KGFW Newsroom

 

 

(AP) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is ramping up pressure on lawmakers to try to keep them from overriding his promised veto of a death penalty repeal bill. The Republican governor urged the public on Friday to contact their state senator and voice their support for capital punishment. Lawmakers gave the repeal bill final approval on Wednesday with a 32-15 vote. At least 30 votes are needed to override a gubernatorial veto, so Ricketts has to flip at least three. Ricketts says he has argued to several lawmakers that the Nebraskans he talks to overwhelmingly support the death penalty, and prosecutors need it to protect public safety. Ricketts has argued that lawmakers are out of touch with the public. Death penalty opponents are working to ensure that support for the bill holds.


 

(AP) - Nebraska senators are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold its support for renewable fuels when drafting rules that could limit amounts of ethanol blended with gasoline for fuel. Forty-two of Nebraska's 49 senators signed a letter sent to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy Thursday, urging her to consider the impact of modifying the market for the ethanol industry that contributes $5 billion annually to the state's economy. Supporters worry oil companies are lobbying to decrease the amounts of ethanol required in fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The letter says the Nebraska ethanol industry employs more than 1,300 workers and supports 3,300 other jobs. The EPA is expected to release oil industry draft rules for 2016 on June 1.


 

(AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has affirmed the life sentence of a woman who killed her boyfriend's 68-year-old mother in 2013. The high court on Friday rejected 42-year-old Shelley Casterline's appeal argument that the sentencing judge did not follow state law in sentencing her to life for her conviction of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Virginia Barone. Investigators say the women had been arguing before Barone's 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 convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes in Barone's death and also sentenced to life in prison.


 

(AP) - Funeral arrangements have been set for Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday. Visitation for Omaha police officers and close friends of Orozco's will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at St. John's Catholic Church at Creighton University. Acquaintances and the public will be invited to visitation from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the church. A vigil will follow at 7 p.m. Orozco's funeral will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. John's Church, with additional seating and video of the ceremony provided at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.


 

(AP) - Nebraska residents suffering from intractable seizures could have one more treatment option under a medical cannabis study headed to Gov. Pete Ricketts' desk. Senators voted 44-2 on Thursday to commission a University of Nebraska Medical Center study on the effectiveness of cannabidiol, a cannabis extract, in treating severe epileptic seizures. Nebraska would obtain cannabidiol from an England-based company authorized by the Federal Drug Administration for rare diseases. Supporters say the study could provide immediate aid to patients who have exhausted other treatment options. Ricketts' spokesman says the governor supports FDA-approved studies of marijuana for medical purposes. Ricketts has five days to take action on the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue.


 

(AP) - Nebraska farmers and business owners could get a property tax exemption under a bill passed by lawmakers. Senators voted 47-0 on Thursday to give final approval to an exemption for personal business property. The measure by Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island would allow business owners to exempt the first $10,000 worth of tangible property used in their operations, for an average tax savings of $162. The bill would apply to farm equipment such as irrigation pivots and tractors, and business equipment such as rail cars, pipelines and factory machines. The bill would cost the state an estimated $19.6 million a year in lost revenue. It now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts.


 

(AP) - The rushing waters of the South Platte River have proved too tough for searchers trying to find a car that had been carrying two teenagers when it was driven into the river. Officials have been hunting for 17-year-old Alexis Wiezorek and 18-year-old Noah Ramos since late Monday night. Authorities say Wiezorek drove around several barricades and then into the river, which had washed out part of a road on the south side of North Platte. Officials had hoped divers could search the river bottom Thursday where an object had been detected by sonar the day before. Long poles were used unsuccessfully to probe for it. Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer says efforts to snag it so it can be pulled out won't continue until conditions improve.


 

(AP) - A 79-year-old Norfolk man has been hospitalized after being rescued from beneath a tractor. The Norfolk Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1EnfFd2 ) that Longin Karel was pinned by the tractor after it was struck by a car around 8:30 a.m. Thursday on U.S. Highway 275, about nine miles east of Norfolk. Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger says the westbound tractor was pulling a mower when it was hit by the westbound car. The impact caused the tractor to tip over and trap Karel. Once freed, Karel was flown to a hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. Unger says the car driver, 21-year-old Erica Pilger, was taken to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk for treatment of minor injuries. The accident is being investigated.


 

(AP) - The police chief of Nebraska's largest city says an Omaha police officer killed in the line of duty was shot just above the top of her protective vest. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer gave more details Thursday of the shooting that killed 29-year-old Officer Kerrie Orozco on Wednesday. The chief said Orozco and another officer had responded to a call for backup from officers who came under fire from the heavily-armed suspect. Schmaderer says 26-year-old Marcus Wheeler fired on police who tried to arrest him Wednesday afternoon. Orozco and another officer soon arrived and chased after Wheeler, who turned and fired on them, too. Orozco was hit, and died at a local hospital. Wheeler was also shot and killed. Schmaderer says Orozco did not fire her gun.


 

(AP) - Farmers and ranchers who open their property to tourists could be shielded from certain lawsuits under a bill passed by Nebraska lawmakers. The Legislature gave the measure final approval on Thursday with a 46-0 vote. Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala has said he introduced it to promote rural tourism and give farmers and ranchers another potential revenue source without the fear of lawsuits. The bill is aimed at sites such as working farms and ranches, hiking trails, lakes and hunting and bird-watching areas. It also could apply to hayrack or boat rides, vineyard tours and haunted houses. A 2012 Nebraska Tourism Commission report found that liability and insurance concerns were a major roadblock to the tourism industry's growth in the state.