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.

Council Bluffs man says he was ‘not himself’ when he threatened shooting at Omaha Islamic center

By: - January 31, 2023

LINCOLN — A Council Bluffs, Iowa, man has been ordered to be placed at a mental health treatment center as part of his sentence for threatening to shoot members of the Islamic Center of Omaha with an AK-47. Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon also sentenced the man to time served in detention (about 30 […]


Contaminants from AltEn plant found in more homes, streams and soil

By: - January 30, 2023

MEAD, Nebraska — Residents near the closed AltEn ethanol plant were told Monday night that contaminants found in area homes were “significantly higher” than those found in houses in Omaha and another rural community, Kennard. But investigators with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University said that more research is […]

Railroad yard

Mirch appointed to fill Omaha-area vacancy on Public Service Commission

By: - January 30, 2023

LINCOLN — Omaha attorney Christian Mirch has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Mirch, a former Omaha police officer, fills the opening left when Crystal Rhoades, an Omaha Democrat, was elected in November to serve as the Douglas County Clerk of the District Court. Gov. Jim Pillen, who made […]


Bankers say proposal on ‘environmental, social and governance’ too broad, amendments needed

By: - January 30, 2023

LINCOLN — A proposal aimed at preventing a Nebraska State Treasurer from using state funds for “social and political” goals ran into complaints Monday that it was too vague and meddled too much in banking decisions. Robert Hallstrom of the Nebraska Bankers Association said that banks have traditionally been free to “lend to, invest in […]

Nebraska Environmental Trust

Proposal slammed to transfer $14 million from Environmental Trust to water fund

By: - January 30, 2023

LINCOLN — Deep inside Gov. Jim Pillen’s budget proposal is a plan to divert $14 million from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to a state agency’s water resources fund, a transfer condemned as a “mockery” of the intent of the Trust. W. Don Nelson, a former official who served three Nebraska governors, said Thursday that the […]

Fortenberry guilty

Prosecutors dispute Fortenberry’s appeal claims, including that he was wrongly tried in L.A.

By: - January 27, 2023

LINCOLN — Federal prosecutors in California pushed back Friday on appeals from former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry that he was wrongly convicted of lying to federal agents and that he was wrongly tried in Los Angeles, instead of Nebraska. In a 73-page filing, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in L.A. argued that at least […]

Nebraska attorney general joins 24 other states in effort to block rule on ESG investing

By: - January 27, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraska has joined 24 other red states in a lawsuit seeking to block a new rule they claim frees up 401K managers to invest in so-called “environmental, social and governance” funds. The states argue that the U.S. Department of Labor is exceeding its authority by adopting a rule that allows fiduciaries to consider […]


Omaha, Lincoln police chiefs call ‘constitutional carry’ of concealed weapons dangerous

By: - January 26, 2023

LINCOLN — Police chiefs from Omaha and Lincoln opposed the latest proposal to allow Nebraskans to carry concealed weapons without obtaining a state permit and required training, saying Thursday that it was dangerous. “This bill jeopardizes the safety of our city,” said Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins. Omaha Chief Todd Schmaderer told members of the […]


Judge tells parties seeking funds from Marshbanks estate to ‘work it out’

By: - January 25, 2023

LINCOLN — As claims against the estate of deceased Lincoln businessman Aaron Marshbanks grew to more than $50 million, a judge told some parties seeking funds Wednesday to work out their differences outside court. Marshbanks, who was found dead Nov. 2 in a downtown Lincoln parking garage, has been implicated in one of the biggest […]

Pillen touts his tax cut and education initiatives in State of the State speech

By: and - January 25, 2023

LINCOLN — New Gov. Jim Pillen plans to hold the line on state agency spending, while devoting the state’s massive revenue surplus for tax cuts, increased state aid to K-12 schools and building the Perkins County Canal. The Republican governor’s budget only provides spending growth of 1.3% over the next two years — including only […]

Omaha man who sexually assaulted a minor to ‘break her in’ for sex trafficking found guilty after four-day trial

By: - January 25, 2023

LINCOLN — After a four-day trial, 25-year-old Dalonte Foard of Omaha was found guilty Monday by federal jury of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor. Foard faces up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years. In September 2020, two girls, ages 16 and 17, had gone […]

pillen billboard

New governor fires back at ‘cheap stunts’ attacking his hog farms

By: - January 24, 2023

LINCOLN — Newly sworn-in Gov. Jim Pillen is firing back at billboards in Lincoln and Columbus that went up recently attacking the governor’s hog operations, calling the billboards “cheap stunts.” Pillen, in a press release Tuesday, said the aim of the billboards was to “destroy Nebraska’s way of life by shutting down our state’s largest industry […]