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Associated Press

USA Today

 Law enforcement agencies across Nebraska are warning residents of an increased risk following a spate of drug overdose deaths in the state. The Omaha and Lincoln police departments, along with the Nebraska State Patrol and federal Drug Enforcement Administration have issued a joint news release saying there have been 21 overdoses — eight resulting in death — in Lincoln and Omaha over a six-day span starting Aug. 10. Officials say the majority of the overdoes involved the use of cocaine that has been laced with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

News Channel Nebraska

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has rejected an anti-critical race theory resolution. The 5-3 vote on Friday followed about three hours of public comment from students, faculty and others. The Lincoln Journal-Star reports that Regent Jim Pillen, a Republican candidate for governor, introduced the resolution objecting to “any imposition of critical race theory” in academic curriculum in July. Critical race theory, a framework for examining the effects race and racism have on institutions, both historically and today, has become a flashpoint in the culture wars.

KETV

The city of Omaha is expected to apply for federal disaster aid following intense flash flooding over the weekend that collapsed some sewers and sent floodwaters into businesses and homes. The Omaha World-Herald reports that city officials have been tracking growing expenses from the storm damage and expect to meet the threshold to apply for federal aid. Officials have not yet released other details about the expected disaster declaration.

fortine.com

The number of virus cases and hospitalizations across Nebraska has steadily increased in recent weeks as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, following the pattern of other states with relatively low vaccination rates. Nebraska said Wednesday that 2,575 new virus cases were reported in the past week, which is up from 1,976 the week before and more than 10 times higher than the 253 cases a week the state was reporting in late June when officials lifted the last of Nebraska’s remaining virus-related restrictions.

Nebraska Legislature

A Nebraska state senator and former city council member from Bellevue is weighing a bid for governor. Sen. Carol Blood unveiled a new campaign website Monday where she’s taking donations and describing herself as a level-headed public servant with a record of governing. If she commits to running, Blood would be the first Democratic candidate to declare a bid for governor. She’s seeking to replace Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is term-limited, in a state dominated by the GOP.

Omaha World Herald

Governor Pete Ricketts is asking the public to vote against Critical Race Theory classes at the University of Nebraska. In a post on his website last night, the governor compared Critical Race Theory to a reinvented version of Communism.  Advocates of CRT say the idea is based on a history of white supremacy and how it is still impacting today's society and institutions. The vote will take place Friday at the university. Meanwhile, Former Gov.

KFOR

An unusual influx of cash will allow Lancaster County lower its property tax levy, officials said. The county has more more money than usual thanks to federal pandemic aid, a large carry-over of money from this year’s budget and a total revaluation of property in the county. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that most of that money won’t be used in the county’s $128.5 million general fund budget, which is supported by property taxes, but officials still plan to lower the tax levy by 1 cent per $100 of valuation. The general fund budget will increase by about $5.1 million.

The Reader

Thousands of Nebraskans who are behind on their rent could face eviction now that the federal ban on evictions expired as of Saturday. Nebraska has dedicated $200 million from the coronavirus aid package Congress passed in December to helping people pay outstanding rent and utility bills, but so far only about $24.6 million has been distributed. Scott Mertz, an attorney with Legal Aid of Nebraska, says the number of evictions is expected to surge following the end of the moratorium, but it’s not clear by how much.

Nebraska Dept. of Education

An attempt to include gender identity lessons in Nebraska’s public school curriculum was largely scrapped after an uproar from conservatives, including top state officials, who argued that the topics weren’t appropriate for children. The Nebraska Department of Education announced that it had stricken most of the proposed standards in a new draft released Thursday. The move came after state education officials faced intense criticism from many parents, school boards, state lawmakers and Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who held town hall events to blast the proposal.

KPTM

Wildfires in Canada and the western United States may affect the air quality in Nebraska over the next couple of days.  The Department of Environment and Energy monitors the smoke levels and says there are advisories possible for moderate to unhealthy categories today through August 1st.  There are also times when the unhealthy or red category will apply.  People with breathing difficulties or heart issues may want to limit their time outdoors.

Omaha World Herald

The family of a white Nebraska bar owner who killed himself after being charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man during 2020 protests over racial injustice is suing local prosecutors, saying their comments led to his suicide. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the parents of Jake Gardner sued the Douglas County Attorney's Office, its top prosecutor and a special prosecutor in federal court on Monday.

Omaha World Herald

The family of a white Nebraska bar owner who killed himself after being charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man during 2020 protests over racial injustice is suing local prosecutors, saying their comments led to his suicide. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the parents of Jake Gardner sued the Douglas County Attorney's Office, its top prosecutor and a special prosecutor in federal court on Monday.

Omaha World Herald

The running mate for Nebraska governor hopeful Charles Herbster has announced that she's bowing out of the race, citing the time commitment required to campaign. Theresa Thibodeau, a former state lawmaker and Douglas County Republican Party leader, says she would withdraw from the ticket. Thibodeau says she didn't think she'd be able to devote the time necessary to continue with the campaign. Herbster had selected Thibodeau even though the state Republican Party hasn’t yet held its primary election to name its gubernatorial nominee.

Lincoln Journal Star

Public health officials have expressed growing concern about an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Nebraska, primarily among residents who haven’t been vaccinated. Officials say they were worried about the slow-but-steady increase in infected people who end up hospitalized, putting pressure on COVID-19 treatment units. Nebraska reported 978 new cases in the week ending Thursday. That's a 42% increase over the previous week and exactly double the 489 new cases logged two weeks earlier.

