Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | JULY 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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County fair starts today

Deep-fried food, rodeos, and a fireworks display are just a couple of events happening at this year’s Johnson County Fair.

The 2014 Johnson County Fair will begin today at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

Admission is free for the festival.

Each day of the festival has a special theme. Today is Teen Day, Tuesday is Kids’ Day, Wednesday is Senior Day, and Thursday is Veterans’ Day.

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, will also take part of the festivities. He will be dining with attendees for lunch.

In addition to the many contests, food, and activities, the Johnson County Auditor’s Office will hold a mock election ballot.

Attendees will have the opportunity to “vote” for who they would choose for the governor and U.S. senator, as well as a poll on names for soft drinks.

The Johnson County Agricultural Association, a nonprofit organization, hosts the fair each summer during last full week of July.

- by Rebecca Morin

RAGBRAI heads off

Cyclists were off to start the almost-500 mile trek for RAGBRAI on Sunday.

RAGBRAI began on Sunday at Rock Valley, and cyclists will finish the day at Milford, covering 69.2 miles.

Cyclists will cover approximately 468 miles over seven days. They will pass through 39 towns, ending in Guttenberg on Saturday.

In 1973, Des Moines Register writers Donald Kaul and John Karras decided to cycle across Iowa, and the ride evolved into the huge cycling tour now known as RAGBRAI.

People from many different places have come to Iowa to participate take part in this ride. An Australian father-daughter team flew in for the tour and is participating on a tandem bike.

Numerous people raise money and awareness for different causes, with Vanessa Fixmer-Oraiz riding a bambike to raise climate-justice awareness, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation working with the Simon Estes Foundation to promote malaria prevention and water quality, and Lance Armstrong raising money for Rock Valley’s flood relief.

— by Ting Xuan Tan

Officials scale back some flood protection

With floodwaters continuing to recede, many flood-protection measures have been lifted.

Starting July 19, North Dubuque Street reopened one lane of traffic in each direction.

In addition, University of Iowa officials began removing the HESCO barriers around the Mayflower Residence Hall on July 19. The barriers will continue to be removed this week.

Johnson County officials have also lifted mandatory evacuation orders.

— by Rebecca Morin

New trial for law-school suit

University of Iowa law-school employee Teresa Wagner is to get a new trial for her political-discrimination suit.

On July 15, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals sent her lawsuit back to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.  The Appeals Court believes that the original decision to deny Wagner’s motion for a new trial after jury deadlock was a mistake.

The lawsuit claims that Wagner, who identifies herself as a Republican, was passed over for job placement in the College of Law because of her conservative views.

She believed that she faced discrimination under the First Amendment, and that her constitutional rights to equal protection were violated.

The original trial in 2012 was initially declared a mistrial on both counts, but then the magistrate, without the presence of Wagner or her attorney, polled jurors and found they reached a verdict on one count, according to the Appeals Court’s decision.

The Appeals Court reversed the District Court’s order denying Wagner a new trial on the First Amendment charge, vacated the judgment, and remanded it for a new trial.

A settlement with the UI, proposed by Wagner’s attorney last year, would have made Wagner a full-time legal writing instructor and given her $400,000. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office, representing UI administrators, declined the offer.

Wagner is on the staff of the law school’s Writing Center.

— by Michael Kadrie

Man charged with 3rd OWI

Authorities have accused a man of fleeing a car accident after driving under the influence.

Mark Jordan, 31, was charged July 19 with third-offense OWI.

According to online court documents, authorities responded to the Park Place apartments area after receiving a report of a subject who had left an accident and tried to return to his residence.

After arriving at the apartment building’s parking lot, authorities located Jordan, who was driving the vehicle that had been involved in the accident.

Jordan smelled of ingested alcohol, and his speech was slurred, as well as bloodshot and water, the documents said.

Third-offense OWI is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin  

Man faces 3rd OWI

Authorities have accused a local man of speeding while under the influence.

Jaime Moran-Jaques, 31, was charged July 20 with third-offense OWI.

According to online court documents, authorities stopped a black Ford Explorer for speeding.

Moran-Jaques was the driving the vehicle and was going 53 mph in a 40 mph area. He had watery, bloodshot eyes, impaired speech and balance, and smelled of alcohol, the documents said.

Third-offense OWI is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Area man charged with assault

Authorities have accused a West Branch man of attacking a group with a broken bottle.

Mitchell Slocum, 23, was charged July 20 with assault causing serious injury.

According to online court documents, Slocum, who was at a party with several other individuals, was asked to leave the party because of an earlier altercation.

Slocum began walking away, then stopped part way up the street and exchanged words with the party.

He broke a glass bottle and threated to cut them. Slocum approached the group with the broken bottle and tackled a person through a fence.

During the altercation, the person was cut on two fingers, with the middle finger requiring medical attention.

Assault causing serious injury is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man faces drug charge

Authorities have accused a local man of having marijuana in his apartment.

Trey Browne, 22, was charged July 17 with controlled-substance violation.

Members of the Johnson County Task Force served a state of Iowa search warrant at Browne’s residence, 630 S. Capitol St. Apt. 510, according to online court documents.

During the search, investigators allegedly found a significant quantity of marijuana in numerous rooms.

Controlled substance violation is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man faces OWI, drug charge

Authorities have accused a local man of having prescription pills in a vehicle and driving drunk.

Joshua Wardenburg, 30, was charged July 16 with third-offense OWI and unlawful possession of prescription drugs.

According to online court documents, authorities observed a black Honda Accord driving into several business parking lots, then driving around the businesses.

An officer saw the vehicle stop at the end of the parking lot, then made contact with the driver, the documents said.

Upon making contact with Wardenburg, authorities observed an open container of alcohol.

Wardenburg also had bloodshot, watery eyes, as well as slurred speech, according to the documents.

During a search of the vehicle, authorities located a pill bottle with pills identified as methadone.

Third-offense OWI is a Class-D felony. Unlawful possession of prescription drugs is a serious misdemeanor.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man faces 5 forgery counts

Authorities have accused a local man with cashing several forged checks.

Robert Roberts, 38, was charged March 13 to April 2 with five counts of forgery.

According to a Coralville police complaint, while the Coralville Professional Services employed Roberts, he cashed five business checks.

The checks were drawn from an account at the University of Iowa Community Credit Union and at MidWestOne Bank.

All the checks were written to Roberts; however, none of them were authorized. Roberts was also recorded on video cashing the checks.

The total amount of loss was $2,800.

Forgery is a Class-D felony.

—  by Rebecca Morin

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