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OPS takes a fresh look at its bus policy, proposes changes to 'confusing' plan

OPS takes a fresh look at its bus policy, proposes changes to 'confusing' plan

A revised student assignment plan, up for public review this month, could result in more kids riding a bus to a school closer to home.

Bill to make Nebraska's electoral votes winner-take-all moves ahead but still too close to call

Legislative Bill 10 advanced from first-round debate on a 31-17 vote. It still must clear two more rounds of debate.

STATE APPEALS

'Constitutionally repugnant': In striking down Nebraska's gay marriage ban, judge defends rights of kids

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said it was “repugnant” to believe that children of same-sex couples should have fewer legal protections than children born into a heterosexual marriage.

South High seeks to raise $10M to $12M in private funds to build addition for performing arts program

Representatives of South High, faced with space-related issues, told the Omaha Public Schools board Monday night that the problem isn’t going away soon. Nearly 2,400 kids attend South this year.

'Multiple accidents,' 1 fatal, after roads turn icy

One person was killed Tuesday morning in a crash at 180th and State and another person was seriously injured in a rollover in Valley.  

Report backs tax credit scholarships like program outlined in legislative bill

The Nebraska proposal, which has provisions similar to programs in 14 other states, including Iowa, would allow individuals, corporations, and estates and trusts to contribute to organizations that grant scholarships to students to attend private schools and receive a state tax credit of up to 60 percent.

Insurance liability issue throws up roadblock to bill that would allow Uber, Lyft to operate legally in Nebraska

A dispute erupted Monday during a legislative hearing over whether drivers who work for the ride-sharing companies have auto insurance after they log into the companies' computer systems and wait for a customer to be assigned.

Judge finds Nikko Jenkins competent for death penalty hearing; killer wants out of solitary

Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon denies the convicted killer's request to represent himself.

Lesbian couple file protection order against man accused of stealing, burning gay pride flag

A lesbian couple have filed a protection order against an Omaha man who is accused of stealing a gay pride flag from their home and setting it on fire.

Prosecutor’s take on alleged 
spitting differed from police officers’; suspect now charged with assault

After the Omaha city prosecutor’s deliberation of charges was thrust into the public eye, David Smalheiser has leveled charges of assaulting an officer with a bodily fluid against a woman accused of spitting upon police officers in December. Initially, Smalheiser’s office declined to file assault charges in the days after the woman, Jozette M. Cotton, was arrested. 

Bail set at $150K for man who fled in wrong lanes during Omaha's morning rush hour

The prosecutor requested high bail for the "lives that could have been lost."

Born on way to hospital, surviving twin fights for life

Kaleb weighed about 2 pounds at birth. He’s since gained about 10 ounces and been taken off a breathing tube.

Brad Ashford after Netanyahu speech: Get tougher on Iran

Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., said Tuesday he agrees with concerns about the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran.

Man arrested in 14-year-old brother's cutting

Officers booked Donta Wells on suspicion of felony assault and use of a weapon to a commit a felony.

Holy Name picks St. Patrick’s principal to lead school

Don Ridder, founding principal of St. Patrick’s School in the Elkhorn area, will become principal of Holy Name School on July 1, succeeding the retiring Sofia Kock.

Police probe Little Caesars robbery

Officers said on arrival that they found one of the pizza shop’s employees suffering from a laceration to his forehead.

Firefighters battle house fire in Waterloo

The home was situated just west of the Elkhorn River and just east of U.S. Highway 275 in western Douglas County.

Ex-Underwood teacher faces sexual abuse charges

Barret Glasnapp, 45, turned himself in to Pottawattamie County authorities Monday; he is accused of abusing a female student over several years.

Nebraska Medicine has 'a pretty tall order' in replacing retiring interim CEO Dinsmoor

The board overseeing the Nebraska Medicine health system will conduct a national search for a chief executive officer in the wake of the retirement of its interim CEO, Bill Dinsmoor.

Florence, Nicholas intersection to shut for 3 months

Also, John A. Creighton Boulevard will be closed from Lake Street to Erskine Street for one month.

Police believe same man involved in 3 South Omaha robberies

Omaha police said Monday that they are searching for a man they believe robbed three restaurants during a two-week period in January.

Omaha City Council to consider $1 million TIF agreement for former Mister C’s property

The council is being asked to consider a $1 million tax-increment financing agreement with White Lotus Group and Clarity Development LLC.

Cyberattack could affect thousands of current, former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska members

More than 52,600 current or former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska members may have been affected by cyberattackers who hacked into another Blues plan's information technology system.

