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Governor won’t reappoint chair of foster care review board

The state's Foster Care Review Board is not a fan of Nebraska’s child welfare privatization. And it will lose two members, including its chair, after Gov. Dave Heineman announced in December he wouldn't reappoint Alfredo Ramirez and board member Ron Albin for second terms. The move came after the board's 2010 report in which it was critical of the reform Heineman supports. “A little over a...

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GOP committee has Nelson in its sights

A leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee told CNN on Dec. 29 that Sen. Ben Nelson's reelection bid could be one of five key races that could lead to a Republican majority in the Senate in 2012. NRSC executive director Ron Jesmer said Nelson is "in serious trouble and kind of in a league of his own." Nelson has toed the line between political parties, taking fire in Nebraska for...

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City seeks delay in firefighters pay raise ruling

The city has asked the Nebraska state labor court to delay a ruling on whether Omaha's firefighters are entitled to a retroactive raise for 2009 as the two sides continue to negotiate towards a new contract. On Dec. 22, the local firefighters union filed a similar suit against the city, asking the court to determine pay raises for 2010. The Omaha Firefighters Local 385 has asked its attorney to...

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Two arrests made in Jenkins’ slaying

The Omaha Police Department's Homicide Unit arrested two people on Dec. 29 in connection with the October murder of Metropolitan Community College teacher Karen Jenkins. Siblings Gary Lee, 19, and Monique Lee, 27, were booked on charges of first degree murder. Jenkins was reported missing on Oct. 17. Six days later, police found her body under a house across the street from the bar she owned...

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Omaha Tribe asks court to restore sovereign immunity

The Omaha Tribe has asked the Nebraska Supreme Court to restore its protection from lawsuits after two tribal leaders signed a waiver of immunity with an Omaha-based contractor. StoreVisions, Inc. sued the tribe in October of 2009 saying it has not been paid for construction work on the tribe's casinos and racetrack facilities. Federal law grants sovereign immunity to American Indian tribes,...

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Traffic stop nets $500K worth of meth

A Douglas County Sheriff's Department deputy uncovered 19 pounds of crystal methamphetamine after stopping a pickup truck with Colorado plates for speeding on Dec. 24. Mario Gutierrez-Sigala, 29, was arrested on a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver after the $500,000 worth of drugs were discovered inside a hidden compartment in the drive train of his vehicle. He could face up to...

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Two deaths in South Omaha believed to be accidental

The Omaha Police Department announced Dec. 28 that initial autopsy reports reveal that two people found dead inside an SUV on Dec. 24 likely died accidentally. Sergio Rodriguez Jr., 20, and Dominique Reyes, 18, were found dead in the parked car inside a garage at 4420 S. 33rd St by Rodriguez' father, Sergio Rodriguez Sr., Christmas Eve morning. An official cause of death has yet to be determined.

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39 House reps write in support of Keystone XL

Nearly three weeks after 28 congressmen wrote to urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to carefully consider the environmental impact of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, 39 members of the House have signed a letter touting the economic benefits of the project. The U.S. State Department is currently debating approval of a building permit for the TransCanda-owned pipeline with a decision...

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