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.

Winnebago Hospital to Stay Open Despite Federal Funding Loss

Medical-ChartWINNEBAGO, Neb. (AP) — An Indian Health Service spokeswoman says the service’s Winnebago hospital in northeast Nebraska will remain open while officials access its future after losing its Medicare and Medicaid funding.

IHS spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman said the hospital had not filed an appeal as of Friday after the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services notified the hospital of its contract termination.

The hospital was warned earlier this month that funding would be terminated because it “no longer meets the requirements for participation in the Medicare program because of deficiencies that represent an immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

A May federal report said the hospital’s inadequate treatment resulted in one death this year and harm to at least nine other patients.

Verizon Workers Vote to Authorize Strike, If Necessary

verizonNEW YORK (AP) — Verizon workers in nine states have voted to go on strike, if necessary, in a dispute about a new contract.

At a rally in New York Saturday, the Communications Workers of America union announced that 86 percent of Verizon workers who voted in a recent poll backed strike action if required. A contract that covers 39,000 workers represented by the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires at midnight on August 1.

The contract covers employees the nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia who work for Verizon’s wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS internet service.

Verizon spokesman Rich Young said that the company had made the unions “a solid proposal that recognizes the changing communications landscape and offers a path toward success.”

Lincoln City Council to Consider Bans on Flying Lanterns

sky-lanternLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Lincoln City Council will consider a proposal next week to ban flying lanterns — or what Public Safety Director Tom Casady calls “flying bags of fire.”

Councilman Roy Christensen proposed the ban, and that Bill Moody, the city’s chief fire inspector, supports it.

The fire department has reported numerous fires over the past few years started by the flying lanterns, which are small paper air balloons powered by a flame.

That includes a fire last year started by a flying lantern when it landed on the roof of a townhouse in the Williamsburg neighborhood, causing about $260,000 in damage.

Christensen’s proposal would ban the sale and use of the paper lanterns within city limits.

Woman Who Set Norfolk Trailer on Fire Gets Prison

arsonMADISON, Neb. (AP) — A Norfolk woman convicted of setting fire to a mobile home was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison, prompting her to unleash a torrent of obscenities at the judge.

28-year-old Cassie Zoubek was sentenced Friday. She had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree arson.

In sentencing her, Madison County District Judge James Kube noted Zoubek lack of remorse and her statement that she “would do it again with a big, happy face.”

Her outburst Friday was not her first in court. The judge ordered her to undergo a competency evaluation after she ranted in an April hearing about what she said was a corrupt court system and made comments about a number of her tattoos.

Dakota County Receives ‘Livestock Friendly’ Designation

Pete Ricketts

Pete Ricketts

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Dakota County has received the state of Nebraska’s “Livestock Friendly” designation for its support of the industry.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced the award on Friday during a visit to South Sioux City. Dakota County is the 30th county in Nebraska that is now part of the state program. Dakota County is home to many livestock and poultry operations and meat processing facilities.

Ricketts says Dakota County officials have shown a strong commitment to rural economic development and agriculture.

Counties that wish to receive the designation must hold a public hearing, and the county board must pass a resolution to apply. A completed application must be submitted to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.


Ex-UNL Student Sentenced for Downloading Child Porn

Joseph Anderson

Joseph Anderson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A former University of Nebraska- Lincoln college student has been sentenced to prison for downloading child pornography using the university’s Wi-Fi.

29-year-old Joseph Anderson, originally from De Pere, Wisconsin, was sentenced Monday to five to eight years.

Prosecutors say Anderson was already on probation in Idaho for doing the same thing when he was a student there. Last year, UNL police were tipped by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Anderson’s email account had been used to download child porn. He was arrested Aug. 25.

He later pleaded no contest to possession of child pornography.

Anderson will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release.

Judge Finds Nebraska Man Guilty of Trespassing for Handing Out Fliers

pinnacle-bank-arenaLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A judge has found a Lincoln man was guilty of trespassing when he handed out religious leaflets too close to the front of Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Judge James Foster found Larry Ball guilty of two misdemeanor charges and fined him $50 for each offense. He also ordered Bell to pay court costs.

The 78-year-old man was cited after incident in March when he handed out religious pamphlets on a plaza about 30 feet from the Lincoln arena’s doors.

The matter went to trial in June, and the judge had taken his decision under advisement.

Ball has filed a civil lawsuit, alleging his free speech rights under the First Amendment have been violated.


Storm Leaves Behind Damaged Buildings in Southeast Nebraska

severe-weatherWYMORE, Neb. (AP) — An early morning thunderstorm packing strong winds damaged some buildings in southeast Nebraska’s Gage County.

The storm struck Wymore early Friday morning. Assistant Wymore Fire Chief Mark Meints told the station that the straight-line winds toppled trees and knocked branches onto buildings and vehicles.

No injuries have been reported.


Woman Accused in Norfolk Fire Convicted of Making Threats

judgeshipNORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — A 24-year-old Norfolk woman accused of starting a small fire in an apartment complex hallway has been convicted of making terroristic threats.

Johna Richards pleaded guilty on Thursday after Madison County prosecutors amended the charge from felony arson. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 18.

Police say the charge stemmed from a Dec. 29 fire. A resident of the complex used a rug to put out the flames, and another resident told officers about threatening messages he’d been getting on Facebook. Investigators eventually were able to obtain information from Facebook about the person who posted the messages, and Richards was arrested.