Nebraska State Senator Says He Won’t Seek Congressional Seat

Sen. John Murante

Sen. John Murante

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska state lawmaker who was considering a run for Congress says he plans to seek re-election instead.

Sen. John Murante of Gretna announced Monday that he won’t seek the seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford of Omaha.

Ashford defeated Republican Lee Terry last year in the race to represent the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Omaha’s Douglas County and parts of Sarpy County.

Murante says he and his wife received an outpouring of support, but now is not the time for him to run.

Murante, a Republican, was elected to his first term in the Legislature in 2012, and is up for re-election next year. He serves as chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

2 More Men Sentenced in Plot to Defraud Omaha-Based ConAgra

conagra_foodsOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Two Washington men who helped another man defraud Omaha-based ConAgra have been sentenced for wire fraud conspiracy.

Federal prosecutors say 43-year-old Charles Garcia, of Othello, Washington, was sentenced on Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha to 12 months and a day in prison and told to make restitution of nearly $606,000. Prosecutors also say 48-year-old Jose Sanchez Jr., of Marysville, Washington, was given five months behind bars and told to make restitution of more than $53,000.

Prosecutors say Garcia and Sanchez, through their companies, helped Donald Wilson, of Bothell, Washington, in his fraudulent scheme. Wilson submitted to ConAgra at least 29 fake vendor invoices from the companies.

Prosecutors say Wilson wasn’t authorized to use ConAgra’s money for his expenses and expenses for a professional softball team he helped sponsor.

New Research Can Resume at Nebraska Livestock Facility

USDACLAY CENTER, Neb. (AP) — A federal livestock facility in Nebraska says it can resume new research after addressing all recommendations of an independent review of its animal care practices.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack halted research in March at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center until better animal welfare oversight procedures were put in place.

The center’s director says it has addressed the recommendations in a report by a U.S. Department of Agriculture panel.

The five-member panel toured the center in March and found no evidence of animal mistreatment. But it said the center’s animal welfare committee wasn’t fulfilling its responsibilities to review and oversee research.

The center conducts scientific studies to help the livestock industry increase the quantity and quality of meat production.

Lincoln Police: Man Stole TV, Bacon from Home, Passed Out on Lawn

lincoln-policeLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary after police say he left a friend’s home after drinking and passed out on a stranger’s lawn in Lincoln.

A 29-year-old man was cited on suspicion of burglary and suspicion of possession of marijuana. Police say he was found Saturday morning passed out next to a 42-inch TV with a package of bacon hanging out of his pocket.

According to police, the suspect broke into a house and took the TV and bacon. Capt. Bob Farber said the suspect told an officer than he got the bacon from a grocery store, but wasn’t sure where the TV came from.

Farber said the suspect had been drinking at a friend’s house and was on his way home.

Helen Jean Raetz


Helen Jean Raetz, 87, of North Platte, NE, passed away Monday, June 15, 2015, at Linden Court in North Platte.

Helen was born February 9, 1928, to Nels and Stella Malvina Kummer Nelson at Columbus, NE where she grew up. Helen graduated from Columbus High School in 1945 then attended Doane College. She graduated from college in 1949 with a BA in Music and Education then taught school in McCook, NE and North Platte.

On June 3, 1951, Helen was united in marriage to Albert Henry Raetz at Columbus. They moved to California so Albert could attend optometry school in Los Angeles and Helen continued her teaching career in Santa Monica. In 1953 they settled in North Platte where Albert started his optometry practice and Helen operated the Raggedy Ann and Andy Preschool until 1987 when they retired to the country. They enjoyed 62 years of marriage before Albert passed away in 2013.

Helen was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and was active in various activities which included the Mission Sewing Group, P.E.O. Chapter AK, Monday Musical, Friday Antique Club and the Heartland Quilt Group. She also enjoyed playing bridge and was a member of the Flat Rock Duplicate Bridge Club and earned her Life Master Duplicate Bridge Certificate.

