"Give Where You Live-Kearney Area" giving event set for Thursday
(NRG)- The Kearney Area Community Foundation is set for Thursday's 24-Hour giving day called "Give Where You Live - Kearney Area." The event will benefit over 100 charitable causes in and around the Kearney-area that improve the quality of life for residents. In addition to Kearney, seven other communities have groups participating in the day. "Give Where You Live - Kearney Area" will encourage area nonprofits to build their capacity, find new donors and identify new funding streams. Every donation made during "Give Where You Live - Kearney Area" will help qualify the organization for prize money and awards, furthering the impact of the donor's investment. You can get more information, or donate online at givewhereyoulive.razoo.com. The complete list of local nonprofit organizations registered for the giving day is also available at the site. You can also drop off donations at the Kearney Area Community Foundation office at 412 West 48th Street, Suite 12 from eight a.m. until seven p.m. on Thursday.
National Weather Service Hastings starts Facebook photo contest
(NRG)- The National Weather Service in Hastings is hosting a 2013, end-of-year Facebook photo contest. Throughout December, you can submit your favorite weather-related photo directly to their Facebook page. All the photos will be posted to a photo album on January 1. Fans will vote for the best photos between January 1 and January 15 to determine the top three photos. Those three photos will be used as a cover photo on the NWS Hastings Facebook page at some point in 2014.
They're looking for pictures that are weather related, from Nebraska or Kansas, that were taken in 2013, and from any of the four seasons. The rules are simple, the photo must be an original and be about the weather, astronomy or nature. Include the date and location of your photo and the words "This is for the photo contest" on your post. Photos can be posted to the NWS Hastings Facebook page at www.facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Hastings.gov.
UNK teletherapy program reaches out to rural Nebraska
(UNK and NRG)- Sitting at her computer, a little girl will learn how to say her "Ls." Using his computer, a stroke sufferer will work to regain language capabilities. The University of Nebraska at Kearney RiteCare Clinic is reaching rural children and adults in need of speech and language therapy.
"Our goal with this program is to reach individuals in rural areas who would nototherwise be able to receive therapy, whether that's because of their location or funding or lack of insurance," said Laura Moody, speech and language pathology lecturer and RiteCare Clinic supervisor. The Department of Communication Disorders partners with Scottish Rite of Nebraska to operate the RiteCare Clinic in the College of Education with capabilities of providing teletherapy to individuals across Nebraska. The program allows UNK graduate students to provide speech and language therapyonline under the supervision of Moody. Clients are required to have Internet access and a computer or mobile device with a web camera. The service is free for all telepractice clients.
Some clients use a home computer, while others visit their local library or use a computer in their residential facility. Clinicians at RiteCare mostly work with children, but provide therapy to some adults. Moody said stroke sufferers might need therapy to repair language impairments. Children may need help working on speech sounds, saying certain letters or increasing language skills. Some children may have limited verbal communication or suffer from fluency disorders such as stuttering.
The RiteCare Clinic opened at UNK in September 2012 and is funded by the Scottish Rite Foundation, a masonic organization that provides funding to 178 RiteCare clinics across the country. In Nebraska there are RiteCare clinics in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings and Kearney. For more information on teletherapy at the UNK RiteCare Clinic, contact Moody at 308.865.8924.
Sustainable Ag Conference set for Kearney in February
(NRG)- The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society invites farmers and ranchers, consumers, University researchers, agricultural professionals and others to "Join the Sustainable Agriculture Conversation" at the 2014 Healthy Farms Conference in Kearney, Feb. 14-15 at the Younes Conference Center. Online registration for this annual event is now open at www.nebsusag.org/conference.
The 2014 Healthy Farms Conference will feature four keynote addresses, including Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. He'll open the conversation on animal welfare within agricultural production. In a state where livestock animal welfare is fraught with controversy, Pacelle will dispel myths and misunderstandings of what his organization is trying to do. Conference attendees can take this opportunity to discuss agriculture's role in the statewide animal welfare discussion, including finding local market solutions.
