July 29, 2014

Omaha couple killed in rollover crash near West Point

An Omaha couple has been killed in a rollover crash near West Point.

The Cuming County Sheriff’s office reports 41-year-old Franklin Pivonka and his 40-year-old wife, Yvonne, died on U.S. 275 after the driver lost control of the vehicle. It went into a ditch and rolled at least three times.

Neither wore a seat belt. The accident threw both from the vehicle.

The couple had seven children, five living at home.

The accident, which occurred Sunday morning, remains under investigation.

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




Motorcyclist dies in central Nebraska accident after losing control of bike

A 60-year-old motorcyclist from Broken Bow has died after losing control of his bike.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office reports Kenneth Neville died at the scene, three miles south of Broken Bow.

According to the sheriff’s office, Neville was riding south on Sumner Road early Sunday evening. Neville lost control of the motorcycle. It hit a ditch, then ran into a barbed-wire fence.

FEMA aid coming to 12 Nebraska counties following storms, floods

Downtown Pilger following the June 16th tornadoes

Downtown Pilger following the June 16th tornadoes

Twelve Nebraska counties are now approved for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Recovery efforts are still underway for residents across the state who were impacted by the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.

Kevin Garvin, the emergency manager for Cedar County, says the FEMA assistance will greatly help with the public infrastructure.

“As a result of the storm, we suffered damage to a lot of the roads in the county,” Garvin says. “I think there were three or four bridges affected, if not more.”

Garvin says more damage assessments need to be completed to know for sure how much assistance is needed.

“FEMA’s estimate, just on what little they saw when there were here to see if we met the threshhold, was about 1.5-million,” Garvin says. “Depending on the level of damage we find, it could go upwards from there. There’s thoughts it could be two- to three-million.”

Several towns, like Pilger, need the assistance for facilities such as schools as well as road and bridge repair.

The request for Individual Assistance is still pending and Garvin says the counties were not given any expectations for when that request will be completed. Nebraska Emergency Management officials are estimating the storm and flood damage statewide to exceed $13-million.

The counties are getting public assistance from FEMA are: Cedar, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Franklin, Furnas, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Stanton, Thurston, and Wayne Counties. Individual assistance, which would help individual home owners with the recovery process, was requested for Cedar, Cuming, Dixon, Stanton and Wayne counties.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Nebraska teen-age girl dies in sightseeing plane crash in Alabama

The crash of a sightseeing airplane near the Alabama-Florida state line has killed two, including a Nebraska teen-age girl.

The Baldwin County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office reports 15-year-old Marli Shea McManus of Papillion died in the crash. The pilot, 67-year-old Dean Legidakes, also died in the crash.

The sheriff’s office says the two took off from Pensacola, FL Wednesday morning. When the plane failed to return, searchers tracked it using a signal from the pilot’s cellphone. The wreckage was found in a remote area in southwestern Alabama.

Marli had been on vacation with her family at the time of the fatal accident.