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Pershing steps down from Board of Education

Posted: 04/22/14 07:58

There’s a vacancy on the Hastings Public Schools Board of Education. Dr. Matt Pershing had to resign. He moved out of the district and that makes him ineligible to serve. The school board accepted and approved his resignation last night. Members like Jessica Meeske said he’ll be missed. The board of education is accepting applications to fill Pershings’ seat for the remainder of his term, which is close to three years.

Autism law signed by Heineman

Posted: 04/22/14 07:58

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.

Pipeline opponents planning big week in D.C.

Posted: 04/22/14 08:01

Thousands of Keystone XL Pipeline opponents are expected to take part in a week of action in Washington D.C. that beings today. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance (CIA), a group of ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, are hosting an encampment on the National Mall. The Reject and Protect event begins today… with a 40-person ceremonial horseback ride from the Capitol down the National Mall. The group is pushing for the president to reject the pipeline, especially because of the route through Nebraska. As we’ve told you, the state department has extended its comment period on the project, so we may not have a decision until after the November elections.

Discussions over student transportation for Hastings School Board

Posted: 04/22/14 08:02

If the Hastings Public Schools elementary bond is passed by voters in May, students will be bused during construction. The Board of Education approved providing limited student transportation. Right now, Jeff Schneider believes students at Longfellow and Alcott would need the service. Busing would last roughly four years and cost roughly $40,000 per year. Again this will only happen if voters approve the elementary bond.

Glenvil man pleads no contest to double murder

Posted: 04/22/14 07:57

The rural Glenvil 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 n Hall County District Court for the Buffalo County charge. Petersen 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. 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.

Road Work to Begin on N-4 West of Lawrence

Weather permitting, construction work is scheduled to begin the week of April 21 on N‑4, beginning at the junction of US-281 and proceeding ten miles east to Lawrence, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.
Vontz Paving, Inc. of Hastings, Nebraska, has the $4.1 million contract for the ten-mile project. Work will include culvert work, grading, asphalt overlay and seeding.
Traffic rerouted to a temporary gravel surfaced single lane road and controlled with traffic signals. The remainder of the project will be constructed under traffic with the use of flaggers and pilot vehicle. Work is anticipated to be completed by late September 2014.

Gunshot kills 4-year-old Hastings Boy Friday Morning

The Hastings Police Department is investigating the shooting death of a 4-year-old boy around 8:30 a.m. Chief Pete Kortum says it happened on the 900 block of North Saunders Ave., and is being considered accidental at this time, but he could not give any more information pending notification of all the family. More details are expected later this afternoon.

*Note* A previously posted version of this story stated the boy was 3-years-old. Hastings Police have since updated the information.

Lawmakers wrap up legislative session

Posted: 04/18/14 09:09

Nebraska lawmakers have finished their session having passed major legislation to lower taxes, reduce prison crowding and pay for water conservation projects. But the session that ended Thursday was also marked by drawn-out squabbles over seemingly trivial issues, and a failure to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. Many bills were killed through legislative filibusters, including a repeal of Nebraska's helmet law and an anti-discrimination law for gay employees.

Attorney General candidates fight for name recognition

Posted: 04/18/14 09:11

In the race for attorney general, republican candidates are still trying to get name recognition across the state. It was a late start campaigning for them because of Jon Bruning’s late entry into the gubernatorial race. Candidate Doug Peterson says endorsements from people like Gov. Kay Orr and Coach Tom Osborne make all the difference. Peterson is an attorney in a private practice but has worked for the attorney generals office. As far as what he wants to accomplish—stronger human trafficking and consumer protection laws, and continuing the relationship with local law enforcement and county attorneys. Peterson will face Pete Pirsch, Brian Buescher and Mike Hilgers for the republican nomination in the May Primary.

Corn farmers prepare for planting season

Posted: 04/18/14 09:12

We told you just a few days ago that farmers are getting set to plant. Well we’re hearing estimates that Nebraska corn farmers will plant 9.4 million acres of corn, about 94% of last year’s total acres. At a cost of about $280 per acre to get the crop in the ground, that about $2.6 billion invested by the state’s corn farmers over a two-month period. The statistics are coming out today from the University of Nebraska and the USDA. Tim Scheer with the Nebraska Corn Board says just getting the crops in the ground is one form of economic activity, yet the full economic impact of planting reaches close to $6 billion for our state’s economy. Scheer says the challenge with planting investments this year is lower commodity prices, yet input costs continue to be on the rise.

