May 29, 2015

Warning goes out to all drivers as we’re now in 100 Deadliest Days

Car passing carA new study finds almost two-thirds of people injured or killed in crashes involving a teen driver are people -other- than the teen behind the wheel.

Rose White, traffic safety director at AAA-Nebraska, says we’re now in what’s considered the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb. Kids are out of school, White says, and often have access to vehicles.

“As a result, we always see a big increase in crashes and, unfortunately, fatalities and injuries involving young teen drivers,” White says. “Looking at stats over two decades, we are noticing that in those fatality crashes, it’s usually a person in the other vehicle or possibly a passenger that’s killed in the car crash.”

Since teens spend more time behind the wheel during the summer than any other season, White is reminding everyone, including drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers.

“Driving is the most dangerous activity a teen will undertake,” White says. “What that means is, they need to have practice time behind the wheel. So, we encourage parents to spend more time with their teenager. Some helpful tools are available at the website”

While great strides are being made to improve driver safety, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for drivers between the ages of 15 and 19. The most recent year for crash statistics involving teen drivers in Nebraska is 2013.

“In that year, 32 people had died as a result of a teenager being behind the wheel,” White says. “In those situations, the actual teen driver died in 14 incidents and 18 other people, including passengers or occupants of other vehicles, died in crashes in which the teen driver was at fault.”

Nationwide in 2013, the AAA report found teen driver-involved crashes claimed nearly three-thousand lives and injured 371,000 people. Crash rates for teens are higher than any other age group. White says keeping teen drivers safe is the shared responsibility of parents, policy makers, other motorists and the teens themselves.

A bad season for allergies

Those who suffer from allergies can’t get a break. University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Dr. Jill Poole   is an allergist and says those sensitive to pollen have been suffering for months.

Dr. Poole says tree pollen started in January. Grass pollen just started about a week-and-a-half ago in Nebraska and that typically sticks around until the end of June. She says there really isn’t a magic cure for allergies.

Dr. Poole says, “If you are talking about a steroid shot, I typically don’t recommend them because of the long term side effects of those types of medications. I recommend a more prescription approaches like allergy desensitization shots which are a lot of shots over a period of time.”

Another option is to visit your local drug store. Dr. Poole says there are several long lasting antihistamines available over-the-counter that do an excellent job controlling symptoms. She says there are also several good nasal steroid sprays now available without a prescription.

Missouri officials fear 2-year-old might be in Nebraska and in danger

Colton Lee Dominguez/Photo courtesy of Jefferson City, MO Police Dept.

Colton Lee Dominguez/Photo courtesy of Jefferson City, MO Police Dept.

Missouri authorities have issued a missing person advisory for a two-year-old boy believed to be in danger and believed to be in Nebraska.

The Jefferson City, Missouri Police Department issued a formal endangered person advisory for 2-year-old Colton Lee Dominquez after his mother, 31-year-old Billie Jo Linhart, failed to return Colton to the Court Appointed Guardian in Jefferson City May 17th. Linhart does not have custody of Colton.

According to Jefferson City police, the investigation indicates Linhart abducted Colton and might have taken him to Nebraska. Recent information leads police to believe Colton is in danger.

The Jefferson City Police Department released the following information:

Missing Is:

Colton Lee Dominguez, is a white, male, age 2, hgt 2’0″, 24 lbs, brown

hair, brown eyes, fair complexion, wearing unknown.

Possible suspects or associates are believed to be:

Billie Jo Linhart, a white, female, age 31, hgt 5’03”, 145 lbs, brown hair,

green eyes, fair complexion, with a skull tattoo on her left forearm and a

panther tattoo on her right shoulder.

Vehicle Information:

White 2005 Nissan Optima bearing Nebraska registration of SZD940.

Colton Lee Dominguez/Photo courtesy of Jefferson City PD

Colton Lee Dominguez/Photo courtesy of Jefferson City PD

Anyone seeing the missing person, suspect, associate, or vehicle, or anyone

having any information related to the endangered missing person should

immediately dial 911 to contact the nearest law enforcement agency or call

the Jefferson City Police Department at 573-634-6400.


Crane operator dies in northeast Nebraska accident

A crane operator has been killed in a roll-over accident in northeast Nebraska.

The Antelope County Sheriff’s Office reports 40-year-old Thomas Bales died after his crane rolled into a field southeast of Elgin.

Bales, who is from Denver, Colorado, had been working for Wanzek Construction as a contractor with Tradesman International on the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center for Invenergy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the death.

The sheriff’s office says the 90-ton crane edged too close to the side of a road and overturned Wednesday morning.

Wanzek Construction has its headquarters in West Fargo, North Dakota.

An investigation into the accident continues.

Lawmakers override veto, give DREAMers right to drive (AUDIO)

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist appeared with DACA youth at a news conference earlier  in the session

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist appeared with DACA youth at a news conference earlier in the session

State legislators override Governor Pete Ricketts, and pave the way for youth brought into the country illegally to apply for Nebraska driver’s licenses.

Nebraska ends its status as the last state to withhold driving privileges from youth given legal status by the federal government.

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha sponsors Legislative Bill 623.

“The positive impacts of this bill have been discussed multiple times for multiple hours on General File and Select File,” Nordquist tells colleagues as he moves to override the veto. “Obviously, we know there are thousands of bright, young, educated immigrant youth in our state who are in need of a legal right to drive and that’s what this bill is intended to do.”

The Unicameral voted 34-10 with five senators abstaining to override the governor’s veto, easily meeting the 30-vote threshold for an override.

LB 623 passed on final reading 34-9-6.

The bill will allow youth under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to apply for Nebraska driver’s license. Nebraska was the last state to withhold such privileges to youth often called DREAMers in reference to the DREAM Act which has failed to clear Congress.

It is estimated there are approximately 2,700 DACA youth in Nebraska.

Gov. Ricketts, in his veto message, stated the language of LB 623 was too broad and would apply to illegal immigrants other than DACA youth, a contention Nordquist denied.

But, Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte agreed that the bill was too broad and not well written.

“The governor is right to veto this,” Groene said during legislative debate on the override motion. “He probably would have not vetoed it if we had clear language; clear and honest language to this bill.”

Many of the youth who would qualify under DACA were brought into this country illegally at a very young age, have attended schools in Nebraska, some even moving on to college.

Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings spoke of a DACA youth who testified during a legislative hearing who was a medical student, soon to become a doctor in Nebraska.

“You mean to tell me we will authorize and license a person to practice medicine in the state of Nebraska, but they can’t drive the car? Are you kidding me? What kind of mentality is that?” Seiler asked.

AUDIO: Legislative debate on override motion on LB 623. [45 min.]