Nebraska Archives:

NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) — A total of four suspects who are accused of keeping several children in a cage in a dirty trailer home in Nebraska appeared in court on Thursday, CNN reported.

The suspects, which includes the mother of the children, were arrested on Monday after police received an anonymous tip which led to a welfare check on the residence in North Platte, a city in Lincoln County. Four children were found living in squalor, with two allegedly housed in a wire animal kennel, police said.

Police Lieutenant Rich Hoaglund said in a statement that two young children, ages 5 and 3, were found in the metal kennel which was secured by a wire tie and reportedly had a mattress inside. Two other children, ages 8 years and 8 months, were not in the kennel but were considered to be in unsafe conditions, he added.

According to the report, the four adults – the mother and her three roommates – were all aware of the conditions. They were charged with felony child abuse, first-degree false imprisonment and misdemeanor child abuse, CNN reported.

The children were placed in state custody while the suspects remain in jail on $50,000 bond each.

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KABUL (BNO NEWS) — A roadside bomb killed a U.S. Navy SEAL in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the U.S. Department of Defense and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed on Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Defense said 26-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb A. Nelson of Omaha, Nebraska was killed when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) while conducting a combat patrol in Zabul province, located in the country’s south.

Nelson was a United States Navy SEAL assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit based in Norfolk, Virginia. Other details about Nelson or the patrol he was on were not immediately released.

Also on Sunday, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed 32-year-old First Sergeant Billy J. Siercks of Velda Village, Missouri died on Wednesday as a result of wounds suffered a day earlier in Logar province when insurgent attacked his unit using indirect fire. Siercks died at a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

There are currently more than 130,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, including some 90,000 U.S. troops and more than 9,500 British soldiers. U.S. President Barack Obama previously ordered a drawdown of 10,000 American troops later this year, with another 23,000 U.S. troops to return home next year.

So far this year, at least 468 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most troops are American and are killed in the country’s south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians. The deadliest incident happened in August when a U.S. helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 U.S. troops, seven Afghan troops and an Afghan interpreter.

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) — A US Airways flight made an emergency landing in Omaha, Nebraska early Sunday after experiencing electrical malfunctions, but none of the passengers or crew members were reported injured, local media reported.

The Air Bus 320 left Chicago, Illinois with 107 passengers and was bound for Phoenix, Arizona but after experiencing technical difficulty, the pilot decided to make the emergency landing at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield at approximately 9:20 a.m. local time, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Eppley’s operation supervisor said the plane was able to land without incident, and the passengers were re-routed through other flights. The aircraft was reportedly being inspected in Omaha by US Airways mechanics.

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LAS VEGAS (BNO NEWS) — Nebraska’s 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan was crowned Miss America 2011 on Saturday night, becoming the youngest since a 1938 age regulation was changed in 1993.

Scanlan, from Gering, Nebraska and a Scottsbluff High School student, was selected out of 52 other participants in the pageant’s 90th edition, which was held at Las Vegas’ Theater for the Performing Arts, winning a $50,000 scholarship.

In 1938, the beauty pageant placed a rule, requiring all participants to be at least 18 years old, with an age limit at 28. However, in 1993, the rule was changed to 17 to 24. The youngest to ever win Miss America was Connecticut’s 15-year-old Marian Bergeron in 1933.

In her desire to go to law school, Scanland said that attorneys and politicians are “looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry,” adding that she believes that people “who have their heart and mind in the right place” should get into those “powerful positions.”

The first and second runner ups were Alyse Eady from Arkansas and Jalee Fuselier from Hawaii, respectively. Scanalan is taking the place of last year’s winner, 22-year-old Caressa Cameron from Virginia. The Quality of Life Award went to Michigan’s Katie LaRoche.

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) — A 17-year-old senior of a Nebraska high school on Wednesday fatally shot himself after opening fire against two school administrators, one of them later died, local media reported.

Robert Butler Jr., who had recently transferred to Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska last October from Lincoln Southwest High School, shot the two administrators at around 12:50 p.m. local time. After police searched for Butler for around 40 minutes, authorities found him dead in his vehicle with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Journal Star reported.

Millard South High School Assistant Principal Vicki Kaspar, 58, died at the Creighton University Medical Center later that evening after succumbing to her wounds during the shooting. Principal Curits Case, 45, was reportedly in serious but stable condition.

The school issued a Code Red Lockdown, which was active until around 2:45 p.m. local time when the school began releasing each class one by one. All schools in the district were placed on lockdown as well during the search.

Lincoln Southwest High School Principal Rob Slauson described Butler as a “fairly normal, average student,” the paper reported.

Details of the incident are still unclear, and authorities are also unsure of how and where Butler got hold of the weapon. His Father, Robert Butler Sr. is a detective with the Omaha Police Department and was a Lincoln police officer from 1995 to 2003, but no further information has been released.

The reason of the shooting also remains unclear, but Butler posted a Facebook message before the shooting saying people were going to hear “about the evil s–t” he did.

