Category Archives: Regional News

Doggie Dip Event Gives Furry Friends Chance To Splash Around

BEATRICE – As summer winds to an end pools start closing and the smell of sunscreen leaves the air. But at the Beatrice Water Park before the pool is drained the smell of suntan lotion is exchanged with the smell of wet dog. As a partnership with the Beatrice Humane Society, dogs are allowed to come swim after the pool is closed for the season before they drain it.

It costs $10 to enter two humans and one furry friend but any additional human is only $1. The event started Thursday at 6 p.m. and went until 8 p.m. but that didn’t stop dogs from showing up as early as 5 p.m. At 5:30 there were already 10 dogs in attendance. Last year around 80 dogs took advantage of the opportunity to splash and play fetch in the pool.

Among the pooches to arrive early was Beatrice Police Dog Toro. He was enjoying the off time by jumping off the diving board and running down the slide. While most dogs preferred the shallow waters where they could walk, Toro was more adventurous taking his tennis ball to the deep end and jumping right in.

All of the money goes to the Beatrice Humane Society and all dogs must be up-to-date on all shots and enter the park on a leash.

Wanted Persons May Be Heading to Thayer County or Surrounding Area

According to the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office, two wanted persons may be heading to Thayer County or the surrounding area.

The suspects on the run are Joshua Aaron Robertson, 27, and Brittany Humphrey, 22, of the Los Angeles area.

The pair is wanted after allegedly kidnapping three children, who were found and located safe on Wednesday. The children’s mother, Kimberly Harvill, who happens to also be the sister of Brittany Humphrey, was found dead in Los Angeles County on August 14. Robertson and Humphrey are also wanted for questioning surrounding Harvill’s death.

If you see these individuals in the area, you are asked to call 911 immediately.

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Broken Bow woman on trial for child abuse

BROKEN BOW, Neb. A Broken Bow woman is on trial for felony child abuse.

Brittney Pryce, 26, is charged in connection with the November 2013 death of a 20-month-old foster child in her care. Court records indicate that the baby died of blunt force trauma to the head. At the time the child was under Pryce’s care, as well as that of Pryce’s mother.

The Custer county district court trial is expected to last all week. Child abuse resulting in death is a felony, for which Pryce could get life in prison, if convicted.

Beatrice Firefighters Use Aerial to Rescue Bucket Truck Tree-Trimmers

BEATRICE –  Beatrice Firefighters were called out to a West Court Street location late Wednesday afternoon to rescue a couple of workers from an extended bucket truck, being used to trim trees.

:19                  “catching on fire”

Beatrice Fire Chief Brian Daake says two workers were in the bucket trimming trees at a house along the north side of Court Street, when the hydraulic failure occurred.  The house is located just west of the entrance road to the Gage County Fairgrounds, at West Court and Logan Street.

:10                  “maybe a little higher”

Bucket2The names of the workers and the company owning the truck were not immediately available.  Daake says with fire apparatus which uses a bucket, there’s a manual way to retract the boom.  He was not sure if there was a way to do that with the bucket truck being used to trim the trees.  Daake says there was no damage to the house, and most of the fluid leaked onto the truck.

:04                  “at this time”

While fire vehicles were at the scene, Court Street was blocked off to traffic, backing up vehicles for some distance.DSCN1509

Beatrice Firefighters were summoned to the scene slightly after four p-m.

Body of Boat Passenger Recovered Downstream of Hamburg

HAMBURG – The body of a boater who has been missing since Sunday afternoon was recovered in the Missouri River downstream from Hamburg on Wednesday.

Jason Grayson, 42, of Elliot, had been missing after the boat he was a passenger on capsized and was swept under a barge moored to the bank downstream from the Hamburg Mitchell Access Landing. Grayson’s body was found in the Missouri River just south of the Iowa-Missouri border.

Johnnie Fields, 47, of Shenandoah, was the operator of the boat and was able to swim under the barge where he was rescued from the shore by witnesses on the scene.

Fields and Grayson had just launched the 16-foot aluminum, v-bottomed fishing boat on Sunday afternoon when the boat motor stalled. The current of the river pulled the boat approximately 120-yards downstream and under the moored barge. The boat was recovered Tuesday evening.

