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.

soybean export

Nebraska soybean farmers invest in West Coast export terminal expansion

By: - September 21, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska soybean farmers are wagering that increased profits will come via an expansion of an export terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Washington. The Nebraska Soybean Board, similar soybean associations in Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota and the Soy Transportation Coalition have committed $900,000 to help offset some […]

Riot at the US Capitol on Jan 6

Nebraska election officials say their job is more stressful, under the spotlight

By: - September 21, 2022

LINCOLN — A trio of national researchers took turns Tuesday describing the rising threats and violence directed at officials who handle our elections, direct public health and educate our children. Three Nebraska election officials said that this state is not completely immune to the same trends described in the “Elections and the Threat of Violence” […]

Drone Shot of Nebraska State Capitol at Sunset

City of Omaha seeks second lobbyist to work State Legislature in Lincoln

By: - September 21, 2022

LINCOLN — The City of Omaha is advertising to hire a second, “supplemental” lobbyist to work alongside longtime city lobbyist Jack Cheloha. Cheloha, who has held the job for 28 years, says he’s “in the dark” about the request. But Mayor Jean Stothert, who initiated the effort, said hiring an additional lobbyist during the last […]

Complaints prompt state utilities board to schedule hearing on telephone outages, poor services

By: - September 20, 2022

LINCOLN — More than 200 complaints of outages and poor customer service from three telephone companies has prompted a state utilities board to schedule a public hearing. The Nebraska Public Service Commission will take testimony about service problems from customers of CenturyLink, Windstream and Frontier in October in Omaha. Most of the complaints came from […]

Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana initiative official voices ‘disgust’ at late review of its signatures

By: - September 19, 2022

LINCOLN — The leader of an initiative to allow Nebraskans to vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana is expressing her “absolute disgust” that state officials haven’t yet completed a final review of the petition signatures. Crista Eggers, in a letter to Secretary of State Bob Evnen, said Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has yet to […]

Nebraska Board of Pardons rejects Earnest Jackson’s commutation request

By: - September 19, 2022

This report was updated after the hearing with remarks from Nebraska’s attorney genera and governor and a response from Jackson advocates. LINCOLN — Without comment until long after a throng of supporters had departed, the Nebraska Board of Pardons on Monday rejected the commutation request of Earnest Jackson. Jackson’s supporters maintain that he has spent […]

night sky

Remote Sandhills reservoir declared an ‘international dark sky park’

By: - September 17, 2022

LINCOLN — There are benefits to being in the middle of nowhere. Just recently, Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, in the middle of the Sandhills, was certified as an “International Dark Sky Park.” The reservoir, about 26 miles southwest of Valentine, has hosted an annual “Nebraska Star Party” for the past 29 years during moonless nights […]

Omaha man sentenced to prison, ordered to repay pandemic programs after scam

By: - September 15, 2022

LINCOLN — An Omaha man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to repay $45,833 after being found guilty of scamming the federal Paycheck Protection Program, designed to maintain employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. District Judge Robert Rossiter sentenced Bion Flint, 44, to 10 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit wire […]

Ernest Jackson gains more allies in quest to be freed from prison

By: - September 15, 2022

LINCOLN — An Omaha man seeking to gain his freedom from prison for a murder he maintains he didn’t commit has gained new allies — the girlfriend and son of the man Ernest Jackson was convicted of killing. The son and girlfriend of Larry Perry have submitted letters in favor of Jackson’s release to the […]

Nebraskans failing to claim $200 million in state income tax credits, officials say

By: - September 15, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraskans aren’t claiming their refunds from a major tax break passed by the State Legislature, and Gov. Pete Ricketts joined other state leaders on Thursday to urge Cornhuskers to get after it. About 40% of all Nebraskans this year failed to claim the property tax refund that must be claimed on a state […]

wildfire

Another wildfire breaks out in Nebraska’s parched Panhandle

By: - September 15, 2022

LINCOLN — Officials reported progress Thursday in containing an erratic wildlife that has torched more than 3,700 acres south of Gering, in the rugged Wildcat Hills. The fire’s incident commander said that the fire, which broke out Tuesday afternoon, was 28% contained and that crews were working to increase that. “We are hopeful we will […]

Pottawattamie County

Pottawattamie County sheriff says jail changes made since ‘tragic’ 2018 case

By: - September 14, 2022

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA — Pottawattamie County Sheriff Andy Brown said Wednesday that reviewing and improving jail medical care has been a top priority following a 2018 incident in which a county inmate had to have both legs amputated. Brown said the case of inmate Kevin Pittillo was tragic and that since Brown took office in […]