Category Archives: Regional News

Norfolk City Council Could Act on Unpaved City Roads

NORFOLK — This is 15th St. An unpaved, gravel road, not in the country but in Norfolk, right between main roads Norfolk Avenue and Pasewalk Avenue… and two blocks from Westside elementary. It’s 2017, shouldn’t a thru street in a modern city be paved? Mark Klafter who lives one block down the street thinks so.

“Wow why is that here?” Klafter said. “So that started basically from the first day I arrived here in Norfolk and I’ve always been concerned about it and always been unhappy about it as others in this area have been.”

But because Klafter lives a block away from the unpaved section of 15th street, he can’t directly do anything about it. That’s what brought him to the Norfolk City Council meeting Tuesday night, to alert the Council to the situation and ask for assistance. He listed his concerns.

“Here we have no sidewalk, a dirty, rut-filled street,” Klafter said. “We have something that is messy. It encourages people to speed. Those with sports cars or pickup trucks or motorcycles love to rev it up and go very fast on this street.”

There’s two ways the street could get paved. First, a majority of property owners can petition to set up a paving district, and second, a 3/4 vote of the City Council can force a paving district. Either way, the property owners pay for the paving based on the square footage that borders their property.

Other unpaved city streets include part of Square Turn Boulevard and some side streets near Memorial Stadium. City Public Works Director Dennis Smith says he’s met with unpaved property owners over the years and they don’t want to pay for paving.

“It boils down to cost primarily,” Smith said. “You know, they just don’t want to make that a priority in their budget to pay for a paving assessment. They seem to be happy with what they have.”

Now the payment would have to option to be paid over 10 years, but Klafter still thinks the owners won’t be willing to petition the city, that’s why he’s hoping the Council will take the initiative to make the 3/4 vote necessary to force the paving.

“We’re not talking about putting financial duress on anybody, but we are asking the City to do the right thing for, again, a 21st century city to have streets,” Klafter said.

So for Klafter and his neighbors, concrete trucks would be a welcome sight here on 15th street, but that decision, will likely be left to the City Council.

Baby Gorilla Makes Debut at Omaha Zoo

NDOR Sticking to Plan for Another Winter Storm

NORFOLK — For the Nebraska Department of Roads, it’s just the same old drill when you get to this point in winter.

District 3 Supervisor Tom Wagner says their preparation strategy won’t change much from their usual storm work for this round of snow.

“Probably not a whole lot different,” Wagner said. “It’s the wind that’s going to be the worst part of it. You can plow all day and it will look like you haven’t done nothing a couple hours later.”

Speaking of that wind. Gusts are expected to reach 35 miles per hour overnight making road conditions so poor that it could be risky for plows to be on the road.

“Usually, if they can’t see we’ll tell them to pull over where they feel safe or come back to the shop,” Wagner said. “One of the supervisors usually goes out with the pickup to check the visibility and we go from there.”

The Department of Roads is keeping travel for District basketball games in mind but isn’t planning any special efforts to accommodate fans. They encourage those who choose to travel to check Nebraska 511 before driving.

Woman Rear Ends NDOR Vehicle North of Cortland

CORTLAND – Highway 77, just south of the intersection with 55H Spur near Cortland, was cut to only one lane after an accident that featured a car and a Nebraska Department of Roads vehicle.

As of 12:40 p.m., the right lane of Highway 77 south bound, just north of Cortland, was blocked off. According to the Nebraska State Patrol, a woman ran into the back of an NDOR truck with an electronic traffic sign behind it.

The woman walked away from the incident with no medical treatment. The State Patrol has indicated that the investigation is still ongoing.

Child Arrested for Stealing Car; Forging Checks

STANTON – He should be in 7th grade, but instead a juvenile is in a detention center facing charges that he stole a car and forged checks.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger says a 13-year old boy was arrested this week. Sheriff Unger says they found the boy in possession of a car that he had stolen from a Stanton residence.

In addition, officers found the boy in possession of forged checks that he had taken from the vehicle.

The juvenile was already on probation for a previous theft when he was arrested this week. He’s currently housed in the Madison Juvenile Detention Center.

Short, Klein to Headline Special Anniversary Comedy Festival

NORFOLK – The Great American Comedy Festival is going all out for its 10th anniversary.

Festival organizers announced Thursday that the headline performer for their Saturday gala event will be none other than comedy legend Martin Short. In addition, previous comedy festival performer and legendary stand-up Robert Klein will be back to receive the Johnny Carson Comedy Legend award.

The festival, which honors the legacy of Norfolk-native Johnny Carson, will run from June 14th through the 17th. Tickets are expected to go on sale soon.

Here’s the full lineup of events:

— Wednesday, June 14, an opening night tribute to Johnny Carson

Planned is a special showing of the 1982 NBC primetime television special “Johnny Goes Home,” along with airing of a new documentary featuring Norfolk and area residents who were part of the production of that TV special.

In addition, there will be a special sneak peek of the new “There’s …. Johnny!” comedy-drama currently being filmed for the Seeso streaming comedy network. The show will premiere this fall on Seeso, but festival attendees will get the first look at the show being co-created by actor Paul Reiser and David Steven Simon. It tells the fictional story of a young man from Valentine who makes his way to Los Angeles and lands a job with “The Tonight Show” during the early 1970s.

Those Wednesday evening activities will be free and open to the public. Also planned is a reception for festival sponsors.

— Thursday, June 15, the annual comedy-magic show for the entire family.

Traditionally taking place on Wednesday night, the comedy-magic show moves to Thursday this year and again will feature top performers as selected by Richard Barrett, manager of the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Scheduled to take the stage at the Johnny Carson Theatre are magicians/illusionists Kalin and Jinger, Marcus Monroe and Jeff and Tessa Evason.

