Author

Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. 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.

Tom Brewer

Retired soldier/Nebraska state senator sees no quit in Ukrainian forces

By: - July 4, 2022

LINCOLN – As the saying goes, “Old soldiers never die — they just fade away.” But instead of fading away, 63-year-old Tom Brewer, a decorated and retired Army colonel and state senator, is headed to the front. Brewer, who was seriously wounded and earned two Purple Hearts during six deployments in Afghanistan, is scheduled to […]

Nebraska physicians fear in vitro fertilization, other care, in jeopardy if abortion banned

By: - July 2, 2022

LINCOLN – Expressing fear for their patients and livelihoods, physicians who treat women experiencing difficult pregnancies or in need of reproductive services like in vitro fertilization are stepping into the political arena to oppose a ban on abortion. A group of specialists recently formed a political action committee, the Campaign for a Healthy Nebraska, in […]

Person signs petition

Measure to hike Nebraska minimum wage appears ready to qualify for November ballot

By: - July 1, 2022

LINCOLN — With a deadline looming, one Nebraska initiative petition drive appears poised to qualify for the November ballot, while another, to legalize medical cannabis, is facing “potential failure.” Thursday is the deadline for turning in signatures for ballot initiatives to qualify for the general election. On Friday, Raise the Wage Nebraska announced that it […]

Nebraska abortion rights advocates say they are ‘horrified’ but ready to help women find access to care

By: - June 30, 2022

LINCOLN — Abortion rights advocates said Thursday that while they’re “horrified” by the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the right to abortion, they stand ready to attempt to help women find access to abortion care elsewhere. Candi Jones of Survivors Rising, which helps victims of domestic violence, said she didn’t want to think about […]

It’s a bird, it’s a plane and no, that’s not a new bike trail in the middle of I-80

By: - June 30, 2022

LINCOLN — No, that unusual-looking, 22-mile-long strip of fresh asphalt in the middle of the Interstate 80 median west of Lincoln is not a new bicycle trail. State transportation officials have been getting calls in recent weeks asking about “the new bike trail,” a strip of asphalt about three feet wide, recently laid down in […]

Fortenberry guilty

Fortenberry files notice of appeal and claims false statements statutes too easily abused

By: - June 29, 2022

LINCOLN — One day after being sentenced to probation for lying to federal agents, former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry on Wednesday followed through with his pledge to appeal his conviction. His legal representatives, including a new specialist in such appeals, also said they expect to file a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department […]

Ricketts press conference

Ricketts calls Jan. 6 hearings a ‘partisan rehash of mostly old information’

By: - June 29, 2022

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday called the congressional hearings into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol a “partisan rehash of mostly old information.” The Republican governor was asked his opinion of the hearings during a press conference. On Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson, a key aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows […]

Republican Mike Flood rides inflation, GOP voter edge to 1st District win for six months

By: and - June 28, 2022

NORFOLK, Nebraska — Five days of wrath about a Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade could not derail the basic math of Republican-dominated voter registrations in eastern Nebraska that helped elect State Sen. Mike Flood to Congress on Tuesday. Flood, a Norfolk Republican who ran hard against abortion in a district where registrations lean […]

OPS security guards complain about low pay, increase in behavioral issues and threats

By: - June 28, 2022

LINCOLN — The union that represents security guards at Omaha Public Schools is appealing to a state labor court, claiming that OPS has failed to bargain in good faith over wages, job duties and “more dangerous working conditions.” The filing comes as OPS is seeing an exodus of teachers, an increase in behavioral issues and […]

fortenberry

Fortenberry sentenced to probation, not prison, for lying to federal investigators

By: - June 28, 2022

LINCOLN — Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will not go to prison for lying and misleading federal investigators, a California federal judge announced Tuesday. And he’ll likely keep his federal pension benefits. U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld sentenced the 61-year-old Republican to two years’ probation, a $25,000 fine and 320 hours of community service. Blumenfeld […]

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry talks reporters after his trial.

Fortenberry finds out Tuesday if he’ll be sentenced to prison or probation

By: - June 27, 2022

LINCOLN — Will Jeff Fortenberry be sentenced to prison for lying and misleading federal investigators, or will a California judge be lenient, as 64 letter-writers have urged? The former congressman will find out Tuesday morning when he returns to the same Los Angeles federal courtroom where a jury found him guilty in March of three […]

Ingleside cemetery

Damage to cemetery at now-closed Hastings Regional Center saddens residents

By: - June 27, 2022

LINCOLN — Drive down a long, shaded, country lane west of the long-closed Hastings Regional Center site, follow a couple of bends in the road, and eventually you’ll arrive at the Ingleside Cemetery.  The burial grounds are the last remnant of a mental health complex, formerly known as the Ingleside Hospital for the Insane, that […]