Category Archives: Regional News

Wanted: School Chief ‘Who Wants to Be Here’

Omaha, NE.—The good news: Omaha’s next school superintendent will work in a friendly town with an excellent “clean” airport, world class zoo, hard-working teachers and higher graduation rates.

The bad news: That same superintendent will be working with a contentious, divided, inexperienced school board that the public views negatively and doesn’t trust.

All that according to a recent week-long survey of roughly 500 individuals representing “stakeholders” inside and outside of Omaha Public Schools.

And that bad news doesn’t stop with the board.

In a district with “significant high poverty” student discipline is described as a “significant issue” along with truancy.

Other problems range from inconsistent grading systems and transportation issues to “inequality of resource allocations around poverty and race.”

Asked to describe the next superintendent’s most important characteristics the 500 said:

  • Personable
  • Unifying
  • Honest
  • Courageous

And then there was this: “Someone who wants to be here.”

Superintendent Mark Evans retires at the end of the school year, after four years on the job: His annual salary, nearly $300,000.

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Norfolk Concrete Company Uses Pink Truck to Raise Awareness for Cancer

NORFOLK, NE — Randy Wortman has a message he wants to get out.  And the owner of Wortman Concrete Pumping is spreading the word the best way he knows, by putting it on a concrete truck.
“So, I just want them to be aware of cancer and that it’s a real issue and it affects people in bad ways,” Wortman said.  “A lot of people that haven’t been exposed to that don’t understand that either.”
Wortman lost his sister to breast cancer last year and his sister-in-law to ovarian cancer in 2007.
He says he will donate a certain amount of money per yard poured out of the truck to Concrete Cares Nebraska, a non-profit that donates to families affected by cancer.  Their slogan?  All Cancer Sucks.
“That’s kind of our slogan of our Nebraska Concrete Cares is all cancer sucks,” Wortman said.  “We didn’t want to specifically pick out one type of cancer and support it because they all suck, so we’re just kind of going after all of them.”
But this isn’t the first pink concrete truck in northeast Nebraska.  Rich Hodson, the owner of West-Hodson Lumber and Concrete lost his Aunt to the disease.  So two years ago Hodson commissioned a pink and purple Ready-Mix truck and started looking for a driver.  Jeremy Vaughan also has family history with cancer and didn’t hesitate when asked if he wanted to take the wheel.
“It means the world to me to be able to help spread the word,” Hodson said.  “I’ve had some family members that I’ve lost to cancer and being able to be a part of this and represent this is a huge honor.”

Norfolk Man Wanted in Two-Year Old Robbery Case to Appear in Court This Week

MADISON – A Norfolk man wanted for over two years related to a robbery will make his first appearance in Madison County District Court this week.

Thirty-one year old Pierre Evans of Norfolk will be arraigned in Madison County District Court on Friday, to face felony weapon and theft charges. An arrest warrant was issued for Evans in December of 2014, after police say he and four others robbed a Norfolk house at gunpoint.

The other three involved in the robbery were arrested and have all been sentenced, but Evans evaded law enforcement for over two years. Court documents show that he was taken into custody on December 23rd, but no details about his arrest have been given.

Evans has already been imprisoned once after being found guilty of felony theft in 2012.

Nebraska Lawmaker’s Retweet Renews Scandal Talk

Lincoln, NE—Gov. Pete Ricketts today renewed his call for State Sen. Bill Kintner to resign and that’s without even wading into Kintner’s latest sexual controversy.

The Papillion lawmaker, who had cybersex with a woman on a state computer, is now under fire for a weekend retweet suggesting that demonstrators at Saturday’s worldwide women’s marches weren’t attractive enough to be sexually assaulted.

Kintner retweeted conservative personality Larry Elder’s tweet that mocked three women pictured with signs protesting Donald Trump’s comments about touching women inappropriately. Above the photo, Elder wrote: “Ladies, I think your safe.”

As of 11am Monday Kintner’s Twitter account was not operating.

Kintner paid a $1,000 fine last year after he admitted to engaging in mutual masturbation on Skype with a woman who tried to blackmail him.

During a Monday news conference when he was asked about Kintner’s retweet Ricketts said he hadn’t seen it but quickly added he still wants Kintner to resign and if he won’t the governor would like to see the Legislature take action.

Kintner has previously said that he will not resign, adding he is “being obedient to God’s decision.”

Following the weekend retweet the head of the Nebraska Democratic Party called Kintner an embarrassment to Nebraska, “Sen. Kintner should spend more time following the law and less time offending women.,” said Chairwoman Jane Kleeb. “For someone caught engaging in illegal behaviors, one would think Kintner and the Republican party would put an end to this nonsense and get back to work for our families.”

Kleeb added anyone who co-sponsors Kintner’s  bills or asks him to speak at rallies is condoning his illegal behavior and his offensive remarks about women.”

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Derek Garfield Turning Winning Attitude into Winning Tradition at Fairbury

FAIRBURY – Intense, loud, kind, tough, energetic. You could say that each one of these adjectives describes Fairbury Wrestling Coach, Derek Garfield. One adjective that sticks out above all the others, though, is winner.

“We kind of drew a line in the sand, and said this is how it’s going to be here. To their credit, they’ve adjusted pretty quickly to that. They know I love them to death, but if they need correcting, I’m going to correct them, and they know that, too. I believe that kids feed off your energy and, so, to be a successful coach, you’ve got to be high energy. I think when you have that, with some discipline mixed in, that’s a recipe for success,” said Garfield.

What’s it like to wrestle for Coach Garfield?

Well, Patrick Ondrak just earned his 100th win for the Jeffs.

