Category Archives: Regional News

Students Awarded Scholarships Through Beatrice Educational Foundation

BEATRICE – The Beatrice Educational Foundation announced Beatrice High School student scholarship recipients, Sunday.  A ceremony was held at the Beatrice High School Commons area, with several students receiving at least one of over forty scholarships announced, ranging from $100 up to $7,000.

The foundation’s Kay McKinzie says selecting the recipients was an especially difficult job this year because of the high level of performance and qualifications, by students.

:35                  “top of the rung”

Interest from the Beatrice Educational Foundation’s $1.9 million in assets, provides the scholarships.  Several families over the years have endowed scholarships that are given on an annual basis.  

:25                  “school system”

The top scholarships…the Francis Fellwock Reed Scholarships totaling $7,000 each, went to two students….Tessa Hoffman and Evan Sueper.  Fred and Virginia Vette scholarships, totaling $6,000 each, went to five students…..Dillon Damme, Colton Gronewold, Nathan Lancaster, Jamison Theye and Graham Southwick.

The Beatrice Educational Foundation is in its 31st year.

Watermeier Says It’s ‘Too Soon’ For Special Session On Taxes

NEBRASKA CITY – State Sen. Dan Watermeier says 13 lawmakers have asked the secretary of state to call a special session of the Unicameral to reduce property taxes.

In his weekly radio address, Watermeier said if the secretary of state finds 33 senators in support of a special session, then Gov. Pete Ricketts must convene the Unicameral within 5 days.

Watermeier said the school finance formula needs to be revamped first.


Watermeier: “More than two-thirds of school districts no longer receive equalization aid, something I doubt the creators ever envisioned. This results in too great of a burden placed on property taxes to fund our rural schools.”

He said he supports the concept of foundation aid, which establishes a certain amount of funding per student.

Watermeier: “A special session called yet this month would be too soon and would not allow for a comprehensive look at the underlying problems associated with our high property taxes.”

The session ended in recognition of six senators who will not return due to term limits.

Omaha man, 90, dies after vehicle goes into water near Two Rivers State Recreation Area

A 90-year-old Omaha man died after his daughter backed their car into a pond near Two Rivers State Recreation Area, the Nebraska State Patrol said.

Dewey R. Andersen was pronounced dead at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, where he had been taken by ambulance in extremely critical condition. The driver of the vehicle was Andersen’s daughter, Joni L. Carveth, 61, of Fresno, California, a State Patrol spokesman said.

The incident, reported at 9:12 p.m., occurred along West Center Road where it crosses the Platte River near the Douglas-Saunders County line.

Carveth had been backing the vehicle out of a driveway and went almost straight into the pond, said Lt. Matt Sutter of the State Patrol. Carveth was able to make it to safety, but her father was found in the water outside of the vehicle.

Protester from Lincoln faces charges for vandalism at NRA lobbyist’s home

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Protesters are targeting the northern Virginia home of the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist and say the protests will continue.

In one case, court records show Patricia Hill of Lincoln, Nebraska, has been charged with misdemeanor destruction of property outside the home of NRA lobbyist Chris Cox.

Alexandria Police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said Friday there were two separate incidents stretching back to last fall.

A court hearing has been scheduled for May 21.

Protesters also conducted a confrontational but peaceful protest April 10 outside Cox’s home as well as his wife’s nearby decorating business.

Libby Locke, a lawyer for the Cox family, said the vandalism included spraying fake blood and defacing the home with stickers.

“The Cox family does not view these activities as a peaceable protest exercise,” Locke said in a statement. “These coordinated tactics have crossed the line of civility and human decency.”

Nosal said a city ordinance is in place regulating protests outside private homes, but said the commonwealth’s attorney is reviewing the law’s constitutionality.

Catherine Koebel of Roanoke, Virginia, and Amanda Gailey, a professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, representing the Great Gun Melt, stood outside Cox’s home with a sign reading “Chris Cox profits off dead kids.” They handed out fliers urging a consumer protest of his wife’s business.

Koebel said the police were called out twice to the protest but told Gailey and Koebel they weren’t doing anything illegal.

Koebel said Courtney Cox, Chris Cox’s wife, grabbed a cellphone from her hand and threw it to the ground, injuring Koebel’s hand in the process. She said she is considering pressing charges through a magistrate.

Locke said Courtney Cox denies causing any injury to Koebel.

Koebel acknowledged that the protests are confrontational, but said the tactic is warranted under the circumstances.

“He’s profiting off murders and suicides,” Koebel said of Cox. She accused the NRA of encouraging its supporters to use armed intimidation as a political tactic.

Locke said the sign saying Cox profits from dead children is “false, grotesque and clearly designed to target and intimidate the Cox family at their private residence.”

Koebel said she expects the protests at the Cox home to continue.

Country School Association will hold national conference in Beatrice

LINCOLN — Lovers of old country schools from across the country will be gathering June 17-20 in Beatrice.

It is the first time the Country School Association of America is holding its national conference in Nebraska. The theme of the 18th annual event is “Free People, Free Land, Free Schools.”

The conference begins on June 17 with a reception at Southeast Community College, followed by free programs at 1 p.m. at Homestead National Monument. Conference presentations are scheduled on June 18 and 19, including talks on the 1888 blizzard, the Orphan Train and the Homestead Monument’s Freeman School. A bus tour of one-room schools in southeast Nebraska is scheduled on June 20.

