(NRG)- The Fremont Pathfinders re-enactors will portray life as soldiers at a 1870s infantry outpost on the Great Plains at Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park this Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26. The uniformed soldiers will occupy the Enlisted Men's Barracks and go about their daily activities, and a blacksmith will be on duty. The buildings will be open from 8 a.m.-sunset each day. There also will be a quilt display at the Commanding Officer's Quarters from noon-5 p.m. each day, and there will be a firing of the cannon at 10 p.m. on May 25. Fort Hartsuff is located southeast of Burwell in Valley County. A park entry permit is required.
Kearney pools set to open
(NRG)-The City of Kearney Park & Recreation Department is reminding everyone that the Harmon and Centennial Park Pools are opening soon. Harmon Park Pool opens Saturday afternoon at 1:00 and Centennial Park Pool will open Tuesday, May 28 at 1:00 p.m. For hours, fees, and special events please visit the city's web page at www.cityofkearney.org. The hours and fees along with other aquatic information and events can be found under "Park and Recreation - Recreation - Aquatics".
Citizens can also contact the Harmon Park Pool at (308) 236-5158 or Centennial Park Pool at (308) 234-4388 for more information. You can also take advantage of discounted prices by purchasing a Swimming Season Pass before May 24 at the Kearney Park & Recreation office at 2005 1st Avenue.
Red Cross helping in Oklahoma
(NRG)- The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help people in Oklahoma after Monday's devastating tornadoes with shelters, food, water and supplies, and more workers, supplies and equipment are moving into the area today. "Our thoughts and sympathy are with all those impacted by these horrific tornadoes," said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. "Specialized Red Cross disaster teams are helping now and will be helping for weeks to come as people in Oklahoma recover from these storms."
The Red Cross deployed almost 30 emergency response vehicles to distribute food and relief supplies and more are on alert. Two Southern Baptist Convention kitchens and kitchen support trailers will join the relief effort with the ability to serve tens of thousands of meals a day. Emergency aid stations will open where people can get food and snacks, mental health and health services and information about what help is available. The Red Cross is supporting first responders and working with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need. Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to provide shelter in Shawnee and other parts of the Oklahoma City area following storms over the weekend.
The Red Cross has several ways people can let loved ones know they are safe. They can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website by visiting www.redcross.org and clicking on the "List Yourself or Search Registrants" link under "How to Get Help". Those who can't access a computer can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and a Red Cross operator can help them register. Disaster victims can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well website or visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell on their smart phone and click on the "List Yourself as Safe and Well" or "Search for friends and family" link. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
Bassett woman dies in crash on Highway 183
(AP) - A Bassett woman has died in a single-vehicle crash in central Nebraska.
Rock County Sheriff James Anderson tells the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/11aKmyL) that 27-year-old Claudia Koenig died in the Monday morning crash.
Anderson says Koenig was driving northbound on U.S. Highway 183 about 25 miles south of Bassett when her Jeep went into a ditch, veered back across the highway and rolled several times.
Anderson says Koenig was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the Jeep. She died at the scene.
Anderson says investigators believe speed played a factor in the crash.
Paxton issues boil water notice
(AP) - People in the western Nebraska town of Paxton are being told to boil their tap water before drinking it.
North Platte television station KNOP-TV reports (http://bit.ly/11aDoJV) that the village issued the notice to its residents this week after a water tower well failed to power up, drying up the tower.
Water has been pumped back into the tower, but officials must first receive the results of water samples taken from it before they can be sure the water is safe to drink.
Officials are hoping they have those results later this week.
UNMC showing off their new eye institute
(AP) - The University of Nebraska Medical Center is showing off its new $30 million eye institute.
The grand opening celebration for the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute was held on Wednesday.
The institute houses research facilities, offers treatments for macular degeneration, glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases, and provides eye exams.
Officials hope the institute will produce revolutionary research and become recognized as one of the top eye care centers. It is led by Doctors Quan Dong Nguyen and his wife, Diana Do.
The institute is named after a former faculty member in UNMC's ophthalmology department and former president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Ophthalmological Society.
Wind energy tax credit measure headed to final vote
(AP) - A bill designed to attract large wind-energy farms to Nebraska is headed to a final vote in the Legislature.
Lawmakers gave second-round approval Tuesday to the bill, which would extend sales tax exemptions to wind-energy companies. One firm, TradeWind Energy, has expressed interest in developing a wind farm in Dixon County, on the Iowa and South Dakota border.
Nebraska ranks as one of the nation's biggest wind-producing states, but 26th in the energy it could produce with equipment currently installed.
Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha says the bill is designed to keep Nebraska competitive with other high-wind states in the Plains. Some lawmakers questioned whether Nebraskan residents would receive enough of the direct benefits.
Omaha could lost ability to increases sales tax
(AP) - The city of Omaha could lose its power to ask voters for a local option sales tax increase, under a measure backed by Nebraska lawmakers.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has fought the new law for months, attaching his repeal measure to unrelated bills and filibustering after his initial proposal stalled in committee.
On Tuesday, lawmakers attached his repeal measure to an unrelated wind-energy bill that appears headed toward approval. Chambers' measure would only apply to Omaha.
