Dubuque County, state deemed ‘red zones’

A new federal report recommends that in Dubuque County, based on its COVID-19 activity, bars and gyms should be closed, restaurants should restrict indoor dining and promote outdoor dining, and face masks should be required in all businesses.

The latest White House report provides those recommendations for Dubuque County and other “red zone” counties. The designation is for areas in which more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population were reported in the past week and in which the positivity rate topped 10% during that time.

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The state collectively also is deemed a “red zone” in the report. That prompted recommendations such as continuing to promote social distancing and the wearing of masks; testing all staff of long-term-care facilities for COVID-19 weekly; and requiring that meatpacking plants and “other crowded workplaces ... ensure social distancing, the wearing of face masks and regular testing.”

The report, dated Sunday, July 26, was distributed to states by the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force and published Tuesday by The New York Times.

Dubuque County is one of eight “red zone” counties in the state.

Dubuque bar owner critically ill with COVID

The owner of a popular Dubuque bar is critically ill after contracting COVID-19.

Larry Ikonomopoulos, the 51- year-old owner of Skinny Maginny’s, 345 Main St., was airlifted Sunday to UW Health University Hospital in Madison, according to his friend Jeff Robb.

Ikonomopoulos was tested for COVID-19 on June 29 after he “came down ill,” he reported in a social media post on the Skinny Maginny’s Facebook page on July 1 — the day that he learned he was infected with the coronavirus.

Ikonomopoulos’ condition rapidly worsened. He was admitted to UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital in Dubuque on July 6 and intubated and placed on a ventilator on July 11.

“Larry was airlifted to UW-Madison for evaluation and treatment after Finley Hospital had exhausted all options they could provide,” Robb said.

Dubuque man arrested on attempted murder charge

Dubuque police arrested a man on an attempted murder charge early Friday for allegedly shooting a person who had intervened when he was “propositioning” two females.

Shawn Turner Sr., 24, of 2203 Washington St., is charged in Iowa District Court of Dubuque County with attempted murder and public intoxication.

The man he allegedly shot, Jerramy T. Vasquez, 39, of 2312 Central Ave., was in stable condition at UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital as of Friday morning, court documents said. The shooting occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday in the 2300 block of Central Avenue. Court documents state that Vasquez was sitting on his porch when he saw the man later identified as Turner exit a vehicle and begin “propositioning the females to come with him, unsolicited.”

“Vasquez intervened, and a struggle ensued between Vasquez and (Turner),” documents state. “Vasquez disengaged, and (Turner) got into the passenger side of the maroon SUV, which started to pull away. While beginning to drive away, (Turner) produced a handgun and fired several rounds at Vasquez, with one striking him in the thigh.”

Local Black leaders emphasize urgency in addressing inequities

Despite efforts over the past two decades to increase affordable housing, employment and academic achievement, Black residents in Dubuque continue to be left behind, Black leaders told city leaders last week.

And efforts to address rampant poverty and housing discrimination among minority residents can no longer be left on the back burner, they said.

“We march. We meet. We repeat. And yet ... just as civil rights leaders of old, we today are facing the same” injustices, said Miquel Jackson, vice president of the Dubuque branch of the NAACP.

City Council members held a two-day “Black Lives Matter: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” work session in advance of an annual council goal-setting session this month. The first day of the work session included a review of past, current and continuing city efforts to curb racial inequality and promote diversity and inclusion throughout the community.

But despite efforts such as Inclusive Dubuque and financial support for local affordable housing, youth mentorship and anti-poverty programs, Black residents in Dubuque still face high unemployment and poverty, according to city, county and U.S. Census Bureau data. “ We have to recognize how mind-boggling this really is,” Council Member Brad Cavanagh said of the poverty and unemployment rate among Black residents in the city compared to the nation at large.

Cascade area explosion injures 2

CASCADE, Iowa — Two people were injured in an explosion and house fire Tuesday afternoon northeast of Cascade.

Joyce McMullen, 79, and her son Michael McMullen, 57, were taken by ambulance to Dubuque hospitals for treatment of their non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department.

The explosion and fire at 23887 North Cascade Road was reported at about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters from Bernard, Cascade, Epworth and Farley, along with emergency medical services and the sheriff’s department responded.

Authorities said the fire was caused by a gas leak in a 1965 Ford Mustang that had been stored in the garage. The vehicle was removed from the garage, but gasoline fumes “seeped into the basement and were ignited by what is believed to be the water heater pilot light,” according to a press release. Both of the McMullens were in the residence at the time of the explosion. Officials said the fire and explosion caused more than $250,000 worth of damage.

Lynch to fill open council seat

A man who previously held the position for 12 years, but who has no plans to run for re-election next year, was appointed Monday to a vacant Dubuque City Council seat.

Council members voted, 4-2, during a special meeting to appoint Kevin Lynch from a pool of 10 applicants to the First Ward seat vacated earlier this month by Brett Shaw.

The ward covers much of the southern and western half of Dubuque. Lynch, 61, stepped down from the Ward 1 seat in 2017, choosing not to seek re-election.

Telegraph Herald