City Finance Department requests 2 pay raises, 1 new position

Two high-level City of Omaha finance employees are up for pay increases, and the department wants to hire someone to help with payroll.

Chris Jerram's proposal to boost high-poverty hires is on today’s City Council agenda

Under the proposal, on certain projects the city would help pay contractors’ costs for hiring and training people who live in high-poverty neighborhoods or who receive food stamps or Medicaid.

Democrats seek to expand medical marijuana in Iowa

Senate Democrats are seeking to expand access to medical marijuana in Iowa so people with chronic illnesses could get the drug at a state-run facility.

'Heaven sent me this dog': Performance entertains, inspires Iowa School for the Deaf students

Angelyne, a deaf Australian cattle dog, visited the Lied Multipurpose Complex and as well as classrooms at the ISD campus with owner Eric Melvin to share their story and perform tricks together.

Transportation board considering reopening Buddy Holly crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has agreed to consider reopening the investigation into the Iowa plane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson.

Iowa Senate panel approves plan for caucus time off

A bill requiring employers to give time off to non-essential workers so they can attend Iowa's presidential caucuses received preliminary approval in the Iowa Senate on Tuesday.

Lawyers open case against man charged with killing girl, 5

Lawyers have delivered opening statements and testimony is underway in the trial of a man accused of killing his former girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter.

New efforts launched to conserve monarch butterfly in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and several agriculture groups have convened to launch new efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly's habitat across the state.

Public safety

Talk revived of merging Douglas County, Omaha law enforcement

With a growing city and some new players in office, political leaders in Omaha and Douglas County are dusting off an old and controversial idea: combining city police and county deputies into a single metropolitan police force.

New law will let deployed Nebraska parents pick someone to perform custodial duties

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Legislative Bill 219 into law late last month, intended to help divorced or unmarried military parents obtain a court-ordered connection to their children before being deployed.

Hansen: State senators pass on chance to mandate vaccine, protect us from medieval infection

One of three Americans who contract bacterial meningitis either die or are permanently disabled. Americans would be wise to take their chances with HIV or Ebola instead.

Driver seriously injured after striking garage near 17th, Pratt

Police said Maurisa Machacha was being treated for head injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Without fanfare, Nebraska lifts ban on gay people being foster parents

The Department of Health and Human Services discontinued the controversial practice as policy; Gov. Ricketts' administration is reviewing it.

Resident appeals

Fight over Elkhorn-area home golf spa 
still running its course

An Elkhorn-area homeowner wants a mulligan.

Higher education

2 members reappointed to Nebraska State College System's board

A roundup of higher education news.

High-ability learning

Funding uncertain for Nebraska programs geared toward gifted students

A legislative hearing today may clarify where the money will come from in 2016.

Fundraising nearly complete

Salvation Army plans new smaller structure at site of its Lied Renaissance Center

The organization will build a $23.3 million center near 36th and Cuming Streets and tear down the old building after the new one opens. Officials anticipate that it will be ready for occupants in December 2016.

Forecast: Rain-freezing rain tonight into Tuesday

Motorists should expect slick roads Tuesday morning, the weather service said, and caution is advised on eastern Nebraska and western Iowa roads. 

State to request emergency stay after judge's decision to overturn gay marriage ban

LINCOLN – Nebraska will request an emergency stay from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday afternoon, according to Attorney General Doug Peterson.

Nebraska Corrections official who helped oversee sentence calculations to retire

Larry Wayne will retire April 3 as deputy director overseeing programs and community service at the Department of Correctional Services, a position he has held since 2003.

Lincoln in the midst of a building boom for apartments

One city planner counted 1,012 permits filed for multifamily units in 2014.

Omahan charged in rainbow-flag burning

Cameron Mayfield, 23, was arrested on suspicion of arson and resisting arrest in the Saturday incident.

Doctor brought to Omaha for observation remains free of Ebola virus

The American physician who was being monitored in Omaha for the Ebola virus has remained virus-free and can leave town now, upon the completion of a 21-day observation period.

Omaha real estate agent avoids jail time for running bookie business, evading more than $250K in taxes

Todd Bartusek, 44, was sentenced Friday to three years of probation, in part because he had paid back all the income taxes he had failed to claim. He could have faced up to five years in federal prison.

UNO prof resigns after student who got IV injected during class passes out

An adjunct professor said she used poor judgment when she allowed the student to inject a saline solution intravenously into another student during a speech class this month.

Senators kill resolution that could have led to expanded gambling in Nebraska

The measure, if approved by voters, would have given state lawmakers the power to authorize any form of gambling in the state. Currently, voters must amend the Constitution to expand gambling.

