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December 2021

Iowa DNR completes PFAS analysis of Iowa City drinking water

In November 2021, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) sampled Iowa City's drinking water as part of the State's PFAS action plan. PFAS refers to the family of chemicals known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a health advisory level associated with two PFAS - Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) - at a combined concentration of 70 ppt (parts per trillion). The results of Iowa City's PFAS samples found no detectable PFOA or PFOS.

The analysis tested for 25 other PFAS chemicals. One, Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), was detectable in Iowa City drinking water at 3 ppt. To imagine one part-per-trillion, picture enough salt to stick to the tip of your pinky finger dissolved in an Olympic swimming pool.

"Our results are very low and not unexpected," said Jonathan Durst, Water Superintendent. "The City will continue to work with the Iowa DNR to monitor PFAS and conduct additional on-site testing. We are committed to providing the highest quality drinking water to our community."

For more information about PFAS, please visit: or

The entire Iowa DNR report on Iowa City's drinking water can be found here.

Fireworks reminders for New Year celebrations in Iowa City

Do not celebrate the New Year with your own personal firework show in Iowa City. Using fireworks inside city limits is prohibited, and violators will face a minimum fine of $250. 

How do I report illegal fireworks?

Residents are encouraged to speak directly with their neighbors regarding the use of illegal fireworks. Reports can also be made to public safety dispatchers at 319-356-6800. Please provide an address when reporting your concern.

For questions about the local fireworks ordinance, contact Fire Marshal Brian Greer at 319-356-5257 or [email protected].

Bourbon Review: Knob Creek Smoked Maple - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Straight Shot

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

Today's review is a taste of maple!  I was gifted a bottle for Christmas, a very pleasant surprise.

Here's the short description from the Knob Creek website:  We blend this bourbon with natural smoked maple flavors for a unique, smoky sweetness. 

I sampled this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks.  In pulling the stopper, you get a nice whiff of maple with a hint of smoke.  At 90 proof, this bourbon is full-bodied, you get the maple at the front but it's not overly sweet and is followed by the smoke and complimentary notes of vanilla and caramel.  It's an excellent, warm, bourbon finish.  I enjoyed it best on the rocks, the ice elevating all the flavor notes in a cleaner sip if you will.

Retailing for about $30, Knob Creek Smoked Maple is a higher quality whiskey than say Jim Beam.  It's slightly sweet but not too maple forward, it's smokey smooth and deserves a spot in your liquor cabinet.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. A great fall/winter sipping whiskey, I'm reserving this for special occasions and it's most definitely a repeat buy.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Drink Review: Jim Beam Maple Whiskey

Food Review: Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
A fried beef sandwich, what's not to like?

I've been on a bit of a Sonic kick lately, it's been my go-to when I'm not quite sure what I'm in the mood for.  Their menu is quite diverse, one that can satisfy just about any kind of fast food craving, the drive-up joint pretty much has everything covered.  There are salty and sweet choices, tender and juicy options, there's crispy and crunchy variety... all kinds of textures and flavor notes are on the Sonic menu.  

On this occasion I didn't really know if I wanted a burger, a chicken sandwich, or sauced up chicken tenders so what I do when I'm in that "I'm hungry but I don't really know what I'm in the mood for" mood...  I pull into a Sonic, start reading the menu and order whatever pops out at me...  It didn't take long for it to hit me - Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich!

Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
Excellent meat to bread ratio

I've never had this Sonic offering before and what a perfect selection for my "Not quite sure what I'm in the mood for" mood...  Country fried steak in a sandwich, it's beef, battered and fried like chicken!  Topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato and served on Texas toast this sounded like a winner, winner chicken but it's beef dinner!

This sandwich hits all the fast food craving notes, the nicely seasoned, tender, juicy beef with that batter providing a nice crunch in each bite.  The creamy mayo, lettuce and tomato give the sandwich balance and that Texas toast, oh my!  The toast is a perfect compliment to the fried beef, it's buttery and delightfully crispy on the outside without being greasy on the fingers and soft, fluffy, delicious on the inside. 

Country Fried Steak
The only real downer, not the freshest looking tomato, too thinly sliced too

Costing me $8.97 for a combo meal which included tots and Sonic's classic cherry limeade, I'm giving the Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a very good sandwich, satisfies just about any kind of burger or fried chicken craving, it's wallet friendly and is most definitely a repeat buy.  My only knock on the sandwich was the tomato slices, not the best looking tomato...

