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Kearney council set to consider postponed development hearings

4.22.14

(NRG)- The Kearney City Council will consider a couple of development requests that were postponed from their April 8th meeting during a series of public hearings at Tuesday evening's meeting. The council will be asked to grant a change in zoning and a final plat for the construction of a 3-lot rural subdivision for the construction of a house near a sandpit lake at Kearney Campground west of Avenue M and north of Archway Parkway, and a rezoning request for Sun Development for some property on the north side of 16th Street from 13th to 16th Avenues for future residential use and the possibility of construction of a duplex complex. An area business and some residents are expected to oppose that project because of traffic and safety concerns for the neighborhood.
   The council is expected to award the contract for the Central Avenue street project to Kearney's Blessing Construction for a bid of just over $2,470,000. The work will span Central Avenue from 26th to 31st Streets and 26th Street from Central Avenue to Avenue C and begin this spring. The meeting is at 5:30 Tuesday evening in Council Chambers, second floor of City Hall.

 

3 Kearney teachers to be inducted into UNK Teaching Academy

4.22.14

(NRG)- Three Kearney educators are being inducted into the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Academy for Teacher Education Excellence for their work with UNK students entering the education profession. Inductees represent professionals who work in schools as educators or as faculty members at UNK. The UNK Advisory Council on Teacher Education will recognize the inductees at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the UNK Health and Sports Center room 150-151.
     Ed Scantling, dean of the College of Education, said the 2014 class of inductees is "very strong and representative of the many dedicated educators who commit themselves each year to working with future teachers from UNK. "We are indebted to them for their long term work with our students," added Scantling. This year's class includes Mary Iten, health education instructor in the Kinesiology and Sport Sciences department at UNK, Jan Jones, art teacher at Horizon Middle School in Kearney and Clayton Seeba, fifth-grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary School in Kearney.

Good Samaritan Hospital seeking Healthy Community nominations

4.22.14

(NRG)- For the fifth year, area residents and organizations will be recognized in June for their work in developing programs that make Central Nebraska a healthier place to live. The recognition is part of the Healthy Community Awards program, a unique opportunity to celebrate the good health of Kearney and Buffalo County citizens and those individuals and groups who, through their leadership, education and assistance, help make the community a healthier place to live. Contributions from individuals and groups throughout the Kearney and Buffalo County community are significant in the continued efforts to keep this community a healthy place to live. Area residents are encouraged to nominate local individuals, businesses and organizations for their work in making the region a place to live. Nomination forms are available at www.gshs.org. The deadline to submit a nomination is May 12 and forms should be returned to Marsha Wilkerson at Good Samaritan Hospital.
    The Healthy Community Awards include a total of six categories-advocacy, education, prevention, partnership, leadership and recreation. A local advisory committee will select award recipients based on their contributions in a particular category. The breakdown of each category is as follows:
· Advocacy is awarded to the group or individual who has creatively implemented health improvement or awareness programming on behalf of a specific population.
· Education is awarded to the group or individual who has provided health education opportunities and is an advocate of health within the community.
· Prevention is awarded to the group or individual who has provided a service or program that makes a significant contribution to preventing injury, illness or disease.
· Partnership is awarded to the group or individual who has actively partnered with Good Samaritan Hospital to provide health services in the community.
· Leadership is awarded to the group or individual who has shown outstanding leadership in the community by preventing, promoting or protecting health issues.
· Recreation is awarded to the group or individual who has shown outstanding leadership in organized sports-youth or adult-in the community.
A luncheon recognizing the Healthy Community Award winners will be held on June 20.
 

