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Small Herd of Purebred Bison Growing on Central Nebraska Prairie

A small herd of purebred bison in south-central Nebraska has been growing with the births of at least six calves so far this spring.

The animals have been adjusting to their new home on more than 1,000 acres of tallgrass prairie on Crane Trust land southwest of Grand Island. The 41 bison were trucked in from Rimrock Ranch near Crawford in the Nebraska Panhandle in January.

Trust officials don't know how many of the 12 mature cows and five heifers will give birth and add to the herd this year. Experts say that of the 500,000 bison in North America, about 5,000 are genetically pure, descended from bison that have never been bred with cattle.

Death Row Inmate Dies in Prison

A prison inmate on death row for 30 years has died in prison.

A spokesperson for the Tecumseh State Correctional Institute confirmed Monday that 66-year-old Michael Ryan, convicted in the murder of two people in the 1980s died Sunday at the prison. Ryan was convicted in the 1985 torture and killing of 26-year-old James Thimm near Rulo, where Ryan led a cult. He was also convicted in the beating death of 5-year-old Luke Stice, the son of a cult member.

Ryan had been suffering from cancer for the past few years and was one of 11 people on Nebraska's death row. An autopsy will be done to confirm his official cause of death.

CCC-Grand Island Using Grant to Introduce Students to Transportation Careers

Central Community College-Grand Island plans to use a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to introduce students to transportation careers.

The $40,000 National Summer Transportation Institute grant will be used to hold a camp this summer focusing on female, minority high school students. This demographic is considered to be underrepresented in transportation engineering careers.

Boys are also welcome to participate.

There will be no cost for a student to attend the camp.

Lawmakers Approve Medical Cannabis Study

A study to determine the effectiveness of a cannabis extract's ability to treat severe seizures is heading to the governor's desk for approval.

Senators voted 44-2 yesterday on LB390 which would commission a University of Nebraska Medical Center study on the effectiveness of cannabidiol. The state would obtain it from an England-based company authorized by the Federal Drug Administration for rare diseases.

Supporters say the study could provide immediate aid to patients who have exhausted other treatment options. A spokesman for Ricketts says the governor supports FDA-approved studies of marijuana for medical purposes. Ricketts has five days to take action on the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue.

Lexington Armed Robbery Suspect Arrested in Iowa

The alleged suspect in last week's armed robbery at a Lexington Liquor Store has been arrested in Iowa.

Joseph C. Fleming, 29, of Lexington was arrested Wednesday in Toledo, Iowa by local police on warrants issued by the Lexington Police Department and is awaiting extradition back to Lexington.

Flemming is accused of robbing Tom's Midwest Liquor in Lexington on Sunday, May 10th shortly before 1 a.m. According to records, he demanded cash and a money bag from a clerk.

He then fled the scene with approximately $1,200 in cash.

Casterline's Life Sentence Upheld

The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld a life sentence for a Guide Rock woman accused of helping her son murder their neighbor in 2013.

Shelly Casterline was sentenced to life in prison back in September for her role in the stabbing death of Virginia Barone. Barone was found dead in her home with more than 20 stab wounds.

Casterline argued that the state made mistakes in her sentencing, arguing that she was convicted of a Class 1B felony but that her-life-to-life sentence is an effective life sentence without parole and punishes her for a Class 1A felony.

The state disagreed and said a life-to-life sentence is permissible. Casterline's son Andrew is also serving a life sentence for his role in Barone's murder.

Hall County Supervisors Call Emergency Meeting

The Hall County Board of Supervisors have called an emergency meeting this afternoon with plans to pass a resolution in support of capital punishment.

Supervisors are hoping to get the message to Grand Island state senator Mike Gloor. Gloor was one of the senators who changed his vote in favor of repealing the death penalty.

Governor Ricketts traveled to Grand Island Wednesday urging residents to contact Sen. Gloor to see if they can change his vote back to supporting the state's death penalty. Ricketts hopes to change the minds of at least three senators in order to prevent a veto override.

Today's meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. in the Hall County Administration building and is open to the public.

Stabbing Suspect to Undergo Evaluation

An Ohio man accused of stabbing an Elm Creek man several times during an altercation last month will undergo a psychological evaluation.

Attorneys for Caleb McDonald recently filed a motion in Buffalo County Court that their client be evaluated because he may be mentally incompetent to stand trial. McDonald faces multiple charges including felony first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing Johnny Quintana on April 3.

A judge granted the evaluation at Monday's hearing. McDonald remains jailed on $500,000 bond.

Teens in Grand Island Arrested on Suspicion of Burglary

Police in Grand Island have arrested three teenagers on suspicion of burglary.

Police arrested two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old and also referred another 15-year-old to juvenile court. Police say a burglary was reported at a Grand Island home from which several items were taken. Capt. Dean Elliott says police have recovered some of those items, which included weapons.

According to police, a neighbor who was mowing his lawn saw the suspects fleeing the house and provided a partial license plate number. Authorities also said they recovered two items that had been taken from Grand Island Senior High after speaking with one of the suspects.

The suspects were transported to a juvenile detention center in Madison.

Sentencing Set For Lexington Shooting Suspect

A June sentencing has been scheduled for a 26-year-old man convicted for an exchange of gunshots with Lexington police.

Jose Covarrubias pleaded no contest and was convicted on four counts last week. A weapons charge was dropped in exchange for his pleas. He'll be sentenced on June 29.

Police say officers checking on a disturbance last July saw Covarrubias fire a handgun at a woman fleeing a house. The officers say he fired at their vehicles, and one officer returned fire before Covarrubias fled. A child was treated at a hospital for a minor injury from an apparent ricochet.

Authorities say Covarrubias was captured in September in Laredo, Texas, at the U.S.-Mexico border as he tried to return to this country.

Hastings Officials Considering Zero Waste Resolution

Hastings city officials say the community needs to do a better job recycling and decrease waste.

Council members heard from two people in the waste management industry at Monday's work session who pointed out where the city could improve their efforts. Nearly 85 percent of the waste at the Hastings Landfill could be recycled or composted.

Minetta Khan, CCC Sustainability Coordinator is encouraging the city to hire its own sustainability coordinator to aid with the efforts. The challenge for the city is a solid waste landfill that is projecting to be filled to capacity and close by 2034.

Khan and City Attorney David Ptak plan to draft a Zero Waste resolution which they hope to bring forward to the city council.

Gov. Ricketts Signs Tougher Legislation on Human Traffickers

Governor Ricketts has signed into law tougher penalties for human traffickers.

On Monday, he approved LB294 which allows prosecutors to file more severe felony charges against traffickers, including those who use threats or violence, and those who target victims younger than 16 years old. The law also allows victims or their parents to sue the traffickers.

Supporters called the bill a public health issue and pointed to reports citing weak enforcement in the state.

The bill by Sen. Jim Scheer was one of the main proposals backed by Attorney General Doug Peterson this year.

Dreamer's Licenses Set for Final Vote

Immigrant youths brought into the country illegally as children could soon get driver's licenses in Nebraska.

Lawmakers yesterday advanced a bill to a final vote despite a four-hour filibuster. Nebraska is currently the only state that does not issue licenses to youths who stayed in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, approved by President Obama in 2012.

Supporters say the youths contribute to the state's economy. Some conservative senators argue that the bill rewards illegal behavior. The Dreamer's License bill advanced by a 37-9 margin.

Governor Ricketts said he supports the current law, but has not said whether or not he'd veto the measure if it gets past a final vote.

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