Thieves torch safe, escape with money

Maquoketa police vehicles surround the rear entrance of Happy Joe’s Place after someone broke into the restaurant.
Maquoketa police vehicles surround the rear entrance of Happy Joe’s Place after someone broke into the restaurant.

By KELLY GERLACH

News Editor

kgerlach@mspress.net

At least one suspect crawled through the Maquoketa Happy Joe’s Place drive-thru and torched a safe before fleeing with an undetermined amount of cash this week.

The restaurant was closed all day Thursday as Maquoketa police officers and the State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the incident, which is being classified as second-degree arson.

A driver delivering products to the Maquoketa Happy Joe’s arrived at the store at 7:06 a.m., entered the back door of the restaurant, and “noticed strange things” then called the police, according to Brad Koranda, Maquoketa police chief.

An unknown number of people entered the building through the north-side drive-thru window sometime after the restaurant closed, Koranda said.

“They did tamper with the safe,” he said, standing outside the restaurant Thursday afternoon. “It looked like it may be some type of incendiary device, so we called the State Fire Marshal’s Office, who had to come from Council Bluffs.”

Some type of torch – not an explosive – was used to cut open the safe, the chief said.

 

He said the safe door had been ripped off piece by...

 

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Business owner questions loan source

Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore

By DOUGLAS MELVOLD

Staff Writer

dmelvold@mspress.net

A Maquoketa industry owner has questioned a city council decision to use a fund earmarked for economic development to help finance a storm sewer project.

Tom Gilmore, owner of T&J Manufacturing, aired his concerns to the council at its Sept. 6 session.

“I don’t quite understand what infrastructure maintenance has to do with economic development money that’s there for other reasons,” Gilmore told the council.

The project involves the replacement of a storm sewer line that runs under West Platt Street and near North Jones Street.

 

Video footage taken by a remote-control...

 

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Students assemble blankets to warm the homeless

Sisters Nikita and Nitessa Orsborne pair up to tie  a blanket for homeless  people. The blanket  project is part of Sacred Heart theme of “Year of Mercy,”  in which students and  parishioners will complete  various service projects to help the community.
Sisters Nikita and Nitessa Orsborne pair up to tie a blanket for homeless people. The blanket project is part of Sacred Heart theme of “Year of Mercy,” in which students and parishioners will complete various service projects to help the community.

By KELLY GERLACH

News Editor

kgerlach@mspress.net

Knots.

They often make the simplest task – such as tying or untying a shoe – more difficult.

But knots were required as Sacred Heart students worked together to help warm the homeless.

As part of the church’s “Year of Mercy” campaign, students and staff hand-tied fleece blankets for the homeless, part of the “Sheltering the Homeless” sub-theme.

Principal Jenny Litterer spoke to the student body before the project began. She said about 500,000 homeless people reside in the United States, and about one-quarter of them are children.

“We’re going to tie the blankets so they have something to keep them warm, then pray people find them and help them and they get a job and a home,” the principal.

The students then broke down into Celebration Circles comprised of students from each grade level. They created team names, and some students focused their talents on creating a poster for their new circle of friends with whom they’ll be working for the remainder of the year.

With help from the community volunteers and teachers, the kids had tied their two pieces of fleece together to form a throw-blanket, all in about 25 minutes.

The groups made a total of nine blankets, which will be delivered to Maria House and the Teresa Shelter in Dubuque.

 

Students and staff have planned more community activities throughout the year for the “Year of Mercy” mission.

 

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Business is lean in the downtown, but owners remain optimistic

Downtown business owners are trying everything from signs and sandwich boards to discounts and punch cards to get customers into their businesses. Despite the economic downturn caused by street construction, owners said they are “hanging in there.”
Downtown business owners are trying everything from signs and sandwich boards to discounts and punch cards to get customers into their businesses. Despite the economic downturn caused by street construction, owners said they are “hanging in there.”

By KELLY GERLACH

News Editor

kgerlach@mspress.net

Some downtown Maquoketa businesspeople said they’re sticking it out despite the fact that business has been moving at a glacial pace since street construction started in downtown Maquoketa in March.

M*Coconutz owner Melodie Schueller, who is also the head of the Maquoketa Retail and Trade Committee, said foot traffic into her store has declined since customers were no longer able drive on or park along North Main Street.

“But we’ve had two years to plan for this,” Schueller said.

The Maquoketa City Council in December awarded a $3.65 million contract to KE Flatwork Inc. of Eldridge to reconstruct five downtown blocks. The project involves replacing underground utilities, new street pavement and new sidewalks for the three blocks of Main Street between Maple and Quarry streets and two blocks of Quarry between North Olive and North Second streets.

Quarry Street is finished. The entire project is expected to be completed in late fall.

 

Schueller, and many 

 

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Vermont crew gets extra time

Josh Collister
Josh Collister

By DOUGLAS MELVOLD

Staff Writer

dmelvold@mspress.net

The contractor on the Maquoketa’s North Vermont Street reconstruction project was given until Tuesday to complete the job or face a $500-a-day penalty.

The Maquoketa City Council on Aug. 15 said it would not seek a penalty for time that the contractor, Drew Cook and Sons Excavating Co. Inc. of Dubuque, already had taken beyond the 40 working days allotted for the project.

The council approved the extension on a 6-1 vote with Councilman Josh Collister dissenting. Collister argued the council should impose the penalty starting on the first day the contractor was late completing the job.

 

The project involves the reconstruction of the two blocks of North Vermont Street between West Platt and West Quarry streets. The project involves excavating the street, replacing the water line under the street, 

 

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 9/28/16

of the Maquoketa

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