NEBRASKA CAPITOL FOCUS
Neb. lawmakers to act on some income tax measures
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers are poised to act this session on income tax cuts for seniors and veterans.
Lawmakers will debate a bill that would ensure Nebraska's income-tax brackets keep pace with inflation, while giving a greater tax break to low- and middle-income Social Security recipients. They also are likely to debate a tax-break for service members who choose to live in Nebraska after retiring from the military.
The bills were introduced in the wake of a legislative tax study last year. Senator Galen Hadley, chairman of the Legislature's Revenue Committee, says the tax-bracket bill would address cost-of-living salary increases that can bump taxpayers into a bracket with higher rates.
Nebraska Farm Bureau offers farm bill guidance
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation has prepared a list to help Nebraska farmers navigate changes wrought by the recently passed farm bill in Washington.
The list is titled the "Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill."
Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the list "provides a baseline of information to help (farmers) get started."
The bureau says a critical component of the new bill for Nebraska farmers and ranchers is the retroactive extension of numerous livestock disaster programs. Livestock disaster signup begins April 15th.
The bureau has developed a 2014 Farm Bill Breakdown web offering that includes a way to submit farm bill questions. The website address is WWW DOT NEFB DOT org.
Annual drought symposium set next month in Lincoln
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska's Center for Great Plains Studies has scheduled its 40th annual symposium on drought.
The event is scheduled for April 1st through 4th at the Nebraska Union. The title this year is "Drought in the Life, Cultures and Landscapes of the Great Plains."
More than 40 speakers will share their expertise and perspectives. Topics include agriculture and livestock impacts, Dust Bowl history, drought in literature and art, climate extremes and human health effects.
NEBRASKA BRUSH FIRES
Firefighters battle brush fires in eastern Neb.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Firefighters were working Sunday to extinguish several brush fires in eastern Nebraska.
Fires broke out as temperatures climbed into the low 70s yesterday, but winds gusting 30-to-40 mph made it difficult to contain the fires.
No evacuations or serious injuries were reported Sunday afternoon, but at least one firefighter had to be treated for smoke inhalation near Branched Oak Lake.
Some roads had to be shut down at Branched Oak as crews battled a grass fire northeast of the lake.
Otoe County officials say firefighters were battling fires near Dunbar and Palmyra.
The Saunders County Sheriff's office says a grass fire northwest of Ashland was contained Sunday.
Another brush fire was reported near Springfield, Nebraska Sunday afternoon. That blaze forced a road closure nearby, but no injuries were reported.
Missing Nebraska teen returns to Omaha are
BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) - A missing eastern Nebraska teenager has returned to the Omaha area, but didn't immediately return home to her family.
Police in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue say 16-year-old Michaela Wells was flown back to the area on Friday - a day after she was found safe in Indianapolis at the home of a teen boy.
Bellevue Police Chief Mark Elbert says Wells will be held in the Sarpy County Juvenile Justice Center until investigators can talk with her and evaluate the situation.
Elbert says this interview procedure is used in any case of missing or runaway teens his department investigates.
Wells disappeared March 2nd when she went outside to take out the trash.
Police arrest suspect in fatal Omaha shooting
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha police have arrested a suspect in Friday's fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man.
Police said Saturday that 23-year-old Laron Jones had been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and weapons charges in the case.
The shooting at a house in northeast Omaha was reported around 2:50 a.m. Friday. Officers found Brandon Samuels there with gunshot wounds.
Samuels was taken to Creighton University Medical Center where he later died. He is from Omaha.
Police interviewed several witnesses, and later arrested Jones.
FATAL HOME INVASION
Omaha police investigate fatal home invasion
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha police are investigating a fatal shooting that began with a home invasion this weekend.
Police say the incident happened shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday at a home in the 5100 block of North 49th Avenue.
Officers arrived and found 19-year-old Ramon Matlock of Omaha lying outside the home with gunshot wounds. Paramedics were unable to revive him.
The homeowner and several neighbors are being questioned in the shooting, but police described the incident as a home invasion.
No arrests in the case had been reported as of midday Sunday.
Dead eagles found in Neb. used by Native Americans
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - The carcasses of dead bald and golden eagles found in Nebraska are collected and recycled for religious purposes.
The North Platte Telegraph reports the state is part of an unusual federal recycling program that provides parts of eagle carcasses to Native Americans who hold valid permits.
The feathers and other body parts of eagles are considered sacred by some Native Americans. But federal laws designed to protect the birds make it illegal for most people to possess any part of a golden or bald eagle.
Lauren Dinan with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the state recently sent 37 eagles to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Eagle Repository in Commerce City, Colorado.
Creighton women slip past Butler 61-52
CHICAGO (AP) - Sarah Nelson scored 21 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead 3rd seed Creighton to a 61-52 win over sixth-seeded Butler in the Big East women's tournament quarterfinals on Sunday.
Creighton faces Number 2 seed St. John's in Monday's semifinal.
In a tough defensive matchup, Creighton (19-12) took control midway through the second half with a 12-2 run capped by an MC McGrory jumper that made it 38-29 with 11:52 to go. Butler (15-15) shaved the gap to 42-37 on a Lexus Murry jumper with 6:53 to go but it was as close as the Bulldogs would get down the stretch.
McGrory finished the game with 12 points, while Marissa Janning and McKenzie Fujan had 10 points apiece for the Bluejays, who were held to 35 percent shooting from the field but had a 3-to-1 scoring advantage from long range, sinking 9 of 27.
Daress McClung led Butler with 25 points.
No. 16 Nebraska wins Big Ten tourney title
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Rachel Theriot scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half Sunday, leading Number 16 Nebraska past Number 23 Iowa 72-65 for the Big Ten tournament title.
It's the first time the Cornhuskers (25-6) have ever won a conference tourney crown, clinching the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid. Nebraska also posted its second straight 25-win season and is tied for the second most victories in school history. The Cornhuskers head into the postseason with plenty of momentum after winning 12 of 13.
Iowa (26-8) was led by Ally Disterhoft with 20 points and Samantha Logic with 14 but had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Nebraska never trailed, though Iowa closed to 57-56 with 7:43 to play. Theriot, the tourney's most outstanding player, helped Nebraska pull away with an 8-3 run.
NCAA hopeful Nebraska upsets No. 9 Wisconsin 77-68
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway scored 26 points apiece, and Nebraska upset Number 9 Wisconsin 77-68 on Sunday night to put a dent in the Badgers' hopes for a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Cornhuskers (19-11, 11-7) won for the 10th time in 12 games to clinch fourth place in the Big Ten for their highest conference finish since 1997-98. The Badgers (25-6, 12-6) had their longest conference win streak since 1940-41 end at eight games.
Shields made a couple free throws, Ray Gallegos hit a 3 and Shields dunked in transition to start a 12-1 run that turned a 52-48 deficit into a 60-53 lead with 5 minutes left.
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