KGFW Newsroom



(NRG)- Nebraska's tourism industry professionals honored their peers at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Gala Thursday evening at the Quality Inn & Suites/Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte. The event capped the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and hosted by the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau. State Senator Schilz and Nebraska Tourism Commission President John Chapo announced the 2014 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners which included a traditional Kearney summer event. The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to Kearney Cruise Nite presented by the Central Nebraska Auto Club. This year marked the 27th Anniversary of Kearney's Cruise Nite. Since the very first Cruise Nite, the event has expanded to a Show & Shine car display, stereo competition, burn-out contest, parade and street dance. This five-day event has been reported to generate more than $3 million in expenditures, and a majority of those dollars are spent in the tourism market on lodging, shopping, entertainment, fuel and food. Local lodging properties also reported that most are at 98% occupancy or higher during Cruise Nite weekend. This year's Cruise Nite had an outstanding 600 vehicles lining the streets of Downtown Kearney, as well as a record-setting turnout of approximately 38,000 spectators.


(AP) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit Nebraska to campaign for U.S. Senate hopeful Ben Sasse. Romney will appear with Sasse on Monday at an event in Hastings. Sasses is the final swing of his "93 Counties, 93 Days" tour in the buildup to the Nov. 4 election. Romney is viewed as a potential presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Sasse is running against Democrat Dave Domina and two independent candidates in a race to replace Republican U.S. Mike Johanns, who opted not to seek re-election. Sasse and Romney will meet with voters at the Hastings City Auditorium, starting at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.


(AP) - The Scottsbluff airport board has selected a new carrier to provide subsidized flights to Denver International Airport. The board voted Wednesday to recommend Aerodynamics Inc. to the U.S. Transportation Department, which makes the final decision on providers of Essential Air Service flights. Company officials hope to begin Scottsbluff service as soon as February. The company has said it intends to provide 50-passenger jets for two Scottsbluff flights to Denver each weekday and one flight on Saturdays and Sundays. Aerodynamics' proposal beat those from the current service provider, Great Lakes Airlines, and bids from Boutique Air and Via Air. Aerodynamics' corporate base is in Beachwood, Ohio.


(AP) - Roughly half of Nebraska schools have repeatedly failed to meet proficiency standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but officials say those results are flawed and misleading. The annual "State of the Schools" report released Friday says 480 Nebraska's 1,011 public schools were designated as in need of improvement. Schools that were labeled as such failed to meet standards for two consecutive years. Federal sanctions under the law will require some of those schools to offer free tutoring, school choice or take other steps. Nebraska Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt says the standards are unrealistic, and notes that statewide test scores in math, science and reading all improved. Last year, the law's standards required 100 percent student proficiency in math and reading.


(AP) - Nebraska's Liquor Control Commission will allow smoking at cigar bars, pending a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) that the cigar bar owners will be able to renew their special licenses, which otherwise would have expired Oct. 31. Commission executive director Hobert Rupe says he's been warning the bar owners that they might have only a few days to stop the smoking once the court rules. The state Supreme Court in August struck down exceptions to the state's public smoking ban for cigar bars and tobacco shops. The Nebraska Attorney General's Office subsequently asked the court to rehear the case, arguing in part that the judges failed to properly consider that lawmakers intended to protect cigar bars and tobacco shops from going out of business.


(AP) - A new report says more than 3,000 young adults in Nebraska may qualify for Medicaid coverage under a provision of the federal health care law, but only 3 percent of that group is currently enrolled. The group Nebraska Appleseed released the report Friday in advance of a legislative hearing on coverage for youths who have aged out of foster care. The Affordable Care Act allows youths who were in foster care to receive Medicaid coverage until age 26. It's similar to another provision of the law that lets youths stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26. Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue is conducting a legislative study to see what can be done to inform young people about the option and to make it easier for them to enroll.


(AP) - Authorities say several University of Nebraska-Lincoln students in a fraternity face felony charges in the alcohol-related death of a freshman. University police say four FarmHouse Fraternity members were arrested Thursday on suspicion of procuring alcohol to a minor resulting in death. Three other students, including another fraternity member, face citations. Eighteen-year-old Clayton Real was found dead at the fraternity house near campus in September. Affidavits show Real's cause of death was acute alcohol intoxication. The affidavits also say fraternity members threw a party the night before and provided alcohol to underage attendees, including Real. Sergeant Jerry Plessel says the arrested students are in custody at the Lancaster County jail. A hearing is scheduled Friday. University spokesman Steve Smith says the school has suspended the fraternity chapter indefinitely.


(AP) - Two lawyers say a woman who was convicted as an accomplice in her boyfriend's 1958 killing spree will apply for a pardon. The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) Caril Clair, formerly Caril Fugate, was 14 when she accompanied Charlie Starkweather, who killed 10 people over eight days in Nebraska. Clair was convicted of first-degree murder for her role in the slayings. Lawyers John Stevens Berry Sr. and Linda Battisti together wrote "The Twelfth Victim, the Innocence of Caril Fugate in the Starkweather Murder Rampage." They contend Clair is innocent. They say on the day that the killings began, Clair arrived home from school and was greeted by Starkweather who was holding a gun. They say Clair was forced to go with Starkweather in the slayings. Berry says his office will file the application for Clair's pardon.


(AP) - The executive director of the Central Nebraska Regional Airport says demolition work should begin soon for its passenger terminal project. The Grand Island Independent reports ( ) the $14.1 million passenger terminal is the largest project the airport has ever undertaken. The new terminal is expected to open in spring 2016. The airport has to tear down three buildings in order to make room for the new passenger terminal that will be almost 34,000 square feet. Officials with the airport say the new terminal is needed because of an increase in passengers. Ten years ago, the annual passenger total was 6,200. It's now at 57,000. Executive director Mike Olson construction crews may start taking down covered parking as early as next week. Steel beams for the terminal are expected to be installed this winter.


(AP) - A 29-year-old Norfolk man has been fatally injured in a crash along a state highway in northeast Nebraska. The accident occurred around 1:40 p.m. Tuesday on Nebraska Highway 13 in Pierce County. Nebraska State Patrol Capt. Paul Hattan says Joshua Petersen lost control of his vehicle, and it rolled several times after he overcorrected. Hattan says Petersen was traveling alone.