Omaha man gets 2 years in fraud scheme
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha man has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling money from an AIDS support group.
U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced Monday that 35-year-old Jason Armstrong has been ordered to pay more than $140,000 in restitution to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Armstrong is a former case manager for the Nebraska AIDS Project, a group that provides services to individuals living with HIV and AIDS. Prosecutors say he conspired with Tamika Payne to fill out fraudulent applications for housing assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fraudulent benefits were split between the pair.
Armstrong was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Payne has been charged in connection to the case, and is awaiting trial.
Neb. budget debate focused on taxes, fountains
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers are squabbling over how much money to put into a state fund that helps reduce property taxes, and whether to pay $2.5 million for bronze fountains at the Capitol.
The disputes on Monday arose as lawmakers debated changes to the state's $7.8 billion, two-year budget.
The current proposal includes a $25 million increase in Nebraska's property tax credit fund, bringing the total annual amount to $140 million. The money is distributed as a tax credit to property owners. Senators on Monday rejected an attempt to increase the fund by $45 million instead.
Some conservatives tried unsuccessfully to strip funding for Capitol fountains out of the budget. The fountains were part of the Capitol's original design, but were never finished.
Appropriations Committee report: http://1.usa.gov/PksXG5
Neb. senator sings to colleagues during debate
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - For Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, a bill about abandoned cemeteries was a perfect time to serenade the Nebraska Legislature in song.
Chambers sang his "Morticians' National Anthem" Monday to his colleagues.
A few lawmakers chuckled but most sat silently as sang to the tune of "My Favorite Things."
"Churches and eulogies, pallbearers, mourners, weeping and wailing in all the church corners," he sang.
Lyrics also included, "When the last dirt tops the casket and the grave is filled, we shall not gather again in this way, until someone else is chilled."
Chambers often reads poetry in the chamber, but he rarely sings. He did, however, sing the mortician anthem at least once before, in 2005.
The bill deals with transferring authority of an abandoned cemetery from counties to cemetery associations.
OMAHA FIRE CHIEF
Interim Omaha fire chief gets job permanently
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The interim fire chief in Omaha has been named permanently to the post.
Mayor Jean Stothert announced Monday that Bernie Kanger will lead the Omaha Fire Department. He beat three other finalists for the job following a nationwide search.
Kanger has been with the department since 1991. He served as battalion chief before he took on the interim role last August. That's when former Chief Mike McDonnell agreed to resign under a deal at the time with Stothert over the department's budget. He went on administrative leave then retired in November.
Stothert has praised Kanger for his efforts to cut costs as the mayor and the fire union sparred over the department's budget.
TD Ameritrade investors again show market savvy
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - TD Ameritrade says its investors remained active in February and continued to make shrewd trades.
TD Ameritrade said Monday that its Investor Movement index increased to another all-time high of 5.74 in February from January's 5.66.
The six-point index is based on what TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.'s 6 million clients were buying and selling. Inactive accounts are excluded.
TD Ameritrade's Chief Strategist JJ Kinahan says the data shows investors haven't rushed back into the stock market, and they made sensible moves like selling Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Caterpillar after those stocks hit highs in February.
TD Ameritrade investors were net buyers of Google, AT&T, Amazon, Coca-Cola and General Electric.
FATAL HOME INVASION
Prosecutor says Omaha man justified in shooting
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - No charges will be filed against an Omaha homeowner who shot and killed a 19-year-old after he broke into the home.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Monday that 66-year-old Ronald Green's actions were justified because he feared for his life.
Authorities say Ramon Matlock broke into Green's home in northeast Omaha around 9 p.m. Saturday.
Kleine says Matlock swung at Green and landed a glancing blow before Green fired his gun. Matlock was struck twice and died in Green's front yard.
Green called 911 after the shooting and asked for paramedics. His gun is properly licensed.
Proposed e-cigs ban for Neb. minors sparks debate
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A proposal to ban minors from using e-cigarettes has sparked a debate in the Nebraska Legislature.
Lawmakers began debate Monday on a measure that would ban minors from using e-cigarettes and stores from selling them to anyone under 18. Senators broke away for lunch before taking a vote.
Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber, who introduced the legislation, says there hasn't been enough study to know if e-cigarettes are safe.
Sen. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo tried and failed to change the legislation so that the product wouldn't have to be behind a counter or in a secure display case. He says if the e-cigarettes can help people break a smoking habit, they should have better visibility.
The bill is LB863
YOUTH PHILANTHROPY CONTEST
Philanthropy contest aimed at Fremont-area youths
FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - A new contest in Fremont is aimed at teaching children the value of giving back to their community.
The Fremont Tribune says (http://bit.ly/1itDsUf ) the contest has been launched by the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
In the contest, youths are asked to propose projects that will better the community. The contest is divided into three school class groups: kindergarten through fourth grade, fifth through eighth grade and ninth through 12th grade.
One winner from each group will be selected and will be given a $1,000 grant from the foundation.
The winning youths will be matched up with area nonprofits or service clubs to help them turn their ideas into projects.
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