October 24, 2014

Drivers beware…deer on the highways (AUDIO)

white_tailed_deer_0820[1]Fall poses a few more dangers than normal on Nebraska highways, especially car-deer accidents.

Be careful out there, in particular near those deer crossing signs on the highway.

Nebraska Office of Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek says they’re there for a reason.

“It’s usually probably a place where typically deer are moving regularly,” Zwonechek tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Deer, though, don’t seem to follow a pattern, let alone keep a routine and cross the highway at the same place every time.

Dawn and dusk are the most dangerous time of the day for deer on the highway.

But Zwonechek points out at harvest time, deer can get spooked at any time of the day.

“You get somebody who’s out there working a field and gets close to a cover area, they’ll start moving in the middle of the day and all of the sudden, you’ve got one in your ditch and it’s coming right at you,” Zwonechek says.

Zwonechek says highway safety engineers are trying a few new methods to limit car-deer accidents. Fencing seems to be helping in some areas, but it is expensive.

The best advice he says he can give is to be on the lookout for deer. Scan the shoulders and fields. If you spot one deer, there likely are more nearby. Don’t swerve to miss a deer. Drivers often lose control of their vehicles when they swerve. The best bet is to just plow ahead and hit the deer.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:40]

College students charged, fraternity suspended in wake of freshman death

Seven people have been charged and a fraternity has been suspended after an investigation into the death of a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

UNL police arrested four members of the Farmhouse Fraternity and issued citations to three others in connection with the death of 18-year-old Clayton Real in early September.

In response to the investigation, university officials announced it has suspended the Farmhouse fraternity chapter at UNL.

“We have taken appropriate action, given the seriousness of the matter,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan Franco said in a written statement released by the university. “We have suspended this chapter.”

The indefinite suspension takes effect immediately. Freshman members of Farmhouse will not be allowed to reside in the fraternity house at 3601 Apple St., but will have to live in the dorms.

UNL police report alcohol flowed freely at a September 4th “frosh” party at 2009 South 16th Street in Lincoln, hosted by the Farmhouse fraternity. Fraternity officers and members provided the alcohol, including to underage members of the fraternity.

Real passed out from intoxication and was taken back to his room at Farmhouse, where he died in the night. An autopsy concluded that Real died of acute alcohol intoxication, with a blood alcohol content of .378.

Four students have been charged with the felony of procuring alcohol for a minor resulting injury or death:  21-year-old Vance Heyer, Farmhouse Fraternity Vice President; 19-year-old Thomas Trueblood, Farmhouse Fraternity Freshman Social Chair; 21-year-old Cory Foland, Farmhouse Fraternity New Member Educator; and 22-year-old Ross Reynolds, Farmhouse Fraternity member.

Three students have been charged with misdemeanor procuring alcohol to a minor:  21-year-old William Miller, Farmhouse Fraternity member; 20-year-old Marin Hartfield, UNL student; 20-year-old Lauren Williams, UNL student.

No other charges are expected at this time, according to UNL police, who add that the activities do not appear to meet the elements under the state statute against hazing.

Real, an Agricultural Economics major from Grafton, won a scholarship to UNL from his local chapter of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association.


Game and Parks approves bighorn sheep hunt

BighornSheep.PatJ.NBR.512x289[1]Two people will be allowed to hunt bighorn sheep in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners authorized one lottery and one auction bighorn sheep permit for 2015 at their meeting in Scottsbluff.

Only Nebraska residents will be allowed to enter the lottery for a permit. Both residents and nonresidents will be allowed to bid for the auction permit.

The state last approved two bighorn permits in one year in 2011.

Nebraska is home to approximately 390 bighorn sheep, 29 rams in four established herds are at or near the desired age for hunting. The areas approved for the hunt will be decided later.

Driver dead in roll over crash in northeast Nebraska

A 29-year-old Norfolk man died after losing control of his car in Pierce County and rolling several times.

The Nebraska State Patrol reports Joshua Petersen died at the scene Tuesday afternoon on Nebraska Highway 13. The NSP says the car rolled when Petersen overcorrected after losing control of it.

Congressman Fortenberry calls for Ebola travel restrictions (AUDIO)

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Another member of the Nebraska Congressional delegation calls for travel restrictions in the fight against Ebola.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry calls for a ban on all unnecessary commercial flights to countries fighting the Ebola outbreak.

“This is a very serious disease. This should be fundamentally about protecting public safety,” Fortenberry tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Fortenberry acknowledges there needs to be a balance. He says medical personnel need to be able to travel to the countries affected. Transportation for humanitarian aid also needs to be made available, according to Fortenberry.

“But the job of the government, the highest level, the highest purpose of government is to protect you,” Fortenberry says. “And if we’re about trying to nuance and manage this from a public relations perspective or worse, a political perspective, then you’re not getting at heart of the matter of public safety.”

Fortenberry adds America has been carrying an unfair share of the burden in fighting Ebola.

“This has to be the world’s problem,” Fortenberry says. “Not any more speeches; direct action with resources for people who are suffering.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]