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Former Hall County prosecutor named judge in 5th district

Posted: 04/16/14 08:45

A former Hall County prosecutor has been named to fill an open district court judgeship in eastern Nebraska's 5th Judicial District. The office of Gov. Dave Heineman says he's selected 43-year-old Rachel Daugherty, of Grand Island. She's been in private practice in Grand Island since 2000. She holds a law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln law school. She will replace Judge Michael Owens, who was appointed to the post in 1996.

Endorsements for Attorney General candidates

Posted: 04/16/14 08:46

State Senator and Republican candidate for Attorney General Pete Pirsch picked up a few South Central Nebraska endorsements yesterday. Another republican candidate for Attorney general announced an endorsement yesterday. Tom Osborne is backing Doug Peterson for the position. Petersen said in a press release, I am honored to have the endorsement of Tom Osborne in this campaign.  As a public official, Tom Osborne's focus was always on service, not politics.  That's exactly the kind of approach I want to bring to Nebraska's Attorney General's office.” Brian Buscher and Mike Hilgers will also be on the Republican ticket.

Farmland prices continue to rise in valuation

Posted: 04/16/14 08:44

Assessment of agricultural land continues to rise, adding to the disappointment farm groups are expressing about the legislative session.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue's Property Assessment Division reports the valuation of farmland for tax purposes rose nearly 30-percent between 2013 and 2014.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the assessment report comes on the heels of a legislative session that talked alot about reducing property taxes for farmers, but did little. Legislators did add 25-Million dollars to the 115-Million dollar Property Tax Credit Fund. They failed to move on a proposal to drop the assessed valuation of farmland from 75-percent of its market value to 65%. Gov. Heineman will be in Kearney today talking about the legislative sessions, taxes will likely come up.

Big change to the State Fair concert ticket program

Posted: 04/15/14 08:51

There is a new change to the Nebraska State Fair concert series this year: No lines, no waiting and no wristbands. Nebraska State Fair officials have announced they’ll be replacing the free wristband program with a reserved seat ticketing program. That means concertgoers will no longer need to stand in line to receive wristbands—something that will help those who live outside of the Grand Island area, and who were unable to make it to the fairgrounds for wristband distribution. State Fair executive director Joseph McDermott says even though there’s a $6 convenience fee, he thinks fairgoers will be happy with the change. And we had our first concert announcement today—The Nebraska State Fair says BJ Thomas will play older Nebraskans day.
Known for tunes like Raindrops Keep Fallin on my Head and Hooked on a Feeling, fair goers will get two chances to see Thomas perform--at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday August 27. Tickets will be available on August 4 at Etix.com or the Heartland Events Center Box Office in Grand Island.

Record early voting in Nebraska

Posted: 04/15/14 08:50

In the first five days of early voting for the 2014 primary, 23,447 requests have been made for early voting ballots. That’s according to Secretary of State John Gale. It’s the highest number of early voting ballots requested during a five day period in the last four Nebraska primaries. Registered voters in Nebraska can request an early voting ballot 120 days prior to the election. The first wave of ballots went out April 7. They are due back into the county election offices by the time polls close on Election Day. Now through May 12, Nebraska voters can also vote in person at their county election office.

Judgement over death of woman by prison bus in Lincoln

Posted: 04/15/14 08:49

A judge has given final approval to a $2 million state settlement with the family of a Lincoln woman who was struck and killed by a state prison van driven by an inmate. The settlement will go to the husband and son of 47-year-old Joyce Meeks, who was killed in the crash on June 25 in Lincoln. Last month legislators approved the payment as part of the state's annual claims bill. The inmate driver, Jeremy Dobbe, was seen speeding and swerving erratically before he struck Meeks' vehicle. Dobbe was driving to transport inmates as part of a state work-release program.

