Nebraska News

US journalist leaves hospital after Ebola recovery
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An American video journalist who recovered from Ebola at an Omaha hospital has left the facility and will soon be heading home to Rhode Island. Nebraska Medical Center spokesman Taylor Wilson told The Associated Press that Ashoka Mukpo (ah-SHOH'-kuh MUK'-poh) left the Nebraska Medical Center complex Wednesday afternoon. He said Mukpo would travel by plane to Rhode Island this evening. Wilson would not elaborate on when Mukpo was scheduled to leave Nebraska. Mukpo, who contracted the virus while working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets, was released from the hospital's biocontainment unit around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was on the complex for several hours and met with staff who treated him. Hospital officials said Tuesday that Mukpo's blood tested negative for the virus.

Attorneys attack alleged victim in sex tape case
MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Attorneys for two hockey players charged with making a sex video with a 15-year-old girl at a Moorhead motel last winter are calling her a "sexual predator" who was competing with another woman to have sex with as many players as possible. Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith, both 19, were suspended from the USHL's Lincoln Stars in June after they were charged with using a minor in a sexual performance, possession of child pornography and distributing pornography. KFGO-AM reports their attorneys have filed papers asking the judge to dismiss the charges for "abuse of prosecutorial discretion." They say justice would not be served by convicting men of felonies and labeling them as sex offenders. Clay County Attorney Brian Melton denounced the lawyers as "contemptible" for attacking the alleged victim.

Nebraska officials look to reduce prison crowding
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's top office-holders are looking at ways to reduce crowding in the state prison system. Officials from all three branches of state government met in Lincoln on Wednesday to hear from the Council of State Governments, a national group that works with states to develop policy. Marc Pelka, a program director for the group, says Nebraska's prison crowding is driven by a combination of factors. Last year, 41 percent of the inmates admitted to a Nebraska prison were convicted of low-level felonies and misdemeanors. Most of those convictions were for non-violent crimes. Pelka also says many sentences don't allow much time for post-release supervision, which leads some former prisoners to reoffend. Nebraska's prisons were operating at 157 percent of their total design capacity as of September 30th.

Norfolk Southern CEO says rail mergers won't work
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern Corporation's CEO doesn't think railroad mergers are a good idea even if regulators might approve one. CEO Wick Moorman said Tuesday during a conference call on Norfolk's Southern's quarterly results that he doesn't think railroad mergers "make sense at this time." The idea of a rail merger has been on investors' minds lately because Canadian Pacific approached CSX about a possible deal. CP officials said Tuesday that talks fell apart after several meetings. CP said it also considered approaching Norfolk Southern. Moorman said past railroad mergers have been difficult to integrate and service suffered afterward. He said there's also less of a financial incentive for mergers because there aren't many redundant routes or facilities. Moorman also said regulators could eliminate any benefits to a merger by imposing restrictions.

Lincoln woman faces charges in man's fall from SUV
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 34-year-old Lincoln woman has surrendered to face charges in the fatal fall of a man from the sunroof of a sport utility vehicle she was driving. Police spokeswoman Katie Flood says Lindsey McCallister turned herself in on Tuesday to face charges of leaving the scene of an injury accident, tampering with evidence and drunken driving. Jail records said she remained there on Wednesday. Court records don't list her attorney's name. McCallister was driving the SUV on August 24th when 27-year-old James Rubio fell from its sunroof. She first told investigators she drove left the scene because she couldn't find her cellphone to call 911. But Flood says investigators learned that McCallister made seven calls and sent three text messages after Rubio fell, none of them to 911.

Hebron man dies in collision involving farm truck
HEBRON, Neb. (AP) — A 62-year-old man has died after his farm truck collided with a semitrailer in southern Nebraska. Thayer County Sheriff David Lee says James Summers was killed Tuesday as his farm truck was crossing U.S. 81 near Hebron. A semitrailer driven by 36-year-old Kenneth White hit the side of Summers' vehicle. The Lincoln Journal Star reports Summers was airlifted to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. It's unclear if White was hurt.

Man in Hells Angels' club slaying gets prison
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted in the killing of another man at the Hells Angels' club building in Omaha last year has been sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison. Jay Witt was given credit for 430 days served. He will be eligible for parole after serving more than 17 years in prison. Witt pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of manslaughter, use of a weapon and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person in connection with the death of 48-year-old William Furlong. The plea deal dropped a second-degree murder charge. Furlong was found dead at the Hells Angel's club building in July 2013.

Trucker returns bull mastiff to Arizona owners
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A dog-loving Nebraska trucker has taken a lost pooch on a long haul back to its family in Arizona. Trucker Jimmy Dimmitt was in Ashland preparing for a trip to California when he heard about Koda, a 95-pound bull mastiff, needing a lift back home to get to her owners in Arizona. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Koda was returned to her owners, Dani and Jason Windham, on Monday. Koda went missing on August 4th, the day the Windhams were planning to marry at Holmes Lake in Nebraska. Before the wedding ceremony, Koda and the family's other two large dogs, Finn and Hooch, knocked down a fence and took off from the Windham's home. Finn and Hooch were found by animal control but Koda wasn't. The Windhams moved seven days later to Arizona after Koda went missing. Koda was found last Wednesday after a farmer reported a dog chasing his cattle near Wahoo.

Recent study shows Nebraska courthouse air is safe
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A recent test shows that people shouldn't worry about the air quality inside of the Platte County Courthouse. The Columbus Telegram reports the Platte County Board of Supervisors hired Cardno ATC, an environmental consulting firm, to test the air in the courthouse. The board wanted the testing after they heard several complaints from both workers and other people about odor and high humidity in certain parts of the building. A test conducted last month shows the air is safe. The firm tested in different locations of the building for humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, mold and temperature. They compared their results to the outside air, finding that the air inside of the courthouse isn't harmful.

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