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ROYALS FANS FLOCK TO CONESTOGA MALL

Hundreds of Kansas City Royals fans from across the region were in Grand Island this morning to be a part of a championship celebration.

The World Series trophy tour stopped at the Conestoga Mall this morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was the only stop for the trophy west of Lincoln. Some parents even took their kids out of school to witness a moment 30 years in the making including. We spoke with Derek from Grand Island who brought his young son Gavin to share the moment. "It was pretty awesome. Hes only two years old so he probably dosent get it, but he knows the wors baseball and Royals. Watching in 2014 was excruciating, being just 90 feet away. But this is exciting for everybody. It was fun watching last year."
The trophy tonight was on its way to Des Moines, Iowa. It will also make several stops throughout Missouri and Kansas through the end of February.

YOUNES CONVICTED OF HIRING ILLEGAL WORKERS

A Kearney businessman has been convicted of unlawfully hiring an undocumented worker.

Paul Younes, 63 was arraigned Tuesday, according to press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $3,000 fine. Younes' business, Kearney Hospitality, Inc. was charged with harboring an alien and is subject to a term of five years probation and a maximum fine of $500,000. An investigation revealed that Younes had hired a Mexican woman who was not in the country legally and arranged for her to work under a different name.

Younes operates several hotels in Kearney, Grand Island and Hastings. A conference center in Kearney also bears his name.

LB 1032 GAINING SUPPORT

Medicaid expansion has failed numerous times before in the Nebraska legislature, but LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act is gaining a lot of support from Nebraska organizations.

State Sen. John McCollister will introduce the bill at a hearing by the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee this afternoon.

Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released a statement saying

"This bill is a unique solution that meets the specific needs of Nebraska and would allow our state to recoup more than $2 billion of our tax dollars that would strengthen our health care system and our workforce."

Opponents say the bill follows a failed model similar to what's been done in Arkansas. Governor Pete Ricketts has said Nebraska shouldn't rely on the federal government to pay for these claims.

The bill would cover roughly 77,000 Nebraskans who aren't currently covered by Medicaid. Gould said 27 Nebraska organizations came out publicly to support LB 1032.

Hastings Company to Ship Beef to Israel

A Hastings company will send the first significant shipment of beef from the United States to Israel in more than a decade since Israel banned U.S. beef imports.

On Tuesday, Nebraska Agriculture Department Director Greg Ibach praised WR Reserve for complying with a rigorous inspection process that included Israeli government regulator visits. Ibach called it a "major step" toward increasing Nebraska beef exports to an important market.

Israel has had a ban on U.S. beef imports since December 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered. The USDA announced today it was lifting the ban on U.S. beef imports.

The announcement received praise from Sen. Deb Fischer who said in a release today "the historic agreement with Israel is a testament to our producers' tireless commitment to delivering safe, high quality beef products to dinner tables around the globe."

Third district congressman Adrian Smith said today, "This success story exemplifies how important it is for us to work with our trading partners around the world to combat non-scientific trade barriers and open more markets to Nebraska products."

WR Reserve officials here in Hastings declined to comment on the shipment.

Adams Central to Try Again For New Elementary Site

The Adams Central Board of Education will ask voters to decide the future of a single-site elementary bond election this May.

By a 4-2 vote last night, board members approved the site across from Adams Central High School as the proposed location. It was overwhelmingly supported by patrons who took part in a recent phone survey. Board member Ryan Weeks voted for the Juniata location, citing that it would save taxpayers a lot of money.

"We're at $1.5 million difference and Juniata is going to throw in $700,000 so we're at $2.2 million difference in taxpayer money. It's not our money, it's theirs," he said.

Board member Chad Trausch also supported the Juniata site. Trausch called the recent phone survey a waste of taxpayer dollars. Board President Randy Kort said he believes even though that option has failed in the past, eventually the district can convince voters that a single site is the best option.

"Both times we've averaged 45 percent of people who agree that it should be one site. We just need to convince 5-7 percent of people that this is the best solution going forward and I do believe that is attainable," he said.

The proposed site would cost an estimated $19.7 million. The bond election will be on May 10.