York man dies in rollover on I-80 near Bradshaw exit

The patrol said Robert Howard, 29, lost control of his car, which struck a guardrail and rolled.

Woman, 41, arrested in ex-boyfriend's stabbing

Kurtina Haywood was booked on suspicion of felony assault — domestic violence, and use of a weapon to commit a felony, police said.

11th Walk & Roll helps to raise money for people with disabilities

The 11th Walk & Roll for Disabilities raised between $25,000 and $30,000 for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute.

Driver killed in Sarpy County rollover ID’d as Marquette man

The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified the people involved in a fatal rollover crash early Sunday.

Emergency funds

New policy to let Nebraska cities get quicker reimbursement after disasters

The new rule whittles away a backlog of claims from cities, including Omaha, hit by flooding in 2011.

Driver stopped on I-80 near Milford was clocked at 116 mph

A woman clocked at over 100 mph Monday on Interstate 80 near Milford was arrested by a Nebraska State Patrol trooper on suspicion of drunk driving.

Senate panel OKs bill that would add fine arts to Iowa Core

A Senate panel has approved a bill that would add fine arts to Iowa's mandated education curriculum for K-12 students, though lawmakers expressed concern about its potential costs.

Deputies find pot inside container labeled 'Not Weed'

The plastic sour cream container turned up during a search of the car, and the driver acknowledged that the pot belonged to him.

Bellevue East High School lockout over; precaution after 'armed party' reported in area

Bellevue East High School briefly went into a lockout mode Monday afternoon as a precaution after authorities reported "an armed party" was in the area.

Local clergy react to judge's ruling on Nebraska's gay marriage ban

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down the state’s gay marriage ban but delayed the implementation of his ruling for a week, giving the state a chance to stop gay weddings from being performed.

Ricketts names Missouri man to head Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Monday that he has tapped Jim Macy, who has broad experience in state environmental regulation, for the job. Macy will start March 9 and make $120,000 annually.

Iowa lawmakers to introduce bill to make gun permits secret

Two Iowa lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would change state law and keep confidential the identities of those who own permits to carry firearms.

Man who tails police on 'hot calls' gets in hot water over concealed weapon

An Omaha man who said he had been following police to “hot calls” Friday was arrested for carrying a concealed knife.

Man charged in fatal shooting of neighbor in Des Moines

Des Moines police say a 30-year-old man is in custody, accused of fatally shooting his neighbor.

Iowa ethanol plant must pay sexual harassment victim another $1.1 million

IOWA CITY — A judge says a northeastern Iowa ethanol company must pay an additional $1.1 million in lost wages and attorneys’ fees to a former laboratory manager who was sexually harassed.

Iowa Senate panel OKs bill on state mental health facilities

A Senate panel has approved a bill that could halt the upcoming closings of state mental health centers in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.

Iowa Hawkeyes slash student ticket prices

Iowa is slashing prices on student season football tickets after a disappointing turnout in 2014.

Iowa woman accused of faking pregnancy to bilk couple

Police arrested an Iowa woman for allegedly faking a pregnancy to bilk a couple out of some money, and investigators said Monday that it's not the first time she has carried out such a scam.

Iowa Gov. Branstad defends budget proposal that includes staff raises

DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad is defending plans to give raises to some staffers in his office, arguing that the budgeted money will be below previous administration costs.

Competency-based classes let Iowa students set their own pace

Kids say they're more engaged and excited about lessons, while teachers see them gain deeper understandings.

Officials: Des Moines woman found in alley not killed

Authorities say a woman whose body was found in a Des Moines alley wasn't killed.

Iowa City Fire Department forced out of training facility

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Fire Department has to get creative after being forced to vacate the training facility it has used for the last 13 years.

Family, friends remember Vinton girl fatally shot by teen

VINTON, Iowa — Friends and family gathered to honor a 14-year-old Vinton girl who died at a hospital after being shot by another teen handling a rifle.

The Record: Commercial real estate transfers, March 2

DOUGLAS

The Record: Marriages, divorces

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Competitive siblings on a roll

Grace: 10 Italian-Omahans set out to determine who makes the tastiest meatballs

It was love that baked the homemade bread Mary Jo Klusmire and her siblings took in their lunches to South Omaha Catholic schools. It was love that grew the fat tomatoes in her late father’s garden, and roasted the garlic and stewed the sauce. And it is love that will be on display today at Gorat’s. Along with hundreds of meatballs.

Annual CT scans to detect lung cancer now covered under Medicare

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the U.S., Nebraska and Iowa.

