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Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lottery officials say no one has claimed a $1 million Powerball prize for a ticket sold last month.

The Nebraska Lottery says the winner has until Feb. 17 to claim the prize.

The winning ticket was sold at a Casey's store at Evans Plaza. It matched the first five numbers drawn the night of Aug. 21. The numbers drawn were: 12, 21, 22, 29, 32 and Powerball number of 21.

GRETNA, Neb. (AP) — Sarpy County officials say a railroad's unauthorized closure of a street near Gretna snarled traffic during the Friday morning commute.

A news release from Sarpy County says BNSF closed a section of 156th Street east of Gretna to make repairs at a railroad crossing. Railroad crews closed the street, even though the county's engineer had denied the railroad's request earlier this week to do so. The county says the request was denied because 156th Street was serving as s detour route for another nearby street that also was closed for construction.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states expect slow growth in the months ahead, but the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China is weighing on the economy.

The Rural Mainstreet survey's overall index climbed into positive territory at 50.1 in September from August's 46.5. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

ATKINSON, Neb. (AP) — A boy with brain cancer who scored a touchdown at a Nebraska practice game is playing football for real.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Hoffman took the field Monday to play center for his junior high team in Atkinson, located 179 miles (288 kilometers) northwest of Omaha.

Hoffman underwent chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer in 2011. In 2013, he drew national attention when he ran for a player-assisted, 69-yard touchdown in the Huskers' spring game.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Officers found more weapons and drugs during a second search of the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

The Nebraska Correctional Services Department deployed K-9 teams after a lockdown was imposed at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Department Director Scott Frakes says nearly 40 officers from other law enforcement agencies joined department employees in the hunt for contraband.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says one student has been diagnosed with the mumps and another student is showing symptoms of the contagious disease.

The Daily Nebraskan reports that the university announced the mumps diagnosis Wednesday.

The university says both students live off campus and are being isolated to try to prevent the disease from spreading. The university recommends in its statement that all students take pro-active measures, such as washing hands, covering coughs and avoiding others if they are sick.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 200 scientists from 38 Iowa colleges and universities have signed on to a climate change statement that warns of "sobering extreme heat projections" for the Midwest that will put people, livestock and pets at risk.

The statement released Wednesday says the World Meteorological Association identified July as the hottest month in more than 140 years of record-keeping.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Pedestrian safety and rider injuries dominated testimony as the Lincoln City Council considered establishing a pilot program for rental scooters.

The proposed ordinance would let the city to select up to three companies to operate the scooters. Users would have to be at least 16 and licensed to drive, and the scooters couldn't be driven on sidewalks or multiuse trails. Speeds would be capped at 15 mph.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government has finalized rules for most U.S. pork processing plants that remove limits on the speed of production lines and place more animal inspection and food safety tasks with company employees.

The pork industry says the first significant pork processing rule changes in 50 years were long overdue. Officials applauded the new regulatory freedom finalized Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new report says parts of a Nebraska prison weren't searched during a recent lockdown that was billed as a safety precaution to locate contraband.

Nebraska Inspector General for Correctional Services Doug Koebernick said in his annual report Monday that the issue came to his attention Sept. 6, when the Nebraska State Penitentiary was under a lockdown.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Advocates for low-income families and children have announced a petition drive for a Nebraska ballot measure to cap the interest payday lenders can charge at 36% annually.

The coalition said Friday it will start gathering signatures to put the issue on the 2020 general election ballot. Nebraska lawmakers have considered similar restrictions on payday loans, but those proposals have stalled.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state government collected more tax revenue than expected in August.

The state Department of Revenue announced Friday that the state received a net total of $462 million last month, which is nearly 5% higher than its official forecast of $441 million.

The department says net sales-and-use and miscellaneous taxes came in higher than expected, as did net corporate and individual income taxes.

Net tax collections are also higher than expected in the current fiscal year that began July 1.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Board members of an obscure Iowa government insurance program have spent tens of thousands of dollars in public money traveling to out-of-state resorts for meetings.

A review by The Associated Press finds that directors of the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool hold two meetings annually at posh locations such as Florida in February and Michigan in August.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A lockdown and search at Nebraska's largest prison has unearthed a variety of drugs, homemade weapons and other contraband.

Prison officials revealed Wednesday some of the items found during last week's lockdown at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

The list includes the synthetic drug K2, which officials say has helped fuel a recent increase in assaults. Prison staff members also discovered makeshift tattoo machines, syringes, lighters and a cellphone hidden inside a tablet computer.

YORK, Neb. (AP) — A mosquito species native to tropical climates and known to carry the Zika virus has been found in Nebraska.