Bob Marley's Granddaughter to Speak at Hastings College

The granddaughter of the late reggae legend Bob Marley will speak on the Hastings College campus as part of the school's Black History Month celebration Feb. 24.

Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast will explore the topic "Could You Be Love?" in her address. Using the title from one of her grandfather's most famous songs, she'll explore how individuals can be love in a world at war and when they themselves struggle to find balance between spiritual and material wealth.

Pendergast has traveled throughout the world which has exposed her to many lifestyles, perspectives and stories that she used to inspire her audiences.

She'll speak at the French Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Adams Central Board to Make Key Decision on Bond Issue

The Adams Central Board of Education will meet tonight and consider moving forward on a potential new bond election for 2016.

District officials are hoping to pass a school bond that would allow them to build a new elementary school in western Adams County. The proposal is for either an $18.2 million site near Juniata or a $19.7 million site near Adams Central High School.

Phone surveys were sent out to patrons in late December and early January and have since been reviewed by district officials. The board will also review and accept the traffic studies for the elementary sites.

Tonight's meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at Adams Central East Elementary.

Feed Yard Operator Facing Animal Cruelty Charges

A Beaver City man faces several charges after 93 cow and calf carcasses were found at his feed yard in Furnas County.

Online court records say 59-year-old Steve Clason is charged with six counts of abandoning or cruelly neglecting livestock and six counts of improper disposal of a carcass. Clason reportedly owed an Omaha-based livestock company more than $2 million. The company attempted to repossess the cattle on Jan. 19. That's when authorities discovered the dead cattle which were left to rot. The dead animals and hundreds of others were collateral for a loan.

Court documents say that the other cattle found alive were said to be in poor condition. An arraignment is scheduled for March 18.

Nelson Residents to Decide Fate of City Councilwoman

Residents in Nelson will head to the polls tomorrow to decide if a city councilwoman should keep her seat.

The Hastings Tribune reports that Vicky Garner's status came under fire in October after a petition was circulated accusing Garner of obtaining information "without board approval for her own personal gain." The petition was started by resident Emily Sole who accuses Garner of not having the best interest for the community when it comes to her position unless it benefits her wants and needs.

The petition came about after Garner applied for a liquor license and contacted the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission directly seeking information.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Nelson City Auditorium.

CNHS Caring For More than 30 Breeder Puppies

More than 30 puppies are being nursed back to health after being rescued from a breeder in central Nebraska last month.

A $10,000 grant will pay for the care of those puppies at the Central Nebraska Humane Society. Since taking the 31 dogs on January 11, one of the dogs had a litter of puppies and another litter is expected soon. Executive Director Laurie Dethloff estimates it will cost $12,000 to $14,000 to rehabilitate the dogs. She says many of them will lose all of their teeth because they are in bad condition.

Four of the dogs have been adopted and two are in foster care.

Experts to Field Questions About Affordability of the Affordable Care Act

Six years in, the Affordable Care Act still presents a lot of questions and challenges both for individuals and for healthcare providers.

On Friday, Kylie Nichols, an Affordable Care Act Certified Navigator from North Platte will attempt to answer questions about how those insured on the exchange have been impacted. Judy Reimer, with the League of Women Voters in Hastings is helping sponsor the event through the YWCA of Adams County.

"We really want the questions to be answered about how beneficial to the insured is the Affordable Care Act at this point? We should have some numbers on how many Nebraskans are enrolled, how many have enrolled this year and what the quality of their insurance policies is," Reimer said.

In addition a Mary Lanning Healthcare representative will also look at the perspective of how the law has affected how care is provided to patients. According to data from the hospital, emergency room visits have gone up from nearly 12,000 patients in 2013 to 14,000 in 2015.

"We really were after an update. Then we decided we want more than figures. We want to know the impact it has on our fellow citizens and the impact it has on our providers," Reimer said.

Friday's event starts at noon at the YWCA of Adams County and is free and open to the public.

Kearney Police Investigating Assault and Attempted Armed Robbery

Kearney Police are investigating an assault and attempted robbery that occurred after midnight last night at Casey's General Store south.

