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Nebraska ACLU claim widespread misuse of tasers by law enforcement

Nebraska's American Civil Liberties Union claims widespread misuse of tasers by Nebraska law enforcement. The ACLU Nebraska has released a report that reviewed the use of tasers by law officers from 11 departments between January of 2013 until May of this year. Amy Miller with the ACLU says Omaha police officers, responding to a call from a nursing home, used a taser on an elderly man, who weighed only 106 pounds. She says that in another incident Kearney officers used a taser on a 10-year-old elementary student. The report claims tasers were misused on a man in Hastings accused of spitting on officers and on a young mentally ill woman in Grand Island. Miller says departments can improve accountability by adopting federal recommendations for the weapons.

Financial literacy program a success in Nebraska schools

State Treasurer Don Stenberg says 81 Nebraska high schools took advantage of a new, state-sponsored financial literacy program in the last school year. Stenberg said Tuesday that the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program reached 2,214 students. Of that total, 977 completed all nine modules to become certified. The online financial literacy program was developed by EverFi, an educational technology company. The program teaches students about personal financial matters, such as credit scores, how to fill out a checkbook and how to save for college. Stenberg says he's looking to grow the program to include dozens more high school and thousands of additional students next year. Stenberg says he's encouraging more schools to participate.

Blue Cross Blue Shield to lose in-network prices with Catholic Health Initiative

Unless an agreement is reached by the end of the month, Nebraskans with Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance will not be able to get in-network prices for care at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, St. Francis in Grand Island or any of the other 10 Catholic Health Initiative facilities in the state.  The reason the hospitals and Blue Cross Blue Shield can't come to an agreement…. Price. Lee Handke, Vice President of Health Network & Wellness Services says that health care costs in Omaha are to blame. Blue Cross will be holding a meeting tonight in Kearney at the Younes Conference Center at 6pm to update members on the negations. If the insurance and hospital agreement expires you'll still be able to receive care at those hospitals, but Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance won't cover as much of the price. Also doctor offices in this area will still be covered. There are also ways that people receiving long term care will still be able to continue those treatments at the in-network price. You'll have to contact BCBS to arrange that.

Severe thunderstorms come through Tri-cities

The severe thunderstorm that moved through central Nebraska last night brought down trees, limbs and powerlines.  Wind gusts topping 80 miles per hour and lots of lightning kept police, fire departments and utility crews busy.  There were numerous streets in Hastings blocked by downed limbs, some big enough to damage vehicles parked on the streets.  Hastings Utilities and Southern Power District crews also responded to multiple downed powerlines and power transformers that been hit by lightning.  The National Weather Service Office in Hastings says this is fifth time since the beginning of June that winds stronger than 70 mph have hit the Hastings area. The City of Hastings announces their response to Sunday night's wind storm. City crews from the Parks and Street Departments have be working to pick up storm damage from the public terrace. Citizens are asked to not pile limbs in the streets or on sidewalks. Crews will be making only one pass through the community. The City Landfill will allow the citizens of Hastings to bring their storm damaged limbs and trees to the landfill at no charge through Saturday, August 23rd.

Lawmakers to talk immigration debate next session

Nebraska lawmakers will have a new debate next year over immigration, an issue that could influence the 2014 governor's race. Republican Pete Ricketts and Democrat Chuck Hassebrook remain sharply divided over whether Nebraska should continue to deny driver's licenses for young immigrants who qualify for the Obama administration's deferred-action policy. The policy grants a temporary reprieve to youths bought to the country illegally as children, who have pursued an education or served in the military and kept a clean criminal background. Ricketts says those who arrived in the country illegally shouldn't receive privileges intended for legal residents. Hassebrook says denial of driver's licenses effectively punishes the youths for their parents' decisions. Sen. Jeremy Nordquist says he will introduce a bill to reverse Nebraska's policy when lawmakers convene in January.

Heineman fires 2 attorneys in prison scandal

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says two state attorneys have retired under threat of being fired and two other were suspended for their actions in the state's prison sentencing debacle. Heineman announced Friday that Department of Correctional Services general counsel George Green and associate legal counsel Sharon Lindgren chose to leave their jobs rather than be fired. In addition, department records administrator Kyle Poppert was suspended without pay for two weeks. Associate legal counsel Kathy Blum was suspended without pay for one day. Heineman says that while two crucial state Supreme Court rulings might have gone unnoticed by most, they shouldn't have by the department's lawyers. The Nebraska State Patrol continues a criminal investigation into the matter.

Oregon Trail Rodeo begins this weekend

This weekend, Hastings will be the destination for pro rodeo cowboys and cowgirls across the nation. Over 200 athletes from 14 states will converge at the Adams County Fairgrouds for the Oregon Trail Rodeo. Ruth Nicholaus with Hastings Rodeo about the excitement that comes with the rodeo. The Oregon Trail Rodeo is this weekend 22-24th, beginning at 7pm each night. There will also be a 5k/10k run on Saturday morning, a free dance that evening, as well as a free BBQ Sunday. Saturday night is also Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, where $1 is donated for every person who attends the rodeo wearing pink that night. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. More information available at adamscountyfairgrounds.com.

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