HPD still searching for escaped minor

Posted: 04/18/14 09:09

Hastings police are still looking this morning for a 17 year old who escaped police custody last night. They sent out a recorded alert and an email to citizens about it. According to an automated message, Zachary Vaught was last seen near the Adams County Courthouse around 5:30 p.m. He's described as 5'4'' and 130 lbs. with a brown hair, a buzz haircut and blue eyes. He was wearing a white shirt, dark shorts and no shoes. He was also handcuffed in front. If you see him, you are asked to call 911.

Basement fire in Hastings

Posted: 04/17/14 08:22

A basement fire forced a Hastings family to stay somewhere else last night. The Hastings Fire Department responded to 423 S. New York just before 3. Fire Chief Kent Gilbert says crews did get the fire under control quickly, despite the difficult location. There were no smoke detectors in the home, but one of the residents discovered the smoke. Everyone is safe. The red cross is assisting the family.

Kaleena Fong steps down from position

Posted: 04/17/14 08:23

Kaleena Fong is stepping down from her position as Executive Director at the Adams County Convention & Visitors Bureau effective July 1, in light of a new career opportunity. Fong says she is grateful for the support she has received over the last eight years at the ACCVB. Fong has accepted a position at Oakeson, Steiner and Lindsteadt where she will manage marketing and sales strategy starting July 1.  In the meantime the CVB Board of Directors is taking applications. A job description and application can be found at http://www.visithastingsnebraska.com/jobs.

UNK ends planning for new site called University Village

Posted: 04/17/14 08:24

The University Of Nebraska Kearney has completed the planning stage for development of the 104 acre site known as University Village. Barbara Johnson the Vice Chancellor for business and finance says the University Village provides numerous future development sites both at the University and in the community. With everything from residence halls to new construction projects Kearney Mayor Stan Clouse says it’s been a tremendously successful year for the University. Site construction on the University Village could begin as early as 2015

Nebraska legislature wrapping up today

Posted: 04/17/14 08:21

This afternoon, Governor Dave Heineman will deliver the sine die address to the legislature, marking the end of the legislative session. Yesterday he crossed the state, flying into Kearney to highlight what he’s calling their biggest accomplishment—tax relief. He called it ‘good’ legislative session… saving taxpayers money. District 33 State Sen. Les Seiler says despite some challenges, the legislature made strides and passed bills that will have a big impact on the State of Nebraska. As Senator Seiler looks back at this legislative session he’s disappointed more couldn’t be done in property tax relief.

Former Hall County prosecutor named judge in 5th district

Posted: 04/16/14 08:45

A former Hall County prosecutor has been named to fill an open district court judgeship in eastern Nebraska's 5th Judicial District. The office of Gov. Dave Heineman says he's selected 43-year-old Rachel Daugherty, of Grand Island. She's been in private practice in Grand Island since 2000. She holds a law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln law school. She will replace Judge Michael Owens, who was appointed to the post in 1996.

Endorsements for Attorney General candidates

Posted: 04/16/14 08:46

State Senator and Republican candidate for Attorney General Pete Pirsch picked up a few South Central Nebraska endorsements yesterday. Another republican candidate for Attorney general announced an endorsement yesterday. Tom Osborne is backing Doug Peterson for the position. Petersen said in a press release, I am honored to have the endorsement of Tom Osborne in this campaign.  As a public official, Tom Osborne's focus was always on service, not politics.  That's exactly the kind of approach I want to bring to Nebraska's Attorney General's office.” Brian Buscher and Mike Hilgers will also be on the Republican ticket.

Farmland prices continue to rise in valuation

Posted: 04/16/14 08:44

Assessment of agricultural land continues to rise, adding to the disappointment farm groups are expressing about the legislative session.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue's Property Assessment Division reports the valuation of farmland for tax purposes rose nearly 30-percent between 2013 and 2014.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the assessment report comes on the heels of a legislative session that talked alot about reducing property taxes for farmers, but did little. Legislators did add 25-Million dollars to the 115-Million dollar Property Tax Credit Fund. They failed to move on a proposal to drop the assessed valuation of farmland from 75-percent of its market value to 65%. Gov. Heineman will be in Kearney today talking about the legislative sessions, taxes will likely come up.