Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Wednesday News, August 20

Donald Neunaber Found To Have Died From Natural Causes

(Le Mars) -- Autospy reports on Donald Neunaber of rural Akron have been returned from the State Medical Examiner's office.  Donald Nuenaber, along with his wife Esther, were found dead in their rural Akron home on July 9th.  Jonathan Neunaber, the son, has been charged with first degree murder in the death of his mother, and is currently in the Plymouth County Jail under a bond of $100,000.  His trial has been scheduled for December 9th.  Autopsy results show Donald Neunaber died from natural causes. The Plymouth County Sheriff Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Plymouth County Attorney's office are working cooperatively to investigate the case.


City Council Holds Second Reading Of Proposed Speed Limit Change

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard the second reading of the proposed ordinance to change the speed limits from 45 mph to 35 mph and 55 mph to 45 mph on Business Highway 75.  The council voted to hold another reading of the proposed ordinance before officially voting on the measure during its next council meeting scheduled for September 2nd.  Many of the council members reported receiving public comments both in favor, and against the measure.  The city council is considering the lower speed limits as a way to cut down on accidents that have occurred on Business Highway 75.  According to the Le Mars Police Department, there have been 72 reported accidents on Business Highway 75, with 29 personal injury accidents during the last three and a half years.


City Council Hears From Archetech For Downtown Buiding Facade Rennovation Project

(Le Mars) -- In other action at the city council meeting, the city council heard an update from the archetech overseeing the Community Development Block Grant downtown facade program.  Peter Franks informed the council he has met with 29 building owners.  19 of the properties will remain within the original cost estimate submitted with the application. The other ten want to do more than the original cost estimate, providing if the cost-share program match applies. Franks told the city council that the plans, estimates, and timetable will be submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office for their review.  The council has set September 16 as the date for a hearing.


Vehicle Hits Goodwill Industries Building

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called at about 1:45 p.m. to the Goodwill Industries Building located at 1116 Holton Drive to assist with an accident.  A car was unable to stop and struck the north door of the building causing some damage to the door and to cement blocks that were knocked out of formation.  No injuries had occured.  The fire department assessed the damage to the building and determined it was still structurally sound.  Goodwill Industries is able to continue to conduct business.


Fire Department To Test Pumps

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department will be conducting fire pump tests on their fire trucks beginning today and continuing through Friday.  Pump testing is conducted on an annual basis, and according to Fire Chief Dave Schipper, it helps with the City's insurance rating.  The Le Mars Fire Department will assist surrounding towns with the testing of their pumps on their fire trucks.


County Supervisors Hear About Hinton Trail

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard today a report from a Hinton citizen informing them about a proposal to expand a trail lined with flag poles.  Nancy Smith appeared before the county supervisors and explains the plan.

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Smith says her intention was to meet with the supervisors to inform them of the plan, but to also ask for their support in terms of a letter of resolution.  The county supervisors approved the letter of support.  Smith says now her committee will explore different fund raising opportunities.

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Smith says the proposed trail would be two blocks long and hopefully would feature a flag every six feet along the trail.


Sioux City Man Convicted Of Murder

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 27-year-old Sioux City man has been found guilty of killing two people and trying to kill another. 
     A Woodbury County jury returned the verdicts of first-degree murder against Juan Nino-Estrada on Tuesday evening in Sioux City. He was convicted of shooting to death Michael Delgado, of Sioux City, and Yolanda Valdez, of Orange City, and wounding Luis Sanchez, also of Sioux City. The shootings took place Nov. 7 at Sanchez's house.
     Public defender Mike Williams told jurors in final arguments that Nino-Estrada shot the others because he feared they would hurt him. Woodbury County Attorney Terry Ganzel argued that Nino-Estrada was angry, having accused Sanchez of having sex with his girlfriend.
     A first-degree murder conviction in Iowa carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.


Woodbury County Sheriff Requests Nurses For Jail

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Woodbury County officials are considering whether to add more nurses to treat inmates at the jail, after its sheriff pleaded for more support.
     The county board met Tuesday to consider the proposal. They will look into costs before making a decision in September.
     County Sheriff Dave Drew told board members he needs the additional personnel to properly oversee inmates at the jail. The  jail has two full-time nurses and a part-time nurse. Drew said that staffing level is not sufficient for the inmates' medical needs.
     Board Chairman George Boykin said there's no money to add nurses in the current budget, which runs through the end of June 2015. He said a budget amendment would be needed to add any nurses.


