audience members, predict the lottery and end the show with an amazing finale that is sure to leave the audience stunned.

Imbus is the 2014 A.P.C.A. Entertainer of the Year. He tours throughout the United States with his amazing display of mentalism.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for those under 18.

Tickets can be purchased between noon and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at The Grand Opera House box office, 135 W. 8th Street; by phone at 563-588-1305; or online at www.thegrandoperahouse.com.


Must-haves for any Super Bowl party

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The Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League, has become a global event. 

Fans and non-fans alike typically spend at least some time watching the big game, and many people do so at parties geared around the game itself. A good Super Bowl party can make the game that much more enjoyable, and the following are some must-have items no Super Bowl party host should forget.

Snacks: Snacks play an integral role on Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike other popular gatherings, Super Bowl parties do not typically feature a sit-down meal as part of the festivities. Though it's customary for hosts to make one large dish or order pizzas for guests, it's still necessary to stock up on snacks to keep guests from getting hungry as the party progresses. The game itself often lasts three hours or more, and many guests will begin to arrive an hour before kickoff, if not earlier. So be sure to have snacks like potato chips and pretzels as well as some healthier fare, like vegetable trays, on hand for guests.

Dips: Of course, snacks always taste better when guests have something to dip them into. When choosing dips for the party, encourage guests with culinary skills to make their own homemade dips and bring them to the party, and make some of your own as well. Hosts hesitant to try their hands at making dips can always buy some from the store; just be sure to choose popular dips like onion- or cheese-flavored dips and even some salsa.

Nachos: Certain foods have become synonymous with Super Bowl parties, and nachos certainly fall into that category. If hosts and guests all eat meat, cook up some homemade nachos with tortilla chips, ground beef (or even ground chicken), green peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, shredded cheese, and salsa, be it homemade or store-bought. Exclude beef or chicken when hosting guests who abstain from eating meat or poultry. Nachos can be made in a snap, so hosts might want to wait until just before the game starts to whip up some homemade nachos.

Beverages: Beverages are another important must-have when hosting a Super Bowl party. According to Nielsen estimates from 2011, Americans consumed roughly 50 million cases of beer in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl (the NFL conference championship games, which determine who will play in the Super Bowl, occur two weeks prior to the big game), a significant portion of which is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. So hosts should anticipate guests wanting to enjoy a beer or two during their Super Bowl parties. But beer isn't the only beverage hosts must stock up on. Have plenty of water on hand, as well as some beverages like iced tea and soda for kids and adult guests who do not drink alcohol. Hosts also should monitor guests' alcohol consumption to ensure no guests overdo it.

Chicken wings: Like nachos, chicken wings have become synonymous with the Super Bowl. Hosts who want to try their hands at homemade wings can consider the following recipe for "Baked Jerk Chicken Wings" from Helen Willinsky's Jerk From Jamaica (Ten Speed Press).

Baked Jerk Chicken Wings
Serves 4 as an appetizer

18 whole chicken wings, or 12 drumsticks
1-1/2 cups jerk marinade
1-1/2 cups tamarind-apricot sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce

In a baking dish, combine the chicken and 1 cup of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-1/2 hours or up to 4 hours, turning occasionally. The longer the chicken marinates, the hotter it becomes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the chicken in a greased baking dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, basting twice with the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade. When done, the juices will run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.

Prepare a dipping sauce by combining the tamarind-apricot sauce with the soy sauce. Serve the chicken hot or at room temperature, with the dipping sauce.


Throw a sensational Super Bowl party

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The culmination of the American football season is on the horizon. Millions of people will tune in to watch two teams battle for the title of champion. While the teams may be busy prepping their last-minute offensive and defensive strategies, sports fans across the country are doing their own strategizing by planning the perfect game-day party.

The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, later known as Super Bowl I, was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Since that day, ardent fans and novices alike have been celebrating football by hosting their own viewing parties at home. These parties present yet another way for friends to get together.

As the opening kickoff draws closer, here are some keys to Super Bowl party success.

• Know your playing field. Your home is only so big, and that means you will have to limit the number of people you can invite. Crowding too many people into the house can be uncomfortable and dangerous, never mind trying to talk and hear above the cacophony of too many people. Take inventory of how many you can seat comfortably. You may need to move out larger furniture and move in folding chairs if you plan to accommodate more guests. If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to hook up the television outside and host an outdoor event in the yard. This will enable even more people to attend.

• Size up your competition. Super Bowl Sunday is a once-a-year event. There will be thousands of like-minded individuals planning their own parties and utilizing the same services in your local area. Those who need to rent tables and chairs and rely on a caterer (or the services of the nearest pizza joint) should plan early. If you would like to have a football gathering, start laying the groundwork a few months in advance. This way you can leave deposits for any vendors and be secure in knowing you will have what you need come gameday.

• Establish your play book. Will this be a chips-and-dips type of party or will you be offering more substantial fare? Is it adults-only or are guests able to bring their kids along? Make a list of questions that need to be answered and set up the party parameters. This way you will know what to stock up on in advance. Consider allocating a separate room in the house for kids' play or for adults who are there for the social aspect of the party and will not necessarily be glued to the television.

• Check your equipment. What is the Super Bowl without a means to watch the game? Retailers often offer the best deals on new televisions this time of year because they know sports fans want to upgrade their televisions for the big game. If yours is a TV that has seen better days or doesn't offer the high-definition picture guests have come to expect, this may be the time to cash in holiday gift cards for a new flat-screen. If buying new isn't a possibility at this time, there are centers that will rent electronics.

• Watch the clock. Hardcore fans will not want to miss any of the action. Therefore, refreshments and other components of the party will have to coordinate to the timing of the game. Do the bulk of food preparation before kickoff and allow guests to mingle and fuel up before the game starts. Save finger foods and other snacks that are easily accessible for when the game starts. Guests can take a break at halftime and grab food and beverages that are set up buffet-style in another room. Hosts and hostesses also may want to consider serving as food "butlers" and constantly come out with new finger foods on trays and go around the room to ensure everyone doesn't miss a moment of the game.

• Don't run interference. There's not much entertainment that needs to be scheduled on game day apart from the game itself. Ensure that the television is situated so nobody's view is obstructed and that people moving in and out of the room need not cross in front of the TV to get food or use the restroom. While it may be customary to decorate your home with a few decorations, ensure any decorations do not obstruct views of the game. To make things comfortable for the largest number of people, consider having two TVs tuned into the game running in separate rooms. This way, guests can mingle and not be tied to one area.

Super Bowl parties are fun ways to enjoy the last football game of the season and have a houseful of guests celebrate and socialize.


A look at the life and influence of Dr. King

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Martin Luther King, Jr. played a pivotal role in race relations in the United States for nearly a decade. He helped secure the end of legal segregation of African-American citizens, helped create the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and served as a source of inspiration for black individuals across the globe.

Dr. King did not begin his life as a crusader or public figure. He had much more modest beginnings in rural Atlanta. Born Michael King, Jr., he was the middle child of Michael King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Michael King, Sr. served as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church upon the death of his father-in-law, who was the church's prior pastor. At this point, the elder king decided to change his name to Martin Luther to honor the famed Protestant religious leader. His son soon decided to adopt the name as well.

