The death of Shirley Babka, who along with her husband, Edward, was a 2015 Telegraph Herald First Citizen recipient, provides a lesson in legacy for all of us.
Look around at the Dubuque community, and you’ll see the fingerprints of their philanthropy everywhere. While some gifts were publicly recognized, and many more were done quietly and without fanfare, the Babkas left an indelible mark on the home they loved and its institutions.
They donated millions of dollars around the community, including to UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital, University of Dubuque, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Museum of Art, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Dubuque County Historical Society, Hillcrest Family Services, Linwood Cemetery Association and other local groups.
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The Babkas were dedicated supporters of UD, where a bookstore, a theater/drama classroom, a housing unit as well as the new UD flight building at the Dubuque Regional Airport bear the Babka name. Additionally, the Babkas provided a $60 million estate gift in 2017 to the school for scholarships — the largest in UD’s history.
The Babkas’ philanthropic history at UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital dates back more than 50 years and brought several million dollars to the facility and its affiliates. Additionally, Shirley served as a member of the Sunshine Circle. Their legacy supported every department at Finley, from Wendt Regional Cancer Center to Babka Surgery Center.
On behalf of a grateful community, we honor Shirley Babka’s life well lived and recognize her outstanding legacy.
A TH story last week highlighted a troubling trend: The number of homeless residents counted sleeping outdoors in Dubuque recently was more than double the number at the same time last year. Community Solutions of Eastern Iowa located 16 unsheltered residents in the city during its annual point-in-time count on Jan. 26, compared to the seven counted last year. Before that, numbers were even lower — two unsheltered residents in Dubuque County in 2019 and in 2020, and three residents in 2021.
It’s a problem that City of Dubuque officials saw coming.
Back in September, City Council members voted, 6-1, to adopt changes to city ordinances regarding camping and inoperable vehicles to help address the city’s issues with homelessness. City officials agreed at the time that while the move gave police an enforcement option to move people along, it did not address the underlying issue: the increase in homelessness.
Virtually all the city personnel and City Council members that discussed the problem liked the idea of implementing a secondary responder model, in which first responders on calls also bring in a second person, such as a social worker, to help connect people in a crisis with resources. To date, such a program has not been implemented.
As the winter winds blow and snowstorms hit the area, we must remember that the number of homeless individuals has doubled in our community and resolve to do something about it.
A glitzy, star-studded salute to Hope Church for joining hundreds of agencies nationwide to throw a wonderful prom-like party in a Night to Shine.
There was a red carpet surrounded by a cheering crowd on all sides as specials guests made their entrance Friday night at Grand River Center. Some chose to dance down the red carpet or strike a dramatic pose while others opted to tip their hats or offer a simple spin. Most wore huge smiles and waved at friends and family in the crowd. Nearly 200 guests from the tri-states attended the Night to Shine event, providing people with disabilities a prom-like experience, which for some attendees would otherwise be inaccessible.
This was the second time that Hope Church has held the event, the first being in 2018. People ages 14 to 84 attended the Dubuque event, at no cost to the guests. Following their red-carpet entrances, attendees could visit a hair-and-makeup salon, receive shoe shines and have their photos taken.
Cheers, sparkles and rose petals to the participants and the cadre of volunteers who brought this dream-come-true night to life.
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