April 23, 2014

Plane crash near Broken Bow kills one, injures another

One person has died; another has been injured in a plane crash near the Broken Bow airport.

No names have been released. The person injured has been taken by helicopter to another medical center after initially being taken to the hospital in Broken Bow. The extent of injuries is not known.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Department reports the two-engine plane crashed into a cornfield northwest of the airport. The department as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Julie Toline, KBBN, contributed to this report.

Promoting organ donations is personal for state directors (AUDIO)

DMV Director Beverly Neth speaks at news conference as Gov. Heineman looks on.

Two state officials testify to the benefits of organ transplants as the state prepares to observe “Donate Life” month.

State Department of Motor Vehicles Director Beverly Neth twice received living kidney donations from her sisters. She urges Nebraskans to sign up at the DMV or sign up online at Donate Life Nebraska to indicate their willingness to be a donor.

Last year, 261 Nebraskans received lifesaving organ transplants. At present, there are 450 residents on the waiting list for organ and tissue donations.

Nebraska Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joann Schaefer, Director of the Division of Public Health, says all Nebraskans need to consider becoming donors. Schaefer knows. She received a liver transplant four years ago from a living donor.

“When I think back to this time four years ago, I wasn’t really in shape enough to even walk down the hallway, I was very, very sick at the time and just struggling to get through each day,” Schaefer suffered from a family disease she didn’t know about until she was an adult.

Schaefer says the transplant saved her life.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joann Schaefer, advocates organ donations at news conference

“Today, I have completed eight half-marathons. I’m going to do my first full marathon this year, in October,” Schaefer tells reporters during a Capitol news conference. “I wouldn’t be able to have the life that I have today without my living donor.”

State records indicate that nearly 700,000 Nebraska residents have signed on to the Nebraska Donor Registry, an increase of more than 12,000 since the end of 2010. About half of the state’s license drivers are designated as organ donors.

Donate Life Month is a national observance to increase awareness about the need for organ, eye and tissue donations.

AUDIO: Gov. Heineman hosts news conference with Directors Neth and Schaefer on Donate Life month [14 min.]

Vote to end filibuster fails, Voter Photo ID bill effectively dead this session (AUDIO)

A vote to end a filibuster against the voter photo ID bill fell three votes short, effectively killing the bill for this session.

Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, the sponsor of LB 239, moved to cut off debate and force a vote this morning after the legislature debated the bill for eight hours. Thirty senators voted to end the filibuster, three short of the votes needed.

Janssen stated during debate he introduced the measure as a way to protect the integrity and reliability of Nebraska elections.

“I’ve always felt it unusual when I go to my polling place that I don’t have to show my identification and many others have talked to me about this same issue,” Janssen said.

Janssen says his bill would insure against voter fraud.

But, Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln questioned the motivation of those pushing the requirement.

“The question that really lies behind this bill is what; what is the purpose?” Avery asked colleagues. “Could it be voter suppression, because that’s probably what would happen? Because this will put a disproportionate burden on certain groups of voters; elderly, students, poor, rural and minority voters.”

Other opponents claimed the bill was not needed, because Nebraska does not have a problem with voter fraud.

AUDIO: End of legislative debate on LB 239 and vote [14:30]

Finding a D-lineman to play center not out of the norm for Cotton

Nebraska offensive line coach Barney Cotton said Mike Caputo was the exception and not the rule when it comes to finding players who can handle the center position. Caputo was recruited out of Millard North as a center, but most of the time Cotton will look to offensive tackles or players on the defensive side of the ball and covert them to centers in college. That’s the case this year.

Junior Cole Pensick and Senior Justin Jackson started their NU careers as defensive linemen, a position offensive line coach Barney Cotton say makes for a smooth transition for many centers because d-linemen tend to be more athletic than offensive lineman. It’s a challenge that both players are starting to adapting to and learning to snap the ball is just the start.

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Former Husker DE transfers to KU

Former Nebraska defensive end Josh Williams has joined the Kansas football program. Williams will transfer for Kansas in June and be eligible to play his senior season in the fall.

Williams started two games last season and appeared in 29 over three years after redshirting as a freshman. Willams is the fourth player to transfer to Kansas since Charlie Weis became the coach, joining quarterbacks Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Jake Heaps (Brigham Young) and wide receiver Justin McCay (Oklahoma).