August 2, 2014

Want to enroll at Wayne State this fall? There’s still time…

A college in northeast Nebraska is giving potential students who are still on the fence about getting a higher education plenty of time to make up their minds.

Classes start at Wayne State College on August 18th and students can enroll through August 19th. Amy Gade, Wayne State’s admission services coordinator, says they’re ready to welcome anyone wishing to enroll.

Gade says, “For any last-minute students who are still trying to make that decision or maybe have made a decision to go one direction and then changed their mind and decided Wayne State would be a better option, we are still open and available to help them get registered for classes for fall.”

The first step is the online application, then students should send any required transcripts from high school or preliminary institutions. After that, Gade says acceptance letters are mailed out.

“After they are accepted, they are in essence eligible to register for classes,” she says.

Classes are chosen through an appointment with an advisor and financial aid is available to students who qualify. The current enrollment at the four-year public college in Wayne is around 3600.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Siouxland schools donate desks, more to tornado-damaged Pilger

The middle school in Pilger shortly after the tornado

The middle school in Pilger shortly after the tornado

A school in northeast Nebraska that was damaged beyond repair in a tornado last month will re-open for classes on time next month, thanks in part to a school district in northwest Iowa.

The 105-year-old Wisner-Pilger Middle School in Pilger was demolished by the EF4 tornado on June 16th.

Superintendent Chad Boyer says he got a call from the superintendent of the Sioux City Public Schools who asked if there was any way his district could help.

“Through our conversations, they did have some furniture that they would like to donate,” Boyer says. “They were closing some buildings and they offered some furniture for our classrooms. We’re expecting about 70 desks, some tables, some shelving, just some things that will get our classrooms ready to go.”

The school has relocated to Wisner this fall where classes will be held in three modular buildings. Boyer says when school starts August 14th, those units will be ready to go.

“Each modular unit has two classrooms with a good amount of space in each one,” Boyer says. “We were very pleased as we got on site and we were able to get into them and see them a little closer. We’re very pleased with the amount of space that we do have.”

Boyer says the furniture will be delivered free of charge by students in the Western Iowa Tech truck-driving program, while a dozen members of the Sioux City East football team will come along to move it.

By Paul Hughes, WJAG, Norfolk




Former UNL student sentenced, ordered to pay in security breach case

A former University of Nebraska – Lincoln senior has been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to make more than $107,000 in restitution for breaching the computer systems at the university as well as the Nebraska State College System.

United States Attorney Deborah Gilg announced that 23-year-old Daniel Stratman of Omaha will serve his six-month prison term on work release. Stratman then will be required to serve three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge John Gerrard also ordered Stratman to pay $107,722.58 in restitution during his sentencing.

University officials discovered a security breach of the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College System database in May of 2012.

The investigation into the breach led to Stratman, a senior at the time. Law enforcement secured a search warrant to examine Stratman’s computers, which disclosed he had broken through security measures in place to protect sensitive financial records kept in both databases.

The University of Nebraska Police Department, the Lincoln Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Education worked together in the investigation.

Early childhood education touted as way to fight crime (AUDIO)

Lincoln Public Safety Dir. Tom Casady leads news conference with (from L) Joshua Spaulding with Fight Crime and Sen. Burke Harr

Lincoln Public Safety Dir. Tom Casady leads news conference with (from L) Joshua Spaulding with Fight Crime and Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha

A push is underway to promote early childhood education as a way to reduce crime.

Advocates admit this is a long-term solution, but argue that money spent upfront in the first few years of life could make the difference between a child growing up to be a criminal or growing up to be a productive member of society.

State Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha stated during a news conference in Lincoln the discussion underway at the Capitol on reducing prison over-crowding needs to be expanded.

“It’s obvious we have a problem. We have got to find a way to lower our prison rates. I don’t think anyone wants to build new prisons,” Harr said. “So, the question is, how do we do that? It’s not an overnight fix.”

A group called “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” hosted the news conference at the Justice and Law Enforcement Center in Lincoln.

The group touts research which indicates early childhood education has a number of benefits, including reducing crime. Its report, “I’m the guy you pay later,” outlines the benefits, such as a drop in abuse and neglect, better school outcomes, less need for special education, better reading and math scores, fewer drop-outs, and less crime.

Sen. Harr answers questions from reporters

Sen. Harr answers questions from reporters

The report argues that states can either fund pre-Kindergarten education or pay a greater price down the road when children grow into a life of crime.

The group has attracted the support of 5,000 law officers throughout the country, including nearly 80 in Nebraska.

Lincoln Public Safety Director Tom Casady spoke for the Nebraska officers, stating that the current discussion about ways to fight crime needs to be broadened to ways to prevent crime.

“So, if we can expand the discussion a little bit and get all of our citizens to start thinking more about the importance of prevention so that we’re really not just thinking about the end of the road, with adding a judge, increasing the number of deputy sheriffs, and building a new jail, I think we’ll all be better off for that discussion,” Casady reasoned.

Sen. Harr acknowledged that can be a difficult argument to make in the Unicameral, but insisted it is one that can be made.

“We policy makers, just like law enforcement, we like our facts,” Harr said. “So now, we have facts that prove, it’s not easy, but over the long term this is the better way.”

AUDIO:  Open to news conference on the benefits of early childhood education. [9 min.]

Expert: Too much social media can make kids anti-social

Summer should be a time for kids in Nebraska to play at the park, ride bikes and learn how to paddle a canoe, not to while away the hours on Facebook.

One expert suggests parents should limit a teen’s access to social media, internet and T-V during summer vacation.

Peter Komendowski, with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, says too much screen time can raise the risk of alcohol and substance abuse.

“Children are not happy if they spend an excessive amount of time on Facebook,” Komendowski says. “We’ve even heard children say things like, ‘I OD’d on Facebook.’ They start sensing that there’s a problem with how much involvement there is and what we forget as parents is they count on us to lead them and to give them guidance as to what to do.”

Social media can be a very antisocial experience, he says, when it reduces the actual time spent in activities with friends and family members.

Komendowski says, “Studies are showing that the more time children spend on the media as a basis of how many hours a week they spend doing things, the more difficult time they have structuring decisions when it comes to high-risk behavior.”

Too much social media and screen time can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, which he says is setting the stage for substance abuse and other high risk behavior. Smart phones aren’t evil, he says, but they need to be used properly.

“If you use your cell phone to make a date with somebody to meet at the ball field to play ball or to go to a movie, that’s a great tool,” Komendowski says. “But if you’re spending all of your time just interacting on the media, the risks in terms of how children feel, their psychological strength, their behavioral sort of aptitude, those things begin to get diminished.”

He says parental involvement in youth-focused media improves a children’s physical health, sleep, school performance and social behaviors.

The average Nebraska teen spends 35 hours a week in the classroom and more than 55 hours a week engaged in social media, video games, television and internet activities.