Breakout sessions will cover additional topics such as cooking with local foods, cover crops, forages for cattle, organic fly management, food truck innovations, growing citrus in Nebraska, high tunnels, Holistic Management, food desserts, pollinators, smoking and curing meats, starting a CSA, telling your farm story and more. A youth track will feature interactive presentations on sustainable agricultural topics for school-agers through high schoolers. Younger children may attend with a parent.
The 2014 Healthy Farms Conference continues the tradition of the All-Nebraska Dinner on Friday, Feb. 14, starting at 5:30 p.m. This original local foods event highlights a meal featuring foods grown in Nebraska, a live auction, entertainment and recognition of the NSAS Farm Family of the Year Award. Other conference events include roundtable discussions, exhibitors' hall and more NSAS Annual Awards recognizing a beginning farmer and agricultural educator. New this year is a movie room showing films focusing on sustainable farming and local foods, including Food Inc. There will also be opportunity to join pre-conference tours of Kearney-area attractions. More information, including registration costs and instructions, can be found at www.nebsusag.org/conference.
New slaughterhouse opening in Gordon
(AP) - New owners are opening a new slaughterhouse operation inside a former kosher beef slaughterhouse in northwest Nebraska.
The Scottsbluff Star-Herald says (http://bit.ly/1caRG3o ) Open Range Beef is launching its operation at the former Local Pride plant in Gordon.
The Local Pride operation closed because of legal and financial problems tied to its sister facility in eastern Iowa. Shortly after an immigration raid at the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, the Gordon plant closed in September 2008. Agriprocessors, which owned both plants, declared bankruptcy. Sholom Rubashkin, a top executive at the Iowa plant, was sentenced to 27 years for financial fraud.
The city of Gordon acquired the Nebraska plant and in June sold it to Open Range Beef, a company registered in Bellevue.
Former UNL student pleads guilty in records case
(AP) - A 23-year-old Omaha man has made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a count of fraud in connection with a computer security breach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln last year.
The Lincoln Journal Star says (http://bit.ly/1bfYtfk ) Daniel Stratman made the plea on Tuesday. Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of the guideline range and not more than two years of incarceration. Stratman's sentencing is scheduled for March 21.
Stratman was a student at UNL in May 2012 when the breach occurred. Prosecutors say Stratman hacked into a database of more than 650,000 student, alumni and employee records.
Governor cancels state climate change study
(AP) - Gov. Dave Heineman has canceled a Legislature-approved study on climate change, saying it would duplicate research work by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Heineman said in a letter Tuesday to members of the Legislature that the move will eliminate $44,000 from the budget that was appropriated for the study.
Researchers at the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources say their study, which involves reviewing others' work, will focus on identifying any human causes to climate change. They've set aside $20,000 for the study.
That is in contrast to the state study, which was modified to require that only natural causes to climate change be examined. Some university scientists had expressed concern about the scope of the Legislature-approved study.
The university study is expected to be finished by next September.
Douglas County to extend same-sex benefits to employees
(AP) - Douglas County says it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who were legally married in other states.
The County Board voted Tuesday to change the definition of an eligible spouse so it can include someone who is the same gender as the employee. The new definition covers all benefits including health insurance.
The Omaha World-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/IqPpJX ) the county will briefly reopen its enrollment period to accommodate the newly eligible spouses. Benefits would begin Jan. 1. The county is self-insured.
The City of Omaha recently said it would not offer health insurance and dental benefits to spouses of legally married gay employees. The Omaha police union has filed a grievance in response.
Americans Elect party dissolves in Nebraska
(AP) - A political organization that had hoped to field bipartisan candidates for president and vice president has been dissolved in Nebraska.
The Nebraska Secretary of State's office says it is in the process of notifying the 275 voters in the state who had registered with the Americans Elect party.