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Food Review: Sonic's FRITOS® Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap

Sonic's Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap Jr.
The Jr. Wrap is a very tasty on-the-go snack

By Mike Thayer

FRITOS® Chili Cheese Wraps are Back!

It's crunchy, cheesy, melty comfort food at a bargain price.

The Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap features an 8-in flour tortilla wrapped around warm chili, melted Cheddar cheese and crunchy Fritos Corn Chips for just 99¢!

These wraps are a perfect on-the-go snack when out-and-about running errands or yes, doing the dreaded Christmas shopping.  And for bigger appetites, Sonic also has a regular Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap made with more of all those great crunchy, cheesy, melty ingredients all wrapped in a large flour tortilla.

Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap Jr.
Chili, cheese, Fritos, all wrapped in a warm tortilla, what's not to like?

I'm giving Sonic's Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They pack flavor and crunch and the price is right, definitely a repeat buy!  Fritos Chili Cheese Wraps can be found at participating Sonic locations nationwide for a limited time.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Food Review: Sonic's Garlic Butter Bacon Burger - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger
This burger packs some flavor!

If you are a fan of the Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger, you only have until December 26 to enjoy it.  If you have never eaten a Sonic Garlic Butter Burger, you only have until December 26 to become a fan. 

Sonic brought back this fan favorite with some very tasty upgrades on November 1.  Here's the description:

The burger has a perfectly seasoned 100% pure beef patty topped with creamy garlic butter layered between two slices of melty American cheese, with crispy bacon, mayo, and grilled onions piled on a toasted bakery bun.

Garlic Butter Bacon Burger
The cut-away, perfectly layered and balanced, this burger was made with care

The company says the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger is "bliss for garlic and butter lovers alike." Scott Uehlein, an executive chef at Sonic, added that "this year, Sonic has been dedicated to enhancing our burgers by making them meltier and juicier, and we hope our guests enjoy the popular Garlic Butter Bacon Burger."  He continued, "Our culinary team took on this exciting challenge by doubling up the cheesiness and adding even more creamy garlic butter. To top it all off, the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger is stacked on a toasted bakery bun that SONIC guests will love as they satisfy their garlic butter craving!” 

Let me tell you, this burger packs some flavor!  You get the whiff of garlic as you peel back the foil wrapper for the reveal.  In taking that first bite it's butter, garlic, that seasoned beef, crispy bacon, grillled onion, a bit of mayo, the melted cheese and toasted yet 'pillowy' bun all performing a BIG TIME happy burger dance in your mouth.  It's another dose of YUM!  It is indeed a blissful bite and Sonic has done well here in satisfying anyone's garlic butter craving.  This burger flat out rocks!

garlic butter bacon burger
every ingredient in every bite

I'm giving the Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  With the combo costing me $8.27 for the burger, tots and a Cherry Limeade, this is most definitely a repeat buy, but I'll have to do it before this limited time offer concludes on December 26!


$pend Wisely My Friends...

5 stars


Food Review: Popeyes' New Homestyle Mac & Cheese - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Popeyes Homestyle Mac & Cheese
A nice alternative side to fries

Mac & Cheese, it's probably on most people's Top 10 list of comfort foods and it's a trending side now with many fast food restaurants, an alternative to the standard offering of fries.  

Today, I'm sampling the mac & cheese version of the comfort food and cult classic from Popeyes.

Here's the description from the restaurant's website:  Mac & Cheese made with real butter and cream and topped with shredded cheddar cheese to create a golden brown crust when baked in the oven.

This is a nice mac & cheese.  You get the butter and cream in every bite, the sauce is a nice creamy consistency and the coverage is complete.  The golden brown shredded cheddar topping while tasty, wasn't evenly distributed.  The foundation of this classic, the noodles, were a bit on the soggy side, a bit of a downer.  I like noodles to be a little al dente, but that might be too much to expect in a fast food mac & cheese.  Overall, this is a good mac & cheese, it's seasoned well, creamy, comforting, a really nice change-of-pace to french fries.

Costing less than $2 for a regular size side, I'm giving Popeyes New Homestyle Mac & Cheese 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  More reasonably priced than competitor sides, this is a nicely done homestyle mac & cheese and better than what the other fast food joints reviewed below are offering.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Fast Food Mac & Cheese Battle: Arby's vs. Chick-fil-A vs. KFC

Related: Giving Mac & Cheese another dose of YUM!