— Friday, June 16, the “best of the fest” performance.

This show will be headlined by Wendy Liebman, who performed at the 2012 comedy festival. The performance will feature eight of the nine individuals who won the professional stand-up competition at the festival in past years.

Scheduled to perform at the Johnny Carson Theatre are David “Deacon” Gray, who won the inaugural festival competition in 2008; Kermet Apio, the 2009 winner; Ryan Hamilton, the 2011 winner; Pete Lee, the 2012 winner; Phil Palisoul, the 2013 winner; Brian Kiley, the 2014 winner; Brad Wenzel, the 2015 winner, and last year’s winner, Marc Normand.

— Saturday, June 17, writers panel and festival gala.

A free event planned for Saturday afternoon is a panel discussion featuring writers connected to “The Tonight Show” that will be moderated by Nebraska native and entertainer Dick Cavett, who was a writer for the show himself.

The panel discussion will feature Mike Reiss, Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers, all of whom were on the writing staff of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” as well as David Steven Simon, co-creator of the “There’s …. Johnny!” television show currently in production.

The highlight of the festival will be Saturday evening’s gala featuring Martin Short as headliner and the presentation of the Johnny Carson Comedy Legend award to Robert Klein.

But also appearing will be these past festival performers: Larry Miller, the 2010 festival headliner; Caroline Rhea, a 2014 headliner; Jake Johannsen, a 2012 headliner; Tommy Johnagin, a 2011 headliner; and Mike E. Winfield, also a 2011 headliner.

INTERVIEW: Senator Ben Sasse Visits Norfolk, Talks Fischer and DeVos

Story above — Interview below

NORFOLK — While his colleague Deb Fischer endured protests at her stops in Nebraska on Wednesday, US Senator Ben Sasse was away from the political fire in Norfolk. The US Senator and Fremont-native spoke to juniors and seniors in government classes at Norfolk High School in the afternoon and says it was refreshing. Afterwards, Sasse made it to the News Channel Nebraska studios and discussed a wide range of topics. Watch to see what he said.

Visit with the school 0:00-0:59
Challenges facing workforce 1:00-2:28
Reaction to protests at Sen. Deb Fischer’s events 2:28-3:05
Why he voted to confirm Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos 3:05-4:46
If he thinks Sec. DeVos is a big enough advocate for public schools 4:46-end

Old Man Winter Hasn’t Gone Anywhere

NEBRASKA CITY, NE – It was too good to be true. The region’s streak of 60 and 70 degree days appears to be ending.

The National Weather Service office in Valley forecasts a high Thursday in the mid-50’s, before dropping to the upper 30’s for Friday.

WeatherEye Meteorologist Ray Miller, partners with News Channel Nebraska, says a strong cold front will develop and sweep across the region Thursday.

“And that’s going to result in that really dramatic change in temperatures as we go through the day on Thursday. We’ll be about 20 degrees cooler on Thursday than we were today (Wednesday). Then the real core of the cold air starts to push into the region for Friday and on into the weekend, with high temperatures likely in the high 30s.”

Light snow is in the forecast for Friday afternoon into Friday night, but according to Miller, the area will see less than an inch. The vast majority of precipitation will be rain through Friday night.

“Cold and blustery is going to be the main story for us as this system moves through. Quite a bit of rainfall, as well, out ahead of the cold front. Could even have a a few rumbles of thunder through the day on Thursday, not something we’re dealing with very often in February.”

Southeast Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri is on the edge of the storm system. The focus for heavy snowfall totals will be in north-central and northeast Nebraska, southeast South Dakota and into Minnesota. Winter storm watches and warnings, and blizzard watches are in effect for those areas.

Miller says temperatures will rebound into the lower to upper 50s Monday and Tuesday.

FULL INTERVIEW: Dick Cavett Talks Neihardt, Early Days, Relationship With Johnny Carson

BANCROFT, NE — TV legend Dick Cavett visited the John G. Neihardt State Historical Site on Monday afternoon. His full interview with NCN is above and the news story on the event is below. Cavett is 80 years-old.

Southeast Community College Considering New Tuition, Room and Board Rates

BEATRICE – The Southeast Community College Board next month will set new tuition rates for the coming year, having faced a 4% reduction in state aid and uncertainty about the level of aid in the next two-year state budget.

The school’s Board of Governors Tuesday reviewed tuition and fee options that range from no increase, to a little more than a seven percent hike. Even if the largest increase would be adopted, Lincoln Campus President Bev Harvey says SCC would still compare favorably with other institutions.   Based on 30 semester hours, SCC has the lowest charge of all six community colleges in Nebraska.

:38                  “community colleges”

Student Senate organizations have weighed in on the tuition option they would support.  Beatrice Campus students favored a two-dollar increase per credit hour, while Milford Campus students supported a four-dollar increase, with a 50-cent increase in fees.  Lincoln Campus students supported a one-dollar increase in tuition.

:16                  “student centers”

The SCC Board will also be setting room and board rates next month.  Beatrice Campus President Bob Morgan says based on enrollment and expenses, a 1.8% increase in housing cost for students is proposed, to $1,500.  A $300 food credit that has been successful with students, would be continued.  Morgan says the housing price would be kept the same at the campus’ oldest dorm unit.

:38                  “in 1965”

At the Milford Campus, President Ed Koster says a two-percent room and board increase is being proposed.   The campus third-party food service provider is increasing its’ rate, by one percent.

:21                  “Milford Campus”

SCC President Dr. Paul Illich says the state’s budget picture will factor into the decisions about where to set tuition, room and board.   With recent approval of budget cuts by the legislature, signed by Governor Pete Ricketts…community colleges saw a state aid reduction.