SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A woman in her 80s who was suspected but never charged in the 1975 killing of a fellow American Indian Movement activist has died at a nursing home in western Nebraska. Michael Selzler of Sioux Funeral Home in Pine Ridge says Theda Clarke died Saturday and arrangements were being made. Clarke, according to court records, had been suffering from the effects of a stroke, dementia, diabetes and other ailments. Her exact age could not be confirmed. In December, she was ruled competent to testify in the murder trial of John Graham but exercised her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. Clarke graduated from St. Francis Indian School and began a nursing career at St. Mary’s School for Nursing in Kansas City, later working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) – An autopsy has been ordered on the body of a 36-year-old man who was found slain at a Columbus motel. A news release from Columbus police says officers were sent to the Sundown Motel a little after 3:30 a.m. They found the body of Jerry Garcia in the motel parking lot. Garcia had been stabbed several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been reported, but police say the investigation is continuing.
MCCOOK, Neb. (AP) – Officials say a McCook company is moving to Minnesota. The 15 workers at Springer Magrath’s McCook plant have been given severance packages, but some of them have inquired about transferring instead to Glencoe, Minn., where the new plant is being located. Amy Scheel is a vice president at Springer Magrath’s parent company, Frandsen Corp., of North Branch, Minn. The company is still discussing the transfer requests. Scheel says the McCook plant will remain in operation through Oct. 28. Work at the new plant begins Nov. 1. The company makes and sells stock prods and other animal care products. Scheel says Frandsen is moving Springer Magrath because of the difficulty in maintaining operations over such a long distance.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A $1.1 million fence meant to keep deer from dashing onto a stretch of Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha is nearly complete. ElectroBraid Fence Co. is putting the finishing touches on the fence. The Nebraska Department of Roads has said the 4-mile-long stretch between the Mahoney interchange and Pflug Road has the highest deer-vehicle collision rate in the state. The 8-foot-tall fence will be electrified on the east side of the Platte River. Engineers hope the fence will redirect the deer to one of several undercrossings built beneath the Platte River bridge.
HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) – Comedian Larry the Cable Guy will receive this year’s Tom Osborne Leadership Award from a Hastings group. Leadership Hastings plans to honor the comedian, whose real name is Dan Whitney, on Nov. 1. The award honors a top leader in Nebraska or a national leader with ties to the state. Larry the Cable Guy was chosen because of his success in the entertainment business and his charitable work with several Nebraska organizations. The award events include an afternoon leadership seminar on Nov. 1 followed by an evening award banquet.
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) – Construction has started on an outdoor learning area at the Nebraska State Fair that’s designed to teach children about groundwater use. The nonprofit Groundwater Guardians raised almost $50,000 for the half-acre learning area. It will include a prairie maze, tree fort, rain garden and other features to teach children about how and why groundwater is used. The learning area is expected to be open for next year’s fair. Groundwater Guardians says it will also accessible year-round for education activities.
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) – Two men have died in a collision on an Interstate 80 interchange in Grand Island. The Hall County sheriff’s office says 19-year-olds Tailey Taryon and Fred Tardey, of Grand Island, were killed Saturday afternoon when their vehicle collided with a semi. A third person in their vehicle has been hospitalized in critical condition. The sheriff’s office says Taryon’s vehicle was exiting I-80 and failed to stop at a stop sign, driving into the path of the semi driven by 36-year-old Michael Wilson, of Hastings. Wilson was not hurt.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska man ordered as a teen to spend life in prison will get a new sentence. Thirty-six-year-old Jeremy Herman was convicted of kidnapping for his role in the 1992 murder of Jeremy Drake. Herman was 17 when he and another teen kidnapped Drake. Herman’s accomplice, Christopher Masters, killed Drake. Herman pleaded guilty to kidnapping on the advice of his attorney, who didn’t know that the conviction carried a life sentence. A Douglas County district judge has vacated Herman’s conviction and will re-sentence him this week on a lesser charge. Herman sought a new sentence after 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said teens sentenced to life must have a meaningful opportunity to obtain release if they haven’t killed their victims.
Dozens of people on the Denver-bound bus were hurt in the wreck, including five who were hospitalized. Passengers Jimmy Strickland and Anthony Pavarotti say the driver may have been on her cell phone. But Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins says the initial investigation showed the cell phone was not in use when the accident happened.
The bus company prohibits personal calls, but drivers use cell phones to communicate with dispatchers and other drivers. A spokesman for the American Bus Association said there was no indication the driver was doing anything improper.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska’s top economic development official is resigning to join the state Chamber of Commerce. Gov. Dave Heineman said Thursday that Richard Baier would leave his post after Oct. 28. Baier has led the department since he was appointed by Heineman’s predecessor in 2003. Heineman praised Baier’s efforts to promote the state and improve the climate for businesses. Baier helped redesign the incentives Nebraska uses to attract companies and led several trade missions to help boost business. Baier will lead a new Chamber program to research business trends in the state and make recommendations about what should be done to strengthen Nebraska’s economy. Chamber President Barry Kennedy says Baier’s research will help determine what Nebraska needs to do to set itself apart from other states.