The sales tax law was passed last year over the veto of Gov. Dave Heineman. It allows cities to raise their local option sales tax to as high as 2 percent, up from the current 1.5 percent lid imposed by the state. The increase requires voter approval.
Governor vetoes golf tournament funding
(AP) - Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has used a line-item veto to strike $200,000 from the state budget that was approved for an Omaha golf tournament.
The governor said Tuesday that funding for the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament is unjustified, given the state's other spending priorities on education and changes to juvenile services. Heineman also argued that the event is heavily supported by the private sector and experiencing record ticket sales.
Heineman signed the remainder of the budget bill, which authorized funding for deficit appropriations. The bill was one of seven budget measures that lawmakers have passed this year.
Lincoln bus driver pleads not guilty to attack
(AP) - A Lincoln bus driver who was fired after a video showed him beating a rider has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/1a2a3XD ) that 43-year-old Troy Fischer entered his plea Tuesday during a brief court hearing.
The StarTran Bus Service suspended Fischer for two days and then fired him after a disciplinary hearing. He also was charged with misdemeanor assault.
The case stems from a March 23 incident that was recorded on surveillance video from the bus.
The video showed Fischer appearing to punch a 40-year-old rider more than a dozen times before pushing him off the bus.
Wyoming company wants to locate plant in Scottsbluff
(AP) - Scottsbluff city leaders are considering a proposal to build a meatpacking plant in the western Nebraska city.
During a City Council meeting Monday, Keith DeHaan with Future Food Energy LLC outlined the company's proposal to buy 43 acres of city land.
The company has already signed a letter of intent to buy the property in the Immigrant Trails Subdivision along state Highway 26. The company is now hoping the city will approve the sale, with Future Food Energy offering $10,000 per acre.
The Wyoming-based company is seeking to construct a 358,000-square-foot plant that would initially employ 250 to 400 workers to process 300,000 to 375,000 cattle per year.
The facility would use reclaimed heat in a process that DeHaan says eliminates the odor commonly associated with meat-packing facilities.
Columbus weighs restoring memorial
(AP) - Officials in Columbus say it's too early to know whether the city will replace a downtown Civil War memorial smashed in last weekend's storm.
High winds Saturday night toppled a tree in the downtown Frankfort Square, which smashed the Civil War memorial in the middle of the square on its way down.
The Columbus Telegram says (http://bit.ly/13IF3Me) city officials are meeting with property damage experts later this week and have lots of other work to be done to clean up the wreckage from the storm.
Public Property Director Doug Moore says the city hopes to have the tree removed Tuesday, but that it's too early to know when or how much it would cost to restore the monument.
Lincoln man sentenced for machete threat
(AP) - A Lincoln man has been sentenced to 240 days in jail for assault and threatening two women with a machete.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/1a06MI9) that 43-year-old Clarence Edwards II was sentenced Monday in Lancaster County District Court.
Police say Edwards punched a 21-year-old woman in the face during a parking lot confrontation. The woman told police that when she went to an apartment Edwards shared with another woman to tell her what happened, Edwards came at both the women with a machete. Police say the women barricaded themselves in a bedroom, and that Edwards hacked at the bedroom door with the machete and threatened to kill then on Jan. 16.
Edwards received credit for 120 days already served, meaning he must serve another week in jail.
High prices keep CRP enrollment numbers down
(AP) - Soaring prices for corn and soybeans have Nebraska farmers taking more erosion-prone land out of a federal conservation program and back into crop production.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/10iHwbU) that landowners in southeastern Nebraska, which has been a stronghold for the federal Conservation Reserve Program, are moving away from the 10-year federal contracts and toward row-crop production. That includes landowners in Johnson, Gage, Otoe and Lancaster counties.
Pawnee County, which once had about 60 square miles enrolled, saw enrollment drop to less than half that last year.
Officials say that while more crop production is good news for livestock feeders, ethanol plants and other potential profit-makers, it's not so good for prairie chickens, pheasants and other wildlife that depend on CRP habitat.
Growers making up for lost time in planting corn
(AP) - Corn growers across the Midwest have made up for lost time in a big way from a slow start to planting season after a waterlogged spring.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 71 percent of the corn crop in key grain states is sowed. That's up from just 28 percent a week ago, though the pace remains behind the average of the previous five years of 79 percent.
Huge strides are being made in Iowa, where the 71 percent of the state's corn crop is in the ground is more than quadruple where it stood a week ago.
Three-quarters of Illinois' corn crop is sown, as is 70 percent of the crop in neighboring Missouri.
At this time last year, nearly all the corn crop had been planted.
Hershey man pleads not guilty to crash charges
(AP) - A 24-year-old Hershey man has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated in a crash that killed a woman.
North Platte television station KNOP-TV reports 9http://bit.ly/10iPzZR) that Micah Koch entered the plea Monday in Lincoln County District Court.
Authorities say Koch was drunk when he crashed a pickup in January near the western Nebraska city of Sutherland. The crash killed a passenger, 24-year-old Korey Huebner. Koch and another passenger, 28-year-old Jay Shotkoski, of Hershey, were injured.