A religious family, the Kings tried to shield their children from the realities of racism that were alive and well in the country. They believed racism and segregation to be an affront to God's will, and Martin, Sr. discouraged separation of class and taught these lessons to his children.

Those lessons resonated with Martin, Jr. Dr. King attended Booker T. Washington High School and was so advanced he was able to skip both the 9th and 11th grades. He went on to college at the age of 15, graduating from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in sociology. In his junior year of college, King enrolled in a Bible class that sparked a renewed enthusiasm for the ministry. He later enrolled in the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor's of Divinity. Later he attended Boston University and earned a Ph.D. at the age of 25.

It was during his time in Boston that he met his future wife, Coretta Scott. While he was completing his dissertation work, Dr. King became the pastor for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama.

Martin Luther King, Jr. became directly involved in the civil rights movement after the head of the local NAACP chapter in Montgomery met with him on the night that Rosa Parks was arrested for failure to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Dr. King helped institute the Montgomery Bus Boycott. During this time, African-Americans refused to ride the public bus system in Montgomery. The boycott lasted 382 days. During that time, Dr. King's home was bombed due to his involvement in the boycott, and he was arrested for conspiracy. His work paid off on December 21, 1956, when the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on public transportation was illegal.

Dr. King promoted nonviolent protests against unfairness to the African-American community, urging civil disobedience and peaceful protests, tenets that formed the basis for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC, which he led. He participated in numerous nonviolent protests and was arrested several times. During one stint in jail, he penned his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Dr. King established a relationship with fellow African-American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who shared similar interests, including the teachings of Gandhi. Rustin would serve as King's mentor and also was the main organizer of the March on Washington that took place on August 28, 1963. Approximately 250,000 demonstrators were involved in the march, and it was the largest demonstration in the nation's capital up to that time. In front of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King issued his famed "I Have a Dream" speech. He later met with President John F. Kennedy to appeal for greater rights for African-Americans and called for an end of segregation.

As a result of his civil rights efforts, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964, at the age of 35. He was the youngest person ever to receive the honor. He donated all of the prize money to his racial equality effort.

Through the late 1960s, Dr. King expanded his Civil Rights Movement to other cities. But he was often met with criticism, especially when he appealed to white middle-class citizens. Many militant black organizations considered King's methods too weak and ineffective. His support was faltering and Dr. King grew weary of marches, jail and protests. However, in April of 1968, a labor strike in Memphis drew King's attention, and he gave a speech about the sanitation labor dispute, which would prove to be prophetic.

The next day, on April 4, Dr. King was hit by a sniper's bullet while standing on an outside terrace of his motel room at the Lorraine Motel. King's words from the previous day, including, "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land," were haunting. James Earl Ray was charged with the assassination.

In his honor, Americans have celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday since 1986. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. Many streets have been renamed in his honor, and Dr. King remains a source of inspiration decades after his death.


Dubuque AmeriCorps and Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to Host Book Drive

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AmeriCorps VISTAs, with the Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, will conduct a book drive to generate books for families needing literature to create a print-rich environment. Since empowerment and the joys of reading go hand-in-hand, the book drive will kick off Tuesday, Jan. 20, the day following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and will continue through Friday, Feb. 20.

Donations of books for all ages will be accepted until Feb. 20 at the following locations: Dubuque Hy-Vee grocery stores, American Trust & Savings banks in Dubuque, Kwik Stop locations in Dubuque, Dairy Queen locations, Fazoli's, Kennedy Mall, United Way, City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department located at 2200 Bunker Hill Rd., Roshek building, St. Vincent de Paul (downtown location), Multicultural Family Center, YMCA/YWCA, and Dubuque Community School District at 2300 Chaney Rd.

In order to have the most successful book drive possible, community businesses and organizations are encouraged to help promote the book drive. Stacy Seyer, Dubuque AmeriCorps VISTA, suggests businesses and organizations serve as collection points for books, offer a "wear jeans, bring a book" day at work, or advertise the drive in a newsletter or on a bulletin board or marquee. VISTAs will provide promotional posters and book crates to any business or organization that would like to participate. Business/organization names will be listed on all book drive promotional materials and will also receive press release coverage.

Individuals can also raise awareness for the book drive. Hy-Vee has provided bags for individuals to conduct ‘mini' book drives and Seyer encourages anyone to grab a bag from the book crates and gather books from friends, family, neighbors, and classmates. Return bags filled with books at any of the drop-off locations. Volunteer readers are sought for story time at Kennedy Mall on Tuesdays from 10:30-11 a.m. or 5:30-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. for reading and activities. Additionally, after the book drive ends, volunteers are needed to help sort, label, and deliver books to a variety of Dubuque organizations. Deliveries will be made on March 3 for "Read Across America Day."

For more information, or to volunteer for any of the above listed services, contact Stacy Seyer at 563-690-6048 or sseyer@cityofdubuque.org, or Olivia Visio at 563-552-3069 or ovisio@dbqschools.org.

Visit http://readdbq.org/2014/10/23/statisticks-lottery/ for a video from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading on the importance of the book drive to the community.


Tax Breaks for Property Improvements

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Dubuque property owners who upgrade their residential properties located within a designated urban revitalization district may receive a 10-year exemption from the property tax increase that normally accompanies many improvements.

Feb. 1 is the deadline for applications from property owners in the following urban revitalization areas: Cathedral, Jackson, Langworthy, Manasseh House, Old Main, Salvia House, Upper Main, Washington Neighborhood, and West 11th Street. To qualify, improvements must increase the assessed value of the property by at least 10 percent for single-family and 15 percent for multi-family properties.

Owners of commercial property in the Washington Neighborhood Urban Revitalization District may be eligible for a three-year exemption. Tax-assessable improvements include building additions, a new room, patio, porch, or deck. The addition of plumbing fixtures, installation of heating and electricity to unfinished rooms, and the installation of central air conditioning or a fireplace would be subject to property valuation as determined by the City Assessor.

Applications as well as a map of the urban revitalization areas are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/urbanrevitalization or at the Housing and Community Development, 350 W. Sixth St., Suite 312. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 1.

For more information, contact Erica Haugen at 563-589-4212 or e-mail ehaugen@cityofdubuque.org.


Revised Sledding Ordinance Goes Into Effect

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Residents can also request additional areas be approved for sledding

Dubuque has joined a growing list of communities across the country that are taking steps to address liability and safety concerns related to sledding on city-owned properties. A revised City of Dubuque ordinance limiting sledding on city-owned property to two parks that was adopted at Monday's City Council meeting went into effect today. The ordinance only applies to activities on city-owned properties and does NOT apply to private property or public property owned by other governmental entities.

The ordinance was revised due to safety and liability concerns and does not ban sledding but instead restricts sledding, downhill skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing on city-owned property to certain areas within Bunker Hill Golf Course and Allison-Henderson Park designated by signage. Additionally, the ordinance prohibits riding inner tubes on city-owned public property.

