Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

More public input sought on Nebraska’s broadband needs, and on preliminary plan for spending federal/state funds

By: - September 25, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraskans have at least three options right now for providing input on how the state plans to spend millions of dollars to improve high-speed internet service. Nebraskans can submit comments until Oct. 14 about the State Broadband Office’s initial proposal to spend $405 million it was allocated via the federal Broadband Equity, Access […]

Family of famed poet plans to breach century-old monument to unlock mystery inside

By: - September 25, 2023

LINCOLN — After gaining federal permission, the family of a famed poet/author plans to trek to a remote corner of South Dakota in October to retrieve a century-old monument dedicated to a heroic mountain man. The goal is to finally unlock a mystery hidden inside the monument, erected at the direction of writer John Neihardt […]

Growing pessimism found in latest annual poll of rural Nebraskans

By: - September 25, 2023

LINCOLN — There’s increased pessimism about the present and future of rural Nebraska, according to the latest Rural Poll conducted by a wing of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The poll, now in its 28th year, found that 27% of respondents indicated that they are worse off today than five years ago, which is an increase […]

Mountain lion shot in Valentine after multiple sightings and disruption of a golf tournament

By: - September 22, 2023

LINCOLN — A 103-pound mountain lion was shot and killed Thursday on the northern edge of Valentine, only a couple of days after the cat had disrupted a local golf tournament. The cat, identified as a “subadult” male, had been spotted on a trail camera crossing the eighth-hole green on Tuesday morning while an invitation […]

Mother who helped teen daughter abort fetus is sentenced to two years in prison

By: - September 22, 2023

Editor’s note: this story has been corrected. The state’s new abortion law went into effect earlier this year. LINCOLN — A Norfolk, Nebraska, mother was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for helping her teenage daughter abort a fetus last year that was beyond 20 weeks of gestation, a violation of the state law […]

Students urged to get involved, ‘use their voice’ to address climate change

By: - September 22, 2023

LINCOLN — For years, attorney/activist Ken Winston said he had been attending board meetings of the Lincoln Electric System to urge action to combat climate change. But nothing seemed to happen, Winston said, until a young woman brought nearly 21 people to one of the meetings, after promising to do that to mark her 21st […]

Wilderness Crossing

Protesters of Lincoln development found guilty of refusing a police order and blocking a public roadway

By: - September 21, 2023

LINCOLN — A judge ruled Thursday that two protesters were guilty of obstructing a Lincoln development near a decades-old site of Native American sweat lodge ceremonies. Lancaster County Judge Timothy Phillips, after hearing testimony on two days, ruled that Erin Poor and Wyatt Nelson violated two misdemeanor city ordinances: refusing a police order and blocking […]

US Senate building

Omaha steamfitter/union leader Dan Osborn to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer

By: - September 21, 2023

LINCOLN — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer has an opponent. On Thursday, Omaha steamfitter and labor leader Dan Osborn announced that he will challenge Fischer in the 2024 election as an independent. Osborn, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Nebraska Army National Guard, said his ability to “find solutions and move forward” was demonstrated […]

Ponca corn

Activists plan final harvest of sacred Ponca corn, planted in path of Keystone XL pipeline

By: - September 20, 2023

LINCOLN — Opponents of the now-abandoned Keystone XL pipeline project will gather Saturday for a final harvest of a field of Ponca corn that was planted in the pipeline’s proposed path near Neligh. The event marks the 10th and final year for the harvest event on the farm of Art and Helen Tanderup, who hosted […]

One state property tax credit rises slightly in 2023, while another still isn’t being fully claimed

By: - September 20, 2023

Editor’s note: this story has been updated. LINCOLN — One state property tax credit will rise slightly in 2023, but all Nebraskans still aren’t claiming a more lucrative tax refund available via their income tax return. The Nebraska Department of Revenue announced Tuesday that the real property tax credit for tax year 2023 will amount […]

Weldon Kees

UNL obtains collection of papers of Beatrice-born poet, writer, artist and musician

By: - September 20, 2023

LINCOLN — During his life, Beatrice-born Weldon Kees ran with the hip crowd of writers, artists and musicians in New York City and San Fransisco. His own Beat-era poetry, writings and paintings won acclaim before he disappeared, amid a battle with depression, into the fog at the Golden Gate Bridge in July 1955. It was […]

Lancaster County GOP

Lancaster County GOP affirms its shift rightward, returning populist and Trump supporter to top job

By: - September 19, 2023

HICKMAN — In a reaffirmation of its shift to the right, the Lancaster County Republican Party voted Tuesday night to return a populist and fervent supporter of Donald Trump, Matt Innis, to the post of chairman. Party delegates also passed resolutions condemning the indictments faced by Trump and supporting the impeachment of President Joe Biden — […]