State health officials said Tuesday in a news release that the Aedes aegypti mosquito was recently found in southeastern Nebraska's York County. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says it's the first time that type of mosquito has been found in Nebraska.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Attorneys for the Trump administration are asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit from Native American tribes that want to block the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Tribes in Montana and South Dakota say President Donald Trump approved the pipeline in March without considering potential damage to cultural sites from spills and construction.

The Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux tribe say Trump's action violated their rights under treaties from the mid-1800s.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa appeals court has rejected a Des Moines attorney's challenge to Gov. Kim Reynold's use of a businessman's private airplane, upholding previous rulings that Reynold's use of the flights did no real harm and were allowed by Iowa law.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said in a ruling filed Wednesday that a state court judge was right to dismiss the lawsuit filed by attorney Gary Dickey.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Providers of Medicaid services in Iowa say they're owed up to $1.4 million by an insurance company that left the Iowa Medicaid program two years ago.

Documents filed with the Iowa Insurance Division show AmeriHealth Caritas could owe as much as $1.4 million to Iowa hospitals, nursing homes and providers of mental health services.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state emergency officials who faced record floods this summer are now scrambling to boost their ranks with more workers to help residents recover and rebuild their communities.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency plans to hire 17 new employees in the coming months, increasing from its current 41 to 58 workers.

Flooding throughout the state swamped the agency with service requests that began in March and continued throughout the summer. The recovery won't end anytime soon, as government officials undertake the slow process of rebuilding.

GERING, Neb. (AP) — A checkout program for sensory backpacks is available at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center in the Nebraska Panhandle.

Amanda Filipi is a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist based at the center, and she says she learned of sensory backpacks after her nephew was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Some prospective commuters say reliability will be the key in getting Lincoln and Omaha residents on board a proposed intercity bus service that would connect the two largest cities in Nebraska.

About a dozen people attended a meeting Thursday in Lincoln to discuss the idea and provide feedback to the Nebraska Transportation Department, which is overseeing a feasibility study.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Searches for weapons, drugs and other contraband have been undertaken during a lockdown at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

Officials say the lockdown that began Wednesday morning was needed because of the increase in assaults on staffers and among inmates, as well as an increase in the use of synthetic marijuana, or K2.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts has kicked off a new trade mission to Vietnam and Japan to promote Nebraska's agricultural products and present the state as a top place for international investment.

The trade mission began Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the delegation was scheduled to meet with government officials and business leaders. Delegates on the mission include state agricultural and economic development officials, University of Nebraska leaders and business and trade groups.

The trip is Ricketts' fourth trade mission to Asia in the last five years.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Agriculture Department has announced the award of $36 million to buy conservation easements on Iowa agriculture land damaged by flooding this year.

The funds are available through the flood plain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 18.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Texas health and human services official has been named the new director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says Thursday she appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to head the department that oversees the state's Medicaid program, mental health centers and child welfare services.

Garcia is now the deputy executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She oversees programs with more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget.

Iowa DHS has more than 4,000 employees and a $7 billion budget.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has announced the birth of an endangered rhinoceros species.

The zoo said Wednesday that the Indian rhinoceros calf was born Friday. It's the first rhinoceros born in the Omaha zoo's 120-year history.

Zoo Director Dennis Pate calls the birth one of the most for the zoo in recent history, saying "it counts when it comes to sustaining this species in zoos; it counts as a backup to vulnerable wild populations."

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Officials have unveiled a blue 300-pound (136.08-kilogram) bronze statue of a troll that now sits below the popular Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge spanning the Missouri River from Omaha to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Omar the Troll — short for Omaha Metro Area River — was introduced during a news conference Wednesday. The 4-foot (1.22-meter) troll with a toothy grin now greets visitors from atop a concrete cottage set up on a mulched area by one of the bridge's pillars.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A fourth-grade teacher in southwest Omaha has been surprised with the first National University System-Sanford Teacher Award — a national honor that comes with a $50,000 check.  Thomas Whisinnand was recognized Wednesday at an assembly at Reagan Elementary in the Millard Public Schools district. Whisinnand was selected from more than 50 finalists.  The Sanford award goes to teachers who motivate students to achieve their highest potential.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed a disaster declaration to help communities struck by flooding since July 15.

The declaration announced Wednesday frees up state resources to help local cities and counties with their recovery efforts.

Rickets signed the latest declaration last week to provide emergency assistance for all of the affected communities. He issued an earlier declaration in March.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's auditor says a state panel should stop paying appeal costs in a lawsuit filed against former Gov. Terry Branstad, who was found by a jury to have discriminated against a former state official.

Auditor Rob Sand says in a letter given Friday to the Iowa Executive Council that he will vote against any appeal costs in the lawsuit filed by former Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey against Branstad.

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