Communities across the country are considering similar restrictions after accidents on city-owned property resulted in significant injuries, lawsuits, and large financial settlements against some communities in recent years. Examples include Boone, Iowa ($12 million); Sioux City, Iowa ($2.75 million); and Omaha, Nebraska ($2.4 million).

State code grants immunity to cities for skateboarding, inline skating, bicycling, unicycling, scootering, river rafting, canoeing, and kayaking but it does not for sledding and other associated winter activities. City officials have asked state legislators to address this gap and add winter activities to this list to limit the liability of municipalities. The intent of the amendment to Dubuque's ordinance is not just to avoid a lawsuit, but also to avoid serious injuries to residents by limiting sledding to areas where the city has an opportunity to create as safe an area as possible.

"We want Dubuquers to continue to enjoy outdoor activities in our parks year-round and we understand that sledding, especially on Bunker Hill, is a very popular activity," said Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware. "Our goal in restricting sledding to the designated areas is to help our residents enjoy sledding in a safe manner while minimizing the city's liability."

Dubuque residents requesting that additional city-owned parks and property be approved for sledding can submit those requests to the leisure services department for consideration. A printable request form, in addition to details and background information on the sledding ordinance amendment, is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/sledding.

Those requests will be reviewed by the City's Leisure Services Department staff for safety considerations. If those provisions are met, the request will be recommended to the parks and recreation commission, which would consider making a recommendation to the City Council for amending the ordinance to include additional areas. The ordinance amendment approved on Jan. 5 by the City Council was first approved by the parks and recreation commission before being considered by the City Council. Ware added that safe sledding areas require inspections, ongoing evaluations, and maintenance throughout the season. "While we do not have the resources to do that for all of our other 47 parks, we will certainly consider requests on a case-by-case basis," she said.

Sledding in city parks other than designated areas within Allison-Henderson Park and Bunker Hill Golf Course is considered trespassing. Violators will be informed of the ordinance and warned. Repeated violations could result in a civil infraction. For additional information, please call the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department at 563-589-4263.


OWL (Older Wiser Livelier) Program

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The Dubuque, Jackson, and Jones County Conservation and Iowa DNR will sponsor the OWL (Older Wiser Livelier) Program: "Gladys Black: The Legacy of Iowa's Bird Lady" with Larry Stone at Swiss Valley Nature Center on Thursday, Feb. 19, with a noon lunch followed by the 1:00pm program

Looking for an excuse to get out of the house, make some new friends, enjoy a good meal, and learn about the exciting world of nature? Then join us for OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier), our new series of program for adult learners. Come before the program for a magnificent lunch catered by East Mill Bakery. Larry Stone will then be sharing stories of Gladys Black: Iowa's Bird Lady. The late Gladys Black of Pleasantville was widely known throughout Iowa as a conservationist, educator, and expert on birds. Her message, whether aimed at children or bureaucrats, was the same; protect our birds and protect our planet.

The program is free and open to the public thanks to Humanities Iowa funding; if you would like to join us for lunch there is a $10 fee for Friends members and $12 for non-members.

Please call 563.556.6745 to register for the program and to RSVP for lunch.


January is National Radon Action Month

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January 2015 has been declared "National Radon Action Month" according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Health agencies throughout the United States have joined forces to promote awareness of the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and National Cancer Institute all agree that radon is a national health problem and encourage radon testing during the January awareness drive.

Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. In fact, a recent study by Harvard University ranks radon as America's leading in-home hazard. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided.

Radon gas is not isolated to certain geographical areas or home types. Radon problems have been detected in homes in every county of the U.S. It caused more American fatalities this year than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined! If a home hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge you to take action. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.

The federal commitment made by EPA, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon education and mitigation in homes, especially those of low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones.

For more information visit www.RadonMonth.org.


Head Start Openings Still Available!

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Head Start has openings for children who have turned 3 years of age on or before Sept. 15, 2014. Head Start is a free federally funded preschool program serving children and families in Dubuque, Delaware and Jackson Counties. Ten percent of Head Start's funded enrollment is offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Children attend Head Start classes four days per week at a minimum of 24 hours per week from September through May.

Qualified staff members provide comprehensive services in education, health, nutrition, and social services to all Head Start children. Children who attend Head Star participate in a variety of educational activities and receive nutritious meals. Services are offered to meet the individual needs of each child and their family. Head Start staff assists families as much as possible with the offering of transportation services for some of the sites.

Persons interested in more information about our Head Start Program should call their local Operation: New View Community Action Agency Outreach Office or contact Vickey Vivian at (563) 556-5130 ext. 31.

Operation: New View Community Action Agency is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. All programs and services of the agency are available to all persons who meet qualifications regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex or family status in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


RTA Implements Bus Maintenance Software System Thanks to DRA Grant

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The RTA recently purchased and implemented a new maintenance software program with the help of a grant from the Dubuque Racing Association.

The maintenance module was purchased to enhance the RTA's current system. The upgrade will assist in performing preventative maintenance and will be proactive in assessing potential problems for its fleet of 30 buses. The module has helped in identifying ongoing issues such as oil changes, brake maintenance, light bulb replacements and tire rotations or replacements. The system can also track regular maintenance on the camera systems installed on each bus, diesel additives, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), and annual inspections.

Bus replacements are not always fiscally possible, so extending the life of each bus is what made this grant so important. The RTA anticipates seeing increased on-time performance, reduced wait times, increased driver safety, and longevity of our current fleet.

The RTA provides accessible, safe, convenient, and efficient transportation for all citizens in the cities, communities and rural areas of Delaware, Dubuque and Jackson Counties to enhance their quality of life. RTA vehicles are equipped to accommodate all people, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The RTA manages a fleet of 30 light duty buses, accessible minivans and standard vans. RTA provides 180,000 annual passenger trips serving over 2,500 individuals in the three-county region.


New Staff & Promotions for DRHS

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The Dubuque Regional Humane Society (DRHS) is pleased to announce the following promotions and new hires.

Aimee Dix has been promoted to the Director of Operations. She is responsible for the operations of the shelter, along with customer and animal care staff supervision. She has been with the DRHS since 2008, and has worked a wide variety of positions during that time.

Joseph Letriz joined the DRHS in the position of part-time Volunteer Coordinator in November. Joe graduated from the University of Dubuque in May of 2013 with a degree in Communications and is in charge of all aspects of the DRHS volunteer program.

Lisa Kucharski joined the DRHS team as our part-time Humane Education Coordinator in December. Lisa graduated from Truman State University in the spring of 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication and a Minor in Equine Studies and Spanish Language. As the education coordinator, she will be building relationships with the community, schools and youth organizations in the area.

Cassandra Williams has been promoted to the position of Animal Care Supervisor. She was hired in September of 2014. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Platteville with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Zoology emphasis in May of 2014.

Michelle Farr has been promoted to Customer Care Supervisor. She was hired in October of 2014. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Platteville with a Bachelor of Animal Science degree in May of 2014.

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the tri-state region since 1901. Every year, the DRHS admits nearly 4,000 cats, dogs and critters. The DRHS is committed to building life-long bonds between people and animals through adoptions, humane education, community outreach programs, and animal cruelty prevention.

For more information, contact Maria Benham at 563-582-6766.


