September 19, 2014

Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle countess in Omaha

Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha has a very special guest speaker attending their annual Antique and Garden Show this weekend. Lady Fiona Carnarvon is the eighth and current countess of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, the setting for PBS Masterpiece series Downton Abbey.

Lady Carnavon will host an afternoon tea on Saturday during Lauritzen Garden’s annual Antique and Garden Show. She will talk about what it has been like opening her home to a film crew and for the public to tour. Lady Carnavon says there are between 200 and 300 rooms in the castle and she has been in all of them but more are found all the time.

Part of the history lesson Lady Carnavon plans to share is that of her husband’s great grandfather, the fifth Earl of Carnavon George Herbert. His partner was Howard Carter and in 1922 they discovered King Tut’s tomb. They also have an Egyptian exhibition inside the castle.

Lauritzen Garden’s Antique and Garden Show opens today and runs through Sunday. Details and ticket information is available at



Teen arrested in shooting death of Omaha jewelry store owner

Milton Dortch

Dortch Milton

Omaha police have made an arrest in Wednesday’s shooting death of jewelry store owner, 71 year old Jim Minshall.

18 year old Milton Dortch has been booked for 1st Degree Murder, Use of a weapon and for Robbery. He is being held without bond.

There was an active warrant for Dortch’s arrest for the robbery of the Bank of the West at 132nd and West Maple Road. Dortch was also seriously injured in a shooting last June. His cousin was arrested and charged with that shooting.

Witnesses say around 10:30 Wednesday morning a man walked into JR’s Jewelry and Gifts at 72nd and Jones. He then pulled out a gun and ordered Minshall to fill a bag he was holding with jewelry. The man then dropped the bag and ordered Minshall to pick it up. When Minshall was walking to pick up the bag the gunman fired three shots and then ran from the store. Minshall was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Most Americans fail at recommended dietary guidelines

USDA’s Food Pyramid started appearing on food items back in 1992 when it was replaced by MyPlate in 2011.  Both provide information on the current nutrition guidelines regarding food categories and amounts one should eat for a healthy diet. So, how are Nebraskans and other Americans doing following those guidelines? Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee member Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz says most people are nowhere near their recommendations.

The committee is meeting this week and they report that dietary habits have not changed much in the last ten years. They report fruit consumption is stable but on the low side. Vegetable consumption is down, especially children and teens. There is a slight increase in whole grain consumption and dairy is steady.

The committee is looking at dozens of new studies and reports. Dr. Siega-Riz says the hope to find a way to get people to meet them at least half way in making healthy choices. Their new recommendations should be available by the end of next year.

Senate taking up amendment to combat ISIL today

Nebraska U-S Senator Mike Johanns is pleased that legislation is quickly making its way through Congress to combat the terrorist group ISIL. The U-S House passed an amendment that would provide funding to the Department of Defense and the State Department to equip and train moderate forces fighting ISIL in Syria. It also requires a number of progress reports to improve congressional oversight.

Senator Johanns says the U-S Senate is taking up that same amendment today. He says he is convinced that the U-S must do our part to end their reign of terror and prevent it from being spread around the world.

Senator Johanns the U-S will not be alone in the mission. He says several other countries have committed to the cause and hopes that others will join the effort.

Friday marks six years of delays for Keystone XL project

On September 19th, 2008 TransCanada began its approval process with the U-S federal government to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The southern portion was ordered fast-tracked and has been in operation for several years. The northern portion goes through Nebraska and the permit process stalled after a conflict regarding the route. That issue was addressed and a new route approved but the permit remains unsigned by the president.

Cindy Schild is the senior manager of American Petroleum Institute’s Refining and Oil Sands Program and says, “There has been a small vocal minority that the Obama Administration has been catering to at the expense of national interest and the wishes of the vast majority of the American people. So, if President Obama is not going to exercise leadership and not look at the findings of his own State Department then we fully support Congress acting on this.” Even with that request Schild doesn’t expect anything to happen until after the November elections.

Schild says most people do not realize that since the first application six years ago more than 10,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipeline has been built across the country – enough to cross the U-S back and forth four times. She says, “It has been under review longer than it took to win World War II, to build the Hoover Dam or paint the Sistine Chapel.”

Schild says voters have embraced the North America energy boom and Americans need to know that their government can make a decision that is in the country’s best interest.