Preregistration is required, and fees increase by $50 for registrations made after May 20.

For more information, contact Beth Stukenholtz at 515-480-4575 or access the website

One-Car Accident Injures Driver, Southeast of Beatrice

BEATRICE – The driver of a car that went off a road southeast of Beatrice was taken to Beatrice Community Hospital, Thursday night.

Gage County Sheriff’s officers say firefighters and EMS personnel were also sent to South 36th near Belvidere Drive, about three miles southeast of Beatrice.

Investigators say a car driven by Delani Lansford, of Beatrice was traveling south on South 36th, when the car went off the west side of the road.  Investigators say the driver then over-corrected and the car crossed the road, struck a mailbox and went into the east ditch.   The vehicle then hit an embankment, continuing south until it came to rest in a pasture.

Lansford was taken by ambulance to Beatrice Community Hospital for treatment of injuries.  Two other occupants of the car were not injured. Both front airbags in the car deployed.

Law officers and emergency personnel were sent to the scene at 7:22 p.m.

Sheriff’s Officers Investigate Death, Near Filley

BEATRICE – Gage County Sheriff’s investigators say the death of a 55-year-old woman near Filley was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Late last Tuesday night, sheriff’s officers were summoned to a rural home northwest of Filley, after a woman was found with a gunshot wound to her head.  Authorities investigating say the woman was found by a person who owns the home and where the woman had been staying, since the previous Saturday.

The homeowner had been at work at his shop, came home and found the woman in a chair with a gunshot wound.  Sheriff’s officers were summoned at 11:37 p.m. Tuesday.

A sheriff’s investigator and the Gage County Attorney called to the scene said the preliminary investigation is that 55-year-old Dianna Coan, of Fremont, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Law officers recovered a nine-millimeter handgun from the home.

The Gage County Sheriff’s Office reports the incident remains under investigation.

Teen accused of fatally shooting mother of two held without bail

A 17-year-old boy accused of being involved in a fatal shooting of a mother of two was ordered held without bail Friday.

Daion Williams of Omaha was charged with first-degree murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony. Authorities have issued a warrant on the same charges for the arrest of a second man allegedly involved, 19-year-old Marcus Wheeler. He is still being sought.

Kayviaun Nelson, 21, died after she was shot Wednesday in the parking lot of the Irvington Walmart Supercenter at 6304 N. 99th St about 4:45 p.m. Prosecutors said Nelson, Williams and Wheeler got into a fight at a nearby Dollar General. Nelson drove away and Williams and Wheeler followed her, the prosecutor said.

Nelson left behind two children, ages four months and two years old. There will be a prayer walk held for Nelson in the Walmart parking lot at 5:30 p.m.

Anyone with information about Wheeler should contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at 444-STOP or or on the P3 Tips mobile app. Tips leading to Wheeler’s arrest are eligible for a $5,000 reward.

Written Records, Arguments Being Submitted in Gage County Zoning Challenge

BEATRICE – A judge has given both sides time to submit written arguments in a Gage County District Court bench trial over a zoning dispute.

Gage County’s denial of a permit for an anhydrous ammonia operation is being challenged by Holtmeier Brothers, Inc.

The company’s application for a special use permit for an anhydrous operation about five miles west of Beatrice was recommended for approval by the Gage County Planning Commission, but then rejected by the county board, on a 3-4 vote.

Holtmeier Brothers had sought to develop the operation on land it owns along Southwest 117th Road.  A grain bin facility is already located at the site, and the expansion proposed two 30,000-gallon anhydrous storage tanks and more than 20 nurse tanks, for selling and distributing anhydrous ammonia.  The land is currently zoned Agriculture-one.

The county board cited that the operation would be dangerously close to residential homes, could cause harm or damage, and is not an appropriate location for the facility.  Nine property owners who own acreages in the area, have intervened in the case.

The county planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the special use permit, on January 12th of 2017.  The county supervisors’ denial of the permit, came March 29th of last year.

Presiding Judge Julie Smith says she’ll take the matter under advisement after lawyers for both sides have submitted their written arguments.

Beatrice Police Arrest Suspect for DUI, Assault

BEATRICE – Local police arrested a man overnight on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and domestic assault.

Beatrice officers were called to the two-hundred block of North Bell Street, on a report of an assault.  Officers arriving on scene in west Beatrice saw a jeep parked in the middle of the twelve hundred block of Meriwether Street.  The vehicle had a man and two children inside.  Police say the man showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol.

Investigating officers also learned that he allegedly had stood over a woman lying on the floor of a home and punched her in the head.   The 48-year-old woman was taken to Beatrice Community Hospital.

Police arrested 51-year-old Scott Tumpach Sr. on suspicion of third offense driving under the influence of alcohol, domestic assault, two counts of child abuse and refusal to submit to alcohol testing.  According to court records, Tumpach later registered a preliminary blood alcohol test result of point-2-0-8.

The children who were in the vehicle, ages twelve and fifteen, have been turned over to the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Court records indicate Tumpach has prior DUI convictions from 2005 and 2011.

His appearance bond has been set in Gage County Court at $7,500, with further proceedings scheduled for May 8th.