Kids in Nature Series

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The Dubuque County Conservation Board will sponsor the "Kids in Nature" Series Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. at Swiss Valley Nature Center. The series runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 19.

Small children zero and up are welcome to attend these outdoor nature programs throughout the year. We hike, read books, and have plenty of hands-on activities. Butterflies, Autumn Animals and Fall Fun are some of the subjects for the series. We hope to snowshoe with the kids pending availability of the SNOW!

Pre-registration is required. Call 563-556-6745 to register.


Auditions Set for The Drowsy Chaperone

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?The Grand Opera House will present "The Drowsy Chaperone" Feb. 27-28 & March 1 & 6-7, 2015.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3, from 1 to 3 pm; Sunday, Jan. 4, from 1 to 3 pm; and Monday, Jan. 5, from 7 to 9 pm at the Grand Opera House.

Auditioneers should bring their own short selection of music of your choice (preferably in a three ring binder with all cuts clearly marked). Dress comfortably for a movement audition. Readings will be provided. Familiarity with the script/show is strongly encouraged, but not required.

We anticipate a cast of approximately 14 lead and supporting roles plus a large singing and dancing ensemble. Bring your schedule/availability through March 8, 2015.

Auditioneers are strongly encouraged to arrive at the start of audition sessions (1p Saturday & Sunday; 7p Monday) to allow enough time for completing paperwork, group acting auditions, group dance auditions, and individual music auditions.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" is directed by Ryan Decker; Music Director is Rob Shepherd, and Choreographer is Gretchen Breitbach.

Perusal copies of the script are now available and may be checked out from the Grand Opera House Business Office, 135 W. 8th Street, 2nd Floor, Dubuque, and must be returned. Business hours are 9 am to 4pm Monday through Friday.

Information on upcoming auditions and other Grand events is available at www.thegrandoperahouse.com or call the Business Office, 563-588-4356. Specific questions about "The Drowsy Chaperone" may be directed to Jill Keck at office@thegrandoperahouse.com


Dubuque Prepares for Emerald Ash Borer

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Emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations have now been confirmed in 18 Iowa counties and as close to Dubuque as Jo Daviess County, Ill. While infestations of the destructive invasive species have not yet been noted in Dubuque, City staff are developing plans to deal with that eventual discovery and the short- and long-term impacts that will accompany it.

The Dubuque City Council will consider at their Jan. 5 meeting the adoption of a recommended Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Plan, developed by City of Dubuque Park Division Manager Steve Fehsal and City Forester Steve Pregler. The goal of the plan is to identify appropriate and effective actions to be taken in the event that the EAB is discovered within Dubuque's city limits. These actions include prevention, detection, communication, and management activities to minimize the effects of EAB on the City's ash tree population. The plan is expected to evolve as more information becomes available on the EAB and its control.

The 23-page readiness plan introduces a series of action steps to take once EAB is found in Dubuque. It also identifies issues that will need to be addressed, such as city ordinance and policy reviews and updates, inspections of trees on private and public property, public education, contractor licensing, staff education, budgeting, contract agreements, wood utilization options, firewood restrictions, and more. Dubuque's Park and Recreation Commission reviewed the EAB Readiness Plan at their December meeting and unanimously recommended its approval.

The readiness plan also discusses plans to replace City-owned ash trees that are removed or lost. As budget and planting policy guidelines permit, ash trees will be replaced with species appropriate to the site and increase overall species and age diversity of public trees.

The EAB has a one-year life cycle, emerging between May and July. The EAB kills trees relatively quickly and affects North American ash whether healthy or stressed. The EAB deposits eggs on the surface or in cracks of ash tree bark and they hatch in seven to 10 days. The larvae feed on the tree's inner bark and, within several weeks, this feeding creates S-shaped tunnels in the tree's inner bark that wind back and forth, becoming progressively wider. This disrupts the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients, eventually killing the tree. Adult EABs emerge from trees headfirst, creating very small (one-eighth inch diameter) D-shaped exit holes that leave minimal evidence of infestation until the tree's canopy begins to die back. Affected trees quickly decline in the second growing season and are usually dead by the third season.

Ash trees were a "go-to" tree following Dutch elm disease in the 1960s and they were used heavily as a landscape tree throughout Dubuque. A preliminary ash tree survey of Dubuque identified approximately 1,750 City-owned ash trees including street trees, trees in parks and recreation areas, and trees on all other City-owned properties. The inventory does not include ash trees in wooded areas, along park wood lines, undeveloped right of ways, and in roadside ditches and alleys.

City staff have begun to identify declining/stressed City-owned ash trees that will be most susceptible to EAB. Many of these trees will be removed before confirmation of a local infestation. The City is also exploring prevention and treatment options for some healthy, problem-free trees. Due to the expense and frequency of treatments required for preventative treatment, it is not an option for all ash trees and will be reserved for significant, sizable, and otherwise important trees.

The City does not have an inventory of ash trees on private property. It is the responsibility of property owners to follow the regulations and laws pertaining to the disposal of the EAB (if discovered) or the affected tree/wood. Privately owned infested trees are the responsibility of the property owner and will have to be removed in a timely manner in accordance with City Code of Ordinances, which requires property owners to remove and destroy infested trees within a specified period. The City will provide residents with literature, resources, and guidance on various EAB preventative treatments, should they wish to treat their healthy ash trees.

Public outreach will be a key component for the City in managing an EAB infestation. Additional information related to EAB will be communicated to the public as details are finalized and conditions warrant. The readiness plan and other background information are available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/EAB.



Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Set to Begin in 2015

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The City of Dubuque will begin work on the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration during the 2015 construction season. The two-part project will begin at Garfield Avenue and proceed north to East 24th Street near Comiskey Park.

Part one of the project includes the removal of the buried Bee Branch storm sewer which will be replaced with a 2,300-foot long creek and green space. This portion also includes two vehicular bridges located at Rhomberg Avenue and East 22nd Street, utility relocations, parking, a multiuse trail, a stepped amphitheater, a play area with slides, a community orchard, and the East 24th Street headwaters and overlook.

Part two of the project involves the Canadian Pacific railroad property and the placement of large diameter pipes under the railroad yard. The pipes will allow stormwater to drain more efficiently from the Upper Bee Branch Creek to the existing Lower Bee Branch Creek and 16th Street Detention Basin.

Starting with the improvements north of Garfield Avenue allows the project to move forward while the City of Dubuque works to finalize negotiations with the railroad.

Project update meetings will be held at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Prescott Neighborhood Resource Center; and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, and Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Audubon Elementary School library. City staff will provide a project overview, explain the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration design, and share the tentative construction schedule. The meetings also provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and share information.

The Bee Branch Creek Restoration is one of several infrastructure improvements Dubuque is making as part of the 20-year Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project to address severe and frequent flash flooding in the Bee Branch Watershed. The $200 million project is being funded with a combination of the city stormwater fee and $127 million in federal and state grants. The Bee Branch Watershed is a 6.5 square mile area of Dubuque where over 50 percent of the city's residents either live or work. Based on a 2009 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) study, 1,373 homes and businesses in the watershed are prone to flooding, including 70 businesses that employ over 1,400 people.

