NEWTON (AP) — A March trial has been scheduled for a man accused of killing an acquaintance in central Iowa's Jasper County.
Court records say the new starting date is March 7 for 52-year-old Randy Linderman, of Charles City. He's pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the slaying of 61-year-old Jose Ramirez Berber. A family member found Berber's body inside his rural Newton home on March 6 last year.
Linderman's first trial date was Oct. 18.
The Newton Daily News reports that DNA evidence taken from Berber's body and clothing matched that of Linderman. Investigators say Linderman acknowledged that he'd been to Berber's home several times.
Iowa man's death ruled a homicide; no arrests reported
CRESTON (AP) — The death of a 45-year-old man in southern Iowa has been ruled a homicide.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release Friday that an autopsy on the body of Paul Scheel is finished, but the cause of death is not being released for now.
Creston police officers sent Feb. 14 to a Creston residence for a welfare check found Scheel's body. No arrests have been reported.
Internet-famous eagle lays her 1st egg of the year
DECORAH (AP) — A famed Iowa bald eagle watched worldwide on the internet has laid its first egg of the year.
The eagle named Mom Decorah laid the egg a little before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, as seen on the Raptor Resource Project eagle webcam.
The nonprofit organization says it's the 30th egg the eagle has dropped at a nest near the Decorah Trout Hatchery in northeast Iowa.
Police evacuate suburban Chicago care facility due to filth
DIXMOOR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in the southern Chicago suburb of Dixmoor say they've evacuated about 30 residents of an assisted living facility found with no staff and in filthy conditions.
Dixmoor Police Chief Ron Burge says residents of Mothers House were removed overnight Thursday into Friday and taken to several hospitals. They were between the ages of 24 and 50. He said the facility had no hot water and was infested with bed bugs. He says no staff members were in the building when officers arrived responding to complaints of no hot water.
Burge called the conditions deplorable and said "no one should live like this."
The facility is run by the nonprofit Value Care Centers, which provides care for those with mental issues and disabilities. The group didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Iowa appeals court rules against 3 wind turbines
FAIRBANK (AP) — The state appeals court has ruled that a company built three wind turbines in violation of a county zoning ordinance in northeast Iowa.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Mason Wind and Optimum Renewables now faces a court ruling to remove the three 445-foot wind towers east of Fairbank.
The company had challenged a 2016 Fayette County District Court ruling to the appeals court, which upheld the ruling Wednesday.
The district court's ruling shows that officials misinterpreted the county's zoning ordinance when approving the wind turbine project. County officials said a special permit approved by a county board wasn't needed because the turbines were "electrical transmission and regulating" facilities. But the district court ruled that the turbines were electrical generating devices that did require approval from the board.
Counselor accused of kissing patient pleads guilty
BETTENDORF (AP) — A Bettendorf counselor accused of kissing and touching a patient against the woman's wishes has pleaded guilty.
Court records say Aracely Schutters' plea was filed Tuesday to misdemeanor sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. The original charge was a felony. A plea agreement says Schutters will pay a fine of $625 and be sentenced to two years of probation.
Schutters' sentencing has been scheduled for March 23.
An arrest affidavit says the incident happened Dec. 4 when Schutters invited the patient to her home to talk about the patient's problems. The patient reported getting into Schutters' hot tub, where the counselor reportedly kissed and touched the patient. The patient then got out of the hot tub and left Schutters' home. The patient reported the incident two days later.
Bloomington man gets 30-year sentence in death of son
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A Bloomington man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the death of his infant son.
The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports Ryan Howard admitted to causing the child's serious injuries in 2011 that led to the infant's death nine months later.
The now 25-year-old Howard originally pleaded guilty to aggravated battery for the injuries suffered by the infant that eventually led to the boy's death nine months later.
Assistant McLean County State's Attorney Jacob Harlow said Thursday that Howard admitted he violently shook the 2-month-old baby after he became angry with the child's mother.
The state vacated the aggravated battery conviction and Howard will receive credit for the 2,517 days served on the initial charge.
The state filed the murder charges in 2016 after reopening an investigation into the case.
Campaign manager departs Iowa governor's staff amid primary
IOWA CITY (AP) — The campaign manager for Gov. Kim Reynolds has left her staff months before the contested Republican primary election.
Reynolds confirmed Thursday that Phil Valenziano, one of the state's top GOP organizers, has moved on and that she would name his replacement in coming weeks.
Reynolds had kept Valenziano despite an incident last summer, when he was arrested for public intoxication after being seen urinating outside a West Des Moines bar.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Reynolds thanked Valenziano for helping build grassroots support for her campaign and predicted he would "continue to be a force in Republican politics."
Valenziano says "now is the appropriate time for me to pursue other opportunities" after working for Reynolds and former Gov. Terry Branstad in different capacities for 8 years.
Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is challenging Reynolds in the June primary.