Tuesday News, May 5
Defense Attorney Claims Neunaber Has Mental Disorders
LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - An attorney for a man charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his mother says his client suffers from mental disorders preventing him from understanding the case against him.
Public defendant Billy Oy-a-dare is seeking a hearing to determine if Jonathan Neunaber of Akron is competent to stand trial in the death of his mother, 80-year-old Esther Neunaber. Her body was found last July with the body of her husband Donald Neunaber. She was beaten to death. He died of natural causes.
Oyadare says a psychologist has stated 45-year-old Jonathan Neunaber suffers from mental disorders preventing him from appreciating the charges, understanding the proceedings or assisting in his defense.
Neunaber was arrested in July. He's pleaded not guilty.
A trial hasn't been scheduled.
County Supervisors To Meet New Emergency Management Director
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will be introduced to the new county Emergency Management Director during this morning's meeting. Duane Walhoff has taken over the position left vacant by Gary Junge who had retired. Walhoff will be introduced to the supervisors by county Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo. The supervisors will also open bids for three additional road construction projects scheduled for this summer.
City Council To Hold Public Hearing On Weidler Tenants
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold a public hearing today at noon at the Council Chambers. The city council will hear comments regarding the five-year lease agreements with tenants of the Weidler Hall, which include Plains Area Mental Health and Mid-Sioux Opportunity. The city council will discuss and possibly act on the new ordinance changes. They will also discuss the agreement involving the Main Street Theater. The Le Mars Arts Council will address the city council regarding the collection of Westmar College music. The council also has on their agenda a discussion involving stop signs.
Museum Schedules Annual Meeting
(Le Mars) -- “Pressing On” will be the theme of the Plymouth County Historical Museum’s 51st Annual Meeting set for 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 13, in the Museum’s “Old Central” Gym.
Tickets are on sale at the Museum; reservations need to be made immediately by calling the Museum at 546-7002.
The theme focuses on the new Press Room which has been renovated in memory of Kathy Nurnberg of Hinton. Kathy was an active volunteer at the Museum and at the Joy Hollow Log Cabin during the fair.
Also being recognized by the theme is Glada Koerselman, who was the area’s last surviving charter board member at the time of her passing last September. She was a longtime journalist in Le Mars. Glada saved “Old Central” with a dollar when she rescued it in 1995.
This year’s banquet, catered by Timmy’s, will be a menu of stuffed pork chops, wild rice, glazed baby carrots, fruit platter, homemade buns, coffee, lemonade and water.
History Day boards from both Akron-Westfield and Le Mars Community schools will be on exhibit in the Gym.
Sioux City Man Accused Of Injuring Child
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old Sioux City man is accused of slamming his live-in girlfriend's 3-year-old son into the corner of a piece of furniture.
Online court records say Markus Leon is charged with child endangerment causing serious injury and is being held in Woodbury County Jail. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday from an Associated Press reporter seeking comment on the allegations.
Authorities say Leon was baby-sitting the boy and a 1-year-old child on April 22 and became angry when the boy's noise kept waking up Leon, who was trying to sleep. Leon told officers that he lost his temper and slammed the boy into the furniture. The child later was diagnosed with a lacerated liver, a bruised spleen and a bruised kidney.
Sioux City Teen Sentenced To Ten Years For Robbery
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City teenager has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a failed robbery.
The 17-year-old pleaded guilty in March to assault while participating in a felony and second-degree burglary. He must serve a mandatory minimum of five years in prison before he's eligible for parole.
According to court documents, the 17-year-old and two others entered a Sioux City house. The documents say one of the suspects brandished a gun to try and steal drugs from a drug dealer, but was overpowered by the home's occupants and held until police arrived.
The 17-year-old and another other suspect fled and were arrested later.
The two other people involved, both of Sioux City, were sentenced to 10 years in prison each.
Branstad Wants Bullying Bill Passed, But Legislators Are Doubtful
(Des Moines) -- Governor Terry Branstad is still urging the Iowa Legislature to pass an anti-bullying bill, but its passage is still in doubt. Chuck Soderberg, a state representative from Le Mars says many house lawmakers still have problems with the bill.
The Iowa Senate had earlier passed a bill that would expand the medical marijuana bill to cover several other deabilitating diseases. However, Soderberg doesn't believe the House will take up the bill for debate.
Durham To Negotiate Labor Dispute At New Fertilizer Plant
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa's economic development agency says she will try to facilitate communication between labor leaders and officials overseeing construction of a $1.8 billion fertilizer plant that recently issued layoffs.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham says she is open to hosting a meeting with labor leaders and officials involved in the construction of the Iowa Fertilizer plant. She didn't offer a timeline. She spoke Monday with labor leaders and lawmakers.
In April, layoffs were issued to more than 1,400 workers at the construction site in Wever, located in southeastern Iowa. Iowa Fertilizer says the decision was related to management.
Labor leaders claim construction officials are now trying to hire workers from outside the region. Iowa Fertilizer says construction officials are hiring the best workers available.
Four More Cases Of Bird Flu Detected In State
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the bird flu virus has been found in four more locations in Iowa, bringing the total number of poultry that must be killed in the state to more than 19 million.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced Monday that new cases were reported at an egg-laying operation in Wright County with 2.8 million chickens and at three turkey farms. Two of the turkey farms are in Buena Vista County and one is in Cherokee County.
State officials didn't release the number of birds at the turkey operations.
The addition of the Wright County chicken farm brings the total number of poultry that must be killed to 19.3 million birds.
The birds are killed in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.
Farmers Progressing On Planting
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Ideal weather last week enabled Iowa farmers to make progress planting their corn and soybean crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says as of Sunday, farmers had planted 68 percent of the state's corn crop and 11 percent of the soybean crop.
Both figures are better than the five-year average.
The USDA says 84 percent of farmland had adequate topsoil moisture, with 11 percent short and 5 percent in surplus.
Farmers reported 82 percent of subsoil moisture was adequate.
The state agriculture department says half of Iowa's corn acreage was planted last week.