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This Hour: Latest Nebraska news, sports, business and entertainment

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Erroneous warning sounded near Nebraska nuke plant

NEMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An erroneous evacuation warning about a hazardous material spill has sounded in a village of 150 people that sits a couple of miles from a nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska.

The vocal warning went out once or twice over a siren speaker in Nemaha while a technician from Cooper Nuclear Station worked on the siren Thursday. Nebraska Public Power District owns the plant, and district spokesman Mark Becker said Friday that the technician accidentally played a recorded message that had been loaded by the manufacturer but is not part of the plant's procedure. The plant's warning system triggers sirens within 10 miles of the plant for three minutes, alerting people to seek more information from television or radio.

Becker says federal regulators will be notified about the error.


Death row inmate's plea for release rejected

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the denial of a death row inmate's efforts to have his conviction overturned.

Jeffrey Hessler was convicted in 2004 of kidnapping, raping and killing 15-year-old newspaper carrier Heather Guerrero the year before. His conviction and death sentence were upheld on direct appeal in 2007.

Friday's ruling is the second time Hessler has had a motion for post-conviction relief denied. Inmates typically file post-conviction relief motions after they have exhausted all other appeals.

This time, Hessler issued a myriad of claims, including that he was too mentally ill at the time of the crime to know right from wrong.

On Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court agreed with a lower court judge's ruling that Hessler's claims had already been addressed or should have been appealed earlier.


2 Fort Carson soldiers killed in Afghanistan

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) - Two soldiers based at Fort Carson were killed when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense says 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, of Hickman, Nebraska; and 19-year-old Pfc. Keith M. Williams, of Visalia, California, were killed in Kandahar Province on Thursday. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.

The Defense Department did not release any other information.


Former Fairfield city clerk ordered to pay $55,000

FAIRFIELD, Neb. (AP) - A former city clerk in the south-central Nebraska town of Fairfield has been sentenced to five years of probation and must pay back $55,000 to the city she's convicted of embezzling.

KHAS television reports Jennifer Bassett appeared at a restitution hearing in Clay County District Court at which prosecutors showed that she took $96,000.

Special Prosecutor for Clay County Tim Schmidt says he would have liked to have seen the city get all of its money back but the court had to consider Bassett's ability to pay.

Bassett pleaded no contest to theft by deception in April.


State treasurer warns about misleading postcards

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The state treasurer is warning the public about misleading postcards that appear to be from Nebraska's unclaimed property division.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg said Friday that the cards are stamped with the words "Unclaimed Property Notification," but aren't from the state. The postcards instruct recipients to call a toll-free number and enter their person identification information. A recorded message at the toll-free number advises callers to search for unclaimed property at .

Stenberg says the website mentioned is not from the state treasurer. The correct website is . The treasurer's office can be reached at 402-471-8497 of 877-572-9688.

Officials in Nebraska and other states have received complaints about the postcards, which are postmarked from Denver.


Workers fix up vandalized Nebraska headstones

HENDERSON, Neb. (AP) - Workers are fixing up old headstones that were vandalized last year in a Nebraska cemetery.

The Grand Island Independent reports more than 40 headstones had been damaged in August in Farmers' Valley Cemetery. Some headstones were from the 1870s.

Over the past two weeks, Debi Hacker and Michael Trinkley have worked on more than 20 headstones in the cemetery that's in Hamilton County.

Hacker and Trinkley work for the Chicora Foundation in South Carolina. They say they have spent about four hours on each of the damaged stones.

Nineteen-year-old Robert Kelly Jr. was sentenced in January to 180 days in jail for pushing over the headstones. The Clay County man also received five years of probation.


Chadron group wants pool sales tax on ballot

CHADRON, Neb. (AP) - Supporters of an indoor recreation center in Chadron are circulating a petition to put a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to fund the project.

KQSK radio reports supporters need to get just over 300 registered voters living in the Chadron city limits to sign by Sept. 2, the deadline to get issues on the ballot.

A group of local residents want to convert the city's outdoor pool to an indoor recreation center.

The Chadron City Council rejected the sale tax proposal Monday night, failing to come up with the super-majority needed. That left supporters to turn to a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot.


Nebraska officials warn of traffic for US 159 work

FALLS CITY, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska officials say roadwork scheduled next week on U.S. 159 near Falls City will likely cause traffic delays.

The Nebraska roads department says crews will work on the surface of U.S. 159 in the southeastern part of the state.

The roadwork is expected to last for about three days unless bad weather prevents crews from working.

The department says one-lane traffic will occur on the roadway.

Motorists are asked to drive carefully through highway work zones.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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