Koch was ordered Monday to wear an electronic monitor on his ankle. His next court appearance is July 15th.
Attorney's heart attack leads to mistrial
(AP) - A public defender in central Nebraska has suffered a heart attack, leading a judge to declare a mistrial in an assault case.
The Hastings Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/10iHB2F) that Adams County Public Defender Art Toogood had a heart attack over the weekend. He is now a hospital in Lincoln. His family as asked hospital staff not to release information about his condition.
Toogood's absence in Adams County District Court on Monday morning forced Judge Stephen Illingworth to declare a mistrial in the case against 30-year-old John Espino, which began Thursday and was expected to conclude Monday.
Espino has been accused of hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach with a board in August 2011.
North Platte man sentenced for child sexual assault
(AP) - A 70-year-old registered sex offender from North Platte who pleaded no contest to a new charge of child sexual assault is going to prison.
Donald Warfield was sentenced in Lincoln County District Court Monday to five years in prison.
Prosecutors say a teenage girl reported that Warfield began giving her presents and touching her inappropriately when she was about 7 years old. She said the sexual assaults became worse and continued for three or four years.
Warfield was convicted in 2002 of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old.
Court records also show Warfield was arrested last year for failing to properly register as a sex offender. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Hastings man sentenced for meth distribution
(AP) - A Hastings man has been given more than five years in prison for helping to distribute methamphetamine.
U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg announced Monday that Ruben Manzano has been sentenced to 70 months in prison. He will be given two years of supervised release after he completes his sentence. He also will be ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.
Manzano pleaded guilty in late February to conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine between May and October 2012.
Game and Parks unveil new fishing website
(AP) - Nebraska officials are using a new website to encourage more people to fish in the state.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the user-friendly website allows visitors to buy a fishing permit. It also provides blogs, stocking reports and instructional videos on fishing.
The website offers maps for trip planning, as well as information about family fishing events scheduled across the state throughout the summer.
Members sought for Nebraska health boards
(AP) - The Nebraska State Board of Health is recruiting members to serve on five of its professional boards.
New professional members are required to be Nebraska residents who are actively engaged in practice, with a license in good standing. Residents who represent a consumer perspective may be eligible for the public member seats, if they are not licensed in the particular area that the board regulates.
The openings are on the boards of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Hearing Instrument Specialists, Massage Therapy, Medicine and Surgery and Physical Therapy.
The appointments are partial terms, due to resignations. Members are eligible to serve up to two full, five-year terms after they complete the partial term.
Elm Creek newspaper's young owner publishes first edition
(AP) - The Elm Creek Beacon-Observer's 21-year-old new owner has published the first edition of the weekly newspaper he bought in March.
The Kearney Hub reports (http://bit.ly/10Kbrga ) publisher Michael Happ put out the newspaper for the first time Thursday, then graduated days later from Creighton University with majors in political science and theology.
Happ's father first told him the central Nebraska newspaper was up for sale. Happ says he'd always dreamed of owning a newspaper and quickly decided to buy it from owners Bob and Penni Jensen of Central City.
Happ doesn't have much journalism experience but wrote for his local paper in junior high and worked in Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle's communication office.
Once he's more familiar with the paper, he plans to establish an online presence and redesign the Beacon-Observer.
Lawmakers approve ban on synthetic designer drugs
(AP) - Chemicals that are used in the newest generation of designer drugs would become illegal in Nebraska, under a measure advancing in the Legislature.
Lawmakers gave first-round approval Monday to a bill that would restrict key ingredients in the synthetic drugs, which can mimic the effects of methamphetamine, marijuana and LSD.
Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha says he introduced the measure to address newer versions of the synthetic drugs that aren't currently restricted. The bill is dubbed "Tyler's Law" in honor of Tyler Smith, a Bellevue West High School student who committed suicide in September. A packet of synthetic marijuana was found in his pocket, and his suicide followed a sudden change in his behavior.
The measure advanced, 34-0, through the first of three votes.
Attempt to repeal sales tax provision rejected by lawmakers
(AP) - Lawmakers have rejected an attempt to repeal a new Nebraska law that lets cities raise their local option sales tax rates, as long as they secure voter approval.
The law gives cities the power to ask voters for an increase to as high as 2 percent, up from the current 1.5 percent lid imposed by the state. Lawmakers voted Monday not to reconsider a measure filed by Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha.
Supporters of the law argue that any increase would require majority support from local residents, and cities would have to designate a specific use for the money. Chambers has argued sales taxes disproportionately affect the poor, who pay a larger share of their income when buying goods and services.
Nebraska Legislature approves budget bills
(AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have given final approval to the seven budget bills that make the state's two-year budget.
Lawmakers passed the measures on Monday through their third and final vote. They now head to Gov. Dave Heineman.
The package contains increases for early childhood education and a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State Colleges. It also includes $230 million in continued funding for a state property tax credit program.
Senators also voted to transfer an additional $53 million into the state's cash reserve.
Sen. Heath Mello, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, says the money will be available in case of an economic downturn or tax reforms that rise from a state tax-climate study.