April 21, 2015

Nebraska Science Festival star parties

Nebraskans are invited to a night out with the stars. Science Program Outreach Coordinator at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Kacie Baum is also the Nebraska Science Festival Coordinator and says for the first year they are adding star parties to the festival lineup.

The first star party is planned at the Strategic Air & Space Museum on April 16th from 8 to 11 pm. A number of telescopes will be provided and visitors will be guided through sky tours.

A second star party is scheduled on April 18th from 8 until 11 pm at the DC West High School in Valley. Again telescopes will be provided.

For a full schedule Nebraska SciFest activities log on to nescifest.com.

Former Nebraska school official placed on probation, ordered to pay restitution

A former eastern Nebraska school official has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution for using school funds to pay for purchases made on his personal credit card.

Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old James Clark will serve four years’ probation and repay $20,000 to the Westside Community Schools District.

According to U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, an investigation by the Department of Education Office of Inspector General determined Clark misused federal school funds between September of 2006 and August of 2010, when he served as Comptroller and then as Director of Finance within the Business Office of Westside Community Schools District.

Clark did not have proper authorization of the purchases, including some for personal use.

State’s FFA convention sees big attendance boost

FFA LogoThousands of young people in those familiar blue jackets are being spotted in downtown Lincoln. The annual Nebraska State FFA Convention is taking place at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

State Director Matt Kreifels says attendance is up by several hundred this year.

“I’m proud to say that we have record attendance,” Kreifels says. “In fact, we have over 500 more students than we had last year and we topped out at just over 4,500 FFA members here in town.”

Kreifels says more Nebraska schools are offering ag education curriculum and that’s helped bring an increase in FFA participation.

“In the last four years, we’ve had 25 schools add a program that didn’t offer it before and we’re excited that starting this fall, we have 15 schools that want to pick it up for this coming school year. That’s a tremendous growth that we’re seeing with 10% in one year jump.”

FFA members from across Nebraska have the chance to participate in numerous activities and contests at the annual convention in Lincoln. The convention runs thru today.

By Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice


UNK hosts conference on new uses for comic books

UNK logoComic books are being used to help hospital patients to heal and students to become better at math and reading. It’s the topic of a two-day conference this week in south-central Nebraska.

Michelle Fleig-Palmer, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, says the “Comics in Medicine and Teaching” conference on campus will focus on potential therapeutic and scholastic uses for comics and graphic novels.

Fleig-Palmer says, “The purpose of the conference is to bring together people in health care and teachers to talk about using comics in both an educational aspect and a healing aspect.”

The keynote speaker at UNK on Thursday will talk about the potential use of comic books for medicinal purposes.

“We have Dr. Ian Williams coming, a physician from England,” Fleig-Palmer says. “He’s going to talk specifically about comics and how that art form is used in health care and how he’s used it with patients.” She says the conference offers the opportunity to think broadly and creatively about how comic books and graphic novels can be used by health care providers and educators to help patients and students with their various challenges.

“We have Katie Monin, she’s a professor from Florida,” Fleig-Palmer says. “She’s going to talk about using comic books in classrooms with children who are struggling with math and English.”

The two-day conference at UNK will conclude on Friday. It’s free and open to the public.

By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney


University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Perlman praised as he announces he will step down

Chancellor Harvey Perlman delivers the 2014 State of the University address/Photo courtesy of UNL

Chancellor Harvey Perlman delivers the 2014 State of the University address/Photo courtesy of UNL

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman is receiving wide-spread praise in wake of the announcement that he will step down as chancellor next year.

Perlman announced in a university-wide email on the date of his 14th anniversary of his installation at the university he would step down as chancellor on June 30th of 2016. Perlman plans to return to the Nebraska Law faculty after ending his tenure as chancellor.

The announcement had to be confirmed by university officials, because it came on April Fool’s Day.

Perlman became UNL’s 19th chancellor on April 1st of 2001 after serving nearly a year as interim chancellor.

“For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, I believe that 2015-16 should be my last year as chancellor,” Perlman wrote in his letter to campus. “This will allow an orderly transition and give our new president, Hank Bounds, an opportunity to organize and conduct a search for my successor.”

Perlman is the second-longest serving chancellor. Samuel Avery served as chancellor from 1908 to 1927.

Perlman, 73, is a native of York. Perlman joined the University of Nebraska College of Law faculty in 1967. Perlman left the Lincoln campus in 1974, when he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia Law School. Perlman returned to become dean of the law college in 1983. He served as dean until 1998.

“It has been a thrilling ride for me, largely because of your extraordinary accomplishments that have contributed to the growth and increased stature of the university,” Perlman wrote. “Those contributions, too numerous to mention, include inspired teaching and research by faculty, engagement and support from staff and creative leadership by administrators at every level.”

“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a much different institution today than when Chancellor Perlman took over. He has built UNL into one of the nation’s top research universities, a Big Ten school that is a destination for talented students and faculty,” University of Nebraska Interim President James Linder said in a written statement released by the university. “His leadership on bold initiatives like Innovation Campus will benefit Nebraskans for years to come. Throughout his tenure, he has maintained a focus on the priorities that shape UNL’s land-grant mission: quality education, research and outreach to the state.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Chancellor Perlman as I’ve prepared to join the University of Nebraska, and I’m impressed by what I’ve seen,” President-Designate Hank Bounds said in a written statement released by his office. “It is clear that the institution is on an upward trajectory as a result of Harvey’s leadership and the contributions of a talented faculty and staff. I am tremendously grateful to Harvey for his service and commitment to the university and state of Nebraska. UNL has a bright future ahead.”

“Chancellor Perlman’s service to our state at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has spanned nearly five decades. His leadership has moved UNL forward with a variety of initiatives including growing enrollment to 25,000 students this year and developing Nebraska Innovation Campus,” Gov. Peter Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “Susanne and I wish him well as he enters this new phase of life.”