When combined, the infrastructure improvements will reduce the volume of stormwater, slow the rate of stormwater, and increase the safe conveyance of stormwater. The Bee Branch Creek Restoration is aimed at moving stormwater safely through the flood-prone area. By itself, the Bee Branch Creek Restoration will provide some benefit, but all infrastructure improvements of the project must be complete to mitigate the flash flooding.

Several improvements are already completed, including two detention basins, a complete streets project in the Millwork District, and the Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration. In addition to the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration scheduled to begin in 2015, future infrastructure improvements include increasing the capacity of multiple storm sewers, and converting all 240 alleys in the Bee Branch Watershed from traditional impervious surfaces to permeable pavers that allow water to pass through its surface and filter into the soil below. Twenty-three green alley conversions were completed in 2014 with approximately 50 scheduled for reconstruction in 2015.

For additional details on the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/beebranch or call 563-690-6068.


Home fires top list of disaster responses for Iowa Red Cross

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DES MOINES, IA, Monday, December 29, 2014 - This year the Iowa Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Local volunteers responded at all hours of the day with food, blankets and comfort to help more than 2,100 people with nowhere else to turn after home fires from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2014.

The Red Cross also provided financial support to 611 households after home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every eight minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.

"While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that's where the Red Cross comes in," said Leslie Schaffer, Regional Executive for the Iowa Region. "Our work doesn't end after the smoke clears, every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared."

Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires
Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross-in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide-has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. The program is modeled after the smoke alarm installation program developed by the Iowa Red Cross two years ago. Since 2012, we've reached more than 7,000 homes and have installed more 3,305 smoke alarms in Centerville, Lake City, Ottumwa, Des Moines, Arlington and Nevada.

Other Notable Disaster Responses
In addition to home fires, Red Cross volunteers in Iowa responded to numerous other disasters this year, including:

May 2014 - Red Cross volunteers provided food, water, coffee, hot chocolate and clean-up supplies to those affected by tornadoes near Lake Panorama

June 2014 - Red Cross volunteers assisted in families in northwest Iowa and Union County, SD affected by flooding including supporting community efforts to shelter and feed families. Shelters were opened in the communities of Rock Rapids, Cherokee, and Rock Valley.

June 2014 - Red Cross volunteers assisted families affected by flooding in Cedar Rapids and strong storms in Jones, Tama and Adair counties. 

Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.


Easy ways to start living healthier every day

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Contrary to popular belief, adopting a healthy lifestyle is not a difficult undertaking. In certain instances, convenience may need to be sacrificed in favor of nutrition, but many people find that living healthy is not nearly as difficult as they assumed it would be when they initially decided to make a change.

When men and women decide they want to start living healthier, many mistakenly assume they must abandon their existing habits entirely and start from scratch. But the following are some easy ways to start living healthier every day.

• Eat more fruits and vegetables. One of the best and easiest ways to live healthier is to begin eating more fruits and vegetables. Instead of unhealthy snacks like potato chips and cookies, snack on a piece of fruit, and never sit down to a meal unless you include some vegetables to go along with the main course. Studies have shown that men and women whose diets are high in fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop certain types of cancers, including cancers of the digestive tract. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture notes that people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.

• Slow down your eating routine. Some people may already be eating the right foods, but they may just be eating too much of them. It takes time for your body to let you know it's had too much to eat, so eating too fast can increase your risk of overeating. While eating, try to limit distractions that can take your attention away from how much you're eating. If you're always watching television or checking emails on your phone while eating, try a few days of distraction-free, careful eating, and you may find yourself eating less and feeling more energized after a meal.

• Skip the second glass of wine. The much publicized medical benefits of wine are somewhat misleading. According to the Mayo Clinic, when consumed in moderation, red wine can help prevent heart disease. That's because alcohol and antioxidants found in red wine have been shown to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, often referred to as "good" cholesterol, and protect against artery damage. But wine also contains sugars that can fatten the liver, and a fatty liver can contribute to a host of serious health problems. If you already drink wine, limit yourself to one glass per day. If you are not a wine drinker, then it's important to note that many doctors believe the potential benefits of drinking wine do not outweigh the potentially negative consequences associated with alcohol consumption, which include neurological problems and an increased risk for heart disease.

• Get more sleep. Inadequate sleep affects the body in a variety of ways. Many people are aware that one poor night's sleep is certain to affect their energy levels the following day, but fewer may know of the link between sleep duration and chronic disease. For example, the Harvard Medical School notes that studies have linked insufficient sleep to type 2 diabetes, as the body's ability to process glucose can be compromised by poor sleeping habits. Other medical conditions that have been linked to insufficient sleep include obesity, heart disease and mood disorders. While you might be proud of your ability to function on minimal sleep, the long-term effects of insufficient sleep can be dire, so be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Choosing to live healthier does not mean you need to completely overhaul your existing lifestyle. In fact, you can make several easy everyday changes to dramatically improve your overall health.


Stop colds before they start

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The stuffy nose, aches and pains that often accompany the common cold can leave sufferers feeling miserable for a week or more. Cold season seems to kick into high gear when the temperatures drop, but this can be the year you don't come down with a case of the sniffles. The following cold prevention tips can increase your chances of making it to spring without losing any days or sleep to the common cold. 

• Keep kids clean. School-aged kids tend to carry home lots of germs, so when kids get home after a long day at school, make sure they wash their hands thoroughly and change into fresh outfits. Such precautionary measures can keep colds and other illnesses from running rampant through your house.

• Go outdoors and get some fresh air. It's a myth that cold air will bring on a cold. In reality, being outside instead of congregating indoors with other sick people may decrease your risk of getting a cold. Don't be afraid to go outside when the temperatures drop for fear of getting sick. Fresh air and exercise can be good for you.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Keeping your body hydrated will help flush toxins out of your body, strengthening your immune system and making it more capable of fending off colds.

• Keep your distance. Did you know the cold virus can be shot up to three feet away when someone sneezes? The virus travels on the small droplets of saliva and mucus that get propelled from the nose and mouth of a sick individual. If you know someone is sick, stay as far away as possible and wash your hands frequently, paying special attention to your fingertips.

• Wipe down surfaces. The cold virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. That means a sick person can easily transfer a virus by touching a computer keyboard or remote control he or she shares with others. Use disinfecting wipes or warm, soapy water to clean off doorknobs, telephones, light switches, cabinet handles, and anything that is frequently touched around a home or business.

• Let it out gently. Blowing your nose forcefully or pinching your nose to hold back sneezes can irritate nasal passageways and make them more vulnerable to infection.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you are well, keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Viruses are especially good at entering the body through the mucus membranes located in these areas of the body. A combination of frequent handwashing and avoiding touching your face can keep colds at bay.

• Maintain your exercise routine. Regular exercise can boost the body's immune system and help it to fend off foreign invaders, including the cold virus. A recent study found that taking vitamin C in addition to daily exercise can reduce your risk of cold and cut the duration of the cold should you get one. Before taking any supplements, speak with your doctor to make sure they won't interact negatively with other medications.