The incident remains under investigation by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Inside Beatrice: Fire And Rescue

BEATRICE – When 911 is dialed someone is expected to show up quickly and ready to help. In Beatrice 911 is called more than 2600 times a year. But what happens when 911 is called? Fire Chief Brian Daake says the process varies depending on the situation.

“Yeah, it starts out somebody calls 911. It goes to the Southeast Nebraska Dispatch Center which is up in the police station. they process the call, determine where it’s at, ask a few questions and then if it’s a fire call here, you know in our jurisdiction, the city limits of Beatrice, then they page us out.

And from there it depends on what we’ve got going on and where it’s at. if everybody is here, we’ve got three shifts that work 24 hour shifts, A, B, and C and they’ve got seven firefighter, EMT, Paramedics assigned to each one. Typically we hope to have six here. We’ve had a lot of injuries here lately so it’s a little dynamic with our numbers.

But essentially we get paged out, determine if it’s a structure fire, then Engine 1 with a crew of four will respond. Myself and the deputy chief will respond as well as more of a safety back up, but anyways the Engine 1 crew responds and their job is to secure a water supply and basically determine what type of tactics they need to deploy. The captain decides if it’s an indirect attack, direct attack, depending on which way they need to advance the hose and things like that and go in a knock the fire down. Then go from there. Then if the other two responders are available they will respond in an ambulance.”

Each firefighter is part of one rotation that works 24 hours and rotates with two other teams. Daake says the shift isn’t just playing cards.

“We’ve got a dormitory in an area so they, if they are able to, we run 2600 calls a year so sometimes it’s kind of tough to get any rest but they’ve got dormitory. They stay here for their 24 hour shift and just try to rest up.

Having spent many, many years on shift, even if you do get a chance to sleep here, it’s not like sleeping at home because you are always at a heighten sense of awareness wondering where you’re going next, what’s going on, and what you’ll be doing the next few minutes.”

Daake says the most common calls are medical responses and take less than an hour in city limits.

“Medical Emergencies, and depending on those, just responding, taking care of the call and going back into service, they take not quite an hour, about 50 minutes if it’s inside the city limits. Outside the city limits it takes about an hour and a half. But of course you also have to consider we have readiness that we have to have involved with, making sure the equipment is up to date, training and ten after every call we have to do paperwork. The paramedics do patient-care reports and those can take up-words, depending on the type of call, over an hour just to do the paperwork so you have that on top of it.”

Whether it is a medical emergency or a fire that causes citizens of Beatrice to call 911 there is more involved than just dialing the phone.

Live Armadillo Found in Otoe County

NEBRASKA CITY – A Nebraska City woman was shocked Tuesday morning when she stepped out on her back porch to find a live armadillo that local officials say may be the first ever captured in Otoe County.

Jeanna Pestel said she recognized the armour shell right away.

Pestel: “I knew it was an armadillo because I was born and grew up for a while in Amarillo, Texas, so I’ve seen armadillos and I knew they didn’t belong in Nebraska.”

She called Game Warden Russ Mort who said he has seen a few armadillos killed on roadways before, but he believes this may be the first ever found alive here. The Nebraska City Street Department captured the animal and held it for a wildlife rescue group.

Mike Fritz, natural heritage zoologist with Nebraska Game and Parks, said armadillos have been found as far north as Bassett, Neb., near the South Dakota border. He said there have been six road kills south of Interstate 80 in recent years.

Fritz: “We expect them probably to continue try and move north and colonize into Nebraska. With climate change, if we get to have very warm, open winters, we expect to have more because winter is really the limiting factor.”

He said there may be a breeding population of armadillos in central or southern Kansas. Some of these will disperse when the population density reaches a certain level. He said they have been moving northward for over a century.

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Street crew catches armadillo
Fritz: “For example, prior to about the turn of the century, there were very few armadillos even reported in the United States.
They were considered primarily a species of Central America, Mexico, that area. They thought perhaps the Rio Grande was a significant block for them to move.

He said the mammals do not hibernate and have no hair, so they must burrow in a hay bale or dirt mound to escape the cold.

