Nebraska News

Nebraska authorities accuse Californian of online scam
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska authorities have accused a California man of scamming several would-be buyers out of thousands of dollars for what he said he had: a powerful, hard-to-find car engine. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Lancaster County prosecutors last week charged 59-year-old Steven Shaull with theft. Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles investigator Marlan Hohnstein says Shaull was arrested Friday in California. Nebraska online court records don't list the name of an attorney who could comment for Shaull, of Anaheim. Authorities say a Lincoln company, Restore a Muscle Car, reported wiring $11,500 to Shaull in December for the 426-cubic-inch engine to put in a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda. The company says it never received the engine. Hohnstein says in court records that he found other people who also were duped.

October trial set in Nebraska collision that killed 2 people
NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — An October trial has been scheduled for a Norfolk man charged with several crimes in a collision that killed two people. Online court records say 23-year-old Brandon Plante entered pleas of not guilty to several charges Friday in Madison County District Court. They include two counts of vehicular homicide while driving with a previous conviction for driving under the influence and one count of driving under the influence, second offense. His trial is set to begin Oct. 11. Authorities say Plante was driving north in a southbound lane of U.S. Highway 81 on June 26 when he struck an oncoming vehicle driven by 32-year-old Tar Eh. Eh and a passenger in the vehicle, 32-year-old Yeh Htoo, were fatally injured. Both lived in Norfolk.

Omaha woman launches campaign to support police officers
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha woman whose husband is a police officer has started a letter-writing campaign to support members of law enforcement and their families. Kathleen McCallister tells the Omaha World-Herald that her fear of her husband's safety has increased in the past few months as officers have been attacked nationwide. McCallister is encouraging residents to write letters during September and send them to Embrace Blue, a group formed under the Fraternal Order of Police Association. Embrace Blue will send the well-wishes across the Omaha Police Department. People are also able to donate small items that officers will give to children while on patrol in an effort to promote the department's mission of community policing. More information about the program will be announced at a press conference Wednesday night.

Man killed in Dawson County pickup crash, authorities say
LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a Kearney man has been killed in a crash on the north end of Johnson Lake in south-central Nebraska. The accident occurred around 5:15 a.m. Sunday. The Dawson County Sheriff's Office says the man lost control of the pickup he was driving and it rolled, ejecting him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Dawson County authorities identified the man as 35-year-old Ryan Johnson.

Food deserts still a problem in Nebraska, but no easy fixes
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers are once again looking for ways to ensure residents have easy access to healthy food even though previous efforts to address the problem have failed. The newest ideas include grant programs and incentives to promote farmers markets, but the senator who is leading the push says he doesn't see any easy fixes to eliminate food deserts in urban and rural areas. Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln says some of his constituents now have to rely on relatives and friends or public transportation to shop for groceries because they don't own a car and area grocery stores have closed. Advocates say the problem affects both urban and rural Nebraska.

State auditor wants his rulings to be enforced better
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — State Auditor Charlie Janssen may ask state lawmakers to find ways to enforce the findings his office makes after review spending by state agencies. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that currently there is little that Janssen's office can do besides call attention to bad management practices and questionable spending when it is found. The latest example came earlier this month several problems were found in an audit of Nebraska Brand Committee. The director resigned, but then was offered a new job at the agency with the same pay. Janssen says auditors often find the same lingering problems when they return to an agency three or four years after the last audit. Auditors can ask prosecutors to look into a problem, but most cases don't rise to that level.

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