Thursday News, May 22
Judge Offers Temporary Injunction For Dordt College
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has granted a temporary injunction to two Christian colleges in Iowa and Michigan that halts a federal mandate requiring them to provide insurance coverage for certain contraceptives.
U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett's ruling Wednesday is in response to a lawsuit filed in October by Dordt College in Sioux Center and Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The schools argue the mandate violates their religious freedoms.
Gregory Baylor is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law group representing the schools. He says in a statement that Christian colleges should "remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs."
The Justice Department has said the lawsuit is meritless and an attempt to prevent female employees from obtaining coverage.
Le Mars Man Sentenced To Prison For Methamphetamine Possession
(Orange City) -- A Le Mars man has been sentenced to prison for conspiring to deliver marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, and delivery of methamphetamine. 20 year old Tyler Dimmick was sentenced in Sioux County District Court. The case dates back to September of 2013 when Dimmick conspired with another individual to deliver methamphetamine to an undercover informant at Kinderspeeland Park in Orange City. Dimmick was also found to have marijuana plants located in the trunk of his car.
National Group Opposes Sioux City Park To Get Grant
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A national group says Iowa shouldn't fund a planned Christian-themed park in Sioux City and should take back a $140,000 grant.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, of Madison, Wisconsin, said in a letter to Iowa officials last week that giving grant money to The Shepherd's Garden violates the U.S. and Iowa constitutions.
Iowa Economic Development Authority spokeswoman Tina Hoffman says state money from the Vision Iowa grant would pay only for green space at the park and not for any of the project's religious elements.
Garrett Smith is a member of The Shepherd's Garden board of directors and says the project is Christian in focus but nondenominational. He says the group didn't seek state funding for the park's religious elements, specifically to avoid any issues about public funding for religion.
Absentee Ballots Accepted On Saturday, May 31
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - County auditors are opening their offices Saturday May 31 for voters who want to cast ballots early for the June 3 primary.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz says voters not yet registered may register at their county auditor's office using election day registration procedures and cast their ballot.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. Friday, May 30.
Absentee ballots received in the county auditor's office by 9 p.m. on June 3, are eligible for counting.
Schultz says his office also has developed a smart phone app that allows voters to check voter registration information, fill out the Iowa voter registration form, find the correct polling place, and request and track an absentee ballot.
Former Inmate Sentenced To Five Years For Election Misconduct
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A man who registered to vote at the polls and voted in the November 2012 election has been sentenced to up to five years in prison for first-degree election misconduct.
Brian Lee Bird, who has recently lived in Fort Dodge, voted in Knoxville even though he has had multiple felony convictions.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull says the 43-year-old Bird knew he was a felon, knew the law, and chose to break it.
Bird entered a guilty plea Tuesday. His attorney Robert Conrad did not immediately reply to a message.
Bird is the seventh Iowan to plead guilty to election related charges brought as a result of an investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at the request of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
Man Dies From Fall From Utility Tower
DEXTER, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a man who died in a fall while helping string a new power line near Dexter.
KCCI-TV reports the man has been identified as 39-year-old David Denger of Panora. Denger fell about 50 feet Tuesday morning while working as part of a crew a couple miles north of Dexter.
The crew was hanging power lines on the west side of Dexfield Road when Denger fell from a boom truck.
The Dallas County Sherriff's Office says Denger died from injuries he suffered in the fall.
Dexter is about 30 miles west of Des Moines.
Des Moines Police Officer Accused Of Assaulting Girl Friend
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 33-year-old Des Moines police officer accused of assaulting his former girlfriend has made a plea deal.
Cody Grimes pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal mischief. Prosecutors dismissed a charge of domestic assault in return for Grimes' plea. Online court records say Grimes was fined $1,000 on Wednesday.
Grimes was charged with assaulting his former girlfriend on Dec. 27. The woman told officers that Grimes grabbed her by her jacket and threw her down some stairs at his home. She also says he grabbed her and threw her against a door.
He's been on paid leave since the allegation was made. A police spokesman, Sgt. Jason Halifax, says Police Chief Judy Bradshaw hasn't made a decision on Grimes' punishment within the department.
Inmate To Serve Additional Prison Time For Attempted Escape
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa man who was wrapping up a sentence for federal drug charges has been sentenced to serve more prison time.
The U.S. Attorney General's Office says 30-year-old Brandon Devos, of Cedar Rapids, was sentenced to an additional 21 months Wednesday following a guilty plea in February to escape.
Devos was nearing the end of a 104-month federal prison term when he tested positive for alcohol in December and left the Hinzman Center, a Cedar Rapids residential re-entry center, without permission. U.S. Marshals found Devos two days after the escape at an Iowa City residence.
Devos was also fined $100 and must serve a three-year supervised release term upon completing his prison term.
The office says Devos will complete his prior prison sentence before beginning his new sentence.