UNK Theater production begins Wednesday

4.22.14

(NRG and UNK)- The University of Nebraska at Kearney Studio Theatre's production of "A Cry of Players" is a journey of moral perfectionism. "This is a story that many many people can identify with," said production director Sam Umland. "What do you do to enable yourself to become who you really are?" "A Cry of Players," written by William Gibson, is the fictionalized story of William Shakespeare's life as a young man in Stratford. "'A Cry of Players' is one possible version of the life of the young William Shakespeare before he became the person known as William Shakespeare," Umland said. "For such a famous person, we know very little about him. This is a play that attempts to present a fictionalized portrayal of what his life may have been like." The play takes place in the fall of 1587, which is the last time Shakespeare was recorded as living in Stratford.
  The cast of over 20 students has been rehearsing since the beginning of March for the play, which Umland said is an emotional rollercoaster. "A Cry of Players" is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (April 23-26) and at 2 p.m. Sunday (April 27) in the Miriam Drake Theatre. For tickets, contact the Theatre Box Office at 308.865.8417 or boxoffice(at)unk.edu. Tickets are $8 for adults; $6 for non-UNK students, seniors and UNK faculty/staff; $5 per person for groups of 10 or more; and free for UNK students with a valid ID.

Bruning endorsed by state police group

4.22.14

(AP) - Attorney General Jon Bruning has won the endorsement of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police in his primary campaign for governor.
 
     The group announced its support for Bruning on Monday, saying he has remained a strong advocate for law enforcement throughout his public service career. The Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 2,600 law enforcement professionals throughout Nebraska.
 
     Bruning has served as Attorney General since 2003, and has worked with the Legislature to pass dozens of bills designed to reduce crime. This year, his legislative proposals included an expanded ban on the popular synthetic street drug known as K2. He also has been endorsed by 119 Nebraska county sheriffs and police chiefs.
 
     Bruning is competing in a six-man Republican primary race to replace Gov. Dave Heineman.
 

Nebraska farmers starting to plant spring crops

4.22.14

(AP) - Nebraska farmers are just beginning to plant their spring crops, but the U.S. Agriculture Department says conditions remain dry across a large part of the state.
 
     The USDA says much of western Nebraska continues to experience severe drought.
 
     And only about 46 percent of the state's topsoil and 39 percent of its subsoil has adequate or surplus moisture.
 
     The USDA estimates that 59 percent of Nebraska's winter wheat is in good or excellent shape.
 
     About 4 percent of the corn crop has been planted, which is a bit behind the average of 6 percent at this point in the year.
 
 

Trial date set for Madison man accused of threats

4.22.14

(AP) - A June trial has been set for a 23-year-old man accused of threatening three students at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.
 
     Norfolk radio station KNEN says (http://bit.ly/1iFbDX3 ) John Ertzner pleaded not guilty on Monday in Madison County District Court.
 
     Officials say an armed man approached three students at the school early last month. A court affidavit says the students reported that the man followed them on a campus road and stopped next to them when they stopped, pointing a gun at two of them.
 
     Ertzner told an investigator he mistook the three for other men who'd chased him earlier in Norfolk. He said he'd put his BB pistol on his car console but didn't point it at the students.
 
     His trial is scheduled to begin on June 9.
 

Tilden man sentenced in kidnapping case

4.22.14

(AP) - A northeast Nebraska man has been given 50 years in prison for trying to kidnap his former wife.
 
     Online court records say 50-year-old Kevin Heldt, of Tilden, was sentenced on Monday. He'd pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping in exchange for prosecutors dropping several other charges. The judge credited Heldt with 337 days already served.
 
     Madison County Attorney Joe Smith says Heldt took his ex-wife from her home in May 2013 and took her to an abandoned farm. Smith says Heldt hit his ex-wife and terrorized her while demanding money. The woman later escaped when Heldt was distracted.

 

Inmate pleads no contest in prison van crash

4.22.14

(AP) - A Nebraska inmate has pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the death of a Lincoln woman who was struck and killed by a state prison van he was driving.
 
     The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/1lwPeKJ ) that 36-year-old Jeremy Dobbe entered the plea Monday in the death of 47-year-old Joyce Meeks. She was killed on June 25 in Lincoln. A no-contest plea acknowledges there's sufficient evidence to convict but is not an admittance of guilt.
 
     Dobbe was seen speeding and swerving before he struck Meeks' minivan. Dobbe was transporting inmates as part of a state work-release program.
 
     Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Nick Freeman said that in exchange for the plea, the state agreed not to file additional charges.
 
     Dobbe faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced in June.
 

Former Kearney youth pastor sentenced for child sexual assault

4.22.14

(AP) - A former Kearney church youth pastor faces up to 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting three boys.
 
