August 28, 2014

Gov. Heineman declares September Nebraska Preparedness Month (AUDIO)

Gov. Heineman signs proclamation that September is Nebraska Emergency Preparedness Month as (L to R) Asst. NEMA Dir. Bryan Tuma, and Major Gen. Daryl Bohac look on

Gov. Heineman signs proclamation that September is Nebraska Emergency Preparedness Month as (L to R) Asst. NEMA Dir. Bryan Tuma, and Major Gen. Daryl Bohac look on

Gov. Dave Heineman has declared September Nebraska Preparedness Month.

Heineman says it is only appropriate in light of a series of severe storms that tore through Nebraska this year.

“During this spring and summer, Nebraska has experienced three weather-related events that were eventually declared federal disasters,” according to Heineman. “These storms devastated the lives of many of our fellow Nebraskans. Tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding caused significant damage in our state.”

Severe weather ripped through the state this spring and summer. Twin tornadoes struck Pilger in June, with one of the tornadoes roaring through the center of the town. Two residents died of injuries suffered in the storm. Other towns also got hit by tornadoes.

Assistant Director Bryan Tuma with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency says no one can forecast when an emergency will strike.

“So, our advice to you is to plan ahead. Prepare for contingencies and have a list of emergency contact information readily available. Get those documents like medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, birth certificates and make sure that’s kept in a safe place,” Tuma advises.

State officials say three steps can help prepare a family to make it through the first 72 hours of an emergency: be informed, make an emergency plan, and build and emergency kit.

Emergency kits should include items such as:

· battery-powered or crank radio

· weather alert radio

· extra batteries

· first aid kit

· sanitary wipes

· dust mask

· water for drinking and sanitation

· water purification tablets

· waterproof matches and/or butane lighter

· crank flashlight

· plastic sheeting

· non-perishable food for at least three days

· disinfectants and medications

· medical information for entire family, including details about dosages of required medications and a list of known health issues.

State Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph Acierno says steps now can help you and your family make it through a disaster.

“Nebraskans can protect themselves and their families by being prepared. We can’t prevent the disaster, but we can be better prepared to respond to one,” according to Acierno. “Together we have been through tornadoes, wild fires, flooding, ice storms, flu, and food-borne illness outbreaks. Even small steps can make a big difference.”

State officials say a national website, www.ready.gov, has a fill-in-the-blank plan available to make it easy to assemble most of the information needed for personal emergency plans. Nebraska emergency managers operate the website www.bereadynebraska.com.

Click here for more information from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency website.

AUDIO:  Gov. Dave Heineman declares September Nebraska Preparedness Month. [2 min.]

Former western Nebraska hospital administrator pleads to child porn charge

A former western Nebraska hospital administrator has pleaded guilty to a charge of child pornography.

Former Box Butte General Hospital executive James Parks entered a plea of guilty in federal court to a charge of child pornography possession. In a plea agreement, a second charge has been dropped. The charges arose from an investigation into the computer Parks used at his work.

Parks, who is 65, is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Blue Cross – CHI Nebraska contract ends Monday

As it stands right now Blue Cross Blue Shield’s contract with 12 CHI Nebraska hospitals and about 1,400 health care providers ends September 1st. The two have been in negotiations for months after Blue Cross sent notice to end their contract because CHI Nebraska charged 20% to 30% more compared to other facilities for the same service.

Chief Executive Officer of Alegent Creighton Health / CHI Nebraska Cliff Robertson says there are gray areas. He says those with a Medicaid Blue Cross supplement will not be impacted by the change. He says the contract is still in effect for all policyholders but Blue Cross is denying care forms for patients with behavioral health issues and they have received notice they are not paying for some procedures. Robertson says this is very disappointing.

A compromise isn’t likely Robertson says, “I’m not so optimistic. The signals we received from Blue Cross are they really want to push us out of network. We are preparing to be out of network. We don’t know how long we will be out of network but we are preparing to be out of network.”

Robertson says they asked for an extension to work things through but were denied.

CHI Nebraska consists of 12 hospitals in Nebraska and up to 1,400 health care providers. Policyholders can still use those facilities but being out of network means much higher out-of-pocket costs.

Omaha Police Officers Assoc. defends its cops in shooting deaths

The Omaha Police Department remains in the public’s eye after Tuesday’s tragic shooting death of reality TV’s COPS crew member Bryce Dion.

There are many questions still about what happened, why multiple shots were fired and is this a case of excessive force?

President of the Omaha Police Officers Association Sgt. John Wells defends the actions of the three officers involved.

“We have a lot of arm chair police experts around the country and unfortunately from a place of not understanding the law that dictates how and why we can use force and how firearms really work. It is a really complicated situation,” Wells says.

Tuesday evening police say Cortez Washington walked into a Wendy’s in midtown Omaha pointed a gun at employees and demanded cash. Three Omaha officers responded along with two members of TV’s “Cops”. Witnesses say Washington fired first and the officers returned fire killing Washington. One bullet struck and killed Dion. It turned out Washington was carrying an air soft gun.

Sgt Wells says that is why Nebraska lawmakers must pass a facsimile firearm law. As the law stands now a person committing a crime using that type of gun would not be charged with a felony. He says in Tuesday’s case even Omaha officers couldn’t tell the gun wasn’t real. Passing the law would make it a felony if someone uses anything that looks like a weapon, even a toy, to commit a crime.

Crewman from “Cops” TV show killed in Omaha shootout (AUDIO)

A crew member from the reality television news program “Cops” has died of wounds suffered in a police shooting in midtown Omaha Tuesday night.

Omaha police say 38-year-old Bryce Dion died from police officer gunfire.

Dion was part of the “Cops” filming crew following police as they responded to a robbery report at a Wendy’s restaurant. Omaha police fired on a suspect in the restaurant, who also was shot and killed.

The suspect has been identified as 32-year-old Cortez Washington, apparently a parolee from Kansas.

Both Washington and Dion were rushed to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Washington died that night. Dion later.

Officers opened fire on Washington when he brandished a handgun. Police report it was discovered afterward that the gun was an Airsoft pellet gun.

Dion is from Lawrence, MA, but had been living in Santa Monica, CA where he worked for numerous television series. Dion served as the sound engineer for the “Cops” filming crew.

AUDIO:  Omaha Police Department news conference on fatal shooting. [30 min.]