“Everybody that used to know me I’m sry but Omaha changed me and f—ed me up. and the school I attend is even worse ur gonna here about the evil s–t I did but that f—ing school drove me to this. I wont u guys to remember me for who I was b4 this ik. I greatly affected the lives of the families ruined but I’m sorry. goodbye.”

In addition, friends say the 17-year-old senior had been recently suspended for driving his car on the football field. He had also previously carved out a curse word onto something he made at his pottery class, which got him in trouble. However, he has been generally described as a regular teenager who was new to the school.

One of the most remembered school shootings was the Colombine High School shooting, which occurred on April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. During the shooting, 12 students and a teacher were killed. In addition, 23 other students were injured before the shooters, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed themselves.

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ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (BNO NEWS) – More than 400 National Guard members from three states were called up for flood duty after heavy rains caused cresting rivers this week, the American Forces Press Service announced on Tuesday.

Wyoming, Nebraska, and West Virginia were declared states of emergency by their respective governors who called in the National Guard to help protecting people and their properties.

In Wyoming, the number of Army and Air Guard members was increased from 250 to 400. The Freemont County area continues to be the biggest concern as it was the most affected area by the heavy storms. Several rivers are expected to crest by June 18, implying that the flooding swill continue for some time.

In Nebraska, the National Guard responded to requests from the state’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to assist with damage assessments after recent flooding. There are about 60 counties impacted by the natural disaster and 44 of those have requested assistance from the state.

Guardsmen are assisting EMA with damage assessment and mission analysis. Most of the damages were in county roads, bridges, homes and ranches. In West Virginia, Guardsmen were called in to help with debris removal that resulted from the severe storms.

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) – A LaVeen, Arizona man was sentenced on Tuesday to six months of imprisonment for his role in a conspiracy to receive, possess and transport stolen property, prosecutors announced.

Roy William Plummer, 50, was convicted for a conspiracy charge and was ordered to pay $52,000 in restitution. Plummer and two co-defendants conspired to transport in interstate commerce various items of stolen property valued at approximately $125,000. They stole various trailers, ATV’s, commercial welders, commercial generators, light plants and skid steersfor selling them in Nebraska.

Terry Bain, 55, of Nebraska and Marty Ellis of Arizona conspired to transport construction equipment and vehicles across state lines to sell them at auction houses between January and August 2007. Bain and Ellis shared the proceeds.

Plummer’s involvement in the conspiracy consisted in providing a staging and storage area for the stolen property at his ranch in LaVeen. Plummer also helped loading the stolen property on trailers for transport to Nebraska by Bain.

Bain was indicted on one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state lines, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a stolen vehicle, three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of forfeiture of firearms. He first pleaded guilty to the charges but then changed his plea to not guilty. His sentence is scheduled on May 18.

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LINCOLN, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) – Governor Dave Heineman on Monday signed bill LB 742 into law, which requires a public entity or public agency, providing coverage to another public entity, and to maintain a public record of all settled claims.

The bill requires public entity settlements above $50,000 or 1% of the annual budget, whichever is less, to include a written executed settlement agreement that includes a brief description of the claim, parties released under the settlement, and amount of compensation paid.

Additionally, a claim reaching these amounts will be required to appear as an agenda item at the next meeting of the public agency providing coverage and the next meeting of the public body for approval, if required.

“For democracy to prosper, government must to be accountable to the people it represents,” said Governor Heineman. “As public officials, we are accountable to our citizens and maintaining clear communication with Nebraskans should play a central role in everything we do. LB 742 promotes transparency and I commend Senator McCoy for his work on this important legislation.”

The bill was introduced by state Senator Beau McCoy of Omaha.

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LINCOLN, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) – Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed on Monday the LB 1018 bill, which will allow cities and counties to use voter approved local option sales taxes for economic development efforts connected to tourism and community revitalization, into law, the Communications Office of the Governor announced.

“LB 1018 is an opportunity for residents to decide what kind of economic development opportunities they want to support. The Nebraska Advantage has attracted new business interest to our state and created opportunities for local companies to expand,” Governor Heineman said.

Under the legislative bill 1018, private developers of recreation, tourism, dining, and entertainment options could qualify for refunds according to four investment tiers ranging from $10 million and $15 million to those totaling $50 million. Projects could include new cultural institutions such as museums, performing arts venues, recreation and entertainment venues, and specialty dining establishments.

The Nebraska Advantage Transformational Tourism and Redevelopment Act expands the package of incentives contained in the Nebraska Advantage, which provides specific credits for private industry creating as few as 10 jobs and investing $1 million in capital in Nebraska.

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA (BNO NEWS) – A man of Lincoln, Nebraska was sentenced to seven months in prison and three years of supervised release for one count of misuse of a Social Security number, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

Rigoberto Espinoza-Raya, 33, was arrested on July 1, 2009. In November and December 2008, He opened various bank accounts at Tier One Bank in Lincoln using a Social Security number which wasn’t assigned to Espinoza-Raya.

After being arrested, Espinoza-Raya admitted to have purchased the invalid Social Security number from an unknown person in Lincoln for $150.

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