July 29, 2014

Nebraska lawmakers return to Capitol to discuss pipeline regulations (AUDIO)

State lawmakers re-gather at the Capitol in Lincoln to consider whether they can do anything to change the route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk hadn’t favored calling a special session to deal with oil pipeline regulations, but has nonetheless been busy preparing for the special session called by Governor Heineman.

“I’m not going to second guess the reasons the governor has for calling us into special session,” Flood tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.

Flood says he still has concerns about the difficulty in crafting legislation that will force TransCanada to move the Keystone XL pipeline away from the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. Flood says preliminary legislation must be improved to meet those concerns.

“Well, I’ve committed to keeping an open mind,” Flood says. “Obviously, I shared with the members of the legislature what I felt the big legal challenges are and those challenges remain.”

Flood’s primary concern centers on the Commerce Clause. Flood says no legislation approved can unduly burden interstate commerce. The Speaker notes that even if the legislature approves a bill the governor signs, it could take at least eight months for state government to promulgate the rules and regulations to enforce the law. That, he says, could be construed as placing an undue burden on the pipeline’s construction.

TransCanada proposes building the $7 billion oil pipeline from the tar sands of western Canada to refineries at the Gulf Coast in Texas. The 1,700 mile pipeline will travel through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Governor Dave Heineman, who called the legislature into special session, says he doesn’t object to the pipeline, but objects to its proposed route. His efforts to persuade TransCanada to move the route away from the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer have proven unsuccessful.

Flood says he understands the issue has become emotional. In his memo written to legislators, Flood wrote, “We, as legislators, must make decisions grounded in reality and rooted in the law.” He also urged lawmakers to think about the long-term ramifications of enacting such legislation.

Flood says the special legislative session might well begin slowly. He expects Sen. Annette Dubas to file a bill revised from the one she floated to fellow senators earlier. He also expects other bills to be filed. He expects the special session to last three weeks.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45 mp3]

AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Speaker Mike Flood about special session [9:30 mp3]

Wausa woman dies after being run over by pick-up

A Wausa woman has died of injuries sustained when she was run over by a pick-up.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports that 36-year-old Nicole Key was run over by a Dodge Ram pick-up Saturday evening outside her home in Knox County. The patrol reports Key suffered head injuries. She was transported to a hospital in Osmond, where she was pronounced dead.

Key and the driver of the truck, a 45-year-old man, had an altercation outside the home prior to the incident. Key and the driver had been observed at a local bar earlier. It’s believed they had been drinking. The name of the driver has not been released.

NU Volleyball Coach says he cannot say much about daughter’s arrest (AUDIO)

 

Lancaster County mug shot of Lauren Cook

Nebraska Volleyball Coach John Cook opened his weekly news conference on a discouraging note that had nothing to do with the team’s first conference loss to Penn State this weekend.

“Days like this I wish my kid was a sorority girl,” Cook stated.

Cook said he couldn’t comment in depth about accusations that his daughter, standout volleyball player Lauren Cook, left the scene of an injury accident in Lincoln Sunday.

Lincoln police report Cook was arrested after allegedly running over a motorcycle stopped at the side of a city street. The motorcyclist suffered a broken leg. A rider was treated for scrapes and bruises. Cook called police to report the accident a few blocks from the scene. Police arrested Cook for Leaving the Scene of an Injury Accident (Class III Felony) and Driving Under a Suspended License.

Cook explained that Lauren had been driving to campus for treatment when the accident occurred. He emphasized that there had been no accusations of alcohol or drug use or that Lauren had been texting when the accident occurred.

Nebraska, number one in the nation, lost its second game of the year, its first in conference, this weekend against number eight Penn State 3-1. The Huskers return home this weekend to host Michigan. It hasn’t been determined whether Lauren will play against Michigan. Back-up setter, Brigette Root, would substitute for Lauren if necessary.

“That we’re working through with how we’re going to resolve that,” according to Cook. “We have procedures in place and we have ways we deal with that. It depends on how fast we can get through all that.”

Coach Cook added that he has consulted with NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne with how best to proceed.

Cook said he hopes his players derive a message from the incident.

“Things can change in a split second and I think that’s hard for kids that think they’re invincible and on top of the world. I don’t care if it’s Lauren, or a football player, a basketball player, it doesn’t matter,” Cook stated. “Things change very quickly. It’s shocking, but it’s part of life.”

AUDIO: NU Volleyball Coach John Cook addresses the media [8 min mp3]

Nebraska Humane Society: keep your pets safe tonight

With ghosts and goblins knocking on the door tonight you may not be frightened but your pet may. Pam Wiese with the Nebraska Humane Society tells us Halloween isn’t always a treat for pets and matter of fact it can be down right dangerous. She says the treats being handed out tonight to kids can be dangerous for pets. Chocolate contains a high amount of caffeine which is toxic to dogs and can cause death. Foil wrappers and sticks can get stuck in a dog’s throat or in the digestive system.

Wiese says decorations can also be dangerous. She says those glowing Jack-o-lanterns look like big balls to dogs and their curiosity can get the best of them. If they tip it over it could lead to burned fur or paws or even a house fire. She suggests using a flameless candle.

Wiese says while it is cute to dress an animal up and take him or her with you while trick-or-treating it may not be best for the animal. There will be lots of odd looking children out and about with flashing devices on their costumes and houses with scary sounds. This could frighten even a calm dog. If you insist on taking the pet along, Wiese suggests having an extra adult handle the animal on a short leash so if it acts up that person can take it home.

Wiese says perhaps the most important thing you can do for your pet’s safety tonight is to make sure it has identification. With the door opening many times a dog or cat can easily slip away. She suggests crating your dog and putting cats behind closed doors to prevent an escape.

Parents urged to do research during Learning Community open enrollment

October and November are known for “open enrollment” for health care but this is an open enrollment of a differently kind. Ted Stillwell is the C-E-O for the Learning Community and says they have created a website where parents can research which different schools to determine which the best option for the upcoming year is.

Stillwell the website is just a tool and is not a substitute for going to individual schools and checking them out in person.

Applications for the 2012-13 school year can be submitted now. The deadline is March 15th, 2012.

The Learning Community is a political subdivision of schools in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Schools that are served by the Learning Community include Bennington, Bellevue, Douglas County West, Elkhorn, Gretna, Millard, Omaha, Papillion – La Vista, Ralston, South Sarpy and Westside.