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WATCH NOW: Waterloo eyes better fireworks enforcement

WATERLOO — The city is looking for better ways to enforce violations of its fireworks laws.

A majority of Waterloo City Council members are in favor of continuing to allow consumer fireworks use on July 3-5. But several of them this week supported measures to crack down on those violating the rules.

“I’m not in favor of banning for a whole bunch of reasons,” said Councilman Pat Morrissey. “What I’m interested in is tightening up our ordinance, because I think over these last four years of experiencing this we’ve learned some stuff.”

Morrissey unveiled a long list of proposed changes to the city’s fireworks ordinance Monday.

A notable change would allow police officers to issue citations to a property owner if they are unable to determine exactly who exploded fireworks outside of the legal time frame.

Waterloo police have issued just one fireworks citation in the past four years because the standard requires an officer to observe the individual violating the law or have a witness willing to testify against the user.

“What we do see, and I’ve talked to some of the patrol folks, is that upon our response no one’s willing to step up and say this is the property from which fireworks emanated,” said Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

Morrissey also wants to change the ordinance to ban fireworks allowed by state law but that mimic display fireworks and exceed certain size and decibel levels. He also suggested the city ticket residents who fail to clean up debris from their fireworks use.

Councilwoman Sharon Juon said she supported some of Morrissey’s suggestions. Juon said she would prefer to ban fireworks use in the city limits, but conceded there wasn’t enough support to make that change.

Councilwoman Margaret Klein said she liked the ability to cite a property owner if a user isn’t identified. But she said Morrissey’s other suggestions were not enforceable.

“I do still support a ban,” Klein said. “It’s very bad for people with PTSD. This year was like a war zone.”

Klein also said noise from fireworks was a contributing factor in the recent death of her pet.

The state law legalizing fireworks in 2017 allowed use from June 1 through July 8 and Dec. 10 through Jan. 3. But cities are allows to set more restrictive time frames or ban them in their jurisdictions.

Eight of Iowa’s 15 largest cities ban fireworks completely. They include Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, West Des Moines, Ames, Dubuque, Urbandale, and Cedar Falls.

Waterloo joins Davenport, Sioux City, Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Marion, and Bettendorf in allowing one to three days for consumers to set off fireworks.

Photos: Lost Island water park

breaking featured
UPDATE WITH NAME: Teen dead in overnight shooting in Waterloo

WATERLOO — Waterloo police continue to investigate the death of a Waterloo teen who was gunned down across the street from where he stayed with relatives.

Cortez J. Harrison was unresponsive when he showed up at a local hospital, and he was later pronounced dead, said Lt. Robert Duncan with the Waterloo Police Department.

Harrison was 15 years old.

“He was a very nice great-grandson. He played basketball, liked to be around with me,” said Hazel Isabelle, his great-grandmother. “We just always hang out.”

She said they had had dinner together Monday night, but she didn’t what happened to him later that night.

Neighbors in the 2800 block of East Fourth Street called 911 at about 10:12 p.m. after hearing gunfire and seeing someone on the ground in the alley.

When officers arrived no one was in the alley, but someone brought Harrison to UnityPoint-Allen Hospital by private vehicle moments later, according to police. Harrison was suffering from multiple bullet wounds, police said.

An autopsy at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny will be at a later date.

Investigators found numerous spent shell casings in the alley, and at least one nearby home was hit by a bullet, police said.

No arrests have been made.

In a Facebook post, Harrison’s former youth basketball coach said he was saddened by what happened.

“You were a special basketball talent, an a exceptional person, man my heart hurts for your mother, and your siblings,” Mike Madlock wrote in the post. “This is a lesson to my city, even if you don’t want to get involved get involved, it’s generations dying on those streets you ride every day. Instead of building an amusement park, build new relationships and save someone other than your own people.”

Authorities are asking anyone with information on Harrison’s death to call the Waterloo Police Department Investigation’s Division at 319-291-4340 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-8477. Tips may also be left at WWW.CVCRIMESTOP.COM Tips may also be sent with TipSubmit or by texting the word CEDAR plus the information to CRIMES (274637).

Photos: Missing children in Iowa

Photos: Missing children in Iowa

8 Over 80: Dorothy Haugebak's achievements span decades

Third in a series on this year’s Courier 8 Over 80 honorees.

WATERLOO — A lot of things have happened in Dorothy Haugebak’s 96 years.

“Life has always been so interesting. I’ve always had an enthusiasm for life. There are so many things to do and ways to stay active and involved. I say, ‘why stop?’, as long as I’m healthy enough to enjoy it. I’ve been blessed in many ways, and I’m in pretty good shape,” said Haugebak.

She laughed.

Hauebak has been selected as a one of the Courier’s Eight over 80 honorees for 2020.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving than my mother. She has lived in the Cedar Valley since the early ‘50s and has devoted much of her 96 years young improving the Cedar Valley. She has touched many lives throughout the community,” said her daughter, Debi Daters, when nominating her mom.

“I would think anyone that has met her would say she is truly an inspiration.”

Haugebak received numerous nominations. Melissa McDaniel said the honoree “has a heart of gold,” and Diane Jeffrey described “Dottie” as “a wonderful role model for me since I was in grade school, and I am now 64 years old. What a kind soul she is! She is truly the nicest person you will ever meet and smart and ambitious.”

Her friend Dorothy Heine said, “Dottie is on the go constantly. She is worthy of this award.”

