October 30, 2014

Former Husker nearly turns himself into a World Series hero (VIDEO)

Lincoln native and former Cornhusker Alex Gordon was close to becoming a World Series hero.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs Game 7, Gordon keeps the Royals season alive with a single to center off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Like a movie, the Giants turn into the Bad News Bears…the ball gets past center fielder Gregor Blanco, left fielder Juan Perez boots the ball at the wall and all of the sudden Gordon is thinking inside the park home run.

Gordon talks about his hit. (VIDEO/MLB.com)

Gordon, who thought single as soon as he hit the ball, turned up the gas as he saw Blanco turn around.  He stumbled a bit coming past second.  Third base coach, former Omaha manager Mike Jirschele made the right call holding up Gordon at third.

Jirschele talks about his decision to hold up Gordon (VIDEO/MLB.com)

Alex is left stranded, the Royals lose game 7 of the World Series 3-2. Gordon went 2 for 3 and drove in one of the Royals runs.

NRD board in Beatrice area to vote on bike trail today

BikeTrailA vote is expected today by the Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District Board to take ownership of a bicycle trail in southeast Nebraska.

Colleen Schoneweis, with the Nebraska Trails Foundation, says the 20-mile stretch runs from the Kansas border north, toward Beatrice.

“We’ll help them in maintaining with volunteer people and volunteer money and fundraising,” Schoneweis says. “We really need their support and their board members to vote for this.”

The Trails Foundation has already raised $150,000 to be placed in an account for future maintenance of the trail.

“We’re going to do multiple events to keep raising money for the trail so it doesn’t cost the NRD money or the taxpayers money or surrounding landowers money,” Schoneweis says. “We don’t want that. We want it to be a very fun, nice trail. It benefits the whole community.”

Annual maintenance on the trial could run between $500 and $1,500 per mile.

Schoneweis says a federal effort is supported by Nebraska Congressional members to name it the Chief Standing Bear National Trail.

Connecting with other trails, it could mean a more than 200-mile continuous trail connection from Marysville, Kansas to Omaha to near Blanchard, Iowa.

She says the developed trail could have an economic impact along the Big Blue River for running events, kayaking and other recreation.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice


Road constuction projects should be wrapping up soon

InterstateColder weather is rolling in and motorists in many parts of the state may be wondering when the construction season will end.

Pat Boyle, a construction engineer in Norfork with the Nebraska Department of Roads, says the heavy equipment, orange cones and barricades will be going back into storage very soon.

“There’s always a push in the fall to get projects done,” Boyle says. “These contractors bid projects all year long and then they have to deal with the weather. This year, the weather’s actually been fairly good. I believe all of our projects will be buttoned up before the snow flies.”

A construction project on Highway 81 in northeast Nebraska is almost complete but the nearby project to resurface several miles of Highway 12 may take another month to finish.

By  Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


Gov. Heineman denies he pressured Corrections on overcrowding (AUDIO)

Sen. Steve Lathrop (L) speaks with Gov. Dave Heineman prior to the legislative hearing at the Capitol

Sen. Steve Lathrop (L) speaks with Gov. Dave Heineman prior to the legislative hearing at the Capitol

Gov. Dave Heineman denied during a legislative hearing he put pressure on the Department of Correctional Services, leading to the miscalculation of prison sentences and the premature release of inmates.

Heineman appeared before the Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee Wednesday during a seven-hour hearing at the Capitol.

The special legislative committee has been looking into the premature release of inmates from prison. Hundreds of inmates were released, because the Department of Correctional Services failed to adhere to state Supreme Court rulings on prison sentences.

Committee chairman Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha pressed Gov. Heineman on whether his desire to reduce the prison population and avoid building a new prison created the problem.

“I can only think that the pressure from overcrowding was making people do things they shouldn’t have doing over there,” Lathrop stated during his questioning of Heineman.

Heineman earlier had stated he didn’t want to spend up to $150 million to build a new prison and didn’t perceive that legislators wanted to either.

The state prison system had been at 140% of capacity when Heineman first became governor 10 years ago. Overcrowding has grown worse, now up to approximately 157% of the designed capacity of state prisons.

Under questioning from Lathrop, Heineman said he had asked then-Corrections Director Bob Houston if he could manage the prison population and stated Houston had assured him he could.

Heineman denied he put pressure on Corrections to keep the prison population in check. He insisted the problem stems from department attorneys not following Supreme Court rulings and records not being kept correctly.

“Do we need a culture change down there? Absolutely, I agree with you (on) that,” Heineman responded to Lathrop. “And that’s going to take a long period of time in a wide variety of areas.”

Lathrop criticized two programs created by Corrections officials, stating the Re-entry Furlough Program released early 162 prisoners convicted of violent crimes. Lathrop claimed both it and the Temporary Alternative Placement program created by current Corrections Director Mike Kenney were created without the proper statutory authority. Kenney created TAP to deal with five inmates released prematurely who had only days left on their sentence. It allowed those prisoners to serve the remainder of their time at home monitored by ankle bracelets and weekly visits to parole officers.

Attorney General Jon Bruning has disputed Lathrop’s conclusions about the programs. Heineman has stated he has relied on Bruning’s legal analysis of the programs.

The Department of Correctional Services ignored two state Supreme Court rulings, releasing 200 inmates early and setting early release dates for 550 others. The governor’s office and Corrections officials reported 306 inmates were released prematurely by the department. Many inmates received credit for time served in the community without incident. No inmates remain at large.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:50]

Man on trial for murder disrupts courtroom twice

A man on trial for murder in Omaha twice this week disrupted the courtroom twice by punching a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy Monday and then his defense attorney Tuesday.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Captain Wayne Hudson says Robert Grant was in shackles on both occasions. On Monday Grant was told it was time to leave the courtroom and attacked the deputy when he started gathering up paperwork on a table. On Tuesday Grant became upset with something said in the courtroom and punched his defense attorne

The judge refused to grant a mistrial.

Grant is on trial for the brutal murder of Trudy McKee last year in Omaha. She was stabbed 40 times inside her apartment and was found by her daughter returning home from school. Grant was arrested while trying to board an out of town bus.