A 56 year old female received minor injuries and was treated at CHI Good Samaritan Hospital. The male suspect fled the scene on foot heading north and has yet to be located.

A picture of the suspect can be seen to the right. It is also on the Kearney Police Department Facebook page. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (308) 237-3424 or the Kearney Police Department at (308) 237-2104.

Hastings Woman Takes Plea Deal in Toddler's Death

A plea deal was reached Thursday in the case of a 34-year-old Hastings woman accused in the March 2015 death of a toddler who choked on a baby wipe.

Azudany Serrano-Contreras pleaded no contest to negligent child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. The punishment carries up to a five year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Prosecutors reduced the charge from intentional child abuse causing death, which is punishable by 20 years to life in prison. Sentencing will take place April 11.

Nineteen-month old Aliyana Peterson's death was ruled a homicide by a Colorado pathologist who conducted her autopsy. He said the only way the toddler could have choked was by force.

CNRA Back to Normal After Blizzard

Things are starting to get back to normal at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. Executive Director Mike Olson said it was one of the worst snow storms he's ever seen.

"We had just short of 19 inches of snow out here. We got the runway open at 11:30 a.m. yesterday and weren't able to do snow removal until about 3 or 4 a.m. because it was too windy and too dangerous. Visibility was pretty much zero," he said.

The airport closed Monday at 10:30 p.m. and all flights had to be cancelled due to white out conditions. He says the runway is cleared and in good shape.

"We had our first flight come in last night and we had two flights leave this morning," he said.

Downtown Kearney In Bad Shape After Blizzard

Kearney has announced a snow emergency for the downtown area prohibiting parking between the hours of 1 and 6 a.m. Friday.

Street Superintendent Roger Petersen says crews have been working hard and will continue to do so when they work downtown

"We've just got to get that moved as much as we can but the bad thing is that a lot of it's packed already so we won't be able to peel it up. It's going to be rough downtown," he said.

Crews won't be widening roads or clearing around people's mailboxes, and Petersen adds that cul-de-sacs have been especially difficult.

"It's taking a lot of time because I had to pull two of my loaders off that I normally use and put snow blowers on so we could snow blow," he said.

Another reason for an extended time clearing areas has been number or workers and durability of the equipment

"We only have so many people and so much equipment. A lot of our equipment has been breaking down because the snow has been so rough," he said.

Petersen adds that they are doing all they can to make sure students can safely return to school tomorrow.

Hastings Streets Now Driveable

The city of Hastings is functioning now with roads in decent shape throughout most of the city.

There are still some slick spots and officials still urge people to use caution when driving. Adams County Emergency Manager Chip Volcek says Hwy 6 west was cleared to the county line and Hwy 281 south was also clear but still a bit snow packed. Volcek says the roads to Roseland, Holstein and Smith Road are all cleared too, with snow packed in some areas.

The northeastern part of the city was a little slower to get cleared because one of the trucks got a flat tire, according to Adams County Roads Superintendent Dawn Miller.

Fairbury Man Arrested After Domestic Dispute

Authorities in Fairbury have arrested a 20-year-old man on a felony weapons charge and for making terroristic threats.

James McClain of Fairbury is accused of domestic assault after a conversation escalated between he and another woman. According to a police investigation, McClain blocked the woman from escaping the residence and threatened her with a kitchen knife. After police were called, McClain fled the scene and was arrested in the city park.

McClain was booked in to the Jefferson County Jail.

Blizzard Shuts Down the Mail in Hastings

The blizzard is crippling many businesses throughout the Tri-Cities and South Central Nebraska.

Even the US Postal Service, which rarely closes, is not operational today.

Mike Jones, postmaster at the Hastings post office says there will be no mail delivery today. There also will be no retail postal service as none of the employees were able to make it into work today.

The Hastings facility was unable to get its delivery from the Omaha distribution center.

Hastings Police Trying to Identify Possible Car Thief

Hastings Police are seeking the public's help identifying a man believed to have been involved in a vehicle theft last week.

The stolen vehicle has since been found in Doniphan was stolen from a Hastings business. A surveillance photo of the man (at right) is posted to the Hastings Police Department Facebook page.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Paul Weber at 402-461-2380.

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