Aurelia Klink agreed. “Dorothy has been a committed, hardworking individual for her Cedar Valley community. I have known Dorothy for many years. She is always concerned about the welfare of others. She has been a wonderful mentor to those of us who are younger.”

Haugebak’s achievements span decades, and one of her proudest was starting the first home health aide program for Black Hawk County in 1971 through the Department of Human Services. She directed the program for 13 years.

“We had about 40 aides at one point. That was satisfying because we were working with families and children and the elderly right where the needs were,” Haugebak recalled. When funding shifted to the state health department, she served as a consultant. She also has been a substitute teacher and dietitian.

Haugebak served as dietary consultant for Friendship Village for the first 13 years of its existence, planning the menus and special diets for residents. She was a member of the original House of Hope board of directors, as well as the Cedar Valley Hospice board during their formative years.

“Being involved at the start of these organizations was a very fulfilling time for me,” said Haugebak. She was also busy in the Sartori Hospital Auxiliary and continues to volunteer for the annual Festival of Trees. She has belonged to such organizations as Altrusa and PEO Clubs, the Sons of Norway and served as a Cub Scout and 4-H leader when her four children were younger. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, then became a member of Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls.

“Many of Dottie’s volunteer gifts will go unnoticed because she has done so much behind the scenes while never seeking the spotlight. Dottie is a glowing gem in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls community,” said Sherry and Jack Hester in their nomination.

Haugebak also ventured into real estate, buying and rehabbing homes in east Waterloo for rentals. Gary Daters said her work “has helped not only to improve the quality of the neighborhoods, but has offered quality low-income housing to countless needy families.”

She received the Service Key award in 1980 from Iowa State University for outstanding community service. An avid bridge player, Haugebak has recently enjoyed playing bridge via Zoom.

“Being with people and having challenges makes life enjoyable. I have really been blessed. I have great family support and good friends. I somewhat enjoy cooking, but not nearly as much as I used to. I get up late, and I stay up late. Life goes on,” Haugebak adds, laughing.

‘There are so many things to do and ways to stay active and involved.’ — Dorothy Haugebak

‘There are so many things to do and ways to stay active and involved.’ — Dorothy Haugebak

Residents show support for law enforcement during a GOP Backs the Blue rally at Lincoln Park in Waterloo on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

breaking featured
Dozens gather to remember 15-year-old Cortez Harrison

WATERLOO — A lot of emotions went through William Corey Muhammad’s mind when he heard about the shooting death of 15-year-old Cortez Harrison.

He put that emotion onto Facebook Tuesday morning, asking people to gather at East Fourth and Newell streets in Waterloo later that day.

“All these young souls going to the grave and nobody is standing up, and it’s been happening far too long!” he posted.

Black MEN; Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, Homeboys, Crew, Pastors, Ministers, Preachers, Reverends,...

Posted by William Corey Muhammad on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

And a lot of emotions were still coming through him Tuesday evening, as several dozen heeded his call and came out to support Cortez.

“I’m mad for real. And it ain’t mad out of frustration or foolishness — it’s a passion,” Muhammad, known to many as Coach Corey for his work with girls basketball at Waterloo East and in the community, told the crowd. “We gotta stop this foolishness. We gotta absolutely stop this, and it’s gotta stop now. Our energy’s gotta be spent on saving our youth.”

That passion, Coach Corey said in an interview, came from a constant frustration about what he said was a lack of support, resources and opportunities for the city’s north side. He experienced that himself as a kid, and now as a father wanted more for his children.

“We’ve just been so comfortable allowing it to happen, and we’ve become so numb to the feeling of it happening, and it just can’t continue to happen,” he said.

stop violence rally

Posted by Jeff Reinitz on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Cam Campbell of Waterloo was one of the first few to arrive at the rally with a sign that said “Cortez” and a heart. She said her stepson was friends with Cortez, Cortez’s grandmother lived a few houses away, and she officiated for a basketball tournament he played in.

The night Cortez was shot, Campbell was a block or two away at Gates Park, watching kids play basketball, turning her car’s headlights on so the kids could keep playing as the night grew darker.

“I was thinking, ‘Where is Cortez?’” Campbell said. “He should be over here playing with the kids.”

Just after 10 p.m. that night, Cortez showed up at the hospital with multiple bullet wounds. He was later pronounced dead.

Campbell got the call later that night.

“It’s tough,” she said. “We just have to rally together and stick together, and people need to know that we care.”

That was why Vikki Brown came to show her support Tuesday.

“When they see us out here like this, this shows that we care,” Brown, chair of the Black Hawk County Democrats, said. “All too often, things happen and (in a) couple of weeks, it’s over, it’s done ... But to see (people) en masse, it means a lot to the community.”

The crowd later gathered at nearby Gates Park, where a vigil for Cortez drew even more people, including some of the 15-year-old’s basketball teammates.

Mayor Quentin Hart called on anyone who knew anything about Cortez’s murder to tell someone about what they knew, whether it was a police officer or himself.

“I don’t want to be standing in this park again for a different situation,” Hart said. “We need to tell what we know.”

But he also implored the crowd to care for one another and be positive mentors for the youth.

“Love on these young people in this community,” Mayor Quentin Hart said. “They may have challenges, or things that you may not understand.”

UNI Social Justice mural

A previous version of this article noted Vikki Brown did not know Cortez Harrison; she later clarified she knew him.