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.

Pillen Isreael

Gov. Jim Pillen signs proclamation honoring 75th anniversary of establishment of Israel

By: - June 8, 2023

LINCOLN — Gov. Jim Pillen signed a proclamation Thursday honoring the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and recognizing its relationship with Nebraska. The relationship, officials said, includes cultural, educational and technology exchanges. It extends to shipments of kosher beef from Nebraska and components for missile defense systems produced at Lincoln’s […]

Swanson Lake

Upset mobile home owners seek reprieve from federal agency’s order to move out

By: - June 8, 2023

LINCOLN — Seventeen years ago, Bill Roddy found a little piece of paradise along a quiet reservoir in southwest Nebraska. Roddy, then living in the Denver area, purchased a mobile home that was for sale on leased land that sits along Swanson Reservoir, a 5,000-acre fishing and recreation lake near Trenton. Soon, Roddy was a […]

Public input sought on deployment of federal broadband funds

By: - June 7, 2023

LINCOLN — Public input is being sought at a string of meetings concerning the quality and availability of high-speed internet across Nebraska, and how new federal funding should be spent. The sessions are designed to help the state develop a comprehensive approach to provide quality digital access across the state. The Nebraska Legislature recently passed […]

Platte River

Public asked to conserve water in lower Platte River basin, which includes Omaha, Lincoln areas

By: - June 6, 2023

LINCOLN — Drought conditions in eastern Nebraska are prompting recommendations to proactively conserve water when irrigating lawns, washing clothes and even brushing your teeth. The City of Lincoln last week instituted voluntary conservation steps, including alternating which days residents should water lawns and gardens. That hasn’t happened yet in Omaha and surrounding communities, but it’s […]

School choice

Public schools supporters launch drive to put school choice bill on ballot

By: - June 6, 2023

LINCOLN — To chants of “sign the petition,” a coalition of public education supporters launched an effort Tuesday to place a referendum before voters on a newly passed school choice law. The group, called “Support Our Schools Nebraska,” is seeking to gather at least 90,000 signatures of registered voters in the next 90 days to […]

Food stamp recipients push back on new work requirements, saying such rules don’t work and will harm people in need

By: - June 5, 2023

LINCOLN — A trio of Nebraska food stamp recipients is pushing back on the new expansion of work requirements to obtain the food aid, saying the requirements don’t work and will harm families in need. The new requirements, included in the recent compromise over the federal debt ceiling, raises from age 50 to age 54 […]

state auditor

Former county treasurer worker in hot water over changing auto title for son’s girlfriend

By: - June 5, 2023

LINCOLN — A former employee in the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office is facing possible criminal charges for allegedly changing the title of a vehicle for her son’s girlfriend. A recent state audit uncovered the 2022 incident in which Tammy Biesecker, then working as a clerk in the office, removed a lien and then issued a […]

People gather outside the Nebraska State Capitol's south entrance holding two Ukrainian flags in support of the country

As Nebraska state senators head home, one heads to the battlefield in Ukraine

By: - June 5, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraska state senators headed home last week after a particularly brutal and bitter 2023 session. But one lawmaker isn’t packing up his office — he has packed his bag for a return trip to the war front in Ukraine. Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, a decorated military veteran nearing his 65th birthday, has […]

Smith Falls

New walkway eases access to Smith Falls, Nebraska’s highest waterfall

By: - June 5, 2023

LINCOLN — A new, 500-foot walkway to Smith Falls, the state’s highest waterfall, has been completed, easing access to the popular stop along the Niobrara River. The walkway, constructed of composite decking on a steel frame with aluminum handrails, is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. New benches along the boardwalk provide places for […]


Bank purchases half-finished luxury home/acreage of deceased businessman who defrauded banks

By: - June 3, 2023

LINCOLN — The partially finished, multimillion-dollar dwelling being built by Lincoln businessman Aaron Marshbanks was sold Friday, the latest effort to recover any assets remaining from what’s been described one of the largest bank frauds in state history. City Bank & Trust of Lincoln, which had loaned Marshbanks $2.5 million to build the 4,800-square-foot home […]

Farm group, congressional delegation cheer challenge of Mexican ban on GMO corn

By: - June 3, 2023

LINCOLN — The state’s largest farm organization, as well as members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation, are cheering actions taken by the Biden administration to challenge Mexico’s ban on genetically modified white corn. On Friday, U.S. trade representatives announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico over that country’s proposed ban on […]

Nebraska Legislature

On final day of session, legislators give final OK for voter ID, tax break bills

By: - June 1, 2023

LINCOLN — State senators ended a tumultuous 2023 session Thursday, giving a final OK to bills concerning voter identification, tax breaks for economic development and criminal justice reform. The 90-day session ended two days early and will be remembered for historic tax cuts, hard feelings aired during floor debate, and an almost session-long string of […]