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.

Marshbanks home

Pursuit for funds from deceased Lincoln businessman expands to Iowa

By: - December 6, 2022

LINCOLN — Two more financial institutions, including one from Iowa, have now joined the more than 20 Nebraska banks, savings and loans and credit unions seeking repayment of loans from a Lincoln businessman found deceased a month ago. In a court filing Tuesday, Lincoln Savings Bank of Cedar Falls, Iowa, maintains that the estate of […]

Gov. Ricketts now says he’ll be an applicant for vacant U.S. Senate seat

By: - December 6, 2022

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to add comments from Gov. Ricketts’ press conference Tuesday morning. LINCOLN — After playing coy for more than two months, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday he will apply for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Sasse. “For me, it came down to a single question: How […]

chicken barns

Report suggests that litter from chicken farms has upped contamination of water

By: - December 6, 2022

LINCOLN — A new report suggests that manure-laced litter, removed from chicken barns raising millions of chickens for Costco, is increasing contamination of some nearby streams in eastern Nebraska. The three-year-long study, facilitated by the environmental group GC Resolve and the Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, calls for increased testing of contaminants such as phosphorous and […]

Ben Sasse makes it official, will resign U.S. Senate seat Jan. 8

By: - December 5, 2022

LINCOLN — U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., made it official Monday afternoon, submitting a resignation letter that says he will leave office on Jan. 8. That would be only three days after Gov.-elect Jim Pillen takes the oath of office. Pillen, a Columbus pork producer and veterinarian, is widely expected to appoint current Gov. Pete […]

Marshbanks home

Target of loan fraud investigation was building multimillion-dollar residential complex

By: - December 5, 2022

Editor’s note: this story was updated with new information learned Monday. LINCOLN – The target of a state banking investigation into alleged fraudulent loans was in the process of building a multimillion-dollar residential complex on the eastern edge of the Capital City. Aaron Marshbanks, who was found dead a month ago in a downtown Lincoln […]

State investigating what could be Nebraska’s largest bank fraud

By: and - December 2, 2022

LINCOLN — State and local officials are investigating what might be Nebraska’s largest case of bank fraud related to loans obtained by a recently deceased Lincoln developer. Claims by banks and other lenders against the estate of Aaron Marshbanks already total more than $30 million and may eclipse $50 million by the time all of […]

Mayhew Cabin

Historic cabin, popular tourist stop remains closed, maybe for good

By: - November 30, 2022

NEBRASKA CITY — The sign outside the long-closed Mayhew Cabin museum and John Brown’s Cave is blunt and to the point: “Killed by City of NC.” “NC” refers to Nebraska City, a quaint Missouri River town that is the home of Arbor Day as well as 10 museums, honoring everything from windmills to Civil War […]

Lawsuit settlement funds obtained by the state go to many places, purposes

By: - November 28, 2022

LINCOLN — The State of Nebraska recently raked in more than $20 million as part of settlements of multi-state consumer lawsuits against corporate giants Google and Walmart. The state will receive nearly $12 million from Google as part of a $391.5 million out-of-court settlement over misleading tracking of users’ locations. Another $11 million is on […]

UNK health students

Scholarships now available for nursing students to address shortage created by COVID-19 resignations

By: - November 28, 2022

LINCOLN — In an effort to address a COVID-19-induced shortage of nurses in Nebraska, the state is now seeking applicants for $2,500-per-semester scholarships for nursing students. A total of $5 million in scholarships is being offered, with recipients being required to practice nursing in Nebraska for a minimum of two years. “Nurses are an indispensable part […]

Dorrington home

Underground Railroad site in Falls City recognized by National Park Service

By: - November 26, 2022

LINCOLN — There was a terrifying annual chore for Robert Nelson during his growing-up years in Falls City. Just before Memorial Day, he and a cousin had to scrub clean a massive, stone mausoleum that contained the burial vaults of his great-great-great-great-grandparents, David and Ann Dorrington. Their resting places were in crypts, down a set […]

prairie in spring

Voluntary grant program aims to restore Sandhills grasslands, wetlands

By: - November 26, 2022

LINCOLN — A voluntary grant program will provide $4 million to landowners in the Sandhills region to remove invasive eastern red cedar trees and restore grasslands and wetlands, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recently announced. The four-year program, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is aimed at restoring grassland and wetland habitat […]

snow geese

Death of waterfowl at Lewis & Clark Lake in northeast Nebraska prompts advisory

By: - November 23, 2022

LINCOLN — A die-off of at least a couple hundred waterfowl around Lewis & Clark Lake in northeast Nebraska has prompted state wildlife officials to issue a warning. The public is being asked to avoid all contact with sick or dead birds encountered in that area and report them to Game and Parks, officials said. […]