UNK Students Rock the Vote
Many UNK students are now registered voters, thanks to the recent efforts of a political science class.
Students from the Democracy as a Political Idea class set up booths in the Nebraskan Student Union and Wellness Center, and asked students to become registered voters. As a result, 204 UNK students registered to vote.
Dr. Christie Maloyed, assistant professor of political science said the effort is aimed at getting young people in the habit of voting now, to make it a lifelong habit.
The effort was part of a civic engagement project the class is working on this semester. The class is creating a mid-term voting guide for the upcoming election. The non-partisan guide will include information on candidates and political issues in the news.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 17.
Third City Community Clinic Receives Large Grant
A six-figure grant was awarded Friday to the Third City Community Clinic in Grand Island.
The clinic is receiving $175,950 from Women Investing in Nebraska. WIN is a group of women dedicated to focused, collective giving.
Susan Aguilar, Executive Director of the clinic says the grant will help in many ways.
"The grant will help sustain some of our programs such as WIC, our dental program and our registered nurse, dental hygienists and medications and supplies," Aguilar said.
Third City Community Clinic offers health and dental care for low income individuals who don't have insurance, government assistance or funds to pay for their own care. The clinic receives no federal, state or city funding. Last year, more than 3,500 patients received free health care from the clinic.
Grand Island Flood Control Project Behind Schedule
A Grand Island flood control project that was scheduled for completion next year is four years behind schedule and $13 million over budget.
The project was delayed in part because of the time required to clean up buried explosives from land that once housed an ordinance plant and an insufficient drainage map. The project originally relied on watershed data from the 1980s.
Officials say the project is over budget because of an abnormal jump in construction prices over the project's 10-year development.
Woman Arrested on Prostitution Charges in Kearney
An Arizona woman was arrested in Kearney over the weekend on prostitution charges. 20-year-old Ninveh J. Daoud was formally charged Friday. A Minden man was also arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute in the same incident. The man has not been charged. Both are free on bail and are due in court in October.
County Jails to House State Prison Inmates
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services has found space and obtained permission to place some state inmates in county jails as a way to relieve overcrowding in the state prison system.
The prison system is currently at 158 percent capacity. So far six counties have agreed to take in the state inmates. They are Buffalo, Dawson, Hall, Phelps, Platte, and Saline. Fred Ruiz, Hall County Jail Director, says they've been housing state inmates there since June 17. He says they are not taking in those convicted of murder and other high profile crimes.
The state is paying most counties $75 a day to house the inmates. Hall County is being paid $88 a day because of their willingness to take on more challenging inmates. Ruiz says this may continue for the next few years.
The Hall County Jail has a capacity of 321 beds. They currently house 265 inmates. Of those, 118 are state inmates.
Kearney Man in Custody on Child Pornography Charges
A Kearney man accused of possessing and distributing child pornography is behind bars.
Cameron M. Lambert is charged in Buffalo County Court with possession of child pornography on May 2 and with distribution of sexually explicit conduct. Both are felonies. Police served a search warrant on his home Tuesday and he was arrested.
According to court records, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Kearney Police Department, notifying them of suspicious activity occurring at Lambert's home. An investigation showed Lambert allegedly uploaded child erotic videos and images of females ages 7 to 12 to an internet website.
Lambert was employed for the last 11 months as a part-time fitness instructor at the Kearney YMCA. Executive Officer Denny Placzek released a statement this afternoon stating that Lambert's employment had been suspended pending the outcome of the charges. He has been banned from the YMCA.
YMCA officials met with child care parents this morning as children were being dropped off.
Placzek says the YMCA has received no complaints during his employment, nor did they observe any inappropriate behavior.
Lambert remains in custody at the Buffalo County Jail on 10 percent of a $500,000 bond. Judge John Rademacher forbid him from using any device with access to the Internet.
Lambert is scheduled to appear in court later this month. If convicted, Lambert faces four to 70 years in prison.
Homecoming Celebration Set For Saturday in Hastings
Plenty will be going on this weekend surrounding homecoming festivities at Hastings College. The annual Melody Round Up Parade will take place tomorrow morning starting at 10 a.m. in downtown Hastings. The parade route will start at 4th Street and Colorado Ave. and continue west to Hastings Ave, then south to 2nd Street and East back to Colorado Ave.
Several local marching bands will be in attendance including Axtell, Blue Hill, Columbus Scotus, Doniphan-Trumbull, Elm Creek, Hastings St. Cecilia, Holdrege, Shelton and Sutton. Also reuniting for the homecoming festivities will be the 1954 Hastings College football team celebrating their 60th reunion.
After the parade, join KHAS for the Pepsi Tailgate celebration at Hastings College from 11 a.m. until noon.
Early Bird Ballots to be Mailed on Monday
With now less than 40 days until the general election, early voting ballots will be mailed out next week.