Cornfield artwork protests Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted: 04/14/14 09:09

The “Cowboy and Indian Alliance” is sending a message to President Obama—from a Nebraska cornfield. The 80-acre artwork, which was done last week and reads "Heartland(hash)NoKXL," is the latest protest environmentalists and landowners have employed against TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Bold Nebraska’s Jane Kleeb said they’re trying to get their voice heard again now… because it’s a critical time in the decision making process with the national interest phase coming to an end. The alliance heads to D.C. from the 22 through the 27th for a week of action called reject and protect. Members of the alliance fear the pipeline could contaminate groundwater and contribute to pollution. TransCanada has said the pipeline will have upgraded safety measures, including remote control shut-off valves and frequent inspections. It has already built the southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas.

Johanns, Fischer join call to reign in EPA regulations

Posted: 04/11/14 08:06

U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer and several of their Republican colleagues have called on the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and the EPA to stop pursuing regulations on livestock emissions. If enacted, they say it could cost medium-sized dairy farms up to $22,000 and medium-sized cattle farms up to $27,000 annually. Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama released his Climate Action Plan “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.” The proposal calls on the agencies to develop a plan in the coming weeks that would reduce dairy sector methane greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by 2020—what the senators say would be a costly change for livestock operations.

Kenney confirmed as director of Department of Correctional Services

Posted: 04/11/14 08:05

It was probably the biggest debate in the legislature yesterday, but Lawmakers have confirmed Michael Kenney as director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Kenney was appointed by the governor in September. Supporters argued that Kenney brings 36 years of experience in correctional services, including time spent in Nebraska and Washington. Some opponents argued that Kenney wasn't forthcoming when answering lawmaker questions in legislative prison-reform hearings earlier this year.

Hastings man charged with false report

Posted: 04/11/14 08:04

A 22-year-old Hastings man could be charged with false reporting after telling Hastings police he was stabbed at Chautauqua Park. Jeremiah Shurigar told police he was stabbed in the abdomen when he tried to help a woman he though was being confronted by a man. He gave police a full description of the suspect. The Hastings Police Department later released a statement that further investigation revealed the report to be unfounded. The case is being referred the Adams County attorney.

Republican Senate candidates hold final debate

Posted: 04/10/14 09:39

The four Republicans running for United States Senate squared off in their final debate at the University of Nebraska Law College in Lincoln last night.
Former State Treasurer Shane Osborn says the war on terror has been successful, because it has kept terrorism off our shores. Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale says the United States must stay in the course in its war against terrorism. Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay says the US must understand the geo-political landscape and Midland University President Ben Sasse while there are great threats in the Middle East, border security must be increased to keep threats out.

Adams County processing early voter registration

Posted: 04/10/14 09:40

The Adams county clerk’s office is currently processing early voter applications that were received by mail, and coming up on Monday registered voters can vote early in person at the County Clerks office during regular business hours. Ramona Thomas says there are some changes you should be aware of come May 13th to deadlines and the ballot. When it comes to those key races in your political party. Thomas explains what you can vote on if there aren’t many candidates who filed for a position.

GMO labeling bill introduced in Congress

Posted: 04/10/14 09:42

Representative Mike Pompeo from Kansas is expected to introduce a food industry-backed bill today in Washington that has impacts here at home. It would preempt state mandatory GMO labeling efforts and give ultimate authority over the matter to the FDA, which favors a voluntary approach to GMO labeling. Mark Jagels with the Nebraska Corn Board talked about GMO’s with KHAS radio yesterday. He said that GMO’s are safe and will help Nebraska farmers feed the world. The Ethanol industry is also on the minds of many corn farmers in the area. The 3rd District of Nebraska now produces more ethanol than any other congressional district in the nation. Jagels says that means that the Ethanol industry continues to contribute to local economy.

Hastings Public Schools receives music award

Posted: 04/10/14 09:42

It’s a big honor for Hastings Public Schools. The district has been named a 2014 Best communities for music education recipient, and was one of just two districts in the state to be named this year. Deb Dowling teaches music at Watson Elementary and also at the middle school. She said she’s proud to work in a community that values music education… something she says is beneficial for students. Hastings was last recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants for the award in 2001.