“Coach Garfield is the kind of guy that never let’s you slack off. You’re always going to work hard for him, but at the same time, he’s still the kind of guy that will give you the time of day no matter what. Great guy, always has your back no matter what, if you put the work in, he’ll always have you. He’s a great coach and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be my coach,” declared Ondrak.

The thing is, Coach Garfield has as much fun coaching the wrestlers, as they have wrestling for him.

Damian Green is officially the all-time win’s leader at Fairbury. He currently sits at 119 wins, breaking the previous record of 116 that was held by J.D. Moody.

“Damian Green, what else can you say about a kid who has absolutely earned everything else he has ever gotten. That kid has ate, breathed and slept wrestling since the time he was a little guy. He grew up in our Mat Men program. For him to hold the career win record at Fairbury is a gigantic accomplishment,” exclaimed Garfield.

In Garfield’s third year as head coach, the Jeffs are showing signs of significant success. Jacob Johnson has medaled twice in state as a Freshman and Sophomore. Green, meanwhile, missed out on a medal last season, after medaling as a Sophomore.

“This season, get up on that podium at state, that’s the big goal, but medaling overall would be nice,” stated Green.

Coach Garfield likes what he has seen up to this point as head coach, and he thinks the future continues to look brighter and brighter for the Jeffs.

“When I came here, I took bits and pieces from every guy I’ve worked with and been around, and it’s been a fun process. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting a lot closer,” said Garfield.

Fairbury travels to Plattsmouth on Saturday before hosting a home dual with Central City on Tuesday. Coach Garfield’s twin brother coaches there. There will also be a home meet on Friday.



Trump Protests to Crisscross Nebraska

Omaha, NE.—Worried that a Donald Trump presidency will erode their civil rights, safety and health a Women’s March on Omaha will hit the city’s downtown streets Saturday night.

The protesters insist the rally, which includes a march from the Century Link Center to the Old Market, will be “inclusive and peaceful,” according to the group’s Facebook page which also says marchers will have a police escort.

The group says it does not condone “violence or profanity” both of which were on display during Washington D.C. protests Friday afternoon.

Dozens of police in riot gear confronted even larger numbers of rock throwers and flag burners not far from the inaugural parade route.

Saturday protests are also scheduled for Lincoln, on the University of Nebraska campus at 2pm, and main street Loup City at 1pm.

Prior to the hour-long march in Omaha—scheduled to begin at 6pm—there will be an “activism workshop” with speeches from former Omaha area Congressman Brad Ashford (D) and Jane Kleeb, Chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Kleeb wasted no time criticizing the country’s new president. In a statement released shortly after President Trump’s swearing-in and inaugural address Kleeb said, “Today Pres. Trump promised to give the government back to the people. These words ring hollow given his cabinet nominees own more wealth than 30% of Americans.”


Creighton Student Arrested for Making Terroristic Threats

CREIGHTON, NE — A Creighton teen is facing felony charges after threats made on a social media app last week.

According to the Creighton Police Department, a male juvenile made threats towards individual students of Creighton Public Schools and also stated he would blow the school up. He made the threats on January 11th over the social media site HouseParty, which offers a multi-person live video streaming platform.

The juvenile is a student at Creighton Public Schools. He was arrested for making terroristic threats and was transported to the Juvenile Detention Center in Madison.

Women in Agriculture Instructors Join News Channel Nebraska

FAIRBURY – A Farm Management Education Series is coming to Washington, Kansas. “Women in Agriculture” is a six session course that is limited to 25 people that want to advance their business and management skills to become more involved with farming or ranching operation.

Classes will be held every Thursday, from February 2nd to March 9th. They will be from 3:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Dinner will be provided each session.

The cost is $50. For more information, contact the River Valley Extension District Office at 785-325-2121.

Livestock Production Agent, Katelyn Brockus, and Horticulture Agent, Kelsey Hatesohl, visited the News Channel Nebraska Studios to discuss the classes.

Road Work on U.S. 75 & HWY 2 to Begin on Monday

NEBRASKA CITY – Beginning on Monday, roadwork is set to take place on US 75 and Highway 2, near Nebraska City.

The work will be done two miles northwest of the HWY 2, US 75 intersection, with about one mile being closed down during construction. One lane will be closed on both directions during the span, with speeds reduced to 45 MPH.

The project is to replace signage on the west part of the bypass, with Watts Electric Company contracted for the job. They are under contract for 10 working days, but the project could be delayed if the area experiences weather.

Beatrice Board of Education Examines State of District

BEATRICE – The Beatrice Board of Education spent time this week assessing the state of School District 15, in terms of student numbers, staffing issues, facilities and finances.

Superintendent Pat Nauroth says there is concern over a trend toward slightly lower enrollment in the district.

:30                  “130 range”

District 15 picks up some of that lost enrollment when parochial school students enter the system at the middle school level.   But, Nauroth says it is concerning that there are larger classes graduating and smaller classes coming in.

:35                  “from now”

Nauroth says he appreciated that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts did not propose cutting aid to K-through-12 education.  Nauroth says enrollment numbers impact state aid……the fewer number of students, the lesser amount of state aid.   There’s also a component of how much property valuation is within a district.  Higher valuation means districts are considered to have more resources, and the result is lower state aid for those districts.

:24                  “it goes down”

Beatrice Public Schools annually receives between $5 million and $6 million in state aid.

With option enrollment, BPS typically sees about twice as many students option out of the district, than option in, during a typical year.  Sometimes parents send their kids to a smaller district, favoring that environment.   The downside may be, not as many class and activity offerings than at a larger district.   Nauroth says the district has tried to address the option issue through expanded pre-school.

:23                  “adjusting that”

The Beatrice Public School System currently offers preschool education for children ages three and four.  The growth in that program also translates into additional state aid.