She is survived by her sons, Albert “Bradley” Raetz (life partner, Katherine Casey), of West Palm Beach, FL, and Stanley (Wendi) Raetz, of Lincoln, NE; two grandchildren, Sam and Rex Raetz, of Lincoln; sister-in-law, June Nelson, of Columbus; and other family.

Along with her husband, Albert, Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Nels and Stella Nelson; brother, Dale Nelson; and two sisters, Pamela Long and Donna Smith.

Cremation was chosen. Graveside Service will be 10 a.m. Friday, June 19, 2015, in Fort McPherson National Cemetery followed by a Memorial Service at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Polly Deppen-Williams officiating. The memorial book may be signed at or from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore which is in charge of arrangements. Memorials are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church.

Nebraska Football Fan Day Set for August 5th

(Photo Courtesy Nate Olsen/NU Media Relations)

(Photo Courtesy Nate Olsen/NU Media Relations)

Nebraska fans will have their first opportunity to meet Coach Mike Riley’s 2015 Husker football team at the annual Nebraska Football Fan Day presented by U.S. Cellular. This year Husker fans will have the opportunity to spend an evening at Memorial Stadium with Fan Day scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Fan Day will help kick off Nebraska’s fall camp which will begin later that week. The event is the best opportunity to meet Nebraska players and coaches before the start of the 2015 season. All players that will be part of preseason camp will be in attendance and available to Husker fans.

More details on Fan Day will be available on as the event draws near.

Wind Energy Company: Proposed Lancaster County Noise Rules Too Restrictive

windmillLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A company says noise rules being drafted in Lancaster County are so restrictive they would discourage wind farms from being developed there.

The Oregon-based company, Volkswind, wants to develop a 50-turbine farm in Lancaster and Gage counties.

A Volkswind project engineer said Thursday the likelihood of violating those proposed rules would be so great that wind energy companies would choose to build in other counties.

A Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department official says the regulations are based on recent studies looking at the potential health impacts of the constant, percussive sound made by turbines, which can cause sleep disturbance.


Omaha Attorney Suspended from Practicing Law for 3 Months

gavel-and-scaleOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court has suspended the law license of an Omaha attorney for three months over his mishandling of a client’s request.

The high court said Friday that David Steier’s suspension follows his work in 2012 for a client who paid him $800 to file applications for incorporation and tax-exempt status for a cheerleading studio and fitness center.

The Nebraska Counsel for Discipline says the client also gave Steier more than $800 in separate for fees to third parties that were never submitted. Officials say Steier knowingly made false and misleading statements to the client regarding the application.

The high court says Steier acknowledged violating his oath of office and attorney conduct rules.

Steier must also undergo 12 months of monitored probation following his suspension if he seeks reinstatement.

Royals acquire Butera from Angels, activate Hochevar


kc-royalsKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals have acquired catcher Drew Butera from Los Angeles Angels for minor league infielder Ryan Jackson.

Butera, 31, hit .190 (4 for 21) in 10 games with the Angels this season. He batted .188 for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year following four years with Minnesota.

Jackson, acquired in November from the Dodgers, has an .083 average in 20 big league games with St. Louis in 2012-13.

To make room for Butera on the 40-man roster, Kansas City transferred left-hander Tim Collins to the 60-day disabled list. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery in March.

Right-hander Luke Hochevar, who missed last season after elbow surgery, was activated from the disabled list Thursday after nine injury rehabiliation appearances with Triple-A Omaha. The Royals optioned rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four relief appearances, to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.


Royals’ Edinson Volquez Drops Appeal, Starts 5-Game Ban

Edinson Volquez with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014

Edinson Volquez with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kansas City Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez has dropped his appeal of a five-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl with the Chicago White Sox last week.

Volquez was to start serving his suspension against Cleveland on Monday night.

He is among four Royals players suspended for their actions in the fight last Thursday. Pitcher Yordano Ventura was given a seven-game penalty, and outfielder Lorenzo Cain and reliever Kelvin Herrera received two-game bans. All the players initially appealed.

Chicago pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzjia were each suspended five games.

Herrera also was suspended five games for throwing behind Oakand’s Brett Lawrie on April 19.