Update on Sunnycrest Manor

By Dave Baker,
Dubuque County Supervisor
(Originally published in the Dubuque Leader March 3, 2017)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of our Sunnycrest Manor facility. Dubuque County has for years invested in the health of our senior citizens, intellectually disabled citizens, and disabled veterans. Our employees provide compassionate care for our residents. Sunnycrest Manor has routinely been rated among the best nursing homes in the state.

A family atmosphere truly exists at Sunnycrest Manor. Our employees know each resident personally and they continuously interact with the residents. I believe that Dubuque County citizens are proud of the care that our employees have provided to our residents for many years – and that a vast majority of our citizens support the subsidy that we provide through our tax dollars.

The “subsidy” has averaged approximately $2.8 million per year for the past decade or more. There exists a small (but vocal) faction of the people who want to either close the facility or privatize the operations of the facility, resulting in our dedicated, long-term employees losing their jobs. Just the talk of privatization creates anxiety among our employees and residents, and raises concerns from the family members who have loved one residing at

Sunnycrest Manor.

As I have said, there is definitely a family atmosphere at Sunnycrest Manor and I believe that we need to continue monitoring the operations at Sunnycrest Manor through the Sunnycrest Manor Board of Trustees, whose members are elected officials, the Sunnycrest Manor Board of Directors, (an advisory board made up of the citizen volunteers) and utilizing the expertise of our Administrator,Cris Kirsch.

In closing, it should be no surprise to anyone that I am standing strong in support of our residents, employees, and the family members of our residents. I have been contacted by numerous family members of residents, and Dubuque County residents who are not in favor of privatizing Sunnycrest Manor. I ran in three elections, and I did not hide my positions regarding my support for Sunnycrest Manor. As always, I am interested in hearing your views on Sunnycrest Manor and any other Dubuque County issues.

Walt Pregler

Welcome to the Democratic Party, Daryl Klein

The following letter was rejected by the TH editorial board for exceeding word limits. It is presented here for the public.

When I first heard that Republican Supervisor Daryl Klein was voting in the Democratic primary, I was a little distraught. His statements on the “Voices of the Tri States” were reprehensible and mis-informed. The primary elections are designed for each party to choose candidates that best represent their party’s values. I understand and appreciate that individuals have a right to vote in either primary but feel that elected officials should be held to a higher standard. I’ll give Mr. Klein the benefit of the doubt, let him talk on the radio but not actually switch parties to vote. Sure enough, Daryl Klein continued his wacky ways and switched parties in hopes of electing a weaker candidate in the Democratic Party.

I have come to a more reasonable conclusion. Daryl Klein has come to his senses and realized he can’t support the radical values of the Republican party. I take this opportunity to welcome Daryl to our Democratic Party. Our monthly meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the UAW Local 94 hall, 3450 Central Av.@ 7:00 p.m. There are a few things that Daryl will need to learn in order to succeed as a Democrat. 1.) How to work well with others. Don’t pout if you don’t get your way. 2) We value the residents of Sunnycrest Manor and need to reverse the outsourcing at Sunnycrest. 3) We don’t want to squander millions on road projects that you were unwilling to recognize and hold accountable. We do commend you and the other supervisors for retaining a well qualified engineer.

I look forward to discussing what finally pushed you over the cliff with the Republican party. Was it the attacks at the federal level to privatize Social Security? Making Medicare a voucher system? Was it Gov. Branstad’s dumb move to outsource Medicaid? Was it opposition to civil rights law? Or maybe something like “term limits” if you run again and will achieve 12 yrs seniority? Personally, I am betting that the Republican Party will COW TOW to the NRA. Daryl, you are a veteran, and I can’t find it conceivable that a veteran in the U.S. would want known terrorists who are on the “no fly” lists to be able to buy a weapon of their choosing at a store or gun show. When is enough, enough? San Bernidino, Colorado Springs, Newtown, Fort Hood, and now Orlando. All of us would enjoy seeing you take the initiative to promote gun safety, especially with the gun obsessed Republican Party.

I applaud you for seeing the light and switching to the Democrat Party. Welcome aboard Daryl, and it sure is nice to have three Democrat Supervisors again.

Walt Pregler Chair
Dubuque County Democrats