They are typically not able to search for food in freezing temperatures and will not thrive when the ground is snow covered.

Fritz does not recommend attempting to handle an armadillo. Although their primary defense is to roll in a ball and play dead, they can scratch if attempting to escape.
Pestel said she is happy to have the street department collect her unexpected visitor.

Beatrice Police Arrest Four Suspects Monday, in Drug Investigation

BEATRICE – Beatrice Police have arrested four suspects for alleged drug possession at an 1800 Scott Street apartment, where a five-year-old girl was present while drugs allegedly were being used.

Appearance bonds were scheduled to be set Tuesday, for 29-year-old Whitney Cooper and 25-year-old Ashley Connolly, both of Beatrice….and for 25-year-old Tiffanie Street of Western and 36-year-old Damien Roland, who is listed as homeless.   All four were arrested Monday afternoon, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and child abuse.

Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang says investigators believe the drugs being used are being brought in, from outside of Beatrice.

:07                  “this case, as well”

According to court records, a search of the apartment was made by consent of Whitney Cooper.  Authorities located a pipe with suspected meth in the kitchen, a syringe with meth on the top of a refrigerator, a small bag with meth from a garbage container, a marijuana pipe in the kitchen, a small bag of marijuana in a purse and a container of marijuana in the console of a vehicle used by one of the occupants.

:44                  “those dangers”

Lang says investigators frequently get tips that help lead to the arrests of those involved in illegal drug use or distribution.

:14                  “an arrest”

Bond for Ashley Connolly has been set at $25,000.  Damien Roland’s bond was set at $7,500, while bond for Whitney Cooper and Tiffanie Street is set at $5,000, each.   Further hearings for all four suspects are scheduled for September 20th, in Gage County Court.

Police say the five-year-old girl in the apartment is the daughter of one of the suspects.   The girl has been turned over to the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.Scott21 (2)

Local Red Cross volunteers deployed to help relief efforts in flood-damaged Louisiana

At least 19 people from the area joined some 1,500 other American Red Cross volunteers week to provide flood relief in Louisiana, a Red Cross official said Friday.

Team members – 18 from Nebraska and one from southwest Iowa – headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to offer various kinds of assistance, said Jill Orton, regional CEO.

“That’s where they’re sending everyone right now,” she said.

Many will help with the massive effort to assess the damage, while others will help feed and shelter those displaced by the flood, Orton said. Gail Palmer of Malvern, who left Wednesday, will serve as assistant director of government relations, acting as a liaison between government agencies and local organizations.

A week after the floods hit, the American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food and comfort to thousands of people impacted by the massive disaster and will be there in the weeks and months to come as residents recover, a press release from the organization stated.

The flooding in Louisiana is being called the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy. Early estimates are that the massive Red Cross relief effort could cost $30 million or more.

On Thursday night, as many as 3,900 people were still seeking refuge in 28 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana, the press release stated. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.

As of Friday morning, the Red Cross has provided more than 32,000 overnight shelter stays since the flooding began and served more than 158,000 meals and snacks, with the help of several organizations. Volunteers are visiting shelters to offer emotional support and help replace things like lost eyeglasses and medications.

Dozens of disaster response vehicles are deployed to Louisiana, as well as numerous trailer-loads of relief supplies to bolster relief efforts. Some of the thousands of supplies arriving include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellent, cleaning kits, bleach and other supplies.

The Red Cross is asking the public to support relief efforts by making a monetary donation. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Norfolk Man Arrested After Confessing to Sexual Assault

NORFOLK – A Norfolk man is in jail after police say he sexually assaulted a young girl repeatedly.

Norfolk Police Capt. Michael Bauer says 23-year old Matthew Fisher was arrested on Monday. An investigation into Fisher began last week, after police say Fisher told them that he had touched a young girl inappropriately.

The Northeast Nebraska Child Advocacy Center interviewed the 11-year old girl, who confirmed Fisher had sexually assaulted her on several instances.

Fisher was placed under arrest on felony sexual assault charges Monday. He’s set to make his first appearance in Madison County Court Tuesday afternoon.