     The Kearney Hub reports (http://bit.ly/1rgAXU0 ) that 37-year-old Thomas A. Jones was sentenced Monday in Buffalo County District Court. Jones was convicted of two counts of felony sexual assault of child, two counts of felony third-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child.
 
     Prosecutors say the incidents took place in Kearney between 1999 and 2006. In each case, Jones exposed himself to the boys, touched their private parts or was involved in oral sex with them.
 
     Jones was sentenced to 17 to 40 years in prison. With good time credit, he could be eligible for parole in 8  1/2 years.
 

Area man pleads no contest in shooting death of his ex-wife

4.22.14

(AP) - A Nebraska man accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife and former divorce attorney has pleaded no contest in the death of his ex-wife.
 
     Michael Petersen entered the plea Monday in Hall County District Court for the Buffalo County charge.
 
     Petersen, of rural Glenvil, faced two counts each of first-degree murder and use of a weapon for the Nov. 13 slayings of 52-year-old Todd Elsbernd and 58-year-old Nancy Peterson.
 
     Elsbernd was shot with a rifle outside his Grand Island law office. Police say that earlier in the day, Nancy Petersen was found dead outside her rural Buffalo County home.
 
     Prosecutors agreed to drop the weapons charge against Michael Petersen in exchange for the plea in his ex-wife's death. Michael Petersen has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from Elsbernd's death.

 

Governor signs autism coverage bill

4.22.14

(AP) - An estimated 1,000 Nebraskans will receive insurance coverage for autism therapies under a new state law.
 
     Gov. Dave Heineman signed the bill into law Monday standing alongside two families with autistic children.
 
     The proposal allows for up to 25 hours per week of covered therapy until the insured person turns 21 years old. Required coverage would include applied behavioral analysis, a treatment method that has been shown to help autistic children learn to function better.
 
     Certain insurance plans will be exempt from the autism requirement, including those that are sold in the individual and small group markets under the new federal health care marketplace.
 

Teen accused in jail attack will be tried as an adult

4.22.14

(AP) - The case against a 16-year-old who is accused of helping with the fatal assault of a Western Nebraska jail guard earlier this year will remain in adult court.
 
     KNEB reports (http://bit.ly/1fhnbLJ ) District Judge Travis O'Gorman rejected a motion to move Guy Eagle Elk's case to juvenile court.
 
     Eagle Elk is accused of aiding in the assault that killed Scotts Bluff County Corrections Officer Amanda Baker on Feb. 14. He has pleaded not guilty.
 
     Prosecutors say Eagle Elk told a fellow inmate how to choke Baker into unconsciousness so her jail keys could be taken, and Eagle Elk encouraged the other inmate to carry out the attack.
 
     Eagle Elk, of Lisco, Neb., has said he didn't intend for the guard to be seriously hurt. He is scheduled for a July trial.
 

Chadron to dedicate new firefighting air base

4.22.14

(AP) - The city of Chadron will host an airport fly-in breakfast to dedicate its new firefighting air base.
 
     The event is scheduled for Saturday morning at the Chadron Municipal Airport. The base will help provide service to a new Single Engine Air Tanker, an airplane that will be stationed there part-time to fight wildfires.
 
     Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The dedication ceremony is set for 10 a.m., with Nebraska state Sen. Al Davis and Chadron Mayor Karin Fischer.
 
     The event is open to the public, and Young Eagle airplane rides will be available. Firefighters and fly-in pilots can eat for free; others eat for a donation.
 
     Chadron City Manager Wayne Anderson says the event seeks to recognize the team effort required to finish the air base.
 

Jenkins gets attorneys for sentencing in Omaha killings

4.22.14

(AP) - A Nebraska man convicted of killing four people shortly after he was released from prison last summer will have lawyers representing him when it's decided whether he should be executed.
 
     Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon decided to reappoint lawyers for 27-year-old Nikko Jenkins after accepting his no contest pleas last Wednesday.
 
     Bataillon wrote in court documents that he decided to reappoint lawyers because of the complexity of the death penalty sentencing process.
 
     Jenkins had been representing himself in court for the past several months.
 
