• Kearney Cruise Nite wins state tourism award

    (NRG)- Nebraska's tourism industry professionals honored their peers at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Gala Thursday evening at the Quality Inn & Suites/Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte. The event capped the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and hosted by the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau. State Senator Schilz and Nebraska Tourism Commission President John Chapo announced the 2014 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners which included a traditional Kearney summer event. The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to Kearney Cruise Nite presented by the Central Nebraska Auto Club. This year marked the 27th Anniversary of Kearney's Cruise Nite. Since the very first Cruise Nite, the event has expanded to a Show & Shine car display, stereo competition, burn-out contest, parade and street dance. This five-day event has been reported to generate more than $3 million in expenditures, and a majority of those dollars are spent in the tourism market on lodging, shopping, entertainment, fuel and food. Local lodging properties also reported that most are at 98% occupancy or higher during Cruise Nite weekend. This year's Cruise Nite had an outstanding 600 vehicles lining the streets of Downtown Kearney, as well as a record-setting turnout of approximately 38,000 spectators. Read More
  • Romney will appear at Hastings rally for Sasse Monday

    (AP) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit Nebraska to campaign for U.S. Senate hopeful Ben Sasse. Romney will appear with Sasse on Monday at an event in Hastings. Sasses is the final swing of his "93 Counties, 93 Days" tour in the buildup to the Nov. 4 election. Romney is viewed as a potential presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Sasse is running against Democrat Dave Domina and two independent candidates in a race to replace Republican U.S. Mike Johanns, who opted not to seek re-election. Sasse and Romney will meet with voters at the Hastings City Auditorium, starting at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Read More
  • Scottsbluff picks new air carrier

    (AP) - The Scottsbluff airport board has selected a new carrier to provide subsidized flights to Denver International Airport. The board voted Wednesday to recommend Aerodynamics Inc. to the U.S. Transportation Department, which makes the final decision on providers of Essential Air Service flights. Company officials hope to begin Scottsbluff service as soon as February. The company has said it intends to provide 50-passenger jets for two Scottsbluff flights to Denver each weekday and one flight on Saturdays and Sundays. Aerodynamics' proposal beat those from the current service provider, Great Lakes Airlines, and bids from Boutique Air and Via Air. Aerodynamics' corporate base is in Beachwood, Ohio. Read More
  • Schools face penalties under current standards

    (AP) - Roughly half of Nebraska schools have repeatedly failed to meet proficiency standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but officials say those results are flawed and misleading. The annual "State of the Schools" report released Friday says 480 Nebraska's 1,011 public schools were designated as in need of improvement. Schools that were labeled as such failed to meet standards for two consecutive years. Federal sanctions under the law will require some of those schools to offer free tutoring, school choice or take other steps. Nebraska Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt says the standards are unrealistic, and notes that statewide test scores in math, science and reading all improved. Last year, the law's standards required 100 percent student proficiency in math and reading. Read More
  • Cigar bars given OK for smoking

    (AP) - Nebraska's Liquor Control Commission will allow smoking at cigar bars, pending a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) that the cigar bar owners will be able to renew their special licenses, which otherwise would have expired Oct. 31. Commission executive director Hobert Rupe says he's been warning the bar owners that they might have only a few days to stop the smoking once the court rules. The state Supreme Court in August struck down exceptions to the state's public smoking ban for cigar bars and tobacco shops. The Nebraska Attorney General's Office subsequently asked the court to rehear the case, arguing in part that the judges failed to properly consider that lawmakers intended to protect cigar bars and tobacco shops from going out of business. Read More