Horse racing fans had been race down the homestretch to Fonner Park in Grand Island. Live thoroughbred racing is still going on this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check www.fonnerpark.com.
Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen read from her work and discussed how the Great Plains have inspired her at a special event in Hastings Thursday night. “Poetry of the Plains” was held at The Lark. For more: http://humanitiesnebraska.org
Comedian, author and actor Louie Anderson is returning to Norfolk June 18-19 to headline the opening session of the annual comedy festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre. He was there in 2011. Host will be Brian Kiley, the 2014 pro stand-up competition winner last year and a writer for Conan O’Brien. Comedian Brian Regan will be the Saturday night headliner.
For more than three years, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station was the only nuclear energy plant in the country that was in a special federal oversight program for reactors with performance problems. But last month, it was released to routine oversight status to join the 98 other U.S. nuclear power plants. The Fort Calhoun plant was offline for eight months in 2011 when the Missouri River flood, a switchgear fire, and the discovery of hundreds of minor safety irregularities caused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put it on “probation.” The process has cost Omaha Public Power District customers $58 million. The plant restarted in December 2013.
A fun idea from NebraskaWines.com: now you can get a Nebraska Wine Passport, have it stamped at wineries around the state, and win prizes and goodies! See: NWGGA Passport Print PDF.
The citizens’ right to be protected is being weighed against Nebraska’s prison overcrowding problem as the Unicameral debates whether to do away with many “mandatory minimum” sentences in Nebraska law. Purpose: to reduce the number of incoming inmates. The Nebraska Association of County Attorneys and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert are among those who advocate keeping the stiff sentences for drive-by shootings; crack, heroin and meth dealing; and habitual criminal violations. Others, including Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, defend LB 173, saying it would ease the overcrowding problem and return more discretion to judges. The state’s prison population is 1,938 inmates, 59% above design capacity. Adding a prison would cost an estimated $130 million.
Who cannot relate to this funny piece of roadside humor? Thanks to Lonnie Cease for sharing this on the Facebook page, Nebraska Through The Lens.
A 8-year-old alligator named Sprinkles was being illegally kept as a pet in a kiddie pool in Scottsbluff. But police and animal rescue officials working with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission “arrested” her with the owner’s OK. They quarantined her at the Scottsbluff zoo, Riverside Discovery Center. Last week they took her to the Colorado Gators Rescue Park in Mosca, Colo. Many exotic animals are illegal as pets in Nebraska. April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month.
Veterans who will live in the 225-bed, $121 million Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home planned in Kearney will benefit from the ideas and work of University of Nebraska-Kearney students who are building model suites for the project. The construction management and interior design students were invited to build and furnish the rooms using blueprints from Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects.
A $900,000 federal air-quality grant through the Nebraska Department of Roads will help Omaha’s bike sharing network double its stations this year. Heartland B-Cycle now has 31 stations with 150 bikes in downtown, midtown, NoDo (north downtown) and Ak-Sar-Ben Village. Bike sharing provided an estimated 6,700 rides last year. Daily passes are $6.
A routine traffic stop last weekend on Interstate 80 in Seward County led to the seizure of nearly 227 pounds of marijuana and six arrests. Though that was one of the larger drug busts recorded, in 2012 Nebraska state troopers confiscated a total of 7,800 pounds of the drug. In 2007, a vehicle carrying one ton of marijuana worth an estimated $3 million was stopped in Omaha at I-80 and 96th Street. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has made it a “source state” the way Mexico is a “source nation” for the drug trade, law enforcement officials said.
What a cool idea: Humanities Nebraska intern Tim Lundy made a free mobile app for GooglePlay and iPhone, the Nebraska Literary Tour. You can “tour” by author or by geographical location, perhaps in tandem with an in-person visit to the memorials, if any, of the famous authors. It is loaded with biographical information, photos, excerpts and much more. There’s a map app, too. The eight authors currently featured are: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Hartley Burr Alexander, Willa Cather, Loren Eiseley, Weldon Kees, Wright Morris, John G. Neihardt, and Mari Sandoz. The goal is to add two to four authors each year. The six geographic regions are west, central, northeast, southeast, Omaha and Lincoln.