3 newcomers, 1 incumbent elected to Dubuque council

Local residents soon will see three new faces on the seven-member Dubuque City Council.

The newcomers will be joined by veteran Council Member David Resnick, who cruised to victory in Tuesday’s city election. But Council Member Luis Del Toro, who represents Dubuque’s Ward 2, was denied a return trip to the table.

Del Toro was ousted by Laura Roussell in Tuesday’s tightest race. She will join members-elect Danny Sprank, who will quickly be sworn into the vacant Ward 3 seat, and Brad Cavanagh, who will represent Ward 4 beginning next year.

Sprank, Cavanagh and Resnick all enjoyed easy wins Tuesday.

4 council members had pushed to fire city manager

A majority of Dubuque City Council members this summer were prepared to fire longtime City Manager Mike Van Milligen for a list of 16 alleged failings and concerns over his ability to lead “our city and staff in a trustworthy, ethical and fair fashion.”

Those accusations included claims of misleading council members and allowing “ongoing, unchecked discrimination and bullying,” according to documents recently obtained by the Telegraph Herald.

Instead, council members tentatively agreed in closed-meeting discussions to retain an outside law firm to conduct “an investigation into and evaluation of the current workplace culture,” including “assessing the city manager’s performance,” according to a memo from City Attorney Crenna Brumwell to a Des Moines law firm provided to the TH and interviews with council members.

However, following the resignation of then-Ward 3 Council Member Kate Larson in August, there was no longer a majority willing to move ahead with an investigation, according to Council Members Brett Shaw and Jake Rios.

New comedy venue, eatery add to local nightlife scene

A comedy venue that already made a splash in two major metropolitan areas is bringing a new nightlife option to Dubuque’s Millwork District.

Meanwhile, an eatery helmed by a recent winner of a national cooking show opened last week in the same building.

The Comedy Bar hosted its first public show Friday. The 110-seat venue is located in the basement of the Novelty Iron Works Building, 333 E. 10th St.

Co-owners Sahar Chavoshi and Kyle Lane already operate comedy clubs in Chicago and Nashville, Tenn. They hope to put their industry experience to good use while operating their third venue.

Southern Ego opened Friday near the main lobby of the Novelty Iron Works building. The business is co-owned by Gerron Hurt, who earned nationwide attention last year when he won the ninth season of “MasterChef,” a reality cooking show on Fox.

Man sentenced to 8 years for hitting girlfriend with vehicle

A Dubuque man convicted of crashing his car into his girlfriend after an argument was sentenced Monday to nearly eight years in prison, despite her pleas for leniency.

Jeremias C. Woodland, 36, of 2065 Pasadena Drive, No. 9., was sentenced in Iowa District Court of Dubuque County to seven years, 11 months behind bars.

He entered an Alford plea in September to charges of domestic assault with a dangerous weapon, serious injury by vehicle and operating while intoxicated. Such a plea is not an admission of guilt, but the defendant acknowledges that sufficient evidence for a conviction exists.

Woodland also pleaded guilty to violating his probation in a 2018 case in which he assaulted the same woman.

As part of a plea deal, four charges were dismissed — attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury and two counts of violation of a no-contact order.

Koria M. Wells, 27, of Dubuque, asked for leniency at Woodland’s sentencing hearing, telling Judge Thomas Bitter that she does not believe her live-in boyfriend intentionally tried to hit her with his car. She asked the court to not “leave my kids without a father,” by sending Woodland to prison.

Dubuque County lands more than $5 million for traffic improvements

A $5.4 million federal grant will jump-start an effort to improve roads and reduce traffic congestion around John Deere Dubuque Works.

Federal officials last week announced that Dubuque County has landed a $5.4 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant. Funds will be used for road and trail projects along the Northwest Arterial and in the area around the John Deere facility.

“It would have taken a long time for us to work that into our plan (without the grant), and so it definitely is going to speed up the process,” said Dave Baker, chairman of the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors.

Officials at John Deere, Dubuque County’s largest employer, are excited as well.

“It’s going to be great for the community,” said Mark Dickson, general manager of the facility. “It’s going to be great for our employees.”

2 dozen pop-up shops part of latest effort to promote Central corridor

For the next seven weekends, a once-vacant storefront in the 1600 block of Central Avenue will be transformed into a retail and cultural experience.

Marshallese Amimono opened Friday night at 1643 Central Ave. and will maintain a presence in the corridor throughout the holiday season.

Tilla Lati, the store’s operator, said it will sell a variety of crafts that have been imported from the Marshall Islands, including handbags, jewelry and home decor. Such crafts — which are referred to as “amimono” by the Marshallese — are an important part of the economy in Lati’s native country.

In addition to selling these crafts, the store will provide an interactive cultural experience to visitors.

The store’s opening coincides with the launch of Central Express, an initiative led by Dubuque Main Street featuring more than two dozen pop-up shops filling more than 10 storefronts between 1400 and 2300 Central Ave. throughout the holiday season.

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