Nebraska News

FAA: Airplane makes emergency landing in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A commercial airplane traveling from Boston to Los Angeles has made an emergency landing in Nebraska. The Federal Aviation Administration says the Virgin America flight made the unscheduled landing Monday morning at Omaha's Eppley Airfield. The plane landed safely and no injuries were reported. The agency says the flight crew requested a diversion following a medical emergency on board. A passenger, Paul Bernon, told KCAL-TV that a man had tried to open an emergency exit door. Omaha television station KETV reports the man was later taken to the airport's police office. The U.S. Attorney's Office tells the station that a passenger was taken to the hospital for observation. Officials did not provide more details.

Nebraska doctors ID experimental Ebola drug used
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska doctors treating an American aid worker battling Ebola have identified the experimental drug they used. Dr. Phil Smith of the Nebraska Medical Center says Dr. Rick Sacra received a Tekmira Pharmaceuticals drug called TKM-Ebola for a week after he arrived in Omaha on Sept. 5. Sacra continues to improve, and doctors said Monday that he may be well enough to leave the hospital's isolation unit soon. But Dr. Angela Hewlett said it's not clear what role the experimental drug played in Sacra's recovery because he also received a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor and other treatments. The 51-year-old Rick Sacra from Worcester, Massachusetts, contracted Ebola while working at a hospital in Liberia. The Ebola virus is being blamed for more than 2,800 deaths in West Africa.

Mining firm says rare mineral deposit bigger
ELK CREEK, Neb. (AP) — This summer's drilling to explore a deposit of a rare heat-resistant element in southeast Nebraska prompted a Canadian mining firm to increase its estimate of the deposit's size. NioCorp Developments said Monday that the latest drilling results show that the niobium deposit near Elk Creek is even bigger than expected. The company also said Monday that it plans to raise up to $16.5 million through private placement to support the Elk Creek project. NioCorp previously estimated that more than 100 million tons of niobium rests several hundred feet below the ground. The company is trying to determine if it will be profitable to build a mine. The U.S. currently imports nearly all the niobium that's used in this country to harden steel and make it more heat-resistant for industrial uses.

Nebraska woman gets life in prison for slaying
HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska woman has been sentenced to life in prison for killing her boyfriend's 68-year-old mother. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) 41-year-old Shelley Casterline, of Guide Rock, was sentenced Monday in Adams County District Court on one count of second-degree murder in the October 2013 slaying of Virginia Barone. Investigators say the women had been arguing before the death. An autopsy shows Barone was stabbed twice in the back and 20 times in the chest and torso. Casterline's 24-year-old son, Andrew Casterline, was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder and other crimes in connection to the death. Shelley Casterline testified during his trial that her son didn't stab Barone and only helped her move the body. Andrew Casterline will be sentenced in December.

Lincoln man gets prison for stabbing brother
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln man has been given up to seven years in prison for stabbing his brother in January. Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson called 28-year-old Steven E. Caldwell dangerous before sentencing him on Monday to three to seven years in prison. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) he was given credit for more than 240 days served. Caldwell pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree assault and felony child abuse in connection to his brother's stabbing on Jan. 17. His brother's son was also present during the attack. Court records say Caldwell told authorities he was drunk when he got into a physical fight with his brother and stabbed him in the stomach with a kitchen knife. His brother survived.

Nebraska child care provider has license revoked
BROKEN BOW, Neb. (AP) — Officials say a Nebraska woman's child care provider license was revoked because her husband kept methamphetamine and guns in the home where she watched over children. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said Monday an emergency revocation order was issued to Fae Beaumont, of Broken Bow. Beaumont runs a day care business out of the home she shares with her husband, Dennis Beaumont. He was arrested in August after a substance in the home tested positive for meth. Authorities also found several guns, syringes and a glass mirror with meth residue. Officials say Fae Beaumont refused to sign an agreement prohibiting her husband from returning to the home during business hours. Court records do not list an attorney for Dennis Beaumont, who faces several charges in the case.

Nebraska man who shot ex-wife, lawyer kills self
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 58-year-old Nebraska man who had been sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-wife and his divorce lawyer last November has been found dead in his cell. Prison officials said Michael Petersen was found shortly after 6 a.m. Monday, and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. Officials said it appears Petersen committed suicide. Petersen received his second life sentence last month for the shooting death of Grand Island attorney Todd Elsbernd last Nov. 13. Petersen had already been sentenced to life for killing Nancy Petersen a few hours earlier outside her home in Buffalo County. Petersen's attorney had said in court that Petersen remained bitter over money awarded to his ex-wife in their 2005 divorce. Nancy Petersen was awarded half of the couple's $600,000 estate in the divorce.

Regulators to provide update on nuclear plant
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nuclear regulators plan to offer the public an update on the performance of a Nebraska nuclear plant since it restarted last year after a prolonged outage. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to discuss a recent inspection of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Omaha on Thursday evening. Fort Calhoun, which sits about 20 miles north of Omaha, was shut down from April 2011 until December. It initially shut down for routine maintenance, but significant flooding in 2011, a small fire and a series of safety violations forced it to remain closed for nearly three years. Omaha Public Power District must demonstrate Fort Calhoun can operate safely before regulators will ease its inspections. The meeting will run from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday at the Omaha Marriot at 10220 Regency Circle.

Grand Island prepares for new wastewater salt rule
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Grand Island has been preparing to cut in half its discharge of chloride from the city wastewater treatment plant, anticipating a state regulation that will take effect next year. The Grand Island Independent says ( ) city will have 4½ years to comply with the tougher rule. The state is following national water quality regulations, and there is concern that high chloride, or salt, levels kill water fleas and flathead minnows, which are food for many fish species. The city can't access enough water to dilute the salt level in its discharge, because there isn't enough water flowing by in the Platte River all through the year. So the city is working with the JBS beef plant and other industrial customers to reduce the salt content of their wastewater.

Murray man dies after crash in Cass County
PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (AP) — A 38-year-old man from Murray has died in a rollover crash on the south side of Plattsmouth. The Cass County Sheriff's Office says the accident happened a little before 6:20 a.m. Saturday on Chicago Avenue. Investigators say a car driven by Kevin Light was headed north when it failed to negotiate a curve. The office says the car went out of control, veering to the east side of the roadway and rolling over. Light was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say the car was going too fast for safety in the heavy rain.

Lincoln officials want to renovate Pinewood Bowl
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln officials want to renovate the Pinewood Bowl to make the amphitheater more appealing to big name acts. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) the city wants to renovate the facility, built in 1947, by expanding the backstage area and parking and replacing the aging roof and main ticket office. City Parks and Recreation Department Director Lynn Johnson says bands such as Boston and the Doobie Brothers have enjoyed performing in the three summers since big name acts returned to the venue. But their production staffs have had a hard time getting tour buses and equipment down a single-lane gravel road to the backstage area. Once there, they must deal with limited space. The general manager of promoter SMG-Lincoln says the lack of backstage facilities has limited the type of acts the venue can attract.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press