The office of Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale says the first ballots will be sent on Monday. Voters will be able to cast early ballots in person at their county election offices starting Oct. 4.
Gale says early voting was a popular choice for voters in the 2012 presidential election. Twenty-six percent of registered Nebraska voters cast their ballots early.
The secretary of state's office says registrations sent in by mail must be marked by Oct. 17. That's also the last day to complete a voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicle offices, county treasurer offices, state agencies or departments.
Nebraskans can complete or update their registrations at the Secretary of State's website, www.sos.ne.gov.
Archway Attendance Up
Despite being closed for two months at the beginning of the year, the Archway in Kearney has seen a spike in attendance.
As of August 31, the Archway had 39,703 visitors. The summer tourist season ended with the best August in five years. Marketing Coordinator Jace Robinson credits the Archway's increased involvement in community activities as just one contributing factor.
Another contributing factor to the rise in attendance could be the new East Kearney Bypass at Exit 275. Robinson says they have no way of knowing for sure how much the new exit has helped lure people in.
Robinson says the Archway will continue to improve the guest experience. He adds that they will continue to be aggressive in hosting community events in the future.
Arrest Made in Connection to UNK Library Threat
An arrest has been made in connection with the evacuation of the UNK campus library earlier this week.
The 19 year old UNK student was booked into Buffalo County Jail on Thursday for threatened use of explosives, a Class IV felony. Charges against the student are pending.
On Wednesday, UNK evacuated the library after an anonymous threat was made using social media. UNK Director of Police and Parking Services Michelle Hamaker (Ham-uh-kerr) said officers located the individual via the social media channel Yik Yak, a cell phone app where the threat was observed. Yik Yak cooperated with the UNK Police in tracking the threat. Hamaker says all threats to the campus are taken seriously.
The student's conduct is being reviewed by school officials. The student's name is not being released by the university at this time. Hamaker reminds individuals that the public should never assume anything posted on social media is anonymous, even when advertised that way.
Lincoln Man Sentenced in Assault of Kearney Jailers
A young Lincoln man has been given 10 to 20 years in prison for assaulting jailers at the Buffalo County Jail in Kearney.
19-year-old Audon Green was sentenced on Tuesday in Buffalo County District Court. Green had pleaded no contest to two felony counts of assault by a confined person and one of attempted assault.
Authorities say Green already was serving a sentence for assault when the jail incident occurred on March 11. Authorities say Green refused to cooperate with jailers who approached him about kicking his cell door. They suffered minor injuries when he fought their attempts to restrain him.
Kearney Unveils New Logo
A new logo was unveiled Thursday for the City of Kearney, featuring the Sandhill crane. Assistant City Manager Suzanne Brodine says Kearney is excited to rebrand itself.
The new logo was designed by local graphic artist Dana Wright, a 2008 graduate of UNK. She is the Vice President of Marketing for the Viaero Event Center and the Tri-City Storm.
The logo will be used in digital communications and incorporated wherever possible in public outreach and marketing materials such as press releases, business cards and informational brochures. It will be slowly implemented to keep costs to a minimum.
Water Swapping Project Set to Begin in 2015
Hastings Utilities will soon move forward with the Aquifer Storage and Restoration Project. The department monitors nitrate levels and have data going back several years. Steve Cogley, with HU says they've watched those levels dramatically rise. Their project entails taking water from the aquifer that is lower down and pumping it out, the re-injecting it to the top of the aquifer. The second step of the project includes taking the high level nitrate water, which is located at the top of the aquifer and storing it in an aquifer storage facility. Customers can expect higher rates to help pay for the $46 million project. Groundbreaking is set to begin in early 2015.
Nebraska Farm Bureau Reiterates Support For Ricketts
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation reiterated its support for Republican candidate Pete Ricketts for Governor yesterday at the Myles Ramsey Farm near Kenesaw. Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson also thanked Gov. Dave Heineman for being an advocate for farmers and ranchers with their fight against groups that oppose agriculture industry standards. Ricketts called the Farm Bureau's endorsement an honor and says lowering property tax is his key to helping grow the ag industry in Nebraska. He also spoke out against the EPA and their waters of the U.S. rule, calling it a concern for Nebraska's agriculture industry.
Starved Dog's Test Results Positive
There is some good news regarding Leona, the starved boxer dog that was brought into a Hastings animal shelter over the weekend. She received a full exam and blood work on Monday. Anne Halbert with Start Over Rover says Leona's test results were positive.
"All of her numbers are normal. We were very pleased to get that information back because it means all of her organs are functioning properly and none of them are shutting down at this point," Halbert said.
Leona weighs just 28 pounds. Her ideal body weight is 70 pounds. As the vets continue to take care of her, she is now able to keep food down.
