Lincoln City Council Denies Over $600K in Sewage Claims

city-of-lincolnLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Lincoln City Council has rejected more than $600,000 in claims by residents whose homes were damaged by sewage during heavy rains.

The sewage backups were caused by storm runoff overwhelming the Theresa Street wastewater treatment facility in October and May. The city attorney has said Lincoln isn’t legally responsible for the damage. He said city staffers weren’t negligent and that the damage was caused by the weather.

The council on Monday voted to deny the claims.

The council has made an effort to help affected residents by approving a $1 million program that would go toward cleanup costs. Property owners can either accept the city’s disaster assistance for cleanup costs or take their claims to district court.

Former Nebraska Death Row Inmate Died of Rare Salivary Gland Cancer

Michael Ryan (Dept. of Corrections Photo)

Michael Ryan (Dept. of Corrections Photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man who spent 30 years on Nebraska’s death row for two cult murders died of complications from a rare cancer in his salivary glands.

A death certificate obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press lists the cause of death for Michael Ryan as “metastatic carcinoma or parotid gland origin.”

Ryan died on May 24 at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institutional in southeast Nebraska.

Ryan was convicted in the 1985 torture and killing of 25-year-old James Thimm at a farm near Rulo, where Ryan led a cult, and in the beating death of Luke Stice, the 5-year-old son of a cult member.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha told a legislative committee in March that Ryan suffered from terminal brain cancer. It’s not clear whether the cancer had spread.

Nebraska 2-Year-Old Dies After Being Found in Family’s Pool

nuckolls-county-sheriffLAWRENCE, Neb. (AP) — Officials say a 2-year-old girl has died after being found in a pool at her family’s home in southern Nebraska’s Nuckolls County.

The Nuckolls County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were sent to the home in Lawrence about 10:20 a.m. Sunday. The office says in a news release that investigators think the child climbed the ladder of the above-ground pool while she played unattended in the surrounding yard.

She was discovered in the water by her mother and grandmother after they noticed she wasn’t in the house. The Sheriff’s Office says the girl was taken to Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings, where she was pronounced dead.

The child’s name and the names of her mother and grandmother haven’t been released. The girl’s death is being investigated.


1 Killed, 1 Injured in Separate Nebraska Boating Accidents

Nebraska_game_and_parksLINCOLN – A boating accident on the morning of June 29 in the tailwaters below Gavins Point Dam in Cedar County claimed the life of a 68-year-old Creighton woman.

Two boats collided at approximately 9:55 a.m. The victim was a passenger in one of the boats. She was transported to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, S.D., where she was pronounced dead.

Conservation officers with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nebraska State Patrol, Cedar County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar County Emergency Management, responded to the accident.

The investigation is ongoing. Alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor in the accident. The Cedar County Attorney has ordered an autopsy on the victim. Both boats have been impounded.

A boating accident on the evening of June 28 at Whitney Lake in northwest Nebraska sent a woman to a hospital with serious arm and shoulder injuries.

A 40-year-old Crawford man was operating a boat on the Dawes County lake approximately 9 miles south of Crawford. The boat apparently struck a wake while making a turn, throwing the woman overboard. She was struck by the boat’s propeller. The victim was transported to Chadron Community Hospital and then later flown to a hospital in Fort Collins. Colo. The accident is under investigation.

Man Sentenced in Death of Bald Eagle in Northeast Nebraska

dept.-of-justiceLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted in the death of a bald eagle in northeast Nebraska in 2014 has been sentenced to probation.

U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg says 24-year-old Antonio Bertucci, of Macy, received one year of supervised release Monday for his conviction of aiding and abetting the unlawful killing of a bald eagle.

Bertucci will serve nearly three years in prison on a separate conviction of habitual domestic abuse. That also includes three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors say Bertucci was the driver of a car in February 2014 that was involved in the shooting death of a bald eagle. Witnesses say a passenger in Bertucci’s car shot at two bald eagles on the Omaha Indian Reservation. One of the birds was found dead in the car trunk.

South Texas Farmer in Field Dies in Bee Attack Near Tractor

beesRIO HONDO, Texas (AP) — A South Texas farmer has died after being stung by hundreds of bees while using a tractor on a field near Rio Hondo.

The San Benito Fire Department on Monday identified the victim as 53-year-old Rogelio Zuniga (roh-HEE’-lee-oh ZOO’-nee-guh).

Fire Chief Raul Zuniga Jr. is a cousin of the victim. He says the attack happened Sunday afternoon. Rogelio Zuniga was using a disk on the field when the tractor hit an old concrete pipe meant for irrigation. The fire chief says the bees came from an opening in the pipe.

The victim was dead at the scene.

The fire chief says an exterminator was brought in to kill the bees and clear the pipe, which had 15 to 20 feet of honeycombs.

Doctors Plan Second Hospital in Grand Islan

Medical-ChartGRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A group of doctors wants to open a second hospital in Grand Island and says that it’ll take at least two years to build and have it operational.

Dr. Molly Johnson says that CHI Health isn’t giving enough consideration to physicians’ concerns and local needs. Because CHI Health St. Francis is part of a larger network, she says some physicians fear that part of its financial success might be used to support another hospital in the network.

Johnson says the group wants to help keep health care resources in the community by adding a second hospital.

The president of CHI Health St. Francis wasn’t immediately available for comment. Attempts by the newspaper to reach a CHI Health official for comment weren’t successful.

Regulators Investigate Part Failure at Nebraska Nuclear Plant

fort-calhoun-dryOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators are investigating the failure of a part at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant during this spring’s maintenance outage.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that it had launched a special inspection at the plant that sits along the Missouri River about 20 miles north of Omaha.

The NRC says workers discovered the problem earlier this month after replacing a seal in a valve that controls cooling water flow into one of the plant’s steam generators. The valve wouldn’t open because the new seal material couldn’t handle the high operating temperatures.

The seal was replaced a second time to resolve the problem, but regulators want to better understand how it happened and whether workers’ response was adequate.

Fort Calhoun is owned by the Omaha Public Power District utility.

Family of Drowned Omaha Man to Hold Funeral Benefit

missouri-river-omahaOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The family of an Omaha man who drowned while trying to save his children is hosting a fundraiser to try to cover the cost of his funeral.

The benefit is scheduled for Monday evening at an Omaha restaurant. Authorities recovered the body of 31-year-old Elias Salvador early last week.

Family members say Salvador was trying to save his daughters and two other children after they were swept into the Missouri River at NP Dodge Park on the northern edge of Omaha.

Relatives say the children were wading in shallow water when the sand gave way and the children were knocked off their feet. All four children were saved, but relatives say Salvador was unable to hold onto a tree branch that had been extended into the rushing waters.

Lincoln Schools Offering Guaranteed Hours to Attract Drivers

school-busLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln school officials are increasing their transportation budget in an effort to attract more bus drivers.

Lincoln Public School officials are putting $113,000 into their proposed budget so the transportation department can guarantee that drivers will work at least six hours a day.

Bill McCoy, the district’s transportation director, hopes the offer will entice more people to apply for the part-time jobs. The district has to shuttle more than 2,700 students to and from school each day.

Lincoln Public Schools is adding bus routes to keep up with a growing number of preschoolers and about 400 high school students who will attend the new Career Academy.