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Heineman Grilled at First Testimony Hearing

The chairman of a legislative committee says 162 Nebraska inmates convicted of violent crimes were freed early under a furlough program. The program was revealed at a hearing yesterday as the chairman, Senator Steve Lathrop, questioned Governor Dave Heineman. The Republican governor was subpoenaed to testify under oath as part of an investigation into miscalculated prison sentences and other problems.

Hastings College to Introduce New Culinary Arts Majors

Hastings College has announced the launching of two new major programs geared toward the culinary arts and hospitality management. The majors, Business Administration and Culinary Arts Management and Business Administration and Hospitality Management, include a partnership with Central Community College-Hastings. Students will take classes at both institutions to complete their degree. The schools credit the success of the Agribusiness major for bringing these new programs. The new majors will be available to students enrolling in January 2015.

United Way Getting Closer to 2014-15 Goal

With nearly two months of fundraising so far, the United Way of South Central Nebraska is getting closer to their campaign goal. Executive Director Michele Henke says 60 percent of the $465,000 goal has been raised. Businesses that have paced their efforts include Mary Lanning Healthcare, Five Points Bank-Hastings and Nebraska Public Power District. United Way is made up of local volunteers extending a hand-up to over 24,000 people with help for everyday issues. For more information on donating, visit www.unitedwayscne.org.

Airport's New Terminal Breaks Ground

Officials broke ground on the new 34,000 square foot passenger terminal at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport on Wednesday. Airport Executive Director Mike Olson told supporters he was relieved to finally get the project started. He said the old terminal served them well for 60 years, but the $14.1 million new facility will be state of the art. Boardings reached an all-time high in 2013, with nearly 60,000 through the gates. The project is scheduled to be finished by 2016.

Doctors Who Treated Ebola Patients to Host Course

After successfully treating two Ebola patients this fall, the Nebraska doctors plan to share lessons about how they protected health care workers from the deadly virus. The University of Nebraska Medical Center plans to offer two online courses about Ebola and the methods used to treat patients with the virus in Omaha. Doctors who work at the hospital's specialized biocontainment unit have said they've received numerous requests for information related to treating Ebola.

Sasse Rallies Supporters in Hastings

Supporters of Republican Senate candidate Ben Sasse gathered last night in Hastings. It was Sasse's final stop of his "93 counties in 93 days campaign." He finished his tour of the state with a litlle help from his Republican colleagues including Mitt Romney. Romney told supporters their policies will help get Americans out of poverty, make schools globally competitive and focus on energy policies that create jobs. Joining Sasse were Senator Deb Fischer, Congressmen Adrian Smith and Jeff Fortenberry and State Auditor Mike Foley.

IRS Changing Rule to Help Farmers and Ranchers

The I-R-S is changing a rule to give farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who had livestock losses due to the recent drought years more time to replace those animals.

I-R-S spokesman Christopher Miller says the overall goal of the change is to provide a break to farmers who were impacted by the prolonged scorching conditions.

Miller urges Nebraskans to check to see if they qualify under the extension. They need to read I-R-S publication number 2-2-5, available on the website I-R-S-dot-gov.

Hassebrook Makes Campaign Stop in Hastings

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chuck Hassebrook and running mate Jane Raybould were in the tri-cities today ahead of next week's election.

The two stopped by Russ's Market in Hastings this morning to talk about efforts to create jobs on Main Street. Hassebrook spoke about how his proposed tax changes would help small businesses. He wants to remove the $2 million cap on small businesses so they can receive tax credits in order to make it more equitable with big businesses.

Raybould's family has owned Russ's Market and several other grocery stores throughout Nebraska for 50 years.

Hastings Red Cross Could Soon Close

The Red Cross announced it's reducing the number of chapters nationwide and the Hastings location could soon close. The current office since 1986, located at Fifth Street and Kansas Avenue, remains open but has no set hours and very little other than phones and desks. Communications officer Liz Dorland says the Hastings building is not currently for sale but says they are reviewing their options. Dorland says the Hastings area relies on more than 300 volunteers to serve the area and that won't change regardless of what happens to the building.

Prison Officials Find More Sentencing Errors

Nebraska prison officials have found more sentencing errors during a review spurred by past problems with the way sentences were calculated. Prison officials said Saturday that the sentences of 425 people in prison and 80 more on parole have been extended. The recent errors involve inmates who improperly received credit for good time that shortened their sentences after their parole had been revoked. Prisons Director Mike Kenney says the cases of another 800 inmates are being reviewed for similar problems.

UNK to Host Court of Appeals in November

Students in Kearney will have the opportunity to watch the Nebraska Court of Appeals hear cases next month. The court will hear several cases on the University of Nebraska at Kearney's campus on the afternoon of Nov. 12. College and high school students from the area are invited to attend. The Appeals Court reviews trial court decisions. Those decisions are final unless the Nebraska Supreme Court agrees to review them. The university is planning to offer a seminar on the court system for students before the Court of Appeals begins to hear cases.

Mitt Romney Coming to Hastings

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse will be stopping in Hastings on Monday for a campaign rally ahead of the Nov. 4th election. He'll be joined by a special guest. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will join Sasse at the Hastings Auditorium. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the rally set to begin at 6:30 p.m. The rally will wrap up Sasse's 93 county campaign tour across Nebraska. The event is free and open to the public.

Hastings Couple Challenging 9th Street Closure

Two Hastings residents are trying to keep a portion of 9th Street from facing a permanent closure near the Hastings College campus.

Hastings City Council members voted 7-0 back in July to allow Hastings College to close the route between Ash and Elm Avenue on June 1, 2015. The closure would essentially unite the campus which is separated by the road.

Lenie Wilson and her husband Larry are collecting signatures to put the decision to voters. Mrs. Wilson says the impact would be a negative one for residents.

The Wilsons say they will continue their efforts through the end of December and say they are two-thirds of the way to their goal.

Work on Grand Island Airport Will Begin Soon

Demolition work will soon begin on a new passenger terminal project at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport.

The $14.1 million project is the largest the airport has ever undertaken. The new terminal is expected to open in spring 2016. The airport has to tear down three buildings in order to make room for the new 34,000 square foot structure. A $9.8 million grant from the FAA was awarded to the airport in September. The airport serves nearly 57,000 passengers annually.

Executive Director Mike Olson says construction crews may start taking down covered parking as early as next week.

Ravenna Man Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case

A 33-year old Ravenna man who was convicted of incest and sexually assaulting a child has been given 15 to 25 years in prison. The incident happened in Kearney between Aug. 31 and Sept 2, 2013. The man's name is not being released in order to protect the identity of the young girl who was a minor under the age of 12 at the time of the incident.

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