Oklahoma Court: Ten Commandments Monument at Capitol Must Go

gavel-and-scaleOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has reaffirmed in a 7-2 decision that a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds must be removed.

The state’s highest court on Monday denied a rehearing that had been requested by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Chief Justice John Reif wrote in the court’s concurring opinion that justices carefully considered the Pruitt’s arguments on behalf of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission and found nothing to merit a rehearing in the case.

The court had found previously that the monument is a religious symbol and must be removed because it violates the state’s constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion.

The decision prompted an outcry from some conservative legislators who vowed to impeach the justices or amend the constitution.

Nebraska Driver Who Dragged Motorist Won’t Be Charged

lancaster-county-sheriffLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors say hit-and-run charges won’t be filed because there’s no evidence a driver knew his car had hit a motorcyclist and dragged the body of a Lincoln man for more than two miles in January.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said Monday that the driver didn’t know the bump he noticed was the body of 38-year-old Gabe Wilken, who’d already crashed. County Attorney Joe Kelly says a hit-and-run charge would require prosecutors to show the driver knew he’d hit someone.

Investigators don’t know whether Wilken was alive when he was struck by the driver’s sedan after Wilken crashed just after 7 p.m. on Jan. 16. The car driver told investigators he didn’t come forward because he didn’t know he’d hit Wilken and had heard deputies were looking for a pickup.


Body Pulled from Missouri River at Council Bluffs

veterans-memorial-bridgeCOUNCIL BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have been trying to identify the body of a man that was pulled from the Missouri River at Council Bluffs.

The body was spotted a little before 5:30 p.m. Sunday just south of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects Council Bluffs with south Omaha, Nebraska. Council Bluffs firefighters recovered the body less than 30 minutes later.

An autopsy has been ordered.

Authorities Say Nebraska Father Killed Daughter’s Ex-Boyfriend

Walter Camp

Walter Campo

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say an eastern Nebraska man shot and killed his daughter’s ex-boyfriend when the 22-year-old tried to visit the woman at her parent’s home.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s office says Tyler Childs, of Fremont, was fatally shot late Friday when he visited a mobile home where his ex-girlfriend was living with her parents.

Sheriff Steven Hespen says Childs was confronted by his ex-girlfiend’s father, 42-year-old Walter Campo, when he went to the home.

Hespen says Campo had a handgun, and during a confrontation, Childs was fatally shot.

Campo is being held on suspicion of manslaughter and a weapons charge.

South Dakota Regulators to Hear Keystone XL Arguments Again

keystonePIERRE, S.D. (AP) — State regulators are considering whether to approve for the second time in just over five years construction through South Dakota of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline, but it’s unlikely a decision will come immediately.

The Public Utilities Commission hearing process starts Monday. The state authorized TransCanada Corp.’s project in 2010, but permits must be revisited if construction doesn’t start within four years.

Commission Chairman Chris Nelson says it’s unlikely the panel will come to a decision immediately.

He says TransCanada will present its case first, and then opponents will offer their side. Supporters say the pipeline will create jobs and tax revenues, while opponents argue it could contaminate water supplies.

The pipeline would transport oil from Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines headed to the Gulf Coast.

Workers Repainting Balloon-Shaped Tower in York



YORK, Neb. (AP) — Sharp-eyed motorists driving along Interstate 80 in eastern Nebraska might notice a new feature of York’s well-known water tower: workers repainting the balloon-shaped structure.

Workers from the J.R. Stelzer Company in Lincoln are updating the tower’s paint job and taking care of some maintenance and cleaning.

The workers will dangle from the sides of the tower on ropes to complete the job.

York will pay $988,332 for the work at the I-80 tower and a second one near the high school.

Nebraska Man, 85, Says Mail Carrier Saved His Life

good-newsSCHUYLER, Neb. (AP) — An 85-year-old Nebraska man credits a mail carrier with saving his life on a recent hot day after he fell in the yard.

Marvin Skarda didn’t let the summer heat keep him from doing his yard work.

But after mowing the back yard on July 17, Skarda fell over while trying to pick weeds because of the pain of a recent rib injury. Skarda says he didn’t have the strength to get up and with his neighbors all at work, he didn’t think he would survive.

Fortunately 24-year-old Aaron Muller heard Skarda’s cries for help from across the street while delivering mail.

Muller helped Skarda up and even returned at the end of his route to make sure he was OK.

Repairs Planned on US Highway 281 in South-Central Nebraska

road-workBLUE HILL, Neb. (AP) — Pavement repairs are scheduled to begin this coming week on U.S. Highway 281 in south-central Nebraska.

The Nebraska Roads Department says the project will begin at Blue Hill and end 14 miles north.

Traffic will be controlled by flaggers and a pilot vehicle. The work is expected to be finished by the end of September.

Lincoln Cleaning Up After Overnight Storms

severe-weatherLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln residents are cleaning up from powerful overnight storms that downed trees and power lines and cut power to some segments of the city.

The storms rolled in around midnight Friday, bringing heavy rain, hail, lightning and winds of 60 mph.

By late Saturday morning, the Lincoln Electric System was still working to return service to four areas of the city where at least 100 customers were without power.

Norris Public Power also reported scattered outages Saturday morning in Lancaster and Saline counties.

Weather forecasters predicted more rain for the area Saturday afternoon and evening.

Patrol: Nebraska Man Killed While Fleeing Police

state-patrol-logoYUTAN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska State Patrol says a man who sped off during a traffic stop crashed into the back of a semitrailer while trying to elude police and died.

Authorities say a Yutan police officer reported that the man’s car was speeding through town when he tried to pull the car over. Authorities say the man briefly stopped, but when the officer told him to shut off his engine, the man sped off.

The patrol says the man was speeding eastbound on Highway 92 toward Omaha when he slammed into the back of a semitrailer.

The driver was taken to an Omaha hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Officials have not yet released his name.