Law Enforcement Agencies Remind To Drive Safe Around Schools And Buses

(Le Mars) -- With the start of school it means school buses will again be on the streets and roads picking up and dropping off students.  Area law enforcement agencies want people to be thinking about safety.  Iowa Highway Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says every year an accident occurs involving a motorist that did not stop for a school bus or look at a crosswalk.

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Kurtz reminds motorists that they need to stop in both directions for a stopped school bus.

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The Highway Patrol officer reminds people to be extra cautious and to drive without distractions.

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Clear Lake Boating Accident

 CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A 28-year-old man has been charged with boating while being intoxicated in connection with an accident that injured 10 people on Clear Lake in northern Iowa.
     The Cerro Gordo County sheriff's department says William Nicholas, of Clear Lake, also is charged with reckless use of a watercraft and violation of right of way rules. Authorities say Nicholas was operating a boat that slammed into a public dock on Aug. 3. Four people were hospitalized and six others were injured.
     Nicholas didn't immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Wednesday. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.


Trial Set For Body Found On Road

 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A November trial has been scheduled for a 36-year-old Waterloo man accused of killing his former girlfriend.
     Online court records say Shaun Hogan on Tuesday filed a written plea of not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. He's accused of killing 29-year-old Crystal Marie Gaffney, also of Waterloo. She was the mother of Hogan's infant daughter.
     Hogan's body was found in July in the middle of a road near Walker in Linn County. An autopsy determined that she died of head trauma. 
     Court records show Hogan and Gaffney were involved in a child custody matter. His murder trial is set to begin on Nov. 17.








Tuesday News, August 19

December Trial Set For Neunaber

(Le Mars) -- A trial date has been set for an Akron, Iowa man accused of first degree murder in the death of his mother.  44 year old Jonathan Neunaber is scheduled to go to trial on December 9th in Plymouth County District Court.  Neunaber is accused of killing his mother, Esther Neunaber.  Her body and that of her husban, Donald Neunaber, were found in their rural Akron home on July 9th.     
     The cause of deaath of Neunaber's father has yet to be released and no charges have been filed regarding his death.   Jonathan Neunaber is being held in the Plymouth County Jail on a $100,000 bond.    


County Supervisors To Hear About Hinton Trail Of Flags

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a report from Becky Vermilyea and Nancy Smith of the Hinton Beautification Committee today when they convene for their weekly meeting at the Courthouse Boardroom.  The two ladies are expected to discuss the Hinton Trail of Flags and ask the Board of Supervisors for a letter of support.  The supervisors will also hear from County engineer Tom Rohe as he updates the county governing board on construction projects.  A portion of today's discussion will focus on the Tax Increment Financing or TIF projects.


City Council Scheduled To Meet Today

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to meet today at noon at the city hall council chambers.  The city council will begin the meeting with a public hearing regarding the final zoning and plat approval for Cresent Ridge.  Other business will focus on the Community Development Building Grant for the downtown facade program. The council is expected to discuss the North Greenview estates, and the city council will hold its second reading of the proposed ordinance to amend the speed limit on Business Highway 75.  The council will also address a request for a stop sign.


Gehlen Catholic Welcomes Three New Teachers

(Le Mars) -- School is scheduled to start on Thursday, and both Gehlen Catholic and Le Mars Community will be welcoming new faculty and staff to the schools.  At Gehlen Catholic, there will be three new teachers.  Gehlen Catholic is starting off the 2014-2015 school year with three new faces. This year, we are glad to welcome to Mrs. Amanda (Stoll) Christoffel, Mr. Nathan Sexe, and Ms. Maggie Vander Stelt. 

Mrs. Amanda (Stoll) Christoffel will be teaching 7th and 8th grade math and 7th grade religion.  She is also the head of the Junior High Student Council and Math Clubs.  Mrs. Christoffel grew up in Granville and graduated from Spalding Catholic High School in 2007. Mrs. Christoffel attended Iowa Central Community College and received her Associates of Art degree before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa. In the fall of 2011, she graduated with a degree in Elementary and Middle School Education with a Minor in Math and Social Studies. Mrs. Christoffel and her husband, Jordan (a 2008 Spalding Catholic graduate) reside in Alton.  Mr. Christoffel works in the sales at ICON Ag & Turf in Doon,

Mr. Nathan Sexe will teach 5th and 6th grade science and coach the junior high baseball team.  Mr. Sexe is a 2010 graduate of Humboldt High School and a 2014 graduate of Northwestern College.  His degree is in Elementary Education with endorsements in Middle School Math and Science.  Mr. Sexe student taught 5th grade science at Sheldon Community School and 6th grade Math at MOC-FV.  Mr. Sexe is the oldest of four children.  His father, Mike, manages the EMS Department at Humboldt Hospital.  His mother, Cherese, is the Emergency-911 Coordinator for Humboldt County.  He has a younger brother at Northwestern College and two younger siblings at home.  
Ms. Maggie Vander Stelt, originally from Maurice, Iowa, attended MOC-FV High School in Orange City.   Ms. Vander Stelt graduated from MOC-FV in 2010 and continued her education at Morningside College where she graduated with a degree in Spanish Teaching in 2014. She will be teaching High School Spanish 1-4. Ms. Vander Stelt’s mother teaches at MOC-FV and her father works at Diamond Vogel.


