September Trial Set for Nebraskan Accused of Injuring Infant

gavel-and-scaleCOLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A September trial has been scheduled for a 22-year-old Columbus man accused of seriously injuring the 4-month-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend.

Francisco Villatoro has pleaded not guilty. He’s charged with intentional child abuse resulting in injury. His trial is set to begin Sept. 28 in Platte County District Court.

Villatoro was arrested after calling 911 on May 23 to report that the baby was choking. The infant was taken to Columbus Community Hospital and then transferred to Omaha Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.

Doctors say the infant suffered a head injury. Police say it happened as Villatoro was caring for the child while his girlfriend was at work.

Altuve helps Astros sweep Royals with 6-5 win

kc-royalsHOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve had three hits and scored the tie-breaking run in the seventh inning to help the Houston Astros complete a three-game sweep of a the Kansas City Royals with a 6-5 win on Wednesday night.

The game was tied at 5 in the seventh when Kelvin Herrera (1-2) plunked Altuve on the forearm. Altuve stole second and reached third on a line out. He put Houston on top when he beat the tag at the plate on a fielder’s choice by Chris Carter.

The play was reviewed and upheld.

The Astros trailed early before taking a 5-3 lead after a four-run fifth inning. A two-run triple by Jarrod Dyson off Josh Fields tied it in the seventh before Altuve scored the go-ahead run.

Luke Gregerson (3-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

Carter and Marwin Gonzalez hit solo homers for Houston and Evan Gattis drove in two runs.

Butler leads Hahn, Athletics past Rockies 4-1

colorado-rockiesOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Billy Butler hit his first triple in nearly three years and also singled, Jesse Hahn pitched six solid innings and the Oakland Athletics beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Wednesday.

Hahn (6-6) improved to 4-1 over his last six starts after giving up one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Tyler Clippard retired the final four hitters for his 14th save.

Butler, Josh Reddick, Mark Canha and Eric Sogard drove in runs as the A’s won the series. Billy Burns added two hits and scored twice.

Chad Bettis (4-3) allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings.

Lincoln Trailer Park to Be Raised for Parking Lot

parking-lotLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A trailer park that’s been home to several down-on-their-luck Lincoln residents has been sold and will be razed to make way for a parking lot for college students.

The Arrow Mobile Home Court was sold earlier this month to a limited liability company run by an Indiana-based business that specializes in building and managing student housing complexes. Trinitas Ventures plans to turn the trailer park into an offsite parking lot for residents of the seven-story student housing complex that it’s building at a different site.

The property and two adjacent lots were purchased June 17 for nearly $800,000 from trailer park owner Gary Nicholsen.

The trailers and other buildings will be cleared beginning Aug. 1.

Nebraska Medical Center to Get Funding for Ebola Training

UNMCOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An academic medical center in Nebraska has been designated as a national facility for Ebola training.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center and its primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, will receive a little over $5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the designation.

The award is part of $12 million in federal dollars being shared with Emory University in Atlanta and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. The three academic institutions will work with federal officials to train health care providers and facilities on strategies to manage Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases.

The Nebraska center has played a key role in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak. It’s offered treatment to infected patients and provided training to health care workers.

‘Decline to Sign’ Campaign Ads to Air on Radio in Nebraska

signing-petitionLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A group formed to oppose Nebraska’s death penalty referendum is broadcasting its message on the radio.

Nebraskans for Public Safety announced a statewide radio advertising campaign set to begin Thursday as part of its outreach to voters. The group has also bought airtime on television stations throughout the state.

Danielle Conrad, a spokeswoman for the group, says the death penalty is broken and life in prison is a better alternative. Nebraska last executed an inmate in 1997.

The group Nebraskans for the Death Penalty has until Aug. 27 to gather enough signatures to place the question on the 2016 general election ballot.


Semitrailer Driver Dies in Northeast Nebraska Crash

state-patrol-logoPIERCE, Neb. (AP) — The driver of a semitrailer has been killed in northeast Nebraska after his vehicle crashed into a fertilizer truck.

The Nebraska State Patrol says 39-year-old Charles L. Smith, of Columbus, was driving a tank car Tuesday afternoon on Highway 81 in Pierce County when he struck a fertilizer truck that was making a left turn in front of his vehicle.

The semitrailer burst into flames, and crews worked for nearly an hour to extinguish the fire.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the fertilizer truck, 22-year-old Brycen Hockemeier, of Tilden, was taken to a hospital.

Authorities say the crash remains under investigation.

Hospital: 7 Injured Following Incident at Nebraska Petroleum Center

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WEST POINT, Neb. (AP) — A hospital in northeast Nebraska says seven people have been injured following an incident at a nearby petroleum distributor center.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital in West Point says in a statement that seven people were taken to the facility Wednesday afternoon following an incident at Sapp Bros. Petroleum in West Point, about 70 miles northwest of Omaha.

Two people were in critical condition and taken to a hospital in Omaha. Five others had minor injuries and were treated either in the emergency room or a nearby medical clinic.

Craig Schmaderer told The Associated Press he was several blocks away from Sapp Bros. when he felt a small vibration. He says he saw large flames and black smoke fill the air.

Authorities have not released any information about the incident.

Nebraska Judge: Medicaid Must Cover Some Child Behavioral Treatments

juvenile-justiceOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A judge has ordered the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to stop excluding Medicaid coverage for some behavioral treatments for children with developmental disabilities, saying policy conflicts with federal law.

Lancaster County District Judge John Colburn issued the order Tuesday in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two children, listed only at “K.D.” and “S.L.”, who are covered by Medicaid and suffer from severe behavioral disorders. The lawsuit says their doctors recommended a treatment called applied behavior analysis. But the state agency’s contractor denied Medicaid coverage for the treatments, enforcing a state regulation that says applied behavior analysis is excluded from coverage.

Colburn agreed with those suing who said the state regulation violates federal law, which requires Medicaid to cover such services deemed medically necessary.

Applicants Sought for Nebraska Legislative Seat

ne-legislature-13LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seeking qualified applicants for an open seat representing an Omaha district in the Legislature.

Ricketts issued the call Wednesday to fill the spot held by former state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist. Nordquist resigned Tuesday so he could begin a new job as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford in Washington.

The governor’s office is accepting applications for the Legislative District 7 vacancy until 5 p.m. on July 24. The district is located in southeastern Omaha.

Applicants must have lived in the district for at least a year, must be registered to vote, and must be at least 21 years old. They can apply online at the governor’s office’s website, .

A map of the district can be found at .