• Recognize that antibiotics are not the answer. Antibiotics are only effective at treating bacterial infections, not viruses, which means they are ineffective at fighting the cold virus.

• If you do get sick, play it smart. Should you succumb to a cold in spite of your best efforts, steer clear of others so you are not spreading the virus. Rest and fuel your body with healthy foods and beverages. There's no need to visit a doctor for a cold unless you have a fever after several days of being sick. Colds normally last between seven and 10 days. If your symptoms do not improve or if they seem to be worsening, visit your doctor.


Sculpture Proposals Sought for 2015-2016 Art on the River Public Art Program

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The City of Dubuque, Iowa, is soliciting proposals from qualified artists for the 2015-2016 Art on the River public art program displaying works of sculpture throughout the Port of Dubuque.

Up to 10 proposals for sculptural works will be selected for the tenth year of Art on the River, to be displayed at the Port of Dubuque from June 18, 2015, to June 5, 2016. Applications are available online at www.cityofdubuque.org/artontheriver or may be obtained by contacting Megan Starr, Economic Development Coordinator, at 563-589-4393 or artontheriver@cityofdubuque.org. Applications are due by 5 p.m. CST on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

Art on the River is part of the Dubuque City Council's Arts and Culture initiative. Working in conjunction with the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, the Dubuque Museum of Art, and a volunteer committee made up of artists, educators and city staff, the City identified highly visible locations at the Port of Dubuque to display selected artwork. The Port of Dubuque is a 90-acre riverfront campus that features the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Grand River Center conference center, Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Diamond Jo Casino, historic Dubuque Star Brewery, Dubuque Shot Tower, and the Port of Dubuque Marina.

A panel of three credentialed jurors reviews the artist applications and makes a recommendation to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and the City Council on the selection of artwork.

The current 2014-2015 Art on the River exhibit, consisting of 10 works of sculpture, will remain open to public viewing through May 30, 2015. All sculptures are for sale and can be installed in both indoor and outdoor areas. For additional information, please contact Megan Starr at mstarr@cityofdubuque.org or 563-690-6059. The exhibit is free, can be viewed sunrise to sunset year-round, and is accessible. More information is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/artontheriver.


Tips for Preventing Frozen Plumbing This Winter

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The City of Dubuque encourages residents to be proactive in ensuring plumbing and water meters in homes or businesses are properly protected from freezing during the winter months. The following are tips for preventing frozen plumbing:

• Keep your home or apartment thermostat temperature set to at least 55 degrees.

• Do not block heat to areas of your residence that contain plumbing or water fixtures. Keep doors open to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and cabinets that contain pipes to expose the plumbing to warmer air inside the house.

• Cover pipes in unheated areas with heat tape or pipe insulation. Make sure heat tapes are properly installed and working safely.

• Prevent drafts of cold winter air by keeping windows and storm windows closed. Repair cracks or holes around doors and windows to keep cold air from blowing in.

• If you plan to be away from your residence for an extended period of time, ask someone to check your house or apartment periodically. Show them what to do if water pipes freeze and where to locate your water shut-off valve in case of an emergency.

• If plumbing does freeze, attempt to thaw it naturally to avoid significant damage. Turn up the thermostat in your home and open doors and cupboards to circulate warm air. Do not apply direct heat to pipes. Instead, try using a hair dryer or another source of indirect heat.

• Another option for customers is to sign up for email and/or text water leak alerts through DBQ IQ, Dubuque's free online water management tool. DBQ IQ interfaces with a user's water meter and provides online access to water usage data specific to a user's utility account. DBQ IQ can also detect unusual water usage, like leaks, that occur in a frozen or broken pipe, if the leak occurs "after" the meter in the plumbing system. Customers can register for DBQ IQ at www.cityofdubuque.org/DBQIQ or call 563-589-4144 to register for text message alerts of unusual water usage. Please note there is a 24-48 hour delay in water data and alerts.

For questions about frozen pipes or for assistance with shutting off water, contact the City of Dubuque Utility Billing Department at 589-4144.


Practice weather-related pet safety all year long

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Traditions of Three Kings Day

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Christmas celebrants realize that the holiday season does not end on December 26 or even January 2. For many people, Christmas and New Year's Eve are merely a prelude to the real celebration to come on Three Kings Day.

Three Kings Day, or Día de los Très Reyes, is celebrated on January 6 to honor the wise men who visited and brought gifts to Jesus Christ. Also known as the Epiphany, the holiday marks the end of the Christmas season for many practicing Christians.

Very little is known about the kings, or magi. These kings, who are only mentioned once in the Gospel of Matthew, are never named. The story says they hail from the "east" and are guided to the manger by a mysterious light in the sky. They begin a journey to bring gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn king.

Unbeknownst to many, the popular song "The 12 Days of Christmas" actually marks the 12 days following Christmas, ending on the Feast of the Epiphany, and not the 12 days preceding Christmas Day.

Many traditions are associated with the Epiphany. Celebrants in Mexico serve Rosca de Reyes, an oval-shaped cake that symbolizes a crown. The cake has a small doll inside that represents baby Jesus and the hiding of Jesus from King Herod's troops. Herod ordered his soldiers to seek out and murder all male infants born in Bethlehem in retaliation of the prophecy that a messiah would come and become the new King of Jerusalem.

Roscas can be made with dried and candied fruits to symbolize the jewels that adorn real crowns. Whoever receives the plastic doll in his or her slice of cake is expected to throw a party on Diá de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day), which occurs each year on February 2.

Unlike in the United States, where gifts are typically exchanged on Christmas Day, much of the Latin community exchange gifts on the eve of January 6. Puerto Rican children have been known to gather grass or straw in shoeboxes for the kings' horses or camels. Some families display carvings and artwork of the three magi atop camels.

Many celebrants participate in Three Kings Day parades and festivals. Family gatherings and parties that would rival other special holidays are common as well. A special meal consisting of corn tamales and hot chocolate may be served, while others may enjoy black beans, picadillo and yucca.


Until next time: How to pack your holiday decorations


Simple ways to make resolutions stick this time

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A new year often begins with good intentions, as thousands resolve to make positive changes in their lives. Resolutions are easy to make when one is toasting at midnight and ready to take on the world. But resolutions can be harder to keep as the days turn into weeks and weeks become months. 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that 80 percent of resolution-makers have given up by Valentine's Day. A January 2012 poll conducted in England found that, of the 3,000 respondents, roughly three-quarters of them admitted they were no longer confident they would stick to their resolutionss for the rest of the month.

There are several different reasons why resolutions fail, and recognizing potential pitfalls can help people stick with their positive changes throughout the new year. The following are a few ways to ensure your resolutions last the year.

• Don't make an unrealistic resolution. Losing weight is a popular resolution. Some resolve to drop dozens of pounds in an effort to completely transform their bodies. However, when the weight doesn't magically come off, it can be easy to grow discouraged. Weight loss is not instantaneous, and healthy weight-loss plans advocate gradual weight loss, such as 1 to 2 pounds per week. It can take several months to see a considerable difference if you're aiming to lose 50 pounds. Instead of setting such a lofty weight-loss goal, establish incremental milestones with tangible dates. For example, your resolution may be to lose 10 pounds by March 1st. That is an attainable goal.

