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Saturday News, January 17

March 31 Set As Date For Neunaber Trial

(Le Mars) -- A pre-trial hearing was held Friday morning for Jonathon Neunaber of Akron.  Neunaber is accused of murdering his mother Esther Neunaber. Both of his parents, Esther and Donald, were found dead at their rural Akron home last July.  Neunaber was located a day later at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Judge Steven Andreasen announced the trial date would be set for March 31st.

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Judge Andreasen then gave instructions to the attorneys and scheduled additional pre-trial status hearing as a way for each side to be prepared for the trial.

Listen to

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The judge then asked each attorney if they have conducted an evidence "discovery" process, and whether that process is still on-going?

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Neunaber was brought to the Plymouth County Courthouse by Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo and Deputy Sheriff Craig Bartolozzi, although he waived his rights and did not appear in the courtroom.  Only Judge Andreasen, Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond, Public Defender Billy Oyadare (pronounced Oh-ya-dar-ee) and a handful of news media were present.

 

Grassley Favors XL Keystone Oil Pipeline

(New Hampton, Iowa) -- The U-S Senate is expected to vote on the proposed XL Keystone pipeline sometime this next week.  President Obama has said he would veto any bill relating to the trans-national pipeline.  However, during his weekly news conference Senator Chuck Grassley says there are three reasons why he supports the pipeline.

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The republican senator says the pipeline would prove to be an economic boost, and he points to existing pipelines as examples.

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Iowa State University Student May Have Been Killed At Hotel

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the Iowa State University student found dead in Iowa City last September may have been killed in a central Iowa hotel.
     Information from a search warrant made public Thursday says 20-year-old Tong Shao had stayed in a Nevada, Iowa hotel from September 5th to 7th with her boyfriend, Xiandnan Li, the sole person of interest in the case.
     Ames Police Officer Chad Lovig wrote in the report that he believes evidence of Shao's death might be found in the hotel room the couple last used and on hotel property.
     Shao's body was found in the trunk of her car outside an Iowa City apartment building last year. On January 8th, the Johnson County medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

 

Flu Deaths

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Polk County's medical examiner says he's seen four times more flu-related deaths so far this season than he saw last winter.
     Doctor Gregory Schmunk said Friday he's received 12 death certificates since November citing flu as a main or contributing cause of death. Schmunk says he received just three such certificates last winter.
    Three are death certificates of children, most others of the elderly, and one of a 47-year-old.
     Schmunk says the spike in flu deaths shows the seriousness of this year's outbreak, when the height of flu season hasn't yet hit.
     The county medical examiner's office doesn't receive all death certificates, but Schmunk says he estimates that he sees more than half of Polk County's death certificates, which is Iowa's most populous county.

 

$86 Million Awarded To Companies For Job Creation

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded nearly $86 million to four companies to support job creation and expansion projects in the state.
     The board announced the grants Friday, which will aid projects in Davenport, Ames, Charles City and Burlington. Innovation funding was also approved for three startups in Des Moines, Coralville and Clinton. The awards are meant to help create 96 jobs and spur statewide economic growth.
     Such projects include the construction of a new facility at Davenport's Alter Trading Corporation and the addition of two production lines at the Italian-based company Barilla located in Ames.
     Board director Debi Durham says providing both financial assistance and tax benefits to these companies aids the increase and improvement of opportunities for Iowans.

 

Republicans Set Up Debate Locations

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) - The Republican National Committee is announcing plans to hold nine presidential primary debates, with the first just seven months away.
     RNC officials reported Friday the first debate is scheduled for Ohio in August. The announcement follows months of negotiations between media partners and a field of more than two dozen White House prospects.
     It represents a sharp decline in the number of debates from the 2012 election season.
     Specific dates were not announced on Friday, but the rough timeline includes debates in California in September, Colorado in October, Nevada in December, Iowa in January, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida in February. Another three debates are pending.
     The shift is part of several rule changes designed to make the party's nominee stronger in the general election.

 


 

 

 

   

Friday Afternoon News, January 16

Neunaber Has Pre-trial Hearing

(Le Mars) -- A pre-trial hearing was held Friday morning for Jonathon Neunaber of Akron.  Neunaber is accused of murdering his mother Esther Neunaber. Both of his parents, Esther and Donald, were found dead at their rural Akron home last July.  Neunaber was located a day later at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Judge Steven Andreasen announced the trial date would be set for March 31st.