Newsbreak

Four people were injured when a second-floor outdoor deck collapsed during a barbecue in suburban Omaha, trapping the people and leaving serious burns on one woman when a hot charcoal grill fell on her. First responders said the incident happened around 9 p.m. Sunday at a home in Bellevue. Officials say several people were on the deck when it collapsed, causing them to fall 10- to 12-feet to the ground. Four people, including the woman with first- and second-degree burns, were taken to local hospitals. Officials say some people at the scene declined treatment.

KOLN

State health officials have reported Nebraska's first human case this year of West Nile virus. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that a county health department officials in northeastern Nebraska reported a person there had tested positive for the mosquito-borne illness. The Elkhorn-Logan Valley Health Department, which covers Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties, says the infected person was not hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms.

Omaha World Herald

Nearly 50 Nebraska school boards have objected to proposed state health education standards that include lessons for young children on gender identity and gender expression. State Sen. Joni Albrecht said 47 school boards across the state have either adopted resolutions or sent letters opposing the first draft of the standards that the Nebraska Department of Education is considering. Under the proposed standards, elementary students would learn about different kinds of family structures, including same-gender families, and gender identity.

Nebraska athletes who are part of a newly formed nonprofit are among those who signed a petition Monday opposing a proposed University of Nebraska Board of Regents resolution objecting to “any imposition of critical race theory” in academic curriculum. The Omaha World-Herald reports that nonprofit United College Athlete Advocates' petition had gathered more than 1,300 signatures by Monday morning.

NBC

Nebraska agreed not to seek reimbursement from Texas for the state patrol troopers that it sent down to the U.S.-Mexican border at the request of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Nebraska State Patrol documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the state committed, at least initially, not to seek reimbursement for the mission, which is estimated to cost more than $334,000. A spokesman for the patrol and Nebraska Gov.

Lincoln Journal Star

Officials in Lincoln are defending their actions to remove a homeless encampment that had been set up in a wooded area. City officials say concerns from residents nearby prompted an investigation by Lincoln Fire and Rescue and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Jon Carlson, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, told the Lincoln Journal Star that conditions were found to be dangerous for those who were living there. But some homeless advocates say it was unjust to demolish a community people made for themselves.

KHGI

Nebraska schools are getting conflicting advice from state and federal health officials over whether students should quarantine after contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The state Department of Health and Human Services is telling schools that students who had contact with an infected person would not have to quarantine as long as they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that students who aren’t vaccinated and have close contact with an infected person should still quarantine.

Norfolk Daily News

The company that’s building casinos in Nebraska after voters legalized them has announced plans for another facility in Norfolk. WarHorse Gaming, LLC says it will pitch a horse-racing track and eventual casino at the DeVent Center. The company, a subsidiary of Ho-Chunk, Inc., which financed the casino legalization campaign, will present its plans Friday to the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission. WarHorse Gaming is seeking a racing license before the company breaks ground for construction of the new track and an overhaul of existing buildings.

Nebraska ended its fiscal year in much better financial shape than expected despite the coronavirus pandemic. The Nebraska Department of Revenue reports net general fund tax collections of $5.959 billion during the fiscal year that began in June 2020 and ended last month. That’s 19.2% higher than the certified state forecast of $5.001 billion. State officials report higher-than-expected collections of sales-and-use taxes, individual and corporate income taxes, and miscellaneous taxes.

Lincoln Journal Star

A state lawmaker from Omaha has announced he will run in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. Sen. Tony Vargas said in an announcement Tuesday that he will seek the party’s nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a three-term Republican in the district that includes Omaha and parts of its suburbs. Vargas said Tuesday his focus will be on meeting the needs of working families, including access to affordable, quality health care, living wages and better education.

NBC

An Omaha, Nebraska, zoo says roughly 200 people were possibly exposed to a rabid bat. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Friday said it's paying for rabies shots for 186 campers who stayed overnight at the aquarium in recent weeks. A camper woke up to a wild bat flying around her head July 4. No scratches or bites were found on her. The zoo euthanized seven wild bats found in the aquarium. One tested positive for rabies. The zoo's animal health director says people who visited the aquarium during the day shouldn't be worried because bats are nocturnal.

Eminetra

The storms that knocked down trees and power lines across eastern Nebraska this weekend left more people without electricity that any area storm in years. The Omaha Public Power District says the 188,000 customers that lost power after the storms Friday night and early Saturday is a larger outage than any storm since June 2008 when 156,000 customers lost electricity. By midday Sunday, less than 60,000 OPPD customers remained without power but utility officials said it could take several days to restore electricity to everyone.

Financial Times

Media mogul and billionaire bison rancher Ted Turner is donating an 80,000-acre ranch he owns in western Nebraska to a nonprofit agriculture ecosystem research institute and says he might do the same with four other ranches in Nebraska’s Sand Hills. But he says he'll continue to pay taxes on the land. The Omaha World-Herald reports that news comes as a relief to state and local officials who had feared Turner might donate the nearly 500,000 acres of Nebraska ranchland he owns and remove them from property tax rolls. Turner Enterprises Inc.

KMEG

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in Nebraska jumped last week, but the rate of new cases remained below the national average. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the state recorded 456 virus cases last week, which was up from 253 and 181 in the two previous weeks. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the state’s rate of new cases per capita ranked 23rd among the states last week. Dr.

Sandhills Express

A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, is returning to his Nebraska tribe after decades in a museum at Harvard. The university's Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology says it's been working with members of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska and Oklahoma to repatriate the artifact. The tribe's chairman says its anticipated return is a powerful symbol of homecoming for the tribe.

Shondaland

An Omaha therapist and mental health advocate announced that she will run in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. Alisha Shelton says she will seek the party’s nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a three-term Republican in the district that includes Omaha and parts of its suburbs. In a statement announcing her run, Shelton says she plans to focus her campaign on jobs, affordable health care and higher wages. Shelton would be Nebraska’s first Black member of Congress if elected.

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