Americans Elect was not organized nationally as a third party. Instead, it sought to field a presidential ticket last year from opposing parties. In order to obtain ballot access, some states - including Nebraska - required Americans Elect to register as a political party.
But the group failed to field candidates, and recently asked the Nebraska Secretary of State's office to dissolve the party.
Nebraska State Penitentiary remains on lockdown
(AP) - The Nebraska State Penitentiary is still on lockdown after 33 inmates refused to return to their cells Monday night.
A Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman said Tuesday that the inmates were protesting a year-old policy that limits the number of inmates who can be in the prison yard at one time. The policy was enacted to reduce conflicts among inmates.
Spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith says there were no injuries or major damage in the protest, aside from some fires in trash cans that were extinguished. Some inmates were moved to other locations because of the smoke.
Smith says prison staff members are investigating the fires. The inmates who protested were not violent, and were all secured Monday night.
Lincoln police chief sees increase in gang violence
(AP) - Lincoln's police chief says he doesn't intend to surrender any city block to gang violence.
Chief Jim Peschong said Monday that Lincoln is "bonding together as a community to make sure gangs don't gain a foothold," citing an increase in gang violence.
The Lincoln Journal Star says (http://bit.ly/1g2bfBT ) the chief's remarks follow a weekend marked by an apparent murder-suicide, another gang-connected shooting and an assault.
On Sunday a gang member burst into an apartment that contained young children to fatally shoot a rival. Police say the gunman got into a standoff with officers a few police hours later. Police say the standoff ended when the man killed himself.
CNPPID enters into agreement on Johnson Lake payments
(NRG)- The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District's board of directors approved agreements at Monday's board meeting that will allow payment of costs associated with the sanitary improvement district at Johnson Lake. The actions modified a lease agreement with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for land managed as a State Recreation Area and an agreement with the Johnson Lake Sanitary Improvement District No. 1 to allow payment of general benefit costs associated with the Johnson Lake SRA. The general benefits costs include lift stations, the outfall sewer, the SID building and the lagoon system.
Central owns the land on which the SRA is located and leases the property to the commission. Central and Game and Parks are exempt from the payment of real estate taxes, which is the method of payment for the general benefit portion of the sewer system constructed by the SID. Central agreed to make a one-time payment to the SID of $125,990 as the share of the costs attributable to the SID's sewer system serving the SRA. The payments will be made in two installments, $45,990 this year and $80,000 next year from Central's lake improvement fund. Game and Parks agreed to reimburse Central for 50 percent of those costs.
City creates "Cultivate Kearney" website
(NRG)- What will Kearney look like in 20 years? The City of Kearney is asking the public for their input in helping shape the future. Cultivate Kearney, a website for community engagement launched Monday. Cultivate Kearney will allow you to click and connect with your City government and fellow residents. Engage in discussion, share opinions, and even vote on ideas that you feel are best for our community. The city wants to hear from everyone and gather thoughts, ideas, and even criticism. As a reward, users will earn points for participating and can redeem those points for unique prizes and gift certificates donated by local organizations and individuals.
Creating an account is easy - register with your Facebook, Google or LinkedIn account at mindmixer.cityofkearney.org/signup. For questions or more information, contact Development Services Director Suzanne Brodine at (308) 233-3222.
Dawson PPD plans some outages for house move this week
(NRG)- Dawson Public Power District personnel will work with a house mover who will be transporting a structure through the area on Thursday and Friday of this week. "The building is large, so we will have to de-energize power lines and take them down as it travels through the District. Our goal is to keep the project moving," explains Marsha Banzhaf, Manager of Customer Service. "Once the house passes through an area, the power lines will be put back up and re-energized."
The house mover plans to enter Dawson PPD territory south of Overton late Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, they will travel east and north before crossing Highway 30 on Apache Road. The mover hopes to stop at a site on 100th road on Thursday afternoon. Friday morning, they will cross Highway 183 at 100th Road. The house will turn north on Dove Hill Road, crossing Highway 10 at Hawk Road and continue until it reaches its destination northeast of Kearney. The Village of Riverdale will be affected by the outage on Friday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Dawson PPD will use an automated phone calling system to inform customers who will be affected by the power outages.
