Category Archives: Regional News

Member Of Inmate Construction Program Finds Opportunity, Acceptance In Beatrice

BEATRICE – When ground broke on March 28th at 1923 Ella Street Inmate 82087 Joshua Noble asked the public not to judge he and his fellow inmates for what they had done previously, but what they set out to do.

“Just because some people might be incarcerated, it doesn’t make us bad people. We have made poor choices, if we can learn to turn that around and make better choices for ourselves and really try to give back to the community. Which I believe this program is a lot about, giving back and showing that we want…we really want to do better.”

As of Friday Noble is no longer an inmate in Nebraska, released back into society after serving his prison sentence. Fellow inmates, and members of the Prairie Gold Homes construction team remember him as a hard worker.

“Very quick learner, he jumped on to a lot of the stuff really quick and was really eager to learn. He helped out on a lot of stuff, he got a lot of experience really quick.”

“I really saw him grow a lot in the twelve weeks we’ve been doing this.”

As for Noble’s hopes to not be judged, they didn’t come true right away but after a while the neighborhood came around.

“It seems like they love us. We’ve helped out, we’ve mowed a few lawns, helped with some gutters, some landscaping. I think we’ve gotten donuts from just about everybody on the block. One day we had four different batches of donuts show up from the neighbors. We joke around with the neighbor Bob all the time, send him some extra food if we have some. Some cake, or pie, or brownies. He always comes out and talks to us. Neighbors are always stopping by and coming to talk to us.Let us know that they feel alright about it now.”

Upon release Noble moved to Omaha, and will be looking to get back on his feet as a productive member of society. His twelve weeks of experience along with strong support from Construction Instructor Bruce Harder will look good on a resume.

Webster says there was something missing from the first day of work without Noble around.

“I didn’t have anybody to yell at today. He wasn’t here, I didn’t have anybody to yell at.”

Sullivan says Noble will be missed.

“We appreciate his help, and we were glad to have him in the class. We’re going to definitely miss him on the next class.”

Only time will tell the impact of Noble’s experience at 1923 Ella. He arrived requesting nothing but acceptance and understanding, and left as the member of a team and a part of a neighborhood.

Big Blue River Elevated In Beatrice, Flood Risk Low

BEATRICE – Heavy rainfall in Southeast Nebraska has the Big Blue River elevated again.

It is currently 14.6 feet deep, the river has crested and is now decending in depth. There was no flooding with the raise in the river after recent rainfall.

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says that at 16 feet there tends to be low land flooding and at 18 feet is when there is enough flooding to close Memorial Drive by the West Court Bridge.

While there is water coming from Crete and Seward and more rainfall expected, Tempelmeyer said that he thinks nothing more severe than some low land flooding could occur.

Single Vehicle Accident In Beatrice Injures Two Friday Afternoon

BEATRICE – A single vehicle accident east of Beatrice occurred just before noon on Friday and injured two occupants

The single vehicle crashed about a mile east of Hannibal Park on Hoyt street. The initial call went out around 11:50 a.m. Upon arriving on scene law enforcement and rescue crews found the vehicle turned on its side on the south side of Hoyt St.

Two people were in the vehicle and have suffered potential head injuries.

Beatrice Fire and Rescue, Beatrice Rural Fire, Gage County Sheriff’s and Nebraska State Patrol responded to the scene which closed down Hoyt Street west of town.

This is a developing story, stay tuned to KWBE 1450 and for updates as they become available.

Gage County Receives Severe Storms, Tornado Warnings Thursday Afternoon

BEATRICE  – Severe weather that hit southeast Nebraska Thursday afternoon caused multiple radar indicated tornado warnings near Wilber, Cortland, Hickman and in Johnson County.

Those same storms brought with them flash floods that closed down Highway 77 in Lincoln. The Nebraska Department of Roads says that Highway 77 southbound is closed between Warlick and Saltillo due to water and debris on the road from flash floods.

The road was officially closed by NDOR at 5:05 p.m. Thursday, but Lancaster County Sheriff’s had closed the highway prior to NDOR’s official close time. It is also reported that the median was filled with flood water.

Work is currently underway to clear the debris in order to reopen the road, which is a vital roadway for people traveling from Lincoln to Beatrice. For the most up-to-date information on road closings call 511.

As for Gage County, heavy rainfall and damaging winds have torn some branches off trees. Rain and scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast throughout Thursday night, with potential for rain as well on Friday.

Stay tuned to News Channel Nebraska Channel 21 and KWBE for storm information updates.

Saline County Receives Heavy Rain

CRETE – Another afternoon and evening of severe weather Thursday in southeast Nebraska as several cities and towns were hit with severe thunderstorms as well as flash flood and tornado warnings.

Interim Saline County Emergency Management Administrator John McKee estimates from radar that Saline County and Crete received approximately 3-4 inches of rain, south of there received 1 –2 inches of rain and Fillmore County received 3 inches of rain.

Caleb Schlosser says the rain began instantly and accumulated quickly in the streets of Crete.

“I was coming up Main {Street} and it was pretty much flooded all the way across and that was at 3:30.”

Stick with News Channel Nebraska for updates on rainfall totals as information becomes available.