• Don't go it alone. You're more likely to have success with keeping a resolution if you have outside support. Enlist a buddy to go to the gym with you or provide support as you attempt to quit smoking. Having a support system in place can motivate and inspire; knowing someone will be keeping tabs on you may instill enough anxiety to propel you through your resolutions.

• Make resolutions for the right reasons. Making resolutions for the wrong reasons can be counterproductive. If you want to lose weight for cosmetic reasons and not to improve your overall health, you may find your motivation waning as the weeks turn into months. Making resolutions for the right reasons often provides ample motivation.

• Avoid boring resolutions. Many people make boring resolutions that often focus on the mundane instead of more positive things. Resolutions need not be changes that profoundly alter your mental or physical well-being. Making fun resolutions will probably help you stick to them. Perhaps you will resolve to spend more time with the kids or promise to try more adventurous activities. Maybe you decide it's time to pursue a hidden passion, such as music or art. Enjoyable resolutions are much easier to keep.

• Avoid expensive resolutions. Before making a resolution, research how much a resolution might cost. Gym memberships or new hobbies may stretch your budget, and if you cannot afford a resolution, how can you keep it? If money is a concern, choose resolutions that are fiscally possible.

• Keep resolutions private if you so prefer. Many people are compelled to share their resolutions with friends and family. However, that can lead to feelings of competition or animosity if someone is realizing goals before you. Feel free to keep your resolution private as you go through the process. Once you have met your goal, then you can share your success with others.

• Don't give up too easily. Some people are up for a challenge and others are not. Resolutions typically require a little extra effort, especially in the early stages. Resolutions will not necessarily be easy to keep, but the longer you stick to a resolution the easier it becomes to make it a reality, so resist the temptation to throw in the towel too early.


Grab the best buys this January

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Shopping may be the last thing on the average person's mind once the holiday season has ended. But January may be a great time to go bargain hunting. 

Though sinking January temperatures can make winter seem endless, retailers already have spring on their minds when the calender turns, and many use the first month of the year to clear out inventory and make room for spring merchandise. If you're ready to shop, the following items might be available at heavy discounts.

• Winter clothing: January can be a great time to get discounts on winter apparel. Sweaters and coats have been on display since September, and stores are ready to start displaying their spring collections. Use that accumulated Christmas cash to stock up on coats, sweatshirts and even snow boots.

• Exercise equipment: Many people resolve to get in shape come the new year, so it comes as no surprise that fitness gear and equipment is on sale in January. Look for deals on home gym equipment, workout wear and items for winter sports. If you are in the market for a gym membership, health clubs typically offer discounted fees and incentives to join in the first month of the year.

• Home furnishings: Several manufacturers release new furniture collections in February, and retailers must clean out their old inventory beforehand. If you are in the market for big-ticket home furnishings, hold off until after the holidays and your patience may just be rewarded with considerable savings.

• Holiday items: Now is the time to stock up on holiday décor as retailers reorganize for Valentine's Day and spring holidays. Take inventory of any decorations that broke during the season as well as anything you are thinking of replacing. Purchase cards, wrapping paper and other holiday items now and pack them away until next year.

• Vehicles: January and February can be ideal times to find discounts on both new and preowned vehicles. Drivers may not to want to drive new vehicles through messy winter conditions, so they will usually wait to buy until spring. Dealerships recognize this and will drop prices on vehicles during the winter to try to entice shoppers to buy. You might find it easier to negotiate a better deal in January and February than you would later in the year when demand is higher.

• Big-ticket electronics: January is traditionally one of the best months to buy electronics because this time of year is when the Consumer Electronics Show unveils the newest technology. As people upgrade to new models and systems, last year's merchandise is put on sale. Sports fans also may want to upgrade the size of their televisions now so come February they can watch the Super Bowl in style.

• Jewelry: January is slow for jewelry retailers, and that lull can be advantageous to buyers shopping in January. Splurge on jewelry now before prices spike for Valentine's Day. 

Bargain hunting consumers may want to brave the winter weather and shop till they drop this January, when retailers may be looking to unload inventory as they prepare for the spring shopping season.


9 things to do when the new year arrives

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People across the globe anxiously await the arrival of the new year. Different cultures and religions celebrate their own new year at different times, but for much of the world, January 1 marks the date for change and renewal.

With so much emphasis placed on what people will be doing for the last day of the year, little thought may be given to what to do after the clock strikes 12. Each minute afterward opens up the possibilities to begin fresh with new goals and tasks.

For those wondering how to commence the new year, there are many ways to tackle the first day and thereafter – after you have recovered from the New Year's Eve celebration, that is.

• Take down holiday decorations. While there are some people who prefer to leave up their Christmas decorations until after the celebration of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, by January 1 many are ready to say goodbye to the holiday season for another year. Having the day off of work and school enables you to spend time removing decorations from the house and taking down the tree, especially before dried-out pine needles become more than you can handle.

• Shop post-holiday sales. After spending several months buying for every person on your list, this could be a time that you focus on picking up some things for yourself or the household. Stores may need to liquidate holiday stock and other inventory to make room for spring styles. Many shoppers find the deals hard to pass up when shopping in the early days of January. Check online to comparison shop, and scour the Internet for any printable coupons that can earn you even bigger discounts.

• Visit family and friends. This time of year may be happy for some, but for those far from members of the family or seniors who may have lost many close companions, the winter and post-holiday season could bring on the blues. Visiting extended family you may not have seen during the holidays is one way to pass the day. You also can volunteer some of your time at a senior center or assisted-living facility to spread some post-holiday cheer.

• Discard expired foods and medicines. Take this opportunity to throw out any medications that expire this year, which will give you a head start on spring cleaning as well. Toss out old makeup and cosmetic products and make a list of new items to buy.

Also, take inventory of the refrigerator and freezer, cleaning out any items that are no longer recognizable or that are past the recommended date.

• Head to the movies. Go to the movie theater and take in a flick with the family. January is not the most active time for new releases, but there are some films released in the first month of the year. You can enjoy a lazy day with some cinematic magic and a bag of popcorn.

• Make a folder to store tax preparation paperwork. Tax season is just around the corner. Use this time to collect any paperwork you already may have received and put it in a safe place. Expect new statements of past earnings, any information about interest earned on bank statements and other pertinent tax documents to start arriving. Also, if you use an accountant to help file your taxes, call his or her office and book an appointment before his or her schedule fills up.

• Watch a football game. After weeks of running around at a break-neck pace, use this day to lounge around and recharge. Chances are you can find a football game on television. Order in a pizza and cheer on your favorite team.

• Encourage the kids to put down the toys and pick up a book. Many students will be returning to school soon after an extended winter recess. Have them get back into the swing of things by brushing up on lessons last touched on in December.

• Host a post-holiday pot luck. Clean out the refrigerator of those salvageable leftovers from your New Year's Eve bash. Invite others over with their own foods and host one last party before you have to get back to the daily grind.

There are many ways to start off the new year on the right foot. Get a head start on cleaning or organizing, or relax once more with friends and family.