Some UNK students using laundry app
(UNK and NRG)- Doing laundry at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is as easy as checking a computer or smart phone. A mobile app in use at UNK lets students check on their laundry and monitor washers and dryers in residence halls. Using a mobile application called Laundry Alert, students can select a particular laundry room on campus and see which washers and dryers are in use, as well as how much time remains in the cycle. Alie Brabec, graduate hall director for Martin Hall, said a phone number can also be entered onto the website along with a residence hall's machine number, and the site will send text messages when that machine is available.
The technology came with the installment of new washers and dryers three years ago. Laundry Alert was implemented toreduce the risk of theft and vandalism when clothes just sit in the machines, as well as to keep laundry rooms running as efficiently as possible. Laundry Alert also provides information about how many people are waiting for machines to become available, and it provides a history of when a laundry room is the busiest so students can plan when the best time is to do their laundry. The website can also be used to report malfunctioning or broken machines.
To track and set up notifications for a laundry room on campus, students can go to LaundryAlert.com and use the code UNK6173 to bring up a list of residence halls and machines.
Game and Parks says deer harvest is down in Nebraska
(NRG)- Total firearm deer harvest for the nine-day 2013 November firearm season was 36,882, a 21 percent decline from 2012. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission eliminated approximately 87,000 permits and bonus tags in 2013 in response to the epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak of 2012. A significant reduction in harvest was expected. Details of harvest by sex, species and unit are not yet available, but check station data reveals the largest harvest declines occurred in southeast Nebraska, where nearly all bonus antlerless tags had been eliminated. The area least affected by EHD and permit reductions was the western half of southwest Nebraska, where a 6 percent decline in harvest occurred. Total harvest for 2013 is expected to be approximately 50,000 deer. Archers have had better success in 2013, with more than 2,400 whitetail bucks harvested compared to 1,843 whitetail bucks taken during the same time span in 2012. Deer season remains open through Jan. 18, 2014.
101-year-old woman dies in North Bend house fire
(AP) - The body of a 101-year-old North Bend woman was found in her fire-damaged home in eastern Nebraska.
The Fremont Tribune says (http://bit.ly/1hvqpjq ) firefighters were sent to the home a little before 6 p.m. Saturday, after a passer-by reported seeing smoke coming from the house's attic.
Dodge County Sheriff Steve Hespen says Sylvia Slavik died in her home, where she'd lived alone.
The fire case is being investigated.
Western Nebraska man pleads not guilty to assault
(AP) - A western Nebraska man accused of trying to run over his son-in-law has pleaded not guilty
North Platte television station KNOP says (http://bit.ly/1ivno49 ) 67-year-old Ted Evans made his plea Monday during in Lincoln County District Court. The charge is second-degree assault, a felony.
The incident occurred Aug. 26, not long after Evan's son-in-law, Lawrence Kidd, was released from jail after serving time for domestic assault.
Witnesses say that as Evans aimed his vehicle at Kidd and tried to run over him, Evans drove through the backyard of Kidd's home and into a neighbor's yard.
Ethanol Board discusses leadership changes
(AP) - The Nebraska Ethanol Board has agreed to discuss planning for the eventual replacement of its top administrator.
The Grand Island Independent says (http://bit.ly/1g2bMnv ) administrator Todd Sneller urged the board at its Monday meeting to prepare for a transition that should be accomplished over years, not months.
The 61-year-old Sneller says he's set no timetable for his retirement, but he thinks it best to hire someone whom he would mentor for a year or even two before taking over Sneller's duties.
Board members agreed they should hold a special meeting or retreat early next year to discuss the long-range change in leadership.
State Treasurer issues reminder about unclaimed property
(AP) - State Treasurer Don Stenberg wants Nebraskans to check to see whether they own any of the $125 million in unclaimed property his office is holding.