     Jenkins has been convicted of fatally shooting Juan Uribe-Pena, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz, Curtis Bradford and Andrea Kruger in three separate ambushes over 10 days last summer after his July 30 release from prison without supervision.  
 
 

Funding sought to maintain Bader Park

4.22.14

(AP) - Supporters have begun searching for more money to maintain Bader Memorial Park in central Nebraska.
 
     The Grand Island Independent says (http://bit.ly/1lu2LCL ) the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners has decided not to continue its funding agreement with adjacent Merrick County to support the park. The popular park sits southeast of Chapman, in Merrick County.
 
     Pat Carlson is director of Platte Peer Group, which manages the park. Carlson says receipts, donations and concessions bring in about $75,000 a year. She says the park needs about $110,000 a year to keep it maintained.
 

Better technology cited in State Patrol consolidation

4.22.14

(AP) - Officials say better technology is allowing the Nebraska State Patrol to save money as it consolidates its dispatch centers down to three from six.
 
     For example, the new technology will let a dispatcher in Omaha send a trooper in Scottsbluff to a call in Alliance.
 
     The patrol superintendent is Col. David Sankey, and he says that although dispatchers will be farther from the troopers they're directing, he doesn't think that will pose problems.
 
     But Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger says he's concerned that dispatchers elsewhere won't know the layout of northeast Nebraska.
 
     The first dispatch operation to close will be the Norfolk center in May. The second phase will be implemented by summer 2015. A committee will determine which center will close next.
 
     The consolidation is expected to save $750,000.

 

Boy killed in Hastings shooting ID'ed

4.22.14

(AP) - Authorities have release the name of a 4-year-old boy who was fatally injured in a shooting at a Hastings residence.
 
     The boy was identified as Beau Pecor.
 
     Police Chief Pete Kortum says the shooting was reported a little after 8:15 a.m. Friday at a home on North Saunders Avenue. Kortum says the boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
 
     Investigators have said the shooting looks like an accident, but it remains under investigation.
 

Archway hires retail manager

4.21.14

(NRG)- The Archway is pleased has announced that Skylar Hinrichs has been selected as the new Retail Operations Manager for the facility. Hinrichs, a Kearney native, previously worked for SCORR Marketing and the National Research Corporation. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. If you are interested in retail and, or concession opportunities at The Archway, email him at shinrichs(at)archway.org.
 

Good Samaritan Hospital schedules open house for Neuro-Trauma unit

4.21.14

 Good Samaritan Hospital invites the public to an open house on Wednesday, April 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the hospital's Neuro Trauma Unit. The open house will take place on the unit, which located on the north side of second floor of the hospital's West Tower. This unit features 17 private rooms and is dedicated to the care of patients who have experienced head injuries or strokes. Nurses working on the unit have earned additional certifications to provide a higher level of care to stroke and trauma patients.
   Good Samaritan is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, which means the stroke program meets clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities within the stroke care standards. The open house kicks off Stroke Awareness Month for the month of May. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Nebraska, but recovery is possible for many patients who get help quickly. The signs of stroke can be remembered through the phrase "Act Fast:"
F means Face. Does the individual have an uneven smile?
A means Arm. When lifting both arms is one hard to keep up?
S means Speech. Is the individual slurring his or her words?
And T means Time. As soon as you see any of these symptoms, call 911.
With a stroke, the sooner you call 911, the better the chance of recovery.
 

KACF anounces plan for Wine and Jazz Festival

4.21.14

(NRG)- The Nebraska Wine & Jazz Festival will be held in Kearney on May 9 and 10.  The statewide celebration is coming back for the seventh time to showcase wines from a number of Nebraska wineries and beers from a sampling of Nebraska microbreweries and will feature live music performed by Nebraska musicians.  This year, the Festival will be held at the Exposition Center at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.  Attendees will pay an admission fee of $25 and receive a souvenir glass to sample Nebraska wines and microbrews and to hear outstanding Nebraska musicians.  Patrons will also have the opportunity to purchase their favorite bottles of wine from Nebraska's premier vineyards, as well as delicious food from a local restaurant serving at the Festival. You must be 21 years old with a valid ID to attend. The Kearney Area Community Foundation will be coordinating the event. The  Festival will give recognition to Nebraska wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms, a value added segment of the Nebraska agri-tourism industry, as well as highlight talented musicians from across our great state. Proceeds from the event will go to the Foundation's general fund used for operating the organization, as well as giving grants back to the community. More information will be coming in the weeks ahead. For more information, call Laurel Rosado at the Kearney Area Community Foundation at 308-237-3114 or check out the website www.WineAndJazzFest.org. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by visiting the website.