'Refreshing,' puzzling: Analysts weigh in on Berkshire Hathaway letter

Warren Buffett's take on a wide range of subjects draws wide-ranging views.

Good Deeds, March 1

Following are fundraisers, donations and other charitable events happening in the Midlands. Email your information about good deeds to connect@owh.com or call 402-444-1040.

Nebraska, Iowa say prisoner risk assessments can help reduce repeat crimes

Officials involved in corrections in Nebraska as well as Iowa defend the use of such risk and needs assessments as a key player in reducing prison costs re-offense rates.

Lincoln woman took dog from her ex-boyfriend, police say

A Nebraska woman has been charged with breaking into her former boyfriend’s home and stealing the dog they once shared.

Driver frees herself from car after losing control, entering creek

A woman was seriously injured after she lost control of her vehicle and landed in a creek Sunday afternoon.

Man whose wife died in 52nd, Farnam collision is still critically hurt

The husband of a woman who died when the car they were in struck a tree in Omaha remained in critical condition on Saturday, authorities said.

Physician brought to Omaha for observation remains free of Ebola

The American physician who was being monitored for Ebola virus disease in Omaha has remained virus-free and now can leave town upon completion of a 21-day observation period.

Sarpy County rollover kills driver, injures passenger

One person died and another was injured when a pickup truck rolled over early Sunday in Sarpy County.

Woman's body found in Des Moines alley

Police were investigating after finding a woman’s body in an alley in Des Moines.

Iowa's fuel tax is going up, how long before road fixes?

With a fuel tax increase taking effect, how quickly can Iowa drivers expect to see road improvements on their daily commutes?

Nebraska looking at ways to lure out-of-state tourists

Tourism is the state's third-largest industry, creating $4.4 billion in travel expenses in 2013, but there appears to be room to grow.

New NW Iowa psychiatric facility for children opens in May

A new facility offering psychiatric care and substance abuse treatment to children and teens in northwest Iowa is expected to address an important need in the region when it opens this spring.

Homestead National Monument to host Storytelling Festival

The Homestead National Monument of America has scheduled a storytelling festival this week.

Free walleye fishing workshop set for aquarium near Gretna

Nebraska Game and Parks has scheduled a free walleye fishing workshop at Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium near Gretna.

Metal thieves tore apart youth sports complex, but $700K fundraising effort has put it on track to be revived

The $700,000 in donations will allow the City of Omaha to renovate the two-field Jerry Parks Youth Football Complex, at Levi Carter Park, to even better than it was before the thieves tore it apart in 2011.

And you thought Alaska was cold! Omaha has been more frigid in February than Anchorage

This weather has kept us shivering (and it will for a little while longer), but warmth is on the horizon.

Grace: Nearly 50 years ago, a girl from India captivated Nebraska as surgeons battled for her future

A trip to Omaha in 1968 was a life-changing event for Aruna Shrivastava, who was struggling with a heart defect in her homeland. Pediatric heart surgery was then a new frontier in India. Doctors there were pushing Aruna's father, who was already in Nebraska, to let them try the surgery. But he wanted it done here. 

FROM THE NOTEBOOK

Kelly: Boston snowfall led to ex-Omaha City Council chief's downfall

Tom Mulligan, a U.P. retiree and president of the Omaha City Council in 2011-2013, served as general manager of commuter rail operations for the MBTA, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, from last July until this week.

Driver dead, husband critically injured after car crashes into tree in Omaha

A 1-month-old girl who was restrained in the sedan was not injured, police said.

Man cited after driving car into Dubuque nail salon

A Dubuque man was cited on suspicion of reckless driving after police said he drove through the front of a nail salon and caused $10,000 in damage.

As debate bubbles over sewer overhaul work, councilman offers plans to get jobs to struggling neighborhoods

One would create a pilot job-training program specifically aimed at preparing people from high-poverty or high-unemployment neighborhoods to work on city projects. The other would create an incentive for companies, when they contract with the city, to hire unemployed people.

Several Iowa cities see record-breaking cold

An arctic winter weather system hovering over Iowa has led to several record-breaking low temperature readings in the state.

Trucker hurt after striking semi and driving off road in Harrison County, Iowa

A Harrison County crash left one person injured Friday afternoon.

40-year-old murder likely never to be solved, ex-Maquoketa chief says

A former police investigator in eastern Iowa said officials are holding out little hope of solving the murder of an 84-year-old woman committed 40 years ago in Maquoketa.

Sioux County Board members echo concerns from Scotts Bluff County

Sioux County Board members have joined the opposition to a proposed disposal well for fracking water at the south end of the Nebraska Panhandle county.

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