Iowa City Police conduct alcohol compliance checks

The Iowa City Police Department conducted alcohol sales law compliance checks on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 33 businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. Working with plainclothes officers, underage persons entered these businesses and attempted to illegally purchase alcoholic beverages. Twenty-four businesses refused to sell alcohol to the underage buyers.

The businesses that passed the compliance checks were:

  • DeliMart – 206 E. Benton St.
  • Tobacco Outlet – 923 S. Riverside Drive
  • Kum & Go – 955 Mormon Trek Blvd.
  • DeliMart – 2510 Mormon Trek Blvd.
  • Fast Break – 2580 Naples Ave.
  • Hawkeye Liquor & Tobacco – 601 Hollywood Blvd.
  • Casey’s – 1410 Willow Creek Drive
  • Kwik Star – 1907 Keokuk St.
  • DeliMart – 525 Hwy 1 West
  • Southside Liquor & Tobacco – 1921 Keokuk St.
  • Kum & Go – 731 S Riverside Drive
  • Coaches Corner – 749 Mormon Trek Blvd.
  • Casey’s – 370 Scott Court
  • North Dodge Express – 2790 Dodge St.
  • BP – 1920 Lower Muscatine Road
  • Amoco – 2153 ACT Circle
  • John’s Grocery – 401 E. Market St.
  • Bo James – 118 E. Washington St.
  • Summit Restaurant and Bar – 10 S. Clinton St.
  • The Airliner – 22 S. Clinton St.
  • Dublin Underground – 5 S. Dubuque St.
  • Sports Column – 12 S. Dubuque St.
  • Deadwood Tavern – 6 S. Dubuque St.
  • Fieldhouse Bar – 118 S. Dubuque St.

Nine businesses checked by police sold to the underage buyers. The businesses that failed the compliance checks were:

  • Kirkwood Liquor & Tobacco – 300 Kirkwood Ave.
  • Casey’s – 1904 Broadway St.
  • Hawkeye Convenience – 2875 Commerce Drive
  • Urban Fuel Express – 2580 Moss Ridge Road
  • Shakespeare’s – 819 First Ave.
  • Creekside Market – 2601 Hwy 6 East
  • El Ray’s Live & Dive – 211 E. Iowa Ave.
  • DC’s Bar – 124 S. Dubuque St.
  • TCB – 114 E. College St.

The employees who sold the alcohol to the underage buyers were each charged with, “Selling Alcohol to Persons Under Age 21.” Selling alcohol to persons under 21 years of age is a simple misdemeanor, punishable with a $645 fine for the first offense. Additionally, all violations will be forwarded to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division for possible civil penalties against the liquor license.

As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Coralville Renews Bicycle Friendly Community Status

Bicycle FriendlyThe City of Coralville has been again recognized as a “Bronze-Level” Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) by the League of American Bicyclists. Coralville has been a Bicycle Friendly Community since 2016, and is one of only eight cities in Iowa awarded a Bicycle Friendly Community status.

The Bronze Level BFC award recognizes Coralville’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investing in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure, and pro-bicycling policies. The BFC program provides a benchmark for communities to evaluate these conditions and policies, while highlighting areas for improvement.

"We are honored to be recognized by the American League of Bicyclists with the Bronze designation. Our staff and volunteers have worked hard to improve access to a variety of riding surfaces, to lead events to teach others about riding for commuting or recreational riding, and to continue to plan for the future of bicycle safely in Coralville," notes Sherri Proud, Director of Parks and Recreation.  

Coralville includes bicycling in community development conversations. When new developments are introduced, conversations around routes with both trail and on-street accommodations, directional signage, and end destination services like bicycle parking and showers are discussed between city officials and developers. Understanding the importance of bicycling as an alternative form of transportation has helped Coralville achieve a Bicycle Friendly Community designation.  

Since 2003, more than 1,900 communities have applied to the program. As of fall 2021, Coralville is one of 497 certified Bicycle Friendly Communities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2021, there were 57 new and renewing awardees, and seven honorable mentions. Awarded communities must reapply every four years through a vigorous process.

Find the full list of current Bicycle Friendly Communities by state on the League’s interactive Bicycle Friendly America Awards Map. To learn more about the BFC program, visit