"What we do is we give her one handful of food and a half bowl of water every hour. Gradually as her stomach gets stronger and she can accept it, we will up that a bit and then eventually we will start spreading out the feedings," Halbert said.
Leona will go back to the vet on Monday. Halbert says they hope to see an increase in her body weight.
Police Chase Ends in Crash, Arrests
Police in Central Nebraska were led on a high speed chase through Howard and Hall counties early Tuesday morning.
Police say the chase started near St. Paul when a South Dakota driver left a gas station without paying. They say the van reached speeds of 105 mph before it crashed near Grand Island. The driver and his female passenger were not injured. They were both arrested.
The driver faces multiple charges including driving under the influence. The female passenger was taken into custody and later released. The driver is being held on $15,000 bond. Both were taken to the Hall County Jail.
Hall County to Make Improvements to Courthouse
The Hall County Board of Supervisors has voted to make heating, air-conditioning and other improvements at the courthouse in Grand Island.
The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to proceed with the project. Construction is expected to begin in March.
A new soundproof door between the county court jury deliberation room and the mental health hearing room were approved on Tuesday as part of the project. The board also agreed to replace all the bathroom fixtures and to make all bathrooms handicapped accessible.
Engineer Jon Jackson said the bathroom work will add $87,500 to the cost of the $1.7 million heating and air-conditioning project.
State Officials Still Waiting on Word for Vets Home
State officials are still waiting to see if a proposed central Nebraska home for veterans will receive federal funding.
Gov. Dave Heineman said Tuesday that he hasn't received word on whether the federal government will approve grant funding for the project in Kearney.
Heineman says state officials believe they will be notified late in the federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, or early in the next one.
The new planned veterans home would replace an outdated facility in Grand Island. The current home has about 375 employees.
Heineman announced in July 2013 that the state would build the $121 million, 225-bed Central Nebraska Veterans Home in Kearney. Kearney won the project in competitive bidding with Hastings, Grand Island and North Platte.
City Council to Hear New Bids on Pioneer Trail Project
The Hastings City Council on Monday voted to remove all four ordinances from the agenda regarding construction projects around Pioneer Spirit Trail.
After review with city officials, the Department of Roads rejected a bid to go forward on the project. City engineer Dave Wacker explained the department's action.
"They've also indicated they will re-advertise and a new bid letting will be conducted on Nov. 13," Wacker said. He also told the Council that they've been told that funding will be preserved for a project in the foreseeable future.
City Attorney David Ptak assured the council the city had nothing to do with the bid letting.
"I think it's important to know that this was a state bid letting, not a local letting. It's the state's action in rejecting the bids, not anything that the city did. So were hopeful by rebidding this in November and maybe do a little better at finally getting this project let," Ptak said.
The Council also approved a resolution to make assessments in the Business Improvement District of the City of Hastings. They also unanimously approved an ordinance to provide additional appropriation for the Nebraska Wireless 911 fund and the Self-Insured Heath Fund.
The next Hastings City Council meeting is slated for Oct. 13.
Central Nebraska Woman's Child Care Provider License Revoked
Officials say a Broken Bow woman's child care provider license was revoked because her husband kept methamphetamine and guns in the home where she watched over children.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said Monday an emergency revocation order was issued to Fae Beaumont, who runs a day care business out of the home she shares with her husband Dennis Beaumont. He was arrested in August after a substance in the home tested positive for meth. Authorities also found several guns, syringes and a glass mirror with meth residue.
Officials say Mrs. Beaumont refused to sign an agreement prohibiting her husband from returning to the home during business hours. Her husband faces several charges in the case.
Shelley Casterline Gets Life in Prison
Days after an Adams County jury found her son guilty of first degree murder, 41 year-old Shelley Casterline learned Monday she'd be serving a life sentence for her role in the death of Virginia Barone. In March, Casterline entered a guilty plea of second degree murder. She received a lesser conviction than her son Andrew because of a plea deal. She testified last week that her son had nothing to do with Barone's death. He was convicted after a two-week trial. Her son also faces the possibility of life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for December.
Hastings Man Sentenced in Death of 4 Year-Old Boy
A Hastings man convicted of negligent child abuse in connection to the death of a 4 year-old boy has been sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison.
A judge sentenced Matthew Edwards to 59 to 60 months in prison Monday. He was given credit for 137 days served and is eligible for parole in two-and-a-half years. Edwards pleaded no contest in July to negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. He is the boyfriend of the boy's mother Amanda Pecor. Pecor's 9 year-old son is being charged as a juvenile with manslaughter after police say he shot and killed his brother April 18.
According to school records, officials asked the couple to hide and secure any weapons in the home, as the 9-year old boy was showing signs of aggression towards other students. Edwards' attorney has stated her client was never present at any of those meetings, and did not know to hide the guns. She says they will look into filing an appeal.
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.