US delays review of Keystone XL pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit.
That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.
The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation.
The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn't starting over.
The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
Nebraska joins wildfire compact with nearby states
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Governor Dave Heineman has signed a bill that will have Nebraska join forces with Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas in fighting wildfires.
Heineman announced Friday that he has designated Al Berndt, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, to represent Nebraska in the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact. Heineman approved the bill earlier this week.
The compact lets member states share their firefighters and equipment in an emergency without going through the federal government. The compact requires each state to choose a person who is responsible for forest fire control.
The bill's sponsor, Senator Al Davis of Hyannis, says pooling the states' resources could lead to faster response times in remote and hard-to-reach areas of Nebraska.
The bill is LB961.
Heineman to sign Nebraska autism coverage bill
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman says he plans to sign a bill that would require some health insurers to offer coverage for autism screenings and therapy.
Heineman will hold a public bill signing on Monday along with autism advocates at the Capitol. Insurance plans under the new law would cover up to 25 hours per week of behavioral health treatment, and insured children would continue to qualify for coverage until they turn 21 years old.
Senator Colby Coash of Lincoln says he introduced the bill because he has seen the benefits the treatment can provide for children.
Certain insurance plans will be exempt from the autism requirement, including those that are sold in the individual and small group markets under the new federal health care marketplace..
The bill is LB254.
Man charged in shooting death of teenager in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A 21-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a teenager in Omaha.
Dennis Brewer Junior appeared in court Friday. A judge set no bond for him.
Brewer is accused of shooting at a sport utility vehicle at Gallagher Park Monday night. Responding officers say they were advised that two people with gunshot wounds had arrived at a nearby hospital.
Eighteen-year-old Tielor (TYE'-lur) Williams of Omaha was killed. Another man, 22-year-old Joshua Schmitt, also of Omaha, was injured.
Brewer has also been charged with use of a firearm to commit a felony. Online court records do not list the name of his attorney.
Hastings police probe shooting death of little boy
HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Hastings police are investigating the shooting death of a 4-year-old boy.
Police Chief Pete Kortum (KOR'-tuhm) says the shooting was reported a little after 8:15 a.m. Friday at a home on North Saunders Avenue. Kortum says the boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Investigators say the shooting looks like an accident. Authorities aren't releasing the boy's name and other details yet.
SCHOOL BUS COLLISION
Court: Lancaster County not liable for bus crash
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has reversed a lower court's ruling that found Lancaster County partly liable for a 2009 school bus crash.
Jeff Hall sued Lancaster County District Court and Norris School District in 2010, saying he had incurred more than $350,000 in medical expenses for his injuries from the Aug. 24, 2009 crash. Hall was driving a pickup that collided with the bus at a rural intersection where a stop sign was missing.
Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns found the school district 50 percent liable, the county 20 percent liable and Hall 30 percent liable. Hall was awarded $770,000.
But on Friday, the state's high court said Burns was wrong to conclude that the county's failure to have a road sign inspection policy helped cause the accident.
Nebraska judge reprimanded by state's high court
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has issued a public reprimand for a Douglas County District judge for intervening in a friend's drunken driving case.
The high court found that Judge Gregory Schatz improperly intervened in the DUI case involving a friend, Omaha attorney Michael Davlin.
The judicial complaint said that in August 2012, Schatz was contacted by Davlin's girlfriend - a Douglas County Court official - who tearfully relayed that Davlin was in an Omaha jail after driving drunk and hitting a tree.
The complaint says Schatz contacted the jail and used his judicial authority to have Davlin released without paying a bond.
In response to the complaint, Schatz said he understood what he did was wrong and that he has since taken a judicial ethics course.
Neb. killer's post-conviction relief motion denied
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a death row inmate seeking to be released from prison.
Michael Ryan was sentenced to death for the 1985 cult-related killing of James Thimm in the southeast Nebraska town of Rulo.
Ryan filed a request with Richardson County District Court for post-conviction relief in 2012, challenging how Nebraska obtained one of three drugs that would be used to execute him. Inmates typically file post-conviction relief motions after they have exhausted all other appeals.
The lower court denied Ryan's request without holding a hearing, and Ryan appealed.
On Friday, the state's high court upheld the rejection of Ryan's request, saying courts can only enter relief when a prisoner shows that a denial or infringement of his constitutional rights would nullify his conviction.
Nebraska family honored for conservation efforts
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A central Nebraska ranching family has won a statewide award for its land stewardship efforts.
The 2014 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award was given to the Pelster family, owners of the Pelster Angus Ranch in Ericson. Governor Dave Heineman announced the winners on Friday.
Duane and Nancy Pelster are third-generation owners of the ranch. Their practices include rest-rotational grazing, which has been shown to enhance wildlife. The family also has planted nearly 80,000 coniferous trees to provide shelterbelts and windbreaks, and decommissioned 27 wells to improve water quality.
The award is named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, and includes $10,000 and a crystal. The award is presented annually by the Sand County Foundation, the Nebraska Cattlemen and Cargill.
Carl Pelini says AD's agenda led to firing at FAU
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Carl Pelini says in an radio interview that his firing at Florida Atlantic last year was unjustified and the result of a new athletic director who wanted to hire his own football coach.
Pelini told KFAB radio in Omaha that there is nothing he did at Florida Atlantic that he is embarrassed about. KFAB is the flagship station of the network that broadcasts Nebraska football.
Pelini was defensive coordinator at Nebraska for his younger brother, Bo Pelini, from 2008 to 2011. Florida Atlantic was his first head coaching job.
Carl Pelini resigned from FAU October 30th amid allegations he used illegal drugs. He denied he used illegal drugs.
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