Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

Former Oakland, Nebraska, police chief charged with misdemeanor theft

By: - March 24, 2023

LINCOLN — The former police chief of Oakland, Nebraska, has been charged in federal court with misappropriating public funds after a state audit found he’d spent nearly $15,000 in city funds on personal items. Terry Poland was charged March 15 in U.S. District Court with using less than $1,000 in town funds to purchase a […]

Marshbanks home

Lincoln businessman, implicated in Nebraska bank fraud scandal, died of drug overdose

By: - March 24, 2023

Editor’s note: This has been updated to include comments from the Lancaster County attorney. LINCOLN — A Lincoln businessman, implicated in Nebraska’s largest case of bank fraud, died of a drug overdose, according to a state death certificate filed Friday. But the manner of Aaron Marshbanks’ death “could not be determined,” the certificate stated, which […]

Time running out to apply for rebates for installing reverse osmosis systems

By: - March 24, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraskans with high nitrate levels in private wells have until March 31 to apply for rebates to help with the installation of reverse osmosis systems to clean up drinking water. State rebates of up to $4,000 are available to owners of private wells with drinking water test levels above 10 parts per million […]

Carol Blood explains a resolution to the Executive Board

Senator hopes seventh time a charm for bill requiring disclosure of spending, donors, ‘dark money’ groups

By: - March 23, 2023

LINCOLN — For at least the seventh time, a state senator asked for advancement of a bill to require reporting of expenditures by independent, “dark money” groups that flood voters with mostly negative political attacks. On Thursday, State Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue pleaded with the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to at […]

Committee advances property tax package estimated to provide $3 billion in relief over six years

By: - March 23, 2023

LINCOLN — A state legislative committee teed up for debate a package of proposals Thursday intended to provide Nebraskans with as much property tax relief as provided by a group of proposed income tax cuts. State Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, whose bill served as the home for the property tax relief proposals, said the […]

Scott Frost house

Scott Frost house sold for a Capital City record of $3.5 million

By: - March 23, 2023

LINCOLN — Scott Frost’s success as a football coach at the University of Nebraska wasn’t a record-breaker, but the sale of his home in South Lincoln was. Frost’s five-bedroom, eight-garage home in The Ridge neighborhood sold for $3.5 million in late November, according to Lancaster County property records. That is the highest price paid for […]

Sarpy County settles lawsuit over mistaken distribution of ‘in-lieu-of tax’ funds, but Douglas County lawsuits ongoing

By: - March 22, 2023

LINCOLN — Sarpy County has agreed to settle a lawsuit involving the mistaken distribution of millions of dollars of in-lieu-of tax funds.  The Sarpy County Board on Tuesday voted to pay $2.7 million over five years to four school districts that sued after underpayments were discovered in a state audit in 2021. The Platteview, Gretna, […]

trans youth

Voices raised, digs exchanged as debate begins on bill restricting trans health care for minors

By: - March 21, 2023

Editor’s note: This report has been updated with discussion of a proposed compromise. LINCOLN — Voices rose and personal digs were exchanged Tuesday as the Nebraska Legislature opened debate on the controversial issue of banning minors from obtaining some gender-affirming procedures. And there was an offer of a compromise, but bill sponsors are unsure if […]


Fortenberry attorneys accuse trial judge of mistakenly allowing prosecution

By: - March 20, 2023

LINCOLN — Attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry repeated arguments Monday that he was improperly tried in California for making false statements to federal agents and that his statements shouldn’t have prompted criminal charges. Defense attorneys said that the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, mistakenly allowed the trial to proceed in a […]

Siembra health care tour

Nebraska hospitals struggling financially, with most operating in the red last year, officials say

By: - March 20, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraska hospital leaders said Monday that a combination of increased costs of labor and supplies, and a failure of Medicaid and Medicare to fully reimburse services, is stressing the state’s health care system. More than half of the state’s hospitals operated in the red last year, they said, and 2023 is expected to […]


‘Interoperability’ still an issue for volunteer firefighters across Nebraska

By: - March 20, 2023

LINCOLN — When a wind-blown wildfire broke out in rural Lancaster County in October, dozens of volunteer firefighters from the region rushed to the scene. Flames raced across farm fields, consuming outbuildings and rural homes in its path, and blackening a state wildlife area. But there was a problem: Several of the volunteer fire departments […]

State Capitol

Unused gallery on fifth floor of Nebraska Capitol eyed as a visitors center and museum

By: - March 18, 2023

LINCOLN — High inside the Rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol is an unused gallery where you can get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful artwork in the dome and mural-lined hallways of the building. Current and former state senators joined Thursday in touting a $3.9 million project to turn the currently vacant, fifth-floor […]