Unique New Year’s traditions from across the world

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Some people may find it strange to withstand freezing temperatures and gusty winds for hours on end just to stand in the center of Times Square in New York City to catch a glimpse of a bejeweled ball drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Yet this tradition may seem tame when compared to other unique rituals that take place around the world come New Year's Eve. 

North Americans may be singing "Auld Lang Syne" and toasting to good fortune with a glass of bubbly, but elsewhere traditions can be somewhat more eccentric. In some spots of South America, for example, revelers put on brightly colored underwear to ring in the New Year. Red underpants signal a person looking for love, while yellow means they're seeking money. The following are some other unique New Year's traditions.

• Tossing the dishes: In Denmark, individuals toss dishes at other people's front doors. Those who end up with the greatest number of broken dishes at their home's threshold are considered lucky, as they have an abundance of loyal friends.

• Right foot: Start off the new year on the right foot by literally stepping forward with your right foot at exactly 12:00 a.m. in Argentina.

• Burning in effigy: People in Ecuador burn photographs and paper-filled scarecrows at midnight. This is to look away from the past and bring good fortune for the future.

• Good grapes: Spain residents attempt to stuff 12 grapes in their mouths at midnight. If they are successful, they are expected to achieve good luck for the next year.

• Dressing in white: Residents of Brazil dress all in white on New Year's Eve to ward away bad spirits. Many also gather at the beach to toss floral offerings into the water to appease the goddess Yemaja, in the hopes she will grant them requests for the upcoming year.

• Good travels: In Columbia, people walk around their blocks with empty suitcases to encourage traveling in the new year.

• Ringing bells: Japanese ring all of their bells 108 times in accordance with the Buddhist belief that this will bring cleanliness. People in Japan also believe it is good luck to begin the new year smiling.

• Putting up your dukes: Every year at the end of December, people in a small Peruvian village engage in fist fights to settle all of their differences. Afterward, they begin the new year with a clean slate.

• First foot: Immediately after the clock strikes 12, the people of Scotland start first-footing. This means being the first person across a friend or neighbor's threshold bearing gifts of food, whiskey and financial prosperity. People in Greece celebrate in much the same way via the tradition of Pothariko.

• Molten tin: In Finland, residents find the nearest piece of tin to melt. The molten tin is poured into a horseshoe-shaped ladle and then dropped into cold water. The random shapes that form are interpreted in various ways to indicate what's to come in the year ahead. 

• Feats of skill: Single women in Belarus spend New Year's Eve hoping to increase their odds of getting married. Ladies compete in games to see who will be the next to get hitched. These games may include seeing who will be the first to be approached by a rooster. The winner is the next person to become betrothed.

• Appliance toss: In downtown Johannesburg, South African locals throw old appliances out of their windows to ring in the new year.

• All things round: Round-shaped foods are served and consumed in the Philippines. Filipinos believe round shapes that represent coins symbolize prosperity.

From suitcase to fistfights to eating round foods, the traditions of welcoming the new year are varied around the world.


The origin of Baby New Year

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People from around the world celebrate to mark the arrival of the new year. One New Year tradition that has survived through the centuries is that of Baby New Year and its image of a toddler wearing only a diaper, sash and top hat. 

Baby New Year can be traced to 600 B.C. in Greece and Egypt. Historians note that Greeks believed Dionysus, their God of fertility and wine, was reborn every New Year as a spirit of fertility and luck. Greeks would celebrate with parades featuring a baby in a cradle to represent the birth of Dionysus.

Ancient Egyptians used a baby as a symbol to represent rebirth as well. The child symbolized the birth of the new year and the passing of the old one.

Over the years, the tradition of Baby New Year has taken on another meaning as well. Some people believe the baby begins as an infant in January and then quickly ages until he is elderly at the end of December. Some stories even suggest Baby New Year ages until he becomes Father Time. 

Early Christians did not like the tradition of Baby New Year, feeling it was a pagan celebration. However, the Church eventually revised its standing when it saw how much people stood behind the imagery of a baby representing rebirth. The Christian Church allowed members to celebrate the new year with a baby, and it was believed the practice symbolized the birth and hope offered by baby Jesus.

Baby New Year symbolism has even been used for marketing purposes. Retailers realized the cherubic image would attract consumers, which is why it is now used to promote New Year's sales.

But Baby New Year is more than just a successful marketing tool. Each year, many cities and villages name their own Baby New Year, which is the first child born on January 1. Some attempts to name a Baby New Year for an entire country have been made, but there have been no official pronouncements, as so many children have been born around midnight on New Year's Eve that it has been too close to call which baby arrived first.


Gift returns done right

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Gift returns are inevitable come the holiday season. No matter how much thought shoppers put into gifts for their loved ones, chances are someone is going to return one of those gifts. Clothing may not fit or a gift might be a duplicate, while other gifts simply don't tickle a recipient's fancy. But returns should not be taken as a personal slight, and men and women can take steps to make the process of returning gifts a lot easier.

There are many ways to facilitate the process of exchanging gifts or making returns, including finding a gift that is less likely to be retuned. In a survey for the popular department store Kohl's, researchers found that clothing, items for the home and beauty and fragrance items were the gifts most likely to be returned. So shoppers may want to avoid such gifts this holiday season.

Another way to make returning or exchanging gifts easier is to make note of the policies governing such returns and exchanges. Such policies are often posted near checkout areas and are outlined on the back of printed receipts. Before embarking on a shopping trip, shoppers can visit a retailer's Web site and familiarize themselves with its return policies. If rules are unclear, ask an employee.

Shoppers also can shop at stores that allow consumers ample time to return or exchanges gifts. This allows your loved ones to return or exchange a gift when it's most convenient for them.

Many retailers have recognized the advantages to having more liberal return policies. A recent survey by ConsumerWorld.org identified which retailers have made changes and which have maintained the same return policies. Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Kohl's, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx were found to be the retailers with the most generous regular or holiday return deadlines. Choosing retailers with more lenient return and exchange policies can make things easier on your loved ones.

Shoppers also should include a gift receipt with gifts. This shows recipients that you have their needs in mind and want to make the process of exchanging or returning a gift as easy as possible. Without a receipt, recipients may not get the full value of the item at its time of purchase and only get credited with the current price of the item. Prices are often slashed in the days following the holidays.

Many stores have become more stringent with their return policies in an attempt to avoid fraud. As a result, receipts are essential because without a receipt stores cannot verify purchases or issue a refund or exchange. Certain stores will allow a certain number of returns without a receipt, but these are carefully recorded and linked to a shopper's driver's license number. This makes it easier for retailers to monitor serial returners. Some retailers even refuse returns without receipts.

Try to make returns during less busy times of the day. Long lines at the customer service counter are commonplace in the days after Christmas. Check the receipt for the return deadline, and try to wait at least a week or two after the holiday rush is over, eventually visiting the store in the early morning or late evening when crowds typically have thinned.

Returns for online purchases may be challenging. Some retailers allow returns at their brick-and-mortar stores, while others require consumers to mail back the item. Some stores will only offer store credit instead of a cash refund or replacement of funds on a credit card. Online returns may require the help of the person who gave you the gift.


CityChannel Dubuque to Air ‘From the Archives’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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