Homestead National Monument To Hold Fiddle Festival Over The Weekend

BEATRICE – The 18th annual Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival will take place at the Homestead National Monument of America on Saturday during the early afternoon.

“It’s fun. It is a great positive energetic atmosphere.”

The competition includes individual divisions, as well as an acoustic band category. Coordinator for the event Susan Cook says the fiddle has deep roots in the history of homesteading.

“Music was a huge part of their lives. Life was tough, it was not easy. So they were doing anything that made it fun. A fiddle was an easy instrument to have around, it didn’t need extra things and it could be in small spaces. They would play fiddle, and the violin often. They would sing with, they would dance with it. It was a source of entertainment. It was a source of stress relief, and just making life happy and enjoying life.”

The event will be going on at the Education Center, and food will be available from vendors. The park is offering a free shuttle from the Heritage Center, in the event the parking lot for the Education Center is full.

“We have signage that will be out there telling you if the education center’s lot is full. Then park at the Heritage Center and the shuttle will bring you down.”

The day will start with a fiddle workshop at 10 a.m., followed by a harmonica workshop at 11. The competition will start at noon and continue until winners are named in each category.

“For the first time, this year News Channel Nebraska is going to be showing this event live. It’s never been able to be done before, so you can tune in to channel 21 and you can watch all of the competition. Starting at noon, and until we end at 5 or 6 p.m.”

The Homestead National Monument is four miles northwest of Beatrice on Highway 4.

30th Annual Fairbury Softball Tournament a Home Run for Local Businesses

The 30th annual Fairbury Girls Softball tournament will be held this weekend at the Fairbury Softball Complex. It’s expected to bring close to 1,000 patrons to the Fairbury community. We talked to tournament director Lana Likens about the impact on the community the upcoming tournament will have.

“This year we are bringing in 36 teams, and those 36 teams have at least ten girls on each team, plus coaches, plus fans, parents, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles who come watch and cheer them on.”

It’s this kind of turnout that has local business owners like Shirley Bender expecting a big Memorial weekend.

“Softball, the Girls Softball Association, does a lot of work for this and it does a good thing for our entire community, and they’ve done a lot of work down on that softball field. They bring in girls from all over and people come back and they talk about it, and it gives them a chance to experience not only our food, but our town – and we’ve got a great town for them to come and experience.”

Likens agrees and appreciates the support the tournament gets from the community.

“This is the 30th year of our tournament, and to have a tournament go for 30 years means this community has been very supportive of it. We’ve had lots of volunteers, lots of people involved in softball, the city has supported it, the chamber of commerce, it has been just a really good thing and it’s taken a lot of community support to keep it going this long.”

The two-day tournament will conclude Sunday, with a possible rain date on Monday.

Two Life-Flighted From ATV Accident in Madison County

LINDSAY – Two people are seriously injured following an accident in southwestern Madison County.

Madison County Sheriff Vern Hjorth says it happened at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, about six miles north of Lindsay on a minimum maintenance road.

Hjorth says a four-wheeler and pickup were westbound on the road with the four wheeler in front. Sheriff Hjorth says the four wheeler topped the hill and turned around crashing head on into the pickup, driven by Preston Bussey of Battle Creek.

Twenty-year old Trevor Herchenbach of Lindsay was driving the ATV. He was airlifted from the scene to an Omaha hospital. His 16-year passenger was airlifted from the scene to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.

The extent of their injuries is unknown.

Early Registration Deadline Approaching for Cornhusker State Games

The June 1 deadline for an early registration discount for the Cornhusker State Games is fast approaching.

The 2016 games run from July 15 to 24. The annual torch run starts June 6 in Omaha.

Individuals will save $3 to $5 per event by registering before June 1.

Go to to register.

Homestead National Monument Provides Artist In Residence Program

BEATRICE – For years the National Park Service has invited artists to spend time at their parks, and gather inspiration from the land.

“For artists to come and stay, for however long, usually it’s about two weeks. To immerse themselves in a place.”

Chief Ranger at the Homestead National Monument of America Andrea Bornemeier says parks across the country, as well as other federal or state land management agencies, invite artists to spend time.

“Whether that’s on top of a mountain, or in the bottom of a canyon or out in the middle of a prairie like here at Homestead. Just immerse them self in a place. Use the features of that place.”

Casey Whittier is a teacher at the Kansas City Art Institute and a ceramic artist, and is currently working in-residence at the Homestead.

“Doing something like artist in residence, it really takes you out of what your norm is. It makes you think a little bit differently. I feel like, as an artist, that’s so important to have the opportunity to try something new. To interact with new people, and kind of spice up your artistic practice, if you will.”

Whittier is working on projects the represent the nature aspect of the Homestead, as well as working on projects that incorporate the experience of homesteaders.”

“But the historical aspect of Homestead National Monument, and the homesteading history is something that’s interesting how it draws people here.”

Whittier finds an interesting contrast in how items were more practical, functional and long lasting during the days of homesteading.

“Nowadays our lives are so much filled with these really disposable items, so I made molds of a lot of those and then cast them in sugar and I am placing them around the grounds and watching them deteriorate, and it happens pretty rapidly.”

Whittier is only in her second day in-residence, and will continue working on multiple projects during her time at the Homestead.

The artist in residence program will continue through the spring and summer and into the fall at the Homestead National Monument.