 

UNK begins "Gratitude Project"

4.21.14

(UNK and NRG)- A new event at the University of Nebraska at Kearney aims to educate students about philanthropy and encourage them to thank and recognize donors for their impact on the university. Organized by the University of Nebraska Foundation and UNK Alumni Association, the Blue and Gold Gratitude Project UGiveThaNKs begins during "dead week" April 28 with donor-centered activities and ends with commencement May 9. In its first year, the event stresses the importance of giving back and includes a variety of activities for students and faculty to express their gratitude to donors. UNK's Thompson Scholar United students are the primary student leaders involved and will play an active role in carrying out the event.
    UGiveThaNKs begins with a barbecue lunch at 11 a.m. on April 28 north of the fountain on the UNK campus. The lunch will include VIP tables for invited donors and brief speeches by Chancellor DougKristensen, Vice President of UNK Alumni Relations and Development Lucas Dart and a Thompson Scholar United representative. A major component of UGiveThaNKs is displaying thank you cards written by students. Thank you cards and drop boxes located in buildings across campus will encourage students, faculty and staff to write a notes of gratitude to donors. Students also will be asked to express their gratitude for scholarships they have received, share memorable experiences at UNK and thank people at the university such as favorite faculty. The notes will be collected daily and displayed at the Nebraskan Student Union as a symbol of the project and reminder to give thanks for everything UNK offers.
   During Campaign for Nebraska, over 8,500 gifts totaling nearly $52 million have been received or pledged in support of UNK since 2005. The majority of donors have directed their gifts toward need and merit-based scholarships, faculty resources and facility enhancements.

 

Nebraska Democrats call for McCoy to pull Obama ad

4.21.14

(AP) - Nebraska Democrats are calling for a Republican candidate for governor to pull a televised campaign ad in which he knocks a Barack Obama doll off a fence post while criticizing the president's health care law.
 
     The ad, which began airing this week, shows Omaha state Sen. Beau McCoy standing next to the fence post with the bobblehead-like doll atop the fence post.
 
     McCoy says the health care law is "the last thing we need," before slapping the doll off the post with his hand.
 
     State Democratic leaders say the ad hits a new low, and state Democratic Chairman Vince Powers called on McCoy to pull the ad.
 
     In a response, McCoy issued a statement saying Nebraskans are "tired of being pushed around by the Obama administration and the federal government."

 

Students can help with Nebraska primary

4.21.14

(AP) - Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale is encouraging students too young to vote to show up at the polls for the state's May 13 primary.
 
     Nebraska students ages 14 to 18 can serve as election workers during the primary as part of the Youth Election Service. The service is designed to increase young people's interest and involvement in the election system.
 
     Students who work or volunteer at least four hours are eligible to have their names selected to receive a $50 gift card. All participants receive a certificate from the Secretary of State's office acknowledging their service.
 
     More than 260 students from 27 counties worked during the 2012 primary and general elections. The program is sponsored by the Secretary of State's office and the Nebraska Bankers Association.
 

Ashland boy killed in accident

4.21.14

(AP) - Authorities have released the name of a 9-year-old boy who died after he was struck and pinned by a skid steer loader near Greenwood in eastern Nebraska.
 
     The boy was identified Sunday as Grant Johnson. He was a third-grade student at Ashland Elementary School.
 
     Authorities say the boy stepped into the path of the machine as it was backed up around 4 p.m. Saturday. The machine was being used by 35-year-old Augusto Figueroa to clear brush and debris in a grove of trees.
 
     Capt. Dave Lamprecht with the Cass County Sheriff's Office says the death appears to be a "total accident."