O'Brien County Manure Spill Causes Fish Kill

 PAULINA, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources says a manure spill at a northwest Iowa dairy has likely caused the death of thousands of fish.
     The DNR announced Monday that the spill at Summit Dairy near Paulina apparently happened Friday during a rainstorm. On Saturday, a citizen reported seeing dead fish in Mill Creek.
     The DNR responded and dug a trench that redirected the manure to a field.
     On Sunday, DNR staffers noted many dead fish, including suckers, minnows, darters, shiners, a few catfish and a few small largemouth bass. 
     The DNR says it's likely the dead fish will number in the thousands along a one-mile stretch of an unnamed tributary and a five-mile-or-longer section of Mill Creek.
     The DNR is continuing to investigate the incident.


Clean Water Regulations Rules To Be Reviewed

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The commission that oversees water quality regulations in Iowa is considering adoption of rules that align state regulations with those imposed by the federal Clean Water Act. 
     The Environmental Protection Commission's proposed rules primarily give the Iowa Department of Natural Resources authority to issue permits that regulate manure handling for livestock farms shown to discharge manure into waterways. 
     Permits aren't required, however, and environmental groups say the rules are too weak and too friendly to livestock farms.
     Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement wants all farms with spills to be required to get a permit. The group also wants five members of the nine-member, governor-appointed commission to abstain from voting because they have financial interests in livestock farming.
     A vote on the rules is scheduled for Tuesday morning.


Iowa Supreme Court To Go On The Road 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in special sessions at four locations across the state during its upcoming term.
     The Des Moines-based court said Monday that justices will travel to hear arguments next month in Iowa City, to Storm Lake in October, to Creston in March and Decorah in April. 
     The visits build on an outreach campaign that Chief Justice Mark Cady instituted after three justices were ousted by voters following the court's decision to legalize gay marriage in 2009.
     In a statement, Cady says the court has visited 13 communities for oral arguments and public receptions in the last three years. He says the visits give justices "a tremendous, first-hand insight into what Iowans expect from their court system now and into the future."


Trial Date Delayed For Iowa State University Researcher Accused Of False Documents

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered a delay in the trial of a former Iowa State University researcher charged with falsifying data to make a developmental AIDS vaccine appear promising.
     The Sept. 2 trial for Dong-Pyou Han is scheduled for Sept. 29 after a judge approved a delay Monday.
      Han pleaded not guilty in federal court to four counts of making false statements in research reports.
     He is free on bond.
     His attorney, Joseph Herrold, a federal public defender asked the court for the delay. He says case research is time consuming and Han requires a Korean translator.
     He says more time is needed to investigate the case and determine whether it will proceed to trial "or be resolved in another manner."
     Federal prosecutors did not resist the motion to delay.


A Million People Attended State Fair

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 1 million people went to the Iowa State Fair this year, but attendance was down.
     Fair spokeswoman Lori Chappell says that preliminary records show nearly 1,016,000 people attended the fair during its 11-day run. The fair ended Sunday.
     It's the lowest attendance since 2010, when just over 967,000 people went to the fair.
     About 30,000 more people went to the fair in 2013 than this year. The largest attendance in fair history was about 1.1 million people in 2008.
     Chappell says rainy weather on the first day of the fair probably hurt some attendance. She added officials will study the attendance numbers to keep track of any trends.


Iowa Falls Man Sentenced To Life For Killing 7 Month Old Baby

 WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Falls man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his 7-week-old baby girl.
      28-year-old Trevor Smith received life without parole Monday. That's the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder. The judge ordered Smith to pay $150,000 in restitution.
     He was also convicted in May of child endangerment. That charge was combined with the life term.
     Police found Aubriana Christian unresponsive in a Waterloo apartment in September 2012. She died Oct. 2. 2012, after being removed from life support.
     Smith told police he shook the child because she wouldn't stop crying. He also said he dropped her on a bed and let her fall onto a changing table.





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