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Judge Andreasen then gave instructions to the attorneys and scheduled additional pre-trial status hearing as a way for each side to be prepared for the trial.

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The judge then asked each attorney if they have conducted an evidence "discovery" process, and whether that process is still on-going?

Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Neunaber was brought to the Plymouth County Courthouse by Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo and Deputy Sheriff Craig Bartolozzi, although he waived his rights and did not appear in the courtroom.  Only Judge Andreasen, Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond and Public Defender Billy Oyadare (pronounced Ah-ya-dar-ee) were present.

 

Branstad Officially Named Iowa's Govenor With Inauguration

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has been sworn in for a sixth term in office. 
     The 68-year-old Republican governor took the oath of office Friday morning at a convention center in downtown Des Moines. Inauguration festivities continue throughout the day, culminating with a formal ball in the evening. 
     Branstad was re-elected to a sixth non-consecutive term in November. He served four terms from 1983 through 1999 and then left public office. In 2009, he announced plans to seek the governor's office again and was elected to a comeback term the following year. 
     Branstad has already started his official duties for the year. He delivered his annual "Condition of the State" speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday and unveiled a $7.3 billion budget proposal.

 

New Jersey Governor Attends Branstad's Inauguration Ceremonies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie is back in Iowa as he weighs jumping into the presidential race.
     Christie attended the inauguration of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad Friday morning in Des Moines.
     It's part of a tour of swearing-in ceremonies for GOP governors he helped elect as chair of the Republican Governors Association.
     Christie told reporters he'll be attending private meetings in the city before heading back to New Jersey later in the day.
     He also repeated that he doesn't feel any pressure to make a decision and urged everybody to take a deep breath.
     Christie has made numerous visits to the early-voting state as he considers whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. 
     He'll return next week to attend a conservative summit next Saturday.

 

Audit Shows Misspent Funds From School's Business Manager

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State auditors say the former business manager of a southeast Iowa school district used a district credit card to pay her own cell phone bills, eat at restaurants and buy personal items including jewelry, a massage and cosmetics.
     Cindy Steege worked at the Mid Prairie school district based in Wellman since 2009. She resigned last June. The auditor report released Friday says she admitted to making personal purchases to investigators.
     Online court records show she's been charged with second-degree theft. Her attorney, Joseph Keegan, did not immediately return a call.
     State auditors say they identified more than $7,200 in improper purchases including two charges that appear to be credit card scams the district shouldn't have paid.
     The audit report also says improper tax withholding on Steege's payroll records were discovered.

 

Trial Date Set For Courthouse Bomb Threat

  NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - A March trial has been scheduled for a man accused of making bomb threats to the Jasper County Courthouse.
      39-year-old Martin Meloche pleaded not guilty to two counts of making a false report of the placement of an explosive or incendiary device and to one count of possessing contraband at the county jail. His trial is set to begin March 4.
     Authorities say Meloche called in two threats on Dec. 29 about a bomb at the courthouse. The building was briefly evacuated. No bomb was found.
     ---

 

Eastern Iowa Theater Closes Due To Smoke Damage

TRAER, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa nonprofit theater has been forced to close because of smoke damage from a fire in a neighboring building.
     The Traer Theatre has shut its doors until further notice following a downtown fire Tuesday at a flower shop next door. Smoke from the fire seeped into the theater through a shared brick wall, leaving the air in the 144-seat facility heavy with smoke and surfaces and electronics tarnished by soot.
     Traer Theatre board president Jon Panfil says the building's upper level, where the smoke was thickest, experienced the worst of the damage. He says he's unsure how long cleanup and repairs will take.
     The Traer Theatre is a community-based movie theater remodeled and reopened in 2006 to bring movie-going back to the rural Iowa town.

 

Flu Deaths

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Polk County's medical examiner says he's seen four times more flu-related deaths so far this season than he saw last winter.
     Dr. Gregory Schmunk said Friday he's received 12 death certificates since November citing flu as a main or contributing cause of death. Schmunk says he received just three such certificates last winter.
     Three are death certificates of children, most others of the elderly, and one of a 47-year-old.
     Schmunk says the spike in flu deaths shows the seriousness of this year's outbreak, when the height of flu season hasn't yet hit.
     The county medical examiner's office doesn't receive all death certificates, but Schmunk says he estimates that he sees more than half of Polk County's death certificates, which is Iowa's most populous county.
     ---

 


 

 

   

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