January 30, 2015

Blasting Platte River ice jam on hold for now

ice3[2]An ice jam along the Platte River continues to cause flooding in Douglas and Saunders Counties.

General Manager of the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District John Winkler they are considering the use of dynamite to break up the jam but weather conditions are not favorable today due to the strong wind.

Winkler says if they do use dynamite it will be dropped from a helicopter. He says the ice itself is unstable and they do not want to risk anyone’s safety. Once the helicopter is at a safe distance the charges are detonated to break up the ice and get the water flowing.

Winkler says some of the ice chunks are as large as a car and about 18 inches thick. He says Wednesday’s warm weather helped move the jam a bit but it is still about a mile long.

Winkler says back in 1993 an ice jam along the Platte River caused significant flooding that closed I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln and he doesn’t want a repeat of that event. He says there is also multi-million dollar infrastructures in that area as well as residents, farm land and levees they need to protect.

Officials will monitor the situation day by day.

January death toll for motorcyclists reaches new all-time high

motorcyclesThe recent warm weather has allowed Nebraska motorcyclists to go on some rare January rides but with more two-wheelers on the roads, more accidents are being reported, some of them fatal.

Nebraska recorded its very first-ever January motorcycle death during 2012. Rose White, at AAA Nebraska, says this year’s tally is even worse.

“Tragically, just during the past three weeks, three motorcyclists have lost their lives in crashes on our roadways, setting a new all-time high death toll for the month of January,” White says.

 Motorists may not be expecting to see a motorcyclist during the winter, so White is urging all Nebraskans to drive with extra caution.

“We are urging all drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists in the traffic mix,” White says. “Before attempting to make a left turn, train your mind and your eyes to always look for motorcycles approaching from the opposite direction.”

If you’re preparing to change lanes, White says to always use your turn signals, check mirrors specifically looking for motorcyclists, and turn your head to check your blind spot where a motorcycle may be hidden.

New motorcyclists are encouraged to take a rider training course and wear bright, reflective clothing. Experienced riders may consider an advanced course to refresh their defensive driving skills.

Learn more at: www.roads.nebraska.gov/nohs


Thin ice alert from Nebraska Game & Parks

The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission is sounding the alarm about ice dangers on the state’s lakes and rivers.   Spokesman Greg Wagner says there have been several recent close calls for thrill-seekers walking on the ice and this is a dangerous game of horse-play.

 Wagner says those ice fishing need to test drill the area first to make sure it is safe and then bring all the appropriate safety gear in case it breaks. That includes wearing a life jacket or a float coat.

Eastern Nebraska man dies after jumping from van

Police car lightsA 33-year-old Beatrice man died from injuries suffered when he apparently jumped from a moving van near Pickrell, early Sunday morning.

Gage County Sheriff’s authorities say Jason Meisenhelder had exited the rear door of a Dodge Ram Wagon Van, while the vehicle was moving.

Sheriff’s deputies, Beatrice Fire and Rescue and Pickrell Quick Response team members were sent to Southwest 2nd and Chesnut road at about 2:43, Sunday morning. Meisenhelder was in cardiac arrest and officials performed CPR.

He later died at Bryan LGH West Hospital, from his injuries.  Law officers say alcohol use is believed to be a contributing factor. Authorities say the driver of the van was determined not to be at fault, in the incident.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice


Woman rescued from Lincoln house fire, home destroyed

A northeast Lincoln home is destroyed by fire on Monday morning, but a neighbor helps get the resident inside out of the house safely.

Joe Benes told news partner KLIN News on the scene that he saw a nearby home on fire and was concerned the resident was still inside the home near 57th and Adams.

“I beat on the door and didn’t hear anybody, then I beat on the door again and it was open and went inside a little bit,” Benes said. “I yelled ‘your house is on fire, are you ok to get out?’ Smoke rolled out and into my face and the woman came out and we got her out of the house.”

“I’ve never had that experience before,” Benes added.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews on the scene of a house fire in northeast Lincoln on Monday morning PHOTO COURTESY: Jane Monnich, KLIN News

Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews on the scene of a house fire in northeast Lincoln on Monday morning

Battalion Chief Derald Murrell says that action could have saved her life.

“It’s a good thing that neighbors watch out for each other because that really helps us out a lot,” Murrell said. “We can get reports of all the residents being out of the structure and we don’t have to be real expedient on our search techniques.”

“It helps the fire fighters focus on the fire and the fire tac.”

Battalion Chief Murrell says they continue to knock down hot spots from the fire. Fire crews remained on the scene well into Monday afternoon.

“We’re having a hard time chasing down the hot spots because of the number of roofs and angles of the roofs of the home. That gives us a lot of hot spots to chase down,” Murrell said. “It looks like the covered portion of the back was where the bulk of the fire was at, it did extend into the attic and into the back side of the house a little bit.”

There were no injuries in the fire. A cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

KLIN’s Jane Monnich contributed to this report.