Stenberg says some Nebraskans would be in for a pleasant surprise if they'd check the list.
The money held by the treasurer's office belongs to 350,000 Nebraskans, former Nebraskans and their heirs.
The most common way money gets turned over the treasurer's office is when certificates of deposit, bank accounts or insurance benefits go unclaimed.
This year, the treasurer's office has returned more than $10.3 million. That's significantly higher than last year's $6.6 million.
The list of unclaimed property can be checked on the state treasurer's website at www.treasurer.org .
13 YRTC escapees recaptured over the weekend
(AP) - Nebraska officials say 13 teenagers are awaiting discipline after escaping a youth rehabilitation center in Kearney.
The state Department of Health and Human Services says two teens left on foot Saturday night from Kearney's Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center. An additional 11 teens followed.
Additional staff and Kearney police were called in to help apprehend the youths. The last escapee was returned to the center hours later.
The Kearney Hub reports (http://bit.ly/19dqgco ) department spokesman Russ Reno says the youths took key cards to leave the center. Additional information about the circumstances of the escapes was not released.
Reno says the Buffalo County attorney will determine if the youths will be charged criminally. One 18-year-old escapee was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court.
Table Rock man dies in crash that injures his son
(AP) - Authorities say a southeast Nebraska man died following a single-vehicle crash over the weekend that injured his teenage son.
Pawnee County Sheriff Jayme Reed says 46-year-old Lavon Sharpe, of Table Rock, was a passenger Saturday night in a pickup driven by 15-year-old Brandon Sharpe.
Authorities say the pickup was headed west on a county road near Table Rock when it lost control and rolled over.
Reed says both father and son were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the pickup. Lavon Sharpe was declared dead at the scene.
The Beatrice Daily Sun reports (http://bit.ly/19dHJBe ) Brandon Sharpe was taken to a Lincoln hospital with multiple injuries. His condition is not available.
Lincoln man claims $1 million Powerball winnings
(AP) - Nebraska lottery officials have announced the identity of a man who bought a Powerball ticket last month and won $1 million.
The Nebraska Lottery said in a Monday news release that Jerry Wells, of Lincoln, claimed his prize on Nov. 26.
Wells purchased his winning ticket at Roc's Stop & Shop in Lincoln. His two-play ticket contained a play with all five winning white ball numbers from the Nov. 20 drawing.
Wells says he selects his Powerball numbers based on a combination of birthdays, ages and jersey numbers of his favorite athletes. He says he plans to use the money to pay bills and invest.
Officials say 10 Nebraska Lottery players have won the $1 million prize in Powerball since the game was changed in January 2012.
Spooner files to run for Omaha legislative seat
(AP) - A development associate for the Jewish Federation of Omaha has filed papers to run for the Nebraska Legislature.
Justin Spooner officially launched his campaign Monday for the District 6 seat in west-central Omaha. The seat is currently held by state Sen. John Nelson, who is prohibited from running next year because of term limits.
Spooner, a Democrat, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and served as a page in the Legislature last year. He has interned for U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns and former U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson.
The 23-year-old says that, if elected, he would focus on Nebraska's schools, tax system and business environment.
Lincoln man suspected in gang shooting found dead
(AP) - Lincoln police say a 22-year-old suspect in a fatal, gang-related shooting is dead.
Police say Musito Hector Antonio Lopez died Sunday of an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Lopez is suspected of shooting and killing 20-year-old Erick P. Musito after an argument.
Authorities say the men were rival gang members. They had befriended two sisters who lived in an apartment where Musito was shot, about two blocks from the Nebraska Capitol.
Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong says Lopez was found dead in his mother's mobile home about 6 p.m. Sunday after a SWAT team surrounded her home.
Peschong says Lopez fired several shots from the home. Authorities pumped gas into the trailer, but couldn't force him out. They got a camera into the home and saw Lopez dead.