Latest Nebraska news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. CDT


VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEBRASKA

Nebraska surpasses 20,000 positive cases of corornavirus

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska has surpassed 20,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began earlier this year. The state’s online virus tracker shows 155 cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 20,201. Of the total, nearly 15,000 have recovered from the virus. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, had reached 282 by the end of Tuesday. State officials say 40% of Nebraska’s hospital beds, 46% of the intensive care beds and 81 percent of the ventilators in the state remained available Tuesday.

PRAIRIE DOG PROBLEM

Nebraska Panhandle officials: Prairie dogs a growing problem

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) — Officials in Nebraska’s southern panhandle are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for help and are exploring other options to control what they say is an encroaching prairie dog problem in the region. The Scottsbluff Star-Herald reports that Cheyenne County Board commissioners say the animals are threatening to overrun the towns of Lodgepole, Sidney and Potter if more is not done. Commissioner Philip Sanders says the animals caused nearly $3,000 in damage last year to 2,600 acres in the county. Prairie dogs are native to Nebraska and live in colonies that create vast underground tunnels. They are considered an important to the region’s ecological balance, but many property owners view them as pests.

PRISON PSYCHOLOGIST CHARGED

Ex-prison psychologist accused of inmate relationship

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A former psychologist at the Nebraska State Penitentiary has been charged with a felony after a search of her bag turned up an intimate letter from an inmate. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 44-year-old Sarah Tielke, of Papillion, was charged Monday with unauthorized communication with an inmate. A court affidavit says Tielke tried to put her bag in a locker on Feb. 25 after she was selected for a random search. A search of the bag turned up three cellphones and a four-page letter an inmate had written her suggesting there was a romantic relationship between them. Tielke told investigators the cellphones belonged to her children, and she was later charged only in connection to the letter.

BELLEVUE CONFESSION

Nebraska man sentenced for strangling wife

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska man has been sentenced to prison for strangling his wife and throwing her body in the Missouri River. KMTV reports that Brandon Norton, of the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 1/2 to 62 years in prison in the June 2018 death of 32-year-old Jennifer Norton. He pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and improper disposal of a body. Norton was arrested after walking into the Sarpy County Jail to tell authorities that he had killed his wife the day before and dropped her body from a bridge into the river. He told police that he’d choked her to death after an argument.

AP-US-BUFFETT-DONATIONS

Buffett makes annual donations worth $2.9B to 5 charities

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett has given away another $2.9 billion of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to five foundations as part of his plan to gradually give away his fortune. Buffett disclosed the annual gifts Wednesday. The biggest donation went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett also gave stock to his own foundation and to the foundations run by each of his three children. Buffett has been giving away blocks of Berkshire stock since 2006. In total, Buffett’s gifts were worth more than $37 billion based on Berkshire’s share price when the gifts were given.

MISSOURI RIVER FLOODING

Corps decreasing water flowing into lower Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water being released into the Missouri River from a dam on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is being decreased because less water is expected to flow into the river this year. That means the risk of a repeat of last year’s massive flooding along the river has been reduced. The reduction is possible because the region received less precipitation than expected this spring and the summer is expected to be drier than normal. The corps estimated Tuesday that 31.2 million acre feet of water will flow down the river this year. That is roughly 1 million acre feet lower than the previous forecast.



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